Posts tagged design
Sara Moore: 12 Bloggers of Christmas

I'm losing track of the days. I think I skipped a few, maybe added one. Nevertheless, welcome to the 12 Bloggers of Christmas, an annual tradition on Pars Caeli where we shine a pretty spotlight on twelve bloggers during the Christmas season. Catch up real quick on all the beauties by scrolling down. Join me every day to see if (you or) your favorites are featured!


I'm chatting with Sara Moore today. Sara has an effortless style (which I'm sure takes a ton of hard work to pull off), and she writes about parenting in an honest and supportive way. She's a fabulous designer, and if you read ahead, you'll see we'll be able to get right to her goods come 2015. So happy to have her in this space!


My all-time favorite family tradition is decorating Christmas cookies with my family. I've been doing it since I was a little girl and I look forward to it every year. We're all gathered around the table, laughing, eating the "broken" ones and really enjoying each others company. The logistics have gotten harder with introducing the little grandchildren to decorating and the traveling we have to do but we always make sure to fit it in! And one of my new favorite traditions my husband and I do with the kids is to look at Christmas lights. Our kids are still little enough to be in awe of every single light so it's a lot of fun!


I'm adding e-commerce to the website so you'll be able to shop directly from It's been a long time in the making, so I'm really excited to say 2015 is the year! I'm also contributing to a couple of other blogs in the coming year, and I'm very excited to explore new things and grow a community of wonderful people!


My blog is so new that it wasn't around last Christmas and with a brand new baby, I don't have much more planned for the blog this year. BUT I will link to  two Christmas posts that I love. Speaking of traditions, this one from Jenny Collier on Every Day Cheer would be a great one to start while your kids are young - a Christmas book advent. Every night the kids get to unwrap a Christmas book and enjoy it as a family by the tree. And this one from A Cup of Jo sums up a few of her and her readers holiday traditions.


Elisabeth of Bella is just a doll! She has a great sense of style, is as sweet as a summer peach and her Instagram feed is so dreamy. She's pregnant with her first (a boy!) and she's just been killin' it in the maternity fashion department. She always looks amazing and has such a great attitude about the pregnancy journey. Which isn't a surprise since she touts that she firmly believes in choosing happiness - you can see that clearly through everything she does!

Love Elisabeth, too!! So happy to celebrate her as well. If you want to read some interesting stories from busy mommas, be sure to check out Sara's Struggle with the Juggle series. It's one of my favorites from real life, inspiring, and talented ladies.

Just a few more left!! Hope your Christmas Eve Eve is the best it can be.

xoxo, MJ

Sarah Hearts: 12 Bloggers of Christmas

On the fifth day of Blogger Christmas, my true love gave to me: Sarah Hearts! Welcome to the annual tradition on Pars Caeli where we cherish twelve bloggers right up to Christmas. Sit back and enjoy their stories, favorite Christmas traditions, and holiday projects, too. Let's spread the love around in big heaps. As a new twist to the tradition, each blogger will be throwing out some love to one of their favorite makers/creators/writers!

Join me every day to see if (you or) your favorites are featured!

Today meet Sarah who crafts, cooks, designs, and invites all of us to join along. Her Meet & Make evenings through West Elm always look divine. Sarah Hearts is filled with desktop wallpapers and free printables that you'll want to check out as well.


My favorite holiday tradition is baking tons and tons of Christmas cookies for friends. I love surprising them with an assortment of freshly baked treats!


So much! I’ll be starting the new year with a creative assistant so I’m so excited to have more hands on deck and to be able to share more great DIY projects. Look for a few new mini series in 2015 as well as big plans for Meet + Make, the local creative workshops that I host at West Elm.


One my favorite Christmas posts is my printable wine bottle tags. They are an easy way to dress up a bottle of wine and make an instant (and festive) host/hostess gift.


Amy from Homey Oh My! is just killing it! She puts out fresh, creative projects every week and just when you think she couldn’t possibly make anything more creative—she does! Love her!

Thanks so much, Sarah, for introducing me to another great blogger and site! I'm always on the hunt for talent to follow and to learn from. And thanks for all of your inspiration!

Join me tomorrow to celebrate the coolest mom on the interwebs!

xoxo, MJ

Fan Girl Friday: Pencil Shavings Studio

"Aren't we weird human beings?" read my text message, "Us and our 'celebrity' crushes on people who are just regular humans like us."

Paige, Approaching Joy Creative

I don't think there's a definition of a fan girl floating around on Merriam Webster's pages, but if there were, I think it might include a high level of admiration for someone you have not met.

I have met Rachel Shingleton. We met in January at Alt Summit in Salt Lake City. Rachel's totally down to earth and easy to talk to, and there is potential that she didn't know I was a big fan girl, but she probably did. Upon meeting her, I told her I couldn't wait to collaborate on something. Sometimes, I kind of get really excited.

As you can see in the image below, I've been a fan for a few years. When I first saw her logo - the name, the colors, the stripe - I thought it was so brilliantly done. I still think so, except now, Rachel has taken her style and color blog to a whole new level.

She's received a lot of honors, including the Better Homes & Gardens Top 5 Decorating blogs (and look at the kicking graphic she made for her award). In her shop, she's grown and expanded to retailers like The Limited and Nordstrom's. 

Rachel says that she's never met a color she didn't like. And she does such an amazing job of making those colors work together in energetic, blissful ways.

Her home tour with Gabrielle of Design Mom is a must see. The vibrancy of each room just hums. Mixing in bold tones with fresh white all throughout the home, Rachel is a whiz with pattern and texture. She partnered with The Land of Nod to reimagine her office and playroom. It's such a spectacular finished space that beckons creativity to come on out. 

I've followed her personal story as well which she tackles head on with her blog. And I'm delighted for Rachel and her family as they welcome their long-awaited second child!

From hair-styling and fashion, to home decor, to cute gifts and great ideas, Rachel always have something fresh to offer.

Rachel, thanks for your myriad of awesome work.

I'm a fan girl.

xoxo, MJ

Fan Girl Friday: Mer Mag

"Aren't we weird human beings?" read my text message, "Us and our 'celebrity' crushes on people who are just regular humans like us." It was the second time, in a single day, that my friends and I were gushing over people who inspire us."

Paige, Approaching Joy Creative

I began to catch on to the idea of blogs as a new mom. I scoured the internet looking for ways to soothe my baby and stimulate early learning and fell down a wormhole into the mom blogs of the time. Many were overwhelming to me in terms of content and design.

And then:




Mer Mag is a site I found myself going back to again and again when I wanted to see how beautiful and creative motherhood could be. Merrillee is a styling guru, an amazing illustrator, and a fun mom. Her site is clean and gorgeous.

Her projects use everyday materials and elevate them to the world of awesome design. She creates a whole imaginary wonderland in cardboard, paper, and tape.

Her ideas are inspiring. No matter your age.

Her book looks incredible (you can preorder now).

Thank you, Merrillee, for reminding me of the joys of creating with and for your children. And for inspiring, through your use of material and shape, incredible projects we all can enjoy.

I'm a Fan Girl.

Who's inspiring you now?

Elise on Approaching Joy

xoxo, MJ


Design: Logo for Sew Fab Sale
Something I don't talk about too explicitly around these pages, but is a huge part of my other waking hours, is graphic design. I'm a ridiculously proud graduate, with a bachelor of FINE arts degree in design (man, those extra hours of studio classes did me in so I have to make some kind of big deal out of them.) And besides figure drawing (I know, not actually graphic design there), one of the areas that I enjoy most is logo design.


I had the opportunity via Instagram (you just never know where opportunity will knock) to work with this lovely lady, Jenny Yarbrough of The Southern Institute, to create a logo design for her huge pattern sale. Jenny is exactly the kind of partner you want in the logo creation process; she had ideas but was open and knew just what she needed by when. Perfect. Indecision and design are not good friends.


As I grew to understand more about her business and this pretty awesome sale that she hosts, I thought I ought to share it with you lovely, creative people because you might want to hop on in. Plus, the way she promotes and rewards individual pattern designers is completely sympatico with my love for collaboration. So I snookered Jenny into an interview. Here goes. Check out the Sew Fab Sale May 5-13! I'll have a sidebar button over on the right to remind you. :)




The Sew Fab sale is on online PDF sewing pattern sale that bundles together several patterns from some of the best-known pattern designers out there as well as newer designers who are quickly making a name for themselves in the world of pattern design. As far as I know it was the first pattern sale of its kind and the largest. We bring customers an entire collection of patterns for a deeply discounted price, but the catch is that there are only two, one-week sales a year!


I got the idea for the sale when I was participating in eBook bundle sales in the health and wellness niche.  I had an eBook on natural childbirth that was included in eBook bundle sales, but no one who read my blog was really interested in those bundles. I started wondering what kind of product I could bring to my readers that they would love and that would benefit them. As a crafts and sewing blogger my thoughts turned to pdf sewing patterns, and the rest is history… I went for it!


I am always looking for new contributing designers! I read other sewing blogs and look curiously at pattern reviews to see who is out there designing pdf patterns and what they are creating. There are always several new patterns coming out at any given time, it seems, so there's never a shortage. Sometimes I contact designers myself, but I also have a lot of designers who email me expressing interest in being a part of future sales.  


As far as purchasing a bundle… anyone can purchase the Sew Fab Pattern Sale bundles. The best way to be in the loop is to sign up for the Sew Fab Newsletter or like Sew Fab on Facebook. The Spring Sale is coming up soon, on May 5th- May 13th. We're really excited about it!



My hope is to have this sale do even better than last year's sales, of course. Last spring was the very first sale. It went so well that I put on a fall sale, which ended up being even bigger. This spring I hope to blow the previous sale out of the water! My favorite thing is to pay the designers for their sales at the end of the whole process, and the more money I send them the happier it makes me.


Phew! I had been paying different people to create different graphics for the first two sales. When it became clear that I was going to continue to have the sales I decided that it would be smart to have a new fresh look for the sale… a Sew Fab Pattern Sale logo.  I wanted something that I could use for every sale, something that people would recognize from season to season. I had a semi-vague idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like, with the different articles of clothing representing the kinds of patterns that might be found in the bundles.  


What I ended up with was even better than I had expected!  I absolutely LOVE it!  You were able to take my ideas and put them into a logo that is fun and colorful, which is something that I could never have done.  It really makes me happy every time I look at it. 



Oh wow.  I do a little bit of a lot, it feels like, ha ha!  I have a husband and three amazing kids who keep me busy.  I homeschool my daughter, who is finishing up her 5th grade year, and that takes up a lot of my time during the weekdays.  I try to update my blog, The Southern Institute, on a regular basis. I love to sew and play tennis as much as I can.  I dabble in pattern design myself and have several ideas running through my head right now just waiting to be acted upon. And then, you know, the usual household things with a lot of help from my wonderful husband whom I love dearly.



Jenny is totally charming and so is her sale. If you're passionate about patterns or dabble in sewing, check out the sale happening next week!

And if you're on the hunt for a new logo, business cards, stationery or any other designs, send me an email at, and let's see how we can collaborate!


I'm announcing a new summer series tomorrow with some of my favorite, talented ladies...


xoxo, MJ
Alt Summit 2014: The Business Cards

Sometimes I style things to my fancy:

Well, thank you. How did you know? Amazing cards by Melissa Esplin and Miss J. Handmade.

If you've heard one thing about Alt Summit, it might be that the attendees rock their fashion (yes, yes, yes). Or it might be that the art of the business card is in full glory at this conference (oh, diggity). Designers, artists, and creatives put on their best show in two to six inches canvases (or more - hello leggings and scarves) to make one memorable first impression!

This is what some of the madness/goodness, spread over multiple magnetic boards, looks like during the conference; can you spot the Pars Caeli round card with silver leaf?

I'm breaking it down to show off some of my favorites. You know, like the Academy Awards of business cards. That could totally be a thing, and I'd arrive dripping in (borrowed) diamonds.

First off: Cards featuring photography

Take a gander at these lovelies. Beautifully executed scenes, portraits, and products. And that print in the middle? Justin Hackworth on fine art paper.

* 1 Why All the Fuss * 2 Petit a Petit and Family * 3 Make it Productions * 4 Justin Hackworth Photography * 5 Goods by Grinn * 6 Handcraft Your Life * 7 Damask Love * 8 Bella the Blog * 9 Harlem Love Birds * 10 Crafting Connections * 11 Dean Street Society

And now in the category of positive messaging:

Throw mine in this grouping! Those of us gathered here are hoping that our cards make it to a message board, or that, at minimum, the happiness shared lingers a bit longer. Because, you are a rockstar.

* 1 Sparrow Soirees * 2 Caravan Shoppe * 3 #StayWildAlt party * 4 Nan Lawson * 5 Little Retreats * 6 Pars Caeli * 7 Meg in Progress * 8 Approaching Joy * 9 Love from Ginger

Next up: Font fantastics

Some broke out the classic choices. Others used their own handwriting or pulled out special characters. I'm smitten for Design Crush's circle stickers...and you?

* 1 Red Stamp * 2 I heart Cleveland * 3 Design Happens * 4 Pretty Polished Perfect * 5 Design Crush * 6 Commona My House * 7 Katelyn Brooke Designs * 8 It Sweet and Savory * 9 Life In Sketch * 10 Melly Sews * 11 Sarah Hearts * 12 Oh So Beautiful Paper * 13 Candy Kirby Designs * 14 Lisa Yoder * 15 Friday We're In Love

And in the smallest category, the high flying illustrations:

A great drawing gets my attention every time. Honest truth: I'd been eyeing Alma and Mike's new movable business cards since I saw them on the internet. I was not disappointed with these letterpress goodies. And, no, I'm not sharing.

* 1 Ringmaster Mom * 2 Caravan Shoppe * 3 Small for Big * 4 Alexandra Hedin * 5 And We Play * 6 Curly Birds

Patterns surprised me this year with their exuberance:

Brittany and her unforgettable patterned origami card holder? Oh yeah. And Minted associates really had the most amazing paperstock.

* 1 A Golden Afternoon * 2 Design Lotus * 3 The House that Lars Built * 4 My Life at Playtime * 5 Design Life Kids * 6 Minted * 7 Design Improvised * 8 Ivory Kate * 9 Jeanetta Gonzales * 10 Goodly * 11 A Ruffled Life * 12 Even If Nobody Reads This * 13 Anne the Adventurer * 14 Victoria Riza

The most watched: Literal works of art cards

Paintings, objects, tea boxes, and accessories...step back. These makers brought their A game all around. Miss Emily Jeffords even gave fine art reproductions of her oil paintings and signed each and every card. (Friends, go get those lovelies framed!!!)

* 1 Emily Jeffords * 2 Oleander + Palm * 3 Alex Mattox Design * 4 Annie K Blake * 5 Paper & Stitch * 6 The Paper Mama * 7 Moorea Seal * 8 Cricut * 9 Frock Files * 10 This Heart of Mine * 11 Eat Boutique * 12 Minnow + Co

And last but not least, the brave and bold:

Brit + Co laid it on with a drop-dead red. Whimsey Box and Wayfair are neck-and-neck with distinctive hues that stand out long after the initial meeting.

* 1 Furbish Studio * 2 Blogging It Forward * 3 Brit + Co * 4 Whimsey Box * 5 Legal Miss Sunshine * 6 The Road to the Good Life * 7 Made to Shirts * 8 Collectively * 9 Wayfair

If you're not done with the beauty of these cards yet, head over to Moorea's site where she breaks it out by color. Eye candy gorgeousness.

What are your faves? Who's getting the Oscar this year?

xoxo, MJ



Off we go

Cracka lackin, fire it up. Here we go.

I'm leaving on a jet plane today to begin Alt Summit, and I'm excited to represent a brand and a talented group of people who have assisted me in this blogging journey. All of the outfits are planned with a ton (for me) of accessories packed, shoes ready, cosmetics, and even stacks of business cards.

I'm feverishly writing lunchbox notes for my husband to add to my kiddo's meals while I'm away. I'm going to miss my three biggest cheerleaders. They wonder what all this blog stuff is about. And I try to explain to them the importance of following their dreams and reaching for things they think are out of reach...even if it means we have to be separated for a few days. Large, open eyes stare back, and I know they don't quite understand, but I feel their love sending me off in their biggest open-heart gesture.

My husband has filled the car with gas, tended to every last detail so that I have to think of nothing but getting myself prepared, and he's told me again and again how proud he is of me. That kind of support, love, and enthusiasm is the once-in-a-lifetime treatment that I get every day, and I'm truly thankful for his big shoulders holding me up.

You can catch the happenings over on Instagram (@parscaeli) or via Twitter. I'll be using the #altrep and #PCalt if you search around. :)

Thanks to all of you for your sweet wishes!!

xoxo, MJ

Go Out on that Limb: Alt SLC Reps
Photo via Justin Hackworth Photography

Every time I look at this picture, I grin. I grin that big, full-face, cheek-aching grin as seen above (me in stripes). I remember this moment vividly as my new pals and I sipped cocktails on the roof of (just to name drop here) Omnimedia, AKA Martha Stewart's HQs. This was a day in June 2013 known as AltNYC, and it was 24 hours of amazingness in NYC that changed the trajectory of this little blog.

Those ladies - Emily, Paige, Theresa, Ellen - are my people. They are the kind of fountains of spunk, creativity, and heart that you want to bottle up and take with you everywhere. We had a grand adventure in NYC. We were all incredibly appreciative of the opportunities that Alt Summit laid before us, and we had a few (million) ideas on how to make this goodness happen again...

To make a long series of emails, excited phone calls, and FB exchanges succinct, I gathered this group together (+ one Sarah of Sarah Hearts!) to build on an idea I had. If you've spent any time here at Pars Caeli, you know I am all about community and lifting each other up - and we translated that into a kickin' proposal that we titled Alt Ambassadors. We sent it off with a wing and a prayer (and a whole lot of "please, please, please") in August.

Fast forward ----> New Year's Eve. Ellen sends me a very exciting text that she's received an email from Gabrielle (cofounder of Alt) that Gabrielle would like to welcome us to AltSLC as Alt Representatives.


Sorry - disbelief, shock, and sheer joy jammed my neurons and made me unable to think. I had a whole lot of "did that just happen" moments, and then we got the gals together to figure out details. And here's the skinny:

Ellen, Emily, Paige, and I will be acting as Alt Representatives during the SLC conference. We'll be offering the warmth of the collaborative spirit of Alt and connecting new and experienced bloggers, answering questions, and being the ladies you can turn to when you have THAT ridiculous question that you really don't want to have to ask someone else like: where do I pin my business card or where are the sponsors I want to see? It's an incredible opportunity for the four of us, and we are honored to take on this new role. We'll be assisting speakers and greeting creatives in each breakout session. If you are headed to the conference, please come find us - we want to meet you and give you a hug (and tell you that, yes, that outfit is just the right look for the day, you are brilliant).

To get that community vibe going, please follow the Pinterest board that I've started for AltSLC. This board will definitely evolve in the next days to include all the speakers, sponsors, and attendees we can find! We hope it can be an amazing resource for you and also all the others you want to connect with during the conference. All of the Alt Reps can pin to the board so feel welcome to grab any of us to get yourself pinned! I've preloaded about 75 of us that I could find...maybe you're already there... go check!

 And, well, here's the moral of the story for me.

If you have an idea, or if you have a gem of an inkling of an idea, go after it. Try it. Connect with others who can make it happen! Sometimes crazy, amazing things can happen when innovative, intelligent people are listening.

2014 is going to be the year of going after your dreams or thinking up those dreams that you've been pushing off to the side for way too long now.

Please forgive all of the exclamation points in this post!!! I am pumped about this opportunity to work alongside so many people that I respect and admire - and also I get to go to some drop-dread awesome parties in the mix. Wahooo!

xoxo, MJ

P.S. If you're interested in following our journeys in this new experience, follow the hashtag #altrep, because it will likely make you laugh and we are all over making up hashtags. (Runner up hashtag name? AltSaltShakers)

P.P.S. Today's #30Sketch goes with it all:

Frock Files and Joy: 12 Blogger Christmas

Nine days into the 12 Blogger Christmas, and today I'm giving you one of my very favorites (I mean..they're all my favorites, but...). Joy is so aptly named, and I've been blessed to work on a number of great projects with her. Remember Turn It posts? Or our most recent adventure with Pennies for Love?

In the last year, Joy has made some amazing projects for You Are My Fave as well as opening up her own styling and photography biz, and she is going to take the world by storm in 2014.

I'm lucky to collaborate with her and blessed to call her friend.

I started Frock Files because I wanted a place to be creative and to store creative inspiration within my own parameters. The blog has grown into a much deeper undertaking, in large part because of the friendships I've made with other bloggers along the way. These friends push me to expect more of myself and encourage me just by letting me know they're excited to see what's next.

Frock Files is all about simple ways to create more beauty in your life. I love eating delicious food, dressing up, and making pretty things, and those things are important to me, but in the end it's the experiences in my life -- spending time with great people -- that matter most. So my blog is all about finding easy ways to cook, craft, and get dolled up, so you have more time to do the things you really want to do. My husband and I joke that it's literally a blog about having your cake and eating it too.

Aside from Frock Files, I write about beauty for My Thirty Spot. I also have a photography site called Frock, and I'll be teaching the food styling and photography workshop in a few weeks at Altitude Summit.

Pineapple Coconut Cloud Cake:

A Care Package From Paris:

A Care Package From Paris! from Joy Uyeno on Vimeo.

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others:


My big hope is for my blog to continue to grow and evolve in interesting ways, while maintaining a genuine spirit of friendship. I'm working on some ideas for the coming months that involve bringing some of the focus to a local level, highlighting independent businesses here in New England, and elsewhere when we travel. I hope that keeping things fresh for both me and my readers is what will allow the blog to thrive.


This year, I'd really like to improve further on my photography skills and introduce more video content to the blog -- helped along by investing in a new DSLR! I've been drooling over a particular camera for the past few months and I'm hoping to purchase one in the first quarter of this year.

I also want to remember to enjoy my blog. It's so easy to get stuck in what I should be doing, rather than what's fun and interesting. That's a surefire way to begin thinking of blogging as an obligation, when my wish is for it to always be something I do because I love doing it.
It feels so good to celebrate the hard work of truly talented and kind people. Joy and I will be teaming up with the great Sheri Silver in February for a special to your pantry and be sure to tune in!

On the ninth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Frock Files.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design Improvised.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Bring Joy.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Minnow + Co.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design + Life + Kids.

On the third day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Design Stitch Go.

On the second day of Christmas, Pars Caeli gave to me Trouvé Magazine.

And Lulu the Baker !

P.S. Coming to you tomorrow an artist, musician, and conversationalist extraordinaire.

P.P.S. Today's #30Sketch

Design Stitch Go and Louise: 12 Bloggers Christmas

Are the post-Christmas days getting you down? Bummed to take down the tree? Take a load off and sit back for our third day of Christmas. The lovely Louise of Design Stitch Go (formerly of Laid Off Mom) is here with us today, and she's launching a new creative venture that you will want to get behind. 

I started blogging back in the summer of 2011 as a means of coping with my lay off. I wanted to share my creativity, my words, and bits and pieces of my life. I was always shy or modest about my creative process and my abilities and blogging gave me the confidence to come out of my shell. I've, since then, bonded w/ some amazing women (ahem...MJ being one of 'em!) and I honestly, can't imagine myself NOT blogging =)
What keeps me blogging?
The ability to share with a community, as well as, learn from a community. There's a strong bond among bloggers, and the support and motivation I give and immense and extremely humbling.  
I feel like I've also been able to hone in on myself...what inspires me.A nd more importantly find out who I am, in a creative sense. What my style aesthetic is, and where I excel the most.  
I never realized what a BAD ASS I was at watercolor, til I picked up a paintbrush this year. And it was even more gratifying finding out, through my blog, that other people appreciated my art pieces as well.
I'm actually at the beginning of a new blog: Design Stitch Go but I've been blogging for 2 years at Laid Off Mom.  I've since, turned the lights out on Laid Off Mom, but I'll always think fondly of it and everything I learned from it. Design Stitch Go! is a product of an "a-ha!" moment I had this year....following my love and passion for apparel design and construction.
And I'm always up for a laugh, a giggle or a chat on:
Design Stitch Go! is still in the early set up phase, there are only 2 posts right now haha...but January will bring some great content, so be sure to visit!!  But here's a few posts of apparel that I constructed from my previous blog:
My only wish for my blog in 2014 is "love". To continue to LOVE what I'm doing and share it with everyone! =)
Louise is a sweetheart with talent oozing out of her little finger. From fashion to crafting to painting to interior design, this gal is on top of it. I've been blessed to have Louise on my team for most of my blogging journey - to inspire, to motivate, and to laugh alongside. I am so excited for her new adventure over at Design Stitch Go, and see where she takes the fashion world.
I love this quote from her new about page because it encompasses the ethos of Louise:
Stop by everyday to see what I’m creating or what inspires me!  Or if you need help with your own design projects, I got you girrrl!
2014 is going to be a fabulous year for Louise, so tune in and watch her grow! I hope I can keep up.
xoxo, MJ
P.S. Tomorrow's blogger will encompass design, life, and kids all in one!! Don't miss it!
Gifts of Great Design

This month is turning out to be a month of giving and celebrations that will spill over into a November and a December that also include shopping for lots of somethings special. I've been hoarding some fabulous finds to feed your imagination for the baby showers, birthday parties, and special announcements that come your way!

1. Can't help but push those shoulders back and add a little kick to my step with this happy doormat. Furbish Studios knows how to start the day off right. Why not give it to someone with a swank new job? Or fabulous college acceptance?

2. Oh, my goodness, that is amazing!! Is it your 15th anniversary? Did you just sign your first mortgage? Get a promotion? Do this next. Head over to Emily's studio site and commission yourself a beautiful landscape painting. You can frame the color palette and the feeling you want, and everyone will be asking where that beautiful art came from?!

3. These pebble tape measures are gorgeous and practical. I thought one of these would make a super cool housewarming present. But why not a grad present? An anniversary? Because it's Thursday?

4. Friends have a new baby on the way. With the shower upcoming, I have this unique font puzzle in mind. Every prodigy needs to know her fonts, right? Why not start young? Great construction, too.

5. I love a good garland to declare, "THIS IS A PARTY!" Have you seen the array of garland choices over at Land of Nod? Every celebration is covered. With this whimsical peppermint trail, any space will be fresh and cheerful. Why not pop it in an envelope and surprise someone across the country or across the pond?

Is there anyone in particular that you're celebrating who is tough to shop for? Need any ideas?

xoxo, MJ

Inspiration Drawer: Trouvé Magazine

Hi friends, I have a treat for you!! My buddy, Emily Jeffords, artist extraordinaire, has agreed to share her latest project with all of my lovely readers. It's a great new magazine called Trouvé. And from the looks of all the pins and photos that I've seen, it's going to knock the socks off the blogosphere.

Need a little inspiration? A burst of creativity? Let's hear what Emily and her pal, Amanda, are cooking up. I promise they'll be something amazing that will catch your fancy. Enjoy this first look at Trouvé!

What does Trouvé mean?  Trouvé means “To Find” in French.  Trouvé Magazine is designed to celebrate the making, the gathering, the wandering; the original thinkers, the creative, the bold, the brave, & the dreamers among us.


What inspired you to begin this magazine?  Amanda Marko came to me several months ago with an idea: let’s create a magazine that we actually want to read from cover-to-cover.  We are excited to offer our readers meaningful and highly creative content that will leave them feeling refreshed and excited about life.     


What will the magazine feature?  Trouvé is a creative lifestyle magazine.  We will be featuring makers, designers, creative projects, gatherings, beautiful shops, travel, recipes, events, and creative spaces. 


Will you be looking for contributors? Yes! We are thrilled to offer beautiful content within the magazine as well as on our website.  We are looking for articles featuring lovely images and meaningful content.  Creative, generous, well-designed, handmade, local, quality: these are the themes we are striving to cultivate within Trouvé.

How can people find out more?  We are excited to introduce Trouvé with an online launch party this fall!   We will be featuring hours of stunning online content, quality giveaways, a preview of the magazine in all its lovely glory, as well as our kickstarter campaign which will enable us to make Trouvé Mag into something meaningful and truly amazing.  To get in on this goodness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up for our email list. Also, join in on the conversation early by sharing your creative moments with the hashtag: #TrouveMag on Instagram!


Big thanks to Emily and Amanda for sharing this exciting creative journey! I adore great collaborations. Want to find out more? Follow these helpful links:


Are you starting something new and/or creative in your life? Share it here so we can all celebrate!

xoxo, MJ


Inspiration Drawer: Make Yourself Laugh

Helllooo there. I'm excited, friends. Excited to share a new spot on the blog I'm calling Inspiration Drawer. Did I mention I've moved offices? Yes, I have. Not a big move, just one floor down to a similarly sized office space. And I've taken the opportunity to refresh my work space.

Moving always prompts me to reorganize and declutter (both very needed elements in my worklife), and I've created a fresh spot in my desk I refer to as the inspiration drawer. In it are a mixture of print pieces, catalogs, colors, words, and photographs that have interested me for some reason or another. Previously these items were all over in various files and project boxes. Now I have my treasure trove of ideas all in one spot.

And that's what's coming at you on Wednesdays! Inspiration Drawer. Images, words, and ideas that inspire me...and may just stick with you, too.


Today's idea. Make yourself laugh.

What do have in your office space? Diplomas or family photos? Beautiful paintings or collages of prints?

How do these inspire your work? Or do they?

With my new workspace, I decided a change of mood was in order for my environment. And instead of filling my space with images or open spaces that might bring a sense of peace, I opted for bright colors, a leaning toward the impractical, and a sense of humor.

For example, I used to have framed photos of my children and husband that I would call "the most adorable" images I could find. This time I went through my iPhoto storage to find the images that perpetually make me smile or laugh. I remember these moments with such great joy that just seeing the image allows me to hop right back in time.

I decided I wanted these to be a little larger than life so I sent them off to print at Walgreens. 3 days later, I received my 11 x 14 poster prints on really quality paper for a great price. And I love how the black and white turned out!


Looking forward to sharing more...

What do you keep around your workspace to calm, excite, focus, delight you?

xoxo, MJ

A site freshening


Remember when it was okay to go to a website and hit a symbol like this? The days of downtime and the days when the internet was not so essential.

Well, I have come to discover that blogging is an essential part of a happy life for me. At the same time, I am a stickler for a good aesthetic. So that leaves me to this lovely diamond post.

I've got some rearranging and dusting to do here at Pars Caeli to get us ready for the fall (my very favorite of all) so the blog will be out of commish for the next few days to get everything prettied up. I'll let you know via Twitter when we're all ready for visitors again (btw, are we chatting on Twitter yet? Let's do that. I'm at @parscaeli).

Thanks for the understanding. We're all a little under construction anyway, right?


Spotlight on Bloggers with Shops

On my life list, along with writing a book and seeing Madonna in concert (not of equivalent ranking, mind you), is to open my own shop. As a little girl, I'd set up elaborate markets and tiny boutiques for my stuffed animals to come through and purchase with their wicker baskets in paw.

So I turn to some go-get-em ladies from the blogosphere as my heroines of on-line shops. These chicas canturn a fabulous post, curate a vintage thrift, and paint an oil like none other. I want them all to succeed beyond their wildest dreams in their neck of virtual so if you're in the market for something unique, take a look-see.


Pretty please do yourself this first favor, follow along with the Painting A Day project going on at my bud, Emily Jefford's blog. Emily is an artist focused on putting her brushes to use to make some dreams come true for her adorable family. And if you are one of those (me! me!) peeps that always stops to watch artists as they create, follow Emily at BeautifulHelloBlog on Instagram where she's been posting videos of paintings in progress.

I look forward to these amazing landscapes each day. She's posting at noon EST, and these are selling fast at $100 so be sure to set your alarm to buy right after she posts.

In addition to these beautiful canvases, Em makes great collage works and gorgeous jewelry...pick up a few of those while you're sniffing around.


Nicki from Life I Design and I met at AltNYC in June, and she convinced me to join in the 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge. Each day for the last thirty days, Nicki has published some amazing black and white sketches in the vein of what you see above. She also added in a few splashes of color (you should go see her tomatoes).

Nicki is retiring some prints from the collection and new work is headed into the shop for the fall so get ready to purchase something charmed for the new teacher or neighbor in your life.


My girl, Julia from Life on Churchill Street has a background in product design and has some great taste for styling, too. She's a crafter and picks up the quintessential objects. In her shop you'll find a smorgaboard of one-of-a-kind children's books, mid-century fancies, and other items you find yourself thinking you "need."

Julia has an adorable family, and they abide in a fresh and vintage space. She was featured over on Design Mom in the Living with Kids series. Go check that out, too.


Lidy somehow manages new motherhood while juggling her blog and crafting up a storm and supporting her store. This lady has a multitude of DIYs to roll up your sleeves and dig into. She also features some vibrant prints in her Etsy shop. I remember when Lidy first opened the shop and hearing all of her excitement about the launch. Pop over to Hello Lidy to see all her fun wares.


Stop over to Mer Mag if you want a clean, creative space that will make you happy to exist. Merrilee is on my list of people I'd like to meet. Her projects are made from everyday objects, and they make me feel like I'm seeing a magician at work behind the scenes.

She's an amazing illustrator, and I find her prints direct and brilliant. Get out your wish list of wall art and click over (don't forget to put yourself on that list).

I tell you what, friends, few things make me happier than seeing good people with great talent succeed -- so let's support the creatives! If you are a blogger and shop owner, please leave your site address below (even if I already know you, I might not know your shop). I'd love to ease on over and possibly feature you over here on Pars Caeli.

Let's have a bright weekend. And give it up for an amazing August.

xoxo, MJ

PS. Keep those #celebratethenormal photos coming!!

quality vintage goods, mid century pieces and children's books. - See more at:

Altitude Summit New York City

Ahhhhhhh and EEEEEEk. Sorry to greet you with such outbursts this morning, but I'm HERE friends. This thing that I've been contemplating and pondering and wishing about, it's here. And I'm here in New York City for the first time ever.

Super big thanks to my hubs who has loved this blog into being through his abundant support and encouragement. This whole experience is a treat for me planned out by him. Thank you, dear.

Hugs and kisses to my kiddos who are gonna make my time away no less than exciting for him, too. Listen to your father.

I'm reposting the reflection I did from my armchair during AltSLC. I've been an #altsummitwannabe for a while so enjoy the tongue-in-cheek rendition.

If you want a window into what's going on live, join me over on Instagram at @parscaeli. Hoping to snag some great photos. You can also follow the hashtag #ParsCaeliatAltNYC.

Wish me luck!

xoxo, MJ


Originally posted January 2013:

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of Alt Summit. I've followed founder and co-owner, Gabrielle Blair, for years, and I've learned oodles from their online classes through the Alt Channel. I actually purchased a ticket to Alt NYC and had to cancel out. To me the brand that Alt has established is one of unique, fresh, over-the-top creativity, unsurpassed in its innovation and attention to detail.

I blog for fun, to connect with lovelies around the world, to stay inspired... so I can't say, like many of my blogger buds, that heading to Utah for a few days was a noteworthy and important business expense. I kinda just wanted to go to dance the night away with friends and be wowed by the great business cards and keynotes. Maybe bring back some signature swag. Is that so wrong?

In my head, no.

However, 2013 was not my year for Alt SLC.

If you follow Pars Caeli on Instagram (yeah, come on over, I have some really corny jokes for you), you saw my ode to the magnificence and rockstar partying through the hashtag "altsummitwannabe." Yes, yes, I do use humor as a coping mechanism. For example, I did enjoy this round table discussion but maybe not as much as I would have if Jen and Sandra were leading it.

My networking opportunities? Well, not so Alt fab.

But, at least I could add my homage to blogging through my fashion choices (while my ladies touted a much grander sense of style...)

Big, big thanks to my tweeps who played along and offered their own glimpses into what an Alt Summit Wannabe's world looks like.

Honesty here? Despite getting a nibble from sponsors, I knew I couldn't attend Alt SLC this year when I found out the date. Why? My daughter, C, age five, had her first ballet performance on Saturday. Until now she's been overcome by stagefright despite her amazing natural abilities and love for dance (no bias here). So, though I was swayed by the glamour and the glitter, I knew I had to be in the auditorium seat with my loud clapping hands and gleaming smile to cheer on my favorite new ballerina.

That doesn't keep me from getting all that I can from the photos, quotes, and detailed recaps floated out on my favorite blogs. And when you find something this good, well, you just have to share it.

You'll find below an unmatched list of amazing recaps for those of you who fell into the Alt Summit Wannabe category and for you beautiful attendees, too. Have a missed some awesomeness that must be shared? Post it in the comments, and I'll update the blog roll here.

  • You're gonna wanna read all 73 of these lessons from And Then We Saved learned
  • Catherine shows off her outfits over on Walking with Cake
  • Even amazing bloggers like Megan need a burst of inspiration. Read how she got her groove back over at the Fresh Exchange
  • The dynamo Melanie recaps the highlights we can all take away over on Inward Facing Girl
  • Over at Mama love Papa, Morgan admits (we already knew it) her great affinity and talent in photo booths and pinpoints great speakers
  • Adina from Gluten Free Travelette throws down some bulleted lists you don't want to miss
  • Gabriel, AKA the Artful Desperado, offers some advice we don't often hear on Alt
  • Erin from Art Social has everything you need to know
  • Mariah has the skinny on how to make amazing photos with props on Oh, What Love Studios
  • Designer Rachel of Pencil Shavings Studio put together an awesome takeaway menu from her time
  • A brilliant recap of mega talent, Stefan Sagmeister's naked keynote from Sandra at Raincoast Cottage
  • And don't miss Sandra's notes from her roundtable with Jen from Classic Play: Makers Gotta Make
  • Two great posts from Erika of Foxtrot Press to keep us thinking and engaged, check here and here
  • The Curbly viewpoint offered by Alicia
  • All sorts of inspiration and notes from PJ over at Bunny and Dolly
  • You better believe that bloggers hustle harder, and Amber over at Damask Love has all the info
  • Kristiina reveals 5 things she didn't expect to learn over on a Typical Housecat
  • Cal has great photos and insights from her experience. Check them out over at Call Me Cal
  • Speaking of awesome photos, you gotta check out Karen's over at Chookooloonks
  • Jill of Terra Savvy shares some lovely thoughts on Alt the second time around
  • You must see Brittany from the House of that Lars Built unbelievable hat (and all the other fun)
  • The New Diplomat's Wife says it all in five quotes
  • Little Lessy takes you through each day's lessons with great graphics, too.
  • Lisa of Elembee breaks it all down in two posts for us, find here and here
  • Need Alt survival tips? Get them from our girl Squirrelly Minds, Tan
  • Lauren gives us the deets on her outfits and her takeways on Stylized Existence
  • Allison of Engaged and Inspired shares her snapshots
  • Party like its Alt SLC from the one and only Kelly of StudioDIY
  • Leslie reminds us of the power of friendship through her experiences at Alt and making new connections over on her blog Leslie Fandrich
  • Side note: she also took photos of some of my favorite Alt people - go check out those gorgeous gals
  • A must-see: Sheri's showcase of the Alt business cards over on Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt
  • Joy tells it like no other and reminds us to be our truest selves and shares the secrets from successful bloggers on Frock Files

** Hugs to all of you beautiful people who have come back to check on things while I've been away. Did I tell you that I've missed you?






For the love of blogging: Me

It's a beautiful Thursday, and we're here at the close (for now) of one of my favorite series yet. Sniff.

I find the art of blogging such an interesting and diverse experience. I have encountered some of the most creative individuals through my work on this blog, and I have been captivated by their stories - not only through the posts that they share but through their journey to writing, designing, photographing, and curating their interests, products, and passions.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting the artist, the budding photographer, the stylist, and the writer in this series because I have definitely loved sharing them with you.

And since the whole series launched to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Pars Caeli, I would be remiss to not give you a window into my story...



I've been a blog reader for about eight years, and I think I needed this extended time to digest the "what" of blogs and the variety of ways posts add to the creative content, easily accessible to all. Community building is a big part of who I am, and I fell in love quickly with the authors and artists who freely shared their amazing experiences and gave away their recipes, their project instructions, and their advice.

I have followed the development of the Alt Summit brand from the beginning, and when they announced that online classes would be available, I signed up for the first one! I took it as a sign that I needed to do some research on blogging, if nothing else.

Of course, in that class was a spirited chatter named Paige who had recently started her blog. She contacted me after the class to see if I'd like to do a guest post on her site. I was happily terrified and decided if I was to be a guest, I needed to have a home from which to come.

And the webhome, Pars Caeli was born.

Well, it's fair to say that in the early days of blogging, I didn't really have a goal for this space other than to have fun with it and connect with other creatives. I remember spending hours and hours on a post I created about our favorite read aloud stories. I was so proud of myself for getting it all together that I made a bold move and sent an email to Gabrielle Blair of, a blog hero of mine, writing that I thought she may be interested in our books (what was I thinking?). My small Blogger site was just a month old at the time, and, shockingly, Gabby came over to visit! She even commented.

At one month in, I'd already had one of my design/mom/writing idols visit. I was star struck!! I seriously didn't know if I needed to do any more on the blog. Do I just close up shop?

That made me realize that I probably needed to have some kinda plan for Pars Caeli, more than getting really cool people to visit.

But you better believe that's still part of the thrill. Heck, I got you here, didn't I?!

I'm happier when I do so. I'm more creative and responsive in my professional life as a graphic designer and social media specialist when I blog.

I also love that Pars Caeli keeps me accountable to finish only dreamed-of projects and find the time for the adventures with my kids that were concepts before the blog.

It's the challenge. It's the community of readers who spend their precious time reading and commenting on my musings. It's the oddity, too. I've always thrived on having something a little quirky about me, and I think a blog fits into the vibe quite well.

I may lose readers for the utter mundane nature of this response but - washing dishes. The window above our kitchen sink overlooks our backyard and taking in the natural environment while I complete a routine task gets my gears pumping.

I find conversations inspire my posts. Sometimes these are tweets back and forth, but more likely it's a chat with a neighbor or a friend that will prompt me to respond.

Also, I stink at working from a desk, always have (even the really pretty ones). So most of my blogging happens laying down on my family room floor and pecking away at my laptop. There's something about the blood flow and the remembrance of playing on the floor as a child that brings it all full circle for me.

Unexpected content. I love surprises. A fresh perspective. Large gorgeous photos (I'm a sucker for eye candy). Clean and coherent web design. Great storytelling that makes me want to connect further.

Yes, I would sleep more. I'd have to develop another hobby. Hmmm, cup stacking and learning to play the guitar are still on my list.

At this point if I walked away, I'd feel disconnected. When I took a month off of blogging over Christmas, I began to feel like a piece of me wasn't getting exercise. I can definitely fill my time with other activities, but blogging stretches me, pushes me to learn. Don't we all need a little of that in our life?

I've got great big dreams for Pars Caeli. This space has become one of humor, laughter, design, reflection, and friendship, and I'm in the works of amping that up even more. I have projects and artwork I want you to discover. I have stories that need to be told, and I want to hear yours.

I have some great collaborations coming up in the next months that I'm excited to share, and my first trip to NYC for AltNYC that I'm going to blog all about.

I'm also completely committed to keeping that initial embrace of the unexpected for Pars Caeli. You just never know when the Holy Spirit is going to present something amazing in your path. Count me in as ready to welcome new growth, new life.

Big, big thanks to all of you who have visited once, twice, and with every post. Thank you for taking the time to read, look, and digest the life of Pars Caeli. In blog years, this site is middle-aged... and so I leave you with an excerpt of Robert Browning's poem Rabbi Ben Ezra. (Side note: let's read more poetry, okay? It's mind expanding.)

xoxo, MJ


You're a really special 1 in 385 million to me.

Dear Blog,

It's almost your one-year anniversary, and I have to break it to you - you've hit middle-age. You see, in the blogosphere, a meager nine months is the average active lifespan of a blog. After this period most blogs are left by the wayside, abandoned URLs with low click rates and limited posts. Fact is, dear blog, you're one in 385 million blogs already out in cyberspace. And more than 100,000 of you are started every. single. day.

But, stats aside, my beloved web home, you have become a living, breathing creative space. And most days I find myself refreshed by your clarity of focus, relaxed in your organized aesthetic, and warmed by the generosity of those who also come to visit this address.

Let me share with you a few things I've learned and loved about our near-year together.


Paint the walls orange with blue polka dots

Blogging is freedom. I can express myself and any old way I'm feeling or thinking. I can choose to be positive and upbeat, silly and childish, serious and heavy, or none of the above. I can post seven times a day or take a month off (sorry about that December to January stint). My blog can be exactly what I want it to be at any old time of the day or night - and really, there's nothing else in my life for which I can say this.


Get a plan, stick to the plan and stray from the plan

I've learned that an editorial calendar is essential to successful blogging. What's this, you ask? That rough sketch of an outline where the daily posts are mapped out and regular series return on the same days week after week. I have written it out and crossed it off, and I have stuck to the proposed plan with a soothing rhythm and joy. Readers come back to see what they want to see on a regularized basis. But also I've received those inspiring emails or the middle-of-the-shower brilliant ideas that make me crumple the schedule in the cupholder and try something totally different. And I can do that, and it's all good, all welcome here in this space.


Make holes in the walls

I feel like the couch would look better over on that wall. Oh, wait, it's a sleeper sofa, and I'm here by myself, and there's a staircase in the way. This n e v e r happens with the blog. Enter through the back door and move that widget over, convert from one to three column design, add an instagram feed. And then change it all next week when I want a look that reflects something fresh and new. In blogging, invigorating design is encouraged and rewarded. Let your readers know that you're thinking of them and switch your look around.


Be a pal

Mom was right on this one. Be a friend to the bloggers you meet. Blogging success like any other success in life is about making real connections. You have to be willing and engaged in visiting, chatting, commenting, liking, posting, and retweeting all the goodness see others doing. Oh, and you can't just be in it to up your own numbers. That's the fastest way to becoming a blog has-been. Through this writing adventure, I've connected with amazing ladies from around the world, and I've been inspired to be more and do more.


The more you, the better

What makes you stand out amongst the 384,999,999 others? The you-ness. Blogs are inversely lovely to mass consumption, eg: the more you can be authentically, uniquely you, the better your blog can be. Find and use your voice. Hone in on it. Craft photographs as only you would see them. Overlay that fantastic font you know says wow. The world needs your blog.

There are already 99,999 other copycats arriving by sundown.


So Pars Caeli, you might be middle-aged in blog years, but you're always fresh, rewarding, and a wee bit intoxicating to me. Hugs to you, interweb cozy. Can't wait to see what's cooking for the terrible twos.

xoxo, MJ

PS. What do you love mostest about your blog?


Chat It Up: Color Must Haves

Heya! Thanks for joining the chat today. I'm home with my little guy and his yuck case of pneumonia. Let's get to talking to cheer me up, k? The topic: color. Specifically the colors we live with and the colors that scream, "this is my abode."

From every window in my house, a static perma-gray landscape can be seen. Living in Northern Indiana, I'm used to at least five months of monochrome. I deal with it by putting a whole lot of color in the interior. Remember the show Trading Spaces? Where they'd take over a neighbor's room and make it a new funky color or glue flowers to the walls - all in a super short period of time? Well, I used to be all about that show especially all the bright hues they'd add to any old dull space.

In the last two years, I've transitioned our main living spaces into more neutral tones to allow just bits of color to be more of the focal. Our once monarch orange kitchen (it was lovely, I promise) is now a classic khaki. And for the most part I'm happy with these more calming neutrals (my house has moved out of the 90s). But there are two rooms whose color I think I "need" to both cheer me and calm me.

Our dining room: For the last decade it's been this ladybug red color, not too bright, not too deep. To me it's the perfect shade of red lipstick and with the wood moulding to frame it in, the saturated tone whispers sit down, stay a long while, and eat, eat, eat.

Our bedroom: I've never had a green room in any house/condo/aptmt I've lived in, and I wanted to give it a try. I found a swatch called "rejuvenation", and I knew I wanted that in my sleepy, cozy, dreamy space. And I adore it. It feels fresh and warm at the same time, and I now identify this color as part of me.

So tell me what colors must you have around your living space? I'm not talking about your favorite colors necessarily, but what feels good for you to live in - that you'd take to another living space just because it's part of you?

Or am I just crazy color lady?

I'm okay with that.

xoxo, MJ


Talking on Tuesdays

Hellloo there. Yesterday I mentioned a few things I learned while on my blogiatus (blog + hiatus). I really missed hearing from you lovely people, missed hearing your ideas and wahoos and helpful links.

So, I'm dedicating every Tuesday to chatting. You know, like if we actually lived near each other (and could coordinate childcare/work schedules) and we could sit down over a decaf mocha (or I could at least) and shoot the breeze the way we once could when one afternoon class was as demanding as it got.

Sometimes we'll dive deep into something heavy, deep, and real but mostly we'll just chat like old girlfriends over our screens and share ideas and questions... and well, life. The whole point is to add your voice so I'm really hoping you'll return Tuesday after Tuesday and click that comment link. I promise to have something to say in return! Let's keep it fair and playful, k?

So I made time over the weekend to sit with the last three months of Real Simple and Better Homes and Gardens. Typically when these periodicals show up in my mailbox, I get excited and look forward to plopping down after kids are settled with some beautiful photography and lovely styling. However, more and more, or less and less do I find myself making time to do this.

I wonder why?

One reason is definitely the fulfilling blog reading I'm up to lately. When you read and follow Nicole or Em than the need for monthly magazine inspiration is not so acute. Bloggers have stepped it up and offer amazing projects and parenting ideas that I can see new every day, and it's always at my fingertips since my laptop and I seem to be surgically attached.

Also I wonder if I'm becoming more trained to digest information when it's presented digitally. When I can click on a link and feel more powerful because I've just gone "deeper" into the matter. Do I feel more educated because I read it on the most recent, innovative gadgets I own?

And yet, just like archived objects of my past, I found myself fishing out stacks of Real Simples and Wondertime (remember that one?) and Cookie and Family Fun magazines from underneath my bed. When I hit a bookstore, I peruse the stacks of design mags... and long to let the pages of Kinfolk and Uppercase flip open in front of me. I love paper and its texture. I notice the gloss and grain of each magazine and enjoy the ads as much as the articles. But in some ways these colorful, artful pages feel like mementos to be treasured, something a bit from the past.

Where do you fall on the matter? Do you still love the feel of sitting down with a great magazine and a cup of coffee? Or would you prefer to see it all on your Ipad or Kindle?

Join the chat! XOXO, MJ

PS. I "interviewed" my 8-year old on this topic. She loves getting her Highlights magazine in the mail, but is thrilled to download the latest apps, too. Her final decision? She'd prefer digital so that she doesn't have to worry about (me nagging her to) putting the magazines away. Yeah. That too.