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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

things i’m loving lately: july edition

  1. I know dry shampoo has been the thing for quite a while but it has taken me time to come around to it. At first I didn’t really have a need for it but over the past year or two, I’ve changed some of my hair routine and have found it to be useful in some situations. I wanted to test out a wide variety of them to be able to make a good recommendation for you guys, and I can finally say with confidence that Aveda dry shampoo is by far my favorite of the many that I tried. I love the applicator method, it smells good, and it works WAY better than any other kind I have tried. One bottle also lasts much longer than any of the aerosol versions.
  2. I finally got around to upgrading my iPhone and as such, I needed a new case. Unfortunately that kind of decision is coooommpletely overwhelming to me. There are just TOO many good options out there. After I narrowed it down to about 20 top choices, my friends helped me narrow it down further and this Slay case ended up being the clear winner. I mean really, how would I not get a case that was in some way a reference to Beyonce? Not even an option.
  3. Sandals a summer necessity, and I have been seriously in love with my Sseko Designs ribbon sandals since I bought them in the spring. The soles themselves are way more comfortable than any sandal I have ever owned, and of course I love the seemingly endless options for tying them in different styles. I can’t recommend these highly enough!
  4. These vintage filigree and pearl earrings from Erin McDermott were instant love at first sight for me. I adore both pearls and filigree so it was like they were made for me! Erin has generously offered a coupon code for any readers interested in purchasing a pair – use code annieseats for 30% off these lovely earrings.
  5. I have never been much of a hat person but I’m also not really into prematurely aged skin, so this year I decided to investigate hats a bit. After some research, I came across Pachacuti hats and am completely enamored with their business philosophy towards fair trade and sustainability practices. This hat was a great piece to have on our recent trip to Cali and I know it will be a wardrobe staple for many, many years to come!
  6. It seems like I have so many dresses, but I realized almost my entire dress collection is geared more toward workwear and I was lacking light, summery dresses. I decided to invest in this lovely halter swing dress from Symbology and I absolutely love it! It is such a perfect little number for summertime.
  7. I am definitely a minimalist when it comes to purses, bags, and such. I generally carry only a simple wristlet and replace it every 1-2 years when they get worn out. This Cedar Street Kate Spade wristlet is my new sidekick and I adore it! It comes in so many pretty colors but I couldn’t resist the blush pink.

(Related: Summer fashion post coming very soon, either later this week or first thing next week. Workout wear post is in the works but I’m taking my time to make sure I can give the best recommendations possible!)

 

I’ll be sharing more about our recent trip to California soon, but for now let me just say that this trip was a mega success as far as food was concerned. I don’t think we had a single bad meal, and many were exceptional! I couldn’t resist adding some new cookbooks to my collection from some of the restaurants we visited. Tacolicious, Tartine Bread and The Slanted Door are all recent additions and all have been fabulous to cook from so far. I recommend all three!

Our trip was also a great time to get some reading done. Two of my favorite recent reads are pictured above.

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt – This is an extremely well researched, thorough and sound examination of the current state of abortion rights in our country. She says herself that the book is unlikely to sway those in the anti-choice camp, but for everyone else and particularly for those she refers to as the “muddled middle”, this book is simply a must read. This is a very important topic to be informed on and even if you thought you knew your stuff before, I have no doubt there is still much you will learn from this book.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – I’ll admit that when I first heard about this book, I didn’t really get the point of it. A book about creative living? What is that exactly? Well, let me tell you. It is a very quick and highly enjoyable read thanks to the unique conversational tone that Gilbert strikes with her readers. While I wouldn’t say that I actually gained a lot from this particular read, I can say that it thoroughly resonated with me. What I mean is that much of how Gilbert describes a creative existence is very much the way that I live naturally. For the many readers who often ask me how I do all that I do (which always makes me feel a little embarrassed, to be perfectly honest) I think this book answers that question far better than I ever could. She covers so many important aspects that often stand in the way of people following their creative impulses – fear, permission, and many more. I read some reviews of this book that dogged on it for not offering more practical advice that could be put to use immediately, but I feel that take is missing the point entirely. Whether you are already in touch with your creative soul or are hoping to make progress in that area, this book is worth a read.

Though my knitting needles have slowed down a bit lately, my sewing machine has been in high gear. These are just a few of the things that have come off of my sewing table recently.

The Akita top from Seamwork is the first thing I have made for myself in a while but I am really happy with how it turned out. I had some Purl Soho linen grid begging to be used up, and this top seemed a perfect option. This is made with a single swath of fabric and a LOT of bias tape. While I love bias tape for many reasons, I do not enjoy having to make four yards of it which was the amount required for this project. The project is billed as being quick because of the one piece construction, but just expect that it takes a bit more time than estimated. This was my first time making a garment with darts, and I really liked the way they turned out. Overall this a great staple to have in your closet. With so many fabric and print options, this is one I will likely make again and again.

I have been doing a great job with my goal to make most or all of Caroline’s clothes for this spring and summer, and we have bought her very little. These are a couple favorite things I have made her recently. I have made the Lotta dress from Compagnie M before, but this time I used an invisible zipper for the back closure and now I love this pattern even more. The fabrics I used are Liberty tana lawn 2015 Deborah with Robert Kaufman Cambridge lawn in dusty pink for the contrasting portions.

My newest favorite pattern are these adorable city shorts from Purl Soho. These are a ridiculously quick project to whip up and, at least in Caroline’s size, they can be made from a pretty small amount of fabric. I have some random squares from a fat quarter bundle with no real purpose, and each one had just the right amount. These do require making bias tape (unless you use some that is pre-made) but the quantity is much less than the top above, so it’s not a big deal. (The fabric pictured here is Cotton + Steel tangrams in indigo, though mine was purchased locally.)
Lastly and by far most importantly, are the horrifying events that have been happening around our nation, and around the world, the past few weeks (but really, so much longer.) I am at a total loss for words to capture the complex range of emotions all of this inspires – disbelief, sadness, despair, confusion, rage, and maybe, just maybe, hope mixed somewhere in there too. This article What It’s Like to be Black in Naperville, America by Brian Crooks is…haunting. Telling. Cringe-worthy. Important. So important, there should be a whole other word for it. This reminds me so much of the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which stays with me and which I still think about on a daily basis. Live with your eyes open. Live thoughtfully and with intention. See the problems we face, and find a way to be part of the solution.

  • “Live thoughtfully and with intention” – such a great mantra, but especially right now. Great post Annie!

  • Natalie Stachon

    Thank you so much for sharing Brian Crooks article, Annie. I sincerely admire your decision to write and share about things that are important to you.

  • Angela

    I have no idea how to process all that has happened in America lately. It is like i cannot blink. Thank you for sharing those links. I took my four kids, aged three to twelve, to our local Black Lives Matter rally and there were so many protestors. It was unreal. The speaker was an amazing man who stopped his speech to invite the leader of the other group to tell him what he wanted to say and offered him a hug. Honestly, I was terrified to see him (speaker) walk towards a man twitching with frenetic energy and anger with his hands outstretched, but he (speaker) was safe the whole time and successfully defused the situation. I was unspeakably grateful my children saw conflict resolution and love like that from a public leader. The whole thing has sparked many conversations between my children and me, but most of them ending with me saying, “I have no idea how to solve this. It’s so complex. All I know is that we must love and honor the person’s humanity, however that looks.”

    I’m eager to check out Pro. Thank you for the book recommendation. My heart sank when I saw that only two men left reviews. It sounds like a book we all need to read. (Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee, has a new one out, too. Do I remember correctly that you enjoyed the former?)

    You’re the raddest. Amen.

  • Annie

    Good for you. That sounds like an intense situation and I can imagine your anxiety in that moment. I’m glad the situation was resolved well. Sadly I was not aware of the Black Lives Matter rally here until it had already happened, otherwise I certainly would have taken my kids as well. It is so hard to explain, especially when there are no good answers. I hope more parents and just humans in general can teach love and acceptance by example. I want to be optimistic but every day seems to bring more news that makes me less so.

    You will love Pro. I wanted to highlight favorite passages but it would have just been the whole book. It’s extremely well written. I too was disheartened to see so few men reviewing it, but I presume many men feel it is an issue that doesn’t concern them. (However, it is mainly men who are imposing the insane restrictions on reproductive rights, so go figure.) This is an issue that affects all people and that we all should care more about! It will certainly be on my list of required reading for both of my kids when they get older. I actually have not read Little Bee – I will have to go check that one out. Thanks for the rec!

  • Andrianna

    You might enjoy (maybe enjoy isn’t the correct word — appreciate?) The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. It’s by Michelle Alexander and such a worthwhile read! It came out in 2010 but as I was reading it over the past few weeks I was shocked at how timely and relevant it is. Truly heartbreaking but it also inspired me to learn and discuss just generally work harder on these issues. Don’t let the title mislead you – it’s not strictly about imprisonment but rather about the entire legal and correctional system from the passing of laws all the way through parole. This book gave me some great insight into how laws are passed and (unfairly) enforced – I highly recommend it.

  • Emily

    So many bloggers and social media personalities are usually advised to shy away from speaking on controversial topics and social issues. It’s refreshing to see someone unafraid to speak their mind.

  • I have that Kate Spade wristlet in gold and love it.

  • Annie

    Thank you Emily!

  • Annie

    Thank you for the rec! I will definitely read it!

  • Annie

    Thank you so much Natalie!

  • Erika Robinson

    I highly recommend the poetry book, Salt. By nayyirah Waheed. Such a masterpiece about race and gender. The poems are so powerful and so so beautiful. It was 99 cents for the kindle version on Amazon a few weeks ago. Truly worth reading and I felt it helped me to understand race a little more, which is so what we need more of.

  • lizardmom

    Check out this pattern link. I’ve made it for my granddaughters and they love it. I make it longer as a dress and frequently add pockets. I’m a fairly accomplished sewer and attach the bodice to the skirt differently but other than that, it’s an adorable summer dress.
    http://www.climbingthewillow.com/2013/10/izzy-top-free-pattern-and-tutorial.html

  • Molly

    If you want peace in the U.S., then start by defending innocent children in the womb. The acceptance of abortion causes great harm to our nation. I love your blog, but I find this particular book suggestion of yours very disheartening.

  • Annie

    I find it disheartening that one can vastly oversimplify a complex issue while failing to respect the life of the woman carrying a ball of cells. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the best way to have an informed and thoughtful opinion is to keep your mind open and learn more. That is why I absolutely highly recommend this book to everyone.

  • Annie

    Thank you! I will check it out.

  • Cara

    Well said my dear!

  • Celine

    I don’t think it’s an oversimplification to accept that a ball of cells is simultaneously human life, despite being in early form. Human life implies human dignity that should be extended to all–from the innocent baby to, equally importantly, pregnant women, who, regardless of circumstances, deserve to be supported and treated with compassion. As you said, on this sensitive and personal matter we all have different viewpoints, and I’d be interested in checking out this book. And as another commenter said, kudos to you for speaking up about your beliefs.

  • This!

  • Annie

    The oversimplification I was referring to was her suggestion that peace in the US can come from defending “innocent unborn children in the womb”. That is simply flawed logic, or maybe not really logic at all, but those are the sort of blanket statements that gain momentum in anti-choice movements. The book does an excellent job of examining the many facets of this complicated issue, including when that ball of cells gains personhood, and how we balance that along with the life of the woman involved. I appreciate your thoughtful reply.

  • Molly

    When I say that ending abortion would bring peace to the US, you’re right, I’m not referring to logic. I’m referring to more of a spiritual concept: that when we engage in immoral actions, it hurts the world. Likewise, when we do good, everyone benefits. Some people might call it a “universal vibe” and others “the economy of grace.” I am informed on the situation. The root of the matter is actually very simple if you believe, as I do, that it’s not just “a clump of cells.” When you see it as the death of a human being, it becomes very clear that abortion is not an option. I would agree that dealing with unwanted pregnancies is a complex issue. But, according to the summary of the book, the author introduces abortion as a “normal” part in a woman’s life. Millions of women would disagree with that statement. Abortion hurts women physically and emotionally. It is not normal and is incredibly disrespectful of women. I am very interested in finding ways to help women with unwanted pregnancies, whether it be through family support, adoption, etc. I believe that the solution starts with how we form, raise and support our families, and I’d read a book any day that helps me learn how to better do that.

  • Annie

    Yes, much of the debate centers around the clump of cells as a person or not. If you believe it has the rights of a born individual, then abortion may seem immoral to you. The question that still remains is why those who feel similarly should have the right to impose restrictions based on their personal view on everyone else. Why is your opinion of what is moral or immoral more correct than of anyone else? (As an aside, all arguments are much simpler when logic and science are removed and based on vague amorphous spiritual leanings.) While adoption is indeed a great option for some, I find the notion that a women be required to grow and give birth to a child simply because she had sex truly absurd. Again, the book examines all of these arguments very thoroughly.

    If you actually read the book as opposed to just the description, the author uses “normal” in the sense that abortion is very common and something many women may face in their lives. She also closely examines the after effects of abortion on women. While it is physically and/or emotionally painful for some, that certainly is not true for all. Again, generalizations do no favors in this debate. If you want to critique the book, the viewpoints and the data it contains, read the book.

    Like I said, it isn’t meant for those in the anti-choice camp because they will not be swayed. For the rest of us though, it contains a wealth of information about this sensitive complex topic, and I am very glad to have read it.

  • Andrianna

    I’m glad, I think you’ll get a lot out of it. I just now read the Brian Crooks article and it goes hand in hand with everything I learned in that book. Thank you for sharing the article, and for all of your honest recommendations and opinions!

  • Celine

    Ah, I see! Certainly, peace in the US and worldwide is a very complex goal to be reached. At the very least, it requires taking an equal look at all areas of injustice/violence and opening up an honest discussion of what is enabling them to continue. This includes, for me, taking a look at abortion, but also includes examining suffering at the hands of violent racism (as we’ve seen so tragically recently–and which I am glad you’ve brought up here!), homelessness, poverty, widespread access to weapons, etc. I do agree with what Molly was getting at below– that injustice for some is bad for all (John Donne’s poem, “No Man is an Island,” comes to mind. I think you’d enjoy it!). But of course we can’t just apply it to abortion. There are many injustices in the world. All deserve to be critiqued and those suffering must be given a voice.

  • Molly

    I should read the book so as to understand your perspective better. Thank you for the discussion, Annie. I appreciate it.

  • Annie

    Thank you too!

  • Grace

    Annie, I have already wrote this in a Reader’s Love post before (and you wrote such a thoughtful reply back), but I just wanted to reiterate it…you are just the best! You inspire me in so many ways, and I really appreciate you. You make me want to live even more purposefully in all aspects of my life. Your book reviews are always spot-on (Missoula, Listening is an Act of Love, etc), and I am grateful for you and your blog!

  • Whitney

    I found this article on abortion to be very enlightening. It considers not just the life in the womb, but also the mother’s. It also has some startling facts. You would honor me if you gave it a read. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life

    I hope in the future we can do a better job of supporting the moms.

    Reading your comments has me musing. Why has sex, which has the power to create a human life, become so casual? Regardless of religious beliefs, shouldn’t it command more respect?

    It may be silly, but I am sad now that I know we may have different views. I know! Silly! I am friends with people who have different views, but whatever reason this makes me sad. Maybe because I looked up to you in a way?

  • Whitney

    Gah! I wish I could go back and edit my comment! I shouldn’t have I “looked” up to you, because that is a lie, I still do! I am sorry! That was wrong of me. I still look up to you and all of your creative ideas that I enjoy reading about. Sorry about that!

  • Annie

    I did read the article. I believe that it contains a lot of misinformation, as well as personal opinion presented as fact. Many of the arguments put forth in the article are addressed in the book so you might be interested in reading the other side of those ideas.

    Sex is a fact of life and though you and many feel it should be held in higher regard, not everyone feels that way and not everyone will behave that way. I do not believe that it is my place or anyone’s to impose my personal views on someone else’s sexuality or their bodies. I suppose I take a practical view of it all – that whatever might be ideal is not the world we live in. That sex, unplanned pregnancy, and abortion will all happen no matter how each of us individually feels about it. And that even though, as the article says, abortion may sometimes be the only choice because the woman has no other choice, that is precisely why I feel it should be legal and safe and freely available. It will happen either way but by making it less taboo and less difficult to obtain, that “no choice” option might be less painful and traumatic than if we make it next to impossible and shameful.

    Please understand that I respect your beliefs and I don’t mind the disagreement. Just explaining my perspective on the topic. I appreciate you being a loyal reader and hopefully differing views won’t prevent you from enjoying the blog as you did before.

  • Annie

    Thank you so, so much Grace. Your kind words mean more than you know!

  • Carolyn

    Thank you for the Shampoo recommendation! I bought some yesterday :) I love the regular Aveda pure shampoo – I didn’t know they made dry shampoo!

    Also – thank you for the book recommendations too! I will add them to my list :) I just finished Missoula (UGH – eye opening but so frustrating to hear the lack of support for rape victims) and also read Between the World and Me – both extremely thought provoking. I also started reading The Warmth of Other Suns recently which is about the great migration – it is truly hard to fathom that the beginnings of the institutionalized treatment of African Americans occurred during a time my own grandparents were alive and how far we have yet to come.

    I echo everyone else – I LOVE these posts – you’re an inspiration and I am so happy you put so much thought into all you do – I really appreciate it!

  • Linda Drury Freeman

    With all the intelligent commentary, I almost feel silly commenting on the sandals, but I wanted to thank you for posting that link! I followed it, put the sandals in my basket because, I mean, how could I not, then got a code for 50% off! Yay! I love the internet some days.

  • Annie

    Haha, I know right?! I feel silly posting those things in the same post really. The blog is going to have some changes coming in the future and I think I’ll be able to better separate the light and the heavy topics :)

  • Annie

    The Warmth of Other Suns is on my list. Glad to know you are enjoying it. I’ll have to make sure I get to it soon!

    And thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoy these posts and what I do in general!

  • Cerissa

    Hi, Annie! I’m wondering how the sandals fit…I’m an 8.5 (normal width) and am not sure whether I should size down to an 8 or size up to a 9. Thanks!

  • tara

    i applaud you for sharing all of this. i love that women can talk about sandals and earrings in one breath and timely social issues in the next ! I’m as pro choice as they come for a billion reasons. I read the article about Naperville. What a great read. It seemed so honest and from the heart. You cannot ever argue with a person’s personal truth. I read between the world and me and it came across as excellent but so much anger. i’m sure that is because i listened to the audiobook and of course the author spoke with passion, but for some reason the Naperville article struck me differently. I am putting the Pro book on my reading list. I would love to learn more facts on the issue so that i can speak more intelligently on the issue. I firmly to my core believe in a women’s right to choose and appreciate your comments in your exchanges here. You speak well on the topic and keep crazy emotion out of it which is appreciated. i knew as i read the post that you would get flack which makes me sad because i dont want you to shy away from posting these items. More knowledge is NEVER a bad thing ! Thank you for the book recommendations. i will surely check them out.

  • Danita Day

    This is definitely my favorite”Things I’m loving” post. I am adding your book recommendations to my goodreads shelf. I also read Missoula based in your previous post. I just read the article by Mr. Crooks. It’s very thoughtfully written and enlightening. I like the broad spectrum of topics and items you post. Thanks.

  • Annie

    Thank you Danita!

  • Morgan Alexander

    Annie, words cannot describe my appreciation for you. I found your (young, but no less wonderful) blog as a junior in high school who loved cooking, sewing my own throw pillows, and reading Eat, Pray, Love a few too many times. Regular visits to your blog resulted in my becoming the primary meal prepare-er in my home, the weekly cupcake baker for my high school class, and the feeling that at least one adult existed with the lived experiences I dreamed of creating for myself.

    Today, I am a medical student with a regular yoga practice, custom throw pillows, and above-average cooking skills. Most of your “Things I’m Loving” items have become (well-loved) belongings. My respect for you has grown immensely as I’ve watched you handle personal crises with grace, achieve better work-life balance than any physician I know, and, perhaps most importantly, take a stand on issues for which I care very deeply. Watching the blog grow deeper and more meaningful has been incredible and I hope you are appropriately proud of what it is and what it does for readers.

    Anyway, thank you. For unwittingly inspiring me in the kitchen, in my personal life, and in the medical field. Thank you for helping me to find better make-up, more supportive bras, and socially responsible vendors. And thank you for being such a passionate and informed advocate, on top of it all. You really do rock. <3

  • Kari

    I was bummed to see your pro-abortion book recommendation. So often you’ve kept things ‘all about the food’ around here with just a few tangents on travel, fashion, etc., so pushing a book on a controversial issue seems out of character.

  • Annie

    It is pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I love sharing all sorts of things in these posts, and that includes issues that are important to me. I have shared book recommendations regarding racism and feminism before, which might also be considered “controversial” topics by some, so this is certainly not out of character. This book is incredibly well researched and well written so for anyone looking to become more informed on abortion rights, I highly recommend it. There are plenty of blogs out there that keep things strictly superficial but I appreciate the platform this site offers me to connect with my readers on a deeper level. I think it is important to keep our minds open and be informed rather than shut our eyes and cover our ears to opinions that may differ from our own.

  • Annie

    Morgan, thank you so much for your incredibly kind words. I am thrilled that you enjoy the site and that I have been able to provide you with good recipes as well as recommendations for all sorts of other things. And of course, I am very glad you appreciate the changes I have made toward addressing deeper topics on occasion. It isn’t always an easy thing to do but I think keeping quiet for fear of rocking the boat does far more harm than good.

    Congrats on med school and good luck with the rest of training. It is such a taxing journey but you’ll get through it, especially with some great hobbies to keep you sane. Cheers!

  • Annie

    Thank you Tara. I appreciate it! I agree, even reading Between the World and Me, the author’s anger definitely came through. At first I was a bit taken aback by it but then I felt, can I really blame him? I would be angry too. Anyway, I appreciate your support and kind words very much.

  • Annie

    I would probably size down. Mine are on the large side of things. I hope you love them as much as I do!

  • Sasha

    As a long-time reader, I love your things I love posts, and have tried some of the make-up recommendations in the past (keep them coming!). That said, I love the more serious book recommendations, and will definitely check them out. I As a fellow resident of Indiana, it pains me that women’s reproductive rights are being eroded in this state, including the most recent attempts to ban abortion for genetic anomalies. I recently read an amazing and eye-opening piece about late-term abortions here https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/what-you-learn-from-doing-abortions-after-20-weeks/

  • Lindsay

    This is a wonderful post; I’m glad to see you sharing a piece of yourself with your readers. It makes me sad that abortion rights are still so entangled with misinformation. I will certainly be reading Pro! The Naperville article was impressive (as in- it made an impression on me), thought-provoking, and frustrating. As more people share their stories, I hope awareness spreads and these will become stories of the past, rather than stories of the present and (sadly) near-future. Thank you for this post!

    Also, I am going to check out that dry shampoo. I’ve been searching for a good one and have been using the same brand for a while, but am not completely satisfied, so I’m happy to have stumbled upon that recommendation!

  • Annie

    Thank you so much Sasha. Also, huge thanks for sharing that post. THAT is the kind of information that needs to be spreading, not the misinformation and propaganda from anti-choice organizations. Above all, this was my favorite line: “Only a tiny minority are unwanted pregnancies and then the woman almost always wishes the pregnancy never happened and that she could have terminated sooner. Women who access abortion care after 20 weeks for what we call elective reasons are in that situation because of laws designed to restrict abortions.” This is what people need to understand, but sadly it seems few do.

  • Laryssa

    Annie,
    Long time reader, almost never commenter. BUT.
    “all arguments are much simpler when logic and science are removed and based on vague amorphous spiritual leanings” is the best sentence I have read in recent memory! So good. I’ll be stealing it for future discussions with my socially conservative family, lol.

  • Annie

    Thank you! It’s the truth!

  • Jaime Szajna

    Hey Annie, Checking out that Cedar Street wristlet, does your phone fit in with a case on it, or does it need to be “caseless” to work well? TIA!

  • Annie

    It does fit with a case, but probably only a slim profile case (i.e. not one of the protective ones).