May was most definitely a month of highs and lows. I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Pretty Haute Mess and attended the Adobe MAX Conference in LA. Having a Press badge was so much fun! And I had Bebe’s photo printed on a t-shirt, which was just about the best thing ever. The Black Keys put on a great show to end the event. Back at home I made over a Goodwill cutting board with a bright neon pink edge. (Don’t worry, it’s just craft paint and the food won’t be on it.) We celebrated my Mom’s birthday and I made this Orange Coconut Cake. The weather heated up and I went back to my summer breakfasts of Noosa honey yoghurt, blueberries, and oatmeal. Then May 20th came along and upended everything, I watched on television as a town 20 miles from my was demolished by an F5 tornado. Instead of feeling helpless I jumped into volunteering at Animal Resource Center, I’ve been there every day since helping displaced pets be reunited with their owners. And then I took on two foster litters of 8-week old kittens, eight in all. We’re ready for you, June.
There’s no way I can start today without taking a moment to talk about yesterday’s destruction.
The biggest thank you to everyone who checked in to make sure I was okay. The monster twister hit about 20 miles southeast of my home, following nearly the same path as what was previously the most powerful tornado on record May 3, 1999. That one happened to be the first tornado I ever experienced after moving to OKC, it was finals week my freshmen year of college and I can remember how terrified I was as we hunkered down pre-cell phone era in the basement of my dorm. I’m not ashamed to admit I was clutching my favorite stuffed animal for comfort.
As bad as that was, this is at least three times worse. The F5 was over two miles wide at one point with winds up to 200 mph. Two elementary schools were leveled, one with luckier students than the other where they’re still recovering tiny bodies. It was on the ground for twenty miles and some people are comparing the destruction to atomic bombs and warfare in the Middle East. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the loss. Landmarks are gone, houses look like piles of matchsticks, there are at least 51 confirmed dead with I can’t even guess how many to come.
I’ve lived in Oklahoma on and off since 1998, and while it’s not where I’m from it is my home. Oklahomans are some of the most resilient people I know. They rebuilt the community after the bombing in ’95 and they rebuilt again after the May 3rd tornado. And we’ll do it again.
If you want to make a donation to help in that effort, text REDCROSS to 90999 and specify OK tornadoes.
I miss New York, I think it’s a small part of my constant being. Luckily I get to visit a few times a year for work and manage to cram in everything personal at the same time.
I never seem to get a view, but for this trip I was on the 23rd floor and it was a beautiful sight.
No trip is complete without popping into Fishs Eddy, and as luck would have it they were having a big sale! I picked up a little something for myself and a small Brooklyn themed gift for a friend who was moving out of town to remind her of her time here.
I love finding new gems in a city that’s forever changing. This time a few friends and I stopped by Rye House to catch up. I had the most delicious sweet potato perogies and will definitely be back to try more of the menu (and cocktails!).
I had a chance to grab brunch at Tipsy Parson with a new friend I’d met in Austin. We walked around Chelsea a bit and did a little shopping, and when we came across this on the sidewalk Amber couldn’t resist jumping inside!
I stayed in the Flower District and couldn’t help but feel giddy each morning as I walked the streets. They were bursting at the seams with flora and fauna of all varieties, I wanted to make a massive bouquet to take home.
Madison Square Park was showing signs of spring – the trees were filling in nicely and it seemed like a million people were out and about enjoying the beautiful weather.
As I walked across Manhattan Sunday morning I came across a few hidden nooks and crannies.
A few hours before leaving town I grabbed one last brunch at Resto with another friend. Until next time New York, I’ll be thinking about you!
We dyed some of my favorite Easter eggs ever, they were striated! Bebe got her first haircut and came home looking like a totally different dog (I’m only just now getting used to her lack of scruff!). I retired my 5 1/2 year old MacBook Pro for this new beauty, and after a few weeks finally have everything transferred/installed/updated. I turned into a little bit more of the old lady I’m destined to become by hanging a few plates on the wall in my kitchen. Paused for a selfie or two. Spied this tongue in cheek moving truck on Broadway. Met a 17 year old (!) lab named Billie, after Billie Holiday naturally. Spent 4 glorious days in Austin. And spent another 4 in NYC.
Austin, Texas is just about 400 miles or a 6 hour drive from Oklahoma City, but I’ve only visited a few times. When The Jealous Curator (aka Danielle Krysa) announced her Girl Crush workshop with the extremely talented Alyson Fox I knew I had to be a part of it in some capacity. So what does one Crush do for another? She volunteers to be an assistant for a few days of course.
Last Thursday I made the trek down to Austin and picked up Danielle at the airport before we headed out to Alyson’s stunning modern home in Spicewood. She and her husband helped to design it from the ground up and it’s incredible – not to mention the view that tranced me out more than once. Alyson was kind enough to invite us to stay with her for a few days, and each morning I woke up to the sun. I hadn’t slept as many hours as usual, but felt so well rested. (I think that definitely had something to do with with the sun and not a blaring alarm.)
Danielle and I spent Friday in the SoCo (South Congress) neighborhood. We had lunch at some of Austin’s famous food trailers (mahi mahi tacos and cheesy waffle fries!) before visiting a few galleries. grayduck Gallery was definitely a standout. But the day wouldn’t have been complete without a stop at Gordough’s Big Fat Donuts, I went with the Funky Monkey and definitely had a moment.
And then it was all about Girl Crush! We put together a gift bag for each lady with Alyson’s book A Shade of Red: One Lipstick and One Hundred Women, a mug with her design from Ink Dish, and a Baggu printed with her work as well. Danielle also talked about how intimidating a blank sketchbook can be, and how she’s taken to buying 50 cent vintage cookbooks and using those instead so everyone received one for their own explorations.
Saturday morning we started off with a bevy of fruit, pastries, and coffee before digging into the nitty gritty workshop Danielle has perfected. All of the ladies were so open with their creative triumphs and struggles, I walked away feeling rejuvenated and knowing I had to make more time for my own creativity again.
Alyson is not only a mind-blowing artist, she’s also amazing in the kitchen and made our entire meal (for 14!) herself. I have an APB out for her recipes.
That night Danielle and I were lucky enough to stay over at artist Rebecca Rothfus‘ new home. She and her boyfriend had moved in literally a week prior to our visit! The space was amazing on so many levels – the mid-century just oozed out of it. (There’s even a built-in espresso maker in the kitchen!) I think I walked around most of the time with my mouth hanging open.
After a quick brunch with friends at Bouldin Creek Cafe I was back on the road to OKC. I’ll be back, Austin. I will be back.
PHOTO: Clare Kelly
Last Monday the inevitable happened, we moved Pete into a memory care facility.
It’s only a few minutes from my house which is nice, and the building itself is just a few years old. From the outside it’s pastel and cheery, and once you walk through the front doors rather welcoming. Hardwood floors throughout, a smiling staff, and only about thirty residents. It has all the conveniences of home without the physical obstacles Pete had to face every day living with my mom and stepdad – stairs, high bathtub edges, etc. They also have a fantastic security system that keeps the residents from wandering out, a major risk for anyone living with memory issues.
My mom and I wrote Pete’s name in his clothes last Saturday and dropped them off along with some of his belongings. Thankfully this place is fully furnished, including bedding, which made the physical move much easier. Then my stepdad took Pete on Monday. We had all prepared ourselves for the worst, but so far the transition has gone smoother than anyone could have hoped! (I think this probably has a little to do with the fact that Pete believed he had only been at my mom and stepdad’s for a few weeks, and most definitely did not believe he lived with them.) We were asked to refrain from visiting for a few weeks so that he could get into some sort of routine, so no one has visited just yet. I’ll be the first tomorrow and I’m looking forward to seeing how he functions in his new home and giving him a huge hug.
After living with my mom and stepdad for the past 15 months, we believe this is the best move for everyone. Pete now has the chance to interact with more people on a daily basis, participate in small activities, and regain a little bit of his independence. Meanwhile, my mom and stepdad can get back to a more normal way of life as well. They both agree that the house already feels lighter and their relationship less strained. While it’s an incredibly selfless gesture to care for a loved one, I think it’s important to think about how the situation is effecting you as well. And that’s something I reminded the both of them of every few months when things felt extra high strung.
Thank you all so much for checking up on Pete via email, tweets, and in person. It means so much to me and made a difficult situation a little more bearable.
Peanut spent most of the month hiding out under the bedcovers. My wonderful friend Jaime gifted me two of her incredible line drawings! The Day Designer from Whitney English has effectively changed my life (she can never stop printing them). I taught the dogs about the joy of eating peanut butter straight from the jar. We celebrated my stepdad’s birthday – some more enthusiastically than others! Oklahoma sunsets never fail to make me catch my breath. My dear friend Carina sent me this Piper look-a-like postcard! I planted all of my porch pots earlier than ever, thanks to a photoshoot. Bebe finally learned how great it is to sit still and be scratched. Have you ever tried graham crackers with sharp white cheddar? (Do it.) Peanut got up close and personal with my phone. I’ve started to make my home office legit, starting with a filing cabinet.
Ever since having one of my favorite Instagram photos printed on wood and hung on my wall, well, I’m sort of addicted to finding new ways to leverage the technological art form. My latest experiment comes courtesy of Artifact Uprising, a 40-page 8.5 x 8.5″ softcover book filled to the gills with my favorite Instagram shots. I spent an entire evening going through my 1,000+ photos, paring them down, and then designing my book. I can’t stress how easy they make it. You get to choose from several different layouts for each page, and then it’s just a matter of dragging and dropping from the photos you’ve uploaded, resizing if you’d like, and electing to add text or not. When my book showed up on my doorstep I literally tore off the packaging to see the end result – and you guys, it is so good. It’s printed on the most luxe 100% recycled paper and the ink is perfectly saturated (as a graphic designer this is something I’m always super picky about and notice). Here are just a few of my favorite spreads from the book I created:
I’m really excited about the possibilities of creating these books for friends and family after events, holidays, etc – can you imagine how excited you would be receiving one?! Well guess what. You have the chance to do just that, create one of your own that is. Artifact Uprising (PS: Great name, yes?) is giving away one of the same Instagram books that I made.
This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Rachel!
1. Find your favorite Instagram photo and leave the link in the comments section.
2. Make sure your email address is correct (it’s just for notification purposes).
3. Do it all before Sunday, March 10th at 11:59pm CST.
One my favorite new things are this short, chubby striped paper straws!
Spent lots of time cuddling with this guy.
Made these Chocolate-Cinnamon Heart Cookies for someone special.
Finally mastered the art of applying red lipstick.
Tore down my inspiration boards and started anew.
Tore through a bag of Valentine’s Day Hershey’s Kisses.
Organized my new bar cart.
Was given an Edible Arrangement after years of wanting one! (For real.)
You can follow me on Instagram at designcrush!
Lots of things need special care come the colder months – your car, your home, and definitely you. I’m sort of ashamed to admit to it, but this is the first time in my life I’ve ever made changes to my everyday routine to account for winter. (Just another thing that happens once you hit your 30s I suppose!) The biggest deviation for me has been adding crazy amounts of moisture to my skin and drinking so much water. I’m crazy dry this year and I’m doing all I can to stay hydrated inside and out. Here’s my Winter Maintenance Package, have anything special in your arsenal that I should add to mine? Please share!
Pureology Hydrate Shampoo + Conditioner. My hair is probably the one thing that isn’t dry, but I’m addicted to the minty smell and tingly scalp sensation these leave behind.
Bliss Soapy Suds Body Wash + Bubble Bath. In the Blood Orange + White Pepper, please. This isn’t specifically to add moisture, but I can’t get enough of the light scent and gads of bubbles. One of the few products I use year-round.
EOS Shave Cream. A few years ago my skin started freaking out after I shaved, it was super sensitive all of a sudden. After trying a slew of products this is the one that was most calming, it’s also very moisture rich.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. I was lucky enough not to have teenage acne, but it bit me in the ass in the form of cystic adult acne once I hit 30. My dermatologist recommended this above all others and I love how smooth and soft it makes my face feel. Also, fewer breakouts and no tightness post-wash.
Bliss Maximum Moisture Cream Body Butter. Let’s talk body butter, because I know what you’re thinking. Thick. Greasy. No thanks. This product is the exact opposite of that despite the name. It’s light and absorbs into your skin immediately. I have never found a lotion I love more. Oh, and it smells lovely too. I use this before bed most nights.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer. I didn’t know this moisturizer existed until a few months ago. My skin is combination and it’s always been impossible to use the same facial lotion all over. Until this. It’s light, sinks in, doesn’t make me shiny, and has an SPF of 50+.
Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion. It should come as no surprise that I first encountered this lotion at my Grandma’s over the holidays. I was desperate for something to stop the itching and flaking so I tried it. And it worked. So good that I bought some as soon as I got home and use it every day.
C.O. Bigelow Chapped Hands Remedy. I’ve had this for years, which shows how little you need to use. My hands aren’t chapped, but I hate wearing gloves so the backs get dry. Before bed I use some of this peppermint miracle and things stay soft as can be.
Honest Organic Lip Balm. I’m a lip balm junky/whore/addict and this is my latest obsession. Right now I’m using the Lavender Mint and it’s the best smelling, smoothest stuff. I can’t get enough of it.
Bliss High Intensity 24 Heaven. This is basically the older, wiser sister of Bliss’s Body Butter. I put it on my feet a few times a week before putting my socks on and it works miracles.
MAC Pro Longwear Eye Liner. In black. Always black. This is one of the only eye liners I’ve found that actually stands the test of a day. It’s also a softer pencil, which means you don’t end up stabbing yourself in the eyelid as much which is always welcome.
Maybelline The Falsies Mascara. My favorite mascara is this one, it adds length and volume to my lashes which is a necessity when going for a semi-natural look.
Laura Geller Balance n Brighten SPF 15 Color Correcting Foundation. Whew, that’s a mouthful. I found this a random way as well, by my mom ordering it on QVC. Yup, for real. I like to use a light layer over my foundation in place of powder for some extra coverage.
Stila Convertible Color. If I had to swear allegiance to one thing in my makeup bag it would be this one. It gives a great pop of color to my fair complexion, and being a cream adds moisture instead of wicking it away like a powder blush.
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15. This foundation gives great coverage. I use a light layer under my powder foundation and it’s like magic for dark spots.
Rimmell Fix & Perfect Foundation Primer. I don’t use this primer every day, only when I know it’s going to be a long day of makeup wear and I need some help keeping it on. It helps me face look a little dewy and hangs on to my foundation for dear life.