Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tunes : For Autumn


I'm realizing how quickly fall passes through Southern California. It takes until the beginning of November for it to make an appearance and just a few short weeks after that, everything is covered with Christmas decorations and autumn kind of falls second fiddle to the 'holiday' season.

In a way, maybe that's why it feels so special while it's here.

Here are a few of the songs that give me that refreshing "fall" feeling.
To me, they sound like warm apple cider, crunchy leaves, brisk cloudy mornings, and warm knit scarves. ;)



There has always been this one beloved tree, a Liquidambar, in our front yard. It was probably the only indication of seasons on our block. In the summer, the next-door-neighbor kids and I would picnic underneath it's huge green leaves. In the fall, it was only tree that shed it's red, yellow, and orange leaves, which we'd sweep and rake into a giant pile to jump in. In the winter it was bare, and I would look out my bedroom window, right through it's empty branches in anticipation of the first little green buds that would appear. We even "decorated" it for Christmas many times - with hula hoop ornaments and jump rope garlands. In the spring, it's little flowers would fall, giving us plenty of ingredients to make pretend "pea soup" in our sand buckets with it's green powder and some good ol' hose water.

A few weeks ago, the tree got cut down. It wasn't producing any more leaves and it's insides were being chewed up by insects so it was only a matter of time. My next door neighbor had planted it 24 years ago, around the time his son was born, and I think all of us probably feel that same little sadness when we look at the stump that is left there. It feels like the end of The Giving Tree.

But I'm so thankful for the tree that gave me the slightest glimpse of seasons as a kid.
Even here in the suburbs of sunny Southern California.

What songs make you feel like fall?
I'd love some new additions to my playlist. Send a suggestion or two my way!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Orchards.

In the last few months, I've caught myself nestled deep in a creative slump. Between all my other priorities and responsibilities, I find myself struggling to come up with content for this blog that didn't come from my iPhone and get clumped into some, large, "catch-up" post about what I've been up to after disappearing for months. What I'm trying to say is : it felt really good to have my camera in hand last weekend and I'm so excited to be sharing these pictures with you… If anyone is still reading this thing… Hello out there!

On Sunday, Weston and I drove out to Oak Glen to spend a brisk, cloudy afternoon exploring the orchards. As a born-and-raised Southern Californian, the slightest glimpse of fall excites the heck out of me, so as soon as red and yellow leaves started making appearances on the trees we drove past, I was pumped. This year, we made it in time to actually see some apples still hanging in the orchards too! Which was a success in comparison to our last apple picking attempt, ha! We browsed around a few different orchards and I even convinced Weston to stalk (get it?!) through an overpriced corn maze with me. Anything in the name of autumn, right?

^ the "my hands are freezing" pose ^

That last picture of me and Weston is proof that if some random mom, struggling to keep her two children from wringing each other's necks offers to take your picture as you walk back to your car…. you should say yes. No matter how awkward it is to smile at her while her boys literally throw each other in the street during a game of those-are-my-apples-no-they-are-mine. Because she may surprise you by taking a pretty good picture! 

Our first, highly anticipated, glimpse of the season has been wonderful. 

My room is always the coldest in our house (not to mention, I'm always the coldest person in our house anyway) and after our day in Oak Glen, I actually pulled my heated blanket out of storage! It is probably my favorite thing during this time of year. I mean, preheated sheets?! Come on! Keeps my little icicle toes warm all night! ;) 

Please, oh please, stay for a while, Fall.
No more heat-waves. I love you so.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween.

Scary Movie Night has been a long carried-out tradition in our family. As a child, I remember sitting upstairs with Nolan, watching Ghost Busters or Casper, while much more terrifying scenes played out on the living room TV for the grown-ups.

In recent years, we've taken to hosting a small scary movie night around Halloween in our backyard.
Since the holiday fell on a Friday this year, we decided to wear costumes and enjoyed passing out candy to neighborhood trick-or-treaters in between our dinner and festivities.


I dressed as Megan Draper from her Zou Bisou, Bisou scene in Mad Men.
The necklace I wore actually belonged to my grandma back in the 50s! Loved getting to wear it all night.
"Un, deux, trois, quatre!" ;)



We started watching Psycho in our backyard just as some rain started to sprinkle down from the dark, cloudy sky. It actually made the night feel even more cozy and festive! We scrunched together under the patio awning and some umbrellas until the rain finally started falling too hard and we had to get the projector inside. We finished watching the movie in our living room, eating brownies (or in my case, gluten-free pumpkin pizookies, thanks to Weston's mom!) and even though we were warm and toasty inside, I still got chills at the end of that creepy film. Loved it!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Overheard.



"Don't talk to me when I'm in my secret lair."

"I like your dress! Please wear it again tomorrow and every day."

"Is that REAL yarn?! Ooooh, I feel excited like a little cat!"

When I walked into the classroom looking exactly the same as the day before...
"Wow.. Miss Kelle O, you look different today. TOTALLY different. But don't worry, I love your new look!"

"She's afraid to go outside cause she'll turn into bacon."

"Rule #1. Don't knock over my block castle. Rule #2. Don't eat cheesecake in my block castle."

"That girl told me I'm her boyfriend."
"What did you say when she told you that?"
"I told her never mind."

"Why is it stinky over here? All I did was fart a little!"

me : "Your outfit is so cute, I love it!"
4-year-old : "Thanks! You can have it when it gets too small for me!"

"Ugh, why did God have to kill all of my dinosaur friends with that stinkin' little asteroid?"

-         -         -         -         -

My intention was not to disappear for so much of September, but… oops!

Without going in to too much detail, these last few weeks have been difficult.
The loss of a loved one, changes at work, my own health - things just felt messy and chaotic for a little while.

Thankfully, things are calming down. My classroom has fallen into a happy, steady routine in the afternoons, which has helped me get to know the children a lot better. They're a funny bunch, aren't they? :) So excited about the rest of our year!

I'm thinking October will be the start of much smoother sailing and happier days.
xo

Monday, September 8, 2014

DIY : Natural "Vicks VapoRub"

As a kid, using Vicks before bed was always my favorite part of having a cold.
Well, Vicks and orange flavored cough medicine.
For whatever reason, as a child, these felt like serious perks to me.

A couple months ago, I caught a cold. And while these days, I still love the benefits of Vicks, I wanted to achieve those same results without having to put some of those more questionable ingredients on my body. In an effort to find a chemical-free alternative to my beloved childhood vapor rub, I did some blog-browsing and wound up making my own version of the famous congestion remedy, with all natural ingredients. It was super easy and it worked amazingly well!

It only took about 10 minutes to whip up enough of this stuff to fill 4 tins.
If you want to give it a try...

adapted from Wellness Mama and Garden Therapy
You Will Need : 

1 and 1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup beeswax pellets
essential oils : eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender
tins or jars to store the finished product
(I recycled a tin that previously housed Burt's Bees Hand Salve and also used some jelly jars. You can buy new tins here.)


- Melt 3/4 cup of beeswax pellets with 1 and 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup olive oil over a double boiler. 
Or if you're like me and don't own a double boiler, I used a metal bowl that rested on top of a pot of boiling water, which worked out just as well.

- Stir in 50 drops of eucalyptus oil, 45 drops of peppermint, and 35 drops of lavender oil. 
You can add more or less depending on how strong you want the scent to be. I actually ended up adding even more drops of eucalyptus to the mixture while it was starting to cool, after pouring it in the tins. I like it to be really strong!

- Pour it into your container of choice and let it cool. 

- Rub on chest and/or neck and feel better soon!



Pretty easy, right? Since this recipe makes several tins, you can either save them up to use over time, or give them to friends in little care packages when they're feeling under the weather. Also, if you're in a bind or don't want to include the beeswax, adding the essential oils to plain coconut oil works well too! I did that for the first couple days while waiting for the beeswax to arrive and it was a decent substitute to hold me over. You only need to use about 3-5 drops of each oil and a tiny bit of coconut oil (about 1/2 of a teaspoon!) if you're planning on doing it this way. I combined mine in a little cup each night before applying it.

If you'd like to use the labels I made for my vapor rub, they are available for free download here!

Enjoy and stay healthy, friends!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Invincible Summer.

Over the summer, I worked with one of my dear friends to create this little project.
Robert is one of the most passionate, genuine, and talented artists I've ever met.
I can't wait to see where his dancing and creativity will take him.

Here he is, performing some of his choreography to Sufjan Stevens : The Palm Sunday Tornado Hits Crystal Lake.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Snapshots of Summer.

Sunrise yoga at the park. Carlsbad. Acai bowls. Hiking with the girls. Beach days. Big Sur. Sunflowers. Barbecues. Backyard movie nights. Lighter hair. Live jazz at LACMA. Portland & Seattle. The World Cup. Gluten-free fruit pies. Outdoor brunch. The Begin Again soundtrack. Bike rides at the beach. Swimming. Gelato. Slack-lining. Sangria. Bocce Ball. Disneyland...

Just a few of the things that will forever remind me of these past few months and this busy, beautiful summer.


The greatest highlight of my summer (and/or life) was the fulfillment of my lifelong dream to see Paul McCartney in concert. He was fantastic - a true performer in every sense of the word and every bit as cheeky and hilarious as he was back in the Beatles days. Overcame my Beatlemania (pictured below) and enjoyed the show, singing as loud as I could during Hey Jude, while holding hands with the man who introduced me to Paul while I was still in utero via headphones on my mom's belly. Thanks for making me a fan, Pop.


follow along on instagram : @kelleoh