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Friday Five

Posted on December 1st, 2017


Rabbit Rabbit!  The Thanksgiving/early December feels kind of like the Friday of the calendar year.  Still have work to do, but the anticipation is mounting.  I love it!

 

 

Gray Malin sent out new wallpapers this morning, so between his festive images and this glitter case even my phone is now officially decked out for the season.

 

Construction is well underway back at the Nightingale Nest.  Since we both commute into the city and are gone from 7:30-7:30 every day, we haven’t actually seen any workmen, but rush home every evening to examine their progress.  It’s like my personal team of elves who are bringing me all I want for Christmas.  This weekend, we have our final meeting for kitchen layouts and cabinets before we place our order.  It feels more and more real with each passing day!

 

I was relatively tame with my Cyber Monday purchases.  I had gotten this sweater during the Anniversary Sale in the summer, so scooped up another color (pink!), and also got these shoes for commuting/Disney World next month.  I’m also still trying to overcome my aversion to pants, so I’m looking forward to trying this middle ground option.

 

As excited as the royal engagement is, I’m probably even more excited about this meme.  Love is actually all around!

 

I finished reading Lilac Girls on the train this week.  Truthfully, while I found a lot of the plot compelling, the writing was pretty basic and it stretched on approximately 150 pages longer than it needed to.  If you haven’t read The Nightingale or All the Light We Cannot SeeI would still start there.  Looking forward to a trip to the bookstore for a new selection this weekend!


Nashville Overnight

Posted on November 29th, 2017


Truthfully, St. Louis and Nashville are not that close to one another… but that didn’t stop Ian and me from making the quickest of 300 mile roadtrips for a night when we were home for Thanksgiving!  I had not been to Nashville for five years, and the city has experienced so much growth in the coolest way since then, so we were itching to get down there to explore it for ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Our time was limited, so we headed straight to the 12 South neighborhood.  We had lunch at Burger Up (you know I can’t pass up fried pickles), and then walked over to Draper James!  It was my first time visiting a store, and it was so fun to see the brand come to life in all its glory.  The store was packed with holiday shoppers, and the sweet tea was flowing!

 

 

 

 

 

We also picked up snacks for the drive home from Five Daughters Bakery.  Easily one of the five best doughnuts I’ve ever had!  We looked in a few other shops (I loved White’s Mercantile) before heading to Cheekwood to see the holiday lights.  It was a gorgeous way to kick off the holiday season.

 

 

But the most beautiful thing we saw all day?  All weekend?  All month?  The reason we went to Nashville for 17 hours?  The moment I have been waiting 7 years to witness?

 

 

We’re having a wedding!!!! Best wishes to darling Taylor and Andrew!


No Waistband, No Problem

Posted on November 27th, 2017


Draper James declared this the Thanksgiving dress– and they were right.  Velvet is certainly having a moment, I felt vaguely like a pilgrim in the best possible way, and the best feature: no waistband, no problem.  Unfortunately, it sold out in a week because apparently everyone else agreed with me, too.

 

 

 

 

The bare legs were a bold choice (and one that really should have been accompanied by some self-tanner…), but with the cozy crowd and ovens going inside all day, I was sweating plenty warm enough.  And the best accessory for a holiday outfit?  A homemade pie!

 

 

 

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It’s Really About the Pie

Posted on November 26th, 2017


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Our trip home was exactly as we had hoped: tons of time with family.  It is risky to declare a single day your favorite of the year, but Thanksgiving 2017 lived up to the hype.

 

 

 

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a beautiful, giant vat of bubbling oil!  We don’t deep-fry our turkey, but our family friends do, and it has become a tradition to join them in their ritual in the early afternoon.  My dad leads the way in scoring hot dogs and sausages to drop in the fryer for a crispy protein snack– with all the condiments and fixings, of course!

 

As our Thanksgiving hostess, my grandmother is pretty set in her routine for Thanksgiving dinner preparation, but this year, I was called up to the big leagues and asked to prepare a pumpkin pie. #blessed Truthfully, I prefer fruit pies to pumpkin/custard varieties, but I had tested a few recipes during the month and had settled on this one from Half Baked Harvest.  The bourbon/maple ingredients added a depth of flavor, and I really liked the crunchy texture from the pecans.  (I did modify the recipe by blind baking the crust with pumpkin filling for 12 minutes before adding the pecan mixture to create distinct layers– I had found the bottom underbaked in my test runs)

 

 

 

Pie queen Marie Saba has been my pie muse the past few weeks– I hope I made her proud!

 

It was a wonderful celebration with these turkeys.  Is there such a thing as TOO grateful?

 


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 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup 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.

 

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{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!)