What I’ve Seen

Happy July, friends! I hope you all enjoyed the 4th of July. I went with the family here and another family up into the mountains. We drove on the highest paved road in the world––Mount Evans! It’s peaks reach past 14,000 ft. Amazing. We saw all sorts of mountain animals like elk, mountain sheep, and moose! The goal of the day was to see a bull (male) moose, but we settled for seeing a mama and two babies. Here are some photos from the day.

Man, those mountains are magnificent.


**two elk photos not taken by me

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Summer Favorites

Summer in Colorado is a wild thing. This morning I woke up sweating and by three o’ clock the skies darkened in preparation for a lightening storm that lasted all evening. I must say, I still find thunder and lightening (and storms for that matter) mesmerizing and mysterious. I could sit and watch them for hours. Like the snow, I find it magical.

Here are a few things I’m loving about summer (or wishing I was enjoying!). Enjoy!

Flowers. Especially peonies. I think I officially have a favorite.

Eating outside under the stars. Sleeping under the stars––my summer tradition. Try it. It will change your life.

Strawberries. Yum!

The beach. Love it. Miss it. Cannot get enough.

Sewing. Crafting. I’ve been doing a ton. Check out my Etsy shop HERE.

What some of your favorite things about summer? Any traditions? Anything you miss about childhood summers?


photo credits available by clicking the photo

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Another exciting announcement!

I’m finally adding items to my etsy shop (www.lovekyliedesigns.etsy.com)! If you’re one of my faithful blog followers (aka you’re reading this!), I’m making you a special deal to say thank you for traveling on this journey with me. Enter this code (bloglove) and you’ll receive 10% off any purchase (ends July 7). Cool, huh?

Keep an eye out for other new items, as I have 4 other pieces en que! Yay… it’s finally happening. Thanks again for your support.


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Thoughts on Home: Leaving, Making, and Building It

I’ve learned the art making myself at home. It’s what people tell you to do when you walk through their doorway, especially if you are watching their children or feeding their cats for a week. Between housesitting, traveling, moving, and staying the night with friends, I’ve made myself at home in dozens of places. Once, while housesitting, I tested every bed in the house, experimenting to discover the most comfortable one.

There are certain things you do, in attempts to make yourself comfortable. Heating water on the kettle for tea, curling up with a book, or building a fire all, at times, do the trick. Once, while housesitting, I caught a nasty cold. I quickly made myself at home by using all the tissues and slumping on the couch with cold medicine for hours on end. Another time I hosted a small dinner party and borrowed table cloths and china to feed some of my best friends, feeling both hospitable and grown up. It’s a peculiar art of flexibility and courage, a combination of being comfortable enough to put your feet on the coffee table and find food in the pantry when you’re hungry.

Eventually, I pack my things and move on — to the next job, the next house, the next season. Even with this well-developed skill for making myself at home, I hardly ever, if I’m honest, feel at home.

I keep telling myself that this wandering season, one of college dorms and airports, will not last forever. It’s the in between: between my parents’ house and campus, between California and Chicago (and Colorado), between worn in friendship and budding ones, between childhood and adulthood, between singleness and, perhaps, marriage. In the in between, home feels more elusive than attainable.

One night, memories of my childhood home and ancient hurts swirled like a tornado around me, heavy and unsettling. A friend, hugging me as I cried, told me, “What is home, really? It’s the place you go and feel safe, relationships you build on trust and love. The people to come to and let yourself breath and be known. That’s home. That is where you are home.”

As I sit in this townhouse living room, for the first and last time, I remind myself of her words and the home I’m building. A place of safety that I nurture with quality time and consistent effort, made of people who known me most and love me well. Relationships I cultivate with letters and phone calls, coffee dates and afternoon walks, hard conversations and exciting news.

Because I’m sure that when I look back five, ten, twenty years from now I will not remember that Almond Orange tea that I loved so much or the mustard yellow couch that looked perfect in my apartment. It will be the person who I listened to over that cup of tea, and the hand I held while sitting on the colorful couch. I’ll gently sigh because I’ll know this: with them, wherever, I was home.

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Link Love

I haven’t shared any links in awhile, so here goes.

First, I’ve been super music-crushing over The Civil Wars. Okay, maybe I’m 10 years behind on them (except, I remember seeing their Poison and Wine video a longgg time ago and thinking it was pure artistry. It is), but I’m stunned by their talent (and the fact that the female vocalist/pianist is Joy Williams). You can even download their entire album here. Also, if you check out youtube, watch some of their live performances. They are just as on key as they sound in the studio and Joy is endearing when she sings, a fun mix of quirky and whimsy and lovely and haunting. Enjoy their magic of music-making!

Also, this video is a good reminder about creativity.

She wrote a poem that says it better than I could. I love this girl’s tumblr. It’s a collection of poetry, photography, and a song to accompany. Fabulous.

Lastly, I’ve been digging into some awesome sermons by the pastors here. Biblical teaching, encouraging messages spoken in truth and love. A lovely companion for 30 minute commute!

What do you need to remind yourself of today? What can you do to inspire creativity as part of your daily life? Do you have thoughts and emotions that you need to express — via photography, journaling, sharing, making music, or something else?


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Nothing Wasted

Oh heart of mine, you want and love so many things.
You love the resounding heartbeat of the City, brimming with both opportunity and devastation. You love the textured hills and blazing sun of California, rich with color and ruggedness. You long to capture more through the lens of a camera, studying the science and art of photography. You hope for more time to create, using your hands and paper and paint and pens and words to externally recount your internal rummaging. Your heart breaks for those battered by abuse, oppression, neglect, abandonment, tragedy, aching to speak words of hope and comfort and truth into the darkened places. You adore the people scattered throughout your life, and also wish for hours and hours to spend alone, thinking, writing, feeling, listening, resting.

Sometimes I feel lost in the non-specificity of it all, as though the paradoxes will vaporize into the in-between. To love so many things means to be in a state of constant, subtle disappointment and longing. Perhaps I just want it all. And I hesitate to think that it all can somehow fit together in one, cohesive life without some stripping away.

As an artist, I collect small scraps of paper, vowing that I could use it for some project and should not throw it away. When it comes to clothing and books and trinkets, I’m somewhat good about riding myself of excess and unnecessary. This makes sense considering I am a college student with limited space. Not much can fit inside one carry-on and one suitcase. But show me a old pearl beads, or a piece of mailing material, or a paintbrush and I cling to it as if it’s gold and carry it close to my heart as if a love letter. To other people, a piece of tissue paper is trash, but to me, it’s dripping with potential and possibilities. When making art, nothing is wasted.

This is why I tear paper and glue it back into pieces, transforming it into something else, something, hopefully, more beautiful. So often I look at my life and see scraps, broken pieces, and misfit materials. Making art is a rebellion against my own hopelessness. It’s me, preaching to myself with every stroke of the brush, that life is indeed beautiful and every part is or will be redeemed. With every canvas I make, I’m reminding myself that every snippet and strip is full of possibility and that the current image is not the finished image. I have a Maker, and He is powerful and creative. My life has an Author, and He is mindful and purposeful. My canvas has an Artist, and He is faithful and merciful.

And so, if I listen, I hear a still, small voice whisper, “None of this shall be wasted, dear. For each there is a reason.”
Nothing wasted, nothing wasted.


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Summer Style

I don’t know about where you are, but summer arrived in Colorado full force this week. It has me dreaming about lathering sunscreen poolside, drinking homemade lemonade, and yummy salad outdoor dinners. Summer makes me think of California, but these Colorado mountains do not disappoint. I gathered some snippets of summer style: belted shorts, floral dresses, warm yellows, vibrant peach, and coral. Enjoy!

Speaking of summer and warm weather, I recently came across this video, that I think you should check out and share with a friend, or two, or twenty (post on FB, perhaps). VIEW HERE.

Soak up the summer sun (with sunscreen, please!)


photo credits:
1. Trever Hoehne via 31 Bits, 2. Peppermint Musk, 3. ASOS, 4. Trever Hoehne via 31 Bits, 5. ASOS, 6. Fancy, 7. Free People, 8. The City Sage

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