Mother's Day Gift Ideas

When I was a kid my mom always asked us to work in her garden as her gift for Mother's Day. Every year all of us would wake up on Sunday, head to church, then home to spend the day as a family weeding, mowing, and planting flowers and vegetables. 

These days I usually go for a more traditional gift but since I'm now living back in Seattle maybe I'll have to resurrect the old tradition this year! Here are some Mother's Day gift ideas from around the web and in Seattle:
Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath and Souffle Body Creme  - this is my mom's favorite.
Schoolhouse Electric candle set - classy but modern 

A hand chosen collection of beautifully bound hardcover classic books.

Bella Balls - beautiful handblown glass balls in different colors and meaningful decals made in our own Tacoma, WA. 
Modern Trellis Planters with herbs or succulents for her garden/patio. 

If you feel like going all out, can't go wrong with a gorgeous Kate Spade Bangle Watch.
Teavana tea of the month club

Massages/facials are always a favorite as well! Caruh Aveda Salon here in Seattle offers a great monthly deal on their massages and facials, $60 a month for one or the other.

(first image via)

Monday Motovation

Here's a little piece of the world for you to stop and look around at:

Friday Roundup

Happy Friday to all! I'm excited to announce that my  little niece, Kenedee Ryan Hillis, was born on Monday! She is a happy, healthy, strawberry blonde beauty. Sadly, I've been suffering from a nasty cold all week so I've yet to meet Lil' Miss KD-- photos to come soon though! Jenny and I are headed to a bridal and baby shower this weekend, lots of celebrating ahead.

Here are some fun links to take you into a (hopefully) sunny weekend, enjoy!

Top 10 food markets in the world

Great advice on an index card.

Hilarious cat of the week.

29 trends to try before you die (or this year!)

These stunning walls have been all over the blogosphere but they're so beautiful I have to share.

Marie Antoinette-style modern wedding, drool. 

The Kitchn profiles their spring wine picks from our favorite store, Trader Joe's! 

These shorts are on my summer wishlist. 

I really love these succulent walls, although not sure about survival rate in Seattle.

Jenny and I decided we need one of these to cozy up in and brainstorm blog ideas. 

Seattlites-- Capitol Hill Block Party line-up was announced this week-- will we see you there? Neko Case is headlining. 

Speaking of Neko, a tour of her Vermont farmhouse, love her. 

(Twiggy on bike image Via)

Kettle Corn!

Do you guys know how easy it is to make your own kettle corn? I bought a Whirley Pop a few years ago and now popcorn and kettle corn are my go to snacks. It's so easy to whip up quickly in case a bunch of people show up at your house out of the blue, which is something that happens often around here. And, as an added bonus, it's vegan, gluten free, dairy free, what's not to love?

I have a friend who makes kettle corn just in a pot on the stove, I wasn't ever talented enough to do that without burning it but this recipe works the same either way.

Kettle Corn
Adapted from Whirley Pop's Recipe Book

1/4 c. Vegetable Oil
1/2 c. Popcorn Kernels
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Heat the oil in the pot, somewhere between medium and high. Once it's heated, add the rest of the ingredients and cover. If you're using a Whirley Pop just turn the handle or if you're using a regular pot,  shake it every few seconds as the corn begins to pop. Once the popping slows way down, that means its done and you're ready to go!

Tacoma: Washington's Hidden Gem

Tacoma is Seattle's gritty cousin to the south. Over the past 10 years the city has undergone a major transformation and is well worth a visit for both locals and those visiting the NW. My husband Patrick is from Tacoma and we spend quite a bit of time down there and over the years I've grown very fond of the "City of Destiny."  Check out some of my must-see highlights below:
Jog or Walk the five mile loop at Chamber's Bay Golf Course (home of the 2015 US Open!). This place has a Scotland look and it's also a great workout with lots of hills.
Have a drink at 1022 Restaurant/Bar. This fabulous tiny bar on the hilltop in Tacoma was recently written up in the NY Times. Their custom cocktails are unique and interesting. I especially love the lavender coconut concoction.
Stroll the Waterfront in Old Town and stop off for some great afternoon seafood at Katie Downs or the Spar.
Check out the beautiful Dale Chihuly designs at the Museum of Glass and catch dinner downtown at the Pacific Grill or Indochine
Grab a latte at Satellite Coffee (their motto is Coffee in Tacoma that Doesn't Suck, ha) and enjoy the gardens at Wright Park.

Tacoma friends, what am I missing?

(photos viaWA Golf Guide, Patrick, Katy Downs, Vacation GalsFlickriver)

Girl Power: REAL Women Who Shaped Me From the 90's

A couple of months back I did a post called Girl Power! 90's Fictional Characters Who Shaped Me and was encouraged with how many people it resonated with. Girls of the 90's unite!

Anyway, here's the follow up. Real life women I looked up to while growing up. Yes, I'm aware this is a super random conglomeration of people, what can I say, in my mind, this is who stuck out from the pack.

1. Michelle Kwan, Nancy Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi, etc. I love women's figure skating. With every Olympics there was a new gold medal hopeful to learn all about and root for. Nancy Kerrigan definitely wins for the most soap opera-like story, thanks to Tanya Harding. For me, these ladies represented the perfect combination of beauty, determination and athleticism. 
2. 1996 US Women’s Gymnastic Team. This team was amazing, strong and determined and what’s more, they were all only a few years older than me. When I saw them, I loved how they cheered for each other, how determined they were, not to mention all of their great endorsement deals after. I wished I could be a gymnast but alas, I was tall and gangly, lacked muscles and had horrible balance. 
3. Princess Diana. For me, she was the first example of a celebrity who used their influence for good and someone who made me aware of the atrocities taking place in the world and inspired me to want to do something.
4. Mother Teresa. She was the epitome of doing good in the world. I still admire her.
5. Hillary Clinton. Even as a child I could tell that this was a first lady who did more than stand next to the president and wave.
6. Alanis Morissette. Way before Taylor Swift and Adele were writing songs about their personal lives, we had Alanis. Thanks to her, my vocabulary expanded to include the word "ironic" albeit not always in the correct context.
7. The Spice Girls. Yes, they were pretty much the opposite of Alanis, but they stood for their own version of girl power.
8. Claire Danes. Who else wanted to be her? Dating Jared Leto on TV and getting Leonardo DiCaprio in the movies.

Well, what do you think? 
Who's on your list of women who inspired you when you were growing up?

(Images via herehere, and here)

Things That I Do When Left Alone

This is what working with my cat looks like...

Jason's gone on shoots for the week (today he's in the exotic Tulsa, Oklahoma!) and I'm left alone with the kitties. When Jason's gone, working from home becomes less fun and more of an excuse to be a hermit. Sometimes I go a little crazy when left to my own devices.

Without further adieu, I give you my crazy list of things I've been know to do when left alone:

Ongoing conversations with the cats. You gotta talk to someone, right?

Have everything I need delivered by Amazon Fresh so I never have to leave the house. They'll even leave it on the doorstep, so I can creepily watch them unload it while lurking behind the curtains in a bathrobe, waiting for them to leave before pulling a Boo Radley and quickly creeping out to grab the bins filled with kombucha and other goodies when no one's looking.

Watch an entire season of Gilmore Girls in one sitting.

Return emails from the bathtub.

Clean while singing along with Julie Andrews. The hills are alive. Really. They are.

I often like to surprise Jason with something new or different about our house when he returns but not tell him what it is. One time, he didn't find the new couch in the basement for a couple of days.

Sleep sideways in the bed. Just because I can.

After not talking to anyone for hours, give the bank teller the low down on my cats in a very long run on sentence as a response to their "How's your day going?"

What do you like to do when you're by yourself?

PS. Just because I referenced To Kill a Mockingbird...

Wedding Wednesday: Choosing Bridesmaid Dresses

So we’ve all been there. Paying hundreds of dollars for a bridesmaid dress that is not flattering and we won’t ever wear again. Honestly, most of the time this is just the price you pay to be a part of your friend’s big day. But if you’re a bride who is concerned about choosing a dress that will make your friends jump for joy instead of roll their eyes, here are a few tips on how to choose the right bridesmaid dress:

1. Keep it under $300 (including all accessories) or if you can, pay for the dresses yourself. Also, jewelry or shoes are a great bridesmaid gift!

2. Pick a dress line that has multi
ple styles in the same color and let the bridesmaids choose which style flatters their body best. I am an A cup, my sister is a D, we do not belong in the same dress. If this isn’t possible for you, choose a dress that is easily alterable so everyone can tailor the dress to their body type. OR check out Dessy's Twist Wrap Dress. Its one dress you can wear many different ways. The bridesmaids in the photo above are all rocking it.

3. Try to choose a color that is flattering on a variety of skin tones. This is not yellow, or chartruse, or olive. Check out these four universally flattering color tones: Eggplant, True Red, Indian Teal and Mellow Rose.

4. If you know your bridesmaids won't ever wear the dresses again, consider renting designer dresses from a site like, "it's like netflix, but for designer clothing." That's where the great dresses in the photo above came from!

5. Invite the bridesmaids to wear a pair of shoes they already own in a neutral color like black, tan or gold.

6. If you’re really relaxed, let your bridesmaids choose a little black dress that they already own to wear to the wedding.

Here are some ideas of great dresses we found available now:

PS. The dresses from last week's destination wedding post were super cute and from Banana Republic!

(Top three images via JKoe Photography)

The Chevron

Chevron's seems to be popping up everywhere these days. What do you think of them? Cute to wear and decorate with or a passing trend? Here are a few of my favorite Chevron inspired items out there right now:

Chevron Wedge - Anthropologie 
iPhone case - Etsy
Sweater dress- Free People
Pillow Cover - Amazon
Flare dress- Nordstrom
Swimsuit - JCrew

(top image via)

Watch This: The Killing

Have you seen AMC's The Killing? I'd describe it as some sort of a mix between one of the many current crime dramas on TV and Twin Peaks. It's part way through the second season now. I started watching because because I enjoy the many incarnations of Law and Order, Bones and all those other shows where they solve the murder in 60 minutes or less, but lets be honest, I could do with a few less gruesome imaginings of horrible ways to die. This show focuses on solving only one, delving deeper into the relationships of the people effected by the murder of one teenage girl and putting together her secret life in attempts to find her killer.

The added bonus for me, it takes place in Seattle! I love the cinematography, the b roll includes sweeping scenes of Seattle that are muted and beautiful, very uniquely shot, focusing on different angles on the classic views you typically see of downtown and the Space Needle. The show's somewhat wonky interpretation of Seattle geography, along with the random shots of Vancouver thrown in (that's where they actually shoot it) adds for a bit of humor for myself and anyone else who knows the city.

The one slight problem, it's left me a little scared to run or picnic in Discovery Park anytime soon...

Season 1 is available on Netflix. Season 2 is airing now.

PS. Just to save you the trouble of trying to figure out where you've seen Mireille Enos, the show's star, she's was on Big Love. 

Fair Trade from the Source

While in Kenya, Jason and I got to visit a fair trade soapstone art center outside of Kisii. They sell a bunch of their products in US stores. Here is the globe Jason got, for sale at World Market!

There are huge pockets of soapstone in the hills of the Kisii Provence, so soapstone carving has always been part of the culture of the Kisii people and techniques have been passed from generation to generation.

This was the perfect stop for me combining of my love for supporting fair trade, a childhood obsession with seeing how things were made thanks to Mr. Rodgers and my continual need to buy excessive amounts of gifts for friends while traveling. 

We were taken station by station to see how the soapstone art is created and it was super interesting to see these large hunks of rock slowly take shape- being carved, buffed, smoothed and painted into beautiful candlestick holders, platters, bowls and miniature animals.

I was most surprised to see the soapstone actually being broken down from the large chunks. As you can see in the picture, the stone is soft enough to be cut through with a regular saw!

Jason and I ended up coming back with an extra suitcase filled with soapstone carvings. My favorite purchase? Two white elephants. I now have the perfect thing for next white elephant gift exchange we're invited too!

Seriously though, I often purchase fair trade products and wonder about who's making it and if it really is a good working environment. It was so interesting to see that in this fair trade co-op, that was truly the case. 

Why buy fair trade? Read more about fair trade here

Monday Motivation

Thanks, Wit&Delight.

Friday Roundup

Did you have a good week? Are you looking forward to the weekend like I am? If the weather decides to cooperate,  I've got a weekend of photo shoots, including one for the blog, which I'm really excited about!

Now, the roundup for you to peruse at your leisure:

Spring Break, Amish Style

Literary coasters from Out of Print. I love their book tee's for men, women and kids too!

A wedding in an Ikea store, I kid you not. The store provided chairs, linens and meatballs of course. (via Curbed)

Loving this paint dipped trend. Like Miss Moss, I'm feeling like I want to start dipping everything around me in paint!

This movie looks awesome. You want to watch the trailer, trust me.

Tips for sleeping better from Tory Birch. (Yes, that Tory Birch) Definitely some things I want to try.

Byliner has compiled 101 Spectacular Non-Fiction Stories, lots of interesting reads.  (via kottke)

Asparagus is in season! I just picked some up from a farmers market and will be making this simple recipe.

Finally, check out Henri, the existential French cat...

Celebration of a Life Well Lived

“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”
― Excerpt from Mary Oliver's "When Death Comes"

My grandpa Mel recently passed away after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. This week we took the time to celebrate his life and lay him to rest. I wanted to share this wonderful video of his life that my brother Ryan put together. As Mary Oliver so eloquently writes above, my grandpa didn't simply visit this world, he made a lasting positive impact on all those he came into contact with. We will miss him dearly...

Relax on the Roof

I came home from Mexico with a bit of a sunburn, a cute new swimsuit and enough sand to make my own mini beach in my suitcase. But this is what I wish I could have brought home with me:

The Roof Deck

The hotel we stayed at was had a Moroccan theme with a very relaxed bohemian vibe. I really loved the style, bright colors set off by stark white walls and patterned fabrics. All in all, I am really inspired to figure out how to make some sort of oasis like this roof deck for myself at home. The entire place was simple yet chic and the roof was my favorite place to hang out. I was content to sit up there for hours on end reading. 

I'v found that a temporary fix for  wanderlust, is bringing the feel of different places home with me and I'd love to add a bit of the style and feel of the whole place to my house. 

Light a Candle for Earth Month

My sister Laura works at Aveda and recently filled me in on a great product they have for sale for the month of April to support Earth Month. Earth Day is April 22nd, but in 1989 Aveda started the idea of Earth MONTH to keep the awareness and celebration going for the entire month of April. 

There are tons of ways to get involved with healing our earth, but one simple way is purchasing Aveda's the Light the Way Candle for $12. The candles are soy based, slow burning AND you can dip you fingers and use it as a body moisturizer or massage oil (so fun!). 100% of profits go Global Greengrants water projects that train people in sustainable agriculture methods, help communities implement local water resource management plans, and enable communities to take action against toxic industrial pollution.

Wedding Wednesday: Destination Advice from a Bride

Are you considering a destination wedding?
Here's some thoughts and advice straight from Keezia, the bride we photographed last week.

Why do a destination wedding? Keezia explains, "We chose to have a destination wedding because travel is our passion. I was never the girl who dreamed about my wedding when I was little, so when Grant proposed, I didn't have any preset wedding vision other than incorporating travel."

Pick a place you love & be sure to visit before the wedding. Destination weddings are a great way of sharing somewhere that is special to you with your friends and family. For Keezia and Grant, they'd come to Sayulita with friends for a few years. Keezia also points out, "Since we visit Sayulita every year, we had the luxury to look at venues and interview coordinators the year prior." She makes a really good point.  It's really important to see a place in person before you arrive the week of your wedding. Pictures online can be deceiving. 

Be true to yourself. Keezia explains, "Many destination weddings are held at resorts, but we knew that wasn't for us." I completely agree with this one. It's so important to put your character and your style into your wedding! She goes on to say, "By having a destination wedding you inherently give up much of your control, so you have to be alright with that." Keezia is a self proclaimed control freak, so she actually enjoyed giving up the control on the areas that weren't overly important to her, freeing up her time to focus on the things that mattered most.

Find a great coordinator. Keezia and Grant hired a local coordinator. Keezia mentioned initially liking her because she was constantly quick at responding to email, something very important if that's the main way you'll be communicating throughout the process. It's also very important to fully trust your coordinator if they're going to be making a lot of the decisions for you.  I love Keezia's perspective on this, as it isn't something I would have thought of. She says, "I know that a coordinator is not in everyone's budget but Yazmin was worth every penny and paid for herself by negotiating prices with the local vendors that I wouldn't get on my own." 

One minor detail that I LOVED...Keezia and Grant gave their bridal party walkie talkies! What a great idea for keeping in touch with everyone staying along a beach in a foreign country. Great way to avoid crazy cell phone bills and to keep tabs on things. 

See more of Keezia & Grant's Wedding here...

Well, what do you think? I often imagine doing a destination wedding when Jason and I renew our 
vows...yep, pretty sure we will do that some day. We go to so many weddings and have so may great ideas, it's a must. 

Happy Wedding Wednesday!

Images via