Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Adventures: Chicago

Well friends, it's Monday again. I started it off right by spilling a full mug of HOT coffee in my lap during my commute this morning. My thighs were scalded. I was two hours late because I had to go home and take another shower. Sometimes I really hate Mondays. I'm choosing to focus my thoughts on this past weekend...

Beautiful floor at m.henry  |  Blackberry Bliss Cakes  | Desk inspiration at West Elm  |  Abby

On Saturday, I ventured over to Chicago for a day with Abby and Kate (and Sofia!) It was a great day filled with tasty food, Beirut, Sof's singing, catching up, shopping, Argo Tea and train rides. Kate has been a blog friend for a while now, and it was great to meet her in person. Things flowed so naturally, like we've been friends for years. Funny how that works. We spent a good chunk of the morning/afternoon brunching at m.henry, an adorable French cafe & bakery in Andersonville. I had a soup-bowl sized latte and Blackberry Bliss Cakes -- two fluffy hotcakes with vanilla mascarpone creme and berry compote, topped with crispy brown sugar oats. Heavenly. If you ever find yourself in the Andersonville area, I highly recommend m.henry!

The rest of the day was spent wandering around shops. I resisted the urge to buy all the things, but ended up with several tasty purchases: Tim Tams, Bundaberg Ginger Beer, and Trader Joe's lemon curd, mango butter, and the famous cookie butter. Abby and I grabbed Argo Tea before the train ride home -- the perfect ending to our weekend adventure.

Until next time, ladies!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Classic Coats for Spring

Can we talk weather for a little bit? This spring has been so bizarre -- 80 degree days in early March, snow in April, and now a projected forecast that doesn't hit 60 for a very long time. I really can't complain as long as the sun is shining, but it's just weird. The days aren't cold enough for a winter coat, but they aren't warm enough to go coat-less, either, especially in the morning.

I haven't had a "spring" coat for a while now, and lately I've found myself wishing that I had one.... a classic coat with fun details, like any of these:
1. This polka dot raincoat reminds me of something I would have worn as a little girl. I just can't decide if it would be cute or weird paired with bright yellow Wellies... but I vote cute.  2. Striped, hooded, jersey-ed pea coat: all of the best things in life rolled into one. Thank you, Anthropologie. Too bad it's $300.  3. You can't go wrong with a classic tie-waist trench coat, and I love this deep brown color and the quarter-length sleeve tie backs.  4. I have a super-crush on Dear Creature's Portobello double breasted coat. The vintage silhouette, the ribbon trim, the applique pockets.... I'm pretty sure it's true love.  5. The fun dotted print of this trench from ModCloth is the perfect combination of timeless and . 6. I don't know about you, but I love pea coats in general -- this one comes in such a pretty blush color and is only $29.99!

Of course, I've waited too long to find a lightweight coat in stores -- most retailers have switched out their spring merchandise to summer swimsuits, shorts and sandals. If I want one of the above coats I'd better make a decision quickly. Do any of them strike your fancy, or do you already have a spring coat of your own? I might end up with the Target pea coat... and I think I'm going to stalk polka dot trench and see if it gets any cheaper.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest Post at abbyblujay!

 Illustration by Charmaine Olivia

Hey friends! Things around the blog have been pretty quite lately... such is life. 

I have a new post in the works for tomorrowish, but until then I thought I'd pop in to let you know that I've written a guest post over at abbyblujay, my dear friend Abby's blog. She has a great weekly column called Single Lady Wednesday where she shares her ups, downs and random adventures as a single lady. It's thoughtful, hilarious, and always a good read. You should add her to your reader if you haven't already!

Anyway, today for SLW I wrote a lighthearted little post: What I Miss About Being Single.
Pop on over and give it a read!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tiny Thoughts about Tiny Things

Today, I feel like I reached a major milestone as a woman. I bought a colorful toddler's activity center, as well as a sweet little blue chenille puppy. The first ever baby items to grace my own home permanently.

Now before any of you freak out -- no, I'm not pregnant! The toys are for my niece Adalynn, who just turned one last Monday. We babysat for her tonight, and now that she is transitioning from baby to toddler, Chris and I thought it would be fun to have a few toys at our house for her to play with when she's visiting. We're actually kind of obsessed with the entire B. Toys line at Target (especially the Meowsic keyboard) and when we saw the solid wood activity center a few weeks ago, we knew we had to have it.

I've heard stories of women who secretly hoard baby booties and onesies... stuffed in boxes and tucked away in the back of closets for their someday-children. I am definitely not that kind of woman. Babies kind of gross me out, to be honest. Sure, they're sweet and innocent and the future of our nation... I totally get that. But the diaper blow-outs and pureed pea projectile vomiting? No thank you. Not too long ago, I was helping change Addie's diaper and I had to drop her and run away because I was gagging so much that I had tears in my eyes. How something so tiny could smell so awful will always be a mystery to me.

The thing is... it was today, browsing the security blankets, lullaby music boxes and sweet little stuffed animals, that I felt a peculiar twinge. I could do this. I could be a mom.

Okay, so I'm not really ready for a baby... but is anyone ever really ready to have a baby? To bring a little life into this world and care for it, nurture it, teach it everything they know? Probably not. Christopher has been wanting to start our family for a while now, but I've always resisted the idea until lately. I think I've just hit that point in life where, if I were to get pregnant, I would be happy. Blissfully so, even. 

I'd be lying to you if I didn't say this feeling is scary and a little weird. There are still about a million and three things I'd like to accomplish before having a kid... things like knocking out our debt (like that's going to happen anytime soon, though, thank you private schooling), owning a house, furthering my career, traveling the world a little more and enjoying my youth just a little bit longer, you know?

And there's the whole poop/snot/barf aversion I have... got to get over that for sure.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Dresses by Whitney Deal

Featured styles: Rosa, Bellis, Willow, Zinnia

I'm pretty much in love with all of these dresses by seamstress and blogger Whitney Deal. The simple silhouettes are effortlessly chic and the floral prints are so darling. Technically, these frocks are bridesmaid dresses, but if I owned one I would wear it everywhere... work, tea parties, flying kites at park, the gym.

Yes. Even the gym. I don't care how ridiculous I would look. They're that pretty.

Monday, April 9, 2012


I am so glad that spring is here. The weather lately has been absolutely perfect.

Thanks to the bizarre 80 degree days weeks in March, most of the plants have peaked about a month early. Nearly all of the trees have leaves now and everything is in bloom. I've been taking advantage of the nice weather at work with twice-daily walks around campus, snapping Instagram photos whenever I get the chance. I'm sure people think I'm strange as I hold my phone up to a budding tree, but I love how soft and lovely the photos turn out -- like vintage postcards.

Magnolia, creeping phlox (thanks Sharon, for helping me identify them!), Bradford pear. You know, as pretty as Bradford pear trees are, I'm so glad they are almost finished blooming. I love the thick, frothy white branches but the stench is awful. How something so tiny and beautiful could smell like a fish market in June is beyond me...

I'm not sure what it is exactly, but something about these past few weeks has made me appreciate spring more than normal. For the longest time I was afraid Michigan would get one more dumping of snow, but that seems impossible now (knock on wood.) The breeze is cool and light, the sun is warm and reaches deep into my bones. I never realize during the winter exactly how much I miss the smell of grass and damp earth, the calming sound of wind rustling through leaves, or the angle of light that bounces off the lake in the late afternoon, spilling into our living room and kitchen. Like I said, it's perfect.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Resolutions Revisited

March has come and gone, and I can hardly believe it. 2012 is already a quarter over!

How is everyone's year going? Have you kept up with your new year's resolutions? I'm not one for resolutions since they are pretty much destined to fail (who honestly can stop eating comfort food in the dead of winter? Not me.) but if you've been reading here for very long, you probably know that I do love a good list of goals. Granted, I'm not always the best at finishing my lists in a timely manner, if at all, but I sure like to make them. There's something about gathering my thoughts, writing down my goals, and crossing off the to-dos that makes me feel so accomplished -- even if my task is as simple as dusting the bookshelf. Lists just work. I'm totally a list person. 

A while back, I was featured over at Diapers and Skinny Jeans as part of a great series called Goal Setting, where I shared this list of goals for 2012:

  • Finish up some of my goals from 2011
  • Try to have as many Meatless Mondays as possible
  • Gather with friends more often
  • Make the most out of summertime weather
  • Post original content on my blog more often
  • Try new hairstyles
  • Make something I'm proud of once a week 

Blog friends, can I be honest with you? I've hardly done anything about these goals, even though they've been floating around in the back of my mind all year. Meatless Mondays ended pretty quickly when I tried to get Chris to eat chickpea curry. Summer hasn't happened yet, so I guess I'm off the hook with that one for now. I have been spending time with friends and working on original content for GH, but I could definitely improve in both areas. I've worn my hair the same way for pretty much the entire year, and I'm not churning out creative projects as often as I'd like. 3 out of 7? Not so great. 

That said, I knew when I set up these goals that it would probably take me a few months to come out of winter hibernation and actually do anything about them, so I'm not disappointed with myself just yet. Like clockwork, I've been feeling the tug of springtime inspiration. Everything around me is waking up, full of life and color; I can't help but feel the same way. April has arrived, and that means it's time to tackle these to-dos head on. Anyone else working on a list of goals/resolutions for 2012?