September 16, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
One year ago today I waxed poetic about my amazing grandmother and how The Sweetest Occasion came to life. On that day, now over six years ago, I was about a year out of grad school with a fancy MBA, witnessing an economy that was literally crumbling before our eyes. In between printing, folding and mailing my resume countless times a week, I started a little blog. After a handful of posts I told my family and friends about my new pastime, which was sincerely designed just to keep me from going utterly stir crazy in a time when the world seemed bleak, layoffs were plentiful and jobs were scarce. I wrote every day. I spent time fiddling with Photoshop to improve what were my very rudimentary skills at the time. I went from reading a small handful of blogs to reading dozens. I poured over my favorite shelter magazines. I clipped, I shared, I wrote and in doing so I discovered a passion I had no idea could exist in my life. And somehow, now six years and far more than 3000 posts later, here we are.
[Just a tiny handful of highlights from the last six years. See links below!]
A few months back I wrote about my long winding journey to becoming a full-time blogger. In the last six years, the one thing that has remained constant is the joy that The Sweetest Occasion has brought into my life. I spent nearly three years at a job that taught me so much but left me feeling emotionally scarred. I was married and then divorced. I bought a house with a big inground pool and sold that house only two years later. I said goodbye to city living and relocated back home to the Thousand Islands region where life is more family-centric and more joyful than I ever knew possible. I doubted myself. I wondered if all my missteps and failures defined who I was. I questioned how a lifetime of being a workaholic, first as a student and then as an employee, could have landed me anywhere but someplace utterly amazing. I had done everything I was supposed to do. I had all the accolades, all the degrees, all the awards. I had checked all the boxes. And so many more times than I can tell you over the last several years I’ve felt like it has all been for naught.
Then, over the last couple of years, I realized. It did. All of that work, all of that passion, it landed me precisely where I was supposed to be. The twists and the turns made the tunnel seem endlessly dark at times, but ultiamtely life brought me to the place, to the work, to the people with whom I was meant to share my heart. In the end, I landed someplace more beautiful and more amazing than I could have ever dreamed of while I was living through the darker times. Now I’m living that dream. And it’s nothing like the dreams I had setting out, but it was worth every setback and every lesson I learned to wind up where I am today. Sometimes, if we let it, if we give ourselves up to the universe, if we clear our hearts, listen to our guts and have a little faith in ourselves, our dreams realized can be even more amazing than our dreams wished.
So today, as I reflect back on the first six years of The Sweetest Occasion and what it means to me, what I really want to do is to encourage you. Wherever you are in your life, whatever you’re feeling in your soul, trust in the journey. If you’re not where you want to be yet, keep working. If you’re feeling like hope is lost and you’ve messed it all up, remember that each new day is a chance to make life beautiful. I still have plenty of days where I doubt myself and moments when I’m convinced I’m doing it all wrong. In those moments, I pause long enough to look back and reflect on where I’ve come from and then I forge ahead. The last six years have been good. But, honestly, I can’t wait to see how amazing the next six years will be! Thank you for sharing the journey with me and remember, life is what happens when we’re busy making plans. As it turns out, maybe it’s better that way. xoxo
[Row 1: DIY Mini Bouquets | DIY Ribbon Flower Necklace | DIY Hanging Flower Chandelier | Row 2: Strawberry Cheesecake Pudding Shots | Homemade Infused Vodka | Grapefruit Fizz | Row 3: Sky High Raffaello Cake | Strawberry Milkshake Cake | Banana Cake with Honey Frosting | Row 4: DIY Party Animal Candles | DIY Glitter Vases | DIY Floral Centerpieces | Row 5: Stacey’s Golden Birthday | Brunch with Minted | A Summer Picnic.]
September 15, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
At this point I think it’s pretty undeniable that fall has arrived. I can give up the game of saying it’s “late summer,” because although technically true it feels nothing like summer here this week. The leaves are starting ever so subtly to stain red and orange. The wind has a crisp edge even on warm days. This morning it was outright chilly when we woke up! So naturally today, after a busy weekend of travel and hanging out with friends, all I really want to do is light a bunch of fall-scented candles and make a big pot of soup for dinner. Is anyone else ready to cozy up for fall? Here are six simple little ways to get your home ready and feeling festive for fall!
ONE I tend to drink way more coffee and tea in the colder months and a nice big ceramic mug is just the ticket for making that morning ritual feel a bit cozier. Don’t forget the warm apple cider, too!
TWO If ever a season were made for soup, it’s definitely fall. Now is the time to stock your pantry full of soup spices! With the right seasonings and spices always at the ready, you can whip up a delicious soup or stew any night of the week. Yum!
THREE Candles, candles, everywhere! Granted, that’s my motto all year long, but right now is when I’m swapping out my fruity, beachy scents in exchange for warmer fragrances. Linnea’s Lights is my go-to candle company and their signature Cashmere candle is perfect for fall!
FOUR I love cozy blankets and throws so this time of year I like to layer them up on every chair and sofa in my path. This cozy teal throw is a great price and I love the texture so I may have to add it to my collection of coziness.
FIVE If I could encourage you to make one investment for your kitchen this season it would be a good French oven. We have a few in different sizes and we use them all the time throughout the fall and winter for soups, casseroles and pot pies.
SIX While on Long Island this past weekend, we had the chance to do a tasting with Sag Harbor Rum at a cute little shop in Port Jefferson. I picked up a bottle to bring home and think it’s going to be the perfect rum for fall cocktails and spiked cider.
September 12, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
Happy Friday, friends! I’m coming at you live this morning from Buffalo where B had an early morning appointment today. From here we’re heading off to Long Island to visit our good friends for the weekend so by the time we make it home on Sunday we’ll have quite literally criss-crossed across most of New York State. Our weekend plans are basically just to hang out, but we’re contemplating taking the train into the city on Saturday or maybe going out to the beach to camp out for the night. Either way you can follow along on Instagram if you like! These kinds of loosely planned weekend travels are what we live for, but they don’t happen too often for us so when they do we make sure to pack in as much fun as we can. Before I run off for the weekend I’m sharing five super yummy fall desserts I’ve spied this week. What is it about the start of fall that just makes me want to bake all day long? I just can’t get enough. Be sure to scroll down for your weekly dose of Friday Link Love and I’ll see you here on Monday! xoxo
[Plum cake | Apple pie biscuits | Coconut macaroon peaches | Black plum tarts | Carrot cake donuts.]
September 11, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
I know I’m not alone in remembering exactly where I was on this day, September 11th, thirteen years ago. I was eighteen years old. Barely out of high school. I was trying on adulthood for the very first time. And suddenly, every bit of innocence I may have had left was shattered. Every year it continues to be really important to me to take a few moments to remember that day, remember all it meant to those of us here in the United States especially and remember all the ways that life changed after that day. I know we don’t talk a lot here about heavy topics or political matters, and in large part that’s very intentional. I like this space to be the place where we all come to celebrate, to be joyful and to find beauty in each and every day. But today, on the anniversary of the day that changed everything, especially in light of current global tensions, I just wanted to take a quick moment. To pause. To remember. To share my gratitude for the lives lost on both that day and in the many years of war that have followed. To express my appreciation that I’m privileged to live in a world where we can meet here every day in this pretty, happy internet place. To remind myself to love more, hug tighter and to begrudge less. This life we live is precious. This world we live in is complicated. But if we all strive to love and respect one another, if we seek to teach the next generation love and tolerance, I hope we’ll see in our lifetime an era where the world sleeps at night under the umbrella of peace. In the meantime, today I am remembering, and sending my love to each and every one of you.
To all of our fallen heroes and those still fighting for us today, thank you. To everyone lost on that day, to everyone who still feels that loss, my heart is with you.
[Lettering by Carla Paola Torres.]
September 10, 2014 | by Cyd Converse
Guys, I love my coffee. Sometimes iced in summer, always nice and strong, never that sickly sweet pumpkin spice stuff. (Sorry! I’m so sorry. I know so many people are obsessed and I mean no harm, but it’s just not my thing.) Come this time of year I seem to especially love my coffee. As the mornings grow cooler and a bit darker, there is something about that first cup that just sets the whole day up for happiness in my world. Lazily sipping in front of CBS Sunday Morning on the weekend? Yes. That’s my kind of bliss. So here are a few recipes, tricks and all around coffee-loving things I’ve been pinning of late. Here’s to the joy of a good coffee break!
[Row 1: Honestly Yum | Kiran Turan | Row 2: A Beautiful Mess | Click and Blossom | Row 3: Kinfolk | Offbeat + Inspired.]