etsy crush ~ quill and fox

Aren't these just the cutest things?  I saw them while bouncing around some blogs over the weekend and was instantly smitten.  Not gonna lie...I just may need a set of these beauties.

I also have a pretty major crush on this thank you card.  Wouldn't it be fun to receive one of these in the mail?

They also have some great Easter cards available right now too.  This one is my favorite but all of them are fun.

Pop over and check them out.  I'm pretty certain you'll see something that makes you smile too!



on my wish list

I've long been a fan of Joy the Baker and am beyond excited that her long awaited cookbook (100 new recipes!) hits the bookshelves TODAY!  Everything I've ever tried from her blog has been a huge hit and I have many of her recipes pinned for future use.  Her food photography is always beautiful so I can't wait to dig in to what is sure to be 200 pages of gorgeousness & deliciousness!

In case you can't wait to try one of her recipes here are a few that I've made that met rave reviews...Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Pancakes with Vanilla-Brown Sugar Syrup, Mocha Rum Cake, Southern Style Strawberry Cake, and Lemon Glazed Spice Cake with Whipped Cream.  



she did it again

My "crush" on Michelle Williams really began when she wowed on the Oscar red carpet ('06) in this drop dead gorgeous yellow gown.  She literally glowed.  Probably didn't hurt she was on the arm of her love, Heath Ledger.  When I think of Oscar gowns that I loved, this has long been my favorite.  I've yet to have any others jump to mind but last night presented a very close second...

What a surprise (not!) that it was the lovely Michelle Williams again.  This coral dress is just beautiful on her. Her sweetness shines through & she looks just lovely.  What I wouldn't give to be able to rock a pixie cut like that and have her petite limbs.  Yeah, not gonna happen.  Guess I'll just have to keep admiring her & her fashion choices.  I have a feeling she'll be rocking many red carpets in the years to come.

Another favorite of mine from this year's award season...

Adorable, right?

Who are your red carpet favorites?


and the winner is...

Actually there are TWO winners!  Although I didn't get 10 comments on the giveaway Tracie still graciously offered to throw in a free copy.  (Love that woman!)  And the winners are...

Angie (AEK) & Abbie!!!!!

Congrats girls!  Send me an email (cyndillard@aol.com) with your email address and your preferred format (I know you left that in comments but just want to ensure things have changed) and I'll get you your FREE copy!!!

Thanks to all who entered!



a fun gift

Pretty cool, don't you think?  I wasn't sure what I was going to do for Lee for Valentine's Day given I would be out of town working.  I had a million fleeting ideas floating through my head but the moment I laid my eyes on this post the decision was made. I quickly hopped over to JHill Design and picked out my favorite print (all of the options are shown here) and the rest is history.  Jennifer was awesome to work with and I'm incredibly pleased with the final product (Lee loves it too!)  It will soon be hanging on our photo wall to celebrate our roots & our love for each other.  My favorite part... "a GOLDEN girl (hearts) a TARHEEL boy" -- love!

(note: the color of the matting is a bit off ~ it's more green in person)

***don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a copy of the awesome book 31 days of faith***



have some faith ~ plus a giveaway!

My preview copy of 31 days of faith - love!
Are you struggling to find faith?  Do you want to strengthen the faith you already have?  Either way this book is for you!  A good friend of mine recently turned her "31 Days of Faith" blog series into an e-book and it's now available for sale through her website, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.  For $3.99 you get a book filled with inspiring tales, scripture, and deeply personal thoughts...plus a study guide!  And to make it even more rewarding, all proceeds are being donated to The Mercy House.

I've been a long time reader of Tracie's blog and often find inspiration & strength in her words. When she began her "31 Days of Faith" series in September I was excited to read it.  At that point I struggled to really understand the importance of faith in my life and wondered how I could truly believe and trust in something I couldn't see...until I read her series and, now, her book. Tracie does a wonderful job defining faith and in showing you just how important it is in (and to) your life. Many things she said helped me finally grasp it by putting it in words I could understand. She did a beautiful job comparing our faith to that of the foundation of our home..."You can decorate (your house) with the finest things money can buy, but if your foundation is faulty and built with cheap materials, it doesn't matter how it's decorated." That really resonated with me and got me to really start thinking about how I was living my life and the "foundation" I was using as a building block. Suffice it to say, I started looking at things a lot closer.

Why did Tracie feel the need, the call, to turn her series into a book?  "It seems many of us desperately want to have faith and believe God is working things out for our ultimate good. Unfortunately, it seems not all of us are willing to truly give up our earthly control, or know how to do that. What I’m continuously learning on my journey, and want to share with you, is when we stand in the way of what our Father has planned for us, we become a roadblock for our own ultimate good."

I love her words, her strength, her faith and want to share them with you.  I'm giving away one copy of her book to a lucky reader...and if I get more than 10 people expressing an interest in the book Tracie has offered to throw in another!  Yay! 

31 days of faith is available in several different formats ~ Kindle, Nook, or a PDF (in case you're like me and like to read actual pages).  You can also download this free app from Amazon that will allow you to read it on most devices, including your computer! When you comment let me know which format you'd like it in and I'll make sure to get it to you (if you're the lucky winner!)  I'll announce the winner Monday morning (Feb 27th) so get your comment in soon!



random learnings

I spent last week in Palm Springs working.  Yes, I realize that is an oxymoron but I was, in fact, working.  Here are some of my learnings from a long week spent in a gorgeous locale with some of the best people by my side...

--Everything is cuter in a size 2.
--Realizing that made my love handles all that more noticeable & hated.
--I miss seeing mountains on a semi-regular basis...

--It may not rain often in Palm Springs but when it does, it pours.
--Tory Burch has become the new Coach.  I swear, I saw it everywhere I looked.
--Happiness is green cords + sandals in the sunshine...

--17 hours is a long time.
--I used the word "stunning" approximately 82,000 times. (The La Quinta Resort IS stunning.)
--Bougainvillea makes me smile no matter how long I've been on my feet...

--The shower head in my room was made for midgets 
(or people were a lot shorter back in the 1920/30's) 
--If food is around I will eat it, whether I'm hungry or not.
--I love Spanish tile & sunshine...

--The Grammy's are on super late on the West Coast
--Surprises on "heart day" are exciting, even if room service did include a card saying
 "Happy Anniversary" instead of "Happy Valentine's Day"...

--Champagne consumed out of a plastic glass is still just as good, just not as fancy.
--Chocolate covered strawberries don't taste as good when you eat them by yourself.
--Palm trees make me happy...

--Waking up at 4:30 is hard.
--Having a husband on East Coast time to be my "alarm" was helpful.
--Seeing sunrises like this made it pretty worthwhile...

Long days are hard but when you're doing work you love & are surrounded by awesome people, it really isn't all that bad.  (Although my swollen feet & ankles might disagree.) 



what's making me happy today

I've gotta be honest...although I've been pretty bummed with the lack of winter in Cleveland this year days like today continue to win me over.  It was cold but the sky was bright blue, the sun was shining, and I even found some buds on one of our trees.  Not sure what's going to happen to those little guys once the snow begins to fall (supposedly this weekend) but right now they're making me smile.

Something else making me smile...

This cluttered spot on my bathroom counter.  As I got ready for bed last night I became quite enamored with this little snippet of my life.  Making me grin...a new Essie color I'm excited to try (Sole Mate), my favorite scent (Fresh Sugar Lemon), and my eye makeup corralled by water glasses from my favorite restaurant in Dallas (La Duni).  Also making me smile is a little shot of gold jewelry I picked up at Anthropologie thanks to a gift card. I've been anti-gold jewelry for most of my life but I've begun to crave little pops of gold.

Not making me smile is that fact that I couldn't sleep last night (as you can tell by this screen shot)...

However, I clearly have food on my mind these days as evidenced by this snippet of my most recent "pins" on Pinterest and that, most definitely, is making me smile.  Look at all of this gorgeous food!  How can it not make you smile?  (Wanna follow me on Pinterest, click here.)

What's making you smile today?



happy heart day faves

Super cute card by Cleveland graphic artist Christine Wisnieski

A letterpressed red heart balloon - soooo sweet! 

Crazy for this card! I've clearly fallen for all things red + letterpressed + hearts. 

I fell for this adorable mug from West Elm the first time I saw it. Adorable!

Whimsy & Spice makes the best treats and their Valentine's Day sampler box looks super yummy!

I'm swooning over these flowers. They'd definitely make me smile on Valentine's Day...or any day for that matter!



playdate with my sister

My sister had a business thingy to attend in FL so she decided to make a detour on her way home and come visit.  While I was super excited I was also a bit perplexed as why she'd choose to come to Cleveland in February. (She got super lucky as it was sunny most of her visit.)  It turned out that Lee had a huge hiring event for work on the exact days she was visiting so while it sucked she didn't get to see him that much (he worked 42 hours in 3 days), it meant that I had a playdate the entire time he was tied up.  Gotta admit, it worked out pretty darn nice.

We ate yummy food, drank good wine & champagne, did some shopping, got a pedicure, explored new areas of the city, found the best cupcakes & chocolate treats, enjoyed a scrumptious lunch in an old bank, had a "jammie" day where we stayed in our pj's until it was time to get ready to go out to dinner, made homemade banana doughnuts, watched The Help, played cards and just hung out.  It was SO nice! We also tried out two restaurants that Lee & I have been wanting to try.  Both were really good but one is my new favorite!

Here we are at L'Albatros Brasserie toasting our grandmother who would have celebrated her 89th birthday that day.  Sad, for sure, but happy to be able to think of her with my sister.

I've always been a huge California wine lover but lately I've found myself falling in love with French wine (thanks to a recommendation from the Whole Foods wine guy).  Carol & family spent some glorious time in France this past summer so I really enjoyed getting her recommendations on some yummy wine (the Sancer from the top of the post is one of her faves).  Thanks to our fabulous server for recommending this lovely wine above.  So good.  The food here was fantastic & the service was sublime but it wasn't stuffy or super fancy and I can't wait to go back!  It doesn't hurt that I had one of the best (ever) desserts of my life here...Frozen Blood Orange & Grand Marnier Souffle (heavenly!) 

We enjoyed a large sampling of appetizers at Bar Cento before we had to take her to the airport and, once again, had great food!  I'm tellin' ya...Cleveland has some of the best restaurants/food!!! 

So happy that I got to spend some time with my sister!



etsy crush ~ mary kate mcdevitt

It's been way too long since I posted some of my etsy crushes on here.  Let's see...I love happy colors, I love wise words, and I love calligraphy so there's nothing not to love in this cute shop!  

It's hard to pick a favorite from all of her fantastic chalkboards but this one called to me. What would you write?


So many more adorable things, including a super cute tote, adorable cards (this one is my fave), and a calendar I'd totally buy if I didn't already have 6.  Yes, that's right, I have SIX calendars this year!  Although to my credit I only purchased three of them.  (See I do have some restraint!)