Category Archives: life

This and That

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*Knocks the dust and Girl Scout cookie crumbs off the keyboard.* 

{Ahem.}

Hey, guys!

It’s been a minute since I published a post. I’m giving myself a lot of grace with blogging these days (see: my post on ‘unplugging‘ back in October) because the flower shop keeps me super busy and I want to make sure to leave time for the important things in life. Like Netflix. ;)

Read more…

Unplugging

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I started this post a week ago. It languished in draft while I navigated a crazy few days at the flower shop, worked through the weekend, and slept it all off on Sunday. Yesterday, I penciled in some “me time,” and ended up at a bookstore (I always end up at a bookstore) where I spotted this journal and decided I needed to finish, and publish, my thoughts on “unplugging.”

Prince Ea’s “Can We Autocorrect Humanity?” video is making the rounds on my Facebook newsfeed. It’s an important message wrapped in a beautiful delivery.

“Did you know the average person spends 4 years of his life looking down at his cell phone? Kind of ironic, ain’t it? How these touch-screens can make us lose touch…”

It seems especially timely for bloggers, considering Young House Love’s recent farewell post and the NYT article, “When Blogging Becomes a Slog.”

Erin Loechner (Design for Mankind) said,

“I need a little less online, and a little more in life.”

Erin wrote a post two years ago, “The Rebirth of Slow Blogging,” that echoes all my sentiments about blogging and social media as I approach my fifth year of writing A Pretty Penny.

Like all things in my life right now, I want to simplify blogging.

I want to write and share without worrying about a posting schedule, or promoting across my “channels,” or monitoring my traffic. I want a break from advertising and affiliate marketing and “curating” the perfect Pinterest boards. I want to fill my Instagram with pictures of my dog and messy (productive) flower shop and friends’ babies, instead of contrived images designed to drive the most “likes.”

I want to power down in the evenings and weekends. Make dinner for my husband. Read a book. Bake something. Watch my favorite sitcoms from the 90’s (I love you, TV Land). Binge on Netflix.

Most of all, I want to circle back to my original intentions for this blog. I want it to be fun; a creative outlet that makes me feel inspired, instead of obligated.

So I’m turning off the ads, turning down the pressure, and turning a new leaf in my blogging journey where less is more, and real life comes first.

Slow and steady.

You sniff it you buy it: A very expensive lesson in essential oils and other recent goings-on.

Last Saturday afternoon, C and I wrapped up work on time [glory be] and went to Ruby Tuesdays for a couple chicken BLTs. Which we’re now hopelessly addicted to; we had back-to-backers over the weekend and I may have talked my parents into meeting me for dinner for another one tonight. It’s a problem. A delicious, panko-encrusted, bacon-topped problem.

When we got home, I was running through my regular paranoid Shop Closing Routine Checklist — Did I lock the front door? Close up the back? Did I leave the walk-in cooler open? Is a lamp on, threatening to burn down the building? — and realized that I left a hot glue pan burning on the design counter from a homecoming corsage I made that morning. I paused the episode of Project Runway I was watching on demand (in my bed, mid-sandwich coma) and headed back downtown.

It took all of 60 seconds to unplug the glue pan, so rather than waste the trip, I decided to stop at a health food store for a couple beauty supplies. I should’ve gone to the one downtown near the shop, but I stopped at the one closer to home instead.

I grabbed a big bottle of sweet almond oil and some rosewater spray (which just smells so good). While I was there, I thought I’d check out their chamomile essential oil; my girlfriend uses it for lots of things and I love making scrubs and body moisturizers with different aromatherapy oils. More on that later.

This particular shop keeps all of their essential oils behind the counter, which bugs me because I want to get at them to sniffem, you know? I asked the two ladies at the counter if they had any roman chamomile; which I pronounce, “camo-meal,” for what it’s worth. One lady confirmed they had it in stock, while the other searched the shelves. She said, “I don’t see ‘roman’ chamomile,”  — she pronounced it, “camo-mile,” which made me weirdly self-conscious; I decided to google the pronunciation later — “but we have this kind.”

As she passed the bottle to me over the counter, I totally assumed she’d handed it my way so I could take a whiff. So I twisted the cap, and just as I felt the inner seal snap, the other lady exclaimed, “DON’T OPEN IT!”

When the camo-meal/mile oil didn’t explode or spontaneously combust in my hand, I realized that I’d just committed some kind of you-break-it-you-buy-it infraction. “I guess I’ll just… buy it?” I offered. I thought about the last essential oil I purchased there: lavender, for about $15. I turned the tiny bottle over in my hand to peek at the price tag and…

$59.99.

Wait. WUT? $59.99?!

“Do you… know… how much this is? I thought… you were giving it to me… to smell it…” I stammered. One lady looked as surprised as I was, while the other, who I recognized from years of shopping there, explained that it’s one of the priciest essential oils on the market (of course it is) and they don’t even have a tester bottle because it’s so expensive and made of unicorn tears and pixie dust or something; I stopped listening because I was trying to reconcile in my brain that I was about to drop 60 bucks on this tiny bottle of smelly oil I wasn’t even sure I knew how to pronounce.

“Um, do you still want it?” my sister in shock asked. “Um, do I have a choice?” I replied. Nope, it didn’t seem I did. You guys. I can’t even.

I went home and googled “chamomile oil uses,” followed by “how to pronounce chamomile,” (turns out we’re both right) and broke the news to my husband that I spent 3-bottles-of-Tito’s worth of cash on an essential oil that would hopefully change our lives and fix every ailment we ever have. At least, the Internet says it will.

He’s pretty skeptical.

(Currently accepting any and all recommendations for chamomile essential oil, please and thanks.)

In other news, things are picking up at the flower shop as we ease back into our season. We had two big banquet events last week, and the calendar is filling up with weddings, parties, and holiday stuff. In about three blinks, it will be Christmas. Tomorrow is OCTOBER, y’all.

We’re a little bummed to see summer go, but C is coping by keeping busy with his other full-time job, fantasy football, and I’m comforting myself with thoughts of hearty crockpot recipes, pumpkin-centric baked goods, and the return of scarf weather.

And I have a feeling this fall is going to smell like chamomile… ;-)

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Oh hey, it’s fall!

Hi 23rd day of September!

I’ve peeped you on my calendar at least a dozen times over the last several months in an effort to keep a mental note of the inaugural day of Autumn. And then you just kind of came and went, and I durn near missed you!

Thank goodness for style blogs, or it might have blown right by me. Bee-tee-dubs, Kendi’s outfit today is basically how I plan to dress all fall; in fact I happened to wear something super similar today with this LOFT utility blouse, which I bought in every color during their last pre-season sale. Note to self: Add “stockpiling the same article of clothing in every available shade” to the list of Ways I’m Becoming My Mother.

There were no pumpkin lattes to commemorate the first day of fall — seriously, you guys, they’re just chemical cocktails; make them at home instead — and I’m not even thinking about boots and scarves yet. We’re making the transition at the flower shop with lots of sunflowers and burlap and such (and loving it) but I haven’t even done my windows yet, so I already feel behind… I’m excited for the season, I just can’t believe it’s, like, here.

You have pretty big shoes to fill, fall. Summer was all kinds of wonderful, and she’ll be tough to beat.

Now Florida, can we get under 90 degrees?

Calling all Gram Parsons fans!

Gram Parsons Derry Down Downtown Winter Haven Florida

A note: I don’t usually post this kind of thing, but the Gram Parsons’ Cosmic Revival @ Derry Down Kickstarter project is really special to me. I hope you’ll indulge me in a little fundraising promotion, and help spread the word to Gram Parsons fans and music lovers worldwide!

In the heart of my hometown, there’s a tiny building with a big history. In 1964, Bob Parsons bought a place for his step-son, a young growing musician, to hone his talent for performing on stage. His step-son was Gram Parsons, who would become one of the most influential musicians of our time. Today is the 41st anniversary of his passing; he was only 26 years old, but in his short lifetime he created a new genre of music, “Cosmic American Music,” and influenced countless musicians.

Over the years, the Derry Down housed a number of musicians — The Allman Brothers and Tom Petty both performed on its stage — and later became a teen destination. Today, like so many great pieces of history, it’s become a victim of time; it’s been empty for years and fallen into disrepair. But there’s a big community movement, spearheaded by Main Street Winter Haven to restore the Derry Down to it’s former glory, while preserving its history and honoring Gram’s legacy.

Music was a huge part of my life growing up. I spent the better part of a decade with a violin glued to my chin, and I learned so much from my experiences performing on stage. By the time I was in high school, many of my friends were talented musicians and some had their own bands. I remember hanging out in downtown venues every weekend, listening to them play for hours in a safe place with all my closest friends. I can’t imagine an adolescence that didn’t include those memories…

That’s what the Derry Down is all about. I’m so excited to be part of this project as an executive board member of Main Street Winter Haven. Along with a community committee of volunteers, we’re dedicated to seeing this place restored to its former glory so young musicians have a safe place to play and learn.

Last night, The Anderson Brothers christened the Derry Down stage with the first live performance in more than 50 years. We also celebrated the launch of the Gram Parsons’ Cosmic Revival @ Derry Down Kickstarter campaign.  We have 44 days to meet our goal of $150,000 for the renovation!

Please take a moment to visit the Kickstarter, watch the amazing video by local agency, C/N/P, and professional photographer, Mike Potthast, give whatever you’re able, and most importantly, pass it along.

Thanks, guys!!

Hey, August, where’d you go?

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{ s’long white jeans… see you next summer. }

I’m sitting on the couch in my sweatpants because I got greedy with the long weekend, slowly tapping out my first blog post in over a week (I’m rusty) and choking down a giant green smoothie to atone for the sugary sins of the holiday (more on that tomorrow).

I don’t know about you guys, but it seems like I blinked and August disappeared.

This summer was so good to us: the flower shop was much busier than I anticipated, we made it to the beach, C spent a week in Canada with his family, our friends had a beautiful baby girl, we celebrated birthdays and holidays with our favorite people, and I tackled some overdue projects on my to-do list. It was pretty perfect, as summers go.

At the start of it, I decided to cut myself some slack. I took a break from blogging regularly, let tumbleweeds roll across my Instagram for days at a time, and skipped out of the shop as often as I could manage. I cooked a lot for C and me, read several books in the sunshine, watched two seasons of Once Upon a Time on Netflix, and went to bed early almost every night. Good grief, it was lovely; and it made me realize that maybe I really can have a better work/life balance if I just slow down and make it a priority.

The end of August marked the one-year anniversary of C’s job (I keep wanting to type “new job,” but nope, no longer applicable) which also means I officially survived the first year of running the flower shop on my own. I feel like there’s a blog post in there somewhere about the things I learned about myself over the last twelve months, but it will have to wait because my brain still thinks it’s Labor Day.

Now that September’s here, it’s back to business as we head into our wedding/event season. But I’m going to hold on to summer for as long as I can; at least a little of the work-less-relax-more part.

Get Outta Town

After a handful of postponements over several months, the stars finally aligned for C and I to sneak off to his parents’ vacation home on the coast. It was our first legit getaway in over a year; a Gaylord Palms overnighter with these amazing cocktails was our last out-of-town adventure.

We packed for a fancy weekend: visits to local museums; gourmet meals; late night cocktails at swanky downtown lounges…

When we got there, we opted for daiquiris at a beach bar in our swimsuits, burritos for dinner, pool lounging, and a rousing husband-and-wife shuffleboard tournament (I regret to inform you that victory wasn’t mine). I read a book cover to cover, took several naps, ate way too much frozen custard from the little cafe near the condo, and went to bed before 9pm both nights.

Plan B, you win.

And the Lennoxes are clearly ready for retirement living.

Every time we manage to get out of town, we swear up and down we’re going to make quality time off a priority. I’m all about a good staycation, but sometimes you just need some beach/mountain/forest/spa air in your lungs and a break from your everyday surroundings to really relax. Plus, I always end up doing something worky when I’m supposed to be unwinding at home; see: The Great Closet Purge of Labor Day 2013.

Here’s to working a little less, and running away a little more.

Thanks for a wonderful weekend, babe. 

two years later…

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Flashback to last week, when I pretended my lifestyle is conducive to white jeans on a weekday (hint: it isn’t; not shown: the big lily pollen stain just to the side of the rip on my knee).

It’s summertime and the livin’ is [relatively] easy. I’m forcing myself to work shorter days, take a few afternoons off, and make time for the creative projects that collected dust on my to-do list.

It’s taken C and I years to adjust to the seasonal swing of our business. We used to spend the summer months in a panic, biting our nails and stressing over the drop in sales as if each July marked the floral industry end times. Now that we’re old pros (ha – who am I kidding?) we let ourselves take advantage of the downtime to recharge our batteries and prep for the upswing.

At the start of this month, we celebrated our second anniversary of officially owning the family flower shop. I remember how excited — and nervous — we were to move into our current space and start this adventure together. In some ways it feels like yesterday, but at the same time, my life before entrepreneurship feels like another existence.

C and I were chatting recently about how far we’ve come in the last couple of years, and I confessed to him that I truly believe our business saved me. I casually throw around the term Quarter Life Crisis when describing my mid-20s, but truthfully, I was in a dark place. The flower shop gave me a fresh start: a chance to flex my creative muscles, put my business degree to use, and stay too busy to think about my anxieties and self-doubt. And in the daily grind of the last two years, I bloomed (forgive the cheese) into a strong and capable, albeit exhausted, B-O-S-S.

Of course, I’m still learning. In fact, just today, I finally figured out how to do my own bank reconciliations in Quickbooks. My accountants are so proud; I know because I called to tell them.

and now we need a great dane.

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My friend, Katie, snapped this photo of C and Cooper the Blue Great Dane of My Dreams at last night’s Yappy Hour; mostly for photographic evidence of the significant size difference of their craniums. If there was a competition for giantest of heads, Coop would take the trophy and all the glory.

Doak — who is completely oblivious to his own large stature —  typically prefers the company of little four-legged friends; he likes his weenies tiny, his Italian Greyhounds delicate, and his Jack Russells small and stacked. He’d rather you didn’t get too close or sniff his backside if you’re a dog over 40 lbs, thankyouverymuch. But he loved Cooper, who was the gentlest of giants and awfully patient while the Doodle gave him a full sniff down and stared adoringly into his eyeballs, snoot-to-snoot.

For a second, I think I had C convinced that we could totally make a Doodle + Dane combo work in our 1700 square foot house.

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{ Maybe Doak was just happy to not be the biggest guy in the room, for once. }

 

here’s to the weekend!

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Friday, I’m happy to see ya.

C, Doak, and I are headed to a Yappy Hour downtown in about 30 minutes. That’s a happy hour for dogs, which makes my crazy dog lady heart just pitter-patter right out of my chest.

Have a great weekend!

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taking stock | 07

Making : room on the ol’ Macbook because she’s starting to move at a turtle’s pace. Sorry blog photos circa 2010, there’s no more room in the inn.
Cooking : lots of chicken, burgers and veggies on the grill.
Drinking : “fat flush water.” I’ll let you know when I drop a few dress sizes. ;)
Reading: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.
Wanting: a weenie puppy just like my neighbors. {Can you stand it?! I can’t stand it.}
Playing: with my new Tumblr.
Wasting: hours binge-watching the second season of Orange is the New Black.
Wishing: this Anthropologie dress was on sale.
Enjoying: the slower pace of summer. I’m trying to take more breaks from work, get a tan, and be as shamelessly lazy as possible.
Waiting: for my friend, Laura, to get here. She’s coming home from LA, and I might lock her up in the flower cooler so she can’t go back.
Liking: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen. I’ve been using it head to toe for a few months with nary a sunburn or sunblock-related breakout.
Wondering: if my 4-day itchy throat and runny nose is the agonizingly slow start of a seasonally-inappropriate cold, or similarly mistimed allergies. Either way, it’s summer — get it together immune system.
Loving: Ben & Jerry’s s’mores ice cream. A little too much, if you catch my drift.
Hoping: for some beach time soon. I need my bum in some warm sand, STAT.
Marvelling: at all the inspiring stories featured on The Good News Network. If, like me, the regular news makes you want to curl into the fetal position and cry your life away, this site is for you. Bookmark it, or follow on Facebook.
Needing: to tackle the laundry. The only things hanging in my closet are cocktail dresses, pencil skirts, and fancy blouses; so basically, nothing I can wear.
Smelling: not much of anything; I think my sinuses are stuffed with cotton balls.
Wearing: Durance dry body oil with olive oil and fig extract. It’s my new favorite moisturizer: it absorbs quickly, smells fresh, and keeps my skin super soft. {It’s available at Spectrum Studio, for the locals.}
Knowing: that I need to savor every minute of this summer, because it’s going to be over before I know it.
Thinking: about some summer projects I’d like to tackle around the house and shop. Now if I could just find some motivation.
Opening: cases of cute summer supplies at the flower shop.
Giggling: ’til I almost wet my pants at girls nights in. I love my girls so much it [sometimes physically, as in ab spasms] hurts.
Feeling: content.

Inspired by Sydney, who was inspired by Pip!

hey, thursday, I like you.

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Today, on the heels of my I-don’t-want-to-post-photos-of-my-outfits post, I give you… A photo of my outfit.

I’m a complicated woman.

Today was one of those days that was supposed to be like any other Thursday, but unexpectedly turned into an awesome one.

My baby brother called me at the shop late yesterday afternoon to invite me to his 5th grade graduation this morning. My day started bright and early at his elementary school, choked up and weirdly emotional about the whole thing: slideshows with cute kids and good music are my kryptonite; I can’t believe he’s going to middle school; I wish I had more time to spend with him; and, really, he may as well be going to college.

I’m so grateful that I was able to be there. Time is going way too fast!

When I cruised into the shop sometime around noon, my superstar staff had it under all kinds of control, so I gave myself the rest of the afternoon off. I took a few deliveries, did a little shopping with some LOFT cash cards that were burning a hole in my wallet, bought myself a copy of Sophia Amoruso’s new book, #GIRLBOSS, found a great full-length floor mirror for the hacienda, and now I’m sitting in a burrito joint mainlining queso and blogging from my iPhone. With nowhere to be, no deadlines to meet, and limitless iced tea refills.

What is this life?!

June 5, 2014, you’re a good egg.

Also, I wore these heels all day. Huzzah!

my 800th blog post, what?!

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Holy shizz, y’all, WordPress says this is my 800th post on A Pretty Penny. While it’s not as monumental as, say, the 1000th post, I think it’s a milestone worth toasting with a good Merlot. And considering it took more than four years of semi-regular updating to hit this mark — and my recent lazy blogging habits — I may be 80 before I reach the 4-digits, so there’s that. Here’s hoping I still have things to share on on the Internet as an octogenarian. ;-)

I spent some time cruising the archives recently, thinking about what a gift it is to have a virtual time capsule of the last several years: our start at the flower shop, memories with family and friends, personal and business lessons learned… I grew up on the pages of APP under the veil of hundreds of posts about what I wore.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m growing out of this blog; at least parts of it. I’ll be honest, I have very little interest in sharing photos of my outfits every day (and most of them are so basic I doubt you’d be interested, either). I can’t regale you with Pinterest-worthy hair and makeup tutorials because I live in top-knots and tinted moisturizer. And I gave up on the idea of a regular posting schedule about a year ago, when C left the business to pursue a fulfilling career of his own and I took on the majority of the responsibility at our flower shop.

I think this is the proverbial fork in the road at which lots of bloggers decide to throw in the towel, but…

… I don’t want to stop blogging.

At all. I just want to shift my perspective a bit, admit I’m getting older and way less fancy, and write and share about the things I love. When I can. So I can look back 800 posts from now and remember who I was during this crazy time in our lives.

That’s the best part of blogging, if you ask me. Not the monetizing, stat-tracking, pinned posts, or number of social media followers; it’s the sharing.

And I still have lots to share!

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taking stock | 06

Making : mini cheesecakes for a Memorial Day BBQ with friends tomorrow.
Cooking : umm, not much; lots of takeout happening at Chez Lennox this month.
Drinking : fresh-squeezed strawberry lemonade from the farmers market yesterday.
Reading: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and Gilead by Marilynn Robinson.
Wanting: a pair of tall leather gladiator sandals for summer.
Looking: forward to lots of summer dinners on the new grill C brought home this afternoon. Our old one has been broken for, like, ever.
Playing: Sam Smith’s new album, In the Lonely Hour.
Wasting: money on expensive chocolate bars from the specialty cheese shop downtown.
Wishing: every weekend was a three-day weekend.
Enjoying:  a few days of being completely disconnected from our business. It feels really good to unplug.
Waiting: for C to fall asleep so I can stay up all night watching Ally McBeal on Netflix. With s’mores. Because someone doesn’t have to be at work in the morning!
Liking: Sunday morning blueberry pancakes at our favorite cafe.
Wondering: where my copy of The Fault in Our Stars is hiding… I need to finish it so I talk one of my friends into seeing the movie with me.
Loving: LOFT’s curvy skinny ankle zip skinnies.
Hoping: we can make some vacation plans stick this summer.
Marvelling: at being nearly half way through 2014.
Needing: a new dishwasher, as the current one went the way of the aforementioned grill. I just can’t muster the energy or enthusiasm to go dishwasher shopping. Adulthood, blech.
Smelling: the sweet tea candle I burned this afternoon.
Wearing: an Essie mint candy apple mani.
Noticing: I have selective amnesia about Florida weather; I could swear it wasn’t as hot this time last year.
Knowing: I could probably whip up a good DIY version of this dry shampoo powder.
Thinking: it’s time to bite the bullet and commit to another healthy hair chop and some fresh highlights.
Bookmarking: 50 life hacks to simplify my world.
Opening: my new Whitney English Day Designer. Come August, my organization game gets a major upgrade.
Giggling: at celebrities reading mean tweets on Jimmy Kimmel.
Feeling: luxuriously lazy.

Inspired by Sydney, who was inspired by Pip!

random things of late…

A Pretty Penny | Random Things of Late

{ I should write a blog post. But first, let me take a #SELFIE. }

Let’s skip the proper paragraph structure and just get right to it, shall we?

I’d like one of each of Essie’s Haute in the Heat summer color collection, please and thank you.

Did you know Panera has a hidden menu? Stashed away on said menu is my new favorite day starter: a power breakfast egg bowl with steak, sliced tomato, and fresh avocado. I’ve avoided the temptation to ‘gram it for weeks (hashtag: no one cares about your breakfast) but I feel like everyone needs in on this secret, so there you have it.

I’ve been MIA on social media for the last week because I fell into a Gone Girl rabbit hole. Sleep, Eat, Work, Read. My Facebook pages app keeps sending me needy push notifications: “Your audience misses you! It’s been [x amount of time] since your last update!” I’m all, “Chill out, Zuckerberg, I don’t need the pressure; and we all know you’re not showing people my updates anyway.”

Hey Kendi, thanks for making me want to max out my credit card on every single piece of LOFT’s Lou & Grey collection! I honestly think I could live in a never-ending comfy remix of those effortless basics.

And finally, just in case you needed another reason to be madly in love with Emma Stone: Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon.