Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Brief Blogging Hiatus

Hello everyone! Well as you can imagine, our life is in complete and utter upheaval. The settlement date on our house sale is next Friday (gasp!). Meanwhile, we're scrambling to finalize the boat purchase... so much easier said than done. There's a whole big story there, but it will just have to wait for another day! 

With all the pressure of packing our house, selling our furniture, and moving to DC, I simply do not have time to blog. Thus Patina & Purl Blog and Etsy shop will both be going on a brief hiatus. But don't worry! We'll return in mid-May once we have finally settled in our new home. 

Want to stay in touch? 

You can still follow along via

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Peek Indoors with Sarah of Bluffton, SC

Welcome to the third installment of my monthly home decor series "A Peek Indoors." This week, we get to peek into the living room of my sweet friend Sarah. With its soft neutral palette, this living room manages to combine muted coastal vibes with a minimalist practicality-- all while maintaining its lived-in, welcoming atmosphere. It's a space in which anyone would enjoy sharing conversation and coffee. 

Now let's peek into this gorgeous, airy space!

"When my husband and I purchased our home four years ago, we were young and newly married with jobs we both loved and a passion for travel. In those four years, our lives have changed in a way that is very typical, yet feels light years away from that beginning together. We now have a one-year-old son, I'm a stay at home mom, and we have fully embraced the comfort of staying home as travel is one million times more difficult with a baby along. Our home has evolved right along with our life changes. 

"My husband couldn't care less about the look of our home, but I've spent the last year curating our space into one that brings us joy, is highly functional, and is also safe for our baby to explore. As a minimalist, I've pitched carloads of "junk" (much to the chagrin of my husband), invested in simple, neutral furniture with small pops of color to bring life to our home and inspire joy. Over time, I've narrowed down our decor to meaningful items. I finally feel very content with our home as it is now, and I'm continuing to focus on constantly paring down instead of purchasing more to fill our home. The space we live in feels open and comfortable: our little haven.

"There are many rooms I love in our home, namely our brand new relaxing screened-in-porch and our son's colorful art and travel-inspired room, but the room I decided to share today is our living room. It's where we spend most of our family time and gather with guests. Our living room is a perfect example of our overall style -- simple and minimalist with pops of bright color. Flow and empty space are abundant in this room, which makes it feel larger than it really is, while also freeing up my mind to think and just be, a hard objective to achieve with a toddler running around. I've decorated with lots of family photos, artistic shots from our pre-baby travels together, and little mementos from our world adventures. 

With comfort, minimalism, and meaningful curating combined, we are thankful to feel like this space is one we can be at home in for years to come." 

Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

Would you like to be featured on "A Peek Indoors"? 
Contact us at patinaandpurl [at] aol [dot] com to be considered! 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Interviews with Creatives: Stephanie Indranee Photography (Atlanta, GA)

Welcome to the second installment of my favorite new blog series Interviews with Creatives, a monthly post that focuses on creative entrepreneurs -- shop owners, bloggers, artists, and makers. This month, we're focusing on a photographer from my home state of Georgia. Stephanie's work catches the eye because she manages to capture personality in her photos. You get more than just a beautifully styled photo-- you get a feel for who the subject is. 

Let's meet Stephanie!

When did you open your photography business? What compelled you to give it a try?

I have been taking pictures since I was in high school, and one day my sister told me that I should charge for my work rather than my “gifting” everything to people. Honestly, before then, I saw my photography as a way to relax and to give creative gifts to the people closest to me. I worked in the corporate world for 13 years and was able to “retire” in 2012. I spent 2 years traveling and doing consulting work, but then I began to feel like I needed to do more. Opening my business in August 2014 felt like a great opportunity to test my ability to be a small business owner, and I realized that I needed to put a value on my work and my time.

Tell us about your business name-- why did you choose it? Is there a story behind it?

My full name is Stephanie Indranee Wijesinghe. People cannot say Wijesinghe to save their lives, so I decided on Stephanie Indranee Photography. I am Sri Lankan. Our culture is very much about your name meaning something, and the family you represent. I used to always tell my staff that if my name was attached to anything, that it was done right the first time, and I stood by my work. I felt like naming my company, Stephanie Indranee Photography, just furthered that belief I stand by my work, and I create amazing experiences for my clients the first time.

Tell us about your academic and professional backgrounds. Did those fields influence your photography business at all? Do you feel that they give you any kind of unique edge?
I was a total nerd. I had 3 majors: Management, Finance, and Spanish. Then, I spent 13 years working in a background screening company (6 years managing Customer Service and 7 years as the COO). Working and studying in those areas definitely helped prepare me to have a photography business. I evaluate things differently than other small business owners and gained valuable experience in client services and marketing.

I think when you are a small business owner, it is easy to get swept up in the creative aspect, and forget about the business side. I run my business the same way I ran a multi-million dollar business, and I think that perspective makes me unique.

What area of photography is your main focus (newborn, lifestyle, wedding, senior portraits)? Why? Is there an area you’d like to move into?

I specialize in families (families with kids under the age of about 5 or 6 are my favorites), engagement and anniversary photography, and smaller intimate outdoor weddings (guest lists are below 150). Over the years I have done a lot of senior sessions, but never felt like it was a calling. Recently, that changed! I shot a few senior sessions, and realized that I really loved doing them. It was amazing to just watch some of them transform from little or no confidence at all in front of the camera, to being totally at ease by the end of our session. So, starting with the class of 2017, seniors will officially be a part of my business.

Describe a typical photography session-- What is special to you about each one? How do you help your customers relax during sessions?

One thing that is probably different about me is that I am super OCD about making my clients feel comfortable during our sessions, and I take my time. (I am not a clockwatcher, though I probably should be! LOL!) That means that from the time they contact me, until their session, we are constantly talking, sharing ideas, discussing props, etc.  We plan their session together. I don’t believe in just showing up with my camera, and start telling people what to do. I want them
to feel like this experience is all about them, that they had a hand in creating the experience, and will be excited about the memories we will create together!

Every session is special to me because I feel like the moments that I capture will be preserved forever. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me when I deliver prints to my clients, and they are sooooo excited, they cry tears of joy! So bottom line is that unless you are madly in love with your pictures, and you cry some tears of joy, my job isn’t done!

I love people! I love getting to know them, and I think the more that I get them to talk about themselves, and they get to know me, it allows them to relax during their session. I am not known for being super funny, but I have learned ways of making my clients laugh to be able to capture real emotion! People get a little intimidated when we do sessions, and there are all sorts of people around. I always remind them that the likelihood of them seeing those people again is pretty low, so to just have fun and be themselves   

What inspires you creatively? What’s your “muse” so to speak?

My muse…wow that is a hard one! I push myself really hard, so I think I am inspired to be better than I was the day before. I challenge myself to see beauty in things that others might look at and think I was crazy. For example: I did a portion of a session on the side of a road because the lighting was perfect, and the grass and trees were green. I think those clients thought I was crazy, but the end results were amazing. Beauty is all around us, sometimes we just have to search for it. Just a side note: As creatives in this day and age of social media, it’s very easy to be inspired by other creatives. There is definitely a place for that, but I feel like sometimes you can become so caught up in trying to be like them, that you forget you are talented in your own right.

Is your photography business your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?

My photography business is full-time, but I also run a holding company, and own a construction/remodeling business. So free time is very precious to me!

Describe your typical work day. Do you do sessions every day or have a specific schedule set up? When not doing sessions, what do you do (the “behind the scenes” of the business)?

My work days are usually different. During the busy months, I am usually at sessions or editing. During the months that things slow down, I spend a lot of time working on marketing, coming up
with new ideas/projects for my business, and investing in continuing education to help me learn more about my craft.

What do you love most about being a small business owner/ creative? On the flip side, what is the most challenging part?

I love that I create my own rules for my business. On the other hand, working alone all day long was REALLY hard for me to adjust to at first. On the days when I have sessions, it’s not a big deal, but when I don’t, it’s hard.

What are some of your future plans for your business? What are you looking forward to the most?

I am looking into renting space for a studio soon. I am most excited by the idea of allowing my clients to come into a space that I have created just for them. Also, teaching is a calling for me! So I am now teaching classes on how to use your camera. I am looking to expand that into different areas soon!

What are some of your favorite Etsy, Pinterest, or Instagram accounts to follow? What other creatives inspire you?

This is a hard one too! So many to pick from!! I love Joanna Gaines, Katelyn James, Canon USA, Style Me Pretty, Southern Weddings, and a lot of the local photographers here in Atlanta. They are all so amazing!

What advice do you have for other photographers and creatives?

Maybe other creatives don’t struggle with this as much as I did at first, but it’s so easy to compare yourself to others, and try to be more like them because they are successful. But, if by doing that, you are no longer representing who you are, then you have to take a serious look at that!  In my industry, there are so many amazing photographers. It’s very easy sometimes to think that you might never be as good, or even as famous as they are. But at some point you have to have faith in your own abilities.

When I first started in photography, no one was really willing to help me learn. I did it all on my own. Today, that is definitely not the case. More and more you see photographers and other creatives learning from one another. #commnityovercompetition  

I think in order for you to grow you have to keep pushing yourself to learn something new each and every day!

And finally just for fun-- if you could go on American Idol and sing (and totally nail it, of course) any one song… what would you pick?

I LOVE TO SING….so here again…so many to pick from. But, I would say anything from Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, or Sara Evans, since they are all in my vocal range, and I am a huge country music fan!

Thanks for sharing, Stephanie!
Connect with Stephanie Indranee Photography via:

Are you a creative entrepreneur who would like to be interviewed?
Email to talk options at patinaandpurl [at] aol [dot] com

Monday, April 11, 2016

10 Things I'm Going to Miss about Frederick

The past several days have been a whirlwind of moving preparations. Finishing up the house inspections, doing a few repairs, selling furniture, and finalizing our liveaboard boat arrangements. It's a process that is both frustrating, nerve-wracking, and incredibly exciting. I've hardly had any time to stop and think about actually leaving Frederick and Maryland. But today I wanted to celebrate a few things about this wonderful little city that we've called home for the past four years. 

10 Things I'm Going to (Terribly) Miss about Frederick:

Evening walks downtown -- After dinner, Mark and I usually take Solo for a quick walk around downtown. We know the best alley-ways and places to stroll. We've gotten to know the neighbors and at least are on friendly-waving-terms with most of them. It's a simple little ritual that I will miss. 

Lunches on the canal - One of Frederick's main attributes is the number of fantastic restaurants downtown. Several of them are situated on the Carroll Creek Canal. Eating Saturday lunches on the patios, listening to the ducks quack and birds twitter will be greatly missed. One of our favorites is Doner Bistro, a German restaurant with a bit of Greek and Turkish flair. You haven't lived until you've tasted bratwurst in curry sauce. 

Hearing the carillon bells from my patio -- On Sundays, Mark and I like to eat lunch on the patio, if the weather is good. Seated at our tiny bistro set, we can enjoy some warm sunshine and listen to the distant tolling of the Frederick church bells and sometimes, the carillon (bell tower) at Baker Park. Every time, I feel like I've been transported to some other country. 

Trail runs at Gambrill State Park -- Another great thing about Frederick: the mountains are about five minutes away. Gambrill State Park is one of our favorite places for an impromptu camping trip or a quick evening trail run. I'm sure we'll be coming back to go camping in the future! 

Drinks at our local brewpub -- The first restaurant we visited downtown was Brewer's Alley. They have the best food and drinks. Seriously, if you're ever in town, go to Brewer's Alley and order their fish tacos. Or if fish isn't your thing... Aloha pizza. I'm telling you, you won't regret it. 

Watching the ducks at Culler Lake -- Every spring and summer, there are little baby duckies at Culler Lake, one of my favorite spots in the city. I love to take their pictures; Solo loves to bark and chase them. 

All our favorite shops, especially this one -- Frederick has its fair share of adorable boutiques. Our favorite by far is Citizen Frederick, a men's clothing and grooming store where most of the good are handmade or American-made. There's even an old-school barber shop upstairs! It's worth visiting just to smell all the good smells. Sandalwood, cedar, leather-- yum! 

Impromptu milkshake treats from Frederick Fudge and Ice Cream -- Seriously, this place has the BEST peanut butter milkshakes ever. Although this little burger shack came in close second. But Frederick Fudge and Ice Cream is within walking distance of our house-- so it wins the milkshake duel. 

Knowing all the shortcuts and back alleys to avoid traffic -- I've lived here long enough now that if I see a traffic jam up ahead, I know the best alleys and shortcuts to get around it. I'm no longer married to my GPS while driving around town. I actually know my way around. I know I'll learn DC too, but the first months in a new city are always intimidating. 

Our favorite sandwich shop  -- When you drive into the industrial park that houses this sandwich shack, you find yourself thinking "Wait. Is the GPS right?" Or if you're following someone: "Wait... Is this the part where they kill me and hide the body in an abandoned warehouse?" Okay so maybe not that extreme... But AKA Friscos has the best sandwiches, salads, and oh-heaven-why-are-you-so-good-to-us exploded potatoes. I have seriously considered buying some to-go tins of those potatoes just to get me through the first week in DC. 

What are your favorite things about your hometown?

Friday, April 8, 2016

One Pencil Skirt, 3 Outfits

This grey pull-on pencil skirt from LOFT has become a staple of my spring wardrobe. It rotates through my winter and summer closets, perfect for every season depending on what I pair with it. What I love most about this piece is how comfortable it is. So lately I've been pairing it with tees and sandals as much as with heels and blouses. Honestly, it's every bit as comfortable (maybe more so) than a pair of jean shorts. 

Here are three ways I've been styling it lately:

Outfit one: This look has become one of my spring go-to's. It's comfortable and cute at the same time. A comfy skirt, a comfy tee, comfy shoes-- what could go wrong? Since Maryland's spring weather can still be a bit chilly, I pair the outfit with a light jacket and scarf to ward off the chilly breeze.

Shop this look:
top (old), similar here
scarf (old), similar here

 Outfit two: When I saw this blousy pink top at Target, I had to have it. It's so springy and pink-- it just reminded me of a peony. I'm a huge fan of bright colors-- in case you can't tell-- and love pairing pale pinks with bright citrus-y hues and neutral bases. This out fit has become a favorite for me on warm spring days.

Shop this look:
shoes (old), similar here

Outfit three: And of course, you can always dress a pencil skirt up. Whether paired with heels or flats, this outfit is both polished and comfy. The cardigan dresses it up for church or work, but you can easily remove the outer layer to look more summery and casual. This is an outfit I always feel pretty in-- and that's an important part of an outfit I think!

Shop this look:
shirt, similar here
flats (old), similar here
bracelets (Etsy), similar here

Whats your favorite spring wardrobe essential? 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What Are Your Top 10 Movies?

The other day, Mark and I stumbled across the movie Walk the Line playing on TV. You know, with Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix? Who doesn't love this movie! "This may be one of my top ten movies," I remarked and to my surprise Mark agreed. The conversation got me thinking.... What are your top 10 favorite movies? Those classics you can always come back to and enjoy with a bowl of popcorn?
Here are my top ten:
  • Gladiator -- Probably my all-time favorite movie, to be honest. 
  • Walk the Line -- I've always loved Johnny Cash's music. So a movie about his life? Of course. Plus, any child of the early 2000s loves Reese Witherspoon. 
  • Julie & Julia -- This movie will make you gain weight just watching it. You'll be cry-laughing around mouthfuls of chocolate cake. 
  • Under the Tuscan Sun -- This movie makes me want to run away and buy a house in a foreign country and grow sunflowers and bake amazing Italian food. I think people who move abroad are so brave, and I'm a wee bit jealous of that bravery. 
  • Mrs. Doubtfire -- This movie without fail will make me laugh every time. The phrase "drive-by fruiting" crops up pretty regularly in our household. 
  • Just Go with It -- I'm usually not a huge Adam Sandler fan, but I am a huge Jennifer Aniston fan. And this movie manages to strike that perfect balance between guy-humor and girl-humor. Its one of the few movie I've bought immediately after watching it. 
  • Legends of the Fall -- My sister used to have a huge poster in her bedroom featuring this movie. Ah, 1990's Brad Pitt, how we miss thee. Here's how much I love this movie: I had the music played during our wedding ceremony. 
  • Pride and Prejudice -- Two words: Mr. Darcy. That is all. 
  • Fried Green Tomatoes -- I feel like every woman from the South needs to watch this movie. I can't deny that I've had my share of "Tawanda!" moments. 
  • the Lord of the Rings trilogy - I grew up watching these movies and still really enjoy them. I always enjoy stories where good prevails against all odds. 
What are some of your favorites? Share below!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tips for Simplifying your Spring Wardrobe

A major part of this move involves simplifying our lifestyle. While getting rid of everything (yes really everything) is intimidating, it is also strangely liberating. It's easy to get burdened down with stuff: all this flotsam and jetsam that we accumulate over the course of a life. But do we really need all of it? Not at all. After all, the old adage is true: you can't take it with you when you go! I can't tell you how many crates of stuff we have in our little cellar-- and we've only been married 3 1/2 years! Going through it all and deciding what to donate, what to sell, and what to keep has been a refreshing task that has gotten me into the mindset of simplifying. 

One main area that required simplifying is our wardrobe. Last year, I attempted a capsule wardrobe with some limited success. While I haven't really created a strict, mix-and-match capsule wardrobe this year, I have considerably simplified my closet down to the main items that I love and wear the most. Today I thought I might share some tips that have worked for me as I've purged and simplified my wardrobe over the past two years.

1) Stop and think about what you really need from your closet. 
One thing I learned last year when planning a capsule wardrobe was that everyone has different wardrobe requirements. For example. someone who works from home doesn't need the wardrobe of a person who works in a busy formal office. Someone who lives in a hot climate doesn't need the wardrobe of someone in a cooler climate. Last year, I needed more office attire for my job as assistant director in a college financial aid office. This year, I work from home writing and running my Etsy shop, so I don't need all those business-casual pieces. Just take a moment to consider your daily and weekly needs. Do you need more business-casual clothes? Work-to-weekend pieces? Do you need church clothes? Or do you need primarily casual pieces? Ask yourself these questions and consider what you wear the most every week. Try making a list of what you think you will really need

2) Take everything out of the closet.
And I mean all of it. Every single hanger. I usually do my wardrobe purges during transitional seasons when I'm going to be changing out my wardrobe anyway. Lay it all out on your bed to make it easier to sort. Side note: it's weird how dusty closets get. You can take this opportunity to clean it out really well if you want. 

3) Sort items into three piles: keep, goodbye, and unsure.
I ask myself this question every time: "Did I wear it at all this season?" If the answer is no, then it immediately goes into the goodbye pile. If you're never wearing a piece, there's really no point in keeping it. If the item has some serious sentimental value (like your wedding shoes or the last sweater your grandmother knitted for you) just put it in the unsure pile for now. Another important question to ask: "Do I feel good in this when I wear it?" I've started asking myself that even when I shop for clothes. If I don't feel 100% about something, I don't buy it. Same when I'm purging my closet. If there's something about the item that makes me say "Hmmmm" then it goes into my goodbye pile. And then finally the obvious question: "Does it fit?" Make a conscious effort to keep only what you need and truly love, getting rid of those excess items you rarely or never wear. 

4)  Return "keep" items to closet and reassess "unsure" items. 
You might be surprised at what's left over! I was! Return "keep" items to your closet. Then, reassess those items in the unsure pile. If you need to, let it rest for a day or two--even a week or two-- then come back to them. Try them on again, ask yourselves the same questions, and then make your final decision whether to keep or say goodbye. Remember you don't have to get rid of sentimental items. Put them in a hope chest or just keep them in your closet because they make you happy. My example: the shoes I wore on my wedding day. I'm not getting rid of those, no way! 

5) Donate or sell what you don't need.
I usually donate my items unless I have some really nice pieces that I feel like I could still sell. Here's a tip for donating to Goodwill or other similar charities: make a list of what you're donating, Trust me, when you try to write that off later at tax time, you'll thank me. 

6)  Rebuild and supplement with any needed items, focusing on quality. 
If you're like me, after you go through all your items, you may find that you're missing one or two essential pieces. This year was a little different for me because I've lost 15 pounds since last summer. So many items did not fit in a good way. I found myself without any jean shorts and no basic tees that fit. I plan to supplement my wardrobe with a few new quality pieces. But again, be super mindful when buying new pieces. Focus on quality over quantity. Ask yourself the same questions again. 

7) Maintain your new simplified wardrobe. 
Now that your new wardrobe is complete, you can focus on maintaining the simplify mindset. Avoid splurge buys or frivolous purchases. My friend Whitney has some great tips for going a month without buying clothes.  It's actually easier than you think! 

Any tips or tricks for simplifying your wardrobe? 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Homemade Dairyless French Toast Sticks Recipe

One of my favorite breakfast indulgences is French toast. I absolutely love it! Even those frozen French toast sticks that you have to heat in the microwave. Slathered in maple syrup... YUM. 

Today I will share one of my favorite breakfast recipes: Homemade French Toast Sticks. The recipe in its original form can be found over at A Beautiful Mess. However, since I'm lactose intolerant, I can't do dairy! And I know I'm not the only one. So I adapted the recipe slightly to accommodate those of us with tummies who can't handle milk and cream. Read on to find the ingredients and instructions. 

Makes 2-3 servings

French bread (4-5 slices)
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon-sugar topping (1/4 c sugar and 2 tbsps cinnamon) 


1. Cut the bread into "sticks."

2. Mix the eggs, almond milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a shallow dish or bowl.

3. Coat each stick in the egg-mixture and set onto a greased baking sheet.

4. Sprinkle each stick with cinnamon-sugar.

5. Broil for about 2-3 minutes each side. Definitely keep your eye on them! We all know that with one blink a broiler can burn whatever is in the oven.

6. Once cooled, serve the sticks with plenty of maple syrup and a cup of good coffee! Yum!

What's your favorite breakfast treat?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Moving Blowout Sale!

With out upcoming move in a few weeks, cleaning out the house has become a top priority. We'll be selling most of our furniture and household items. This rule applies to my studio as well. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing amazing sale prices on all the artwork available at my Etsy shop. Here's a glimpse at what's available right now. 

16x20 palette knife painting 
$70 plus shipping

18x24 acrylic palette knife painting
$60 plus shipping

18x18 abstract palette knife painting
$60 plus shipping

"Burnt Meadows" 16x20 acrylic painting
$90 plus shipping

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about a piece. 
And don't forget to follow on Instagram @patina_and_purl for 
shop updates and flash sales! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...