a day at the museum

We had our annual family meeting two Mondays ago, just reviewing where we are, where we want to be & what we'd like to get out of 2015. One of our goals was to take advantage of some of what DC has to offer us while we're here. Because truly, it has a lot to offer.

So! In an attempt to keep ourselves active during these winter months AND get to know this fair city of neverending entertainment, we finally got ourselves to a museum on our day off last week. Our day at the National Museum of Natural History was hopefully the first of many educational days spent at my favorite fella's side. We set off in the cold on a very grey day & headed downtown to get our Smithsonian on.
^^ Growing up so close to DC & now in living here, it's easy to forget how much history, architecture & international attraction is right here. But after visiting Paris & London, it was easier to appreciate playing tourist in our own city. ^^
^^ We've pretty much spent our entire relationship being on the go, so we know how to treasure our free moments together. How I love this man. ^^
^^ I still take a short little gasp everytime I see a monument. As much as we want to "fit in," I hope the magic of this place is never lost on me. ^^
^^ Always on the hunt for new, local restaurants, we popped in at The White Apron for lunch. It was ooookay. ^^
^^ Right after I said, "Museums will be more fun when we have kiddos running around," Jared took off towards the giant whale hanging on the ceiling. ^^
^^ The closest I, alongside two teenagers, got to getting a photo of Nemo, Marlin & Dory. Embarrasing. ^^
^^ Will always find a bear, if there is a bear to be found. ^^
^^ The driving force behind Jared's choice of museum. ^^
^^ & then there were the Gems & Minerals, in which I ran from display to display proclaiming my favorites, like I did when I was 8. ^^
^^ ALL THE COLORS. My personal heaven. ^^
^^ Just a giant diamond, that's all. ^^
^^ A solid family photo outside the Bollywood exhibition. ^^

Tomorrow is our second day off together since we resolved to make the most of our free days, but we're once again being met by gross weather... The outskirts of the dreadful storm heading towards NYC. We'll see how much we accomplish when there's slush & cold rain falling outside. Netflix is going to be aaaaawfullyyyyy appealing.


our little home

I have promised an apartment tour in our last two apartments, but have never felt like they were ever "done" to actually share. This apartment is actually no different - No more finished than its predecessors. But! A few of you have asked to see how we're making things work in our tiny city apartment, & I finally got around to taking pictures. I included some of the ways that we're stretching the space in this apartment to its full capacity. We've certainly learned (& are continuing to learn) a lot.
^^ This little landing pad has been a lifesaver. With such limited space, we've found it to be extremely helpful for things that we access daily to have a designated spot - Turns out, they have a much higher chance of being put away. I promise that Jared usually has a satchel here, too, & that there's a purpose for each of my bags displayed here ;) ^^
^^ We were determined to find storage for all of our kitchen needs without having to use the open space above the cabinets. With a lot of downsizing & a hallelujah that we bought this "occasional table" for our last kitchen, we have a beautifully organized kitchen space without anything being out in the open.

^^ After two unused years in our last apartment, Jared brought back the open shelving we used in our first kitchen, which seriously helped the fight to keep everything else behind closed cabinet doors. ^^
^^ Confession: I took some of these pictures back in October. That beautiful basil plant has since passed. But not without a final batch of pesto. ^^

^^ Sorry if it's weird to share a bathroom photo. I bought this shower curtain from Urban Outfitters over four years ago for way too much money, but seriously... It was so worth it. I have never once considered replacing it & it's brought a finesse to the "washroom" in each of our apartments. (similar) ^^
^^ Our current apartment has no linen closet or storage, so we used a mixture of three Ikea night stands (that we also used for storage in our Norfolk apartment's bathroom), a few pieces of pine from Lowe's & canvas bins from The Container Store to store everything from my makeup & hair items to towels & sheets. ^^
^^ Grateful for tall ceilings & linen curtains purchased with my college roommate back in 2008 ^^
^^ I can't even talk about how happy these string lights from La Case de Cousin Paul make me. It was a dream come true to visit their store in Montmartre during our trip to Paris in November. Jared hanging them in this corner & turning them on for the first time may have induced a little song & dance from me. ^^
^^ The color options are endless & I was completely overwhelmed when we walked into the store. After a near panic attack & about 30 minutes of pacing, I finally decided on these colors for our lights: white, cream, soft pink, sunshine yellow & olive green. ^^
^^ This rug was an impulse purchase while I was Christmas shopping in Georgetown in December. I wandered into American Holiday & stumbled upon it, discounted to an insanely low price. I had been pinning $$$ indigo rugs for months, so this guy was a super pleasant surprise. ^^
^^ Our tv stand is an Ikea dresser that we also use to store our extra bedding, DVDs, office supplies, air mattress & electronic boxes (Blu-ray player, cable box, etc.), so it shouldn't surprise you to know that inside this suitcase is unused polaroid film, my wacom tablet & miscellaneous cords. Sneaky storage is the way to go! ^^
^^ Again, an older picture, taken before I'd found our blessed rug. ^^
^^ Our decorative pieces have been relegated to open shelving in the family room, courtesy of our tall ceilings. These shelves are the same shelves seen in our 2012 Christmas video- Jared removed the majority of the small pieces & turned the shelves horizontal to get the most use out of something we already owned. ^^
^^ I inherited this patio furniture from a bakery I worked at in college, & gave it a fresh coat of mint green spray paint when I found out that our DC apartment had a balcony. We are certainly missing our fall mornings eating breakfast out there. ^^
^^ We wake up most mornings to the sounds of delivery trucks being unloaded & trash trucks reversing down the alley, but it's sort of calming - The sound of a city waking up; the beginning of the hustle & bustle. It's a good place to be. We're happy to call it home. ^^


tart event co.

I mentioned these berries loooong while ago. I called them "very important berries." They were. They are. After an entire weekend spent going back & forth from couch to coffee shop, taking turns yelling pretty words to each other & reading the dictionary, it was this berry bush that settled it. Tart. We were Tart Event Co.

When I say that this post has been "a long time coming," I truly mean it. It dates back to August 2006, when a friendship was sparked in a classroom that was the beginning of a life-long relationship. Relationship might seem like a very strong word, but I'm pretty sure once the lawyer sitting across from you in a board room says, "You're both married, so you understand the gravity of me saying that you're entering into a legally binding relationship," you've moved past friendship.

Amelia & I both started out with different majors & different career intentions in mind, like so many college freshman do. Somehow, even though our paths separated for the last two years of college, once they met again, Amelia had decided that weddings were her calling, & I had my heart set on a career in events. "We should start a company!" It was a half-hearted statement. We were 22 & that seemed crazy. "... Maybe when we're like, 30."

& so, our paths split again. We both got Big Girl jobs, incredibly, in our chosen fields. We got business cards & we learned & we grew & our job titles got fancier. But after three years & four event seasons, I was restless. I loved my job & my coworkers, but I needed more creativity. My 24th birthday was approaching & I was terrified that I was wasting time. I wanted freedom - To be my own boss & to make beautiful events. It was time. Time to take a leap of faith & do something. Change my stars. Make a bit of a mess & see where it took me. Because if not now, when?

I specifically remember the day I told Amelia about my plans. We were in the car, & (it's weird I remember this...) were getting off at an exit in Williamsburg, VA when I said, "I think I'm going to quit my job. I think I'm going to start an event planning company." & without missing a beat, Amelia said, "Okay. I'm in."

For the next 30 minutes, we listed pros & cons, then starting scheming up timelines, then tried to figured out how to break this news to our husbands, & then started scaring ourselves that this was crazy. But by the end of the day, over margaritas with Andrew & Jared, the date was set. By January 2015, our company would be born. 

I have replayed these scenes in my head a thousand times, reminding myself of the fire & zeal that we had on the days when we're exhausted, terrified & covered in paint, or confetti, or flower pollen. Thinking back on how insatiable the thought of creative freedom was on the days when looking at our Quickbooks is nearly vomit-inducing. Recalling that stifled feeling that made my bones ache at my office day-job when I'm driving home at 11pm from 48 whirlwind hours in Richmond. No matter how tired or scared or overwhelmed we are, there is always a moment -- sometimes, just a look -- that Amelia & I share in acknowledgement that this is the dream. We are doing great things. We are making it happen.

In conclusion! I have to point out that this moment (& just to paint the picture, this moment is me taking a final break from color palette selection & a styled shoot blog submission, in leggings & slippers with my glasses sliding down my nose & a 3rd cup of coffee nearby) would seriously not be happening without Amelia. I'm not exaggerating, because seriously LOL that I thought I could just start an event company. I don't know what would have happened if she hadn't jumped on board this crazy train with me all those years ago, but I know that this company could not already be what it is without her gumption, experience & guidance. We probably scare people when we say things like this, but she truly, honestly, really completes me, creating the ultimate #girlboss partnership. I am proud, honored, & thrilled to be her business partner. Our friendship is truly just icing on the wedding cake.


minus & plus - my year as a style blogger

When I looked back at this year's blog entries & photos, it was mostly outfits. & liiiiike, what?? No. Just no. My intention for this blog has always been more of the scrapbooking nature. A capturing of moments, a retelling of stories, a future laugh or sigh (depending on the topic) when we re-read these posts years from now -- & outfit posts don't really play into that.
+ However! Just like I love looking at my mom's trendy oufits from the 70s & 80s, I imagine that even 5 years from now, there will be a bit of "WHY WOULD I WEAR THAT?!" already happening, & in 20 years from now, I'd hope to have a teenager who enjoys revisiting these old photos from waaaay back in 2014. To be fair, I'm sure these outfits will play a part in the future laughs or sighs.

Finding & taking time to do outfit photos required way more commitment than I could ever hope to sustain, & it also required coordinating schedules & times with Jared or Kelsie, or whoever I could grab to stand behind the camera.
+ It did force me to get the real camera out (vs. my iphone) & upload whatever images I had sitting on the memory card. I'm also really proud to look back & know that I stuck to a year-long blogging commitment.

Although the point was always to make do with what I had in my closet, I definitely pressured myself into more than a couple purchases that were strictly because I knew I needed an outfit post that week. Quite frankly, I don't have the budget to keep up with trends.
+ My goal was to never shy from re-wearing shoes or jeans, because that's REAL LIFE. Too many style bloggers share gorgeous outfits but rarely reuse pieces, & I just think that's impractical. These posts really made me put some effort into using the clothes I (or Jared, teeheeee) owned in new ways, on top of sometimes just really causing me to put some effort into wearing clothes that weren't a sweatshirt & leggings.

- I sort of assumed that if you consistently post outfits & throw in some mildly laugh-worthy humor, you will accrue a following. This did not happen.
+ I did get to connect with some great ladies in the style blogging community, & even if it was only for a year, it was a fun community to be a part of. As someone that had been in the bleachers of style blogging, cheering, for years, just getting to sit on the team's bench was an experience.

- I won't lie... Standing on a sidewalk, or in a parking lot, or in the middle of an alley striking poses & having my picture taken was embarrassing. Additionally, I am assuming that taking & sharing photos of me! me! me! in my own clothing came off as pretty brazenly vain to some, especially since I didn't even really have a claim on being fashionable.
+ But! I learned a lot about posing, which has already been useful when I'm working with models for photoshoots. I learned a lot about making trends work for my shape, which has already been useful when I'm working my retail job as a stylist. I also (& this is perhaps the most important lessons of all) learned a lot about my body - What looks flattering & how to stand, contrasted by a lot of photos the world will never see that taught me what to never wear again & how to absolutely never, ever, ever stand. My year as a style blogger taught me so very much about my body type & how to stand with confidence, even in the middle of a city sidewalk. 


Iiiiiiin conclusion... No, I won't be posting outfit photos anymore. I am happy to say I tried it, & stuck with it, but at the end of it all? Fashion is not the reason Sitting in Our Tree exists. I will be sharing the occasional outfit photo + details on my Instagram, & I have every intention of bringing the DSLR out with us more often as we continue to get to know DC in 2015. Style-in-action posts, if you will.

So, if you made it through a year of my face & crossed ankles (right leg over left leg is apparently me favorite, as illustrated in the above image), congrats! & thanks for hanging in there. It was a fun little ride.


a farewell to 2014

Once again, it's a week into the new year & I'm only just now getting a review post up about 2014... But guys, it was a good one. (& beyond annual reflections, having a purpose for the sunset images from my This Month posts was kind of cathartic so 30 pts. to Gryffindor.)

Click the "Read More" to see our year in photos!


a few more bits & pieces of our trip to va

^^ An AMAZING New Year's Day breakfast, complete with Jared's signature Eggs Benedict. A perfectly healthy way to kick off the New Year, oui? ;) ^^
^^ Our chef ^^
^^ You know it's good when you are compelled to take a poorly lit photo of mostly yellow food. ^^
^^ A blurry photo of our sister coffee date ^^
^^ ... & then, Elsa & Anna may have been asked to show up at their two-year-old niece's birthday party. ^^
^^ So, with some Youtube makeup tutorials, an old prom dress & quickly scavenged costume pieces, show up they did. ^^
^^ It was well-received. ^^
^^ As an ever-present reminder of why we need a dog, Ellie kept me company every time I sat down to get some work done. ^^
^^ Mom & dad's backyard oasis, the best place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee. ^^
^^ The camera never flashes, but she almost always blinks, & it's my favorite. ^^
^^ A pretty sunset on our final evening in Virginia. ^^
^^ But to be honest, Catherine was mostly in it for the horse/cow watching. ^^
^^ See ya, Chesapeake! ^^
2014 was a huge year for us (review post soooon), but we're excited to be back in DC to kick off 2015!