A SUNNY AFTERNOON

You know how sometimes you find a shop, and as you begin to peruse the inventory you think, "Yes... one of everything please." Not that most of our budgets allow for that sort of extravagance, but you just feel so akin to the style, and you're so excited to find it that you just want to become besties with the shop owner. For me... that is shop is A Sunny Afternoon.

a sunny afternoon.

Sarah Sherman Samuel runs a blog called Smitten Studio, which has become one of my favorites over the past few months. If you want to know why, just check out the cabin she's been renovating. She has just the loveliest sense of design and style, all of which comes across in the shop, and its simple assortment of boards, towels and napkins. So if you're at my house sometime in the future, and find yourself wanting to ask where I got the super fun napkins... let me save you the trouble. I got them at A Sunny Afternoon. And it's all made here in the U.S. of A. Which means you pretty much have to shop there.

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KALE CHIPS... YOU HEARD ME

So you guys, I have to confess something. I am a super picky eater. SUPER picky. I don't want to be, I want to be able to sit down to a huge lettucey salad and think "Mmmm yes please", but I think iceberg lettuce is the most wretched thing there ever was. If you made me eat even one stalk of raw celery, I would sit there in a foot-stomping gagging fit wondering when the nightmare would be over. But ne'er you worry about my vitamin intake because I have a new BFF and their name is kale chips.

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When I first heard about kale chips, I was pretty skeptical. I'd had kale before and I didn't hate it but I definitely didn't love it. It was kind of bitter tasting and we just weren't a love match. But despite my pickiness, I'm a "try anything once" (within reason) kinda gal, so a few weeks ago, in the midst of a super delicious dinner at my favorite restaurant, I noticed some crispy kale on my plate and thought it was worth finally determining if these were as delicious as everyone claimed. To my delight, they were. They were amazing. I thought about them for days and finally decided to hunt down a recipe to make some of my own.

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There are a lot of recipes out there, and you could really do whatever you want with them, but trust me when I say that they don't need much fancy-ness. This is the basic recipe that I used and it's awesome.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale (any kind) 1 tablespoon olive oil salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Thoroughly wash kale and let it dry completely or you can gently pat it dry with a paper towel.

Once dried, cut the kale, removing the stalks and any big ribs. Make the pieces whatever size you want, but remember that they'll bake down smaller in the oven.

Toss the pieces gently with the olive oil, making sure they're thoroughly coated. Curly leaf kale takes a little more work to get coated, but it's my favorite.

Once coated, lay the pieces down on a couple of baking sheets, lined with parchment paper. They don't have to be super spread out, but don't stack them on top of each other.

Salt and pepper to taste. Don't go crazy, a little salt goes a long way.

Bake at 300 for 20 minutes. If your oven is super lame like mine, turn the baking sheets with about 5 minutes left to make sure they cook evenly. If your oven isn't lame, don't take it for granted.

They're ready to eat straight out of the oven!

Apparently, they don't keep well and get soggy after a while, but I've read that you can put them in a container or baggy with rice at the bottom to keep them crisp. I wouldn't know though, we never have any left after we're done elbowing each other out of the way to get to them.

They're good for your heart, good for your eyes, boost your immune system and they're crazy delicious. Hope you guys enjoy!

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LOOKING FORWARD...

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Even though the break from this blog have been lengthy, I've been thinking about it often. I mentioned in my last post that I was doing a lot of thinking and brainstorming on what I want to do with it and what I want it to be. Blogging is a funny little world. Over the past year or so, it's become one of my favorite things and I love it, but it can also be my worst enemy. I love reading others' blogs and have even developed sweet friendships with some fellow bloggers, but I kind of reached a point where I had to stop reading blogs for a while. I know that's weird, but it became really tricky for me to not compare my little blog to what others were doing, and by extension, compare what my life looked like to what theirs looked like. And that's just silly. Blogging offers such a small and controlled look into others' lives and it's all too easy to forget that the messier parts of life aren't often shown there.

It has caused me to think a lot about this blog and it's a big part of why I want this blog to include a lot more about our life. The awesome parts, the messy parts, the funny and silly parts, that parts I love and the parts I don't. We're working on a house and I love love love working on it and want to share that with you. I'm not an amazing cook, but I love trying new things, and frankly, sometimes I just nail it with dinner... and when I do, I'll try to share recipes that are worth sharing. I'm constantly learning and growing in my faith, and I want to share what I'm learning. I love design and I still want to share things that I love and that inspire me.

But know this... my house looks a frightful sight more often than it looks tidy and perfectly styled. We rarely take fabulous vacations to exotic places. On any given day of the week, my outfit errs on the side of comfy instead of fashionable. Curling and straightening irons are wonderful things, but without them, my hair is a wavy, frizzed out humidity victim. I live a stupidly blessed life, but it's also messy and as imperfect as anything ever was.

And so since a new year is upon us, and since this is the time when we typically look to start anew, let me take this opportunity to tell you how excited I am to start trying new things with this blog and I really hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Cheers ya'll.

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A LITTLE UPDATE FROM ME

So this little blogging break I've been on was unintentional at first. I just could not seem to find time to get inspired, let alone to put posts together. Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to take a short break and regroup, think about what I love about blogging (there are lots of these), think about what I don't love about blogging (there are a handful of these too), and mainly, think about what I want this blog to become and the direction I want to take it in. Unfortunately, I don't know if I've quite landed on an answer yet, but my gut tells me that it's equal parts what I've been doing with this blog, which I've loved, and some new things as well. Whatever it winds up being, I'm really excited to do it! I've really missed my little corner of the internet these last few months.

But believe me, I haven't exactly been just laying around painting my nails and braiding my hair. I've done both of those things, but I've also been wrapped up in some other fun and exciting things, so I think a quick photo update is in order!

 

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1. First things first. In my family, Summer isn't Summer unless you find at least one weekend to get to the beach. Having spent the previous few Summers in Colorado meant that we missed out on this annual pilgrimage, so getting back to the salty sea and 187% humidity made everything seem right with the world again.

2. We also grew our little family with the addition of this pup. Her name is Bailey and she's cuter than your pup. There, I said it.

3. We love our nieces and nephews and while my sister and her hubby were away on a trip this Summer, we got to go into super aunt and uncle mode and take care of them for several days. The hubs and I can get 3 kids in and out of carseats like a BOSS.

4. At long last... we bought a house!!! It is what you would call a "project" or a "new hobby that takes up all of our time and money", but we love it and are so grateful for it.

5. But literally, since then, all we have done is work on the house. And there's so much more work to be done. I think a new part of this blog will probably be a lot of before and after pictures and a bunch of DIY's.

6. This is what we look like these days.

Hope to be back to regular blogging really soon!

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MY FAVORITE THINGS | SUMMER EDITION

You know the drill, things have been really busy and I haven't had much time for blogging. But we've been working on some things that I'm pretty excited about, so more on that soon. But for now, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things for summer, even as it starts to wind down. I recently stumbled across a site called Keep, which is basically Pinterest for things you can buy. I haven't spent much time on it yet, but it looks promising and these are a few of my favorite finds so far.

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You know I love my neutrals, and I love the earthy tones and light summer fabrics here. I definitely think Keep is worth checking out!

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