Before the holidays, the boys and I watched Paddington, the live-action version of the British cartoon, and I fell in love with the Brown family house. There’s a wonderful post about it here, if you’d like to see detailed pictures. In the foyer of the home, there’s a gorgeous mural of a cherry blossom tree, which changes its appearance according to the mood of the family. We watched that movie over and over again during the week-long Thanksgiving break (the boys grew tired of it before I did), and I decided that our family needed a reminder of the movie because we (I) loved it so much.
In a stroke of serendipity, Photowall contacted me around that time to work together. Based in Sweden, Photowall offers wall murals and prints in a variety of sizes and shapes that can be customized to fit your design needs. You can also upload your own photos and have them made into prints. Best of all, the materials used to create the murals and prints are environmentally friendly and fade-resistant in sunlight. Photowall also partners with Vi Agroforestry, a Swedish development cooperation organization, to plant trees in eastern Africa.
After learning about Photowall’s mission, I was excited to choose a print to review, and I searched through many options before finding this gorgeous cherry blossom photo. Once everyone in my house agreed with my choice, I placed my order and it arrived very quickly. The print itself was rolled in a tube and the order contained a DIY wooden frame to assemble and hang the photo on the wall. Ryan was excited to make the frame as soon as it was delivered, and the entire process took roughly 30 minutes. He followed the instructions completely to build the simple frame, and then carefully hung it. We chose a spot in our secondary hallway, near the boys’ bedrooms, that is rather dark and doesn’t get much natural light. The large print with its bright colors almost looks like a window here, and it has stayed in place very well, even with two boys running past it multiple times a day.
I’m really thrilled with our gorgeous cherry blossom print and the meaning behind it, and I can definitely recommend Photowall if you are on the hunt for a large piece of artwork for your home. The entire process was extremely easy and this print will last a lifetime.
If you order from Photowall between now and February 14th, you can use code: walkingwithcakecampaign2018 to receive 20% off.
Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were wonderful and restful and you are enjoying the first days of 2018. I’ve stepped away from blogging lately, and have busied myself with other things. My writing has slowed throughout the last several years, and I think that’s a natural progression, since I initially started blogging as a creative outlet when my children were very young. Now that they are older, I have more time to myself and less of a hunger to write everything down. My journey within ethical fashion gave me new insights and perspectives to share on a regular basis, and now that I’m in a comfortable spot there (not really shopping much or promoting brands), I’m not writing much about it. I’m still a huge fan of ethical bloggers and brands, and I encourage you to follow the Ethical Writers and Creatives for more information. The group is filled with incredibly talented writers and activists.
I’ve been volunteering a lot at my sons’ school, and it’s been a very busy semester. Recently, I met the wife of Ryan’s co-worker, and she runs a local non-profit called Classroom Connection that provides supplies to teachers in Title I schools. She’s a former teacher in my local district, where I also taught briefly years ago, and since my boys attend a Title I school, we worked together to organize a supply donation day for the teachers at our school. In addition, she is in contact with tech conferences that meet at the Austin Convention Center, and picks up their leftover swag and promotional items to donate to local schools. With a bit of clever organizing, we were able to deliver 50 beanbag chairs, plastic shelves, whiteboards, and other items to the teachers, too. It was really a wonderful thing, and my boys and I spent one cold December night unloading a rental truck alongside other parents and teachers. I was so proud of all of us!
We had a nice, long break (18 days!) and celebrated Ryan’s 40th birthday. We also took a quick trip to The Pearl in San Antonio and stayed at Hotel Emma one night. Ryan and I were incredibly impressed with the beauty of the historic, restored brewery and it was a really fun experience. I can’t wait to go back and explore a bit longer next time. If you are in San Antonio, I highly recommend visiting The Pearl. You can also walk around Hotel Emma even if you aren’t a guest and step back in time for a few hours. It actually made me a little homesick for my hometown.
The boys went back to school this week and we are all getting back to our regular routines, which feels really good after such a long break. I still feel a little restless, but I find comfort in my daily rituals and I’m looking forward to the promise of a better year.
Hi! How was your summer?
It’s been a while since my last post, and I realize I’m averaging less than one post a month these days. That’s okay, because I’ve fallen into the habit of only writing when I have something substantial to say. I finally joined Instagram over the summer, mostly to interact with ethical bloggers and natural beauty brands, and I’m slightly more active there. I’ve settled into doing beauty reviews for my blog and EcoCult, and that’s a fun gig that I really enjoy. I’m still a member of the Ethical Writers & Creatives, which just changed its name to become more inclusive, and if you’re interested in learning about the group, definitely check it out! I’ve learned so much and am continuously inspired by all of the members.
This summer, we took our annual family trip to Galveston, driving through Houston less than a month before Hurricane Harvey hit, and my heart has broken for my fellow Texans who are displaced by that terrible storm. We also visited my dad’s tiny hometown in south Texas for my aunt’s 50th wedding anniversary, which happened to fall on the same day as the events in Charlottesville, where my sweet blog friend Leah lives. She has written tenderly about those terrifying days. I think about the young Dreamers who must now live in fear of our mad president’s racist policies, as well as the current hurricane that is impacting Florida and the southern states, and my heart breaks again. There is so much sadness and destruction in our country these days, and I find it hard to write about these events on a regular basis. There’s nothing I can say that would change things.
My boys started school at the end of August and they’ve adjusted very well to their new school. Since we live in the middle of our small city, they previously attended the oldest elementary school downtown, which was once the original high school. A bond was passed two years ago to build a new elementary school down the street, and the construction was completed in time for the beginning of this school year. The new school is much bigger and more imposing, and somewhat surprisingly, I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the new changes. I know that change is good, and this new school brings with it the promise of a wonderful education for even more children, but I miss the old school. I’m trying to ease into things and I’m volunteering, so that will help me adjust in time.
This year, I’ve felt a restlessness that I’ve never experienced before, and I often think about making big changes, like moving to a different place. I think my feelings stem from the uncertainty in our country right now and the natural changes that happen with time, and I know I’m in the place I’m supposed to be. My husband and I talk about moving periodically, and there’s always a reason to stay where we are. I’m grateful for my community that is diverse and accepting, and I’m working to quiet these unsettled feelings that creep up lately. I turned 39 this summer, too, so maybe it’s just a part of getting older. Who knows?
I didn’t mean for this post to sound so melancholy, but I know that it helps me to write things down to understand them. I’m hoping to make time again to write more thoughtful posts, and definitely some fun pieces, too.