Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Love Adventure


Two solid days of wind, and rain, and near freezing temps have me dreaming of Corfu, Greece. 
This is where my mind soars while my body reluctantly obeys the law of gravity.


But I want more than pictures. I want a story, full of adventure, and comedy, and nature. 
And I want to share it with my children.
And I don't want it to cost anything.
And I don't want to pack or fly.


Lucky me, our library is in the travel business. This book followed by this movie liberate us from winter for awhile. And although I dream of visiting Corfu one day, Gerald encourages me to share, discuss, and record the meaningful beauty of childlike wonder right where we are, here in the middle of winter, the living dream of today. 

Books are magical. 
The library is our portal to endless adventures.

To see what else the book inspired, click here.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Love the Wisdom In The Waiting


In the American world of own and now, I revel in the sharing of borrowed beauty. 

I desired a few new books for Lent and was tempted to buy a few when I couldn't immediately pull them from the library shelves. But when I discovered Wisdom in the Waiting on the library computer, my heart told me to wait. The book arrived on the hold shelf for me today, and ~ oh sweet readers ~ the prayers tucked away in these short stories was just what I needed.

We don't own acreage, we live in town, and my children may never know what it's like to raise chickens or grow a sustaining garden. But they have a mom that prefers walking over riding, reading over watching, borrowing over buying. 

Spring and the sacred days of Easter - may the wonders of this season be an encouragement to slow down and savor the wisdom in the waiting.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Love The Duke

Music is the tonal reflection of beauty. 

My father adored big band music. He was a radio personality and for a brief period of time, owned a small radio station. When friends came to our house for the first time, they would fall over at the sight of my dad's stereo system. Towering speakers almost as tall as we were. Stacked black boxes with colorful, dancing meters; shiny black dials and tiny levers with foreign functions, never touching them lest we upset some cosmic balance, but being memorized by their unblemished power just the same. It took up almost six feet of horizontal wall space. His record collection was a dreamy mix of classic and contemporary artists, the jackets looking like over-sized book covers that begged to be studied and read as we listened to their melodies.

I remember the terror I felt on my first day of 5th grade because "Mrs. B" had a reputation for being tough, and the intimate connection of a shared joy that redeemed my fear when Mrs. B approached me warmly, telling me that she loved listening to my father each morning on the radio while getting ready for school.

I will never have the record collection my father had, but I can share his passion with my children through the library.


This book is even better when you pair it with the Scholastic DVD

We borrow the Duke's music, books, even movies. Bringing home Ellington is like ushering in a little piece of my father, and oh how I love that it's the sharing that makes my memories live.

Want more inspiration? Click here.

xoxo Michele

 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Love Weekends


My new favorite reading spot in the house. Especially on the weekends. Where do you read for a mini-staycation?

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.
 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Love Trying Before Buying


After returning home from Disney World, John became smitten by all things Lion King. I borrowed everything the library had on the subject: together we swooned over the movies, books, and (my favorite) the dreamy music. Am I the only one just learning the story is loosely based on Joseph and Moses from the Old Testament? Like most of us, his crushes happen regularly, and then pass in a week or two.

But now he is insisting on wearing clothes the color scheme of Simba.


I'm thankful the library shares a try before you buy philosophy. Hakuna Matata, sweet friends, is the library's middle name.

Each of my children have their own personal library of books we buy, but most are purchased from the library sale table, or like Amy, after we have checked them out fifty times. 

Can I tell you what happens with the books we buy? They end up on a shelf and are rarely opened again. Not that it bothers me - we view them like vacation photographs, mementos of great reading adventures. 

But the borrowed beauty stays open and accessible, off the shelves and on our tables. In our kitchen and covering our beds. Library books live in the great circle of our lives - forgive me, I know all the Lion King music by heart now. 



I'm loving the gold and black...why didn't I think of that?

 xoxo Michele
 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Love Showcasing Borrowed Beauty


This weekend I found a few treasures at Home Goods: a faux cowhide tray and darling mosaic coasters. Darlene called them a total score, and if you've seen her divine design skills, it's a huge compliment. 

But the real stars of my coffee table are from the library.  

The Museum Of Modern Art, New York (clearly, I don't want to give it back)

Want to restyle your living room without moving furniture? Showcase beauty from your local library.

I can change the books every week and that is where the magic happens for us - the focus is on the kinetic knowledge rather than the static packaging of the tray, as pretty as it might be. Yep - I believe books come to life when you open them up and start reading, that they add a spirit of fresh ideas to a family home. 

How do you showcase borrowed beauty from the library? 

FYI: My coffee table doesn't normally look like this. Tomorrow I'll break down and give you a taste of how it looks without me cleaning up. ;) 

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Love Inspiring Weekends

Spending three days in the reticent artistry of nature influenced my reading mood for this week.

Did your weekend's activities inspire new reading? Please share.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Love Praying For Our President and Patriots


I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live,
 the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- 
that God governs in the affairs of men. 
And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground 
without his notice, is it probable 
that an empire can rise without his aid?
                                                           ~ Benjamin Franklin*


Washington. Adams. Jefferson. Lincoln (the map above is from this astounding book). As we celebrate the heroes of the Oval Office, let us not forget the heroes off and on the battlefield.

Pray for our President. Pray for our Patriots. Every Day.

*Ben Franklin requested prayer at the Constitutional Convention. 

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I Love Celebrations

Borrowed Beauty From The Library:
Lincoln Shot (gift worthy)




 Happy President's Day Weekend.

There's still time to join the Great Backyard Bird Count.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Love Birding {And 5 Tips For Beginners}


If you would have asked me six months ago how many bird species nested in my backyard, I probably could have named four. And one would have been a crow, because you can never go wrong by answering, a crow, right? Oh, and robins. 

But in a few short months we (me mostly, and Arielle second) have become batty for birding. Our eyes have beheld the beauty around us as if for the first time. It is a joy to share this with my children and I want to share an opportunity with all of you sweet readers.

Your eyes are needed this weekend for the The Great Backyard Bird Count



With tens of billions of birds nesting around the US, the expert birders need our help with counting. Here are my five tips for a successful weekend of birding for beginners.

1--Cedar-Waxwing4_Ben-Thomas_GA_2012_Indexpage.jpg

1) Borrow books and bird CD's from your local library. Choose books that include color photos and descriptions of common birds in your area, those books are generally smaller and less intimidating. 

There's hundreds, if not thousands, of bird books, each with a different feel. It is best to borrow the beauty first from the library and decide what fits you before you buy, especially if you aren't sure you'll continue after this weekend. This and this are our all time favorites.

2--Common-Redpoll-40_Norm-Dougan_British-Columbia_2012_550px.jpg 

2) Put up a feeder (or make your own bird treats) near a window that's convenient for you and safe for your feathered friends. Many of my photos in the collage above were taken through our living room window.  

 1--Yellowbellied-Sapsucker7_Linda-Huffman_NC_2012_550pxheight.jpg

3) Size, shape, shade. Birds are flighty. Most won't want to pose, and unlike children, they can't be bribed. By the time you find the camera, or binoculars, or bird guide, the Rufus sided towhee will be long gone. I know this from painful experience. Just study the bird with your eyes instead. Focus on the color of the head, back and breast. Note any special markings near the eyes, wings, or head. Size helps identify as well. Then look it up in your bird guide.

1--The-Birdwatcher-_Anna-Delapaz-_TX_2012_550px.jpg 

4) Involve your children. They may complain at first, but if you let them choose what role they will play: Avian Archivist (data recorder), Fowl Photojournalist, Binocular Flock Spotter, Chick Checker, you get the idea. Make it fun. You'll be shocked at how much they'll learn in one weekend.

3--Chickadee32_Michele-Black_OH_2012_550px.jpg

5) Watch a few bird movies. I can highly recommend this and this.  

All this bird talk has me thinking...


Books Are Binoculars For Your Brain.
                           ~ The Great Read



If you participate, I'd love to hear what you discovered in your backyard. 
Have a great weekend.

xoxo Michele
 
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Love Sharing


Do you have a favorite Valentine's tradition? I love selecting a special plush for each of my children and pairing it with borrowed beauty from the library. Every year it's nothing short of an adventure: admiring the movie and music section, backtracking to the cookbooks, wandering in wonder through the arts and crafting beauty, hand picking sweetness I know they'll enjoy.

During the holidays, it isn't unusual for me to feel pressured to spend, spend, spend. When that happens, I head to my library. They inspire me to share instead.


For my smoochie husband, it is all about the audio books. That, and chocolate.



My sweetheart surprised me with birding goggles, so I found a swoony bird book-cover. I might actually read it.


Our favorite read alouds share the history of Valentine's Day.


We spend less and share more, because we library. 


 Happy Valentine's Day.


xoxo Michele


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Love Fashion Week

North Carolina's own Raleigh Denim shines at NYFW.

The Daily Beacon had a great article on Fashion Week being for everyone. You don't have to attend the shows to participate in the runway revelry thanks to advances in technology, like fashion blogs, websites and must have style apps.  


But what if you want to be trendy without being a hoarder? Shop without spending?


I love bringing home borrowed beauty. Books, music, movies, magazines; my local library is a vogue-sharing mecca every bit as hip as SoHo. I adore my make believe conversations with Tim Gunn while flipping through the pages of his style bible. Crooning off key to the modelicious music on my boombox while whipping up a tres chic chocolate mousse with my daughter. If it flops - no big deal. There is no loss when the emphasis is on learning.



And then I can return all of it and borrow more beauty. No need for yard sales or additional storage space. In our family, fewer possessions has equated to more memories with my family - reading, birding, cooking, crafting. 


Less worry and more wonder. Less coveting and more curiosity. Less spending and more sharing. Carl is reading this over my shoulder and emphatically disagrees with the less worrying. Oh, if he only knew.


Shopping the library keeps the party going long after fashion week has cleared the catwalk. Admission is free, all you need is your library card. So sashay on over there now, fashionista friends, and let me know all about your designer discoveries.


xoxo Michele


Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I Love Valentine's Day Crafts

Just started this dreamy read, The Outermost House. Dreamy I tell you.

Crafting with my daughter is a gift in itself. This year for Valentine's Day we found a smoochie token of beauty for her teachers, her friends, and of course, her mama. 

The best part is these foolproof pom pom bookmarks only require yarn and scissors, so if you have those two items, start doing a happy dance - Design Mom has saved the day. 

Start to finish in less than ten minutes and you'll want to make fifty of them. If I had as much yarn as the talented and beautiful Natalie, I'd make a hundred.  


Want more Valentine's Day craft inspiration? This is what we created last year

Aren't you happy this wasn't a paper craft that will end up in the garbage after the holiday? Or candy, that loves to end up on our thighs? Me too. Sharing meaningful moments with our children that can be held between the pages of a book is a gift worth giving as well as receiving.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Love The Grammys

Photo Source

Every year we celebrate the Grammys by dressing up in our smoochiest jammies, ordering pizza from Mamas, and passing my laptop around so we can order borrowed beauty from the library.

Free, Grammy Inspired, music is just waiting for you right now - shared by your local library. You can access your favorite performers immediately from your laptop or smart phone in two fabulous ways.



Click on the link (if you live in the Charlotte, NC, area) here, enter your library card, and start downloading Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Mumford  & Sons, and more. You have access to the entire Sony Music library, and you can download three free songs each week. All you need is your library card. 

 Avett Brothers are up for Best Americana Album Of The Year


If you're like me, you want to hold the CD booklet in your hand and read the lyrics as you're listening to the smoochie Avett Brothers. Or TobyMac. Or The Lumineers. Or Taylor Swift. Or James Fortune. Otherwise I'm singing my own words and embarrassing my children. 

The beauty of spending less and sharing more starts with inspiration from The Grammys and ends at the library. Enjoy the show tonight by cuddling up with your family and borrowing everyone's favorite musicians from the happiest place on earth.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Love Magnifying Magazine Ads


What? You mean you don't spend your weekend perusing magazines with a magnifying glass too? Some people drool over the furniture, but I swoon over the books.

Coffee table books are as important to the style of your room as the furniture. I believe they say more about you than the carpet or couch. In fact, books are one of interior designer's favorite decorating tools. Functional, educational, and oh-so beautiful.

The library wants to be your literary stylist.


The next time you're pinning dream rooms on Pinterest or dog-earing pages in your favorite magazines, keep a magnifying glass handy (they're fashionable decorating implements as well).  

You can find more library living at home inspiration here. Hope your weekend is filled with family, friends and borrowed beauty from the library. Will you be watching the Grammys in your jammies on Sunday?


Spend Less ~ Share More. Library.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Love Taking Risks

Reading all things JuJu with Arielle.

A dear friend (librarian) recommended Bon Appetit - and her review of the book was so over the top with swooning adulation that I had to check it out. Even though I didn't want to. 

Had I been in a book store, Bon Appetit would have continued propping up the books around it. But the library welcomes us to take risks, to bring home borrowed beauty that we might not otherwise.  And those gambles of uncertainty can pay off in unexpected happiness. In accidental learning. In sparking a shared passion to bring home more ideas on a subject matter that an hour ago seemed stale. {By the way, Bon Appetit is now on Arielle's wish list for her birthday}.

We don't enjoy every book, movie, cookbook, magazine, or music CD we bring home from the library. But those discussions of why we detested an idea or song lead to a greater understanding of who we are. The library lets us safely model trial and error with our children - which ultimately strengthens our personal relationships and confidence.


{Loved the movie, but never thought 
about reading the book until now.}

The library shares Julia's philosophy with all of us: take risks, learn from your mistakes, and above all, have fun - especially with your children. 

Here is my dare to you: visit your local library and ask the children's librarian what their current favorite children's book is. Then look for a music CD, a cookbook, and a movie that would enhance the theme. Please email me the selections you put together - I'd love to hear about the treasure you've discovered. 

Check out my Beautifully Balanced Collections for more inspiration. 

 xoxo Michele 

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Love The UNI Project


Our local library alerted me to this fabulous idea for improving public space: a portable library called Uni. Their goals are the smoochiest: teaming up with a local library, sharing books, and showcasing the act of learning. 

 Photo Credit: Uni on Flickr

You can learn more about Uni here.

xoxo Michele

Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.