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2012 June

Our Wedding: Reception

After the wedding, we all headed over to the reception, which was just down the street, at the hotel where out of town guests were staying. We were trying to make it easy for our guests, and we were so happy when that worked out. Eric and I collected all of our things, and he drove us over in our rental car. We had decided against a limo because it wasn’t really a priority for us, but when we went to rent the car, the agent insisted on upgrading us to a Cadillac for a seriously discounted fee. The best of both worlds! I remember getting into the car (tricky in my dress!) and then just looking at each other, not being able to believe we were married! When we got to the hotel, we found that the doors to the hall were still locked, and our awesome photographer said she would run upstairs and get them opened, and she did! The wedding party entered to Europe’s “The Final Countdown” as a playful tribute to the greatest show ever (and one Eric and I watched the whole way through when we first started dating): Arrested Development! Walking through those doors into a room full of people who loved us was one of the greatest feelings ever. I feel like throughout the whole day, I kept being reminded of why we have weddings in the first place: because there is truly nothing better than joining your life with the person you love the most, and having all the people who are most special to you there to share the joy.

After we were all seated, my dad made a sweet toast and welcome to everyone. I love that there is a high chair in this picture. We were so excited about all the little ones being there!

Fr. Charlie was going to give a blessing for the food, but he gave us so much more than that. He explained that in the early days, the church was associated with the hearth, and that the church was wherever its people lived. He said that now that Eric and I were establishing our home together as people of God, the church would always be there. This moves me more than I can possibly say, and I couldn’t not share it. He was giving  us little gifts like that all day long.

When dinner began, our music started, and I kept forgetting we had chosen it all and leaning over to Eric and saying, “Can you believe they’re playing this? I love this song!” It was awesome. Eric’s best man and my sweet Besfrinn both made us beautiful toasts, and we are so grateful to them.

Then it was our turn to stand and thank everyone for loving us and supporting us and for coming from so far to be with us. We also thanked our parents for providing such amazing examples for us. Eric’s parents and my parents were married only a few months apart over 30 years ago, and they inspire us every day with their beautiful love and friendship and their commitment to continuing to learn and grow together and as individuals. It means the world to us to have them in our lives.

It is certainly true what they say about wedding receptions: they fly by. But on the other hand, we crammed an awful lot of fun stuff into a few hours. After dinner we had left ourselves time to just go around and say hello and thank you to everyone, and even though in a perfect world, we would have gotten to everyone, I am still grateful for all the conversations we were able to have.

One of the highlights of the reception for me was that Eric and I had put together a slideshow of pictures set to a few of our favorite songs. Maybe even better than watching us slowly grow up, become our own selves, and then meet each other was the actual process of choosing the photos. I love Eric’s baby pictures and was happy for them to be displayed to a wider audience!

Then it was time for our first dance, to Ben Folds Five’s “The Luckiest,” which makes me cry every single time I hear it. Holy moly.

And then I danced with my sweet dad to “My Girl,” and he revealed to me that he had secretly been taking dance lessons to do this dance with me. He loves me so much it breaks my heart. Little did he know that I don’t really know how to dance either, but just wing it most of the time! We had a hilarious and wonderful time.

Eric danced with his mom to Joan Baez’s “Forever Young.” So sweet.

After a bit more dancing, it was already time to cut the cake. We discovered that it was not exactly in the flavors we had ordered, but we didn’t care. It was delicious, and there was nothing on earth worth getting upset about. I am just glad we made sure we had a piece. And that we had agreed beforehand not to smear each other with it!

And finally, it was time to tear the club up! I love to dance, and I wanted to make sure that everyone else felt comfortable dancing too. Eric and I were definitely the first to the floor, and we loved hearing all the songs we’d chosen.

We had so much fun dancing with Eric’s little cousins! We had a circle of five or six of them going at one point. It was a blast!

This is Eric’s baby cousin Mary. She is so precious. I hope that years and years from now, I will be dancing at her wedding.

I was also really excited to dance with my little brother, who knows how to have a good time! When an old school hip hop song came on, I was trying to drag him to the dance floor when he informed me that he had danced so hard he had busted the button on his pants! Way to give it your all, hermano!

And I loved dancing with all my Oberlin friends, who had come from all over the country and rented a house for the weekend. I love them so much.

It was also awesome to see so many of our friends from Newman in Berkeley, many of whom knew Eric long before I did, but who welcomed me with such kindness. I am grateful to be able to call each and every one of them my friend as well.

Before we knew it, it was time for our last dance. Everyone came downstairs to blow bubbles and wave goodbye to us as we headed to The Peabody for the night.

Our awesome photographer came downtown with us to do some portraits as the sun was setting, and they are some of my favorites.

When we had finished with the shoot, Amy asked us to make our “We did it!” faces, and this is what we did! I have been thinking so much about our wedding in these past few weeks, and this is the conclusion that I have reached. It was not the best day of our lives because nothing went wrong or because of the flowers or the food or the dress. It was the best day of our lives because we gave our lives to each other. And I will be celebrating that for the rest of my life.

Our Wedding: Ceremony

Our wedding ceremony was so important to me and to Eric, and we spent months choosing the music and readings, and preparing not just for a wedding but a sacrament. As the hour drew closer, we got more and more excited! We spent the morning taking pictures and scarfing down a quick sandwich before heading upstairs, and these photos of those moments are so precious to me. My Besfrinn put on my veil and blusher for me, and I was ready to go!

This is the face I made when someone said to me, “Cameron, in just a few minutes, you’ll be walking down the aisle!” I couldn’t wait!

I made it up (many!) stairs in my dress, and then we were all waiting in a little room off to the side of the church. I couldn’t really believe it would be happening so soon. My sweet bridesmaids were all smiles.

Eric had been cracking me up all day, which really helped my nerves, but the truly hilarious thing about this is that I didn’t even know he had done it until we saw our wedding pictures! The sign says “Please no children without adults,” but he modified it slightly. I love his wonderful smile here.

I had one more moment with him, and then it was time for him to head down the aisle. I love this picture so much.

Finally, it was just me and my dad left in the room, and I lost it. I hadn’t cried all day, but when I heard the processional, I just fell apart. I had chosen Pachelbel’s Canon in D because it was really special for me and my dad. When I was little, my dad used to teach me all kinds of things. Sometimes it was algebra and sometimes it was classical music. He had a lot of records from when he was in college, and he would play them for me and tell me about them. When he played Pachelbel’s Canon in D for me when I was about 10, I loved it so much that I suggested we lie on the floor and close our eyes and just listen and feel the music. Dad and I spent a Saturday at the music store listening to all the different recordings, trying to find the right one on cd. I so clearly remember lying on the purple rug in my bedroom, summer breeze coming through the windows, Pachelbel’s violins soaring inside me. I couldn’t have chosen anything else for such a joyful day, and for the incredible man who held my hand as I learned to walk and was now going to walk me down the aisle. I cried because I was overwhelmed with happiness, I cried because I didn’t know what on earth I had done to deserve such blessings, I cried because I didn’t know how else to express my gratitude.

I cried all the way down the aisle, with a tissue hidden in my bouquet. I was so, so happy to see Eric waiting for me, and so, so happy to be sharing that moment with my sweet dad.

And I was so happy to be in the cathedral, where my grandparents were married over 50 years ago, and my parents more than 30 years ago. And even more happy to see all these people we love and who love us, who had come to celebrate with us.

We were so lucky that not only did we know the priest who married us, but he was a dear friend to us. He knew Eric before we met, and he knew us as a couple from our first dates.  He was one of the first people we called when we got engaged, and we just couldn’t imagine not having him preside over our wedding. We were touched and honored that he made the trip to marry us, and he made our ceremony so beautiful and so personal. During his homily, he took us up to a spot on the altar which, before the recent renovations, had been the beginning of the aisle. As we stood there, he explained that we were standing in the spot where my grandparents stood and where my parents stood when they gave their lives to each other. It was so moving, and I’m so grateful to him for it, especially since my grandparents have passed away and could not be there. This made me feel like they were, even if we couldn’t see them.

When it came time for rings and vows, I surprised myself by not crying at all. I was too happy for tears, somehow, and all I could do was smile until my face hurt. I loved saying those words, and I loved hearing Eric say them to me.

And, of course, there was laughter. I am pretty sure Fr. Charlie must have cracked us up, and I love him for it.

I love the pictures of us kneeling during the Eucharistic prayer. They represent to me that we are part of something that is so much bigger than us.

After the Eucharist and a nuptial blessing, we were ready to walk back down the aisle, this time as husband and wife! I don’t know if I have ever smiled so much in my life, and that is saying a lot! We were so, so blissfully happy.

This time down the aisle, we could see all the wonderful people who came from near and (very!) far to share in our joy. It was so special.

After we all processed out, there was lots of hugging in the little room where we were hidden away. So many wonderful people, so much joy.

We had to wait a little while for everyone to exit the church before we could head out to the reception, but this was like a little pre-reception, and it was so sweet. It’s hard for me to believe it has been almost a whole year since this day, and yet I am happy to say that we are both still smiling, still overjoyed to be married.

Our Wedding: Getting Ready and First Look

I woke up the morning of our wedding feeling so happy. I wasn’t stressed at all, just excited! My mom and I got ready to head out to the salon to get our hair done, and that’s when things started to get hectic. I share this only because I find it hilarious, but my mom was taking breakfast with her from the hotel, and they were taking forever to give her her bagel, while I was wondering what was going on. If you know my mom, you will not be surprised to hear that she made them fork it over! I had brought a box of cereal to the hotel and had planned to munch on it in the car…but my little brother ate most of it while watching tv the night before, after I had gone to sleep. I am seriously laughing while I am typing this: ah, wedding breakfast foibles! In any case, we were later than I wanted to be to the salon, and the stylist doing my hair did a beautiful job, but just was not in any hurry at all. To say that the whole day was on a tight schedule would be an understatement, and I was getting stressed thinking of all we had to do that morning. My mom later confessed to me that she was going, ahem, rather fast on the way to the church from the salon. I had no idea! If you ever want to pull something over on someone, wait till their wedding day: they’ll never notice! When we got to the church, Amy Dale was there, as well as our wonderful makeup artist. Eric and his family were there getting ready too, and it was fun to have the room to share, just us girls: me, my mom, Eric’s mom, and my amazing Besfrinn.

The room was a mess of flowers, hangers, shoes, jewelry, and makeup, and it was so much fun. My makeup was done pretty quickly, and I was so happy once more that I’d had someone else do it. I am no expert, and I am sure I would only have stressed myself out trying!

Then my sweet Besfrinn helped me into my dress and even put my shoes on for me. She was such an amazing maid of honor! Maybe for some anniversary in the future, I will relate to you the raucous comedy of my wedding dress fittings, and how she kept me sane during them.

Finally, I was ready to see Eric! We had decided a long time ago that we wanted to see each other before the wedding. The tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding actually goes back to the days in which marriages were arranged for financial reasons. The groom was not allowed to see the bride before the wedding to keep him from changing his mind and balking on the deal if she wasn’t as pretty as he’d been led to believe. Yikes! We didn’t feel any need to hold onto that tradition, and, what’s more, we wanted to have a special and private moment together before our wedding, to pray together, to rejoice together, to celebrate our love. And, for me, there was one more reason. Eric is seriously the most calming presence in my life. He is so gentle and compassionate with me, so understanding all the time, and when he is there, everything is okay. Better than okay, actually. I had an inkling that after the busy morning, I would be ready to have some relaxing time with him, to hold his hand and look in his eyes and feel the peace that he brings to my life. Here he is, waiting for me.

And here I come, walking so fast that I’m blurry.

And here we are, just as we should be. I love this picture.

These moments were so precious.

After the hectic morning, it was so beautiful to have the whole silent cathedral to ourselves. I am immensely glad we shared this time together. It was an oasis of calm sandwiched between a flurry of busy activities, and, when I think about it, that is what our marriage is too. Whatever crazy things are going on, being with Eric puts me at ease. Wherever he is, I am home.

Our Wedding: Planning

Eric and I were engaged for almost a year (from July to June), and it was a busy one! Both of us were finishing our PhDs and going on the job market for the first time, and I was also teaching Russian. Adding wedding planning to that list probably sounds crazy, but, actually, wonderfully, we found that it was a blessed relief from the pressures of work. Each weekend we tried to tackle something on our list, and thankfully, we both love list making! We had a complex series of google docs, which were great, since we could both access them all the time. But I have to tell you what made wedding planning really work for us. It is so high up there in the echelons of the best advice I have ever received.

A few weeks after we got engaged, my sweet cousin Meredith called to congratulate us. She and her husband had already been married for a while, and she told me the best advice she received when she was engaged. Here it is: Choose three or four things you really care about. Don’t sweat the rest. I cannot tell you how liberating this was for us! We knew right away what we cared about individually. For me, I wanted a dress with some kind of sleeves, a good dj (so we could dance the night away), and a ceremony that was special and sacred, in the cathedral where my parents and grandparents were married. Eric was focused on the tuxes (making sure they didn’t look like tacky prom attire), the photography (I cared about this one too!), and the ceremony. We put our energy into those three or four things each, and we were really happy with them. It made the decisions about other things so much easier. The food? We wanted it to be good, but we didn’t need to do tastings at five different catering companies. The invitations? We wanted them to be elegant, but we didn’t need them to be hand pressed. The flowers? Well, we wanted some, but we were more than happy to delegate to the professionals. The programs were actually created by the church, and we were glad to let them do it! The fact that we were planning our Memphis wedding from California made it easier to do this–we couldn’t have spent months tasting cake if we’d wanted to! This method had the added benefit of helping us support each other’s decisions. When Eric asked me what I thought about the tuxes, I gave an opinion, but I was happy to let him drive the boat on it. He did all the research on photography and found the amazing Amy Dale, and that was just awesome! By the same token, he was supportive of whatever dj I chose, since he knew that was important to me. When we made decisions about things that weren’t on either of our lists, it was easy to let the person who felt more strongly make the choice, since the other wasn’t too invested. It is no exaggeration to say that this strategy was a life saver!

Some of this might come as a surprise, given how much I love to make things, and, really, I would have loved to have been able to do that, but I didn’t think I could have both that and my sanity. We had a fairly large wedding (about 160 people), since both Eric and I have big families, and it was so important to us to have them there. Had it been a smaller wedding, I might have DIYed everything, but in those last few weeks before the wedding, I was so, so, so glad that we had kept everything so simple! (And I am sure that my mom was glad too, since she, of all people, knows that I am not very pleasant to be around when I am stressed!) I love seeing the beautiful things that other brides make for their weddings, but for us, this was absolutely the right choice. I don’t think that I could have made 160 of anything without losing my mind, and, in the end, we had just the wedding we had hoped for: sweet, simple, and full of family and laughter. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I feel like it was very us without making us miserable in the process, and I am so very grateful for that.

In the end, we were married, and blissfully so, and that was the most important thing. Looking back on this whole process, I kind of can’t believe we did it! It was a lot of work, but so worth it. A huge thank you to my cousin Meredith for helping us so much with her invaluable advice! For any of you brides or brides to be, I’d love to hear how your planning process went and what worked for you!

Our Wedding: My Dress

I started this blog several months after Eric and I got married, so I never really did any wedding posts, but now that our anniversary is coming up, I am planning a whole week of them to relive the glory of it all! Since I usually do style posts on Mondays, I thought I would start with my wedding dress. And I should say before I go any further that all of our wedding pictures were done by Amy Dale Photography, and that she is seriously *the best*! I cannot possibly recommend her highly enough, so if you are in the Memphis area, give her a call!

The story of my dress is kind of a funny one. I had a really strong idea of what I wanted. Nothing strapless, nothing lacy, nothing sparkly. I wanted something simple and elegant and white. The hilarity began when I started looking for dresses with my mom. I tried on those simple, elegant, white dresses. And they looked awful on me! I looked like someone’s very tacky prom date–it was bad news! So I started trying on different types of dresses. I quickly learned that when you are pale as a sheet, white is not exactly flattering. Ivory and champagne are much better. Lesson learned.

I further surprised myself by leaning toward the lacy dresses. The plain ones just did not do anything for me. Something about my complexion just made them look, well, not dressy enough to get married in. I ended up picking out the laciest and sparkliest dress in the store, and I loved it! I guess you learn something new about yourself every day.

I had a really hard time at first finding a dress that wasn’t strapless. They seem to account for about 85% of wedding gowns! While they look lovely, I just knew I was not going to be comfortable in one, and I didn’t want to spend the whole day tugging it up. When I first tried on my dress, it didn’t have sleeves, but they assured me that there were sleeves to match the dress, and they would be put on in time for my fittings. I ended up really loving  them, and I was so happy to feel like I could move around in my dress.

Aren’t they pretty?

My veil was just as sparkly, and I loved how the beads echoed my dress.

And, of course, my jewelry matched. I really adore this necklace. And my sweet Besfrinn and maid of honor lent me the pearl bracelet she wore in her wedding as my something borrowed. So sweet.

Looking back on these pictures, I remember how much I loved my dress and how excited I was to wear it, to walk down the aisle to the love of my life and the truest and dearest friend I have ever had. Though not without its hectic moments, our wedding day was the happiest, happiest day. That’s what I’ll remember, and that’s what I’ll carry with me.

Summer Bounty

I kind of love these Friday posts. For the most part, I have things planned out for the week, but I leave Friday open for anything that may be on my mind or for sharing my pictures from the week. I like the spontaneity of it, and I like being surprised by the treasures I find on my phone, snapped and forgotten, and now resurrected! Eric and I brought home a ton of fresh produce from the farmer’s market on Saturday, and we still have a lot left, so I think it will be a delicious weekend. Early summer always feels like pizza season for me. Even though it is torture to turn the oven on in the summer, gorgeous produce that will shine with a bit of bread and cheese makes it worth it. This is a favorite of ours: corn, lime, and cilantro…and this time we added a big meaty tomato. Tastes like summer!

Tonight I made another classic: squash, zucchini and quinoa with smoked paprika and feta. There’s no recipe, really–I just eyeball it, and that is a good feeling. I thought the squash was so pretty.

Also, the lilies Eric gave me last week are in full bloom. I love getting an eye full of summer every time I head toward the kitchen. And, in the interest of keeping things real, I have to tell you that there are hilarious things going on over here. Eric and I have this tendency to work really hard on our anniversary presents for each other, such that it becomes kind of comical in the last week before the big celebration. Because we tell each other everything, we’re often at dinner saying, “Hey! Today I…uh, nevermind!” Tonight I’ve been holed up in our bedroom while Eric is doing secret things in the office. In addition to being pretty funny, this situation makes us really really happy to spend time together and finally share all of our secret surprises on our anniversary. And then I can share them with you! Between secret things and a really busy work week, I have missed you all on Twitter and the interwebs in general, but I’m looking forward to catching up very soon!

Lemon Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I love a good summer cake, and Smitten Kitchen is my go-to source. A few summers ago I discovered her raspberry buttermilk cake and I made it probably ten times in three months, with whatever fruit I had on hand, and it was a hit every single time. So I was extremely excited when she posted this cake this week, saying that it was her new summer cake and her favorite one yet.

I have also had a hankering to try baking with rhubarb for a few weeks, so this was a perfect storm. Of deliciousness.

The cake comes together in three parts. It’s a bit of a time commitment for a weeknight, but when your rhubarb is wilting, you do not have the luxury of a lazy Saturday in the kitchen! Small price to pay. The first part is the rhubarb: chop and add sugar and lemon juice, and then let it sit and infuse while you work on the other parts of the cake.

The cake itself is a very thin one, which is just fine by this one-layer cake lover. The flavor is so buttery and lemony, and the texture is delightfully fluffy and light. I would eat it just plain, for sure, but it’s so perfect with the rhubarb. Here it is, poured right over the top. Make sure you include all the liquid from the mixture for extra moisture and awesomeness.

And then you make the crumb: just flour and sugar and a pinch of salt with melted butter poured in. Yum.

Here we are: ready to bake. It takes about an hour…but that leaves you plenty of time to do all the dishes!

I baked mine in a glass pan, since I don’t have a 9 x 13 cake pan. I wasn’t about to let that stand in my way! I didn’t bother with parchment paper, but went heavy on the butter on the bottom of the pan, and it came out just fine. Success!

This cake is so delicate and deeply flavored, and I love eating it in these tiny little squares. Big thanks to Deb for delivering another summer favorite!

Lemon Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

For the cake:
1 1/4 pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths on the diagonal
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup sour cream

For the crumb:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted

-Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray.
-Combine rhubarb, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at at time, and make sure to scrape down the sides after each one.
-Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Add one-third of this mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined. Then add half the sour cream, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined.
-Dollop batter over prepared pan, then spread the cake into an even, thin layer. Pour the rhubarb mixture (including all the liquid) over the cake, spreading it into an even layer.
-Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork. Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer.
-Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. The cake is done when a tester comes out free of the wet cake batter below. It will be golden on top. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.
-Cut into small squares and enjoy!

June Hymn

As we get closer to our anniversary, I am thinking so much about our wedding and what a beautiful day it was. I am planning to write more about our wedding in the next few weeks, but this is just one special part of it I wanted to share. It’s the song “June Hymn” by The Decemberists. You can listen to it here. It is such a lovely anthem to early summer and all the glories it brings. Eric bought the album a few months before we were married, and he would turn this song on and slow dance with me when things got overwhelming. I’d put my head on his shoulder and sway with him, and everything would be okay. We played it during dinner at our wedding, and it just felt so right. We were married in June, and I love that this song hints at what is sacred in that season, and what is sacred in our marriage as well. Eric still plays this song for me sometimes and holds out his arms for me to dance with him. It melts me every single time. A few weeks ago I was scrolling through his iPod to find some music to play for cooking dinner, and I stumbled upon a playlist called “Happy.” I opened it, and it had only one song in it: “June Hymn.” I love that. And I love him. Happy June to one and all.

Meet Me in St. Louis: Central West End

I kind of can’t believe how many neighborhoods in St. Louis we hit up in one day. Four? Five? It was both epic and awesome. Here is part two of the adventure! After we had a sad goodbye with Eric’s parents, we headed over to the Central West End, which was just perfectly delightful. It’s such a gem of a neighborhood. I have not felt so much like I was in Europe…since I was in Europe! The streets were dotted with outdoor seating and sweet little shops and restaurants. And I thought the moped was a nice touch too, I have to say.

In addition to the great shopping and strolling areas, the neighborhood is full of these gorgeous old homes. It always surprises me how comforting brick is to me, but that’s what we make things out of where I’m from, and whenever I see it elsewhere, it just warms my heart.

The Central West End is also home to a glorious bookstore, where we spent plenty of time. Left Bank Books is somehow both spacious and cozy at the same time. Magic.

I wish we’d had time to eat at all of these little places!

And, being a Slavist, I had to take a picture of this sign. I am not much of a vodka girl myself, but the place was packed!

All in all, we had a lovely afternoon in the Central West End. I must have some travel gene running deep in my veins because there is almost nothing I love more than exploring new places, and I have an exhilarating belief that every place is worth exploring! My life has been so enriched by the places I’ve been able to see, and I am giddy thinking about the ones I will hit up next! Wherever you’re heading, happy travels!

New Shoes on a Windy Day

I am spoiled so rotten by the Bargain Barn in Memphis. I am so used to paying $1 per pair of shoes and $1.50 per pound of clothing that I almost never buy clothes or shoes anywhere else. It’s such a thrill to find great pieces hiding in the mass of materials there, and the unbeatable price is a giant bonus. As a result of this, I often turn my nose up at anything that costs more than a few dollars, even at a thrift store. Eric and I have been talking a lot about our priorities lately, and I’ve been pleased to find that mine are mostly not things. As long as I have coffee to drink and books to read, I like to put my money toward experiences, especially travel and projects I can work on. It’s not that I don’t love bright colors and bringing an artful touch to my wardrobe…it’s just that it isn’t a monetary priority for me. I told Eric a few weeks ago that I saw a dress I loved at the thrift store, but I just thought it was way too expensive. And because he is the sweetest husband ever, he gently reminded me that we have things like that in our budget, and that I work very hard, and that if I wanted that dress, I could definitely have it and feel good about buying it. This weekend I went back to the thrift store to get a few summer things…and the dress was still there! And half off! I suppose good things do come to those who wait! I bought the dress, which I think I will wear for our anniversary dinner, and…then I saw these shoes. They were not half off. But they were purple. And so cute and comfortable. And they fit me! So, I transported myself into a modest thrift store splurge frame of mind, and I bought them!

Here they are, in all their glory! I love the peep toes and the ruffles on top. And I love that they are platforms, which makes them so shockingly comfortable for heels. Happy dance! My toenails also happen to match the soles, and I appreciate this secret symmetry.

Today was blessedly cooler than the past week has been, so I pulled this gorgeous red silk top out of my closet and paired it with my brand new green belt (89 cents!) I have been wanting a green belt for ages, so I was really happy to finally find one.

This turquoise necklace belonged to my awesome Aunt Ellen many moons ago, so it is extra special to me. I love how it looks with red. I don’t usually match my necklace and earrings, but I was ensnared by the siren song of red and teal. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

My shorts are also new (to me), and I love their satiny feel and dress up/dress down capabilities. The mustard purse is a beloved Memphis find.

Even though the wind was blowing my hair everywhere, I did not mind it one bit. I hope it lasts through the week! Wherever you are this week, I hope you’re graced with a cool breeze and a well-deserved little splurge!

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