Oh, Spring!

Spring is either a favorite season or completely loathed, it seems. Favorite because its warmer on the flat land, yet snowy and abundant in ski days in the mountains. Loathed because winter seems as though it can't let free its grip, hanging on as long as it can, with snow days arriving as late as May. It's a rare find when you hear someone say that Spring is somewhere in the middle. A second or third favorite? Yeah, not really. Well, at least here in Colorado. 

For me though, Spring brings an overwhelming feeling of fresh, clean, and bright. I fall on the end of loving it. You can escape to the mountains and feel the need for a beanie, after spending all day in sandals and a dress. You can eat ice-cream one day, and need a bowl of hot soup curled up on the couch the next. The window lets more light in, and the brightness brings rejuvenation after a long winter of early days cold to the touch. That first sign of Spring? With the bulbs pushing up through soil. beginning to make their green mark all around, with fresh cut tulips to ring in the season, waiting all winter long to pop up and say "Well, hello! Didn't you miss me?" Longer days, with nights that are still cool, and mornings that are still damp, with birds chirping before the sun even rises. Summer doesn't have these things, because hot and beaming and sun burnt cheeks arrive--but Spring, green and bright and new--in Spring--those things are abundant. 

So here's to an end of April and almost May. The last month of this Spring love-loathe relationship. To warmer days on the flats, and melty snow in the mountains. To cool damp mornings and fresh earth piercing blooms. To early birds chirping and bright light waking the day. To new life, and growing roots. To Spring!

photos from my Instagram Feed (@lauren_tien)


Calligraphy, lately.

Last month, I took a calligraphy class in Boulder taught by Rebecca, the lady behind Manzanita. It was such a wonderful two hours, learning about letter structure, spacing, nibs, ink types, and all things calligraphy. Pure bliss. Can I just write all day every day? Preferably with other ladies who like nibs, and ink, and hand lettering pretty things?
When I was a little girl learning piano, discipline brought me to practice everyday. Or, most days….It's the same thing with calligraphy, I'm finding. Practice makes perfect. Or rather, practice makes you more clever at the nib, and helps you learn the basics so that eventually you can break the rules and find your own style. So that's why I practice, and make mistakes, and focus on letter structure and spacing. Because one day, I want to have a signature style that breaks the rules but is so darn pretty to the eye, like Rebecca's work or the likes of Lindsay Letters.
As I've been writing more, and putting ink to paper, I've had the treat of doing some calligraphy for Wonderfully Made's Instagram Feed (@madewonderfully). Every Thursday I sit down, open my bible, and pick out scripture to share. I love this part of my week. And lately, the warm spring weather beams through my window as I write.
Have you ever taken a calligraphy class? Would you want to learn? Rebecca offers workshops, and she has a few coming up in Los Angeles, Boulder, and Nashville. You can read more about them here.


The Start of Our Yard Revamp

What can be more gratifying than seeing progress because of good old hard work? Labor intensive, dirt on your jeans, roughed up knuckles, and sunburnt cheeks kind of hard work. Maybe I'm an odd ball, but pulling weeds, ripping up stumps, and clearing out overgrown shrubs is something I find such satisfaction in. And goodie for me we have lots of this ahead of us in our backyard! I'd be fibbing a bit if I told you I didn't grumble when I woke up this morning, though. Even with finding satisfaction in outdoor/gardening work, and pulling up weeds like I said just a second ago, there's so much do to in our backyard. Its a bit daunting, really. But I pulled up my boot straps and knocked off the grumbling. We just went at it. Starting one section at a time. The rollie pollies and earthworms didn't know what was comin' today.
Matt's already talking about how one day, once all the messy bushes are gone and we've taken care of some big projects out here, that apple and peach trees would be nice. I was pretty spoiled having so many fruit trees at my mom's house in Thousand Oaks. I think that even though Colorado isn't as gracious with growing fruit trees like California is, I will take what I can get. And, yes, apples and peaches would be so so nice, don't you think?
We've started on the very left side of the yard, pulling up a deck that used to hold up a spa. All the other work on this side consists of tearing out tons and tons of roots, shrubs, and stumps. Yippee! Such a pile of messy overgrown plants it all is. How wonderful it'll be once this is all cleared out and I can have a little vegetable garden all along this area of the yard. It already has the framework for a great garden bed. And the soil is the really great type that you hope for when it comes to growing veggies. Remember last summer when I started my own little garden DIY style began venturing into city gardening? Gosh, we've come a long way since then. How truly blessed I feel to call this yard ours.


Two Dressers, Lamps, and a Bed | Before

This is where you'll find me catching up on Downton Abbey on flake out Friday, or from 5:00 - 6:00 a.m. hitting snooze, or sipping my early morning coffee on those days I work later.  Our bedroom! The camera died about halfway through shooting our room, so this is really only part of the space. I know, I'm sorry! To the right of the bed are two windows, which are brilliant - literally. They give of so much light, and I intend to embrace that fully, you know, harness that clean and bright feel with crisp white window linens and such. And to the left of the wide dresser is the bathroom. Consider this an official before post (even if it's a halfsie). Half of the things in this room are old, thrifted, or waiting to be refurbished. Can you figure out which is which? There are a handful of Target and West Elm finds in here to. A gold star to the most correct guesses!

Oh and P.S. Went to Ikea today, and walked out a happy lady with the perfect pendant lamp


Dark Grey Bedroom Walls

Right now the master bedroom is neutral, tan, beige, skin tone. Oh how I want that to change. But something I've been challenging myself to do is patiently plan each room, and map out colors and aesthetics that Matt and I are both drawn to. Simple, crisp, and vintage is an overarching theme that I find myself mapping out in my mind over and over. And grey. Or gray. Grey/gray. The color keeps cycling back to the house plans, sneaking its way into every single room I redesign in my head. Gray so light it is almost white in the family room, grey base cabinets with bright white top cabinets in the kitchen, and subtle grey shelves in the laundry room. Leaving the the darkest of all the greys in the master bedroom. I've been trying to picture this bottom look in our room. What do you think? I kind of love it.
image via here


Target Secrets

We all love bargains, right? I've talked about this in terms of thrifting, but Target can be the queen bee too. Finding that little red sticker that says now: $5.98, was: $29.99 just makes you want to run around the store and tell everyone that there is a deal being had at the end of aisle 7. It makes you want to stock up like a dooms day prepper because you might need those 6 lamp bases, 10 picture frames, and 8 pillows one day (clearance prices do something to your mind and make you think a little bonkers). Okay, so I don't stock up, but I can't lie about not thinking about it when I see the red clearance sticker.

So let me give you some advice. If you see something at Target that you like: WAIT. Honestly, more times than not, that same item will be marked down in a few weeks. Or a like item, that is a bit different, but still gets the job done. With buying a house, and having 400% more space than I've ever had in my entire life, I've been frequenting my Target a lot lately, in the same fashion as a thrift store. My eye is looking out for red signs sticking out from shelves in Home and I look on the back side of the aisles : that's where the clearance treasures are found, and I kid you not it can be a gold mine.
 Threshold lamp Base $7, Threshold side tables $20.
Another word of advice: If there is a crack or small damage, but it isn't that noticeable to you, or it really wouldn't bother you in the end when the home item is styled in your house, ask for a discount at checkout. Most recently, I found two clearance items, a glass lamp base and a Nate Berkus tray (both now in the guest bedroom), that had a chip and a crack. The lamp base chip is hidden when its standing upright on a table and the tray's crack is covered with mindfully placed decor on the tray. Both were already end of aisle clearance items, but because I pointed the damage out at checkout, I got an additional discount. So yes, ASK! You can always send it as a go back if you change your mind at checkout.
Four Threshold wooden frames, $2 - $5 each.
Media center $60, was $140.
Gold bowl on sale, discount at check out because of small scratch.
Sale on poufs (the best new word for fun ottomans), $30 off marked price.

Something else I've observed, Target markdowns are best found mid-week. I find the best clearance items the further away the day is from the weekend. And, it never hurts to ask for a price adjustment if you bought something earlier that is now an even greater mark down. I just did it yesterday with a few frames, and saved $10 (it all adds up, friends!).


From Brooklyn to Manhattan

One overcast day in January, we walked from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Nearing sunset, the light made greens and grays off in the distance stand out amongst the collection of buildings and the brick, steel, and wooden slats contrast against the light sky above and moving wheels below. That day, for the very first time, I saw New York City from the outside looking in.