lifestyle

Christmas on the Second Floor

December 19, 2017

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir

It’s going home and getting warm by the fire

It’s true wherever you find love,

it feels like C h r i s t m a s.”

 

 

It came so fast this year. I hardly had time to blink before Thanksgiving Day was in the rearview mirror and Christmas was pretty much at our door step. Being newlyweds, I knew I had to jump on the game of making our apartment festive this year because we had no past year’s decorations to pull from. I was working from scratch and I was so eager to make some of our own decorations and also start some of our own traditions as a couple.

 


 

I had seen a blog post back in the spring from Reading My Tea Leaves which totally inspired my desire to make minimalist + cheap + clutter free Christmas decor for our first year. Like any other small apartment dweller, you have to be creative with space, and storing a ton of Christmas decor wasn’t going to make the cut for our one tiny outdoor “garage” closet. But, with the help of Pinterest and a little creative juice, I couldn’t have been happier with the result!

S t o c k i n g s. I had high hope of purchasing adorable little knit stockings from West Elm for us both … but I waited until after Cyber Monday, no further explanation needed. So, I improvised and cut these out from an awkward fitting sweater. They didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped (they are rather lumpy looking socks) but they work, and will hold memories if nothing else in future years.

G r e e n e r y. As someone who has grown up with a real live fraiser fir in her living room for every Christmas she could remember, I knew without a doubt that we needed a real tree too. It was a win win, because visiting the tree lot, I was quick to scoop up some extra tree boughs that I knew I could use to decorate elsewhere. The smell was heavenly… and the fresh greenery indoors brought beautiful vibrance to our tiny living room. I did find an additional lit garland at Dirt Cheap for literally $2, so that made the cut to store away for next year.

 

 

 

 

 

S i g n a g e. I did decide to purchase some “year after year” decorations as well though, something we could keep and remember our first newlywed Christmas by. I was obsessed and reeled in by Magnolia’s Hearth & Hand Christmas collection, so I skipped across town to Target to make a few favorite selections which included our tree skirt and this adorable “Merry & Bright” framed art.

O r n a m e n t s. I didn’t have the huge nostalgia collection from home to pull from, though we did have three special ornaments from moments since our marriage in August. Those plus a few mini ornaments from HomeGoods (the black ones which I decorated with a white Sharpie to mimic the ones I had seen at Target) and some fresh oranges, it was perfect.
Simple really is the most beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G a r l a n d s.  I intended buying a wooden bead garland like my parents have, but that didn’t happen either. I didn’t just want to go out and buy something for the heck of it… I wanted something that held meaning. So that may just have to happen another year. Or I may just stick to making the garlands that I did this year.. because they were just so much fun and perfectly minimalist!
Dehydrated oranges strung together on cotton twine and little cardstock stars sewn together … they were so super simple to make! And even though, sadly, the oranges will have to be tossed out after New Year’s, I can always remake them again next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, our star. Two newlywed generations (my grandparents and my parents) have made their own Christmas star using a little geometry, posterboard, glue, glitter and fishing line. I always loved our Christmas star as a little girl, and knew someday I wanted to make my own with my husband. So this year, my granddaddy drew up a template and instructions of how to make our very own 3D tree topper, and it only took Luke and me 3 evenings to complete the project. Adopting my grandparents star shape and my parents star color, it really is a special memory I hope to have atop our Christmas trees for years to come.

 

 

Small + minimalist + cozy… this is our first married Christmas.

merry christmas!

a b b y

E x p l o r e, travel

That Thing Called A Honeymoon // Prince Edward Island, Canada

October 18, 2017

“You never know what peace is until you walk on the shores or in the fields or along the winding red roads of Prince Edward Island in a summer twilight when the dew is falling and the old stars are peeping out and the sea keeps its mighty tryst with the little land it loves. You find your soul then. You realize that youth is not a vanished thing but something that dwells forever in the heart.
|  l. m. montgomery  |

 

If there’s one thing every girl dreams of at some point in her life, I’m pretty sure it’s being Anne of Green Gables. I never read the books as a girl, but saturated myself in the movies. So often I took the name of “Anne” as I put on my makeshift edwardian clothes and traipsed through my backyard as I pretended to be the heroine. She had an extra hold on me I guess because I was a writer, or wanted to be, so the personality seemed to fit. But there was one thing that I could never quite get past in this pretend world. I could make due with my clothes not being “just like Anne’s” but the backyard I played in, my backyard of creek gravel driveways, pine trees and the smell of rural Tennessee, just wasn’t Anne’s Avonlea with sand dunes and Island smelling countryside. I longed to see Prince Edward Island for myself someday. There was a little girls dream, that went on hold for the unforeseeable future.

 

 

Fast forward 10 or so years later, my wonderful fiancé spills the beans on where he wants to take me on our honeymoon. . .you can imagine the huge smile that lit up my face when he told me. We planned things sparingly the next few months, contacting friends who had been to the island about their “must see’s” but leaving most of the exploring til we got there. It added so much fun, and more than a few adventures by taking this route.

 

 

 

 If staying in a little yellow cottage like Rachel Lynde’s house for a whole week didn’t give me the shivers enough, staying at a place called “Shining Waters Country Inn” definitely sealed the deal. It was the most charming hotel I’ve ever stayed in; with painted white trim, and blooming flowers hanging from the porch. It looked like it had stepped out of one of L. M. Montgomery’s novels.
Each day on this storybook-like island etched memories in my mind that I will keep forever.

Here is the day-by-day in photos of our adventures. I’ll spare the words and let you just “drink it in”.

Day One: First view of the island + Cape Tryon Lighthouse. 

Day Two: Green Gables exploring + Cavendish Beach

Day Three: Rainy day on the island + Cavendish Boardwalk + Cow’s Ice Cream

Day Four: Heading off the Island, Confederation Bridge + New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

Day Five: Charlottetown exploring + Wharf

Day Six (Last day): White Sands Hotel + Stanhope Cape Beach + Covehead Lighthouse

And so ended our week of travels to the destination of my childhood, it seems a dream even now.
Every boardwalk street we walked, every coastal farmhouse we sighted, all the red cinnamon colored sand between my toes… I wish I could pack it all into a suitcase to unzip everytime a needed a little “vitamin PEI”.  Truly, pictures do not even do this incredible place justice.
It needs to be experienced, soaked up, explored.

I’m leaving a list of the highlights of our trip below, the “must see’s and do’s”.

Resturants/Food
1. Cow’s Ice Cream – Anywhere on PEI
2. The Lost Anchor – Cavendish, PEI
3. Cavendish Fish & Chips – Cavendish, PEI
4. Raspberry Cordial – Pretty much anywhere on the Island
5. Pizza Delight – County 911 Jail, Charlottetown

Beaches
1. Stanhope Cove Beach
2. Dalvay Beach
2. Cavendish Beach

Our Hotel
>Shining Waters Country Inn<
Great service, included breakfast, minutes walk from Green Gables and very central. We loved staying in Cavendish. 

Lighthouses
1. Cape Tryon Lighthouse
2. Covehead Lighthouse

 Places to Visit
1. Cavendish Boardwalk – we spent our rainy day here, great souvenir shops and just a fun place!
2. Green Gables (of course, it’s SO worth it!)
3. Confederation Bridge – Super fun, a bit expensive, but worth seeing what’s on the other side.
4. Victoria Row/Charlottetown – worth taking a whole day or a few days to explore, the wharf was amazing.
5. Anne & Gilbert Musical, Charlottetown – we made it a night on the town, definitely a must see!
6. Victoria Park, Charlottetown – breathtaking and a beautiful view of the town
7. “White Sands Hotel” or Dalvay by the Sea – bike rentals were here, and all the nostalgia. Beware, the inside is dated and not like shown in the films. 😉  But the outside it just beautiful.


8. NOTE* we tried finding the “Stanhope by the Sea” which was where the inside of the White Sands Hotel was filmed. But according to some sweet local ladies who informed us it burned down a couple months ago.  SADness.

 

Thanks for tagging along with these adventures! If you’re planning a trip to PEI, or want to one day, feel free to contact me for anymore info. I’d be happy to share a “tourists” favs.

A B B Y

 

heart writing, My Lifey

When An Unforgettable Summer Ends // A Short Life Update

September 12, 2017

“It’s the oldest story in the world.
One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday,
and then quietly, without you ever really noticing, 
someday is today, and that someday is yesterday
and this is your life.”

| n a t h a n    s c o t t |

 

 

Oh my, this long neglected little corner. I’m surprised it still lets me log in and doesn’t boot me out with a “Sorry, we’ve forgotten your username, please try again later.”

But if ever I had a good excuse for playing hooky, it would be these past few months.
I know I’ve used this excuse before so I’m probably loosing credibility with it, but let me give you a brief window into my recent life and let you draw your own conclusions.

A P R I L  2017  >> About exactly a week after I scribbled my last post,  I got engaged (eeeek!) to my long time childhood friend and love, Luke. I could gush on and on here, but I’ll keep it short for now *wink*. He totally surprised me with the most sentimental proposal ever at one of my favorite spots, the Chattanooga Choo Choo. I’ll have to post our proposal story soon as a whole separate post of it’s own, because it will need it’s own word space. Needless to say my April 22nd on was pretty much spent completely in the clouds.

 

 

 

 

 

M A Y 2017  >>    Family high school graduations, beach vacations, the start of wedding planning and engagement pictures. The merry month just flew by, such a fun start to the summer, it was a packed month! Oh yes, and I was still in the I-just-got-engaged clouds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

J U N E  2017  >> Wedding planning. Getting to sit down and finally plan a wedding with all my dream Pinterest boards open was so surreal! Getting to choose a color palette, style, outfits, food and decor. It was so fun, and a little overwhelming at times even though I chose to do the “simple, small wedding” route. But what a fun season of my life it was.

 

 

J U L Y  2017  >> Packing up all my *cough* many belongings, and active wedding planing. Nothing triggers emotions more than packing up a bedroom which you’ve shared with your two sisters all your life, boxing up your office/studio and moving to a place without your family which you’ve lived and breathed with for your whole 20 years. There were so many “Oh my gooosh, is this really happening? I’m so EXCITED” days, and there were also the “Am I really doing this, and leaving home and getting married?” days. All such good emotions, but definitely threw this sentimental girl for a loop sometimes. I’ll always look back on those days with sweet savoring.

 

 

A U G U S T 2017  >> Wedding of my dreams and marrying the love of my life. When three months of wedding planning is finally done, family and friends surround you, and your wedding day dawns as the most gorgeous day in August, and you get to marry your best friend, it truly was the best day ever. I will do a post on our wedding day soon and share more of our beautiful wedding photos taken by the amazing Allix Ruby. August also saw us honeymooning for the first time/out of the country for the first time in my long dreamed of trip to P.E.I  Canada, and coming home to start a new life as a wifey in our little city apartment in Chattanooga, TN. (detailed posts coming soon).

 

 

Which brings us to today, S E P T E M B E R  2017.
So,  I am so tickled and happy to be back writing in this little corner and for the first time in my new home… a little apartment across the river from the bustling Chattanooga, TN. I’m back from our honeymoon travels and this crazy transition of moving, marrying, and becoming a wife. Now I just can’t wait to jot down all these stories to share. I have quite a few of them coming your way in the next couple o’ weeks.

The smell of fresh muffins made in my new muffin tins just came out of the oven, I made a walk to our little P.O. box to check our mail, and now I’m happily situated on our new couch amidst the throw pillows with my laptop writing these stories down to share with you.

It’s been the very happiest summer of my life, complete with every kind of emotion that comes with the territory of big life transitions.
It’s crazy to think the summer is ending, and with it my days as a single girl. I welcome autumn, as a new season in a new season of my life, living admidst a new city with lots of new things to learn and explore.

So much new, it’s exciting and daunting at the same time. I long to hold on to past days, and to hold on to even these new exciting days as a newlywed forever. But I’ve been realizing something, if we always just held on to old sweet memories, we would never go make new amazing ones.

“… go have a new adventure.”
| e l l i e ,  from UP |

 So here’s to the new; new seasons of the year, of life, and new seasons of memories.
It’s been a completely unforgettable summer.

How was your summer? What memories will forever be etched in your heart from April-August?

I’m so happy to be back!

always,
A  B  B  Y

Photo l o c a t i o n s: 

#1: Charlottetown Yacht Club, Charlottetown PEI Canada
#2-#5: Chattanooga Choo Choo
#6-#8: Navarre Beach, Florida
#9: Walnut Street Bridge, Chattanooga, Tennessee
#12-#13: Sunset Rock, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

E x p l o r e

Front Yard // Spring Textures

April 13, 2017

I can’t get enough of wandering. . . some of us carry an inherent need to explore.
Textures. Fragrances. Sounds. Air. Shadows. Movement. Patterns. Light.”
// Victoria Erickson

 

I’ve been trying to figure out in my brain what it is exactly that makes spring so exciting.
Like, you know, the breath of fresh air that it is because it is, seriously. The pizazz that makes you want to do a happy dance or something. Or for those of us that aren’t as loose-limbed, attempting a happy dance. . . and looking much like a kangaroo on steroids (which I’ve never actually witnessed, but dug up the image from my brain files at this moment in a try-to-be-witty attempt. #fail)

 

 

But really, spring is just a happy season! Even the name of it sounds “bouncy” (fist bump to you if you thought of Tigger.) My travel/roadtrip/downtown shopping/car-riding itch is reenergized once again with the turn of the weather here in Tennessee, it always is when the sun shines 70 degrees.
Also, giving a boost to my new love of exploring different textures, because I wake up to some new sight outside every morning it seems like. Whether that be the slick green shoots of grass, the rough creek gravel of our driveway under my barefeet (hello, winter pampered feet), or the soft cotton touch of my new favorite tee.

 


My life is a constant crazy ever since the beginning of the year. I like to compare it to a hibernating bear, asleep and snoring for a couple years being normal and nothing too exciting to look at on the outside, but that is now waking up with a roar and an energy I didn’t know existed.
I want to slow it down. But ironically I want to go racing right with it too, matching it’s pace.


 

 

 

I hold on to these days tightly but gently, knowing they’ll slip through my fingers like sand if I’m not seeing them each day for what they are. I never want to be too busy to see the grace of God in every day, never too crazy to contemplate what story He’s writing for me, never too tired to patiently take steps knowing that He holds the ultimate blue-print of my life in his hands.

 

 

 

 

I’m a sucker for memory-triggers! Yep, a familiar place or sight, a smell, a type of music, or wearing the same outfit (you can officially freak out) will spur a memory in my probably much-messed-up head. So, all these spring textures. . . they are doing it for me. And I can’t help but smile.
I just love spring here at home, it holds a kind of beautiful promise for me of how the Lord brings change after a dead season (winter) and the vibrance of everything embracing that change. And to think, I get to be on the receiving end of this and see it every morning!

If I ever travel the world someday or leave my home, I will always want to remember my house, in the spring. The azalea bush, the brick walk, the creek gravel driveway. And oh yeah, especially the walk to the mailbox, which is probably my most favorite walk. And not just the house itself, but every single moment that happened under it’s roof or in the front yard.

 

 

My childhood is here. I see it so well in retrospect, the smells and sunshine of this season bring back a flood of memories. And while part of me wants to just grasp after those moments and relive them (ok, I’m a huge sentimental guys, you’re welcome) the more realistic and probably grateful side of me is just so ready to embrace the new memories, which hello! I’m making everyday.

 

 

 

 

See the textures around you in your own life, and not only the physical ones. But the ones of your life, the woven tidbits and texture of your own story that the Lord is weaving for you.
Textures are unique, different to the touch. So is your story, it has shape and uniqueness. . . some parts are rough, others smooth. Your life is a textured, beautiful work-in-the-making.

See that and embrace it.