My desert

tucson_la la lovely blog

I’ve coming to the desert for 20 years, now.  Tucson has taken it’s place in my heart as a home.  And, anyone that knows me, well, knows that home is my heart.

I’m sitting at a desk, in the room I don’t usually stay in, in my parents home situated in the foot hills.  My view is fixed on the valley, the mountains behind, and the tall long armed saguaro cactus right in front of me.  This is the the room my grandpa always stayed in.  The room that belongs to our dear friends who, for 15 years, have traveled here with us.  And, the room that I holed up in with Liam Brave, 3 months old, inconsolable.  Nursing wouldn’t calm him and for some, hormonal, reason it made me sick to my stomach and with thoughts of panic, every single time I fed him.  This room is more than a room.

I brought all my babies here.  Spent sick days, huge and pregnant, here.  My first had her first birthday here.  We were here on that dreadful day in September 2001.  Awakened by a call from my Dad, and rushed to wake our friends.  We watched the news, cried, and prayed. Tucson might be the strongest tradition my kids have had.  This southwest sky will, no doubt, paint the colors of childhood in their memory.  This place will always be my heart because it was where family was family.  Beginnings of my babies, forever friendships fostered, special times with siblings, precious time with parents…..a place they had for themselves, always with the intention to share with us.  This house is more than a house.

tucson_la la lovely blog

I’ve coming to the desert for 20 years, now. Tucson has taken it’s place in my heart as a home. And, anyone that knows me, well, knows that home is my heart.

I’m sitting at a desk, in the room I don’t usually stay in, in my parents home situated in the foot hills. My view is fixed on the valley, the mountains behind, and the tall long armed saguaro cactus right in front of me. This is the the room my grandpa always stayed in. The room that belongs to our dear friends who, for 15 years, have traveled here with us. And, the room that I holed up in with Liam Brave, 3 months old, inconsolable. Nursing wouldn’t calm him and for some, hormonal, reason it made me sick to my stomach and with thoughts of panic, every single time I fed him. This room is more than a room.

I brought all my babies here. Spent sick days, huge and pregnant, here. My first had her first birthday here. We were here on that dreadful day in September 2001. Awakened by a call from my Dad, and rushed to wake our friends. We watched the news, cried, and prayed. Tucson might be the strongest tradition my kids have had. This southwest sky will, no doubt, paint the colors of childhood in their memory. This place will always be my heart because it was where family was family. Beginnings of my babies, forever friendships fostered, special times with siblings, precious time with parents…..a place they had for themselves, always with the intention to share with us. This house is more than a house.

room_lalalovely

I’m sitting in my grandpa’s room.  Jeremy and Jenny’s room.  Mine and Stephen’s room.  Begging my eyes to trace and memorize those mountain tops.  The foothill out the window.  The other across the street.  The valley that lights up at night, like a million fireflies and that never sleep.  The grand, strong, jagged, and rocky mountains behind that remind me where my help comes from.  And, that whisper, “Faith the size of a mustard seed, Trina.  Faith the size of a mustard seed.”   I’ve mustered the mustard size faith in low times.  And, in high times thought my faith was taller than those cactus covered mountains. Here, I believed for as many things as there are moments.  Trading all my Tucson time for believing, really.  The prickly truth is that not every prayer has been answered the way I wished.  Brought to pass the way I believed it best.  While I’ve tried to hold on to many promises and let them hold me, I’m also getting a lifetime of a lesson in letting go.  These mountains are more than mountains.

tucson mountains_ la la lovely blog

I look, again, to the mountains, majestic and never moving.  Every time I return, year after year, they stand the same.  The sky, though, ever changing.  Winds blowing through.  Sunsets purple today.  Pink tomorrow.  Clouds coming this week.  Sun, yesterday, and, so they say, coming soon.  That southwest sky is life.  Stormy. Silent. Sublime.  Surreal.  The mountains my faith.  My foundation.  They stand.  Through it all, I’ll stand too.  Wind blowing right through me.  These skies are more than skies.

tucson-skies_

Tucson you are me, even starting with a “T.”  You are treasure.  You are time.  You will always be, partly, mine.  I have found life in your desert.  And, in my deserts, you have been life.  This desert is more than a desert.  This is life.

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Desert Style

It’s no secret that Southwest + desert style is big right now.  And I’m totally on board with this look.  In fact, I was on board in 7th grade when we decorated my room in a Southwest theme.  Yep, southwest wallpaper border, a wooden pink howling coyote and all.  Of course, I also have a special place in my heart for the southwest as we vacation there every year.  It really is my home away from home.

I love the the modern elements mixed in with the tribal patterns and texture.  However, my favorite thing of all is the cactus.  I find them to be so whimsical and interesting.  Lately,  I’m looking for ways to  incorporate the look into my home minus the pink howling coyote.

Do you like the desert style or do you think it is just a passing trend?

For more Southwest style check out my latest ideabook on Houzz.

*Have you entered the lovely giveaway?

[poppy talk / photobucket / sfgirlbybay/ the brick house / etsy / kookandkreativ]

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Desert Diary

Hi dear readers.  How is the week finding you?  I’m out in the desert and having a dandy of a time.  In fact, I pretty much don’t want to go home.  It’s warm, its’ beautiful, it’s peaceful and way inspiring.  All of the cactus, succulents and Southwest print are continual eye candy.  I thought you might like a peek into what’s going on here.

I’m reading / Kinfolk + The Happiness Project

I’m wearing / shirt . Anthro / Jeans . Hudson / Shoes . J-Crew / Sunnies . Marc Jacobs 

I’m listening to / Florence + the Machine

I’m eating / Mexican @ Blanco

Now, don’t be fooled there are kids everywhere, lots of splashing, baby cries and night wakings but thats all good too.  I’ll have more photo’s and a really fun little shop I want to share with you.  XO . T

 

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Favorite Things 2020

Did you know I have a podcast? You can listen here. I’m just wrapping up Season 1 and in the final episode, I’m sharing my favorite things of 2020 (along with a few ways to be kind to yourself–we could all use more kindness–when we are kind to ourselves we can be kind to others.

Without further ado here are my favorite things AND BOOKS of 2020.

If you’ve made your way here from the podcast–welcome!–you’ll find a few more items that were not listed on the podcast along with a few of my favorite books of the year (see what other books I love here).

 

PROGRAMS & PLATFORMS

I’ve never included this category before, but I use these EVERYDAY and love them! So why not share the love?

01 / The Balanced Life Sisterhood Pilates Membership with Robin Long. I’ve been a member of the sisterhood for over four years and I’ve been quite consistent with it. Robin is an excellent Pilates teacher. I began this program after I had a hip injury and it helped me to heal and grow in strength. I love that the workouts are quick and concise. And most of all I love that the mission is grace over guilt.

If you’re looking for a new in-home workout program for the new year–join me! Click here to use my code and receive $20 off their first membership payment!

 

02 / Flodesk is an email platform that I use to email my list (email friends, as I like to call them). I know this may be a random share but if you have a business, blog, podcast, or are looking for a way to communicate with your people, Flodesk is amazing. I’ve tried several email platforms in recent years and Flodesk is by far the best. Super user-friendly, BEAUTIFUL designs, and soooo affordable. They don’t charge you as your list grows–unlike other platforms). In fact, you can lock in at 50% off (that’s what I did) by clicking here.  I was paying over $50 a month on ConvertKit, now I pay $19. It’s a favorite!

 

For the Home

01/ Loose Leaf Floating Tea Infuser : Nothing fancy, but this one floats and has it’s own little stand. It’s so functional. If you are a tea drinker, like me…you’ll la la love this.

02 / LG CordZero Charge Plus Cordless Rechargeable Vacuum: Call me a grandma, I don’t care. This vacuum is everything. I’ve been looking for one forever. I hate to put it in wirting but I really haven’t been too happy with the Dyon’s that I’ve had. I’m super happy with my LG. Here’s how it differs from

  • Up to 80 Minute Run Time
  • 2 Lithium Ion Batteries
  • 2 Floor Nozzles: Power Floor & Power Carpet
  • Smart Inverter Motor™
  • Portable Charging Stand

It’s a little spendy but it’s basically like 3 vacuums in one. And it’s *$100 off at Costco right now.

03 / Presto Heat Dish Space heater/floor heater: Actually this one might make me more of a grandma. I always get so cold in the winter. And this space heater is keeping me toasty. It doesn’t blow heat, it radiates it. It’s amazing. I’m obsessed.
*I got mine at Costco

04 / Samsung Frame TV: I know this is all the rage, but there is a reason. I’ve had mine for a year and its the greatest. A Smart TV that looks like framed art. You can subscribe to art or put your photos up. And the remote is the easiest to use–a bonus for watching TV in the dark. We have ours in our bedroom and I’m saving up for one in the family room.

05 / Barefoot Dreams Cozy Throw : Favorite blanket ever. I sleep with mine every night.
*Hack: Get them at Nordstrom rack for half the price.

06 /  The NORDSTROM Throw: Second favorite blanket and only in $30 range. Super great quality and last years way better than the ones you toss in the cart at Target. So many great colors to choose from.

07 / Living Lovely Mug: No I don’t have merch, maybe I should? My sweet friend sent me this mug and I love it! It’s such a great gift idea.

 

 

 

Fashion and Beauty

01 / Fleece Lined Leggings from Anthropologie: If you live in a colder climate these are a must. And only$14

02 / Dae Shampoo and Conditioner : The packaging totally caught my attention. It’s so pretty! A Vegan desert-derived formula that gently cleanses and hydrates hair and scalp—detoxifying and removing buildup without stripping the hair of its natural oils. It smells like creamsicle heaven. I just stand inhaling my shampoo for the shower for aromatherapy. Every order comes with a complimentary pump.

03 / Philosophy Amazing Grace Firming Body Emulsion: Smells lovely and is a luxurious body cream.

04 / Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream: This always makes my favorite list because it’s a forever fave. I put this on my Christmas and birthday wish list every year. Marshmallow goodness that smells divine.

05 / Beauty Counter Overnight + Resurfacing Peel : This is my new favorite beauty product of the year. It makes my skin glow. It’s not harsh. It’s just straight-up lovely and it works. My bottle has lasted me almost a year well worth the  price point.
*Also, I just began using the Counter+ All Bright C Serum and I’m la la loving it!!!!

06 / Silk Face Mask: This mask is so great…it’s beautiful and help keep the “maskne” (mask acne) away.

 

 

Gift Books

01 / Rhythms for Life Planner and Journal by Rebekah Lyons: I love a good planner but this one is different in that it focuses on planning for good mental and emotional health. And…it’s beautiful.

02 / Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking: I come back to this darling little book every winter. It always makes me approach the long cold winter with anticipation, rather than dread.

03 / La La Lovely by (me!) Trina McNeilly: Shameless plug here, but it’s a beautiful book to give as a gift. The imagery, artwork, and photography is so pretty and the message will help anyone learn to find beauty in their everyday no matter what they are going through.

04 / Welcome Home by Myquillin Smith: Another gorgeous book that is practical. If you want to make your home cozy and festive, in a most practical way, this winter (and spring, summer, and fall) this is your book.

05 / A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh: Love Hallmark holiday movies? I know you do! My friend Courtney writes the best romance novels and this holiday one is the perfect escape.

06 / Home for the Soul by Sara Bird and Dan Duchars: I love a good design book. The title made me sigh in the best kind of way. I have a chapter titled “The Soul of a Home” in my book. To me, home and soul are inseprable. So many great ideas to make your home soulful.

07 / Cool Dogs, Cool Homes: Living in Style with Your Dog by Geraldine James: This might be the best coffee table book ever! I got it as a gift for my sister (hopefully she isn’t reading this) and now I want a copy for myself. If you love dogs and cool homes get this!!! If you don’t love dogs and cool homes, are we even friends? haha.

08 / Leuchtturm Medium Hardcover Plain Anthracite : So this is a journal. It’s my favorite journal. I’ve been buying these for years. I love them because they have index and page numbers, pockets, and external rubberband. I love the version with no lines, however, you can get lined, dotted, graph.

BOOKS IN GENERAL

01 / Atomic Habits Book by James Clear: I’m not quite finished with this book yet (because I’m taking it slow–not because it’s hard to read or dull. Opposite. It’s so good, I have to work to not speed through it and to implement. For me, this is a game-changer book. Bonus: $11 down from $27. Get it and give it!

02 / The Next Right Thing by Emily Freeman: I love Emily’s soulful writing, it’s right up my alley. This is one that I keep returning to, because it’s insightful, resourceful, and encouraging in a no-nonsense kind of way. I’m terrible at decisions, but because of this book, I”m getting better.

03 / I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron: This had been on my list forever. Nora Ephron wrote some of my favorite movies (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail When Harry Met Sally), why wouldn’t I love her books? I wasn’t wrong. These essays kept me company and reminded me to love the wonky details of everyday life that so many seem to miss. I’m sad Nora Ephron can’t write any more movies or books.

04 / The Book of Waking Up by Seth Haines: I knew I’d like this one before I began it. Seth is an amazing writer. I’ve been on a journey to learn more about addiction and coping mechanisms–which is sometimes overwhelming and depressing. This book was the opposite of that. The Book of Waking Up was hopeful, colorful, and honest. Any book that can give me information and beautiful prose is a winner. I’ll be returning to it over and again.

05 / A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle: I want to re-read this one. I learned so much about life, about being. Madeleine helps us ask the right questions about our lives. Bascially I’m calling her a mentor in my life.

06 / The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: I love mystery. Ruth’s books never disappoint. This page-turner about a nanny in an overly smart home, in a secluded part of Scotland, had me up late into the night.

07 / The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny: I never knew that mystery could be comforting, but Louise Penny’s books are. I read several of the Inspector Gamache books this year. I can’t promise this one was my favorite. They are all my favorite.

08 / The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermiester: This book was intriguing. I loved the storyline about scent. Scent is such a strong sense. So many times smell takes me to what feels like a lifetime ago–a place, a person, a feeling. Bauermeister has beautiful writing and the fairytale-esque story kept me reading late into the night. I was sad when the book ended.

 

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What are your favorite things from 2020?  Leave me a comment, I’d love to know!

 

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This adds no cost to you but helps me to continue to share information and inspiration with you. 

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La La Loving

Here’s what I’m la la loving this week . . .

My Sudio Wireless headphones! I’m all about listening to podcasts, lately (tell me, what is your favorite podcast?) and these wireless headphones block out all the noise (ahem, four kids on summer break) while I’m listening and cooking (or cleaning, or pottering about the house).  I have the Regent White model and absolutely love them. I’m also a fan of their wireless earbuds (but again, was looking to block out noise this time around).

Sudio has been so gracious to offer all La La Lovely readers a discount.

Simply use code: LALALOVELY for 15% off

Happy listening, Lovelies!

This green velvety shell chair I spied on Pinterest really has me swooning. I just want to sit back, read a book, and pretend I’m a mermaid, naturally.

Flowers in the Brows

Sometimes it’s the surreal that catches my eye. Something we’d likely never do when it comes to beauty, but it’s beautiful to see anyways–like flowers in the brows.

Who doesn’t want to glow more? I liked these simple, doable little some things. I thought you might too.

 

This easy flag desert from Family Fresh Meals for the 4th of July. I’ve had a fixed menu for 4th of July for years, but this year…I’m ready for a change (and making it a little more healthier). I love how simple and sweet this flag desert is.

This reminder, from La Lovely Book, for when I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. Summertime is really a time for me to remember to Abide.

 

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Anything, in particular, you are loving this week?

I’d love to know!

By
Trina McNeilly

Trina McNeilly is a writer and founder of La La Lovely, where she has been blogging for nearly a decade. With an eye for beauty, Trina finds inspiration in styled spaces, other times in the broken places and everywhere in between. Through soulful writing in the voice of a trusted friend she shares her finds and all about being found.

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