Some Things I’m Loving Lately

Loving The Weather

I’m sorry, Texasweathersayswhat?! Is that a danged high of EIGHTY EIGHT DEGREES in August? Yall. We might as well need sweaters.

I know it hasn’t been great everywhere (UNDERSTATEMENT), and I know our future just holds more weather volatility… but I sure am enjoying the cooler temps this summer.

Loving the Zinnias

I got an amazing germination rate from the peach Oklahoma seed packet I planted (found here), and they are blooming up a storm right now. I’m an Oklahoma zinnia convert- next year I want to try the red ones. These Oklahomas are all sturdy plants, long stemmed, and amazingly disease resistant.

These are a hybrid zinnia that self seeded in my garden last year between the pink Oklahoma variety and the Cactus Flowered zinnias. These are best of both world- kept the form, color, and mildew resistance of the Oklahoma variety, but the size of bloom from the cactus flowered ones. They’re arranged here with some of the purple Ebb Tide roses and some greenery from my Ming asparagus fern.

Loving Being Able to Say I Harvested/Made Something

Another thing I loved recently is I got to help my neighbor harvest wild grapes and turn it into jelly!

So turns out you will destroy your skin if you harvest mustang grapes bare handed- they’re too acidic, so I was thankful for the gloves during the harvest. I should have worn gloves to wash them as well- less for the spiders and bugs and dirt that comes off of them, and more because swishing them around in a sink and removing stems made my hands and arms burn.

Once the grapes were cleaned and destemmed they got cooked down for a while in a positively cauldron-huge pot to start releasing the juice. Then they go through this cool juicer contraption to separate the seeds and skins, then the juice is cooked down and the sugar and lemon juice (and pectin) added… then suddenly… jelly! We put up 5 whole sets (12 jars) of jelly out of about 30lbs of grapes… and 2 of those are mine all mine! Honestly I loved every bit of it. 10 of 10, would jelly again.

Loving These Dresses

I am also positively loving my Zuri dresses lately. Zuri dresses found here

The one on the left is the one I wore as an election judge. Don’t tell anyone but the name of that pattern is Trivial Pursuit. Snort.

I bought one of these dresses back in the day to work as an election judge (here), and have slowly been adding to my collection. These dresses are made from kitenge (Kenyan wax print cotton fabric) in a quasi swing shirt-dress style. They look good on their own, over pants (I especially like them with my off white Anthropologie jeans and my wide leg Zara jeans), with leggings, or worn open as a long jacket.

I wore one to travel to and from the Florida Keys and also wear them when I have to be on video calls or all day virtual meetings (a hell that happens quarterly at my job. The annual meeting in January is two full days. I KNOW.)

They have branched out to other types of global fabrics as well, but the thick and stiff kitenge ones are my favorite- they wash and wear beautifully, have a stiffness that isn’t over the top while still being comfy and that means they don’t sit right on your skin and therefore feel super cool even in hot weather. They are just damned gloriously comfortable. They are ethically made, support local artisans, and even gave out discounts on election day if you wore one to the polls! Zuri is just great.

I dig clothing with names too. From left to right here I have Trivial Pursuit, Spectral, Peony, and Pitter Patter.

Look. I know all the suggestions for my hair and eye color (I’m classified as low color contrast and light on coloring) suggest that I wear pastels and lighter colors with minimal color contrast to them so I don’t (gasp!) look like the clothes are wearing me… but fuck it. Pastels don’t match my personality and I love these colors and fabrics and patterns so I am wearing what makes me happy! I left a comment on my last order that said “My goal is to collect enough Zuri dresses to be able to wear them every day and then be buried in one once I die.” And the lady packing up my order emailed to tell me she laughed out loud when she read it.

Loving Being Healthier

In other news my health kick has been making me happy:

Guess when my trip to the Florida Keys was? GUESS.

I have been working out twice a week lifting weights and really watching my diet/drinking. And I’m down 6 pounds so far, but feel way better than a minimal 3% of my total body weight would make you think.

A big part of that has been really taking a step back and cutting down on drinking and really looking at what I like to drink and what I don’t… and what is healthier for me. I had picked up wine drinking over the last few years because I was supposed to be cutting carbs… but I don’t like how it makes me feel, honestly. Back to beer (IPAs and ambers) for me and on about 4 days a week and honestly its a sweet spot to feeling better.

The weight lifting has really strengthened my core and my back… to the point where when I ate it off my bike last week (got a part of my shoe caught in the chain as I was coming to a stop and just slow-mo fell sideways as I couldn’t put my leg down) all I got was a raspberry on my knee from the curb- no back injury or crazy bruising. I’m shocked I didn’t get more hurt but maybe you just like… do that when you’re healthy? Also I had almost no bruises and turns out bruising easily isn’t always genetic, it’s can be drinking related too. Turns out. Thanks liver.

(I just realized I fell down AFTER I cut back on drinking and if that isn’t the most Alanis Morisette thing I’ve ever heard…)

Loving Finding My Ring Again

And a high point in “things I’m loving” list: My grandmother’s ring has come back to me!

My grandmother gave this ring to me when I turned 15 and I wore it on the ring finger of my right hand every single day of my life from that day until I got engaged at 23; it was never off of my hand for eight years. (it sure used to really chew up the inside of my karate gloves, lemme tell you)

I put it up in this one box of all my other saved things: my Meemaw’s beaded necklaces, the prom dress my Mom made me, the outfits my older girls wore home from the hospital, etc. And then that box went missing when we moved into our current house.

I didn’t realize it at first though. We had a storeroom and maybe they all were just in there somewhere, I thought. It was a year or so after the move that it really clicked that all those important things were was gone. I could swallow losing all the rest though they were hard, but I couldn’t ever accept and move on from the lost ring. I’d occasionally send pleas out to the universe to somehow find it again.

And this month… it happened! My mother-in-law found a couple of boxes at her house of our stuff. One was THAT box! They had helped us move 6 years ago and somehow they ended up with it at their house, no one even remembers how. But oh to have my ring and all the rest back again… I can’t even describe how happy it makes me! I want for nothing, y’all.

And lastly in things I’m loving: This Cartoon:

5 thoughts on “Some Things I’m Loving Lately

  1. Loved your ring tale, Lauren, glad it found its way back home, and I want to get some of those Oklahoma zinnia seeds! You know so much about the botanical world, it’s a treat to read about your tribulations and successes.

  2. I didn’t know about the acidity and handling grapes. I think it’s wonderful that your zinnias reseeded themselves. Wish mine would! And, I’m happy for you that you found that special ring. That is so nice!

Comments are closed.