Monday, January 28, 2013

Lemon Perfection

Around these parts, January is lemon month. We recently picked bags and bags of Meyer lemons (not to mention oranges and grapefruits), and there are still bags and bags' worth left on the tree.

We give most of it away, but I always make a few sweet treats. This year I made lemon squares and Meyer lemon sugar cookies for my book group.

But my new favorite is a Meyer lemon tart, a variation on this recipe:

I substituted Meyer lemons for the key limes. It's easy to make and deliciously tart-sweet. (And once we're past lemon season, I plan to make the key lime version -- key lime pie is my favorite!)

What are cooking up these days?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Welcome Home

I have a fascination with foyers, probably because my house doesn't have much of one. There's a small pony wall and column to separate the entry from the living room, but no space at all for any sort of furniture or even a mirror for a last makeup check before heading out the door. We have coat hooks (very handy this time of year), but I long for a bench or a pretty chest where I could stash a few running-out-the-door necessities, especially a sticky roller for removing dog hair.

Entry No. 3 here makes me swoon, but it's more than I could ever hope for:

And, of course, the organization in No. 2 is insane. What's your favorite entryway?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Dr. King at the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pattern Play: Houndstooth

I'm so excited that houndstooth is popular again. I've always loved this traditional pattern, and it so fun when done in unexpected colors and sizes, or used in unusual ways. So when I came across this Houzz article, I had to share it. Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Easy Updo

I usually wear my hair down. I like it up, I just can't seem to do it myself. But this style is so simple and chic, I decided it was perfect for our New Year's Eve/anniversary celebration.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year again: the making of resolutions.

Last year I set a goal of becoming more fearless. I don't know if I achieved that; it's difficult to measure fearlessness. But I have been trying to take more chances, step out of my comfort zone and try new things. My role in the community, while still quite small, has grown in the past year. And I've noticed a new self-confidence, something I'd lacked for some time.

But this year I'm going for a straight-up, achievable resolution: to buy less cheap crap. For me, that particularly means clothing, but it also pertains to things for the home.

I have a longstanding aversion to buying things made in China. One day I intend to blog about that (when and if I can ever set my thoughts out properly), but it started as my own personal protest against the country's human and animal rights abuses. Stories of contaminated pet products, children's toys and baby formula over the past few years vindicated my choice, and I've continued to try to avoid products that come from there.

It's not easy, and sometimes I give in. It's nearly impossible to find sweaters or boots or purses (and not just cheap ones but designer labels) that aren't made in China, and when buying online it's usually impossible to know where a product comes from. But there's been one good side effect: I've saved lots of money by not buying cheap, Chinese-made crap.

But it's not enough. I love stuff and I love shopping, but I really believe it's better for me and better for the world to make more-conscious, thoughtful decisions about where to spend my money. So no more "just looking" at the clothing racks at Target. No more $20 dresses at H&M.

I'd also like to teach myself to draw. Nothing too intricate, just some simple fashion- or architecture-related sketches that I can use on the blog.

Oh, yes, and I'm back to blogging. For now, anyway. I'm not going to post as regularly as I did before. It began to feel like a chore. No, now I'll post when the mood strikes and I have the time and energy to devote. (Check back next week for pictures from my trip to Paris and Brussels!)

Do you have any new year's resolutions you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about them!