Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Review

This time last year, Neal and I were discussing plans for the year ahead and decided that we'd take it easy- no major life milestones. Those plans went out the window on New Year's Eve when we found out that we were expecting Henry, and what a year it has been!  I've been reflecting on some of my favorite moments of 2016, and along those lines, here are some of my favorite blog posts:

Travel Calendar

Original Post HERE
We made it to all of the cities that we planned to visit, and then some. Although big trips weren't in the cards for this past year, the long weekend getaways were the perfect respite from long work hours and baby anticipation.

Make Every Minute Count

Original Post HERE
This has really been the theme of my year. Pre-Henry, I was traveling every week for work and it took a lot of planning to cross off all of my to-dos each week. Post-Henry, life is even more hectic since we're at the mercy of an infant's schedule.  Time management has never been more critical!

Fit Pregnancy

Original Post HERE
I was fortunate to have an easy pregnancy, but I definitely made the most of it. Yoga and Bar Method were parts of my daily routine, helping to keep me awake (it's exhausting to make a tiny human) and healthy.

Take-Out In

Original Post HERE
One of my maternity leave projects was to cook my way through some new grain-free cookbooks, so I've tried a lot of new recipes this year. They haven't all been good, but this recipe was an improved variation of one that I tried and it's now part of our regular rotation. It's SO yummy!

Visiting a New Baby

Original Post HERE
We had so many visitors after Henry it was born, and although it was amazing and we felt so loved,  I also came up with a list of things that I wish some of our visitors had considered.

Accepting Gifts Graciously

Original Post HERE
I wish I had written this post long ago. I am a terrible gift recipient, and as the holidays approached it was a good exercise to remind myself how to be gracious.

Weekend in Boston

Original Post HERE
So many friends have visited Boston and have asked me what they should see/do. I've finally written it down, and I have to say this itinerary would make for an AWESOME weekend. We just got back from a trip to Boston and I'm already itching to go back...


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Poppin' Bottles

2016 is coming to an end, and I'm looking forward to a sparkly sendoff. I love champagne, and with  bubbly in mind, I've rounded up some links I love:

  1. 14 Champagne Cocktails to Serve at Your Next Party; Town & Country
  2. Sugarfina Champagne Candies, Sugarfina.com
  3. 10 Top Affordable Champagnes, Food & Wine
  4. DIY Gold Glitter Champagne Glasses, YouTube.com
I hope that you're ready to don your most sequined dress and pop a bottle or two (or at least indulge in those yummy champagne dummies). Cheers!

Monday, December 26, 2016

All Dressed Up

Christmas is behind us, but now we're moving full speed towards 2017. I love the start of a new year- it feels fresh and full of possibilities. Plus, New Year's Eve is a great excuse to get dressed up and do something fun. With a baby in tow, we're not planning anything too wild, but I am hoping to get out for a celebratory dinner and a glass (or two or three) of champagne.

If you're heading out for a memorable NYE, this is great time to try Rent the Runway. It's a great option for special occasion outfits because let's be honest, you probably won't wear a sequined dress every weekend. Here are my top picks:


(From left to right)
  • Slate & Willow, Copper Fleur Shift
  • Laundry by Shelli Segal, Trio Gown
  • ML Monique Lhuillier, Back Down Dress
  • Badgley Mischka, Tina Jumpsuit

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Morning: Breakfast

Breakfast Table Inspiration from Pier 1 Imports, Image via Pinterest
We'll be staying with family this weekend, and I'm planning to make breakfast on Christmas morning. As a houseguest, it's a nice gesture to make a meal, but I also have dietary restrictions that make me the hardest to please. In addition to some gluten free gingerbread pancakes, some fruit salad, and a big pot of coffee, I plan to make a hearty breakfast casserole. Here's the recipe:

What You'll Need
10 slices white bread, crusts off, cubed (I use Udi's white bread and it works well)
6 eggs
3 cups whole milk
3/4 tsp dry mustard
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup cooked ham, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup green bell peppers, diced

Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk, mustard, onion salt, garlic salt and pepper together. 
  2. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the bread cubes, cheddar, ham, onion, and bell pepper. 
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 in baking dish and refrigerate overnight. 
  4. Bake at 325 degrees uncovered for 1 hour. The dish should be puffy and golden on top, not overly brown. 
Note: There is no way to screw this dish up, and you can sub the ham/onion/bell pepper for whatever fillings you prefer. Try it with bacon or broccoli & mushrooms!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Modern Manners: Accepting Gifts Graciously


I love giving gifts- It's fun to shop for friends and family and I find joy in hunting for that perfect thing. That being said, I'm less comfortable being on the receiving end.  It's often a challenge for me to express my true gratitude, particularly if the item is something that I really don't want.  My individual aesthetics and preferences get in the way of appreciating a heartfelt gesture.

Accepting gifts graciously is especially important during the holiday season (and don't forget to write a thank you note!). With Christmas only days away, here are a few tips:
  • DO say thanks in a genuine way. Even if you don't like the item, you surely can appreciate the effort that went into choosing it. You don't have to lie and say that you love it, but do try a phrase like "This was incredibly thoughtful of you."
  • DON'T lament over the fact that you didn't buy a gift as well. Resist the urge to reciprocate and simply say something like "Thank you so much for thinking of me. What a nice surprise!" 
  • DO open presents in front of the gift giver. It's gracious to open presents while they're in the room so that you can thank them in person. I'm definitely guilty of not following this rule, especially when friends bring hostess gifts to a party. But it take seconds to unwrap the present, so just go for it!
  • DON'T follow up your elegant thank you with "but". I've heard this before- "Thank you, but I already have this." Or "Thank you, but I won't get much use out of this." In fact, I've probably said something like this before. Let's eradicate it from our gift-receiving vocabulary this year and just say "thank you."
  • DO look for the good in a gift. If it's something you truly dislike or won't use, you can always donate it or exchange it later. But there's probably SOMETHING good or at least neutral that you can say in the moment. For example, if you receive a sweater that you  never intend on wearing, you could still say something like "Thank you! I love feeling cozy and warm in the winter- you know me so well." 
Try to get into the spirit of the season and enjoy all the gifting that comes along with it. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Get Cozy

I used to have a big, slouchy black sweater that I loved. I wore it out, but I'm definitely in need of some cozy pieces to pack for our upcoming trip to Boston. Here are a few sweaters that I've been coveting:
Cuyana Oversized Turtleneck Sweater
MM LaFleur Morandi 2.0 Sweater
Vince Cashmere Elbow Sleeve Sweater
I know what you're thinking- black and grey?! How boring. But like many women I know, my winter wardrobe tends to favor these staple colors- you can always upgrade the look with accessories!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Weekend in Boston

We'll be celebrating Christmas in Boston this year, and I'm excited to revisit some of our favorite spots in between catching up with friends and family.  Neal has North End pizza and cannoli on his list, and I plan to swing into a few boutiques in our old South End neighborhood.

I frequently get asked about "must-see" sights around the city, so if you're traveling to Boston and are unencumbered by family/holiday events, I've created a three day itinerary that will allow you to hit the highlights.

Boston Public Library Image from Travel + Leisure
Friday
  • Check In: The Liberty Hotel is one of my favorite hotels in the city. It's in a great location, plus it has a bit of history- the building housed some of Boston's most notorious criminals for 120 years and you can still see bits and pieces of the old prison throughout. 
  • Visit the Public Library: The library might seem like a lame place to start, but when you arrive you'll realize the building is stunning and worth a visit. Take an Art & Architecture tour to get the highlights. On Fridays, they're offered at 11am. 
  • Walk & Shop: After the library, wind down Newbury Street to the Public Gardens. A left turn will take you down Charles Street where you can shop some of the most charming boutiques in town and stop for lunch if the mood strikes. Once you reach the end of the street, you'll be back at your hotel!
  • Party at the ICA: On the first Friday of every month, the Institute for Contemporary Art hosts a fun themed event with cocktails and hors d'oevres. You can grab a heartier bite to eat in the Seaport District before heading to the party, and once you get there you'll enjoy beautiful views of the Harbor while you get your modern art fix. 
Image from citesightsny.com
Saturday
  • Brunch at CLINK: Put on your comfiest walking shoes (you'll need them later) and head down to CLINK, one of the restaurants in the Liberty Hotel, for a delicious brunch. Pick something hearty to fuel you for lots of activity!
  • Walk the Freedom Trail: This is the best way to see the historic parts of Boston. A 2.5 mile trail will take you to 16 historic sites.  Skip the organized tours and just grab a map- you can explore at your own pace and stop for food/drinks along the way. I highly recommend walking all the way to the end in Charlestown- the USS Constitution is pretty cool and the free museum attached is excellent. 
  • Dinner in the North End: This is Boston's Italian district, and almost any restaurant that you walk into is sure to please. Pizzeria Regina is a Boston favorite (note: the North End location is the best and not to be confused with satellite versions), or you can wait for a spot at Neptune Oyster and enjoy some of the best lobster rolls in the city (not Italian, just freaking amazing). Don't forget to cap off your dinner with a cannoli. My favorites come from Maria's. 
  • Take a Ghost Tour: Ok, you're probably rolling your eyes. Hear me out- The Ghosts and Gravestones tour in Boston is one of the most fun ways to see Boston and Cambridge, plus you get to hear the darker side of the city's history. It's educational, not hokey. 
Image from BallparksofBaseball.com
Sunday
  • Dim Sum in Chinatown: Boston's North End is pretty famous, but the city has a great little Chinatown and the Dim Sum is worth a visit. It's not a far walk from the Liberty, but you can also take the T. 
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: If you're really into art, then you can check out the Museum of Fine Arts, but I think the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a better pick for a Sunday afternoon. This is the site of one of the most famous (and unsolved) art heists, so, like many other places in Boston, there's some cool history here. 
  • Fenway Park: Even if it's not baseball season, you can take a tour of Fenway Park and then stop for a beer at one of the many bars nearby. Boston sports fans are crazy about the Red Sox, and the park is the oldest ballpark in MLB.
  • Walk along the Charles. On your way back from Fenway, take a stroll along the Charles river. It's a scenic way to take in the skyline as you wrap up your trip. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

White Christmas


I love wine, but for a long time I favored bold reds over whites.  I carried over an assumption from my college days (when I was not drinking very good wine) that whites were cloying and lacked the complexity of flavors that you'd find in a darker variety. Fast forward a few years to a business dinner with my boss at The Slanted Door in San Francisco- he ordered a German Riesling to pair with our spicy meal and it was AMAZING! Since then, I've expanded my wine-drinking horizons and have found several white wines that have become regulars in my wine fridge.

With Christmas quickly approaching, I wanted to share some of my favorite white wines with pairing suggestions:

Kung Fu Girl Riesling (2013): The name of this wine might catch your eye because it's playful and fun, but the contents inside the bottle are yummy too. The wine has a mineral flavor with just a hint of sweetness, making this a good option to pair with appetizers at your holiday party.

Ponzi Vineyards 'Aurora' Chardonnay (2013): Although "un-oaked" chardonnay has become trendy recently, I'm a huge fan of the buttery, caramel flavors imparted by aging wine in oak barrels. This particular bottle has a lot of complex flavors that would pair well with a pork roast or salmon.

Groth Sauvignon Blanc (2005): This wine is one of my absolute favorites. It's citrusy and clean,which makes it easy to sip all summer long, but it will also pair well with a variety of holiday foods. Pair it with your salad course, serve it up with fish, creamy pasta dishes, or even an herb-seasoned chicken or turkey with stuffing.


White wine is also a delicious accompaniment to Christmas cookies, which is one of the BEST parts of the season if you ask me. I had some girlfriends over to decorate cookies this weekend (Note: I made this recipe with GF flour and it was awesome), and we sipped champagne while we worked because bubbles pair perfectly with buttery sugar cookies. Here are a few other match ups with trying:
  • Snowball cookies and Pinot Grigio
  • Gingerbread cookies and Riesling
  • Snickerdoodles and Sauvignon Blanc
  • Butter cookies (or spritz) and Chardonnay
Cheers!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Dinner Party Done Right

Image from Pinterest, via Town and Country Magazine
I love playing hostess, and with a baby at home, inviting friends over for dinner is a great way for us to maintain an active social life. We recently had a small group over on a Sunday night, and the informal get-together was a great way to cap off the weekend.

Here's what we served
  • Charcuterie tray, served while we sipped cocktails and let the food finish cooking
  • Mixed greens with spicy pecans, tart dried cherries, onion, tomato, and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Grilled mustard-rubbed pork chops
  • Baked potatoes with garlic-chive butter, bacon crumbles, and sour cream
  • Grilled asparagus
We kept the menu simple so that we could focus on socializing, and our guests brought the wine and the dessert.  I think everyone left full, happy, and ready for the week ahead. If you're ready to host a dinner party of your own, here are a few tips for pulling it off:
  1. Make it easy. You don't want to be finishing dishes as your guests are arriving- it's stressful and you'll be tied up in the kitchen. Keeping the menu simple and including items that you can make ahead of time will free you up for more fun. 
  2. Let guests contribute. Your guests will ask if they can bring something, so let them! Appetizers, drinks, and dessert are all easy things to delegate. 
  3. Add special touches. Whipping up a compound butter and caramelizing my own spicy pecans were super easy ways to elevate our simple menu. Think about how you can add simple special touches to the meal, or even to your table setting (place cards, napkin rings, etc.). 
  4. Set the table. Dinner feels more formal when it's a sit-down affair rather than a buffet. Set the table before your guests arrive. You don't have to go overboard or use fine china, but make it pretty!
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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Best Baby Gifts

We received so many wonderful gifts for Henry, but after a few months there are definitely a few that I'd consider "must haves." Baby gear can quickly overtake your house, but in reality, you only need a few multi-tasking items. These are the things that we use on a daily basis (in addition to essentials like bottles and diapers):


  1. Wubbanubs. Any new mom will tell you- these things are awesome. The little animal keeps the pacifier from flying across the room when baby spits it out, but it's also super cute to see your little one "holding" his first little toy!
  2. Bouncy Seat. You don't have to get the Baby Bjorn (although it's awesome) but I do definitely recommend a bouncy seat. You can't hold your baby all day, so this seat is a savior when you need to do normal things like take a shower or make dinner. 
  3. Stroller System. I have the UppaBaby Vista and I love it, mostly because it's multi-purpose. When Henry was teeny tiny, we used the stroller/bassinet combo indoors so that he could sleep and be wheeled from room to room with us. Carseats clip in easily so it's great on the go, and I especially like that I can steer it with one hand (helpful in places like the grocery store). 
  4. Rompers. Everyone loves to buy cute baby clothes, but I'm particularly partial to rompers. They're one piece, but they look like a complete outfit, so your baby will be stylin' in all those photos you're taking. 
  5. Little Giraffe Blanket. We received SO SO many blankets, but Henry's favorite is the Little Giraffe Luxe blanket. It's super soft and one that I know he'll tote around as he grows. If you're going to gift a blanket, this is the one to get. 
  6. NoseFrida. I was so skeptical about this "tool", but it is a lifesaver! It's not as gross as it looks, and it will definitely be put to use. 
  7. Multi-purpose toy. We got the Skip Hop Activity Puppy as a gift and it was an instant hit with Henry. It's got rattles, squeakers, makes crinkly noises, and has a teething bar. Of all the baby toys that we have, this one definitely gets the most use. I especially like that we can clip it to his playmat, carseat, etc.- very portable!
  8. Portable changing pad. Some diaper bags may come with changing pads, but I like the portability of this small clutch. It makes it easy to turn any tote bag into a "diaper bag," or you can just carry it as-is. 

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Monday, December 5, 2016

#FreezerGoals


I am a sucker for convenient services that promise to bring food, clothes, anything-you-can-find-online, etc. right to your door. I've tried StitchFix, Trunk Club, MMLaFleur, Blue Apron, Freshly... you name it, I've probably tried it or have at least explored it as an option.

This week I'm trying Daily Harvest, and it's awesome. Perfectly packaged cups full of healthy ingredients come straight to your door, ready to blend into delicious smoothies or heat up as a soup. Here's what came in our delivery:

  • 2 Strawberry + Peach Smoothies
  • 2 Mango + Papaya Smoothies
  • 2 Cacao + Avocado Smoothies
  • 2 Pineapple + Matcha Smoothies
  • 2 Carrot + Chia Smoothies
  • 2 Carrot + Coconut Soups
The soup was delicious, although it did overflow and create a tiny bit of a microwave mess. Of the smoothies, Carrot + Chia has been my favorite so far. Smoothies are not usually my morning go-to, simply because you have to buy the ingredients in large quantities and then end up eating the same thing every day (boring!). This is a nice way to get a bit of variety while still starting the day with fruits and veggies. 

Image from Daily Harvest

Click here to try Daily Harvest and get two free smoothies or soups! If you're not interested in having smoothies delivered to you, you can recreate some of Daily Harvest's creations on your own. Click here to view some of the recipes- they're delicious!


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Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Favorites

Image from Pinterest
Gift guides are everywhere I look right now. Rather than share my own, I've rounded up some of the links that I'm loving this week:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Reinventing Your Resume

Image from Pinterest
Even if you're not actively looking for a new job, it's not a bad idea to keep your resume up to date. I recently met with an executive coach to review my own resume because it was feeling a bit outdated and needed some revamping. The result surprised me. Here are three tips that I took away:
  1. Hit the highlights. Be specific and succinct about your experiences, highlighting key accomplishments without going overboard. My bulleted description of each experience was concise, but I wasn't sure how to account for promotions or the project-based work that is the bread and butter of consulting. My coach gave me this example: if you've been promoted in your tenure at your current company, you can have a bullet that reads "Led a 20-person team to develop and execute an training strategy that reduced spending by 50%; This resulted in a promotion to manager." I thought this was a good way to demonstrate high performance without going overboard and listing every single individual position on the page. 
  2. Sell your skills in the summary. Overall, my resume was in pretty good shape and required minor tweaking. But the part that my coach spent the most time on was the brief summary/profile. She told me that this brief summary should really read like a mini cover letter. Rather than tell the reader what you've accomplished, this summary should talk about how you accomplished it. Are you great at building relationships? Do you have an eye for detail that allows you to catch what others don't? A good place to start is by drafting a full cover letter, then using it to summarize yourself in 2-3 sentences. 
  3. Know what you want. My biggest takeaway from my session was that it's hard to apply for jobs or create the perfect resume if you don't have an "end game" in mind. What do you want to be doing in 10 years from now? What are the experiences (linear or not) that will help you get there? Once you have a plan, it's easier to concisely summarize the skills and experiences that will be relevant to the roles you want to obtain.  This might seem like common sense, but I know I still need to do a bit of soul searching to determine what I really want to be when I grow up!
Image from Pinterest
If you're revamping your own resume, check out Etsy for some cool formatting options. You want the overall look to be professional, but you can be a little bit creative with the layout. Maybe it will catch someone's eye and land you the job!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Get Me to Christmas

With Thanksgiving behind us and turkey hangovers subsided, I'm cranking up the Christmas music and fully embracing the season

This is my favorite time of the year- work seems to be slowing down, parties seem to be picking up, and we're inching closer and closer to the fresh start of the New Year.  Although shopping for the perfect present may be top of mind for many, I'm shopping for the perfect Advent Calendar. The idea of counting down to Christmas with a fun treat each day sounds so fun and it's definitely a tradition that I want to start with Henry.  Here are some of the best ones that I've found:


From top left:
I'm leaning towards a perishable, chocolate-filled calendar from Vosges this year (let's be honest, Henry won't remember it), but next year we'll look for something more reusable. 
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Music Sets the Mood

Whether you're cooking up a big dinner tomorrow or just sitting down to something simple, great tunes can help put you in the right mood.  Check out this playlist:

Image from Pinterest
I'm looking forward to cooking up some fabulous desserts tomorrow (click here to see our full menu) and there will definitely be music in the background! What's on your Thanksgiving playlist?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Holiday Spirit

Living in warmer climates has its advantages, but around the holidays I start to feel nostalgic about Boston and colder temperatures. To me, snow and fireplaces lit with toasty warm fires just feel like Christmas. In lieu of renting a snow machine and trying to recreate a wintery scene, here are some of my favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit:

Image from Instagram, @thejuniorleagueofaustin
Do your holiday shopping in a real store.  Shopping online is definitely convenient, but stores are already decked out for the holidays and there's something really nice about shopping for presents in person. If crowds aren't your thing, go now! I kicked off my holiday shopping this weekend at the Junior League's annual holiday market: A Christmas Affair. Look for similar markets in your area- it's a fun way to shop local and get some holiday vibes.

Image from Instagram, @Starbucks

Sip a holiday drink. Starbucks Christmas cups are out, which signals the beginning of the holiday season for many. Even if there's no snow in your area, you can pick up a wintery beverage. I'm loving the new Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew- it's festive, even on 85 degree days.

Image from Instagram, @CrateandBarrel
Host a party.  You don't have to go overboard on a holiday soiree. A simple dinner with friends or a get-together to decorate cookies will give you something to look forward to this holiday season. Spending time with loved ones is the best part of the holiday season, so take advantage of the opportunity to get people together!

Image from Instagram, @Nestfragrances
Set the mood. Light a holiday candle and turn up the Christmas music while you wrap presents, bake cookies, or even work! I've got my Nest holiday candle burning and a hoska (similar recipe here) in the oven as I type, and it smells like Christmas.

What do you do to get into the holiday spirit?

Friday, November 18, 2016

5 Fun Date Night Ideas

Me and my FAVORITE date; Photo courtesy of Jennifer Polson Photography
Dinner and a movie is fun, but there's no need to fall into a date-night rut. I like to take full advantage of a night out with my love, especially now that we have a little one at home and our alone time is less frequent. Regardless of whether or not your night requires a babysitter, here are 5 fun ideas for a fun night out:
  1. Progressive Dinner: We live in a city with so many awesome bars and restaurants that it might be impossible to try them all, but we're certainly trying! I love the idea of cocktails and appetizers at one place, dinner at another, and dessert at one final stop. It draws the night out and lets you explore a bit. 
  2. Bike Ride: One of my favorite memories of a trip to wine country was biking through the vineyards of Healdsburg with Neal. We didn't have fancy bikes, but it was a leisurely, relaxing ride that could easily be replicated in your city. Not too keen on biking alongside cars? Try a spinning class instead- I'm definitely eager to get Neal to join me at the new SoulCycle studio that opened near us!
  3. Dancing: This one is a bit city-dependent. In Austin, we've visited The Broken Spoke for some Texas Two-Step lessons, and we've taken a few ballroom dance classes together.  Both were a little bit out of our comfort zones, but a fun way to spend a couple of hours!
  4. Cooking Class: If you do your research, you're likely to find lots of cooking class options in your area. Even places like Sur La Table and Whole Foods offer them. Pick a class and cook something new and inventive with your honey- a little teamwork in the kitchen is a good thing!
  5. Coffee Shop Game Night: Scrabble is one of my favorite games, but on nights when we need to get out of the house, it's fun to go have dessert and coffee at a swanky spot downtown while playing a game of cards or a board game. Many coffee shops already have games available, but there's no harm in bringing your own!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

On the Menu: Thanksgiving Dinner

Image from Austin Chronicle
Thanksgiving is quickly approaching,  and this year we're hosting family in Austin. I'm excited to skip the airports and stay in, and even more excited to spend some quality time with loved ones (even though I know they really just want to spend time with the baby!).

Although I love to cook, Thanksgiving meals aren't typically my favorite. Roasting a turkey in the oven for hours and then making a frenzied attempt to get all of the side dishes cooked simultaneously sounds like a stressful way to spend the day. This year, I've outsourced the cooking and am just planning to focus on dessert. Here's what's on the menu:
The wine will be flowing and we might whip up some of this apple cider and cranberry punch. What will grace YOUR table this Thanksgiving?

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Sweet Gestures

Gift Crate from Olive & Coco, Image via Oliveandcocoa.com
The holidays are quickly approaching, and gifting loved ones is definitely a holiday tradition. But what about all of those other "moments" throughout the year that deserve a little recognition? Small, sweet gestures go a long way. Here are a few ways to surprise and delight your friends and family members, even when gifts are not required:

  • Snail Mail. I love getting mail, but my mailbox is usually filled with bills and lame catalogs. A card or a letter from a friend really brightens my day, especially when it's unexpected. I like to keep this in mind and try to send the occasional note or small package to my friends. 
  • Gift Box or Care Package. When I was newly pregnant, I received the most amazing Olive & Coco gift box from a friend in Boston. It satisfied all of my  pregnancy snack cravings, but more importantly, it was such an awesome way for my friend to say "I'm excited for you!".
  • Send Flowers. Fresh flowers are great for special occasions, but there's no rule that you can't send a bouquet just to let someone know that you're thinking of them. 
  • Make a Meal. Picking up lunch for a friend who has been heads down on a big project or making a meal for a family with a new baby is so thoughtful. We were so appreciative of everyone who pitched in to make sure we were well fed during our first few weeks home with Henry, and I look forward to returning that favor. 
  • Be generous. This is a very generic statement, but I think about it in a few ways. You can be generous with your time- offer to help a friend finish their garden or paint their fence (not glamorous, but it's more fun with friends!). Or you can be generous with your money. If you see a bracelet that reminds you of a far-away friend, send it her way! See a candle that your sister would love? Pick it up!

It's so easy to get caught up in our own day-to-day lives and forget that our friends and family have big things going on too.  I'd love to hear other ideas for making someone's day a bit brighter!
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fit Fab Fun


It's hump day, and although you might be getting over the "hump of the week" it might also feel like the SLUMP of the week. My Wednesday is going better than expected, and it's in part due to some special mail. I love getting packages, and my Fit Fab Fun box just arrived!


This seasonal box is full of fun fall goodies like a beautiful plaid blanket scarf, body oil, brow gel, an eyeshadow palette, a fun coloring book and colored pencils, night serum, toe sox for my barre classes... there are so many great things! The timing couldn't be more perfect because it is a BEAUTIFUL fall day in Austin. I'm going to fill my new mug with a big cup of tea and cozy up with a good book. If you're a little jealous, get in on the action and order a box for yourself (with $10 off!) by clicking here


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrating Year One

We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary yesterday, and it' fun to look back and reflect on the past 365 days.



Our wedding was definitely the best day of 2015- we had so much fun celebrating with friends and family, and we made some very special memories.



On New Year's Eve, we found out that we were expecting a baby, paving the way for an exciting new year.  My New Year's Resolution was to learn something new, but I had no idea I'd be learning how to be a mom!



I really enjoyed being pregnant- Henry took it easy on me and I was able to maintain a regular exercise routine and eat pretty healthfully. I craved apples and HATED chicken, but growing a tiny human was a breeze. Our family and friends showered Baby C with all kinds of sweetness in June, and we couldn't have been more appreciative. He was loved early on!


We squeezed as much fun into the summer as we could- a long weekend trip to Seattle, lots of date nights with friends, and a fun birthday celebration.


And Henry made his debut a bit early in August. It was a game-changing weekend for us and we couldn't be happier to be parents!

Our anniversary celebration included our first date night out sans-baby and i'm happy to say that we resisted the urge to talk about him the whole time or check in every 15 minutes.  It was nice to spend time together and think about all the adventures that year 2 will bring!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pumpkin Spice


I might be the only person in America who hates Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I prefer my coffee black, not orange,  but pumpkin is a flavor that I DO love in desserts and it is officially pumpkin season. I'm looking forward to trying some of these pumpkin recipes this fall:

Pumpkin Churro Waffles, from Damn Delicious
Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler, from Lauren's Latest
Pumpkin Pound Cake, from Something Swanky
I love trying new things, but you can bet that I'll also make this Pumpkin Cheesecake again. We're hosting Thanksgiving in Austin this year, and it will be the PERFECT dessert to cap off the meal.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites: What I'm Reading

I love to read, and I'll give almost any book a fair chance. Here's what's on currently on my Kindle:


Fiction
  • Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld: I recently finished this modern take on Pride and Prejudice. It was a fun, easy read that I'd highly recommend. The characters were interesting and the storyline mirrored the original plot in a really contemporary way. 
  • Exhume by Danielle Girard: I'm looking forward to grabbing a big glass of wine and digging into this thriller about a medical examiner unravelling a particularly dangerous case. If the reviews are any indication, this one will be a page turner. 
  • First Comes Love by Emily Giffin: I'm a big fan of Giffin's earlier novels, Something Borrowed and Something Blue, so I'm excited that this book is in my queue.  Written about two sisters who find themselves at a crossroads in life, I expect this book to be emotionally engaging from start to finish. 

Non-Fiction
  • The Cyber Effect by Mary Aiken: This book came recommended to me since I have a new little one in the house, and the overall point of the book is pretty compelling.  Human behavior changes online and in the virtual world, and the full impact of technology on new generations is yet to be seen. I'm about halfway through, and although it's not the most exciting read, it has given me some food for thought. 
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg: I've been recommending this book to friends and colleagues alike.  Our lives are formed by a series of habits, whether we realize it or not, and understanding how habits are created and changed is really interesting! There are so many relevant applications in life and business, but the best part is that the author's writing style keeps things exciting (which is not always the case in non-fiction). If you haven't read it yet,  this is one to add to your list!