Thursday, December 14, 2017

Top 5 Gifts this Year

I wanted to share this year's favorite things that we got for our family this holiday season. We typically buy for my parents, Hank's parents, and Lucy. Lauren and I don't exchange and just focus on the kids, and for extended family we do baked goods and cards. We keep it simple, which I love. But each year we try to find something new to get our parents, and it can be hard! We're working with people who don't care too much about "stuff" so we have to get creative.

Here are our top 5 gift picks for this year --

1. Framebridge Instagram Minis (shown above, along with my friend Brooke's sweet gift tag- see her shop here)

I LOVE these cute Instagram Minis! We have them throughout our home and they're such a nice gift to give. Plus, they're super easy to create online (takes minutes) and the quality is fantastic. Framebridge sent us this one to share with you guys, and I hope if you're in need of a last minute gift you take advantage of their holiday shipping. Order by 12/17 and photo gifts will arrive in time! The frame above is Richmond, an antique gold that goes with everything. This post isn't sponsored by Framebridge, but they did gift this frame to us and I loved it so much I wanted to share.

2. Instant Pot

Is it me, or is this thing EVERYWHERE right now? I made the mistake of searching Instant Pot recipes on Pinterest and now I can't escape it! Do you have one? I've added it to my cart on Black Friday for a couple years in a row, but still haven't pulled the trigger. I am nervous to give something I haven't tried myself, but the reviews seem amazing. However this year two people on our list wanted to try one so we went for it. If you have an Instant Pot, let me know your thoughts- I'm so curious.

3. Experiences.

This one should really be first on the list because above all, this is how we do gifts. The boys are getting to go to Monster Jam in February as their "big gift," which I love. I do NOT love Monster Jam itself but I love that we're doing something together! Even if it does involve huge trucks. As far as gifts for everyone else, this year we took all of the grandparents, Lauren, Lucy and our little family to the Polar Express. It was the perfect way to get into the season. I actually need to share photos of the trip soon- maybe tomorrow. The boys have three sets of grandparents so it was a big group with all of us, but so much fun. Have you ever been? Our family's ranch is up north that way so we spent the night and made a weekend out of it. It was such a great time.

4. Sonos One

We are LATE to the Alexa train. Both Hank and I were very hesitant to let these into our home (we're the weirdos with tape over our the cameras on our laptops!), but I'm glad we finally gave in. They're so handy, and the Sonos version sounds amazing. We play music all day anyway, and this just elevates our experience with fantastic audio. It works with our lights, ceiling fan in the living room, etc. and it's super handy to use for making appointments, asking questions, whatever you can think of! We love Alexa! I have a Sonos One in my office, our kitchen, and Henry has a Dot in his bedroom. The Sonos is what we got for one particular family who I won't name here because I know he/she reads this...but they're going to be so excited!

5. Books and more books.

Of course. For the boys we usually do one or two toys, some fun stocking stuffers, and LOTS of books! Henry has a Kindle now too (he's loving this one) so we got him an Amazon giftcard too. I have a post with his current favorite books coming next week, so stay tuned. But books as gifts are wonderful. I love gifting cookbooks, motivational books, and favorite novels from the past year. This year, I purchased these for family presents: one, two and three.

Enjoy, and happy almost-Christmas!


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Weekly Links

Hello! Welcome to the new Weekly Links! Not new at all actually, just calling them "weekly" so I can feel free to share during the week if I so choose. Life is chugging along, we are deep into the Christmas spirit, and I'm looking forward to this next week full of more holiday fun. I love it. Bring on the cookie baking, Christmas movies, and so much time at home (in cozy pajamas with a fire going)! We're soaking it up. I hope you have a great rest of your week, too! Here are some links --

Outfit details above: coat, jeans, bag, boots (old- similar here), hat (color above sold out).

What to never say to your guests.

I just started watching this and LOVE it so far!

Interesting: modest dressing, as a virtue.

On Henry's Christmas list: this camera.

Yay! I'm so happy about this news.

Such a great article about money in your 30s.

Get yourself a silly winter coat.

My favorite jeans. My favorite holiday shoes. And my favorite concealer. A new favorites posts coming up soon.

The best books of 2017.

And the 10 best movies this year.

Kesha on self-care during the holidays.

And how to take a social media break. ;)

Wishlist: this coat, this top, and this swimsuit.

How great are these bags?

Cute: these book pins.

A minimal holiday with kids.

How sweet is this necklace- I'm imagining mine with H, C and O.

Loving this blanket- I have one in my office and one in our living room.

A new-to-me shoe brand- every pair is so great.

The great college loan swindle.

And finally, read this. I love and relate to this article SO much.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Our 2017 Christmas Cards

Christmas card photos were taken nice and early by my friend Lauren Ristow and I got them mailed out just in time for them to arrive December 1st. Last year I sent them almost too late and I said- never again! So here I am, on top of my holiday card game.

This year we went with Snapfish, who provided a suite of 20 cards and envelopes for us. It was my first time using them, and I had a great experience. They sent over that first amount for this sponsored post, but I loved them so much I purchased 100+ more on my own. I chose one of their foil-stamped cards (you can see how pretty and shimmery the gold is below), and I love how simple and sweet it turned out. It leaves a lot of room for making it your own, from writing a message on the back, or including a silly photo like we did. The free return address printing make things super easy too and the premium cardstock they use is well...premium! ;) Good stuff all around.

Do you send out Christmas cards? I love both sending and receiving them so much. If you haven't yet ordered yours, they have a huge promotion going on right now, so check 'em out! Happy holidays from our family to yours.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

6 Reads for December

Hey friends! Okay first of all- would you be into a Book Club in the new year? I'm thinking about it, so let me know your thoughts. Super casual, one book every couple of months that I choose and then we can discuss and have fun with it. Read all, read half, we can stop reading if it's no good- the point is- no pressure. I've been resistant to doing something like this over the years but I think it might be a fun way to kick off 2018. Do chime in though and let me know what you're thinking. In the meantime though, here are six books to check out this month! All ones I have not yet read, but are loaded into my Kindle or on hold at the library. I won't give anything away (to your or me!), so no worries- there's a tiny synopsis via Amazon but that's it. Come discover some new finds and read along with me! xoxo

1. I'm Thinking of Ending Things

In this “dark and compelling…unputdownable” (Booklist, starred review) literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel “packs a big psychological punch with a twisty story line and an ending that will leave readers breathless” (Library Journal, starred review).

2. You: A Novel

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

3. Under the Skin

In this haunting, entrancing novel, Michel Faber introduces us to Isserley, a female driver who cruises the Scottish Highlands picking up hitchhikers. Scarred and awkward, yet strangely erotic and threatening, she listens to her hitchhikers as they open up to her, revealing clues about who might miss them if they should disappear. Under the Skin takes us on a heart-thumping ride through dangerous territory—our own moral instincts and the boundaries of compassion.

4. Little Fires Everywhere

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

5. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. 

6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine. Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November Favorites

November is almost over and we have had such a busy one! Henry's 7th birthday, Thanksgiving, friends and family visiting...and it's only getting crazier with the holiday season upon us. I'm so excited. This upcoming weekend we'll be with all three sets of Grandparents and the kids are really looking forward to it. Plus...the Polar Express! Have you been? I'm going to try to remember to share the photos here after. I had this whole weird train of thought the other day after making my first set of Chatbooks (I'll share some of what I mean later), and I have had so many thoughts about this space. All good thoughts! Anyway. I thought I would share a round up of the things I'm loving this month. I was making some content videos for Ergobaby today and almost made this into a maybe I will next time. Thoughts? Also let me know if we share any of the same faves! Enjoy. xoxo

1. How great are these shoes? I just ordered them for the holiday and I'm so excited to receive them.

2. I came across this print on Etsy and fell in love. Isn't it great? Make sure to click over to see it in detail.

3. I bought this faux leather jacket during the Anniversary Sale while pregnant and I'm in LOVE. It's really the perfect jacket ever, and for a great price.

4. I'm always on the hunt for new jeans and these Levis are so cute. I love the wash and fit!

5. Forest/Olive green has been my go-to recently and I think these Nikes are so great. Adding them to my Christmas list.

6. I've talked about this planner before but I have to mention it again since the new year is right around the corner! This is the best planner I've found for day-to-day.

7. My friends Elsie and Emma just released their new cookbook, Weekday Weekend. My preorder arrived last week and I'm loving it! It's a beautiful book and I can't wait to dive in and try some of the recipes.

8. Another friend with a new book out- Patty Schemel's Hit So Hard. This looks AMAZING and is getting the best reveiws. I can't wait to read it for myself.

9. My skin has been a bit of a wreck lately (thank you hormones) so I've been loving any bit of glow I can get. This is my holy grail highlighter- I put it on the tip of my nose and my cheekbones. And best of all, it doesn't irritate my skin!

10. My current favorite protein bar, that tastes more like a candy bar! Love.

11. Hank and I finally gave in and got a Sonos with Alexa built in during Black Friday. I don't know what took us so long, but I'm really glad we finally got one. It's right in our kitchen and so handy- I especially love the music aspect.

12. We have some pops of light pink going on in our living room and this cozy throw was a great addition. So soft. Plus, it's currently 20% off.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Weekend Links

Happy Friday! First, can you believe that the photo above was taken 8 months ago?! I was just going through this shoot to choose a few to print, and it struck me as the craziest thing to think Olive is getting so close to a year old!

Anyway, we got home today from a fun time spent at my parents' house earlier, and then decided to put up the tree and get everything all set up. I'm so excited that it's November 24th and we have a whole month to enjoy everything Christmas. It's the best time of the year, and I'm especially happy that we have zero travel plans ahead. I'm looking forward to just being at home and spending time with the people I love.

There are SO many fun things to read, shop, and click today. The biggest thing though is that my FAVORITE store Shopbop is in the middle of one of their amazing tiered sales. Orders of $200+ receive 20%, orders for $500+ receive 25% off, and orders of $800+ receive 30% off. To shop the sale, use the code MORE17 between now and November 26th, 2017 11:59 pm PT. There are so many great things to check out and today I picked up a new coat (the velvet ones are too good), a circle bag for a friend, and a few toys for the kids. The kiddo costume sets are darling.

I love these little shoes for Olive.

"Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized."

The 2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge.

The more you use Facebook, the worse you feel.

My favorite slippers on sale! I have had different versions of them over the years- all good.

And our living room rug is on mega sale. Also how amazing is this couch? The green is so good.

Has the smartphone destroyed a generation?

Wishlist: for our bedroom, for me, and for my office. And another for me, too.

Love these jeans.

A bit about how IG Stories is killing Snapchat.

"Hosting tips from my Grandmother who basically majored in Thanksgiving."

I'll have what she's having.

On the Irish Goodbye.

How a young Ernest Hemingway dealt with his first taste of fame.

100 notable books of 2017.

And so many good sales this weekend:
Madewell- 25% off with code DONTSTRESS
J. Crew- 40% off with code THANKU
Urban Outfitters- Buy one, get one 50% off everything
Nordstrom is having a HUGE one!


Monday, November 20, 2017

7 years/8 months

Today I got the boys from school while Hank was home with Olive. As we drove away from pickup, I got a quick and sudden feeling of panic as I looked in the mirror and saw Olive wasn't in her car seat. I know you mamas know what I'm talking about- in about half a second you go from feeling as if you've forgotten something, to realizing it's all okay. I'm so used to being with Olive every moment of every day, dropping off and picking up the boys with her that it was a total shock to my brain that she wasn't there. And isn't that funny? I've gone 35 years without her, 7 years as a mama before her, and yet 8 months with her here and it's weird to think she hasn't always been with us. She's our little puzzle piece, the tiny burst of sunshine that brings immense joy to each of us. Henry is turning 7 in two days and his much older self is in sharp contrast to this much smaller baby, and sends me into lots of thoughts about time and life whenever I pause too long. But goodness, 8 months. I feel so lucky to be right here, right now, and this third time around I'm deeply grateful to be so much more aware. I know now how to hold onto all of the precious, little moments and seasons (and then graciously let them go) because I know far too well how quickly they'll slip on by no matter how badly I wish they'd stay.

Photo by Lauren Ristow.