Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Giving of Thanks

I do thank the Lord for my life every day. I thank Him for my family, my friends, my home, my health, and most recently for my new job which I am enjoying so much, and the list goes on. But what about all of the things that I don't even know about, or realize, or can count, or imagine? He has blessed me beyond my human ability to comprehend. 

I fear the only thing I have to give back is to be thankful. Truly thankful.

"A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting and his truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100:1-5

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So Sublimely November

It just feels like November. The evenings are darker, the air is cooler, and the leaves are fading into muted versions of their former vibrant hues of October.  It's a time to clear out the brambles, trim the vines and rake the leaves.

So many leaves.

And it's a great time to teach children the importance of service.  {grin}

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Raise Your Glass

Will you raise your glass with me?  It can be a mug or cup or even a goblet if you like.  I'm raising my Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, as I just have a few things to celebrate.

First, I'm celebrating the return of the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha for the holiday season.  While I am a cappuccino girl at heart, I thoroughly enjoy a good shot of minty chocolatey goodness once a year.

I am also (still) celebrating our move to a new town nearly a year ago.  We are thriving here, making a home and meeting people.  It's also nice to live somewhere where it feels like fall when it is fall.  Where Mother Nature uses the corresponding weather for the corresponding month.  Right now it is raining pretty good (instead of snowing) and the red leaves on the tree in the back yard are absolutely brilliant.  The air smells of wood smoke and my sweaters are getting constant use.

The main reason for my celebration is that I got a job!  For a while now my husband and I have been talking about the possibility of me going back to work.  For seven years I have stayed home with my kids and worked independently on graphic design projects.  Now, as my children are both in school, it just makes sense to get out there among other adults and bring home some bacon.  I'm excited.  And a little bit scared.  But the Lord is so good and I trust him completely in this new adventure.  I will be a graphic designer for an advertising agency that specializes in social media and branding.  I get to work part-time, which will allow me to be there for my kids after school, and I look forward to putting my creativity to use.  Of course now that I'm joining the working world again, I need to do a little clothes shopping and acquire some tailored pieces.

Well heck, let's raise our glasses to clothes shopping!  I don't know about you, but it really is one of my favorite activities.  I've got heeled loafers and girly blouses on the brain. Of course, I don't really need to get a job as an excuse to dream about fashion.

What are you celebrating?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Princess And The Jedi

This year my kids knew exactly what they wanted to be for Halloween.  Forever a princess fan, my daughter opted for Rapunzel.  My son, after watching some of the Star Wars movies over the summer, decided Luke Skywalker was the look for him.  

I didn't make their costumes this year as I have done in the past, but I sure had fun styling their hair/wig to help them really play the part. 

Rapunzel is sporting a layered dress fashioned out of sparkly tool and sequins.  Her long corn silk locks are tied back in a single braid and her bangs were plastered (rather forcefully) with several coats of hairspray.  

Luke Skywalker here is technically wearing Obi Wan Kenobi's jedi garb.  Perhaps Luke's robes got stolen by some Tuscan Raiders and Old Ben has some extra clothes to lend him.  At least he still has his light saber and in good working condition.  Don't mess with this knight, he uses the Force!

Whew ... the things a parent will do to ensure maximum trick-or-treating fun.  But their happy faces (and ample supply of chocolate for mama) are worth it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's So Much Fun It's Spooky!

What do you get when you combine a few robust pumpkins and a man with an extensive collection of power tools?  Some rather fun characters!

Fearing that time was running out to carve pumpkins, we hurriedly began the process at 7:45pm the night before Halloween (the kids go to bed at 8:00!). We opted for a happy face since we don't do scary around here. Seeing the curved lines I was drawing, my husband muttered something like "Oh man ... not the curvy lines!" and went out to the garage to fetch a tool.  He returned with an electric jigsaw and began cutting away.  I have to say, it did a great job and saved us a lot of time!  Plus it's a great story to tell.

Oh, but he didn't stop there! This morning he created this not-so-happy face with ... yup you guessed it ... a blow torch. 

And THAT'S how it's done around here, folks!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where We Dined Like Kings

Imagine: a cool autumn afternoon, you are sitting at a patio that is perched high on a hill, overlooking a valley of lush green grape vines; you are sipping fine wine and dining on fresh regional cuisine; and a faint smell of lavender fills the air as you enjoy conversation with loved ones.  Sounds dreamy doesn't it?  Well ... it really was!

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of going to King Estate Winery with my mom and sister.  It is located a short drive from downtown Eugene, but its beauty makes it seem worlds away.  1,033 acres of land includes orchards, vegetable gardens, flowers, and of course 430 acres of organic vineyards! 

The drive up was so pretty.  I admit that I was pretending to be in the French countryside.

A lovely pic of my mom, sister and I near the patio where we dined, overlooking the vineyard.

The panoramic view from the winery is really something to behold with neat rows of vines go as far as the eye can see.  We took a tour of the facility which led us through the process of getting wine from the vine to the glass, then at the restaurant we got to taste their product.  I went home with a bottle of their Acrobat Oregon Pinot Noir 2010, which I plan to bring out for a special occasion some time.

 The barrel rooms had beautiful arched ceilings and smelled strongly of, what else, oak.

 I felt very blessed to have the opportunity to jump out of the car and snap some shots of the grapes on the vine.  These bunches will soon be harvested.

Good wine, good food, good company and good laughs all made this a very memorable adventure.

Even though I still long to go to the wine country of France, it's a comfort to know that a similar experience is never too far away from me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Leopard Is A Girl's Best Friend

I imagine that when most people think of Marilyn Monroe from the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, an image of her in that bubblegum pink gown and covered in diamonds is what comes to mind.  Strangely, I think of her in another outfit: a stunning navy dress with a leopard stole and muff ... and covered in diamonds.  There is something so striking and luxe about the spotted fir against the dark blue.

A big fashion trend I see this fall is the use of leopard print.  I'm generally a pretty plain and simple girl when it comes to prints and textures, but I can't help it - I'm falling in love with leopard!

Upon perusing fashion magazines and style websites, I've been seeing the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz sporting some lovely leopard ballet flats.  They look great with jeans and add an instant touch of class to any outfit.  
Reese Witherspoon and Cameron Diaz.

Elle McPherson

Katherine Heigl

So I bought some.  Now, mine aren't exactly Louboutins or the Tory Burch pair that Katherine Heigl wears, but I think they are just as nice looking and I didn't pay nearly as much.  I got mine at Target for $24.99, they are calf hair and feature a beautiful scalloped detail around the edge.
Ah, aren't they adorable?  They look great with both my trouser style and skinny jeans.

Generally I would say that I am a heels kind of a girl, but these babies make me feel foxy when I wear them.  And they are far more convenient for walking my kids to school in the early morning.