Mar 5, 2015
I have had such reservations about writing here lately. I haven't felt the inspiration or the motivation or the connection. Those are all words for excuses, and I am not really one for excuses. Ever. We are in a new adjustment phase. I feel like life post-baby will be filled with many of these phases. Something new comes up in life, you adjust to a new rhythm and you eventually move forward without what was previously a struggle. Right now, as the youths are sayin,' THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
Maybe I am being hyperbolic. Maybe. I struggle with wanting to achieve my own standard of perfection. I know that is completely unrealistic, but it is a strong motivator for me. I have insanely high standards, and I use them to gauge how well I am performing or executing or pacing. This is a phenomenon that has only happened to me since becoming a mother. I was a really shitty time manager before I had a baby.
I know my time is ultimately governed by my tiny human's need for rhythms. It's a successful strategy for us (I think so, anyway). I know when he's going to wake, to eat, to nap, to need my attention and when he's going to sleep. I know that I go off to work three days a week and can work without any interruptions or breaks. I know when I come home, I need to relieve Duq so he can go work. I know that I need to wake up a little earlier to keep my standard of Rugged and Fancy, and I know I need to stay up a little later to paint and try to hustle a little more. But right now, I need my sleep. I need the brain downtime. I need to sit in bed in pajamas at 7pm and watch reruns of Modern Family.
I think that is what I have done the past couple weeks. In my free time, I totally checked out. It felt good. And now I need to pick up pace again. I have to allow myself to believe I really can do all of this. I don't doubt myself; I just sometimes get really introverted for the sake of self-preservation. I recharge. And then I move forward. It's okay to very occasionally get worn down by the hustle. Sit down. Stand up. Shake it off. Shake it some more.
Grown up life can be heavy with responsibilities, but you can strive to make it the life you dream of. And you have the power to choose how you see it.
I want to thank the people who have reached out to us over the past couple of weeks when I haven't really wanted to share here, when I have questioned the value of this space and when someone stole images of our little family from here and created a fake Facebook profile (it's gone now). It means so much that each of you comes here, cares about what I have to say and encourage me when I obviously need a little love.
So here is some encouragement for wherever you are today: Comparison is the thief of joy. If you're going to look at those around you, do it as a gesture of encouragement or appreciaton. Don't compare yourself. Don't judge. Don't criticize or condemn. Smile gently to that person and confidently to yourself and move forward with peace and joy.
Have an awesome day, y'all.
Feb 25, 2015
I had every intention of posting here with all of my usual fervor and effort. And I just haven't lately. I am adjusting to working in an office three days a wekk, and when I come home I just do not want to be on a computer again. But I also miss this space. This week I had a stomach bug. UGH. And now Alabama is in an official state of emergency because it may snow.
Anyway, here are a few things I am kind of dreaming of lately...
1/ Those vintage Chanel t-strap flats. DREAM SHOE. I want to wear them with skinny black jeans and black tank tops every day. Every. Day.
2/This Aranaz Noli bag, hand-woven in the Phillipines. Spring and Summer mean woven leather or straw bags to me.
3/ An open knit blush cashmere sweater from Vince. I am OBSESSED with this color. Obsessed.
4/ Satya Jewelry's long hand knotted silk mala. I recently finished that amazing 40 Days to Free workshop with Villager Yoga and we made our own mala, which I use to meditate SEVERAL times a day. So right now, of course, I am looking at all the different kinds of mala and thinking about making myself one with semi-precious stones. (I will be writing more soon about my experience with Villager Yoga!)
I hope this reaches you all in a happy, productive, satisfied and grateful place. I will be back to me here in this space soon.
Feb 20, 2015
You guys. I am feeling so much burnout here right now. I've been working full steam in my new position that I am not really talking about much in this space right now. Duq and I are basically passing ships that pass off the baby between each of our work, and Tennessee is currently sitting beside me just straight up throwing fits over a banana. I've been feeling really private lately, trying to remember what real life was like before we had computers on our phones and three devices on us at all times. Before social media and perfect filters and, geez, before selfies.
I have been working hard, and in my free time I want to spend time with my family, cook delicious and healthy food, paint and read, do some yoga, meditate. It's been completely satisfying and fulfilling. This is an adjustment period.
But there's still cool stuff I need to tell you about.
1/ Rose quartz. It's been used for thousands of years for bringing about well-being, especially in your closest relationships (hello, married people!). It opens the heart chakra and can bring peace, forgiveness, love to situations. Hence it's the perfect material for a, um, personal product. I now introduce to you the Chakrub. (Please tell me you are putting two and two together here.)
2/ Jade Rollers. The ancient Chinese empresses used these beautiful jade objects to improve circulation, cleanse the lymphatic system and promote clear skin. This cool medicinal stone depuffs your face and gives you a totally health promoting massage with that little bit of luxury and mysticism that I think we all want to experience in our products. I can't wait to order one of these babies.
3/ @ihavethisthingwithfloors. This is my favorite Instagram account ever. It's all amazing patterned, mostly mosaic floors. And shoes. It's an amazing source of inspiration for me. And wanderlust.
Do y'all like posts like this? A few things that I just think are cool and that you might want to know about? You guys mean a lot to me. Have a great weekend.
Feb 18, 2015
I haven't posted much in the last week, which is atypical for me. It's important to ask yourselves why you do what you do every once in a while. That process can reveal so much about what you're doing, where you want to go and can clarify what your motivations behind it are.
Why do I do this here? Sometimes I don't know. Right now, I don't know. I'm not going away anywhere. I am just taking a few days to decompress after some ridiculous interactions/comments/requests I have received lately.
There's a big conversation going on right now about whether what you present to the world via web sites, blogs, socials is honest and representative of that person's life. Yeah, some of my stuff is pretty because I do strive to make some beauty around me in my life. It's a lens through which I choose to look at my own life. And I am super open about our struggles and shortcomings, too. That's real life, amidst the pretty things.
This space is a place where I can talk about everything.
I hope it helps someone, encourages someone, shows something special, pretty, cool. But it's my space.
I will be back here next week.
Feb 17, 2015
Today is our son, Tennessee's first birthday. One year ago I was in labor, beginning to push, pissed that no one told me I couldn't have coffee that day, haha. I would push for four hours. They would try forceps. I would have an emergency c-section. I remember seeing Tennessee for the first time and being so shocked, I simply couldn't even handle it. I remember holding him in the first few hours of his life and thinking, I made this little person. He is with us for life now. And I remember that thought both giving me a deep sense of pride and also gripping me with fear.
The first few weeks at home with Tennessee were INSANE. No one prepares you for what life is really like with a baby once you leave the doors of the hospital. We didn't know how to feed him, how to get him to sleep, how to sleep ourselves. We actually hallucinated from sleep deprivation. Friends would come visit, bring food, pray for us and we would just cry from not knowing what to do.
I got sick. We spent last year restoring all of our health and being a family. It was a huge hit financially- Duq had to take care of both me and the baby, so neither of us could work. But we got to be a family, together for every moment of this amazing first year as parents. So many people came into our lives through the past year that helped us and to whom I offer the deepest love and gratitude.
I forgave myself for being sick.
Today my baby is officially a toddler. I cried about that a lot yesterday. I don't know if I will or can do this again. There are days that I can hardly keep it all together from the difficulty or the stress- YET I want to have the huge family that Duq and I dream of. I want to hold a baby again. I want Tennessee to have siblings to play with and fight with and run around and one day carry on whatever our legacy is.
I had no idea my life could be this meaningful. I had no idea my time could be so well utilizied. I had no idea I could be so loving, so resilient, so tough. This is amazing. Yeah, I occassionally doubt myself or feel like I just can't do it. But I get up and do it. Because I have to. And eventually there is a moment or a few days or even weeks that come with ease and beauty and memories so good, you forget those occassionaly crap day.
Today we celebrate my boy's first year in this world. And it's a good day.
Here are photos from his first birthday party. It was amazing.
I needed to figure out how to do a memorable party with LITERALLY NO MONEY to spend on it at all. I had been wanting to paint some animals so it started there.
Tennessee's godmother made the banner with printed paper cut in diamond shapes and folded over in half and taped, spread along some cool decorative rope. She also made jungle crowns with patterned craft paper.
The palms all came from godmother Shannon's backyard and really created the jungle vibes. I happened to have the birds from my holiday decorations.
Giselle the Gazelle.
Our friend Lauren Sharp Gavin is an amazing baker. She made Tennessee's smash cake with no grains and very little sugar.
She also made me a tiny cake in the back with no grains and no sugar! It's almond and coconut flour, honey, coconut oil, egg. It was the first time in a year I have been able to eat cake. And it was a game changer.
Tea bar. I found that camel that is holding the straws at the thrift store years ago. And the pheasant feathers were a gift from my father many hunting seasons ago. I occassionally scout the thrift store for fun party trays and this colored grass tray is super festive.
We did super easy veggie/meat/cheese platters. I mean, 3pm for a baby party. No one's really counting on the good stuff, right? haha.
Yes, it's a real turtle shell. I have had it since I was a kid.
This is my grain free and sugar free cake. IT WAS SO GOOD. The frosting is grass fed butter, honey and lemon. MMMMMMMMMM.
What is it about balloons and babies??
Candelabra from Morocco. Palo Santo sticks on an old vessel.
Shannon made the paper crowns and my mother brought me the beautiful succulent.
I made the garlands for a friend's baby shower a few weeks ago and got to reuse them.
I got the Vetruvian face vase many years ago at Tj Maxx. For ten dollars. I twas legendary. The copper and brass vessels were thrift store finds.
Opening presents was a hoot.
Tennessee had no interest in cake. HA.
Us and the godparents. It's the first time ever we have all had a photo together. We love them so much. Family forever.
Happy Birthday Tennessee. You changed my life forever.
Feb 11, 2015
Duquette and I have been loyal Malin+Goetz customers for YEARS. What started out as a small family apothecary with a desire to provide products to men and women with sensitive skin, Malin+Goetz has maintained its mom and pop vibe while growing into an internationally recognized name. While the products aren't 100% natural, they're pretty close. You can choose to get a little less chemically while scoring an even better product for your regimen.
The scents are pretty amazing, too. If you've known Duquette for a while you know he has always had a signature scent. For years it was the Malin + Goetz Cannibis oil. Everyone loved it. It was subtle and powerful and musky and slightly sweet. And then a whole bunch of people started wearing it so he moved on. (They also slightly reformulated it, so there's that too.) NOTE: Open Shop doesn't carry the oils.
The brand hasn't been available in Birmingham since our favorite store ever, Bellwether closed its doors two years ago... until now. OPEN SHOP in Woodlawn, a historic neighborhood of downtown Birmingham, now carries a wide, wide selection of Malin + Goetz.
There's a huge assortment of candles. We are burning Vetiver at home; it's super crisp and clean. Check out the Cannabis candle for a really intoxicating scent. And the votive trio includes Tobacco (which is simply one of my favorites).
If you're into travel sizes, there's a really great sampler/travel pack that would make a great gift for someone. Or yourself.
Somehow I didn't get a photo of the deoderant. Look, if you're needing something aluminum and chemical free that actually works throughout the day... this is IT. Thank me later.
Be sure to check out OPEN SHOP in Woodlawn. Follow along on Instagram at @openshopwoodlawn to be in the know about all the amazing happenings going on down there. If you stop in, be sure to mention Rugged and Fancy sent you!
Feb 10, 2015
I grew up in the country. I lived in a little country town in north Alabama, spent my time on a horse farm and the biggest nights we had out as a family were at one of two restaurants: The All Steak (yes, it was all steak. And it was amazing) and the town's Cracker Barrel. The best part of the Cracker Barrel experience other than sitting by the fireplace in a rocking chair and playing checkers was shopping in the lobby's "general store." There was old timey candies and toys, lotions and accessories. All the random stuff if the world you might ever want or need. It was cinnamon scented magic to a little kid. Reflecting back on my childhood, we did actually have authentic general stores, but they just seemed like regular old stores. In retrospect, they were totally awesome. Way more awesome than Cracker Barrel.
Anyway. we love White's Mercantile in Nashville because it remind both me and Duquette of those awesome small town general stores that somehow met all of your needs at once. Located in an old filling station and owned by Holly Williams (granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr.), this is one of our favorite places to stop in and just visit for a bit. Our dear friend John Christian Phifer has always been so kind and welcoming. It's in his western Tennessee country genes. ;)
Man, woman, child, animal, young, old, hungry... there's something for everyone. There's small batch handmade products right next to Filson bags and Current Elliott clothing. Turkish towels, French beer glasses, the best range of candles and more. So much more.
These indigo shibori textiles are some of my favorite items they currently have in store, sourced from Brooklyn.
White's recently added a pantry to the store, carrying local and regional food products.
And can we just talk about this enormous flag from the 1800s they have hanging over the front door? It's amazing. Word is that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition party will be happening in Nashville this year... and White's Mercantile is doing the gift bags/trunks for the couple dozen hottest women in the world. That's pretty cool.
If you're in Nashville be sure to stop by White's Mercantile in the 12 South area of town. Ask for John Christian and tell him we said hello!
Feb 9, 2015
I have had a rare experience in new motherhood, I know. As Tennessee approaches his first birthday, I can look back and say that we- me, Duquette and Tennessee- have been able to spend our son's entire first year together. We have been right at each other's sides as Tennessee had his first milestones. And we have been right by each other's sides through the mundacity of day to day life at home with a baby. I wouldn't change this first year for the world.
But I will admit that there were many, many days of frustration for me. Days where I wondered it this was ultimately "it." If my life of crazy tales and adventures and risks that pay off and wild jobs and travel had come to a close, replaced by hours of watching this tiny and beautiful creature. Without regular help from family or sitters or nannies, I sometimes found myself feeling stagnant creatively. Even though watching Tennessee experience things for the first time is the most magical thing to witness. Even though I reminded myself constantly to be fully present in the moment with him because the moments were passing quickly, and I would never want to regret missing them.
It's hard for me to say that I am not fulfilled in my role in the home. Don't get me wrong, I prioritize being a godly woman, a devoted wife and a loving mother above all things. But I couldn't help feeling stifled a bit. I don't think I was raised with the notion that women stayed hom with babies. I don't think. But it's maybe a cultural norm in this country despite an economy that often requires both parents to work. I think it's maybe something I subconsciously was telling myself.
So what am I even saying here? I have been needing something MORE. More for myself. More for my family. So I am starting a new thing today... it's part time. It's something that makes sense of the insane year I had of illness, recovery, health. It's something I am really, really excited about. And it's something that I think will not only help a lot of other people but also help my family because I will be more balanced, more fulfilled, more driven and more conscientious of my time.
We have always operated at a kind of intense level. It's how we get things done. It's how we have made whatever this is out of our lives and art and everything. And we are at this turning point in life where we have to be a little more purposeful about how we spend our time, our days, what we put out into the world and what we allow into our lives. Do you love how esoteric this all sounds?
Don't worry. We are simply refining and working harder. And it means that twenty hours a week I will be away from my baby, my husband, my home and I will be working hard at something I really, really believe in. I am excited. And I am a little scared. That'll pass. I know I am a badass. And this weird guilt I am feeling about leaving my baby for a few hours a week? It's silly. But it's there. I think it may be a normal thing that will dissipate once we adjust a little.
So here I go! And don't worry, Rugged and Fancy will still be banging like it currently is.
Feb 6, 2015
Hallelujah it's the weekend! We hope it's filled with sunshine, warmer temperatures and lots of laughter, joy and love. Slow down, breathe deep and just take it all in wherever you are.
We are bringing back weekend playlists to guarantee good vibes and good hangs for your weekend!
Feb 5, 2015
I am sitting at my writing table, gazing out the window at grey sky, grey trees, grey BLAH as my feet are warmed by the hot air pouring out of a vent. We had this three day spell of 65+ degree weather last week. We went to the park. We drove with the windows down. I wore a tank top one day. It was blissful.
And then it was gone, poof. Every February I start getting that ache for warm weather, abundant sunshine, conversations of whether we should just drive to the beach. (Because when you live five hours from one of the prettiest beaches in the world, that's a real option.)
So until this is a reality, I will be fantasizing about sandy beaches, blue skies, bathing suits, caftans and giant sunglasses. Thank you very much.
I/ THE CAFTAN COVER UP. I suppose sometimes you have to wear clothes. I traditionally live in a wardrobe of all black everything. Until it gets really, really hot, and then I just want to wear white and striped caftans.
from left. 1/ Lemlem Amash striped maxi poncho 2/ Lemlem Amash coverup dress 3/ Lemlem Amash maxi dress 4/ Talitha embroidered silk caftan 5/ Mes Desmoiselles Donis gauzy caftan 6/ Lemlem Amash maxi poncho
II/ THE BATHING SUITS. I love a simple black swimsuit. It's chic and sexy and always reminds me of a Bond girl.
III/ THE STRAW BAGS. I am a big believer in carrying everything in a straw basket. And you definitely need a smaller straw bag to hold the important stuff: ID, money, lip gloss.
left: 1/ Muzungu Sisters Sicilian basket tote 2/ Dolce and Gabbana Coffa Kendra straw and fur beach bag 3/ Sensi Studio maxi straw tribal print tote right: 1/ Kayu Baha dot clutch 2/ Kayu St Tropez clutch 3/ Anya Hindmarch handbag 4/ Kayu Watermelon clutch
You guys. I need sunshine BAD.
Lead Photo, here.