I am so excited to share my friend, Courtney’s “10 Things” list with you today. Courtney is truly one of the sweetest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. She also lives in Houston and writes the blog, Under A Paper Moon where she puts together beautiful posts brimming with inspiration. I can relate to so many of the things on her list! Enjoy!
I’ve said numerous times on my blog that the most unexpected part of blogging for me has the connections I’ve made. Blogging has introduced me to some amazing and kind people, including Paloma, who writes with dedication and passion here on La Dolce Vita, and I was extremely flattered when she invited me to participate in this series. Thank you, Paloma!
Ten Things I Can’t I Live Without:
1. My Family & Dogs
I am blessed to have a family who is supportive and encouraging of me, and we laugh a lot when we’re together. My middle brother also lives in Houston, but my parents are 10 hours away and my youngest brother is 15 hours away, so I can’t imagine living without email and cell phones allowing me to stay connected with them. And I always wish the distance between us weren’t quite so far.
My husband, E, and I became good friends in high school and after we parted ways for college, we stayed close friends. During the five years after I graduated from high school, I only saw him a total of three times, but every time we saw each other, it was as easy to pick up as if we’d been together every day before. That ability proved important once we became a couple because I lived without him for the first year we were dating, as well as the first 15 months of our marriage as E was deployed twice overseas. While emails and Skype kept us in contact during that time, it wasn’t the same as being together every day. While I know I can live without him actively being part of my day-to-day, my life feels much emptier when we’re apart.
E and I have two dogs, Itchy and Moose. Itchy is an 80-lb mutt brought home from Baghdad, and Moose is a 20-lb Shih Tzu. They are like our children. Anyone who has read Under A Paper Moon for a while has probably heard a little bit about them and may know that my amazing parents have been keeping our pups while we’ve been in an apartment (Itchy’s size and affinity for barking made the prospect of apartment living tricky). The same thing I said about E applies to my pups too– while I have lived without them, my life is unquestionably better when I have them near.
I am a list-maker to the core, and I also have a deep love for paper, so notebooks are a staple in my life. I always have 1 (or 3) in my bag, and I keep different notebooks for different things. I have a stack of blank notebooks waiting to be used, yet I add to that stack more often than I remove from it.
3. Coffee & Tea
Most days I make my tea or coffee at home (I adore my Keurig for coffee) but I do love a good latte from Starbucks or any other coffee shop. On a stressful day, a good latte is my cheap therapy as it always soothes me. And don’t get me started about how much I love Starbucks red holiday cups…
4. Moroccan Oil
I have naturally wavy hair; some days I like the way it dries in its natural state, but it is terribly inconsistent– I never know how it will turn out. Most days I hit my hair with major heat to control the finished look, and I don’t know what I’d do without my Chi hair dryer and my GHD straightening iron. Sadly, in the summer, even my favorite hair dryer and straightening iron are no match for Houston’s humidity, so I’m also always on the hunt for styling products– my latest obsession is Moroccan Oil. I’ve been using it for over a year, and it is the only product I use now whether I am straightening my hair or letting it dry wavy. It also delivers a wonderfully soft sheen to skin.
5. Craigslist and Ebay
I love vintage and antique furnishings and decor, and I love trolling Craigslist and Ebay in hopes of discovering good deals on well-loved pieces in need of a little TLC. I am especially a sucker for chairs. I may actually have a problem. Above are chairs I refinished with a client for her living room– they were found on Craigslist. I must apologize for the slightly blurry "after" photo.
8. Magazines & Books
My bachelor’s degree is in magazine journalism, and I have been a magazine junkie for as long as I can remember. I am admittedly a little anal in my care of them– I won’t buy a magazine that already has a bent cover, I don’t dog-ear pages, and so on. But, every so often, I force myself to go through my endless stacks and purge from the collection, and then I show no mercy as I rip and tear pages of inspiration. I still miss Domino and Cottage Living, and as much as I love blogs and the internet, for me, nothing could ever replace the feel of sitting down with a magazine and turning its glossy pages with my fingers. The same applies for books, for which I also have a huge passion. Fiction. Nonfiction. Design books. I always looked forward to summer vacation when I was little as I would head to the library and check out huge stacks of books, which I would devour as quickly as possible. I don’t read as much now as I did then, but I still try to make time to read every week and can easily get lost for hours in a good book.
Fabric swatches fuel my imagination, and I always have various fabrics pinned up to my inspiration boards and spread out around my workspace. While I like shopping for fabric online, nothing is better than seeing fabric in person, walking up and down the aisles of a fabric store taking in the various colors, textures, and patterns.
Like a latte, on a stressful day, music is another cheap therapy for me– whether it is righting my mood by putting on music I can dance to or let me embrace my sadness by putting on music that makes me cry, the right songs allow me to indulge in whatever my mood may be. Music is always full of memories for me. I often associate a specific song with an exact moment, and those memories let me feel close to people and places that are far away. Most inevitably, music puts a smile on my face.