December 31, 2010

December 30, 2010

:: it's a bag! it's a skirt! ::

came across this image on catalog living and had an idea.
wouldn't it be great if someone invented a tree bag that doubles as a tree skirt? the bag would be made of pretty, decorative fabric so that when the tree is standing there and the bag is not pulled up around it (as it is in this picture), you have a lovely little tree skirt, falling around the base of the tree. it would be full enough to drape and cover as needed. then, at the end of the season (or earlier or later, depending on your patience and preference) you could just pull up the skirt-bag, like in this picture and haul the tree (perhaps even with decorations in place!) into storage.

to all the many, many inventors reading my blog: please feel free to take this long as i get my own, free, custom made version when they hit the market!

update: ok, so i'm not exactly the first with this general idea. but what's in my head is better than what's out there. it'd be kind of like this, but pretty and not disposable. or like this, but attractive and fuller. and not as expensive.

December 26, 2010

:: captain von trendsetter ::

images from here [video] here, here, here, and here

:: Christmas gift! ::

this is the first white Christmas my town has gotten in my lifetime. loved the predictions, the anticipation, and then the excitement as the snow started falling. big, fat, wet flakes fell all through dinner, gift giving and the ride home.

i love giving Christmas gifts. it really is more fun for me than the getting. each year i end up having a favorite gift (that i'm giving to someone). the just-right gift that i can hardly wait to hand over. this year, i had quite a few in the running, but there was one in particular that had me excited and a little nervous.

i saw this deviled egg platter in the anthropologie catalog and immediately thought of my sister. deviled eggs are a staple at our big family meals and since my sister is usually the host of our holiday gatherings nowadays, i felt she should have a special egg platter. i thought that since it was from anthro, if she didn't like it, she could return it and buy something else (from her favorite store).
she saw the anthropologie box and knew it was for her. when it was her turn to open (youngest to oldest), she said (clutching the box), "i hope this is what i think it is!" my heart sank. she was so excited and this was such a random gift, i thought there was no way it was what she had in mind. "it wasn't something i asked for" she said. she opened the box and saw the tissue. "is it the egg platter?"

yay! she'd seen it in the catalog, pulled the picture and added it to her own, personal wish list. score! for weeks (months) i'd been trying to find something that would be a surprise. something she hadn't added to her Christmas list. but everything i came across that i knew she'd like, she went and bought for herself! so, with that, my hopeful favorite became my actual favorite.

i hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

December 20, 2010

:: serious inspiration ::

we (corey smith) were in a meeting today, discussing art concepts for an upcoming album and supporting photo shoot & marketing materials. the following vogue spread was brought up in response to potential art direction. strictly as inspiration in terms of coloring and lighting. whether or not we go this route, i am so glad this spread was brought to my attention because - WOW. amazing. makes me want to do a finger-wave up-do, put on a pretty little dress & some red lipstick and hit the town for some rhythm & romance! (i just thought, "that'd be a great title for my (non-existent) country album." googled it, and...too late.)

annie leibovitz for vogue

December 18, 2010

:: au revoir, à bientôt ::

carine roitfeld (previously shown here and here) is leaving vogue paris. i'm excited to see what she plans on doing next (because i'm guessing it will have something to do with internet/new media). while i respect her mark on the fashion world, i haven't picked up a paris vogue since i was there in 1997 (prior to her being the editor), so i'd feel like a big ol' phony if i joined the cries of sadness over this announcement. really, i'm happy that the news has led to so many carine mentions/photos on some of my favorite sites in such a short time frame. i always love seeing pictures of her incredible clothes (and shoes!).

refinery 29
the sartorialist
all the pretty birds
the new york times

December 15, 2010

:: letters home - a valentine for mamma ::

[click to enlarge]
5 Feb 1945

Dear Mamma

Just a card to let you know that I am thinking of you on Valentine's day.

Arthur Jr

December 14, 2010

:: a darling skirt & more ::

i got this skirt at zara in new york in may and haven't worn it, yet. MAY! why is it that i try something on in NYC and love it, but when i put it on at home, it fits differently or i just don't care for it anymore?i did, finally, come up with a cute outfit idea (and belt) for it, but it was a fall ensemble and it got too cold, too quickly. hoping for a warm day (in general!) so i can finally put this to use.

i don't know if the bow belt is really my style, but if it was, i would definitely order this one:
katie, the owner and creative mind behind darlingtonia moccasin company, makes some adorable leather goods and her blog has become a daily read for me. the color tones and consistency on i go by katie are incredibly appealing. she could be talking about math & football and i'd probably still check it out each day just because of her pretty photography, her clean & simple layout and the coloring she incorporates in just about every post.

if i haven't worn this skirt by this time next year, maybe i'll send it to katie so she can put it to good use with a darling(tonia) belt and great photos!

does that model remind of you denise richards?

December 13, 2010

:: made with fresh guacamoles ::

i've been on a big guacamole kick for a couple of months. after having a bowl of delicious table-side guac from papa's and beer the other day, i decided i needed more lime juice in my homemade concoction. its not particularly hard to make, but for those who like reading my food posts (hi, jerry!), here's my current guacamole recipe. with actual measurements!

2 avocados
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 small-medium white onion, diced
1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 lime
1 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of kosher salt

halve the avocados, remove the pit, add meat to a bowl. use a fork (not a spoon) to mush it to your liking. (i like mine a little chunky, so i don't do much in this step. remember, you'll be adding more ingredients and therefore stirring more so don't turn it into paste!)

add the tomato, onion, jalapeno (i use 1 whole pepper with seeds & membrane removed to control the heat), garlic and salt. add the juice of half of the lime (i also like to add a little bit of lime zest). mix together. add the juice of the other lime half, if needed.

goes great with stacy's pita chips (naked) - but what doesn't? (great dip companion.)

title explantion: i went to a chain restaurant for lunch one day and the waitress really tried a hard sell on one of the appetizers, telling us that it was "made with fresh guacamoles." as funny as we found her description, we passed on ordering the guacamole made with fresh guacamoles.

:: it's simple, really ::

(emphasis mine.)

I wish that when I was younger I could have met my current self. We would have sat down at a coffee shop so that I could explain life to young me in terms that only we would understand. It would have saved me a lot of hardship.

You can listen to all the sage wisdom you want, but things only make sense when you can explain them to yourself in your own words. For instance, I’ve been told for three years that Breaking Bad is the best show on television, but only after I watched it was I able to tell myself exactly why everyone was right. Other truths I know now that I can explain them: that I’m not missing any crucial information and that poker really isn’t all that fun; that heartbreaks do fade but they take about a year longer than you expect and by the time they do you really don’t care about it enough to notice; and above all else, life is simpler than you think.

I used to think that life was an intricate series of levers and pulleys, buttons and switches, Mexican standoffs and hostage negotiations. As I get older I realize that life is more Netherlands minimalist than Jackson Pollock. The problems don’t get fewer, and in fact they grow in number, but the way I index them in the database is different. More problems get filed under fewer category headers.

Things are getting simpler, and it’s making life better. Here’s the cheat sheet:

People want to be liked. We all crave attention and affection and we all reject shame. When we get embarrassed we send a thug version of ourselves to the forefront to do our fighting for us. We’re at the top of the food chain just under fear. We don’t want to be in a relationship to hear the words “I love you,” we want to be in a relationship to say the words “I love you.” We want to feel needed, and exceptional and we hate feeling insignificant. We want to ace a hearing test. We are binary creatures; if we’re the plaintiff, we want to win every dollar. If we’re the defendant, we want guard every penny. We want to make more money than last year. We don’t want to get cancer or die in our cars and we want the same for our loved ones. We go out on weekends to try and have sex while trying not to get punched in the face. We drink so we can be ourselves and not mind it so much. We’re desperate to be understood. We want to know someone else has felt it, too. We hate being judged unfairly. We want to make the person we heard wasn’t all that into us change their minds and admit they had us wrong. We want sunny skies with a chance of killer tornadoes, just to keep music sounding good. We take hours upon hours to admit to self consciousness. We don’t know exactly how to pleasure each other. We just want love. In any and every form.

See? It’s simple. :)

- john mayer

November 24, 2010

:: writing, everything, okay ::

on sunday someone asked me if i'd been writing much lately. he's a writer and i'm flattered that not only does he think i have talent in the area, but that he'd ask if i'd been exercising it.

the answer, sadly, is "not really." i mean, i am pretty much always writing. for work, for fun, for growth or catharsis or necessity. but it's been a while since i've just sat down with pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard and just written. not about a pretty dress or a cool new necklace. but just about life or feelings or memories.

when i have these realizations, i often turn to my old blog. the one that "started it all." more musings than not. very personal and revealing at times. i'd decided to keep this one a little less wordy and more universal than that one came to be. but i miss it. i miss the vulnerability of putting my thoughts out there, on screen. i miss the dialogue between friends and strangers-who-became-friends there.

so maybe i'll start doing a little more "old school" blogging here. go retro every now and then.

here's a little tidbit from the old blog that still rings very true for me. especially right now, in light of some big, exciting changes in store at work.

i am a manager. by nature and by trade. i'm not sure which came first, the (exposition of) the nature or the trade. as best as i can remember, it was the latter.

last year [2006], when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, i took over the primary duties of managing my grandparents needs - medication, caregiver schedules, household tasks, grocery shopping, etc. it is a perfect fit. the things i've learned about management, delegation, organization, and administration in the ten years i've been doing my job have proven to be invaluable in helping my family. and i've put many of the lessons learned from "number 10" (maunga & poppy's house) and headquarters to work at work, too.

letting go.

sometimes, i've learned, letting go is necessary. for sanity. for peace. for time. other times, though, letting go means something will need to be fixed and the person to do the fixing will be me. it's easier to do it thoroughly from the start than to fix what fell apart in the process. how to tell the difference - ahead of time - has been the hardest lesson (it's on-going, trust me) to learn. i'm learning how, i have not learned how.

i came across this today. it's a great explanation. reminder. it gives me peace.

Is Everything Okay?
Unless you work in a nuclear power plant, the answer is certainly no (and if you work there, I hope the answer is yes.)

No, everything is not okay. Not in a growing organization. Not if your company is making change happen, or dealing with customers. How could it be?

And yet, that's what so many managers focus on. How to make everything okay.

We spend so much time smoothing things out, we lose the opportunity for change, or for texture or creativity.

Instead of working so hard to make everything okay, perhaps it is more helpful to work hard at living with a world that rarely is.

November 23, 2010

:: warm & cozy ::

remember this post about my latest wreath idea?
well, instead of making another visit to the craft store to try and come up with a cold-weather wreath, i just opted to buy one for myself.

i fell in love with this beauty months ago, and since then, many more door sweaters have been added to cranny's etsy shop. but there's nothing like your first love, right?
i ordered a larger version of this little one and think it'll be perfect for my front door. yellow house, gray wreath. can't wait to see it in person!

check out this awesome shop. do some Christmas shopping and then treat yourself. such a crafty lady!

other favorites include:
[click on images for direct links]

:: pretties - lovely lockets ::

love these and many more from this etsy shop. unfortunately, the simple feather has already sold! via a cup of joe

November 21, 2010

:: awards show reviews ::

with a night of mostly painful performances and appearances by some rather irrelevant artists, the AMAs didn't disappoint in things to mock and people to critique. i missed having a red carpet preview (always my favorite part of an awards show), but pictures are finally starting to hit the web. a few of the most notable here, before i hit the hay.

taylor swift: love the new, sleek, straight hair & bangs. she looked even better during her performance with a classic pony-tail, face-framing locks & soft make-up with smokey eyes.

mandy moore: haven't come across the most flattering picture of her, but i had to post because i just love this matthew williamson dress, so here is mandy on the carpet & jessica stam on the runway.

rihanna: love her new hair. great color. still can't stand her voice, though.

miley cyrus: she finally fit into the top of her dress (sort of) and didn't look so strange from the front, but this train is a total miss.

photos via:, &

:: can't wait ::

November 15, 2010

:: yes, please ::

my sister sent me a link to this yellow & gray infinity scarf. some of my favorite words, together. many more color combos - just click on the image to purchase and see more.

:: well, color me happy ::

("...there's a sofa in here for two!")

November 14, 2010

:: air plant wreath ::

back in april i made this springtime wreath.

which is still hanging on my front door.

despite my plan to make a summer AND an autumn wreath between then and now.

today i went to the craft store to get some goodies to make a pre- and post- Christmas wreath (i have a tried & true Christmas wreath that i'll be using again this year) but couldn't really put the thought in my head together with what i was finding. so i came home with nothing. and then i had another idea.

i remembered these air plants i've had "on-deck" to purchase. do you know about air plants? i didn't, until i was in college and bought one for my dorm room. they don't need soil and only need to soak in or be misted with water once a week or so.* pretty hardy little guys that can be "planted" (put) in any sort of neat household container or nick-nack. unfortunately, they prefer warmer temperatures, so this isn't a solution for my cold-weather wreath, but i'm going to order some in the new year to use on a new spring and/or summer door hanging. here are some of my favorites from air plant supply co.

*the plant care info from air plant supply co says they should be soaked at least once a week. the info on the one i had claimed that it never needed watering (taking its moisture from the air) and so i didn't. water it, that is. and it survived. maybe in the humid south you really don't need to soak them.

:: booger the beggar ::

booger, begging for a belly rub.

November 12, 2010

:: wingo designs trunk show ::

i've mentioned the work of jimmie lynn of wingo designs a time or two here on the swing. she makes beautiful and cute and crafty enamel necklaces.

i briefly oohed and ahhed over her work at the indie craft parade back in september, but didn't get to spend nearly enough time looking through all that she had to offer. thankfully, i'll have plenty of time to check out her latest work at the wingo & lala trunk show saturday, november 13 at art & light! i can't wait to check out some of the asymmetrical 2 piece necklaces that she had at the parade - and maybe pick out a little something for Christmas!

November 11, 2010

:: letters home - on veteran's day ::

i'm so grateful to all of the men and women who willingly and bravely sign up for a job that many of us couldn't and wouldn't do. i give thanks to and for all those who have served. happy veteran's day.

[click to enlarge]
30 January 1945

Dear Mamma,
Well here I am again. We are having some pretty cold weather over here with plenty of snow. Every night it snows a little more. We are quartered in an old house that must have at least thirty or more rooms. Some of the rooms have fire-places and some don't we are lucky enough to have one in our room. Of course it is still around 50° but that is much better than being outside. The people here seem to like the American soldiers an awful lot and so far there have been very few fights between our boys and them. I haven't been back to see the squire for the reason that while I was in London she called and asked us to come out to tea & Lt Nye was going to call her back after he had talked to me. He found out that I was on leave and before he could call her he was sent off on a trip and left the calling up to Lt Betts. Lt Betts said that he couldn't find her name in the phone book. Of course she wasn't called and I suppose that she felt insulted as she never called us again. I'll have to write her a letter and explain things to her I suppose. How is everything going back home at this time? I hope that I can be home with you all by next Christmas. Tell everyone "hello".

Lots of Love

November 09, 2010

:: 2 cool ::

4 school.

can't wait to see the final version of this #2 pencil rug (and completed room). love the way the eraser end creates a silver stripe.

November 03, 2010

:: new from anthro ::

got my anthropologie catalog today. no surprise it's filled with beautiful clothes and styling. along with some quirkiness, whimsy and dreaminess. some of my favorite outfits, items and images:

:: letters home - winter at war ::

it's been a while since i've posted one of poppy's letters home from war and i was reminded of that yesterday when i friend emailed me, asking if i'd run out of letters or, if not, asking me to post another one. for those who enjoy reading these, i apologize for the delay in the latest episode - guess i'm just unintentionally keeping you in suspense as you wait to see if and when he'll receive his package from home!

[click to enlarge]
27 January '45

Dear Mamma,
Well how is everything and everyone back home these days? I suppose that everything is just about the same as usual isn't it? From what I can understand you have been having some pretty cold weather there. We've had some pretty bad weather here ourself and I suppose that there will be at least a couple of more months of it before spring starts in.

Has Elizabeth heard from Walt as yet? I guess he must be pretty busy by now. How many times has Capt. Sullivan been up to see you? I'd like to see him again not to mention all of the family there at home. I saw several people that I knew while I was in London. John Gantt said that I spoke to 9 out of ten people & he spoke to the 10th just to make it complete.

I haven't received any packages as yet but haven't given up hope as yet either. I have received the December issue of "The Link" but so far the January issue hasn't reached me. Tell Daddy to oil the guns again & tell Forrest to keep that one oiled too. The war looks awfully good doesn't it? Tell everyone at church "hello" for me.

Lots of love


November 02, 2010

:: more mango ::

how 'bout the back on that black dress? sexy & cute!

:: op for mango ::

olivia palermo and boyfriend johannes huebl for mango

i might love her look, but i do not love the look of her as a model. she looks so awkward & uncomfortable in each of these pictures. at least the last photo is more candid - she appears caught off guard - so her posed stiffness seems a little less intentional.

i do really like the dress in the first picture (on her), though.

October 30, 2010

:: more ombre ::

lily aldridge does ombre so well.
hudson jeans photostream &

more ombre from marc by marc jacobs.
[click image for video, link for collection]