Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Embracing Cozy



The last few years, I have made an effort to embrace our chilly Minnesota winters. Instead of enduring a countdown to spring, I've tried to focus on what I love about winter- the beauty, the freshness, and the coziness of our little home. 

(And no bugs...and no weeding...)


Being cozy has been on my mind a lot lately, and Parachute Home inspired me to share some of my favorite ways.

For me, coziness is all about engaging the senses. It's about creating rich and inviting surroundings, and bringing extra comfort to everyday rituals.

Here are my 8 favorite ways to stay cozy:

1. Twinkling Candlelight.


Our cupboards are stocked with candles and wax warmers in all scents and sizes. I love lighting one right after cleaning, or at night when the house is dark and quite. 

2. Fleece-lined leggings, wool socks, and an ultra plush throw blanket. AKA-my winter uniform. 


Doesn't this oversized cashmere throw look divine?


3. Soft sweaters for every family member.



4. Crisp, white sheets.




I've always felt like the best bedding is as simple as a set of classic white sheets and a fluffy down comforter. Our master and guest beds are both dressed in white.

5. Speaking of..., is there anything cozier than a down comforter? 


One of my favorite feelings is being nestled in down. 
Find premium down products here.


6. I can't help but embrace winter when I see these mittens.


7. During the day, the kids and I love to build forts with every blanket in the house, and snuggle up with books and snacks. 


8. At night, my husband and I relax with a sweet/salty combination of hot cocoa and crunchy popcorn


Thanks to Parachute Home, experts in coziness (sumptuous, fine, Italian coziness, to be exact), for inspiring me. 

If you are in the market for high-quality bedding, check out their website . They are passionate about bringing those luxurious moments to your front door-without the luxury prices. I could curl up in any of their beautiful products and not leave the house all winter!

I hope this post has inspired you to embrace cozy in these last winter months. 



Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Ramblings



Hello friends-

Things have been a little sporadic around here lately. I know T&J is not THAT big of a deal, and that most of my readers come from link parties, however, I wanted to check in with the few regulars (thank you, by the way).

After several years of Honda-esque reliability, our laptop crashed this week. Thank goodness for smartphones, but it still makes blogging a little clumsier. We're hoping to have a new computer soon, and I will recommit to my Mon/Thurs schedule, or at least bi-weekly. 


There is my patient little guy waiting for the official death pronouncement, sucker in hand. 



Speaking of, aren't these Sparko Sweets treats just fun? I've got the whole world in my hands-haha. My camera doesn't do them justice. I posted some others on Instagram (@tshirtjeansnicki) this week, because art, even in candy form, makes me happy. 


Speaking of instagram, I also posted this little guy. 


I am working on the final, perfect touches for our girl's room (like the vintage Barbie poster currently in the mail). We are SO close to a room reveal, and I'm excited for you to see. 





Almost as boring as shopping for computers is thinking about 72 hour kits. When thinking about preparedness, I often feel a mixture of guilty and overwhelmed, and then go back to thinking about cute candy and Barbie posters. Last night, I attended a church class on 72 hour kits, and I am motivated to get prepared! In small, manageable steps, of course. The LDS church provides free, extensive guidance for anyone interested at www.providentliving.org. 

How's that for rambling randomness? I do have some fun things coming in the near future...stay tuned! 

Have a great weekend. 

(ps-no affiliate links in this post. Just my opinions.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two Ways to Style a Cream Sweater


One of my favorite items this season is this cozy, creamy, diamond-stitched sweater. 


Dressing it down is simple: add skinny jeans, low ankle boots, and some turquoise. 

(My husband teases me, and says a pendant this big belongs to a hip hop artist, but I love it. Plus, who says I can't rap?)


Dressing it up is simple too: add a charcoal pencil skirt and taller boots. And some dangle around the ears. 






Either way, it's pretty, natural, and simple. Just what I was going for. 

Hope you're having a great week!





Friday, January 16, 2015

{The Best} Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash may be more of a fall ingredient, but the middle of January is when I need something warm, comforting, and rich. Healthy too, with New Year's Resolutions and all...




This soup has minimal ingredients, but the flavor is so amazing. If you are looking for something gluten free or vegetarian, this will fit the bill.




4 cups butternut squash (peeled and chopped in 1" cubes- or 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 T olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 large shallots, or 2 medium onions (peeled and halved)
1 1/2" long piece of ginger (peeled and thinly sliced), or 3/4 tsp ground ginger

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Fresh chives (optional)
Black pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the first 5 ingredients well, spread onto a jelly or roasting pan. Bake for 50 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool for 10 minutes.

Pour half of the squash mixture and half of the broth in a blender and puree. Empty into a container, and repeat with the second half of the squash and broth.

Top with chives and pepper, if desired.

Adapted from Cooking Light





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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

5 Lessons on Creativity from Oscar de la Renta

Habitually Chic


In 2014, we lost a brilliant creative mind. Oscar de la Renta was mainly known for his successful fashion career, but his talents extended to stunning furniture, interiors, and landscaping.

Vogue


I wanted to know more about the prolific brain behind the glamor, so I researched a few interviews. It was so fascinating to watch videos of him with his charming accent and immaculate appearance, and to realize that he experienced the same highs and lows in the design process that we all do. Here are 5 lessons on creativity I learned from someone who spent his life making the world more beautiful.
1. Elevate your level of inspiration. 

Oscar was not known as a snobby person, but he surrounded himself with the best. He took inspiration from historical costumes, and he had an extensive art book collection. He never watched TV in the morning, and preferred to read his paper in bed. He once said he "hated" the word pretty because it was too trite. Oscar didn't do trite ;).
2. Stay sharp and current. 

This was a major theme in all the interviews. Oscar was a survivor in the fashion industry because he was willing to adjust and change. He understood that the clients of his past evolved into something very different. He observed that more modern women will "pick red over pink, even if her husband likes the pink." Oscar saw many of his colleagues become tied to a certain fashion period and not able to move on, and he worked to be aware of the changing clientele. 
Also, he played bridge every night to keep his mind sharp (following a tip from Warren Buffett).


3. Simplify. 

While acknowledging that his designs are not always minimal, Oscar admited to keeping a small, simplistic wardrobe for himself, and even frequently wore the same tie. He never sacrificed quality (and had all his clothes made in Spain since the age of 18), but was not excessive.
4. Creativity is an ongoing, challenging process.

This was the favorite lesson I learned from Oscar- that all the struggle and error and frustration that accompanies bringing a vision to life happens to a top designer as well. He worried, or in his words, "panicked" over his work, and described the whole process as "agony and ecstasy." Oscar even declared that he had a creative block EVERY DAY. As one who is quite familiar with creative blocks, that was comforting to hear. In one video interview, he started designing a dress around this beautiful fabric, and it just wasn't working. His team basically revamped the whole idea into a completely different dress, with the clock ticking. Trial and error is an unavoidable part of design.

Oscar PR Girl
Pinterest


Before a show, he generally eliminates 40% of the collection. Forty percent. He is smart enough to weed out the absolute best, and also to understand the attention span of his audience.

Oscar PR Girl


5. Don't lose your craft- it is key to creative survival.

Any creative pursuit involves a business and marketing side, and Oscar knew the importance of taking time to maintain the core craft. He stated, “I remember one time asking Gore Vidal why Truman Capote dried up. He told me that Capote was so successful he forgot to exercise his craft every day. I always say that every day for me is a learning process in the midst of tremendous anxiety about whether I can do it all over again.”
It was so enjoyable to learn more about this man. Even though my creative work is different from his (no, no- I don't have an immensely successful fashion line), it was fascinating to relate to how he experiences the artistic process.


My Design Chic

Thank you Oscar for all the inspiration; I'm sure your influence will live on for many more years.

Pinterest


Sources-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDlGpBws48A
http://benposter.com/128041/1259835/shooter/new-york-magazine-the-cut-interviews-oscar-de-la-renta
http://www.vanityfair.com/style/features/2009/09/out-to-lunch-de-la-renta200909
http://www.elle.com/fashion/spotlight/oscar-de-la-renta-fiftieth-anniversary-interview
http://www.interviewmagazine.com/fashion/remembering-oscar-de-la-renta#_

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Weekend



Hello friends,

I spent all of this week nursing 2 sick little boys. This winter has not been kind to us (flu shot - schmoo shot), and I'm sure many of you can relate. Fortunately, they are on the mend now, and we ended the week on a high note. Here are 10 things that made me happy this weekend:

1. A dance party with my boys.
2. My 1-year-old saying "tank you much" every time we hand her something. Or she hands us something.



3. A big, juicy hamburger.
4. Wool socks.




5. Catching up on all the errands I couldn't do w/home-bound sick kids.
6. A glimpse of the serene, snow-covered Mississippi during said errands.

Couldn't snap a picture while driving, but it looked about like this:

Via

7. A glimpse of an antler chandelier. 



8. This cute quote that my 5-year-old thought was hilarious.


via Pinterest

9. A husband who likes to grocery shop.
10. Photographs in the mail from my grandparents.



Hope you had a weekend full of happy things too!

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