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there's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.

(quote: margaret elizabeth sangster)

"When you get married," Lilly asked, "can MeMe and I be your flower girls?" I smiled and promised them they could when the time came. Satisfied, she flashed a grin and skipped off, leaving me sitting in the dining room, happy to be with them again.

she's cute.

My room is in shambles (why must I make unpacking such a messy affair?), my hair is thrown in a loose bun, my to do list is a mile long, but I'm home and oh so glad. I missed my family -- and after being separated much more than normal this summer, there's nothing quite so sweet as the joyous screams my siblings emitted when I pulled into the driveway. As someone who spends a greater part of each day with them, being away from my family is an odd feeling. But sometimes, it's still good to take a break and spend some time away; it makes reuniting that much more mellifluous.

DSC_1415-1
DSC_1420-1

My father and I traveled to Illinois with my youth group for a conference. It was a cool eighty degrees nearly the entire time -- a welcome change from the sweltering triple digit temperatures we've been having in Oklahoma. The conference, Higher Things, was wonderful. I learned so much more about my faith and my friend/roommate/sister/partner-in-crime, Reagan, and I met so many amazing people. As I so often do at conventions and camps, I opted to leave my camera in our room and made mental images instead. (Anyone else struggle with the decision to just enjoy the moment or photograph the memories instead?)

reagan
group shot

Along the drive, which was about ten hours each way, we alternated between fits of uncontrollable laughter -- the best kind -- and site seeing. Among other things, we saw Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois, which was on a beautiful verdant tree lined street. Someday, when I have my own house, I'd like it to be on a road that is studded with tall, strong, leafy trees.

inside lincoln's home
lincoln's street

Road trips are always entertaining, like the stop we made at a gas station in a small town in southern Missouri. A broken down mobile home sagged in the lot next door and a tractor was in the adjourning repair shop. Pulling up next to us, four shirtless men ranging from age fifty to ten, with pants in danger of slipping, tumbled out of their car and into the building. Me? I just had to laugh.

st. louis

Then there was the visit to my home of three years, St. Louis. It was the first time I'd been back in two years and I was overjoyed. I miss it. It was the place where I spent a large part of my childhood, the place I made best friends, the place that will always be special to me.

st. louis
st. louis
st. louis

While we were away, the rest of the family surprised us by renovated the kitchen. A fresh coat of paint, new knobs from Anthropologie (where else?), open shelving, and reorganization -- I fell in love when I walked in.

our kitchen


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I've decided that Sunday afternoons in the summer are one of my very favorite things. Perfectly lazy and relaxed, with time for doing quiet, satisfying things, like painting my toes and photographing (and eating) food.

tomatoes and basil
lime infused water
lime infused water is like a slice of heaven. how have I never discovered this before? I may never be dehydrated again.
fresh basil
homegrown tomatoes2
homegrown tomatoes

Nothing store bought can beat the taste of homegrown tomatoes and basil, sprinkled with salt and pepper. Simply divine.

at anthropologie

And then adding Anthropologie to an already perfect afternoon? Swoon. I want everything. Their dishes? To die for. I swear, I'm going to start collecting them -- maybe starting with a farmer's egg crate and some latte bowls.

It's good to be home.
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Notice anything different? The lovely Olivia kindly offered to redesign my blog and I'm in love (hint: hover over the header ;)). 

Other housekeeping matters: thank you (thank you, thank you!) to the amazing guest posters! Also, the giveaway winner will be announced soon :)

Have a lovely evening, friends.

-carlotta