It’s already August?!  Inspiration for the end of summer

I can’t believe that it is already July 30. Or August 7. Where did the summer go?! I’ve spent what seems like weeks shuttling myself and children to doctors offices (nothing wrong, just getting in everything that we hadn’t done while living in London – orthodontist visits, ENT, dermatologist etc. it seriously never ends). August is on track to be more of the same. Throw in horse camp, a week in Alaska, finishing the renovation, finally moving into our house, and school starting; we are already into September.

Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.

The fun things of summer:

The house is somewhat finished, and while it hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as we wanted, it will be beautiful when it is finished (because I will make sure of it!). Focusing on the positives, or at least trying to, and once we move in (um in two days), our household goods from London will be here, and we will be able to try to get a little bit more organization into our lives. And I will have access to ALL of my books and ALL of my clothes again. Yay!

55a794173926a076e57eb33f146173b8.jpg

Alaska. We have only been talking about to Alaska since we first moved to Seattle 5 years ago. The one slight hiccup is we get back from Alaska on Monday and school starts on Wednesday. Both kids will miss their orientations at school, and both schools will be new to them. Not the best timing but when you book a year in advance, things happen.  I’m laughing now because right before we decided to do the cruise, The Husband asked if we should get the travel insurance in case we had to change the date. I said nah…. hindsight, you know?

3a116884945f870924f1ffd3f36fc015.jpg

Still, it’ll be an awesome trip, and we are doing a helicopter tour to a glacier hike, and as much as the thought of voluntarily getting IN a helicopter terrifies me, I’m. Doing. It.

Because:

837c6fe1fd8ac905e65d569bee9f44b6.jpg

I’m very excited to see something along those lines in person. Plus an entire week with:

63414d2cd2ee18ad2bff571d72720624.jpg

…who we all know is my true love. Mickey Mouse & Alaska & a week of someone else doing the cooking and cleaning: PURE BLISS. The Husband and I are looking forward to having a week off from all the craziness that has been going on the last month or so.

In other news, I finally found a barn to ride at (YAY!) and I cannot wait to get my horse on. When I dropped the Chick off at horse camp this morning, I really really wondered if they would notice if I just snuck into a stall for a few hours. (I’m sure they would have.)

And it was also a reminder of just how big horses are – giGanTiC – and how little my girl is…

23c2e029107dae85d9601439cf3ffd04.jpg

This will probably be me (since I haven’t ridden in three years…

c6d72ddb917d82aa19e8498a66dfa5bb.jpg

I did pick up a copy of the US Pony Club Book of Horsemanship so I can refresh the basics like how to hold my reins, pick a hoof, and generally sit a horse (I kid…) I am also considering getting two of these shirts for the Chick and myself.

32c219ac853f010e31a01c10271fe260.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s the summer in a nutshell. Next week (or after) I’ll probably bore everyone with house pictures. But you can check my Instagram for sneak peeks of where we are at. It’s the home stretch (thank goodness).

What have you been up to this summer? Anything fun?

*all images from Pinterest 

I want to love you, but I don’t

For me, shopping ethically is important. Over the last year I have made a conscious effort to think about what I am buying and decide if that companies principles are the same as my own. It has prevented me from buying from places that I know are not supplying ethical/fairly made clothes and items.

I feel good about that.

But here’s the catch.

None of the items I’ve purchased have been home runs. Some have been returned because of defective quality, or unflattering style (and most companies charging you $10 or more for the privilege of returning an item). Others I have kept with the nagging in the back of my mind, that I’m keeping it because I want to support what I think is right, even if the item for me, is wrong.

It’s very frustrating. I’m not sure if it’s because I am petite at 5’5 {generally wearing size xs/0}, or that I simply have to order online as most ethical clothing lines are only online {at least in my price bracket, I am not willing to buy the $145 Elizabeth Suzann t-shirt sold in a store}

So what happens? I order from places where I know the sizing fits, and I know the quality will be good, and that their values are at least not in the same category of H&M. I don’t feel great about it. I don’t like it.

I really hope companies who produce ethically made clothing will start to moderate their pricing. I want fair wages and safe conditions for workers, but if you mark a t-shirt up to $88, you’re only reach the rich and not the middle class who would love to follow your example, but who cannot afford it. {Forbid you end up with a stain on a $145 t-shirt! A $45 t-shirt is bad enough} Marking up the cost because ethically made is trendy, popular, etc isn’t what the slow-fashion movement is supposed to be about.

If you want people to get on board, and do the right thing, you have to make it more accessible. $40 is reasonable, $50 even. Even at that price I would hesitate (and that is half the point, you should think about the purchase and decide – do you really need it? I get frustrated with others who shop Primark/H&M and literally say they can throw it away when they are finished with it because it’s cheap.)

There is more awareness than there used to be. Companies are starting to realize sustainable fashion IS what consumers want. If we could find a happy medium price-wise, the planet (and the people living on it) might just be in a happier place.

Week Two Stateside

FullSizeRender 8

We are two weeks in to being back in Seattle, and all around, we all feel like we never left. Our neighbors are still the same (with one baby addition), our house is still standing (if a bit less put together than when we left it {annoyed}) and we are loving the life we left. It has been a very busy two weeks:

  • Purchased kayaks and took them for their first test run {LOVE}
  • Finalized all the house renovations {and had to add new paint to the entire inside of the house, thanks to the last two years}, and demo is underway
  • Spent a lot of time driving to the library and checking out hordes of book for the Chick and myself {LOVE x a billion}
  • Rushed to the animal hospital at 11 pm (all’s well)
  • Bought a new car (hopefully picking it up this weekend)
  • and made more trips to Target than I actually expected to (nothings changed)

Even though we’ve been gone two years it really feels like no time has passed. I still remember how to get places (mostly), and I still get annoyed at the traffic, but it just feels So Dang Good to be back here. I think we have all finally found a place that definitely feels like home, and is home. For how often we have moved in the past, if 5 years down the road we were asked to move, I believe it would really be a tough sell {unless the destination was Tahiti…just saying}.

Yep, we love where we live, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

IMG_0889

still waiting for our 4th paddle to arrive, until then the girl gets to let dad do all the work!

IMG_0890

IMG_0888

Color Inspiration

It’s come around to Tuesday again. Already. I’m not sure how that is possible. My kids have one and a half days of school left, two days until we move back to America, and possibly 4 days till I’m sipping an iced coffee by the pool {you have to love temp housing that includes a pool when it’s 90 billion degrees outside}.

I thought maybe I’d post a bit about some very colorful items that have recently caught my eye on Pinterest. With summer in full bloom, it’s hard not to very happy about brightly painted furniture and colorful pieces of art.

I realize this boy isn’t really holding the kids up, but there’s something very fun about it. It reminds me of a blog I used to read where the dad is a photographer and he did all kinds of crazy things with his kids {via photoshop}. One of my favorites was inserting his daughter under a ‘giant’ coffee machine while she opened her mouth to catch a drop. Or his daughter as a firework. There’s plenty of beautiful pictures of his girls just being kids too.

I would love to be able to be this bold in a hallway in my own home.

To make this work I think you need a certain type of house. An older home with the molding to make it more unexpected. Even though it is a dramatic color scheme, I don’t think it would play the same if it were a new home. It would end up looking more modern, instead of the rich tones here.

I’ve had this pinned for years. This chest is fun, bright, unique and would great in a lot of different rooms. From a sports theme to a front foyer, it can kind of go anywhere. {versatile is it’s name}

I wouldn’t even care what movie was showing, I’d just want to go for the decor.

I shouldn’t like the space below because I’ve never found red to be particular restful in a bedroom, but somehow this totally works for me.

This would be an easy place to give directions to; I live in the green house.

I love the dark and soothing soft pale tones in this kitchen. It’s moody and calming at the same time.

The final inspirations I want to share I found while searching for Flor tile examples. I want to create a rug out of Flor tiles for our dining room. Since you can buy individual tiles to create a design of your own making, it would make a very unique look.

Are you finding anything particularly inspiring this week? Let me know!

*to those wondering, our dog is doing great. she hates being confined to her kennel to rest, but who wouldn’t?

Inspiration Tuesday: Art Studio

I am a huge fan of art. My bookshelves, and floor space, and coffee table are filled with art books, books about the art world, art history tomes, and catalogs of most of the major art exhibits I’ve been to here in London (I consider them my souvenirs. The Husband thinks of them as the things that break boxes. Potato, pOtato)

A few months ago, as we were finalizing all the downstairs renovations for our house in Seattle we once again started talking about the different rooms and how we wanted to make better use of them. We have a five bedroom house, and most of the rooms are very generous. We only use three as bedrooms. We used to use the downstairs ‘bedroom’ as an office/exercise room. It would have made a perfect guest room because theres a 3/4 bath right next to it. But it’s right off the foyer and has two big windows (that get fabulous sun) and a glass panel door. It was too painful to see it as a room that only received use 3-4 times a year. {it’s ugly and utilitarian here, and a longer rectangle shape than the picture shows, but have faith!}

55142_13

So the upstairs extra bedroom became the guest room.

55142_22.jpg

And no one went in there. I can’t really blame them either. It is uninspired. Since we only lived in the house a year, we hadn’t done much to the house yet (painted two walls downstairs and that was it.)

The guest room was a wasted room. The kids have a family room upstairs for their hang out space, and we have a downstairs living room for adults to lounge around. This room really didn’t have much of a daily purpose. Since we’ve been in London, The Husband said I should take that room as my art studio, and we would work out storing the mattress and bed frame (since it’s just the free one that came with the mattress), and pull those out when we rarely need them. It is the only room with north facing light (perfect for my painting). I can set up a desk for writing, have plenty of storage space for paints/canvas/fabric/etc, and have still have room for photo shoots for fashion posts.

Can I get an Amen and Hallelujah!?

Immediately I had to pull out this book, Studio by Sally Coulthard and starting flipping through. My Pinterest Art Studio and Art boards are long and colorful and full of ideas.

7a4c8d2231f92963aff5bddf6f9493b3

My mom bought me this painting print for my birthday, and i can’t wait to get it mounted and framed. {I first saw the artist – Samantha French – on YoungHouseLove, and I love her stuff! I also ADORE this artist for a similar theme.}

il_570xN.356886033_h4db

I had thought to put it in the kitchen, but now I’m not quite sure since it’s very inspirational. I love the print and it gives me such a happy feeling looking at it. Since we have such an entirely new look planned for the kitchen, the colors of the painting will look amazing {!!!} in there.

White River granite island counter, white cabinets, with navy island cupboards, grey backsplash subway tiles, and Nero Antratice Lux Pental countertops for the outer U of the kitchen with light grey walls.

If it does go in the kitchen, I have plenty of other art for my studio space. I want to keep it fairly light and neutral, but with lots of art I can rotate in and out to keep me inspired. Of course, I’ll have my fantastic collection of art books that are works of art in themselves. I’m also loving some of these storage ideas to keep everything right at my fingertips.

No matter how the room turns, out I am pretty excited to transform it into my space where I can be in the middle of painting and not have to clean up everything to make dinner (I can just close the door!), or worry about anything being disturbed during while drying, or my supplies being pilfered for someone else use. {looking at you Chick…}

f34d6d77c262155302b902b522b62d3e

My son gave me this book of inspirational quotes from artists for Christmas and I love flipping through it to remind myself that creating art is about me, not about what other people think of it.

This quote sums it up very well.

51c48462d4081761fc0835161b6a3281

About a Dog

It is very strange how much a dog becomes a child. How you would do anything for your pet. Dogs (at least in my experience) are far more difficult to ‘raise’ than a human child, but bring me just as much happiness (even during the dog teen years which seem to last for as long as your dog lives).

 

It’s no secret that moving to London has been very rough on our little mini-dachshund. The noise, not having her own yard at first, getting her in an elevator multiple times a day was interesting, coming across these other things called ‘people’ and ‘dogs’. It was a tough transition those first six months, and even after we moved to a house, some things eased but most things didn’t. She is still skittish at noises, barks at every sound the neighbors make (and with super duper thin walls we hear every sneeze and scream, and every plink of the piano).

But my furry little friend is my best friend. Who else follows you round from room to room, is always SUPER TAIL WAGGING excited to see you, even if you were just gone for five minutes, and wants to pretty much sit on you or be licking your face every.second.of.every.day.

So it’s hard for me this morning knowing my baby is having surgery. She went from a primarily heathy – if neurotic – 6 year old, to a hunched crying in pain dog overnight. She spent six days at one hospital 45 minutes away, and yesterday I had to take her from that hospital to the Royal Mother Hospital an hour and half away. After an MRI last night the dr discovered that she has/d a bulging disc in her neck. That is/was the source of her pain. They are operating on her possibly as I type and I should have news by lunch.

IMG_1930

Family meeting? I’m listening.

My girl is so very, very important to me. It seems silly to some people, she’s a pet!, but to me she is like one of my kids. I feel good about the surgery because her pain should be immediately relieved. She will have 4 weeks of complete crate rest. It will be interesting when you throw in travel 10 hours on a plane to America right in the middle of that. As long as there are no complications, she can fly. Right now there is also a GI issue {sparing you the unpleasant details}, but stress could be the cause (and I want to believe that’s all it is). I’m not even in the hospital, surrounded by strangers, being poked and prodded, and my stomach is full of acid. So I can’t imagine how our anxious little girl is feeling.

IMG_1911

She is 5 kilos of pure crazy dachshund. And she has my heart. If you could spare a positive thought or vibe for her today, I’ll take all the good karma I can get.

Weekend in Oslo

It’s funny how for as much as I travel and see all these places, I don’t seem to blog about them. We were away 3 of the last 4 weekends. Glasgow, Ireland (from Dublin to Galway), and last weekend Oslo. I love traveling. I think it was the main reason I wanted to move to Europe again, so we could see so many different cities. When we were in Germany for four years, I don’t think we traveled as much as we have the last two years living in London. Part of that is because it was The Husband’s job to {literally} travel the world every week for work. By the time the weekend came, he just wanted to be a homebody and maybe wander as far Cologne (25 minutes). We also had 1, then 2 children, 5 and under. Traveling with that set is not exactly the easiest. I really like the fact that I’m no longer the one schlepping their stuff in my bag.

If they want to bring it, they’re carrying it.

Nordic countries have always interested me. Initially, I thought we’d go to Sweden. I’m a big fan of several Swedish things – Wallander, and Volvo – but we ended up choosing Norway instead.

DSC_0086DSC_0098DSC_0113

If I’m honest, Norway looks a lot like the Pacific Northwest/Puget Sound. We went on a cruise of the fjords, and all I kept thinking of was how much it looks like driving from our house in Snoqualmie to downtown Seattle (25 minutes). You cross by the water at Mercer Island, and across the floating bridge. It looks extremely similar.

Either way, no matter where it is or what it looks like, it’s beautiful. We could not have had better weather, 77 F and sunny. We even broke out the sunblock. I continued my love of boats {that would be boats that aren’t ferries on the ocean making me seasick} and pretty much filled the camera with sailboat pictures.

I’ve been sailing exactly twice in my life, when I was about 10, and my best friends dad took us out on his boat.

Loved. It.

And I also have been reading the Wynns blog, Gone With The Wynns, for years. Since they recently completed their first year living full time on their catamaran, I’m obsessed with sailboats {just ask the husband who has caught me numerous times trolling ‘boats for sale’ websites.}

We aren’t getting a sailboat. Kayaks, YES. Sailboats, NO. {MEGA SAD FACE} I have pointed out to the husband many times we live very, very close to the water, and boats aren’t that expensive, and I basically grew up on the water in my parents powerboat.

He then points out how many ferries I’ve turned green on/throwing-up-while-riding-on. Point taken, but yes, crush a girls dreams, ya know? {maybe a boat is my mid-life crisis?}

Anyway, Norway, is beautiful. These little houses are called bath houses and were originally placed at the water so people could swim etc without being seen. They were super cute.

fullsizeoutput_41eDSC_0106DSC_0107fullsizeoutput_41c

One of the things I couldn’t stop admiring is the architecture of Norwegian homes. I love the sloped roofs, the colors, there’s just something wonderful about them.

fullsizeoutput_420fullsizeoutput_41ffullsizeoutput_417fullsizeoutput_416

There are also plenty of modern buildings in Oslo, like the opera house (where you can literally walk all over it, the roof, the sides, etc.).

fullsizeoutput_418DSC_0078DSC_0080DSC_0081

We also went to the Fram Arctic Exploration Museum, Maritime Museum, and Folk Museum (I can’t remember the actual name but they had buildings from the 1300-1990 – some recreated, some original, and told the story of Norway’s people, which was interesting even if a lot of the buildings were closed for repair).

On Saturday we had the chance to see a lot of people dressed in traditional folk dress {this is commonly done for ceremonies; which I think is wonderful}. I only managed phone pictures because I didn’t want to be obvious about it, but seeing everyone from little babies to adults in folk dress was beautiful.

IMG_0507

At the Oslo city hall they were having a Humanistik Navnefest {a Humanist naming ceremony, you can read more about Humanisism here.  I find it really interesting, and took the ‘are you humanist quiz’ and scored 100%!} so there were many, many people dressed this same way. It made me wish America had something similar.

If you ever get the chance to visit Norway, and specifically Oslo, you definitely should. Just pack for every kind of weather and be prepared for the cost. It is exceedingly expensive (2 coffees and 2 slices of cake and 2 ice creams one afternoon was the equivalent of £68), but it is well worth it for the friendliness of the people and the beauty of the place. It is potentially on my top 5 places I’ve ever been, even if I was there for my 40th birthday.