I cut off ten inches of my hair last week. It had gotten so long out of neglect more than anything and the ends were ratty and thin, plus I was wanting something more lightweight for the summer. I am not well-versed in the art of the self-portrait so please excuse my awkward attempt at modeling.

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If my hairdresser, Mallory, is reading this post she is probably horrified–horrified!–because I did not follow her explicit instructions to use a 1.25″ curling iron to create smooth waves after it was dry. I went to Sally’s and had every intention of buying one but just couldn’t bring myself to spend $25 when what I really want to do is embrace the natural texture of my hair. I bought some velcro rollers instead to use when I’m feeling fancy, but I think I bought a size that’s too big because they mostly just make it poofy. I have been applying the product she recommended (phomollient styling foam) but I wish I knew of something that would do a better job of preventing frizz (without any actual effort from me. I’d rather have frizz than spend more time messing with my hair).

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My hair routine is basically to wash it only once or twice a week, blow-drying my bangs and letting the rest air dry. I use dry shampoo as needed between washes. I only put on makeup if I’m going someplace.

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I have a pretty strong cowlick (can’t believe that’s actually the proper term for it) near the front of my head and for the longest time thought I couldn’t have bangs. But circa 2008 or so my regular hairdresser was booked so I saw Mallory and she said she could make bangs work for me. Total lifechanger! Six years later I still love my bangs and am fiercely loyal to Mallory. Those bangs are the only reason I own a blow dryer at all–they must be blown dry to lie down.

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I’ve always admired girls who can pull off a short bob or pixie cut. I don’t think I have the bone structure for it but they are adorable and the lack of fuss appeals to me. And so cool in the summer! I don’t think I’ll be going shorter than my shoulders anytime soon but a girl can dream.

So a crazy thing happened. I talked about getting a butterfly bush and then I did it. And then Nick, who I usually have to cajole and beg to do yardwork, volunteered to plant it (he correctly assumed that I’d let him watch any number of college baseball games without complaint as a reward). This area of the yard has a lot of gravel under the grass but he managed to get a decent hole dug and then we back-filled with good soil.

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I need to get some mulch for it, I think. I scattered some oak leaves over the soil for now but a good solid layer of mulch would do better to shade the dirt. It was overcast and about to rain when I took these photos but from my previous post you can see that this spot gets a big dose of hot Louisiana sunshine every afternoon.

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It really doesn’t look like much, and I guess that’s fair seeing as it cost less than $15, but up close the blooms are pretty. I’m looking forward to someday having plenty to cut and bring inside.

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Next thing you know I’ll be buying some hinges to fix that fence gate! If I hurry maybe I can get Nick to tackle it while he’s still trying to ingratiate his way into watching the entire College World Series in peace. Sadly, LSU was eliminated from the running last night but previous experience tells me he’ll adopt another team or two to root for.

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Things have been good for me lately. Really good. For the first time in, like, ever, I’m feeling a peaceful satisfaction in both work and family life. At the same time! And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m also feeling less compelled to spend my weekends working on projects. Crafting, decorating, DIYing, and writing have always been the creative outlets that helped me cope with stress. And with less stress in my life I’m just not motivated to get into all that as often. So I’m allowing myself to do what brings me joy in my free time, which lately means reading, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the great outdoors. I haven’t been putting as much pressure on myself to write or produce content for the blog, and that’s okay. I don’t plan to stop blogging anytime soon. This space is so important to me and I love the flexibility it offers to share my experiences with friends, family, and strangers. I’m interested to see how it changes as my priorities shift.

I’ve mentioned before that we live in an historic neighborhood where the houses are packed pretty tightly together. Our house is nestled right up against the next on the right side, but over here on the left there’s a glorious eight feet of space between the wall and the property line. We use the portion towards the street as a driveway but the rest is just wasted space. There’s still quite a bit of gravel reaching all the way to the backyard from previous incarnations of the driveway that I guess stretched further.

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The gate to the backyard has been broken for over a year. It’s propped into place in these photos but the fact that it’s upside down gives it away. Fixing it is on our ongoing to-do list.

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Also on the to-do list: making this space somehow more attractive and functional. We’ve never had a good place to keep our outdoor trashcans and I’m thinking that if we planted a large shrub to shield them from view it would be okay to store them over here.

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If we’re feeling really ambitious we could even put down some concrete stepping stones.

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Maybe a butterfly bush would work well there? From what I understand they’re inexpensive, fast-growing, and not too fussy. As you can see we get a lot of sun over here in the afternoon. We’re never going to spend much time hanging out here since it feels like we’re loitering outside our neighbor’s windows, but seeing as it’s one of the first things I see when I pull into the driveway I’d love to make it a little prettier. I find myself dreaming of so many landscaping possibilities this time of year. I want to buy all the plants! But experience has taught me to wait and mull it over for a little while before spending any money.