Right now in life, I am:

MAKING more thrown clay mugs and bowls in the ceramics class I’m taking with a friend of mine. I took a hand-building class in college and loved it, so I’m enjoying working on my wheel throwing techniques this time around. The pieces I made in March are much better than the ones I made in February!
COOKING homemade pork belly vermicelli bowls. So good (although we need to perfect our rice noodle game). GF Maple Pecan Pancakes and Bacon (recipe here) and homemade GF bread and strawberry jam (bread recipe here).
DRINKING a cup of hot water with a large spoonful of honey and a couple drops of lemon essential oil in the mornings. Also trying some new teas.
READING Simple Abundance in the mornings and I started Gift from the Sea.
WANTING to figure out a good, simple, natural hair and beauty routine. First I tried this co-wash hoping to use just one product for both shampoo and conditioner. But it left my hair too oily and product-y feeling. Now I’m using Dr. Bronners Castile Soap (unscented baby mild) with their Citrus Conditioning rinse. I like it, but don’t love it yet. I want to, but I’m still getting used to the way my hair feels now. It is less smooth and silky and more textured? It feels pretty string-y and has a lot of fly-aways. Hopefully there is just a transition period and it will get better!
PLAYING country music on the radio.
SEWING nothing, yet again! I have these gold cloth napkins from West Elm that I washed and seam-ripped, just waiting for me to sew into throw pillows for our living room. I ordered the pillow inserts last month to get them done, but then they sent me the wrong ones! I sent them back and now need to re-order more. This simple project has taken so long to accomplish!
CROCHETING an afghan that I started months and months ago…
WISHING Emma the best of luck as she embarks on a new job adventure! I’ll miss sharing an office with her though!

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ENJOYING walks from our house to Plum Street Snoballs (pictured above). Love this weather.
WAITING for our California trip!! Soooo close! So excited!
LIKING my new suitcase! My old suitcase was a gift from my Mamaw probably over 10 years ago. It has traveled with me to many places. All over the US and to Europe, but it has been getting pretty worn and I’ve been afraid for a while that the zipper might break, so it was time to upgrade before our trip.
WONDERING at this little dew drop. 
LOVING my much more simplified and organized closet! I gave away 5 trash bags full of clothes! Ones that were too big/too small, didn’t fit correctly, didn’t look good on me, were too worn, too uncomfortable, I never wore, or didn’t like. So freeing to get rid of things that take up space in your life! I also upgraded to all new nice, matching hangers! Love this article on finding your personal style.
HOPING to work even harder at living a simple, intentional life. These articles really stuck with me this month: minimalist approach to beauty, minimalism, a beginner’s guide, 9 ways to start living a simpler, more intentional life, 30 day minimalism challenge. I’ve also been on a simplifying mission lately. Trying to get rid of everything that doesn’t bring me joy. Taking my favorite quote about the home to heart, “Have nothing in your house that you know not to be useful or believe to be beautiful (William Morris).” I’ve heard great things about this book. Anyone read it?
MARVELING at 12,000 tulips. Here and here
NEEDING to eat some Chipotle this weekend! It has totally become a weekend tradition around here. 
SMELLING fresh lemongrass we bought from the Asian market for our homemade vermicelli bowls. 

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WEARING clothes in my closet that I actually like. My usual uniform. Denim, flow-y 3/4-length tops, sometimes cardigans, scarves, flats (too hot for my fav leather boots lately!), my leather bag.
FOLLOWING along, watching the filming happening outside my office window for the new fall show Scream Queens. I saw Emma Roberts and also Nick Jonas in a bathrobe. New Orleans is always interesting.
NOTICING my Louisiana surroundings. This bayou and shrimp boats in southern Louisiana when we went to eat at Alzina Toups and these gorgeous trees and plantation ruins in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The photo above of me watercoloring was also on the grounds of Afton Villa Gardens in St. Francisville.
KNOWING my future self will thank me for all the hard work I put into so many things now.
THINKING about living small. I came across this blog this month and fell in love. Read her home and on living less posts.
BOOKMARKING this bag (in the caramel color). Isn’t it so pretty? I went to the store and looked at it and I wish the small straps were longer! I want straps I can put over my shoulder. I need a good leather tote though. I bought a new one from Forever 21 to work as a carry-on for our California trip. We’ll see how it works, but I would like to invest in one I love that will last a long time.
CELEBRATING the nice weather, our upcoming trip, Emma and my last days working together. 
OPENING lots of things this month to prep for our trip. My new suitcase and carry-on bag, along with a new make-up case and a small pouch for my essential oils. I also bought this little salt cellar, so handy!
LAUGHING at our sweet and funny little kitty. Or catten as I call her. Our baby is growing up. 🙁
FEELING joy at this little heart I found on the sidewalk (below). Also joy and inspiration at reading theeverygirl every day. Also trying to remember that everyone is feeling and going through different things, “everyone is fighting their own battle.”

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Past Life Right Now posts:  February 2015, January 2015, December 2014, November 2014, October 2014, September 2014, August 2014, July 2014, June 2014


I know that one of my goals for this year was to try and blog once a week and I haven’t been around here much this month.

I feel like all aspects of my life have been “full” lately. (I’m trying to avoid using the word “busy” because aren’t we always?) Working at my day job, coming home, cooking dinner, cleaning up the house, taking care of the cat. Trying to make time in the evenings and weekends to work on my surface pattern design portfolio, taking a ceramics class on Monday evenings, taking an online calligraphy course. Actively working to simplify my closet, my home, my routine. Taking moments to enjoy the nice weather and relish the life around me.

It’s not that I’m not doing, I’ve just been doing so much that I’ve been overwhelmed while simultaneously getting on to myself for not doing more. Not blogging more, not spending more time painting, not reading enough, not being as far along in my design portfolio as I’d like. Not even attempting anything that could remotely be construed as exercise in longer than I can remember. (unless walking from my house to get a snowball counts)

Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. Why do I do all this? Why do I push myself so hard? Try to do so much? Set so many personal goals? Try to expand myself in so many different creative directions? Why can’t I just be content working my day job and then coming home and watching TV or reading a book?

Well, I can be. But only for so long. I can’t quell the desire in me to create, to work at putting together a career that I love and enjoy and is fulfilling to all my creative passions. And the only way to get that done, to get to where I want to be, is to work at it. Because I know my future self will thank me for it. For taking the time now to work hard at paying off student loan debt so we can be financially free. For taking the time now to learn calligraphy to enhance my hand lettering for my design work. For taking the time now to learn new skills, to get better at surface pattern design, for building a portfolio, for perfecting my painting skills, for blogging about the process. For taking the time now to learn to live with less, to simplify.

What are you doing today that your future self will thank you for?

P.S. The quote above was hand-lettered by me in my own version of modern copperplate calligraphy. Getting better thanks to Melissa Esplin’s I Still Love Calligraphy course! The pattern is also part of a pattern I designed myself!


Right now in life, I am:

MAKING some thrown clay cups/bowls/wonky looking pots in the ceramics class I’m taking with a friend of mine. I took a hand-building class in college and loved it, so I’m enjoying working on my wheel throwing techniques this time around.
COOKING White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, GF biscuits and GF sausage gravy, chicken tortilla soup, and these GF Nutella brownies (so good and so easy!).
DRINKING a cup of hot water with a large spoonful of honey and a couple drops of lemon essential oil in the mornings. I don’t really drink coffee or tea, so this is becoming a nice, healthy, morning ritual (thanks for the suggestion Blair!).
READING Simple Abundance every morning and this month I also read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. LOVED it!
WANTING to be able to make more time to read! I read so much during college (English was one of my majors) that for a little while after college I didn’t read much at all. That passion has come back full force lately and I just feel like reading all the time! I wish I didn’t have so many other things to do that I could just sit and read more often!
PLAYING Night Changes and Uptown Funk.
SEWING nothing, again! I have these gold cloth napkins from West Elm that I washed and seam-ripped, just waiting for me to sew into throw pillows for our living room. I ordered the pillow inserts this month to get them done, but then they sent me the wrong ones! I sent them back and now need to re-order more. This simple project has taken so long to accomplish!
CROCHETING a scarf that I started in December that I still need to finish…
WISHING for the weather to stay at a nice, consistent warm temperature. I’m tired of these dipping back into the cold days. 


ENJOYING the lovely warm weather the Saturday before Mardi Gras. Blair, Drew, and I watched the day parades (Iris and Tucks) Uptown (photo above), and it almost made up for the less-than-stellar Muses experience we had the Thursday weeknight before.
WAITING excitedly for our trip to California we have planned this spring to visit Drew’s brother, his wife, and their baby girl! We have everything lined up and ready for our trip, we just can’t wait for it to get here!
LIKING Copperplate Calligraphy so far! I’ve been wanting to learn real calligraphy for a long time and it came in full speed this month! Last fall I joined the New Orleans Lettering Arts Association and this month’s meeting was on Copperplate Calligraphy. Then just a couple days later I started Melissa Esplin’s online I Still Love Calligraphy course. It was a Christmas present from Drew (I’ve wanted to take it since she started teaching it), and I’m so happy to finally have the time to dedicate to it!
WONDERING about efficiency, beauty, and creativity.
LOVING the things that I have discovered about myself and what I like over the last few years. Read all about my thoughts on clothing.
HOPING for a great March! I’m looking forward to completing my ceramics class and my calligraphy course, in addition to making patterns, blogging, reading, and prepping for our California trip!
MARVELING at the fact that two of my sisters made separate trips to visit me this month! Kelsey came for her birthday the first weekend of February and Blair came for Mardi Gras a couple weekends later. It is so rare that I get to spend time with them individually (very rare that it happens in New Orleans) and it was so nice!
NEEDING to get back into making patterns! I made so many in January that I got a little burned out. I took most of February off and now I’m ready to get back at it!
SMELLING the lovely smell of lemon essential oil as I put it in my honey water in the mornings. 


WEARING leggings underneath my pants because I get cold so easily!
FOLLOWING along closely to the weather every morning. It is just so jumpy lately! It will be in the 40s/50s one day and then into the upper 70s the next! I never know what to wear or how warmly to dress!
NOTICING that my legs are finally starting to get better! I’ve had problems for a couple years with them being dry, itchy, and getting eczema patches. I finally got an appointment with a dermatologist here and she recommended I use Vanicream soap to wash my body (my dermatologist in IL also recommended the same for my face several years ago) and CeraVe SA cream for lotion. So far both are working really well. If you have dry, itchy skin, you might give either of those a try!
KNOWING how cute and sweet this little kitty is. Goodness, I love her so much.
THINKING about starting “Morning Pages.” Basically, it is the practice of writing 3 entire pages by hand every morning. They aren’t supposed to be good writing, mostly just “brain dumping.” The ritual is supposed to clear your head, free your mind of all the worries/distractions/emotions that are constantly bubbling to the surface, and help you focus. It is supposed to be life-changing. (more info here, here, here and here.) I’m just not sure that I can get up earlier every morning!
BOOKMARKING lots of amazing patterns!
CELEBRATING MARDI GRAS!!! Of course! (photos above)
OPENING this runner rug for our hallway. It was our Valentine’s day gift to each other. So romantic, I know. 😉
LAUGHING at this video
FEELING a little bit of joy at this little handpicked camellia flower given to me (and all the ladies) at our church supper one Wednesday by one of the old men of the church.


Click to check out June, July, AugustSeptemberOctoberNovember, and December of 2014. And here to check out January of 2015. 

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How many things do you have saved in the back of your closet for the one day that you “might” wear them? Have you ever noticed that you NEVER pick out those clothes to wear?

Last fall we did a deep clean of most of the rooms in our house. Our house is small and it feels so good to go through it and get rid of anything that isn’t meaningful, we don’t like, doesn’t serve a purpose, and doesn’t have a place. The one place that I didn’t take the time to thoroughly go through however, was my closet. It wasn’t a mess of epic proportions, but it was crowded with too many things that I didn’t wear, didn’t like, didn’t fit correctly, or never had a reason to wear.

I’ve been inspired lately to take a more minimal approach and really try to make sure my closet is only filled with pieces I love, want to wear, and ones that bring me confidence and joy. Sort-of my own take on the capsule wardrobe phenomenon. So that means clearing out clothing that I’ve outgrown, both in size and style, clothes that are worn out and have seen better days, and pieces that are leftover from my high school and college days that are too casual to wear to work (and I don’t find myself wearing on the weekends either).

Something that I’m really enjoying about myself as I get older, is my ability to better understand the things I really like. One of my greatest discoveries are the clothes that I’m comfortable in.

Here are some of the clothing guidelines I’ve discovered about myself:

  • No v-necks or anything else with a low neckline. I’m just too busty and I feel uncomfortable in shirts with low necklines, even if I wear a tank top underneath.
  • I look better in boatneck or scoopneck tops. Going along with the point above, I feel better and worry less about my appearance when I’m comfortable in a top with a higher neckline. I also think they look better on me in general because they take the focus away from my bust. I also just love the classic look of a boatneck top.
  • I can’t wear strapless tops or dresses. As I’ve said, I’m a busty woman who needs some major support up top. Strapless bras just don’t provide enough support for me and I’m constantly pulling up at the top of my dress and re-adjusting. For years I had this super uncomfortable backless, strapless bra (that looked more like a corset, complete with boning in the sides) that I used under my prom dresses. I have no desire to ever wear that again. I just wish I’d realized this one before my wedding (I’m so embarrassed at the top of my dress when I look back at my wedding pictures!).
  • I like clothes that are fitted, but not so tight they look too small. Again with the busty thing, if I wear clothes that are too loose, I just look fat, but I don’t like wearing clothes so tight that they look too small or are uncomfortable.
  • I like pieces that are versatile – business-casual enough for work, but casual enough for weekend wear. I can’t afford to have two closets, one for work and one for weekends, so I like to have pieces that I can dress up or dress down. Luckily I work somewhere where this works well for me.
  • Over the years I’ve realized there are certain colors I’m drawn to and that look better on me: black, white, grey, cream, taupe, pinks, teal/mint, plum/lavender, and gold, and ones that I should stay away from in clothing (for the most part): red, orange, yellow, and green.
  • I like simple tops and basic tees in neutral colors (solids or small scale patterns) that I can pair with a cardigan or sweater, colored/patterned scarves, plain jeans or colored skinny jeans, leather boots or flats, and simple gold jewelry. (that is pretty much my daily wardrobe).
  • Nothing too flashy, scratchy, uncomfortable, no falling off the shoulders or anything else that is annoying and distracting from whatever else I’m doing.
  • No high heels. I just don’t wear them and when I think I might want to, I put them on only to realize again how uncomfortable they are. Only flats or low wedge heels for me!
  • I really like tops with ¾ length sleeves. I get cold so easily that I feel most comfortable in those. I always bunch up the sleeves on long sleeve shirts past my wrist (because the sleeves at my hands get annoying) and I never wear short sleeve tops without a cardigan (because I get cold, and I don’t feel like it looks very professional for work).
  • I very rarely (like never) wear dresses or skirts. In the last year, I wore a dress to my grandpa’s funeral and when we went out to eat at a nice restaurant for Drew’s birthday. My legs get too cold, or they look too pale, or I feel like I need to be wearing uncomfortable high-heels to complete the look. It is fine if I have a couple dresses for special occasions, but I know when I go shopping, that spending money on them isn’t a good return on my investment.
  • I only wear neutral-colored shoes. I really do. I only wear shoes that are leather, black, nude, grey/silver, or gold. I don’t know how many pairs of pink flats or sandals I’ve bought just to realize that I never wear them. If I want to make a statement with a color I don’t want it to be on my feet.
  • Same with purses. I generally use the same purse for years (I am not the girl who wants to switch out purses to match each outfit), so I want it to go well with anything I put on, which means being a neutral color. I only buy high-quality (I want it to last!) and in a simple style that I really love. My current purse is a beautiful leather cross-body.
  • I never change my earrings. As pretty and appealing as colorful, dangly earrings can be, I’ve learned over time that I never wear them. I have sensitive ears and cheap earrings hurt my ears. So I stick with my diamond studs. I seriously haven’t changed my earrings since my wedding day almost three years ago (when I did wear dangly pearl earrings).

It look me years of buying clothes and then never wearing them or feeling self-conscious about them before I got to these “rules.” Why wear something if it is constantly going to make you keep second guessing your appearance, make you feel self-conscious, or make you lack confidence? I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my time. I can’t spend my whole day focused on my feet hurting from the shoes that are cute but uncomfortable, or the sweater that is a pretty color but keeps falling off my shoulder showing my bra straps, or how cold my legs are because I’m wearing a dress. It is so nice to embrace who I am and what I’m comfortable in and ignore the “I could look good in this” or the “that looks great on her, maybe I should buy it too” mentality. Another great thing about knowing what I like and what looks good on me, is that when I spend money on something, I’m much more likely to buy something that I’m going to wear (and want to wear) rather than something that is going to get donated the next time I do a closet purge.

Things to consider when buying something: Are you buying this item because you really love it and want it to become a part of your everyday wear? Does it fill a need in your wardrobe? If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life would it be that one? Or are you just buying it because it was “okay” and on sale? Being on sale is one of the biggest culprits for me! But what is the point in spending any money (even if it wasn’t as much as it could have been) on something you don’t love? I love this quote, “Don’t buy anything on sale that you wouldn’t consider at full price.”

I also really love the way that Sherry from Young House Love thinks about her closet (from this classic post, oh how I miss YHL!). Her words, “Don’t water down your wardrobe. I like to look at it as an “overall closet average.” Say I have ten outfits I love love love in my closet. I’d call them all favorites and on a scale of 1-10 I’d score them all a ten. That makes my overall closet average a ten. Then say that I see a sweater I kind of like (let’s say I’d give it a seven). And it’s on sale, so it’s tempting. The way I completely resist grabbing that sweater – which I’m guaranteed to like less than everything else in my closet – is to think of my closet average. Right now my overall closet average is a ten. If I get that sweater and it’s a seven, it’ll bring my entire closet average down, and I can just picture myself choosing other things on my hanging bar over and over again since it wasn’t something that I love love loved from the start. That helps me hold out for things I really truly love and stops me from grabbing anything I probably won’t wear or appreciate as much.” (here is another great post from Sherry on closet clutter).

I want to feel comfortable and confident in all the clothes in my closet. So major purge happening now! Tell me, is this the way you look at your closet too? Have you figured out that list of what you love/don’t love on yourself? I have to say, knowing what I feel comfortable in is not only great for everyday, but when I go shopping I immediately know whether I’ll like something enough to even take the time to try it on or not. Knowing what I like saves me time and money in so many ways! This guide from The Everygirl is another great resource for closet cleaning (7 questions to ask yourself when cleaning out your closet).

P.S. There are many places where you can donate your clothes to make sure that they go to good use after you are done with them. Look for local homeless or women’s shelters in your area. Many churches have donation bins that go to those in need in your community.


Yesterday evening, Drew and I (and a couple friends of ours), went to TEDxTU, Tulane’s version of TED talks. We went last year and enjoyed it and this year didn’t disappoint. There were several great speakers, but in particular the opening of the very last speaker’s story stuck with me more than the others. The speaker was Jackie Sumell (learn more about her project here), and while her talk had very little to do with what I’m writing about today, I was inspired by something her grandmother told her. When Jackie was in her twenties, she lived in New York City with her grandmother. They lived a little far out from where Jackie worked, so every morning she had a long route to take to work. Take the subway, get off, walk several blocks, then get on another bus or subway line to go the rest of the way. One day, she was complaining to her grandmother about how inefficient her route was, and very matter-of-fact-ly her grandmother looked at her and said, “Why take the most efficient route? Why not take the most beautiful?”

It struck me how odd of a thing that is to say in today’s culture. We are automatically programmed to do things the most efficient way. It just isn’t practical to take a longer route to work just because you want to see a more beautiful one. It often isn’t practical in a work environment to take longer to do a project just to make it prettier.

But what about when you work in a creative industry? My daily work is to make beautiful things. Is there an efficient route to making things beautiful? Sometimes projects can be both efficient and beautiful, but often they are opposites. It is hard to push creativity into a neat, little, efficient box. Creativity is fed by taking time to see the beauty and inspiration in things and most creative projects aren’t quick and easy. They require planning, sketching, researching, designing, re-designing, tweaking, proofing, and designing a little more. (or painting, or sculpting, or whatever it may be). Not just rushing around to get to the next place or move on to the next task.

I started thinking about my morning routine and route to work. The route I take is a little choppy, taking smaller roads to avoid morning traffic jams, because that is the route that gets me to work the fastest and I like getting every single minute of sleep I can. In the mornings I am only worried about efficiency. Getting the most sleep, waking up at the exact time I need to in order to have the exact amount of time I need to get ready, rushing around getting ready, eating breakfast, feeding the cat, out the door. Taking the fastest route I’ve mapped out to my destination. I’ve been wondering though, how much more creative could I be during the day if I didn’t worry about the most efficient morning and instead focused on the most beautiful? Waking up earlier so that I can take the time to see the beauty on my way to work? I’m actually fortunate, in that the quickest route to work for me is also a very beautiful one, but when I’m rushing along it, I’m not always taking the time to soak up its beauty. Wouldn’t seeing the beauty in the morning help my creativity during the day?

We live in such a hurried culture. Why is it so hard to slow down? To “stop and smell the roses?”

While googling the exact definition of the word “efficient,” I came across this Wikipedia page, with this quote, “Efficiency is doing things right, while effectiveness is doing the right things.” It struck me at how parts of my life might be efficient, but are they effective? The question is not am I doing things right, but am I doing the right things?

Just what I’ve been thinking about this morning. Here is an interesting article from several years ago on the struggle between efficiency and creativity.



Right now in life, I am:

MAKING progress already on my goals for 2015. I made 10 new repeatable patterns in January! (along with a lot of other sketches, ideas, etc…)
COOKING Grits and Grillades (a traditional Creole food, pronounced gree-yahds). I think I’ve developed a new found love for creamy cheese grits. We also made a few beef roasts and then made beef stroganoff, beef stew, roast beef po-boys, and debris fries from the leftovers.
DRINKING water and orange juice.
READING  lots of things. I got a huge stack of new books for Christmas that I’ve wanted to start reading so bad! But I made myself promise to finish up several of the books that I’d half finished before I started any new ones. So this month I finished  Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun and Designing Patterns: For Decoration, Fashion, and Graphics. I did however start reading Simple Abundance (see here) again on January 1. Let’s see if I can stick to it this year!
WANTING to make 2015 a more productive year with my planner sheets. LOVE them already!
PLAYING Taylor Swift’s 1989 album in the car and her Pandora station and Ed Sheeran’s Pandora station while I work.
SEWING nothing, again. However, I did seam rip and wash these gold cloth napkins from West Elm in preparation for a project I want to sew. I just have to gather a few more supplies!
CROCHETING nothing! I crocheted so much in December that I took a little break this month. I need to get back at it though as I currently have a scarf and an afghan unfinished. 
WISHING for great vacations in 2015! We have several exciting trips planned and I can’t wait!


ENJOYING the warm-for-January weather we have been having lately. I hope it sticks around for Mardi Gras.
WAITING to receive my replacement glass for my beloved BKR bottle. I was on my way to check out Courtyard Brewery’s Grand Opening last weekend when I dropped it and it broke. 🙁
LIKING getting to know more about Surface Pattern Design and Fabric Design through these books.
WONDERING why it took so long for me to post an updated House Tour (2 years!).
LOVING these gorgeous fabrics that I bought from my favorite fabric shop back home in December (photo above). They are just so inspiring to me! I can’t wait to make a quilt with them this year!
HOPING that this post might have struck a chord with someone else the way it did with me. 
MARVELING at how much more New Orleans feels like home now that we are established in our church group.
NEEDING to relax a bit. I feel like I’ve been so supercharged at goal-getting this month that I’m left exhausted.
SMELLING the scent of hot glue as I helped decorate Muses shoes!


WEARING my favorite leather boots, of course, but they are looking much better since I just spruced them up with some leather conditioner.
FOLLOWING my favorite TV shows again now that they are back on after Christmas break! I know it is cheesy, but I’m so excited for this season of Hart of Dixie. Also watching: Castle, State of Affairs, Scandal, and Madam Secretary.
NOTICING the peace and stillness and community and friendship at the women’s retreat I attended this month.
KNOWING that “the grass is greener where you water it” in regards to working on your goals.
THINKING a lot about minimalism. This and this. And in relation to home design, this and this. Brings me back to my absolute favorite quote about the home by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” A great resource for becoming minimalist.
BOOKMARKING this blog. How amazing is the treehouse they live in? Or the house in France they did live in!? Amazing! Check this out!
CELEBRATING my new blog design and its new features! This design has been a long-time coming and I’m so happy that it is a better representation of me!
OPENING my new light pad and using it to create some neat illustrations that eventually became a pattern (you can see part of it in the photo above). Notice the cat face and tail underneath the screen. 🙂
LAUGHING at this outtake picture from our Christmas Card pics. Love it. 
FEELING excited for Mardi Gras! The last day of January marked the first real parade of Mardi Gras, Krewe du Vieux, which I watched with Drew and my little sister, Kelsey, who came into town for the weekend!


Click to check out June, July, AugustSeptemberOctoberNovember, and December of 2014.

This is a blog post that I started writing in January of 2014. I never posted it because it never felt finished or “wrapped up” and sometimes I really struggle with pushing “publish” on topics that are so personal and heartfelt. But these same sentiments have been on my mind a lot over the course of the last year. Chalk it up to my goal this year to make my blog content more in-depth.

Warning: this is a long post. Grab a cup of tea and stay a while.


Have you heard about the word-of-the-year trend? Instead of making a list of New Year’s goals or resolutions, you simply choose one word to focus on for the year. I’ve never chosen one before, because I always have bigger/longer/list-ier ideas for things I want to accomplish within the year. You can see my list for 2015, here (along with links to past year’s goals). I would look at that list and never be able to narrow things down to just one word, just one idea.

However, over the past year or so, there has been one word that has consistently been on my mind.


Everyone has heard the word, everyone has something to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my husband, family, job, home, skills, etc. But what has really been on my mind is practicing a heart of gratitude. Not just being thankful for the big, lovely things in your life, but spending each day truly focusing on every little thing you have to be grateful for. Allowing yourself to mentally give those things higher priority over the small, negative little details that can seep into our souls. And being grateful for even the not-so-great life moments. Because we aren’t just made up of lovely, beautiful, happy moments. The not-so-great make us who we are too.

When something bad happens in your day isn’t it so easy to get caught up in it? Let it dictate the rest of your day and control your actions? Let it make you upset/mad/angry. That anger can even seep over into the next day or the next if we let it (or unfortunately for some, can seep into their entire lives making them constantly bitter and angry). It makes us question our overall happiness, our overall blessings.  It is so easy to get caught up in a culture of complaint. We let those negative moments take over our lives, rule our lunch discussions with a friend, control our thoughts and actions, maybe even let them take over our relationships and our marriages. Make us become critical, harsh, and condescending people.

“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still seeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint.”  -Henri Nouwen

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be controlled by every negative thing that happens in my life. Those negative moments can easily overshadow all the wonderful aspects of our lives, if we let them. I want to choose joy. Rejoicing. Gratitude. 

Here is an excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s “Bread for the Journey” that has really stuck with me since I first read it a year or so ago. On the Spiritual Work of Gratitude:

“To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for.  Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.”  -Henri Nouwen

Around this time last year, I was invited through work (I work at a church) to go on their annual women’s retreat. The theme of the retreat was “Rejoice!” and its primary focus was on cultivating a heart of gratitude. One of the lectures from the speaker was about “desert blooms” — otherwise known as happy or positive moments/events/outcomes in life during a period that otherwise looks pretty grim or desert-like. We had to complete an exercise where we wrote down all the “deserts” of our lives — all the big, bad moments, the terrible events and losses, the periods of life that seemed so grim that no good could possibly come from them. Then, on the other side of the page, directly across from our deserts, we had to list our “blooms” — the positive outcomes that had come, even in the midst of hurt and sorrow.

I have to say, this exercise was pretty eye-opening for me. I’m young, so I understandably haven’t been through a plethora of deserts, but everyone has their tough moments. A few examples from my life:

1. My college years. As you might know from reading this blog for a while, college was a rough time for me. I was stressed, exhausted, depressed, overworked, lonely, missed my family and missed getting to always be around for various events, struggled with figuring out what I wanted to do and worried about not being able to study what I wanted, and I also had a slew of health problems, just to name a few. After I graduated (and figured out my health issues!) things got much better, but I had still gotten into the habit of reflecting back on my college years as a “rough time” in life. Through my constant labeling of college as “bad” I had begun to overlook the good things that happened during those years. And a lot of good things happened! Drew and I moved to a new place, got to explore and learn the culture and fall in love with New Orleans, we grew immensely in our relationship because we were so isolated from the rest of our families, we got engaged, got married, and moved into our first apartment together. We also started a business, met a lot of new people, learned a lot of really neat things, and we paved the path that is leading us down our lives/careers today. That is just a few of the good things that happened, and already “my college years” aren’t sounding so bad, huh?

2. The death of my Mamaw. This one has always been particularly hard. I was incredibly close to my Mamaw (read more about her, here) and her death came suddenly and unexpectedly. Since I was only 15 when she died, I really struggled with her death. Not only because I missed her, but because I was too young to have thought to ask her about so much of her life and I had lost my chance. Mamaw didn’t drive, so we had so many activities planned for when I turned 16. Me taking her to her beauty-shop appointments, us going on shopping trips together, none of which were ever realized. Her death lingered with me for years (and still does). I miss her and wish that I’d had those moments with her, to drive her around, to talk with her about her life, to ask her for guidance, about marriage, about tough times. But, this exercise in gratitude made me realize something I had never considered before. Her passing before my Papaw gave me the ability to get to know him, where I otherwise might not have. My whole childhood, I would run into Mamaw and Papaw’s house and dart right past Papaw, who would always be sitting in his recliner in the living room, and run straight to the back of the house, where Mamaw would be in her recliner reading or watching TV. I do have memories with Papaw from my childhood, him telling me stories or letting me help him in the garden, but I really never took the time to chat with him and get to know him until Mamaw passed away and I couldn’t just dart past him to get on with my business. My Papaw’s death last Spring really drove that point home. I’m so grateful for those last 8 years I had with Papaw. To chat with him about his life, to listen to his stories.

I can’t say that I’ve become anything close to an expert in appreciating life’s toughest moments. It is certainly a continual process and it takes time. The last year has been (and continues to be) a really rough time for my family. Important family relationships have been severed and a lot of really deep and irrevocable hurt has been caused. I wish I could see the blooms in this desert. They may not come for years. But, I haven’t let this desert cloud my judgement on my whole life like it did in college. I’m able to see that a lot of other really great things are happening for me to rejoice about.

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. -Psalm 118:24

What gratitude is not: complaint, greed, desire for more, sorrow, depression, negativity. What it is: trust, thankfulness, rejoicing, choosing happiness despite your situation, appreciation, being happy with what you have rather than what you want.

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” -John Milton

Another practice that has helped me to do this, also started at the women’s retreat, is keeping a gratitude journal. I don’t write in it every day, but when I think of it, at least a few times a month, I end my day by writing down the best moments of the day, or the things I am most grateful for in life right then. Sometimes I’ll make Drew do it with me and we’ll talk for a few minutes about our gratitudes. On bad days, it isn’t always easy to come up with a whole list of things you are grateful for. I often don’t feel like listing anything or taking any more time to reflect on the bad day I’ve had. But those good moments are there if you take the time to look for them (it helps immensely to change your attitude on your day!). I find prayer and simplicity are also helpful practices for gratitude. Choosing happiness (and not letting our emotions or situations define us) is a constant battle.

I love this quote by Sarah Ban Breathnach from her book, Simple Abundance, that I’ve been reading lately. I feel like it perfectly sums up why we need gratitude in our lives to really lead happy, joyful lives.

“There are six threads of abundant living which, when woven together, produce a tapestry of contentment that wraps us in inner peace, well-being, happiness, and a sense of security. First there is gratitude. When we do a mental and spiritual inventory of all that we have, we realize that we are very rich indeed. Gratitude gives way to simplicity–the desire to clear out, pare down, and realize the essentials of what we need to live truly well. Simplicity brings with it order, both internally and externally. A sense of order in our life brings us harmony. Harmony provides us with the inner peace we need to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us each day, and beauty opens us to joy.”  -Sarah Ban Breathnach

Here’s to finding the joy in even the worst days.


I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited for 2015! I have some pretty exciting goals and dreams that I plan to work on accomplishing in the new year!

But first, let’s reflect on the past year:

2014 (recap)

2014 was a very productive year! I had some very exciting opportunities and I made major progress on a few big goals of mine!

My goals from last year and how I did at accomplishing them:

1. Better Life Balance. I feel like this is one of those things that you can always be perfecting and I’m happy to say that I think I did a pretty good job on it this year. 2014 was my first full year out of school and the first time that I had to balance my day-job work life with my personal career goals and hobbies/interests. I’ve been able to spend my evenings/weekends exploring graphic and surface pattern design, reading, blogging more than I have in years, doing DIY home/decorating projects (see our office makeover, how we built our 12 ft long double desk, the rooms we painted, our living room gallery wall, and Drew’s dresser makeover), cooking and trying out new recipes, doing more GF baking, painting, crocheting, watching my favorite TV shows, keeping up with my favorite blogs, getting involved in our church group, taking walks, going on date nights, traveling, etc! I feel like I have really worked this year on being healthy in a well-rounded way and making time to nurture my creativity in many different ways.

2. Expand Learning & Education in Different Ways. My main goal with this was that even though I was out of school, I didn’t want my learning process to stop, I wanted to expand my education in different ways. I believe I did a great job of this in 2014! I read more books for fun than I have (ever?). I crocheted two baby blankets, three scarves, several crochet snowflakes, worked on part of another baby blanket and started an afghan throw for our living room using stitches I’d never tried before. I continued to paint, building my body of work, and even exhibiting my art in a exhibition last June, as well as updating my logo and art branding. I joined the New Orleans Lettering Arts Association to build up my calligraphy and hand-lettering skills and I worked on digitizing my hand lettering for various projects (my hand-lettering is on the image above). I worked on getting better at using my Wacom tablet, and I learned a ton of new Adobe Illustrator tricks and so much about Surface Pattern and Fabric Design in Bonnie Christine’s Design Surface Patterns from Scratch online course.

3. Incorporating Exercise into the Everyday. If there was one thing I failed at in 2014, it would be this one. I wish I could say that I have incorporated exercise into the everyday, but in fact, I’m sure I exercised less in 2014 than I did in 2013. I did my Pilates class like normal in the Spring (I’ve been going once or twice a week for the last several years), but this Fall, they wouldn’t let me sign up for it without also purchasing a membership to the University gym that it is a part of. That would have cost me several hundred dollars that we just didn’t have in our budget. I looked into other places, but they are all so darn expensive! Debt pay-off is a priority in our lives right now and I can’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars to exercise. I wish I could get into a good routine of exercising at home by myself, but it is just so hard to have the diligence to do so with so many other things happening! Before it started getting dark so early this Fall/Winter, we did go on occasional outside walks around the neighborhood, which were nice. I need to get better at this!

4. Focus on Our Marriage. This year we’ve started going on date nights almost every Friday night and have made a much better effort at spending quality time together other than just being in the same room on our computers. Having a kitty and spending time together playing with Violet has really helped us “unplug” and spend time together. We also have gotten into a routine of both coming  home from work and talking about our days while we make dinner together. Working on our debt-pay off plan as a team and making significant progress on that as a couple has also really helped strengthen our relationship.

5. Gluten-free Baking. I’m happy to say that I’ve experimented quite a bit with gluten-free baking this year! I’ve nailed down a recipe I really like for Artisan Gluten-free Bread, I’ve made my own All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix, made GF crackers, GF shortcrust, GF Blackberry and Sawdust pies, along with several different types of GF biscuits, rolls, and cornbread. I need to make GF doughnuts next!

6. Debt Pay-Off. In 2013, we paid off Drew’s credit card debt and most of his car. In 2014, we made the final payments on Drew’s car and paid off all the student loans in Drew’s name (over $26,000 worth!). In 2015, we only have the student loans in Drew’s parents’ names left to pay off!

7. Consistent Branding and New Opportunities. When I first wrote this down as a goal, I had in mind opening an Etsy shop to sell my artwork, but along the way, my plans changed a bit and I started down a road to another creative goal I’m really excited to achieve! In 2014, I worked on painting more artwork (some of my best work yet), experimenting with techniques I’ve wanted to take time to explore (mixed media paintings on fabric as well as canvas), and was able to show my work in an exhibition. Along the way I updated my art and design branding and website and I started working on updating my blog design and branding (look for the reveal in 2015!). I also worked on improving my hand-lettering, digitizing it and using it on artwork and in design projects, and started to learn calligraphy, joining the New Orleans Lettering Arts Association. One of the most exciting opportunities of 2014 however, was taking Bonnie Christine’s Design Surface Patterns from Scratch course, learning so much more about how to achieve my dream of being a Surface Pattern Designer, and on top of that, getting to meet Bonnie Christine and attend Quilt Market! I also designed my first repeatable patterns!

2015 (goals)

I’m so excited for the things in store in 2015!

My goals for this year:

1. Surface Pattern Design. I’m so ready to turn my dream of being a surface pattern designer into a reality! I’m confident that there are great things in store for this in 2015! My goal is to work as hard as I can in my free time designing repeatable patterns! Inspiration for collections, illustrations, and making patterns. I want to design at least two collections (10 patterns each in two colorways for a total of 20 patterns in a collection), but doing three collections would be even better! I want to put together a portfolio of my work to start working towards turning it into a career!

2. Learn to Quilt. I’ve wanted to make a quilt for years! I’ve done some minor quilting-type projects before, but this is the year to actually make a quilt! I got several quilting books for Christmas and I’ve collected the fabrics that I want to use. I need to read my quilting books, study up on the techniques, gather any other supplies I need, and start quilting! I would like to start with a throw blanket size.

3. Blog. I’ve really enjoyed getting back into blogging more regularly over the last half a year or so. I’d love to continue that into 2015 with a more consistent blogging schedule, but more importantly I want to work on better, more in-depth content. Not that recipes and monthly recaps aren’t great, but I want to talk more about creative ideas, share tips/techniques, and really dive into more of the things that I’m passionate about. I also want to reveal my updated blog design this year, with a better about me page, and better and easier to navigate projects and recipes pages.

4. Other Creative Outlets. Just because I’m choosing to focus this year on surface pattern design, quilting, and blogging, doesn’t mean that I want to leave my other creative outlets behind. I would love to continue painting and work on incorporating painting work into my pattern design work. I would also love to continue to get better at hand-lettering and calligraphy. For Christmas, Drew bought me a gift certificate to Melissa Esplin’s calligraphy course, so I definitely plan on improving my lettering this year! I would also love to read more regularly (I got a ton of books for Christmas I need to read!) and continue working on crochet and DIY/home decorating projects when I can.

5. Pay off Debt. Drew and I have done so well at sticking to a tight budget and putting everything we can towards paying off our debt over the past two years. The only debt we have left are the student loans in Drew’s parents names and I would love to be able to pay those off completely in 2015! It is an enormous goal, but I have faith we can make some great progress on it!

Other Areas to Continue Positive Work: Continue date nights and focusing on a more intentional marriage. Continue my gratitude journal. Continue church involvement in our 20/30s group. Work on taking Pilates classes again and continuing to eat healthy, gluten-free meals. Work on relaxation, not over-stressing, and not over-working myself.

Cheers to making great things happen in 2015!

P.S. It is a tradition to share my old year recap and new year goals on here. See here for 2014, here for 2013, here for 2012, and here and here for 2011.


Click to check out June, July, AugustSeptemberOctober, and November.

Right now in life, I am:

MAKING a list of all I want to accomplish in the new year and reflecting on the beauty of 2014.
COOKING spaetzle (Christmas Eve) and roast, mashed potatoes, and veggies (on Christmas Day/Drew’s Birthday). We’ve been eating lots of Chicken Tortilla Soup this month and I made GF Christmas cookies (which are really just my Tart Crust turned into cookies with the filling iced on top! I added strawberries to some too!).
DRINKING hot chocolate (mmm, I want some right now!) and grapefruit essential oil in my water (grapefruit oil is supposed to be an antidepressant, detoxing, an energy booster, good for digestion, and aids in easing anxiety, bad moods, irritation, and stress — among other things). I also made Wassail for the first time this Christmas!
READING  Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing and Design and Designing Patterns: For Decoration, Fashion, and Graphics. I got lots of new books for Christmas! I better start reading faster!


WANTING to have a quiet, relaxing, day off to ring in the New Year.
PLAYING Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud. And lots of Christmas music this month, of course. This sweet song has quickly become a favorite.
SEWING nothing this month, but I have a sewing project that I want to tackle in December January! It involves these gold cloth napkins from West Elm.
CROCHETING snowflakes for our Christmas tree! Also this scarf, this scarf, and another one too.
WISHING for an organized 2015 thanks to the planner sheets I’ve been designing!


ENJOYING snuggling my sweet kitten as she recovers from her spay. (photo above)
WAITING to receive my gift from my Goody Goody Gift Swap partner. The gift I gave got me painting again!
LIKING all my lovely Christmas gifts! So many great books to read, essential oils to use, art/design supplies to play with!
WONDERING what it would be like to take a road trip in an adorable little camper like this one.


LOVING my new kslade made bag! (photo above) It is the Cruiser Crossbody in Saddle (I’ve been eyeing it for months and finally got it on sale after Thanksgiving!). The leather is so luscious and I LOVE my gold monogram (you can see that here).
HOPING that this post might have touched some hearts that feel the same way around Christmas time. 
MARVELING at the fact that this month marked 4 years since Drew and I got engaged!
NEEDING to refresh, recharge, and gear up for a great 2015. I’m seriously so excited about what 2015 will hold!
SMELLING the lavender essential oil that I added to the coconut oil I rub on my legs. Great for dry, itchy skin!


WEARING lots of warm, chunky sweaters and my favorite leather boots!
FOLLOWING along and singing Christmas Carols in Jackson Square. Too bad we got there too late to get a program and a real candle!
NOTICING the beauty in the discarded.
KNOWING this“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.” –Neil Gaiman
THINKING about productivity and work-flow and scheduling and how I’m going to accomplish all my personal goals next year while also working full-time!


BOOKMARKING lots of creative business and blog advice as I think about where I want my career to lead!
CELEBRATING a wonderful Christmas! Filled with love and joy and family and kitten snuggles. (see photos above and another here and here)
OPENING lots of gifts from family and friends!
LAUGHING at this crazy little cat.
FEELING grateful for this year’s accomplishments and excited and ready to start a new year. I love this time of the year! Doesn’t it just seem so refreshing and exciting!?

peace with background bokeh

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to put together the Advent devotional book that the church I work at produces every year. It is a really amazing resource filled with devotions written by members of the congregation. This year, I was asked to write a devotional for one of the days, one that I thought I would also share with you here. It echos a similar holiday sentiment to what I wrote about on this blog four years ago, here.

As a child, Christmas Eve was magical. My sisters and I would spend the day being the honorary “present wrappers” for anyone who needed last-minute gifts wrapped. There would be a fire in the fireplace, Christmas music on the radio, and my mom would be in the kitchen cooking up our favorite spaetzle recipe. Once our bellies were full and all presents were wrapped, we would pile in the car to head up the road to my Mamaw and Papaw’s house, where homemade sweets, warm hugs, and piles of presents my shopping-loving grandmother had carefully chosen were waiting for us. Still to this day I have never met a better shopper than my Mamaw – she had an amazing ability to pick out things you never knew you wanted, but ended up loving and treasuring for years.

When I was fifteen, my Mamaw unexpectedly passed away in her sleep one September night. Since then, Christmases just haven’t been the same. My family has grown up, grown apart, and formed individual families of our own. Christmas has lost a bit of its sparkle. I know the real reason to celebrate is one of joy – the wonderful birth of our Lord and Savior – but no matter what, every Christmas Eve, a tinge of sadness still comes over me, not at the loss of the enchantment that Mamaw’s gifts used to bring, but because it is another Christmas Eve to put childhood memories behind me and move on without my Mamaw.

Prayer: Lord, today we pray for those who are going through tough times during this Christmas season- dealing with the loss of a loved one, changes in family or traditions, or for any other reasons for experiencing grief during this otherwise joyful time. Help us to find the joy and peace that only You can bring. Amen.

Christmas is generally a wonderful and joyous time. But it can also be a time of hurt and heartache. Many are struggling through difficult times during this season. Dealing with health issues, family dramas, financial problems, the loss of a loved one, endless sources of stress and sadness.

But we also have hope. We have the ability to have peace. I ask that this Christmas season, amidst all the hustle and bustle and joy and merry-making, you say a prayer for those who might be struggling for whatever reason. Pray that we all find the joy and peace that only God can bring.

“I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.” -John 14:27