the quickest way to my heart...

...is through an apple orchard on a crisp fall day. There was finally a chill in the air today--cool enough to allow me to flirt heavily with the idea of donning a long-sleeved cardigan and shimmying up some trees in search of the perfect apple.

A friend also had the day free from work, so he and I headed off to the orchard. The Eau Claire Orchard is closest to us, offers the most kitsch (think...apple slinging, corn maze) and allows you to pick your own straight from the tree. Naturally it was our orchard of choice. As we pulled up, a cheery sign greeted us, "Pick your own Honeycrisp apples!". Love Honeycrisp, love picking my own. Love life.

But, oh, how quickly the tables turned when we stepped inside the barn and up to the counter to pay for the peck we were hoping to pick. It went a little something...like this:

Me: Hi, there...how are you?
Employee: Good. Are you ready to check out?
Me: We're actually looking to pick our own, today.
Employee: Umm...yeah.Me: Hmm? Is that okay?Employee: (Exasperated sigh.) Everyone always comes in wanting to pick their own. It's like--I have a whole store here of perfectly picked apples. And then they whine and complain that there's nothing out on the trees, cause they only want to walk about two rows in. It's like, no. Everything's picked over because it was just the weekend. Come back on Saturday...(Tirade continues.)
Me: (Meekly shrinking away from the counter.) We'll...go somewhere else...

I moved quickly for the door, all the while trying desperately not to meet my pal's glances for fear that I would come unglued and LOSE IT right there in that seemingly sweet little autumnal barn.

The two of us...barely made it out alive. The second we burst through the doors, he and I ERUPTED with giggles, impressions and what-we-should-have-said-isms. His response was by far my favorite: "Hmm. Didn't know life on the apple orchard could be so darn tough..."

We spent the next two hours driving through the back hills, stopping so I could snap photos of picturesque pastures and popping in to various orchards to see if they allowed self-pick...to no absolutely avail. A friendly woman turned us on to a little orchard called Nibbletts (Nibbletts. For real. And yes...I giggled at that, too.) where pick-your-own is the only way, but unfortunately they were closed for the day.

Regardless, it was a wonderful day that will not soon be forgotten...but I can't help but feel slightly disappointed at the day's lack of apple picking. Is picking your own apples really that taboo? I have so many memories of trips to the orchard as a child, but is it becoming a thing of the past...something my (very, very future) children will never, ever believe we paid to do?


cheery blooms.

farmersmarketedited.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

(Backstory: Gabe and I started dating three years ago. Gabe moved to Wisconsin from California to be with me, and has lived here for the past two years. Gabe and I broke up two months ago. We're still best buds. Gabe is now moving back to sunny CA in the beginning of November. I think that sufficiently sets the stage...action.)

Yesterday morning I went to the farmer's market--something Gabe and I did together nearly every week for the last three summers. He would buy baked goods from a cheery rosy-cheeked woman and I would peruse the perimeter in search of the perfect bouquet. We'd order Iced Thai Teas and giggle at the strange musical artist playing in the middle of the pavilion, throwing the crumpled cash we had left in the "tip" canister. It never got old.

But yesterday I was there. Alone. And the darn music began to play. It all came in a giant wave--just how very, very lonely I will be in just one month when Gabe is gone. How my family says that it feels strange now that he isn't around as much. How "candy" will no longer mysteriously appear on my refrigerator shopping list, that I'll be watching The Office by myself, and how the person who can always make me laugh, who keeps me honest and who knows exactly how loony I am and loves me regardless will permanently be two thousand miles away.

With raspberries and enormous bouquet in hand, I slid my sunglasses down, soggily headed back to my car and drove to Gabe's apartment...where I proceeded to fall apart. (I won't recount the event. I'm not an attractive sobber.)

Being the lovely gentleman that he is, Gabe wrapped me up in a giant bear hug, put on his shoes and took me back to the market, where he bought me the largest ice cream cone I've had in quite some time.

Rarely, rarely do I cry. Well, at least about my own life. I cry over movies, or about sadness in the lives of others. So, I still feel rattled by yesterday's massive tearshed. I'm at peace with being single and the end of our romantic relationship...I can't be upset about that. And I don't mean to throw myself a pity party--really and truly. But coming to terms with what all of this means for our friendship is leaving me a little watery and lost.

Are break-ups always this terrible? Maybe they're just terrible when they're with a wonderful person?


back to college: week 1

pencilsedited1.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

Confession: I was so, so very nervous for my first class (Drawing 1-the bridge that any art major must cross before beginning more major-specific courses) that I tossed and turned the entire night before...and wound up only snagging about two hours of sleep in between reading, endless rounds of solitaire and a few cups of tea. Upon waking, I had the second-most-ferocious case of butterflies I've ever experienced, and started to wonder if this was all a terrible, terrible idea. But, to the studio I went.

Can I just remark at how very beautiful the studio is? It's nothing special, but it's so very tall, white, chilled, clean and beautifully lit. A perfect circle of drawing benches hug the walls of the room. It is almost as if it were designed specifically to be a blank canvas for the imagination. (Alright, that's exactly what it was designed to do. I know.)

In trots our professor...British, rather handsome. We proceed to share the information our instructor finds most important: name, handedness, astrological sign and favorite cultural experience. I glance around, and am suddenly aware that I'm the oldest in the class. The handsome Brit proceeds to fill two hours just talking about the creative process...and I remain surprisingly riveted (and not only due to the accent).

I'm excited. I'm intimidated. Insecure. Terrified that I might just be the absolute worst in the class. Beginning to clip coupons since my beginning art supply pick-up trip nearly cleared out my grocery budget for the month. (No one tells you in advance how many different types of pencils you must buy...) But still--beyond my anxieties and insecurities, I'm jazzed beyond belief to have the opportunity to learn, experience and create. Even if my creations are sub-par and uninteresting...they are still, at the end of the day, mine and an oh-so-important stepping stone in my little artistic journey.

Thank you for all of your back-to-school well wishes...very much appreciated! Also, thank you to the wonderful Carissa of The Lovely Dove for a sweet and thoughtful blog award. (I promise to play along once I get caught up, here in Blogland!)

And by the way, George is still blushing over all your hellos. :)


a new friend.

meetgeorgeedited.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

Readers, say hello to George, a succulent who won my heart at IKEA yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately IKEA didn't feel it necessary to share what type of plant George is or allow him water and sunlight during his shelf-stay. After a little research, I've determined that he is from the Echeveria family. (Yes, I researched my 99 cent plant. Nerd alert.)

George, say hello to my readers, who have won my heart many times over. (George waves a leaf in your direction.)

Is it silly that a little 3" plant can bring me so much joy? Perhaps. But, hey...it's the little things.


giveaway winner...

Eek! This is going up much later than originally planned...today was a whirlwind. My apologies! So, without any further ado, the giveaway winner is...

giveawaywinner.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat

...the lovely Jessica of Living the Swell Life!

Not only do I have the pleasure of knowing Jessica in "real life", but hers was the very first blog I read regularly and one that I return to oh-so-frequently...it is jam packed with beautiful handmade items, recipes, stories and a brand new (handsome) baby boy. So, I'm pleased as punch to be shipping this little gift her way, as I know it will probably see much use! Jessica, e-mail me your address as wwrinserepeat(at)gmail(dot)com, and you should find a package on your doorstep shortly!

SIDENOTE: Please, please forgive this photo. I normally never attempt photos taken in anything but daylight, because...well, yikes. But today was a little limiting and at 9pm I found myself atop a chair, balancing over a sink in an effort to grab any last bit of light the day had to offer. As you can see...it offered little.

Thank you all for playing my little game...we'll have to do it again soon!


(closer to) conquering the art of domesticity.

embroidery2.jpg picture by wakeworkrinserepeat
I was not blessed with patience. This can be seen in my multitude of craft failures and minor emotional breakdowns that follow crafting attempts. Once, after my fifth failed attempt to purl, I threw a knitting needle across the room in a fit of rage. (Not my proudest moment…but since when do I only share my proud moments here?)

But, I may have found a foolproof craft. Embroidery.

Yesterday, feeling a smidge bored and lonely, I picked up the Stitch-It-Kit, compiled by the lovely Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. It was a jackpot: inside I found an unbelievably down-to-earth instruction booklet, two tea towels, seven basic colors of embroidery thread, a needle and 35 vintage and retro-inspired embroidery patterns. Pluckily, I jumped right in…ironing on patterns, quickly picking up the split and stem stitches and even giggling at Jenny’s humorous comments in the instruction booklet.

And I did it. I embroidered. No breakdowns, no flying needles. And all within an hour or two! Now, I know it’s not perfect…that ‘l’ is a little wobbly, and my French Knot still needs some work. But to me…it’s proof that I’m not a complete craft-school dropout!

As a last minute bonus...leave a second comment on my
giveaway post by midnight tonight, and you’ll be double entered to win! (You can thank the hilarious Erin for requesting this!) Be sure to pop back in tomorrow...


true love.

Early this morning, after a 40-minute commute to college orientation, and while frantically flipping a campus map to and fro in an effort to find parking lot 29, I received this thoughtful text message from my parents. Dictated by my dad to my mom, I'm sure this took my dear, diligent mother at least 13 minutes to tap out on her phone...how sweet.

Have I mentioned that my parents are incredible (and more hip than I thought)?

(If you haven't dropped your name in the giveaway hat, please do so...I'll post the lucky winner on Monday!)


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