Hey There

4th of July
{cami & tank w/ horse shoes: old navy//shorts: van heusen//shoes, sunnies & earrings: gofish}
{red, white, and blue manicure, of course!}

{sick of mopey weather outfit. sundress: target//button-up: vineyard vines//purse: vintage mark cross//wellies: hunter}
{paleo scones with chocolate & fresh cherries. recipe here}
Happy summer, friends. 
Lately I’ve been all about fresh lemonade, baking in this crazy heat, Sara Bareilles’ new CD, Relient K’s new CD, hiking, and staying up way too late/sleeping in {oops}.
What is the BEST THING you’ve done so far this summer?! 

Matching My Dog

Sometimes apparently I run out of pose ideas so I start to dance like Elaine from Seinfeld. This doesn’t surprise me. Does it surprise you? Didn’t think so.

Or maybe I’m just excited because Lottie got a new collar, leash, and sweater! Lottie is my family dog, the sweetest of sweetie pies. A real darlin’, that girl is. This Christmas she got a new red collar and my grandma knit her this adorable sweater. Lottie has never lived where there are major snowstorms, so she absolutely loves her cozy new outerwear. She also got this fancy new leash.

{which matches my outfit}

This leash is the real deal. Made by PAWW, a sister company of HumanGear, it is high-tech and human-savvy. The workmanship is stellar, and the leash is made out of double rip-stop nylon (often used in mountaineering equipment), which means if you were lost in the wilderness and needed to go all Bear Grills for some reason, you’d want this leash with you. It’s that tough. 
Obviously, I’m not recommending you use this leash in any sort of mountaineering, other than taking your dog on a nice long walk in the woods. 
Dogs dig that sort of thing. 
And with the Paww Pick Pocket Leash, you will too. This intuitive, “civilized” leash keeps your doggie necessities right at hand. There is a built-in bag dispenser for doggy bags, and a zippered pocket for cash, a key, or better yet, a treat for your pup. The top clips around a post if you need to leave your pooch outside for a quick run to the store. There is a handy “utility loop” on the top that can be used to attach a flashlight, a used doggie bag, a toy, or whatever else you need to bring to the dog park or on that walk in the woods. 

Lottie loves this leash. 
My only complaint with this leash is that we were taught in our dog’s fancy training classes to always hold the leash with two hands, one wrapped around the leash and one farther down (that’s hard to describe in words). The high pocket placement makes it a bit hard to hold the leash in this manner. I think it might be nice to have the pocket closer to the collar, or perhaps adjustable. But we haven’t stopped using this leash on account of that….no way!
It’s clear with one look at this leash that it is the gear of choice for dogs and their owners who appreciate style and practicality. This leash means business. 
It also means “extra long walks for Lottie.”
So it’s pretty win-win.
Many thanks to Katrin from Paww/HumanGear for letting me review their great products! This is my honest opinion in my own words.

Midwest Living

Sunshine after a snowstorm is one of my favorite things. The houses look like they were purposely nestled in the snow by an artist who wanted to paint them just so. 
Makes me wish I were a painter, but for now, I’ll just be an appreciate-r.

We all complain about winter, but really, it is just so lovely. So, so lovely. Everything covered with fresh white powder, cheery blushed cheeks and rosy noses, and a blast of crisp air to help us feel alive and young.  We have to seek all of that beauty in winter, because if we don’t, our hearts will get buried under the salt and road grime, the coughs and colds, and the cancelled plans from snowfalls. I know plenty about all of those things, too.

I hope that next time you’re buried under 10.5 inches of snow like we are (and will be time and time again, I’m sure!), you’ll make some homemade dumplings, bake some cookies, and wait for the sun to come out again. It always does.
Crossed Hunter boots in the beautiful sunshine.

Blush Pink Dress, Creamy Belt, and Raspberry Sweater. 

One of my sweet friends sent me this lovely little package! Isn’t it happy? I adore the Cath Kidston note, and it was fun to see Midwest Living again. This was one of my favorite magazines during my previous Midwestern years, so it will be back in my reading rotation.
She also sent me this fun Estee Lauder lipstick. I love its modern white and gold packaging, which happened to match my white nail polish! Have you noticed that matching makes me happy?!

My Heart is Full of Christmas

{pearls, light pink sweater, chartreuse skirt, metallic/brown vest with fur, brown Hunters, red fingernails. in love with this color combo!}
I’m a sucker for tradition.
Some traditions are more hysterical than others {that wishbone tradition? this year my mom and I both snapped off a short section and the middle ‘wishbone’ part went flying. oops}.
Some traditions are tradition even though we have NO idea why we do them anymore {lutefisk and pickled herring stopped tasting good um…forever ago, literally}.
And some traditions are weighty, worthwhile, and a little bit heart-wrenching. 
Like laying wreaths on family graves. 
This is not a tradition that we generally write about or talk about, but it’s a good one. Oh, it’s a good one.
This is the first year I’ve been present for this tradition, and goodness if the rainy day didn’t suit my mood. I tried hard to smile for these pictures (you should see the ones where I didn’t try. actually, you shouldn’t). I wasn’t somber, really. I wasn’t heartbroken, really. I just felt the weight of it inside my poet’s heart. It feels beautiful to lay wreaths in remembrance this time of year.

Don’t forget to let your heart feel the weight of tradition. It is healthy to remember and reflect, so long as we seek to take strength from there to carry us forward. We mustn’t belong to the past, but we can let the past belong to us in a deep part of our selves, should we want.

My heart is full of Christmas.
It is full of the meaning of the Savior’s birth, so that, as my grandpa’s grave boldly states:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit who gives you life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” 
Romans 8:1, 2
What a powerful statement.
Hold Christmas in your hearts, my dears. Hold memories, blessings, and the hope in the promise that we shall be reunited one day, close to your hearts this Christmas season. 
Much love, 

Polka Dots, Zig Zags and Daisies

The sun was out yesterday. 
You know, after it was snowing/raining and before there were tornadoes and then it snowed again.

Minnesota, whatchyou doin’?
Calm this crazy weather down, will ya?

{Zig-Zag tights! The best!}

{Daisy Baubles! Also the best!}
But when the weather gets crazy, the outfits get crazy! 
Mixing polka dots with zig-zags and daisies.
That I like! Those are good things. 
🙂

Mistakes

Let’s talk about some mistakes I’ve made lately. 
Namely, wearing white after Labor Day. 
But it was the fair! I just had to wear a white polka-dot dress to the FAIR! 

Secondly, wearing white on a rainy day.

{see I had to switch into rain boots}
Thirdly, wearing white while drinking coffee. 

When I stopped into the gas station for a coffee, the guy who always works there said, “Um, I don’t know how to say this, but…you’re wearing a really nice dress. With rain boots.” 
Hehe. Yes, yes I am. 
“But you look nice!” he quickly corrected himself, in case his ambiguous comment was taken poorly. 
It made me giggle.
So those are the ‘mistakes’ I’m willing to admit on my blog, because they are the ‘funny’ sanitized little mistakes, but I can’t say the weekend was without other foibles. I am imperfect. Oh, oh, I am the first to admit: I am imperfect. Sometimes I get to feeling a little too self-assured and end up stumbling a bit to keep me humble. Humility is good for the soul, however embarrassing. Sometimes, it’s mighty embarrassing!
🙂

Country Girl Natalie

It’s so funny. Today my friend sent over this picture, and said, “If you go fishing, this is how I envision you’ll look.” I just had to laugh and say, “I was playing country girl yesterday and I wore a very similar outfit.” See:

We were experiencing the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, so it was rain & fog on and off all day. This outfit took me from the office to the farm perfectly well! 

I’m telling you: A farm bathed in fog, wrapped in love, warmed with the happiness of old friends…it was wonderful. It was just what I needed: a tour of the lush vegetable garden, a good romp with the new little baby cow, and collecting eggs in a red pail. We enjoyed a dinner composed of everything fresh from the farm, served in cast iron, with linen napkins and monogrammed silver. In the quiet after dinner, we started to catch up on life. Old friends need to do that, you know? To sit, and stare at the last of the beeswax candles burning down into the silver candlesticks, and to say to each other, “So, how are you?” in a voice that begs the real answer.
The night ended with a round of hugs from some of the best hug-givers I know, and the most precious gift of a beautiful, beautiful cake plate. I will cherish it. 

See how the dress has little gold polka-dots? So cute.
Just because I happen to like fashion doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE a good “country girl” day. Oh yes, I love a good Country Girl Day. And I absolutely adore this certain family who occasionally takes me in as one of their own, lets me play country girl, feeds me, encourages me, and sends me on my way, bearing the most beautiful gifts and a heart full of inspiration and happiness.
Thank you.

Happy Colors

Back to rain. 

I think orange pants, a light pink lace top, and pink/orange accessories are called for, don’t you?

So I’m still smiling. You can’t get me down (yet) rain!

Necklaces. 
Pile on the brights while we wait for that sunshine again!
xo
All outfit items thrifted or gifted!

Skirt & Wellies

Hello!

Goodness, I had a happy day! Did you? I sure hope so.

Give me some sunshine, a little caffeine, a circle skirt, and some wellies, and I am one HAPPY girl!

There’s just something about a dress or a skirt paired with wellies–so charming, off-handed, country-sunshine-girl don’t you think? This outfit makes me want to go pick strawberries! Alas, I think it is too early for that in New England (but it is strawberry season in Florida!).

Have a great week!

Style Secrets
Headband: Banana Republic
Sunnies: Local store
Necklace: Gift/Israel
Red earrings: Vintage
Tank (under tee): Target
Ruffle Tee: J.Crew
Circle Skirt: Thrifted
Watch: c/o IU
Wellies: Hunter, gift


Royal Rain

Ok, so this outfit has absolutely nothing at all to do with the Royal Wedding. But the Wedding is tomorrow and I’m excited.

WAIT!!!!!!!!!!! I just realized this outfit does have something to do with the wedding! Hunter Wellies are the wellies of the Queen of England…so says the royal seal on the inside!

Anyway, on that note, I think it’s time I go to bed. See you in the morning, Queen Mother, Prince William, and Kate! Can’t wait to see that gown!

P.S. –> The tornado devastation in the Southern states is heartbreaking. Prayers!

Style Secrets 
Umbrella: J.Crew
Earrings: F21
Fur vest: F21
Turtleneck: Banana Republic
Scarf: Walmart
Trench: Target
Cords: AG
Boots: Hunter