August Highlights

august blog highlightsaugust highlights

1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. |

I’ve been feeling a little silly sketching out Fall posts, pondering pumpkins, trying to firm up my schedule for the new season, and thinking wistfully of how many more cool weather outfits I have than summer-I’d-rather-be-naked-than-wear-clothes-in-this-heat sad outfits I settle on, but with this the last weekend of August, I’m starting to feel like the change is coming: August was giant vegetables and beach weekends, icy treats, back to school to learn new things, and transitioning from a brain on summer-sleep to thinking about real issues. It was hot and busy yet held some pretty fantastic moments and of course, it was the month this new space was launched so in the end August was truly a great month!

I’m a little nervous about what the Fall will hold. I can’t wait for the weather to turn and the holidays to come, (how oh how are we already here!!) but with my schedule getting more tight, I’m trying to work out in my head how to squeeze everything in and I will have to admit that some things just might not fit. Forgive me in advance if it’s occasionally rather quiet here, I think once I have a few weeks behind me, the muddle in my brain will work itself out into a well-oiled machine—but I’m not there yet, it’s still pretty fuzzy and crowded and my brain minions are working some serious overtime to get everything back to a more organized state. I promised myself I wouldn’t print one single syllabus, mark one single deadline in my planner, or give one second of thought to my own looming back-to-school date until after this long weekend is over. I think that’s the difference between undergrad and post-grad. You finally learn where to draw the line between academics and life…but then, school hasn’t started yet so I may be speaking too soon.

Happy three-day weekend everyone! This week also marked the third full week I’ve been at this new space. I honestly haven’t had much time to explore, learn, and tweak a few things, but I’m ok with it. This next year is going to be about juggling and if I have to throw one ball up higher and let it float a bit before catching it again, well, that’s just how it’s going to be. I’m a list-crosser-offer. Seeing strong black lines striking through all my to-do’s is a thing of beauty and when a to-do gets carried over to the next week instead of struck down in the last week *gahhhh!*  it’s truly rather painful. Adaptation I think will be September’s word of the month. I’ve got a whole week of chocolate recipes waiting in the wings and the cutest DIY I’ve done yet so wait and see!

– <3 A. 

Lemon-Lime Granita

lemon lime granitaingredientsgranitaI’m on an Italian kick I guess this month. I found this recipe in my tea party book and thought it sounded perfect for the still-scorching August days. A granita is an Italian dessert made from sugar, water, and whatever flavoring or juice you decide to add. This one mixes lemon, lime, and a hint of basil:

  • In a saucepan, slowly bring the sugar, water, and rinds to a simmering boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  • Add the lemon and lime juices**if you’re using juice straight from the fruit, you’ll have to strain after this step. I used the pre-juiced lemon and lime juice so I didn’t need to strain it**
  • Add the chopped basil
  • Pour the syrup into shallow containers and cover with cling-wrap**I used two pie pans. Don’t pour too much in or it will take forever to freeze!**
  • Check the syrup after an hour and break it up with a fork **sort of like you’re raking the syrup**. Repeat at least two more times to get a pile of little crystals.

I ended up leaving mine in the freezer overnight and the next morning it was still completely usable so if you wanted to make this the night before a party, it would totally work. If your freezer is a little more hardcore and freezes it too hard so you can’t “rake” it into crystals, just pop it in the frig and let it soften a bit. It’s super refreshing and you don’t need a lot of it, granitas are meant to be just a snippet of something sweet after a heavy pasta dish etc. It’s something different from the usual ice cream and it looks so chic served in little bowls–the perfect end to a summer an August night.

lemon lime granitalemon lime granita

– <3 A. 

Last Day of Summer

last day of summervmmv photographylast day of summeredited3editedvmmv photographyvmmv photographylast day of summerSweet, sweet summer, why did you run away so suddenly? Any last remains of lazy freedom from this past weekend at the beach house with my ladies, definitely evaporated instantaneously Monday: there’s nothing like a 108 degree first day of school and a fourth grade room full to capacity to smash those moments.

Those moments really were so very glorious though: cinnamon rolls every morning, the most girly of girly movies and a little terrifying Cillian Murphy thrown in with four ladies smushed together under blankets on the most comfortable couch in the world; **How do couches get so much more deliciously soft on vacation?** A nap on the beach; Having nothing to do at any certain hour, and doing anything a heart could desire at every hour; Laughing until we cried over spritzers and too much coffee, and a slightly completely horrible decision to rent a four-person bike and utterly terrorize the tiniest of tiny beach towns with our screams. They didn’t really deserve that…

…just as a tip, if there’s four ladies, four sets of pedals, and four seats but only one steering wheel and one brake, any way you add or subtract those numbers, they create a really, really bad solution: We squealed our way up and down that town, argued over how close we were to parked cars and how we would survive through a busy intersection. We apologized to the people we nearly ran over, gave pleading, pitiful glances to the cars we cut off, and, to appease irritated, strolling vacationers by appearing as if we were as annoyed with ourselves as they were with us, we feigned anger and disgust at our brake that began, about half-way through our rental hour, to screech at a pitch I didn’t know could be reached. At last, we returned our four-seated machine of terror twenty minutes early, slightly wet with the sweat of nerves, and fear, and with aching quads unprepared to propel four girls up streets that threw off their disguise of being flat while we had walked them on foot and suddenly reared up to San-Fran-like street angles as soon as we were strapped to a bike. Whew. Lemony Snicket has nothing on that ride, we were a series of unfortunate events…but on wheels.

Perhaps the tension mixed with laughter, the terror mixed with joy, and the feeling of being out of one’s element while simultaneously feeling completely natural on our bike ride was preparing me for the new school year. It’s a very similar mix of emotions that come with entering a classroom, and while I at times want to get off the bike/run out of the room, and at other times I feel like I could ride forever/feel so at home with the students, it’s always a new adventure, a new challenge, and I’m very excited to see what a new year brings. My last day of summer came and went this year but guess what? Biggest teacher bonus in the world: endless summers to come in the future.

 – <3 A. 

July Highlights

july vmmv highlights

july vmmv highlights

1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6.

Despite being absurdly hot at times, July was the perfect combination of sticky, sparkly, summery, stylish, opinionated, and colorful. I made two of the easiest desserts that surprisingly turned out delicious for how few ingredients and how quickly they went together. Summer is all about simplicity. I was also all about spouting modern views on some undying issues, and apparently you’re all about reading them because yet again those two were some of my top posts for the month–Thank-you! July was also about a real-life pinning expedition: I went to an estate sale almost weekly in the hopes of discovering some design inspiration for the blog makeover—inspiration that will all be revealed *huge gasp*…tomorrow!

There’s months of blogging that seem like I’m pulling teeth, racking my brain for inspiration, and sometimes dissatisfied with my own creative limits. And then there’s months that topics and sentences, collages and images just pour out and this all feels so very right. July was one of those months. It was a much-needed slower month, a pause in a year that has been rather laborious with little fruit to show for it but I guess that’s why Fall is the Harvest months: all these early days spent working are about to show fruit and I’m so ready to see a bounty.

Tomorrow’s August 1st. Wow. I normally loathe August, but this time around, I think we’re at a stalemate. I’m still not a fan of the crazy heat stubbornly sticking around, but with the blog launch planned, an upcoming weekend away with two of my best girls, and a return to something of a schedule, I’m thinking August won’t be all that bad. Here’s to the start of a new month!

 – <3 A. 

The Best Kind of Bummer

sailinvmmv photographyvmmv photographyvmmv photographyI can’t really seem to accept this real life thing. My calendar says “Wednesday” but my head is in complete disagreement. Did you know there’s studies on this whole post-vacation-depression, moody blues? The University of Vienna’s Physiology Department calls it the “contrast effect:” “Vacationers cease to be used to stress and thus react more strongly when confronted (with it) again.” Ok, yeah, (well duh), but the University of Vermont did an interesting study of “tweets” and found that the tweets that “expressed happiness increase(d) logarithmically with distance from an individual’s average location.” So sad! So the further away we get from our normal life (average location) the happier we become! *sigh* and I guess you could say, then, that the closer we get back to our average location, the more blue we become. So true.

My long-weekend away was so fantastic though: Three different lake tours, a full boating day where I think I consumed an entire watermelon solo, a few quick dips into cold, cold lake-water, early evening forest walks, late night board games, silly 80’s movies, sno-cones, and time spent with the sweetest people who made four blissful days seem like they could go on forever: they didn’t. But regardless, I’ve got some memories to keep me going till the next trip away and I don’t care if “well-needed vacations” in the end “bum me out:” They’re still the best kind of bummer.

**This Friday I’m scheduled to do a first review of my new blog design so hopefully I will have some little sneak peaks for all of you imminently…thanks for being patient!**

 – <3 A. 

Reel Women: Man’s Favorite Sport

mans favorite sport

1. Tunic in Tomato | 2. Living the Dream Denim Skirt | 3. Magazine Girl Vintage Hatbox | 4. Slingback Flat

 1960’s movies are the best. Where else can you see people camping in sport coats, ties, heels, and belted, white skirts? “Man’s Favorite Sport” is a completely under-praised film. Maybe because it’s not the usual pairing of Rock Hudson and Doris Day, but not very many people say “oh yeah!” if you bring this flick up. But seriously, watch it, because Paula Prentiss makes a pretty great second to Rock’s lead and besides that she’s also a perfect muse for my own trip this weekend into the wilderness–1960s style wilderness that is, which is just how I like it. I didn’t do a complete steal of Paula’s look from this scene **right before she kisses Rock Hudson btw.** I may be inspired by 1960’s films of aesthetic perfection, but real life has told me journeys into the woods aren’t too friendly on white so denim is a bit of a more modern view on that.

In the movie, Rock Hudson plays a “faux” fisherman, working for a sporting goods store called Abercrombie and Fitch (yes, really, same name…haven’t they come a long way in the wrong direction since the 60’s). He’s written a book on fishing but has never actually fished himself, and when Paula Prentiss invites him to a lodge’s fishing competition to promote the store, Rock has to learn to fish and of course a million different, highly improbable, but completely hilarious, events occur along the way. If you read into the title, viewers are supposed to answer the question that Man’s Favorite Sport (?) isn’t really fishing…unless it’s fishing for women. There’s the usual bitchy fiance in the way of the leading man falling in love with the right girl, and the secondary plot of him realizing he really loves the complete disaster girl who is, in the end, actually, completely adorable. And Paula Prentiss, complete with perfectly pulled together outfits, flawless makeup even when emerging fresh from the water, and late-night rendevous in adorable matching pajamas is the perfect inspiration for this summer’s journeys, however short I may fall of that image of perfection.

I’m headed off for a few days for a much, much needed vacation. I’ve completely over-packed, charged my camera to its longest length of picture plaguing abilities, and worked myself into a frenzied excitement for this weekend so I know I’m ready. Next week hopefully there will be pictures to share and also another hint about the blog-launch because I’m meeting with my designer for our first review of the design. Stick around!

– <3 A. 

Guest-Pinner: If Clara Barton Pinned

clara barton repins via Ez Pudewa

clarabartonguestpinnerClara Barton image and bio via | repins via | via |

The only guest-pinner I could think of befitting the Independence month of July was Clara Barton. I think everyone has a foggy memory of learning about her as the founder of the American chapter of the Red Cross somewhere among the forgotten years of elementary school, but what you might not remember is that woman had some serious balls! (sorry, but seriously, that’s the only way to put it).

Interestingly enough, Clara started off her life as a terrified little soul, too timid even to continue in the school her parents sent her to and she even stopped eating, so overwhelmed was she by the interactions she was forced to make at school. But beneath her timidity, Clara was something of a brilliant tomboy. She loved to play with her male siblings and cousins and she was so good with managing children, she opened a school at the age of 17 and taught there for over a decade. When the school board hired a man over Clara to head the school she had been growing to upwards of 600 students following the completion of her own education, she up and quit, and became the first woman to hold a substantial paid job for the federal government in the U.S. Patent Office. Of course, she’s most famous for founding and leading the American chapter of the Red Cross, the first meeting of the organization actually met in her own personal apartment. What I love most about her though is that despite her ambition, insistence on fairness, and the powerful positions she held, Clara never lost sight of the fact that she was a woman and developed her teaching and nurturing strengths to influence an entire nation with her feminine abilities. If Clara Barton pinned, I think her boards would have a beautiful strength because, after all, for some things, only a woman knows best.

clara barton

I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Fourth of July! I’ve got recipes and pics to share as soon as I get a moment to get them off my camera and onto this place, oh yes, and happy weekend!

– <3 A. 

Other Guest-Pinners: 

houseofmirthpin    littlewomencollage

          Lily Bart                             Mrs. March

June: Highlights

june vmmv highlights

june vmmv highlights

1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. |

 I am honestly becoming really rather worried about the state of these months. I hardly even get used to the idea of being in one and it’s over. June has been a month for gaining some satisfaction for long-made plans: I’m two-thirds of the way through my annoyingly difficult tests for my new adventure, I finally got admitted to my program (for all of modernity’s speed, Universities still like to kick it old-style and snail crawl every move), my blog has begun to do some behind-the-scenes shifting (yay, yay, yay!) in the very capable hands of someone you will hopefully learn more about in the near future, and I’m beginning to see little light glimmers at the end of some tunnels I felt like would never reach fresh air again.

Even though I think I put on a pretty convincing facade, I’m really not a very patient person. I want things done and I want them done NOW and I will plan and organize and work hard to get them done unlesssss those things that need to be done are out of my hands and then the oh so helpless feelings of relying on other people begin to gnaw away at my (I admit it!) control-freak self. Thankfully, while I was patiently desperately, tearfully, and whining-ly waiting pacing this month, I did seem to have some excellent time with my wonderful dad, made a few treats, tried a few projects, and had a good stiff drink (sort of). I also began to come to terms with a new path even though sometimes things slip a bit, and in the end was reminded for the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 time that I should probably not worry so much?…yeah, it’s a good idea at least, isn’t it?

– <3 A. 

Just Like Esther

esther williams vintage suits

esther williams vintage bathing suitsEsther Williams images and fonts via | 1950’s belted suit | 1960’s pea green suit | 1970’s striped boy-short suit

The lovely movie star / bathing beauty / swimming champion Esther Williams died last Friday at the age of 91. For all her personal success and beauty though, Esther’s story behind the screen, or, rather, outside of the swimming pool, was actually rather tragic as far as her relationships were concerned. She was married four times: Her first husband, a pre-med student, she supported and even paid off in order to get a divorce from him. Her second, was an alcoholic, and gambled and lost many of her millions from her movie success. By the end of the marriage, he gave her three kids and a steep debt with the IRS for unpaid taxes. Her third husband happily paid for his own keep, but wouldn’t let Esther’s three children from her former marriage attend the wedding or live with the new couple. Her last marriage lasted until her death. When asked who her favorite leading man was in all her movies, Esther replied that it had been “the water” of course, for on and off screen the men in her life didn’t seem to lead at all, and the ones who did led her to break off the relationship.

When I was reading about Esther’s life I wondered how she could get it wrong three times. Weren’t there warning signs? A “jerk-face” sign popping up around the guy somewhere pre-marriage? Is being a celebrity in a relationship just really that hard to find even a resemblance of a “good guy”? I suppose I shall never know but I do know that while I might want to suit up like Esther this summer, I think I’ll steer clear of her man-meter, it seemed to be tipping the scales a bit on the wrong end of “lasting.”

bio info via

-<3 A. 

Summer Shop

elle mag vintage store roundupelle magazine photo cred

elle magazine vintage store roundupNashville | Seattle New Jersey | Palm Desert | all images via 

Summer? You’re here? How, how, how, how, how!??

I think the most enduring thing about childhood that absolutely no one ever quite gets over is the loss of summer vaca. Perhaps that’s why people return to school again and again for advanced degrees because we really just can’t get over that feeling of the last bell, the last final, the last class period completion, and the three months stretched out before you of complete and utter timelessness. Because, for some reason, though our lives from birth to death are summed up, surrounded in, and made up of time, we spend our lives fighting time, wanting more, wanting it to rush by faster, sometimes slower, sometimes stopping, sometimes jumping ahead, sometimes leaping back yet always, always struggling against what no one has managed to triumph over.

If you look up the word “insanity,” of course the first thing that comes up is “the state of being seriously mentally ill; madness” BUT, the second thing that comes up is “extreme foolishness or irrationality.” Isn’t there a bit of insanity then in all of us? Isn’t it irrational to fight against a system no one has managed to beat? Isn’t it foolish to wish for things that can’t happen? To pine for things that won’t come sooner, won’t happen slower, and won’t slip by faster? And, don’t we all know this and plough ahead anyway? Wishing, hoping, watching that clock, crossing off calendars, counting, counting, counting?

At the heart of all of this time-insanity I think lies the love for vintage: in vintage clothes, style, and furniture there is a tangible moment of a past time. We can’t go back, we can’t be born sooner, and we can’t reverse our own timeline, but we can put on the facade of a different time and within that facade I think we feel removed from a present we at times don’t much care for. In that time-capsule it feels so wonderfully cozy and we are (for that moment we wear a vintage piece or for the time we rest in a vintage-inspired space), so wonderfully not ourselves.

Elle magazine did a sort of coast to coast vintage store roundup last week just in time for the summer season of road-trippin’. Check out their article here and if you’re near any of these vintage meccas, go check them out! I have my own local love but I would so like to visit all of these gems, you know, if I had the time….

– <3 A.