Namaste, Mfers

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to start yoga. So I bought an old paperback from the 1970s, called Richard Hittlemans Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan.

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It…is definitely from a bygone era. As in, entire chapters devoted to the housewife and her daily chores. But it was a great self-paced introduction, and I spent about 30 minutes every day doing the routines. For an entire month!

The next logical step for me seemed to be yoga videos, but I absolutely hated them, and so I gave up. I need accountability, but I hate other people being near me when I exercise* (*sweat and groan). After about a 3-year hiatus, I did it. I worked up the courage. I bought a pair of yoga pants and a new t-shirt, and I went. To. A class.

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Also not me. Photo from Unsplash.

Good Health: The Ultimate Luxury

Every month this year, I’m focusing on a specific theme of gratitude. In January, it was hygge. In February, it was women artists I admire, and in March it was books that impacted me. April will be on ways I am able to take care of myself.

Note: I am unhealthy. I eat poorly, I drink too much alcohol, I barely exercise, and I have mental health and thyroid issues. Hey guess what!? Did you hear diet and exercise help make you feel BETTER!?

If you’re like me, though, it’s hard to take care of yourself, when you’re busy taking care of kiddos, husbands, your jobs, your hobbies, your passions, etc. Taking care of yourself is a luxury and good health is something to be EXTREMELY grateful for.

What are ways you take care of yourself? Morning jogs, bullet coffee, vegan diet, regular massage? We’d love to hear! Over the month of April, I’ll be chiming in with ways I add a bit of self-care into my routine, and I’d love to try some of your suggestions! (Below I have listed a few things I regularly do.)

–Nicole C.

Color Me Bad: Coloring Books for EVERYONE!

One of my current side hustle projects is to make a coloring book of floral art. I’m not talking about the intricate mandala-style books, where one missed paisley is a stress-induced scramble to cover it up. I want nice big patches of petals, or rosy cheeks for someone to puddle watercolors on top of. Here’s a rough draft of a page of mine:

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In researching coloring books for adults, though, I did manage to find some that I’d actually sit down and tinker with:

Everything is Better with CONFETTI

Our friend Whitney threw the most colorful and fun wedding celebration. The groomsmen had pompom boutonnieres, we tossed dried herbs and jingled bells as the new couple made their way to their chariot. The reception had vintage planters filled with colorful blooms, and giant confetti-filled balloons. Here are a few photos from the florists behind Queen City Blooms:

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Colorful boutonnieres by Queen City Blooms.

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The witty and beautiful bride!

Are you looking to add color and whimsy to your own life, wedding or not? Keep reading!

Book Roundup: March 2018

There really isn’t much else I need in life than a good book. Well. Maybe a cold pinot grigio. And a soft dog. Okay, and dark chocolate. And if I’m going to list all the things I need in life, I may as well also mention Coco Chanel Eau de Parfum, my mala beads, and pretty mugs filled with coffee.

But, books. Let’s get back to books.

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I read a lot, and challenge myself to read harder every year. BookRiot is always a great source to find books that wouldn’t normally jump out at me in my typical browsing. So is Goodreads, but I tend to add 20 books to read for every 1 that I finish. It can get overwhelming.

In 2018, I (Nicole) gave myself the goal of reading 30 books. As of today, I’m finished #12. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

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KINDRED by Octavia Butler (Read Harder Challenges: Author is a woman of color; a sci-fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author) – THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Should be required reading for every human being on the planet.

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UNGRATEFUL MAMMALS by Dave Eggers (Read Harder Challenge: A one-sitting book). This is a collection of drawings and poetic vignettes by Dave Eggers, a prolific author.

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THE SPELL THIEF (Little Legends) (Read Harder Challenge: Absolutely none. I read this with my 8yo for his class book club. Come one, 2nd graders! Why aren’t you reading Kindred yet??)

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HOMEGOING (Read Harder Challenge: A book of colonial literature. Also written by a woman of color. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. It was actually a great companion piece to Kindred, unintentionally.

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BITCH PLANET Vol. 2 (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written or illustrated by a person of color; written by a woman; A one-sitting book). I love this series. It’s gritty, violent, just enough sci-fi and ends on MAJOR twists. Can’t wait for the next volume.

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BIRD BOX (Read Harder Challenge: None…but it’s a horror book about a mom trying to keep her 2 children alive in a strange new Earth where if you’re able to see it could kill you…so, that’s a challenge enough…) A thrilling page-turner, best read in as few sittings as possible. I think it took me 3. And I didn’t sleep for 3 days.

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MARCH TRILOGY (Read Harder Challenge: A comic written by a person of color; A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image). I also hope this series is required reading for every student. It’s one I’m planning on buying to keep in my house for the kiddos.

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Literary Witches

LITERARY WITCHES: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers (Read Harder Challenge: hello! It’s a compilation of women authors throughout history!). This is great. I learned about a few authors I’d never heard of, and the illustrations are mesmerizing. Highly recommend.

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LEAVE ME ALONE WITH THE RECIPES: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles – So inspiring! An illustrated cookbook celebrating one of the modern-day design geniuses.

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THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET – How did I miss this novella? It was written in 1982, feels just as fresh today, and is a lyrical and beautiful look at growing up. Smitten.

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MY FRIEND DAHMER – (Read Harder Challenge: A Comic written AND illustrated by the same person) Ooooh, a dark yet sympathetic look at the person who became a monster, told from the point of view of one of his high school classmates.

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WHY NOT ME? By Mindy Kaling. (Read Harder Challenge: author POC; celebrity memoir; collection of essays.) She’s my new best friend. End of story. I listened to this on Audible, and it is so delightful.

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Next on the docket: THE CAT WHO COULD READ BACKWARDS. This isn’t so much a challenge as a throwback, to a series I read and loved as a child. Plus, the author, Lillian Jackson Braun, didn’t even start writing until later in life, which always fascinates me AND inspires.

Any good books that you’ve read that have been out of your typical reading comfort zone? I’d love to hear!

{ Featured photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash}

Peaches, Pie, Guinness, Oh My!

Typically for St. Paddy’s day, one of us will make a dark chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese icing, a tried and true recipe from one of our Domestic Goddesses, Nigella Lawson.

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image by Suzy Allman for The New York Times

This year, with Stephanie in charge of desserts, we opted for something a little different: Key Lime Pie. We grew up as Georgia Peaches, and according to the The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, key lime pie on St. Paddy’s is a Savannah tradition.

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The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day

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How many key limes does it take to make a key lime pie? At least a dozen!

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The final product, in all its creamy citrus glory!

The icing on the cake was the Freshly Made Whipped Cream. Oh my Irish blessings.

Do you have a St. Patrick’s culinary tradition? Ours is food truck pasties and dessert, lots of beer & Irish whiskey, all after enjoying our city’s famous St. Paddy Parade. And what do the revelers think about that?

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Success!

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More Back in the Day Love:

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Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love: More than 100 Recipes and Make-It-Yourself Projects to Create and Share

And Nigella Love:

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Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

Pure Magic: A Wrinkle in Time Set Design

WHO wouldn’t want to go see the new adaptation of the classic children’s book “A Wrinkle in Time“, a tale about the power of love and light in the time of darkness? Women directed, a diverse cast, and a story of the enduring power of love. What more could you ask for?

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(this was the copy I grew up with, and I just trashed my house trying to find it…no luck, sadly.)

Stephanie took her 10-year-old daughter to see the movie this week, and said she was smitten with the details of the home. Cozy, full of plants and crystals, and Craftsman-style were her exact words. Um. Sold. I’m seeing the movie tomorrow. But not before I look at inspiration for the set.

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Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

This article from Architectural Digest talks about the home inspiration and challenges, which include altering the paint color from a cold yellow to something cozier, and adding wooden beams to hide the camera technician’s cables.

It reminds me of the book I just checked out (and then immediately purchased), The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, in which the author says to clear out clutter and trash, let in clean air and energize your house with…you guessed it, crystals and plants. Um. Sold.

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That lamp! Those pillows! The books! Guhhhhhhh.

Here are some finds to inject your own magic into your charming house:

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Embroidered Pink Cotton Suzani Indian Cushion Cover These Suzani style pillows add a vibrant touch to any space.

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Cozy reading light – GIWOX 4.7″ Rechargeable LED Ball Light, Dimmable Children’s Bedroom Lamps Night Indoor Mood Lighting with Remote – 16 Colors, 4 Dynamic Models Indoors Outdoor

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Fresh flowers! In your house. All the time.

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What makes your house feel magical?