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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!


Nordy Girl No More

Posted on September 13th, 2017


We moved 82 days ago, but it has not been until today that I have needed to say one of the most difficult Seattle goodbyes.  Today is my last day with Nordstrom, and I am closing out a chapter in my professional career that has not only brought me opportunity for growth beyond my wildest dreams, but has also brought me years of immense joy.

 

 

 

When Ian and I were assessing our options when he received a very enticing offer in New York in the spring, I was pretty panicked by the thought of losing my professional momentum even as it was fairly evident that the move would be the right choice for our family and future.  Logistically, I also knew it would be a pretty tricky time for my team at work to be playing a man down.  I presented options to my team’s leaders, and it was mutually agreed upon that I should plan to support the team remotely for a while until a smooth transition could be planned.  I was pretty elated with this outcome– I was eager to continue with some of the exciting projects on which I was working, and from a personal perspective it would be one fewer urgent variable as Ian transitioned jobs, we moved 3,000 and we bought a home.

 

 

 

But alas, that transition time has arrived.  To say I’m a bundle of mixed emotions is an understatement, but I can truthfully report that the prevailing sentiment is gratitude.  I wanted to learn and be challenged, and Nordstrom presented me with so many incredible teachers and problems to solve.  My experiences were enlightening and empowering; each new day felt like an adventure.  In a world where “I hate my job” seems to be the catchphrase of so many millennials, it’s not easy to give up this kind of situation!

 

I have no doubt there are many exciting, fulfilling days ahead both professionally and otherwise.  (I do have a wonderful next chapter lined up already, but I’m a little superstitious and don’t want to say anything specific before my first day next week!)  But today, I’m a little sad, a whole lot grateful, and really, really happy I was able to be a corporate #NordyGirl.  If you want tips on how not to cry during your exit interview…. don’t ask me because I wept like a baby.

 

To the Nordstrom family, I say: Thank you for being a friend.


Black, White, and Cotton All Over

Posted on September 10th, 2017


There is a definite perception (not entirely unfounded) that price and quality of materials are directly correlated.  Polyester and synthetic fabrics are more readily available at lower price points, and when I’m shopping with higher price sensitivity, I often have trouble finding a lot of options with natural fibers that are more comfortable.  Let’s be honest, this isn’t a prissy high maintenance thing– my skin breathes better in cotton, cashmere, and wool, and sometimes at the end of a long day that acrylic/nylon sweater NEEDS to come off.

 

I was drawn to the graphic weave of this sweater as a piece that would not require much fancy styling, and quickly clicked “add to cart” when noting the 100% cotton marking (aka no dry cleaning) in the product description.  It runs true to size for a slightly looser fit that would look good with jeans or over leggings and boots.  I popped it on with a pair of black ponte knit pants, which continue to be the only pair of non-jeans pants I own/will willingly wear.  Black ponte knit pants = dressy leggings you can get away with at work = pajama party at the office, it’s the transitive property.

 

 

 

The weather was gorgeous this weekend, and we spent a lot of time just enjoying being outside.  Larchmont has a small-town village center which we found ourselves strolling several times over the past few days, which was particularly fun with a little white dog in tow… also espresso.

 

 

 

 

Sweater // Pants // Bag- similar 1, similar 2  // Sunglasses // Shoes- similar 1, similar 2

 

Shop a selection of budget-friendly cotton sweaters below (if you’re reading this via an email feed, click here to view in browser):

 

 


Friday Five

Posted on September 8th, 2017


A short but productive week!  Ready for another weekend where we’re staying in town before we start the every-other-weekend travel schedule until Thanksgiving-ish.  Two of our best friends are coming up for a Westchester date tomorrow evening, and my dad is coming up to see our house for the first time on Sunday, so we’re looking forward to playing host (as if we didn’t just move here three weeks ago…).

 

 

This picture was snapped on an evening walk at a house around the corner.  Such a good example of an English garden– teach me your green thumb ways!

 

On Friendships… I really respect Jess & Hallie‘s honest posts about the struggles they had in their friendship in the past year.  Everyone knows, accepts, and discusses that romantic partnerships take work, but there are a lot of parallels in platonic relationships between two people, too.  I have had times where I have felt I have lost my way with some of my dearest friends, but it is always, always worth it to try to work through things with the people who mean most to you.

 

On Puppies… Gracie is back from the Hamptons, but my parents are still on the road, so Gracie is having a few days in Larchmont with us.  I’m loving having a little white fluffy shadow, and she is loving the freedom to join us on car rides, run around in a yard, and receive pats from cute children in our neighborhood.

 

On Autumn… Normally I reassure myself the there are still a few weeks of summer after Labor Day, and growing up in the Midwest temperatures often lingered in the low 80s until October.  This year, I’m already packing up summer clothes and reaching for transitional pieces.  Due to my distaste for wearing long pants, I see this as a regrettable situation.

 

On the Electoral College… For any other American political science nerds out there, I found this article interesting… by which I mean I read the whole thing and did some additional research and still haven’t decided how I feel about the proposal.  I have problems with the Electoral College, but I’m not sure this is the solution.

 

On Shopping Local… This morning, I drove up to Darien after dropping Ian at the train to visit what is quickly becoming one of my favorite boutiques, Kirby & Company.  With an impressive greeting card selection, tons of cute giftables, a little cafe, and some amazing home decor pieces, it is pretty much everything I am looking for in a store.  I was there scouting inspiration for our renovation, and ended up picking up a casual 10 cards and some other little items.  (Not sponsored, just real love!)  I also swung by Darien Sport Shop and was able to get the snuggly Sail to Sable top I’ve been coveting for fall.  It’s just in that perfect sweet spot of dressy sweatshirt that you can get away with on casual Friday while also pairing perfectly with your weekend leggings and riding boots.

 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, and sending extra good vibes to readers in the Southeast facing severe weather.

 

PS I updated my “Wearing & Wanting” sidebar this week– including the perfect red raincoat on which I have already gotten so many compliments!


Labor Day Weekend Snapshots

Posted on September 5th, 2017


Busy weekends with back to back adventures have their place in life, but there is something so blissful about an open weekend.  On Friday, I was practically giddy at the thought of three days without much on the calendar.  There would be time to get stuff done, time to continue exploring our new neighborhood, and time for fun, too.  Despite a somewhat lackluster weather outlook in the Northeast, the weekend delivered in spades.

 

 

 

Saturday was our lowest key day.  It was overcast and chilly but not raining, so we had an 8 mile run before setting out on important local expeditions: I needed to find a nail salon, and Ian needed to find a barber.  To celebrate our self maintenance successes, we had a quick lunch at Walter’s, a hot dog stand that has been a Westchester staple for almost 100 years.  Certainly the best $2.50 hot dog I have ever eaten!  We spent the rest of the day mostly basking in the glorious return of college football before our usual early bedtime.

 

 

We awoke Sunday to a monsoon, but would not be deterred from our day of exploration.  One of our groomsmen has just started law school at Yale, and we were so excited to take advantage of the fact that we finally live close to our friends that we forced ourselves on him after only one week of classes.  On the first leg of our Connecticut adventure, we stopped in Westport.  I had been dying to visit the Serena & Lily design house, which on a rainy day felt like a cozy day at the beach.

 

With the weather having interrupted our plans to visit while strolling around the Yale campus, we had no other choice but to queue up for America’s best pizza at Frank Pepe’s.  It was my first Pepe’s experience, and as a devout pizza lover I found it practically holy.  Worth waiting in the rain for sure!

 

 

The sun broke through on Monday, and Ian and I woke up for a sunrise run to say goodbye to summer.  Always painful when the alarm goes off, but always worth it.  Besides, we were on a schedule– we had a date in Queens!

 

 

 

For our anniversary, Ian had given me tickets to the US Open.  I had only been to the US Open once and never to a day session, and Ian had never been to a professional tennis match at all.  The US Open feels like the Disney World of tennis, and from junior girls’ doubles to men’s singles in Arthur Ashe the excitement is palpable.  We really want to make this an annual Labor Day tradition.  Sipping a Honeydeuce in the sun watching world class athletes is the perfect summer send off.

 

Summer is my absolute favorite, and I will never say I’ve had enough, but our Labor Day Weekend was a wonderful encapsulation of summer’s sweetness that leaves me satisfied and looking forward to next year!  And looking on the bright side: at least autumn is my second favorite.


Renovation Roll Call

Posted on September 4th, 2017


When we set out to buy a house, we were not by any means looking for a project, but we also recognized that given our stage of life (newlyweds, no kids) and the neighborhoods into which we were looking to move, we may have to take on some renovation to capture the value and check all of our boxes.  Ian and I are not particularly handy ourselves, but we are open to learning and also feel like this is a good time to oversee a big job.

 

While the ninety year old house into which we moved has definitely been loved and cared for, there are some things that need to be done to make it a welcoming, modern family home.  I had actually had my eye on it from the first day it came on the market, and pushed our realtor to take us to see it when she did not include it on her original list.  Our original visit confirmed what we had thought: it would not work for us long term as is, but it had the potential to be fantastic.  It sounds like a lot when listed like this, but these are the 7 overarching categories into which I’m mentally breaking our renovation:

 

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Two story addition- The most major thing we are doing is adding space.  The biggest problem we were unable to solve using the existing footprint of the house was closet space.  It seems like people in 1930 maybe only had 3 dresses, so it works for them that the closets are about the size of my high school locker.  Call me materialistic, but we need a little bit more space.  The addition is not massive in terms of square footage, but it will enable us to expand the footprint of the kitchen on the main floor and add closet space for two of the three bedrooms upstairs.

 

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Opening the floor plan- As with many older homes, the layout downstairs is a bit boxy.  As of now, the kitchen is only accessible by walking through the dining room and past the basement opening, and the living room exists in the front of the house by itself.  We plan to open up flow between the kitchen and living room with a five foot opening that could be closed off with pocket doors while entertaining, but which will be open most of the time to connect the main family spaces.

 

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Kitchen renovation- The entirety of the current kitchen is being removed as part of the expansion and floor plan adjustment, so we really get to start from scratch here.  I am so excited about the direction we are heading in!  We will be able to get in a fairly large island, which was important to me, as well as two ovens and a pantry.  I will be baking my brains out, basically.

 

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Mancave- Part of the basement will be finished out for a little (and I do mean little) mancave for Ian.  Probably the smallest part of the project, yet the most pivotal in our marriage :-) He plans to use it primarily as a screening room, so if I play my cards right I may get invited downstairs for movie nights.

 

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2nd floor bathroom- We’re still deciding on the scope for the upstairs bathroom renovation, but right now we’ll plan to do a facelift at minimum and a new layout at most.  Realistically, we may need to wait for a Phase II before hitting the bathrooms hard.

 

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Cosmetics- All walls need painting, all light fixtures need replacing, all floors need refinishing, the fireplace needs a mantel… In refreshing these, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to better align the finishes with our style, too.

 

Systems- This is the boring stuff like relocating the furnace and replacing the hot water heater.  Know that it is happening, but that I probably won’t feel the need to discuss it.

 

We are targeting completion, or close to it, sometime around the New Year.  We will be planning to live in the house for as much of the renovation as possible, so while it will be fun to see the progress so closely, we will be in for a messy fall.  As I mentioned the other day, we are loving our neighborhood and feel so grateful to be in such a wonderful place, but I am so excited for renovations to start in earnest so we are that much closer to the finished product of our home sweet home!


Friday Five

Posted on September 1st, 2017


Labor Day Weekend!  The weather isn’t supposed to be great for the first part of the weekend, so Ian and I have major football watching plans tomorrow and are heading to New Haven to have lunch with a friend on Sunday.  The sun will come out on Monday just in time for us to head to Flushing to the US Open.  I have only been once and Ian has never been, so we’re both really looking forward to it.  There are definitely perks with living in New York!

 

 
I’ve never been a coastal girl, so it still wows me that this is where I live now!  Not a bad place to spend a Labor Day staycation.
 
Sending love and lifesaving supplies to Texas.  The list of heartbreaks associated with Hurricane Harvey is too long to enumerate, and many people with chronic illnesses have been waging life and death battles as they deal with limited resources and treatment options.  JDRF has led a campaign in partnership with the American Diabetes Association and Project Blue November in supporting Insulin for Life’s lifesaving work to deliver insulin, syringes, blood sugar testing supplies, and medical devices to hurricane victims living with diabetes.  The first supplies were delivered this morning, and they are already changing outcomes for Texas communities.  If you would like to support the campaign to get Harvey victims the medical treatment they need, you can donate directly to the efforts through this link.  On a personal note, I’m so proud of my dad and JDRF for pioneering this groundbreaking initiative.

 

Feeling like a newlywed.  With our anniversary last Sunday, I have been feeling like a newlywed all over again!  Ian spoiled me with the largest bouquet of flowers I have ever received, and I’ve been enjoying them– and married life– all week.  It is easy to feel excited about the future when I know it will be spent with such a marvelous guy.

 

Taking the homeowner plunge.  Being a new and first time homeowner and facing a big renovation comes with approximately infinity decisions, but I feel like I made good progress this week in finally making a few concrete decisions.  It may seem silly, but I tend to plan and plan and then get nervous about actually pulling the trigger.  We have a contractor and architect with whom we have been working closely on the overall design, but in ordering fabric samples and some light fixtures, I’ve taken the first baby steps on my own, too.

 

Shopping sales.  Everything is on sale this weekend!  I was excited to see such a good collection of transitional coats from Tuckernuck (like this striped Barbour and this reversible red one), and I’m pretty in love with these incredibly fun J. Crew heels that I now see are tempting me with their 30% off ways.  Though let’s be honest– I’m trying to save my money for exciting things like curtains.

 

Getting inventive.  I’ve had a bee in my bonnet about a recipe that had been existing only in my head that I really wanted to try, and I finally had the chance to execute this week.  Since Ian’s coworkers (currently the #1 recipient of my baked goods) at his new job have not had too many of my creations at this point, I’m really trying to deliver quality as I build up my reputation with them.  Luckily the “Brown Butter Almond Blondies” of my dreams seemed to have delivered!  Recipe to follow once I have a semi-photogenic kitchen.  Aka in the winter.

 

 


The New Digs

Posted on August 30th, 2017


As I hinted in my birthday recap post, Ian and I closed on a house in Westchester a few weeks ago!  When we planned our move to the east coast, we knew we wanted to buck the millennial trend by skipping city living (= expensive rent) and investing in a longer term home (= expensive mortgage).  I had lived in the city before and hadn’t loved it, and financially, if you don’t really want to be in New York City, you shouldn’t be.  Even so, we knew that this would require a giant leap of faith.

 

When we were thinking about where we wanted to live, we envisioned a place that felt more like a cute little town that happened to be near New York City rather than a place that exists to be a suburb for Manhattan commuters.  With all of our criteria in mind, we considered a few communities north of the city most seriously: Rye, Larchmont, Greenwich, and Darien.  Available inventory and proximity to the city determined the winner: we now live in Larchmont!  It is an easy 35 minute train ride to the city, which makes for a convenient commute and an easy trip for weekend dinners with friends, but has an adorable village center, great schools, and tons of families that really make it a wonderful community.

 

 

We have technically been living in the house for the past three weeks, but we have a very big renovation planned such that we aren’t fully getting settled (aside from the planters my mother put together for our front porch– thanks, Mommy!).  Except for clothes, a bed, a couch, and a TV, our belongings are safely stored in the basement.  The goal is to be in a place where we’re able to “move in” more fully by the new year.  I love following other people’s renovation adventures, so I am definitely planning some posts to take a closer look at our plans and progress.

 

 

 

 

Hint: that middle picture shows where we will be adding a two story addition!

 

Even without the picture perfect home (yet!), we are loving being here.  We run down to the water and back every morning through gorgeous neighborhoods, we say hello to our neighbors on our evening walk, and are starting to identify our favorite local spots.  So far, this leap of faith seems to have landed us on solid ground on the other side.


Nightingale Nuptials: Part Three

Posted on August 29th, 2017


Sorry to leave you hanging!  When we left off, Ian and I were husband and wife and pretty darn excited about it.  We caught our first glimpse of the gorgeous party we had been planning for nearly a year, and seeing each of the details fall into place was fantastic.  My favorite was our custom toile (thank you, Nico & Lala) incorporated onto our cake.  We did have a full dessert bar with different flavors of macaron, carrot cake pops, traditional St. Louis gooey butter cake, chocolate dipped macaroons, and cake truffles, but I love cake and didn’t want to eschew the custom!

 

There is only so much you can do to transform a traditional indoor space, but our planner did an amazing job by mixing table styles and building custom arbors over the long tables, even casting a romantic glow with dangling votives that played off the brass tapers.

 

 

 

 

 

The dinner we served was definitely non-traditional, particularly for a black tie wedding.  We included lots of the elements you would find at a typical wedding– filet mignon, lobster, chicken– but used them in more casual ways by serving heaping platters of tenderloin sandwiches, lobster rolls, and fried chicken.  We gave another nod to our shared prep school days by serving the dinner family style, as was done in the lunch room at our school, but this also enabled guests to pick and choose what they wanted.  Personally, I wanted everything.

 

After the loveliest toasts and blessings, we came to the most dreaded part of the evening.  Ian and I had not been looking forward to our first dance.  We had skipped out on choreography, worried we would look artificial, but after only one dance lesson together we also weren’t quite ready to wander aimlessly.  It delivered on my anxieties, and was in fact the least comfortable part of the day, but we laughed our way through it and appreciated that first test of our marriage :-) My first dance with my dad (an excellent dancer) was a blast.  Fun fact: my dad actually booked the band without checking with me because he knew I would agree with the choice!  (Right, as usual)

 

 

 

 

It seems like a dramatic statement to identify one moment as the best of your entire life, but I have no doubt that watching the fireworks towards the end of the evening is mine.  Ian and I stood in front of our guests, arm in arm in a private moment as we watched the public display of our wedding celebration announce our marriage to the surrounding area.  We could turn around and see everyone we love looking up in the sky, their faces lit by the bursts of light, gathered together in support of us.  367 days later, I am still riding the wave of that feeling.  It also inspired the gift I gave Ian for Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

The night ended the way a good wedding should: with more dancing, as I gripped my groom and my gin and held on for dear life.

 

 

Nightingale Nuptials Vendor Credits

Planning: Before I Do (I would trust Jenny with my life) // Photography: L Photographie // Reception Venue: Old Warson Country Club // Florist: Artistry // Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta, from Nordstrom // Cake: La Patisserie Choquette // Desserts: Sarah’s Cake Shop // Paper Goods: Nico & Lala