September 30, 2010

rocktober birthday girl.

how do you not love that face? c'est impossible. 
happy rocktober! this just so happens to be my favorite month. to top it off one of my favorite persons in the planet was born on the first day of this month. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my girl, georgiaruth. we have been friends for 19 years now {you do the math...}. while running the risk of sounding cliche, i can not imagine life without her. she is a true, forever friend. 

here are a few things one should know about this birthday girl:
  1. every year we she makes a new years resolution to learn more about her jewish heritage. 
  2. she is jewish. 
  3. her dream would be james taylor {yup, wild and passionate...} in london. perhaps with some kids and a station wagon {one down... a few more to go...}? 
  4. she once had a circus birthday party that was totally rad. so i hear... i wasn't invited.
  5. her kindergarten picture involves three inch thick glasses and a navy cardigan. you can not even handle the cuteness.
  6. she was voted "friendliest" in high school. 
  7. there was a year or two where long peasant skirts and thrifted tees were her wardrobe staple.
  8. she made a decision to get highlights once. as in, she was a blonde jew. 
  9. she still tells camp greystone stories. 
  10. i taught her to love sushi {veggie only, please...}
  11. freshman year every girl on our hall asked "so like... does ruthie... smoke pot... all the time?"... that was fun... 
  12. how could you not love those little eyes?
  13. she has a passion for coca-cola {kind of like james taylor...}.
  14. she pretends that she was mean in elementary school. but that's a lie. i was there. 
  15. she wore gap kids when i wore limited too. go figure.
  16. in college, she spent more consecutive hours in the food court than in class {and that is NOT a fat joke}.
  17. i have stolen clothes from her before. but i think it's borrowing because she is well aware.
  18. north carolina is in her future. 
  19. she knows more about art history than i do. 
  20. she knows every, single one of my secrets. 
  21. if ever we decide to not be afraid of marriage we will be in each others weddings. {no pressure, birthday girl}.
  22. if she's having a bad day give her m & m's. but, now i think red apples have won out. what is that all about?
  23. she keeps living spaces clean and her room messy.
  24. she is loyal. to the core. 
once upon a time we traveled the west coast. via trains and buses. nbd.
once upon a time we did the post-grad thing together. 
once upon a time we spent holidays together because we are from the same town.
once upon a time we went to college together. 
and once upon a time we celebrated her 24th birthday. 

where there is love {of a little jewish girl}, there is art.
i love you, young ruth.   

i think i'll go to... austin?

oh, wait, it's BOSTON! nevertheless, i am going to austin. in exactly one week i will be boarding a plane after work to spend the weekend in tejas. it's about time. right? i'm taking a weekender and myself. just a little solo adventure. any recommendations? 
where is there is love, there is art. 

September 29, 2010

baby's mama.

this is one of my very bestest favoritest people friendsies in the worldsies. oh, and that's her incredibly handsome baby boy ernie man. i happen to be his god-mother. i believe i've shown him off before. how perfect is this? really. this picture, along with a series of others, were taken by the talented laura rowe. please check her out! i will be posting more on her art soon.
where there is love, there is art {in the form of a smooshy-faced love monster baby man}. 

September 28, 2010

robots, mustaches, and the combination thereof.

rockstar heart of gold girl.
oh! so she's really beautiful, right? you don't even know. until you really know JESSE WALSH. this girl is a rockstar with a heart of gold. we met in college, but for the past year she has been traveling the globe literally living on love. i asked her a few questions because if you live on love for a year in a multitude of places you kind of become an expert on this whole art of loving thing {in my book... which counts for something?}:
q: where are you currently living? and why?
 I am currently living in Viile Tecii, Romania- a small Gypsy community nestled in a valley of the sprawling Romanian countryside. I reside in the humble home of a beautiful gypsy family where music is ALWAYS playing & the normal views from my bedroom window consist of cornfields & horse drawn buggys. I have found myself in this seemingly random corner of the globe by way of the World Race. The World Race is a Christian missions trip visiting 11 countries in 11 months- a different country each month. Our day to day is unpredictable & this year I have found myself serving in the most unconventional of ways. My team & I work with churches, schools, hospitals, orphanages, & non-profit organizations. We preach, clean, teach, distribute food, build, serve, administer health care, counsel, create business plans, pray, fight for justice & above all we love.
q: how did this come about for you?
Good question-I often find myself thinking: “How did I get here? How can I actually be living out this dream experience?” I suppose it all started shortly after I graduated college. I had always assumed I would follow the common road to either graduate school or a career in the corporate world to put into practice my newly acquired Business degree. But when it came down to it, when I was forced to make a decision- I felt uneasy about choosing either option. Something inside me was itching for more. I wanted to travel, I wanted to experience culture, I wanted to do my little part at battling the injustices of this world. Being an unabashed over-achiever, it was initially difficult to forgo job offers & the lure of an extra diploma to proudly frame on an office wall; but, I finally caved to the incessant voice compelling me to go. I somehow knew that if I refused, I would always regret it.
jesse in romania.
q: where all have you traveled thus far? is there a place that sticks out in your mind as your FAVORITE?
Thus far on the race, I have been to: New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ireland & Romania. Still to come are Czech Republic & Ukraine- maybe a couple more if I get lucky. It is almost impossible to choose a favorite because of the countries vast variety- they each have their own unique features. But for the sake of making this even remotely interesting to read, I will highlight a few high points.
1.New Zealand- Rest assured that all the hype is most definitely warranted. The people are friendly & irritatingly attractive (you know you were wondering). The landscapes, from the endless hills of rolling green to the rocky sapphire shores, are nothing short of heaven sent. Not to mention everyone has an awesome accent- I felt like I was in an endless “Flight of the Concords” episode. It was awesome.
nz. beautiful.
2. Cambodia- This place is crawling with history & culture. I became entranced by stories of the Khmer Rouge & the countries tragic genocide-truly heartbreaking. One of my favorite days on the race consisted of exploring every corner of the ancient temple ruins at Angkor Wat. I loved visiting Buddhist temples & the monks. I loved learning & gaining insight into a world so foreign to me.
doing the angelina jolie thing.
3. Africa (in general)- Safaris & a never ceasing supply of smiling children.  Need I say more?
thatagirl. both of 'em.
4. Ireland- Well, I’m Irish {that makes two of us} & Guinness is awesome.
q: what do you think is the greatest lesson you have learned in this journey thus far?
I am completely incapable of doing life on my own. I need God.
for real on the rockstar note. in romania.
q: what do you most/least look forward to about returning stateside?
Most: Mexican food (with a special emphasis on tortilla chips & queso), homemade chocolate chip cookies, high-speed internet, Chick-fil-a, driving a car (if I even remember how to at this point, ha), real toilets, college football, the beach, my closet, & opportunities. Oh & of course, I, each day, grow increasingly excited for those first sweet embraces with my friends & family.
Least: the mundane. the complacent.
only love remains.
q: what/who do you love?
 I love love. Not the romantic, Romeo & Juliet kind (although that isn’t so bad either); but true genuine love- 1 Corinthians kind of love. Sacrificial love, Selfless love- love that knows no bounds. I love the love of Jesus Christ. I love the love that saved me, the love that holds this crumbling world together, the love that goes beyond human understanding. I love the love that first loved me. This love is what compels me. This love is what commands my heart into action & brings me to life. I will never tire of sharing its revolutionizing power.
I also love mustaches, photography, robots,starbucks iced hazelnut lattes, queso, & Zac Efron. Yeah I said it. I do love Zac Efron & one day he will realize he loves me too. I’m an optimist.:)
jesse in her dream persona. 
where there is love, there is art. 

September 27, 2010

the hills are alive with the sound of... julie?

it has been brought to my attention that if i go a few days without updating that people grow increasingly concerned about my well being. no worries. i am doing just fine. my apologies to anyone that is kind enough to read this. however, i have been a bit busy. i am currently wearing quite a few hats- teacher, student, nanny, etc. in the mean time i attempt to give myself breaks. last week one of my breaks consisted of sitting on the floor of the local bookstore. look what i found:
how perfect is that? 
couldn't pass up this picture perfect image connection {where there is love...}. interestingly enough this reminds me of the other break i took this weekend. i traveled north on 65 to visit my girl friends from college in nashville. we were celebrating (with lacy and silky things, no less) the impending marriage of our dear jessi. so how in the world does lingerie and mimosas connect with mother teresa? well, with our friend julie {andrews} most commonly known for her role as a nanny and nun. without telling the l o n g story our group of friends has considered "julie" to be our eighth friend. she is the most scandalous of us all {i.e.- "julie, put your clothes back on..." said in the perfect "julie voice"}. this most likely makes no sense to you. regardless, just go with it... that is the connection. so here are a few photos from my nashville break:
i feel like a proud mother. 
everyone excluding julie. 
pretty emily. pretty amy. pretty mimosa. 
forever and always. 
the bride to be. excuse anything inappropriate. 

where there is love, there is art {or God... or julie...}.

September 23, 2010

once upon a time i wrote of my dearest marycatherine who had just moved to haiti. she now updates us on her life there via tumblr. please read her words for they are not the words of a fairy tale but of reality
the angel herself.
where there is love, 
there is art. 


morgan gillespie. she's a lady. a really creative and stylish one at that. she recently went on a grand adventure, launching her own little company- korora designs. after studying and working in the industry morgan has decided to give herself a little freedom. she is operating a full-service, style boutique offering both interior design and fashion styling services. also, her full accessory line was launched TODAY.
ms. morgan herself. 
q: what inspires you most?
a: Oh, this is a difficult question. I love vintage fashion, beautiful films, design blogs and I'm a total sucker for fashion magazines. All of these outlets trigger creative inspiration in one way or another, but it's easy to lose sight of the individualistic nature of art and become bogged down by what everyone else is doing. The moments I find most influential are when I'm completely engulfed in designing a new product or concepting for a shoot. Allowing myself to be totally absorbed in the creative process is when projects truly develop. I typically find initial inspiration in the materials themselves and then trap myself in the studio with my sewing machine and some good music. 

q: fill in the blank. i love to create _________________. 
a: beauty.
oh, wait, i know this model. it's my sweet katiegirl. 
q: what is your favorite aspect of your "job?"
a:  I truly love concepting for photo shoots. It allows me to step outside of the day-to-day and create my own little fantasy world.
image from korora photo shoot. 
q: what is your vision for what is to come {artistically/professionally speaking}?
a: I definitely want to continue styling. As for products, I would like to add a line of apparel to Korora. Maybe for 2011!

the birthday girl, morgan, of korora designs. 

where there is love {of beauty},
there is art. 
p.s.- it's morgan's birthday... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LADY MORGAN!

September 22, 2010

...and the neighbors.

i met her first. then i met him. in fact, i think i met her before there was a him involved? i met her through a him that i had. then i no longer had that him, but i still had him and her.
of course, i'm talking about two of the kindest souls i know. two people who have welcomed me as friend from the beginning. two people who i have a great amount of respect for. drew and ellie holcomb. 
q: how did you guys first meet?
a:we had a lot of mutual friends. we met at a house called memphis what. i first introduced myself to drew. i asked him what he had done that day, and he had been flying a plane. that was memorable to me. i met him again a month later, and this is how the conversation went... 

ellie: hey! aren't you a pilot?
drew: {feeling very cool and confident} well, yes, i am! who told you that?
ellie: you did! 
his friends gave him such a hard time for that... 
q: how did the music begin for you... or you both?
a:I've {Ellie} sort of grown up home, with the radio, at school, in the car, by myself in my room, in choir, for background vocals on kids records and for my dad. He's a producer, and I loved getting to work with him. We'd stay up to all hours of the night writing different harmonies and parts for the songs he was recording. I started writing in high school and found that it was like breathing for's how I've processed most of my life. 
Drew started playing guitar in high school , but started writing songs when we went to study abroad in Scotland his junior year of college. He graduated early & started working for a producer in Memphis, who encouraged him to record his first EP. That was about 7.5 years ago and it's been so cool to get to watch Drew evolve as a songwriter and a performer. He has an incredible tenacity that's enabled him to basically run what would be equivalent to a small record label, recording, promoting, and booking all his own shows. Drew started asking me to sing with him for shows that he'd do in college. I loved it. I'd come up for a few songs and then enjoy watching my friend perform. When we started moving towards dating, he started asking me to sing with him more often, do background vocals for his first full length album. We got married. I taught. He traveled for over half the year. By Thanksgiving we decided that I'd join him on the road full time. 
q:what project are you guys most proud of?
a:I know that if Drew could only write one song, he would pick "Live Forever." He wrote it when he found out that our precious nieces and nephew were going to move to South America as a "send you on your way song." They have no clue what it means right now, but we can't wait for the day when they get that we want the very best for them.  
In terms of a project that we're most proud of it has to be the one that we're working on right now. We had longer to write for this album and had to pick from 20 songs that we loved. We're in the studio right now and everything sounds incredible. Cannot wait to share this new music with folks. 

q: what is it about the music that you love?
a: We love that music brings people together, that it can name things we didn't know how to name before and allows us to feel things more deeply than we might without music. We love that music mines the truth and the hurt and the deep joy and the suffering and the doubting out of life and makes it accessible to a lot of people at once. Jeff Tweedy of Wilco once said, "People come to a rock concert to suffer together." It's that sense of rhythm and lyrics and melody tapping into what it means to be human and allowing people to experience that together. We've both had music move and change us in that way and hope to make music that does the same thing for other people.

q: what do you guys think is the key to loving?
a:Honesty. Forgiveness. Giving each other the benefit of the doubt.  Laughter. And tapping into a love that is deeper than either one of you could come up with on your own. 
tour dates include:
september 30th- montreat college
october 8th- san francisco, ca 
october 9th- los angeles, ca
october 10th- san diego, ca
october 11th- tucson, az
october 12th- santa fe, nm
october 13th- athens, ga
october 14th- greenville, sc
october 15th- auburn, al
october 17th- nashville, tn
october 19th- austin, tx
october 20th- houston, tx
october 21st- waco, tx
october 22nd- dallas, tx
october 24th- college station, tx
october 26th- norman, ok
october 27th- tulsa, ok
october 28th- fayetteville, ar
where there is love {that's magic), 
there is art. 

September 21, 2010

mr. vann

once upon a time i had heard of a boy named stewart. he had creativity seeping out of him. i saw it before i even spoke a word to him. in fact, i remember exactly where i was when i first met him. his words were so kind. everyone affirmed this belief of mine. then my dear jeanette told me, "Stewart Vann—the most creative singer/songwriter/musician/best friend I’ve ever known—unpretentious, unpredictable, prophetic, prolific. I’ve never met anyone like him. He literally feels his music." so, i thought... i should probably ask this brilliant and kind man a few questions:
photo by shannon hartmark
q: what inspires you most?
a: Inspiration is something I find without much seeking or scuffle. Any simple story of change; any transformative aesthetic experience. Strangely, it needn't be a change I experience personally. If I watch from afar as anything becomes the least bit better, I am inspired. Here's a quick list: 1.Ára Bátur, by Sigur Rós (specifically when the choir takes the melodic lead around 7:00 through the song).
2. Gunter Grass' The Tin Drum. 
3. John Muir (his writings as well as his biography told by Ken Burns. Burns tells the Muir story over a few episodes of his documentary on the US National Parks).
4. Thoreau.
5. Simplicity at all cost.
6. The films of Truffaut, especially Small Change. 
7. Walking my dog, Sam, against the first moments of the day. He has no idea it's early. That ignorance is informative; challenging. Illuminating!
8. I have better best friends than anyone in the universe. I can't see how.
9. The ocean's caverns; and the land's greatest peaks.
10. Joy: not in the abstract, but as a decision at all times. Outward joy is lovingkindness.

photo by amelia alpaugh.
q: fill in the blank: i like to design/create _______________.
a: experiences that change people; push on them like an army of righteous index fingers. i like to write love poems and sciency evidence of love- material quantifications thereof. i like paroxysms about music. 
triceratops. by caleb chancey. 
q: fill in the blank. i love ______________.
a: the space i'm given in my daily life to be authentically human. my best friends and closest companions are staggeringly patient and swell. 

q: what is your dream/goal for what is to come {professionally} with both your design work and with your music career? 
a: My anticipations... hopes: I like to 'say' things for big corporations; large brands. I believe that large brands like Coke, Nike, etc. have this kinetic efficacy, the potential to create great positive progress for everyone: their shareowners, employees, customers, and vendors. It is with this belief that I intend to bolster and brighten brands; designing systems, voices, and programs that make the world much better. As far as music goes, i'm just as happy playing in my lovely little apartment for myself as I am playing for others. It's not a path i'll pursue. That being said, life is nothing but wilderness, and we're nothing but wild animals. Who knows. I love to play and sing.

where there is love {"outward joy is lovingkindness"},
there is art. 

September 20, 2010

hair treasures.

there are people that you admire from afar. am i right? you know- like you are in 7th grade and the captain of the cheerleading squad who is a senior and is your best friend's older sister who dates the really good looking quarterback and will probably be homecoming queen... yah, her.  well, that is kind of the way i have always felt about tara. she is the older sister of a dear friend of mine. never really gotten to know her well, but always admired her. i also love her little creations that i see from time to time. gotta admire someone who is both talented and creative. got to. 
this is tara b. 
q: what inspires you most? i think that my "style" is a little bit country/a little bit rock 'n roll (or maybe a little bit thrift store, a little bit catalog?). i'm inspired by things that are old and beautiful that come complete with stories and histories. that's why i love to use vintage jewelry and fabrics so much. i'm also inspired by brand new things that are fun to discover: new fashion, music, design. i guess i just love a modern spin on an old classic.
tara singing while wearing one of her "hair treasures" designs. 
q: fill in the blank. i like to create __________.  things that make people feel good. oops. that's pretty broad. the way i see it, though, something as simple as a handmade hair accessory can make someone feel unique and pretty, especially if it is one-of-a-kind. a handmade card can make someone feel loved and special. handmade home decor turns a house into a home and adds a level of comfort and warmth. i like to create things that can spark a smile, a memory, or a little bit of love. 
a whole bride and bridal party sporting "hair treasures" by tara b. 
q: fill in the blank {once again, please}. i love _____________. calico. buttons. old brooches. that sort-of-orangey-yellow color. flea markets. scarves. shoes. records. cherry coke. naps. bike rides. plaid. yarn. wallpaper. mismatching. books. autumn. colored glass. dandelions. dresses. scrabble. breakfast. discoveries.

the bender children. all of whom i am obsessed with. tara in a "hair treasure"- duh.
q: random fact about you. i got my first sewing machine when i was in first grade. both my grandma (dad's mom) and aunt (mom's sister) helped teach me to sew. some of the first things i made were doll clothes, pillows, and scrunchies (long live the '90s). and in middle school when other kids were playing sports or selling girl scout cookies, i was taking sewing lessons. that's when i started making clothes. i'm so thankful for my lifelong sewing hobby -- it's what has led to all of my other crafting adventures.  
these wonderful pillows were another tara bender creative project.

you can find tara at both her blog or her  etsy store. she welcomes special requests and custom orders. she can be contacted via her blog or etsy. likewise, you can find her on facebook: tara bender. 
where there is love {and a hair treasure}, there is art. 

September 19, 2010

i love you, pumpkin.

growing up my sweet, saint-of-a mother might have called me "pumpkin." in fact, she might even still call me by that endearing name. but that is not what i am referring to here. i am talking about the LOVE of pumpkin- in pie, muffins, bread, cookies, a latte. it's the perfect fall flavor. is it not?
photo taken from
and so the story goes, in my obvious obsession with autumn i had decided while "studying" on friday that i would bake something delicious with pumpkin. if you know me at all you probably know that if this little, irish girl decides on something, writes it down {or types it in the word document} it's happening. a plan is a plan. thus, on friday i made some of the best chocolate chip pumpkin bread i have ever had. this is not my effort to brag on any skill i have, but merely to tell you this recipe is divine. thank you, pioneer woman, once again! now...  give it a try! 
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 whole eggs
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cup veggie oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
29 oz. canned pumpkin puree
semi-sweet chocolate chips (go ahead and use a whole bag...)

preparation instructions:
1. in a large bowl: combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. in a mixing bowl: combine the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin.
3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Transfer the mixture into 3 greased loaf pans or 1 bundt.
6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 55-65 minutes.

enjoy! and share with friends. if you need more recommendations on this recipe just ask mr. mayfield, ms. kelly, ms. bankston, ms. autry, or all of the above...

fall overjoyedness.

happy fall 
here are the reasons that fall makes me come alive:
1. rustic and sunny fall mornings
2. warm, spiced beverages (2-3 teaspoons pumpkin spice in your coffee grounds=perfection)
3. those mysterious-feeling fall afternoons that fill my stomach with (good) butterflies.
4. drives anywhere and everywhere. always to excellent music.
5. sweaters and jackets and tights
6. the boots that i am in search of but have not yet found.
7. all things lined with flannel plaid.
8. everyone's fall butterflies (see #3) coming together for a good time- especially around a fire.
9. the creative inflow that comes to me every october and drives me crazy/makes me me.
10. being alive for all of it.
thank heavens for fall and for ansleyhayden {oh, you stop it right now little angel girl EA}.

September 18, 2010

incase you haven't had enough.

i just love getting happy {fall} lists. keep 'em coming...
amy loves fall. 

1. Road trips- beautiful drive, beautiful weather, and...
2. New music.
3. Leggings
4. Late afternoon walks
5. Crunching leaves
6. Dark nail polish
7. Puppies 
8. Smores
9. Reminiscing about college (rush, bonfire parties, football games)
10. Caramel apple cider