Fashion Fridays: Owl Tree Boutique

I stumbled on Owl Tree Boutique after meeting its beautiful owner, Taryn. Her kind heart, talent, hippie tastes, and ah-may-zing hair (if you follow her on IG, you’ll know the reason to my hair envy) make it so easy to love her and the work she does. “Perfectly imperfect” is the motto of this gem of a shop and it’s the most appropriate description to each handmade piece she sells.

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“The Owl Tree Boutique was born out of my need to create. I have always made different jewelry and crafts. Every few months I would meet my storage threshold so I would just give a bunch of things away to make room for me to be able to more. After I had loaded up my friends and family along with myself. The idea to open my own shop arose.
Pieces in my shop are inspired by all sorts of things. From quotes, to movies, lyrics, or things in nature. I strive to make unique things that carry sentimental weight or emotional meaning. I don’t want to just make another generic necklace or bracelet. I want the wearer to see that piece and be flooded with a feeling. To feel happy, loved, strong, powerful, or remind them of something close to their heart.” -Taryn
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I own several of her pieces and treasure each and every single one just because I can imagine her dedication to making each piece just right from the handcutting and/or engraving right down to its cute packaging.

As you know (or may not), I make dreamcatchers and she pulled on my heartstrings by designing dreamcatcher necklaces, which I have received tons of compliments on.

I also had her custom design a copper feather with my two littles’ names on it, so I can wear them close to my heart. This is from her “I’m a Bird If You’re a Bird” line.

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You can find her shop here and follow @owltreeboutique on Instagram!  It’s payday Friday (just in case you need a reminder). Have a lovely weekend! I’ll be at the beach if you need me spending my first day in a new decade. Yikes!

Love,

Sophia

To the Mountains We Go!

It’s been about two weeks since we’ve left our mini vacation to go back to reality and I can’t seem to stop thinking about planning our next trip back.  As some have heard of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western NC, there really are not any words to describe the mystical beauty to give that place any justice. We’ve lived in NC for almost seven years now and we’ve ventured that way many times before, but never during the infamous Peak season. All the lush golds and garnet  that tower above you in hundreds of year old trees boast why pilgrimages are made there.  There is something spiritually soothing about that place and it has to be experienced in order to understand. (Just a disclaimer that there are a ton of pictures so you know in advance).

We plan on making this an annual family getaway even if it is just for a few short days. I am an ocean person, but this experience has made it very difficult to choose.

Our trip wasn’t just to see the foliage, however. It was a bit of a family reunion. My paternal grandfather has finally had a chance to see the United States and to meet his great grandchildren for the first time. It has been a lifelong dream for him to be able to see how his hard work has paid off and that his family gets to live the life he and my grandmother have always dreamt for us.

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We stayed in a cabin in Maggie Valley, had an awesome view and plenty of catching up.

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Since my husband has never had the chance to meet my dad due to his passing, it was a bit emotional for me to see my grandfather and Andy meet for the first time. My grandfather and my dad look very much alike from their tall stature, voice, and appearance. It was like having my dad join us on our reunion too. They pretty much hit it off.

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Left to right: Daddy, Eric, Andy

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Left to right: Me, Saffron, Daddy, Ezra, Sara (SIL), Eric (brother)

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Sara and my Aunt Judith

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Back to raving about the mountains. The next day, we ventured out to Cataloochee, which was about 30 minutes away (it seemed like eternity to get there and back. I’ll explain later). Cataloochee was a thriving mountain town that dwindled as soon as other towns began to pop up surrounding the area and the younger generation sought for other work opportunities. It’s also a ski resort now aside from being a national park.

My brother and sister in law frequent there, so we decided to check it out. First, I am a city driver. I like flat,  predictable grid roads. I am not a mountain driver nor ever will be. I am a scaredy cat when it comes to steep drops, unrailed, narrow, one lane roads with plenty of blind spots that you might as well close your eyes while you drive. The drive to Cataloochee (according to little scared Sophia) is no walk in the park. Even Andy, who I believe is a warrior on the road said that he couldn’t foresee making another trip up there for awhile regardless how beautiful it is. I don’t know how people do it with campers. I just don’t. We even asked the Park Ranger if there is another way out and she said no. So, pretty much I napped all the way back.

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Once you get past the winding gravel road (it sounded so charming when my brother was explaining how to get there), lush, open fields welcome you, while the creek with its fresh mountain water sing you a lullaby. Not far from entering, there is a quaint church that has not been used for a very long time, but is still in amazing condition. I’ve only seen this type of setting in movies and was blown away by its charm and beauty. This little building has an entrance facing the creek and you can still hear the ghosts of sermons past.

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With such beautiful Fall scenery, we couldn’t resist taking an impromptu family photo sesh.

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Papaw Mic with the kiddos.

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Just a hop, skip, and a jump from that old church is the old schoolhouse. If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Village, this whole place had that kind of communal vibe. We were just nearing Halloween, so it was really neat to walk into these buildings with lots of history.

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Don’t tell me that this doesn’t spook you out a little?

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My love for wooden floors continue.

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On the way back home, we stopped by Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, NC. I have always mentioned to Andy that if he wanted to woo me, he’d take me on a date to an apple orchard. Unfortunately, we live too far from one, so this was his chance to make up for the lack of dates we hardly (actually never) go on since we’ve had kids. It was beautiful to say the least and Saffron had so much fun picking the apples. Plus, the little farm animals and their lovely environment reminded me of the picturesque farm in the movie, Babe. Can you tell I watch lots of movies?

By the way, if you are not at all interested in picking apples, you still must make a stop here to try one of their apple cider doughnuts. It’s like crack and we ordered a dozen of them only to have eaten them all by the time we got home.

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I can hardly wait until October starts creeping around next year, so we can do this all over again.

Fashion Fridays: Paint The Town Me

This is the first Fashion Friday entry and what better way to start it off than by showcasing the lovely Rebecca from Paint The Town Me? Being a small business and WAHM (work at home mom), I’m all about supporting other women who juggle kids, home, day jobs, and their creative passions. I believe that these women are incredible at pursuing their dreams late at night while the whole house is asleep, they themselves are exhausted, and yet they toil with their tired hands to produce such beautiful work for all of us to enjoy.

I met Rebecca on Instagram and she is the sweetest person one can meet! So, I’d like for all of you to get to know this awesome lady and her Etsy shop also.

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I have only been making jewelry since this year! I was ordering jewelry (I have quite a love for accessories and I’m such a collector of things) that I began to realize I could make my own. I did lots of research and just dove in! My inspirations truly come from everyday life. It can be something huge or the tiniest detail that starts my head spinning! I have always been a girl with no “set style” or “type”. I love many many styles ranging from glitzy dressy sparkling jewels, tribal, bohemian and ethnic and I’m always researching the newest trends! Im having so much fun with my new business. I had a friend that I loaned an outfit and jewels I made to and she remarked that she was going to “paint the town red” and I said “I think you’re painting the town ME)! That’s the story behind the catchy name. My styles are forever changing and being added to! Everything is made by me with lots of love!!

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store at Paint the Town Me:

You can find her shop on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaintTheTownMe

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Here I am wearing her beautifully simple pink horn necklace. It’s been a staple ever since I got it in the mail.

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New in her store are these lovely Moroccan Silk Tassel Necklaces! They are so fun!

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Don’t forget to follow her on IG: @paintthetownme

Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble

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Guess who tried and guess who didn’t?

So this Halloween, I had two kids to dress up. I usually make Saffron’s costumes, except for last year when I was pregnant, so we just bought her a pirate one. She was a Witch in a Cauldron her first Halloween. She was sushi the second. This year, she wanted to be a cross between a Princess and a Witch, but in blue (she’s very specific with her attires and who knows where she gets that from?). With very little time on my hands with my business, moving, and making sure the kids are alive, I put one together for her in a flash. Ezra will forgive me for not making his this year. He didn’t mind at all.

I grabbed a white dress that she had in her closet for playing dress-up and bought a paper witch hat from a craft store and went to town with all sorts of blues. Lots of spraying, glitter, and glueing were involved, but she loved it in the end.

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The Blue Princess Witch and her Dragon

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Off she goes on her broom!

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I’m running out of ideas for next Halloween. Any suggestions?

Goats and Pumpkins

Autumn is really my favorite part of the year in the East Coast. The smell of cider and pumpkin baked goods waft the air like flowers in the Spring. Squashes and other gourds nourish our bodies and fill our plates with a delightful golden color. The State Fair, Halloween, Corn Mazes, Haunted Hay Rides aside from the magnificent changing of leaves become icing on the cake for me.

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Last weekend, we ventured to a farm to pick out a pumpkin and just to have some fun family time. I like to take Saffron to as many outdoor activities because once it gets way too cold, we usually hibernate inside most Winter and that can get pretty restrictive for a three-year-old.

One of the things I love about living in North Carolina is that there are so many farms to visit and expose our kids to a more simple and natural way of life. When we lived in California, most of the animals I saw were in the zoos. So, looking out our new home and into a pasture is pretty magical to me.

Here are some snapshots of our day.

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Enjoy Autumn and its many many gifts!

Love,

Sophia

 

Scissors and a Right of Passage

I have learned from consensus that little girls (and pre-teens) plus scissors equal hair disaster and that it has happened to the best of us. Well, it happened to my little girl when she thought that she could be Rapunzel from Tangled and chop off her locks!

First, I thought my scissors and other sharp objects were out of reach for her, but I guess she has recently gone through a surprising growth spurt, which allows her access to all sorts of trouble. Having my attention divided now between two kids, I can tell how easily and quickly accidents can happen. Being three, my little Spice has found her independence (and sneaky ways). When things get quiet, that is when you know that something is up. Well, it was quiet for awhile and she made it seem like she was obediently coloring. She must have thought that coloring was so juvenile because she broke out the tool that most of us have turned to out of complete boredom…scissors.

Inches of hair scattered everywhere on the carpet with no pair of scissors in sight until I saw the handles sticking out from her puppet theater. She comes out as if nothing happened when apparently, she bluntly chopped one side of her hair already. I assumed she was taking a break and returning to her scissors if I hadn’t said a word. First reaction, I was in a bit of shock. Then, I giggled because she looked like she was 18 months old again when her hair was short. Then, I got a bit irritated because she is starting ballet soon and I was definitely looking forward to putting her hair up in a bun. But, I couldn’t hold anything against her because I once chopped my bangs really short and somehow it kept getting shorter from Xena to  Audrey Hepburn to David Beckham short. I have come to believe that it is somehow a right of passage for girls, in which drastic hair experimentation proves a sense of independence and a blossoming character.

As for Saffron, she loves loves loves her Dorothy Hamill haircut, not thinking that Mama has to put a bow on her hair most times to distract from her handiwork. Here she is at the salon to even her hair out while I sat back and shook my head:

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Does her doing a duck face look like she regretted chopping off half her hair?

She wanted to do a mini photoshoot in her outfit she chose herself and I knew that I am raising a Diva, but the confidence that she imbued in her photos was amazingly mature and now I know that she really did go through her own right of passage. She has only been on this earth for three years and I’m amazed at how much she changes every year. Time has to somehow slow down for me, so I can hold onto my little girl longer.

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One thing that she has taught me from this experience is that with confidence, you can rock out any mistake. So, never be afraid to make a change because you’ll never know if it will be any better unless you just do it. Thank you, Saffy for reminding me of that!

Love,

Sophia

DIY Monday: Tape Happy

I could not decide whether to make this a DIY Monday post or a Thrifty Tuesdday post, but figured that it can just serve as an inspiration for those that want to update their child’s playroom storage.

Awhile back, we were in desperate need for a dresser to put in the guest bedroom. I didn’t want to buy a new one, but we needed one in any case. Lo and behold in our local Flea Market was a sturdy (I mean extremely heavy vintage wooden filing cabinet) for $25.00. I’m starting to think that I have a good eye for quality pieces under $30 because most of my furniture finds have been in the $20-$25 range. After having two kids, Andy and I have decided to make that extra bedroom into a classroom/playroom for Saffron, which gave me some relief because living in a two-story house is a pain when you have a two kids under four. I feed Ezra upstairs, but can’t keep my daughter to stay upstairs with me, so she would be unsupervised downstairs where all sorts of accidents can happen. The playroom is a work-in-progress, so more on that when it’s complete, but I wanted to share my mini project this past weekend how tape and paint can liven up a space and give it some drama.

Warning: The following two images are horrible and far from clear because they were shot from my iPhone, but it was the only way to get the right perspective of the dresser. My DSLR lens could not get it all in the frame.

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The whole dresser was the color of the drawers until I painted some parts white, so it wouldn’t look so cumbersome in such a small space.

I had painted everything except the drawers a semi-gloss white because I wanted to give it a more modern and updated look. Without the paint, this furniture would be too heavy of a piece when I am going for fun, modern, and bright in the space.

This is not really a DIY, because I was too impatient to snap every step I did with a baby in a swing and a toddler screaming for me every. single. second. The next step that I did was use blue painter’s tape to work out a geometrical design that would fit in a unisex space, so it wouldn’t be too girly or too masculine. I then used my left over Behr sample paint from my previous dresser revamp to paint two coats between the tape. (I used Mint Majesty for this project). Here is the end result and it only took an hour and a half:

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Not bad for a $25 piece of furniture. I encourage you if you have an old storage cabinet or dresser to get tape happy too! Happy Monday!

Love,

Sophia

A Magical Thing Happened

Last Saturday when we went on an outing to a museum, a magical thing happened…

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A large butterfly landed on my daughter’s arm while we were walking through the conservatory. It was a beautiful image of innocent wonder. It’s symbolic of transformation and that is exactly what is going on in our lives right now. If you haven’t heard, you can read about how much our lives have changed here.

Life has been chaotic, but in that chaos beauty remains and I have lately forgotten to see that. That Saturday, in that simple moment, I saw the magic that happens when love abounds and you trust in God to make you happy wherever you are. Just like that butterfly that trusted Saffron not to crush it, I started trusting again in something bigger and more powerful than I. I started trusting that everything will be alright and that this chaos will transform into something more manageable. Adjustments are hard, but I have the most supportive and compassionate husband that holds my hand through and through.

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I am reminded how blessed and simple my life is and that magic is everywhere and in everything if you just be still and trust.

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Love,

Sophia

My Eternal Summer

We are already halfway into summer and I barely had the chance to enjoy the warm weather as I am usually confined indoors because of the baby. There have been less days that were ideal for outings this summer. I never really had to tackle a hurricane season before I moved here from California, so having it rain most of the summer really puts a damper on all our plans.

But today, Mother Nature gave us a break. She let the sun out after almost two weeks of gloominess. I’ll take whatever she can offer. I already knew that because we were expecting our bundle of joy, we would be taking less day trips to the beach and having less activities for our vivacious three year old. Here comes the Mommy guilt again. Also, we rarely use our community pool. It is not toddler-friendly and usually very crowded. Summer is not the same without drenching oneself with water at least once. So, I made a trip to Target and bought her a sprinkler system and some water shoes. This was the result:

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Everything is in full bloom now in our garden. Can’t wait to taste the melons!

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Her giggles and screams of pure excitement are enough to satisfy my heart. I live vicariously through her innocent zest for life. Although this summer will be very low key for us as we settle into being new parents once again and Autumn will be here before we know it, my daughter is my eternal summer, shining radiantly everyday for us and giving us that light that we sometimes need when life becomes a bit gloomy.

Happy Sunday!

Love,

Sophia