Thursday, March 5, 2015

{Vintage} Snow Day Shots // {Random} Snow Day Thoughts

For those living in the North East section of the country, this has been one crazy winter!  (Stating the obvious, I know.)  And in the Washington, DC area, where I am at this writing, we are having yet another snow day.  Not a record shattering winter this year in either of the areas I call home, but it has certainly been a loooonnnnggggg one.

Perhaps it's because mine started a few weeks before Thanksgiving during a fluke snowstorm that had my very snow savvy Northwestern Pennsylvania town virtually shut down for the better part of two days.  The day prior had been a gift of a day; sunny and in the mid sixties and the perfect day to be outside.  I, along with most of my neighbors and the better part of the parks and recreation department, spent it doing fall cleanup.

So when we all woke up the next morning to rapidly falling snow, the city went into a crazy panic switching grounds care equipment for road cleaning equipment.  I ventured a few blocks down the street toward the grocery store, and was told by fire department volunteers to turn around and head home.  Because the roads were not treated prior to the start of the snow, they would not be deemed safe to travel on until after the snow ended and they could all be plowed.  What followed was two days of neighborly exchanges of necessary items for living as we all waited for the roads to clear.  From that day to this, it has been all winter, all the time for me. 

Most years when March rolls around, I find myself a tiny bit surprised by the first signs of spring.  Spring fashion emails in my inbox, spring nail polish shades front and center at the drugstore, even the announcement of the start of Daylight Savings Time (Sunday, March 8 at 2:00 am) are usually met with  moderate disbelief.  "It's almost over? Really?!"  Not this year, though.  This year I am all 'Bring on the spring!  It can't get here soon enough!!". 

Truth be told, I don't have a real love for the winter, especially now that I no longer ski.  (Husband can't, due to injuries sustained during a near fatal motor vehicle accident.)  At least in my skiing days I had fun trips to look forward to and fun outfits to wear.  Ski clothes are seriously cute!  These days, though, winter and I have basically agreed to coexist.  In earlier stages of my life, I thought I would eventually end up in a warm all the time climate, but after spending a lot of time in Florida at all different times of the year, Husband and I have arrived at the conclusion that we are happier in an area that has four distinct seasons.  Were we crazy to choose the snowiest section of the nation for our forever home?  Perhaps.  But then we've both always tended to do all the things in a slightly over the top way.

In reality, snow days are not very different from any other day for me.  Other than causing me to need to be flexible with my travel days, snow does not have a major impact on how I spend the day.  (More on that in another post, but suffice it to say that I keep busy!)  Husband runs the local division of a company that never shuts down for weather, so unless we want to waste a precious day that he could be spending at our forever home, he goes to work if the roads are at all passable.  Communications via text with his various employees began at 4:00 am today, and he was out the door, as he is most days, well before 7:00 am.  He did arrive home a few hours early though, so that was nice. 

Later on this evening, once the snowfall has stopped, we'll head outside to clean off the cars, and probably throw a few snowballs.  And maybe, if the sidewalks are not all covered with salt yet, we'll take the dogs outside for a romp.  Two tiny white Maltese running around in the snow are a serious delight! 
Here's hoping that, with only fifteen days left until the first day of spring, we have seen our last snow day of the season.  I am more than ready for green grass and colorful flowers!
xo, Anita  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

{Vintage} Valentine Greetings

Few days on the calendar can polarize a couple the way that Valentine's Day can.  If they both feel the same about the day and how to celebrate it, great!  Lucky lovers, them.  But if one loves all things V-day while the other prefers to behave as if it is just like any other day, not so good. 

I conducted an informal survey earlier (as in I read posts on Facebook), and discovered that many of the people who oppose the holiday do so because of the whole ~ this holiday is greeting card industry created, I don't need them to tell me how and when to show my love ~ thing.

While I have heard this argument many times, and understand the premise, something in my brain was reminding me that this is not exactly true.  It's true that greeting card companies, florists, candy makers and the like have jumped on the Valentine's Day as the day to express your romantic love bandwagon, but they are not what gave February 14 it's designation as the day for lovers.

After hours of extensive research (just kidding; five minutes on Wikipedia), I've learned that "St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early saints named Valentinus".  Further "the day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished".

In the late 18th century a limited number of valentines began to be produced, and by the early 19th century in England paper valentines became so popular that they began to be assembled in factories.  The United States saw the first mass production of valentines in 1847.  While this was a sign of the further commercialization of holidays to come, Valentine's Day was not a creation of the greetings cards business;  they expanded from creating greetings that acknowledged life events into holidays as a result of a widespread desire for all things hearts, flowers, and cupids covered in lace and contained in an envelope. 

The good news is that if I have convinced you that Valentine's Day is, after all, a day worth celebrating, it's not too late!  You're welcome.  While I strongly discourage the idea of going out to eat (unless you want to spend far too much time waiting for a table at any place that isn't booked until closing), you can find every single thing you need to create a romantic celebration at your local grocery store.  Though if yours does not also sell wine, and you partake, a second stop to pick up a lovely bottle of champagne is a great idea.  I suggest Rose'; sparkling pink bubbles in a glass are quite festive! 

(because, Liz.)
No matter how you decide to spend it, I wish you a beautiful day filled with love.
xo, Anita 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Taking Down Christmas

Perhaps it was because New Year's Day was also put out the garbage day on my street, but none the less, I was a bit stunned to see several Christmas trees put out for pick up by early afternoon.  I was still in denial that our two weeks long vacation would be over in a few short days, so that sight was an unpleasant awakening for me. 

This coming weekend is the earliest that I would consider taking down my decorations, partially because some of my family celebrate Orthodox Christmas, which is today. 

Another reason is because I am one of those people who like to take my holidays one at a time, and prefer not to dine on my Thanksgiving turkey within view of a Christmas tree.  It seems to me that the season begins earlier every year!  However, if your Christmas lights have been up since early November, I can certainly understand tiring of them by New Year's Day.

Once the house is lit by the glow of Christmas, however, I find myself wondering if next year will be the one in which I break down and succumb to the trend that has the season beginning on the day after Halloween. 

In any event, I don't have to pack up this cute Peanuts book with the rest of the Christmas decorations; do you notice the hearts floating around Sally's head?  Valentine's Day is just around the corner! 

What about you; are you a fan of the more traditional decorating schedule, or the current trend?  Please share, I would love to read!

xo, Anita

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Seasons Change

Here in the Mid-Atlantic, As the calendar page flips to November, the leaves are falling from the trees and sound crisp underfoot.  The days are much shorter now that we have discarded daylight savings time, and the temperatures have dropped considerably.  After almost two months of a gentle, jacket free end to summer, fall has finally arrived. 

I never mind the final passing of summer very much though, because although carefree days spent outside are a thing of the past for now, there is much to look forward to in the coming months.  My creative self is making lists and plans like crazy!  Hand made holiday decorations and gifts are dancing around in my head, and narrowing down all the possibilities to a few things that I can do and do well is almost as fun for my right-brained analytical self as making them is for my artistic soul.

My favorite part of the holiday season, though, is the food.  I think that's why I enjoy November so much; it contains the holiday, here in America, that is all about family and food and fellowship.  And football!  My family has never been much for throwing a football around on Thanksgiving day, but that would be a fun tradition to add, I think.  Listening to the parade while I do all of my prep work, and the sounds of the football games on TV as the smell of the turkey fills the house are long standing traditions, but certainly leave room for a new one.  I feel the same way about the food; while there are certain traditional dishes that I make every year that we spend the holiday at home, I also like to add at least one new item to the menu.  It's very important to me to honor traditions, but equally important that we do not get completely bored by too much predictability. 

How about you, dear reader; in your holiday preparations do you stay with the traditional, shake it up with something completely new and different, or strike a balance between the two?  Please share, I would love to read!

xo, Anita

Thursday, October 9, 2014

{Vintage} Fall Fashions

Straight from the pages of Everywoman's Family Circle, fashions for your full fall days.

The women of the 1950's certainly knew how to look their best!  Whether grocery shopping, attending PTA meetings or greeting the children as they arrived home from school, their ensemble was chic, well accessorized, and accompanied by the perfectly matched pair of pumps. 

Lightweight wool and flannel in jewel tones, the perfect pair of gloves; what's not to love?  I just have to believe that even the most mundane of tasks on the most average of days had to be a pleasure in clothes like these. 

And the evening wear!  Silk prints and richly colored wool jersey accompanied by sparkly jewels, the perfectly matched shoes + clutch, and opera length gloves.  All put on after an afternoon spent getting a wash and set at the neighborhood hair salon.  And look closely at that couple sipping coffee.  No digital devices on the table!  How lovely that must have been. 

Do you ever wish that you could time travel to a simpler time?  I could definitely make a case for a mid-century lifestyle!
xo, Anita

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bringing Fall Inside

One of my favorite things to do is to change up my décor as the seasons change.  And Fall is my favorite time to do it because A) it is my favorite season, B) October is my favorite + my birthday month, and C) orange is my favorite color.  Adding even more orange to my house than lives there already makes me ridiculously happy.  It's just such a happy color, don't you think? 

Pictured above are a few things I picked up at the farmers market to add fall to our apartment.  I find that I need reminders of fall around during this time of year in the mid Atlantic region, because it still resembles summer outside.  I am also collecting {via on line shopping, my fave!} some indie business made fall season items to bring to our house on my next trip.  I am really looking forward to this upcoming holiday season, because while it will be our second in the house, it will be the first in terms of decorations and meal preparations and entertaining.  Exciting times!

First up is a wreath for the front door, from the Etsy shop Wild Ridge Design.  It is a white door, so I was thinking that I would go with the orange.  Or, should I paint the door orange and get the white wreath?  I've always wanted an orange door.  I wonder if I can find a shade to match nicely with the brick.  Decisions, decisions!

Two words: Velvet. Pumpkins.  Seriously!  These are maybe the most amazing {indie business} décor items I have ever seen.  Velvet in the shape of a pumpkin attached to a real organic pumpkin stem.  Available in, like, four dozen colors.  Are you even kidding me?!?  I may never put them away.  These Plush Pumpkin gems are available at the on line shop of the blog Love, Feast, Table, by the way. 

And if pumpkins are not your thing {as if!}, the same lovely velvet is available in the shape of mushrooms and acorns, with or without the bird's nest.  A fun addition to your fall display and the very definition of making a good thing better! 

This next item appeared in my very favorite {indie or otherwise!} on line shop, Moorea Seal, just the other day.  It was love at first sight!  While I definitely consider them a year round decor item, they have a decidedly fall feel to me, as well, particularly in the natural and mustard shades.

Log bowls made from reclaimed trees, painted in pretty colors and finished with a high gloss.  Love.

Pommes Frites candles are another favorite find from Moorea's shop.  She carries four fabulous scents, including a custom for her blend that I just love, but the fall scents that I am currently burning, Apple Picking and Spiced Pumpkin, can both be found in the PF Candles Etsy shop


How do you mark the change of seasons in your home, dear friends?  Please share, I would love to read!
xo, Anita

Thursday, July 10, 2014

On How Life Is

Not all that long ago, I found myself in a familiar place surrounded by familiar people, and was reminded again about how lacking our world can be in grace and basic human kindness.  Thankfully, it was not all a disappointment, because I did connect in a nice place with some people that I have not generally been very close to.  But not without first experiencing the gut wrenching demoralization that only those closest to you can cause you to feel.  After about a day and a half of wallowing and another day and a half of rebuilding with the love and support of my husband and a few other kind individuals, I concluded that I had this to say to the people who judged and decided that they found me wanting.  Peace be with you.  I hope that you are able to find a path away from the self loathing and disappointment that causes you to project your misery onto other people.  You, and those like you, are the reason that I have dedicated my life to finding the joy in the moments, and to spreading it to anyone who is receptive.  I was like you once, and I made bad decisions during my search for love and acceptance, before I found that it existed within me all the time, and I only had to be open to discovering it. 

The photographs in this post were taken in the beautiful water side village of Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.  Yes, the very place that the Pilgrims landed!  One of my very favorite people in the world recently relocated there, and I am looking forward to more visits in the near future.  There are few things I love more than time by the water, other than perhaps time by the water surrounded by history.  Having spent the summers of my childhood at a cottage on a lake, and living now in not one but two homes that are a quick drive (or a long-ish run!) to the water side, I feel comfortable in saying that near the water, or better yet on the water, is my happy place.

If you are A) a regular reader here, or B) part of my "real" life, you know that the last few years were full of big changes in my world.  Because of this, my original 101 in 1001 project ended up being largely ignored.  But since it's time frame recently ran out, and because I am in a much more settled place now, I've decided to give it another go, with a brand new revised and updated set of goals.  I brought some of the incomplete items on the original list to the new one, and added some from my ongoing mental to-do list.  I've decided that modern literature and best sellers are not a good fit for the list, because my to-read list is always evolving, and some books get crossed off without ever being read.  This happens for several reasons, maybe someone whose opinion I trust did not enjoy it, perhaps the subject matter ceased to be of interest to me.  A few classics remain on the list however, those that I have always wanted to read but have not gotten to yet. I am hoping that their inclusion will encourage me to occasionally squeeze one in between my regular rotation of best sellers and of the moment literary stars.

One of the items new to the list is the Random Kindness Blog Tour, started by Meg Evans.  I am super excited about this project!  I learned about it in the best of ways, through a comment that she left on this blog post.  She came across my blog on her tour, and decided that it fit her criteria of being a blog that promotes positivity and kindness.  Yay!  Because that is exactly what I want this to be, before and above anything else.  So I have decided to commit to a year long tour of my own, which I started today by spending about an hour reading Meg's delightful blog, and leaving her a  kind comment when I was done.  If this sounds like a project in your own wheel house, read about it here, and jump on!

In a blog post titled "On How Life Is" I could really write on and on, but I think I'll end this here, satisfied that I've covered some important to me items today, and excited by the fact that while writing I have jotted down some ideas for future posts.  Perhaps my blogging mojo has been renewed along with the 101 in 1001 project! 

Have you ever attempted a 101 in 1001 project of your own, dear reader?  Please share, I would love to hear!

xo, Anita