guess what? michael and i set our wedding date. in october, we will get married and celebrate with the best bunch of our family and friends.
wedding planning hasn’t been a cake walk. several venues fell through or flaked out. i cried many times in frustration. i even pretended to write a book called love in the time of pinterest (inspired by an email to tania).
i’ve realized now that we don’t want a perfect wedding. we expect a day that is filled with love, joy, giggles, blushes, minor mishaps, and hopefully small moments of serenity. oh, i can’t forget— thrifted decorations.
p.s. if you like the cameo illustration, it’s available for you and your sweetheart here.
it took a long time— almost three years to be exact— for michael and i to pick out furniture for our deck. everything we liked cost the same as “real” furniture so we finally settled on a classic wooden picnic table and an outdoor rug from lowe’s.
every warm weekend, we look forward to porch suppers. i cover the table with a neutral tablecloth and table runner, move our flower vase from inside to outside, block sophie from escaping into the yard, and we’re set. we even have a chalkboard for the night’s menu.
because i’m debating whether to paint our table, i’m only sharing a few snapshots for now. by painting i mean stenciling it with stripes or triangles or turning it into a giant slate. you’ll have to wait and see.
when my parents visited us last year, my mom was surprised that we— i use we loosely because y’all know i wear the decorating pants in our family— chose grey for the living room. i love white space (the blog is a prime example) but white plays a smaller role at home.
the previous owners painted the walls green and bright yellow and i immediately wanted to tone things down. we built our palette around grey, black, brown, and pear green. one side of our living room is dark grey (tin by behr) and the other side is light (name forgotten by us).
the furniture is a hodgepodge of white, neutrals, brown, and black with touches of metallic gold and silver. we layered a smaller, busier rug from anthropologie over a large sisal rug to define the space, and sophie’s toys hide in a basket under one of the side tables. i also use hide loosely because every night she barks until i empty the entire bin.
living rooms aren’t trophy rooms— they’re meant to be lived in. on a typical night you’ll find a few glasses scattered on the table, a dog on the sofa, and feet up on the pillows. but i didn’t want to post a picture of me sitting in my pajamas with a pug on my shoulder. i’ll save those for instagram.
curious about the furniture or decor? leave a comment! i’ll help you find something similar.
sophie’s favorite room in the house is the kitchen. pugs love food, and lucky for her, we cook often.
as a family choice, we cook the majority of our meals at home. on sunday mornings, we sit over coffee and plan dinner for the week; i jot down 3-4 meal ideas on a perpetual calendar. i organize our recipes in a scrapbook and three-ring binder. the binder holds sheet protectors— if i find a recipe in a magazine, i tear it out and add it to the book.
we try to share the responsibility for prepping and cooking dinner especially because we both work full-time. during my first year of teaching, i was overwhelmed by my to-do list and michael almost always made dinner. it was a kind gesture on his behalf but even the nicest people turn sour without help. now i do most of the prepping and we cook together.
having a dinner menu is a true lifesaver. we fly through the grocery store and rarely have that awkward conversation of what do you want to eat? i don’t know. what do you want to eat? of course there are some fridays when we both want cheeseburgers, and that’s perfectly fine, too.
do you use a meal plan? how do you organize recipes?
american media glamorizes eternal youth. women are perpetually twenty with glistening skin, perfect hair, and feet that never hurt in heels. no one ever goes grey or gets cellulite. no one ever admits to spoiling dinner with a handful (or three) of cheese puffs.
in college, i dreaded growing older. with age came responsibility. with responsibility came the future and everyone knew the future was unpredictable. i relished car rides with friends and singalongs to saves the day CDs. i looked forward to dance nights at 11 p.m. and bike rides on narrow streets. i didn’t need glasses or moisturizer.
last week, i turned thirty-two. my twenty-year-old self would have said “ew” to such tragic news. my twelve-year-old self would have said “ew” to an unfathomable event. but today my thirty-two-year-old self is smiling.
i have a wonderful family, friends, job, and pug. most nights i’m in bed by ten. i gave up “goal” jeans and simply wear good ones. i plucked six white hairs off my head on sunday.
i am growing older. we all are. but somewhere in between then and now, i’ve realized that we never stop growing into who we are supposed to be.
i feel happy. i feel creative. i feel beautiful. i feel young. and i like cheese puffs.
my parents have green thumbs. so does michael’s mom. they refer to plants and vegetables with a nonchalant “yeah i grew that” and eat things from their own gardens. the nerve.
but some plants do exist in our own yard like low-moisture flowers, ground cover and herbs. i’m also allowed to have a handful of plants on the porch (meaning ones i occasionally forget to water).
succulents are the most sensible plants— they’re cute cacti without the annoying thorns. i picked out a hodgepodge for our back porch, and i planted them in shallow beds with good soil and rocks. the rocks were free— they’re all over the backyard.
succulents require minimal water once they are “established.” i define that as booking a couple shows at SXSW, getting played on NPR, and wearing wayfarers. what can i say? i have a hip band of plants.
when michael asked me what kind of engagement rings i liked, i told him i wanted something simple, something old, and something pretty. in other words, i imagined a dusty vintage ring tucked away in the jewelry case of a thrift store. a treasure hunting gal can dream.
he found something simple and old. but it wasn’t something pretty; it was something wonderful. when he opened the burgundy case, all i could say was “michael”.
it will be the only ring i wear on my left hand even after our wedding day. my mom wears a single ring, and i always admired that about her. besides, i like telling people it’s the one ring to rule them all— that usually merits a chuckle or a very bewildered look.
my ring is from erstwhile jewelry, a small jeweler based in brooklyn, new york. jared and his wife specialize in antique and vintage jewelry, and we highly recommend their craft and service. thank you erstwhile for playing a sparkly part in our life story.
p.s. if you’re attending our upcoming mixers for texas style council, you might see my ring in person. :o)
friends, meet my vanity table. vanity table, meet my friends. between you and me, she’s more of a fancy nightstand, but don’t tell her i said that. she’s a cute gal who charges my phone, hosts my books, and corrals any jewelry in a swan-shaped holder. i should probably upgrade her status from nightstand to personal assistant.
but i love her because she provides a girlish touch to a cool, neutral room. our bedroom colors are hydrangea (walls), white (furniture), and silver (linens, lamps, and accents). even though we use grey in the bedroom, i purposely mismatched silver and gold on the table.
i bought the parisian print in college, and i thrifted the lenox swan and herb jar (originally from anthropologie) after we got engaged. the little doodle is one of the first drawings i ever gave michael (we had our first date at a park).
vanity table, you’re not the most exciting thing in our house, but you’re simple and sweet. you’re a real doll and carry-all. merci.
movies and books can’t help but equate love to grand gestures: the chasing of trains, the trails of rose petals, the impulsive cross-country flights. our hearts swell just thinking about a hero (or heroine) who takes a leap of faith in the name of love accompanied by a perfect soundtrack.
but love also means little things. i don’t think love could survive without sweet notes, presents just because, or car ride sing-alongs. in honor of valentine’s day, here are the little things important to our family.
- buy a box or bag of each other’s favorite candy. don’t eat it! put it by a frequented place (ex. desk or sink) and pretend you have no idea where it came from.
- hold hands when someone’s mad (usually me). it’s difficult to stay angry when michael squeezes my fingers.
- send a lunchbag note. make sure it’s really embarrassing.
- dance to silly songs and get the words wrong.
- listen up and then really listen. everyone multitasks nowadays. put down the mouse, dishes, or phone for a few minutes and let your partner share a story or vent a frustration.
- appreciate each other. it could be a simple “thank you” for taking the recycling out or getting dinner ready.
- say i love you whenever you want. for me, it’s often. there aren’t any rules for it unless you’ve been sitting outside of ryan gosling’s house for days. then that might be creepy.
do you have any little things to add to the list?
when we lived in dallas, sophie’s vet had americana-style prints in one of the examination rooms, and i loved the horses and buildings. in 2009, i found this pair of similar prints at the thrift store and put them in my cart immediately because luck be a lady! one picture depicts a western town and the other showcases a new england village. if you recognize the artist, please share!
at first michael hated these prints. he told me they were ugly and i couldn’t hang them in our house. but i stood my ground and put them in our guest bathroom. i recently updated our shower curtain and added a grey and yellow buffalo plaid rug. i call it our buffalo bathroom.
now michael admits the pictures are pretty cool, and we can agree on that.