Nov 26, 2014
So this year we aren't buying any gifts. BUT if we were, this is totally what I would dream of getting...
1/ BYREDO PARFUMS BIBLIOTHEQUE CANDLE. The inspiration for this candle's scent is an old dusty library. With heavy leather and vanilla notes, it sounds like the perfect candle for cozy times. And the packaging is so incredibly good!
2/ BRUNELLO CUCINELLI V-NECK PULLOVER SWEATER. Cashmere opulence! I am totally that person that wears the same sweater for years, beyond the point of holes and fraying. So I randomly scored a Brunello Cucinelli cashmere cardigan a couple of years ago at a random thrift store. Two dollars for a $2,000 sweater. (It was a shining moment in thrift store history.) I have worn that baby to near death.
3/ BKR WATER BOTTLE, KITTEN. I drink A LOT of water. Like two to three liters a day. Buying plastic bottles just isn't an option for me in terms of cost, waste and chemicals in the plastic. I have bought many reusable water bottles over the years but haven't been pleased with one. Too much condensation. Too hard to wash. Too small. Too heavy. I'm the Goldilocks of water bottles, I know. I've seen these BKR bottles around and I think it might be love. Silicone over glass in the prettiest colors.
4/ KAWECO CLASSIC SPORT ROLLERBALL PEN. I LOVE the look of this pen. Super classic. Chic. Good design. Probably writes amazingly.
5/ NINA SIMONE, MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME, VINYL RECORD. Nina Simone and the Velvet Underground are my two favorite musicians ever. And Duquette, duh. We are a vinyl record family, opting to use the turntable 9/10 times. Somehow I don't have any Nina Simone. That's insane. I would wear this record out!
7/ FREDERIC MALLE COFFRET COLLECTION FOR WOMEN. Every once in a while I come across something that I just kind of obsess over. This year, it's Frederic Malle fragrances, and this is the perfect collection to sample, mix, figure out what suits me. Of course, we are talking fantasies here, right? With scents like L'eau d'hiver (winter water), Carnal Flower- which is a tuberose scent, my fave- and Lipstick Rose and more, I dream of these luxe scents.
I also want to say that this season isn't about what we buy or what we receive. It's about giving and loving. This year we are thankful to be together as a family and with our health and full hearts. If you're able, consider giving to someone who may need that extra love this season in whatever shape or fashion that may be. And if you'd like to give a charitable donation, here are two organizations we really have a spot for-- Pablove Foundation, fighting childhood cancer with love and Every Mother Counts, making pregnancy and childbirth safe for women around the world.
Nov 25, 2014
We are a couple of days away from Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite holidays. It brings people together around the table and really amazing things happen over a shared meal. In years past, I would throw all dietary caution to the wind, eating all the bread and pies and candied whatever I wanted. I always regretted it, too. This year we have really put a high priority on our health and that includes abiding by certain dietary restrictions. I am slowly beginning to reintroduce foods as I continue to heal from an infection I had after I had the baby. Hello again to small amounts of potatoes, tomatoes and jasmine rice and carrots! But I cannot have any wheat, corn, soy, sugar, fruit, most beans, vinegar or vegetable oil. This sounds like it could present a few problems over Thanksgiving, right?
Here is how you can handle this, if you're a guest at someone's house: politely inform them ahead of time that you have some dietary restrictions and ask what dish you could prepare to bring. Offer to make something you can eat and share with others. Ensure your host/ess that you will be fine. If you're a paleo or primitive diet person, there will most likely be turkey, ham, salad and whatever dish you bring rounds out a really nice meal.
Here are a few recipes that are either Paleo/primitive/Whole 30 or could easily be modified to be. Where will you be and what are you bringing to Thanksgiving?
1/ BEETROOT AND FETA TART. Make the pastry with Pamela's Baking mix and coconut oil as a modification.
2/ SPICED PUMPKIN MOUSSE CUPS. Egg, nut, dairy, sugar free.
4/ LEFTOVER BOWLS. Use organic jasmine rice or riced cauliflower and add leftover brussel sprouts, turkey, ham, beets, sweet potatoes and more.
5/ CHARCUTERIE/ ANTIPASTI. Never underestimate the value of fine sausages and gourmet little sides. It's my favorite to graze on or even have as a meal. My favorites include: soppressata and speck for sausages/salami, roasted garlic, roasted beets, arugula with olive oil and sea salt, chicken apple sausage, celery root, radish, cornichons, a good mustard and more.
Nov 24, 2014
Today feels like a Monday, which is something I don't often say. It's a holiday week, most people have taken off and I feel a little listless. I figured today would be best spent replying to emails and organizing files on my computer. I have something like 40,000 photos to go through. Eek. I came across the files of Tennessee as a little baby and wanted to share some just beautiful photos that I took in that period of time. That time of him as a little baby passed so quickly. I find myself missing it sometimes. I carry a lot of guilt for having been sick in the early months of his life. I'm thankful I have these beautiful photos and a lot of videos to look back on.
Be present in the moment. The moments pass so quickly and suddenly months or years have gone by. Don't have regrets. And accept where you are right now and find some beauty in it. You are where you are now to prepare you for where you will be in the future. Be thankful and grateful for where you are, achievements and failures both. And always know that you are loved and blessed, even when you can't see or feel it.
Nov 21, 2014
My entire life I've had bad skin. Acne prone, flaky dry yet greasy at the same time, large pores, scarring. I've been sensitive about this my whole life. Pregnancy was great for my skin. The increased blood volume and blood flow, extra hydration, extra collagen production, that pregnancy glow is a real thing. As much as I had wished to keep my beautiful pregnancy skin, it didn't happen. I also turned, ahem, thirty a few months ago and have really started caring more about my skin and its future.
I totally took this selfie this morning and thought, wow, my skin looks pretty radiant. So I thought I would share what I am doing that apparently is going well!
1/ THE FACE WASH. Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash is one totally snagged from my husband's medicine cabinet. It's all natural, gets all the makeup off my face easily (including thick eyeliner and mascara), tones and leaves me feeling fresh, super clean and not dry at all (it has aloe in it along with a bunch of great essential oils). I just can't beat this stuff.
2/ THE CREME/MOISTURIZER. This is a recent discovery, Neal's Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense. In the week I've been using this, my three wrinkles that I really stress over (and make worse) have really filled out. The early breakout I felt coming on was totally remedied, and my skin just looks and feels so hydrated without being greasy. I put a little on either at night or in the morning (if I forget to put it on the night before). Frankincense is a miracle oil, you guys. (I'll talk more about this soon.)
3/ THE FOUNDATION. This is the product that I use that has totally questionable ingredients but looks amazing on my skin- Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup in Fresh Ivory. It evens out my skin tone amazingly and looks dewy without ever looking greasy. It lasts throughout the day and a little goes a long way. I hate heavy makeup and am way more of a tinted moisturizer girl, but the latter basically rubs off before the end of the day. I used to use the Chanel Vitalumière Aqua, but I think they reformulated and it ruined my skin for a while. As much as I want to replace the Clinique (I mean who wears Clinique past the age of twelve or beyond the year 1995?!) I can't beat the results. Bam.
4/ THE BRONZER. I have this enormous compact bronzer that Tom Ford did for Estee Lauder before Tom Ford did his own cosmetic line. It will hopefully last me another decade so I don't have to ever think about dropping Tom Ford prices on something that simply makes my cheekbones look hotter and the bridge of my nose look thinner. Pictured above is the Tom Ford bronzer because when he quit partying with Estee, their bronzers quit rocking.
5/ THE CHEEKS. I used to be really obsessed with looking super pale all over, but in the past year or two I have fallen hard for a flushed cheek. I wish I had that natural rosiness from pulsing blood and bashful flirting, but it just wasn't in my genes. I stayed away from cheek stains because it sounds terrifying. Remember that first time you put on too much blush and mistakenly tried to wash it off only to look like sudden onset of rosacea? Well, don't fear. The key to the cheek stain is really light handed application. Pat the fingers gently on the tip of the stain, smile and gently pat said fingers on the apple of your cheek. Pat gently until blended. Yes, it's that easy. I love the Tarte Cheek Stain in Tipsy. It's just a sweet natural pink for my skin tone.
6/ THE HIGHLIGHTER. I'm not a super contourer. I don't spend twenty minutes creating news shapes for my face with bronzer, concealer, highlighter, etc. But the last thing I do in my five minute skin care regimen is swipe this glowing magic stick along my cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose and in the bow above my upper lip and blend by running my finger over it. It's just glowy and great. Benefit Watt's Up! highlighter.
So that's my super simple skincare for someone with super NOT simple skin. How much time do you spend on yours? What's your regimen. Let me know in the comments. I LOVE hearing about new products!
Nov 20, 2014
I've been back and forth about writing about gifting products to your man or woman this season. There are so many gift guides out there, and that's not really what this season is about. But-- there are some great things on the market right now from great companies and individuals, so I might need to do a few posts to cover everything.Here are a few different items I am digging on during this early winter season.
I live vicariously through the Juniper Ridge crew on Instagram on so many occasions. Spending the most memorable years of my childhood in the Bighorn Mountain range of Wyoming is why I naturally gravitated toward this company, their beliefs, their process, their packaging and most importantly the small batch products. I grabbed my first bottle of the Big Sur Trail Soap from my friends at Imogene and Willie during a visit last year. The first time I smelled the soap I was instantly transported back to being bathed in a creek as a kid in the mountians and drying off by a fire. These folks live on the trail and make their products on the trail. Plus all the art is done by their own Obi Kauffmann which is an added bonus. Grab a bottle for your loved one today.
Speaking of Obi Kauffmann, he recently put out a limited edition book of wilderness poetry and trail paintings available through Cold Splinters. Obi is part of the Juniper Ridge crew, but he very much has his own thing going on with all of his trail paintings and writing. Just as Juniper Ridge products remind me of my childhood, the way Obi is living out his life reminds me of all the hours I spent on trails and mountainsides and beside streams during my teenage years. There was no social media, no cell phones, we just went out and dissappeared into the wilderness any day we could. Besides him selling the book through Cold Splinters you can also purchase his paintings through his store. I think they are beautiful and are one of a kind presents for the loved ones in your life or a stranger who needs a light to be shined upon their life.
Go out and explore the wilderness around you and turn off the phone while you are at it.
Nov 19, 2014
1/ STUD EARRINGS. I haven't been able to wear anything but stud earrings since having a baby. All those little grabbing hands. I am really digging the studs those. Such an opportunity for a statement with something so small. I may never go back to the dangly ones.
Nov 18, 2014
When I was ten years old I convinced my parents to let me paint my bedroom black. It was amazing. Ever since I have wanted to revisit this bold choice, recently coming close when deciding to paint the dining room. I chose the most amazing deep, deep charcoal only to put it off because I started painting a mural on the wall. Here are some photos of deep dark rooms-- they're surpisingly unclaustrophobic and ultra luxe.
Nov 17, 2014
Today my son is nine months old. Wow. Here are a few things I have learned in these nine months:
1/ Everyone tells you the time flies by before your eyes. It is true. The days pass quickly between feeding and naps and playtime and trying to manage your life in the mix. Weeks quickly amount to months, and when you're talking about the development of a baby-- each day can bring a leap and bound. A week ago Tennessee still looked like a baby. A couple days ago, he started looking and acting like a little boy.
2/ I feel love for my child, my husband and myself that far exceeds what I thought was the fullest capacity for love. And I understand my love for God so much more, too. Making babies is miraculous, and it's like your heart expands so fast that it makes you feel both more alive than ever and totally sick at the same time. I imagine it's what time travel would feel like.
3/ I actually accomplish way more than I did before I had a baby. And that is because I totally understand the importance of time management. I get a few windows throughout the day when TW naps and I knock stuff out left and right. Most of the time. Sometimes I rest. Because you have to know when to recharge. And you have to cut yourself some slack. Modify your expectations.
4/ All of that said, I am still learning to let go of expectations because some days will just plain suck. Everything will go wrong and you will feel totally overwhelmed and all you can do is choose to be loving through it, pray a lot and know that it will pass as quickly as it began (please, Jesus).
5/ Life is way more fun-- TW is experiencing everything for the first time in this world and I get to relive it with him. The wonder at a flower or a dog's slobbery tongue, the glow of a thousand Christmas lights that surely seems like a trillion to a little baby. I let myself be way sillier and laugh a lot more.
6/ The first ___ months are really freaking hard and can suck so bad and there's a chance no one told you that. Little to no sleep, not knowing how to take care of a squealing little alien human baby, maybe you're having post partum body stuff or health stuff or depression. They take such great care of you in a hospital and then they send you home by basically shoving you out the door, as long as you have a working car seat! If you're not feeling right, tell someone. It's not a conspiracy against you, and they're not going to take your baby away. It's okay to need help and ask for it-- on any level.
7/ You need friends and family. You need the support, encouragement and companionship. Look, there are sometimes a few days at a time that I speak exclusively to a baby or via text messages. Without my close friendships of both other mothers and my childless besties, I would lose it.
8/ You and your partner need to commit to time together uninterrupted to check in with each other and be the two of you. Get a sitter or a family member or just have a stay at home date after bedtime. This is so important. We also have conversations where we can "air grievances," or just be honest about what's on our minds without judgment or meanness from the other.
9/ I have to remind myself that Tennessee is his own little person that Duquette and I made. He is not a miniature me or miniature him. We can see certain traits, yes, but it's important for me to respect that he is unique and an individual. I am hoping this approach will give us a better relationship as he gets older and hormonal.
10/ Tennessee, one day I hope you will come across these Mother Monday posts, and I hope you will know how much I love you, how much I love your father and how hard we are working to give you a beautiful life. Love is so important, my son. Be joyful. Be faithful. Always try to see the light in someone. You are such a light, my boy. Every day I jump out of bed to tell you good morning and every night I pray with you and for you before you rest your little head. For all the in between, it wasn't meant to be easy, but we can make it full of joy. I love this life with you, love you love you love you MAMA
Nov 13, 2014
Today is the first day that temperatures are bone chilling cold. In Alabama that's right at about 38 degrees. The sky is grey and that beautiful patchwork of leaves on the horizon is growing thinner. I'm sitting in silence save for the distant ocean roll of a noise machine in my napping baby's room and the occasional churn of the old furnace kicking in. I know it's going to be a long winter and we have to conserve, but there's a comfort in hearing that heat kick in. And just like when I was a kid, I scramble to the nearest vent- my favorite was always the one in the nook behind a door- and stand there, cuddling myself and relishing that thick warmth emanating from the thin slits of a grate.
I am so thankful for this warmth. I am so deeply grateful for it.
The past several days have been marked by a few things that carry so much weight-- you know we have all been in this scary economy for several years now. While I've heard so many heart breaking stories of struggle, loss, fear, some redemption and great success despite the odds, yes... but for the first time I am seeing it around me and feeling it ourselves. These are terrifying times to live check to check, putting everything on the line in the name of dreams, family, love, health, faith.
I have paused for such a long time right here in writing this. Maybe because I am not really sure what I am writing. A couple of our friends have experience some really intense, scary situations recently. A dear friend was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy a couple weeks ago and can't work now due to facial paralysis, pain and speech loss. He has a road for recovery ahead of him and needs provision to ensure his recovery and to take care of his family. Another friend and his wife have both lost their jobs, have two small children and are facing some intense, intense stuff. People are rallying around them and calling networks of people to try to find them work, but they're on this precipice of the unknown and seemingly unfavorable.
Things are scary. And more than anything I want our family to be able to help others. I want my family to be in a position to give-- to give our services, to give our time, to give financially. But until we are equipped to do that, we can give our love, acted out in a million ways seen and unseen. I hope you feel it, multiply it and pass it on. It's a resource that cannot be exhausted. It's the thread that all of humanity shares, and it's the thing that can ignite a revolution that can change people's lives. My friends' lives, my life, your life.
With these words and with the warmth from my old furnace, I feel so deeply grateful and I thank you for being a part of our lives. Every email and every connection, the encouragement and prayers, it means the world to us. We honestly love you and that's why every time we write a post, send an email or write a letter, we do it with love.
Morgan, Duquette and Tennessee
Nov 12, 2014
Trying to live a life focused on helping change the world in positive and productive ways can be such a challenge is this digital age where the web is littered with trolls who thrive on negativity and stirring the pot until it is ready to blow up in your face. It is exactly why I want to help spread the word about our dear friends' Rohan Anderson and Kate Berry's newest venture in their journey called The Nursery Project. I am not sure if there is a man more passionate about helping others learn to live a healthier life than Rohan and a strong woman and mama dedicated to changing the world for their children's generation.
I will be the first to say that Rohan can be controversial and his ways are not for everyone. But in his heart of hearts, his mission is pure and he truly wants to share with the world his story and how it has saved his life and given him a new one. Let's face it, the world is set up so the easiest food is cheap and quick and is so incredibly toxic for your body, filled with strange chemicals and fillers and preservatives. But there is another way-- it just involves being willing to change, putting in extra work to either grow and produce your food or source your food properly so you might prepare food for you and your family that is delicious, nutritious and actually gives you life. Believe me I understand this better than many people do. If you have followed my wife's journey after being so sick earlier this year, then you know we had to make radical changes to our lifestyle and the way we eat. It was literally a matter of life or death in our household as my wife faced a potentially deadly bacterial infection in her guts and organ failure from complications. For her to heal, we had to change everything overnight. It has been one of the greatest decisions we have ever made, and it actually started when we first met Rohan over a year ago. Before the actual necessity for change arose, we spent time with Rohan in Birmingham, Alabama and were so deeply affected by the passion with which he spoke about his own life changing revelation of health, food and a better life. It stuck with us. It made us start questioning things and wondering if life really could get that much better by modifying our relationship with food. The answer is yes, absolutely.
We recognize how difficult and overwhelming and daunting these kinds of changes can sound. It doesn't have to be that hard. You just need to start somewhere, and that somewhere could be the way you think. The work of it comes easily if you can just start with looking at something with a different perspective.
Rohan and Kate have become family to us and we support them whole heartedly, even as we live in the United States and they're all the way in another hemisphere in Australia. They are a beautiful family, working to change the world by changing the way we and our children and future children will eat.
They are currently in a fundraising stage for their blood, sweat and tears project The Nursery Project. Basically, they need our help to raise $100,000 to purchase land, build mess halls and educational facilities and to cover administrative costs. The gardening? Yes, it'll go there, too because that's what they do. They're making this place so that people have a place to go to learn skills, to learn about food, to touch the food and prepare it and eat it. It's about life and health and community. And that's what we are here, a community. We implore you to become a part of this story--- GO HERE AND SHOW SOME LOVE!
All the love,
Duq, Morgan and Tennessee