Favorite Places: Cornelius Nursery

Flower store
Just look at these beauties!

Lately my favorite place to be on a Saturday morning is the Cornelius Nursery near my apartment. Teddy and I drive to our favorite coffee shop and get our drinks to go — an (iced!) chai latte for me, an (iced!) caramel macchiato for him. The ice is very important, even if I always forget to specify and almost order a hot chai latte every time.

all the succulents!
All the succulents!

Then we drive back toward our apartment, but turn right as if we’re going to my office. But luckily we turn into the nursery parking lot instead.

It’s hot and humid (hello Texas!). My cup is sweating in my hand, I’m sweating, the people stocking fertilizer and potting soil are sweating. But every now and then you’ll pass an enormous fan and close your eyes, lingering in the breeze. Until the lady with a cart full of 20 identical plants needs to  pass you. (I don’t know why you would need 20 identical plants but there’s always someone.)

I found Neville's mimbulus mimbletonia
I found Neville’s mimbulus mimbletonia

But the best part is getting lost. We walk up and down the aisles, point at new plants we’ve never seen before, read labels to see if a plant will survive in our apartment. We talk about the plants we’ll have when we have a yard and more room to plant things — Teddy likes jungle plants, bonsai trees, and Japanese maples. I like roses and bougainvillea and anything that looks like it’d grow around a British cottage. Our yard will definitely not be boring!

Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea

The other best part about the garden store is how it almost seems magical — like a small jungle full of plants that come from all over the world, in the middle of Houston. Once we saw a kitten weaving through the rose bushes like he’d done it a hundred times.

 

We keep walking around until we decide we’re too hot. We pay for any new plants we’ve picked up, hoping we’ll be able to keep them alive this time. After the 5 minute drive home we collapse on the couch and soak up all the air conditioning. And maybe take a nap.

Continue Reading

Looking forward to — Summer + Peaches

peach season
1 / 2 / 3 / 4

I never liked peaches growing up. I would eat them in a peach cobbler, but I secretly cared more about the topping and the vanilla ice cream than the peaches. But now I can’t get enough of them. Isn’t it weird what you don’t like as a kid, and then fall in love with when you’re older?

Since I’m new to the peach dessert world, here are some recipes that sound perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon:

  • There are a lot of “best” recipes out there, but since the peach pie from A Couple Cooks is a family favorite and won a prize at the county fair, it really must be the best peach pie.
  • I’ve never had peach butter before, but it sounds amazing! (Also, how is peach butter not everywhere in Georgia? I went to college there for four years and never heard of it until I found it in the Smitten Kitchen archives!)
  • Deb from Smitten Kitchen loves peaches, and I’m hoping that these Almond-crisped peaches count as breakfast. Leftover fruit crisp is one of my favorite breakfasts!
  • Hummingbird High’s Blackberry peach pie combines two of my favorite fruits in one pie, so obviously I have to make it. I’m pretty sure there’s a rule written about it somewhere.
  • I’ve never been big on banana splits (I don’t know what’s wrong with me either), so these grilled peach splits from Smitten Kitchen sound like they’re more my speed. I bet they’d be amazing at a summer barbecue!

Do you have any favorite peach recipes? I’d love to hear about them!

Continue Reading

2015 Fall To-Do List

Fall To-Do List

 

The first day of fall is TOMORROW, so I’m actually right on time with my Fall To-Do List this time! (I was a liiittle behind on my summer list in June). Speaking of, here’s a recap of my summer list:

 

  • Make a big Goodwill trip with old clothes and books
  • Set up a little herb garden on our new back porch
  • Make pesto to keep basil from taking over
  • Have friends over for drinks – maybe a weekly or monthly sangria night?
  • Go on a weekend road trip
  • Go swimming  (I actually went jet-skiing and tubing!)
  • Spend as much time as possible on our porch (bonus points for ice cream eating / rosé drinking)
  • Drink all the smoothies. All of them
  • Set up a little creative space in the new apartment
  • Bonus: make a pie!

 

I’m actually surprised with how many things I got done considering how crazy this summer was! I couldn’t find a time that worked for everyone for dinner and drinks, so I’m hoping to do that in October. We couldn’t fit in a weekend trip either, but I have my fingers crossed for a roadtrip to Austin soon.

 

The most surprising thing I did was jet-skiing and tubing for the first time at my brother-in law’s engagement party. I’ve always been too scared to do it, and honestly, just thinking about jet-skiing still stresses me out. But I did it, and I survived even though I flipped the jet ski. (Ooops!)

 

I also made a black n’ blue pie for Labor Day from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. I was a little intimidated because they have suuuper high standards for everything. But the pie turned out really well! The filling was killer, but honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the crust. (Please don’t hate me, Brooklyn!) The recipe was kind of fussy and it wasn’t noticeably better than my favorite pie dough recipe. Despite my mixed feelings about the crust, I’m really excited to try more fall and winter pie recipes from Four & Twenty Blackbirds.

 

Phew! I didn’t know I had so many feelings about my summer to-do list! Here’s my Fall To-Do List:

 

  • Go to the Texas State Fair
  • Finish my first draft x
  • Start a new knitting project/ try weaving
  • Make my favorite apple pie
  • Drink lots of hot chocolate and hot apple cider
  • Write/ read on the porch on a weekend morning
  • Make doughnuts for the first time
  • Go to a bonfire

 

I’ve already crossed one thing off my list (still can’t believe my first draft is done!), and now I’m really excited about all the fun fall activities. Fall is hands-down my favorite season, so I can’t wait to check off all the things on my list. I wish I had written down “drink your annual Pumpkin Spice Latte.” I always get really excited for them, and then remember why I only get one every year — they’re so sweet, even with 2 pumps of syrup! You’d think I’d have learned by now, right?

 

Do you have any fun plans for fall? I’d love to hear!

Continue Reading

7 Ways to Deal with Creative Self-Doubt

7 ways to deal with creative self-doubt

 

We’ve all been there, right? You’re hard at work on a project, going full steam ahead, and then all of a sudden you think, “This is the worst book/ painting/ song/ statue in the history of the world, and everyone will see it and laugh at it, or even worse, at ME.” Those kinds of thoughts can really do a number on your self esteem.

 

So what do you do when self doubt is hanging around like your own personal storm cloud? My first instinct is to watch too many Food Network competition shows and eat a lot of ice cream, but that’s probably not the most helpful option. I’ve been experimenting with self-doubt coping techniques lately, so here’s what’s been working for me so far:

Continue Reading

New Apartment Inspiration

Tonks' favorite spot
Somebody is really liking the view.

 

Confession time: I’m soooo excited that it’s almost August. July has not been my favorite month because I’ve been moving for the past three weeks. I know it sounds totally ridiculous, but Teddy was out of town for over half of July, which was stressful enough without me trying to move… by myself. Yeah, that went really well.

 

Semi-miraculously, I’m still on track with my novel, but this blog has been a little neglected recently. And I’ve been so stressed/ busy/ thinking about apartment stuff non-stop that my brain is feeling a little fried. So I’ve decided that August is going to be a month of settling into the new apartment and refilling my creative and emotional wells that so desperately need it.

 

Continue Reading

2015 Summer To-Do List

Parking Lot Sunset

 

It’s only June 23 and this summer has already been craaaazy. We flew to Chattanooga for a friend’s wedding, celebrated our first anniversary, and next week we’re flying out to California for me to meet Teddy’s grandparents and extended family. Then I’m flying back to Texas while Teddy stays in California for a bit to collect gold and opal. And then we’re moving to a new apartment. Phew, just writing all that out makes me feel tired!

 

Since life has been so bananas lately, I’ve been desperately craving a routine. And while life won’t go back to normal until at least mid-July, Emily’s summer to-do list inspired me to write my own. My serious to-do list is already a mile long, but I want to make sure to remember that it’s summer! And summer means ignoring the to-do list every now and then in favor of eating some ice cream in the sun.

 

Here are some fun things I want to do this summer:

 

  • Make a big Goodwill trip with old clothes and books
  • Set up a little herb garden on our new back porch
  • Make pesto to keep basil from taking over
  • Have friends over for drinks – maybe a weekly or monthly sangria night?
  • Go on a weekend road trip
  • Go swimming
  • Spend as much time as possible on our porch — bonus points for ice cream eating / rosé drinking
  • Drink all the smoothies. All of them
  • Set up a little creative space in the new apartment

Having a Goodwill trip at the top of my list might seem weird, but I always want to purge my closet before I move, and apparently I’m starting early this time around. Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the clutter and I really hate packing. So I think a Goodwill trip before we move will actually be sort of relaxing. Does that sound crazy?

 

What about you? Do you have any fun plans for this summer?

Continue Reading

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

 

I had Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich as my laptop background for years, and I set this Instagram photo from my trip to LA as my phone background a few weeks ago. And today when I was unlocking my phone I thought, “Hey, this kind of looks like that painting!” I always think it’s so funny what random connections your brain makes.

 

I love projects inspired by famous art, like these flower arrangements inspired by famous paintings and this Dutch Masters Wedding Inspiration. I’m not an art historian by any stretch, but I love flipping through art books (even if I don’t always get all of the symbolism behind a painting). Now I’m feeling inspired to pick up some new books and keep an eye out for more art/ Instagram crossovers. Who knows, maybe I’ll have to turn this into a series. We’ll see!

 

Continue Reading