Winter

Carnations and Sunshine

Carnations are romantic to me. I know they're a cheap flower - the world's classless fleur - but I just love them. They boast some beautifully bright colors and last a long time.

Life has been kicking me around a little bit this 2015, so on this actually very rainy day on the *brink* (I hope) of spring, I'm trying to let these flowers cheer me up with their brightness, and also this photo of my sunbathing Sunday dog. Neither with a care in the world.

How To Orchid

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT A GUIDE. This is more like a request for knowledge. I don't know how to orchid yet.

This is my first orchid! Well actually, I bought two from Ikea earlier this week. Orchids have become kind of a weird

thing

 in my family as of late. I remember years ago for Valentine's Day both of my parents bought each other orchids on the same day and brought them home after work. It was pretty funny.

In more recent history though, we did a White Elephant kind of Christmas gift exchange among my mom's family - aunts, uncles, cousins - this past Christmas and the hot ticket items were tied up between an orchid, which was wrapped and everything by the way, and a folding grill that collapses so small that it could slide right under a couch. The orchid was stolen three times, the winner of which was my brother, the youngest member of the family who swooped in at the last second and took it from one of my cousins who spent all of Christmas lecturing everyone about proper orchid care. Surprise ending. I had my heart set on puzzles though and got TWO.

This IKEA orchid is a phalaenopsis. Let it nearly dry out between waterings. Feed it a small cup of water once a week and keep out of super direct sunlight.

Doing my best not to kill my newest baby, but Ikea does not make their instructions easy to comprehend.

See here.

 What I'm REALLY unsure of what to do is if I should take it out of it's little plastic cup or not. The other orchid I got is much smaller and the veiny roots are growing out of the cup. Should I repot that one? And if so, what kind of soil should I use? It's all so confusing!

So if you have answers for me, please share.

P.S. Brad made me a smoothie this morning!

Coffee Break: Kefa Cafe

Kefa Cafe

is one of my favorite spots in all of Silver Spring. It's an Ethiopian Cafe that is run by a pair of sisters - Lene and Abeba - that make you feel like family when you drop in. Above is my favorite thing to get there: an everything bagel with cream cheese and tomato. Sometimes a little black pepper, if I'm feeling spicy. My mouth is drooling just thinking about this meal that I will have on Wednesday am for breakies. As you can see, I usually can't get a photo in before I take a bite - it is just that tempting.

Kefa always has the best plants - whether it's this money tree sitting in an oversized teacup by the espresso machine (sorry you can't tell from the photo), the little arrangements sitting on the tables that they change up with the seasons or the viney flowers that sit on the sidewalk out front during warmer months.

But a great reason to always come back is the rotating art gallery in their yellow room, dubbed

Space 7:10

. Here is a photo from my favorite exhibit ever -

BGOTI 365

.

Kefa itself is basically an art gallery and I could definitely go on and on about why this is the most amazing place ever and reveal the many photos that I've taken over the years, but I won't. Go visit. Take a book or a good friend because there is no wifi. It is a community hub - an institution of our little city - and if you know your local government big wigs, I guarantee you'll spot them there in their 9-to-5er political suits. Kefa is a place to clear your mind and enjoy a good cup of coffee. I recommend the hazelnut!

P.S. Find a mini version of Kefa at the new Silver Spring library opening in a few months.

You can support this awesome new endeavor here.

Breakies

"Breakies" is what we call breakfast in the Bramina household. It is all of our favorite meal of the day though we all have weird dietary restrictions about it. I don't eat eggs, Brad doesn't eat wheat and Rosie can only eat her dog gruel. But she is most excited about it in the morning.

Above: some Sweedish pancakes - the box mix of which was found at Ikea. IKEA HAS EVERYTHING!!!! They're almost like a cross between pancakes and crepes. PERFECT.

March Candle Subscription: Amping Up for Spring

March is a big birthday month in my family. My sister's is the 1st and my mom's is the 20th. Then my maternal grandmother's would fall on the ides of March and my paternal grandmother's is the 25th.

In our family, the beginning of March always the signifies the start of spring, regardless of the temperature. My sister has historically embraced a brand new spring outfit every year on her birthday - rain or shine; snow or daisies. I've seen her leave for the school bus wearing flip flops on her birthday, even when there was still remnants of snow on the ground. By the way, snow was a novelty where we grew up. It did not happen and stick very often during the season. We were too close to the Chesapeake Bay to ever get out of school for a good amount of time.

So in the spirit of spring, birthdays and maybe even some

New Growth

sprouting out of the ground, our March candle subscription package includes a

Fruit Blossom soy candle

and a pair of

Happy Day matchbooks

. Lift your spirits through these last few cold days and embrace them a little too. Every day is joyous with the right state of mind.

On Seeded Fruit

On this dry winter morning I'm reminiscing about Valentine's Day and getting massively lost in the US Botanical Gardens, which is the best, most humid space in the entire city in the winter. I cannot wait until spring when the National Arboretum is back in play and the cherry blossoms come out. I just keep imagining myself picnicking under a sea of white-ish pink flowers with a bow in my hair and a tiny dog in a picnic basket. I'm also an blissfully happy tiny white person in this fantasy. Maybe wearing ruby red shoes, but I digress.

The other day I may have been spectacularly not sober when my husband and I had a really in-depth conversation about fruit. We were eating seeded grapes and watching Netflix (cause that's how we do) and after researching whether the seeds were safe to eat or not, I had a major epiphany about how badly we were [probably, this is not a well researched stance] destroying the environment via food production and growing unnatural seedless fruit.  (I may have called all these fruit eunuchs more than once in my, again, not sober epiphany.) In fact, during my seed research I found out that seeds are actually very good for you, so I made Brad pledge with me to never buy seedless grapes - or fruit of any kind - again. 

His response: "Sounds good to me, [insert adorable nickname here]. Seeded grapes are cheaper anyway."

I'm coming off of a two month reading binge of the

Tao of Pooh

,

Te of Piglet

and both

Winnie the Pooh

books. All I can think of is how we should all be bumbling around like Pooh bear- living off the land, writing bad poetry, and spreading the seeds of fruit so they grow far and wide across the wilderness. As we were all intended.