Thursday, November 29, 2012

Family Portraits - Jones Family

This week of posting seems to have a family theme (unintentional, do you believe me?), so I'm running with it! This past weekend, we got together with our good friends Joe and Kellie so I could take some family portraits for them. These two were the first real friends we made at our new church a few years ago, and they lead a small group we went to for years. Now, they are a vibrant family of four with the addition of their two sweet daughters. What a gorgeous family they are! 

{those eyes!}

 {I couldn't resist posting these - baby sister drooled on big sister's tutu, and these faces are the result!}

Joe and Kellie, it was a pleasure to take your photos. We think you guys are pretty great. 



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Etsy Round Up - Gift Ideas for the Little Ones

As promised, Etsy Round-Up is chocked full of fantastic gift ideas - this week, for kids!

How amazing are these things? I'm in love with them all. And one thing I know for sure - the Parker boys will wear wings on their shoes!

Clockwise from top left:

Superhero Shoes - Yellow Wings by smallfly
Canvas Fold Away Play TeePee by PlayHaven
Zebi the Zebra by AdornForHope
Children's Mittens by RainbowMittens
Toddler Crocheted Cowl by MamaMandolin
Waldorf Tree House by Manzanita Kids
Baby's First Colors All Natural Crayons by kittybblove



Monday, November 26, 2012

Styled - Lauren Adams inspired Nursery

I've been thinking a lot about my little son(s) lately. Unfortunately there isn't much I can actually do about the fact that they are not home yet, so I channelled my desire to do something into designing a baby boy's nursery (focusing on the positive is a discipline)! Enter this week's Styled - inspired by an artist named Lauren Adams. I came across her Etsy shop this weekend - you should really check it out. 

I'm a big believer in nursery spaces that grow with your baby, but are still fun and playful enough to celebrate the sweet little one who sleeps there. I think this space fits the bill. 

1. Silted River Abstract Painting by Lauren Adams Art on Etsy
2. Star Wars Travel Poster by JazzberryBlue on Etsy
3. Capri Table Lamp in Orange by Jonathan Adler
4. Kalon Studios Caravan Crib in Green from Modern Nursery
5. Wooden Car Toy by Keepsake Toys on Etsy
6. T-Rex Nursery Art by lulufroot on Etsy
7. Keno Linked Trellis Rug in Slate from
8. Eames Molded Plastic Rocker with armchair base from the Herman Miller Store
9. Tan Moroccan Leather Pouf from Serena and Lily

What are your favorite ideas for a baby boy's room?



Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Sale!

This weekend, BrightJuly is having a Sale! These don't happen very often, so if you're eyeing a pillow or two, now is the time to snatch them up! All you need to do is enter the coupon code HOLIDAY12 at checkout for 15% off. The code will work until the end of the day, this coming Monday. So what are you waiting for, friends? Head on over!



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Etsy Round Up - Bright Christmas

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this week? Its blowing my mind a little. And just around the corner from Thanksgiving is the Holiday Season, which is so exciting! The next few weeks of Etsy Round Ups will all be full of amazing gift ideas for shopping handmade this season. And since I can't seem to kick my neon obsession, I thought I'd start there. 

Clockwise from Top Left:

Bright Green Deer Lamp by maddadesign
Neon Holiday Light Paper Ornament  by Noir Blanc Productions
White and Neon Pink Succulent Sculpture by Waterstone Succulents
Dinosaur Magnets in Lime by Original Animal Magnet
Holly Jolly Y'all Letterpress Card by BSandRS
1960's Kelly Green Sweater by MilkTeeths
Bright Pink Round Silver Locket by TheBloomingThread
Wood and White Stone Bracelet by iheartnorwegianwood

So fun!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Styled - Krzysztof Klusik Inspired Living Room

Styled this week is inspired by this fantastic, quirky painting by Krzysztof KlusikManka. I think its the perfect jumping off point for a modern, yet warm, living space. 

1. Manka by Krzysztof Klusik
2. Globe Crystal Chandelier from Weylandts
3. Monkey by Serene Perez from Serena and Lily
4. Open Weave Throw in Cream from Anthropologie
5. LC3 Grand Modele Armchair from Design within Reach
6. Flokati Rug from Ikea
7. Le Feu De L'eau Boxed Candle from Anthropologie
8. Smithsonian Phalaenopsis Orchid from
9. Fishing Grounds by Ellen Levine Dodd from Serena and Lily
10. Carved Wood Side Table from West Elm



Monday, November 19, 2012

New Pillows - Bold, Handwritten, Tribal

I absolutely cannot wait to share my new pillow line with you, just in time for the Holidays! 
The idea for these little beauties came spontaneously (though I can't remember exactly when - in the shower perhaps? Or maybe at work? Always when I can't act on it immediately). Once they started flowing, I haven't been able to stop making them. In fact, I've quite literally stayed up sewing until I felt my eyes cross from staring at the needle too long. I've loved making them, and new ideas are coming to me constantly - so more are in the works, I promise! 

{A few of the new styles! Head on over to BrightJuly on Etsy for more}

In case you're wondering, I'd love to do a custom design for you. You can send me a message via Etsy here - or just leave a comment on this post and I'll get back to you. 

Absolutely beaming! 



Friday, November 16, 2012

Loving this Week - DIY Gift Ideas

This week, I'm loving these inspiring DIY gift ideas by some very talented bloggers. Aren't these great?

I'd love to receive any of these as a gift this year - which is a good sign that they'd be great to give to others! 

Now, where to start?



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Etsy Round-Up - Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

This week I'm back on track with Etsy Round Up, totally inspired by the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. All of these finds would be perfect to set a modern, classic table. 

Clockwise from Top Left:

Thanksgiving Banner by stephlovesben
Set of 4 Silver Plated Napkin Rings by MaisonMaudie
5x5 Inch Open Edition Photograph by Walter Helena Photography
Tablecloth with Graphic Pattern by Dreamzzzzz
Fields of Gold Photograph by Inmost Light
Gold Wishbone Necklace by PetiteCo

Such gorgeous things! Since I'm a guest at Thanksgiving this year and not the host, I don't have my own table to set. Either way, I'm very tempted by all of them.

How are you preparing for Thanksgiving?



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Inca Trail Packing Guide - Some Advice

{pack much?}

Before we left for our Peruvian adventure, I really struggled with what to pack. The weather is variable and layers are crucial, but its just as crucial not to over pack. Particularly if you are tempted not to hire an extra porter and carry your own pack, which we did.

I thought I'd pass on some packing advice in case you're heading out to the Inca Trail any time soon. Some things I packed ended up being a total waste of space, and other things were complete life savers.

So here's what came on the trail with me:

2 breathable short sleeve running tops
2 long sleeve tops
2 running shorts
2 running half tights (capris)
2 sports bras
6 pairs socks
Patagonia Release Trail Running shoes
Waterproof rain jacket
Cheap plastic poncho
Lightweight, huge beach cover up
Homemade sleeping bag liner and small pillow (12x16 inches)
Fleece pants to wear around camp in the evenings
Running sweatshirt
Long underwear
Icebreaker long sleeve wool top for sleeping
Fleece hat
Fleece turtle fur (neck warmer)
Compression socks (to wear to bed for recovery)
Hand warmer packs (sold in ski shops everywhere - Little Hotties brand)
Plastic trash bags to keep everything dry inside my pack in case it rained
Basic Toiletries
Baby wipes
Insect repellant
Blister kit
High altitude herbal tablets
Flip flops for the shower
Basic first aid - neosporin, band-aids, witch hazel for cuts, cotton balls, etc.
Rented sleeping bag from Llamapath - was great. Good quality, clean, and warm.

And the least useful award goes to: 
That full size bath towel I packed.
It took up way to much space and I ended up not using it. The beach cover-up I brought ended up being perfect for that. Since its so lightweight, it dried completely overnight, which I know my towel wouldn't have. I know it could also have been a great extra sheet or scarf if I was cold in the middle of the night. I also didn't end up needing the hats, gloves, turtle fur, or handwarmers - it just wasn't that cold. But I'd still recommend packing things like that, especially if you're hiking in the colder months of June or July.

Wish I packed more of:
Short sleeves, shorts, and more sports bras. We hiked in October, and had what seemed to be unseasonably warm weather with very little rain, which was a stroke of good luck. Because it was warm, I used shorts and short sleeves more than I expected to. I wore the same things twice, which wasn't the end of the world, but it really would have been nice to have a fresh shirt to wear each day. They aren't heavy and don't take up too much space, so it would have been better.

Things I didn't think of, but you should:
Luckily for me my friend is an experienced multi day hiker and came really prepared. She packed a few things that I never would have thought of, and lots of people in our group ended up needing.
Here are some of those things:

Cold medicine in tablet form
Cough drops
Needle and thread for blisters (sterilize and thread the needle, pierce the blister on one end, push the needle through to the other end, and let the thread absorb the fluid. Then pull the thread out the far end, clean the blister and cover with a band-aid. Genius!)
Zambuk (many clever uses, the most important of which was bug bite itch relief)

The Great Debate: Hiking Boots or Trail Runners?
I chose to hike in my faithful, well broken-in Patagonia Release Trail Runners. They worked perfectly well, and I had no ankle trouble. Still, now that I've hiked the trail, I'd choose differently next time. I think something like the Salewa Alp Trainer Mid would have been perfect. Lightweight, comfortable, and with a bit more ankle support. The downhills are steep, the trail is uneven, and it can be slippery. Particularly if you're carrying your own pack, I'd recommend going with a little more ankle support if you can.

Lastly, if you're thinking about hiking the Inca trail and you're not sure - do it.

You won't regret it.



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Styled - Kevin Russ Inspired Dining Room

This week's styled is inspired by the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and an amazing photograph by Kevin Russ. Isn't it beautiful? I think this room would be a perfect space to serve a loud, happy holiday meal. 

1. Modo Chandelier from Design within Reach
2. Three Meadow Moose Print by Kevin Russ via Society 6
4. Olivier Flatware Set from Crate and Barrel
5. Ivory Buffet Napkins from World Market
6. Fluted Silver Charger from World Market
8. Terravida 87" Dining Table from Crate and Barrel
9. Botega Chair from Design within Reach
10. Mysia Rug from Anthropologie



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Machu Picchu!

The lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. 

It is so vast, so organized, so amazingly intact after five hundred years of existence. 
Even though no one was rushing us, and there was no threat of "missing it", our group had a surge of adrenaline and sense of unexplained urgency on our last day, Machu Picchu day. We woke up just before 3 am, stuffed our belongings into our packs, ate breakfast as fast as possible, and hurried along the trail in the dark - moving past sleepy travelers brushing their teeth in dim headlamp light - hoping to be the first group at the gate that marks the entrance to the park. Much to our surprise, we were. Once we settled in and claimed our place in line, we had 2 hours to kill before we could hike. So we did what any group of exhausted and decidedly unserious people would do - we made a shoulder massage circle! Unfortunately, I have no evidence of that. You'll just have to imagine it (!)

As soon as the gates opened and we were cleared to go, we took off. Took off along the trail like our lives depended on it. It was awesome. 

 {These are the "Gringo Killer" Steps. So steep I used my hands to climb them}
{Damp yet enthusiastic team! Imagine Machu Picchu in the distance, like we did. This is our Sun Gate Victory photo, as we were the first complete group to make it. If only those bystanders weren't loitering in the background, putting our victory into question...}

{Even the fastest Pumas need to stop for a few photos}

And then, suddenly, we arrived. I think we hiked for at least two hours that morning to get there, but I don't remember. The trail just stopped, opened up, and we were there. Amidst the clouds that rolled in and out, unluckily covering most of the view in the majority of our first photos. 
 {My dear sister and I, giddy with the joy of just being there}

Serendipitously, the clouds parted and moved away before we knew it - and a gorgeous Spring day emerged. Perfect for photographs.    
Jumping photographs. 


After we'd jumped sufficiently, Ruben took us on a tour. 

After our tour, we hiked Wayna Picchu. Because we just hadn't had enough hiking, exploring, adventuring. 

{and it was very, very, perilously steep}
{with a narrow cave and tunnel to squeeze through}

And once we arrived at the top, the view was simply breathtaking. 

{after climbing back down the mountain, we happened upon some more llamas!}

{and couldn't leave without taking a few more photos}

This trip was more than just a bucket list check off for me.

You see, this year hasn't been easy. Its had more than a few dark seasons, which gratefully, are over. I survived them. I grew tremendously in them. I'm grateful for them. But as it turns out, I desperately needed to be lit up with passion for life - and traveling does that for me. I came home with a big part of my soul rejuvenated, and with my sisterhood with my friend deepened and enriched. The timing was also very, very good, as October 22 was the two year anniversary of the day we applied to adopt our child/children. I remembered it in a solitary moment on the trail, choked back tears, and willed myself to focus on the positive. It was not difficult to do in such a beautiful place. 

My journey to Machu Picchu was glorious. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to go. 

So friends, if its not already on your list, you should add it. "Visit Machu Picchu, Peru, and hike the Inca Trail."





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