PHOTO: Urban Outfitters
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you might know that I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I’ve mentioned it here and there and I’m definitely not lacking when it comes to hometown pride. My entire family (other than my mom and stepdad) still live there, and I’ve missed it since the day I packed up my bags and headed off to college 16 years ago.
So last November I made the decision that I’m making the move back to Pittsburgh.
Everything is still very much in the early stages. Only last Friday did my realtor – the very same one who sold me my current home nearly six years ago – stop by to kick things into gear. I have yet to decide whether I’m going to buy or build (I’m crossing my fingers for the latter), and I still have to do preliminary things like see how much money I’ll be approved for. I bought this house, my first, when I was still working for a design firm and now that I’m self-employed things are bound to be a little different. The good thing is my realtor says that everything is in great shape – only a few paint touchups and packing up my personality before the house can go on the market. He doesn’t anticipate it will last long once listed, so it’s really a matter of figuring out my living situation in PA and then putting it up for sale. NO PRESSURE.
While I’m definitely looking forward to be closer to my family and back in my city, this entire move feels very bittersweet. Oklahoma City has been my home off and on for the past 16 years. In fact, I’m more entwined in it than I ever was in Pittsburgh because I became an adult here. I’m a part of the creative community. I get incredibly sad when I think about leaving, but the fact is the only things truly holding me here in OKC are my mom and stepdad. And they decided to move back to Pittsburgh, too! So the story wrote itself, really.
I have no plans to turn Design Crush into the trials and tribulations of moving halfway across the country, but I’m sure there will be a moving themed post occasionally since it’s about to become such a big part of my life. I hope you’ll hang around throughout the process, and if you live in Pittsburgh say hello. I’m looking to build my future community starting now!
Bebe was ridiculously cute, as always.
It was unseasonably cold (like everywhere), and I took full advantage of my puffer coat.
I received the best valentine from my friend, artist Rebecca Rothfus.
I’m two months into my #365quotes project and haven’t missed one yet!
I found out I love blush colored roses.
I ate waaay too much sugar, specifically grocery store cupcakes.
And these macarons from Dana’s Bakery.
Peanut spent most of the month cuddled up to a fuzzy blanket on my bed.
I made bread for the first time ever! And it was so good.
My mom gave me this sweet little salt cellar.
Rainey is 11 months old now, and a super affectionate little kitty.
Piper’s been restless for warm weather and more outside time.
I’m so excited that spring is just around the corner.
2014 hasn’t wasted any time out of the starting gate, I’ve already been on two trips with a few more looming. I kicked off January with a bouquet of shocking pink posies, in fact they’re only just now dead on my mantle. On a trip home to Pittsburgh my Dad and I made our annual pilgrimage to the original Primanti’s in the Strip District. So good. I was gifted Winter Cocktails and proceeded to read it like a novel – can’t wait to try them all out! I spent over two hours at Chirps & Cheers one afternoon rolling around on the floor with this handsome furry fellow. I know it’s time to chop my hair when I’m wearing topknots 24/7, so I said sayonara to 6 inches. The day before flying out to Alt Summit I treated myself to a mani-pedi and some fun nail designs. My #365quotes project is still going full steam ahead on Instagram – I haven’t missed a day yet! I attended a fun nature themed party and slapped on these temporary fern tattoos for a little something extra. I can always count on Apartment34 for a fun photo opp! Stay Wild is such a great mantra, no matter what the degree it’s followed to. Snapped this creepy/fun pic with BareMinerals and couldn’t help but make it my new avatar across the board. And I was so happy to be reunited with this extra snuggly guy when I got home from Salt Lake City!
This was the year I attended and spoke at my fifth Alt Summit.
This was the year that patterned pants, pixie haircuts and brightly colored hair, black and white outfits, baby bellies, booties and smoking loafers, braids, wide-brimmed hats, bright and bold flowers, more than 10 men in attendance, balloons everywhere, and tulle skirts were definitely trending.
This was the year I discovered the Grand America‘s incredible lattes, and wondered why I’d missing out on them for the past four years. It was also the year that I only attended my own panel and spent the rest of the time making Alt work for me in the best possible way.
This was the year that smoke machines were in.
This was the year where my biggest disappointment was missing out on holding a fox, a skunk, and a parrot.
This was the year that black, gold, triple thick edged, and extra special goodies trended in business cards. And where I gave out a round I’ve Gotta Design Crush sticker instead.
Emily Jeffords // Paper and Stitch // Erica Reitman // Fabric Paper Glue // Meg Conley // Approaching Joy // Sara Moore // Brewed Together // City of Industry // Wander + Find // Moorea Seal // Elsie Marley
This was the year we all dressed in green and partied beneath monstrous cutout paper flowers thanks to Cricut.
This was also the year we hopped between ELEVEN themed mini parties.
This was the year we maybe broke our photobooth record by hitting every. single. one.
Thanks for another amazing year, Alt!
I’m one of those people. The kind who prefers pen and paper to touchscreen and who needs to write down everything in order to remember it. I’ve used a day planner since high school, but 2013 was the year I found The One. The Whitney English Day Designer is so well thought out that I have to refrain from kissing the lady behind it each and every time I see her. From the worksheets in the front for the solo entrepreneur, to the full page allotted for each day, to the schedule and to do columns – I’m smitten. I’ve never felt more organized in my life, which is saying a lot. (Please note the importance of the last item on my Sunday to do list below.)
December was a blur with lots of great things in the process! It started off with some holiday shopping at OKC’s incredible geodesic dome pop-up shops (Pencil Shavings nailed it). Bebe and Rainey have become best friends and their cuddle sessions just about kill me dead with cuteness. It was an extra good Christmas for gift giving, I feel like everything I chose was thoughtfully chosen. This shot of Roxy has to be one of my favorites ever – I think she’s yelling hello to everyone! Rainey helped me wrap gifts by laying on my lap while Bebe assisted with tissue paper. This dish towel from Gingiber is my new winter favorite! My new couch showed up an entire month early and I’m in love – my living room is finally complete. Oklahoma had its usual December ice storm, which was rather beautiful since it didn’t touch the roads too much. Crazy about this vintage cocktail set given to me by the lovely Jojotastic. I’ve always loved sunsets and last week I caught three beauties over Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, and over OKC. My favorite Christmas gift was this set of six tasting spoons from Plenty Mercantile. I added this brass banner ring to my collection and have been wearing it daily. Here’s to 2014!
I feel like I say this every month, but how in the world is it the end of November already?! (Aside from the Earth continuing to rotate on its axis I mean.) I rung in my 34th birthday on the 4th with plenty of flowers and cake. And beers. It only took me 5+ years, but I finally had the pilot light in my fireplace lit. I’ve been using it for a few hours every few days and I’m kicking myself for taking so long! The fluffiest pumpkin spice pancakes happened, as did a new and much needed pair of Warby Parker glasses. I decorated a little for Thanksgiving with pumpkins, foliage, and a strand of edison bulbs. And then a few days later I put up the tree because I had an itch and scratched it. (And because when you’re 34 you can do whatever you want!) The weather has been unseasonable cold, which means the dogs have already been wearing their sweaters. One of them does not appreciate my mothering, obviously. Speaking of animals, my menagerie as expanded by one! Meet Rainey, the last of the kittens I fostered after the Moore tornadoes in May. (I’m well on track to being a Crazy Animal Lady by 35.) I managed to write out my holiday cards and get them in the mail the day before Thanksgiving, a first. This French Apple Cake with homemade caramel sauce and fresh whipped cream is my new go-to. Trust me on this one and make it immediately. We had some sleet, snow, and freezing rain last weekend, and I love any reason to pull out my Sorels! So warm and cozy. I also made some Apple Dumplings that didn’t last long after coming out of the oven. So now we’re in the homestretch of 2013, can you believe it? Let’s make December count.
October is my favorite month of the year, and it inevitable screws me over. It’s like a bad ex that I keep going back to year after year. 2013 was no different, but the second half at least threw me a bone to come back in 2014.
I found an old stash of senior pictures – definitely a case of baby face in the left one. The dogs have decided they much prefer a $50 hypoallergenic pillow on the couch to either a dog bed or blanket. Figures! I finally had the garage sale that’s been five years in the making, and I couldn’t be happier it’s over. (More on that later.) Took a fast weekend trip home to Pennsylvania and couldn’t not stop at my favorite hometown bakery. Three days later I was in sunny Palm Springs, CA soaking up some sun with a few of my favorite ladies. I also attended Camp Mighty and added a few photobooth strips to my ever-growing collection! Then it was back home to play a serious game of catch up and get some Bebe cuddles in.
Last Wednesday I departed on what was basically my first vacation in 7 1/2 years. I wish that were an exaggeration, but when it comes down to it I’m not the best at making time for myself. So a few months ago when a group of my favorite girlfriends decided to take a trip to Palm Springs I knew I had to join in or risk losing the small strand of sanity that keeps me going.
We stayed at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, which made me feel fully indoctrinated into hipter-ism. The campy vibe was perfect and laid back, while everyone on staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating. Maybe more so than anywhere else I’ve ever stayed. I loved all of the little touches, from the teeny tiny cubed soap on a rope in each room to the heavy down duvet on my bed.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Ace used to be a rundown Holiday Inn that was given new life, and I love that the lobby/restaurant/bar on site are housed in a remodeled Denny’s!
The majority of time was spent lazily lounging around and in the larger of the two pools. I’m a reformed water baby and definitely lapsed during the five days spent in PS! And miracle of miracles not one of us ladies burned thanks to frequent reapplications of SPF (though I’m kind of convinced it has more to do with the Ace existing in a magical bubble in the desert). I came home yesterday with a lovely glow – sometimes a overdose of sun is just what the doctor ordered.
The grounds were so well designed, too. Combed sand, art installations, and fruit trees abounded. (I borrowed three Meyer lemons to bring home with me!) We’re already planning to revisit next year for another girls’ retreat.
The underlying reason for being in town was to attend Camp Mighty. Last year I was lucky enough to attend Mighty Summit, and the instant I left northern California knew I had to get more of the invigoration I felt afterwards. Camp Mighty is an annual retreat for bloggers, Go Mighty members, online content creators, and life list enthusiasts who want to do good for themselves and others. It’s where 150 individuals gather to trade ideas, get motivated, and start projects. And it’s just the place to be if you want to make things happen.
Highlights included a space themed party (with lots of dancing by this girl), a group workshop to highlight each person’s top five goals for the coming year, inspired sessions (including keynote speaker Piper Kerman of Orange is the New Black fame), and a beautiful closing dinner. All within about 20 feet of a pool. Not too shabby!
Each of us wrote down our five goals for the year and taped them to a massive board. Then everyone else read the lists and hung a tag from the pin if they could help you accomplish anything. Last year I went the tough route, but after a hairy 2013 I decided to take it easy on myself this round.
My 5 Goals:
1. Find my signature cocktail. (Really, I don’t have one.)
2. Get a tattoo with my mom. (I got two with my dad several years ago.)
3. Make an anonymous donation. (Truly anonymous, as in won’t tell a soul.)
4. Make spaghetti sauce from scratch. (I’ve never done it!)
5. Organize a charitable event. (It’s already in the works, so stay tuned!)
The trip turned out to be just what I needed after a very difficult start to the month. I came home exhausted, but with a renewed sense of getting my ass in gear. Are you a life list maker? Yay or nay?
We’ve been doing some updates, here Peanut the cat gives his approval on a new armchair in the living room. I hung this sweet porcelain horseshoe over my front door for luck. Bebe was awful scruffy (how I like her!) before getting her semi-annual fur cropping. Oklahoma has some of the best sunset I’ve ever seen and brought out her best for the month. I visited Plenty Mercantile for the first time (I’ll be going back. Often.) and picked a few giant sticks of colorful taffy to ogle. Last month I commissioned this beautiful MCM-inspired coffee table and it was delivered last week. We updated the front door with some vinyl house numbers for a fun, graphic look. S’mores candy corn exists. For the record it’s good, but not heavily s’mores-y.