1. I don't know if any of the rest of you are reading Jillian Lukiwksi's incredible blog The Life and Times of the Noisy Plume. I've mentioned her briefly before, but it's been a long time. She was one of the first blogs I really became completely enamored with and I continue to follow every single post.
Jillian's an artist who works primarily with metal - creating intensely beautiful nature-based jewelry from earrings to necklaces, bracelets to rings. They contain natural elements - stones, flowers, bones and petals, leaves and moss. Everything the world has makes an appearance in Jillian's work.
She also is a wonderful photographer, posting what amounts to photographic essays of her time out in the wild with her two dogs and her husband. And her photos of the mountains always just leave me speechless, like the photo above.
Please. If you're the type to read blogs, absolutely go check her out, you will not regret it.
She's probably my favorite artist right now. I'd give my right hand to be able to afford one of her pieces. Well, not really. I like that hand. But you get the idea.
2. I realize that Lands' End shows up just an insane amount in this blog - I wear it, I daydream about it, I write things in which the sole purpose of me being somewhere was to shop there... I get it. I probably talk too much about a brand that you've seen a lot of peoples' moms wearing. I understand!
But let's give Lands' End a chance. They've really changed up some things and I have fallen in love with them more now in my twenties than ever, and they are knocking it out of the park with their fall and winter stuff for this year.
I know, I know; I'm biased due to my obsessive love of sweaters. I know. But still!
I am just loving their stuff right now. They even have me badly wanting one of their boiled wool coats, and I only wear a coat that heavy in South Carolina for like maybe four weeks, and that not even consecutively. But look at the beautiful colors this year!
They're doing an up to 40% off sale on sweaters and tops right now and I am squinting. I am squinting very, very hard.
And thinking to myself I love THIS one and I love THIS one and then there's this one and this one and this one...
Okay, so the last one (which happens to be my favorite - prooooobably because I love pumpkin-orange) is from the mens' department.
When has that ever stopped me before?
3. I mentioned briefly in my last post about having eaten with some friends at the best Middle Eastern place in Greenville (okay, I don't know it's the best, but seriously... it's the best) - Pita House. When you eat there, you get two sauces - tzatziki sauce, that tradition of traditions of cool cucumber and yogurt... and this spicy red stuff that we weren't sure about.
Pita House also has a small grocery attached. When we were there we bought manna salwa, a fantastic candy that looked a lot like divinity but is actually entirely not at all divinity, some little coconut candies, and... the red sauce.
At which point I dedicated myself to researching what it is.
I believe I have figured it out - it's ajvar (or something very similar to it), a dip/condiment made of red peppers, eggplant, tomato, and lots and lots of spices. It doesn't have to be spicy, although Pita House's version definitely is.
We bought it last Saturday. We've had it six days.
Half the jar is already gone.
So far we've eaten it with smoked sausages and eggs for breakfast, on potatoes with sour cream for dinner, dumped it over gumbo once and will most likely eat it on a root veggie casserole I'm planning for tomorrow night.
Ajvar is my new favorite everything.
4. I've discovered tomboy heaven, you guys. It's called Duluth Trading Company.
It's a men's and women's outfitters store that primarily focuses on work clothes worn by the kind of people whose work clothes take a beating; contractors, farmers, landscapers, horsemen and horsewomen - and it's a Midwestern brand originally started in Minnesota.
Basically, that means there's a lot of flannel.
I'm in love.
It's fun to click through the pages and see - whoever's writing their text is hilarious and has a nice wry sense of humor that works well with the common sense nature of what they sell. They have huge bricks of soap that even caught Jason's eye, mens' work pants made out of the material they used to make firehoses out of, 100% cotton t-shirts and a series of awesome gadgets you didn't know you needed.
And also SmartWool socks, which let's face it; you've got me sold the moment those show up.
They even have a section for their "Longtail" tee-shirts; tees where they've dropped the hem about two inches lower than most reatilers' t-shirts. For me, who routinely has to wear a long tank top under shirts so that I'm not flashing belly thanks to my amazingly long torso (too bad it didn't come with amazingly long legs but I'm not bitter) this is an answer to a problem that no other store seems to notice exists.
Add to that, they've got some beautiful colors, and I am just daydreaming and daydreaming.
My favorites? That flannel up above, this gorgeous leather purse, this beautiful burgundy dress, and the ENTIRE LINE OF LONGTAIL T-SHIRTS.
My long-torso'd fellow women, let us rise up and buy all of them!
Maybe if we do, retailers will notice we exist!
Or at least we'll support the only one that seems to!
5. And because apparently if I do a single blog post that doesn't include a photo of Audra, I will be asked where the photo of Audra is...
My favorite onesie of hers! I love the little mouse. It was part of my complete lapse of willpower during a particular sale Carter's was having. It was totally worth it.
Carter's and babyGap are our two favorite baby clothing stores right now. I'm not much for dressing babies in overly grown-up clothes; it looks so so so cute, so I always think I'm going to end up dressing her that way... but when I'm shopping I always end up gravitating towards cute animals (primarily foxes, for some reason) and onesies, not T-shirts and pants or grown-up silhouettes. I don't know why that is, exactly.
The only problem is of course the Biggest Problem Of All - finding baby girl clothing that ISN'T six kinds of pink, ruffles, sparkly, or otherwise trying to shout at every passerby that THIS IS A GIRL JUST IN CASE YOU HADN'T NOTICED YET. I seriously don't particularly care; babies all kind of look the same to me, and she'll spend enough of her life being told what is or isn't "girly" enough; while I'm in charge of her outfits she'll wear whatever I think is cute. And that just rarely involves ruffles or That Color.
That said, I am also a massive hypocrite, because I love this adorable tiny sweatshirt, pinky florals and all from babyGap. I think it is the cutest thing ever. And the outfit shot I found of it somewhere had it with these tiny green cargo pants, and these wee little boots. And there's this eerily similar outfit I found displayed on Carter's...
I blame the hormones.
My heart melts, people.
Someone help me. Stop me before I buy her the fuzzy bear hat.