Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Club Postponed

So you may or may not have been wondering what happened to our book club collaboration with Whitney Ann. Don't worry. We haven't forgotten you! Followers of Whitney's blog (and if you're not a follower, you should be!) may know that Whitney and her husband Mark are in the process of moving from Richmond, VA to Athens, GA. 

I have to say, as a Georgia native, I'm pretty jealous of this move. Whitney is in the heart of Bulldog football country. Other Georgians know that this should be pronounced Bulldawg, by the way. Maybe someday my own Mark and I will fly south again, but who knows where the future will lead.

Anyway, while Whitney and her hubby settle into their new home, we decided to temporarily postpone the book club. We're not sure how long the hiatus will last, but we will certainly notify you once we start up the book posts again. In the meantime, you can follow along with my own Good Reads column where I'll be posting reviews of my summer reads. 

Image: courtesy of Whitney Ann

Monday, June 29, 2015

Around Town // Frederick City Guide

This past week, Mark and I have been working relentlessly on renovating our tiny galley kitchen. While the project has been exciting, the work has unfortunately kept us indoors and away from the beautiful summer sunshine. These perfect summer days of hot blue skies and evening thunderstorms will pass all too quickly; so get out there and enjoy them while they last.

If you're in the Delmarva area, a fun way to pass your next free Saturday would be a day-cation to our little city of Frederick, Maryland. It's a hip little town packed with art, style, and Civil War history at every corner. To give you an idea of what Frederick has to offer, Mark and I put together a list of our favorite downtown Frederick attractions.


Brewer's Alley
124 N Main Street
This restaurant-and-brewery is hands down our favorite restaurant in downtown Frederick. Located in the heart of downtown in an imposing brick building that once served as Frederick's opera house, Brewer's Alley is the ultimate date-night destination. Periodically, their beer menu changes to reflect the season. Favorite eats: Aloha pizza and Mahi Fish Tacos. Favorite drink: Nut Brown Ale

Pretzel Pizza Creations
210 N Market Street
Mark and I love popping down to this restaurant for a yummy lunch. The bread and pizza dough are made from pretzel dough. Can you say yum?? I highly recommend the turkey-avocado sandwich.

Bushwaller's Pub
209 N Market Street
If you're in the mood for a cozy Irish pub, Bushwaller's is your destination. The food is hearty and, of course, Guinness is on tap. And if you're just looking to hang out, there's always a game of darts available at the back.

16 E Patrick Street
On my first night in Frederick, Mark took me to JoJo's. We were both exhausted from moving my furniture into the apartment and had no food in the fridge yet. So, at nine, we set out to find some supper and found JoJo's. I highly recommend their hot wings.

Rex's Downtown Grill
57 E Patrick Street
A few months ago, I mentioned to Mark that Frederick just needed a basic hamburger grill. A few weeks later, Rex's Grill opened its doors on Patrick Street. We've only been here a few times but were very impressed with the fun atmosphere and yummy burgers.

Cafe Nola
4 E Patrick Street
Famous for its brunch, Cafe Nola is a great place for a girls-date. Their menu boasts several yummy vegetarian options as well as a great coffee bar. I always order the California Turkey sandwich.


Repurposed and Refined
217 W Patrick Street
Of course, I can't create a downtown Frederick shopping list without including a shout-out to the shop. We're stock full of beautiful vintage furniture and carry a large inventory of Annie Sloan chalkpaint products. So whether you're looking for a vintage treasure or starting your own DIY, we've got you covered.

Silk & Burlap
28 E. Patrick Street
An ultimate ladies' shopping destination, Silk & Burlap carries everything from Vietri stoneware to designer clothing to Alex and Ani jewelry to vintage furnishings. They carry a little bit of everything. Although somewhat pricey for a newlywed girl like me, their store is always a beautiful place to peruse. 

Citizen Frederick
112 E Patrick Street
Mark's favorite Frederick store (along with every other man in the Baltimore-DC area), Citizen Frederick hands-down is the best-smelling store in all of Frederick. The perfect blend of leather, aftershave, and wool envelops you as soon as you step over the threshold. Somehow, the store manages to perfectly combine rustic manliness with urban style. Most of their inventory is American-made with much of it being Maryland-made and all of it being well-made. In addition to the shop, a barber shop resides on the second floor. In short, if you send your man to Citizen Frederick, he's going to walk out looking sharp.
Confession: I personally own one of their hoodies. No joke, it's the cuddliest sweatshirt ever. 

Curious Iguana Bookstore
12 N. Market Street
Frederick's independent bookstore has become my go-to for any book purchases not made on my Kindle. If they don't have the title you're looking for, you can always order it for no additional charge. 

The Trail House
17 S. Market Street
If you're into outdoor sports or camping, you need to stop by the Trail House to stock up on gear. Not only will you get great products, but you'll get friendly advice on the best places to trail run, bike, and hike in Maryland. 

19 N Market Street
If you need some creative inspiration, stop by the Muse downtown. Its owner Whitney takes care in promoting and beautifully displaying artisan products in her store. The baby section in the back is especially adorable.


Frederick Coffee Co.
Hands down, Frederick Coffee Company is my favorite local spot for a latte. Curl up in one of their booths with a book or for a chat with a good friend over a mug of something hot and sweet. They also regularly host poetry readings, live music, and other fun events. 

Historic Frederick Bike Tour
This bike loop leads you through 10 miles of Frederick's 50 block historic district. You'll pass historic buildings that span from the town's inception in the 1700s to the early 1900s. 

Museum of Civil War Medicine
With so many battlefields just a few miles away, Frederick became a hospital town during the Civil War. In fact, five major battlefields-- Monocacy, Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, Antietam (Sharpsburg), and South Mountain--all lie within an easy 30 minute drive of the city. This museum highlights the difficult plight of Civil War camplife and the medical innovations that paved away for modern military medicine. 

Baker Park
A short walk from downtown's center, Baker Park has 40 acres for you to run, play, and sunbathe. On pretty summer days, you'll find people reading in the shade of the trees or playing a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee. My favorite part of the park is the bell tower which occasionally peals out beautiful hymns. Hit up the park this weekend for the Celebrate Frederick July Fourth fireworks show. 

Carroll Creek Canal
Originally designed as a floodwater preventive,  Carroll Creek now runs through downtown Frederick as a beautiful canal speckled with lily pads and teeming with wildlife. Since many shops and eateries line its banks, strolling along the canal is always a pleasant way to spend a summer evening.

Alive @ Five 
Every Thursday night, the amphitheater by the canal transforms into a stage where local bands serenade passerby. Sitting with our legs dangling over the edge of the canal bridge, listening to cover songs, has been one of our favorite middle-of-the-week getaways since moving to Frederick. 

These are just a few of our favorite Frederick attractions. I'm sure I've left many other awesome places out-- but to be honest, Frederick has so many great aspects, its hard to pick just a few places to highlight.

Are you a Frederick local? What are some of your favorite places?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Revitalize Your Old Art Prints

As a painter myself, I take special care when selecting artwork for my home. I don't go home with an item unless it truly speaks to me. Most often, I purchase antique architectural pieces-- like old windows or gates-- to hang around the house, or I just paint my own pieces. When decorating, I much prefer to use quirky vintage items or original artwork over generic store-bought items. Not that anything is wrong with buying cheap art. You can really get some lovely art at great deals, don't get me wrong!  There's absolutely nothing wrong with that route. I personally just prefer items which possess more of a story or a one-of-a-kind quality, items that you may not see in someone else's house.

Over time, my decorating style has certainly evolved. In fact, I feel that it has tremendously evolved even since my wedding day almost 3 years ago now. Previously, I used a lot of crimson and golds when decorating. I tended to gravitate toward carnival-y, baroque-ish pieces. I loved rich, gemstone hues, bling, and texture. Case in point: this large art print from World Market that hung over my bedroom dresser for years. 

Pretty, right? But quite busy and yes, somewhat carnival-esque. This art print was a Christmas gift from my parents when I was about sixteen. While I adored the print back then, I suddenly found that its swirls and kaleidoscope colors no longer jived with my style. I caught myself staring at it every night before bed and thinking... Wow, that thing really sticks out. 

I fantasized about replacing it. But the hefty pricetag attached to large artwork gave me pause, especially in the midst of our recent kitchen renovation. I mentioned my art-woes to Mark one night who shrugged and said "Why don't you just paint over it?"

Ohhhhhh, duh! And thus, a DIY was born.

- an art print you've "fallen out of love with" 
- glossy white paint
- grey acrylic paint
- blue acrylic paint
- gold craft paint, Martha Stewart brand
- a variety of paint brushes
- papertowels
- water for cleaning brushes

My first step was to simply cover the entire canvas with the white glossy paint. To be honest, just this step alone produced a lovely result. The texture of the original print peeked through the white paint. If you're into minimalist design, simply painting a textured art print white would give you a unique piece of art. But we all know I'm no minimalist, right? 

I went on to paint the remainder of the abstract design, sticking to blue, grey, and gold hues. I had so much fun layering the colors and splattering paint every which-away. If you're undertaking your own abstract painting project, the best advice I can offer is to choose coordinating colors that suit your decor style and to be sure to allow time for the individual paint layers to dry.

The end result of this spontaneous project was a piece of modern abstract artwork that not only matched my bedroom color scheme but also was a bit easier on the eyes (aka less busy). The white background illuminates the space and really pops against the charcoal grey wall. Sometimes it pays to just flex your DIY muscles and give new life to a piece rather than going out to buy new. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Good Reads // Longbourne

Today I thought I would share a review of my most recent read: Longbourne by Jo Baker, This book first entered my literary radar via a review on A Beautiful Mess blog. I had seen the cover displayed at our local bookstore Curious Iguana, but I never felt drawn to pick up the book. As a general rule, I don't read spin-off stories. The paperback industry of Pride & Prejudice spinoff novels is just too in-your-face lucrative. You know what I'm talking about... those novels with a scantily clad Mr. Darcy on the cover. With one glance, I consigned Baker's novel to this category.

I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, Baker's novel Longbourne proved to be a page-turner that not only kept my interest but changed my entire interpretations of the Bennett-Darcy world.

Warning: if you haven't read the book, there be spoilers ahead.

1. Baker gives her readers a completely different view of Regency England. You're not led into the dainty parlors or escorted around the ballrooms. Instead, Baker plops you in the kitchen, the barnyard, or even out back at "the necessary." The famous Pride and Prejudice characters fade to the background while Baker's protagonists--the servants-- take the stage. Everyday aspects of life that Austen's contemporary readers probably already knew -- like how the washing was done or how the courses were served--are brought to light. Yet somehow, Baker manages to delve intrusively into the Bennett household without sullying the original story. Sure, you learn things like how annoying it was for the servants to clean the Bennett girls' "monthly napkins" and how frustrating Elizabeth's muddy jaunts across the English countryside were to the servant cleaning her clothes and boots. But these revelations don't lower Austen's characters. Instead, these details render the Bennetts more human somehow, more believable.

2. The protagonist Sarah is just as gutsy and memorable as Elizabeth Bennett, maybe more so. And I love her. Because Elizabeth Bennett has been such a beloved character of English literature for nearly two centuries, I was a little worried about Baker's ability to create a character who could stand out despite the long literary shadow cast by Austen. Yet Sarah certainly stands as her own person. She is headstrong, brave, and opinionated-- and isn't afraid to stand up for herself or fight for what she truly wants. I especially appreciated that she didn't wait to be rescued by the dashing gentleman. Instead, she went out and found him and rescued him. 

3. All that being said... I do somewhat feel like Baker was a bit harsh in her portrayal of Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage. The final chapters of Longbourne extend beyond the tale of Pride and Prejudice and give you a glimpse into life at Pemberly after the Darcy wedding. This life, as portrayed by Baker, seemed a bit of a letdown. A demure wife, Elizabeth seems to lose her spark and individuality, becoming instead this polished, sophisticated lady. Suddenly, it seems Elizabeth is so concerned with the "Darcy name" that she cowers at others' opinions of her. Next thing you know, she's pregnant with one of what Sarah assumes will be many children, since "that is what a man like Darcy needs." Reading this, I thought sheesh. I couldn't help but wonder if the modern-woman Baker was looking back on the marriages of that time period with a bit too critical of an eye. As if her message was "Ya'll, Pride and Prejudice is just a fairytale. There was no prince. Here's the reality."  Of course, women did face a harsh fate of childbearing over and over again back then. But was the change in Elizabeth true to her wild, willful character? I feel like maybe not. However, Sarah's storyline is so interesting that you quickly forget about Pemberly.

All in all, I highly recommend this novel! If you're looking for a good beach-read, this may be it.

Have you read the story? If so, what are your thoughts?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Baby Boy Shower & Bump Shots

This past weekend, Mark and I loaded his truck and drove down to Virginia to shower two of our sweet friends Ryan and Laura Beth Rirchardson. This sweet couple is expecting their first baby: a little boy. Ryan and Laura Beth have always meant so much to Mark and me over the past six years. They were instrumental forces in our dating years and have been such stalwart, generous friends to us, giving freely of their time and love. The little boy who's currently sleeping in his mommy's tummy is beyond lucky to have them as parents. The angel who made that decision chose well. 

Laura Beth was my closest childhood friend. In fact, her parents double-dated with mine. So, she and I were practically required to become friends as girls and then now as grown women. A few years older than myself, Laura Beth taught me some of the finer points of teenage girlhood: how to apply eyeshadow, how to flirt with boys, and how to shave my legs. Not in that order, though. We were so close that we often forgot whether we truly were related or not. 

Funnily enough, Mark and Ryan also grew up together. As first cousins and only a few months apart in age, they learned how to walk, how to talk, how to shoot guns, climb mountains, and get the good girls--all together. Even though I truly had nothing to do with it... I feel special and somehow proud of the fact that my best friend married Mark's best friend. Now that they're expecting their first baby, the special feeling just grows. Life stories like theirs underline the divine hand that governs our lives. 

 As little boys and teenagers themselves, Ryan and Mark loved Jeeps. They spent their summers bouncing along dirt roads, spinning their tires and slinging mud. As long as I've known Ryan, he has owned a Jeep. So a Jeep-themed shower cake was perfectly fitting for this couple.

After the shower, I convinced the couplete to let me take a few "belly shots." I just adore the way they turned out. . Laura Beth knew that she wanted a photograph of Ryan's hands on the tummy. Because he is a diesel mechanic, his hands bear the marks of his trade, a fact about her husband that Laura Beth always says she loves. Plus, there's something special about the mommy and daddy's hands on the expectant tummy. It's as if they're cradling their little baby boy already.

Do you like bump photos? I definitely do. When tastefully done, they can be so intimate and tender. I greatly appreciate the fact that photography and society has moved forward, allowing the artistic exposure female form in this special moment of life. Somehow, this bump shot captures so many feelings, especially the sense of anticipation and love. 

 We all certainly can't wait for Baby Richardson's arrival so that we can finallhy give him some much-anticipated snuggles! Love you guys!

For more maternity-style photography, click here

Friday, June 12, 2015

7 Favorite Songs

Recently, two of my favorite blogs The Freckled Italian and Whitney Ann shared a list of their favorite songs and invited their readers to do the same. Reading their awesome song lists got me to thinking about the songs I consider to by my "favorites."

As a pony-tailed little girl, I used to ride along with my daddy in his white Ford truck, rocking out with him to old blues and classic rock tunes. Trips to school occurred with the Monkees, Men at Work, the Beatles, or Three Dog Night as the soundtrack. At eight, I knew every word to "Last Train to Clarkesville" and could clap the beat to "Take the Money and Run." My mom on the other hand loved classic country and folksy gospel songs. While my dad taught me the finer skills of air guitar, my mom instilled in my an appreciation for banjo, steel guitar, and a Southern accent's twang. Now, enter my older sister: who taught me the macarena, gave me her Smash Mouth CD, and introduced me to pop.

Combined, these musical influences created a girl with the most varied taste in music you can possibly imagine. My iPod's shuffle setting will lead on you a merry jaunt from Mozart, to Waylon Jennings to Corinne Bailey Rae to Avenged Sevenfold to Brad Paisley to Rebelution. I don't think I have a particular taste in music. I just like good tunes. 

Thus, my attempt at a list of favorite songs proved more difficult than I expected. How could I possibly pick just seven?? So I followed my friend Whitney's advice and went with the seven songs that evoke powerful emotion every time I hear them. In truth, this list should be a lot longer, but these seven deeply resonate with me. Whenever I hear the opening strains, I find it difficult to suppress the urge to sing along.

1. Georgia on My Mind by Ray Charles
As a Georgia girl, this song is the one and only tune that inevitably and always gives me tears. After I moved to Maryland with Mark, my Pandora Radio apparently decided it hated me and played the song every ten minutes.

2. Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Whenever I hear this song, a teenage memory pops into my mind's eye: driving on country backroads in my cousin Matt's truck, singing this song together at the top of our lungs. We both wondered how a song could make us happy and sad at the same time.

3. Hard Way Home by Brandi Carlile
All hail the singer/song-writer queen Brandi Carlile. If you haven't heard of her, stop reading this blog post and immediately go to YouTube to listen to this song. Her train-whistle croon at the beginning of this song gets me every time.

4. Evil Angel by Breaking Benjamin
My and Mark's dating years were set to a Breaking Benjamin soundtrack. In fact, our very first phone conversation circulated around rock music. Mark recommended Breaking Benjamin, and I immediately downloaded every song I could find of theirs on Napster. By the end of the day, I was hooked on this particular track. So much so that its still my Xbox Live name.

5. Like a Stone by Audioslave
This man's voice could melt butter. I mean really. I could spread Chris Cornell on a cracker. Such a haunting, easy listen. Sheesh.

6. Sirens by Pearl Jam
I remember the first time I heard this song on XM Radio. Instantly, I fell for the desperate, lonely sound it has. I have to admit though: I have a soft spot for Pearl Jam for a very specific reason. My husband doesn't sing often, despite the fact that he has a lovely deep baritone. Yet when Pearl Jam comes on the radio, if he thinks no one is listening... Sigh.

7. Hurt by Johnny Cash
Interesting factoid about this song: it was originally released by Nine Inch Nails in 1995. Nearly ten years later, the infamous Johnny Cash came along and blew it out of the water. Because come on. It's Johnny Cash. The Man in Black. Who can even compete with that?

Now it's your turn! Share your favorite list below or link to your blog post. 

image via Pinterest

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kitchen Inspiration

For the past two weeks, Mark and I have been working on renovating our kitchen. Before the project began, we optimistically and naively thought "Oh this will take about a week." Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Here we are, two weeks later, still putting the last pieces together.

Here's an annoying truth: tiling a backsplash can take forever. Especially when you have this "vision" of subway tile reaching to the ceiling. Each row has to dry and set before you can proceed to the next. Otherwise, the whole thing could come sliding down. Once you've finally tiled and grouted the entire thing, you have to allow the grout to set about 48 hours before sealing it. Ugh. My hands are constantly white-flecked with grout and adhesive, speckled as if I have some kind of skin condition.
Once the subway tile backsplash is sealed, we will begin hanging the three shelves. The final steps of the renovation will be hanging a new light fixture and then extending the cabinets to the ceiling.

I. Am. So. Ready. To. Be. Done.

I can't wait to share photos of the finished project. But even more so... I can't wait to have counter top surfaces again and to be able to cook a decent meal in the kitchen without having to dodge stacked bowls or random tools. So, to hold myself over until the Big Reveal, I thought that today I would share some of the Pinterest photos that inspired our kitchen makeover.

From the moment we bought our house, I knew I wanted two things in the kitchen: open shelving and subway tiles. I just love the crisp, classic look of subway tile. You can find it in stately old homes built at the turn of the century and in new, modern buildings. It's simply a timeless look that just doesn't lose it's charm or style.

Another favorite: shabby chic painted chandeliers. I've been scouring our local thrift shops and ReStores but haven't found one that works and is the right size. While I'd love to do a fun DIY and put an old chandelier in the kitchen, I will most likely go with this cutey from Home Depot. It has an old schoolhouse charm that I think will work well in our little galley kitchen. Since this isn't our forever home, I don't feel the need to make every single detail perfect. I'll have my Ultimate Kitchen later in life, maybe in house two or three.

The final kitchen detail that inspired our renovation: two cabinet colors. Those of you who follow along on my Instagram know that we decided to go with Annie Sloan's grey-blue shade Old Violet. I love the way its turning out with our old-rubbed bronze drawer pulls and faucet.

I also love these hanging rods and buckets from IKEA. I probably won't grow herbs in my kitchen (no direct sunlight), but have found them to be a great place to store random kitchen doodads like napkin rings or small utensils.

Stay tuned for our kitchen reveal!

All images via Pinterest.
Image of kitchen in first collage via Primitive & Proper.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Triple Crown Mood Boards

Where were you last weekend when a long-legged Thoroughbred known as the Pharaoh made history?

Mark and I were enjoying a dinner out, when suddenly the pieces clinked into place in my brain. "Babe!" I exclaimed, "It's Belmont Day!" Immediately, I abandoned my meal and craned my neck, looking for the nearest TV monitor showing the event. A lady at another table overheard my remark...and before we knew it, the entire restaurant had ceased in its customary activities. Instead, patrons and servers alike were affixed to the screens, awaiting the gate bell and cry of "And they're off!"

Perched on my knees and clutching the back of the booth, I bounced on the cushion like a little girl. My heartbeat spiked when American Pharaoh took the lead, not unlike his predecessor Secretariat in 1973. So many jockeys had attempted that course of action and paid the price, spending their horses' energy and power too soon. Yet Espinoza urged the Pharaoh to the front, where he led a clustered pack of raw horsepower, leather, and muscle at a breakneck speed. 

Could he keep it up?

Around the last turn they came, flying hooves and flinging dirt clods. "He's got it babe!" Mark cried. A man at another table exclaimed "Almost there, almost there." But I saw something just on the inside of the rail: another horse peeling past the others, it's panting muzzle headed straight for an opening on the rail. Not again, I thought as my hopes waned. 

Yet Espinoza saw it too, and before the other horse could even reach the opening, American Pharaoh's rump had closed it. My lips parted in the beginnings of a smile, and for the first time I thought: Oh my Lord, he's going to win it. 

"He's got it! He's got it! He's got it!" As one, the restaurant-goers began to shout, pound their tabletops, and cheer. The horse named for ancient kings began to leave the others behind. The wire flashed by and, in that infinitesimal instant, history was made. Everyone burst into applause, grins on each face, as if it were our own victory. 

After 37 years, a racehorse finally accomplished a feat that many were beginning to deem impossible. Yet American Pharaoh proved that a horse with heart and power could still achieve that illusive goal: the coveted Triple Crown. 

In honor of that monumental win, I decided to put together a few Triple Crown inspired mood boards. I've always loved equestrian style and decided that adding a little leather and plaid to Patina & Purl today wouldn't hurt. 

Did you miss the race? Here's a clip of the amazing run. I still get chills watching it! 

video source: Youtube
image sources: Pinterest

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Reads

When you think summer, what three words immediately jump to mind?

For me, it's sundresses, sand, and books. Since I was a little girl, I've always loved the freedom summer brought. Summer meant freedom from schoolwork and hours spent in the sunshine, either riding horses or reading a novel. On weekday mornings, my mom would drive me to the local library from which I would later emerge, arms laden with books. I sped through their pages, unable to get enough.

While those lazy days of childhood have passed, I still associate summer with reading. I don't have the free time anymore, but I somehow start out each summer with a long book list that morphs and grows over the hot months. I'm sure that this list will change between now and September, but for now, here's what I'm reading this summer.

1.// Dune by Frank Herbert
To be honest, Mark is the one who picked up this book at our local bookstore. I'm not entirely sure what it's about by here's some phrases he's used to describe it: science fiction, water shortages, dusty planet, really awesome. Judging from how quickly he's reading it, I would say it's living up to the "really awesome" descriptor. I certainly haven't seen him read a book so quickly in a long time.

2.// Longbourne by Jo Baker
I am currently--as we speak or perhaps I should say, as I type--reading this novel. Now, while I certainly love Jane Austen's work, I'm not usually a fan of spin-off stories. I think it's a rather lazy way to go about writing a novel. That being said... I have heard such glowing praise for this novel, I had to pick up a copy. I don't want to give anything away... but the novel focuses on the servants of Longbourne, the home of the Bennetts. (If you're rusty on your Austen, the Bennetts are the family of Pride and Prejudice.) Set in the kitchen rather than in the parlor, this author gives you a completely different view of Regency England, one genteel Austen did not allow her readers to peek into. I'm already in love with the protagonist Sarah, one of the housemaids.

3.// Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
An oldie but a goodie. Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit always has been and always will be among my top five favorite books. Nonfiction yet so readable, Hillenbrand's book recounts the rags-to-riches story of the famous racehorse Seabiscuit. A knobbly-kneed cantankerous Thoroughbred, Seabiscuit was destined for a questionable fate until a retired trainer saw the voracious gleam in his eye. Purchased cheap, Seabiscuit later became one of the horse-racing's biggest legends and served as an inspiration to a nation caught in the doldrums and difficulties of the Great Depression. I highly, highly recommend this book. I've read it so many times the pages are falling out, yet the story never gets old.

4.// I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Go buy this book, Right now. I mean it.
When they labeled this book a thriller, they were not lying. Hayes' main character is a retired "intelligence agent"--someone who operates far above and beyond the reaches of the CIA, moving and living in covert circles of nameless peers and invisible enemies. This "agent" serves as a consultant on a New York murder case, only to stumble upon an even bigger, scarier plot that spans from New York to Afghanistan, to Greece, to Turkey, to Germany, and beyond. I could not put this book down. 

5. // A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
The token classic. Every summer, I try to read one classic. This summer, after recently having read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, I decided to return to the Jazz Age with a Hemingway novel. How I got through college without reading this, I'm not sure. But figure it's about time.

Do you have any good book suggestions?
Stay tuned for book reviews and list updates!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Around Town // Repurposed & Refined Boutique Tour

Hi friends! Today I thought it would be fun to share a shop tour of my workplace: the downtown Frederick boutique of the vintage furniture company Repurposed & Refined. I know you've seen snippets of the warehouse and some of the furniture projects I've worked on, but I thought "Hmm.. I've never shared a tour of the actual shop before." This week, I began writing content for R&R's blog and, after compiling a shop tour for their readers, I decided to share the space here as well. After all, as part of the Frederick shopping scene, it fits well into our Around Town series here at Patina & Purl.

The old building that houses the boutique has seen many purposes over the years, including thrift store and, at one point, auto repair shop. So often, older customers stop by and share a story about the location in one of its original functions. With its beautiful stamped tin ceilings, however, it's hard for me to imagine it with leaky old Chevrolets and Fords sitting around. 

The storefront's tin ceiling and the workshop's original hardwood floors preserve the historic charm of the building, while the huge original windows allow natural sunlight to stream in. Although, I will admit, that the old windows require some serious muscle to open. Such is the nature of old buildings--a lesson our own 116 year old house has taught us!--with the charm comes some quirks. You just have to acknowledge and work around them. If you were over a hundred years old, you might have some leaks and creaks too!

The Frederick boutique consists of two components: the storefront and the workshop. The front displays all the finished pieces and home decor accessories. The back workshop is the space where the company owners, myself, and the other painters work to render salvaged junk into beautiful pieces of furniture. We do offer monthly workshops for people hoping to learn about Annie Sloan chalkpaint and how to undertake their own DIY project. 

In addition to furniture and home decor, the Frederick store carries a variety of paint products including Annie Sloan chalkpaint, Miss Mustard Seed milkpaint, and Artisan Enhancement products. As you can probably assume from my recent posts, I've loved working with the Annie Sloan paint. It's a great product for up-cycling vintage furniture and is so easy to use. 

Annie Sloan also makes brushes, wax, stencils, candles, and even fabric. And the store carries it all. If you're in the Frederick area and are into DIY and crafting, you should definitely check out our products. 

So why buy upcycled vintage when you could go to HomeGoods, Pier One, or Ethan Allen?

It's simple. Vintage items typically have better construction and, often, are even handmade. Our repair and paint jobs are all done by skilled artisans and add a one-of-a-kind flair to the items. Don't get me wrong-- my house has a few bigbox purchases. But, when you do buy vintage, you're buying a piece with history, with a story, a unique item that you are not likely to find in someone else's home. So does this original and vintage design come with a hefty price tag? Not at this store. The shop-owners aim to keep their prices affordable, taking into consideration the salvaged nature of the pieces and keeping our inventory accessible to the average buyer.  If you stop in, you may be pleasantly surprised at the dollar signs on the price tags.

Thanks so much for taking this little tour of the boutique! I love working here. It's a great feeling to take cast-off and outdated furniture and render it into something beautiful that will find a place in someone's home. 

If you're interested in stopping by, I've provided our address and store hours below. Maybe you'll find a vintage treasure of your own!

Repurposed & Refined
217 W Patrick Street
Frederick MD

11am-5pm Monday Wednseday & Friday
11am-5pm Saturday
12pm-4pm Sunday

All opinions in this post are entirely my own. While I am employed at Repurposed & Refined, I am receiving no compensation for this tour post or any opinions expressed in this article. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Favorite Things // Hello June

Happy June, everyone!

 I don't know about you, but I am beyond excited for some summertime weather and sunshine-filled days. As a teenager living in Georgia, I used to be all about the colder months. To be honest, October is still my favorite month (our wedding anniversary, pretty leaves, pumpkin spice, so many reasons). Living in the South, summertime was just so hot, muggy, and mosquito-ridden that, unless I was in a swimming pool or horseback riding, I jut preferred to be indoors. After moving to Maryland, I began to love summertime more and more. Maybe it's because we actually have winter here. After surviving a few frozen Januarys and battling my way through snow-drifts in mid-March, I began to long for sunburned shoulders and summer thunderstorms. Now, I insist that I won't complain about the heat, I'm just so grateful to not be cold. Mark says I won't last til September without complaining. He may be right... but so far, I'm loving summer.

In the happy spirit of summertime, I thought that today I may share a few favorite things that I've been enjoying on the interwebs/in real life lately.

1) I have been in love with this blog lately. The author Cassie is a local creative and runs the occasional vintage barn sale Sweet Clover Barn. She has such an eye for form and color, and her Instagram and blog are a constant source of inspiration. Luckily enough, my bosses have a booth at Sweet Clover; so I get to enjoy this world of vintage prettiness every month!

2) My Lilly Pulitzer dayplanner has been saving my life lately. Have you ever heard the story about how Lilly Putlizer got started? It's on the inside cover of the agendas...hence why I know this story. Apparently Lilly moved to Florida with her citrus-growing husband and opened a juice stand. To hide juice stains on her clothes, she created a bright and brilliantly patterned shift dress...which her childhood friend Jackie O happened to adore, After the iconic Jackie wore a Lilly...everyone wanted one. Myself included. Currently, I'm having to satisfy my Lilly cravings with my agenda and my travel mugs... but I have been eyeing this maxi dress.

3) This Instagram account is by far becoming my favorite ever. I personally don't have what you would consider a shabby-chic boho style, but I can certainly appreciate it when its done well. I love her unique use of vintage accessories and handmade items (like her pallet bed... so much yes.). She has quite the eye for layering textures as well.

4) There's just something about a mint-colored bike with white-wall tires. Since we're both now working in Frederick, Mark and I have decided to try to commute without using our cars. Mark is biking, while I've been walking unless I have to move projects to the shop. However, I've been debating purchasing a bike. I haven't had one since I was a kid, but am considering dropping some cash on one. Mark looks for function and form while my primary deciding factor seems to be cuteness. Which will win I wonder?

More fun things:

-- As ya'll may have guessed from this post, Mark and I have been working on a kitchen renovation this week. We are in the midst of painting our cabinets, adding a backsplash, hanging open shelving, extending the cabinets to the ceiling, and adding a new light fixture. Stay tuned for updates and reveals!

--This week, I've been reading the most action-packed, nail-biting book ever: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. If you want an excellent summer beachread, I 100% recommend this book!

--Mark and I just finished watching three seasons of Hell on Wheels on Netflix. Not only is this one of the best TV historical dramas I have ever seen, it's probably one of the best Westerns I've ever seen. Plus, I could spread Anson Mount on a cracker.

--If you haven't heard them before, you have to check out this sister-trio band and their crystalline vocals and folksy sound. I. Love. Them. Listen, repeat, listen, repeat.
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