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Being Grateful

Posted on November 22nd, 2017


There is so much for which I am overwhelmingly, profoundly grateful. The unconditional love of my family. The support of my friends. The partnership of my husband. My education, my job, my home. They are amazing constants in my life, a beautiful baseline I appreciate more with each passing day. Truthfully, their magnitude is hard to write about—it is something I feel, but due in large part to my limited skills as a writer have trouble expressing.

 

So in the season of giving thanks, I took a pass at a different exercise. I thought about the everyday joys, the little moments and feelings and everyday objects that make life feel that much more meaningful, or even just ore fun. If you’re looking for a way to feel really fantastic this weekend between leftovers, online shopping, trips to the mall, I highly suggest it.

 

 

I took this picture at the shore near our house on Saturday. At sunrise, we were 10 miles into an 18 mile run. The beauty of the moment left me speechless!

 

 

  1. When the first wave of caffeine washes over you
  2. The smell of sunscreen
  3. Weeknight football (and weekend football!)
  4. Public transit
  5. Cashmere
  6. Notes from friends who see something and are reminded of you
  7. Noise cancelling headphones
  8. Fireworks
  9. Fat free feta
  10. Plaid season
  11. Instagram communities
  12. The comfort of routine
  13. Lululemon leggings
  14. Mothers who always answer the phone
  15. Amazon Prime
  16. The institution of marriage
  17. Free Drink Days at Starbucks
  18. The timelessness of blue and white
  19. Bundled-up winter walks
  20. Popcorn
  21. Direct flights to your hometown
  22. Long runs in 45 degree weather
  23. The power and truth of numbers
  24. Group text threads
  25. Pandora’s Christmas music
  26. The warm hug of a beautifully merchandised shop
  27. Weekends with no plans
  28. Support and generosity from unexpected places
  29. Going places without looking up directions
  30. Friendly cashiers, baristas, servers, etc.
  31. Longer battery life
  32. Working remotely
  33. When you adore your friend’s significant others
  34. Creative people sharing content
  35. Commuting shoes
  36. Being a restaurant regular
  37. Complex harmonies
  38. Child’s pose at the end of a barre class
  39. Self-awareness
  40. Getting to sit next to your spouse on the train
  41. The charm of old homes
  42. Feminism
  43. Husbands who laugh at your jokes
  44. Children’s laughter, sincerity, and wonderment
  45. Wordplay
  46. The burning smell immediately after you light a candle
  47. Therapists
  48. Sharing memories with the ones with whom you lived them
  49. Christmas lights
  50. Snagging the perfect reservation

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

 

 


Healthy-ish Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Posted on November 19th, 2017


Given all that has happened in the past few years, it is amazing that there are any optimists left in the world. An increasingly rare breed, but I count myself among them. I believe in clichés like “women can have it all,” “the best is yet to come,” “every cloud has a silver lining,” etc. I also believe that every once in a while, the food you eat to nourish your body and the food you eat to nourish your soul can be the same.

 

 

Enter these muffins. They really, truly scratch the itch of a sweet and seasonal un petit quelque chose, but in a pretty reduced-guilt way. The brightness of the cranberries really pops against the pumpkin spice palette, and the oatmeal texture is comforting. Trader Joe’s had great budget friendly cranberries, and if gluten-free is your thing, this recipe could easily accommodate that. My recipe made 17 muffins, but how much you fill the tins and how much you lick the bowl is between you and your pumpkin spice god.

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

 

1 15oz can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
6 oz fat free Greek Yogurt
¼ cup milk
3/4 maple syrup
¼ Stevia (can substitute sugar or brown sugar, or omit for less sweetness)
1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
Pinch of ginger (optional)
Pinch of allspice (optional)
Pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3 cups rolled oats
¼ cup flour (added for texture—can substitute almond flour or omit for GF)
1 heaping cup cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Beat together wet ingredients (pumpkin, eggs, yogurt, milk, maple syrup) until thoroughly mixed. Add in spices, baking powder, and flour. Stir in oats gradually until texture is consistent. Gently fold in cranberries, taking care not to burst them.

 

Fill wells of a well-greased muffin tin 2/3 of the way. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-17 minutes. Extra delicious when warm!


Friday Five

Posted on November 17th, 2017


6 days until my FAVORITE holiday!  Thanksgiving wraps up so many of my favorite elements– food, football, family, tradition, and gratitude.  We will be back in St. Louis this year, and since I haven’t been in St. Louis for the holidays since 2015 it will be particularly meaningful.  But first…

 

image source

 

Ian and I are heading to The Game (the annual Harvard/Yale football matchup) in New Haven tomorrow.  Given the quality of Ivy League football, we’re really mostly in it for the reunions with friends and tailgates.  It is rude to show up empty handed, so I’ll stock our car with a myriad of goodies.  I just took these Caramel Apple Cheesecake bars out of the oven… they seem promising!

 

The article says it all: “Dog lovers, this is the moment you have been waiting for.”  You can now match your loungewear with your pup.  Twinning and winning.  (Although the pajamas I have my eye on don’t come in doggie sizes.  Sorry, Gracie)

 

We’re definitely pretty far from being able to furnishing/decorating our house, but we couldn’t resist picking up this print from Chasing Paper’s new collection.  I love the message in a kitchen or dining room, Ian loves the Beatles, and we both love color.  No matter where it ends up, it will be bringing good vibes.

 

I stumbled upon the most fun Instagram account this week (as pictured above).  Marie combines cheeky humor, puns, and exquisite baking photos–  I can’t stop scrolling!

 

Wanted: navy mittens to coordinate with my new hat.  Maybe these?  Anyone have any suggestions?


Friday Five

Posted on November 10th, 2017


Fridays are my favorite days in the blogosphere.  I love the roundups people post, from the products they recommend to the articles that have resonated with them.  I’m religious about reading the posts of the blogs I follow in order, and with my schedule lately I’m only through October 30… but I look forward to eventually reading the Friday postings from today, too :-)

 

 

-The Draper James blog frequently has amazingly delicious recipes, but unfortunately, taste testing is not part of the job. We’ve been drooling over this cake since the post went live, so I’m bringing it for the team for a Friday treat today. I sometimes find baking with pumpkin difficult from a texture perspective, but hopefully sticking to the advice of the professionals will lead me to success.

 

-I ordered these shoes the second they hit the website because I don’t think they’ll be in stock very long!  I’m glad I ordered two sizes, because I noticed they’re already sold out in one of them.  Plaid shoes are such a good way to make a neutral outfit feel festive.

 

-I’m a littttle bit compulsively proactive, so I HAD to order my Christmas cards in October to get the early bird discount. I used a new vendor this year, so I was a little unsure, but they arrived this week and definitely exceeded my expectations. The paper is excellent quality, the turnaround was fast, and there were so, so many designs I loved that it was difficult to choose a favorite. Can’t wait to share them once I get them in the mail in December!

 

-The ranch house is admittedly not my dream aesthetic, but the Before & After on this one in New Orleans is giving me so many good vibes. The kitchen and master bedroom are particular favorites. I’m very strongly considering this bed for our new master, and seeing the similar look here is making me feel very secure in that decision!

 

-Last but not least… sometimes, I see a glimpse of my future#friesbeforeguys #friesbeforeeverything


Weekend Walks

Posted on November 7th, 2017


There are so many little joys that have come from living closer to my family, from casual weekend lunches to impromptu walks after work.  I could pretend that I had not thought of this before we moved, but I’d by lying– as soon as I knew we were moving to New York, I called permanent, forever dibs on my favorite family chore: dogsitting Gracie, our family dog!

 

My parents travel very frequently, so Gracie has already had several extended stays in Westchester.  I think she views it as her vacation home.  During the week, a dogwalker spends time with Gracie during the middle of the day and Ian and I handle the morning and evening duties (we hate leaving her to go to work!), but on the weekends we have time for long, leisurely walks around town.

 

 

 

Even though my new office is the most casually dressed at which I’ve worked, I still find myself taking it down one notch on the weekend.  With our marathon training schedule, we’re running somewhere between 13 and 20 miles on Saturday mornings, so the last thing I feel like doing after showering and a little recovery is putting tight clothes on my achy body.  I’ve been reaching for looks like these frequently.

 

 

 

The “athleisure” trend can be a bit misleading.  There is no real exercise I could do in this cozy Athleta wrap cardigan, for example, but it is a good pre/post class piece for those 6am workouts, and can handle a long puppy walk and weekend errands, too.  It is more of an elevated jersey sweatshirt material, has enough length to provide coverage in the back, and is crazy soft and comfortable.  I now own three of these Ts, which similarly provide a longer length that makes them easy to wear with everything (size down, though!).

 

 

I also recently went back to Lululemon leggings after a few years away while I worked my Nordstrom discount… guys.  They’re so expensive, but so worth it.  No other garment makes me quite as appreciative of my Bar Method booty.  I was in denial, but am willing to admit the error of my legging ways.

 

Shop my look and similar pieces below (click to view in browser):

 


{Fun}draiser

Posted on November 6th, 2017


Sometimes, nonprofit work is a grind.  The tasks are not always glamorous; the challenges and logistics can be daunting.  But sometimes, the days are fun, the wins are quick, and things fall into place.

 

My best friend, Hannah, was married in St. Louis during the last weekend of October, and my mom and I were both so excited to have an excuse to head back to the Midwest.  We have so many friends and family that we do not see nearly often enough; I had not been home for five months.  We devised the perfect scheme to lure them all to one place so we could visit with all of them during our relatively limited window of availability– under the guise of charity, naturally!

 

 

 

The best smelling, best visually merchandised shop in St. Louis is K. Hall Studio, and my mom and I have been fans for a long time.  (Good chance you’re familiar with the products they wholesale to Anthropologie and other retailers)  My mom asked if they would be willing to stay open late for us on a Thursday evening, allow us (along with a friend) to throw a cocktail party in their shop, and donate a portion of sales to JDRF.  Miraculously, they agreed!

 

We spread the news to everyone we knew with our “Mummy Needs a Drink” invitation via Paperless Post.  A perfect pre-Halloween theme, set in a venue that immediately makes you want to start your holiday shopping.  We planned a few snacks, and offered beer, wine, and {spiked} cider.  What else is there?  The team at K. Hall was amazing in their support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two hour event flew by, and we felt so fortunate to have so many shoppers join us for a visit.  Definitely the most low maintenance, most fun event for JDRF  I have worked on.  This is a great time of year to approach your favorite boutiques, local or otherwise, to see if they would be willing to partner with you in support of your favorite causes.  Generosity, shopping, and social engagements are at an annual high– ’tis the season!

 

Wearing: Dress // Shoes (size up at least one size!)


The Internet Absence

Posted on November 5th, 2017


How are you?  It’s been a while!  The past few weeks have been a time of adjustment and activity.  I’ve really, really missed sharing on this platform and the creative outlet it provides, but truthfully, I did not feel like I could deprioritize anything else (including sleep!) to carve out the time to create content I wanted to share.  I thought I would check in as this low key weekend winds down!  Here is what I’ve been up to in my internet absence:

 

 

I started a new job.  Obviously, getting in a groove with my role and company (and the daily commute into NYC) has taken most of my time and mental energy.  Being at a start up is a completely different challenge, but I’m really loving my broader book of work, the fast-paced, efficient culture, and the variety of experience… and the product, too :-)

 

 

I signed up for another marathon.  Ian and I will be running 26.2 miles to support JDRF again in January, and we’ve been pounding the pavement and logging the miles to get ready.  (+ Bar Method… always Bar Method)

 

I stepped up my volunteering.  I’ve been pretty focused on working with JDRF since graduating college, but I know there are so many fantastic organizations doing incredible work.  I wanted to diversify my experience by learning from other perspectives, approaches, practices, etc.  The Junior League supports a myriad of groups, provides excellent member training, and offers social opportunities in my new community, too.  I’ll be wrapping up my provisional membership period at the end of the year, and am looking forward to exploring new areas in 2018.  (Don’t worry– JDRF has not been neglected!)

 

 

I traveled to two weddings (+ one bachelorette party), and was particularly honored to stand with my best friend when she married her groom in St. Louis last weekend.  My jaw was on the floor when the bouquets were delivered to the suite where Hannah’s bridal party was getting ready!

 

 

We made more progress on house design.  We’re expecting the permits back for our renovation any minute now, and have been combing the internet for inspiration, products, and designs that will make this old house into our perfect first home.  The kitchen pictured above (source here) has a similar layout and several elements we’ll be using in our kitchen, too.

 

I started reading more.  The commute on Metro North is perfect for reading, something I freely admit I have not done enough in the past few years.  I’m currently reading Here I Amand would love if you would share your recommendations with me for my new pick.

 

On the one hand, September feels so long ago, but on the other hand, I can’t believe the holiday season is right around the corner (and in my industry, it’s here!!).  I’m definitely packing as much as I can into each day, but am reaping the rewards of a very full and very happy life.

 

PS Just a reminder that you can always follow me on Instagram for more real time life updates!


Between Seasons in the Hudson Valley

Posted on September 20th, 2017


Between family vacations and our minimoon I’ve definitely done my fair share of preaching on the greatness of Mohonk Mountain House.  On our way back from Saratoga this weekend, my family took a few hours to check in on our little slice of heaven as “daytrippers” for lunch, a carriage ride, and a little strolling around the grounds.

 

 

 

 

The northeast is unspeakably gorgeous in the fall, and it was apparent that we were just a few weeks away from the bold fiery colors that characterize autumnal bliss in the Hudson Valley.  Sunday was quite warm, however, and I found myself caught between that summer and fall state of mind.

 

 

 

 

With weather that feels like sundresses but a calendar that says otherwise, I have found myself looking to blend the two and reaching for neutrals.  Layering a pullover sweater over a dress is both a figure flattering and practical solution.  The sweater can be removed if need be, and you’ll still look put together underneath.  I find this usually works best with a sweater that is a bit longer and a bit looser, and pairs nicely with straighter dresses (shifts, sheaths) than with fit & flare. Black & white is not my usual color scheme (contrary to recent appearances), but it’s always a safe bet for any season.  I’m also counting this as my personal “wear white after Labor Day” rebellion!

 

If it seems like I am constantly wearing the same pairs of shoes recently, it is because I am.  Most of my shoes are in storage, but this has been an interesting insight into how many pairs of shoes I really need.  And yes, I could have edited out the bandaid, but I decided to go for some blogger realness instead.

 

 

 

 

I know some people are opposed to the sweater + dress look– what is your stance?  Shop similar pieces below (and click here to view in browser):

 


JDRF Takes Saratoga

Posted on September 18th, 2017


What a weekend.  I’m so glad I don’t start my new job until Wednesday, because this was one of those weekends where you feel totally wiped on Sunday night and I am grateful for time to collect myself!

 

One of JDRF’s coolest fundraising and community initiatives is their Ride to Cure Diabetes program, an annual series of five weekends in gorgeous locations around the country centered around a 100 mile bike ride.  Thousands of people from around the country fundraise and participate each year, and the triumphs are really multifaceted.  The riders feel tremendous pride in their personal physical accomplishments out on the course, the whole community celebrates the substantial amount of dollars raised (over $38 million raised through the program to date!), and it is an amazing way to connect people impacted by type one diabetes from all over the country.  My family’s first ride was in 2007 when our involvement in JDRF was less official, but our involvement has escalated, and the rides are a big part of our calendar each year.  My godparents have gotten amazingly involved, too, and joined us in Saratoga this weekend, too.

 

 

While I didn’t train as a rider for this past weekend’s Saratoga event (with moving that was just a bit too much to handle!), Ian and I were so excited to jump in and support while having a great excuse to go to Saratoga.  It was wonderful to get to know Saratoga in a sleepier state, separate from the horse racing craziness, and it is an incredibly charming town.  Great shopping– I particularly loved Violet’s and the Pink Paddock— and delicious restaurants all along a walkable downtown strip.  We also took advantage of Saratoga Spa State Park, which was the perfect place to run a (very flat!!) half marathon on Saturday morning after we sent the riders off shortly after sunrise.

 

 

 

PS Can any botanists confirm whether this is a fading lavender field?  It looked like a magic purple field of clouds, but I imagine there is a more technical explanation.

 

My grandmother had made the journey to Saratoga from St. Louis, too, and the three of us spent most of our time during the Saturday staffed at the finish line, cheering for riders as they returned from the road and making sure they were well taken care of.  Over 600 people came through, and the inspirational feeling that permeated each time a rider crossed the finish line never faded throughout the day.  Naturally, my highlight was seeing my two parents cross the finish line together.  Not their first time, not their last, but I never cease to feel so proud of their accomplishments.  I can only hope their grit, determination, and dedication are genetic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, over $2.7 million was raised this past weekend for diabetes research.  We often say that a diagnosis with type on diabetes comes with a silver lining: admission into a very friendly, supportive club that no one really wants to join.  This weekend was a great illustration of that– yet another event I leave feeling hopeful for a cure and inspired by people I would otherwise never have met.


Friday Five

Posted on September 15th, 2017


In the handful of days I have before I start my new job, Ian and I will be heading to Saratoga to join my family for JDRF festivities this morning.  Another perk of living on the east coast– when we had originally discussed this trip back in February, we were planning two flights and a bunch of time off work.  Instead, we’re just a few hours by car!  I’ve never been to Saratoga and the weather for this weekend looks gorgeous, so I’m really looking forward to it.

 

 

Mail Days… After two months of waiting, the sunglasses case (designed by Lycette) I had made for myself earlier this summer is back from the finishers.  I almost never stitch things for myself, so it’s an extra fun treat!  I have been loving my new(ish) Sonix sunnies, and they fit perfectly inside.  My next canvas is en route– can’t wait to get back to stitching again.

 

Magnolia… Chip & Jo are coming to Target!  Their affordable collection, Hearth & Hand, hits stores on November 5, but unlike limited time capsule collections, this will be more of a permanent collaboration.  I admit that as much as I adore them and what they do their actual aesthetic is sometimes a bit too shabby chic for my personal tastes, but I’m sure I’ll find some way to bring a piece of Fixer Upper into my home.

 

Mimicking… This look on Sarah Vickers is such a wonderful embodiment of real life, everyday, classic autumnal dressing– and at 8 months pregnant, no less.  And such a good example of the wonders a pair of shoes can do.  (Author’s note: I’m pretty sure I’ve looked more pregnant after simply going out for pizza)

 

Mulling over… I’m a week late on this one, but this article with Reese Witherspoon’s thoughts on ambitious women really addresses a dynamic I have contemplated for quite some time.  The gendered language around ambitious women is certainly discouraging, and we have seen the impact those attitudes have on opportunities and representation.  What would happen if we encouraged women to be a little more ambitious?

 

{Half} Marathoning… Being upstate with gorgeous weather and a few hours of free time were too tempting– Ian and I are going to run a half marathon in Saratoga on Saturday morning!  Nothing official, we just plotted out a 13+ mile route to explore on our own.  I haven’t run more than 10 miles at one time since January, so I’m looking forward to stretching my legs in a beautiful place.

 

Here’s hoping we all end the weekend feeling content and counting 10 toenails on our feet!