Waiting for Perfection

I’ve been away from this blog for WAY too long. I’ve missed it. I realized that I need an outlet where I can just write and talk about ideas and emotions and passions. And I realized this morning WHY I abandoned the blog so completely. I am always just waiting for perfection.

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I started to edit and work on behind-the-scenes photography stuff this morning when I realized I should be cleaning my office instead. It has turned into an absolute WRECK over the past months. There are random things EVERYWHERE — it’s basically become a large closet for, well, pretty much anything we don’t have a spot for — and it’s chaotic. It’s impossible to feel truly focused in here because my eyes are just jumping around the room — there’s a swim schedule on my desk, a box of wedding dresses on the floor, books scattered everywhere, loose pens, Post-It notes practically raining down on me, reusable shopping bags, half empty Poland Spring bottles, extra rolls of toilet paper, empty boxes with the styrofoam still in them, a folded up yoga mat. You get the idea. How do I expect to be motivated to do anything in here when my brain can’t settle?

The problem is that I’ve been holding off because I have this very specific vision for how I want my office to look and I knew that cleaning it really wouldn’t do anything to accomplish that vision. It needs to be painted, furniture needs to be assembled, things need to be purchased, photos need to be hung. It’s completely illogical, but I wanted to wait until I could do it right. An honorable goal, but one that ultimately delays my happiness, and where’s the sense in that? Why have beautiful photos sitting in a pile on my desk when they could be hanging on the wall for me to smile at? While it’s true that I may move them someday, I’d rather have them on the wall in the “wrong” spot than gathering dust in a corner.

That’s what happened to this blog, too. I had a period of time when I could devote the kind of energy and effort into maintaining this blog the way I ideally thought I wanted to. I was keeping a schedule, I was taking new photos, I was creating unique content and… I got lost. I made things so rigid that there was no more room for spontaneity, for passionate entries, for streams of consciousness, for bursts of photos or words or songs. When I realized I couldn’t make it perfect, I gave up entirely and abandoned it. Every day I would see the schedule sitting on my desk — stuck at March 1st — and I’d cringe. The thought of catching up was too daunting, and it was all just a reminder that I had gotten off track, making me feel ashamed and disorganized. I was waiting for perfection.

But that’s not really what I want. Things are rarely perfect, and the best things in life never are, at least not in the stereotypical sense of the word. I would rather do things the way I want, the way that makes me happy and makes me feel creatively stimulated and fulfilled and inspired, rather than letting all of these feelings of guilt and inferiority pile up around me. I would rather write in this blog when I am inspired to, when I am truly jolted to write, rather than stick with a rigid schedule that keeps me locked in a box. I would rather add an entry once or twice a week and let it be “imperfect” than not write at all while I grasp in vain at this completely fabricated perfection. And that’s what I intend to do!

Wishlist Wednesday! #14

It’s been a few weeks, but welcome back to WISHLIST WEDNESDAY! I’m trying to get back on top of blogging throughout this increasingly busy time of year… hopefully I can keep it up. :)

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#1 Sriracha Mustard from EvolutionaryFarms ($9). There’s not much more I love than Sriracha and mustard… so combine the two and I’m in heaven! I’d spread this shit on EVERYTHING.

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#2 Camera Planter from Brooklyn Global ($39). I desperately need more plants — especially succulents and cacti — in my office (and my whole house), and what would be more perfect than a camera-shaped planter? Love this!

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#3 Mint Resin Ring with Rose Gold Flakes from daimblond ($29.57). These resin rings are so unique looking, and I love the combination of the cool mint resin with the rose gold flakes… stunning!

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#4 The Truth is Out There Sweater from Slimenstein’s Mad Science Supply Co. ($25). This is just… perfect. What else can I say?

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#5 Oversize Gold Paper Clip Desk Organizer from Gallivanting Girls ($16). I would LOVE to have this amazing organizer on my desk — office perfection!

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#6 Tone it Downtown Dress from ModCloth ($49.99). This soft, dusty blue is gorgeous, and the love the lace detail — now it just needs to be spring so I can wear it without 2098497298 layers over it!

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#7 Cactus Tote from Amelie Mancini ($95). From the cactus print to the leather handle, this is just amazing.

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#8 Anatomical Heart in a Jar from Kiva Ford ($195). I am so in love with this. It would be a perfect addition to my weird little knick-knacks.

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#9 Siren Body Polish from viceandvelvet ($10.44). This time of year I need all the skin help I can get, especially with exfoliating. This body polish has Ylang Ylang, rose geranium, litsea, orange, and patchouli… mmm!

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#10 Golden Palm Leaf Leather Wallet Pouch from kertis ($68). The shape, the pattern, and the colors… all perfection! You really can’t beat black and gold, so don’t even try.

A Mukow Story

I thought it would be interesting to write a blog post about dog ownership since, honestly, it shocked the hell out of me. Mukow was, in a sense, an “accident”. At the time — July 2013 — we had plenty of dogs in the family and had no plans to get one of our own. We actually liked the freedom that was unique to us — my in-laws had a dog, my sister-in-law and her husband had 2, and my brother and his girlfriend had one. We figured we had plenty of dogs to enjoy vicariously whenever we all got together, and then we got to be the ones to go home to a house full of cats who, relatively, didn’t need much of anything from us except their food and water bowls filled, their litter box cleaned, and a good scratch or cuddle. Easy!

Earlier in July, my mom saw a friend of hers — who worked with a lab rescue — post on Facebook that they were looking for foster families. Mom, somewhat randomly, said she’d like to try it out… but they ended up getting enough fosters and didn’t need her. I figured that was the end of it. But later in the month she volunteered again.She didn’t really intend on adopting a dog herself — she went into the whole situation figuring that she’d just like to foster the dog for a few weeks before it found its forever home. Either way, we were kind of excited to have a dog around for a few weeks (my mom lives right across the street from us). When she asked if I wanted to come pick up the dog with her, I enthusiastically responded YES! I had mentioned to Nate how nice it might be to have a dog, but we were pretty firmly in the camp of “we don’t need that kind of commitment or work in our lives right now… or for a long time”. So Nate stayed at home and off we went!

The picking up process was odd, but after speaking with others who have adopted rescue dogs it seems to be pretty normal. We met up in a secluded corner of the Maine Mall parking lot with a few other families to get our mystery dog. We had NO idea what to expect, and I knew that the type of dog we were matched with would determine how well I could convince Nate to keep it — it was all left to fate. The first dog to come out was an itty bitty tan dog with a high-pitched “yip!”… I knew there was no way as I watched it be handed off to a family of 3. The second dog to come out was a maybe 3 or 4-year-old black lab… my heart fell again, since I knew Nate would only entertain the idea of a puppy, but that one was handed off to a couple in their 30’s. I was getting anxious at this point just hoping it would be a good match when they pulled out this 12-week-old pup with huge paws and floppy ears… and put her right in my arms. I melted on the spot. My mom filled out the paperwork while I sat in my front seat with her on my lap as she licked the entire steering wheel. We grabbed up the crate and dog food and headed home.

I knew that, while she fit our hypothetical criteria, the chances were still slim that Nate would budge. He can be pretty stubborn at times and I knew he REALLY didn’t like the idea of adopting a dog at that point in our lives. Though when we pulled into the driveway, he excitedly burst out the door to greet us and I could tell he was excited to see what kind of cargo we came home with. He opened up the back door to see her and his first word was “… fuck” — the reluctant resignation of a man who realized he’s about to adopt a puppy despite his best intentions. But how could he resist this face!?!?

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Mukow the day after we brought her home. Eeeee!

I knew he was already halfway there, but he needed some more convincing. I suggested that mom and I run to the pet store to get her some essentials — a harness, some toys, treats, etc — and he could stay with her and, oh hey, try to think up a name for her while you’re at it! The rescue had named her “Harbour” — that clearly couldn’t stand. So off we went and Nate was left home to bond with her. When we came back he told me he wanted to name her “Moo-Cow” because “she’s black and white, like a moo cow!”. I was actually very hesitant at first, but caved with the agreement that we could spell it a bit more fancy, so we settled on Mukow (which I now LOVE — everyone always laughs when we tell them her name!).

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We brought her to mom’s for her first bath — she shook like crazy the whole time, which she still does in the tub to this day, and then promptly pooped on mom’s bedroom carpet. Yay! The next day mom had to work so she asked if we could spend some time with her so she wasn’t alone in an empty house, and we were happy to oblige. We brought her to our house and played with her in the livingroom, and Nate’s parents came over to meet and snuggle her. She was definitely nervous and unsure of pretty much everything — I remember she would try to lay in weird corners of the room, between the couch and the coffee table, anywhere that didn’t make sense for a puppy to cuddle up for a nap. At some point — maybe an hour into us playing with her — Nate left and went to mom’s to get the crate. When I asked him “does this mean we’re keeping her!?” he stumbled over his words, saying “no, err, this will just be, uh, easier for her… yeah!”. Okay then.

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His parents wanted to know, too — what’s the deal? Are you guys keeping her? What’s going on? Nate finally said he just wanted to know what the process would be like to adopt her… ya know, just out of curiosity. I gave the woman at the rescue a call and found out all the important details. She also let me know that we should decide quickly — she hadn’t posted photos of “Harbour” on Facebook yet and when she did, she’d get snatched up quickly. It only took Nate maybe 5 minutes to say “fine, call her back, tell her we want her!”. It had been less than 18 hours since she came home before we decided that hell yes, she is ours FOREVER.

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Her first official portrait!

It was, in all honesty, a tough adjustment period. While Nate had grown up with dogs, neither of us had ever had our OWN dog that we were solely responsible for. I had only ever had cats growing up, and we had 3 cats together at that point… but, again, cats are so much easier to care for than a dog that it’s completely laughable. I think I knew, logically, that they wouldn’t be the same… but I just WANTED them to be. I wanted her to be a big cat that would just do her own thing and be fairly independent. Holy CRAP was I wrong.

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Those of you who have dogs, or who have had dogs before, are probably thinking “umm, yeah, duh” but I HAD NO IDEA. We spent probably a week taking her outside every 30 minutes or so to pee so we could get her used to the whole process. She peed in the house a few times (not nearly as much as I expected) and pooped in Nate’s room a couple times. She had worms during her first week or two (which is apparently fairly common for puppies) so not only did she have diarrhea (fun!) but we had to get her some medication. We spent a TON of money — it’s like start-up costs for your dog. She hadn’t settled into any kind of routine yet, naturally, so she was high energy and restless ALL THE TIME. We were both working from home then which made it a bit easier, in a way, but oh man… I truly thought I would NEVER have time to myself again. We were EXHAUSTED.

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About two weeks in we had a sobering moment of wondering if we’d done the right thing. It’s hard when you’re in the midst of a tough time to really see anything outside of it. All we knew was that we’d gone from being relaxed and having lots of freedom to suddenly being locked in this seemingly neverending cycle of training and playing and being on the complete wrong page. Our routine still hadn’t solidified and Mukow seemed to be at her most active points at all the wrong times of the day, specifically right after dinnertime (when we normally finally get a chance to sit and rest and watch TV or movies), which is when she would want to run around and play and wouldn’t settle down unless you were actively paying attention to her. We wondered how awful it would be if we brought her back — maybe we just weren’t cut out to be dog parents?

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It was as if the moment we decided “no, there’s no way in hell we’re bringing this sweet puppy back to the rescue, we’re making this work”… everything clicked. We got her routine in place, we started focusing more on training her, and ultimately just having FUN with her. Things settled down and we all got to know each other better. Things started to work, slowly but surely. Having a dog really is establishing a relationship — you don’t know all of their quirks and fears and personality traits yet, but you figure it out. You get to know them. You trust them, and they trust you. They listen to you, they respect you. We realized that, while the adjustment period was hard, we REALLY lucked out with her. She’s very laid-back, she’s quiet (she only barks when she’s outside, unless the mailman decides to walk across our front lawn…), she’s not too clingy, she listens to us (most of the time), and she really behaves, especially when she’s home alone — we’ve NEVER had an issue with her destroying anything, knocking over the trash can, chewing up the couch or our shoes, nothing! She was very easy to potty train and even easier to sleep train — we got rid of her crate just a few months after we took her home and she only whined when she was alone in her crate ONCE (when she had diarrhea and NEEDED to go outside). She’s the best pup in the world.

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And now? It’s been just over a year and a half and we can’t imagine life without her. She brings us more joy than I ever thought possible. She makes me smile countless times during the day — even when I’m away from home and just thinking about her — and gives me at least a few belly laughs every day, too. She’s lively and fun and so smart. She makes me — forces me, sometimes — to get out into nature, even if it’s just my own backyard. She’s made me appreciate the snow and the winter much more, and gotten me adjusted to the cold (even if I don’t love it). She keeps me active, since I am usually throwing her toys for her, chasing her around, or taking her on walks. She keeps us company during the day and she cuddles with us at night. She’s a loyal companion and a trusted friend. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us! So if you’re ever considering getting a dog, or if you’re in the early stages and it’s hard… it will get better. It will get so much better that it will blow your mind.

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Mukow last week — all grown up!

Mukow Monday! #13

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A few days ago Mukow was paid a visit by her friend Ellie, who lives down the street. She hadn’t seen Ellie in quite a while so she was INSANELY EXCITED to play. Ellie loves the snow just about as much as Mukow so they had a blast running around, tackling each other, leaping in the air, and rolling down snow banks (okay, that was mostly Ellie). :)

For the Love of Baths

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If you aren’t already aware, I LOVE BATHS. I don’t take too many during the hotter summer months but during the cooler months and ESPECIALLY during the winter I am in the tub almost daily. I take showers, too, of course, but nothing beats a hot bath on a cold day. We recently renovated our bathroom and part of the re-do was a new tub for me. The old tub was pretty gross and a bit too small. I didn’t expect much, but my husband surprised me with a wonderful, deep Jacuzzi tub. This means that my regular baths are AT LEAST 10 times better, and when I can put the jets on it’s freaking heaven. I always like to have something in the bath to spice it up a bit — bath salts, bath bombs, or even just regular bubbles. They make my skin soft and smooth, make me feel cleaner, and the scent is nice both while I’m in the tub and after I get out. The most common bath salt/scrub/etc scent out there is lavender, and while I’m not specifically opposed, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I MUCH prefer scents on the more fruity, floral, and just plain sweet side. So I’ve collected some amazing items from Etsy to help aid in your bath adventures!

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#1 Yuzu Sugar Scrub Soap Scoops from SweetClementineSoaps ($8.50 for 6). Yuzu is a sort of Japanese grapefruit. It has a tart flavor, resembling that of a grapefruit, with undertones of mandarin orange. I LOVE any kind of citrus-y, orange-y scents and these look so delicious! The sugar scrub soap scoops are supposed to last for several baths/showers as long as they’re left to dry in between — awesome!

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#2 Blueberry Blast Petite Bath Bombs from BahariBlossom ($10.27 for 6). Growing up in Maine I think it’s kind of ingrained in me to love the smell of fresh blueberries, so the idea of soaking in a delicious blueberry-scented bath sounds heavenly. These bath bombs are also sprinkled with Malva flowers which are an excellent emollient.

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#3 Cupcake Bubble Bar from WhippedUpWonderful ($6.99 for a 5oz bar). Not only is this bubble bar ADORABLE, but this is how the seller describes the scent: “Whipped butter, blond sugar cane, Madagascar vanilla and maple.”. AMAZING. One of these 5oz bars should make 3-4 bubble baths so this is an incredible deal!

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#4 Kahlua Bath Bombs from MeliesGarden ($4 for a 2.5oz bar). I absolutely LOVE kahlua — I’ll drink the store-bought stuff but nothing beats my sister-in-law’s recipe. Soaking in a tub with the classic coffee rum scent with a hint of vanilla… siiigh!

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#5 Earl Grey Bath Bomb from DavisMain ($5 for a 5oz bar). What’s wrong with wanting to sound like Captain Picard as I ready my bath? “Bath. Earl grey. Hot.”

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#6 Herbal Garden Body Scrub from ambrebotanicals ($31.59 for 200mL). While I am mostly drawn to sweet and floral scents, I do also love a nice clean herbal scent. This body scrub — meant to gently remove dead skin cells revealing clean, fresh skin — has the aroma of pure eucalyptus, basil, and lemon essential oils. I wouldn’t mind being super smooth AND smelling like a delicious herb garden!

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#7 Pumpkin Pie Milk and Oatmeal Bath Soak from pldbody ($12.50 for 8oz). Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite things in the world, so combining that comfortable, homey scent with a hot bath is just awesome. This is a sort of combo bath salt/soak, combining Epsom salts with both dry milk and oatmeal. So nourishing!

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#8 Hibiscus Lotus Herbal Blend Bath Tea from HerbalHeritages ($8.66). I just love the idea of a bath tea — you even put your desired portion in a small muslin bag to soak just like a tea bag would. This particular blend has lotus bath salts, vanilla bath salts, hibiscus flowers, lavender, and chrysanthemum, and it sounds delightful.

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#9 Ginger Lime Bath Bombs from theblacksheepsoapco ($5). I absolutely LOVE the scent of lime — so refreshing and rejuvenating — and when you add ginger you’ve got an awesome party!

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#10 Coconut Milk Bath Soak from HerbivoreBotanicals ($16 for 6oz). It’s no secret how incredible coconut oil is for… well, everything. It’s moisturizing, cleansing, antibacterial, and it’s incredible for your skin. That’s the base of this 100% all-natural bath soak, so it will leave you feeling soft and smooth and smelling like coconut and vanilla. Perfection!

Mayberry Cemetery | Windham, Maine

A while back my friend Devon and I explored some cemeteries around Windham, Maine. One of the spots on our route was Mayberry Cemetery. As usual I couldn’t find a whole ton of information on it, but it was an interesting one — lots of newer graves (within the past 15-20 years or so) but some old ones as well. It’s always odd to me when cemeteries are snuggled right in between houses — there were houses on either side of it and one directly across the street. But it was a fun one to explore.

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Etsy Loves! #15

Welcome to ETSY LOVES! This week’s theme is DIAMONDS. I went a little more loose with the interpretation here because, really, I’m not crazy about diamonds in the more traditional sense. The only piece of jewelry I own with actual diamonds in it is my engagement ring (and I haven’t worn it in years). That being said, I do love more raw and unusual jewelry pieces with diamonds included, and I love the general “diamond” shape, so… enjoy this pretty awesome collection. :)

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First row, from left: Minimalist Ring from fifthheaven ($36) | Custom Laser Cut Acrylic Diamond Ring from emikoshop ($8) | Herkimer Diamond Gold Necklace from friedasophie ($45) | Diamond Wooden Shapes from phings ($6) | Second row, from left: Diamond Light Bulb from LightwithShade ($28.99) | Diamond Shaped Turquoise Ring from LamFaTiTa ($16) | Gold & Pink Diamond Cupcake Toppers from Pelemele ($7.61 for 10) | Cement Diamonds from PASiNGA ($18.24 for 6) | Third row, from left: Geometric Necklace from WildThingStudio ($55) | Herkimer Diamond Ring from friedasophie ($98) | Diamond Vinyl Stickers from sandraculliton ($6 for 6) | Gold Dipped Tiny Diamond Studs from MinimalVS ($20) | Bottom row, from left: Diamond Cookie Cutter from Printmeneer ($5.87) | Concrete Diamond from PASiNGA ($25.36) | Kaleidoscope Glasses from Auroravizion ($29.90) | Raw Diamond Ring from ChristinaRoseJewelry ($68)

Wishlist Wednesday! #13

Welcome to WISHLIST WEDNESDAY! Things were crazy around here last week and I totally missed it, so I was excited to make up a list today. It’s a good one, as always, and somehow I was able to limit myself to only TWO cat items. ;)

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#1 Vintage Brass Pineapple Trinket Dish from thewhitepepper ($34.50). I love brass figurines. I love trinket dishes. I love pineapples. A match made in heaven!

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#2 Modern Mushroom Wall Clock from decoylab ($70). This is just the cutest little clock I’ve ever seen!

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#3 Mug Card from amyawalters ($3.96). I have a pretty awesome mug collection of my own (photos coming soon!) so having a card with a mug collection on it would be some kind of Inception awesomeness.

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#4 Lace Racerback Tank Top from RogueMinxClothing ($100). I am all about clothes being simple, basic, and easy to layer and combine… but I also want them to be pretty! This racerback tank is the best of both worlds… a basic white, flattering cut, and looks comfortable, and the lace is SO stunning!

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#5 Wildflowers & Honey Bath Bomb from FormularyFiftyFive ($6). There’s not much I love more than lounging in a hot bath, especially during the winter. Add a bath bomb (especially with such a delicious scent!) and I’m in heaven.

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#6 Ice Cream Cone Pillow from shannonbroder ($40). I’m pretty sure ALL of my pillows should be shaped like delicious foods or adorable animals, and this would be a good start!

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#7 Cat Return Address Stamp from nativebear ($55). I don’t send a whole lot of snail mail these days — I used to weekly for my business but have switched to all digital — but I think if I had an amazing cat return address stamp I’d find an excuse to send things. ;)

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#8 Cat Stud Earrings from fazjewelry ($20). These are just the cutest freaking things. I believe she does custom projects as well (using photos of your animals!) which would be AMAZING — I need some Mukow earrings!!

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#9 Salt Water Outer Bank on It Sandals in Red from ModCloth ($39.99). I’m just going to pretend that it’s NOT February, the ground is NOT covered in roughly eight thousand feet of snow, and it’s NOT a mere 28 degrees outside right now while I lust over these gorgeous things.

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#10 Kimchi Blue Scarlett Fit + Flare Dress from Urban Outfitters ($69). This is such a simple and gorgeous black dress (with a more intricate back!) and I want to fill my closet with about 80 of them. You can do SO MUCH with a black dress and once spring hits I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing them 90% of the time!

Coffee with Gray

If you don’t already know, Gray is my (super awesome) brother. This was weeks ago at this point but we went out for coffee and breakfast at the West End location of Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland. The building itself was built in the 60s and was a gas station and a laundromat before being reincarnated as an amazing bakery with delicious beverage options. I got a cheddar jalapeño scone (which I am still drooling over) and some delicious herbal tea, and Gray, of course, opted for coffee. The ambiance is perfect — very Portland — and the space is just so cool, with delicious drinks and bakery items to boot. I’ve been looking for some new spots to add to my roster of coffee shops and cafes to frequent with clients and Tandem made it on the list for sure.

The view from the outside… aka me spying on my brother from afar. A-ha!

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Gray’s coffee (with lots of cream)…

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My amazing scone.

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Can you tell we enjoyed it?

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Gray’s a good photographic subject. He’s been in front of my camera for YEARS so it doesn’t phase him much anymore.

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I just love the progression of these photos. Talking, talking, and then realizing that I’m laughing behind the camera and glaring at me. :D

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