Foothills bound.

Happy weekend to you, my friends!

It's Friday once more! This weekend I'm headed to the foothills of those grand appalachain mountains. {Rutherfordton to be more exact} Michael says he has some activities in store, so I am anxious to see what he's planned! One thing's for sure: I love those mountains. Here I've found some mountain inspiration from Rachel Ann Austin. She's awesome. I'll see you Monday, but until then have a happy weekend!

Rachel Ann Austin's website is full of "paintings and other lovelies." I think that's a pretty accurate description. Her "map paintings" are so unique. I love their simplicity and charm. On May 1st and 2nd {which i just realized starts tomorrow!} her website will turn into a "Crafty Wonderland" with over 200 vendors! I'm looking forward to stealing some time away from Michael to check it out!

{ also check out this etsy seller: aruppel ~ i love trees. }

I hope you have a merry weekend!

- Christina


Sketchbook Campaign.

I love making art. And the best thing for an artist to do, is keep a sketchbook. Though my sketchbook is lacking volume these days, there was a time when I raced to finish one and move on to the next! A sketchbook is limitless and knows no rules. I put everything in it...
magazine clippings, thumbnail sketches, yarn, candy wrappers, tracing paper, carbon paper, etc., etc... If it inspired me, it made it to the sketchbook. Give me a stapler.

{ love your sketchbook }

My sketchbook's main function was a place to plan and organize a project. In high school, I took every art class that was offered... and the nerd that I was, became president of National Art Honors Society. Oh, man. I really didn't do much, it just looked good on paper.. then college came, where the majority of my freshman and sophomore years were spent in the brand new Art building. {hours and hours were spent there}. Art at the college level was amazing. I loved how hardcore it was.. and the nervous/exciting feeling of a critique. I began college as an Art Education major, and though I ended up getting my degree in Elementary Education, I still had enough art credits to snag a minor.

So, here I am today, no projects to plan ~ no deadlines to meet ~ no teacher to impress... and a near empty sketchbook. What is wrong with this picture? A lot. I've always known that I wouldn't be able to shake this art thing that I love so much. I'm pretty sure it's with me till the end. However, I am horrible at picking an avenue to channel my artistic nature. I love it all and I want to do it all... which is near impossible {but i still have my fingers crossed}. So until I figure it out, I'm challenging myself to love my sketchbook a little more. It is my hope to add new inspiration once a week. Heck, I get inspired 20 times a day, so this should be easy.

...and I did say near empty... I have a few doodles in there. One that I'd like to share, as I kick off my sketchbook campaign. It's a work in progress that I started a few months ago. It was
my original idea to turn this old mailbox into a watercolor painting. However, before tackling the painting head on, I figured it best to study up on this rustyold metal treasure. The birth of this drawing emerged.
I hope you like.

{ still have a ways to go }

Create your own beautiful,


Garden & Gun.

"The soul of the new South"
As I was wondering what to blog about this week, I strolled down to the mailbox and found magnitudes of inspiration, tightly bound and sealed with the mark: Garden & Gun. (magazine). Among the bills, advertisements and wedding RSVPs that have been flooding in these days, it is easy to see why this Southern heap of goodness, takes the cake for best mail received for the day. (..and yes, I will be capitalizing the word Southern throughout the entirety of this post).

It's funny how - on the day it came, I already had all previous issues, found around the house, in a nice and tidy stack on my desk... waiting for something to be done with them. Their time has come.

Based out of Charleston, South Carolina, Garden & Gun has been publishing their magazine for just 4 years! Babies in the magazine world, G&G was most recently nominated for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Garden & Gun is a "Southern lifestyle magazine that's all about the magic of the new South." In my discovery of this magazine, I find the stress on the word new, to be quite fitting.. (and quite possibly interchangeable with the word: fresh). New/fresh, fresh/new - the point is this magazine is dedicated to current Southern spirit. Basically, it's what you want to hear.

And see. The reason I first fell in love with Garden & Gun, in the first place. Pictures. Go figure. Everything about this magazine is aesthetically pleasing - from the pictures and fonts, its (just a tad broader) width, right down to the way it feels in your hands. Honestly. Go hold one. (And let me go ahead and say on record that the editor, Sid Evans, isn't bad looking either!) But my first "ohh ahh moment" was with the way Peter Frank Edwards takes a picture. He also does photography work for the Smithsonian, NY Times and Hallmark - to name a few. The first time I really took notice of his skill, was in the June/July 2009 issue: Southern Roads, when this shot made the cover:

Some of my other Peter Frank Edwards favorites:

{ I really love this one }

Also, here are a few older issue covers:


The reason I enjoy Garden & Gun, isn't all about the pictures. I actually read it, too. The writing is great. I really feel like they have a talented young staff (even though I'm not sure) ~ they sound younger, my age, and that appeals to me. Also, the magazine encompasses all southern, I mean Southern, states. However, I think the big wigs at G&G secretly love the Carolinas. Being from South Carolina, and going to college in North Carolina, I've got a pretty good feel for 'em. My favorite thing about the magazine, second to its aesthetics, is the familiarity I've found with the places and subjects of its articles. Here is a quick run through of my favorite articles from the April/May 2010 issue:

1. "The G&G interview" with author of the book "The Help," Kathryn Stockett. I've been on a reading kick lately and this is the last book I finished. It was a touching story of how it was back in the day, when African Americans were hired help in many Southern homes. This was Kathryn Stockett's first novel. And it was a winner!

2. "Below the Line" is an article that comes out in every issue. It gives readers a heads up on each state's ongoings for the month. Charleston is holding the annual Spoleto Festival May 28 - June 13! Great food, wonderful art and live music. I'm wanting to go!

3. "Made in the South: Apple Cider from the Blue Ridge Mountains" is an article that tells the story of a couple who spent years planning and educating themselves on how to own and operate a cider business. The business savy duo, now own Foggy Ridge Cider Plant. I loved reading this article because lately I have been dreaming of becoming a wine maker and running my very own vineyard. How cool would that be!! Well this was proof - it can be done!

4. Another article was "Destinations: Where to go Beer Nuts in NC." Apparently, North Carolina has more microbreweries than any other state in the South! Highland Brewing Company, Foothills Brewing, Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing Co., Carolina Brewery and The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery were featured. Just some fun trivial, facts.

5. "Southern Dream Towns" featured these quaint Carolina towns: Lake Lure, NC ~ Oriental, NC ~ Beaufort, SC

6. Last, but not least. "The Southern Invasion of NYC" Right now, I know a little southern belle up in Brooklyn. {Hello Dani D!!! I miss you like craaazzy. This article was meant to be read by you.} I'm so proud of Danielle for moving up to NYC and getting her poli. sci. groove on! She's making it on her own, in Brooklyn. Mad props. But who can blame her for missing the South from time to time. This article is the ultimate guide for getting your Southern fix in the Big City.
Apparently, if you're a Southern transplant in NYC, these places are a slice of home. But we've got the whole South down here... nothing beats it! And for those of you who've never read a G&G I encourage you to get in your car, drive to the nearest Barnes and Noble, order a coffee and indulge the Southern being within you. Does Barnes and Noble sell banana pudding?

Garden & Gun

"The soul of the fresh South" :)



Scrabble Picnic?

Did you know....
A) that Michael and I are competitive Scrabble players.
B) Scrabble rule book amendment: the use of proper nouns is now permitted?!!
C) Michael likes animal crackers.

It's true. On the eve of the breaking news, when I would tell Michael about the new rule change, I knew he wouldn't believe me. We are what you might call, Scrabble enthusiasts. You can find us any given weekend, either in Chapin or Rutherfordton, in a full fledged battle over double letter score spaces. (I won't even get started on the triple letter..) These are no light competitions. Neither one of us like to lose. Through practice, we've actually gotten pretty good, which makes it that much more of a fight to the finish. We've memorized most of the rules, but are still working on the memorization of the two letter word list (very key by the way). Honestly, over the past year we've probably played at least 60 games or so. Some couples have a song, or a restaurant - we have a game. And though it is old fashioned, and long, and kinda boring... we love it! A couple of weekends ago Michael was visiting and we knocked out two "Scrabble firsts" in one weekend. Our first game using proper nouns and the first game played on the lake! It was fun. I got to use the name Tracy and got a tan.. yeah. Oh, and Michael won..

{ mid move }

{ fancy letters }

{ the defeated }

{ victory }

Oh, what a picnic!
I can't believe I let him win.

- Christina



The first time I ever heard Miranda Lambert's album, Revolution, I was with Allison Wilson (love her). And... that was the last time, until now. Earlier this week I found myself watching the Academy of Country Music Awards. I watched as Miranda Lambert - shocked, accepted the AMC award for Album of the Year! (she was in a star studded category - and just didn't see it coming - im generally happy for her - if you wanted to know). I turned to my sister, Megan, and said, "you know, that CD is pretty good." (recalling showering at allison's to it playing in the background). So, it was a natural choice when I was in Target earlier this week, to buy the dang thing. Since then, magically, the CD player in my Jeep has been working. I know I love "White Liar," but am well on my way to picking out some fresh new favorites! New music is always fun! My message to you is a simple one: Go buy a CD or revamp your iPod!

Sing a song out loud today! i am.
- Christina


Watercolor Weekend.

Ahhh it's Friday! I've worked 9:00 - 5:00 all week. I'm very thankful for my new job, but I am exhausted. Michael and I will be spending the weekend at relaxation station. The boat is gased and ready to go. Lake Murray here we come! I hope you, too, find some time to kick back and prepare for... Monday. I'll see you then! But, before I go.. I wanted to leave you with some paintings from a self-taught artist, who lives here on Lake Murray. Her name is Lauren Maurer and I really love her watercolors. She makes me want to whip out the paper and paints... maybe I will. Either way, check out Lauren Maurer's blog or find your favorite and make a purchase on etsy!

{ i really love this orchid }

{ storm in acrylic }

{ i like it }

{ sailing by the dam }

Happy Weekend!


Photo Shoot..

{ amanda, at the end of the shoot }

When my sister, Megan, asked me to take her bridal portraits I was sooo excited! I love taking pictures. Who doesn't? I always find myself framing my surroundings, just so. If I had an invisible cloak ~ I would take pictures all the time. I refrain from doing so, as to not look like a camera crazed weirdo. But, as we got closer to the day of the shoot, I scouted out locations like it was my job. (and it was)... but so much fun. Picture bubbles floated above my head for days.

The day arrived. I was nervous, an unexpected feeling. Amanda, my other sister, and I were riding along in the Jeep when that nervous feeling first occurred to me. We were on our way to 701 Whaley, the venue for Meg's wedding reception, and location of the first half of the shoot. Mom, Meg, Me and Amanda walked in, zipped Meg up in her dress (!!) and it began. I took the first 5 pictures - and that is when I realized - I. am. taking. my. sisters. bridal. portraits. These would be some of the most important pictures of my sister's life. I instantly felt foolish for thinking I was skilled enough to do the job. That fear, became a challenge - and I liked it. The most difficult thing about 701 Whaley was that it was Megan, hardwood floors, big windows and some walls. And everything was near the same color. Light and bright and fresh. Beautiful, but difficult!! I started taking pictures and not even looking at them, just clicking away... by the end of it all I had bruised up knees and a sweaty forehead. It was work, but I knew we had some great ones! For 2 hours I looked through a lens of a camera and saw only Megan. She was beautiful.

The second half of the photo shoot was my favorite. The locations I scouted and the picture bubbles coming to life. We live out on the end of a very long and quite rural road: Amicks Ferry. Though it is long, we love it. One house in particular has always been our favorite. Earlier in the week I went and spoke with the owner about coming to his property and taking pictures. He met me with such enthusiasm and shared some of his stories of growing up as a young boy on the very land we stood on... when the road, wasn't a road at all. When we got there, he had spruced it all up for us. :) Mom, Megan, Amanda and I popped a bottle of champagne, put some cowboy boots on and had a hay of a time moving from spot to spot. I have to say Mom and Amanda made the best photography crew ever. Laying down sheets and getting everything just right. We got some great shots!! But after a poof of pollen dropped right on the front of Meg's dress, I knew my minutes were being counted. The rule for the day: What Megan says, goes. So I got all the shots I could in the time I had. I could've gone on for hours.

The last shots I took that day were at a place that I really wanted to take Megan, but she was done. And that was fair. So, I took Amanda there instead. Since I can't put the pictures up of Megan yet, I thought I'd share these last few frames of the day. Can't wait to share more!!

{ i love this truck. }

{ and a fun prop }

Come back after 06.25.2010.

and I'll share with you, sister Megan.

- Christina


My Favorite Book.

Eat Pray Love
written by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is the book that has brought the love of reading back into my life. I devoured it and when I was through, brought it up in conversation for weeks. Above all, I love the way that Elizabeth Gilbert writes. She has the ability to describe her experience with such beauty. She makes it easy to relate, with her genuine voice and witty humor. When the book ends you feel you've gained a friend and renewed your spiritual being. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book and a few pics I found online:

  • "There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."
  • "I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on the water."
  • "You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions."
  • "I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me."
  • "To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous."
  • "I think you have every right to cherry-pick when it comes to moving your spirit and finding peace in God. You take whatever works from wherever you can find it, and you keep moving toward the light. "
  • "Om Namah Shivaya, meaning,
    I honor the divinity that resides within me.
AND... the MOVIE is coming out in theaters August 13th!!! I'm so excited that I will probably dress "Gilbertish" like the crazy Twilight and Harry Potter fans do. Julia Roberts plays the leading role in the movie. I think she is the perfect fit for the role! Get excited, it's going to be good. {click here to view the trailer}

Recently I've been reading "Committed," which is Gilbert's first book since Eat Pray Love. It has been a different kind of read, tackling marriage (to Felipe) from all different angles. So far, I'm enjoying it and feel I'm gaining all sorts of knowledge. If you're interested you should pick it up!



Fresh from a fabulous weekend, in the coolest mountain spot I know, I am in love with spring. Everything about it. The welcomed warmth it brings. The cotton candy colored blossoms on the trees. A bird song, or two, or three. And of course, a pair of shorts!

During our Asheville adventure Michael and I slumbered at the Sheraton. The great thing about that was that we could walk just about anywhere ~ and we did. After check in, we got ready for a fun night out on the town and hit the streets. First things first, food, and to be more exact: pizza. We love love love our pizza. As amature pizza conosours, we have to say, the Mellow Mushroom is one of our favorite eats. Typically we go for a pepperoni and pineapple combo ~ but in lue of our adventurous spirit decided to throw some jalapenos on it, too. (delish!) Then, washing our pizza down with a pitcher of brew, we were off to the main event! TEA LEAF GREEN! The night air was cool, as we wandered our way towards a familiar friend: The Orange Peel. I've been going to see shows at the Orange Peel since I was a sophomore in high school. I love live music and adding Tea Leaf to my O.P. collection was rad. Their upbeat vibe and fresh vocals made for the perfect spring concert. We met new friends, jammed front row, had a beer or two and made a merry time of it all.

{the line up at the peel}

{mellow mushroom outdoor patio decor}

Friday night ended with a smile and a song and Saturday began with coffee, shorts and boots. Next step ~ brunch! Michael and I met up with one of my dearest sweetest kindest friends, Amy Beth. She is a breath of fresh air. The three of us ate at Tupelo Honey Cafe. The wait was long, but Amy Beth and I had some catching up to do, plus it was soo worth it. If you're ever in Asheville you should eat here. Michael ordered a screwdriver, Amy Beth a mimosa, and for myself a water (saving the dinero for the good stuff)... Good stuff = "Brian's Shrimp and Grits" = seven large shrimp served over goat cheese grits in a spicy roasted red pepper sauce. Check out their menu! ...AND... not to mention, they served the best biscuits and jam that I've EVER had. (and I scarfed down two of them.. wishing I had one right now ~ that kind of good!) The company, food and conversation was lovely. You gotta love a place where the sides are coined, "fresh farm sides." Once our bellies were full of Tupelo Honey goodness, we parted ways with Amy Beth, and set our sights on the city ~ and oh! there was so much to see!!

{brian's shrimp and grits, at tupelo honey}

Having gone to college just 45 minutes away from Asheville... I knew the direction I wanted to take our downtown stroll. And that was Lexington Avenue. My favorite Ashevillian, fashion guru and longtime college comrad, Danielle, had introduced me to this heaven years back. The rest is history. I'm the kind of person who judges a city's downtown by window displays. Asheville is the king and Lexington Avenue, its fortress. Hours passed on this quarter mile stretch of shopping delight. Michael and I wove in and out of almost every shop, gallery, and boutique... inspiration was around every corner. Each stop was bright with the freshness of spring. Here are some pictures of my freshest finds:

{lg gallery, i love a good painter}

{kress emporium: slices of tree w/ a fun twist}

{kress emporium}

{tera nostra decor ~ amazing furniture all over}

{lexington ave. flare}

{mountain lights, beautiful artistry}

{mountain lights, fairy tale fun mirror}

{chatsworth art & antiques, my favorite kind of find}

This was was the spring day of all spring days. amazing.
For more adventuring on your own visit Asheville or follow the links.
{some vendors don't have direct websites ~ so i've linked contact info}