The strangest thing happened today, and I just had to share it with you. Around 4 this afternoon I decided I had to spend some time outside because it was so beautiful out. So I took my book and a blanket and headed to the backyard. Normally when I go out to read I drag the blanket into the grass, but post-rain the grass was really high and, I figured, hiding lots of bugs. So I laid the blanket on a patch of patio and started reading there.

After a while I put the book aside and just looked up at the huge tree I was sitting underneath. It’s our big walnut tree, the one that drives me crazy when it starts dropping nuts. But it had just started leafing out, and against the blue, blue sky it was looking so pretty. It reminded me of living in the mountains – how blue the sky was. How much I used to savor my walks outside. It was one of those stop-and-smell-the-roses moments. Really nice.

After an hour I had to go back inside and get ready to teach my Nia class. A while later Mike came home from work. He went into the back yard to check out the garden, but he came back right away. He asked me if I had noticed that a branch was down (because it was also really windy today). I said no, but I’d heard some noises that I thought might have been banging doors or something. Well, it turns out a huge branch fell off of that tree, the one I was sitting under. It fell right where I had been sitting. If I had still been there, it probably would have hurt me.

Weird, right?

I don’t believe in signs, and I don’t even know what something like that would mean. But it’s a hell of a coincidence.

Loving: mellow songs

iTunes Genius pointed me to two songs that I have been playing over and over lately:

“You May Be Blue” by Vetiver
“Cello Song” by the Books

Sometimes the genius really is genius.

Wedding details

In reading way too many wedding blogs, I’ve come to the conclusion that all modern weddings must contain these elements:

-Flowers in bottles, jars, or other found objects
-Cruiser bikes
-Mustaches on sticks
-Cupcakes or macarons
-Letterpress paper goods
-Dresses from Anthropologie
-Fabric flags
-Chuck Taylors

There are definitely these moments as bride-to-be when you have to take a deep breath and remind yourself that nobody will care if you don’t have lollipops and paper umbrellas. But it is hard, with all those adorable inspirations out there, to ask yourself what you really want your wedding to look like. What is our style? What is important to us and our friends and family? For me, DIY elements are very important. That’s just who I am. But there will be no letterpress, and probably no macarons. And that’s okay.

There will be Chucks, though. And they are so freakin’ cute.

Loving: Fed up with school lunch

Have you read this blog? It is amazing.

Obviously this doesn’t affect me much since I don’t have children to worry about, but I think for the greater good we should all be concerned about how our tax money goes for kids to eat highly processed foods with very little actual nutrition.

Growing up I remember liking our elementary school lunches a lot. If you didn’t want what they were having that day, you could get a hamburger (which I believe was actually vegetarian) or go through the salad bar. I’m sure a lot of it was mixes and frozen chicken nuggets, but it wasn’t that bad. But in middle school, you could also come for breakfast, and if you didn’t want to eat the regular breakfast, you could have cookies instead. Everyone I knew ate the cookies. For breakfast.

In high school it was seriously uncool to eat school lunch so everyone brought their own. Or you could leave campus and go out to eat. But on Fridays they had Papa John’s pizza and Subway subs, and sometimes I had that. We definitely had pop machines, and there was some kind of business class that ran a snack stand in the cafeteria.

I only took one cooking class in school, and the only things I remember making were cream puffs and cinnamon twists. So when I think about it, it’s a pretty mixed message to preach about nutrition to kids but not actually give them any. I hope things are getting better on this front. My sense is that the tide is turning.

I fight the convenience vs. health battle everyday, and I know it’s tough. But I think we can do better.

Mama needs a new bike

As much as I love my hybrid bike that I’ve had for years and years but only recently started putting miles on, it’s just not quite right for me anymore. All the people I ride with have road bikes, and quite frankly, I’m tired of getting smoked.

So, does anyone have any suggestions on how/where to find the bike of my dreams? I live pretty close to a great bike shop, and I plan to go and look at both new and used options. However, I know how easy it is to get sucked into buying a $1,000 bike when you don’t really need one…

Introducing: a vintage blog

I may have lost my mind completely, but I decided to start another blog devoted to my growing passion for vintage items. Over time I hope it becomes a resource both for people who are interested in collecting and selling vintage items, and for people who just want to incorporate them into their decor.

It’s called Vintage Lives On, and you can find it here:

I would also like it to be a showcase for what’s possible as far as taking old items and making them new again. Other sites like Design Sponge and Young House Love do a good job of that, but I’m sure they get overloaded with submissions.

So, please stop by if you get a chance. I have a few posts there already, and I plan to update it often.

Off to Minnesota

It’s cold and icy and miserable, so where are we going? Northern Minnesota!

I know it seems crazy, but we go every January because it’s a true getaway, from the phone, computer, TV, everything. And it’s a different kind of beautiful up there in the winter. So I will be on a blogging break until next week. Take care of yourselves.

How to eat a pomegranate

I tried soaking a pomegranate in water to see if that would make it easier to get apart, but it didn’t make any noticeable difference to me.

What I do is peel some of the skin off and then take out one chunk at a time and pluck out all the seeds. That way I can sort out the bad ones as I go and have a neat little pile of seeds. I can’t believe how much is left at the end!

One pomegranate is really more like 5 servings of fruit. It takes a while to separate all the seeds, but it’s worth it. If you haven’t had pomegranate seeds before, they’re sweet, tart, and have a crunchy seed in the middle like raspberries.

I just like to eat the seeds plain, but you can use them as a topper for cereal, yogurt or oatmeal. Or they’re really good in a cocktail. You can squish ’em up to get the juice out. Just be careful because it really stains.

And just like that, it’s winter

It’s sort of the calm before the storm. We’re supposed to have 8-12 inches of snow, followed by crazy gusts of wind that turn it into a blizzard. I was telling Mike I can’t remember there ever having been an actual blizzard here. Although there have certainly been a lot of nasty snowstorms since I’ve lived in Iowa. I just can’t remember a time when it was so bad that you couldn’t really leave the house if you wanted to. Let’s hope it doesn’t get that bad. But if it does, I might not mind staying in with a cup of tea so much.