Monday, April 20, 2015

quotable | imaginary cats

As previously mentioned several thousand times, Brooke and I share a room.  Oh and Miss Grace, she shares a room with us as well.  It's a two to one messie to clean freak ratio.  I'll let you guess who's who.

Anyway, we spend a lot of time together and sometimes, such as last Saturday night, we come up with clever names in case we were ever to get a cat.  Which we will not.  Because we've promised each other that we will never allow the other to become a cat lady.

That is not something that the women in our family aspire to be.

Friday, April 17, 2015

finds | weleda creamy rose

I recently ordered this "creamy wild rose body wash" from Weleda and it's wonderful!  There is something about this romantic, timeless, scent that is lovely and calming.  In a way, it reminds me of my great Aunt Mae (for whom I'm named) and the way her bedroom and bathroom, which were so deliciously covered in all manner of chenille fabrics, always smelled powdery and perfectly "old lady-ish".  Mint green, Revlon cosmetics and the smell of bacon gravy with refrigerated biscuits always bring Aunt Mae memories to mind.  

She was such a precious little thing (our similarities end with our shared middle name, she was the tiniest! Although, I can wear her size 4 wedding band.  Okay, fine, it's a little tight...) and as my Mimi would say, she was "fix-y", which I think is the absolute best term for those people who like the chance to get all "fixed up and go out".  She wore sassy wigs (isn't that divine!), outfits that matched everything from head to toe and carried a "pocketbook". 

She was married to a Lutheran minister for decades, although she was raised Mormon (I'm not quite sure how they made that work).  She was a seamstress and always sewed a tie out of her leftover dress fabric so that her and Lawrence could match on Sundays.  I'm telling you, she was the cutest!  Apparently, he always had an opinion on what she was wearing and the rumor goes that if he didn't like her outfit, she changed.  They never had children, but she adored my mother and when I was born my parents called to tell her "it's a girl and her name is Abigail Mae", she was just beside herself.  I'm not saying I was her favorite, but when she passed away, I was the one she left her diamond earrings to.

Golly, how did I manage to get lost down memory lane?

All of that to say, I just adore this rose scented product.  The aroma is perfect, the packaging is beautiful and the product just feels luxurious.  Try it and see if it doesn't remind you of your favorite fancy elderly lady.  Tell me, do you have a beloved great aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother?  If so, what scents or products remind you of her?

Available at

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

thoughts | it's spring, emma

So I've grabbed a few minutes.  Office work is done for the day.  I had some student spreadsheet work for this summer's Lamplighter Guild that I've been procrastinating on for, oh, I don't know, a while...  The weather has changed and its lovely here.  High 60's otherwise known as "steamy hot" if you're from Wisconsin.  It rained last week and everything just burst into color, green grass, the ice finally melted off the lake and its a lovely blue color (sometimes greenish and sometimes grey, I love living near the water.)  I decided that spreadsheets just go better with fresh air and iced coffee, so I grabbed my things and walked the approximate one block to my Starbucks.

I was right.  That coffee made me breeze through the latest batch of updates.


They renovated our Starbucks last week.  We now have outdoor couches.  I'm currently enjoying them.  But not the music selection, per usual.  I'm not the person you want to have around when hip music is playing (music is so distracting for me, I'll pick up the words and make comments such as "did you just hear that? what is she trying to say?").  It's a problem.

Life just seems a little brighter in April.  It reminds me of that part in At Home in Mitford when Father Tim walks through the door and Emma peppers him with questions about why he looks different, he sighs and says "It's spring, Emma".  I feel that.  The relief to have made it through another winter and the joy of looking ahead to summer.  Even if it's still a few months away, there is a light at the tunnel kind of feeling.  I think everyone's just a little happier to be alive.

I've begun the search for the perfect white jeans.

Let's let that sink in for a few moments.  The white jean hunt is virtually the same as going out to look for a unicorn.  Possible, but highly unlikely.  If you know of any that are heavy denim, wide leg and come in a long length, be sure to send them my way!

On second thought, white jeans don't do so well when you spill coffee on them.  I spill a lot of coffee.  Most of my wardrobe is coffee colored.  It's practical to my life.

One more thing before I go, has anyone else been dealing with the nasty spring cold?  I've been down for 10 days, and just when I thought it was done, I woke up with a sore throat.  I've been trying to keep up my Crossfit workouts, but golly, you try doing burpees when your lungs don't want to cooperate.  Last night was a struggle.  The thought crossed my mind to just lay down on the rubber mat and take a nap.  You'll be happy to know I pushed through.  Inside I was crying.

My coffee is down to it's last sip, the playlist has switched again and I've got some cactus in the fridge that's calling my name (a post for another day).

Cheers!  And if it's sunny where you are, be sure to step outside for a minute or two!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

doings | martha stewart wedding party

I was flipping through Martha Stewart Weddings a few months ago, because, well because WEDDINGS, and saw an ad for the Martha Stewart Wedding Party.  It looked fabulous, so I checked it out and was overjoyed to see that it was a fancy bridal show put on by the brilliant folks over at Martha and it was coming to the Ritz Chicago!  

Walking in, we passed Lauren Conrad, which was funny and unexpected.  I knew that she was coming, but I wasn't expecting her to walk past looking EXACTLY like herself.  That girl is a master of the personal uniform, and it's always perfect on her!  (I did not have the chance to tell her my thoughts on her recent Cinderella collaboration.)

 I was so inspired by this booth with the all-green tissue flower backdrop.  In fact, I came away from the show just dying to make an over-the-top backdrop.  Is anyone of need???

What would a bridal show be without china and linens?  It was so proper and lovely, wedding china is my favorite.  We checked out some beautiful new designs and chatted with the lady from the department store.  Talk about a delightful job to have!

I had checked my instagram the night before and saw that Darcy Miller (editor of Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine) had posted a photo of Intelligentsia coffee.  It took this fan girl approximately 0.03 seconds to realize that she was in Chicago and most likely going to be at the show.  I may have had a moment.  Okay, I totally had a few moments, and then again when I saw her in person.  Right after I'd popped a chocolate cupcake in my mouth, there she was, looking like the darlin'est thing I've ever seen, mingling around in her platform heels.  It was too much pressure, I couldn't think of anything witty (I'm a huge fan!) and then she was gone.  I didn't get the chance to say hello, it was a bummer.

We left with the best swag bags I've ever seen!  Magazines, earrings, note cards, sugar cookies, tea towels.  Fabulous!  But not before a lesson in boutonniere pinning!  Apparently the secret it placing it at a "rakish" angle and then pinning behind the lapel.  Now we know.

The entire show was fabulous, we sampled food and tons of cake, a live band kept the place hopping and all of the vendors were so nice.  We kept getting asked, "who's the bride?!?" to which Brooke and I would both point to Emily and say "she is!".  Haha!  I'm sure she loved that.

I'm hoping they choose to host this wonderful show in Chicago again, as a sometime wedding planner and wedding cake enthusiast, you can't keep me away from these things!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

delightful | a dream is a wish | part 3

Earlier this week I received an email from a dear friend of mine.  He said that while he had enjoyed my recent blog post featuring interviews from my little sisters after watching Cinderella, he felt as though "men were under represented".  I had to agree with him.

I've spent several days tracking down some men with discerning taste in order to get a interviews that would allow this blog to have a fair and un-biased viewpoint.  I strive to to please, y'all.  Okay, not really.

Let's get this rolling, shall we?

Wildflower is a friend of ours, most know him as Jesse, but we call him "Wildflower".  He lives in CA, is a musician and filmmaker, and an all around fun guy to hang out with.

abbe:  Can you tell me your age and profession?
wildflower:  20. I am a professional unicorn wrangler and I make films on the side. Rather exciting job most days.
abbe:  How often do you read my blog or how in the world did you find it?
wildflower:  Rarely. I stumbled upon the last article and interviews via Twitter through Brooke. For unicorn wranglers, anything with the words 'dream' and 'wish' is exciting.
abbe:  You recently viewed Cinderella, care to share the details?  Who did you go with?

wildflower:  Yes, I did. I have to say, the trailer in no way interested me, however I am a big fan of Disney and also having grown up watching Cinderella I determined to set out and view the film. I was also very pleasantly surprised at how much I ended up enjoying it.  I went with my Dad (we sat in the back of the theater...)
abbe:  As a filmmaker, what was your impression of this movie?

wildflower:  I actually enjoyed it. Kenneth Branagh, is a director I've enjoyed over the past few years.  He brought a unique viewpoint and style to the film. Also, the costumes were fantastic.
abbe:  Did you have a favorite scene?

wildflower:  Definitely the first dance at the ball. Speaking cinematically the combination of the costumes, the choreography and the cinematography were fantastic. Really helped to weave the story together... and after all, to the Cinderella story, the ball is a bit of a pinnacle.  
abbe:  Was it just me or were the princes eyes really weird?  What causes that?

wildflower:  I think it was just you. However, as far as what causes that, unicorn wranglers are the right people to ask! I shall leave that cloaked in mystery for another time.
abbe:  My favorite question: what was your movie watching snack?

wildflower:  Popcorn and an unfortunately melting Coke slushee. 
abbe:  You are also a musician, be honest, have you been humming the theme song nonstop?

wildflower:  No, I haven't but I was very impressed by the score.
abbe:  Anything else you want to say?

wildflower:  Only that if you enjoy Disney as I do then you should really enjoy the film. Cate Blanchett was fantastic, the prince was charming without being schmaltzy, Lily James was a fantastic casting decision and unicorns do in fact exist.

Calvin is my baby brother, he's the cutest.  Poor little guy has seven older sisters, when it comes to chick flicks, musicals and Disney movies, he's seen them all.  I caught up with him over the breakfast table...

abbe:  Can I ask you a few questions?
cal:  Hi.  How are you?
abbe:  Good.  Can you tell me what your name, age and profession 
cal:  6. Calvin.  Cut trees down, tomorrow is a work day.
abbe:  Are you a regular reader of my bog?
cal:  What's a blog?
abbe:  Awesome. Did you go see Cinderella?
cal:  Yep...
abbe:  And what did you think?
cal:  I liked it.
abbe:  Did you have a favorite part?
cal:  The sword fight.
abbe:  Figures.  What did you think about Prince Charming?
cal:  I liked him, he had cool sword.
abbe:  Who did you see the movie with? 
cal:  I went with Brooke, but it wasn't a date, we had, um ah, candy and popcorn and for a drink I'm pretty sure we had root beer, it was actually pretty good. We had small gummy bears and large gummy bears.
abbe:  Would you say it was a sampler of treats?
cal:  Um, what does that mean?
abbe:  Nevermind.  Did you fall asleep?
cal:  No but my foot hunted, both of them.
abbe:  Why is that?
cal:  I don't know, it was just a long movie.
abbe:  Is it just me or were the prince's eyes really weird
cal:  Kinda...

I was most curious to hear what Josh thought of Cinderella.  He's a producer in the Christian film industry (October Baby, Mom's Night Out and the awesome new Woodlawn coming out this fall!)  and is a Disney buff.  Here is his insiders opinion...

abbe:  Can you tell me your age and profession?
josh:  I'm 24 and technically a movie producer, but really a cat wrangler.
abbe:  That sounds vaguely familiar...  How often do you read my blog/
josh:  I've become a regular.  I think you told me about it or maybe I found it because I was googling my name and the movie I worked on (Mom's Night Out) and it came up.
abbe:  That's terrible!
josh:  It is narcissistic, but everyone does it.
abbe:  This is true.  You went to the theater to watch Cinderella, share the details!
josh:  My brother and I were the only males in our circle of friends who were secure enough in our masculinity enough to join our female counterparts in celebrating this Disney classic.
abbe:  This is wonderful!  You work in films, what was your impression of this movie?
josh:  I love how they honored the integrity of the original film but brilliantly reimagined it for a new generation.
abbe:  Well said.  Did you have a favorite scene?
josh:  I love a good underdog story so my favorite scene was when Prince Charming finally finds Cinderella at the end of the movie.  It's touching.
abbe:  That was touching. Was it me or were the prince's eyes really weird?  What causes that?
josh:  By weird, do you mean offensively blue?  I think good genetics?
abbe:  Is that what it was?  Okay, what did you snack on?
josh:  I think a coke slushee and caramel corn.
abbe:  You're a fan of Disney movies, did you catch any of the Easter eggs?
josh:  The villainous grey cat Lucifer from the original movie.
abbe:  Any thing else?
josh:  Yeah, I think the expectations for guys just went up.  Thanks Disney (I can't even dance.)
abbe:  Well, how are your sword fighting skills?

Daniel is my brother, we spend a lot of time together.  You could say we're pretty tight.  

abbe:  Let's get started, can you tell me your age and profession?
dan:  Daniel R. Powers, 21, Sales Account Manager
abbe:  How often do you read my blog or how in the world did you find it?
dan:  Quarterly - Whenever I see a link in FB
abbe:  You recently viewed Cinderella, care to share the details?  Who did you go with?
dan:  um, with friends a bro friend and some girls invited themselves along, per usual.  
abbe:  I had a great time.  What was your impression of this movie?
dan:  I'd say it was second best Cinderella adaptation I've seen.  Ever After is better and has more humor, this movie had better teeth.  love the teeth of everyone.  Such good teeth
abbe:  Interesting, teeth...  Did you have a favorite scene?
dan:  The scenery was incredible, I want to live there.  The fathers deathbed, when the prince curled up into the fetal position, it was real and raw.  Also the back story of the stepmother, that made sense to me.
abbe:  Was it just me or were the princes eyes really weird? 
dan:  His teeth were weird.
abbe:  But his eyes?
dan:  Yeah, didn't notice.  How about Cinderella eyebrows?  The eyes weren't as bad as Stephens in The Bible miniseries.
abbe:  My favorite question: what was your movie watching snack?
dan:  Nothing.  I kept it clean.  I'm on a diet.  
abbe:  Anything else you want to say?
dan:  Um, if that was a real kingdom I’d like to move there, Lilly James was an excellent casting decision, the main castle guard was cliche, the lizard was unique 
abbe:  Thanks.

I think you could say that these were some pretty glowing reviews from our male friends.  Did I forget to ask them anything?