September 27, 2012

Redding Trip, what to pack...

Redding Trip... what to pack..


OMG... I am leaving for Redding tonight.. and the high when there... wait for it.. 102!!! ITS OCTOBER PEOPLE!!!! insane.... what the heck I am going to wear??? (well that's usually my issue any time I travel)

Hot weather = less clothes... great... just great... ( I'm loving the whole, it's cold so layer up look)

I need pieces that can easily transition from (wicked hot) day to night.. my thinking it just might be tank tops that save my life! and then of course the necessities.. aka acessories!!!
 ... the plan is, to have many versatile pieces that you can mix & match on the day...and I am sure when I get there I will raid my sister's closet (at least the 2% I fit in)!

But this list is going to be my packing inspiration (since I can't really afford Stella McCartney)...  here's hoping that I don't forget something and I don't melt away! See you all when I get back!
P.S... if you don't follow my blog yet.. you's the little button to the right says "join this site"..... it makes me feel loved! (no pressure, but.. seriously... follow me)

Redding Trip... what to pack.. by hopehowland featuring long tank tops

September 25, 2012

To live adventurously with you....

"I, Hope Celeste Burdick/ Covenant with you Seth Jeremy Howland/ to be my wedded husband/ to have and to hold from this day forward/ I promise by God’s grace to put Jesus first in our home/ Believing that He  is the source of our love and our lives together/ I pledge my heart to you/ to hold you safely next to me/ to care for you above myself/ and to protect you emotionally, physically and spiritually/ I pledge to be selfless with you/ to live adventurously with you/ and to cherish the gift you are to me/ I pledge my unconditional love to you/ for better and for worse/ for richer and for poorer/ in sickness and in health/ to love and to cherish/ until death do us part."

It was 3 years ago, and I put on a white dress with red shoes... and married my best friend.... it was the best day of my life.... I am so thankful for the blessing that Seth is, such a gift... (sorry I am going to be mushy)... There was a time when I didn't know if he would show up, you know what I am saying ladies.... You have a couple disappointments, and it seems like everyone is married or getting married... and I was like, "where is my someone?"
And just when I least expected, (I know they always say that but its true) he showed up to a party my roommate was throwing... and I was like, "oh man, he is so great.. there is no way he would be interested in me".... and for 6 months I was a friend, secretly hoping.. and falling harder and harder... On March 21 2007 Seth Howland asked me to be his girlfriend, and then after almost 2 years of dating (long distance) on December 29 2008 he asked me to be his wife....  
September 25 2009 

Since then there have been so many moments and times where I catch myself and say, "am I really his wife?" oh.. the joy...  3 years later... I am more grateful then ever, for Seth and I can't wait to see all the adventures we will go 
on, all the things we will see... I am grateful for all the kisses, all the walks hand in hand... all the "chin up, it will be ok".... and even the "scoot over your hogging the bed" or "oh babe, go brush your teeth"... (lets be real folks) Because life happens in the little things, and life with Seth, is the best gift God ever gave me....  I love you Seth, with all of my heart, can't wait to see what the next 97 years together will bring!

September 22, 2012


Tomatoes... tomatoes... and more tomatoes....

Nothing like a garden fresh tomato... it's sweet, and juicy... and it gets all over you... or at least that's what happens to me.. My father in-law has a garden and there are (were) lots of tomatoes.... and every year this time, I make homemade tomato paste... It's my mother in-law's recipe, and make ALL the difference in the world with homemade spaghetti sauce...  It's Seth's favorite, so I buy jar sauce only on occasion since doing this once a year!

Here is the recipe-  Thanks Lynda!

  • 3 medium onions (rough chop)
  • 1/2 stalk of celery (I used 2)
  • 3 medium green bell peppers ( rough chop)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt
  • 4 qt's of Roma Tomatoes
  • Pint size (2 cups) Freezer Ziploc Bags

Wash and quarter the tomatoes and fill half way up your blender...blend that sucker... nice and juicy... then add a couple hand fills of chopped onion, pepper & celery mixture.... blend again...  when blended   pout into stock pot. Continue this until all the tomatoes and onion mixture is blended and all gone.

It will be about half way up your pot, and foamy.
Place burner on high and bring to a boil, then reduce to  simmer to cook down, I needed to stir often and I found that for my stove (electric) Med-Low was a good simmer temp. But you will need to just see for your stove what works best. Let the sauce simmer all day, or until reduced by half, the foam will dissipate and I let mine simmer for like almost 4 hours. The house will smell divine!!!

Once the sauce has cooked down and cooled, take 1-2 cups (depending on how much paste is called for in your Spaghetti sauce recipe) and measure into Pint FREEZER Ziploc bags.... ( I didn't know there was a difference between  storage bags and freezer bags, hello freezer burn!) Lay flat and cool.

This pic is not the paste but stewed tomatoes... which I also did today but I forgot to get a pic of the paste in the ziplocks! So.. this will have to do... you get the idea...
 Mark the bag and freeze, for the next enjoyment! Use in the place of canned tomato paste, it will change your world!

September 19, 2012


Let's talk about accessories... for like no money... it can make your entire outfit pop!
confession- my favorite place to shop for accessories is... wait for it... Forever 21! inexpensive, great options and fits any size! can I hear and amen?

Many times when I don't know what I am going to wear in the morning, I will pick out my accessories and build my outfit from there. You can take a basic look, jeans, top & jacket and make it come alive!

Here's how I do it in three easy steps... (sounds like a self help program)

1- Pick out your accessories to your mood ... this is my "feeling like a boss" mood... sometimes its a "I guess I should put on something other then a sweatshirt & leggings" kind of day... but there should be no pictures anywhere of that!

2-Once you have decided your accessories, take into consideration the color that is being used, make sure that your accessories will  make your outfit come alive and not just blend in. In this picture I have a lot of gold, some good color options here would be blue or black. Nice contrast and dark colors are slimming!
3-Assemble!! don't be afraid to layer and go rock your stuff!! The world needs to see your awesomeness!  

And that is it..  If your stumped or need styling advice, just ask! I would love to hear from you, and answer and questions you might have!

September 13, 2012

A little funny...

Just a little funny to add to your Thursday....
 (read across, left to right)

I just think that life is easier when we can laugh at things.. (usually that is me, I'm hilarious lets face it and not always on purpose).... I have to brag, my man is incredibly sensitive... and there are days when I don't care how sensitive he is being... I just am... well... a little ridiculous... let's put it this way, Seth always deserves a "Gold Star!"

I am thankful that we have our wonderful men, friends & family in our lives to bring us back to home base.. to pick us up when we are crying, to make us laugh when that's all you can do and to encourage us for better things...  Thanks for that.. couldn't do it without you!

September 10, 2012

Little sister...

A couple of weekends ago my sister Charity and her mother in-law Trina came to visit me & Seth! It was wonderful, nothing like catching up over coffee, sharing makeup and fashion finds... talking so fast just because we are so excited to see each other (not to mention possibly waking the neighbors with squeals of excitement)... I am truly a blessed woman, my sister Charity is just wonderful, we are now living closer than we have in 3 years! (she and her husband are now living in Redding, CA)

what a ham!

like a kid in a candy store...

Charity & Trina were only here for a weekend and so we showed them around, we went wine tasting, took a drive around Alexandre Valley and laughed a lot... when it was over and she had left, I felt so thankful to have the time to reconnect and remember that because of so many reasons I am the luckiest woman in the world, one of them being my amazing little sister Charity.

September 9, 2012

H.H. Designs, thoughts on style, love & fun.

Fashion, interior design, style, photography ... Those are just a few of my favorite things. No, don't worry I am not about to burst into song. Its just hard to describe ALL of the things you love/passionate about when asked. I think that's why the idea of a "blog" is so alluring.  A place where all interesting things, that might catch your eye, or you just adore and you need to share with your world.

First off a little bit about me..... since I am still learning how to do this blog thing and can't seem to find the box to fill out the "about me" section...  (my poor husband, I can get a little stressed out).... but I digress.

                                                          Photo credit.

Ahem... me. Hope Howland (H.H.) I am married to the love of my life, Seth and we live (currently) in beautiful Sonoma Wine Country, Santa Rosa, CA.  I originally hail from Syracuse, NY (nothing like NYC), and I've lived and traveled to many different places.  I think I figured out once that I've changed mailing addresses 10 times in 11 years, I am a professional at moving! I'm kinda obsessed with purses, scarves & shoes! (who isn't?) I will lay in bed even though I am already awake just to figure out what I am going to wear that day.  My favorite color is red,  the way to my heart is through Jelly Bellies, I've been known to bust a crazy move on the dance floor at a few weddings. I can't cook chicken (unless you like it extra dry) and I love Jesus, with all my heart.

I just love traveling, food, fashion & interior design. Just a few of the things you can expect to see on this blog. I believe that greatness is in everyone, that we give honor to the Artist when we admire the painting for what it is, beautiful!