Meet WillaCat.

posted on: Monday, October 26, 2015

Cody and I have a small gray cat in our midst. Since August 14th, we've been cat parents to Willa Percolator Green, and it's a decision that was definitely the right one.

We both grew up with pets (mostly dogs) and have been looking for a cat we felt fit us since this January. A cat was our top choice for a number of reasons, mostly because we knew we'd be at work a lot and cats do a great job of entertaining themselves, or this one does anyway. So far the house hasn't been destroyed!

Willa is/does the following various and sundry cat things:
  • purrs often and loudly (hence the name Percolator)
  • is amazingly friendly when we have people over 
  • sports four white socks and a tuxedo vest
  • observes with bright green eyes and rather sharp claws
  • balances her time between being affectionate and being aloof
In short, she's a pretty great cat.  While I was shooting another project a week ago I got some shots of her - black and white felt right for this, so here you are!

Creating an Office Space

posted on: Monday, October 12, 2015

 A good workspace is important. I actually do some work at a creative startup in a co-working space in Pittsburgh, so I can appreciate how key this idea is for freelancers and groups who need a place to gather but don't want the old school office vibe. This post was inspired by WeWork to share how I work at home, and get my space to work for me. WeWork is a chain of shared office spaces across the USA for folks who prefer to have a spot to call their office if they'd rather not stay home.

Completely randomly, I also did a home-office mock-up for Chairish a few weeks ago so you get to see two offices here! My dream space, and my real space.

I'm a super-nester and always have been. My favorite game as a little girl was pretending to make my own home in the bushes behind our home. I made salad out of fern fronds (I didn't eat it of course) and slept on a leaf bed - the whole nine yards. I guess that was my first "office."

Now that we're in our own rental place - however temporary, my "use-what-we-have" interior design methods have exploded. Our wee home office is no exception.

This is my creative haven. I actually do sit and work here whether it's on bills, editing pics, this blog or my actual office work. I'm blessed to spend two afternoons a week at home working, and I adore it. I've heard friends and co-workers say they have a hard time focusing when they try to work at home, but this is where I keep what inspires me to do my best. My books and resources are here, and the fridge is a few short glorious steps away...

The jewel in my office crown is the filing cabinet believe it or not. I found this sucker in the basement, a battered and scarred piece from a bygone era. But it was solid, all it needed was paint. I used a low-gloss spray paint in a dimpled black, with a simpler dimpled-copper spray paint for the drawers. It makes me excited to use (and actually file things), so that's a win!

Need bookends? Hunt down some rocks - they're super easy to catch.
Shell from Kenya, sent via a darling friend on my birthday last month.

The other jewel, my big blue baby. The framed wall pieces are from an old calendar! Such a cheap way to reuse something you loved that isn't useful otherwise. The middle art piece was $2 at a flea market.

I try to keep my desk as open as I can. The shelf overhead holds photographic pieces that remind me of where we've been - Texas, our wedding, etc. There are also just bits of that I want to save, feathers, shells, etc.

On the other side is my darling blue couch. This is the first major furniture purchase I'd ever made when we moved to Pittsburgh. It's a vintage piece from Craigslist, and is in amazing shape. The cork hexagons are from Target and I pin up bits that I either need to remember, or just love. A smattering of  postcards from globe trotting bestie, moon phases, craft ideas, and a realllllly old note from Cody when we had just started dating grace this wall.

It's a good space, and good things happen here.

the things//

Desk - World Market
Lamp - Thrifted
File cabinet - Found
Chair - Home Goods

The Creative Closet: A green dress for Fall

posted on: Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I’m late posting this, but I knew I had to participate in The Creative Closet when I saw this past Tuesday’s prompt: A Dress For Fall.

 I love me some dresses. They are the most comfortable, easy-wearing thing ever. I mean, you're essentially in a bag with sleeves, with plenty of room to relax. Well, that’s probably not true of tight tube dresses, but you wont catch me in one of those.

Staying true to the point and purpose of this lifestyle blog, I’m slowly edging into the world of sustainable fashion. Slowly meaning that I must find ways to rework what I already owned. Slowly because currently, buying truly sustainable clothing can get pricey. As hard as it can be to stomach (I love Target clothes you guys - and apologies in advance for any guilt trips!) the reason those are so inexpensive is because the true cost to make them is hidden to us.

The real cost is revealed to the people who make them. Clothing factories do create jobs, but workers don’t receive living wages and work in conditions that can and do make them ill. It’s far cheaper for a clothing manufacturer to pay a lower wage in another country, so this year I’ve decided to change my fashion world.

This summer I cleaned out my entire closet using the KonMari method and am down to about 60 pieces.

I would like the majority of my clothing to be:

  • -       Made to last
  • -       Made in the United States (or Canada)
  • -       Produced as sustainably as possible if from outside the U.S.
  • -       Classic and mixable. Trends just come and go too fast for me.

 This green dress caught my eye in one of our city’s boutiques in our most Brooklyn-like neighborhood a few months ago. It’s an area known for unique brands and handmade artisanal lovelies. The brand is Birds of North America, and their lovely, "contemporary, vintage-inspired" clothes are manufactured in Canada.

I had been on the lookout for a dress after purging most of mine. One that I could wear to work and out to play, one that was timeless. The jewel tone shade of forest jumped out at me at the store, then its little wood buttons finished me off. The fit was beyond anything I’d found at a department store. There’s so much craftsman ship here, every time I wear it I feel joy - and is that not the point of style?

No kidding, this may not be easy. But I think I now have the patience to try. We have everything to gain for ourselves and others if we can make the switch and change it all for the better. It's closer than we think!

The Last Pennsylvania Autumn

posted on: Sunday, October 4, 2015

I've enjoyed being able to love on our little half-bungalow (my name for a duplex) SO much over the past year. Fall is important to us. It's our wedding season (year 1 wraps up Nov. 8!) and when both our birthdays happen. And we're big scarf people - as in we'll wear each other's. 

I asked Cody what his favorite things about fall are and he gave me the Hallmark answer: crisp and cozy. But I must say I agree!

We only have till May here now, when we make our next big move for wherever Cody's PhD work takes us. This means that I'm taking in each season a little slower, trying to be more mindful. I spent this week getting our little home into the fall spirit! I love keeping our decor simple, and meaningful.

Here's a little list of what we cherish about this most bittersweet season.

 1. Pumpkins! Well duh. These are locally grown pie pumpkins, and we plan to slowly eat them over the season until the mantle is empty and ready for Christmas! The cotton stems remind me of fall in Louisiana. I grew up going to a cotton plantation with my school every year.
2. The herbs in the garden are still cranking out goodness. This was for Saturday's brunch frittata.
3. Crafting. This is the first fall wreath I've made from second-hand yarn and leftover fabric samples from our local creative reuse store. The whole thing costs about $10.
 4. Walks in the woods, seeing everything changing into its next stage of life (and death) for the year
 Goldenrod and Aster
 No serious tree color change yet. But man the air is cool.
 5. Backyard fire pit!! Probably the BEST thing about the half-bungalow.
6. Knowing that this leaf's look will be replicated by the trillions across Pennsylvania in a few short weeks.

7. This is a new one: making our own fall coffee. This is a pumpkin spice latte, with only 4 ingredients, and way less than what you'd pay at S***bucks. You can see there recipe on my Instagram account.

8. Finally, and most importantly, this has been a new season for me in light of my beliefs. I came across She Reads Truth, a series of online scripture-based Bible studies especially for women. They're short, full of inspiration and bring ancient words into our modern world to help us grasp their true meaning and apply them to our lives. I read one every morning with my coffee before heading out into the unpredictable world we live in. Just doing this one little thing has brought me so much peace, and ritual is not something I'm gifted at so the fact that I've plugged into this so well means much to me.

How is the changing season changing you?

P.S. Another style collaboration coming Tuesday with The Creative Closet (my first is here) - pumped to share the first of my sustainable fashion posts!

Colorado trip with the fam

posted on: Monday, September 28, 2015

There's something pretty remarkable about returning in different family combinations of people for over sixty years to the same few cabins. Speaking of time, the National Park system is 100 years old in 2016! Thought I'd throw that in there, it's so amazing how far we've come protecting what is so beautiful and perfect. (All pics are my own unless otherwise stated).
The fourteener, Long's Peak. We admired it from all sides, just not the top : /

My grandfather began the tradition when he came to Estes Park for a conference in the early sixties, and decided to come back again with his family of three boys (one of which is my papa!) and his wife. Forward to Sept. 2015 and Cody and I just got back from my fourth trip (his first) to the YMCA of the Rockies.

There's so many reasons to be thankful for trips like these.

Nothing in life stays constant though sometimes things feel slow. We've moved many miles from home for school and work, and my career field of the ever-vast realm of sustainability constantly challenges me. That's why it's so special to recognize the same view of snowcapped peaks and Ponderosa pines once every decade or so from the same cabin porch each September (more now that I'm out of public school, or any school for that matter).

As nice as it was to get out of town and visit some of my family we hadn't seen since the wedding, there was a dark side to the trip! I got hit by altitude sickness for the first time - cue nausea and headaches. I'd say the culmination was an epic vomiting scene in a gorgeous grove of Aspen trees.

I don't do sick, and there were about three days I wasn't able to hike. My dad got some of it too, genetics I guess! We weren't even able to eat the slow cooker meals Cody and I slaved over for about five minutes each morning. Pulled pork and jambalaya are NOT recovery foods sadly. 
Not bad for having puked twenty minutes earlier, right?! 

We made three major hikes in the park (~ 6 miles, lol) that were each beautiful and different. It's easy to end up in "green tunnels" in heavily forested areas without a plan, so we aimed for diverse landscapes that included some stunning waterfalls, places to rest and enjoy the view and a riparian (by the water) meadow complete with a trout stream.

If you're going to Rocky Mountain National Park, we recommend these hikes:
  • Ouzel Falls Hike on the Western side (plenty of streams and a special gray bird that dips and dives along the rapids, the Ouzel!)
  • Lake Hiyaha on the Western side (giant boulders around a glacial lake)
  • Driving over Trail Ridge Road (bring oxygen, but the view is worth it)
  • Big Meadows Hike on the Eastern side (stunning meadow, great napping by the trout stream)
September being my birthday month (thanks to mom and dad) I got to try out some wonderfully light and strong hiking boots from Lowa that are going to carry me to the day when we get to hike the Appalachian Trail. I just know we are! They don't have a steel shank so you go far and fast and don't want to throw your boots over a cliff at the end of the day.
Sweet, sweet boots.
I lived in this pullover from Patagonia, Aztec is everywhere and this is no exception - it's so fun for a fleece!! You can see me rocking it in the post-puking pic above the boots. Also, you can't beat Patagonia's business model. As a B-Corporation, they take care of the earth, their employees and their bottom line. Supporting companies like this makes the price 100% worth it for me. Plus it'll last, I just wish it had pockets!
Image via

Landscapes flying into Denver. 
The view on our first morning, and several mornings after.

Trail Ridge Road, the highest in the country
Cute mom, her first time on the mini-golf field. She'd rather hike but had to take care of her sick husband and daughter who wanted to take it easy.

Chilly on the highest road in the United States! 
Tundra plants, it takes them hundreds of years to grow

On our last hike with my parents we found this glorious trout stream. And napped.
Peachy blues on the last night.

Always grateful to explore and travel. And see loved ones.

A living-office: Chairish Blogger Challenge

posted on: Saturday, September 26, 2015

Did you know there's a site out there where you can peruse vintage furniture, lamps, decor, you name it - and then actually purchase the ones you like? This isn't Craigslist, it's Chairish. It's somewhat like Craigslist in many ways, but much better curated, nicer to look at and easier to search.

I hadn't heard of it either until the good folks who run this amazing website reached out asking me to choose a few pieces and share them in an inspiration board here on Meant Green. Speaking of vintage and used furniture, I love how the site explains Shabby Chic, a truly authentic look that brings together warmth and use in a world where so much is new and shiny.  I may have overdone this challenge,  because I give you not a few pieces, but an entire room furnished by Chairish!

Actually it's two rooms in one. More in a minute.

First, if you aren't familiar with my platform on this blog, it's a sustainability lifestyle blog. No edible sandals here, just inspiration I find or create that supports what I believe in. I also love design, home style, fashion, food and travel - and there is a way to do all of this sustainably and within reason, I'm discovering. I've been snooping around thrift stores for years, and love the bricolage look of design that combines eras and price points. Plus, I've found you can't beat the quality of things made in the past century or so.

In keeping with the theme of this post, there are many, many home goods stores that create beautiful layouts and entice us with the latest trend at high prices, but in the end a new piece is being created that requires resources and may or may not be produced sustainably.

Chairish is quite cool because every last piece on their site is coming to you for new life, to be reused, restyled, and rechairished (see what I did there?) Side note: there's a tv show some of you may of heard of, Fixer Upper, that literally does this with houses. If we ever move back to Texas where we went to undergrad, we're getting on that show!! Love us some old houses (sans lead paint, etc).

For the Chairish challenge, I styled a living room that doubles as a home office, hence a "living office." From what I know of interior design practices, designers select a piece and take inspiration from that. I'm not entirely sure how I arrive at things I love yet, something just clicks. But if I had to chose something here that ignited this room, I'd have to say the map of Europe. It reminds me when I was 20 and "studying" abroad (code: eating real chocolate). The planter and filing cabinet bring out the blues in the map to give us a thread running throughout the room.

Enough talking. Behold! Each piece here is for sale on Chairish. I tried to choose low to mid price points, because I'm sensitive to that kind of stuff (except for the map and lamp which are ~ $600... I know).

All that's left is to fill the space with house plants that purify your indoor air (it's often more polluted than outside :/  )
If you're curious about how to create a inspiration board like this, I used Adobe Illustrator and placed basic screenshots (check out that clipped desk corner, whoops!)

This is the first challenge I've accepted as it so closely aligns with my interests, here's to more!

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