I’m Christine Castro Hughes, a designer, writer, and mother of two darling children. I also run a graphic design studio out of my charming, crooked craftsman house. Brunch is my blog. More »
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love letters

When Rama and I first met, he lived in Portland, I lived in Los Angeles, and writing letters was a big part of our friendship-turned-courtship. Once we were officially dating, I started writing what I called "love letters." They were one- or two-sentence notes scrawled on scraps of paper and post-its that said things like: "L is for laughter. We laugh so hard my cheeks hurt."

I wrote a lot of those notes in our first year or two of dating. I'd slip them under Rama's door and sneak them on the dashboard of his car. I always meant to get through the whole alphabet, and last year I finally did. I thought it would be sweet to present them to Rama for our 5th anniversary in some kind of wooden box (in line with the traditional wedding anniversary guidelines that we so nerdily follow).

I wanted the box to look like it had been sitting in the attic, so I bought a vintage recipe box from Etsy and a vintage label holder at an antique hardware store. I cut alphabet dividers, using index card dividers as a template, and hand stamped the letters onto each. I typed the "love letters" label on my trusty typewriter.

I made stationery by scanning my favorite security envelope liners that I've collected over the years. The notes were laid out in Illustrator and printed on the reverse side of these patterned pages. Each note fit into a kraft coin envelope that I labeled with my amateur calligraphy. 

I was so happy with the way it turned out, and thankfully Rama was too. 


the good, the glad & the lovely : introduction

Many moons ago, I started the habit of counting my blessings. Quite literally, I would make a numbered list, from 1 to 100, of the things in my life for which I was grateful. It could be as simple as the color blue or as profound as the love of my family. When I saw those good things in my life, in black and white, there was no denying that I had a pretty good life.

I started sharing these lists online, through my site and a mailing list, several years back. Although I've since stopped sharing them publically, I've continued to record them in my sketchbook every week or so. 

I sometimes think this practice has saved my life. That's kind of an exaggeration, but it's also kind of true. I have found myself way down in the dumps, and seeking and cataloging the beauty despite it all has lifted me back up time and time again. 

I've decided to start sharing my good life, again. I'm calling this almost weekly project The Good, The Glad & The Lovely. Some weeks, it will just be a list of good things. Other times, I may feature something or someone wonderful. Once in a while, I'll post do-good missions that we can do together. It's gonna be great fun.

This week's Good, Glad & Lovely list:

- Living room dates with Rama after the kids have gone to bed.
- I have "kids," plural!
- Spur-of-the-moment get-togethers with friends.
- Any moment with my sketchbook I can get.
- The Pie Hole's maple custard pie.
- Proof Bakery's prosciutto and butter sandwich.
- The first strawberries of the season.
- Doing things that are a little bit scary and finding out it's not so bad after all.
- Henry's unabashed passion for music.
- Maira's smile.
- Clients who are "blown away."
- Making things with my hands, whether it's a card or a meal. It's so satisfying.   

What are your good things today? 


The Good, The Glad & The Lovely is an experiment in gratitude. I've been keeping lists of good things in one form or another since I was a girl. I hope you'll join me as I count the positive, accept the not-so-great, and try to do a bit of good, too. 


printable valentines for lovers & procrastinators

Valentine's Day or not, sending love notes has always been a pasttime near and dear to my heart. I've been doing it since I could handle a pair of scissors and a piece of construction paper. I made these valentines to sell many moons ago, but I thought it would be fun to give them new life as free printable notes for you and yours.

Yes, I know, Valentine's Day is already a few days away. You are probably way more together than I am, and you've already signed, sealed, and delivered your cards. But on the off chance that you're a slacker like me, feel free to use these. Just print the page on card stock, cut along the crop marks, and slip each note into an envelope (A2 sized envelopes work great). 



notes from alt summit

I almost didn't make it to Alt Summit this year.

Just as I was getting ready to go, something awful happened. I was holding Maira in one arm and loading up the car with another when she turned her head and whacked it on the car door. The accident result in a three-hour wait in the doctor's office, two tiny stitches, and one missed flight. There were several other mini disasters in the week leading up to the conference, and Maira's injury was the last straw. Part of me was ready to throw in the towel and call it a lost cause. But another part of me knew that Maira was more resilient than I was, that she was already okay, and that she would be in excellent hands while I was gone. Also: I knew I would regret not going. So, I jumped on the next flight out.

I'm so glad I went. Although I was distracted by the family I left behind, I had some fantastic late-night conversations and learned some wonderful tricks of the trade. I also got to share some of my own expertise, which I plan on sharing in another post soon. For now, here are a few of my favorite words of wisdom shared by others:

"Blogging is not about money. It's about passion driven content that is good."—Meg Keene

"If I cram my life with the things I love, there's no room for the things I don't love."—Gretchen Rubin

"There are so many things that are good enough, why not pick the thing that's beautiful?"—Ben Silbermann

"Always ask for what you want."—Erin Loechner


letter to maira : 6 months

Dear Maira,

Happy Half Birthday! I'm a few hundred miles away today, otherwise I would be showering you with hugs and kisses and more kisses and hugs all day long. I cannot believe you're already 6 months old.

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