Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today, one of my dearest friends stepped on a plane with a one-way ticket to New York City to chase her dreams. My goodness. Instead of 50 miles, she is almost 700 miles away, and I will miss her very much. Let me tell you a story of friendship and adventure.

I first met Sharon when I was in seventh grade. We were both in an after school art program, and I remember thinking how wonderful, crazy, and inspiring she was. Our friendship didn't actually develop until high school, though. I don't even remember how it happened, it just flowed so naturally. We were in yearbook together, as well as many theatre productions. We became two of four in a tight-knit group of girlfriends, and we bonded over art, music, films, and the meaning of life. Two old souls with a love of antiques, flowers, and a childhood appreciation of The Secret Garden and The Little Princess.

Sharon is one of the sweetest, most thoughtful people I know. She is so talented and makes wonderful things, like the beautiful quilt that now sits at the foot of my bed. She has been a constant source of encouragement, advice, and inspiration in my life for ten years and I am so honored to have her as a friend and as a kindred spirit.

Together, we've visited New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and have had our share of many small-town adventures. Movie nights. Bonfires. Photo sessions. Evening walks. Pounds of Hacienda chips and liters of coffee. Spiked apple cider in the fall, peppermint sweet tea in the spring. Pirate parties, music-sharing parties, Fourth of July parties, just because parties. Once, slipping down an icy winter road, I even thought I was going to die with Sharon... thankfully that was not the case. She helped plan my wedding and stood with me on my wedding day. Many, many adventures. Many, many memories.

Sharon Rose, I will miss you greatly, even though I know I'll get to see you during your trips home. You are so incredibly brave and I know in my heart that you will thrive in the City. See you in a few months. Love always, Kitty.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Warby Parker Home Try-On

My Warby Parker home-try on kit arrived in the mail this weekend!!! I mentioned Warby Parker briefly in a previous post, but if you haven't heard of the eyeglasses company, they're basically like TOMS for your face. For every pair of glasses purchased, WP will give a pair to a child in need. On top of that, the glasses are reasonably priced, super cute, and from what I've experienced so far, their customer service is outstanding. Totally a company I can get behind.

They also have a great home try-on program: pick up to five frames and WP will ship them to you to try on (all FOR FREE, might I add!) It took me forever to select the styles I wanted to try on, but I finally decided on these five frames:

Other than the Sinclairs (which are so huge they make me feel like a super nerd. Or a super hipster. I can't decide which...but I don't like it), I pretty much liked all the frames. I love the classic shape of the Webb, but they didn't fit comfortably on my face. The Zagg and Japhy are top contenders for my favorite style, but I feel like I might be playing too safe with those... Since I don't wear glasses 24/7, I'd really like to find frames with a little more quirk.

Obviously, dear blog friends, I need your help. Do you like a particular pair above? Should I try a new batch of frames, or perhaps a few other color choices??

P.S. Abby also did the home try-on a few weeks ago (and looked awesome in pretty much all her selections. Geeze.) Like she said, this was a lot fun! If you decide to try a few pairs, too, you should let us know :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Floral Flats

With all the gorgeous spring flowers that have been popping up outside lately (daffodils! hyacinth! magnolia!), I've been dreaming of flowery flats. It probably has something to do with the fact that I wore boring black flats and boots all winter long. My sad, neglected feet want something festive to welcome spring. I think any of these floral lovelies would do just the trick...

ROW 1: Roses In The Garden Flats in beige  |  Floral Ankle Strap Flats in cream/multi
ROW 2: Floral Flats in cream/multi  |  Roses In The Garden Flats in brown
ROW 3: Ditsy Floral Skimmer in yellow  |  Avoir, Etre, Faire Flat in navy floral

Lets be honest here... I want them all, and I'm not even much a shoe girl. I fell in love with the ones from Ruche when I spotted them in the spring lookbook back in February. They would be perfect with skinny jeans or a flouncy skirt. Sadly, none of these run large enough for my behemoth size 11 feet (the curse of being so tall) so my search continues. Have you seen any cute spring footwear lately?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blogging Trends: The Green Smoothie

As I mentioned in my blog birthday post, I've been scheming up a few new post ideas for gathered heart. This is the first one in a new round of posts, simply called "Blogging Trends." Inspired by Abby's post on kale chips, I thought it would be fun to try the trends popping up on blogs and Pinterest to see if they are really worth the hype. My first blogging trend test? The green smoothie.

I don't know about you, but I can't count how many times I've seen a post about the almighty green smoothie pop up in my reader lately. Joy has a pear flavored one with kale, Emily concocted one with oatmeal for breakfast, Gina has a skinny version. Green smoothies are taking over the interweb.

It's not hard to see why -- one large smoothie contains two servings of veggies and a serving of fruit. It's packed with fiber, vitamins, calcium, and tons of other good-for-you stuff. Couple that with how "delicious and life changing" everyone says it is... and, well, drinking one is pretty much a no brainer.

Since this was my first attempt at green smoothie making, I decided to keep things simple. One cup of skim milk, two cups of spinach, one ripe banana that had seen better days, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a handful of ice. I had everything in the kitchen, and this was a perfect way to use up the leftover spinach from last week's dinner menu.

The verdict? Meh. We both thought the smoothie tasted better than expected, but overall it wasn't very impressive. The consistency was surprisingly creamy (although I'm not sure how... the banana? peanut butter? spinach??) but it lacked that special something to keep me wanting more and had a slightly leafy aftertaste. If I ever make it again, I'll probably throw in berries or citrus fruit for a little more zing. This recipe wasn't very sweet, either, since the only sugar in it came from the banana... I would recommend adding a little honey to the mix if you have a sweet tooth like me.

Well, internets... for now I disagree with your green smoothie love. It's really not that tasty and definitely not life changing. And I can taste the spinach, you're not tricking me. Admittedly, it's a great way to knock out half of your fruits and veggies for the day (especially if you make this for breakfast) but I think I'll stick with spinach salads and smoothies of the strawberry-banana variety, thank you. Has anyone else attempted the green smoothie? I'd love to know your thoughts/recipes!

Next up on the blogging trends list: kale chips. I feel like I have to.
Or possibly no-heat curls...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring has arrived!

I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but I'm not going to question the unseasonable 70-80 degree weather Michigan has been having this week. Flowers are blooming, the grass is bright green, and most of the trees are budding.... all about two months early!

Christopher and I have been enjoying the sunshine and warm weather as much as possible... mini golfing, dining outside, driving with the sunroof open and windows down. Tonight we're even having the first bonfire of the season. Whatever this heat wave is, I hope it decides to stick around. Forever.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We Are Young

Have you heard the single "We Are Young" by Fun. yet? It's been playing on repeat in my head all week. A friend of Christopher's shared it with us last week when it was a free single on iTunes, and I can't get enough of it. The music video isn't quite what I imagined (no sunshine and open fields) but it's definitely worth a watch. Or three.

Sometimes, between marriage, work and making ends meet, I need to be reminded that I'm still young. At 24, I may be done with my childhood but I have my whole life ahead of me. Anyone else feel that way? Listen to this song and be reminded... it's hard not to feel invincible when the chorus breaks out.

This is going to be my summer ballad... windows down, hair whipping in the wind.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

gathered heart turns one!

I can hardly believe it, but gathered heart is officially one year old today! Hooray! Over the course of the past twelve months, so many wonderful things have happened... I became an aunt, celebrated a year of marriage, found my first full-time job (after searching for what seemed like forever) and have really grown personally.

Just like I said in my very first post, I've shared my love of cardigans, a little on color theory, and how much I love my husband (and, of course, Tina Fey.) Looking back through all I've written on gathered heart so far, I thought I'd do a little round-up of top posts:

My Favorites
     • On Being a Grown Up
     • Gorgeous Geodes
     • Midland Arts & Antique Market
     • Farewell Fall 
     • Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve

Reader Favorites
     • Gabriella Barouch
     • Ikea 1973
     • Groceries: An Illustrated List
     • Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
     • Simon and Garfunkel: Greatest Hits

When I started this blog last March, I really had no idea what was in store for me. I simply wanted to grow as a "creative" and inspire others to live a creative life as well. Perhaps I don't post as often as I'd like to, and there are always things I'd like to improve here, but gathered heart is my little piece of the blog world and I love it. For all the friends following along (for a week or since the get-go), know that I really do love you guys!

I've been mulling over lots of new ideas for the blog in the next year. In the next few weeks, GH will be getting an updated layout and perhaps some new colors. I think I'd like to introduce a few new column ideas (and bring back Gathered) as well as incorporate more of my own projects and photography. Realistically speaking, I don't know if I'll ever have the time to do everything I want to do with gathered heart, but it will definitely continue to be a creative outlet for me, full of beautiful things and inspiring bits.

Here's to another year of art, design, old things, tasty food and, of course, Tina Fey!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Signs of Spring: the Redwing Blackbird

 Original photo by Bob Garvin

Spring is so close, guys... and I know it, because the redwing blackbirds have returned! It's totally a sign.

The redwing blackbird is probably one of my favorite birds... not because of his plumage (a lovely high-gloss black with a brilliant shock of yellow and red) or his cheery song, but because of his attitude. Traveling to and from work on the toll road, I'll see a redwing every couple of feet, guarding his territory proudly, which is usually a three-foot patch of land. If a bird could ever have a Napoleon complex, these guys totally would. They seem like the cockiest little things ever. Which is why I love them.

I usually see them perched on a fence post, the scraggly branch of a shrub, or (my personal favorite) an extremely tall weed. It's kind of ridiculous, and it seems like they cling to just about anything above the ground. Have you seen them around your home? They're sprightly little things, and pretty hard to miss because of the red feathers on their wings.

I didn't realize I missed the redwing blackbird so much this winter until I noticed their return. I'm not much of a birdwatcher or enthusiast, but I do think birds are beautiful (and sometimes comical) creatures. Do you have any favorite birds?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Girls in Glasses

Earlier this morning, I took a trip to the optometrist for my annual eye examination. It was pretty run-of-the-mill.... "Option one or two? Three or Four? Please identify these ridiculously tiny letters as I try to trick you with Z and 3, 5 and S." You know how it is.

As I expected, my prescription has changed yet again (I've been plagued with progressively terrible vision since the tender age of eight) which means my current glasses are about 3 prescriptions too weak. A blessing and a curse... poor vision, new glasses! I love that larger frames are becoming more popular. With vision as poor as mine, I need all the lens space I can get. Unfortunately, I think bolder frames tend to walk a thin line between sophisticated and outright ridiculous.

On the search for inspiration, I've pulled a few images of my favorite bloggers and lady-celebs who wear big glasses and wear them well...

Seriously, these ladies look great in their bold frames. Smart, feminine, with just a hint of quirkiness. I think one of the keys to pulling off this look is a slightly rounded frame with a subtle cat-eye corner. What are your thoughts on large glasses... yay or nay? Also, can I just reiterate my love for Tina Fey? I love her.  

I'm ordering several trial pairs from Warby Parker this week... I'm excited to have a few samples to try out. Maybe the look won't work for my face type, but I sure hope so!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Life Lately...

Friday, sweet Friday, I am so glad you're finally here.

I don't really have any special plans for the weekend, but I have definitely been looking forward to it since, oh, Monday. I never thought I'd be the type of person who works for the weekend, but life lately has just been so crazy that all I want to do is sprawl out on the couch and watch Downton Abby on Netflix. This is why:

This is real life, guys. Pie charts don't lie. It's math. Ninety percent of my weekday is spent "working." Between a full-time job (dreadful two hour commute time included), playing house and trying to stay healthy... I somehow also have to juggle five freelance design projects. More work, more deadlines, more stress. The highlight of my day is the hour and a half spent with Christopher, eating dinner and watching a few episodes of Big Bang Theory (thank you, Keitha, for our newest TV on DVD obsession.)

I'm not complaining about being busy... I enjoy my job and all the little gigs I pick up along the way. I'd take busy over bored any day. The thing is, even with such a full day, I don't feel like I'm accomplishing much with my life. I make lists but never finish them, there are always dirty dishes in the sink, and never enough money in the bank.

Anyone else feel this way? I don't know about you, but I'm holding tight to the delusion that spring will come quickly and the world will be full of sunshine, purpose and free time. And until then, at least we have the weekend.