Where'd You Go, Bernadette? | I read this book while we were still in California, so it's been a while. Fortunately I had started a draft review of this book a few months ago that I can refer to. I loved this book, and although many people have already read it, I still wanted to share my opinion all the same. I loved this book way more than I expected. I was drawn to it first by its cover, second by all the praise I had heard for it, and third by the fact that it's set in Seattle. The biggest thing that stood out to me, as a Seattle-area native, was the immense accuracy in the Seattle references. For those not from the Northwest, you may not understand ... because it seems that no one knows very much about the Upper Left Corner! Having an author that is from the area made all the references to local spots and lifestyle so comforting to read. Not once did I roll my eyes at something that was "off". The other thing I loved was the format of the book. The letters, emails, and notices with a little narrative in between was perfect. As a story about a young girl trying to piece together her mother's mysterious life and disappearance, having to put together the pieces as a reader was actually really fun ... and made it impossible to put the book down! It was always "oh, just this next letter ... okay now i have to read their response ..." I whipped through this book in barely over a week, which is very quick for me as I am a very slow reader.

Mere Christianity | This was a heavy read. It's short, but loaded, and it took me quite some time to read as I really wanted to give myself time to digest what I had read and think about it. C.S. Lewis truly proved his intelligence and wonderful insight in this book (originally a radio series on BBC during WWII, written almost verbatim to make the book). For some background, C.S. Lewis was an Atheist-turned-Christian, and this book was a sort of instruction guide to Christianity for Atheists. This means he really spends time breaking down and explaining important messages about how to be a Christian. He chooses to speak generally, and bible-based, rather than teaching any denomination-specific theories and ideas. He makes very clear that he wants to avoid that, which I personally really appreciated, as a Christian that doesn't specifically associate myself with any one denomination. There were some areas where I felt Lewis approached this from a rather harsh standpoint, and a few things I don't know that I necessarily agreed with, overall this book was incredibly helpful in explaining some difficult and complicated Christian ideas. For anyone feeling lost in their faith, or just curious about Christian ideas, this is an amazing book that really deserves all the praise it has been given.

The Paris Wife | When I was in Paris studying abroad, I borrowed a copy of A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway from the school's library and read it while on spring break. I thought I hated Hemingway -- I had read The Sun Also Rises in high school and just didn't get it so I gave up on him. A Moveable Feast really intrigued me. I became so fascinated by Hemingway, and their life. It was hard, but it seemed so magical all the same. When I heard about The Paris Wife, it immediately went on my must-read list. This book is technically a work of fiction, but is based on true accounts of Ernest's first wife Hadley's, life. It is told from her perspective and tells of her history, how she met Ernest, their move to Paris, and their struggles in marriage. Until the really hard problems of their marriage arise, I had nothing but hope for them, cheering them on, though I knew of their eventual demise. The best part of the book, for me, was the last half, when things turn south in their marriage. It was such a different perspective from Ernest Hemingway's. Of course, we don't know if these are truly the things that Hadley thought to herself, but you can feel the pain and agony she faces as her marriage crumbles and she is helpless to save it. I highly suggest reading this. You likely know the story already, but it is the way the author tells it that sucks you in and makes you fall for Hadley.


weekend reading

after a couple long weekends, and a short work week, it was a little rough being back to the monday through friday grind this week. it does feel good to be back on a normal schedule, though, and to have a relatively quiet weekend to look forward to in the midst of packed weekends of weddings, trips, and visitors. despite all the craziness, i still went ahead and booked a one-night surprise trip for b & i as a birthday/anniversary getaway/gift next month! i'm looking forward to it already, but i can't say where we're going or what we're doing yet...you'll find out when he does!
i hope y'all are relaxing this weekend too...getting stuff done, taking a few extra minutes with that hot cup of tea, or enjoying the last bits of warm sunshine (it's supposed to be 90F in portland this weekend -- what the heck, pacific northwest?!) i don't do too many link roundups anymore, but i saw so many great things this week i wanted to share with you! make some french toast, and read these...

+ don't make these mistakes if you're living in small quarters (above image).

+ the best thing about fall is the wardrobe, am i right? a few fall '14 trends to drool over.

+ when you're feeling stuck, the recipe for outstanding creative productivity.

+ how movies get marriages all wrong.

+ a hilarious ikea ad for their "low-tech" catalog.

+ i actually respect taylor swift so much more after reading this rolling stone cover story. good for her for doing whatever she wants (fabulously, may i add).

+ in case you didn't hear, gilmore girls is coming to netflix. (this is a courtesy link, us die-hards don't let our boxed dvd sets get dusty ;)

+ i've fallen back in love with pinterest recently. follow me here, and then check out these 12 must-follow pinterest accounts.


wish i was wearing... (la femme parisienne)


dream home // swedish farmhouse

maybe its the indian summer or knowing that fall is just around the corner... but something in me has been dreaming of homes both breezy and cozy, full of carefree imperfections, and lots of trees out the window. its no surprise that this home caught my eye among the flurry of pinterest images.

this farmhouse in sweden, owned by artist, textile designer and elle decoration contributor cilla ramnek, was designed as a summer home, but i wouldn't mind hanging out here all year round. i can imagine windows wide open and crisp white wine on the porch in july, and burning fires and soft blankets in january in this house. this home looks worry-free, and that's what makes it so appealing.

view more images here (open in google chrome so you can easily translate the story from swedish!)

photos by pia ulin


my lens / labor day

this was going to go up yesterday but...c'est la vie. sunday night one of my best high school friends and her boyfriend came through town on the first leg of their road trip through california & nevada, and i got to play tour guide on monday. but before all that i got to enjoy some downtime, catch up on a few things and attempt to explore town. here's some photos from my weekend...

i spent some time at the portland farmer's market at the portland state university campus, until i was rained out. i still came away with a little bundle of dahlias though.

click through for more...


inspired / instagram favorites

i work pretty hard to stay inspired. the worst i ever feel is when i am tired and uninspired. i feel so much better when i'm seeing new things, thinking new thoughts and looking at the world with a fresh perspective. this is probably the most 21st century thing to say, but instagram (yep, that little photo-sharing app) is one of my biggest sources of inspiration. the little snapshots of everyday things in others' lives caught from their unique perspective is what keeps me coming back for more. if your feed is feeling a little dry, here are some of my favorite people to follow for pretty photos daily...

@ruerodier // for pretty parisian buildings, european travels, and good food
@sarahshermansamuel // for southern california scenery and modern interior details
@parisinfourmonths // for making you want to move to paris, end of story
@sfawnd // for coffee, bread, and calming interiors
@em_henderson // for her amazing design, quirky thoughts, and cute baby
@megangilger // for dreamy travel photos, cool handwritten type, and her cool girl style
@goforthcreative // for lots of pretty little life details and a beagle
@jengotch // for bright colors, a cute kitten, and hilarious captions
@witanddelight_ // for pretty neutral colors, cool selfies, and lots of flowers

who are your favorites? i'm always looking for new inspiring accounts to follow!

follow me @stacymrutherford

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