August Highlights

august blog highlightsaugust highlights

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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. 

Sneak Peak: Blog Makeover

moodboard

moodboard

I’ve been letting little snippets and hints out all summer about a blog makeover in the works and a few weeks ago you might remember me mentioning my blog designer and I were working on creating a cohesive palette for VMMV’s facelift. But perhaps I haven’t quite made clear just really how extensive this project is and just how completely EXCITED I am for the launch to be officially a week away!!! Nothing is going to change about how you access the blog, if you’re used to finding it a certain way, keep doin’ it! Everything will be rerouted to VMMV’s new home and I hope all of my darling readers will enjoy the new place as much as I will. I was only blogging for about 8 months when i contacted my blog designer. That’s pretty early in blog world to be jumping to the next level but my visions for what VMMV could be had already outgrown my own personal abilities so I needed to call in the troops or risk frustration and burnout by doing it all myself. And how thankful I am that I did call in at least one troop: Jordan Brantley, the brainchild of Create Like Crazy, my brilliant blog-designer, and such a fun partner to work with. How I stumbled across her I still can’t remember, but I have a feeling we were linked up for a reason especially considering after a little investigative work on my side (I was creepin’ on you Jordan!) I discovered we had the very same theory about where all our creativity comes from and what we should be using it for. She’s a kindred spirit that one.

She and I worked to create this moodboard as a way to get me to focus my ideas for the blog and make sure both of us were on the same page for my vision of what I wanted VMMV to be. Jordan had me find images and take pictures that represented what my visions are of the VMMV brand and put them into a few categories (style, design, color, texture, layout, vibe etc.). It was such a fun and slightly challenging project to pair concrete images to foggy design ideas! I sent her my photos and she hand-picked through them to create a finished moodboard with cohesion and direction.

When we first began brainstorming, I told her I didn’t want the vintage to feel like an antique store, more like an eclectic boutique. I still wanted a fresh, modern feel because that’s what VMMV is all about, integrating vintage inspirations into the modern world. She hit the balance just right…wait and see! The new blog will be so much easier for all of you to navigate, and will also be completely customized thanks very much to Jordan’s talents.  Like I said, the launch is officially set for August 8th so stay tuned! This moodboard is only a tiny peek into a beautiful new space.

– <3 A. 

July Highlights

july vmmv highlights

july vmmv highlights

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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. 

Watermelon Strawberry-Lime Pops

watermelon strawberry lime pops

watermelon pops

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon (cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (cut into halves)
  • 2 Tbls. lime juice
  • 1/8 cup sugar (or to taste)

Blend watermelon, strawberries, lime juice and sugar in a blender. Pour into dixie cups and allow to partially freeze. Insert popsicle stick and pour another few drops of mixture around the hole made by the stick. Allow to freeze overnight before serving.

watermelon strawberry lime pops

I had to cut little round circles of parchment paper for the bottom of the dixie cups because a trial popsicle run made with water came out with a piece of dixie-cup-paper stuck to the bottom so the parchment helped to keep everything non-stick. Also, taste your blend of watermelon and strawberry after each tablespoon addition of lime juice as well as sugar–too much lime juice will make it too sour depending on how your fruit tastes, and too much sugar will make it sicky-sweet. I made about three batches of this and got about thirty Dixie cups total and they were absolutely delicious, refreshing, and (besides the teensy bit of sugar) completely healthy. The dixie cups are a little more difficult to work with than the plastic popsicle molds you can buy, but the shape is so much more rustic and vintage looking, it’s worth it. Besides, nothing says summer like sticky fingers and fruit on a stick. I made these guys for my 108 degree Fourth of July and they were quite the hit amongst that temperature-misery.

I had the best, best, besttt time on my trip. So many good times they’ve bled into Monday and I haven’t had a chance to unpack my camera so those pics are coming just as soon as I get adjusted back to real life…whew it’s hard! Happy new week everyone!

– <3 A. 

Ring of Fire

july 4th vmmv

july 4th vmmv

july 4th vmmv

“I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down, down and the flames went higher, And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire, The ring of fire”…that was my Fourth of July…not that I slipped into some relationship of unrequited love like poor Johnny, but just because it was seriously THAT HOT: Burning ring of fire hot, never stop sweating from 8:00 A.M. to Midnight hot, instant melting popscicle hot, the air with the thickness of lava hot, straightened hair instantly transformed into lion frizz-mane hot…but despite all of that, I had a pretty perfect day because all of my favorite people were within eyesight and earshot and I will never grow tired of BBQ and sparklers, stained asphalt feet and too much watermelon, firecrackers, fans, and California summer. There’s something profoundly nostalgic about the Fourth of July, and I hope it never changes.

– <3 A. 

Posts Like This: 

collage    Untitled-2

       That Redhead                      Old and New

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

Brighten Up

lights

lights from 79 ideas

quirky | rustic | modern | vintage | girly | smart
  • quirky: a bird-cage hung over a suspended bulb. So, so fun and brilliant.
  • rustic: bottles attached to wine barrel hoops (have you seen the ones made of wine-glasses too??).
  • modern: suspended multi-color pendants. Chic.
  • vintage: a chandelier hung from a vintage bird-cage holder and used as art    instead of light. Endless options.
  • girly: flowers and ribbons attached to the spindles of an old lampshade.
  • smart: a postcard or old photograph attached to the bottom of suspended lights so you aren’t blinded  by a direct bulb-to-cornea showdown. My eyeballs say “yes!”

Ok, so it is Monday but seriously brighten up! This just means there’s a whole lot of inspiration to come this week. Check out 79 ideas, a Bulgarian blog and one of my faves. The photography and design inspiration will blow you away regardless if you can read the text or not..

-<3 A.

May: highlights

may vmmv recap

may vmmv recap

1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. 

May was all about mothers, birthdays, a little fashion, and a LOT of dessert. Apparently I had the munchies this month because I made some of my all-time favorite sweeties, and, thanks to all of you, I hit my personal milestone.

You may have noticed fewer posts this month, that’s partially because of my big announcement, and the time that has been involved with getting myself ready for that and all that it entails, but also because of something exciting that is happening to the blog. In my last highlights post, I mentioned that May may be bringing something special to the blog but alas I was slightly preemptive on that foreshadowing so you must all wait and wonder until all is revealed. I’m shooting for the end of the summer: summer used to mean quiet, sluggish days and lazy nights, but I’m preparing for a rather active one. I’m chock full of ideals and hoping my motivation will last me because I have much to do!

-<3 A. 

Old and New

vmmv easter

vmmv easter

vmmv easter

vmmv easter

vmmv easter

vmmv easterI hope everyone had a good Easter Sunday and a much-needed Spring break for those lucky enough to have a bit of a breather from real life. Spring undeniably revealed itself last week: complete with pre-April showers bringing some May  last-days-of-March-flowers, almost 90° weather (thanks California) and slightly sun-burned shoulders to prove it. Amongst the schizophrenic weather I got a chance to see my favorite redheads. Those two girls have been my dearest friends since we were just wee little things and I anticipate us remaining that way until we are old, wrinkly things. Spring means new beginnings, a fresh start with a world looking fresh and new, but the really great things about life are the old things: the old friends, the old holiday traditions, the older family members with the best stories, the old recipes that you never grow tired of, and the people you know will always be there no matter how many Springs come and go.

– <3 A. 

Dancer Diaries: Things I Learned from the Stage (part four)

VMMV dancer diaries imageI wanted to thank my wonderful guest-posters who have been sharing some of the things they’ve learned from their time as dancers onstage for this series (check out part two and three of this series for their contributions). They are both such inspirational women: balancing their personal lives, professional lives, and also finding time for some personal artistic expression in a seamless blend. Perhaps it’s a dancer thing that allows them to cover their busy lives in a smooth, serene outer shell, never letting on they are surely stressed at times, and exhausted at others. Or, perhaps they really are just super-women, but whatever is really on the inside, the stage presence they carry off the stage and into their lives allows them to exude a peacefulness, power, and serenity that is quite contagious:

dancerdiaries4 copy

For the first many years of my dance career, plastering on an onstage-smile was pretty low on my cue checklist. I was much more concerned with not forgetting my choreography, not tripping on a piece of scenery, following my music cues, executing costume changes, and please, please, please pulling off that pirouette. There was so much going on in my little head, smiling seemed completely unimportant and so, unbeknownst to me, the chaos and concentration inside me was clearly written on my face and unfortunately impressing itself on my audience. It didn’t really matter if I completed my dance error-free, if I actually pulled off a triple pirouette instead of a stupid single, if I perfectly entered and exited stage, stayed on cue, and was flawlessly dressed. The audience picked up not on my performance, but on what they were expecting from my performance based on the expression I was exhibiting: something of a rabbit about to be hit by a moving vehicle. Thus the beginning years of my career were spent: being chastised by my director who tirelessly tried to slap a smile on my face (not literally of course) to show the audience that the only thing running through my head onstage was complete and utter confidence. I usually was confident too, I had rehearsed plenty and knew exactly what I was doing, but my running to-do list in my head was completely muddling my dance-face and I was portraying an unnecessary chaos to an audience that should have been comfortably viewing a dancer in control.

Of course, there are times where the ballet you’re performing is a tragedy, or the meeting you’re holding is serious business, and, if you intend to make your dance a tear-jerker, or the meeting a day to remember, go ahead and pull out the frown. But if you’re having your own personal tragedy of a day, don’t paint it across your face and bring whatever potential or real catastrophe that’s in your head out onto the audience you’re in front of.

vmmv dancer diaries imageMoods are contagious, and your face is the the biggest walking billboard that everyone you interact with will read, digest, and spit back at you.

quote via virginia woolf. vmmv collage

A lesson I learned from the stage? Make sure the title your mood is screaming at your audience is one you want them to read.

– <3 A. 

Other Dancer Diaries:

alexguestpost  photo by vince trupsin at elevation studios copy    dancer diaries

     Part Three             Part Two                         Part One