How to Plant a Succulent Garden.

A lot of people have gotten into the succulent and cacti craze, and for good reason—they’re precious! Succulents and cacti are among the easiest plants to take care of. They can thrive both indoors and outdoors, given the right circumstances.

Succulents and cacti are low maintenance plants. They can handle the hot weather outside on your patio and they’re drought tolerant, in case you forget to water them for a couple weeks.

That being said, I have a routine I try to stick to when repotting some of my succulent babies into their own little garden together.

1. Find a wide clay potthe important thing is width, not depth, because their roots are generally shallow.

2. Fill the bottom with a layer of rocks/pebbles. Make sure to get some large enough for your pot size so they don’t just fall out the drainage hole. This helps with drainage so you can water them thoroughly without risking them sitting in water, and helps with humidity. *You want your soil to dry out between watering.

3. Fill the pot a little over halfway with potting soil. It’s up to you what to use and several types will work, but I prefer this kind.

4. Arrange your succulents! You don’t have to cram them up against each other to allow for some growth, but they don’t need to be miles apart, either.

5. Water! After you’ve packed the soil in around the plants and filled the rest of the pot, water your new succulent garden thoroughly. Then place them in the sun and let them thrive. *Succulents and cacti like bright sunlight so make sure they’re getting plenty of it wherever you decide to keep them.


Super simple! I try to water mine 1-2x a week, depending on the weather. Where I live it gets HOT out and even though these little babies can handle it, I like to make sure they stay nourished. If you have problems remembering to water your plants, try coming up with a watering schedule! Pick a day every week and a time to set aside. If there is a consistent time and date every week you know you’ll be home, make a date with your plants for some H2O.

If you try it out, let me know how it goes! What are your favorite kinds of succulents? Do you have any tips or tricks for me that have worked for you? Let me know!

God-Shaped Hole: book review.

If your intentions are pure,
I’m seeking a friend
for the end
of the world.

Does it count as a book review if I’ve read it literally more than a dozen times? Or at this point am I just shouting into the void about how everyone needs to read God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo.

If you’re a hopeless romantic like me, you need it. If you’re a teenager battling the sea of hormones, you need it. If you felt that ache in your chest when you read Catcher in the Rye in high school, you need it. If you’re a guy who doesn’t understand women—honestly this may not get you any closer, but I don’t think it could hurt. Read it.

I don’t know a better way to express it than this: if I were a dark witch following in Voldemort’s footsteps, this book would be my first horcrux.

God-shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo is by far my favorite book of all time. Have you ever read something—a book, a song lyric, a poem, an article—that made you stop and think, holy crap this is me. Something that resonated so deeply that there’s a small part of you a little convinced it was written with you in mind? Silly, I know. Unrealistic? Absolutely. But there’s still that twinkle buried that says, if it was written for me, they nailed it.

I remember feeling it even then—the sensation that your heart is too big for your body—that it might burst out of your chest and splatter all over the wall. I suppose it’s called loneliness.

God-shaped Hole is a novel about a woman (Trixie) in Los Angeles whose heart is not in it at all. She meets a man (Jacob) and is able to identify the same emptiness and longing in him that she finds in herself. Their plan is to move east and throw themselves into southern roots and sticky summers together, but no love story is complete without trouble and heartache.

I feel like we grew in the same womb or something. Like we’ve been connected in the beginning by blood and veins. Siamese soul lovers, if there could ever be such a thing.

The overall mechanics of the book are top notch—writing, dialog, language. But the part that really matters is content. Gritty, raw, heart-wrenching content. The kind you feel down to the marrow in your bones. It’s what keeps you coming back. The feelings that resonate so deep—it’s like the breath of relief when you finally don’t have to keep a secret you’ve been holding onto, because it’s okay not to. DeBartolo is the friend that carries that burden with you. And God-Shaped Hole is the kind of story that ties together so intricately and beautifully, that by the time you’re finished you need a break because you’re too emotionally invested in the characters to rebound with someone else.

Have you ever read God-Shaped Hole? What did you think? Is there any book you’ve read that makes you feel the way this does for me? Let me know!

 

xo

Cultivating Your Garden: An interview with Kaetlyn

Now that it seems like most places are finally getting spring, I see people all over social media and home improvement stores buying plants, seeds, soil, etc. to build up their garden. I love it! I’m always a fan of the more the merrier when it comes to plants of all kinds, and have over 25 different types in my apartment already (oh yes, there will be more).

From succulents to foliage to full on farming, I support and highly encourage it all. Last spring my husband and I attempted to start our own garden at our house with vegetables and some flowers to keep pest away and help attract bees. Unfortunately we also discovered one of our dogs loves to dig up and chew on everything we plant.

This spring we’ve been moving to an apartment to downsize before his deployment, and I’m still working out the kinks on how to go about my patio vegetable garden. But! In the meantime I’ve filled some space with houseplants and patio plants to keep me busy and to keep a little nature in my life thriving.


I have run into and overheard people in the garden sections at the store wondering about how to grow and what to do to keep things alive, even having answered questions from them myself, and I figure there are a lot of people out there with the same types of questions. It can be difficult with so many varieties of plant life, and daunting to invest in when you’re not sure how to make it work. I’ve enlisted the help of one of my favorite bloggers, miss Katelyn, to shed a little light on doubts about starting out (we all start somewhere, just dive in!) and some questions those of you who may be new to cultivating might have.

How many plants are you growing right now? What kinds?

Right now I have 9 succulents in my house as well as some garden succulents growing! These are definitely my favorite plants because I tend to be terrible when it comes to house plants. I also have a hanging pothos which is my baby! Recently I’ve mainly been focusing on my garden. I have cool-weather crops growing right now. It’s finally getting warm so they’re starting to do well! I’ve got about 5 different kinds of lettuce growing along with radishes, spinach, cabbage, kohlrabi, red onions, scallions, and sugar snap peas. We also just got a baby peach tree and a lemon tree!

What got you started in loving plants and gardening?

Definitely my mom! I remember always having house plants when I was little and my mom has had a garden for as long as I can remember. We’ve always had lots of raspberry bushes which is probably my favorite part of our garden. I know for sure I’ll carry the tradition when I have my own family.

Do you plant anything specifically to help the bees?

Yes! I have a little section that is my “wildflower garden” and I try to plant some flowers that are known for attracting bees and butterflies such as zinnias, poppies, sunflowers, geraniums, hollyhocks, and other miscellaneous wildflowers. My mom and I also grow a lot of herbs like cilantro, parsley, sage, lavender, ect which are great for bees as well!

Where do you plan to take gardening in your life? House full, yard full, farmer’s markets, big farm?

It is my lifelong dream to have my own farm. I don’t necessarily think my farm would be my family’s main source of income, but I would like to have enough land to provide fresh, organic food for my family, neighbors, and those in need. I dream of having just rows and rows of greens growing, berry bushes surrounding my house and fruit trees out back.

Do you have any recommendations on good starter plants/crops? Any tips or tricks?

When it comes to planting food, there’s a lot that actually do well from seed such as lettuce, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, etc. We tend to buy things like tomatoes and peppers as plants and we choose an organic or heirloom variety. 

My number one recommendation is good soil and compost. My garden last year taught me that this is so important. Last year we bought some soil that ended up being not-so-good and the plants and veggies I tried to grow in pots did not do well AT ALL. Good, organic soil, compost if you can get it, and organic, natural fertilizer will be the best for your crops and plants. We have an organic garden so we don’t use pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers on our plants and we see them thrive so much better this way. And like I said before, learning what you can about each crop or plant will always be helpful because each one may require different needs!

What advice do you have for others about growing, whether it be simple houseplants or growing your own food?

My advice would be to learn everything that you can about each individual plant and what they need in order to grow. This is my first year keeping a gardening journal and I absolutely love it. It helps me keep track of how each plant needs to be watered, what kind of light it needs, when I planted them, etc, etc. You can do this for houseplants too! I like to read lots of articles when I’m planting something new to learn what worked best for everyone else because often times instructions on the seed packets aren’t the most detailed.

Although researching and reading is important, what teaches me the most is trial and error. You can read as much as you want about gardening but it’s something you have to actively have your hands in and I think that teaches me the most.


When I first started out with plants, I did it the same way a lot of people seem to: with succulents and cacti. Succulents are very good starter plants—they can take a lot of neglect. They light bright sunlight—direct or indirect, I have found can vary on the type a little, but mine are currently on my patio in direct sunlight at least half of the day. They are drought-tolerant plants so they don’t require being watered that often. And being from Southern California, now living in North Carolina, they’re wonderful plants for summer because they can handle the heat when a lot of other plants cannot.

Now that I’ve dipped my toes and ankles and hell, been up to my knees, I’ve grown quite the little collection of houseplants. From low light to bright indirect sunlight, I’ve covered my living room with a variety. I love foliage—they’re leafy, vibrant, beautiful—something to really make a room feel cozy, as well as help purify the air.


One of the biggest things I’ve learned is to do my own research. I won’t buy a plant I don’t know the name of, whether it be common or scientific. Those tags you find at the store are helpful to letting you know the basic idea of what setting your plant will thrive in, but for me they’re never enough.

Trial and error has been the biggest teacher. Some soils for some plants don’t work for all of them. Some “low light plants” need more light, and some “water frequently” plants need to dry out a little between waterings. Humidity temperature play a factor too, but the best thing to do is research. Read articles, blog entries, journals. Keep tabs, and try things out for your own plants.

And definitely don’t be afraid to ask someone else what they’re doing for their’s to thrive!



Do you have any tips and tricks we need to know? What kinds of things do you grow? Is there anything specific you’re having trouble with in your garden? Let me know!

 

xo

Snowy Sundays.

I’m a firm believer that Saturdays are for adventures and Sundays are for snuggles. But I’m also a firm believer that Sundays are for adventures, too. There are a lot of hours in a day and no reason you can’t have both.

I may go as far as to say that growing up in Southern California, I was spoiled when it came to weather. Most of the year was clear and sunny, and it rained so little that I even looked forward to those days.

The hardest thing for me living in North Carolina has been adjusting to the weather. In a single week I watched the temperature go from 80 to 74 to 55 to 33. Drastic!

Adulthood has not been easy since moving here, but I’ve definitely learned ways around it. You have to do what makes you happy. Figure out what that is, and do it as much as you can. At 26 I’m still learning what that is, and what it means. I’m still learning how to allow myself to be happy and not feel guilty about focusing on that over responsibilities.

As ready as I am for sunny days, camping trips, BBQs, and taking my dogs to the lake, I’m also still doing my best not to take the chilly days for granted. I’ve only been lucky enough to see snow actually fall a handful of times in my life, and I can’t deny part of me is in love with seeing it.

After romping around in minimal snow, catching flurries on my coat, and watching my dogs roll around in mud, it was time for the lazy part of my weekend. I compiled a small list of songs that have improved my mood lately, and nothing compares to music that makes you feel good and movement that makes you feel even better.

Sunday jams.

A little stretching—you don’t know how much your body appreciates a good stretch-session until you really dedicate some time to stretch it out. I hold a lot of stress in my shoulders and my back, and the weight that feels lifted after doin’ some flexibility work is incredible.

And of course, what lazy, snowy day is complete without fresh baked cookies and milk? Say what you want about calories— fresh, gooey, moist chocolate chip cookies are worth it. Sit down with a glass of cold milk, a soft blanket, and some simple entertainment.

Do something worthwhile for yourself today. Do more of what makes your heart happy. Take a nap, write a book, get a tattoo, watch your favorite movie for the 100th time. Today is yours, treat yourself to it.

How do you spend Sundays in your world? Are you a lazy Sundayer or a Sunday adventurer? Tell me how you treat yo’ self.

xo

Medicine for the soul.

It’s strange that you can love one thing growing up and into adulthood end up loathing it. Sometimes it’s gradual, and sometimes it’s like you woke up one day and flipped a switch—click, changed forever.

Growing up in Southern California, I looked forward to rain. Overcast skies, a chill, and having an excuse to spend all day inside. But after I got married and moved the first time, that changed. I always had an adventurous heart, but moving halfway across the country really seemed to jostle that loose.


Rainy days make me anxious to drive in. Rainy days mean hiking is a pain in the ass if attempted. Though it hasn’t always stopped me before, winter on the east coast for me means a lot of rain and a lot of indoors. If it wasn’t raining, it was just too cold. Even on a hike when your body has warmed and you’ve got layers on, 15° is still cold.

However, one of the perks of being forced to relax at home during winter is that it makes you spend more time on things you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise. I chose to catch up on some blogs I enjoy reading, and I found the perfect post for my winter blues. This post by the lovely Kaetlyn inspired me to reassess the way I’ve been reacting to this winter and make a shift: more things that make me happy and less things that just get me through the motions of living—work, sleep, repeat. Sometimes you need to jump-start your life again, give it a kick. It’s important to find the things that make you feel rejuvinated when you become despondent, and bask in them.

I make a point to do my makeup and hair more often, even if I’m staying at home. It makes me feel good physically, which makes me feel good mentally and emotionally. Self-love is a hard game to play but putting in a little extra work certainly doesn’t hurt my chances of winning.

I try to enjoy the little things while I can. Today was my first Sunday off in 2 months, I work every Saturday, and it isn’t often my husband has a Monday off. So I relished in finally being able to sleep in together without any commitment to getting up and going anywhere I had to be. I made us a sweet treat, I made him coffee, and I breathed in the quiet of my house before everything became motion.

 
I use what days I can to check off a little more of my localized bucket list. Take a dog, bundle up, brave gray skies and wind. Since my last post I’ve explored 2 new places I wanted to go but hadn’t, and both exceeded expectation.

Jordan Lake—Apex, NC

  

Lake Waccamaw—Bolton, NC

 

I’ve been working on taking better care of my health, my hair, and my skin. I’m burning gasoline and making memories. I’m curing my winter blues with whatever makes my heart happy.

What helps you cure your blues? What rejuvenates you?

xo

Live your adventure.

A friend and I decided that this year was going to be a different year. We resolved to make the most of it and really make up for where we thought our 2016s were lacking. A little #ExploreMore2017 resolution to get us going.

Something thing I hadn’t done yet living in North Carolina was walk the 5.5 mile route down the Cape Fear River Trail. I’d done pieces before but my dogs were tired and rather than overdo it for them, we kept it incomplete. But now we’re a full month into 2017, and my status has changed. I’ve walked the full trail and back, and then some.


We started out on the trails at Clark Park then just decided: why not? So with sore quads, aching feet (the result of being unprepared for the distance and choosing the wrong shoes), a dog, and a friend, 10.14 miles of Cape Fear River Trail is checked off my NC bucket list.

 

  


In light of the #ExploreMore2017 resolution, I also compiled a list of places I plan to travel to through this year—cities, mountains, parks, lakes, coastlines—mostly in NC and mostly within a 4.5 hour drive from my home.

Bucket list:

  • Wilmington
  • Winston-Salem
  • Boone
  • New Bern
  • Bryson City
  • South Mountain state park
  • Eno River state park
  • William B Umstead state park
  • Sugarloaf Trail, Carolina state beach
  • Ocracoke Island
  • Blowing Rock
  • Sliding Rock
  • Reed Gold Mine
  • Linville Falls
  • Mount Mitchell
  • Chimney Rock
  • Jordan Lake
  • Waccamaw Lake
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Devil’s Tramping Ground, Bennett
  • Land of Oz theme park
  • Stone Mountain state park
  • Topsail Beach
  • Kure Beach
  • Corolla Beach
  • Bald Head Island
  • Oak Island
  • Jockey’s Ridge
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Morrow Mountain state park
  • Badin Lake
  • Croatan National Forest
  • Edisto Beach state park
  • Table Rock state park
  • Lynches River county park
  • Sesquicentennial state park
  • Paris Mountain state park
  • Jones Gap state park
  • Poinsett state park

Have you been to any of these places or know anyone who has? Would you recommend any? Is there anything not on my list that should be? Let me know! I’m always looking for more places to go to next.

So this is twenty-six.


I always thought I would be in a much different place in my life by the time I hit my mid twenties. I figured I’d have a couple kids by now and be finished with my teaching degree, working at a school. Instead, the only child I’ve got is the one I’m married to and I’m anxiously attempting to go back to school and finish my degree online. Still struggling working part-time, still dealing with a 2001 piece-of-shit-mobile that has been out of commission for months, still drowning my 5 o’clocks in a tall bottle of stress.

But it’s not all bad, despite how many friends have said, “Wow, you have the worst luck.” We’re in the process of making it work. Somehow we always do. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, especially these last few years, it’s that I’m resilient as hell.

And if I’ve learned anything about life these past 26 years, it’s this:

  1. You are always tougher than you think.
  2. Trust is the easiest thing to lose and the most difficult thing to get back once it’s gone.
  3. Friends can break your heart too.
  4. When it rains, it pours. And often, it then monsoons.
  5. Storms don’t last forever.
  6. Hard work and dedication is often met with blind eyes or overlooked entirely.
  7. Self-love is a long process full of set-backs.
  8. Adulthood is difficult.
  9. When in doubt, fake it ’til you make it.
  10. Not everyone you lose is a loss.
  11. Life is too short to hold a grudge.
  12. You are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.
  13. It takes guts to recognize toxic people and put space between them and yourself, but you will thank yourself for it later.
  14. Go with good intentions or stay the fuck home.
  15. Go with your gut. Really—women’s intuition is a hell of a thing.
  16. Few things can’t be improved by either a hot shower, a nap, or an orgasm.
  17. Be weird as hell—those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
  18. Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.
  19. Gettin older is a gift—not everyone will get the opportunity, so cherish every new year you get— even when the cashier at the store who is younger than you thinks you’re fifteen.
  20. Moderation is everything.
  21. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Being the kind of friend you want others to be is no guarantee you’ll find those people, but it doesn’t hurt your chances.
  22. Regret of the things you didn’t do far outweighs the regret of things you’ve done. Better to look back and say “I shouldn’t have” instead of “I wish I had.”
  23. Fear of failure won’t necessarily stop you from failing, it will only guarantee you won’t succeed.
  24. Take. Risks. On yourself, that job, changing your major, on love.
  25. If you want something done right, just do it yourself. Eliminate the middle man.
  26. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you can’t have what you want. You need to make yourself happy—eat that bowl of ice cream, get frisky on the first date, take that job in another state—you are responsible for your happiness.

I’ve always been the person who gives advice but never follows their own. Here’s to hoping this year is the one I finally learn my lesson.