Obsessed with: Justina Blakeney’s #facethefoliage

Justina Blakeney - #facesoffoliageandflowers on Instagram

Justina Blakeney - #facesoffoliageandflowers on Instagram

Justina Blakeney - #facesoffoliageandflowers on Instagram

Justina Blakeney - #facesoffoliageandflowers on Instagram

Justina Blakeney - #facesoffoliageandflowers on Instagram

And now you’re obsessed too, right?!  Every time one of these faces made of only foliage and flowers pops up in my Instagram feed from Justina Blakeney, I get all excited.  And it seems like each new creation becomes my new favorite.  I love watching her develop these faces, each one getting more complex and interesting with each new face.  I am completely blown away by her creativity and artistry that I just had to share.  I hope she thinks about selling some of them as prints because I need that top one, for real.

Go follow her or look up the hashtag #facethefoliage so you can these and all her other awesome pictures.


Weekend Pretties

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Happy Friday! And happy early Mother’s Day.  I hope you have fun things planned for the weekend.  Tomorrow Parker and I are going to pick strawberries and Sunday I’m getting to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother for the very first time!  My mom’s going to be out of town and I’ll get to celebrate with her the next week, but that means this Sunday I get all the attention to myself.  Haha :)   Parker’s taking me out to brunch and then I’m not sure what else.  Hopefully, if the weather is nice, there will be lots of strolling and lounging on blankets in parks.  That seems like the ideal pregnant Mother’s Day to me.  :)

Hope you enjoy the weekend!  Here are a few interesting posts I found this week that I wanted to share.

100 funny/adorable cat pictures to keep you entertained for a while.

A gorgeous Ikea kitchen makeover – with barnwood cabinet fronts!

Black garlic sounds amazing.

Hilarious but true graphs.

I have to admit, I’m really looking forward to reading the entire article written by Monica Lewinsky.

Peak inside (the depressing) refrigerators of big-time chefs.

Gabouret Sidibe’s beautiful speech about how she’s able to be “so confident”.

Disney/Pixar’s secret clue they hide in all their movies!

NASA’s list of best air-filtering plants.

Dying to try this cheap natural cleaning method (hint: there’s no stinky vinegar involved).

This dress looks perfect for an expanding belly in the summertime.

Have a great weekend!

PS – That peony in the photos above is from my very own yard.  I planted the bush just a week ago and already got one bloom, with another ready to be cut any day now.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  :)


Currently

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What have you been up to lately? Here are a few things I’ve been up to at 17 weeks pregnant.  I feel awesome and the spring is being so good to us, I’m taking pleasure in simple joys and relaxing as much as possible, since Parker (and a couple of neighbors) scolded me for working too hard in the garden the last couple of weeks.  Worth it!  I’ll share pictures soon, it looks so much better.

Currently, I am…

Reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth on a blanket under my favorite shade tree.  I had heard so many wonderful things about this book and I have to agree with what I heard.  I wish it was required reading for all pregnant women.

Craving grilled cheese sandwiches.  I hadn’t made a grilled cheese in years, and then one day last week I was reminded of them and haven’t stopped thinking about them since.  Even though it’s warmed up a bit, I made a big pot of tomato soup and have had a bowl of it and a grilled cheese sandwich several days in a row for lunch.  Ezekiel bread makes it not quite so unhealthy, right??! haha :)

Still watching Mad Men.  Can’t get enough. Last night Parker had to work late into the night so I stayed up and watched three episodes back to back.

Drinking so much of this pregnancy tea blend.  I had heard about red raspberry leaf tea being good for pregnant women and then my midwife mentioned it during our last visit, so I’ve been drinking up.  I make it as iced tea and keep a big pitcher in the fridge, with a squeeze of lemon, a bunch of mint, and just enough agave to take the edge off.  So refreshing and since I‘ve been having trouble drinking a ton of water like I should, it helps keep me hydrated.  I’ve been drinking a half gallon of this tea every day!  These are a few of the supposed benefits of drinking the tea:

  • Tones the muscles used during labor and delivery and eliminates many of the reasons for a painful delivery and prolonged recovery.
  • Reduces pain during labor and after birth.
  • Assists in the production of plentiful breast milk.
  • Helps make labor faster by encouraging the uterus to let go and function without tension.
  • Studies show that women that consume Red Raspberry Leaf have a reduced incidence of artificial rupture of membranes, forceps delivery or cesarean.

I don’t know how much truth there is in any of this, but I figure it can’t hurt to try and it’s really yummy, so why not?  And anything that is supposed to help with pain during delivery besides drugs – sign me up!

Listening to Bob Marley a lot lately.  I think it’s the warmer weather.

Practicing prenatal yoga.  Trying to make it a daily-ish habit.

Renovating our half-bath.  Well, I’m not doing any of it, but our tile guys are.  They came yesterday and ripped out all the old tile and they say since the job is so small, that it should be all done by the middle of next week.  Yay!  The last big renovation on our house!  For now at least.  Next year we’ll add a big back deck and at some point a front porch.

Enjoying how quiet our neighborhood is now that the trees all have leaves on them.  Sitting outside, it’s hard to believe we’re in a big city.

Holding out on buying maternity clothes.  But I’m not sure how long I can keep it up.  I’ve been wearing the same sun dress several days in a row (that’s the one above in the picture) because it’s the most comfortable thing I own. It’s not that nothing else fits exactly, my bump isn’t that big yet, but nothing feels right.  I see lots of sun dresses in my future this summer.  And, maybe this is TMI, but we’re all friends herethis dress is supportive enough that I don’t have to wear a bra which is good because I also have not invested in any new ones to accommodate my growing figure and thus are my #1 enemy as of late.

Seeing sprouts pop up from the flower seeds I planted just last weekend.  I planted zinnias, delphinium, poppies, cone flowers, black eyed susans, and variety mixtures that promise to attract butterflies and bees.  My fingers are crossed for a bountiful season of blooms!

Feeling the baby!  Well, just once.  I turned over on my stomach in bed one night and definitely felt our baby in there.  It was unlike any other feeling I’ve ever felt.  It wasn’t like gas bubbles as I’ve heard other women describe.  It was little fluttering, and I could picture the babe getting squished and trying to make room or tell me to flip back over.  I did.  :)

Loving watching my husband’s face when I show him my belly growing.  He’s so sweet.  And every morning he wakes up and rolls over to me and rubs my belly and says, “Good morning, baby.”  MELT MY HEART why don’t you?!

That’s what I’m up to currently!  Anyone else enjoying the spring or is it still cold where you are?  Any other pregnant mamas out there?


Cinco de Mayo 2014 – A 10-year Dogiversary

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Look at that face!  Can you even stand it??!  Yesterday I celebrated ten years with this dear dog, my Frankie.  I figure now is a good time to write down our story, for posterity.

On the night of May 5, 2004 I was at a college party in Milledgeville, GA – celebrating the last day of classes, the start of summer, and Cinco de Mayo.  It was the end of my freshman year and I was staying in town for the summer, having just moved in to a house with my brother, Will.  We had discussed me getting a dog to keep his dog company, even going as far as visiting some local shelters to look at adopting in the week or two leading up to the summer.  But none of those dogs felt like a right match and we decided that the perfect dog would come along and we would know it when it did.

That night of May the fifth, I happened to walk outside of the house party on Franklin Street and spotted a scared-looking dog out of the corner of my eye in the shadows.  I called to him sweetly, and after a little coaxing, he somewhat reluctantly came over to me; head down, tail between his legs, but wagging sweetly.  He was collarless, skin and bones, filthy, covered in ticks, but sweet and desperate.  He was so desperate for someone to love and take care of him – and feed him!  All of his ribs showed, even his hip bones jutted out.  I sat with him and petted that nasty fur and looked into those beautiful, coal-lined eyes.  A couple of the guys from the party came over to pet him and he took off, obviously frightened of men.  I asked them to go back inside and I waited for the dog to come back, and after a few minutes, he did.  We sat for a few more minutes together and I knew I couldn’t leave him.  This was my dog, he found me, and I couldn’t just go back in to the party, forgetting him.  No, he was coming home with me.  I called my brother saying, ” I think I found a dog.”  Without hesitation, he said “Really?  Cool, do you need help bringing him home?” I drove a VW Beetle at the time, so it was a legitimate question considering that we weren’t really sure how he would fit, and it was a good idea for Will to meet him first anyway.  I told him where to find me and he was on his way.

In a few short minutes, Will arrived and this dog, though terrified of the other males, warmed up pretty quickly to him.  When we tried to get him in the car though, we soon realized he was also terrified of cars.  He wouldn’t get in, too scared.  We didn’t know what to do and looked at him like, “Come on, we don’t want to leave you here, you have to get in there” and finally, I think we picked him up and got him inside for a frazzled two mile drive back to my brother’s house.  But as soon as we arrived back home and let him out of the car, the dog was fine.  Warmed right up, all smiles,  got busy exploring the house, and immediately became friends with Jade, my brother’s part-Besinji mutt, also a rescue dog.  Of course we had to think of a name to call this new dog, and I had a couple of really bad ideas (Wilson, I think was one?) but Will’s first suggestion was “How about Franklin?  For the street you found him on.”  Sold.  It was perfect.   (Over the years, the name got shortened to Frank or Frankie.  Now I only call him Franklin when he’s in big trouble, which is rare. :) )

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I took him to the vet the next day for a full round of shots and discovered he had heart worms, which required some medication but otherwise he was healthy.  I left him to get a full bath, grooming, and removal of all the ticks that were all over his body.  Ticks are so disgusting to me and there were so many.  I needed some help.  I think the vet said he removed thirty-something ticks from him.  Huge, engorged ones that had been there for a long time.  Poor thing.  I picked him up after a few hours, grateful for the doc’s help in getting him cleaned up and took him home.

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It didn’t take long to fatten him up, his instincts to eat were so desperate and voracious.  We soon learned that if we left anything edible where he could get it (even countertops weren’t safe as he could stand up on his hind legs to reach), Frank couldn’t help himself, those instincts to eat were too strong.  (Thankfully, he now trusts that he will be getting regular meals and hasn’t snatched anything off our plates in years.  Good boy.)  And we probably fed him too much, I admit, but we couldn’t help it.  We felt bad that he went for so long without food and nearly starved in his past life, plus he was so grateful for the food we gave him.  So he got real fat.  (Don’t worry, he now weighs in at a healthy 65 lbs, down from his heaviest of 80 lbs.)

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Anyway, that’s the story of how Frank and I found each other.  Maybe another time I’ll write more about our ten years together, but to celebrate our big anniversary, we had my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, plus their two dogs (Jade, who’s still around, and Lola, who came a few years after Frank) over for a Mexican feast and to trade stories of this beloved dog.  Oh, and to take pictures of the dogs in a tiny sombrero, of course.  It is Cinco de Mayo after all!

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On the menu: homemade guac and chips (those were inhaled so quickly, no pictures were able to be taken), fish tacos with cabbage slaw (yummy – I used this recipe) and pico de gallo, chicken tacos, yummy Mexican rice (awesome recipe here), and seasoned black beans.
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Because of the lime shortage, my brother made these mango-jalepeno margaritas (I had mango juice in a fancy glass, basically, due to the tiny baby growing in my belly).
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And this!  A margarita cake, courtesy of this cupcake recipe that I followed exactly, except for increasing the bake time to 50 minutes and cutting the icing recipe in half (it called for SIX sticks of butter).  It was amazing.  Dense, but light, limey, and not too sweet.  It was a big hit.

Frank got treated to a few bites of tacos, a few milk bones, and lots of kisses and pets from everyone.  It was a good day.  I’m so thankful for my best dog-friend.

:)


Weekend Pretties

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Another week gone by, already?  And we’re in May?  But how?  This week flew by but didn’t really have any major newsworthy events.  I spent the days it was supposed to be raining spring cleaning and the sunny days tirelessly working in the garden again – but it’s almost finished!  The big flower bed I‘ve been working so hard to tame has been a lot more work than I anticipated, but it makes such a big difference.  Neighbors have been stopping by to give encouraging words and say how much better the yard looks.  I planted some shasta daisy and peony plants and am headed outside to lay down some wildflower seeds and mulch now before heading off to a lunch date on a patio (it’s forecasted to be sunny and 70 today!).  Monday is Cinco de Mayo and that also happens to be our 10th anniversary – me and Frank’s anniversary that is (Frank’s my dog).  So tomorrow my family is coming over for a celebratory feast and I’m scrambling to find a mini sombrero for Frank to wear.  He used to have one, but I got rid of it in a purge years ago (curses!).  Hope you are having a great weekend!  Here are a few interesting things I found this week.

Ingenious cooking tricks.

We’re all familiar with gender wage gaps – but did you know it happens in children’s allowances??

A new gluten free flour and I’ll bet you can’t guess what it’s made from.

USA and Canada: no touching allowed.

A post about giving birth that perfectly sums up my frustrations with the standard hospital systems and protocols.

Junk food from the 90s was pretty atrocious.

The new coconut water.

26 real places that look like they’ve been taken out of fairy tales.

Kate and William’s anniversary was this week (I love them!) and to celebrate, here are pictures of them looking perfectly in love (I just love them!).

Real life inspirations behind Disney characters.

A gorgeous and unexpected way to decorate your kitchen.

Look at the lights over the dining table in this house!

A beautiful story about marriage and getting through “for better or worse”.