Five things on Friday


1. As a belated Mother’s Day gift, my sister, Mom and I recently enjoyed tea and a tour at National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Despite living just 40-ish minutes outside the city, I don’t get downtown much these days — let alone on a Tuesday. It was such a cool, fun experience, and the food was delicious! We all I know was likely British in a past life, so the tea tradition speaks to my scone-loving soul. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a unique opportunity in the city.

2. I can’t help but feel like August is the only thing standing between me and fall. Glorious, beautiful, crisp and cozy fall. Last year I totally lost my marbles and started decorating before Labor Day, which I realize was . . . a little premature. This year? I’m trying to reign in my enthusiasm, but it’s pointless. Oliver was only 6 months old last Halloween, but this year I feel like he’ll be closer to “getting it” — and I’ll be able to better position him for pumpkin photo shoots! This is the No. 1 reason to have a child, by the way: photo shoots. (Just kidding. Er, sort of.)

3. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I think I’ve earned a trophy for adulting for finally resolving a medical bill for testing during my pregnancy (!!) that has been haunting us since January 2015. It’s a long and boring story involving many phone calls, emails, stapled statements and blah blah blah, but as of yesterday, I fought the good fight and won. Just so happy to have that resolved. Insurance issues are the worst. Also, now I don’t have to worry about bankruptcy, so. Sweet relief!

4. Oliver has been saying “Mama” like crazy lately, along with “Dada” and “Baby” (bayyy-beee). He’s also beginning to wave, smoosh up his lips for a “kiss” and is definitely grasping the concept of “no” (whether he follows it is, of course, another story). So excited to be hitting these milestones!

5. I may or may not have started my Christmas shopping spreadsheet — along with said holiday shopping. As a list-loving American, this is the only way I can keep myself organized. Despite my good intentions, I was one of those people scrambling last-minute to finish shopping last year . . . and I wound up bulk-ordering on Amazon to just officially say I was done. Let me shout it loud and proud: I AM NOT doing that this year! Like, seriously. I want to enjoy the heck out of the holidays and not feel the rampant anxiety that consumed me last year, ’cause we all know that is not what it’s about. So I’ve already purchased a few things and scribbled down ideas for others. I feel better already.

Happy weekend, friends! And thanks for staying with me during the long write meg! drought. I find my creative juices stymied by exhaustion so much lately that it’s hard to put fingers to keyboard. But I’m not going anywhere. ❤

Five things on Friday

24 weeks

1. I’m officially in maternity wear 24/7, which probably should have happened a while ago . . . but I was milking the last little bit out of stretchy cardigans and generously-cut tops. But NO MORE. At 25 weeks along (today!), this baby is majorly gaining on me. I have an anterior placenta (eek, sorry to talk about placentas . . .), basically a “mattress” cushioning me from his blows, so movements have been subtle. But in the last week or so, Baby J has apparently gotten big enough for me to feel his frequent cartwheels — and my husband has even felt a jab or two. Very exciting!

2. The cold here in Maryland has gotten ridiculous. I know it’s so cliche to complain about the weather, but seriously. It was 5 degrees this morning, and I think I felt every sting of that. My 11-year-old car has been hating every second of it, and I’ve had frequent, panicky PLEASESTARTPLEASESTART moments with my engine. Also, our driveway still has long icy patches, and ice and clumsy pregnancies don’t mix.

3. I’m back to doing the random-book-shuffle. I start a book; I put it down. I reach for another one; I put it down. I get about 30 pages in before I snuffle and abandon it for something else, hoping the new read will better capture my attention. And . . . then it doesn’t. In the past few days, I’ve started What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn; To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han; and Opposites Attack by Jo Maeder. There’s nothing wrong with any of them; my mood is just weird, apparently? I don’t know. I am, however, still enjoying the audio of The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. It’s intriguing, but definitely makes me glad I’m not a farmer (or a farmer’s wife).

4. Early plans for my baby shower are underway, and I’m getting quite excited about it! We’re actually having it at my house because, logistically, it makes the most sense — but my mom and sister are spearheading the effort. Because I’m obsessed with all things paper, I just designed and ordered the invitations. My new fixation revolves around finding the “right” thank-you cards, so I’ve been stalking Etsy and Amazon for options. I love these, these and these.

pink room

Shelf from Zulily5. And speaking of plans, we’re slowly getting the house decorated. The advice to “finish everything now!” before the baby comes has gotten into our heads, so we’re working on polishing up the office, downstairs bathroom and guest room before Baby J’s arrival. And that’s to say nothing of everything we need to do in the nursery, which is . . . yeah. Pepto Bismol pink. I stalk Zulily (affiliate link) for inspiration daily and finally made a purchase: this cool shelf! I don’t know; it spoke to me. Spencer painted the bathroom a beautiful green, so I’m going with a woodland theme? I’m whacky. And buying weird tchotchkes to put on it is part of the fun.

Happy weekend, friends!

Five things on Friday

Catching Air

1. We’re starting our baby registry tomorrow. As a (nervous) first-timer, moms and dads of the world: what should we include? What can we do without? I’m assuming the store will have a handy-dandy guide for us — but that, like the bridal registry, it will include “must-have” items that are actually impractical and unnecessary. But where I knew I didn’t need gold-laced bone china, I don’t know a darn thing about baby paraphernalia. Send help.

2. I’ve found my reading mojo once more . . . and man, it feels good! With January drawing to a close, I’ve finished five books this month and am wrapping up a sixth. Considering I think I read four books total in the fall, I’m feeling great about striding toward my 55-book goal for 2015. But more importantly, I’ve returned to losing myself in stories — always my favorite way to relax. I’m plowing through some review copies I’ve had hanging around for a while, too, which always feels productive.

3. Though it’s hard to admit, my love of pickles — a pregnancy staple — has begun to wane. Lately I can’t get enough of plain ol’ potato chips and dip, which makes seeing recipes like this all the more enticing. Since buying lots of local spice mixes in the fall, I’ve gotten obsessed with making homemade dips; they’re usually just equal parts mayonnaise, sour cream and spices. What can go wrong there?! And Sunday is the Super Bowl! The perfect time for greasy snacks. And maybe beer bread. And lots of commercial-watching. I can’t wait.

4. Last night was the final episode of “Parenthood” ever and I don’t want to talk about it. Or, rather, I do, but I don’t think I’m emotionally capable. Never before have fictional characters made me cry so hard that I had to remove my contacts and gulp air like a drowning woman. Though I was late to the series, my sister really got me into it — and I will miss it so much.

5. As most of my funds went toward Christmas gifts in November and December, I had to stay away from Etsy, my beloved playground — but I’m back. And it’s bad. I’ve long loved compiling my favorite treasures from the marketplace, but I have to hold myself back from basically ordering all the things. Right now? I’m lusting after this adorable box for book lovers, these sock monkey blocks for Baby J and this gorgeous photography.

Anddddd I’m clicking off before I really get into trouble.

Happy weekend, friends!

Five things on Friday


1. The gender reveal is ON for tonight! Our elective ultrasound on Wednesday was a success, and our technician was able to get Baby J to move enough to “clearly” tell what s/he is. The baby was initially hanging out on its belly, just like last time, and I had a moment of abject panic where I thought, “C’MON PLEASE NOT AGAIN.” Only because I’m ridiculous and impatient. But after a few minutes, we saw a little somersault and got the money shot. And we all find out tonight through a gender reveal cake! I. am. excited.

2. But in the midst of all that excitement . . . I’m dealing with my second cold of the winter season. The first came on in early December, and I’m pretty sure I never really got over that one? This has been one of my busiest work weeks in ages, and I’ve had to muster up every ounce of energy I have to get through it. Unmedicated. Also, I’ve gone through three boxes of tissues in two days . . . so. It’s fun hanging out with me!

3. I’ve become something of a magazine hoarder. Unintentionally, of course. Which magazines do y’all subscribe to? Glamour, Cooking Light and Southern Living regularly arrive in my mailbox. I have them all piled up in the office for a rainy day but, when I finally sit down to read, I almost always reach for my latest novel-in-progress instead. I want to get better about reading and passing them along, though; maybe that’s a good weekend project?

4. Speaking of projects, Spence and I have started looking at paint colors for the nursery. Regardless of whether we’re having a lady or lad, we know we don’t want a pink/blue explosion . . . so we’ve been playing around with a pretty pale purple for a girl or a very subtle blue for a boy. I guess nurseries need a “theme”? I don’t know. I think I want our theme to be, um, soothing and tranquil . . . after all, s/he won’t be paying as much attention to the room as we will. And we’ll be tired. For a little while, at least!

5. And just because shopping is fun, how cute is this little wooly egg doll? She’s reading! A book! I fell in love with the wooly guys when a good friend shared a link with me years ago, and bought her a set as a gift. I think they’re straight-up adorable.

Happy weekend, friends!

Five things on Friday


1. I’m totally cheating on my beloved coffee lately, and . . . you know what? I’m okay with it. Most mornings find me hovered over the Keurig making a chai tea latte — just brewed chai with milk — and it’s my new obsession. Have you tried chai? Are you a tea drinker? If not, consider this your invitation! And if you’re feeling really fancy, add cinnamon. It’s totally like the delicious drink at Panera Bread and Panera is also my happy place.

2. Speaking of Panera, I took myself to lunch yesterday! In an effort to stay on budget and watch how much we’re eating out (er, often), I’ve been trying to limit my weekday work lunches to leftovers and soup. Which is fine, you know . . . most of the time. But sometimes? One gets a hankering for kettle chips. And soup. And chipotle sauce. And when that happens, there’s only one thing to do — so I did it. No regrets.

3. After confessing to my book rut earlier this week, I’ve actually found my interest in reading has been making a turn-around! I’m halfway through Samantha Verant’s Seven Letters From Paris — a fun memoir for francophiles — and just started Stephanie Perkins’ Isla and the Happily Ever After. The latter is a library book, so I’m trying to stay motivated; because it’s such a hot item, I doubt I’ll be able to renew it. And if we get to crunch time before it’s due, I will stay up all night because no. Returning an enjoyable library book half-read is torture.

4. Is it really bad for me to admit I started Christmas shopping already? I actually have three gifts hidden away for the holidays. I’m something of a gift-giving nut — I love, love to pick out presents — and it’s giving me a “project.” Now that the house is (mostly) put together and the wedding is over, I’m finding myself rather idle. Planning for the holidays is definitely a way to

5. In my travels over at Etsy, I’ve fallen in love with this print and this one and also this quote, probably because we married in November and I’m a fall fanatic. I’m pretty sure I need one or all of them, but I’ll refrain and be a good girl.

For now.

Happy weekend, friends!

Five things on Friday


1. Are these or are these not the most adorable stamps you’ve ever seen? We know I’m a mail nerd, so it should come as no surprise that I’m positively geeking out over them — but really. Sunflowers and vegetables and adorable baskets on a stamp. I just sort of look at and pet them, and then I put them on love letters. Or letters to my grandma, ’cause that’s how I roll.

2. I’m in the middle of no less than three books right now (one on Kindle; one print; one audio), but that didn’t stop me from starting Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry because Patti recommended it and y’all gushed about it — and what can I say? The power of persuasion. Though I started my other reads days or weeks ago, I’m almost finished with A.J. — and have thoroughly enjoyed it! Very charming.

3. We haven’t done much cooking lately, but have somehow been feeding ourselves . . . I’m thinking mostly off of frozen skillet meals, leftovers and the occasional dinner out (with more leftovers). But we did make slow cooker beef stew on Tuesday, and it turned out quite delicious. I took zero photos, though, so you’ll have to take my word for it? Sorry about that. #bloggerfail

4. Now that the library is coming along and my books are nestled in their new nook, I’m preoccupied with finding the perfect comfy reading chair. I was standing in the doorway last night, trying to picture this piece of furniture or that while cradling my laptop, and I’m pretty sure this is the one since I keep thinking about it. I want the vibe in there to be fun, funky and colorful — like all the spines of our books — and think it will fit well? But I’m so gun-shy about actually ordering it. Another adult milestone I have yet to cross: buying furniture. (Everything we have was passed along by family or purchased by Spencer pre-marriage.)

5. It’s almost craft fair season, y’all! Is that a thing where you are? Here in Southern Maryland, firehouses, churches and halls will soon fill with crafters selling home decor, jewelry, candles, Christmas stuff . . . and I will love every second of it. Hitting the many craft fairs is a family pastime in the fall, and I actually have a place for my craft fair finds these days. I don’t want to be broke, either, but I’m ridiculously excited about it.

Happy weekend, friends!

Five things on Friday

Pumpkin spice drinking

1. To my utter delight, my sister and I went for our first pumpkin spice lattes of the season last week! Since then, I’ve also sampled the pumpkin wares of Tim Hortons and Dunkin’ Donuts. If you think I’m ridiculously happy, you’re right. Late summer is suddenly back — temps in the 90s! — with a vengeance, but I’m sipping that sweet autumnal nectar of the Starbucks gods and totally don’t care.

2. We were on Baltimore on Thursday for a doctor’s appointment (everything is cool), and I couldn’t get over how exhilarating it was to be out on a day when you’re “supposed” to be working. I mean, my job is very generous with vacation time, so it’s not like I’m chained to my desk all year. And never mind that we just got back from a five-day break in New York last weekend . . . but, you know, being off in the city on a random Thursday? Bliss. Also, we totally chowed down at an Irish pub serving Guinness French onion soup and poutine, so — double bliss?


Poutine: fries/potatoes, gravy, cheese curds. See also: paradise

3. In a concerted effort to get myself together this fall, I started a budget worksheet. It’s a working list of what I’m spending in an attempt to figure out where my cash is going (and hopefully scale back). Though I don’t consider myself a spendthrift, per say, I don’t think I should be downright shocked to get my credit bill at the end of the month. That’s . . . probably not responsible. Anyone have any favorite budget tips, apps, methods?

4. In that vein, I was already pondering my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 when I realized I don’t have to wait for a freshly-scrubbed year to throw confetti and make some changes. The changing of seasons is as good a time as any, so I’m back to actively tracking my meals with Weight Watchers — I, er, took a “summer break” — and will commit to tracking spending with the aforementioned worksheet.

5. And that’s quite enough of the boring adult talk. Let’s talk about shopping! Perhaps dovetailing with my previous budget talk, eh? (I’m a mess, what can I say.) While I’ve definitely cut out most personal spending that isn’t house-related, I do find myself obsessively looking at dresses on Zulily because apparently that’s my new thing. As it’s nearly fall, that means sweater dresses and boots and scarves and . . . yeah, I’m just going to go run off and hunker down in my happy place.

P.S. I hope to get back on a normal posting schedule next week. Between the holiday and busy work week, I just couldn’t seem to get myself together! Hope y’all have a great weekend.