Saturday, December 7, 2013

snow days

Snow Globe 8x8 Print by Marianne LoMonaco
And when I say snow days, I guess I mean ice days. We got a bit of a winter blast here in Dallas, and our house is literally encased in ice. It looks lovely and snowcapped, but when you step outside, your feet fail to sink in as you're walking on ice. Sheets of ice.

But here in the Moulin household, we've made the absolute best of it. Roads were shut down, businesses closed (i.e., no work) and I had just decorated for Christmas, so we were happy as clams when the storm hit. Or snug as bugs in a rug, which might be a more appropriate simile.

Here are a few suggestions that may make your snow days, should you have any, memorable and cozy - a survival kit, if you will. But not like a real one with batteries, generators and other boring items. Things that will make you warm and happy while you're hunkered down in your home for a few days.

This is Unique Tumblr
Coffee - And seasonal flavors. Warm cocoa is a great idea for when you've had two cups already and need another warm beverage to knock out the cold.

From Remodelista
Copper twinkle lights - I can't tell you how lovely they are - so playful and delicate. I have mine on a jelly cupboard wrapped around a primitive nativity scene for the holidays, but I've decided they will be displayed year-round.

Photo by Ines Perkovc, as seen on Gardenista
Firewood - By firewood, I mean duraflame logs. But firewood is way prettier.

Image via crush cul de sac
Cozy blankets, slippers, scarves and hats - To bundle up and keep out the cold. And to snuggle up while watching your favorite movie.

Image via Good Old Days
Something that resembles a sled to slide down your driveway - We tried a few items in the garage and found our leftover laminate from our kitchen redo worked best. Because we don't have sleds here in the South (and we're a resourceful people).

Little Brown Dog (Gus) and Marty McFly. Photos by Frances Moulin.
Snuggly pups - We have three, but one will do, I'm sure.

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies from Top with Cinnamon
A delicious meal, adult beverages and something sweet - We went with fried shrimp, kale chips and local beer. And chocolate chip cookie dough, which may or may not have made it to the oven.

Stay warm, my friends! xoxo

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

sweet baby kate

All photos by Frances Moulin. Edits by Monsieur Moulin.
Hi friends. This post is looooong overdue, but I have to share pics from my photo shoot with the Van Andel family and their absolutely precious, baby Kate. Brace yourselves for cute overload.

Mommy Lauren and I have been dear friends since childhood (cue memories of the tree swing, flashlight tag and living room forts). She is probably the kindest person I've ever known and she absolutely glows as a new mommy, which is more than evident in these photos - such a natural.

And I mean, come on. Look at that hair. Kate is such a cutie with a little personality all her own. I was honored they asked me to take her pictures and can't wait until she comes up with dance routines and takes over their upstairs closet to start her very own acting club. Not that we did that.

Monday, August 26, 2013

oil and cotton

Oil and Cotton, a haven for artists. All photos by Frances Moulin
During the whole "rediscovering my creative self" phase (which may or may not still be in effect...), there was a place that helped support my efforts. Tucked away in the cool and eclectic streets of Oak Cliff, Dallas lies a creative commons that appreciates and encourages the arts - in all its forms - for all ages, whether professional or novice. A quirky little space that offers weekly classes and workshops in poetry, calligraphy, abstract and watercolor painting, printmaking, embroidery and leatherworking. You can even learn to marble paper or weave a mini Navajo rug, if you like.

Such a simple and delicate tissue flower creation - would be perfect for a party or shower.
Lovely little door and clothespins for hanging masterpieces.
The first class I took at Oil and Cotton was "The Supposed Object" with artist Rebecca Carter, an 8-week adult art class that encouraged experimentation with various materials and focused on one item of your choosing. When we first arrived, Rebecca had us write on a piece of paper the reason we were taking the class - because, let's be honest, we're all seeking something. My response was (and I still have this piece of paper in my studio), "I hope to find the creative person I used to be (I miss her)." This was, of course, during a time when I was lost in the corporate world and seeking a more meaningful and artistic life. It was this class that helped push me and kick-start that journey.

The "wash your paintbrushes" station - yet so much more.
Most recently I took a photography class with photographers Derek Rankins and Matt Golden, the first class in a four-part series (find out more here). The class was all about getting to know your camera, and I learned truly valuable information, particularly since I'm a self-taught photographer. We went through the ins and outs of the DSLR camera, talked a bit about photo history, and had some time to take photos, discuss, edit and print. These guys are seriously great - extremely knowledgeable professionals who are clearly passionate about their craft. Oh, and they said next time they might bring mimosas and snacks...just sayin'.

I took this photo with Derek's macro lens. I can't even talk about how spectacular it is.
Won't you buy it for a sweet, starving artist/blogger/aspiring photographer?
Did I mention the space also has an incredible studio and sells all kinds of supplies? An absolute oasis for artists.

So inspired by that chalkboard.
A happy, little weaving project.
Oil and Cotton is owned by two artists, Shannon Driscoll and Kayli House Cusick, who are passionate about interdisciplinary arts and driven by their motivating philosophy to "make do with what you got." Isn't that brilliant, inspiring and so relevant for all of us? Because we're all scrambling to get through life, one day at a time, making do with what we've got. Oil and Cotton just may help you discover - or bring out - your inner artist so you can make that life a bit more creative and colorful.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

marfa, texas

All photos by Frances Moulin
For our three year anniversary trip, the hubs and I decided to take a most random trip to Marfa. We kind of made this pact when we got married that each year we would go to a US destination we had never been together, and since budget was a bit of an issue this year, we decided on Marfa. Here's why.

A few months back, Monsieur Moulin met a Marfa-based artist on a plane, and he instantly became hooked on the idea of visiting. I had heard of it merely from Prada Marfa fame and from a few blog entries I fancied. So being the pseudo-adventurers we are, we decided, why not? We found a ranch in nearby Alpine via VRBO that let us bring our three (yes, three) dogs, so we packed up and took the eight hour road trip to our West Texas destination.

Food Shark - a dining experience, indeed. The S'mores cookies are worth it alone. 
Of course there was a cowboy.
Marfa has a population of like 2,000 people. Hence the baby water tower. 
To summarize Marfa: It's super quirky and strangely intriguing, with a sleepy West Texas vibe. A hipster's paradise. We ate at Food Shark, the eclectic and beloved food truck, walked into the often hidden gallery doors, visited a few lovely boutiques, roamed the historic Hotel Paisano, and did Marfa at night: the essential late night grilled cheese; a movie screening in the park; and dancing at Planet Marfa, complete with a larger than life teepee.

Gasp, re: the colors.

Hotel Paisano is where they filmed the classic movie Giant with Elizabeth Taylor
and James Dean - his very last movie. 
And of course we visited Prada Marfa, which was truly fascinating, and we went to the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, where, no big deal, we saw Saturn through a telescope. Rings and all. And no less than one zillion stars in the West Texas Sky. Probably our most memorable and romantic experience. Oh, and we totally saw the mysterious Marfa Lights, which are said to only make an appearance a mere 10-20 times per year. But maybe that's what they tell the tourists?

Prada Marfa is actually located in Valentine, Texas, an even smaller town outside of Marfa.
The definition of "in the middle of nowhere."
This is deep, y'all.
On the way to the McDonald Observatory. Mother Nature is absolutely brilliant.
Wild Rose Pass. Although those aren't real blooms, I love the concept and imagery.
We also toured the streets of Alpine, a quiet little artist town amongst the Texas mountains. There were a handful of antique stores and galleries, and I discovered a talented clay artist named Karen Nakakihara. I bought the cutest little rabbit business card holder - because apparently I can't go anywhere without buying something with a rabbit on it.

One of our goats at the ranch. I felt like they were constantly shouting expletives and
vowing to kill us if only they could get through the gate. Naturally, I want one now.   
The rock that we added to the owner's garden - their creative version of a guest book.  Did I
mention they also gave us fresh eggs from their hens? Such a memorable stay.
All-in-all we had a truly unique experience in Marfa - a laid back and completely different kind of vacation. And we laughed so much. If you have the option of traveling via plane or car, I say car (almost) 100 percent of the time. You get to experience so much of the world you wouldn't normally get to see up in the clouds. And, I mean really, how many of you actually knew there were mountains in Texas?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

summer sweets

Leave it up to Martha to get us all fat. Ice Cream Waffle Sandwiches
I know, I know, we're supposed to be in a carb-free, bikini-ready mindset right now, but summer is the perfect excuse for sweet and refreshing treats. And look how pretty! There should be some kind of rule that the prettier the food, the less calories you take in. That's fair, right? Well, if so, these treats would be fat and calorie-free.
While you're grilling everything you can possibly imagine this summer, throw some peaches on there and make this super simple dish. It's grilled. And mostly fruit. You're welcome. Via Camille Styles.
Coconut Cupcakes via My Baking Addiction. Doesn't everyone say coconut is "good fat"?
Blood Orange Sangria. A healthy dose of Vitamin C. Image and recipe from How Sweet It Is
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Guys, they ship these to your door. And that means you have to actually walk to your door. Exercise. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

a day at the park

The fact that I get to live close to three of my nieces and nephews makes me one lucky aunt. They call me Boo Boo, which I admittedly debated including in this post, but decided it was too cute not to mention how sweet it is to hear my GTL-obsessed, self-proclaimed "swag" 17-year-old nephew call his aunt Boo Boo.

When my sister and brother-in-law go out of town, Boo Boo turns into nanny, which means carpool, lunches, the whole bit. But it also means movies, ice cream and picnics in the park. You forget how the simple things in life like fresh air, ducks, walking the dog and throwing a football give such joy to a child. iPhone not required. Here are a few pictures from our simple day outside.

All photos by Frances Moulin, aka Boo Boo.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

a kitchen redo

White subway tile, here we come. My Sweet Savannah, via Jan of Poppytalk's Pin.
One of my favorite new home buyer reactions is the following: "I will immediately change everything in this house and make it my own." Remember when you said that to yourself? And everyone else? And then three years later, you're still looking at paint that got on the sides of your kitchen cabinets when you told everyone who so kindly helped you move in and paint the walls, "Oh, don't worry about it. We're redoing the kitchen soon." 

Well, we're finally doing it. We're putting the finishing touches on our kitchen. Monsieur Moulin has a slightly more modern taste, and, well, I don't, but we're making it work. And in the spirit, I thought I would share some inspiration. Bon appetit!

Our kitchen will probably look just like Badgley Mischka's kitchen, pictured above. We're just waiting for our brass hardware, custom range and Carrara marble to arrive. Via Elle Decor.
Ok, so technically dining inspiration, but our dining area is in the kitchen. So it counts.
From Romance and Revolution Tumblr.
I've always wanted a black and white checkered floor. My hubs refuses to lay down new tile due to the "cabinets, counter, back splash and sink" he's putting in. Seems kinda lazy to me. Via Maia McDonald's Pin.
Amazing display. I love the idea of mixing industrial and vintage and incorporating pops of color.
Back in the Day Bakery featured on Sweet Peach blog via Icing Design's Pin.
Not even sort of what our kitchen looks like, but maybe I'll have one like this when I move to the French countryside.
Just the Design Tumblr.