Author: Misty Morning Design

Hi! I'm Misty and I'm the owner of Misty Morning Design - a design company + blog for people who like pretty things.

Maryland Renaissance Festival 2014

Even if you’re not into medieval sword fighting, fire-breathing dragons, wearing corsets, or shopping for leather goods, I highly recommend visiting a local renaissance festival. We go every year during the fall season, so it’s become a bit of tradition for us (we are lucky enough to have lived near the Michigan and now Maryland sites).

Maryland RennFest 2014

People watching is one of my favorite pastimes, and RennFest is a great place for it – people go all out on their costumes, like this group who made their own!

Maryland RennFest 2014

I love walking in and out of the little shops and talking to the owners and artisans who are showcasing their goods.

Maryland RennFest 2014

Maryland RennFest 2014

Maryland RennFest 2014

Hands down, the best part of going to a RennFest is the entertainment. Musicians, magicians, sword swallowers, jesters, jousters, acrobats… The stages are full all day with high-quality acts that are more than worth the admission.

Maryland RennFest 2014

Maryland RennFest 2014

Maryland RennFest 2014

Have you attended a renfest in your area? What’s your favorite part?

Maryland RennFest 2014

Maryland RennFest 2014

Maryland RennFest 2014

My Favorite Fall Fashion

I don’t consider myself a fashionista. The last time I picked up a Vogue was when Jennifer Lawrence was on the cover and I wanted to see her gorgeous photos with the glossy shine of a magazine slick.

I do, however, love to spruce up my wardrobe each fall. Maybe it’s residual excitement from back-to-school shopping, but I find myself adding a few chunky sweaters, a dark pair of jeans, and a few accessories to the mix every season.

This year I will need to do a little more damage to our bottom line… I accidentally donated all my sweaters to Goodwill when getting rid of my chubby clothes. (Note to self: label everything!) Here are some of the items on my wishlist, along with what I consider to be fall’s best trends.

fallfasionmistymorningdesign

Leather jacket (faux, of course). While robe coats were all over the runway this season, my go-to outerwear choice for the crisp fall months is a sleek faux leather jacket. The right one will look good with anything underneath it, from jeans and a flannel to a LBD. I love sleek styles, like this one from Wilsons Leather in black.

Layers. When done right, this is my favorite fall look. Try a patterned oxford under a solid sweater or a chambray top and heavy tights under your favorite summer dress. It’s so fun to mix and match different patterns and styles!

Scarves. The most versatile accessory a girl can have, in my opinion – have you seen this video with all the different ways to tie a scarf? I’m on the hunt for a great skull patterned scarf, like this one from Etsy.

Chunky sweaters. It could be because I work from home, but I find myself drawn more to comfy clothes that are slightly too big and feature expanding waistlines. Thick, large-knit sweaters are definitely my bag.

Boots. Tall, short, casual, dressy… doesn’t matter for this fall staple. I have my tall pair of brown and black boots that can easily be dressed up or down. I’ve had my eyes on these casual boots from Target. A nice pair of booties for professional trips would be great, too.

Flannel + flashy necklace. Something new for me this year, and a trend that’s popping up on my Pinterest feed. Pairing a fancy necklace with a more casual flannel top is a fun way to dress up for fall outings.

October 2014 Edition // Fall Fun

oct-edition-fall-fun

October tends to be the most exciting and fun month of the year for me. There’s something about the leaves changing from green to golden yellow, bright red, and orange rust that beckons me to play outside a little more, before the snow keeps me bundled up for the winter. My calendar is packed with more trips, visits to a pumpkin patches and cider mills, and (if I’m lucky) a bonfire or two.

Halloween also happens to be my husband’s birthday/favorite holiday, so we decorate early with skulls, ghosts, and generally creepy things throughout our place. The month isn’t complete if we don’t make it to at least one haunted house. Halloween costumes are picked out with more care than our wedding attire.

This month I’m excited to share my favorite fall fashion, recipes, and activities, including tips on how to throw your own pumpkin carving party for friends!

I know I wrapped up the travel edition last month, but I wanted to share some of my favorite shots from our trip to Gatlinburg. I felt so at home in the Smokies and the whole group of us had a fantastic time exploring, sampling moonshine, and spending time at the gorgeous cabin.

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Insert Snappy Title Here // Disclaimer

Have you read Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘ or Mindy Kaling’s ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Other Concerns‘? You may also be excited about the upcoming memoirs by Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham (like I am). These bad-@$$ ladies have inspired me to write a little more about my life and the funny, weird, sad, uplifting, depressing, and amazing situations I’ve gotten myself into.

But first things first:

Disclaimer

Sarcasm, hyperbole, and exaggeration are my main methods of communication.

If I have more than one of something, I have 47 of them (not sure why that number is significant).

If something happens one time, it always happens.

If I really like something, I am borderline obsessed with it. No wonder I’ve seen ‘The Little Mermaid‘ hundreds of times.

While all of the stories and situations I’ll be sharing are 100% true, I should just say they are based on true events. For example: my mom really did have a giant praying mantis on her pant leg when she opened the door to a shop in Tennessee during a family vacation. I don’t believe it was an actual ‘blood curdling scream’, but that’s how I like to tell it. Sounds better than “and she screamed loudly” – am I right?

I’m also a little bit of a goofball, but I think that just makes me more interesting. Like this one time I dressed myself up as a Bret Michaels pirate (and it wasn’t Halloween):

And no, I won’t regret posting that. Ever.

Introducing Ashley // MMD Contributor

I’m so excited to introduce you to my BFF (and favorite travel/adventure buddy) – Ashley! She will be sharing posts on some of her interests, like cooking and staying fit. Ashley has been a huge inspiration to me (also, isn’t she the prettiest!?) and I’m excited for her to share some of her favorite recipes and fitness challenges!


Meet-Ashley-MMD-Contributor

I am a food addict. I’m actually eating right now as I type this at 12:52 am. It’s an apple though. With maple almond butter. Healthy, right? I figured it was better than the three peanut butter cups I had before it.  I’m Ashley. Misty is my BFF. I’m honored that she asked me to guest post for MMD. It’s hard to decide what things are the most important to share with you, but here’s what I’ve got:

  • I pick up everything with my toes. Everything. The other day, I picked up a slice of cucumber that rolled off my salad with my toes.
  • I began fostering kittens for the Maryland SPCA this year. It’s one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life.
  • Cheese is my biggest weakness. Or chocolate. No, cheese. Dang it, I want another peanut butter cup.
  • I’m training for a half marathon next month in San Francisco. I use the term “training” loosely, as I’m really just occasionally walking or jogging and I’m going to do it regardless of how well I train. I will probably also regret that decision.
  • When I was 21, I resolved to travel to at least one new place each year. I’ve been to multiple countries in Europe and am planning a trip to Australia next year with Misty.
  • Hozier is my current obsession. Have you heard his music? If not, I highly recommend listening to “Take Me to Church” at the very least.
  • Maybe I have two obsessions right now. Have you played HearthStone? It’s an addicting online game to which I’ve devoted many hours. I also enjoy Last Night on Earth, Settlers of Catan, and many other board games.
  • Every time I have played “Two Truths and a Lie” with new people, one of my truths was that I was born with a tooth.
  • I dip my fries in mayonnaise. Everyone should dip their fries in mayonnaise.
  • I like making bulleted lists.

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences with you. I love to talk – especially about food. I already have a few recipes I plan to share in the coming months. Those things seem more interesting than knowing that: I’m about to be 30, I’ve lived in Columbia, MD since I was 11, and I’m a Business Manager at a marketing company. I’m fortunate to be where I am in life and I’m looking forward to sharing a part of my journey with you.

Reading, Watching, Listening, Eating, Doing // September 2014

As this blog continues to be a place for me to document my thoughts, projects, and life happenings, I thought it would be fun for me to capture the variety of things I am currently reading, watching, listening to, eating, and doing. A sort of snapshot in time of my current interests. What about you – what’s been important to you this month?

Reading-Watching-Listening-Eating-Doing_Sept-14

The Gravity of Birds // The L Word // Elevate // My delicious sandwich // Smoky Mountains

Hosting Out-of-Town Guests

As I wrap up this month’s edition focused on travel, it’s important to remember that travel doesn’t always mean I am going somewhere… This past weekend we hosted Alex’s dad and stepmom, who came to visit from Michigan, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips for making guests feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.

Hosting-Guests-Tips

Things to Buy

  • New candle for the guest room (or a plugin scent, like the Glade Cashmere Woods one I used)
  • Local treats (Berger cookies are always a hit here in Bawl’mer!)
  • Custom snacks/drinks (it’s always nice to reach out to get preferences before your guests arrive)
  • Bottled water (especially for out-of-state guests)

Things to Have On Hand

  • Neighborhood maps or visitors guides (especially if you live near a big city)
  • WiFi password (I’ve seen some nice ideas on Pinterest for displaying your password, we keep ours on a Post-It)
  • TV channel list (this is very handy if you don’t have a main cable box in your guestroom)

Things For the Guestroom

  • A wastebasket (often overlooked, always needed)
  • Have an extra blanket and 1-2 pillows available (I’m lusting over this one from Pottery Barn)
  • Soft lighting for late-night reading (something like this Ikea lamp is perfect)
  • A mini fan or heater (depending on the season)

For the Bathroom

  • A basket of sample bath/beauty products (I love sharing my Birchbox samples!)
  • Set out a few towels/washcloths (I like to spray them with a nice, fresh scent)
  • Buy a bottle of Poo-Pourri (trust me, life will never be the same again)

Things For Entertainment

  • Check out your local event calendar (maybe there’s a music festival or art show going on!)
  • Pre-select restaurants to make choosing a dinner spot easier on everyone (also helps to know your guests’ preferences beforehand)
  • Common house computer (we have an extra laptop that we keep in the living room so guests can log on to check email, etc.)

Do you have any other ideas that help make your guests feel right at home?

Travel-Themed Movies // My Favorites

When you’re focused on saving your pennies (like I am) it might be difficult to fit a vacation into your budget. Luckily, there are travel + adventure themed movies to transport you to another place. Below are my top 10 travel movies – did I miss your favorites?

top-10-travel-themed-movies

10. Brokedown Palace
Thailand seems like a beautiful country with rich history and phenomenal architecture. Just don’t make friends with cute boys who traffic drugs. While more of a cautionary tile/episode of ‘Locked Up Abroad’, I’ve always counted this as one of my favorite travel movies.

9. Little Miss Sunshine
Olive Hoover has the kind of “I’m me, take it or leave it” attitude at age 7 that I wish I had at age 30. This wacky family adventure reminds me of goofy road trips we’d take with extended family as a kid (but thank goodness we never had to sit through a baby beauty pageant).

8. The Way Way Back
This sweet coming-of-age movie had me wishing my family had a summer rental house near the beach.

7. The Darjeeling Limited
Wes Anderson has a signature style that makes me want to jump in each of his movies and live there for a while – especially that gorgeous pink Grand Budapest Hotel. In ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ three brothers take a journey on a train (how glamorous!) through India (how magical!) and reconnect with each other along the way.

6. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
I truly believe my love affair with New York City at Christmastime began the moment I saw this movie for the first time. Plus, it introduced me to the Talkboy, which provided hours of entertainment for my sisters and me.

5. Mamma Mia
The white, sandy beaches of a Greece provide the backdrop for some hilarious fun leading up to beautiful beach wedding. Bonus points for being a musical (based on one of my favorite Broadway shows!).

4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This film, based on James Thurber’s short story, made me want to do something crazy and adventurous. We settled for some fro yo after catching the show at our local theater… but in the spirit of Walter Mitty, I imagined we were ordering gelato from a tiny Italian gelateria.

3. Midnight in Paris
The only movie I have ever seen (or will ever see) by Woody Allen is a fantastical story that borders on fairy tale, transporting you to 1920s Paris (and present-day Paris, which is just as cool). It made me wonder what time/place I would like to visit…

2. Up!
There is no greater adventure than love. BUT traveling by balloon house to a far-off, exotic world where you meet talking dogs and interesting wildlife seems like a pretty fun adventure, too.

1. Dirty Dancing
How fun would it be to take a family vacation to an outdated, stuffy, preppy, country club? Probably not so much, unless a Patrick Swayze lookalike happened to work there. A girl can dream, right? For die-hard fans, you can have your own weekend getaway at Kellerman’s (aka Mountain Lake Resort)!

Swoon-Worthy Destinations

Jamaica and Canada are as far out of the United States as I’ve ever gone, but I do have grand plans for future world travel. While I dream of sipping café au lait at a posh French bistro and sailing along the shores of Greece, there are plenty of swoon-worthy destinations to explore here in United States. Here is my bucket list for US travel…Who’s ready for a road trip?

1. Blue Ridge Parkway
Up in the Appalachian Mountains is a 469-mile stretch of gorgeous scenic overlooks, hiking trails, campsites, and old homesteads. The Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and is one of the most visited area of our National Park System. I’m hoping we can check out a stretch on our trip to the Smoky Mountains at the end of the month!

image source: Blue Ridge Parkway

2. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
While the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s US travel bucket list, there are plenty of other beautiful natural sights that are worth a trip out West. The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is more than 100,000 acres of smooth cliffs, red rock amphitheaters, and hiking trails. It’s known for being a great place for solitude – I can’t image a better place for a hike to clear your mind.

image source: Wikipedia

3. Sequoia National Park
There’s a powerful beauty in the redwoods in California – they’ve been growing for thousands(!) of years. I want to take in the awesomeness that is General Sherman – the largest single stem tree in the world. The park spans more than 400,000 acres and reaches up to 13,000 vertical feet. The park also boasts the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States: Mount Whitney rises to 14,505 feet above sea level.

image source: National Park Service

4. Northern Lights in Alaska
If I could pick one thing to see before I die, it would be the Northern Lights. According to Wikipedia, the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are caused by the collision of solar wind and magnetospheric charged particles with the high altitude atmosphere. According to me, they are a magnificent display of the cosmos. To each their own, I suppose.

image source: Alaska.org

5. Savannah, GA
The only urban center on my list, and I chose it because of the lovely Spanish moss trees and southern charm of Georgia’s oldest city. It could also be because Gone With the Wind is my favorite movie of all time. Savannah has it all – beaches, historic landmarks, five-star food, ghost tours, early American architecture, gardens, and more!

image source: J. Meirs//WikiTravel

Tell me about some of your favorite places to visit in the States!