Monday, December 31, 2012

See Ya 2012!

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If 2011 was a year all about major life changes- marriage, moving, careers- 2012 was all about settling into those changes and this new life. Looking back at my blog posts over the past twelve months or so, I can see myself settling in to our new city, our new schedules, and our new life. This year was not easy and I think I made that point quite clear; I started off this year on an emotionally low note, but I feel as if I can confidently say I'm coming out of 2012 a little older (literally, yes, also figuratively) and a little stronger than where I started. And you know what? I'm glad it wasn't easy, if it had been I'm not sure I would have as clear a vision for what I want for my future. I could recap all that happened in these past twelve months, but I'd much rather enjoy looking at some of my favorite images taken throughout the year. I'm ready to put the past behind me and work on making 2013 the best year yet.

Thank you for taking the time to read, comment, support, and advise over this past year. I don't think I will ever truly be able to express my gratitude for everyone who reads Orchid Grey, but please just know how much you're appreciated. If you're out on the town tonight, please be careful and have a wonderful last day of 2012! xoxo -Julie

Happy New Year!

Lookbook: A Glistening Occasion

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One of these days, I'll have a fancy New Years Eve. Until then, I'll live vicariously through this pretty, Gatsby-themed lookbook from Ruche.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weekly Wishlist & Friday Favorites

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1. Friendly Fox Vintage Fair Isle Sweater 20% off with the code "ORCHID"
3. Secret Lake Brown Suede Coat Get 15% off your order With the code "Orchidgrey15"
5. Bluesville, USA Gold Tank Get 15% off with the code "orchidgrey"
7. Lulu's Studded Ankle Boots extra 40% off sale with the code hello2013
10. Moorea Seal Studded Bracelet 15% off with the code "ORCHID15"

Planning a casual New Years Eve? Yeah me too. As much as sequins and sparkle sound nice in theory, I always end up in something a little more cozy.

Here's what caught my eye this week:
// A big welcome to Yeye Design and Vintage Boutique !
// 30% off your order from Adventurer Vintage with the code XMAS12 !
// Swooning over these Vanessa Mooney pieces from Threadsense.
// Love these printed tights.
// A birthday gift to myself (in January), love the olive color.
// Mega sale at Nasty Gal, loving these.
// Frost flowers. Beautiful.
// A cozy sweater.
// Fancy little boots, and a dress to go with them.
// Love this girl's style (and hair).
// A cool story about Johnny Cash's boyhood home.
// On my book list: One. Two.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Currently...

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1. Zeb, king of the Econo Lodge // 2. Zeb, despite traveling in style with his own personal shoebox, travel litter, and throw rug, remains grumpy

Well, we're back in Pittsburgh after a whirlwind four days in Maine and New Hampshire. Really, two of those days were spent driving. I think we've learned our lesson: two days home is not enough time to see everyone while maintaining our sanity. I am SO HAPPY to be out of the car, after over thirty total hours of driving, my leg muscles feel as if they've atrophied. Whining aside, it was so nice to see our families and old stomping grounds! Here's what I've been up to:

Missing:
Zebby. As you know we've had some issues with our cats fighting for the past four months or so, namely Zeb has been attacking our other cat, Zephyr, because there's been a stray cat around who we can't seem to get rid of. So, My mom was kind enough to offer to foster Zeb until we can either move to a new apartment in the spring, or catch the stray and bring it to the Humane Society. Zeb traveled home with us on Sunday, and did fantastically well on the excruciatingly long car ride. We had originally planned to drive straight through- leaving Pittsburgh at 6pm and arriving in Maine at 7:30am- but after about nine hours in the car, we realized that our plan was insane and we were all exhausted (including Zeb who, after a relatively quiet journey, was making his boredom known). So, putting my experience as an admissions counselor to use, we stopped in Fishkill, NY (a formerly well-traveled territory for me) and got a cheap hotel room, which Zeb loved. He left no inch of the room unexplored (even finding his way into the boxspring) and when morning came, the second leg of the trip home was a little easier for him. I know that he will be well cared for while he's recuperating with my mom in Maine, but it was still heart-wrenching to leave him, and sad to come home to just one cat. I think Zephyr is a little lonely, but also relieved to not have to constantly watch his back in fear of being attacked. Parting with Zeb made leaving New England that much more difficult, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can catch the little devil who is making their lives so miserable (and get him in a no-kill shelter).

Enjoying:
The snow! Sure, it made our return trip more than a little dicey and quite a few hours longer than it needed to be, but the huge storm that hit the Northeast this week also provided the perfect excuse to finally see Crompton Collective and spend some time with our friends, Amy and Adam, who kindly let us crash at their place.

Thankful for:
The opportunity to spend time with our families and friends in such a short window of time. We managed to see all factions of our segmented families between Sunday afternoon and Tuesday night, and I'm kind of amazed at how smoothly it went. I got to see my dad, step-mom, and sister, who I haven't seen since last Christmas. Really, I'm just thankful for the fact that we even had the opportunity to get ourselves home.
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1. Driving my sister, Care, to our dad's - don't mind my teeth // 2. Pulling records from our collection to give to my brother

Reading:
I received HP Lovecraft's Necronomicon in our annual Yankee swap and I can't wait to dive into it. The thing is about three inches thick, so I'll be reading this all winter.

Listening to:
I discovered the radio program Wits while driving this week, and I'm a little bit obsessed.  

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1. Reunited with Punky! // 2. I'm missing this goofball

Watching:
Pitch Perfect. I recommend.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bundled

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What I wore:
Coat: ICHI via ModCloth
Top c/o Spotted Moth
Skirt: Free wall at work
Tights: American Apparel Super Opaque ($25)
Booties: ModCloth
Hat: Brixton (Chris's)
Gloves: Target ($3)

Where I wore it: To work on December 21st, because even if it's the Mayan Apocalypse, there's work to be done!

The Apocalypse was one of those mornings that seemed to drop ten degrees between leaving the house and dropping Chris off at his job. On the bright side it snowed all day, which I love. The kind of day that called for a big fluffy coat, the best beanie, and doubled up tights.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sponsor in January!

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Can you believe it's almost January? A whole new year! I'm looking forward to fresh starts, new adventures, and- of course- my birthday! As we welcome 2013 and a brand new month, now is the perfect time to advertise your blog or business on Orchid Grey.

I'm very excited to announce that I've joined the Passionfruit Ad network, and I couldn't be happier. For rates, stats, and to purchase an ad, visit my brand spanking new sponsorship page!

Floral Boom

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays from myself, Chris, Zeb, and Zephyr! I hope you're warm and cozy with your nearest and dearest, sipping something strong. My plans? They involve a roaring fireplace, a bunch of dogs (and one angry cat), and -fingers crossed- some old holiday movies. xo

A Toast!

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via Kitschy Living

If you're traveling today, stay safe. If you're not, have a drink! Happy holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekly Wishlist & Friday Favorites

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1. Spotted Moth Cocoon Cardigan 25% off with the code "snowflake"
2. Secret Lake Flannel Shirt Get 15% off your order With the code "Orchidgrey15"
3. Friendly Fox Vintage Amethyst Deco Necklace 20% off with the code "ORCHID"
4. Moorea Seal Jewelry Feather Earrings 15% off with the code "ORCHID15"
10. Bluesville, USA Vintage Grey Trousers 15% off with the code "orchidgrey"

Thinking of comfort as I will soon be spending fourteen hours in the car with my husband and one grumpy cat (the other, happier cat will be schmoozing it up with the house-sitter). So yes, loose knits and cozy coats it is for me (reality: sweatpants and despair).

A few more things I'm loving this week:
// Save 10% on your order from Adventurer Vintage with the code "INSTALOVE"
// Do something kind for someone this holiday season, and beyond.
// The only news mews I will be reading from now meow on: The Fluffington Post.
// Love this moodboard from Threadsense.
// I will take it all.
// The prettiest black sequin maxi skirt, perfect for New Years Eve!
// Still have gifts to get? Check out Shoestring's Holiday Shopping Guide (it's pretty awesome)!
// The cutest phone case, and one totally bad ass one (caution: swears ahead).
// 25% off all New Years Eve styles from Nasty Gal!
// Don't forget to enter the Moorea Seal Jewelry Giveaway!

Happy weekend!

Currently...

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1. Playing Exquisite Corpse at the bar //  2. Zephyr's favorite thing is to pass out on me
3. A cozy cat corner while I work // 4. Lipstick is my new favorite thing, also this jacket
Watching:
Did you catch the Gossip Girl finale? I loved it! I now want to rewatch all the seasons. Also: Nashville! I love how over the top it is, and the music, and Connie Britton, who is such a babe. I've been listening to the soundtrack while I work and am especially drawn to the slower, more classic songs. They remind me a lot of the collaboration between Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris from a few years back, All the Road Running, which is excellent and highly recommended.

Thinking about:
After writing a little bit about yoga, stress, and meditation last week, I received a couple of questions about how it works for me. Granted, I've only recently started a semi-regular practice, taking advantage of the two free classes offered in my office each week, but I've really fallen in love with it, which I didn't expect. It takes a lot for me to quiet my mind, while I may be a relatively quiet person on the outside, my brain is usually running a mile a minute. I've always chosen pretty action-y sports- snowboarding, skateboarding, and more recently running and lifting- so yoga was a little intimidating in it's solitude and quiet. Turns out, it's freaking awesome. After sitting at a desk all day, taking an hour to stretch myself out- especially my poor back- is the best thing ever. I also realized the other day that the meditation, breath, and concentration that comes with practicing yoga is essential for me to reconnect with my sense of self and body. As someone who works with clothes and photography, and so many visuals, I often feel as if my life revolves around clothes, and the body is merely a place to put them. Taking that time to concentrate solely on the movement and strength of my body has allowed me to reconnect with myself, quiet my brain, and just relax.

Excited about:
Exchanging gifts. Chris and I haven't exchanged Christmas gifts for the past three years or so, but this year we decided to and I can't wait to give him the gifts I bought him. We also did stockings- which is kind of my favorite part, I love putting together stockings! Also excited about: It's snowing!
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1. A sweet holiday gift from my boss // 2. Whisker master in full effect
3. Did I mention Zeph just passes out? // 4. Post-yoga (at the liquor store)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Harbor Light

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In this outfit:
Coat: J.Crew (2010)
Top c/o Quiksilver Woman
Jeans: Swapped (Gap Legging Jean)
Boots: Matiko ($60 sale, 2011)
Bag c/o Quiksilver Woman
TriGraph Necklace c/o InfinEight
Belt: J.Crew (gift)

Where I Wore it: Working from home, which really means working from the library and coffee shop, and bagel place.

Quiksilver is one of those brands that has been in my closet in one way or another since, oh, around eighth grade. As a teenager, I leaned more towards graphic tees from Roxy, and in my early twenties when I worked in the ski/snowboarding industry, my preference turned more towards technical outerwear and hardgoods (Roxy snowboards are excellent); I've recently discovered the QSW line, and I've fallen in love all over again. The pieces hit the perfect intersection of comfort and relaxed style, and as a bonus many of the items' names reference East Coast locales familiar to me (Hanover, Walden). So, suffice to say I was delighted when Quiksilver offered a few items for me to style up. I took the Holiday Style Guide quiz and got Downtown Girl (though I think I could have been any of the categories), and pretty much just fell in love with everything.

I always struggle a bit with what to wear on the days that I work from home. I'm not into spending all day in sweatpants or my pjs, not because it's not comfortable, but I never feel fully awake or productive unless I go through my normal routine and get fully dressed. Lately, this has been my uniform for those days: a comfy top, jeans, and wedge boots. Perfect for a day spent skipping between the library, coffee shop, and bagel place. Because, I never really work from home- I work from various public places that also have internet.

I'm so excited to see the ocean in just a few more days! If there's anything that classic stripes and sensible tote bags remind me of, it's home. Frigid mornings at the Shipbuilding Museum. Crossing Casco Bay on the ferry. Even the smell of low tide. Which is how you can tell if you truly love and miss a place. Do you miss even the awful smells? Yep.

Go See the World

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I can't get enough of these stunning pieces by Julian Bialowas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Giveaway: Win $50 to Moorea Seal Jewelry!

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Today's giveaway comes to us from the lovely Moorea, of Moorea Seal Jewelry and the blog of the same name. I've long been a fan of her naturally-inspired, free form adornments (how amazing is that headpiece? So amazing.), so I'm especially excited to partner with her for this fabulous giveaway. Moorea is kindly offering one lucky winner a $50 gift certificate to spend in her shop, how amazing is that?

To Enter: Visit Moorea Seal Jewelry and leave a comment here telling me your favorite item in the shop and a short sentence about where you'd wear it. Want an extra entry? Follow Moorea on Twitter! Want one more? Follow Moorea's blog! Remember to leave an extra comment when you do so it gets counted!

Good Luck!

Tiny print: Giveaway ends on Wednesday December 26th at 10pm. One entry per person, two if you follow Moorea Seal on Twitter, and three if you follow Moorea's Blog. Winner will be chosen using a random number generator. Winner will have a 48 hour grace period to respond to email notification before a replacement winner will be chosen.  Be sure to leave an email address in your comment if you do not have a blog where I can EASILY reach you. The winner will be chosen in a timely manner, and notified, but I reserve the right as proprietor of this blog to announce the winner when I see fit. This giveaway is open worldwide, however shipping rates apply.
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Thank you to everyone who entered  the Lovenell giveaway! The winner was comment #47:

These Quiet Moments

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Time is in short supply this week so I'm taking solace in the quiet moments I can sneak in between meetings at work and last-minute gift shopping. With the weather vacillating between 60 degrees and in the 30's and 40's, it doesn't seem like Christmas should be next week. It also occurred to me that it will soon be 2013. Time to start queuing up all those end of the year lists and drafting my resolutions.

Stay tuned for a giveaway later today!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let's All Strive for Confidence

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from Note to Self

I love this illustrated quote from Note to Self. Not only is it a lovely, understated illustration, but the quote is especially timely as I close out 2012, a year in which- I admit- my self confidence was shaken significantly. 2012 was a year of major change: a new city, a new job, new people, new everything, I expected things to be difficult and knew they would be, but was ready to compare the experience to going away to college, when in fact- for me- uprooting our lives turned out to be far more difficult than just moving a couple of hours south and coming home on the weekends- who would have thought? I am not the kind of person to make friends immediately. Which is not to say I'm not friendly, I at least like to think I am, but I don't like being in the center of a room, and I'm much more comfortable observing. It takes a long time for me to feel close to people, to feel comfortable around people, it took me years to cultivate the close relationships I have with my friends back home. The transitional period between leaving what I knew and loved, to feeling comfortable in my new environment was far rockier than I expected, partially because we uprooted ourselves so suddenly (three weeks between finding out I got the job, to driving through the tunnel and glimpsing Pittsburgh for the first time), but also because- and I didn't realize this straight-away- we had really, truly become part of a community in Massachusetts. So, suddenly living in a new city surrounded by new people shook me, I turned inward and put too much stock in strangers' perception of who I was, rather than what I knew myself to be. That sudden lack of confidence and constant questioning quieted me, I felt as if I had nothing to offer, as if I was interrupting the lives those around me. Looking back on this past year, I'm sorry to say that I dulled myself down in many ways, and the only person to blame is myself. The younger, combat-boot-wearing, profanity-spewing, die-hard-feminist me of my early 20's would have been disappointed. Really disappointed, and probably pissed. I wish I could say what the turning point in this story was, that there was a moment of clarity, but all I can say is that somewhere in the past five months or so, I've shifted my perception and I feel damn better. Perhaps it was less time spent with technology? A little time alone with your own thoughts, with your own feelings never hurts.

So, I know this was a tangent, and at this point, this diatribe is not even necessarily related to the quote itself (I've never had a problem with looking silly in real life, in many ways it's a crutch). But I hope you'll join me in taking on 2013 with confidence, knowing that your opinion of yourself matters more than the opinion of those around you. In most ways I'm proud of who I've become, but it wouldn't hurt for me to borrow a little of that balls-to-the-wall attitude of 20 year-old me. Extremely questionable, slightly scandalous fashion choices not included.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekly Wishlist & Friday Favorites

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1. Friendly Fox Vintage Satin 60's Dress 20% off with the code orchid
2. Spotted Moth Dotted Gold Dress 25% off with the code SNOWFLAKE
3. Ruche Chevron Sequin Dress 20% off sale with the code saleonsale20
4. Secret Lake 70's Metallic Pumps 15% off your order with the code orchidgrey15
5. To Be Determined Black Velvet Pumps new items added daily!
6. Lulu's Black and Gold Heels 25% off outerwear with the code warm12
7. Bluesville, USA Metallic Gold Clutch 15% off with the code orchidgrey
8. Moorea Seal Moonchild Headpiece 15% off with the code orchid15
10. InfinEight Racine Tree Branch Earrings gift cards available!

Dresses, shoes, and accessories- there's just something about the holidays that make me want to wear something that's just a little extra fancy.

A few more things I'm loving this week:
// 10% off your order from Adventurer Vintage with the code instalove
// This new-to-me blog is great for hair tutorials!
// An open letter to the woman who wrote '11 Qualities of the Perfect Woman'
// These heels are perfection (too expensive perfection)
// Swooning over everything in this shop, especially this necklace.
// Love these velvet floral pants.
// A damn fine tattoo.
// The most adorable PSA to ever exist. "Ho tender is your paw?"...swoon.
// This made me emotional.
// We Say Meow.
// The Nasty Gal smokey eye.
// Take 20% off sale items from Threadsense!
// A pretty polka-dot shirt.
// A few favorite outfits: one, two,
// The prettiest crop top.
// The most perfect holiday shoes. seriously. I'm dying.
// My latest hair tutorial for the ModCloth blog.

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cozy Up To Fall: Lulu's Contest Winner

Cozy up to fall

Cozy up to fall by kittenhood

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to enter the Cozy Up to Fall With Lulu's giveaway! It was truly a difficult task to choose a winner, I loved each and every submission that was sent in. In the end though, a winner had to be chosen and I hope you enjoy this collage by Daria as much as I do.  
What caught my eye with this look was the use of easy layers in neutral shades, coupled with autumnal orange and textured accessories. This is a look that could be easily transitioned between seasons, but is inherently fall. Now that it's a little colder, a pair of tights and cozy gloves would be perfect additions.

Life Lately

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There are words below. But those words were written before what happened in Connecticut this morning happened. You can choose to read them if you want, but they're pretty insignificant in light of the day's events. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected by today's shooting.

This morning I rose bright and early for the first ever Creative Mornings Pittsburgh, held at the Warhol. I was wary of waking up early on a Friday, but it turned out to be the perfect way to start off the last day before the weekend. I always love being on the North Side in the early morning, there's something so beautiful about how the sun filters through the buildings of downtown. The mornings have been beautiful lately, with rooftops and yards frosted over and sparkling. The cold is biting, but invigorating. I used to dread the onset of winter, but I'm finding that when I go into it with an open mind, reminding myself that the stretch of cold weather really isn't that dramatic, it lessens the feeling of too-short days and too-cold weather.

This week has been a particularly stressful one- preparing for the holidays at work, and generally trying to keep everything together to keep my head from exploding. On top of this, with the worst timing ever the cats had another freak-out earlier this week, and- once again- they're separated. At this point, the end of our lease can't come soon enough, as much as I love our place, this stray cat problem is adding stress on top of stress and I just don't need it. We had made such progress too, they had even started playing together again. I'm interested to know: how do you deal with stress? My first instinct is to stick my head in the sand and ignore my responsibilities- which, let me tell you, isn't a good habit- but I'm making the effort to deal with these roadblocks (speed bumps?) head on, and to quiet my life when needed. Does that make sense? I think it's important to recognize when you just need to take a little time for quiet, to turn off your phone, turn off the lights, meditate. As I practice yoga more regularly, I'm finding that meditation isn't quite as elusive as it used to be. I'm not saying it's easy- it's not- I'm pretty much the worst at quieting my brain and telling myself to slow down.

With this week (mostly) behind me, I'm looking forward to slowing down this weekend and working on some projects. After today's Creative Mornings talk, I'm inspired to create an inspiring workspace at home- to make work a party. We have an office (an office that is also a gym, a yoga room, a place for extraneous stuff, and a cat hang-out), and well, it's not inspiring. It's pretty much the last place I want to be in our home. And I'd like to change that. My project list about a mile long, and I'd love to make a dent in it before the end of the year.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Frosted Morning

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In this outfit:
Sweater: Madewell (2010)
Jeans: Madewell High Riser (2010)
Top (under): J.Crew ($7 sale, old)
Hat: Vintage/ Thrifted ($3- ish)
Bag: Vintage Coach/ Thrifted ($5-ish)
Bracelet: Thrifted ($2)
Boots c/o Lulu's

Where I wore it: To the office

These photos are some of the few that my camera decided not to delete. There was a coat that went along with this outfit, but you'll just have to use your imagination (it was this one). There's not much to say about this outfit, it was just something I threw on to be comfortable and get out the door on time. A few old (and new) favorites that always work.

After a week of rainy, dreary weather, we're finally waking up to cold, frosted mornings. And I couldn't be happier. Snow would be lovely, but I'm happy enough with it not raining...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

(closed) Giveaway: Win $50 to Lovenell!

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I'm very excited to bring you this week's giveaway, brought to us by Lovenell! Lovenell offers a beautifully curated selection of clothing and accessories, and is kindly offering one lucky winner a $50 gift certificate to spend as they wish! I'm loving this minimalist clutch, and this pretty maxi dress.

To Enter: Visit Lovenell and leave a comment here telling me your favorite item from the site and where you'd wear it. Want an extra entry? Follow Lovenell on Facebook or Twitter and leave a second comment telling me which. Good Luck!

Tiny print: Giveaway ends on Monday December 17th at 10pm. One entry per person, two if you follow Lovenell on Twitter or Facebook. Winner will be chosen using a random number generator. Winner will have a 48 hour grace period to respond to email notification before a replacement winner will be chosen.  Be sure to leave an email address in your comment if you do not have a blog where I can EASILY reach you. The winner will be chosen in a timely manner, and notified, but I reserve the right as proprietor of this blog to announce the winner when I see fit. This giveaway is open to US readers only.


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Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the Lulu's: Cozy Up to Fall giveaway! I loved seeing your autumn interpretations and it was extremely difficult to choose a winner. Daria's was my favorite in the end though, with her use of contrasting color and texture. Her collage will be posted on Friday.
And thank you to everyone who entered the Ruche giveaway! The winner was comment #177, Ani: