May 2018 Favorites

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Favorite Things44 Comments

We are finally back home!  After 10 days of driving across the country and visiting our family on the east coast, it’s so good to be back home.  I was planning on hitting the ground running and getting right back into my normal work routine, but the backlog of mail, laundry, cleaning, and things that needed to be done was overwhelming and it took most of my day and energy.  I sat last night in front of a blank screen and just could not make a post happen.

Now, I’m mostly caught up and ready to write again.

First of all, our trip was awesome.  We had a great time with Jeff’s family and celebrated the completion of his Masters Degree.  The boys played with their cousins and kicked off summer at the pool.  I had lots of quiet time to sketch and paint and lazily pass through each day with little agenda.

Our visit in Pennsylvania with my parents and our old church family and friends was amazing as well.  I got to hit a few of my favorite antique spots and my mom and I went clothes shopping.  I visited with some of my “Mustard Seed Peeps” – Kriste, Katie, and Jenn, and my parents hosted a cookout for some of our church friends.  Growing up as an Army BRAT, I’m accustomed to moving and moving on.  Sometimes it’s too easy for me.  So, it was good for the soul to go back to where our boys were born, where I started my business, and where we spent 11 years of our lives, so we could fellowship with people who were a part of that time.  I never thought of Pennsylvania as my home state, but it felt very much like a homecoming.

So, our trip was definitely a part of my May favorites, even though it bridged May and June.  One of my favorite days was when my mom, Jenn, and I went antiquing.  I found so many pieces of ironstone and great old baskets and all sorts of fun things, but I also got to meet up with Kriste and her baby, Gray.

Can you even handle that smile?  He was such a cutie and I enjoyed seeing my former sidekick embracing her role as a mom.  It was a fresh reminder how much I miss having her work with me.  There have been so many times when I could’ve used her lists or her ability to make things happen behind the scenes when my focus was split.  And I have definitely needed her hands on more than one occasion, so I could snap pictures while she did the modeling.  I’m back to using my shutter remote in my teeth!

She had to corral a one year old in an antique store, so we didn’t have long, but we gave each other a huge, lingering hug that communicated just about everything that needed to be said.

I’ll share the goodies I found in another post, but here is a peek…


As I shared yesterday, I have found a new love for dip pens and I was even able to find an antique wooden one for $5.00 while antique shopping…

I have enjoyed doing some ink and watercolor sketches and plan to do more in preparation for my fall trip to France and Italy.

In addition to the dip pen, I found some vintage nibs.  It was a little random, but I opened a cough drop box on a whim and it was filled with unidentifiable bits and pieces and four nibs!

I haven’t played around with them, yet, but I definitely will!


I painted plein air for the first time while on our trip.  (That’s just a fancy way to say “I painted outside”.)  The first time was on my in-law’s deck and I painted a bloom from their magnolia tree.  The second was on my parent’s porch, painting a bouquet of peonies.  I set up my pochade box one last time to paint my parent’s pond.  I have to tweak my set-up a little bit, but it worked well overall and I’m looking forward to getting out and painting some of the farm fields and open skies of Minnesota.


Fruit seems to often make my list of favorites!  I really do hop from one favorite seasonal fruit to the next.  Cherries are my favorite of them all, though, and they are finally in the stores.  I have not only enjoyed eating them…

…but also painting them.  More cherry paintings are definitely in my future.


My love of period dramas continued with the PBS update of Little Women.  I will admit that it’s not my favorite story ever, really just because it is always disappointing when Jo rejects Laurie!  (Anyone else?!)   But this version was so beautifully done that I didn’t even mind that.  You really must see it.  (It’s available on Amazon Prime or you can purchase it on iTunes.)

You can find a full list of some of my favorite period miniseries HERE.



I shared on my Instagram stories that I’m having trouble with my hair breaking off.  I’ve been trying to grow it out and it’s stayed the same length for over a year.  So, I’ve made some changes to the products I use as well as how and how often I use my styling tools.  One big change I made was investing in a nicer hair dryer.  I decided to splurge and spend my birthday money on the Buttercup hair dryer by Dry Bar (affiliate link).  It’s expensive ($195), but it is worth it!  My hair is so much smoother, softer, and shinier, and it handles the humidity better.  And, I only have to use my straightener on very stubborn strands.  Most of my hair is very smooth without it.

My Oma always said, “You wear your hair everyday, so it’s worth investing in.”  She would’ve approved of the Buttercup, I think!

It’ll take a few months before I’ll know if the changes are helping my hair grow (or not break), but I’ll share an update.


Of course, the new kitchen counters and backsplash have to make my list of favorites.  I’ve already shared why I love them in previous posts, but it was, without a doubt, a highlight of the month.

We are going on one more short trip, to a private island in Canada, but then we’ll be home the remainder of the summer months and I’m looking forward to tackling some home, garden, and organization projects between bike rides and visits to the pool.

May 2018 Favorites

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44 Comments on “May 2018 Favorites”

  1. I can’t believe how much you’ve grown as a painter! I love the peonies and the cherry paintings. All your hard work is really paying off! Congratulations!
    I love your new backsplash. I’m almost jealous ;).

  2. What??? Didn’t Kriste just have that baby? I was shocked to see how big (and adorable) he is already. My does time fly by!

    Particularly loved the Amsterdam sketch. Will you be doing more of that style? And selling them?

  3. I have to say this is my favorite post you have written this year! Its good to see you re-connect with family, friends,familiar faces and places on the East Coast. Maybe because being a Army brat has made you better adapted to change and the transition easier to you new home in Minnesota but many of your long time readers have never gotten use to the move but we are trying! haha

    Glad you got to catch up with Kriste as well. I follow Kriste’s blog (Rosemary & Thyme) so I have loved seeing her new role as a Mother to precious little Gray and all the challenges a new Mom faces. She is a gifted writer as well and I love her style of simplicity which can be a welcome relief in blogland.

    Also, congratulations to Jeff on earning his Masters Degree! I hope he is enjoying his new pastoral job and finding it rewarding.

  4. Where did you get your pochade box? A friend is letting me borrow hers, but I cannot seem to find one that has hinged flat storage on both sides of the center paint section. Your paintings are definitely improving~~they were very good to begin with but I can see your progress!

    1. Thank you! It’s been fun to see the progress in my art. Even though I know I have a long way to go, I can see I’m inching my way in the right direction. 🙂 The pochade box is the medium box from Sienna. It came with the brush holder and glass insert and I like the way it functions so far!

  5. So happy to hear your trip home went great! I also adore your back splash
    and would love the name of it, if you care to share it. Would also love to know
    where you found your bar stools. Your paintings are lovely and
    Cherries are my favorite. Thanks for blogging. It really enlightens my life and
    means so much to me.

    1. Thank you, Kay! The backsplash is Venatino marble subway tile I purchased from Lowe’s, but you can find it at other stores.

  6. I really enjoyed seeing your watercolors and other favorites. Can you tell me where you purchased your island chairs? I am moving into a new home in a few weeks and need some chairs.

  7. Marian,

    I had trouble with my hair breaking & thought it was due to using the flat iron. I changed salons & with a change in salons came a change in products. The salon I frequent now uses Davines products & wow, what a game changer. I like my hair smooth, but unfortunately I have wavy hair, hence the use of the flat iron. With Davines shampoo & conditioner, I can now ditch the flat iron & it’s very smooth & shiny without using a bunch of other products. It is pricey but, just remember what your wise Oma said.

  8. Theres is a product called “10” in a blue pot and it is a conditioner. Just a little dab will do you. It
    does take a few months to kick in if your hair is damaged but you will never look back. I use
    about four pods a year and the best price is on Amazon. My hair is all I have left and believe
    me it is the best that it has ever been. lol From the pictures I think we have the same type of

    1. Is it the “it’s a 10” hair mask? If so, I have been using that and the leave-in spray as well. I think it is helping!

      1. Yes!!! It takes at least four months according to my sister’s NYC hairdresser. I always listen to what she says. I don’t have the spray but I will definitely get some soon. You don’t have to use the hair mask every time either. I have recommended this product to more people with problem hair and they all said YES!

  9. What a terrific post! Enjoyed it very much.
    I love all of your sketches and paintings, especially the peonies. Any chance you might sell it? Hint hint!!!

  10. Your paintings are lovely and your skill has shown such improvement and depth!! I really love the the peonies and cherries!! Do you plan to offer any for sale?

  11. To me, the most amazing thing about this post was your “I never thought of Pennsylvania as my home state” statement. I was surprised! You accomplished so much ‘homey’ there.

    1. Chris,
      I was somewhat surprised by that statement too. So much of her “roots” as far as her blog and business where started there. Its been fun to see the updates to her new home in MN but I miss the charm of her previous home in PA.

  12. I also can’t believe Kriste’s Baby is that old already. I really have missed seeing her in your emails.

  13. Wow, this post is jam-packed! That little Grey is a doll; he should be in pictures as they used to say. Your paintings are getting so fabulous; I love the peonies and cherries. I also learned a new word that I had to look up: pochade box . Now I must have one. About the hair: I gave up all hair coloring, heat appliances etc., a few years ago. My hair is healthier and shinier than it has been since I was a teenager (and that was back in the Paleolithic Age). I use Aveda products, let it air dry, and then loosely pin it up in spirals while it is slightly damp. I started relying on clip-on hairpieces back in my youthful modeling days for second day hair, and stopped trying to torture it into the style du jour. As I have gotten older it does not need daily washing. My hair is now healthy and very, very long. I have never been able to get to this length before. I am glad you are still blogging, although I quit last year.

  14. All my life I had fine hair that wouldn’t grow. I heard about a shampoo that is recommended to cancer patients called Fast. I buy it on line. Every night I talke a hair nails and teeth vitamin. Im 53 an my hair has never been this long or thick. Love the rest of your blog and glad you made it back home for a visit x

  15. This was a wonderful post. I missed seeing your insta-stories and blogs, but am happy that you got to spend quality time with those you love. I absolutely adore your windmill watercolor sketches, and the peonies were lovely. Can’t wait to see more!

  16. Marian, I have that same pochade box for pastels (has a box fitted inside for pastels) I love this little box . The Sienna company makes them adaptive for all mediums. I take mine out and attach to my tripod for Plein air in the park. Has a paper towel holder and an extra tray. Love it! You are so talented. Thanks for each and every post through the years. Hey , you are so young there is no telling how much more you will accomplish ! I’m in awe .

  17. My new doctor told me hair and nail growth indicate how healthy you are. When the body is stressed or lacking the proper nutrition, it conserves growing energy for the vital organs and functions and neglects the non-essentials. Hormone health plays a big part too in hair growth. And dare I say it? The best gift a woman can give to her hair is not coloring it. Dye is so damaging.

    1. All good info. My hair is actually growing pretty well, but it’s been breaking off. I think it’s mostly from hot tools and yes, possibly coloring, so I’m going back to my natural blonde.

  18. Hi Marian,
    My name is Cindy aka Chrisonthia with “All things Glam”. I think your hair looks wonderful and glad you made that change a couple of months ago. My suggestion is to always follow through with a good thermal protection prior to putting any hot tools through your hair and be sure your flat iron is no higher than 425 degrees. I also suggest using a deep conditioner regularly after washing with a moisture based color shampoo.
    I’ve been watching “Little Men” also available on Amazon prime. I simply LOVE it!!! So I will also tune in to Little Woman now too!
    I see your life evolve with paintings and travel and new Home and being temporarily disabled has made me become so grateful for all the blessings and passions that I haven’t been able to do but reading your blog has filled my heart, mind and soul with so much hope to continue.
    God Bless

  19. A private island in Canada, that sounds interesting….considering I am from Canada. Looking forward to allllll your summer projects.

  20. Great post! So many good things.
    I have the same pochade box and love it. I treated myself last year after a few years of wrangling a French easel for Plein air painting.
    I live on the biggest island in Canada, so I’m curious to find out where you will be visiting.
    We have a Plein air painting group in my area. A different location is posted each week and those that want to show up on the day, pick a vantage point that appeals to them and then paint for a few hours. There’s no membership, no fees, and all skill levels. It’s great to be amongst other like minded artists and at lunch time we all meet up and display our works (optional). You can learn so much and pick up some great pointers and critiques from some of the more seasoned artists, all in a friendly positive environment. It’s also great to see all the different styles and choices. You should check and see if there is something similar in your area.
    Keep on creating!

  21. Where are you going in France and Italy? I’m leaving for both on 6/25. I could send you some good restaurants, etc. I’m hoping to hit up a few art supply stores in both as well!

  22. Love the art. I am a lover of cherries, too !

    Can’t WAIT to see your buys. I love ironstone and here in the SW it is very scarce. Just seeing it in the background of your photo of the antique store was exciting. I am a dish junkie and esp love white and blue and white. Though red and white is also on my radar…..

  23. Your ink and watercolor is just wonderful. I hope you’ll be doing more of those. I would frame your Rembrandt study in a heartbeat. Thanks for another fun post.

  24. It’s always nice to go “home” for a visit, to touch bases with old friends, and of course, to see family. I love your cherries painting. My mouth almost watered.
    On another note, I was having trouble with my hair breaking, too, and started rinsing it with vinegar water after I shampoo. I use Bragg’s raw Apple Cider Vinegar, about a quarter of a cup to two cups of water. First I rinse out the shampoo, then slowly pour the vinegar water over my hair, leave it on for a minute or so, and then I rinse again. It has really helped, plus my hair is so much more manageable.
    I suppose you can use plain ACV, but I think the nutrients in the Bragg’s raw ACV add nutrients to the hair.
    Keep sharing. Your blog is always refreshing.

    1. Oh, I know! I am behind on that. It’s been a busy few months and I haven’t pinned myself down to get them listed. I’ll try to get that done in the next couple of weeks.

  25. My mouth fell open when I saw your art. Just gorgeous.

    Two supplements hdrolyzed collagen and as long as you are not prone to acne biotin. They make my hair grow

  26. I’m so with you on the “Jo rejecting Laurie” thing! I live Little Women, but never got over that part either! Your new backsplash is exactly like the one we put in our kitchen in Denver – right before we made a suppose move to Spokane, WA. And I miss it, it’s beautiful in your kitchen though, and I love the changes you’ve made. Soon enough we will tackle our new to us kitchen as well. I grew up in MN, so I hope you do find/feel like it is home to you. . . It’s one of my homes, and CO is my other home. Still adjusting to living in WA. It’s funny, when you posted about going back to your old Honey Holes, I related to what you said about wanting to shop in your favorite places. I’m starting all over here, and finding new places that are favorites and good sources has been a big challenge. Maybe it’s just the unfamiliar? Change is good, but not always easy . . .

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