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Loving: Anthropologie’s Decor

14 Oct

Every time I visit Anthropologie, I get lost fantasizing about my whimsical, rustic, quirky alter-ego life. I tend to visit when I just need a does of inspiration and browsing never fails to stir the creative juices in a way that few other brick and mortar retail stores do anymore.

Above is a display that stopped me in my tracks earlier this spring — those are cut balloons made to look like flowers dripping down a wood hutch. I mean… I am dying. I snapped this pic not so I could blog about the Anthro store displays, but so I could try to recreate this some day in a little girl’s room or future nursery.

Years and years ago, I remember seriously considered becoming a visual merchandiser and it was largely because of the feeling I got when I shopped in their stores. Although their catalog doesn’t speak to me quite as much as the in-store experience does, I’m continually impressed and inspired by the creative displays and whimsical decor each time I walk through.

If you haven’t been inside an Antro, my favorite time is year to visit is usually right around the beginning or December when the holiday displays go up. Each Anthro store interprets a concept set by corporate so you’ll see different interpretations at different stores which makes shopping all that more fun.

Book Challenge Update

10 Oct

GO DOWNLOAD THE APP SERIAL READER. I’m very much a traditionalist when it comes to reading — I love the weight of a book or newspaper in my hands. Yet, I loved the freedom my Kindle afforded me a few years ago, particularly once I downloaded the Kindle app onto my phone. I only stopped using it because figuring out how to freshen up my reading list required an amount of technical effort I preferred to devote to perusing the stacks at the public library — or Barnes & Nobles, where I’d go for my library request list inspiration. All for free. Muahaha.

But there’s a new (free) app that I’m in love with that is helping me tackle some of the weightier “classics” on my #26bookchallenge bucket list that I’ve had trouble diving into with the same zest I might dig into a beach read, which is exactly why the developer created this app.


The idea is simple: bite-sized bits of the classics, delivered in daily installments for you to devote 10 minutes to, every day. With a paid version, which I upgraded to for $2.99 — because I was so in love with this concept and thought the interface was beautifully designed — you can even read ahead if you wish, which I often find myself doing.

Considering that the Skimm is my go-to source for a quick rundown of all the must-know happenings of the world (it’s an easily digestable, Twitter-era language breakdown of the news sent by email and usually requiring, at most, 4-5 minutes to read/skim and I am their #1 fan. Obviously.)

I just started installments of George Elliot’s Middlemarch, which I recently read described as one of the truest, most incredible books ever written. So far, so good. I might even pick up my Kindle again, who knows.


New Perennials for the Garden

10 Oct


When I started buying plants for our garden last spring, I focused largely on perennials. Plants need time to establish in the garden before the harsh winters we have here in New England (we’re in hardiness Zone 7). I hadn’t planned to pick up any more, but as the temperatures have plunged these past few weeks and mums have taken over at garden centers, perennials have been moved to clearance so I scooped up a few new goodies that I’m really excited about. Both are very heat-resistant which is great since we had scorching late July temps this past summer. Now I just need to get my spring bulbs in before the first frost and we’ll be in good shape. Well, except for the damn grass we still need to seed AND the raised beds we need to build.

Stachys Officinalis — (Common Name: Wood Betony, ‘Humelo’ — details here
Something I’ve been slow to truly grasp as I’ve begun to put in our garden is how important it is to consider the “bloom time” for perennials. I last read about this when I was planning my wedding since the flowers that can be most easily sourced are those that are “in season.” A lot of beloved flowers, like tulips and peony, are spring-flowering, spanning a month or two at most. It’s a wonderful reminder to enjoy every precious moment drinking in the gorgeousness of your spring display, but it has also taught me to really appreciate those rare, long-blooming perennials like Wood Betony, which blooms July to September.

Agastache “Heatwave” (Common Name: Anise Hyssop) details here
heatwave3Probably my favorite perennial purchase of the season for so many reasons. First, I love the scent of the leaves. I never understood the value of foliage that released fragrance only when brushed — how often am I going to be out touching my plants, you know — but catching a whiff of anise as  I’m out weeding or mulching or deadheading near my Hyssop makes me so happy. Next, the flowers are stunning. I’ve always loved the cottage-y effect that salvias give a garden but the flowering season is so short, so Hyssop makes a great alternative. Left untouched, it will mound itself in it’s place and grow rather large, too, so it’s a great garden filler and major butterfly, hummingbird and bee-attractor.

ruby-throated-hummingbirdRelated side-story: Let me just share that I’d never seen a hummingbird in the wild until this summer when I happened to catch one whirring in front of the red “Bee Balm” my mom transplanted for me when I was out on the patio one morning. I felt like I was watching a fairy, it’s wings barely visible and it’s body so exquisitely tiny and delicate. It was absolutely magical.