Fresh Flowers

We bought fresh flowers this spring for a party we hosted, and now we’re hooked.  We’ve been picking up a bunch every so often ever since then.  They somehow change the feel of the whole room.

I recently had a conversation with some friends about our favorite colors.  As kids, favorite colors are a frequent topic of conversation — and usually established at the beginning of a new friendship.  But among these women I met in my late twenties, the topic had never come up.  I’ve found that my favorite color is pretty context-specific.  (For clothes, I’d pick blues and greens.  I love a yellow bedroom.  And our front garden looks great with rich pinks.)  When it comes to cut flowers, I think the color of these tulips has to be my favorite.

What simple things have you done to change your space?  Does anyone else have favorite colors that are context specific?

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Piece of Cake

Before my graduation, my husband and I hosted lunch at our house for our families.  We originally planned to order a custom cake, complete with frosting decorations.  But here’s the secret: I don’t really like cake that much.  (In fact, we didn’t even have a traditional cake at our wedding.)

So we wound up picking up this mousse cake instead. But of course, the mousse cake didn’t look like it had much to do with a graduation.  No messages spelled out in frosting, or fondant graduation caps and diplomas.  I didn’t want anything that elaborate anyway.  So a few minutes before everyone arrived, I made this simple banner to go on top of the cake.  I just used some creamy cardstock I had on hand and a bamboo skewer (cut down to size).

Ordinarily I can be kind of a perfectionist about these things, but in this case, I just cut out the shape freehand and wrote the message with a Sharpie.

Simple and fast.  And the mousse was delicious!

Tunic

For awhile now, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a white lace top.  Then last weekend I spotted this tunic.  I wound up wearing it to my department award ceremony on Friday night.

I’ve never owned a tunic before because the cut can be hard to pull off, but this piece fits beautifully.  I know it will get lots of wear this summer… especially on our upcoming trips.

Masculinity and Style

Last weekend I borrowed Season 1 of Project Runway from the library.  I’d never seen the show and, though it didn’t blow me away, it offered solid entertainment on a weekend when I just needed to kick back and recharge.

But I did notice one thing: on every episode, they only designed clothes (often dresses) for women.  While I don’t have a problem with that, I did find it curious that this fact was never even mentioned on the show.  As though fashion was so clearly linked with women’s garments that it didn’t need saying.

A small observation that wouldn’t have warranted a blog post on its own.

Except that last night I caught an episode of “Mirror, Mirror” on the Live Well Network.  They aired a segment titled “Shop for your Man.”  The segment was chock-full of troubling (and, I thought, antiquated) gender stereotypes, such as “how to give your wife a budget.”  (In 2012?  Seriously?)

But underlying all of these overt stereotypes was an assumption that men’s personal style, clothing, and consumer choices are ceded to women.  This assumption seems extraordinarily unfair to both genders.  But it seems particularly revealing of how we (as a broadly generalized American culture) think about masculinity in ways that are incredibly limiting.

During the past year, my husband has been exploring an expanding personal style.  A process that has been his own, just as much as my style has stemmed from me.  I’ve enjoyed watching him shape an outward appearance that reflects his interests and life priorities.

But when, on occasion, he has questions, there seems to be very little (or no) public conversation about men’s style.  Why does our definition of masculinity exclude the expression of style?

{Note: If you’re interested, you can check out the “Shop for your Man” segment here.  Did you find it troubling?}

First signs…

Yesterday, we noticed the first dahlia of the season has clawed its way to the surface of our garden.  (If you’ve ever seen a dahlia in its early stages, the stems look like little claws.  I’ll try to snap a picture so you can see what I mean.)

My husband and I started growing dahlia last summer, and now we’re hooked.  Here’s one of the dahlia we cut from our garden last August.  Love how lush they are when they bloom.