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.

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Looking Forward To — Summer + Ice Cream Sandwiches

Summer+IceCream

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

It’s already starting to feel like summer in Houston, and while I already miss the spring weather, I’m really looking forward to pooltime, summer thunderstorms, and ice cream! This is the first summer I’ve had an ice cream maker, so I’m SUPER EXCITED about eating homemade ice cream on the porch after dinner. I’ve especially been craving ice cream sandwiches lately, so here’s a round-up of all the recipes I’ve got my eye on:

I’ve been obsessed with chai lately, so chai ginger ice cream sandwiches sound amazing! Is it bad that I’m thinking about making them not vegan?

Just look at all these fancy ice cream sandwiches!

I bought Yossy Arefi’s Sweeter off the Vine a month ago, and I can’t wait to try these strawberry ice cream sandwiches with cocoa nib poppy seed cookies!

Would it be weird to eat gingersnap eggnog ice cream sandwiches in July? I can’t decide.

My grandma always made cracker cookies, so I’d bet money that these saltine crack ice cream sandwiches are to die for!

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how excited I am for peach season, so these peach gingersnap ice cream sandwiches sound perfect.

Have you made an ice cream sandwich with semifreddo before? It sounds really interesting…

This isn’t an ice cream sandwich, but I can’t get over Joy’s cream cheese red velvet ice cream. It sounds so over the top and amazing!

What about you? Do you have any summer food cravings?

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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!

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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!

 

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Game of Thrones + Writing the Book You Want to Read

Plot Inspiration

 Sources: Row 1: a / b / c — Row 2: a / b / c — Row 3: a / b / c

 

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably been told to write the book you want to read about a million times. I always assumed it meant that you should write the kind of book you like to read. If there was a gap between what I wanted to read and what existed, I never really considered writing the book myself.

 

That all changed when I realized I had an imaginary version of Game of Thrones. I haven’t read GOT, even though it has some of my “shut up and take my money” plot points: fantasy, political intrigue, and royal families squabbling over the line of succession. Yes please! But the gore and sexualized violence have always made me hesitant to pick it up. The thing is, I know enough about the plot from Tumblr and friends who have read it to know that I really like Sansa, and Margaery Tyrell, and that Joffrey is a total tool bench, and so sometimes I start to wonder, “Should I read it?” But then I hear about something gruesome that keeps me away.

 

I was catching up with a friend earlier this month (and commiserating about our novel-writing woes), and since neither of us has been able to get into GOT, I joked that I was writing the Game of Thrones that I would want to read. My story has elf royal families fighting over who’s going to be the royal family in 17th century France — so basically, the political intrigue between the different houses in GOT, but without the blood and gore and creepy plot points.

 

If you remember my post about imposter syndrome from back in March, the idea of writing the book you want to read really helps with those writing doubts. I love the idea that writing is a form of collage.

 

What do you think of Game of Thrones? Are there any stories that you want to like but just can’t get into? Maybe they can give some inspiration in what you’re writing/ making right now!

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