Currently loving…

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Plummy and browned-down red polishes like this one. Exactly what I want to wear this fall.

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This leopard-spotted number with an exposed back zipper to dress up or down, and of course, to layer up when it gets chilly.

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The moody autumn colors of this custom handmade leather wrap bracelet from Flor de Noche Studio. I’ve been wearing mine non-stop.

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This mismatched set of quirky-cool geometric studs. Perfect with everything.

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The gorgeous color, unique details, and versatility of these ankle boots.

Garden bouquet

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It’s been a long, productive summer in my flower garden. As usual, I learned a lot and didn’t get quite enough time just sitting on the patio staring at the beauty of it all.

This year, I learned:

  • How important it is to keep cutting your flowers. It helps plants look tidy, but it also makes a big difference in keeping the blooms coming.
  • Overwatering is almost as bad as underwatering. I have floppy echinacea, and blanket flowers that almost didn’t bloom, because I got a little carried away with the hose.
  • Bee balm, creeping rosemary, goldilocks black-eyed susans and zinnias all proved themselves worthy of their new spots in my NW garden.

One last thing, this book provided valuable information and inspiration on what to grow and how to pull together a pretty bouquet like this one.

Happy end of summer!

Chilled cucumber avocado soup for the last days of summer

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Here in Portland, hot, sunny days continue well into September. The cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in my garden are still going crazy. I often make gazpacho to put them to good use.

This summer, I added a new chilled soup to the rotation, inspired by the abundance of cucumbers, tomatoes and jalapeños from my garden and my love for avocados.

It’s creamy and refreshing with tang from the lime and a bit of heat from the jalapeño. Plus, the avocado makes it a bit more filling. Crusty bread, salami, or grilled shrimp (or chicken or fish) all make worthy companions. Continue reading

Cutting garden inspiration

 

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The Flower Recipe Book came out last spring to all kinds of rave reviews. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up this beautiful and affordable (under $15!) hardback book and read it cover to cover. It definitely delivers on how to structure a better bouquet. But maybe even better is the “ingredient chart”– it’s a ready-made shopping list for choosing plants for your cutting garden.

The ladies of Studio Choo borrowed the recipe construct and artfully applied it to flower arranging. For each bouquet, they offer a list of flower “ingredients.” Then they walk you through each step to create their sometimes sparse and sculptural, but more often lush, modern arrangements. Plus, there are lots of stunning photos.

Two summers ago, I started a cutting garden in my backyard. I love the idea of growing most or all of the flowers I need for bouquets throughout the growing season. I was hoping this book would help me fill in my flower garden, as well as create better arrangements from what I grow. It did not disappoint.

I found the ingredients chart towards the front of the book to be super useful as a sort of pantry list. I took stock of what I was already growing and compared it to their suggestions. It turns out I have lots of base flowers and secondary flowers, but need some more focal flowers, base foliage and textural “bits.” Such useful insight! And better yet, I’ll know exactly what to do with the flowers once they’re growing in my garden.

Spring palette inspiration

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We’ve reached the time of year when layers of navy, grey, burgundy, and black don’t seem cozy and comforting as much as depressing. I’m ready to trade those rich, dark, cold weather colors for a lighter, brighter palette. Who’s with me?

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I came across this pretty ranunculus print. And not only would I like to have it hanging somewhere within eyesight, I kind of want to move into this world of faded brights and blushy-buff tones that manages to be both romantic and casual at the same time. Since I can’t literally move in, I’ll settle for living in spring clothes inspired by this dreamy palette. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together some favorites.

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