Summer's End

Summer has drawn to an end. I know for a lot of my American readers, the kids are already back to school. Canadian readers are taking their kids to college or enjoying one last week before the younger ones go off to school.

This year, we have one child working, one at college, one finishing high school, one in high school, and one in middle school. The elementary years are done. While the younger years are sweet and I can see why they are so cherished, I'm always glad to see the children grow into the people they are meant to be. I loved this article by Christina Clancy in the Washington Post on the public pressure to weep when the kids grow up. This line really resonated with me: "This is a privileged form of parenting sadness, like complaining your lawn takes too long to mow because it’s so big." As a former Bloorview mom - and someone who struggled with fertility - I know what a gift it is to have grown, independent children. It's something I never take for granted.

As Jeremiah 29:11 states, God has plans for each and every one of us. We each have gifts we are meant to share with the world. And having more independent kids gives me that opportunity. Which feels exciting and scary all at once.

I've spent the summer reading and writing and taping and getting ready for the new year in September. I have some writing and editing gigs lined up. We've struggled with some health issues over the past year, so I have to balance work with what works with our family, but it's exciting.

To prepare, I've been reading a bunch of novels. I've been doing a Proverbs 31 bible study, which is sooo good. And I've been doing all of the school forms, calendar updates, etc. that I can. I want to hit the ground running next week.

The Mr. and I are able to sneak away for one last pre-September getaway since we need some time together before all of the crazy starts. I've been having fun planning and packing for our little adventure. It's a Fancy place, which you know I always like. Being a writer, it's hard to justify the drycleaning bills when I'm simply sitting in front of my screen. I like a chance to get out and gussy up. Plus, there's some fun history where we are going and you know I'm all over that! I'll keep you caught up over on Instagram.



I hope you have a wonderful end to the summer.

XO

September Vogue

Hope y'all are well.

The September issue of Vogue is now on shelves. I'm always excited to see the phone book and it made for nice commute reading. I have to say, though, there is not much I want to purchase.

I love these Ralph Lauren boots, but I own basically the same chunky heel, knee boots from Stuart Weitzman.

Supermodels in denim? Well, I guess I can do that (except the supermodel part.)


I own most of this already.


I adore this bag by Fontana Milano 1915. But it's US$5K. And honesty? The model does not look super happy to be carrying it. 


Love these Roger Viviers but $2,400 is de trop for feather slippers. 



I'll always be a fan of Betty Draper chic. Suburban ennui is the look I do best. But I can wear an old mink I got from a flea market when I want to blow bubbles with the kids. 


Love this Gucci cow but he's not for sale. Also, he's in danger of alien abduction and I have enough going on right now without that. 



Have you been inspired by the fall offerings?

If greeting cards and gifts are more your thing (how's that for a segue?), Dayspring is having their end of summer sale. I've just become an affiliate since I really like their journalling products. Sadly, they don't sell Fontana Milano handbags at deep discount...

I'm also loving Lysa TerKeurst's Uninvited Bible study on rejection. Her book was groundbreaking for me. It's totally free and she's an amazing teacher.



 

Taping, Churchill, and What to Wear this Fall.

Hello lovelies! Hope you are well. Hope you had a good weekend.

I taped a couple of shows for See Hear Love and Faith Strong Today last week.



I had my makeup done for Friday's shows. So I had cheekbones. And eyelashes! It was all very exciting. I'll post the links when they are up.

Saw Churchill on the weekend. The pacing is slow. But I loved Miranda Richardson as Clementine. It made me want to wear pearls every day.


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I tuned into an interview of Kathleen Tucci by Focus on the Family. She is the wife of a widower and was talking about how things were in the early days. Some people discover my blog while looking for information on Wives and Girlfriends of Widowers and if you are one of them, you'll really enjoy the link.

I'm getting very excited for fall. I'm looking forward to getting into some work projects and wearing some fall fashions. Nothing has changed too much from last year fashion-wise, so I'll mainly be shopping in my closet, with the exception of a bell sleeved blazer from Zara that is cheap and cheerful. Generally, I'm not in favour of disposable fashion but I find a piece or two modernizes a more permanent wardrobe.



I hope you have a wonderful week. If you are in full eclipse-viewing territory, enjoy! It's meant to be spectacular.

XO

Jackie

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I saw the movie Jackie on Netflix last night. I've been wanting to see it since it was in the theatres, but the timing never worked out.

The film focuses on Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following the President's assassination. Mainly, I wanted to see it for the fashion. And because the Kennedy family is an endless source of fascination. I had no idea the film was also about faith.

At many points in the film, Jackie feels despondent: her strong Catholic faith challenged by the deaths of two children in infancy and her husband. At several points in the film, she meets with her priest who continually provides her with wise council.

She is forced to wrestle with the question so many of us ask at some point: why does God allow suffering? If He loves us and is all-powerful and all knowing, how do we explain our pain?

The priest offers her a parable, taken from John 9:
Jesus once passed a blind beggar on the road, and his disciples asked, Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? And Jesus said, Neither this man nor his parents sinned. He was made blind so that the works of God could be revealed in him. And with that, he placed mud on his eyes and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. And the man did, and he came back seeing. 
Right now you are blind. Not because you've sinned, but because you've been chosen. So that the works of God can be revealed in you.

Isn't that a sound way of viewing things? Certainly, I'd like it to be true. If suffering can be viewed as a vessel for revealing God's love to others, then perhaps it's not so grim.

The movie is excellent and Natalie Portman is terrific as Jackie. It has a few brief scenes of violence that are quite disturbing, but if you are looking for a great rainy day film about an extraordinary woman, it's a must-see.

So Close to Amazing: Book Review


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KariAnne Wood is a DIY blogger at her popular blog, Thistlewood Farm, where she writes about renovating her picturesque farmhouse. People like her leave me in awe, as I try to go through life DIYing as little as possible. I'd outsource breathing if I could get away with it! So when Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary advanced copy of her book, So Close to Amazing: Stories of a DIY Life Gone Wrong . . . and Learning to Find the Beauty in Every Imperfection, I thought that I might not like it. I was sure it would be a neatly spun story of how she renovated her vintage home in the country while homeschooling her perfect children, making her own jam, and modelling swimwear for extra cash. Books like that simply make me feel miserable.

But KariAnne is relatable and real. She's quick to point out her imperfections, including her struggle with her weight, messy minivan, and her feeling that she never quite gets things right: hence the book's title. She tells how her DIY projects were born of necessity (she spent the furniture budget on renovation cost overruns) and not always well received.

The story of her faith walk is a good one for - like many of us - she feels resistance when God puts a call on her life. She writes about the day she felt God wanted her to "just jump" and move her family out to the country:
I can't jump, I said silently. I have a husband and a family and friends and responsibilities and a house with a big mortgage, and I'm going to give a speech at the end-of-the-year program at school. And I finally found the perfect person to highlight my hair. 
She gets the highlights thing: I told you she was relatable.

She is self-aware, realizing she fell into the trap of being a classic big city type, who thinks she can teach the people of her new small town a thing or two:
I had been thinking an almighty God had called us to this place and this town at this time in our lives for the lessons we were going to teach.  
In reality, we were here for the lessons we were going to learn. 
This book is relatively light in tone. She alludes to darker days, such as when her twins were born and faced a number of medical issues. She alludes to feelings of loneliness when she moved so far from home and when her military husband was sent to war when they were first married. But she does not get into the details. I would love to hear how she maintained her faith during those times but this is not that kind of book. It remained light and funny and is not unlike the Hallmark movies she seems to love so much. For the record, this is not a bad thing.

Each chapter includes details for completing cute DIY projects like a Just Jump sign and a Flip the Script Centerpiece. As a non-DIYer, I did not pay much attention to these as I have no intention of attempting them. But I'm sure they are quite good since she's known for her excellent DIY advice.

If you've ever wanted to see the blooper reel behind your favourite DIY blog, you will love this book. KariAnne Wood is funny, charming, and relatable and reading this book is like having a coffee morning with a new, fun friend.


Return of the Lady

The fall magazines are starting to hit the shelves.

I'm longing for a return to lady-like dressing. Perhaps it's because the world seems particularly uncivilized right now and my flight to safety lies in the classics.

The only pieces that appeal so far are in the pre-fall offering from J. Crew. I love this Jackie cardigan with embroidered pheasants, lady jacket with fringe hem, and signet flap bag.





I'm starting to want to dress like my Aunt Esther. Perhaps that's the evolution of things as I age. My aunt used to babysit me on occasion and she'd take me to lunch with her friends at Woodward's (any Western Canadians out there remember $1.49 day?) I still miss the smell of White Shoulders and faint cigarette smoke. I'm longing for her brand of lady-like toughness. She never did suffer fools gladly. 

If you crave a return to adult dressing, you might enjoy this article at Racked. (Warning: The language is salty.) 

Do you have any style goals this fall or does the news have you craving nothing but pyjamas? 

XO



Facelift


I've given my blog a little refresh. I love the whole idea of a makeover. For people, houses, and blogs. Every once in a while, I think it's good to check in and ask, Is this working for me? 

I named the blog Saved by Salt Water at a time when I was living for my month by the sea. Now that I'm back home for a bit, I wanted something else. Given that I'm doing more faith blogging now, a return to Dwell on These Things made sense. Plus, Dwell on These Things works with the fact that I also write about design and style. It's a return to my roots which - not coincidentally - is what I'm doing with my hair, sporting a shorter and slightly darker style.

We are having a deliciously unstructured week. I always think that one of the signs that your life is where it should be, is you are happy to simply be. I used to spend lots of time dashing here, there, and everywhere to distract myself from my life. It's nice to be able to sit and enjoy the downtime without angst.

I've been able to stop and smell the roses a bit - or at least photograph some really pretty things.






I hope you are able to find some peaceful time this summer too.

In the red

Whenever fall is approaching, I'm always drawn to the colour red.

I love a red door.


Benjamin Moore Aura Grand Entrance Dutch Tulip

And a red dress.


And a red lip. 

Face Stockholm Cranberry Veil

Are you into any particular look right now as you start to plan for fall?

Tuesday is the new Monday

Hello lovelies,

Are you as confused about what day of the week it is as I am? This is the first summer that we've not had wall-to-wall plans and things are a bit free and easy. As a result, I rarely know what day it is!

Yesterday was a provincial holiday, which means almost everything is open. But lots of people make it a long weekend. So it was kind of a long weekend, but not really a long weekend...

We celebrated with a quick trip to Niagara on the Lake. It's always pretty there.






We also took in The Big Sick. I urge you to run, not walk, to your local multiplex. It's fabulous and not just because Holly Hunt is magnificent in it.

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I'm reading an advanced copy of KariAnne Wood's So Close to Amazing. I'm really liking it as it's a faith-based behind the scenes memoir from looks-perfect-on-the-outside blogger. I'll review it once I've read it all.

Jen Hatmaker's newest book launches tomorrow and it promises to be all kinds of good. Can't wait to read it! She's hilarious.

I hope y'all are having a lovely summer so far and you have a few weeks of reading and movies and not knowing what day is when...

XO



Home again home again

We are home. I miss the sea already in spite of having it run through our taps.

We were in no rush to get home so we meandered through the US on our way back. We spent some time at LL Bean flagship store in Maine because I like the idea of the outdoors (reading an outdoor catalogue while tucked snugly indoors is my idea of a wonderful time!)



We breezed by Stephen King's original home since the gates are worth the drive to Bangor. If you've not done the Airline drive from New Brunswick, you must. It's gorgeous!


We then dipped down into Massachusetts. Because Massachusetts! It's possibly my very favourite of states. We hit Salem and Concord - two of my favourite towns what with me being a literary type and all.
Downtown Salem

Orchard House
We stayed in Albany specifically because there is a Target and a Cracker Barrel there. As Canadians, we are deprived of these excellent establishments and have to get our fill when we travel.

Biscuits and corn muffins! 



Serena did not miss out as it was her last road trip with us. I think her final resting place will be by the sea but we will likely fly back in the fall at some point. I miss that little dog so much!

When we returned home, it looked completely different.

Remember my Dynasty staircase?


It's been muted, by painting it black and white.




And the orange tile?




Now a wire brushed grey-toned hardwood.


The grey pulls forward the stainless steel and works with the brown much like a brown dress shoe with a nice charcoal suit from Brooks.

They turned the island since before - weirdly - the seating area was hugged up against the sink. Now we can have people sit and chat as we cook.



Where there was so much shiny orange brown wood, there is now a more muted matte finish and it sets off the furniture nicely, making the brown leather and lacquered pieces look patina-ed instead of glossy.






The biggest different is upstairs, where we ripped out all of the wall-to-wall carpet including a bilious green one! The grey wood is much more calming.

It was a crazy amount of work to do all of the floors since it meant everything had to be packed up and moved, but it was worth it in the end. Thank you to those of you who urged me to make the leap.

I'm now focusing on some writing projects for fall. And researching water systems. I'm also researching other potential pups. Our big dog is missing his bossy little companion. And so am I.

I hope you had a nice July and are enjoying your August. If you are in the mood for back to school shopping, Avery is is donating $1 each time you use the hashtags #AveryGivesBack and #AveryMakingFaces on Instagram or Avery's Facebook page, or you can enter their emoji challenge for a shot at a GRAND PRIZE of $500 and three secondary prizes of a $100 pre-paid cash card. Money raised goes to the Michael Pinball Clemons Foundation. Avery sent me a press package including 2 binders, but I am not paid for this shout-out. Pinball Clemons is a former neighbour and all-round wonderful man and his foundation does valuable work.




Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet

Every year, I take my daughter to see the Nutcracker. (I took my youngest son once, but he loudly complained that there was too much dancing...