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friday finds: xv

oh boy. this week. cheers to the freakin weekend.

if you're like me and your iphone battery loses steam toward the end of the day, this device holds enough juice for six (!!!) full charges. 

boots | charger | planter | ring | bottle | scarf

this is one of my favorite editions of friday finds. i really want all this stuff. that ring? need it. that scarf? yep.

i've been using my glass water bottle daily for a long time now and i love it so much more than plastic or metal versions. this isn't the one i have, but it's made by the same company and i can vouch for their quality.

we're off to charleston, sc to visit the fam for thanksgiving. i gotta remember to pack some maternity jeans aka the perfect feasting attire.

happy friday!

make this now

i hate doing dishes. 

i'll seriously clean bathrooms before i do dishes. least favorite household chore.

that's why one-pan meals are so awesome.

this delicious, satisfying healthy meal is perfect for chilly fall evenings. and it's foolproof.

first things first: mise en place aka get your shit together. chop up one onion, peel and dice one sweet potato and prepare the kale. that means rinsing, removing the tough middle rib piece and chopping. 

next, cook about a pound of ground meat. i love turkey thigh because it's flavorful without being fatty. but this recipe is so versatile, so forgiving, that you could use anything: beef, chicken, even seitan or another meat-free alternative.

back to the recipe. when i cook ground meat, i turn the heat up to medium-high/high for about two minutes to get the pan nice and hot. then i add just a dribble of olive oil, and dump the meat in the non-stick pan. THEN DON'T TOUCH IT. 

just let it cook for a few minutes WITHOUT MOVING IT and it'll caramelize nicely and get some of that delicious golden brown color on it. at this stage, you should add about a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper. 

once the meat is cooked, drain off the fat if you need to and set aside in a bowl.

now it's time to cook the prepared veggies. 

add a bit more olive oil to the pan, let it heat up for a second and then add ONLY the onion and sweet potato. season with another teaspoon of salt and half teaspoon of pepper. cook until the onions are translucent and the potato softens, about five minutes.

once they're cooked, add the meat back and season the entire dish with two teaspoons of curry powder. any curry powder works. if the curry you're using is mild, you may want to add a few small dashes of cayenne.

once everything is back in the pan, toss in the kale. i used one large bunch here. it will look like a lot, but it wilt.

and that's it! give it a taste for seasoning and you're done! dinner is served. you could even throw a poached egg on top, but that's another dish to wash. your call.

this is one of those feel-good dinners. it's filling, inexpensive, warm and super good for you. make this and you can check dinner off the list for tonight. 


i ugly cried in the shower this morning. 

tomorrow is our sweet jake's first birthday and i can't help but reminisce about the past year and remember how i was feeling last october.

i didn't expect to be this emotional. i didn't see those tears coming. i was getting ready like normal and he crossed my mind as he does a thousand times a day. and i shed some happy, ugly, unexpected tears.

how do you describe what it's like being a new parent? i read other people's descriptions of parenthood that are so beautifully elegant and witty. every time i've tried to write about jake coming into our lives, it sounds more along the lines of, "me parent now. sometimes fun. sometimes hard."

so i haven't tried. 

but tomorrow is his birthday. and because i'm a nostalgic person, my mind is transported back to october 24, 2013, the day before he came. 

i had a scheduled c-section. i thought knowing exactly when he was going to come would make me less anxious. i was wrong about that. i remember that morning: piercing blue sky and vibrant fall colors. i remember driving to pick up my sister from union station, thinking "is this for real? am i going to actually not be pregnant anymore?" i was terrified. 

does that word sound too strong? i'm removed from the situation now but i'm positive that's how i was feeling back then. i held it together because i was still pregnant and because i was certain that any negative feelings or over-the-top anxiety would affect my baby in some way. i don't know. like i said. terrified.

at the hospital, the nurse had a horrible time putting in the IV. when i look back at at day, it's almost funny because the most painful thing i experienced was getting that damn IV in. 

i had walk to the operating room by myself. bob couldn't come in until after the epidural was in place. i almost didn't make it. i wanted to tell my doctor, "just kidding! let's do this another time!" the operating room was so bright and metallic and cold. i'd never had surgery before. terrified.

the c-section was an odd experience. and one that i had a lot of conflicting emotions about after the fact. the drugs made me loopy. not out of it completely, but i wasn't myself either. the two things i remember most were the extreme nausea and the tugging sensations. 

when they pulled him out, the first thing i remember saying is, "is that him? he looks so weird."

that's not what moms are supposed to say. i was terrified i was doing it all wrong already. after i was out of the operating room--still loopy, still nauseous--i remember crying to bob, telling him i wasn't sure if i loved jake enough. the only thing i'd ever heard new moms say was that they loved their little one more than anything. immediately. 

i loved him, of course, but i wasn't sure if i was doing it right. was i enough for him? was i feeling it strong enough? 

i'd always wanted to be a mom, but maybe i wasn't cut out for it. 

but that overwhelming, fierce, mama bear type of love did come. it came fast and without warning and it was all consuming. 

he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. i can't explain how i got to that point. from terrified to completely taken, but i did.

the first night back from the hospital was hard. the first few weeks were exhausting. i was sore and tired and hormonal and puffy and still not myself--physically or emotionally. 

it got better. i got better.

when bob's paternity leave ended, i was again terrified to be left alone with him all day. just me and him? all day? 

but i handled it and jake and i bonded and that time we had will always be very special to me. i developed confidence as a mom. i found oceans of patience when i'd always  been more of a thimbleful girl.

when jake was 8 weeks old, we traveled to charleston for christmas. even though we left at the crack of dawn, we ran into hellish traffic and after almost three hours, we'd only made it as far as fredericksburg(normally about an hour away).

jake was upset. hungry, probably bored, ready to get out. i was feeling the same way. in the middle of him crying, we locked eyes and he grabbed my finger. there was something in the way he looked at me where i just felt like he knew me. he knew i was his mama and we were in this shitty situation together but we'd be ok.

i'll never forget that moment as long as i live.

a lot of time has passed since that day in the car. i feel connected to him in a way that's difficult to put into words. he's the sunshine of my life, as stevie wonder would say.

i absolutely do not believe that having kids makes you a better person or gives you a reason to live. all those stupid things people tell you when you're pregnant. having kids is an extremely personal choice and there's lots of reasons and ways that life can be awesome.

but it turns out that for me, he's my reason.

happy first birthday baby boy. your mama loves you more than anything. i can't wait to watch you fly.

practically perfect

when you find a cut, style or fit that's flattering on you, you take it.

of all the sleeve lengths, this one that hits slightly above the elbow (too long to be called short sleeve, not long enough for 3/4 sleeve) is a winner for me. i love the boxy shape of these shirts too. it works well with skinny pants and pencil skirts.

here are a few i have my eye on.

top images: left | right
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

since a lot of these tops are made with thicker fabric, they're great for fall weather. just throw a jacket on top and you'll be comfortable as the temperature swings from 50 to 70 during the day.

i'm having a hard time resisting that grey quilted one. oh boy.

cross it off

last night, i looked outside at 7 o'clock and it was already almost dark. i like warm weather, going to the beach and summer clothes, but the thing i always miss about summer the most is the light. when it's almost nine and it finally decides to get fully dark. i miss that in december when it's pitch black by 5:15.

dc got lucky this year. august was pleasant, not boiling, and it was one of the nicest summers i can remember. 

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the changing of the seasons always brings about a closet clean-out. i got rid of a ton of clothes this time. my motto for this clean-out: "if it doesn't fit TODAY, it's GONE." feels good to look in my closet, knowing that everything that's in there actually fits. no aspirational clothes allowed. enough of that bs.

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we got a lot done this weekend. boring errands and life stuff, but i always feel good when the weekend is productive. as much as i think i'd prefer to relax, i always end up feeing better when i'm getting stuff done, crossing off the to-do list like a maniac.

enjoy these last few days of summer. i'm not ready to let go.

a beautiful sunset from our last trip of the summer 
lucy being a grade A weirdo
cinnamon rolls for my birthday 
coming back from a kid-free dinner

friday finds: xiv

i felt fall creeping in this morning. i'm not grabbing any jackets yet, but it's coming for us.

j crew factory has a bunch of things on clearance right now. some good deals, some not at all (this is the SALE price?!) but i'm loving that short sleeved shirt. that beanie would also look cute with pretty much any color coat or jacket. score one for versatility.

travel-sized products | tote | hat | shirt | stationery | scarf

have a good weekend! the weather on sunday in dc is supposed to be amazing.

take me back

when i first moved to dc, i used to see obx stickers on cars. my curiosity got the best of me and i had to google what that meant.

most people know it stands for outer banks, but it was new for me. i'd never heard of it. 

this year, i finally experienced it and had one of the best vacations of my life. we rented a place on the beach and stayed there with two other couples and one dog. 

we stayed there for a week that included the fourth of july and a category 1 hurricane. luckily, besides some really loud wind, there was no damage where we were staying. even after living in florida for college, the thought of riding out a hurricane on the beach freaked me out.

i hope we make this a regular thing, because it was a blast.

potw: make a wish

my birthday is around the corner. so is my husband's. and my best friend's. and her kid.

that's a lot of cake.

birthday card roundups are some of my favorites to do because there's a lot to choose from and the selection is always pretty cute.

these are my picks for this year.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

and happy birthday to anyone else celebrating!
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looking for more letterpress goods? check out my press of the week series here. a new potw is posted (almost) every monday. but you can always find the latest by following me on twitter

cool story bra

i'm coming to the end of my breastfeeding days. jake and i almost made it to a year, but for a lot of reasons (decreased supply mostly), i've started to wean. 

weaning is a whole different topic that i won't get into right now, but i wanted to share the nursing bras that i found worked the best for me. it should be noted that these are all wireless options. i know some nursing moms wear bras with an underwire, but i got scared out of doing that early (blocked ducts!) and had to go wire-free for the past year. 

it was a little difficult to find wireless options that offered support, but a few of these came close. here's my picks.

best overall: this was my daily bra throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, and i don't think the picture is doing it any favors. it's a great nursing bra. i bought multiple ones in beige and black. my sister actually dragged me to motherhood maternity when i was six months pregnant (much stubborn, very poor) because i was resisting buying new bras even though my old ones clearly didn't work anymore. this bra gives a good shape in t-shirts as well as nicer work tops. you can wear something low cut or a shirt with a higher neckline and be fine. it also comes in a wide variety of sizes (34B-40F!)so you'll find one that works for you.

most comfortable: when i was on maternity leave, this was my daily wear. it doesn't offer near as much support as the previous bra, but it's super comfortable, easy to open/close with one hand and it's pretty. it's also cheap and available at target so there's that too.

best t-shirt*: i discovered this one way too late in the game. besides being awesome for wearing under thinner cotton t-shirts, this bra is super soft, stretchy and comfortable. it doesn't provide as much support as my pick for best overall, so that's the only reason it didn't win out for me. it comes in lots of colors and did i mention how comfy it is? 

best cami: i wore camis a lot over the winter so i didn't have to do the whole "lift up my t-shirt" bit to breastfeed. i'd wear this and a sweater cardigan with yoga pants and this was by far my favorite cami. the buttons and heather gray color are cute and god i miss those days sometimes.

best sleeping bra: these offer like negative support but they were my favorite bras to sleep in. i didn't like the sports bra-looking ones as much when i had to wear nursing pads overnight because they wouldn't stay in place and i'd end up leaking/soaking through (#momlyfe AMIRIGHT?!)since the pads would shift around while i slept. 

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my one negative review:

i read that people liked this bra a lot. i was a little skeptical but tried it anyways. i HATED it. it was cone boob central, super uncomfortable and offered little/no support. stay far, far away. 

_ _ _

*it's only showing up in a light beige color online, but i have it in black and it's available in a lot of stores.

freaking cool

i go through stages with earrings. i used to be all about stud earrings (the bigger the better!) and then some dangly ones caught my eye

as i was getting dressed for work the other day, i realized that it might be time to add a few new ones to my collection. a lot of the ones i purchased from j crew have fallen apart (GREAT QUALITY GUYS!) and i've managed to lose a few pairs here and there. 

the earrings i have my eye on these days are the best of both (all?) worlds: large, clustery and a little bit funky. i especially like the ones that sit on the lobe in a different way.

see what you think, below. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
5| 6 | 7 | 8

OF COURSE the ones i like the best are the most expensive. 

but any one of these guys would be a welcome addition. 

potw: hilarious

i've posted about all kinds of different letterpress cards, colors and printing treatments over the years, but i've never tipped my hat to the more lighthearted ones.

and these are just a sampling of what's out there.

it's monday and if you're in the dc area, you're probably melting away, so i thought a little humor would be just the thing. 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

those arrested development ones are killing me. 

_ _ _ 

looking for more letterpress goods? check out my press of the week series 
here. a new potw is posted (almost) every monday. but you can always find the latest by following me on twitter

later dudes

i'm heading to the beach with a group of friends for the week of the fourth of july.

if summer is my favorite time of year, the fourth is its peak of wonderfulness for me. i've loved the holiday since i was a kid and look forward to it--with some bittersweet feelings since it feels like summer is slipping away--every year. mildly pessimistic outlook, yes, since there's still two full months, but i'm also the type of person who feels like the weekend is over around noon on sunday.


where was i going with this?

my point is that if you're able to get some time off, spend time with some awesome people. also watermelon. there should always be some watermelon involved. 

peace out, friends.


after living in our house for three years, we finally put a fence.

now that it's warm and there's still some light around until almost nine o'clock, i just want to eat outside every night. 

it's high time we make use of our outdoor living area. here's the vibe i'm going for back there.

umbrella | chairs | lights | hanging plants |
succulent | succulent | plant stand | citronella candle |
lounge chair | outdoor wine glasses | table

live it up

it's less than ten days into june, and it's been awesome. 

we went to the beach this weekend and lucked out with a few sunny, low humidity days.

this is my favorite time of year. summer goes by lightning quick, especially since we always (almost) spread ourselves pretty thin.

so here's to the next three months. 

bring it on, summer.

love you, mean it

now that jake is seven months (!), i wanted to share the items we found most helpful when he was a newborn. buying things for an experience (parenthood) you've never been through before comes with a bit of trial and error. you can read recommendations and talk to friends, but since every kid/parent/house/etc. is different, you do have to see what works for you. 

i read a lot of pregnancy must-have lists before he was born, and hearing the perspective of many different people was helpful to me. the same can be said for baby stuff. there's a lot of things you can buy for a baby (duh) and reading other blog posts helped cut through the bs.

with that in mind, here's what i loved, didn't and a few things that surprised me. 

1. nosefrida. i saw this on so many blogs, i lost count. i really can't tell you how helpful it was when jake had a runny/stuffy nose over the winter a few times. he had a cold that lasted for quite a while, and this, along with some saline nose spray, was the only thing that gave him some relief and allowed him to breathe better. cannot recommend this enough.

2. white noise machine. when he was 8 weeks old, we moved him out of the bassinet (borrowed from a friend; highly recommend since you only use it for a bit) in our room and started having him sleep in his own room. we still use this white noise machine every night. it also plays music. we put on those tunes while we're getting him ready for bathtime to help emphasize that it's time to wind down and go to sleep. our house is pretty small, so the white noise in his room allows us to carry on with the rest of the night at normal volume levels. there's lots of different brands, but for us, white noise is essential.

3. the miracle blanket. when jake was brand new, he loved being swaddled. it was the only thing that kept him sleeping when he was super tiny. he's always been really into his hands and if he wasn't swaddled, he'd wake himself up almost instantly. the problem was that he could wriggle out of any blanket we tried, no matter how tightly we burrito'd him. the miracle blanket worked wonders for us. i was skeptical because it's a little expensive, but it allowed him to sleep peacefully so that's always gonna be a win.

4. skip hop bath kneeler. i didn't want to register for this at all. this was my husband's idea and i thought it was so dumb. i was all, "can't i just kneel on some towels?" lol NO. we give jake a bath every night to calm him down. with our tile floor, this mat has been awesome. it's not really that expensive (we got it as a shower gift), but i happily ate my slice of humble pie (tastes like swallowed pride with just a hint of embarrassment!) since my husband was totally right about this purchase. 

5. aden + anais blankets. these are also something i saw on every mommy blog on the planet. they're pricey and i wasn't sure he really needed them, but we use them for everything: nursing covers, overly air conditioned buildings, for sleep, carseat cover for naps, i love em. the cute patterns don't hurt either.

6. my brest friend. if you can get past the name, i highly recommend this over the boppy for breastfeeding, especially if you're having trouble with positioning. i had a rough couple weeks in the beginning and this was the only thing that worked for me. it's more supportive than the boppy, so once you get the hang of latching, you can kinda half sleep (kidding. sort of) in a hunched over position for those superfun 3 a.m. feedings. it looks kind of weird when you wear it, like a stiff, bulky tutu, but eh, whatever.

7. infant bathtub. i really wanted to like this. it just never worked for us and we ended up using the trusty old school sponge. when he was tiny, he couldn't sit in the seat and hated the infant "hammock" and when he was bigger, it was easy for him to slip out of the seat. maybe he's just an active kid, but we never used this.

8.  infant car seat neck support. i thought this was a must-purchase item. we used it once without a lot of luck. he's always had good neck control so he really only needed the additional support for a couple weeks. we could have done just as well rolling up a thin blanket (another use for the aden + anais blanket) into a makeshift neck supporter. this was a waste of money for us.

9. sleep gowns/sacks. ugh. i thought these would be awesome. no snapping/zipping in the middle of the night. but i found them to be a pain in the ass. on the ones we bought, the elastic was WAY TOO TIGHT so when you tried to move it up for a diaper change, it didn't really work. these get a big thumbs down from me, even though i know a lot of people fully endorse these for newborns.

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if you're expecting a little one, i hope this was helpful. you're bound to buy a couple things that you won't use or that won't work out like you thought they would, but that's ok. 

live and learn, right?