Thursday, December 31, 2009

We'll Take a Cup O' Kindness Yet

Another year older. Another year passed. As the world welcomes the start of a new decade, I'm also welcoming the start of a new one in my life.

Max Wagner

It hardly seems ten years since family and friends were gathered to celebrate my twentieth birthday and waiting to see what, if anything, Y2K might bring.

Caroline & Matt- Whitebox

The past 10 years were filled with events I could have never predicted as the ball dropped on the night of December 31, 1999, events that changed me and some that changed the world.

Lauren & Zack- Our Labor of Love

Some events took me down paths very different than the ones I'd originally planned for myself, and all the events molded me into the person I am now.

Tom Watson Photography

While I'm trying to figure out just where the last decade went and attempting to reconcile that I'm no longer a Twentysomething, I am looking forward to discovering what my 30s hold and what lies ahead in 2010.

Emma Mitchell

And for all of you, I wish for 2010 to be a year filled with much happiness and contentment. Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Way She Shimmers

During the holidays, it always seems pretty frocks are plentiful in stores, each anxiously waiting to be plucked from the rack and claimed by a lovely lady for wear during the various parties of the season.

And of all the events during the holidays, New Year's Eve provides a perfect reason to don one of the numerous dresses vying for a chance in the spotlight; there are beautiful metallic numbers that glisten and glow.

Sophie Hexter- Stylist

L: Temperley London. R: Badgley Mischka- Platinum Label.

L: Temeperly London. R: See by Chloe
L: Matthew Williamson. R: Philosophy di Alberta Ferreti.

Jewel-toned dresses glisten and shine next to black beauties that dazzle with embellishments. With so many choices and only one New Year's Eve each year, it's always difficult to decide what dress should get its chance to sparkle.

Linda Nova- Stylist

Linda Nova- Stylist

L: ModCloth. R: Yoana Baraschi.

L: Anna Sui. R: Rachel Gilbert.

L: Rachel Gilbert. R: Alberta Ferretti.

While I'd adore the chance to throw on any of the gorgeous options above, this year, I'll be rocking a black, one-shouldered number as I welcome the new year. How about you? If you're heading out this New Year's Eve, what made your cut?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry & Bright

Since Friday, I've gotten a much better handle on all my holiday to-dos, and although I can't say I've finished wrapping all my gifts, I guess for me, it wouldn't be Christmas without a few last minute items still left on my list!

Country Living

Over the next few days, I'm looking forward to spending quality time with my family and enjoying our holiday traditions, both new and old. For those of you celebrating Christmas tomorrow, I hope your day is very very merry one!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Comfort and Joy

As happens every year now, December is passing by far too quickly, and I am left to play catch-up with my holiday preparations; this year, however, seems to be even worse than most.

I am shamefully behind on all things related to Christmas-- there are cards to be written and mailed (alright, let's be honest-- purchased...,) gifts still to be found (I know!) and I've yet to conquer any of the holiday baking I've intended to do.

I haven't even spent a night driving around to admire Christmas lights, nor have I listened to holiday music as much as I'd have liked. In a season that is undoubtedly my favorite, instead of the normal feelings of excitement over holiday preparations, I've been battling feelings of stress.

Melanie Acevedo

This weekend, I am hoping to check-off some of the holiday items on my list, while reminding myself of the joy that comes from the simple pleasures of holiday-flavored lattes, buildings adorned with twinkling lights, and falling asleep by the soft glow of a Christmas tree. In the midst of this busy time of year, I hope you find your weekend filled with many little joys too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bloggers Taking Action: Pencils of Promise

Today, in the middle of a season of giving, numerous bloggers are coming together in a collaborative effort spearheaded by Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita to bring awareness to a very deserving charity, Pencils of Promise.

Pencils of Promise, a 501(c)(3) organization established in December 2008 and based in New York, partners with local communities and organizations to build schools in developing nations for some of the world's most impoverished and undereducated children, a designation that fits some staggering 75 million children worldwide.

Last December, the Pencils of Promise team visited a small village in Laos where the annual family income averages $400; by July 2009, they had built a new school for the village children who began attending classes a short two months later on September 1. What started as a small project by founder Adam Bruan to build one school has turned into something much more; this month, Pencils of Promise will open its third school.

The foundational belief of the organization is: No ripple of effort is so small that it should be viewed as insignificant. The first school they constructed is an example of this as it was funded by 2,000 individual contributions of less than $100 each.

In the spirit of the holiday season, we are asking for your help in a special project to be funded by our actions today. We are raising money to build a new library and dormitories for a secondary school in Champet, Laos; as the only high school in a larger area, in order to attend school, students must leave their families and homes to live in dormitories.

These buildings are worlds away from what comes to mind when we think of Western boarding schools; for the girls, their dormitories are little more than makeshift bamboo huts, and some parents are unwilling to send their children to the school as they view the current living conditions to be unsafe. Our goal today is to raise funds to be able to build a dormitory to house 200 Laotian girls and to provide the school with a new library.

Think of the enormous impact we could have if each person who reads a blog post on Pencils of Promise today donates something; remember, "No ripple of effort is so small that it should be viewed as insignificant." If you are willing and able to give more ($35 buys wood for bookshelves, $50 buys pencils/pens for one year, $75 buys 40 books for the school library, and so on,) it would be greatly appreciated. We hope you will find it in your heart to make a donation to this worthy cause today. Together, we can make a difference.

Image Credits: Nick Onken-- a photographer who has donated his time to Pencils of Promise.

If you would like to stay informed about the difference Pencils of Promise is making be sure to become a fan on their Facebook page.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Camp Ohio

In the school district I attended from kindergarten through my senior year in high school, each fall, the six grade students were sent to a 4-H camp, Camp Ohio. Every school had their own three day period at the camp, and the students were accompanied by their teachers, as well as local high school students who acted as counselors.

Classes and schedules were dictated by each school; for mine that meant 6 periods to select from a combination of art, nature, and adventure classes, including the highly-coveted "High Ropes Course," "Photography," and "Buddy Burner Cooking," where you skipped lunch in the dining hall and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows. These and other popular classes were quick to fill up when we selected our schedules, leaving some students with less desirable choices like "The Big Hike," a double-period class spent hiking through the hills surrounding the camp.

Of course, the boys' and girls' cabins were on opposite sides of camp, sides joined together by a bridge. Although rumors abound that the teachers stood guard at night at this spot where the two sides connected, inevitably, some couples snuck out after dark to meet at the bridge. Their departures were the cause of speculation and gossip as everyone wondered whether they would be caught and more importantly, if their meeting were successful, whether it would involve a kiss.

By that time of year, the leaves were striking shades of yellow, orange and red, and the weather was cold. In the morning, the frosty air stung my lungs, yet felt invigorating as I dashed from the cabin to the bathhouse, hurrying in my pajamas and winter coat from the comfort of one warm building to the next. An early snow fall graced our trip, and it was enchanting to see the hilly landscape covered in white.

I fell in love with Camp Ohio as a 6th grader and vowed to return with my school as a high school counselor if I were selected. My sophomore year, I had my first opportunity to do just that.

Not much had changed in the years since I was a camper. The "High Ropes Course" was still a highly-coveted class, even for the counselors, while "The Big Hike" was not filled to maximum capacity. Boys and girls still made plans for clandestine meetings at the bridge after darkness fell. And the cold morning air, which I would curse for so many months in the winter, still provided an invigorating start to my days as I dashed from the cabin to the bathhouse.

I returned again as a counselor my junior and senior year in high school, and every fall since then, on the first frosty morning of the season, I find myself longing for a rustic getaway. A cabin. Fall leaves. And the company of friends.

Verity Welstead

Since our cold seasons are slower to arrive here in Texas, it has only been in the most recent weeks that I've found myself longing for such a retreat. Since none will be happening this autumn, I'm contenting myself with these photos, my memories, and remembering to appreciate how invigorating the cold morning air can be.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

While a day on the calendar indicating we should stop to give thanks shouldn't be the only time we do so, it is a wonderful reminder to take a moment to reflect on the things in our lives for which we are grateful.

Among the things I am thankful for today is you. With so many blogs populating the world wide web, thank you for making Under A Paper Moon one where you chose to spend some time; I am humbled and honored you do.

Jonny Valiant

For those of you celebrating today, I hope your Thanksgiving is a very happy one filled with love and lots of wonderful food!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quite Rightly

I wanted to finish this focus on mustard, a hue that seems to be a rather 'mellow yellow," with a round-up of images that feature this color paired with shades of blue-- a pairing that sounds like it could be very primary, but in it's execution, is anything but!

Top: House Beautiful. Middle- L: Nate Berkus R: Anna Williams Photography.
Bottom: Amy Neunsinger.

And because I used the word "swoon" in two of the three previous posts about this shade, the last photo in this group seems to be a very fitting close to this mustard mania!