How cool is this idea for a unique wedding "guest book", from Etsy? Though we had a traditional guest book at our wedding, I don't think I've looked at it in the entire 10 years we've been married. (And, um, I don't even know where it is!) I love the idea of having guests stamp their thumbprints in different colored ink on a beautiful print like this---though, I'm not sure if you'd want to keep it out after the cocktail hour, because it would look a little smudgey! But maybe that's part of the fun?



We live in Seattle, where space is tight. Our house isn't tiny (I know of families of five squeezing in comfortably and with lots of chic style into 600 square foot New York apartments), but I do feel like we're busting at the seams sometimes. (Seriously, if I step on a Lego, dinosaur or truck one more time



Now that it's finally summer in Seattle (sort of), and we've had our first 80-degree day, my husband and I have been spending as much time in the backyard as possible. We recently purchased this umbrella for the deck and I decked it out with some lanterns. I think they're so romantic! I love it when the sun goes down, and we turn on the lanterns! J and I enjoy a glass of wine on the deck after the kids are in bed and it's just us (us and Paisley the dog!). I love summer! (P.S. If you're wondering what those oddball things are on our side table (besides the wine), they are our four-year-old's bug catching paraphaneila. He currently has a pet spider that he trapped.)



That gorgeous, delicate blossom? It's a blackberry vine! Yes, the wild, gnarly weed of the Northwest has a great moment of beauty in the late spring/early summer and if you blink, you'll miss it. Have you ever seen a blackberry blossom? I strapped the baby in the Bjorn carrier and took the kids out to the alley behind our home in Seattle and photographed the blackberries in bloom. Why, you ask? Well, they play a vital role in my recently completed third novel (I'm so excited about this story--can't wait to share more!), and I wanted to document them in bloom. The kids were also thrilled to go on an adventure in the alley. They love the alley, especially Russell (2) who loves rocks, and dirt, and mud puddles (are you seeing a theme here?). Look at those delicate, soft blossoms! You'd never know that they're attached to vines thick with thorns! P.S. I'm craving blackberry pie!



So, all last week, every time I gazed out my kitchen window at my garden, a strange sight caught my eye: one of my dahlias looked different. I'd planted a deep red/crimson dahlia, not a white one, and yet why did there seem to be white petals on the flower bush? The plant was too far away from the window to figure out what was going on with it, so I chalked it up to bad vision



I'm working on a story for Real Simple's November issue and got a chance to check out some products from The Laundress in New York--an all-natural, non-toxic line of home care and cleaning products--and I went crazy for their "Home Spray." Simply titled, this formula is the loveliest smelling thing my nose has come across in a long time (and that's saying a lot for a pregnant woman who is scent-averse right now!). It's a genius blend of bergamot, thyme, lavender, musk and ylang ylang, and I've been spraying it in my office and loving it.



Wouldn't you just love to hang this fantastic framed print over your desk as a reminder to chill when things get tough at work? Former Bachelorette Jillian Harris (who I adore) found these and keeps one hanging over her desk as a reminder not to let stress take over. How cool is that? I need that same reminder every half hour some days! I love the calming blue color, and the tiara on top--to remind us all that we're regal, of course. Here's where you can purchase the prints.



We’ve had an awesome summer so far, how about you? Granted, I’ve been really busy, but that’s OK. I like busy. And, I’m blessed to be doing the work I love. It’s been the busiest summer yet with a ton of magazine work–currently juggling some terrific articles for Redbook, Real Simple, Woman’s Day and Glamour (stay tuned for future issues!), writing for Glamour.com (just agreed to do year #3!), finishing the edit process of my novel, and writing my second. Oh, did I mention we’re having another baby? I’ll be sharing boy/girl news here in a few weeks when we hear! For now, here’s a quick glimpse of summer in my casa–the slower moments with the kids. I want to remember all the silliness and beauty of these months, so here they are …