Thursday, February 28, 2013

Strength and Inspiration: Yulady Saluti

Thanks to social media, I've been able to keep in touch with Yulady Saluti, one of my high school classmates from yesteryear.
For years, following her Facebook page, Yulady Saluti Yoga, we have been inspired by her amazing work in both practicing and teaching yoga.

Last year Yulady boldly announced that she had been diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer.
Robert Sturman Photography
With unimaginable strength and courage, Yulady created a series of Youtube video-blogs to document and share her journey through a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Her willingness to shed light on this arduous process- to be open, vulnerable and real- has touched the hearts of thousands and has illuminated the incredible power of bravery and solidarity.

Reaching out to encourage and support others through their own hardships, Yulady's story, Confessions Of A Cokehead Turned Yogi was released on MindBodyGreen last week. How beautiful to read about the way yoga has helped to guide Yulady through the challenges she has faced.

So completely inspiring!
Loida Dorfner Photography
Yulady Saluti is truly a teacher, in every sense of the word. Her story is so critical— reminding women to perform self-breast exams regularly, to always trust their instincts, to allow the space to experience all emotions, whether good or bad, and to move forward in a positive direction every day of our lives.

Follow Yulady's journey here at I Love My Life (ILML), shower her with love and support, and marvel at the strength of this remarkable woman.

Every day is most definitely a gift...
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An Amazing Fusion of Art and Literature

Find the Secret Garden litograph here
As a former high school English teacher, I'm completely BAGONZO over Neato Shop's classic literature litograph posters, images created using the actual text from the stories!
Close up of Secret Graden litograph
I just HAD to hook my daughter up with the Peter Pan poster for her room. I'll definitely update you when it arrives, but I'll bet she'll be hanging out in her Tinkerbell dress, reading her poster for hours on end.
Peter Pan litograph is found here.
And because I'm a obviously a major word nerd myself, I also ordered the Leaves of Grass litograph poster. Haven't decided which room it will grace yet, but I know it will be amazing anywhere! Again, I'll update you once they're on the walls.
Leaves of Grass litograph 
Moby Dick print
It was hard to choose which poster I loved most. Their Emma print is so romantic and girly, the Secret Garden print, one of my favorite tales, so entrancing in its design—and the Moby Dick print is just perfect! There are several others to choose from, as well—some even in black and white. I kind of want them ALL!

Emma print
You can find all the posters here at the Neato Shop or check out some black and white styles here at Postertext. We even found a black and white Harry Potter poster here. Many companies will even allow you to submit a request for any book they don't already have printed on a poster.

I just think this is the coolest!
Get lost in a book this week, people—or a poster!

Which print is YOUR favorite? Isn't it hard to choose?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Project: Junk Drawer Overhaul"

Got a drawer that's a bit of a nightmare? 

Don't we all? 

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon IHeart Organizing, a completely AWESOME blog about getting your biz under control on the home front. 

On a cold and rainy day, inspired by this post about cereal box drawer dividers, we decided to take on the bathroom junk drawer.

Because ew.
Bathroom junk drawer BEFORE overhaul
Feeling inspired, we got to work measuring and cutting boxes to match the height of our drawer.

And then we wrapped our boxes in beautiful paper that had recently picked up at Ikea.

Did we have a wrapping method competition throughout this process? Why yes. Yes we did. And I still say my technique was the best.
After we'd arranged our boxes the way we wanted them inside the drawer, we reorganized and logically replaced the contents.
BaZANG! SUCH an improvement and SUCH a fun and easy project to do with kids as well! 

Reorganized bathroom drawer!
Try it out! For full instructions on this process, check out the original post at IHeart Organizing here.

Any new ideas to keep life from spilling over the sides? Let us know! I'm always down for a fun, artistic way to make life a little easier...and a little more colorful!

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Real People Feature: Jesi Langdale

Who are you?

A mother, creative, a daughter, an explorer at heart, a flower-lover & image gatherer. Definitely my father’s daughter, the girl who was homeschooled and read Socrates at age 10, and of course some Capote and Camus as well.
What is the best advice you've ever given or received and why?

When I told my husband to go ahead and apply to his dream job, even though he wasn’t ‘qualified’ (or so he thought). For myself, I would say Matthew 7:7,  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
What has been the greatest challenge in your life and why?

Finding my ‘way’. I would say it has been most challenging because it seems a peculiarity that while we are sentient creatures and are self aware, it is our own selves we seem to be the most puzzled by.

What has been the greatest joy in your life and why?

My husband, my son, God, photography, the Olympic & Kitsap Peninsulas, travel and flowers. Why? Because they make me feel more alive, and in them I see myself and eternity.

What is one thing you have not done that you really want to do and why?

Do a year long photography road trip of the US, preferably in a camper trailer. This would be the perfect way to understand my own society, its binding and opposing factors, as well as give my son some awesome stories for when he’s older about his ‘eccentric’ parents.
How about it, friends?

I'm kind of crazy about Jesi's photography and its muted, ethereal warmth. Some people just have an eye to seek out deep beauty in everyday moments, and let me tell you—I dig it. I dig it a lot

And a year-long photography road trip? That's my kind of YES! 

You can find Jesi roaming the Kitsap Peninsula in search of gorgeous flowers and light. Follow her journey at her lovely blog, Fore & Aft or on Instagram (@jesi_l).

Where would you most love to take photographs? Oh Egypt, I'll get there someday...
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trackin' Tracks

Every day, I try to round up my lil' pipsqueaks for an outdoor adventure- breathe in some crisp, fresh air and see what we discover.
Beast tracks!
Last week, while we were enjoying a brief hike through our property, things got particularly interesting! Thanks to the light snow coating, we had a chance to do some detective work in our own backyard! 
Rabbit tracks
Following Beast-dog's lead, we immediately spotted some rabbit tracks along our trail. After giving the girls a crash course on tracking, we enthusiastically followed Rabbit's path through the woods.

And then suddenly...ANOTHER set of tracks popped onto the path! We soon realized that a fox had also found interest in this wascally wabbit, though we're sure her hunt was for a decidedly different purpose. 
Fox tracks make their first appearance
We studied the tracks of these two creatures, Ms. Fox's feet slowly creeping up behind the unsuspecting Rabbit. With evenly placed prints, we figured that Rabbit had no idea he was being followed until the woods opened up into the yard. That's when Ms. Fox must have made her big move.
Rabbit and fox prints together
In the open space, the tracks told a very different tale. Here, the prints were widely dispersed- clearly indicating that both Rabbit and Ms. Fox were hightailing it, big time! It was so exciting to observe the change in the tracks, to uncover what had gone down here, to follow the chase...
until we lost the trail at our property's edge.

Just as well, since now that we think about it, we probably wouldn't have been prepared for what we might have found at the end of this hunt. Was Rabbit prepared? THAT'S the ultimate question, I suppose. 

How fascinating it was to play detectives and to follow the clues of the wild animal chase in our own backyard! The light snow coating was ideal for observing tracks out there, and we're hoping for another good dusting to get out again for further investigation. 

Definitely go see what you can discover on your own property when you get the next opportunity. Who knows what you'll find! Play a little C.S.I. out there!
Pipsqueak and Ole' Stinkmouth tracks!
And then, circle around to follow your own tracks back home for a wonderful hot chocolate reward. Happy tracking! Bring on the snow and make your mark!

What fun activities do you rock out a snowy day? 

Have a happy week, friends!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

10 Ways to Rock Out a Cardboard Box

If you've got kiddos, you probably already know that a giant cardboard box opens up a world of creative opportunity. 

Last week, my husband brought home a super sturdy box that has made our family room into an amusement park for our lil' darlings. 

Here are 10 fun activities to change a simple cardboard box into a kiddie wonderland.

1. Throw a blanket over the opening and create a fort or a great hiding spot for Hide-and-Go-Seek.

2. Trace the outline of your child's body on the floor and then color it in or draw clothing/accessories.
3. Get creative! Add artistic designs to any or ALL sides of your box to make it unique.

4. Cut a hole in one side and watch what unfolds.
5. Move the hole to the TOP of the box and let your kiddos be Jack-in-the-Box characters or put on fun shows with puppets...or their own goofy heads!

6. Agility training? Make sure your box is strong enough to hold your child's weight if you have lil' monkeys like ours.

7. Add a Dutch door and a doorknob to make the box feel like home! A Dutch door will create a fort-like feeling and will still allow light in. We also added an additional window on the side wall. 

8. Up on the roof! Again, if your box is very strong and your children are supervised, you can let them climb and explore. We added a chimney, which we crafted out of a paper towel roll, and let the girls
play Santa, reindeer and chimney sweepers. Although our daughters don't know Godzilla or King Kong, I assure you that they channeled these characters as well. 

9. Nighttime fun! We gave the girls flashlights and headlamps and stuck a portable touch light on the ceiling of their house so that they could play inside at night. They love sneaking into their fort to play in the evening hours.

10. Add a mailbox! The girls' Auntie made them the sweetest little mailbox and left them "mail" to read when they'd return to their house. Both the adults and the girls write notes back and forth to leave in this adorable letter box. We all love this addition!
Only 10 ways to rock out a cardboard box? Pffffft! No way. The possibilities are endless, but I can't keep ya reading all day here. 

Our "Fun House" is still taking up space in our family room, but loaded with pillows, blankets and toys, with pictures taped to the walls (that the girls drew themselves)- we're having a hard time getting rid of their new playhouse. 

Each day, it seems that we add something new to this ol' cardboard box...and each day it brings big smiles to our lil' cuties.

Our most creative feat will be figuring out how to eventually get RID of this wacky fun house. We're open to suggestions!

Have an artistic and inventive day!

What other ideas do you have for a plain ol' cardboard box?
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine Love

Don't you just love a sweet lil' Valentine card? 

Ooooooh, I'm just craze-a-mundo over my darling Valentine-ers, and this year, my 4-year-old volunteered to show you how she sends her love out in the mail!
For the past two years, our daughter has been using the Go Create! Scratch and Color Kit to stencil and freehand her rainbow-hued Valentine's Day designs. SO FUN! It's kind of hard for me not to steal a sheet to design myself. Yet another exercise in self-control....

Our daughter uses the stencils she has at home, those included in the kit and some we made ourselves to design her special Valentines. I helped her by writing out a "cheat sheet" of some Valentine sentiments- along with the spelling of every lovey's name she wanted to include.

And MAN, with all our newborn Valentines this year, we ran out of cards and had to make some from scratch with construction paper! Lots of new love in our world- a blessing that we, well...LOVE!

Once all of the card designs were completed, it was time to decorate envelopes. After I helped write out the addresses, kiddo wrote her Valentines' names on each envelope and added tons of holiday jazz- hearts, stickers galore, stamps, drawings. 

I had to keep reminding her to leave room for the all-important postage stamp. Girlfriend is down with decorating!

My sweetie worked on her darlin' Valentine cards for several days until she decided they were good to go. So particular! Every card just HAD to have a hand drawn heart. Every envelope HAD to have a Disney character. Each sticker was placed with incredible thoughtfulness and purpose. 
And as I watched my little love create her Valentines, my own heart swelled bigger than I could stand. How did my baby girl grow up so fast? How could I possibly love this kid more? 

Oh, we're sending you all extra hugs and happiness this Valentine's Day. May your week be full of more love than YOU can stand. 

Read or re-read The Genie in the Lamp and the Meaning of Life and hug your loveys extra tight this Valentine's Day. Because nothing matters more....

Have a wonderful week, friends!

What kind of Valentine's Day cards are you and your cuties making this year? 

Monday, February 4, 2013


Got a serious sweet tooth?
Well let me tell ya...
Chocolate buttercream cake filled with chocolate ganache. Frosted with vanilla buttercream & coated with beautiful homemade fondant.
I'm an admitted chocoholic, so when Bethany, one of my dearest darlin' friends, decided to open up her own cake and confection biz, I got arch-y wiggly eyebrows! Well all riiiiiight!
Dark chocolate buttermilk cake with homemade salted caramel layers. Iced with salted caramel buttercream and topped with chocolate ganache. Oh. Yeah.
And, because I'm her friend and all, obviously I just HAVE to help her taste-test her new creations. Of course I do, because I'm kind-hearted and selfless like that, right?
:::wipes chocolate off chin::: 

The concept for Sweet Dutchess began in Bethany's warm lil' kitchen at home...
Stacked cake pans and the bad boy mixer- tools of the trade
Baker B, as I like to call her, began whipping up the most elaborate cakes and cupcakes for her beautiful daughters' birthday parties- yummies where guests had to be careful that they didn't cuss in awe. Yummies where parents pouted and made guilty faces that their kids' cakes never looked like that. Not even close...
Dark chocolate cake with vanilla swiss buttercream- coated in amazing yellow fondant. This cake was certainly fit for a princess birthday party. The crown was edible as well! Ba-zang!
And then, with a heart sweeter than her chocolate ganache, she began caking and cupcaking for our friends' baby showers as well. After you try one bite of a Sweet Dutchess treat, you'll think no one could love dessert more than you do at that very moment. But then you witness a pregnant woman taking her first bite, and you realize that maybe you were wrong.

Observing the bagonzo reactions people had from her mouthwatering desserts, Baker B decided to open shop- to share the sweetness with her salivating admirers. 
Meyer lemon cake with Earl Grey meringue
Aptly named, considering Bethany's Pennsylvania Dutch lineage, Sweet Dutchess was born with the new year. Obviously, 2013 is also proving to be the most delicious year EVER! 

Wanna taste-test for yourself? Click here for Sweet Dutchess menu prices. If you're in the tri-county/ Philadelphia PA or NJ area, Baker B delivers! She also offers shipping options for those, farther away, who just can't resist the tantalizing allure. 
Dark chocolate and blackberry Merlot cake w/ blackberry preserves & whipped buttercream...with chocolate ganache topping! This is the BEST cake I have EVER tasted in my life!
For baked goods that are as unbelievably beautiful as they are groaningly delicious, check out what happens when aesthetic and culinary arts fuse.

Mostly, check out what happens when an amazing woman, in that sweet lil' kitchen at home, goes to incredible lengths to bring lip-lickin' happiness to others. Deeeeee-lish, friends!

And naturally, if you order ANYTHING, from Sweet Dutchess, I personally volunteer my taste-testing services for quality assurance.

:::wide eyes:::
Yes, I most definitely stand by that assertion.
Bethany's kitchen windowsill. Get a load of that butter dish! So CUTE!
Love those cakes... and that darling Baker B!
Get inspired, people- and have the most wonderful week!

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dog Love- A Bad Romance

Ugh. Another pitiful love story...

Our protagonist, Kaine-dog, has been pacing around with starry eyes of late- pining while peering out the window, whimpering at the passing winds as he awaits the return of his new boo.
Wherefore art thou, Neighbor Boo?
And for the past week, every day at dawn, this mystery pooch has arrived without fail. With both muddy paws up against our glass door, she beckons Kaine-dog with her rich chocolate eyes. She calls to him with her desperate whimpering plea.

She continues shredding the screen on our deck in her frantic attempt to be with her love.

Yes. Shreds the screen.
A bad, bad romance.
Who knows from whence she came, this enigmatic siren with no identification tags. There's no doubt that it was love at first sight for these two amorous mongrels. 

If you could see the drooling nose prints on both sides of all our windows, the scratch marks on the deck door, the busted SCREEN, you'd know our their plight. 

As Kaine-dog's parents, we are concerned. This love just cannot be. These two fools are in way over their heads. Dramatic love like this often leads to an equally dramatic end. Just ask the Capulets and the Montagues- or the screen that tried to come between them. 

We've tried to barricade Kaine's girlfriend from getting close to the no avail. No efforts have thwarted her from standing steadfast at that door, from locking eyes with her panting beau.
I've never seen two dogs so completely in love. Sidenote: It was a mighty fine choice to get Kaine neutered. Mighty fine, indeed.

Today, I'm forced to bite the bullet, to roam the neighborhood, in hopes that I might find the owners of this alluring pup. We're going to have to have a talk about this love affair- set some limits. I have to do it. I owe it to the screen, the glass, the molding, the walls...
Because no one could have ever anticipated a love like this.
If "puppy" love is this challenging, how we will ever manage lovesick daughters of our own?

One saga at a time.

Has your pet ever fallen in love? What is a parent to do???

Happy FRIDAY and happy FEBRUARY, my friends! Love is obviously in the air.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. Congratulations to Pauline, #33 in the comment list, our winner of the Back to the Roots Mushroom Garden giveaway! We know you're going to love your wonderful kit.

Remember- ALL From My Hearth to Yours readers get a 10% discount on any mushroom garden purchased from Back to the Roots' online store until February 28th! Simply enter the discount code 'FROMTHEHEARTH10' at checkout.