Friday links

Greenhouse

Good morning! 

I hope you had a good week &, if not, are looking forward to a fun and/or relaxing weekend :)

Here are a few links to start your weekend off.

I've made a semi-resolution to do one kind (outside of the ordinary) thing every day. Technically, it's supposed to be anonymous, but so far that hasn't worked at all. Oh well, I'll keep doing it & hope I find more ways to do it anonymously. On that note, I'd love ideas or stories of how you've performed random acts of kindness (or not so random). This website gives ideas & this quote from this website, really spoke to me, "When people are kind-hearted, generosity spreads and people are happy. Scientists say so. Ancient wisdom has always known it."

This polygonal sculpture of a woman passing her hand through a fence, gave me chills.

Oh my gosh, Ostrich planters.

June's really into hair styles right now, so I've bookmarked this article on super easy ones to try.

I went old school with this easy Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe this week and it turned out tasty. Of course, easy is a relative word when it comes to cooking, so while I wouldn't call this recipe difficult, it's definitely NOT akin to slapping together pancakes & fried eggs for dinner. 

Did you happen to see this viral & hilarious (poor dad!) video of a man sliding down his driveway?

This top from Emerson Fry is restocked! 

And, lastly, we are going on a mini-vacation to Asheville (staying at The Grove Park Inn) & I am SO excited. While there we'll tour the Biltmore & have lunch at The Stable. I have a feeling June will geek out on all of the FAWNCY & Truett will love the explanations of how Vanderbilt was one of the pioneers of indoor plumbing etc.

Hope you have a great weekend. xo

(top image via cocondedecoration)

On a greenish day

Fiddle leaf figs have long been the most popular plant on the internet, especially when a blogger or designer showcases a room or home redo. 

Ex. 1

Manhatten-nest.com fig

Ex. 2

Style me pretty fig

Ex. 3

Topista fig

A good way to test your hipster aptitude is to ask yourself these two questions: 1. have I ever owned a Fiddle Leaf Fig? and 2. did I put it in a basket? 

Anyway, mine began to look awfully sad this summer. So I gave it to my friend Elizabeth, aka Dr. Fiddle Leaf, and she nursed it back to health. This fall I took it back and have had it in our sunroom ever since, where it remains healthy, though pretty much dormant.

I went by the plant store yesterday and picked up this kelp fertilizer called Bushdoctor, in order to give it a little boost through the winter. 

In the meantime, I also took four curly willow cuttings I'd put in water - they did root - and planted them in pots of soil with plenty of water (you'll note willows almost always grow near streams etc). I have tried to plant a curly willow ever since my wedding, where we had cuttings in our arrangements (with no success, I might add). 

I kind of find plants & landscaping overwhelming. Like, I'll look at a Peace Lilly (they are famously dramatic when they get dry), and be all, "do you REALLY need water AGAIN?" So I've also committed to outfitting all of our pots with bottoms - nothing like racing around the house grabbing old towels to sop up the water under a newly watered plant. 

Our outside is trickier. The chickens tend to scratch and nibble almost anything - lettuces, kale, grass, mint, most tender shoots - and then there's also the overall plan. Do I have architectural drawings made up? Or do I just willy-nilly plant things I like? What do you do? Do you have a garden master plan? Do you have a favorite indoor plant that's easy-ish to grow? I'd love to know.

Hope you're having a good Thursday & a great start to your new year. xo

PS - a great instagram to follow if you love indoor plants. 

(first image via, second image via, third image via)

On being human

Birthday post balloons

Today is the day I turn 37 years old. It's funny, getting older, duh, because you essentially always feel like the same person you always were. What's this 18 year old doing with two children? Weird.

But I don't sit down to write about the weirdness of aging, I just trust we're all in the same boat. I sit down in the hopes that I can write this morning, as a birthday gift to myself, with bravery and honesty and, in the greatest hopes, to ease someone else's burden.

Last year, and I suspect in different ways, in many years to come, was a tough year. I'm sure I've alluded to it here before, and I know that piques your curiosity, and we all die to know each other's nitty gritty, but it'll have to suffice that it just was and that I have a family and that I cannot share all my details here. Anyway, if you can move past that bit, I'll get to the part that really matters, I think.

For the first few months of feeling really, really shitty, I walked through my life mechanically. I smiled for my kids, I waved at friends in the carpool line and I bought groceries. I made dinner. I did laundry. Those things required little thought. And then, when no one was around, I hid in my room and cried. I sat on my couch and stared. I felt justifiably sorry for myself, and then I also indulged in feeling sorry for myself because OF COURSE people have it far, far worse than I do.

Then - and I think this is the important bit - I began a Rocky sequence. I got off the couch. I began running - slowly and with lots of walking at first. I weaned off of my SSRI (slowly, slowly). I lost 30 pounds. I bought a small, run down house. I worked hard, hard, hard to fix it up (we're under contract!). I prayed, I meditated (poorly), I went to therapy. 

Then - and this part is even more important - I also failed. I cried on the phone to my sisters and my best friends. I indulged in a lot of anger and self-pity. I looked healthy habits in the eye and gave them the finger. I snapped at my kids. I was, and am, and probably always will be, full of mental writhing. In short I failed a lot.

Also, I keep failing. Also, I keep running. Some mornings I don't run. Some mornings I slog through two miles, miserable the entire time. Some mornings, like this one, I am King Kong running through the neighborhood, conquering all that is in front of me. Sometimes I succeed out of spite and a sense of life doing me wrong. Other times I am able to harness gratitude and compassion and peace. Those are the best times and they are rare and hard won.

My point is, and I'm not even sure I have a point, but my point is I am failing and succeeding at the same time and I have a feeling you are too. A Rocky sequence is sexy and movie-worthy, but it doesn't actually feel that way when you are inside it. 

I am in a boat with the rest of you, I imagine, and yet most of us feel like our friends and neighbors are in the better, well-balanced, shiny boat. The one where no one argues, no one makes poor decisions, no one grapples with the weightiness of being human (ever wish you were just, like, a fish or something?). 

We all know social media picks and chooses what it shows us (everyone on instagram can make the most swoony pies, while mine look like a jumble of assorted fruits smashed inside a lumpy crust). We also all know by now that those portray the highlight reel, the things our friends choose to show us. We also all know some of the gritty behind-the-scenes. But, still. Why is it so hard?  Why does Facebook tire me out and leave me feeling crappy? Is everyone going about their instagram-worthy lives while I press my face into the wind? I know they're not. 

The other day I saw a quote - one of those ubiquitous wall-quotes hipsters love to hang up in their gallery walls - and it said, simply, "Patience and discipline," I love that. I can do that. I can't do it perfectly, but I can keep trying. I can wake up some mornings in despair (looking at you, my best friend in the world) and put my shoulder into the hill. I can experience the tough and the shitty and the beauty and the transcendence. I can acknowledge the truth in opposing opinions. I can try my best to live in the exquisite slivers of a nuanced life. 

I hope this helps. I hope you feel less alone. I hope you know that while a few people must be living insufferably balanced hipster lives, the rest of us are right there with you just trying our best. xoxo 

2017 Grape Did It Holiday Gift Guide

For this year's gift guide, I tried to include ideas for a wide range of tastes + budgets. Hope you are enjoying the holiday season & not going bananas from over-drive. xoxo

Sezane Joseph jumper

First up, this Sezane Joseph Jumper. Slouchy, cozy & pretty. 

Embroidered towels

An embroidered towel from etsy. For the Fancy Nancy in your life. Ahem.

Stacked year calendar from Minted

Stacked year hanging calendar, from Minted. An understated & beautiful thing to look at all next year. 

Burdick's chocolate mice

These sweet chocolate mice (that come in a wooden box!) from Burdick's Handmade chocolates. I love everything about this gift.

Everlane weekender

The twill weekender bag from Everlane. I got one of these as a birthday gift years ago and I still enjoy pulling it down to travel.

Harry Potter mug

A Harry Potter mug that changes color when you add hot liquid. Because, duh, of course.

Bike bookends

Bicycle bookends

Mini zip Nana by Sally

A mini-zip made by my favorite local designer, Nana by Sally. I usually lean towards her leather designs, but this is the sweetest little bag. Sidenote: this is the bag June really loves ;)

Trtl neckscarf diving picture

Have you heard of the Trtl neck scarf/pillow? Looks like a perfect gift for a traveler. I wonder if it would work equally well for the carpool line?

Marble stunt set

A marble stunt-set for a kid...or grownup. 

Happy holidays everybody ❄️

Cool Christmas card idea

2013 Sypert card

I am endeavoring to work on a simple + awesome gift guide for 2017, but in the meantime thought I'd put this up for those of you who like to mail out cards (me) but find it kind of an obnoxious task. And - I promise, much as I'd love it - this is not a sponsored or affiliated post or anything like that.

Minted - a company I've used several times for our Christmas cards, is offering a new service. You text them the photo you've chosen and they send you back five different options for cards. You choose one, give them some text details etc & then they put it in your shopping cart! Woot! (Plus, I love their business structure of working with independent designers).

Now if I could only wrangle the four of us into a decent photo...

Happy card-ordering! xo

PS - above is our card from 2013 (totally heartbreaking) & and the same post on how to make your own custom holiday card, if you're more in the crafty mood :)

If you'd rather not make pie this week

Chocolate wafer stacks

I am a HUGE fan of pumpkin pie. Apple, cherry & other fruit ones are good, too, but I'll be honest & say I don't love pecan. I mean, if it's in front of me I'm probably going to eat some, but I don't go out of my way.

My point is, this is not an anti-pie post BUT it does give you a beautiful, chocolaty, creamy alternative to pies for the winter holidays. 

The recipe I found online calls it a zebra cake, but we called it a cookie log growing up. It's a traditional ice box cake, meaning you don't bake it, but you do let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The beauty of this cake is that to the unsuspecting eye, it would appear you spent hours crafting layer upon layer of tiny sheet cakes only to put this together in all of it's magnificent glory. Or maybe that just makes you look like someone with too much time on her hands. Either way, it's a show stopper, and not difficult.

The wafers can be hard to find, but I've had luck at Publix during the holidays, in the ice cream section. Super specific, but worth the find. They're called Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, and here's a link if you need a visual.

You can visit the online recipe here, if you like detailed descriptions, but I can distill it in this way: place homemade whipped cream on either side of each wafer, smoosh them together into a shape on a plate, cover THAT whole thing with more whipped cream (think: icing a cake) & cover the whole shebang overnight in the fridge.

You. will. be. amazed. 

(image via thekitchn, with another version of this simple recipe)

Monday links

Manger blog photo dining room

I haven't posted links in a while, and they have been steadily piling up in one of my folders. So, I thought on this chilly fall day, what would be better than some interesting and/or beautiful things to read about?

I love the idea of scavenger hunts, with family, or friends. 

Halloween makeup ideas, no costume required (if you're still on the hunt).

5 questions to ask when you're buying (Thanksgiving) wine.

Food might be a key component to the ADHD diagnoses.

I LOVE this article on how to throw a simple dinner party. My suggestion? Just throw one for crying out loud. Also, I always have a few bars of chocolate on hand nowadays that I can break up onto a tray for a quick tea or after-dinner treat. 

I loved these satisfying moments on Cup of Jo.

Sweet nutcracker napkins for the holidays. 

I make this herb flatbread regularly now and it is so good, especially with a Mediterranean type meal. 

“I’ve turned my hand to lots of things but never stuck at them. Not that I’m lazy, just sort of restless.” From interesting quotations.

Best of Ikea, 2018. The leather pulls!!

Have you heard of unicorn food? So pretty. This might do the trick to get June to eat more veggies :)

Beautiful, simple teapot.

That's it! Hope you're having a good start to your week. 

(top image via Manger, the lovely blog by Mimi Thorisson in a post listing their spring workshops)

On the belated discovery of Jane Austen

Pemberly Pride & Prejudice

I am embarrassed to admit - with a degree in English, no less - that up until a few weeks ago I'd never read a Jane Austen novel. I've loved some of her contemporaries - the Bronte sisters in particular - and I remember leaving the theater devastated, in the best possible way, after watching Sense & Sensibility in high school.

Over the years I'd pick up an Austen book, and inevitably find the language too difficult, dense, wordy and confusing.

Until two weeks ago when I decided to try again. I wish I could remember why. 

In any event, I checked Persuasion out of the library and, upon reading it over the next few days, was left gobsmacked. Speechless. So totally in awe of Austen's ability to not only tell a shattering love story, but to enumerate so many human emotions in all of their delicate complexities. 

If Facebook leaves you depressed, there is an antidote. I just flew through Pride & Prejudice - heart stopping - although I believe my first love will also remain my favorite in Persuasion.

I'd like to post a few of my favorite quotes below. 

Persuasion

and looked so entirely as if he meant to be understood,

the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely, and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly,

everybody has their taste in noises as well as other matters, and sounds are quite innoxious, or most distressing, by their sort rather than their quantity.

She had only meant to oppose the too common idea of spirit and gentleness being incompatible with each other,

She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time, but - alas! alas! - she must confess to herself that she was not wise yet.

What wild imaginations one forms where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken. 

But how shall we prove anything? We never shall. We never can expect to prove anything upon such a point. It is a difference of opinion which does not admit of proof. We each begin probably with a  little bias towards out own sex, and upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it which has occurred within our own circle - many of which circumstances (perhaps those very cases which strike us the most) may be precisely such as cannot be brought forwards without betraying a confidence, or in some respect saying what should not be said.

Pride and Prejudice

Miss Lucas perceived him from an upper window as he walked towards the house, and instantly set out to meet him accidentally in the lane.

It is difficult, indeed - it is distressing. One does not know what to think.

I beg your pardon; - one know exactly what to think.

Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object: it was the only honourable provision for well educated young women of small fortune, and, however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want.

You shall not, for the sake of one individual, change the meaning of principle and integrity, nor endeavor to persuade yourself or me, that selfishness is prudence, and insensibility of danger security for happiness.

It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us.

If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified; but I have no idea of there being so much design in the world as some persons imagine.

And lastly, swoonily,

If you will thank me, he replied, let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.

image via architectural digest

When your plans for a Brooklyn Brownstone ish Halloween become more Miss Havesham

Brownstone Halloween Brooklyn

I wanted to stack heirloom pumpkins and create a spooky, cobwebby scene on our front stoop. You know, kind of like some stylish Brooklyn-ite might put on her brownstone stoop.

Instead, our chickens began pecking the pumpkins, and then the squirrels jumped in. I mean, literally. We found one waist deep in the bright orange bottom pumpkin. 

So I give you our Miss Havesham stoop instead ;)

Holey pumpkins

See the hanging rat?

Spider web

By June, This is the Zombie House. 

Sobe hose  June note

Truett's impaled, disembodied zombie hand, creeping out of the water meter.

Zombie hand  limp

Top image via Short & Sweet

Our chickens have no boundaries

Chickens living room 1

I half expect them to run through the house singing Snoop Dogg. 

I'm pondering a fall post all about pumpkins, Halloween, & red and gold leaves (I am an unapologetic fall enthusiast. Bring on the decorative gourds. Bring on the excessive use of pumpkin spice. A witches hat makes me terribly happy.) but in the meantime, here I bring you pictures of our chickens.

When I leave the back door open - as I am wont to do in the fall - they have grown bold in their determination to check out the house.

I call this one, Caught Eating the Dogfood.

Chickens run from dogfood

This one, Copper Doesn't Give a Shit.

Chickens living room 2

And this one, well, it's not in the house, but it is Pitch hiding in the neighbor's bushes. I jumped off the couch yesterday because someone was sitting outside our house honking. When I ran outside I saw it was our beloved neighbor who gleefully told me to run and take pictures of the chickens in her bushes.  

I like to call this one, Pitch Doesn't Give a Shit.

Pitch hiding Mary's yard

SPONSOR

About Me

My Photo Hi! I'm Hope. Welcome to my website all about: style, food, travel & parenting. I live in Columbia, SC with my husband and two bebes.

More

ADS

ADS