In Which it is 60 Degrees on Winter Solstice

So it’s not so cold outside right now … but I’m enjoying winter break! And reminding myself that it usually gets colder in January ’round these parts. Also, I love saying, “’round these parts.”

I haven’t been doing a very good job of keeping up with this here blog. And every time I post I think, “Here we go! I can do this! I’ll definitely post again soon.” And then a month goes by. This past month has absolutely FLOWN by. I mean it. It’s been crazy! My Dad and Parker and Dean came up at various times around Thanksgiving, which was wonderful, and then it’s as though the weeks since then have passed by at warp speed. I’m pretty sure I’ve only blinked once and it’s already Christmas! In all honesty, I moved on to Christmas mid-November, so it’s been a long time coming. But suddenly it IS Christmas and it doesn’t quite feel like it yet. I have great faith that it will start to feel like it in the next couple of days, but today, on this balmy Winter Solstice, I’m here to say that it does not feel like winter.

Advent Calendar


Handknit Edamame Ornament

I made this knit edamame ornament for my Secret Santa!


Tiny Succulents!

Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church

Christmas Cards!

Grandpa's Santa Suspenders

Home Grown Sign

Biltmore Estate

Himalayan Salt Lamp

Beautiful Himalayan Salt Lamp that I got as a gift from one of my munchkins!

Tiny Christmas Tree

Life has been full of Christmas songs and munchkins wearing cute Christmas outfits and art projects and chaos. It was a fun month, which is probably why it went by so quickly. At work we had a fun week of Secret Santa culminating in a delicious holiday staff dinner where we all guessed who was giving us our gifts! Always a good time. I was so proud of the edamame ornament that I knit for my Secret Santa and was thrilled by the beautiful gifts I received – one of them was the tiny succulents pictured above. Then it was full steam ahead through the rest of the days before winter break. Our school Holiday Performance was a blast! It’s destined to be adorable and hilarious when tiny munchkins sing songs for their families, and the performance did not disappoint. I’ve used my voice so much that I’m pretty sure I’ve had laryngitis for the past week – which I learned mostly means I’ve thoroughly worn out my voice and will get it back soon. Google says lots of fluids and rest, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Here’s to hoping it comes back very soon! If you know me at all you know that I am not a particularly quiet person, so to have no voice is a challenge. It’s really put a damper on my daily musical repertoire in the car. Nonetheless, winter break has started out just marvelously with Christmas cards being sent out, a very much-needed yoga practice, and some rest and relaxation.

We have a lovely wreath on our front door, which makes me smile every time I pull up. There are decorations on all of the apartments in our little complex, which makes me insanely happy. And our tiny tree is decorated and glows whenever we’re home – we have way more ornaments than space on the tree, but I consider it a personal challenge to fit them all in. I love looking at each one and thinking about all the memories I have of past Christmases.

Christmas is going to be very different this year. Perhaps that’s why it’s not quite feeling like Christmas yet. My brother is on his way to Prague, as I type these very words, to meet up with my Mom for the holiday. I had the opportunity to go but was torn for spending time with Scott and feeling like it would be a very rushed trip for me with a short break. (Mom and I are planning a trip to Spain in June instead!) And my Dad and Dean are in Hawaii for the second year in a row for Christmas. Honestly, it opened things up a bit on our end for Christmas plans, so that’s the silver lining. Biltmore on Christmas morning and New-England-bound on Christmas night!

I am grateful this year for the gift of being with family and for this incredible life! Merry Christmas y’all!


spontaneous whimsy // biltmore house edition

Hibiscus Flower

On Sunday Scott and I spontaneously decided to go for a house tour at the Biltmore! Disclaimer: We have 12 Month Passes and we use them regularly. We read an article on the Biltmore Blog that outlined a few restoration projects that are going on right now and we thought it would be fun to go check things out! So we took ourselves on over, found a doozy of a parking spot, and wandered through the house. They have self-guided tour booklets available (that you should definitely use if you’re going through the house for a tour), but we have been through the house enough times that we don’t always pick them up anymore. Lately we have enjoyed mapping out the many levels of the house in our heads and noticing the ever-changing decorations in all the rooms. The tour itself also changes from time to time. It gets rerouted depending on the time of year and the restoration that is happening at the time. We gallivanted through the house taking note of the detours and various subtle differences. It was delightful! After a quick jaunt we found ourselves at the winery – because free wine tasting. Why not!?

It was wonderful and spontaneous and whimsical.

Oh, and this beautiful hibiscus flower was blooming beautifully outside the winery!

Spring Break 2013: The Week in Review.

This week was so busy! It was good busy, though. Mostly. I sort of wish I had a week to run around and get stuff done and another week to sleep and sit around and perhaps go to a vacation-y spot. Alas, I managed to cram it all into one ten day span! And there are still a couple more days!

Monday I went to the dentist. Clean teeth: check. And I went grocery shopping. Tuesday I went to the eye doctor and got my haircut. Healthy eyes: check. New purple glasses: check. Hair trimmy-trim: check. Scott has been in various states of an ear infection all week – pain, fever, vertigo. Stinky stinky stinky.

Wednesday morning I hit the road to Chapel Hill! Had lunch with my oldest friend, Emily Silva, before she moves to NYC next weekend! Go Emily go! Went to Trader Joe’s to stock up – one day the Asheville store will open! Thursday I spent the day with my mom in her classroom. Her kids had a really neat Poetry Coffeehouse in the morning where they read some of their original poems! I had lunch with my dad at Merritt’s Store and Grill – really terrific BLT – and had a nice time catching up with him. After school was over Mom and I spent some time going around her house and making a list of things I want to have from her house while she’s in Kuwait. Among various other conversations and general hanging out! It was a very brief visit, but lovely. Thursday evening I headed back home to the mountains!

Friday ended up being a general catch-up day. Laundry, some errands, picked up my new glasses (!!!), lovely relaxing, hanging out. Saturday I worked at my weekend job again and Mom came up for the weekend! Easter Sunday we had a nice brunch – pancakes and bacon. Mom and I borrowed our friends sweet pooch, Cricket, for an afternoon walk and had a lovely time! Then we spent the evening in and cooked a nice simple Easter dinner of ham, roasted potatoes with cheese, and green beans. We watched a fair bit of Downton Abbey and hit the sack! Monday brought another fun day of running around. A lazy morning, late brunch, an early afternoon visit to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, a walk down to the Screen Door (where I found an awesome little children’s size ironing board that I intend to use for plants), a visit to the Biltmore for their wine tasting, and another delicious dinner together! Followed by some more Downton Abbey!

It was a lot of mish mash and this that and the other thing this Spring Break. Today was glorious! It snowed some earlier this Spring Break and we have had some lovely weather mixed in, with some rain too. The weather has been up and down and all around this spring. One day it will be consistently warm though! I was very productive this break, I got to travel, and I got to spend time with some of my favorite people! Scott is finally starting to feel a bit more like himself, which is such a relief. He still has some vertigo, but he was able to come with us to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge earlier! And I am very glad because it is our six year anniversary today!!! All in all it was a great break, a much needed rest, a rejuvenating time off, and a good week mixed with some productivity!

Loving our hyacinths!!!

Snow over Spring Break!?


Stocking up at Trader Joe's!

4th Grade Poetry Coffeehouse!


Sunset on the road.

New specs!

Easter bunny pancakes!

French Broad Chocolate Lounge!


Fun things happening around here! Spring is in the air!

We have been going for walks at the Biltmore a lot lately. The weather over these past few weekends has been absolutely gorgeous! Oh, and the cows. Love the cows!

Biltmore Cow!

Finally went to The Hop for the first time! I had Sweet Beet – beet ice cream! And it was delicious!!! I never would have thought of something like that, and I love it! Especially in a waffle cone with tiny chocolate chips. Omnom!

Sweet Beet

The Hop

We had our favorite pooch for a few days last week! Her humans went out of town and we had the pleasure of hosting her at our place! Such a sweetheart. Love you Cricket!

Pooch sitting!

On Thursday evening we went to the Thirsty Monk for the Mystery Brewing event! Had a flight of four of their delicious beers. It was a fun evening out! If you get the chance, check out Mystery Brewing Company at the Thirsty Monk! Excellent brews!

Mystery Brewing Company Flight

Oh, and this is what is growing in our garden!!! We planted some bulbs in the fall and they are starting to bloom! I am positively thrilled! Makes me really happy!


Lately things have been good! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and our flowers are blooming!


I feel as though terrariums have recently become more popular. Is it just me? I see them in so many magazines and on blogs, in weddings and casual home decor. I have contemplated full-out making one – and I still might. But for now, here’s what I have done. This serves two purposes for me: 1. I have wanted to experiment with terrariums, and 2. my poor begonia really has not been doing so well lately and I know it could be doing so much better. It’s just barely surviving and I wish it could flourish!

So I was doing a bit of research regarding the “problems” my begonia is having and what one could do about it. The leaves dry out! It starts at the edges and works its way along, eventually drying out the whole leaf. The stems are sort of weak and the leaves are not as vibrant as they were when the plant was new. It’s a rex begonia Escargot, so the leaves really are fabulous. And I do realize that begonias are not necessarily the easiest of house plants. But I am a bit bull-headed (I am a Taurus after all) and determined to do all that I can to keep this plant going!

On to my experiment. I decided to create a terrarium-like environment around the plant to see if the humidity inside would help. Apparently the humidity here in North Carolina just was not enough for the poor plant. (If only you could hear the heavy sarcasm in my head as I write this – all sources point to my plant needing more humidity.) So I started brainstorming and decided that the cheapest way to make a terrarium would be to find and repurpose a large glass canister and turn it upside down over the plant. I thought I might be able to find one at an antique store, but I knew I could get one at Target. And that is exactly what I did! I used a large glass jar found here along with the bottom from a large pot (currently holding one of our tomato plants outside) and some rocks to create my terrarium.

I left the begonia in its pot because I want to see if it likes the terrarium environment. If it does I plan to transplant it permanently into the jar, which I would then turn right side up. I will keep you posted on its progress!

I already had some rocks because I use them for extra drainage in the bottom of my potted plants. But you can get a big bag of them from Home Depot or Lowe’s for a few dollars! I think the bag I got was $2.50!

By putting a layer of rocks in the tray I was able to boost the jar up just enough to let some air in.

I placed the pot slightly off center because that one leaf extends so much over the edge. I did not want to bruise the leaf by having it pressing against the glass. That poor leaf is already having a hard time!

Oh, and I also sprinkled some water on the rocks (if I had a spray bottle to mist them I would have used that instead, but I just dipped my hands in water and sprinkled the rocks).

And here is the final product! My very own begonia terrarium. Here’s to hoping he loves the humidity in there!!! Please flourish little guy! I love you so much!

First Red Tomato Baby!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012: Check it out!!! This is our FIRST ripe baby tomato!!! It literally made my day. So exciting! And we have an unbelievable number of baby green tomatoes that are just growing and growing and growing! There are even a few of them that are yellow-orange-almost-red! Let me tell you – it was delicious! So sweet and so juicy!

This is how I felt about it. Definitely not the most flattering photo of me, but I’m being honest here. And that tomato absolutely made my freakin’ day!

Tomato Babies!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012: Check out our tomato babies!!! They’re still green … but they’re growing! And both of the plants have them – some big ones and some cherry tomatoes!

I love having so many plants in my life! It’s so neat to be able to walk outside and see these suckers grow so fast and make little deliciousness for us to eat! I can’t wait to have fresh homegrown tomatoes to eat!!!

Fly Trap Livin’

Friday, June 8, 2012: The venus fly trap that my brother and his girlfriend got me for Christmas is doing so well! It was sort of struggling earlier this year, but now it is thriving! New little leaves keep growing and it’s happily eating bugs in our apartment and it just keeps going! It’s such a happy little plant. Thanks Parker and Anna! Also, it’s still in its original plastic pot because it is really hard to find peat moss that doesn’t have any fertilizer in it! But I’m working on it.