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Friday, September 30, 2016

Halloween Decor to Die For


No doubt about it, Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday but I love Halloween because it is a wonderful way to kickoff the holiday season. I am all about holiday nostalgia-- I love watching the Charlie Brown and Rankin-Bass holiday specials while sipping on some hot apple cider and decorating the house. I never really decorated my house for Halloween and Thanksgiving besides placing a few pumpkins here and there but I'm going to try to change that this year. I'm feelin' festive! Here are some of my favorite Halloween decorations from some of the cutest corners of the internet.

1. Vintage Reproduction Felt Halloween Garland from Etsy shop RawBoneStudio
Honestly, I love all of the garlands from this shop but this one is the least likely to creep Spencer out. I think it's adorable and it would look great hanging from my mantle, although that could potentially be a fire hazard so...maybe somewhere else. Ha.

2. 4inch Jack the Cat from Annalee
When I was a kid I thought Annalee's products were creepy, but I must say, they're really starting to grow on me. I mean, this little cat is adorable, right?!

3. Transylvania Hand-Embroidered Pillow from Catstudio
I am a sucker for geographic-souvenir type things so naturally this pillow caught my eye.

4. Wednesday's Menagerie print from Etsy shop StupidAnimalShop
This isn't necessarily Halloween-only decor, but I had to include it! I love Wednesday Addams and I love this beautiful print.

5. Party Skeleton Appetizer Plates from Pottery Barn
Cute little partying skeletons. Need I say more?

6. Studio Ghibli inspired glow-in-the-dark Kodama garden/planter figures from Etsy shop TheTallGrass
The garden near my front door is covered in some sort of ivy-type plant (I wish I knew what it was called) and it's very green and lush, with some small boulders scattered here and there-- I feel like it would be a perfect place to hide some Kodama. Any other Studio Ghibli fans out there?!

7. Spider Decanter and Tumblers from Target
Maybe I should invest in an everyday decanter before this one's just so cool!

8. Skeleton Crew Hanging Insect Decoration from Plasticland
These shimmery, honeycomb bugs would look great hanging in a window.

9. Bottlebrush Spiral Tree Set from Pier 1 Imports
 I love that these resemble candy corn and they're spiraled!

10. Moon Paper Lantern from Blue Q
Oh, man this is pretty. And I sure do love paper lanterns, but I learned that when you move as often as I do they're not the most practical thing to have. I don't think I'll be moving anytime soon, so maybe it wouldn't hurt to get this.

How do you like to decorate Halloween? 
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mini Moon: Acadia National Park

Because Spencer has a bit of an odd work schedule and because we wanted some more time to save up for a longer, super-awesome honeymoon (*cough cough* Hawaii), we decided to take a "mini moon" 60 short miles away to Acadia National Park. Acadia is located mostly on Mount Desert Island, which Spencer and I quickly visited a while back, but we never actually bought the pass and went in the park. Acadia has been on my travel bucket list for years so I'm so glad to have finally gone.

We found a little cave! 

Oh and we did something a little unconventional for the first day of our honeymoon...we brought my best friend Sarah along with us. She had to go back to Chicago the next day and we wanted to explore Acadia together, so day 1 was more of a friend-adventure.

We had a great time and Acadia was so, so beautiful. I'm glad that we bought an annual pass because I'm already planning more trips there!

What's your favorite national park? Which one do you want to visit the most? 
Monday, September 26, 2016

Music Monday: Wedding Playlist

how to make a good wedding playlist

Since we had our wedding reception at our house, we just used my beloved Spotify for music. I probably spent more time working on the wedding playlist than I did any other aspect of our wedding. I listened to it in order day after day to make sure I liked the flow. I played around with the crossfading and decided that crossfading exactly 7 seconds was perfect. Not 6 seconds, not 8 seconds. In retrospect, I was way too fixated on this playlist and I probably wasted hours of my life on it. Oh well.

I didn't want my wedding playlist to sound like everyone else's. When I Googled "wedding playlists" I was given basically the same 50 songs. Spencer and I decided upbeat indie music was the way to go, and not necessarily lovey-dovey songs. I added songs we both love, plus a few songs that I thought everyone would know and enjoy, and a lot of covers of well-known songs.

Along with songs we were already familiar with, I continued to look for new artists and found a ton of great songs for my playlist. I looked on Spotify, of course, but I also used my other tactics for easily finding new music.

I signed up for a free trail of Spotify premium so that no ads would interrupt, hooked up a Beats speaker to my laptop, blasted the volume, and put the speaker at the edge of my loft bedroom so that the music could easily be heard throughout the downstairs. I have a tall, open ceiling so the noise traveled easily and I also didn't want to risk someone hijacking my laptop and putting on the YMCA. No way.

I made the playlist a little over 6 hours long, not that I wanted my reception to last that long, but just in case. I also made the end of the playlist all instrumental to signify to any stragglers "okay, it's over!" We only made it to the 77th track, but at least the playlist was certainly long enough!

how to make a good wedding playlist pinterest
Pin it for later and tell me what was or would be on your wedding playlist in the comments!
Sunday, September 25, 2016

Common Ground 2016

Autumn in Maine means country fairs galore! I missed out on all the fairs last year, so I was very excited to attend the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity this year. The Common Ground Country Fair is a three day-long fair focusing on food, arts, and more but all of it revolves around a central theme: celebrating rural life in Maine.

The Common Ground fair fosters a sense of community by connecting local farmers, artists, makers, and doers with people from all over Maine. An estimated 60,000 people attend the fair each year. I was seriously overwhelmed by the choices-- the food, the produce, the demonstrations, the artwork, everything. There was certainly not a lack of things to do and see at this fair.

Swag from Taproot and the Beehive Design Collective
From the Beehive Design Collective
I loved seeing this, and the "Stolen Spring" sticker, because I've seen firsthand how detrimental the bottled water industry is to communities. When I used to live in Fryeburg, I lived half a mile from one of Nestle/Poland Spring's water pumps and it was extremely unpleasant, to say the least. This summer Maine was in a drought, peoples' wells were running dry, and they were forced to go buy Poland Springs water--- water that was from their town. I'm really just skimming the surface here and I don't want to go off topic, but I implore you to read more about this issue and urge you to not support the bottled water industry.


I wish I had taken more photos but my hands were full all day with some of the best chai tea I've ever had, organic produce, Indian corn, and brochures. My eyes were also watering because I'm weak when it comes to adorable farm animals. I just want to take them all home and love them. Thankfully Spencer was there to stop me from buying a new pet rabbit or 5.

I'm already excited for next year's fair!
Friday, September 23, 2016

I Got Married!

That's right, folks! I kept my wedding details under wraps a bit but I am happy to announce that Spencer and I were married on Saturday, September 17th in Camden, Maine. More details and more professional photos are coming but for now I just wanted to share an update on the wedding since I've been so secretive.

That update is: it happened!

A photo posted by jwyldephoto (@jwyldephoto) on

People keep asking us if being married feels any different, but it really doesn't. All we feel is relief that the wedding planning process is finally over and done with and gratitude because we really wouldn't have been able to pull this off without the help of our family and friends. Not only did they all have to travel quite a bit to get here, they really busted their butts to help us out. Spencer's dad officiated the wedding, his mom and sisters made our wedding cake, and my parents helped cook since something possessed us to self-cater the wedding reception.

The only time I cried during the day (and I didn't even realize I had started crying) was when my best friend Sarah gave a little speech. I think I'm going to frame it and cry every time I look at it.

A photo posted by jwyldephoto (@jwyldephoto) on

Want to see all the photos?
Monday, September 19, 2016

Music Monday #26

Happy Music Monday! Here's what I've been listening to this past week. I said on Twitter that I was unsure if I liked Lady Gaga's new single, but upon a second listen, it's my jam.  Don't forget, you can browse all my playlists here on the blog or follow me on Spotify.

What's your favorite track? What have you been listening to lately? 
Sunday, September 18, 2016

Celebrating Women's Friendship Day

The third Sunday of September (hey, that's today!) is Women's Friendship day so today I wanted acknowledge my friendship with a wonderful human named Sarah.

I first met Sarah in 2008 when we both attended the local visual & performing arts high school. We were in the same studio arts class and had a friendly acquaintance-type relationship for a while mostly because she intimidated me to pieces. She was so funny, friendly, pretty, played guitar in the school's jazz band, did ballet, and was an amazing artist. Back then I was also automatically intimidated by anyone older than I was. I was a junior and I thought Sarah was a senior. As the school year went on, we talked more, I found out she was only a wee freshman, and I finally got over being intimidated by her and we quickly became great friends.

Sarah is truly one of the most wonderful people I have never known and I value her friendship more than I can express. She is such a thoughtful, deep thinker and gives practical advice that I can actually apply to whatever situation I need help with.

As I mentioned, she is an amazing artist, especially when it comes to portraits. I am always in awe of her drawings and paintings, even the silly doodles she has drawn for me over the years.

She is an extremely determined person. She moved to Chicago to improve as a dancer and she is doing just that. When she isn't in dance classes, she works at a ballet academy.

She is easily the funniest person I know. Everything she says makes me giggle, or rather, die of laughter. Nothing is ever dull with Sarah.

It is hard being so far away from my best friend, I'm in Maine and she's in Illinois, but thankfully technology allows us to remain as close as ever.

I wrote this post a while in advance but as it would happen, Sarah is in Maine right now visiting for the first time, which I will post about soon! 😉
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review: Eden's Semilla Jojoba Oil

jojoba oil for hair and skin

I have recently started to listen to all the people who have told me I needed to use different oils in my beauty routine. I finally jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon and now have decided to try using jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is in many products that I have used, but I never thought to try just jojoba oil. I even make cold-process soap as a hobby, you would think I would have tried it by now, but nope.

Jojoba oil isn't actually an oil, but a liquid wax extracted from the seed of the Simmondsia chinensis shrub. It closely resembles sebum, a substance created by our skin. It has been known to help with acne, psoriasis, eczema, oily skin, and is a great moisturizer. For hair, it can help with hair loss and dry hair.

After reading a little, I decided to jump right in.

jojoba oil for hair and skin

I cleansed and applied toner to my face, then I applied a few little drops of Eden's Semilla jojoba oil to a pimple on my forehead and one of those horrible under-the-skin pimples. I rarely get those, but when I do they bug the bejeezus out of me. The under-the-skin pimple looked like it wasn't close to going away, but perhaps about to erupt into a big whitehead. When I woke up the next morning I noticed it and the forehead pimple were slightly smaller and less inflamed. They were still there, but much less noticeable. By the end of the day they were hardly noticeable and seemed to be going away.

I thought, "Okay, that could just be a coincidence" and decided to try it out in my hair. Although I do know better, I heat style my hair like nobody's business. I have a few cowlicks that can only be managed if I blow dry my hair immediately after a shower and honestly, when I let my hair air-dry it just looks weird. Really weird. And then I love curling it with a wand or hot rollers, but when I'm short on time I straighten it. I would try pin-curls but I don't have the skill, patience, or ability to keep track of that many bobby pins.

Back to my dry, frizzy, damaged hair-- after a shower I got as much moisture out as I could with a towel, put perhaps 3 drops of jojoba oil in my hand, and evenly distributed it throughout my hair but also focused on the ends. I blow dried my hair, brushed it, then ran my fingers through it. My hair was so silky. So, so silky. I stood in front of the mirror for a few moments and played with my hair, staring at it in amazement. You know when you get an inch or two of your split ends trimmed off and your hair feels incredible? That's exactly how my hair felt, and my last trim was in July. I also think it's worth mentioning that I didn't put any other products in my hair and I had used my usual shampoo and conditioner.

I continued using the jojoba oil in my hair for a few days and kept getting the same results. I continued to use the jojoba oil as a spot treatment for acne as well as a facial moisturizer. I noticed my acne was going away quicker than usual and my face felt so soft and smooth, and not at all greasy.

Of course, you should be careful not to use too many drops or you could end up looking greasy. It's a fine line and remember that a little goes a long way! I also have to be mindful when applying it to my hair, because if the jojoba oil gets in my bangs, where my worst cowlick is, it accentuates it. But really, my only complaint is that when I have it on, my dog is very determined to lick all of it off of me. It's very gross and annoying, but I guess it gets a thumbs-up from him, too.

*This post was sponsored by Eden's Semilla. I received this product complimentary from Eden's Semilla for testing purposes. All opinions stated here are mine!* 
Monday, September 12, 2016

Music Monday #25

Happy Music Monday! Here's what I've been listening to since I last posted a playlist. Don't forget, you can browse all my playlists here on the blog or follow me on Spotify.

What's your favorite track? 
Friday, September 9, 2016

Kai's 5th adoptiversary

5 years ago today I adopted my first cat. Well, technically I had a cat named Kitty when I was a toddler, but I don't remember her. After she passed away my mom said, "no more cats, I'm too allergic", so I grew up with only dogs in my house.

Anyway, I was living in my first apartment, away from my beloved dogs, and so bored and lonely. I wanted to adopt a dog of my own so badly, but my apartment was tiny and the "pet rent" was ridiculous-- $200 up front and $50 each month. So I decided to get a cat instead. Why? Because they're furry, adorable, and unlike dogs, easy to hide from landlords. (I do not recommend hiding pets from landlords. Not one of my best decisions.)
Kai's Petfinder photo...he was so little!
I went to a local feral cat rescue (they trap/neuter/return feral cats and find homes for feral kittens), to see what they had and instantly fell in love with Kai, who was named Grayson at that point. Before he was picked up by the rescue he was living in a feral cat colony under a mobile home in a neighboring town. Thankfully, the rescue got him 1 day before a bad hurricane hit. Honestly, I had no clue what the difference between stray and feral was when I adopted 4 month old Kai. I was so upset because he wouldn't cuddle with me, or even sit on my lap. I was freaking out, afraid that he hated me and would be distant his whole life.
Fast forward to present day. Kai sleeps on my feet every single night and follows me everywhere. Since adopting Kai, when I lived in Virginia, I have moved 6 times with him-- a total of about 2,657 miles. Before I moved to Maine from Florida, peopled suggested that I give Kai away to a new home instead of driving all the way to Maine with him. Not only was Kai a perfect angel during the move, but I could never abandon him like that. When I adopted Kai, I promised the rescue and Kai that he would always have a home with me. As cheesy as it may sound to some, Kai is my baby. He is my family and he is not disposable. I am so happy to have reached this milestone with Kai and I'm looking forward to many more.

Oh, and you know how my mom said she was "too allergic" for us to have cats? Since I moved out of her house 5 years ago, she has adopted 6 cats. Pffft.

If you are considering adding a new furry friend to your family, I implore you to adopt and never shop (meaning: adopt from shelters & rescues, don't buy from breeders & pet stores) and always spay and neuter your animals. Check out Alley Cat Allies to find out more about feral cats and what you can do to help them.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Year in Maine

via my other blog, Ran Away to Maine
A year ago today Spencer, Kai, Theo, and I moved to Maine. Before we moved here we were living in Vero Beach, Florida, which I have a serious love-hate relationship with. Spencer and I talked about getting married in Maine and moving there eventually, but we decided "not anytime soon." The next thing I knew, we were booking a trip to Maine to tour some rentals. Apparently "not anytime soon" meant "let's stay in Florida till our lease ends."

Spencer grew up in Camden and went to college in Castine, so he obviously has strong ties to Maine. I, however, simply started looking at photos of Maine on Flickr and Instagram before Spencer and I even started dating and decided this was the place for me.

I was discussing (well, complaining about) living in a house with no air conditioning with someone a while back, then they asked me a question that caught me off guard:

"What's the draw of Maine?"

I didn't really know how to answer. I always forget that not everyone views Maine as the dreamy escape from reality that I do. I mean, Maine isn't perfect, but it's Maine, right?! The person who asked me has also heard me complain about the mud in the spring, the inconvenience of having to get my driveway snow plowed, my back pain after lugging in loads of firewood, and the lack of Target and IKEA stores. I responded with, "because it's pretty and awesome," and moved on to the next subject. But I should give Maine the defense it deserves.

What's the draw of Maine? I'll tell ya:

north conway new hampshire

1) The beautiful, diverse landscape
This had to be the first thing I listed. I've already lived in two places in Maine-- the White Mountains of western Maine and now I'm in the Midcoast region, 200 feet from the ocean. These two areas are so different and both so beautiful. I've seen quite a bit of the state, but I still have so much more to see, like the Katahdin Woods & Water National Monument (thanks Obama!) and Acadia National Park. It's no wonder it's called "Vacationland!"

portland head light highthouse
via my other blog, Ran Away to Maine

2) The weather
I won't deny that I have muttered something like "I hate snow" about a million times, usually while trying to dig my car out, but I love the snow. Florida didn't really have seasons so seeing all the leaves turn red and orange and then that first's great! And it's so cool in the summer here, compared to the places I've lived before. I don't think I could ever go back to living in a place without four seasons.

maine blueberries
via my other blog, Ran Away to Maine

3) The food
Since I am a vegetarian, obviously I don't indulge in Maine's most famous export: lobster. However, I will gladly eat my weight in some Maine blueberries. Everywhere I go in Maine, I find such amazing food, and most of these places do their very best to source the ingredients as locally as possible. Whether you come to Maine for a lobster festival or to find some creative vegan food, you will be a happy camper.

camden maine
My favorite Mainer.

4) The people
Maine has some of the nicest people I've ever met. Every time I go to the post office to check my PO box, I am greeted with lots of smiles, friendly chit-chat, and someone always offers to help me carry things since 9 out of 10 times I'm leaving with a ginormous box. I just never experienced that sort of friendly community feeling in Florida. And Maine has such cool and talented people. Artists, farmers, chefs, fisherman, small business owners...they're just all so inspiring and interesting! And you gotta love the Maine accent.

camden maine
via my other blog, Ran Away to Maine

5) The Maine-iness 
This is probably the cheesiest thing I have ever said, but every day here is like a postcard. Ugh. But it's true! Everywhere I look I see lobster boats, blueberries, moose paraphernalia, get it. Daily life is like an advertisement for the Maine tourism bureau.

Looking back, moving here when we did may have been a bit of a snap decision but I am so happy that we planted ourselves here. Maine just suits us better.