How I Discovered the Secret World of Plants

Two years ago, I fell into an amazing job I never would have expected to love so much. I work with botanists. They speak in a foreign language (of Latin names but also very technical science speak). Honestly, I don’t fully listen to a lot of conversations. I’ve learned to pick up what I need to.

And what I’ve learned and seen has transformed the way I view the world.

If you’ve never known a botanist, you know that going anywhere with them is difficult. They tend to walk one step at a time, stopping to crouch and look at plants. They shout out plant names (always the scientific name) and families. They disagree. They collect and identify later. Sometimes they encourage you to smell or chew on a leaf. Which I always do because the botanists I work with are my friends, and I trust that they aren’t trying to kill me (don’t get any ideas from this, y’all).

I’m not anywhere near that level (I never will be), but the little I know is enough to annoy the non-botanists around me. Joseph doesn’t care about the names of the plants we walk past in the parking lot, but I can’t help but say them. Is that what it feels like to be a mansplainer (although I hope I’m less awful)? 

There’s a whole world of plants around us that I didn’t care about or notice before. How did I go about my world not seeing this before? And new species are discovered every day.

Joseph and I have always liked hiking. But now that I know to look at the vegetation, I can’t even remember what I got out of hiking before. I am finally really looking at the world around me – and it’s unlocked this key to being outside that I didn’t know was missing.

Although Joseph would say otherwise, I think it’s started to rub off on him as well. On our recent trip to Palo Duro Canyon he fell in to the same habits as me. As we walked, we noticed the vegetation and how it changed along each trail. He joined me on pointing out when we encountered a species we hadn’t yet seen. What fun! Seriously! Try it!

There are a few other benefits to my job in the world of botany:

I work with rare botanical books dating back to the 16th century, like the one above: Flora Londinensis by William Curtis, published in 1777. (I can also go on and on about William Curtis….)

In my building is an herbarium full of over 1 million dried plant specimens. I’ve spent a lot of time marveling at how pretty they are, although they are also used by hardcore scientists for other reasons! Like… actual science!

The natural sciences is one of the few STEM fields that employs more women than men. And for me that’s a huge bonus! I love working with badass smart women every day. Even better when we get to work outside.

And some pretty cool men too. How do you get a West Texan man to walk around with a handful of pretty, pretty flowers? It’s science!

A John Mayer-less Rodeo

Where I grew up in Houston, the annual rodeo was, to me, merely a vehicle for concerts. My very first concert was in 2004, and I got to see my favorite artist at the time – John Mayer. At the rodeo… a fact which seems really strange to me now.

My chaperones were brother Brent and his wife Melissa. And I was super annoyed that they made me sit through the, like, rodeo activities before the show. Excuse you, I was just there for John. What’s with all the barrel racing?? What does this have to do with finding out there’s no such thing as the real world, that it’s just a lie you have to rise above?

So I was surprised when I first went to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. It’s a big deal here (I’d argue it’s even more culturally significant to the city than Houston’s is), but it’s not a concert. It’s all about the animals and serious competition – no pretty boy singers! I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or not.


I have a thing for cows and have since I was a kid. I want to be a cow.


I like walking through the exhibits when the rabbits are here. They are all so funny and beautiful!


This breed reminds me of the Heavy Boobs song in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

What Have I Been Up To?

Adult responsibilities have taken over, and this little old blog fell off my radar! A few people have mentioned they’ve missed reading it, and I have to say I’ve missed writing it and being a part of the blogging community. I also really, really miss having a reason to pull out my big beautiful camera and take photos.

So here I am. Hello, all! Before we get back into the swing of things, I’ll give you a few highlights of my past year:

Discovered pink and purple hair

pink
The initial pink hair was a happy accident. I went to my hairdresser with the idea of a nice rose gold, but my hair really took to the pink dye. Thankfully my workplace is pretty laid-back, and my boss loved the pink. Since then I’ve gravitated more towards purple – it’s a bit more subtle and a little better with my complexion. It’s really, really fun watching the unnatural colors fade throughout the months between my salon visits.

Dove into nature



I’ve fallen in love with nature thanks both to my new job and a recent discovery of a love for rose gardening. Nature’s awesome, y’all! Our world is amazing! Although I spent a lot of time outside as a kid, and Joseph and I really enjoy hiking down, the way I see the world around me is so different now. It’s crazy that I went decades not caring about the names and uses of the plants and animals all around me.
My newfound love of nature has also had a pretty major impact on my personal style. More on that later! Hint: lots of botanicals, lots of ferns.

Went crazy for embroidery… again


Like most of my hobbies, embroidery has been cyclical. I picked it up 8 years ago and have gotten into it a few times again, with varying intensity. But lately I’ve fallen for it hard, thanks in part to the modern embroidery movement. There are so many incredible embroidery artists out there right now who are pushing the boundaries of what can be done with thread and needle. My Instagram feed has turned into a source of constant embroidery inspiration!

Built a deck


My parents came to visit and helped us build this beautiful deck!

Started collecting records


Collecting records opened up a whole new world for me. It’s forced me to expand the list of artists and albums I listen to (I realized a few months in that over the past 10 years I’ve done little to branch outside the music I listened to in high school. gross!), and it also makes listening to music a very active experience. Plus, I’m super into collecting limited releases, especially records pressed on colored vinyl.

Went to Disneyland


And, of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Also – kinda big news – Joseph quit his job in the fall of last year and started his own company. I’m super proud of him and of the team he’s assembled.

Let’s consider this post a jumping-off point for future blog posts. Except for the hair stuff. As much I love my unnatural colored hair, I really don’t have anything else I can write about that ;)

Birds Birds Birds

I’ve been actively trying to attract birds to our yard this year because the cats love watching them. But we’ve had a few struggles (we can blame it on our dog, our apparently too-clean glass, and holes in a bird nest situated above our front walk), and I now have a tiny bird cemetery in the front flower bed.

But things are looking up–there’s a nest with four baby birds under our front awning! They are so cute, and I love getting to watch the mom feed them several times a day.

Leonardo and Severus are thrilled. Joseph and I have to keep a ladder on hand so we can carry them onto the windowsill above the door to watch. Although today Sev tried (unsuccessfully) to jump up there by himself… from the floor.

I hate this tiny window by the front door, but it’s the perfect size for Sev to sit and bird-watch. Not to body-shame Leonardo, but his hips are a bit too wide to fit there.


We have birds in the backyard too, but they’re not quite as fun to watch.

Galentines Weekend

This weekend my lovely friend Victoria, who I call Tilly, came to visit! We were best friends in high school, first united by our love for Harry Potter and then Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, The Strokes, and foreign films. Tilly and I are so similar. I’m pretty confident that we’re soulmates.

Although we hadn’t spent more than a couple hours at a time together in over seven years, it was completely natural being in the same house together for three days. I’m so sad she’s back home. It’s hard living far from friends, especially friends who wear the same size and have such great wardrobes.

We got brunch at one of my favorite places in Fort Worth on Saturday – AF+B. They always have wonderful cocktails and the most delicious pastries and scotch eggs.

You can’t visit Fort Worth without a trip to the Kimbell Art Museum. We just missed an exhibition that ended last week, but their permanent collection is incredible on its own.

We planned on spending Sunday in Dallas, but we had a full day on Saturday and felt pretty fulfilled with everything we did in Fort Worth: the best eating, shopping, museums, gardens. So we spent most of the day at home, though we went out for lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant Joseph and I love.

Severus and Leonardo both love Tilly. Sev was by her side almost the entire time she was here, and they both slept with her at night! Sev doesn’t even sleep with me most of the time!

We went into Dallas only once – to eat at Asian Mint. We initially wanted to go for their green tea ice cream cake, but we were so full after our meals (which were delicioussssss) that we didn’t even get a slice. Though by the time we were near home we were hungry again and made an ice cream stop.

~~Polaroids:~~

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