Guest Post: Alyssa Burkhardt on Wedding Registries

by Brittany


A quick introduction: Alyssa is one of my friends from Chicago... we met in our community group and have so much in common! I wish you, Chelle, could meet her! Someday! Anyways, for now you are officially introduced via the blogging world. You can check out her sweet blog, J &A, and you will see a few familiar faces. She took over my nanny job... which is the best thing ever, because she sends me pictures of my sweet (not so) baby boys and we have communal Pinterest fests all through nap times... it's the best. Everyone should get a Pinterest buddy (link to her extremely well curated Pinterest). Which brings me to why she's here! Alyssa has wonderful taste! We (You and I) were talking about registries the other day and I was curious... what are some other ladies' must haves for registries? Here is Alyssa's list! Enjoy!

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Hi! I’m Alyssa (:

And those people up there are Husband and I years ago when we first began “us”. Congratulations on getting married to your favorite person! I am so SO excited for you!! You are going to love being married and I think this season of preparation is exceptionally sweet and fun.

So Wedding Registering. Yay! I have to admit when my husband and I began registering I was bewildered. I didn't have a clue what we would need and Bed, Bath, and Beyond just was not my style. But sadly you can't register at antique stores and I know the people that wanted us to register really just wanted some direction in how to love and bless us. So we took up the registering gun thing (so fun!) and registered our little hearts out. We will soon celebrate 4 years of wedded bliss and its sweet to look around our little home and see the gifts from the wedding here and there and everywhere and they have truly been such a blessing and daily reminder of the people who gave them to us.

A lot of my "Registering Musts" are very practical (read boring) but I think it is very important that you register for beautiful things, and beautiful doesn't necessarily mean that crazy expensive dinnerware set from Nordstrom. Beauty is what is made well and you enjoy. We have lived in 3 different homes so far and they have gotten smaller and with less and less storage with each new home. Yeah, I know, we're kind of working backwards... but anyway. Right now we really don't have any kitchen storage which means all of my kitchen things are on display. But we have worked hard to make sure that most of what we own we enjoy for practicality AND for aesthetics. So it works! I've come to really enjoy our storageless kitchen and I think it may be my favorite one so far. Your home will be an expression of you (you, meaning you and husband ;)) and that expression is communicated through the little details of practical every day life together. Such as……

A Beautiful Tablecloth A beautiful tablecloth makes such a difference in creating a home especially if you're going to be moving around a lot. It instantly creates a lovely familiarity to wherever you are and is really versatile. Picnic blanket? Makeshift curtain? Gotcha.

A Good Pot & Pan There's so much more that you can register for the kitchen but I think a good pot and pan takes you very very far.

A Wooden Cutting Board This thing is amazing! You can use this everywhere and for everything! We use it as a plate when we're just having cheese, tomatoes, and bread for dinner. We place it over our sink to create extra counter space. We use it in the summer to eat outside instead of bringing plates out. See? Incredible. Definitely ask for one of these.

A Beautiful Pitcher We received a glass one of these for our wedding and when I opened it I thought "great, I am NEVER going to use this...." then proceeded to use it every single day! I started out using it as a vase actually and that’s where I began to see the beauty in its curves and simplicity and after that it made anything I put in it that much lovelier. It just brings such an air of class. To orange juice, to lemonade in the summer, and those fruity waters where you stick a bunch of fruit in your water and it tastes so much better. Sheesh, you could probably stick soda in there and it would make it look classy.

Chocolate, Lots & Lots of Chocolate Okay, Okay, I know this is way unconventional, but so fun! I think wedding registry's can get very boring and this will bring anyone who reads your registry a laugh and provide your guest with tighter finances something on a smaller scale to bless you with. Think of that sweet little elderly couple who's known you your whole life and still calls you "sweetie pie". Plus, chocolate kisses are awesome. The end.

Nice Sheets Sheets are expensive. Good sheets that will bring you joyous sleep all of your days are VERY expensive. Let's let the millionaire uncle bless you with that gift.

A Cookie Jar A super practical way to show your new husband that you love and adore him and think he's the best ever is to put yummy things in a cookie jar just for him. Well for both of you, because you are going to be one now. And it makes a really cute storage container should your lover not like cookies.

Candles Another way to make anywhere feel like home and bring an air of romance. That and men can be stinky. Romance and stinky don't mix. Candles remedy that. Beautiful Bowls Remember my storageless kitchen?

Beautiful Bowls make a HUGE difference. I used to be all about plastic bowls (I know, I'm ashamed, can we still be friends?) practical and practically destruction proof but really very ugly. They got donated to some poor soul long ago and the pretty bowls are still going strong. And again, you can use them for lots and lots of different things. Are you catching onto the versatility theme yet?

Towels Because you need them.

Knives I would personally recommend skipping the sets and just going for the big cool looking ones. Brittany has the best knives, reeeeeally big and intimidating. You'll probably receive lots of jokes about why you need such big knives, but just smile and look adoringly at your beloved and it will all be ok.

A Record Player So I actually don’t know if you can register for this or not…. but if you can you definitely should! You could have nothing else in your new home together other than some yummy food, candles, and music, and it will be the best home you have ever known.

So there you go! This is all I think you need to be happily married materially speaking. Well this and a few other things (silver ware, plates, furniture, etc. etc.) but everything else you can get at thrift stores and it will be way cooler and more personal than anything at Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. You don't need much, all you really need is love anyway (;

So excited for you! Hope you have a blast shooting everything with the registry gun!

~Alyssa

 


Living in a Rented Kitchen

by Brittany


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We all have an ideal kitchen in our heads that we spend hours dreaming about and pinning like crazy. Maybe that's just me but I've got the kitchen bug bad... I mean my kitchen board on pinterest has hundreds of pins and I add to it daily. Not only that but the title, to build a kitchen, is the honest realization that I am never going to find that perfect kitchen. I will have to build it. And I am fully prepared to do so. You are a bit busy planning a wedding (!!!) but part of that is registering for said kitchen and getting those basics that you will eventually build your ideal kitchen around. Coming soon one of my blogger friends from Chicago will be doing a guest post on a few things she recommends registering for (she has wonderful taste!). And I can guarantee in about three months time that kitchen will never be far from the front of your mind. Since I've been married I've had two kitchens, both of which you have seen but I've made a few improvements on my current one, as you can see! Both of them have been rented kitchens and I've figured out a few hacks to make a rented kitchen my own.

1. Avoid any listing that says "newly renovated" because that means it has lots of bulky orangey fake wood cabinets, stainless steel giant appliances and granite counters. Also it means the landlord has invested a lot of money into it and will flatly refuse to let you make any improvements no matter how good an idea he thinks they are (but lets be honest, if he did all that I doubt we would ever be on the same page) because it would be throwing away all that money he spent. 

2. Closely related to number one but ask the landlord up front if you can paint and if he says no just rent a white kitchen. Ours is an off white and it drives me batty cause it looks dirty all the time, but its not as bad as beige or yellow so I'm ok with it! If he says yes, well, then you can really have some fun! I love a good black accent wall and white every where else. Adds so much depth and perspective and light bounces between the black and white (decide which wall carefully based on window light).

3. Hang and display as many of your dishes as you can. These are what you really get to personalize with so go crazy! If you have blank walls put up shelves. If you have cupboards ask if you can take the doors off and store them somewhere. (When we moved into our current kitchen the cupboards were made of two different materials. The original ones were a nice white and the newer ones were that awful fake pine and stuck out like a sore thumb. We have nowhere to store the doors and so the landlord said we could paint them white. Its better than nothing).

4. Displaying things makes your life easier too. Notice we have the kettle and the colander hanging right over the sink... figure out the flow of your kitchen. This will take a bit of time but it's worth the wait. With this arrangement we can make coffee in no time! And you always need the colander in the sink so why do we always tend to keep colanders deep in a cupboard at the bottom of a stack of pots??? Which brings me to my next point.

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5. Don't waste anyones time with ugly stuff. Just get the beautiful metal dustpan that no one seems to carry. And get the wooden handled broom. The metal dustpan works so much better than a plastic one and the broom is simply a classic. Same goes with the colander. I looked for a beautiful colander for over a year and it was worth the wait. The reason most people bury their's in a grave of pots is because most colanders are eyesores! I think I've mentioned our Soma water filter before but I can't tell you how much I love it. It is so sleek and beautiful and works wonderfully. Living in a studio it is essential that things are both beautiful and functional and it fits the bill perfectly. Jesse hates cold water and I hate water filters (they are so ugly) so I couldn't bear to have one on my counter. Just one way marriage makes our lives better.

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6. Display your produce and herbs. Hang them to dry! Use them as bouquets! Pile fruit to ripen on your sills. Turn all your glasses into vases! Turn your kitchen into a garden. Plant your bulbous produce and multiply it!

7. This maybe a fad but if it is it's a brilliant one... I love all the art in kitchens right now! Whether it's your own work, a friend's or even a thrifted portrait of an unknown stranger! Here are a few gems from my afore mentioned kitchen board: I love this giant landscape, maybe a photo from your honeymoon or other travels. Other unexpected things that really pull a kitchen together are lamps, a radio and here (NPR), a record player (music make dishes basically clean themselves).

8. Marry an ingenious man. Seriously.... absolutely key to having a beautiful kitchen. I was very sad about the counter tops here and was just aching to have the wooden counters of my dreams and Jesse surprised me with this clever wooden cover for the bigger counter space. He found it in an alley (don't worry he cleaned it) and added a few pieces so it fit all snug like and I love it! We are still plotting for how to get wood floors in there... we had high hopes when the radiator started leaking but the damage was unfortunately not extensive enough.   

And now I really have to go because my personal ingenious man is making me dinner! (Also a good feature in a rented kitchen, a husband who can cook).

Have I missed anything? Please share your secrets for a rented kitchen!

 


How to wed: Getting a vision

by Chelle


You and I are both pretty visual and I think a lot of times we need inspiration before we can act. So I guess this won’t be helpful to everyone but if you need pictures and a place to get your ideas out… then this is a good place to start. PINTEREST.

I began with a board that was just everything I liked about weddings. Unfortunatly I was organizing my pinterest boards the other day and I deleted it or I would’ve included a snap shot below. But you get the general idea. Collect inspiration from all over the place. Then refine.

I was talking to you in December about what I wanted. Cream dresses and green bouquets. That’s all I said and you said, what about

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It was the blog post from Miss  Moss’s wedding day- in South Africa non the less. And it was exactly what I’d been thinking.  So I picked this picture and built the day out form there. I didn’t want an exact replica of her day, it was after all her day and each thing was specially chosen and designed to reflect who she and her man are. But having an inspiration go to picture was very helpful. I gave the girls a color pallet to work from. I found this great website and used a picture that generated the shades I'd envisioned. My ladies are great, because they are graciously accommodating my less than clear instructions... but I think everything will come together beautifully! 

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From there I told my girls – the fantastic 8- I’d like them to find knee length lace cream dresses. I gave them some inspirational pictures and links to dresses on modcloth, anthropologie, and jcrew. But I wanted everyone to work within their own budget and style. The results so far have been very exciting. I feel like each lady has found a beautiful dress they are excited to wear. Same with the shoes, but they can vary on those, just using the light color pallet. 

I had an idea of what'd the guys would wear but wanted it to be Joel's call. When he brought it up he said, " I was thinking rascals." I was a bit skeptical an then he showed me this picture:

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Which developed into this: 

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The style he was describing was 1920's and exactly what I had hoped. We then drafted a style board and sent it out to the great 8 - Joel's men: 

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So that's where we started.


To Wed: Part 1

by Chelle


Hello B!

Oh my goodness I am so sorry I’ve been inconsistent in the blog. I did have a flash of brilliance this week and decided to start today. Since you are far away as I am piecing together the wedding I thought maybe I could do a post a week about wedding planning. It might be something we can point to when friends get married – and you can write your ideas, tips, things you remember about getting married. It’d be nice to have all my resources in one place, stored, for reference. Good old blog to the rescue. My favorite piece of advice so far has been the text you sent me last week

“About weddings…. And the whole wanting it to be Pinterest perfect. Honestly, just keep it simple. The best thing that can happen is for you not to be stressed. And you know you have a great photographer in place so don’t overthink the rest. The pictures will be beautiful if you are acting natural and have the maximum amount of time to simply interact with the people you love. Don’t think of it as one day either… it’s the entire week so you don’t have to freak out that it’s one day to make or break the whole thing.” – the wise old B

I have to be honest. That has been a big struggle in planning this wedding. I want it to be perfect. I have to keep pulling myself back form that. It’s not about having the best party that anyone’s ever had. It’s about celebrating the “new life” of a family being born (someone said that to me the other day and I really like the image of hope and joy that comes with “new life.”) I have to keep thinking it’s not about impressing the people I love, it’s about wanting the people I love to have so much fun. It’s all about where the motivations are coming from. If I just want to have that pinterest wedding – bleh. That’s no fun for anyone. Joel and I end up disagreeing over details and I won’t compromise because it’s not exactly how I pictured. But if I remember it’s our wedding and it’s just going to be a fun day then there’s a lot more room for compromise, excitement and fun times planning.

So over the next few months I want to share the process of planning but not obsess. I want to share thoughts, ideas, get your thoughts, and hear what our readers are thinking! I bet you guys have tons of wise words and I look forward to hearing from you!

Much Love,

Chelle

P.S. You just sent me this text and this is why I love you so much. I’d just told you I was working on the blog and this was your response:

“ I am ashamed…. We skipped town. We were sitting in a sunbeam on our floor and we were like, “let’s go to DC” and we threw our toiletries in a backpack and grabbed a giant bag of oranges and hit the road. We just ran into old friends from Chicago! You know that coffee place we went to with the pretty Italian pottery in Chicago? The owner just opened a new location here! And they remembered us!”

What a happy day! You are my favorite!


The Amazing Andria and our Engagement photos

by Chelle


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"I shoot with you as if we are old friends and we will be by the end of our session. I want to display your quirks, personality, and true self. We will laugh, play, giggle, scream and create an experience. this is about stories, it’s not just about pictures." - Andria Lindquist 

Here's a preview from our engagement shoot last month. We are working with Andria Lindquist and she is amazing! I can't wait for you to meet her, she's one of those people you instantly love. 

Joel and I decided to take our photos in Ballard as that is a place we love and spend most of our time. We met up with Andria at Fiore then set off, stopping here and there she snapped pictures, directing, laughing, chatting and making us feel at ease. It was freezing! But the lighting was just right! I love everything about how these photos turned out from the colors to the tiny smile lines around Joel's eyes. I love that you can see how giggly Joel is ! 

Love ya B 

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A New Generation of Backpackers

by Brittany


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Something Jesse and I noticed last summer was how much backpacking* has changed since our parents did it back in the 70s and 80s, and even from how you and I did it as recently as '07 and '08. Our parents relied a lot on train travel... getting a Eurail pass that would seamlessly take them from country to country. My dad says that it was frequently cheaper and easier for him to simply book an overnight train and sleep on the train while traveling between countries than to book a hostel room. Even so, hostels were incredibly cheap for them compared to what they were for us when we traveled five years ago. I remember cringing every time we booked a room and the dorm style rooms were barely cheaper.

You and I did still travel by train, but that was also expensive, and several times we used Ryanair. Our time back then was right at the transition point, I think. We did bring a backpack on some of our weekend trips, but remember that giant suitcase we thought was a good idea to share for a week in Switzerland? That was ridiculous. I think we would have been just fine with two shirts and one pair of jeans each...in other words, a very empty backpack. But we didn't have to think about size or weight because we were using the train (granted we would have been MUCH happier with something smaller, but there were no constrictions so we didn't limit ourselves).

I would venture to say that the new generation of backpackers has the luxury of being able to pack lighter simply because hostels have priced themselves out of being an option for us. When you are staying in hostels you need to pack a towel and frequently a sleeping bag... these are huge space wasters, not to mention heavy. They were totally worth it back when a hostel was $15 a night, but now you won't find any hostel that's cheaper than $35... and that's per person! Now that may sound alright if you are traveling alone, but if you are traveling as a couple or with a kid or two that adds up fast because it's per head. Yup... bad idea!!

Now here's how the new generation of backpackers is different... or at least Jesse and I! We exclusively traveled by air. Ryanair is incredibly affordable. Granted, they have absolutely no luxuries... but when you are backpacking you don't expect that anyways. And you don't need food or entertainment (I know... we don't have these luxuries on our domestic flights either and they are hundreds of dollars more than Ryanair) when the flights are usually less than an hour.

Flying Ryanair is what made us pack so light, because they are very strict about the cabin luggage sizes. It looks like they have lightened up a bit since this summer but then we were not allowed to have any personal items on top of our backpacks--this meant my purse had to be rolled and attached to my backpack (see above) and our camera had to be stowed inside the backpacks. They do allow the smallest sized rolling suitcase, however, European carry-on sized suitcases are significantly smaller visually and actually than any you can get here in the states. If they even suspect your bags are over the size limit they will measure it meticulously and charge you 50 euros right there at the gate. So the best thing about a backpack was that they never asked to measure or weigh our bags. And I feel like, towards the end of our two months, mine was definitely over the weight limit! As you can see above... it was very taut--this picture was taken close the the end of our trip.

You can check out all that I packed in the summer in a backpack post that I wrote before we left. In retrospect I did not need a lot of those things. Some of them I ditched along the way, like the striped tank top and the platform sandals. Remember, if your going to Europe, you will be in the fashion capitols of the world. So don't sweat what you pack. Just bring some solid basics that all coordinate. Accessorize along the way!

The other big difference was that we never used a hostel. We were lucky enough to be able to crash with my family and friends for about a month of our time, but the rest of the trip we used Airbnb. You all have heard of them by now, I'm sure, but they are the only way to go now! For as little as $25 a night you get a private room with full access to a kitchen, which in turn cuts down on food costs (plus being the only way to stay healthy having celiac). For no more than $80 we sometimes had an entire apartment to ourselves! Its so fun to see how each place is decorated (or not decorated as the case may be!). 

One thing I missed about hostels was the communal aspect of it.... this is something that Jesse and I are actually working on (fingers crossed for next summer... more on that later if it works!). But I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of the places we stayed, because the hosts would rent out each room so it was like a smaller version of a hostel! We met lots of people that way. 

*By backpacking I do not mean mountaineering or hiking... that's a whole different genre. I mean the art of traveling for a few months at a time and living exclusively out of a backpack. (Although when I refer to my dad he was doing a lot of climbing... nearly exclusively that... while backpacking through Europe. So for him I'm mainly talking about mode of transport not what he carried). 


Current Reading List

by Chelle


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 As usual I have a stack of books sitting by my bed. Ready to go. I never read one book at a time. I generally have five or six going - but you know this already. Anyway this fall I was on quite a kick with reading books. Burning through them in a week or two- I know I know it's takes you a day to read a book... not me. Anyway here's the list:

Mary Poppins - P.L. Travers 

  • I know everyone is reading it right now because of the movie Saving Mr. Banks but there was something about P.L. Travers that I think you'd love! A mixture of feisty, creative, and sensible that was actually perfect. I love Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie and for some reason I feel like they might be similar. I'll let you know. 

Moby Dick - Herman Melville 

  • Joel and I found a beautiful copy of this in an antique store for $6. I've always wanted to read it and you mentioned you had to. Winter reading book? 
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The Book Thief -  Markus Zusak

  • World War Two. I don't know what it's about but I am very excited. 

The Short Stories - Ernest Hemingway

  • When I need to feel a little somber I'll just read one of these. I do love Hemingway and his bleak in site into the human condition. 

So there are the books for winter reading. What's on your list? 


That time we went to San Francisco

by Chelle


Well Christmas break was fantastic.  The day after Christmas I hoped on a plane down to Sacramento and had a great time with the man getting to know his family. There was lots of food, cooking, sleeping in, board games, and meeting Joel's California friends. While we were there we took a day trip to San Francisco. Here's how the day went:

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I love traveling with Joel. We find the best coffee shops, go into book shops, find treasures in antique shops, and just walk and walk . While in San Francisco we did a lot of walking- which is the best way to get the feel of a city- especially since we only had two hours. 

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We found some beautiful steps to walk down, and saw Alcatraz in the distance. San Francisco reminds me of Marseilles, it could just be the Château d'If / Alcatraz connection- two island prisons. 

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 You know that windey street that is in all the movies. The street in San Francisco. Well it's called Lombard Street and yep, we were super touristy and waited in line to drive down it- because Joel could tell I really wanted to even though I knew it was silly. This was the best shot I got. I kept thinking of the poor people who live on that street and what it's like to park in the evening. I bet it adds an extra 20 minutes to their commute at least. 

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To finish off break we road-tripped home with Joel's new truck. We left at 2pm and got in at 4am. I stayed awake the whole time. We talked for a good 8 hours and then listened to Brian Reagan on Pandora- It's a pretty great comedy station and a good way to stay awake as you keep laughing right when you're about to fall asleep. 

And now I'm back! 


There ya have it!

by Chelle


B!!! I didn't realize I haven't even had a chance to tell you how it happened! Sunday was our ten month anniversary. So Joel took me to Lighthouse and then The Fat Hen - my favorite breakfast place. We sat and chatted and Joel was so funny! I thought something might be up. We got in the car and I didn't ask any questions as we drove to our favorite Seattle park. We got out and sat on the bench and I gave Joel his 10 month present- this book which is pretty funny in light of the rest of the events. He then handed me an envelope which was a lovely letter celebrating 10 months. He then read something he'd written 2 years ago. It was a prayer for his future family. This was before we were dating. It was beautiful! He then kept talking. Later he explained that he had a feeling I knew what was coming next... and so he tried to draw it out as long as possible. He suddenly got down on one knee and said "Will you marry me." I said yes. Then I started laughing, par usual, and couldn't stop. After a few seconds of this he said, "would you like to see your ring?" and he slipped the most beautiful ring on my finger.

The only specifics about what I would like for a ring were "something old." And he exceeded all expectations. The ring is a set of 7 small diamonds. They were found in a river in Europe in the 1860's. The ring is an antique european cut. The diamonds were cut by candlelight using other diamonds. It sparkles in dim light and refracts rainbows! 

We then went to my parents and told them in between a flurry of texts and such. Then that evening we had people over to Joel's to celebrate! It was the perfect day! He even planned the proposal so that I'd be able to show you the ring when I see you in TWO DAYS!!

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A side note to my beloved cynics: I was one of you...I considered deleting my facebook account bi-monthly due to my grinch like reaction to each engagement, wedding, and birth notification I received. I know, awful! To be completely honest last year around this time I was broke, jobless, single, sick, and a bit less hopeful than desirable. It's a year later and things look quite different.  My dear sweet cynics... believe me I've had my dark days and I know more will come, but at the moment I am so excited, joyful, and happy and it just feels wonderful. And I'm going to enjoy every second of it! I hope you get a bit of that soon and when you do I hope you soak it up. In the mean time try not to be irritated with the flurry of engagements that'll be sure to flood your walls over christmas... pretend to be excited for your friends, and it might just turn into real joy! I can't make the empty promise that your time will come, but I most certainly hope it does!


Self Shadows

by Brittany


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You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge my self by the shadow that is nothing.
— A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor

A 'to read, to watch, to listen" post:

To Read: A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor

We are reading through this collection of O'Connor prayers that were recently discovered and compiled. She is delightfully honest and humble, frequently praying that her stories won't be horrible (my words not hers)! I highly recommend the book!

To Watch: Les Émotifs Anonymes (Romantics Anonymous in English...not a great title translation but that's how you find it on Netflix).

Jesse was (still is) at a meeting all afternoon so I took this chance to practice my French by watching a French movie... I actually do like French films but they can be pretty depressing and sometimes pretty sordid... so if you want to see one that is neither and still enjoy a quintessentially French film, you must watch this! The costuming and styling is superb but more importantly the story is both poignant and hilarious. A young chocolatier with hermetic leanings takes a job at a chocolate factory only to find she was hired to be a sales rep instead of a maker. But instead of trying to switch roles she decides to help save the small factory from bankruptcy with her (in her eyes) less than desirable people skills... you, however, along with the rest of the characters will be completely won over by her people skills!

To Listen: The Flying Club Cup album by Beirut

As for the photo, I hope you aren't tired of pictures from out my window because I am an incurable window-gazer and will continue to record these ever changing views and lights.

 


Spontaneous Trip

by Brittany


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This weekend we took a quick day trip to DC... I had never been (Jesse went when he was young) and it's so close to us! We didn't do a whole lot... just walked around Georgetown and drank Stumptown coffee from Baked and Wired, tried on glasses at the Warby Parker pop up shop and picnicked along the canal. Next time we head up there we are planning on going to the Smithsonian museums... we lost track of time today. I admit, I did not have high expectations for DC but we were very pleasantly surprised and can't wait to head up there again!


Happy Birthday

by Chelle


Happiest of birthdays to you my B! Hope you have the best day!Check the mail. 

xo

Chelle  

 

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Also I miss you so much! 


Winter Lists

by Chelle


It always gets to December and I haven't done half the things I want to do for the fall / winter leading up to Christmas time season. So tonight I started my lists of things I would like to do, mainly inspired from my Christmas Pinterest board. As you know, planning is how I show my love .... so consider this post packed full of love! 

1. Plant Paper Whites: They take six weeks to bloom so I need to do these in the middle of November. 

2. Make Christmas cards: I think I would like to either do these prints from Instagram or get this stamp and put it on brown card stock like this

3. I'd like to make an Advent Calendar with these pouches. I'm still trying to think of ideas for an advent calendar... what to put in the pouches. Maybe a different activity for each day leading up to Christmas

.... and I've almost crossed the line. Too much crafty talk.... I'll mix it up and find some old stuff to use! Old books for tags and twine! Lots and lots of twine! 

There. I feel relieved. Be ready for updated posts following the progress of these endeavors. 

4. A soundtrack for November / December (different ones for each) .... I think it'll be a She & Him sort of Christmas

Below are some pretty straws in a glass jar. This picture symbolizes that we are back to dark days of November where I can't get home in time to snap some pictures before all the natural light is gone and I scramble to find some relevant picture in my light room archives to match the blog post for the week. Sadly, this plan won't work for long. My apologies. Better photos next time. 

 

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Morning Light

by Brittany


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1. The leaves were particularly swirly this morning 2. so we basked in the sunlight and watched them dance (please excuse my creepy stare... looking more Parker than normal even)! 3. pretty laundry also basked in the sunlight. 4. His eyes are rather nice.

 


Your People

by Chelle


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I think these photos are some of my favorite! They're from when Mom lived in England with her best friend Kate. Love the big leather bag, the mini cooper, the old english sheep dog, the stone wall in the background, and the smoke coming out of the chimneys. What I love even more that is Mom get's to see Kate every year or two and I've grown up knowing her as Aunty Kate.

I've been stuck in the nostalgic pensiveness of turning twenty five and will snap out of it tomorrow I promise. But humor me here for a minute.  

Recently Dad and I were talking. He said it's good to have "your people." The ones who know you really well and will be your sounding board. They have to be people you trust, who get you and know you. Then as life goes you walk it with them, and they can talk through things with you and know you and their words have weight. He said you don't want to waste that and it takes work to keep those friendships going, but it's worth it! You've got a few good ones, like B, so take care of them. 

xo

Chelle

P.S. Readers- Tell us about your friends! I love stories!!  

 

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Stuffing, Eggs and a Sausage or Two

by Brittany


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I love when a meal just seems to build itself... Jesse and I had just gotten home from a round about garage sale-ing walk home from our Saturday morning coffee and we were famished. I opened the fridge and pulled my mushrooms and started chopping them without much plan at all and this is what became of it!

A good handful of mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon (generous) of smoked salish salt

1 teaspoon of freshly zested ginger

the top of a fennel bulb (leafy bits included) chopped

A whole apple, coarsely chopped

A dash of nutmeg

Shaved Pecorino Romano

A good handful of currants

A splash of red wine

A quarter of a jalepeño, finely chopped

Sautee all these toether slowly in a cast iron skillet adding oil as needed so it creates a sauce-y feel.

Two sausages ( I used Trader Joe's pesto chicken sausage) 

Two eggs

Two or three bread heels

Meanwhile, make a generous bed of lettuce on two plates (one on each plate). Also meanwhile, cut two sausages open down the middle like hot dog buns and place them in a pan. In that same pan put two or three heels of bread covered in oil and sprinkled with salt (normal sea salt is fine or the yummy smoked stuff! just remember there already is some in the skillet). Put this pan (the one with sausage and bread) under your broiler. Check them regularly... we want the sausage to be nicely browned (I like a little charring even) but the bread should only be golden so pull it out sooner. Then coarsely chop the bread into crouton like squares. dump them into the sautéing deliciousness... they will soak up the juiciness of all the veggies and wine and oils until it is almost caramelized.  Ok now you spoon the sauteed part (I guess it's stuffing essentially!) onto the lettuce. Then place the sausages on top of that. Finally you fry two eggs sunny side up in the recently vacated skillet. Make sure the yolk is nice and oozy... it, combined with your sauteed stuffing is going to make the best dressing ever! You then place the egg on top of the sausage!

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Le Creuset Giveaway Winner

by Brittany


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The winner is Sara Klepinger! Email us at lhirondellerouge@gmail.com with your address and what colors you want and we will send them off to you as soon as possible! 

Congratulations and thank you so much for following our blog!  

And thank you to everyone else who participated! We loved all your drink ideas and can't wait to try them! 


Wet Pavement + AICP

by Brittany


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Lately it's been raining lots and it's so refreshing! For some reason the sound of traffic on wet pavement helps me pretend that we still live in a big city... oh and also home! The emergency room directly outside all my windows helps too. But I must say, it's the sleepiest emergency room I have ever been around. And trust me, I have four brothers... I've seen my fair share of emergency rooms, including a "free" one in Chicago (to quote the nurse that sent me there, "They may send you a bill but don't worry, no one ever pays!"). 

Tonight the man and I went to the AICP awards ceremony (best ads of 2013) at our local Byrd Theater (complete with original Wurlitzer organ which is still played every Saturday showing and $1.99 tickets... it deserves a post of its own, so stay tuned!). Honestly, I thought it was going to be a bit boring but once the commercials started showing I was completely blown away! Apparently someone in the 70s said that advertising would be the greatest art form of our century and I'm mostly convinced after tonight! There is so much great stuff out there just from this year alone! So here are a list of my personal favorites and links... watch them and see if you agree that it's an art form.

First up is "Best Job" by Wieden+Kennedy Portland... just try not to tear up!  It won the most awards and, I think, rightly so.

 "The Chase", complete with high speed car chase, jousting and mustard all in one two minute clip, is worth every second. Watch it now and you are welcome! 

I loved "Surfing" because it reminded me of what my French roommates always told me... that it's always better to be out than to stay in. They said it much better and so does this ad! Jesse, for the record, did not like this one.

I don't like sports at all but this was beautiful: "Born Into It"  

"Three Little Pigs" is a level of brilliancy on par with the show Newsroom... It's such a great window into our own culture!  

And finally these ones get very honorable mention: "Our Blades are F*king Great", "Wake Up" (loved just how very Chicago this was!), "Protect Yourself" (so many layers here, folks!), "Beer Chase" (so well done).  

You have a few more hours to comment and share our giveaway link on your Facebook! Check in tonight at 6:00 pm!   


25

by Chelle


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I was a bit nervous for 25. It seemed like quite a grown up number. So I decided not to even really give the day a second thought and it was a surprisingly lovely day. I didn't realize how much I like fall and even more so being born in fall but I honestly think it's just beautiful and breathtaking! Theres been a huge layer of mist that's covered Seattle for the past week but it makes the leaves look spectacular. Yesterday made me think about all of this and how happy October makes me.

Yesterday was full of flowers, pastries, warm sweaters, nice surprises, cozy blankets,  and my favorite people. It was a happy day and I'm excited for 25! Here a few pictures of my new collection of things to keep me warm, oh and a token shot of Penny who likes being cozy almost as much as I do. 

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Coffee

by Chelle


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For the second time in a row I deleted an entire post. You'd think I would learn. I'm now  in a very un-writy frame of mind. Well I'm just going to have to deal with it. Note to self: SAVE! SAVE! SAVE!  Just keep in mind this is my second go round.

I do remember our box full of mugs! Whenever there was a big holiday I'd go into Starbucks the week after and buy one of the seasonal mugs I'd been eyeing. Then there were those French mugs, I don't now how they made it through a year in France, the ride home in my suitcase, and the 4 moves since then. But they're sitting in Mom and Dad's garage waiting for the day I have my own kitchen shelf ... or any kitchen shelf.... to put them on.

After you and I moved to Seattle I remember wanting to find a coffee shop. It seemed like what you were supposed to do. And you found it! And then we didn't tell anyone where that coffee shop was. It took 6 months of hard work but we finally became regulars- and I think I started to feel at home in Seattle. The irony is that Joel was going to that coffee shop all the while we were keeping it secret and now he and I go there every Sunday morning. 

Tonight Joel and I are sitting in a coffee shop in Ballard typing away on our computers. It's become a new Monday night thing. We go to a coffee shop and work. At first I'd bring about 10 million things and sit next to Joel squirming uncontrollably because I couldn't decide what to work on. Now I bring two things and end up feeling quite accomplished by the end of the evening. The more important part of Monday nights is inviting friends. Last week four of our friends came along and we all worked on various blogs, websites, editing, writing and reading projects- all the things we put off doing in real life. Great way to get all us Seattleites out on dark, rainy, fall evenings, when some of us might just be tempted to stay at home curled up with a cat and a book. Instead I'm sitting in a coffee shop with friends, writing a blog post, and editing pictures.