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Image by: Kristin Dunker
From the Editor ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Where I live (in southwestern Virginia) all of the flowering trees have burst into celebratory bloom! Such welcome harbingers of spring.
I hope this month's issue refreshes and inspires you as the changing seasons always do for me.
I would love to hear: what is your very favorite thing about spring? Just hit “reply” to drop me a note!
–––––––––––––––––––––– Loving What You Own
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By: Kristin Dunker
I'm sure many of you have heard of Marie Kondo and her Konmari method of decluttering. The short version is this: Marie challenges her readers to pick up every single item that resides in their home and physically hold it for a moment. The intention is to see whether an item "sparks joy" in your heart (or not). If it does, it stays. If not, it goes. 
This concept always brings to mind the William Morris quote about not having anything in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. This quote has resonated deeply with me since the moment I first heard it, years ago, and I've been on a quest to beautify even the most utilitarian corners of my home ever since.
An unexpected side effect that I've noticed has been that it is, in actuality, a delight to care for things that you love. 
Exhibit A: I own a few sweaters that need to be gently washed/reshaped/laid flat to dry/regularly shaved/the whole bit. There is a particular cardigan that I purchased not so long ago (for a pretty penny, no less) that was a thorn in my side from the very beginning. I loved how it looked. Truly. But it arrived with half it's buttons loose and dangling, got so pilled up during a normal day of gentle wear, the wool percentage was high making it a bit too warm most days, it was duster-length and as such, took up my entire drying rack for a few days. It was an irritant. And caring for it was an irritant. But because it was so new, and I had paid so much, I kept it. By doing so, I was willfully welcoming a source of constant negativity and actually resenting every time I had to care for it - which resulted in me not even wanting to wear it in the first place. I even had a sinking feeling in my stomach when I would see it in my closet, innocently folded up, never being worn - because of all of the negativity I had mentally attached to it. Vicious cycle.
(I no longer own the sweater)
On the flip side, I have some other “special needs" clothing that lives in my closet. They fit perfectly, wear well, stay fresh looking longer, and make me feel 100% cozy when I have them on! I wear these all. the. time. Incidentally? I also love caring for them. As I'm smoothing them onto the drying rack, or shaving the occasional pills off, I'm smiling and thinking of how grateful I am to own something that brings me such daily joy.
We love to care for things we love.
Exhibit B: We last moved from a 100 year old home with original wood floors that were in excellent condition for their age. Each time I mopped those floors my mind would wander to all the people who had spent time in that home…the celebrations, the heartbreaks, and all the everydays inbetween that those delightfully creaky floors had quite literally supported. Mopping became almost a sacred experience. - Now I live in a tiny cottage built in 1980. It, too, has original hardwood floors. But these floors have been sorely abused over their comparably short lifetime. They are patched and scratched, stained and discolored, scraped and perpetually dirty looking. I positively despise mopping these floors. They make me sad and angry thinking about the disrespect they have endured.
There are so many other examples around my home that I could cite - these are simply the first two that came to mind. When something sparks joy, the joy that it adds to your life transforms its care from drudgery to delight. So why not focus on intentionally filling our homes with things we love (and will consequently love caring for) and intentionally removing those things that are a source of constant angst?
It might just be revolutionary.
Art & Nature ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
“I’ve always had a love of pattern and in my botanical flatlays I have combined this with my everyday life which largely revolves around my garden. Seasonality is very important to me, I always try to appreciate what is in season and flowering at the time. Even in winter there are pieces that can be made into a pattern. This particular March I found hamamelis, cotoneaster, alder and the first leaves of a rose.”
Harriet can be found on Instagram as @yomargey sharing beautiful little snippets of her life in the UK, and gorgeous seasonal flatlays (my favorites!) like the one above. In her own words she is a: very nice wife | tolerant mother | gangsta granny | cook | gardener. She is usually found with trowel in one hand, and a camera in the other.
 ––––––—––––––––––––––––––––– Book Review
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By: Kaleigh DeVilbiss
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I was gifted this book back in 2015 when my cousin (who also happened to be one of my favorite people) unexpectedly passed away. He had an extensive home library with hundreds of books lining its shelves. Reading was just one of the many things we had in common and enjoyed talking about together. When my aunt allowed my sister and I to pick out a few books of his, this beautiful blue, Italian-art-inspired cover just gave me a deep feeling that I was meant to take it home. Turns out, it was the last book my cousin had read before he passed, and he had recently added it to his list of favorites. Like I said, I just had a feeling.
I immediately started reading Beautiful Ruins which transports you into the lives of a 1960’s movie star, a young Italian man trying to achieve his dreams in a small Italian fishing village, a present-day movie director and young man trying to make his writing dreams come true. Each one had something happen in their lives that seemingly left them in ruins. Through faith, trust, and ultimately love this story jumps timelines from the 1960’s to present day and finds a way to turn their ruined moments into something truly beautiful.
The way Jess Walter builds her characters and scenery makes you feel like you are connecting on another level to these people and places in time. The overall theme being that bad things happen, that is life. But it is the way that we handle those bad things that determines how we continue living life. Do we let them ruin us? Or do we turn them into something beautiful?
I don’t think my cousin would have wanted us to focus on the ruin that his death brought to our life. He would have wanted us to turn it into something beautiful. I have recommended or gifted this book to several of my friends and family and have read it myself 3 different times. I hope it will bring as much joy, inspiration, and feeling of connectivity to you as it does to me.

Kaleigh lives in Dayton, Ohio with her husband and two pets: Louie (a tabby cat) & Henry, (a beagle). Though she currently works in marketing, she recently went back to school to pursue a degree in biology in order to work with animals. In her free time, she loves to read, bake, and play sand volleyball.
Cherry Blossom Season ––––––––––––––––––––– 
"We are like blossoming trees: holding on, letting go, rising and falling into our weathered souls."
-Angie Weiland Crosby
Image by: Kristin Dunker
–––––––—––––––––––––––––––– Garden Diaries
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By: Kristin Dunker

Feb. 8th | Soaked and planted the first round of old-fashioned sweet peas directly in the garden.
Feb. 20th | First sprouts appeared!
Feb. 21st | Planted a heavy crop of romaine lettuce seeds, the second round of (soaked) sweet peas, and a first round of Chinese Forget-Me-Not seeds that were left over from last year - so I'm not sure of their viability. Figured it was worth a shot as I'll plant another flush in March anyway.
Feb. 22nd | First daffodils are blooming! The garlic chives and scallions have all new bright green spring growth shooting up.
March 2nd | Lettuce is up and going strong. The first round of sweet peas is around 3" tall or so…a few of them even have a set of true leaves out already.
March 3rd | The pear tree flushed into bloom today.
March 4th | After a deep rain, there is so much life bursting out in the garden all at once! The Endless Summer Hydrangea is showing both old and new wood growth, an Echinacea is sending up a few leaves (which seems earlier than usual). Nice mounds have developed on the Agastache, Nepetas, and Salvias. The peonies are all between three and six inches tall now. I'm wondering if we should shield them from our ravenous rabbit population until they're a little taller… Oh, and I noticed some self-seeders sprouting in the raised beds…I'm thinking they may be Love-in-a-Mist, but it's too early to tell.
March 5 | A few Chinese Forget-Me-Nots are starting to poke through the dirt!
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Image by: Kristin Dunker
Quote –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
“Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.”
– Unknown
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––––– Comfort Food
Baked Brie
w/ grapes, pistachios, and thyme
Cook time: 10 mins | Prep time: 10 mins | Serves: 8-10
500g (17 oz) brie wheel
1 1/2 cups seedless red grapes
1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
3 thyme sprigs
10ml (2.5 T) olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
honey to drizzle
In a 30cm (12") round oven-proof dish add the brie in the middle. Add grapes and pistachios around the brie. On the brie add olive oil, sprigs of thyme, salt and pepper.
Bake on 200C (390F) fan force (convection) for 10 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs. Break into the brie and lightly mix through with the grapes and pistachios. Add fresh thyme leaves, drizzle honey, and serve straight away with crusty bread or crackers.

I’m Amanda Cordony.
I’m an original recipe inventor, food content creator and the new food contributor to House and Garden Magazine Australia.
I specialize in wholesome home cooking with a focus on simple, tasty whole-food recipes to nourish family and friends.
After years of providing original recipes to high-profile food stylists/chefs, catering, and styling intimate gatherings and special events in Sydney, I’ve now built The Cordony “online” Kitchen so you can have more time at the table enjoying the conversation rather than cooking in the kitchen!

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Image by: Kristin Dunker
On Minimalism ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
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"In a minimal interior, what you don't do is as important as what you do." - Nate Berkus
Minimalism or this idea that “less is more” has not only taught me to be more intentional with what I choose to bring into my home, but also how to be more intentional with my time and relationships so that my life aligns with my values.
Your time, space, and energy is limited. So every yes is a no to something else.
Minimalism is intentionally choosing the yeses in your life in regards to your home and belongings. But this same principle can be applied to every area of your life. And what you don't do, is just as important as what you do.

Jaimie lives with her family in California and writes about her journey towards minimalism. She loves her two dogs (Max and Duke), living near the ocean, and her favorite way to take coffee is with a bit of maple syrup and heavy cream.

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Image by: Kristin Dunker
–––––––—–––––––––––––––––––––– Shop Small
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I happened upon the most darling little Etsy shop recently.
As an avid lover of all things vintage and vintage-inspired, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful images that Robin, of Edgewood Farmhouse, uses to craft the darling offerings in her store. From Memory Game Cards, to seasonal buntings, to recipe cards (all pictured above) there are so many charming options to choose from. I adore her greeting and note cards, and the alphabet/spelling flashcards for little ones learning to read. Not only are her wares practical for use, but also perfect for framing. She does sell actual full-sized prints as well though!
If you love a vintage vibe - or maybe you're looking for some cute Easter basket fillers for your little ones, be sure and check out Edgewood Farmhouse today!
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What's Saving You Right Now? –––––––––––––––
That's the question I posed to my Instagram friends recently, and here is what some of you had to say:
My recliner and heated blanket  | Dark chocolate  Planning my garden | Visiting Florida in February My precious cat  | Fuzzy pjs |  Sunshine, ice water, and a cozy mystery set on Cape Cod  |  A  spring bonfire | My favorite tea | More daylight

Well, that's a wrap on issue two. I've so enjoyed getting back to this “sweet spot” of mine, and putting together a monthly e-zine that feels a little like a snail mail letter from me to you. A heartfelt thank you to those who dropped me a note last month to say how much you enjoyed reading it! ♥
As with the birth of any new idea, the future depends so heavily on good old-fashioned word of mouth. Your taking the time to share this e-mail, The Zephyr's landing page, sign-up link, or any of the many promos and reels I've posted on Instagram with your friends is appreciated more than I can say. 
Chat with you again soon!

Be well,
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