Choose a Category

Jan 23, 2015

Adventures in Tea: MASALA CHAI (with proper preparation)

I didn't even realize it happens to be National Tea Month. 2015 is the year I back off of coffee and yerba (shock!) and pursue my interests in tea. I recently steeped a cup of masala chai, but did it kind of half-assed with no milk and a nontraditional preparation. I had a friend over to the house yesterday who is currently fasting, so I wanted to make her a special treat. Me and the Masala Chai? We took it all the way.

Masala Chai is a black tea mixed with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger root, black pepper and cloves that originated in India. Traditionally it is prepared verrrrry slooooooowly. Historically, Indians have regarded tea as herbal medicine rather than recreational beverage. I think my personal tea pursuits are for both reasons.

I use RishiTea Masala Chai. It's organic and fair trade with no use of pesticides. After this, I may look into making my own chai. It would be fun. I'll update you.

1/ Place two tablespoons Masala Chai in a pot. Add one cup water. Bring to a boil.

2/ Add one cup milk, stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for about three minutes. Some people add the milk in the beginning with the chai and water, allowing it to all come to a boil. Others add the milk after a boil. This may be a "potayto, potahto" situation.

I used an almond and coconut milk blend that I am obsessed with and use in everything. Also, you'll notice that I've doubled this recipe in the photos. 

3/ Add 1-2 tablespoons of a sugar traditionally. I only use honey and put about one teaspoon to very lightly sweeten it. Pour the hot chai over a strainer and serve.

So next up in my adventures in tea... matcha. And maybe that made from scratch chai.

Have a great weekend!!

Love, Morgan

CommentsCategories food Tags adventures in tea tea hot tea national tea month masala chai rishi teas

Jan 21, 2015

My Style Inspiration for 2015: THE FRENCH BURGLER

My wardrobe has gotten super minimal in the past several months. I've confidently come to the realization that I just love having a predominantly black wardrobe. It's been that way since I was a child. Seriously, ask people I went to junior high with-- I've always worn black. Depending on my mood and the weather I may add in a white top, something grey and usually something striped, but it's a super minimal palette to simplify my process, make me feel chic, put together and powerful and cuts out so much noise. 

So with my constant rotation of black pants, favorite black tops and sweaters, a perfect leather jacket or pea coat, a beanie or fedora and motorcycle boots, black flats or brogues... both Duquette and I have concluded that my ultimate style inspiration is that of a French burglar. 

GET THE LOOK.

 

PHOTOS: 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5/

CommentsCategories style Tags 2015 style french style french girl style french burglar

Jan 19, 2015

An Introduction to Essential Oils

If you know me, you know I am ALL ABOUT the essential oils. I was a very quick convert when I was nine months pregnant on bed rest for really scary blood pressure that just wouldn't come down. It was causing me such panic, making it so much worse. Doctors gave me sedatives and told me to go to my happy place and neither worked. A friend dropped off a little package for me and simply said, "Try it." It was tiny vials of Young Living "Valor" and "Peace and Calming." I happened to have a diffuser, put a couple drops in, a drop on the back of my neck and my blood pressure immediately returned to normal. I remember checking it with an electronic monitor three times in a row because I simply couldn't believe it. 

After coming home with our first baby and all the new things we were suddenly facing: sleepless nights, fussy baby, spit up/poop/pee everywhere messes and later my major illness. We ordered the big Premium Starter Kit, dove in and have never looked back.

I particularly love Young Living's dedication and stringent practices in ensuring that their essential oils are pure and authentic, safe for use on your body, in your home and (if indicated as a supplement) can be used internally. We had briefly been using the Aura Cacia brand from Whole Foods, but once looking a little closer at the label...it says "fragrance" and "not for internal use." Read your labels closely. 

So as a starting place for getting into essential oils, I particularly love this Everyday Oils collection (which comes in the Premium Starter Kit). Thieves is the miracle disinfectant; it's antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal. Stress Away calms my nerves when I just feel frayed (and smells AMAZING). PanAway has soothed pulled muscles after maybe pushing my body too hard. Frankincense is the best oil ever-- it's a holy oil. It antitumoral, immunostimulating, antidepressrant, muscle relaxing, increases spiritual awareness, promotes meditation, improves attitude and uplifts the spirit. I used it topically to help break up some internal scar tissue that built up after my C-section and was causing me serious pain. Lemon has incredible detoxifying properties and can be drank in a glass of water or used in a homemade cleaning product. Peppermint and lavender are total panaceas, helping with digestion, allergies, body temp regulation, burns and so, so much more. Melaleuca is tea tree oil and amazing for skin conditions. Joy is a beautiful blend of several precious oils that smells amazing, uplifts the spirit and promotes a really positive outlook on life. Purification is a blend to ward off insects (summer is coming!), get rid of stinky smells (animals or shoe funkiness)... and I think that may be the briefest run down of the oils ever. Ha. 

Thieves is so cool. It was created from research absed on legends about a group of 15th century thieves who rubbed oils on themselves to avoid contracting the plague while they robbed the bodies of the dead and dying. When apprehended, the thieves were forced to tell what their secret was and disclosed the formula of herbs, spices and oils: clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata and rosemary. It's highly antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-infectious. We diffuse it. We clean every surface in our house with it. We even brush our teeth with it. And amazingly, if we have started to feel a little under the weather, we diffuse it and have simultaneously improved. Just saying.

So my good friend Jenn and I put together a little Introduction to Oils 101 class and hosted a few ladies last week to get together, have some hors d'oeuvres and chat about the oil basics. Jenn set up this super cute little Citrus Bar with chilled water and options of Citrus Fresh, Jade Lemon and Tangerine to add some great flavor. I kind of want to do this at all of my parties now. (Always drink out of glass containers and straws when adding oils to your water!)

It wouldn't be a party in the South without a little extra hospitality with these Lavender Detox Bath Soaks we gave to guests as we said goodnight. Jenn whipped these amazingly luxurious soaks up in no time and has kindly shared the recipe here:

Lavender Detox Bath Soak

Combine one part Epsom salts and one part baking soda with six drops of Lavender oil for every 1/2 cup of ingredients. Add lavender buds for looks (available at your local health food market). Simply mix the ingredients well and store in an air tight container! Add to a warm to hot bath, stir and soak to your heart's content!

Jenn and I will be hosting another Introduction to Essential Oils 101 class in Birmingham on Thursday, February 12th. If you haven't yet experienced the amazing properties of essential oils, send me an email at morgan@ruggedandfancy.com to get more details! If you're interested in getting any of the oils I've mentioned today, simply email me or go here and sign up as a member to get 24% off retail value using referral code 1720800!

CommentsCategories health and wellbeing Tags young living young living essential oils rugged and fancy healing powers of oils thieves cleaning with essential oils essential oils and babies

Mother Monday: 40 Days to Free with Villager Yoga

 If you've been reading Mother Monday posts here at Rugged and Fancy for a while, you might remember how I began incorporating a regular yoga practice in my life as a new mother and the peace it gave me as I began to make meaningful time for myself. So I was beyond thrilled when Villager Yoga asked me to join them for their eight week workshop, 40 Days to Free. It's a committment to mindfulness in your life while working through guided yoga practice, supplemented by readings you do on your own time and as much yoga as you want to practice during that 40 days. We can get stuck in a groove, spinning around and around in the same place, like a scratch on your favorite record. The goal here is to identify the groove, what caused it and to reset the whole thing, being mindful of how you have reacted in the past and how you want to react in the future when things arise. 

Why did I want to do this workshop? Last year was a really tough year. My life changed dramatically when I had my first child and suffered from some really major illness. I spent the last year trying to get well, trying to figure out my new life as a mother and trying to restore a sense of self and balance. I wanted to start 2015 tackling a few things that I know were really hanging me up and keeping me from moving forward: the guilt and anger I have felt from having been sick last year and some really deeply rooted mother issues that I thought I had dealt with a long time ago and really haven't. These are some really heavy things and something that I have to really allow to be exposed on the mat when I attend yoga classes that are taught in a way that brings your "stuff" up so that you can work through it simultaneously in your physical body and in your spirit/mind. 

I have totally cried on the mat the past three classes. 

The crying happens totally in the course of a heavy practice when the lights are really dim and my eyes are closed and nothing really exists around me. I love that about yoga-- you can be in a room filled with people, yet through focus on your breath and body awareness everything around you just disappears. It's pretty amazing and one of the reasons that I like to practice yoga in a studio versus at home. I like to have a guide through the breath and a space away from the rest of my life. 

Something really important to this process (and to life in general) is setting intentions. What is it that you truly want in life? What kind of life do you envision for yourself, your family, the world around you? Set your intentions and speak about them in the present tense, as if they are already happening. I am beautiful, powerful and centered. My home, my family, my world is peaceful and loving. I love myself. I love you. 

That felt good and real, right?

So in these first two weeks I have been kind of detoxing my body through the physical movement, the approach to my practice and through an energy aligning workshop that Duquette and I actually did together last weekend. Some pretty heavy realizations have occurred during meditation and I am both really excited about it while also being completely shaken up. (For example, and this is a really big and personal one: I realized I have never had self-esteem. Ever. Because I wasn't raised to even know what that was, where it comes from or how to have it.)

I look forward to where the next several weeks take me. And I look forward to sharing the journey!

Have a BEAUTIFUL day!!!

Love,

Morgan 

To read more about the triumphs and struggles of new motherhood, check out Mother Monday

CommentsCategories mother monday Tags villager yoga 40 days to free yoga yoga and motherhood new motherhood mother monday

Jan 16, 2015

El Solitario?

I grew up in a motorcycle family, well half of my family. My father raced enduro for Husqvarna and my uncle raced as well. When my uncle had a horrible wreck my mother forbid us to ride motorcycles. Did this stop me as a kid, hell no. I was completely reckless for most of my childhood and have the X-rays to prove it. But, to this day I am obsessed with motorcycles, the culture, the freedom of riding, the noise, the grease, all of it. 

I have promised Morgan I would not get another motorcycle until I have new health insurance and life insurance. So for now I live vicariously through my friends, blogs, and videos of motorcycle culture. When Whiskey Grade posted the video for El Solitario I knew had to share it. His passion for the bikes and his demand for his vision is inspiring and can spill into anything creative you are working on. So stop woking and watch this short video about Who the f--- is El Solitario. 

 Much Love,

Duq

Comments

Jan 15, 2015

Five Things I'm Loving Right Now


five things

 

1/THE PHONE CASE. I love these phone cases from Julia Kostreva. The marble look is on point. 

2/ THE BRACELETS. I discovered these at Villager Yoga and totally got myself this pyrite one (left) and really want the labradorite (right). It's a brand called Keōzo, and each bracelet's semiprecious stones have certain balancing/centering properties. The pyrite is for healing, confidence, increased stamina and intellect. Encourages emotional wellbeing and memories of love and friendships. It feels so good and looks even better on my wrist. The labradorite helps with self belief, metabolism, self-esteem, reduces anxiety and stress. Totally getting this one next. 

3/ THE ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND. This is a blend of Young Living Oils called Sensation. With coriander, ylang ylang, bergamot, jasmine and geranium, this smells so amazing and is totally one of my favorite oils right now. It's great for nourishing your skin. The scent is beautiful, romantic, super feminine. Just sexy in a bottle. It's great for turning on your partner. There, I said it. And I love putting it on before bed and the way it makes my sheets smell. (I'm talking about the oil.) If you're interested in essential oils, feel free to email me! Or use Rugged and Fancy (#1720800) when you sign up or place an order.

4/ THE MASCARA. This Chanel Le Volume mascara in Prune is amazing. There was this moment in the 90s when burgundy mascara was a thing, and it was so good for this blonde haired, green eyed gal. It's been hard to come by in the past, ahem, twenty years. But now there's this. It's amazing. I actually dreamed about it last night. 

5/ THE DAY PLANNER. Again with the Julia Kostreva... these fill-in the date calendars are insanely beautiful, clean, logical and only $32. Hello. I love this blush color for 2015 so this is my top choice. 

 

CommentsCategories five things Tags julia kostreva favorite things 2015 keozo stones villager yoga young living essential oils

Jan 14, 2015

EASY RECIPE: ribeye, haricots verts and roasted sweet potatoes

Duquette and I love cooking so much. On weekend nights, we sometimes put our eleven month old Tennessee to bed and then go in the kitchen, cook together, listen to music and dance around and then have a beautiful dinner together and watch a movie. It's like a date night in our own home. This night in particular, we put blankets and pillows in the floor, lit some candles and had a picnic in our living room. It was great. So here is this really beautiful meal of ribeyes, haricots verts and roasted sweet potatoes. It was delicious, decadent and just what we needed for date night. 

INGREDIENTS:

-2 ribeyes

-haricots verts (French green beans, ours were organic and frozen!)

-two medium, equal sized sweet potatoes

-3 cloves garlic

-half of a shallot

-1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)

-1 tablespoon grass-fed butter (we like Kerrygold)

-sprig rosemary

-sprig thyme

-salt and pepper

THE SWEET POTATOES.

These take the longest to cook so you will want to put them in the oven when you first start cooking. Sweet potatoes are easy and so delicious if you prepare them as follows:

1/ Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2/ Wash sweet potatoes and place on a baking sheet. DO NOT POKE HOLES IN THE SWEET POTATOES because it releases all of their sugar. You want it to stay inside and caramelize. These need to cook for about an hour.

3/ Use a fork to test the potato at the end. The potato should be nice and soft. If not, let it go another 15-20 minutes. (Don't worry, forking it at this point doesn't ruin the beautiful sweetness!)

4/ Pull the potatoes out, let cool slightly and pull skin off. I like mine with a sprinkling of sea salt, though you can also add some grass-fed butter and brown sugar.

NOTE: Towards the end, it may look like a giant charred bubble has come out of the potato. That's just sugar that has seeped out and burned. That is actually a good sign that your sweet potato is going to be super tasty. Also, in the picture there is salt on the skin of the potato. This isn't really necessary and doesn't actually make a difference in the taste if you're discarding the skins.

HARICOTS VERTS:

1/ There are two ways to prepare the haricots, one involves blanching, rapidly cooling and then returning them to a skillet to season.... or you can get a deep pan, put the beans in shallow water and let them blanch/steam over medium-high heat. How much water? You want them to essentially steam, so not too much! Fill up below the bean line, ha. We like to go ahead and salt the haricots at this point so that it locks in the flavor. As a general rule, we salt things in the cooking process so it makes its way all the way through You don't want to overcook them-- the ideal point to steam or blanch anything is to let it go until the color turns really rich and vibrant. See how beautifully green the beans are? This can take from 5-8 minutes. They will still have snap to them.

2/ If at this point you still have considerable water in the pan, pour that off. Add one tablespoon coconut oil to the pan of beans. It adds an amazing flavor to the haricots and prevents them from burning and sticking to the pan. 

3/ Coarsely mince three cloves of garlic and julienne (or very thinly slice) half of a shallot. Add those to the pan, stir. Add some coarsely ground black pepper and any more salt if needed, to taste.

THE RIBEYE:

1/ Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place ribeyes on a plate and let it come close to room temperature. You just don't put a cold steak on the stove. Have a clean iron skillet on the stovetop, or a skillet that is oven safe. Let the skillet get hot over medium high heat. Make sure the skillet is slightly oiled so the meat doesn't stick. 

2/ Right before you put the steak in the hot skillet, salt and pepper generously. Place the steak in skillet salt and peppered side down. Salt and pepper that other side, that's now face up. Sear it on that first side for five minutes. Flip the ribeyes, add a tablespoon of grass-fed butter, a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme. Let it sear for one minute on this side, while spooning the melted butter, juices and herbs over the steaks. 

3/ Put in the preheated oven for four minutes. Remove from oven, place on a plate and let it rest for five minutes. Serve it.

NOTE: Cooking times vary slightly depending on the size of the steak and what temperature you want it. This recipe results in medium-rare to medium. If you pull the meat and want it a little more done, place foil over the steak on a plate for a minute or two.

CommentsCategories food Tags easy recipes healthy recipes gluten free date night ideas

Jan 13, 2015

minimal scenes from pretty places

I've really been inspired by simple objects lately. So many of us are into this minimizing movement. It's not so much minimalism as it is getting rid of the clutter, refining one's tastes and living with objects of beauty. Why wouldn't you clean things up and surround yourself with beauty? It's inspiring. It quietens the noise. It helps you to see things more clearly, both literally and creatively. So here are some pretty scenes from pretty places lately.

A painting I bought from a Greek family's estate sale many years ago and a giant brass arc lamp. 

The camel is an actual photograph that my mother bought at a flea market for $1 in the 1970s. The elk was my father's first elk, given to us as a gift when we bought our house. And the ornate frame is a photograph of my great grandparents in a beautiful ornate wood and gold frame that's been in the family forever. I just noticed how terribly crooked that photo is, haha. 

Items of a credenza. I like to keep my favorite art books in a single stack to peruse. This vitruvian head sculpture has been with me for years, purchased at TJ Maxx forever ago. The old Bible has been handed down in my family and has beautiful lithographs in it and gold pages. The 1950s Kraft box we salvaged out of an old barn. It holds all of my essential oils. And the little Persian tray moves around with my favorite oils. 

This is Duquette's grandmother's card table in our entryway. The candle stick is from Morocco and the copper pot is totally thrifted. 

And the following photos of from the home of Matt and Shannon Harris...

I love the books with pages outturned. A beautiful slightly warm neutral palette. 

Unpacking books for the Harrises. 

CommentsCategories decor Tags minimal interiors decor trends

Jan 12, 2015

Mother Monday: i suffered severe post partum depression

JANUARY 2015

After eleven years with my husband, believing that it just wasn’t in the cards for me to ever conceive a child, we found out I was pregnant. It wasn’t an easy pregnancy, but it was a healthy one. I was never a woman who dreamed of having children, so I had no expectations of what it should be or what it should look like. I accepted the nausea and endless puking and carpal tunnel and edema, and I constantly rubbed my growing belly with a little smile because it just felt right.

The birth of our son, Tennessee Wolf Johnston is a particularly complicated and long story. To be brief, I labored twenty hours, pushed for four, tried forceps only to conclude he was just too big to come out on his own. So we had an emergency c-section. I spent five days in the hospital from the heavy toll the whole thing took on my body. When I finally went home, I spent a couple weeks feeling just WRONG. I was eventually rushed to the hospital to discover I had contracted a bacterial superbug in my intestines (c. diff) that was causing my body to basically shut down. Both my liver and my thyroid were in bad, bad shape. Over the course of several months, I was periodically confined to bed, unable to care for my newborn son, eventually seeking holistic treatment for my condition because nothing else was working. I remember laying in bed and talking to God, begging him to let me live so I could be a wife and mama. Not only was I facing serious physical hurdles, but mentally I was really. not. okay. 

(And just to let you know ahead of time, through diet, essential oils, supplements and lifestyle changes, I am healthier than ever before. It has taken almost ten months to get to this place, but it’s a really good place. It’s from this place that I can share my experience. I will also add that I am really thankful for what I went through because it put me here and gives me something to share with others who may be going through any degree of “stuff.”)

I initially wrote the following almost five months after having given birth. And it is a pretty honest representation of what was going on for me mentally, though I still feel some fear and shame at honestly admitting parts of it. Today I am a proud wife, mother and artist. I am healthy and happy, though still trying to figure out how to make it all work. There are days that are easy being all of these things at once. And there are days when I feel like I will never get anything done ever again and I cry a little (sometimes a lot), let go of my expectations and try again the next morning. I wrote the following almost ten months ago and never shared it because of fear and shame of admitting these things. I now share this in hopes that someone who may be in the same place that I was at that time might be comforted, encouraged and empowered to have hope and to reach out to someone if they need to. 

with so much love,

Morgan

JUNE 2014

As I sit here trying to write today, I feel particularly pained and confused as to what words or stories to share. I am struggling with major post partum depression. Even as I typed that I felt a little shame and pause to stare at the words that burn into the deepest part of my being and make me feel a lump in my throat. The short story: I labored twenty hours, pushed for four and had an emergency c-section that left me in the hospital unable to walk for seven days. It was beautiful and horrible at the same time (though I look back on it with sweet nostalgia, those first days with our baby uninterrupted by the reality of the outside world). Two weeks after going home, I got deathly ill, rushed to the ER and discovered I had C.diff, a potentially deadly bacterial superbug in my intestines. I had to stop breastfeeding (which I had a hard time with anyway) and I had to be on bed rest, bringing in a nurse to take care of my newborn because I was basically in modified quarantine. (Major upside, that nurse got my baby on a schedule and he's been sleeping through the night since week three, hallelujah!)

I looked around me (on Instagram and the blogs) and saw all these beautiful women who I shared in pregnancy with and had babies at the same time, they were bouncing back immediately. I know that they had their own struggles, but man, I couldn't even hold my baby or feed my baby or get out of the house without assistance. For months. I was ashamed of myself. And then my organs started shutting down. I felt like my body had betrayed me and failed me and failed my family, too. You know some babies fail to thrive? I was failing to thrive as a mother, a wife, a business woman, a friend, a human. (Tennessee, our son, was totally awesome and healthy and happy by the way.)

I hated myself. I looked in the mirror and hated my body that wasn't getting smaller, that caused me pain, that I believed kept me from being a good mother and a loving wife. I hated my mind for these hot frissons of self hatred and self doubt and the deepest sense of loathing that left me wondering at moments if it would matter if I simply didn't exist anymore. Some moments were so difficult that it seemed like all of my energy was spent trying to hold on to that one teeny tiny little part of ME that still existed inside a head filled with the baddest vibrations. I felt like a live wire in a giant puddle of water. I felt like electric death While I never had any thought AT ALL of harming my baby, there were maybe a few times that I was afraid my body and mind would betray me again and that I wouldn't be able to control myself from some sort of self-harm.

I never did hurt myself, but I battled the thoughts of it. (There were moments that I felt so much overwhelming anger and rage that I would lash out at anything in my way, feeling so out of control that I actually banged my head into a wall because I just wanted the noise and the rage inside me to stop.) Withdrawing from friends and family, I was resigned to the apparent fact that I sucked at it all and I always would. That this was my burden to bear and that I had to keep it secret because everyone would judge me and hate me and that if anyone knew the truth, they would surely take my baby away from me. His little cry was a shrill scream inside my head that echoed over and over, a constant reminder that I was a failure and that my life was over. I didn’t want to die. I just wanted to disappear into nothing.

Knowing that I had to do something before something really terrible happened, I went to a doctor. She explained to me that the trauma to my body and its depleted state was preventing me from getting proteins to my brain so of course I was going crazy and that my thyroid and liver were a mess, so of course I was, too. She said it matter of factly and with a reassuring delivery that we would get me better than the state I was currently in. My thyroid count was over 220 when it should be five and my liver was in serious trouble, too. 'Ahhhhhh,' I thought, suddenly feeling a little weight taken off of my shoulders because my very real craziness wasn't my own doing. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't some defect in me that only surfaced in motherhood. It was hormones and the effects of major illness. My body was traumatized and doing the best it could, but didn’t have to tools to start fixing itself. At least I knew that I had not willed this. I was not actually a monster. So we started a course of treatment. I don't want to go into the details of my treatment as I know there's so much contention surrounding traditional medicine versus alternative approaches, but I will say it is holistic treatment in that we are treating various problems as related to the whole.

So Tennessee is four and a half months old now. And I am two months into treating all of this. I still struggle with the shame of having been so sick. I still struggle with self-loathing, though I'm starting to feel a little more proud of what my body accomplished (rather than where it failed). There are days that I wake up and feel like I REALLY CAN DO THIS, and I get out of the house with my baby and do amazing and beautiful things. And there are days where I cry a lot and feel like I am insufficient in comparison to my mom friends who seem to do all of it with ease and grace and perfect asses in denim.

I know I am almost past this, and I am so thankful for it. I'm so thankful for my husband and my beautiful baby who love me at my worst times. I'm so thankful for my doctor for literally saving my life and in turn saving me from myself. And I'm thankful for God, even though I've accused Him of not being there for me (which is just ridiculous, I know). Early motherhood is not always this hard, but sometimes it is. And you can get through it. This wasn't meant to be easy in the first place, so if you're having a harder time than you believe is "normal," talk to your spouse and talk to a doctor. It's okay. Be honest with yourself and the people you talk to. Hold onto hope because it really can get better. I mean it. 

If you'd like to read more of Morgan's experiences through new motherhood, check out Mother Monday

CommentsCategories mother monday Tags ppd post partum post partum depression thyroid and post partum

Jan 9, 2015

Hidden Spaces: Inside Morgan Sowards' Bathroom

I am so excited about continuing this series! We all get curious about what people's hidden spaces look like, the inside of a closet, a medicine cabinet, the bathroom shelves. This series debuted with my own vanity, and now here's the second installment. Today we get a private glimpse into the bathroom of Morgan Sowards, Creative Director and Regional Manager of Soca Clothing. She studied interior design in school and has always had a heart for fashion and beautiful things. She loves the mix of old and new and appreciates well-designed spaces. Her husband, Jordan Sowards is a dreamy copywriter at a leading ad agency, and she's a catmom to Hazel and "the Twins"- Betty and Bea. She is also one of my best friends and godmother to my son, so I may a little partial in saying that this girl is the JAM. 

In the words and photos of Morgan Sowards...

We live in a 1920s Bungalow and were lucky to not have a lot of work to do on the house when we moved in. We have gradually been painting all the walls white though. It is amazing what a little paint can do! We have a decent amount of windows and the white walls really help brighten up the space.

The previous owner had done some updating to both the master and guest bathrooms – replacing fixtures and updating some finishes – but the master bath was still way too tiny for Jordan and I to share. I decided our guest bathroom would be mine! It was a horrible dark olive green when we moved in and stayed that way for about four and half years.

For my birthday this year, Jordan gifted me with new white walls! Knowing I wouldn't have the patience to do it correctly (sand all the trim work, paint the ceiling, etc.) Jordan decided to take the day off from work and was determined to get my bathroom painted. I came home to the fresh smell of paint that day and knew right away what he was up to. So sneaky! I'm pretty sure it would still be green otherwise. Eeeeek!

1/ THE SPACE. I can't believe I lived with that horrible green for as long as I did! I wish I had a picture to show you because it was the worst – especially for a bathroom! It gave everything a green cast, which is the last thing you want when you're trying to get ready in the morning. So, here's a little tour of my pretty white bathroom!

2/ THE SHELVES. Since I use this room daily, I wanted it to feel light and airy but still a little feminine. I found a few little trinkets for my shelves that would be nice to look at without adding clutter. The gold vase on the top shelf was a vintage find that we used in our wedding, and the dried eucalyptus is actually from Morgan's baby shower for little Tennessee! I love when I can easily incorporate sentimental pieces into a design. The picture was a Christmas gift from my friend Emily. It is by a local artist named Lacey Russell who specializes in watercolor and pen and ink.

3/ THE SHELF ITEMS. I am obsessed with this publication called Darling magazine. Every one I've seen is absolutely breathtaking, so I thought why not display it on my shelf along with some other pretty knick knacks? I keep little perfume samples in the wooden jar, but I haven't figured out exactly what I want to display in the glass and gold jewelry box yet.

4/ THE PERFUME TRAY. It's tricky to keep your guest bath all neat and tidy when it doubles as your personal bathroom. Decorative boxes and baskets are a great way to store items while keeping an organized space. I keep my face lotion, eye cream, and face serum in this carved wooden box. That way I can easily get to them for daily use but it still keeps them out of sight. Items that have pretty packaging, like a perfume bottle, I keep out.

5/ THE VANITY. I have a little collection of hand towels that I like to rotate out depending on my mood. You can kind of see my shower curtain in the mirror. I am in love with that thing! I had been wanting it for a while and Jordan bought it for me for Christmas one year. It was actually the Christmas he proposed! I was so pumped about it and was taking forever to open my presents and poor Jordan was freaking out waiting for me to open "the present." It's so funny to think about that now!

6/ THE SKIN PRODUCTS. I cannot say enough good things about this line of skin care. It's definitely an investment but has made a huge difference in the quality and texture of my skin. I don't wear a lot of makeup and I'm not getting any younger, so taking care of my skin has become a big priority. I have even been able to cut down on some of my concealers and having to use a foundation. It doesn't have to be this product, but take care of your face! (Pictured: AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam, AmorePacific Rejuvinating Crème, AmorePacific Rejuvinating Eye Treatment Gel)

7/ THE HAIR PRODUCTS. I have long blond hair, so it can be quite the venture to deal with this mane. I wash my hair twice a week (shampoo and conditioner) and always let it air dry. Not only is it time consuming but it will totally fry my hair. I discovered Living Proof products about 6 months ago and I'm hooked. They help extend your washes by preventing build-up on the hair so that you can go longer between washes. They make a great hairspray too!

And dry shampoo and argan oil are my hair's best friends. This Detox Dry Shampoo by Drybar is my favorite and I have tried my fair share of dry shampoos. It doesn't leave a weird film on your hair or weigh it down. I use argan oil on the ends of my hair every night to keep it nourished and to prevent split ends. I love Josie Maran's line. I flip flop between this Hair Serum with Radiance and the 100% Pure Argan Oil Light. (The oil featured in the pic was a special edition, but is still available on Amazon.)

8/ CANDLE AND AIR PLANTS. The base of my vanity was the only dark thing in here, so I got this dark basket to help balance out the room. You can never have enough candles in a bathroom and who doesn't love an air plant?! Oh, and I store extra rolls of toilet paper in this basket. I hate seeing them out and it was a great way to gain a little extra storage space.

9/ THE ENTRY. My bathroom is pretty narrow. When you walk in, there is a wall directly to your left. It felt so bare so I definitely wanted to put some sort of artwork there but I knew it couldn't be too obtrusive. I purchased this print from Sara Cannon, a local graphic designer and artist, at Art Walk a couple years ago and never quite found the spot for it until now. This frame is from World Market and I totally fell in love with it. I like that it has a raw feel with the pewter finish and twine to hang it from.

I hope you've enjoyed a little peek into my space!

xoxo

CommentsTags hidden spaces beauty products good hair morgan sowards jordan sowards

Tumblr