IN REVIEW | december 2013


December was a pretty hard month for me. I’m an optimistic person by nature and I love to keep things in a positive tone. On the other side, I don’t want to leave out when things get a little shaky, to an extent. It’s never all sunshine, but I hate to dwell on negative things. With change, both positive and negative, come new beginnings. This year-end is really setting the stage for some pretty big changes in the future.

William and I decided to end our relationship a couple weeks ago. The details aren’t meant for here, but it’s all been amicable. Sometimes, two people’s paths just aren’t made to last, you know? I’m glad he was in my life, and I’ll take all the lessons I’ve learned from this relationship in to my next. I guess that’s what dating really is all about — finding out what you truly need in a life-long cohort.

Over Christmas, a coworker of mine passed away from a long battle with cancer. If you could or are capable, I know her family would appreciate all the thoughts and prayers sent her way. She had been on leave since before I started, but I did get to meet her at a few team get-togethers. While I didn’t know her very well personally, she was a big part of our team, and she will be very missed. Just around this same time, my grandmother was put into the hospital. We spent the majority of our time in Chicago prepping for her recovery and future well-being. Family stuff is hard, and navigating sick parents, daughters, and how to help them breeds a lot of stress. All seems to be positive on this aspect for now, and I’m so glad that my family and I were able to be there when this all was happening to do what we could.

Surrounded by these hardships, some exciting things have been happening around here this month as well. I’ve paired up with a new client who will be helping me with my fitness and well-being this upcoming year. Through all the weirdness, thesis writing, moving, long-distance relationshiping this year, I let my health slide a little a lot and I’m ready to get back on it. I know how good it feels to be treating my body right, and I have no excuses now that things in my life are finally settling down. This time around I’ll take it in baby steps. My new client and I had a long talk a couple weeks ago, and she is such an inspiration. I can’t wait to let you in on more of the fun we have going on this year. She helped me feel empowered to make changes at my own pace and to still have fun with the process. Does anyone else do the thing where they make a goal or lifestyle change too quickly or make too many changes all at once and can’t keep up with it? I definitely have that issue, and it’s time to make this stick, one step at a time.

On a pretty life-changing note, yesterday I put down a deposit for a new addition in the Pinegate Road household — a baby girl pup! She’ll be coming home with me in a couple weeks, and I’ll be using this week to puppy-proof my apartment and get up to speed on all there is to know before bringing her home. I’ve been wanting to get a little lady of my own since graduating high school, and after this move, I knew it was just the right timing for me. It was an amazing feeling to do this on the very last day of 2013! Tips and advice on bringing home a new puppy are appreciated, especially if you know about cockapoo puppies. This month I also was able to enjoy the snowy weather, and had lots of family time. We even made it to Alinea for dinner one night while in Chicago, which has been a dream restaurant venture of mine for years. Spending time to take all of this in and cherish each moment this month was well worth it.

Cheers to wrapping up 2013 friends! Hoping you all had a year of learning experiences and have your goals all sorted out. I know I’m ready to make 2014 a solid year! As always, you can follow along on more of the moments here if you wish. I’ll be back in a few days with a reflection on my goals from last year and a list of new ones for this year. Planning seriously makes me giddy.

happy holidays

Happy holidays from Pinegate Road

Hi friends, wishing you all a happy holiday break and a merry new year. I’m off on a baby plane to South Dakota for Christmas, and then to spend some post-holiday time with extended family in the Chicago area. Crossing my fingers the weather cooperates for us all! It’s funny how this year, the biggest gift I’m being given is to spend some quality time with family. I really couldn’t ask for more, and I guess this kind of feeling is something I’m glad to have. Makes me feel a little more adult, hah.

Some changes have been happening around here, and there are some pretty big plans being made for this year. I think 2014 is really going to be a turning point for me. I’ll be back in the new year with updates and plans and goals, and all that good stuff. Hope that you all get to relax and really experience soaking in those holiday moments. Cheers friends!

As always, you can follow along on the traveling adventures as I make my way to the west.


2013 HOLIDAY GUIDE | favorites under fifty


For this guide, I wanted to provide you all with some items that I personally love and use in my life — or variations of them at least. They are all under $50, so there’s something here for any budget. You can find links to all the items here.

PASSPORT CASE — First off, if you’re an avid traveler or keep your passport handy like I do, this is such a special touch. One of the most clever gifts I have received was a leather passport case. Every time I use it, I feel so connected to my travels and it brings up all kinds of memories. I keep stamps, plane and train tickets, and other small trinkets within the case. It’s a fun little touch for the travel enthusiast.

GOLD SCISSORS — If you know someone who is into styling, or who likes to craft in style, these gold scissors are just the thing. I found a pair just like this at an estate sale a couple months ago for one dollar! what!? But these are still a steal at $18 for their vintage and classic look.

PINECONE CANDLE HOLDER — I proudly keep one of these on my dining room table. Pinecones, and gold, you know that is just my thing.

VEGETABLE SPIRALIZER — This might be a bit strange, but this little tool has me thinking about vegetables in a whole new way. I use this regularly to make my zucchini into beautiful spirals that I then fry up and serve like pasta, with about 1/6th the calories. If you have someone in your life who is in to healthy cooking, this might be a fun thing to gift them!

GLITTER COASTERS — You really can’t go wrong. Kate Spade? Glitter? I’m in.

FRUITY STATIONERY — Working in the stationery industry, I make and see my fair share of printed paper in this size. I thought these painted fruits were simply too cute to pass up, incredibly unique, and a fine gift to give any stationery lover. Happy Menocle makes such sweet art.

BOTANICAL IPHONE CASE — There’s no denying my love for Rifle Paper and this signature print of theirs. I have the darker version on my phone only because this version didn’t come in the size I needed when I purchased it. Even so, having such a fun print on my phone makes me happy each time I use it.

METALIC POM POM — I know I probably post about this thing for every outfit post or gift guide, but, yeah, I love mine. It takes an ordinary outfit to a new level with this single addition. It’s even fun to wear on the side of a top knot, or to pin back some longer bangs.

Hope you enjoyed these eight favorites under fifty! Again, you can find links to all the items here. Happy gifting, and happy weekend!


IN REVIEW | november 2013


I didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this, but November was jam-packed. The one weekend I did stay in Cleveland, William came to town. The down-side of all the fun is how run down I get, and I spent the week before Thanksgiving and most of the holiday weekend downing cough syrup and trying to not let the sickness get to me too bad. I hung in there, but that’s a definite sign that I need to start really slowing down on weekends and take a couple here and there to rest up to be my optimal self.

Early November I was off to St. Louis to visit my friend Megan. She spent so many weekends visiting me down in Savannah, and I really needed to make a point and visit her is St. Louis now that the tropical location wasn’t an option. We had the best weather when we were there. Really, I couldn’t get over it. It was in the sixties in the day and the fifties at night and perfect for walking around outside and enjoying that slightly crisp air and those fresh fall leaves. It wasn’t intentional, but this month really did turn into a month of gratitude. There were so many points during this month that I just had to say out loud to those around me how happy and thankful I was for the small things going right. Taking time to acknowledge these moments really did pump up my mood — like when the plants at Home Depot were 75% off and we did a little happy sing/dance in the car on the way to the parking lot after seeing that sign. This is how St. Louis went: I was around college friends, there was perfect weather, we didn’t plan one darn thing after getting there, and we just had a really great time making things happen in a time that could have been pretty stressful. If you’re in a situation where you’re especially happy or thankful, try talking out your feelings to those around you. It sounds pretty silly, but you’ll be surprised how these talks pep other people up and it makes the happy moments spread.

Also, Snow! This month there were two snowfalls, one of which had me heading to Erie to visit friends from high school. I was the one with four-wheel drive, so I braved the storm to get three of us together who haven’t hung out as a group in over three years. We spent the weekend at my parents house, and just had a nice night catching up with some Christmas ale in-hand. I’m in love with all the weather that this month has brought — I haven’t been around all these changes in a couple years, and this time is really pretty magical.

Lastly I was off to South Dakota to see my parents new house for the first time. They’ll be living in South Dakota for the majority of the year have already took up residency there, so it was really nice to see what there new life has been like. Extended family came out, and twelve of us spent the holiday weekend bundled up, watching football, drinking beer, and generally getting one with the wild. One pretty exciting moment: After over a decade of being a vegetarian I started to eat meat about two years ago. This trip marked a new time in my life, and was something that my dad probably never thought he’d live to see. He taught me how to shoot a rifle, and I went out pheasant hunting with him this weekend (!!).  I’m at the point where I’m wanting to try new things and I want to indulge in experiences I’m lucky enough to be around. I eat poultry, so why not hunt it off the land and really experience the whole process? After being out for about two hours, I hadn’t even taken a shot. There is so much to think about — not falling over, making sure you’re not aiming at anyone, having the safety on, not shooting the female pheasants — it was just a lot to think about on top of three hyper dogs running around at your feet. After finally taking my first shot, I felt comfortable to really aim and get into it after seeing birds. On my second shot, I got my first bird. Is it weird talking about hunting on a design blog? hah. I had a great time, and I’m glad that I was able to have a really neat father/daughter moment this weekend.

Now, we’re all probably off to a whirlwind of a December! Needing something festive for your desktop?

As always, you can follow along with my monthly adventures here. Cheers to staying healthy and getting all that holiday prep in!

2013 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | independent artistry


I don’t know if this is a thing or not, but over the past month or so I’ve been having this internal debate whether to do a series of gift guides. I’ve tried in the past, and it was one of those things that I was never really able to do full-out. It ended up being half-hearted and I just, well, I hate that kind of thing. Over the past while, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really best to do something right or not do it at all. That was my mom’s mantra growing up, and it’s just now setting in, hah. Now that it’s my first year out of school and I’m taking the time to send out big-girl Christmas cards, I was thinking this might be the year to make it happen. So here’s to making holiday happenings a reality, and to hoping I can keep my word with upcoming posts! Cheers?

First up we have a round-up of lovely things from baba souk. baba souk is an online boutique that caters to independent artists and makers. Stephanie carries one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted, and carefully curated items in her beautiful online space. You can clearly see her ability to pick well-designed items that have funky, yet timeless flair. She even carries a selection of work from Pinegate Road favorite, the object enthusiast! I just love this girl’s style, and was so happy to put together a gift guide featuring items from her shop.

I’ve picked a few of my favorite items above, and I hope that you get a chance to check out all that she has to offer. If you pick up an item now, she’ll gift-wrap it in a holiday edition of her signature style. Let me tell you, from personal experience it’s such a fun treat to see your new gifties come in such fun packaging! I do have a crazy thing for packing though, hah.

One last treat: Stephanie is offering a 15% discount at baba souk exclusively to Pinegate Road readers from 11/22 to 11/24. Enter the code ‘pinegate’ at checkout to receive your discount. Now, let’s get gifting!