September 25, 2018

Simple Fall Container Gardening Ideas

Fall is here and my front porch is badly in need of some sprucing up. The potted plants and flowers I tried to grow in the spring hung in there over the summer, but now it's obvious they have seen better days. Fall is a great time to add some plants to your porch and yard. It might seem like spring is a better time to plant, but autumn, with its shorter days and cooler temperatures is the best time. 

Fall brings some damp weather, which helps soil keep its moisture longer. Plus the soil is softer which makes for easier digging. You may also have fewer weeds because the sun isn't out as much and temperatures are cooler. Cooler temperatures are also less stressful to new plants, so they have a better chance of thriving. And when the temperature in the air is cooler than the soil, plants focus their energy into growing roots, which causes them to be healthier overall.

When choosing plants for a fall container garden, consider your space as well as your container. I get inspiration from the large planters I've seen around shopping centers and parks. I even snapped a pic of this one that I liked, in front of one of my favorite consignment shops in Knoxville. I love the tall plant in the center, which is called Sky Pencil Holly.

When creating a fall container arrangement, consider the following:

Color - 

There are so many great colors to incorporate for fall gardens, and they don't all have to be the typical fall shades or oranges, yellows and rust. I love chartreuse and bright greens, so coleus and sweet potato vines are always a favorite of mine. Another all-time favorite plant of mine is Dusty Miller, because it makes me think of my Granny who grew it in big pots by her front porch. Its grayish white leaves are a nice complement to just about any color scheme. 

Texture - 

I also like to choose plants in a variety of textures. From big flat leaves to small feathery leaves, as well as grasses and vines, there are so many different textures you can incorporate. And this keeps your planters looking interesting. Ornamental cabbages are another option I am really digging right now. Get it, digging? I crack myself up. 

Dimensions - 

When creating a fall container garden, try to use plants of different sizes and heights, which will also create a more beautiful finished product. Maybe start with something tall and feathery in the middle, and then add shorter leafy plants surrounding it. Finally, bring in some draping vines to create even more visual interest. 

via Southern Living

I hope some of these things inspire you to think outside the box with your fall container gardens! And don't forget you can always incorporate other natural elements, like curly twigs, pine cones and pumpkins. 

Happy Fall Y'all! 

I wear my hurts like layers of clothing

I wear my hurts like layers of clothing, each piled on top of another, like I would if I were trying to protect myself from the bitter cold. Sometimes without realizing it, I peel them off….one by one. Each is a reminder of a pain I have experienced. Each serves as something that puts a bit of distance between me and the rest of the world. 

The most outer layer is a Ruff Hewn coat, with wooden toggle closures. Scratchy and woolen just like the one my mom had in the 80s. It is dark, in mingled shades of brown, black and rust with a few touches of dark green in the fabric. The coat looks very similar to one worn by Jackie on the sitcom Roseanne, which as a kid I thought was cool because I had rarely seen anyone on television with clothes that looked like ours. 

The next layer is a trendy designer sweater, purchased for my biological father by the only one of his girlfriends I ever liked. She was a tiny woman named Linda, who had no kids and bought all her clothes at Petite Sophisticate. My dad was hard to shop for and he’d spend what felt to me like hours at the department store, trying to find a suitable replacement for all the gifts he immediately exchanged.

Then there’s a white cotton turtleneck, decorated with penguins playing winter sports. The same one I wore to have my school picture taken in the 7th grade. Before heavy metal braces painfully forced my eye-teeth down into the line with the others, out of their tusk-like formation. 

Under that I wear a thin long-sleeved cashmere tee. It feels luxurious, its ivory layer against my skin. It makes me feel rich, until I see the small holes along the hem and remember it came from the thrift store. I wonder about the wealthy lady who bought it new and discarded it, without an inkling of me. 

And beyond this is a ribbed black cotton tank top, bought for something like $4 at Old Navy when that was my very favorite place to shop, c. 1998. I cut one of the straps, and fastened it back together on my shoulder with a row of shiny silver safety pins, to give it a little edge. 

Finally, under all the other layers, I wear my first bra. The one with the built in shoulder pads that my mom said would look better under my clothes. It was fine until I wore it to a slumber party and then everyone decided to run around the yard in our bras and underwear. I was the only one with shoulder pads flapping in the breeze against the dark night sky. 

September 12, 2018

Creative Ideas for Better Breakfast Month | September

September is Better Breakfast Month and every year I try to take this as an opportunity to reset my breakfast habits. Growing up, we ate a lot of those little pecan spinwheels or cereal, of which neither were the greatest options for keeping a kid full. Plus, they were high in sugar and just not too healthy.

I've heard my entire life how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast helps me think more clearly and just puts me in a better mood.

According to WebMD, the basic formula for breakfast is carbs + protein. The carbs give your body energy to get started and your brain the fuel it needs to take on the day. Protein gives you staying power and helps you feel full until your next meal. So I'm trying to branch out a bit with my breakfasts. A girl can only eat so much fruit and oatmeal, am I right?

Here are a few options that might inspire you to eat a better breakfast during September and beyond!

Take Your Toast to the Next Level 

I promise this isn't another blog post featuring avocado toast. I, too, jumped on the avo-toast bandwagon for awhile, but there are so many other options to take your toast to the next level! 

I'm loving the new flavors of hummus from Lantana, including beet, edamame, and white bean. They are great on toast and packed with protein to help you feel full longer. I also recently tried pumpkin seed butter, which was pretty tasty and great on toast as well. Sprinkle on a bit of shredded coconut or flax seed for added flavor. 

Not a fan of toast? Try a whole grain toaster waffle with nut butter or another spread. I promise you, there's a combination that you'll just might have to get creative to find it! 

Yogurt Parfait with Pizzazz 

Instead of your usual yogurt parfait, why not try a yogurt breakfast cone? I was inspired by Van's Foods for this one and it is delish! 

All you need is your favorite yogurt (I like the plain Greek kind from Fage) and some fruit and toppings. This is just about as easy as it gets y'all! And so easy to take on the go. But safety first....please don't try to eat it while driving! 

Egg Bread Boats 

My final Better Breakfast recipe is one that's apparently made the rounds in the blogosphere, but I haven't tried it until now. French toast has always been a favorite of mine, but this recipe gives it a new twist. Hollowed out french bread filled with egg, cheese and veggie goodness....what's not to love? 

(Image credit: The Kitchn Christine Han)