What I’m Lovin’ this summer!

Since I missed last month, I’m combining July and August for a big list of things I’ve been lovin’ this summer! If you’re wondering why it’s been so quiet around the blog lately, it’s because it’s crazy season at work {start of the school year is bonkers around the district office too!} which means I have zero energy to write at the end of the day and we just bought a new house {more on that soon!}.

So let’s kick off this summer lovin’ post!

july

1. Pattern Testing

shorts

sneak peek of pattern testing the Magnolia Shorts

love testing patterns! Perhaps it’s the evaluator in me, but I love the process of providing feedback to help someone improve a process (the evaluator in me loves when others return this favor #Nerd).

In July I got to test Sew Caroline’s San Francisco Swing Top+Dress pattern! From the moment I saw the call for testers, I knew I wanted in on this one. What I knew I’d love about this pattern was the flowy top. I volunteered to test the size small top with the full back (there’s a fun split back option too). The top turned out a little snug in the chest so it became a birthday present for my sister who loves it!

Because I had this vintage waxed knit {snagged from my local thrift queens, the Thrifted Sisters} lying around screaming to be a swing dress, I gave the dress a try (sizing up to a Medium this time). The dress isn’t really my style and may find a new home at some point, but wouldn’t you agree that this retro fabric is so perfect for a swing dress?!

swing dress

2. The Return of the Skort

Alright ladies…I know you’ve all missed the practicality of the skort as much as I have. It was all “hey, I’m fancy” in the front and “I’m actually quite practical” in the back.

I have great news to share: Sew Caroline has answered our unspoken prayers and upgraded this classic so there’s no awkward front flap.

Her latest pattern is the Magnolia Shorts. They’re so fabulous. You have all the benefits of wearing shorts while looking like you’re wearing a skirt. Plus, if you live somewhere windy (I’m so jealous of you), you can live without the fear of having your bottom fly over your head while flashing everyone in sight.

Caroline is thoughtful like that.

Jordan Slice-Metcalfe - Magnolia Shorts 1

Shorts? Skirt? It’s our little secret😉

This was, again, a call for testers I was all-too-eager to join in on. Stay tuned – I’ll share all the details of my Magnolia Shorts soon!

 

3. Heart blocks and sewing to spread love

When news of the Pulse Nightclub shooting spread, the quilting community jumped in to help Orlando in the best way they could: by making quilts for the victims and families of the shooting. Our guild immediately recruited members to make heart blocks {see mine here!}.

group

The ladies of Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild

We all made blocks and ended up with enough for two quilts! You can see the final quilts here and here and browse all of the beautiful #QuiltsForPulse on Instagram here.

Unfortunately, as the #QuiltsForPulse were underway for the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, tragedy struck again. This time in Dallas. Again, our guild collected blocks and shipped them to the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild for the #QuiltsForPeace {browse all the beautiful quilts on Instagram here}

hear blocks

My blocks for the #QuiltsForPeace

It’s times like these that are heart-warming reminder of how amazing the sewing community is.❤

4. Humanity is still so wonderful

Just when I needed a reminder that despite all of the recent tragedy, humanity is still so wonderful, I stumbled upon Calvin.

humanity

It was a hottttt morning in #FamouslyHot Columbia, but that didn’t stop Calvin. In the heat of the day, armed with his cooler and the best message I’d heard all week, Calvin stood confidently in front of our state house on one of the busiest streets in town.

Thank you, Calvin, for bravely sharing this beautiful message at a time when we needed it most.

5. Peaches are in season

Who doesn’t love a juicy, sweet peach in the summer?!

One of the Hubs’ truck drivers has been bringing him farm fresh peaches which make me oh-so-happy! The first batch I ate just as they were and cut a few to freeze. The second batch I was feeling a little more adventurous with. I wanted to make a traditional peach cobbler until I saw all the effort that was needed {y’all know cooking isn’t my hobby of choice}.

I found this recipe for Tennessee Peach Pudding that sounded delightful and relatively easy to make (it was). I had plans to take some to share with my family, but before I could muster the kindness to pack them up a few slices, the Hubs and I had eaten the entire batch. #FatKidsFoLife

peach pudding

My peach pudding fresh from the oven

It was delicious and should I get my hands on fresh peaches again soon, I’ll try much harder to share.😉

What I’m looking forward to in September…

sew along

My friend Amber is hosting a Sew-a-long for the Sew Together bag. I have been long admiring this bag {4 pockets + 3 zip pockets – can you imagine all the trinkets this could hold?!} but have been too afraid to try it out.

Amber is the president of our quilt guild and I love soaking up her advice at our sew-ins. She is an absolute genius when it comes to all-things-bag-making (she’s undoubtedly an interfacing expert). I know this sew-a-long will be awesome!

The sew-a-long starts on September 1st, but you can find all the details and prep information on her blog now.

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

What I’m Lovin’ in June

It’s true. I completely missed the last Friday in June (why does June feel like the shortest month of the year?!). So, you are receiving what I’m lovin’ in June on the last day of June instead!

Read on to see the short list of what I’ve been lovin’ this month!june

1. Supporting Handmade Shops

When you make a purchase from a local artisan, you are doing more than purchasing the item. You are inspiring them to follow their passion. I always air on the side of buying whatever I’m lusting after when I’m at craft fairs because I know what it feels like to have someone walk past your booth, mumble “I could make this” to a friend or mindlessly pass by your booth like your creations aren’t worthy of their time to browse. I also know what it’s like when a customer is as excited about your creations as you are and makes the purchase that keeps your dreams afloat.

If you’re looking for an excuse to treat yourself, browse the artisans I discovered at Made South and send them a little inspiration with your spare dollars😉

Made South

2. This hilarious blog post…

70s moms

{Click the image to read the post}

…oh if only to live in the 70’s!

3. The Kindred Company’s Lavender Face Wash

kindred company

I discovered these folks at Made South and I’m totally hooked on the face wash! This is the best face wash I have ever used. It’s light and fluffy with the perfect balance of creamy that leaves your skin feeling perfectly refreshed – clean but not dried out.

4. Our annual Etsy Craft Party

craft party 1

My sister (left) and best friend, Caroline (right) crafting away at the party

Every year the team I co-founded, Cola Indie Makers, hosts an Etsy Craft Party. It’s such a fun event! {Wondering what it’s like? Check out this recap of last year’s event}

This year we had two upcycle-themed crafts. The first was a bucket made from paper grocery bags and duct tape. {tutorial info}

craft party 3

My sister picked a pretty stellar combination!

craft party 2

One of my finished bins {yes, holding sewing patterns of course!}

The second craft of the night was an upcycled gift bag made from a map. {tutorial info}

I am so grateful to my friend MaryAnn of Life is a Maker Faire who helped me plan this year’s event!

craft party

MaryAnn and I at the Craft Party!

The event is a lot of fun and something I take a lot of pride in planning. We incorporate a night of crafting with the community (the event is open to all!) and showcasing local handmade vendors which is another of my passions as you know😉

You can browse all of the event photos here and be sure to follow Cola Indie Makers on Facebook and Instagram to hear about our upcoming events!

5. Quilting

quilt block

A few weeks ago I got the itch to start a quilt. There’s so much I want to learn so I dusted off a “how to build a sample block quilt” book I picked up at a quilt shop my mother-in-law recommended when I was visiting in Atlanta a while ago.

Being that my fabric stash has once again grown beyond my drawers, shelves and bins, I’m making this quilt using material I already have (aka: “scraps”).

I also registered for Quilt Con! February will be my first Quilt Con and I am so excited to see what it’s all about and soak up some quilt’spiration!

6. Farm Fresh Produce

I have the brownest of brown thumbs. I can’t even keep my succulents alive. Thus, I am so grateful to green-thumbers who share their wealth with me!

green beans

gorgeously colorful “green” beans from a recent Limited Edition Farms basket

Last year a friend-of-a-friend started offering her farm’s produce as a Crop Share program. I jumped on it! First, I love supporting local people doing what they love {see #1…} – and – second, everything I attempt to grow dies + I love fresh produce so this was perfect for me.

I meet the farmer once a week and pick up my basket. It’s so fun because I never know exactly what will be in there which forces me to be more creative with menu planning than I would’ve been.

This is my second year as a Limited Edition Farms crop share member and I can’t speak their praises loud enough. They are an all organic farm with very reasonable prices and wonderful selection. If you’re local to the Midlands SC area, check out the services they offer here.

7. Sun tea

Speaking of fresh produce, I got my hands on some super sweet peaches recently and decided to make a jar of sun tea. I had forgotten how delicious sun tea is!

sun tea

To make my tea, I threw a small handful of fresh blueberries (likely about 1/4 cup) in a glass jar with 2 peaches cut in large slices with 3 cups of warm water and 3 black tea bags. I set it in the sun for around 6 hours.

After the six hours, I poured it over a sieve and discarded all solids. The sliced peaches added enough sweetness for my taste so I did not add any sugar, but I won’t judge you if you do😉

8. My new leather hole punch

Just before the Etsy Craft Party, I received the leather hole punch I’d ordered. I couldn’t wait to use it! I tested it on a few pieces of scrap leather I had gotten from my friend Amber.

Less than an hour before the party I whipped up this chevron necklace with a printed floral leather to raffle off at the party.

necklace

I plan to make several more since they were so easy to make! Stay tuned – I might even post a tutorial😉

9. These fabulous tips for being productive via Afford Anything

simple-habits-that-create-success

{Click the image to read the post from Afford Anything}

10. My new name!

After four years of marriage, I finally changed my last name.

name change

Surprised the Hubs at work with the news

I thought I’d be a Lucy Stoner forever, but I got the urge recently and ran with it. Being that I am called by my middle name this proved to be a little more difficult than I had envisioned so I settled for hyphenating my name which means I now have an incredibly long name, but at least it isn’t too far from what it’s always been😉

I hope you’re all staying cool and enjoying the summer sunshine! – Jordan

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

Made South

Disclaimer: I’m probably the.worst. at remembering to take photos/not being scared to death to photograph someone else’s creations. Many photos throughout this post have been borrowed from the maker’s website, shop or social media account. All photos that are not my own are linked to their original source. Please click around to see what the artisan has in store!

Made South

Late last month, my sister and I volunteered at Made South in Taylors, SC.

made south 1

No lie: We were kind of in it for the t-shirt!

It was so fun! The event was held at Taylors Mill with 100 (!) artisans!

made south 2

Of course I wanted to share the highlights including some new makers I discovered that I think you’ll love too.

1. True Cotton | websiteshop | Facebook

As event volunteers we got a kind of “sneak peek” at the vendor booths before the event started Saturday morning. We passed True Cotton on the way to our station and fell in love with pretty much the entire booth. She had some really lovely tea towels, watercolor prints, stationary and notepads. I picked up a gorgeous set of notecards that are perfect for any occasion:

hello card

{Image borrowed from True Cotton’s Facebook page – click the photo for source}

Arin has closed her shop for the summer to spend time with her little ones but you can still “favorite” her shop on Etsy and follow her on Instagram for creative eye candy.

2. Maycomb Mercantile | shop | Facebook

My sister and I were “stationed” right next to this booth and could not stop lusting over the leather goods. I couldn’t resist these beautiful stamped luggage tags:

maycomb tags

3. Doux South | shop | Facebook

I walked up to this booth while eating a pimento cheese sandwich I’d packed for lunch. He insisted that I let him put a piece of the Mean Green Tomatoes on my sandwich – as he said “it’ll cut the heaviness of the cheese for the perfect balance.” SOLD. He was so right.

In fact, I’ve already eaten the whole jar.

I also bought 2 jars of the Angry Cukes because they were so tasty! They sound spicy, but don’t be fooled: they’re pickled perfection. We cracked them open for Father’s Day and they were a huge hit!

doux south

The pickled goodness is hand packed in Decatur, Georgia which isn’t far so I’m hoping I’ll see them at more local events! If not, no worries: they ship or you can search the list of retailers on their site (The Gourmet Shop is on the list along with a few other places in Columbia).

4. Posey Beans | shop | Facebook

My sister picked up the sign shown here to hang in her house. The wood is over 80 years old – scraps from an old barn.

posey beans sign

5. The Kindred Companyshop | Facebook

I picked up a jar of the Lavender Face Wash as a treat for myself and the Beauty & Beard Face Wash for the Hubs (the difference is the scent: peppermint & wild orange for Beauty & Beard). I also snagged some of the deodorant to try (it smelled so good! And: no aluminum!).

kindred company

One of the coolest items was the eye shadow his wife makes with kale flakes! The colors were shimmery perfection (not your average handmade make-up!). If I would a) remember to put on eye shadow, b) remember not to rub my eyes, and c) care enough to wear anything other than powder and blush, I would’ve totally snagged a jar.

6. Red Clay’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Hot Sauce | shop | Facebook

I can’t give you a personal testament to how tasty the sauce is because I refused to try it (#wimp), but I trusted Geoff’s recommendation of the Original as an “everyday hot sauce” (vs. the Carolina Hot which was most popular for the day but packed a little more heat).

hot sauce

7. French Broad Chocolates | shop | Facebook

Jeremy’s friend Ben introduced us to French Broad during a visit to Asheville one summer. Their truffles are out of this world. I snagged some chocolate drops that I promptly made some vegan gluten free cookies with {recipe from the last issue of Vegetarian Times – but here‘s an easy favorite!}

chocolate

8. Quite Swanky | shop | Instagram

We could see Hannah’s booth from our “station” and we watched her paint several new signs throughout the day. She is mega-talented and we loved her handpainted goods!

quite swanky booth

Photo credit: Taylors Town Square on Facebook – linked.

The lazy susans she makes are pretty amazing.

9. Roar Haus | shop | Facebook

know you’ve heard me talk about Amber and her many talents before! She’s become a dear friend of mine and she’s a bag-making-genius. The prints she picks are so fun, she uses super high quality hardware and she takes the time to be thoughtful in the design (pockets here, hooks there, adjustable strap – she’s thought of it all!).

roar haus

Roar Haus booth at Made South {Photo credit: @roarhaus on Instagram}

10. January Jewelry | shop | Facebook

Melissa is super talented – I love following her creative process on Instagram. She’s local to Columbia so I see her around quite often which I don’t hate one bit.😉

january jewelry

January Jewelry’s booth at Made South {Photo credit: @januaryjewelry on Instagram}

11. Jocie Pots | shop | Facebook

We discovered Jocie Pots at a craft fair we stumbled upon on the way home from Greenville once. I purchased two beautiful ornaments from her for Christmas gifts.

jocie pots

{Image borrowed from Jocie Pots’ shop on Etsy – click the photo for source}

12. King of Pops

King of Pops are harder to find around Columbia {though I did spot them at Soda City last weekend & did a happy dance!}. Our local Whole Foods sells a few flavors, but you can’t beat the flavors you can find from the carts at local markets (like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough which they had at Made South! If the drive were shorter I would’ve tried to smuggle a few home in my lunch box).

13. R&B Printery | shop | Facebook

We stumble upon this couple at almost every craft show we go to. They have the most beautiful letterpress cards! Last year I bought a pack of their Christmas Carol cards to send to friends and family.

r&b printery

R&B Printery’s booth at Made South {Photo credit: @rbprintery on Instagram}

14. Whispering Willow | shop | Facebook

The soap, the lip balm – all of it! – it’s the best quality.

whispering willow

{Image borrowed from Whispering Willow’s Facebook page – click the photo for source}

My sister and I had a great time at Made South! There’s not much we love more than craft fairs and discovering new handmade shops.

What I’m Lovin’ in May

Read on to see the short list of what I’ve been lovin’ this month!

may

1. My Parkside Shorts

JordanSlice-Shorts

What’s not to love about a pair of wide-band-elastic shorts…with pockets?! This pattern is so great I already have fabric picked out for my next pair!

{You can read all about my Parkside Shorts here and browse photos from some of the other testers in this post.}

2. And my Parkside Skirt!

parkside skirt 2

I finally finished the skirt version of the Parkside pattern. It’s lovely. The skirt is so super comfortable. I did make a mistake and accidentally cut double BACK pieces and forgot the front piece. Because of that I had to improvise a little and add a band around the bottom to lengthen it (my mistake cost me 1.5 inches off the bottom).

I recently acquired a huge stash of fabric from someone’s attic. The striped fabric is kind of a thick shirting cotton material. It worked out perfect for the skirt – if it were any lighter I would have tried Caroline’s tutorial for adding a lining.

parkside skirt

I love the Parkside pattern because it’s a two-for-one that is perfect: make the shorts for casual weekend attire and sew the skirt up to add to your work week wardrobe. Can’t beat it.

Oh – and: Caroline is hosting a sew-a-long for the pattern this week! I’m excited to try her tutorial to add a double welt pocket to my next pair of shorts.

3. Reading

As proven in this post, I’ve been on a reading kick lately! One of my top picks for all my fellow makers:

big magic

just finished Sea Creatures and it was SO intense! Intense in an emotional way not in a thriller way (those aren’t my kind of reads).

sea creatures

Now I’m reading The Boston Girl.

What are some of your favorite books to read during summer? I’m in need of recommendations!

4. This Key Fob Tutorial from Inside The Hem

Everyone I know is getting these for Christmas. Hope you like ’em!

5. DIY Dopp Kit

This month marks our 4th anniversary! {You can our story in this post}

To celebrate, I made the Hubs a new dopp kit.

dopp kit 1

The Hubs’ new dopp kit

He travels a lot and the one I made him last year gets a lot of use. However, the method used involved leaving exposed raw edges on the inside which always drives me crazy (I’m a perfectionist – I can’t help it!). Because of that I’ve been wanting to make him a new one.

I’ve had this tutorial from Purl Soho pinned for a while – the raw interior edges are covered with bias binding which made me feel much better😉

I steered from the tutorial only to add interior fabric (oh – and my zipper was non-separating). My canvas fabric was not waxed and so didn’t have a lot of shape. I thought the lining may help, but it didn’t add as much sturdiness as I had wanted – next time I’ll try adding some sturdy interfacing.

dopp kit 2

Dopp kit interior

6. This incredibly quick pillowcase pattern

On our way home from our Boston road trip we stopped at Finch Knitting + Sewing Studio in Virginia where I snagged some really great remnants. I picked up some Cotton + Steel Sprinkle fabric in green and a fun blowfish organic cotton (sooo soft) with the idea of making the Hubs a new pillowcase in mind.

pillowcase

It took me about a month to finally get around to it, but he loves it!

I made the pillowcase one day after work – it took probably less than an hour (I didn’t check the clock). The tutorial is so easy to follow and the method used is so quick.

I may have to add these to my handmade Christmas gift list😉

7. It’s almost #EtsyCraftParty Time!

craft party ig

Last year’s event was so much fun so we’re back for our 3rd year hosting the party in Columbia! If you’re local, you can get all the details on the event page on Facebook – I’d love to see you there! Even if you can’t make it, you can follow along with all the fun on Instagram and Facebook.

Sew Caroline’s Newest Pattern: Parkside Shorts + Skirt

While in Charleston a few weeks ago, we stopped by the outlets and I popped into Loft. It’s been quite a while since I’ve gone shopping for clothes. There’s a reason for that…

As my husband noted on this very trip: “It’s easy going shopping with you now that you sew because you never buy anything.”

Nailed it.

Sewing has changed how I shop (aka: I don’t). If I find myself in a store, I’m mostly just gazing – trying to figure out what’s trendy (although we all know trendy isn’t something I’m any good at – as I confessed in my Instagram reveal of the very shorts I’m telling you about today!).

Rather than hours spent in a dressing room sifting through clothes that don’t fit right and passing a lot of judgement on my own body for not fitting into ready-to-wear clothing as perfectly as the mannequin, I browse. And browsing for inspiration takes far less time than trying on clothes. And involves far less self-shaming.

So back to Loft: It is my favorite store to shop for ready-to-wear clothing {hats off to Loft for having a legitimate Petite section!} The day we were at the outlets was one of the first warm days this season and I was realizing I don’t have many shorts (and among those I do have, I don’t feel comfortable in any that I could think of). As I walked into Loft I saw a lovely display of the cutest little drawstring shorts.

Yes! I love comfy clothing and these were the perfect balance of you-don’t-look-like-you’re-wearing-pajamas-but-feel-like-you-are. I was all set to try them on until I looked at the price tag. Spending $50 on drawstring shorts was not something I was prepared to bring myself to do that day.

Maybe some other time.

So, I headed back home with zero bags from the outlets (seriously: I bought nothing at the outlets. I think that’s a new world record and you should all take me out for coffee to celebrate).

A few days later a call for testers popped up on Facebook from one of my favorite designers {remember my love of the Out And About Dress 1 + 2, & 3?! And I’m working on #4}. And guess what! The call was for elastic waist shorts – sign.me.up!

ParksideShortsandSkirtCoverSquare

{Image via Sew Caroline}

I was so excited to be able to test Sew Caroline‘s newest pattern: The Parkside Shorts + Skirt. The great thing about the pattern is it’s a two-for-one: You get both a skirt and shorts pattern. #winning

knew this was going to be my new favorite pattern and it totally is.

parkside shorts 1

My stepbrother’s wife’s mom had a collection of fabric in her attic from a relative who had passed away. She covered my parent’s garage with bags of fabric for me to plunder through. It was like winning the vintage fabric lottery! I immediately filled 2 giant plastic bins with my choices and headed to the laundromat. I am thrilled to say all of the fabric survived the wash. I plundered my pile a second time and took some of it to my last quilt guild meeting to share with the ladies.

Luckily for me, no one snagged the lightweight denim. It’s not typically a fabric I have on hand or would purchase so I was very excited I had it for testing these shorts. It has great drape and isn’t too heavy so it’s perfect for summer.

parkside shorts 2

I used some vintage floral scraps (also from the attic stash) for accent pockets. The fabric was really thin so I cut double what I needed for the pocket pieces. To make my double-lined pockets, I lined the mirrored pieces up right-sides-facing and stitched along the bottom curved edge. I used my pinking shears to cut around the curves then flipped the pockets right-sides-out and pressed. The perk: my pockets are equally as pretty when the pants are inside-out🙂

parkside shorts 7

I’ve never sewn pants of any kind so these shorts were a little scary at first. However, the way you set one leg inside the other when connecting reminded me of constructing a bag (when you set the exterior inside the lining to connect before flipping). These were a great confidence builder!

parkside shorts 4

I’m pretty sure I’m going to be wearing these non-stop all summer!

The two-inch elastic waistband provides optimum comfort with the ability to pull your shorts up high [like this shameless old lady] or low around your hips. Either way, it’s a winner.

parkside shorts 3

parkside shorts 6

I wore these to brunch for Mother’s Day. The Hubs and I even went for a walk around town while waiting (note to all: if taking your Mom to Cafe Strudel for Mother’s Day, arrive an hour and a half early to get your name on the list…). I’m happy to say: they performed well!

parkside shorts 8

I was pretty excited that my sister showed up wearing the Date Night Dress I’d made her for her birthday last year! It looks amazing on her – especially with that snazzy belt I hand-me-down’d her from Butterfly Vintage.

parkside shorts 9

photoshoot blooper #1

We’re hoping to work on sewing a Date Night Dress together soon – the pattern is great for beginners and the flutter sleeves are amazing for our incredibly humid summers.

date night dress

Pretty sure my sister could wear a trash bag and still look AMAZING! She’s so chic

We had a lovely Mother’s Day brunch! Proof:

parkside shorts 11

I might make sharing photoshoot bloopers my new thing…

parkside shorts 10

Typical: everyone looks great and then I sneeze.

Moral of this story: hop on over to Sew Caroline’s site and purchase yourself a copy of the Parkside Shorts + Skirt pattern and get sewing! These are perfect for summer. You can even add a drawstring (like on this skirt that Caroline made) for a more professional look. Once I figure out how to sew a buttonhole (yep, still on my “learn how to do” list..), I’m totally adding a drawstring!

parkside shorts 5

Good Reads for Spring

I have been on a serious reading kick this past month. In fact, I’m pretty impressed with the number of books I’ve actually finished {I have a bad habit of starting a book and not finishing it…}

While visiting Marblehead during our road trip adventures during spring break, I stumbled upon the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore and Card Shop while wandering around town.

What a treat! This indie bookstore is what book nerds dream about. I wished so badly that my sister were there with me – she loves to read and no doubt would have spent hours with me browsing the selections.

My favorite part of the shop (there were many!) were the rows-and-rows of books with handwritten descriptions sticking out of the top at the front of the store.

bookstore 1

It was like listening to a friend describe a book she’d just read that she just knew you’d enjoy!

bookstore 2

I loved reading the staff’s response to the books.

In addition to the whimsical handwritten reviews from staff, the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore also had a “Blind Date with a Book” section which totally hooked me.

book blind date

Between the surprise of not knowing what may be wrapped inside to the fact that the payment for the book would be gifted to a charity to purchase new book had me so smitten!

book blind date 2

I browsed the table full of wrapped books trusting only the handwritten description and settled on two: a Southern American/Mystery/Romance fiction novel for my sister and this one for myself:

bookstore 4

I’ve been completely engrossed with the current political scene. I’m certainly more interested in the stories of the democratic candidates so I reasoned that I’d be happy with a biography of either of the two.

As soon as I got back to my sister-in-law’s apartment after leaving the bookstore, I unwrapped mine and was quite delighted. hillary

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can by Cynthia Levinson

Inside the brown paper was a preview copy of Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can.

I started reading the book while we were still in Marblehead and finished it as we drove home. In just 3 days I’d read it cover-to-cover.

Watching Hillary (we’re on a first-name-basis) run as the first likely female presidential nominee has been fascinating. As a woman in any field or on any platform there’s a tricky dance to balance power and being “like-able.” The struggle in politics really magnifies that pressure. It’s hard not to admire her.

If you like an inspiring story about an empowered female, this book’s for you.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I’ve had my eye on Where’d You Go, Bernadette for a while. I love supporting locally owned shops so I jumped at the chance to treat myself to a copy after reading the staff’s review at the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore.

“To her Microsoft guru husband, Bernadette’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to her 15-year-old, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears.” – Review via Lauren of Spirit of ’76 Bookstore

bookstore 3

GUYS. This is the best book I’ve read in a while {and it had been a while…}.

For a week it completely consumed me. I carried it everywhere. When I got to the last few pages, I considered abandoning it because I just didn’t want it to end!

I found myself relating to both Bernadette (the Mom) and Bee (the daughter) in ways that surprised me. I felt like the wildly eccentric recluse Bernadette was my soul sister. She represents the extreme of what I could probably become if I 1) didn’t allow myself to create, 2) allowed my introvertedness to run wild, 3) hadn’t found a therapist I love.

Bernadette is so bazaar and yet I think we can all relate to her on some level.

If you’re looking for a story that will consume you, Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a winner. You can purchase a copy of Where’d You Go, Bernadette here from the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Visiting the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore reignited my love of reading and set me off on a whirlwind of reading adventures.

After returning from our road trip, I finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. My mother-in-law bought it for me for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to read it.

big magic

This is a must-read for creative people. I felt so reassured while reading Elizabeth’s stories about her creative struggles. In a world where it always feels like everyone else is succeeding in all of their creative adventures, it was comforting to hear that despite what I see on social media, we’re all struggling. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the creative spark and if you miss the opportunity to fan the flame, the fire may just die. And on that note, I’m trying really hard to recognize when Big Magic is coming my way, toss my ego to the side and PLAY with the magic.

Read this book with a highlighter in hand if you’re feeling creatively defeated – Elizabeth will have you feeling better about your pursuits in no time (use your highlighter for some of those one-liner gems she sprinkles throughout so you can quickly refer back as needed for inspiration😉 )

Current Reading: Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

My sister is an avid reader {she is, after all, a Reading Coach..}. Lucky for me, she keeps my bookshelves stocked with hand-me-downs. I was looking for another capturing story to get lost in when I pulled her copy of Sea Creatures from my stash. So far it’s really good!

sea creatures

What are you reading? I’d love to hear your recommendations for what I should read next!

What I’m Lovin’ in April

The pollen is finally starting to wash away so we can enjoy the not-so-hot-I’m-sweating-all-day weather so I’m lovin’ April!

Read on to see all the little things I found enjoyable this month.

april

1. Classroom Inspiration

Last month I presented to a group of middle school parents. This quote was in the classroom where I presented:

As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might. – Marian Anderson

marian anderson quote

One of the things I love about visiting schools is seeing how the teachers decorate their classrooms and seeing the student work hung in the hallways. I always find inspiration when I’m in the schools – whether it’s an empowering quote hung in a classroom or a colorful display of bar charts from a math lesson hung in the hallway {future #DataDivas!}.

Kids can be little rockets of inspiration for us jaded adults in the most needed moments.😉

2. Yard Flowers

Everything seems to be blooming – even in the yard of this very-brown-thumbed-gal!

yard flowers

If I’m being honest with you, I stole the flowers pictured here from my neighbor’s yard!

BUT: If you look closely, you can see MY flowers blooming out the window.  :)

AND: If you look closely to the left, you can see little baby succulent sprouts. A coworker told me that when a leaf drops off a succulent to just plop it in soil and it’ll sprout little babies. I’m so surprised it actually worked {considering all my other succulents are currently dying on the front porch because I forgot to bring them in for the winter…}.

3. Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil

eucalyptus globulus

While on our spring break road trip, my allergies were in full swing {le sigh…does our body always have to rebel when we’re going on VACATION?!}. I went through cough drops like I’d bought stock in them and kept telling myself to get over it.

When we got home, I found my Eucalyptus Globulus oil was waiting for me. It was a freebie with my Young Living order last month so I wasn’t totally sure how I’d use it. I pulled the cap off and took a whiff and – wow!! – it smelled just like a menthol cough drop! I carried it around with me for a few days until my congestion subsided. I rubbed a drop on my neck and it worked so well to help me breathe easier. It reminds me a lot of those Vicks inhaler sticks {I used to love those!}.

4. Abby Glassenberg’s article Craft as Escape and Affirmation

glassenberg

{Image borrowed from Abby’s site – click the photo to read her post}

Abby’s post is so perfect. I love the story of her time as a teacher and how crafting served not only as an escape from the stress of her job but also as an affirmation of who she was.

It is a must-read for all creative people / people who work in stressful careers / everyone! Click here to read the post.

5. Excuses to go on Vacation again

Last weekend the Hubs played in a hockey tournament in Charleston so we had a great excuse to go on another vacation – even if just a weekend getaway!

hockey

To all the hockey wives/girlfriends out there: I’ve discovered the secret to surviving the frigid chill of an indoor ice rink. It involves two blankets (one for your upper half and one to wrap around – not just over – your legs), hot coffee (warning: do not buy coffee from the teenagers working the concession stand. Ain’t nobody got time for room temperature coffee that tastes like garbage. Do yourself a favor and find the nearest Starbuck’s as soon as you drop your man at the rink), and a good book (for when you’re wasting time before the game because your main squeeze insists on arriving an hour early…).

{PS: We ate some of THE most delicious food while in Charleston. You’re probably thinking “duh, it’s Charleston” but for a vegetarian sometimes that can be tricky. I’m planning to post a recap soon of some of the amazing places we found.}

6. Ice Cream with Breakfast

which cream

While in Charleston for the weekend, we stopped by the Charleston Farmers Market before the tournament games began on Saturday. While there we had the most delicious breakfast, drank amazing coffee (found another swoon-worthy Chai Latte) AND ate ice cream sandwiches {wich cream is our new obsession – handcrafted ice cream?! Yes, please.} before 9am because #WhenOnVacation.

7. Grilled Cheese Food Trucks

speak cheesy food truck

Did you even know such a thing existed?! Me neither!

You can imagine my delight when my sister and I stumbled upon the Speak Cheesy Food Truck at the Indie South Fair in Columbia a few weeks ago.

You know how sometimes when you order a grilled cheese somewhere and it is so greasy that you’re pretty sure your insides have turned into a slippery mess? NOT SO with Speak Cheesy. The bread was perfectly fluffy with a lightly crisp, buttered coating. Rather than sliced cheese, the sandwich involved a mix with the consistency of pimento cheese (but not the runny garbage you find at the grocery store…this was the made-from-scratch kind – chunky and delightfully fresh).

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Without further adieu, here’s photographic proof it was heaven:

grilled cheese

Unfortunately for me (or fortunately for my health), Speak Cheesy is based in Rome, Georgia. They graced us with their presence for the Indie South Fair when it visited Columbia this month. Fingers crossed they’ll come back sometime!

8. Our Spring Break Road Trip

Are you tired of hearing about it yet?! I had such a blast writing the posts and reliving our trip. If you missed it, you can follow the trip with these posts:

I’m still working on the last stop (Virginia again) so stay tuned!🙂

9. Empowering Quotes with Foul Language

Nothing makes me feel more fierce than a quote flavored with foul language. So, here’s a little flavorful empowerment for you too:

kate nash quote gif

{Click the image to find a free download via Melissa Chaib}

10.  One last giggle to share: check out this adorable video of dachshunds playing hockey!

Sending you sprinkles of joy and warm hugs til next time,

Jordan

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}