52 Self Portraits + Friday links

52 self portraits // a thousand threads
I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the pleasure of staging your house, or of living in a staged house while it’s on the market, but let me tell you, it is a treat.

The rugs are gone, the liquor is gone, and all traces of human existence have been wiped out of sight… it’s a sterile, highly regimented sort of existence, something akin to boot camp or rehab.

But it does look beautiful… almost beautiful enough to make me sad that we’ve put it up for sale. Our first real family home…

… but only long enough to start to think, and dream, about what’s to come. A new, light-filled kitchen, a peaceful single-family home, a real yard! I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, so much could still happen. But what’s certain is that there are many, many exciting things to come. And that makes me look forward to the weekend just all that much more!

Before I go running full speed out the door though, Mark and I thought we’d try out a new project this week.

… over the past few years, this blog has truly stoked our mutual love for photography. We’ve learned and grown so much together, but we’re still learning more every day. And each discipline has its own special set of rules and creative boundaries to break… so we thought we’d play with one we haven’t explored as much: portraiture.

Building on our “52 dates” project, we’d love to take “52 self portraits” — just us and our little camera clicker, trying not to embarrass ourselves completely, and maybe even trying to make a little art…

I have to admit — this one scares me a whole lot more than the dates. Keeping things creative will be a weekly challenge, and generally I like to hide my face in photos. But it’s a challenge we’d like to explore, so let us know what you think!

We’re excited to push ourselves to think up a new shot to go with each Friday’s links, but we want you to have just as much fun with it as we are, so if you think you might dig it, let us know.

And enjoy the weekend ahead!!

… keep your fingers crossed that someone falls in love with our little house and the liquor comes back soon!

5 breakups for a healthier, happier you.

Oh man… these.

And these.

7 free tools for tracking blog post performance.

Super versatile pieces of furniture for every home.

Home perfection.

That looks about right.

Words that could conceivably be used to describe both the Super Bowl and a superb owl.

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Grapefruit cardamom rum cake

grapefruit cardamom rum cake // a thousand threads
It’s about this time each year that we cold weather dwellers start dreaming about a getaway. You know the drill… white sandy beaches, little umbrellas, 10lbs of rum cake… it all sounds too good to be true. Especially when the dumb dreary blizzards don’t even turn out to be worth their weight.

That is, unless you happen to cruise out of Baltimore just in time to meet a cold front that extends all the way to the Caribbean. Add a justbarelynotbroken, recently operated on arm that makes a soak in the spa look less than friendly, and you might just find yourself scrapping the sand to hole up with fourteen documentaries and a slab of midnight pizza in your sweet, warm, gently swaying room on the sea… such was the story of our first, and only, cruise.

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New roads

new roads // a thousand threads
Things are changing fast in these parts, not the seasons, of course — winter always does seem to stick around — but certainly everything else.

Last week, Mark was in the midst of interviewing for a job that we didn’t want to get our hopes up over when the price on a home we’ve been watching intently suddenly dropped.

I’ll be the first to say that the home is a total mess…. but it has the bones of a true beauty. Mid-century perfection hiding under a year or sixty of carpeted bathrooms and crumbling brick… it could be our dream home. So we jumped. Neveryoumind the challenge of qualifying for a loan on just one full income…

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DIY rose petal infused honey + Friday links

diy rose-infused honey // a thousand threads
Winter looks to be making a big stop in our neighborhood this weekend, so we’ll be stockpiling the ingredients for the coziest foods we can find and hunkering down under the covers. Certainly with a big bowl of soup, but also – maybe… okay totally – with a little bit of something sweet.

February is lurking around the corner… the coldest of cold months here in Maryland, but also the darkness before the dawn and of course, a time for one more holiday. But whether or not you’ve started thinking about all of that yet (thanks, Laicie, for the reminder…) you might dig this easy rose petal infused honey diy I shared over on Lovely Indeed.

Sure, it makes a nice little love-infused gift for your friends, family, and anyone else you’d like… but it’s also pretty great to have hanging around in the pantry when you want to make a special treat (or just drizzle over a little ice cream…).

Anyone else suddenly find themselves craving ice cream when the weather turns cold?

Revisiting “this is water.”

… and not giving a fuck.

How to handle a new job like a boss.

Stop it with the email already.

So much pretty.

So much of the love for Emma Watson.

I’m such a sucker for buttermilk cake, and this frosting sounds delicious.

Speaking of soup

… and ice cream. (I feel like burnt toast ice cream might just make my life.)

p.s. We’re on Food52!! Hi there (and thank you SO much for clicking over) if that’s how you found your way here!

Happy weekend to you all!! Stay warm and eat some ice cream for me!

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Blue corn bread

blue corn bread // a thousand threads
There was a time in my life when 44 degrees would’ve been considered something less than a “really nice day,” and the seasons mostly existed in theory… that time is not now.

Now, winter comes once a year. Shorter days bookended by warmer beds and the slow slog of grey in between…

Now, the seasons each have their own soul. Summers are marked by vacations and trips to the pool, spring by the cherry blossoms, fall by the cider, and winter, most definitely, by the comfort food.

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Delicata squash galette

delicata squash galette // a thousand threads
Delicata squash and apple cider vinegar are, without a doubt, two of my favorite food groups… I tell Mark I’m making up for lost time with salt and vinegar chips I never had or wouldn’t touch as a kid when he starts giving me the side eye for hogging the pop chips.

If properly covered and roasted in a tasty salt and vinegar rub, I think I’d eat a sock… and delicata squash is basically candy.

So the sweet, salty, vinegary combination in this galette is just the fix.

… especially since it’s wrapped in my other two favorite food groups: flour and butter.

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My first 3-day juice cleanse // A detox diary

my first 3-day juice cleanse // a thousand threads
I’m not a diet girl — I don’t dig deprivation. So most of the time I try to watch my portions, track my calories, and do my best to eat food that’s as wholesome as possible. Not so much because I should – if I could I’d eat sugar cereal and loaves of bread interchangeably and always — but because if I didn’t, I’d starve.

Nothing will teach you the value of good, real food like counting calories for a week… and there we find the root of my fascination with juicing. It doesn’t seem like it should, but somehow a whole day on juice can actually leave you feeling… not full exactly… but pretty okay.

If you’re feeling skeptical of the juice cleanse in general, check out this documentary… it might change your mind.

As much as I’m a believer, though, I’ve never made it through a multi-day cleanse. A day, maybe… but only ever with my own scrappy little juicer and a dream. So when Fruitive reached out to talk about a collaboration – a chance to try a real (as in someone actually put some thought into the various juices and their individual health impacts) multi-day cleanse — I jumped at the chance. Fruitive’s juice is fresh, seasonal, organic (or better) and totally delicious… to a point that if I weren’t looking at the word “kale” on their label, I’m not sure I’d believe it was in there.

I chose their “clear the fog” cleanse, because I’m a wimp and the all-green-juice deal looked just a little bit too intense. And with my general love of but total lack of knowledge of longer juice cleanses, I set off to document the journey…

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The blessing of boredom

the blessing of boredom // a thousand threads
I’ve found it harder than usual to put pen to paper these past few months, and I’m not so sure it’s writers’ block as much as pure, unadulterated exhaustion. I’ve been scrambling for some time now. Scrambling to do it all, to make it all happen… to get to a place of rest.

When I finally found that place, I thought the inspiration would flow… finally, the spigot would be freed and we’d all be just a little bit more excited to read what came out of it. Instead, I found the opposite. A brain so tired, so ready to give in…

I must’ve watched a million hours of television over holiday break. Melting a little further into the couch cushions with each passing day.

But at some point along the way, amidst the atrophy and the empty cupboards, I found the quiet.

And I’ll admit, I hate the quiet. I hate to be in the house on a gloomy day with nothing but the sound of the rain and the wheels on the road outside… I hate to leave that house even more, preferring something of an agoraphobic-light winterized version of myself… under the covers, snacking on sad animal crackers meant to have been saved for Austin while binge-watching Mind of a Chef.

But if I can overcome that lonely sloth that lives inside me, eventually I can force myself to face the quiet… and the quiet is where the creativity lives.

We hear nearly every day how our generation is over-burdened by technology. Too much stimulation sucking up the few cells we had left after the pot and the whip-its took their toll… and most of the time I’ll fight for that damn iPhone, because we’re codependent, you see.

I really don’t remember how we found our way anywhere in the age of maps, and a recent experience in Dublin proves we (I, most of all…) can’t go back.

But in the quiet… in the time of the ticking clock and the clicking keys… when I can hear myself think and breathe and be…

I realize just how much I miss the time in between.

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How to make your own infused salts + Friday links

how to make your own infused salts // a thousand threads
Happy Friday! And congratulations on making it through the first week back from the holidays without a full-on Falling Down rampage… I’m proud of you all. Okay mostly I’m proud of me, because if ever there was a week. January, snow, fires on the metro… what is happening to my world? One more crazy commute and I may have to start camping outside the office in my car…

The good news is that I’m a big fat weather wimp and really, it’s been a pretty good week. The new year really does feel like a welcome reset this year, with a nice slow bit of hibernation ahead for the winter… I have a pile of new cookbooks, a brand new planner, a cleanse in the fridge, and I’m ready for the reset in more ways than one, with a few big things already on the horizon…

I know it’s a tease since I can’t quite give you all of the details, but the work starts this month on a major reset for this space that I can’t wait to share, and this weekend we’ve set an appointment to look at a house that, who knows, might turn out to be a bit of a reset of its own… a sort of massive process of a reset, but keep your fingers crossed, because we’re excited for the possible challenge! Mark hasn’t quite reset his employment situation, but I think he’s on his way, and slowly, surely, life is coming back around to a hopeful place… even if the hope still sits a little in limbo.

I mentioned a cleanse that I’m excited to share with you all next week — you might assume that given my #1 value in life is butter (no really though) I wouldn’t be down for a cleanse… but I believe in butter so strongly because it’s whole. Fake food might save a few calories, sure… and over the course of my life, I’ve tried all of the tricks. But it always comes back to whole, balanced eating to keep me on track feeling truly good. You won’t see shortening advocated for on this blog, but you might see lard… I love to indulge, and I feel that the healthy (and better tasting) way to do so is to stick to foods with ingredients I recognize. So when I’ve gone a little overboard on the butter and sugar (always) and feel the need for a reset, I’m all about a whole foods cleanse.

… that’s not to say it’s easy, so stay tuned for a little detox diary I have planned for next week.

And since we’re on the subject of resets, one easy option I love to add a little more flavor to healthy foods is to make and use infused salts. So this week I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes — three recipes we made at our last Field + Foundry event — on West Elm’s blog!

Head over for a few ideas… they’re super easy to make if you’ve never tried, and there’s no reason you have to stick to my recipes, you can use any of your favorite flavors in a similar way to create your own combination of infused salts.

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Has the narrative of the American dream shifted? What do you think?

Resolutions from from Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Carl Sagan, Bruce Lee, Maya Angelou, and more.

This beautiful green minestrone.

Manspreading.

And some research on the gender gap in the military.

This great diy coffee table.

Dutch babies for all of the meals.

It’s cold, I think I’m allowed two links to soup – especially when they look this good.

10 handmade home solutions for the winter.

Photo by Reema Desai.

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First snow + Cranberry scones with clementine glaze

first snow + cranberry scones with clementine glaze // a thousand threads
The first big snow of the year always makes me think about Gilmore Girls — a reference Mark now understands, after having been forced to go along on all seven seasons of my trip down memory lane.

Somewhere in the season where Luke and Lorelai are happy, Lorelei wakes up in the middle of the night and drags Luke out of bed, so excited for the first flake to fall…

But by the middle of the following day, Lorelai and snow aren’t on such good terms.

I didn’t grow up with much of the fluffy white stuff on the coast, so I wait for it. Every year, I’m as impatient as a child on Christmas Eve. And when it finally comes, it’s glorious. Beautiful white blankets of snow make the whole world new for a day…

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