Wednesday, December 29, 2010


hope you're all having happy wednesdays, friends. my week has been quiet so far, and i'm looking forward to coming home from work tonight, curling up on my couch, and reading the night away before (hopefully) crawling into bed early.

how are things going for you?


photo via here. i kind of want a pair of moccasins now.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

family ties.

first of all, i should say that it's only appropriate that i write this post on my mom's birthday. happy, happy, happy birthday, mom!

when i was visiting my parents over the holiday break (is it sad that i consider a three-day weekend a break now? must take more vacation in 2011), i spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house, where most of my visiting family was staying.

grandma (my mom's mom) lives two blocks away from my parents, and i've visited her in that exact location for 27 years -- in other words, my entire life. she's is 95 now, and her mind is much softer than it used to be, but she's in perfect physical health and i caught her dancing merrily at the the kitchen sink the other day while she rinsed out a glass. she stays up late, she loves strong iced tea, and she has a moral constitution that i swear is made of steel. i admire her so much.

that's why i was thrilled to discover her college yearbook during this last visit. grandma went to marywood university in scranton, pennsylvania, and graduated in 1936 -- a time when many women didn't attend college in the first place, and something i admire and am so proud of.  flipping through the pages of the yearbook was fantastic, and i'm going to see if it's something i might be able to hold on to when grandma is ready to give it up. that's her page in the book, above, and her photograph -- wasn't she beautiful? (you can click to enlarge, if you'd like.)

the best part of her particular entry in this book, though, is the paragraph that accompanies it. i literally laughed out loud when i read it, and i thought i'd document it here, too -- both for posterity and for the fact that you guys might also get a kick out of it.

"another charming member of our utopian society is mary o'hara. mary appeared to be a very sophisticated type with straight black hair and braids, but underneath she was a very friendly sort of person. much may be told about mary. she was interested in art and had many very good drawings to her credit, several of which may be seen throughout this book. she is not particularly athletic, but enjoyed skating, tobogganing, sleigh-riding, and an occasional dip in a swimming pool. she can boast that she has been on the back of a horse for more than half an hour. (for proof ask her to show you the picture.) she enjoyed open cars, going without a hat, was a willing pupil of contract, and had quite a capacity for ice cream. mary's cheerful laugh was often heard ringing down the corridors of the administration building, for she found something to laugh at in almost every situation. her clothes were always attractive and neat, and her raven black braids formed a real old-fashioned setting for her cameo-like face. mary worked unceasingly for the literary productions of utopia and contributed many attractive sketches to both the tourmaline and the bay leaf. and whenever we heard the expression "isn't that tender!"  we could be sure mary was around. we hope her post-utopian days will be as successful and happy as her college days were."

it's hard to pin down a favorite sentence, but i think "she had quite a capacity for ice cream" might be it.

now i know where it comes from.

Monday, December 27, 2010

the (holiday!) weekend + committing to...

 happy monday, friends -- if you celebrate, did you have a good christmas? i hope so. and if you don't celebrate, i hope you had a lovely weekend.

i definitely did: i baked a lot, ate a lot, read a lot (specifically, this book -- devoured in a day), and spent tons of time with my family, which was exactly what i wanted. gifts were a very secondary thing for me this year, and it felt really good to be free from that pressure (although i'd be remiss if i didn't mention the really lovely things i received. thank you, friends and family).

i'm kind of kicking myself that i didn't take some extra days off work this week -- not for any real reason, but i just feel like i'd like even more time: more time with my extended family, more time to reflect back on what has been a bit of a tumultuous year, and more time to reflect forward on what i'd like 2011 to be.

so with that said, as i think about these things (all of which i'll share with you in a big "committing to..." post next week), here are my little commitments for this last week of 2010. the theme seems to be quiet, huh?

+ keep doing this.
+ detox from christmas, aka cookiefest of the century. do a little yoga, a little pilates.
+ lay low for the first part of this week. i think thursday, friday, and saturday are going to be pretty celebratory, so quiet time today, tomorrow and wednesday seems necessary.

what are your goals for the week?

p.s. i highly recommend that you read this beautiful post by dominique browning, who writes a gorgeous blog and also just happened to be the reviewer of the book i linked to above. i have always loved butterflies, and her thoughts on them -- and their relation to us as human beings -- are so lovely and touching, especially as we say goodbye to this year.

image by kate pulley

Thursday, December 23, 2010

eat, bake, love.

hi, friends! happy thursday, and happy christmas eve eve. how have your past few days been?

today is my last day at work until next monday; after i finish up, i’ll be heading home to my parents’ for the long weekend. i can’t even begin to tell you how excited i am about that; i’ve been feeling a little not-myself for the past month or so, so i’m excited to spend a lot of time in pajamas by the christmas tree with a bunch of my extended family. just what the doctor ordered.

something else the doctor ordered (although probably not the dentist) was an evening spent baking. i was feeling a little beaten down by the workweek and by the holiday in general – to the point where i almost skipped the baking last night and just settled down on the couch. but i’m glad i didn’t, because the nutella cookies – the recipe for which i found in katie’s fantastic christmas magazine – are delicious. delicious to the point where i ate too much of the dough and my teeth hurt today. ha! if you like nutella like i do, try these out. recipe below.

i’ll probably be posting tomorrow, so see you back here then – i hope your thursdays are merry and bright!


nutella cookies
adapted slightly from here

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 tbsp almond milk (or soy, or cow’s)
1 cup milk chocolate chips (optional, but recommended)

in a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. set aside.

in another bowl, cream together butter, nutella, and sugars. beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. add the flour mixture to the batter in three parts, alternating with the milk. do not overbeat.

wrap the dough, which will be sticky, in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

after an hour, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. let cookies cool for a few minutes before removing them from the tray and placing on a parchment-lined wire rack. repeat until all of the cookie dough has been used.

image by katie. they're not the nutella cookies, but they're equally chocolatey and delightful, right?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

the weekend + committing to...

last night, my best friend k., her boyfriend, her family and i headed over to the always-beautiful selby gardens for its annual "lights in bloom" holiday event. even though i've lived in sarasota for four years now, sunday was my first time at "lights in bloom," and it was beautiful -- we spent the majority of our time at the gardens walking through its outdoor paths, sipping hot chocolate, and ooh-ing and aah-ing at all the pretty, twinkly christmas lights. all the shots i tried to take outdoors turned out crappily (must get better at taking pictures at night), but i did manage to snap some photographs of selby's renowned orchids, which were just lovely.

"lights in bloom" was one highlight in what was overall a really pleasant, definitively holiday-ish weekend. on friday night, i finished up my christmas shopping, went to see a movie and then came home and relaxed. on saturday, i whipped up a batch of nichole's chocolate crinkle cookies, which i think should be renamed "brownie bites from heaven" -- they were delicious. and on saturday night, i took my cookies to an ugly sweater party, drank good wine (the hosts are wine distributors), chatted with new friends, and generally had a great time.

a good weekend, indeed.

and now this is a short week for me -- i have friday off, and i'm heading up to my parents' house on thursday night -- and i have to say, the timing couldn't be better. i'm excited to have a few days off, excited for the holiday, excited most of all to see a lot of my extended family.

so with that, here are my commitments for the week:

+ stay positive. chin up and all that good stuff.
+ keep focusing on remaining free from the rampant materialism that's going on right now
+ bake the nutella cookies i discovered in katie's amazing christmas magazine.
+ give my house a good scrubdown early in the week so i don't have to worry about it when i'm trying to fly out the door on thursday night.
+ spend some quality time with my favorite sarasota people.
+ continuing thinking about what i want 2011 to be.

and you, friends? tell me, and i'll see you back here tomorrow! xoxo

photos by me

Friday, December 17, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy friday, friends! can you believe there are only two more fridays left this year? i can't -- craziness! i managed to get most of my christmas shopping for my immediate family done this week, and while i'm still looking for one last perfect gift for my brother and mom, respectively, i feel good about things. plus, i love looking at the wrapped presents near my tiny christmas tree -- they're so pretty.

what are your plans for the weekend? i'm planning on a movie, a long walk, an ugly-sweater holiday party (although i don't own an ugly holiday, and a day of baking, but other than that, my plans are wide open. i'll be heading to my parents' next weekend, and family is coming in from all over for the holiday, so i'm excited to enjoy being in sarasota and taking advantage of the mini warm-weather snap we'll be having today and tomorrow.

tell me what you're up to, and i'll see you back here on monday. xoxo

photo by olivia

Thursday, December 16, 2010


is it just me, or does this week seem to be whizzing by? at this rate, i can't even imagine how next week  is going to go. i think having my aunt linn in town, coupled with the already-frantic pace of the holiday season, is adding to that time-flying feeling, but seriously: wow. i love this time of year -- it's my favorite, actually -- but sometimes it feels a little like gasping for air.

but then i stumble across photographs like these, by anna aden, and they feel like the breath you take when you first walk outside on one of those silent, wintry mornings: crackling-cold and crisp and head-and-soul-clearing. lovely, lovely, lovely.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

a little happy.

making me happy right now:

+ this cupcake, because it's from my favorite cupcakery in sarasota, cupcakes a-go-go. (side note: i still think there aren't enough cupcakeries in town. if i had enough disposable cash laying around, i'd totally open one up.)

+ christmas. i can't wait to see my family.

+ the great christmas cookie bake, which will be happening at casa megan on sunday.

+ writing my holiday cards tonight or tomorrow night.

+ the thought of 2011 and all the adventures and memories i plan on creating for myself. expect a looking forward/looking back post soon.

+ sitting on my couch typing this blog post, with oscar at my feet and a blanket wrapped around me. it may be cold outside, but we are toasty and warm in our house.

what's been making you happy lately? xoxo

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

shoogie boogies.

i like to think that i'm a pretty good sarasota tour guide. for several years, i worked at a local magazine whose sole purpose is to highlight the lovely things about this city on the gulf, and even now that i don't anymore, i still like to think i get about and about a good deal.

so when my aunt linn, who's been visiting from scranton, pennsylvania, told me she found the cutest cafe ever -- one that i'd never heard of -- i was a little wary.

turns out, though, that she was right. the garden cafe at shoogie boogies is, hands-down, the most delightful little place i've ever been in sarasota. it serves light fare -- i had a quinoa bowl and a pear-and-walnut salad; aunt linn had quiche -- and sells the most beautifully packaged products, everything from soap to tea to wine to little trinkets for the home. plus, even better, there's a whole room devoted to dessert.

kathryn kittinger, shoogie boogies' owner, is a photographer who also sells her work in the space, and it's just lovely, as well. you can read the story of how shoogie boogies came to get its unique name here, and find out more about the cafe and garden here. and seriously, if you're in sarasota, seek it out. it's worth discovering for yourself.

photos by me; see more here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

committing to...

my one-and-only commitment for this week.

i think it's a pretty good one.

photo: paper owls

Thursday, December 9, 2010

winter wonderland.

we've been having a cold snap here in florida, and while i'm kind of like, oh-my-gosh-i-am-not-used-to-temperatures-in-the-30s-ever (no, you shouldn't feel sorry for me)(yes, this from a girl who wants desperately to live in new york or boston or philadelphia at some point), i've enjoyed bundling up in my oft-neglected sweaters, wearing close-toed shoes, shuffling around the house in socks, and having a mug of hot coffee or tea in my right hand at all times. it just makes everything feel festive. especially while decorating my tiny tree and belting out christmas carols at the top of my lungs (no one lives below me, so it's ok). it kind of makes up for all the craziness of the week, you know?

how have your weeks been, friends?


photo by keksofant

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

books: great house, by nicole krauss.

to say that nicole krauss' new book, great house, is not an easy read would be an understatement. it's not that it's slow or overly complex in its themes; it's just that its characters manage to be incredibly complicated, deeply flawed people that add even more gravity to a book that has very few moments of levity to begin with.

to be frank: if you're sad, this book will not uplift you.

but all that being said, great house is a book that leaves an indelible mark, a book that i didn't want to close too quickly when i got to the last page because i felt like doing so would take away from how much i genuinely loved it.

the characters in great house have all experienced incredible losses -- losses of people, of items, and, in some cases, of memories. the book centers first and foremost around a writing desk. this desk has been passed through the novel's cast of characters and takes on a different meaning for each one of them (and it should be said that one of the characters in this book is the art of writing, and another, i believe, is the desk itself). the novel alternates between four main points of view, people who have each had some relationship to this desk, and its a testament to krauss' talent as a writer that these points of view weave together seamlessly, almost effortlessly. the transitions never feel abrupt, and no one character's story feels weightier than another's; krauss does a good job of remembering that grief is grief, no matter what.

but i think my most favorite part of great house is krauss' writing itself -- it's gorgeous. this may sound strange, but the aesthetics of sentences are extremely important to me. i am a person who believes that how something is said is almost -- if not equally -- as important as what is being said, and the prose in great house is definitely its brightest star. krauss manages to make ordinary details (a lock of hair, crumbs on a kitchen floor) seem extraordinary, and it's this attention to detail that grounds the book; allows its readers to truly see and connect with the hulking shadow of a desk, of a woman sitting in her armchair, of a man driving his sedan down a dark road.

the history of love, krauss' previous book, is one of my very favorites, and i was concerned that great house wouldn't live up to love's brilliancy. i needn't have worried. while this isn't a novel i'll pick up and reread often, simply because it's so emotionally wrenching,  it's one that has certainly earned a prominent place on my bookshelf, and one that i'll recommend to others and hold up as an example to the next books on my list.

photo by honey and jam, via mary

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

loving: sparkly baubles from spool no. 72

the holidays are the best time of year to pull sparkly bits and baubles from your jewelry box, and i am totally loving these pretty pieces from one of my favorite online shops, spool no. 72. so festive, yes?

Monday, December 6, 2010

the weekend + committing to...

happy monday, everyone! did you have a good weekend? i did -- i went to my book club on friday night and met some lovely new people; hung out with my friends k. and t. on saturday, and spent sunday relaxing, decoratng my tiny christmas tree, whipping up a batch of my favorite no-fail scones, reading and working on this week's posts. a nice weekend, indeed.

i have a busy week ahead -- work promises to be ca-razy, plus there's the usual freneticness of this time of year -- but i'm most looking forward to seeing my aunt linn, who's flying in from pennsylvania to visit for a long weekend. she and i always have fun together, and i'm excited to spend time with her.

so in the spirit of those happy thoughts, here are my commitments for the next few days. tell me yours, won't you?

+ get my tooth fixed. this is not as much of a commitment as it is a priority. (stupid tooth.)
+ clean my apartment from top to bottom. we're talking ship-shape here.
+ enjoy the cold snap we're about to get -- it makes everything feel festive.
+ start a new book! (review on my last one to come a bit later this week. it was so good, you guys.)
+ try not to get wrapped up in the material, which is so easy at this time of year, what with gift guides and product placements galore.
+ be a supportive daughter to my mom, who is bearing the brunt of all of the family drama i mentioned last week. i'm hoping to get her down to sarasota this weekend to see my aunt, too.

see you tomorrow! xoxo 

photo by laure.

Friday, December 3, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy friday, friends! we made it through the first few days of december! and in spite of the rough start to the week, i've started feeling the holiday spirit: we've had a cold snap here in southwest florida, and that snuggly weather, combined with holiday decorations, peppermint-flavored drinks, and the fact that i was apparently feeling particularly festive last night, has put me in a great mood going into the weekend. i don't have a whole lot of plans, but i am hoping to finally get my christmas tree up and decorated, go for a nice long walk in the crisp weather, and get some christmas shopping and wrapping done. next week is going to be another busy one, so i'm looking forward to recharging this weekend.

what are your plans? tell me, and i'll see you back here monday -- thank you, as always, for being so sweet and wonderful. xoxo

photo by celluloid mon amour

Thursday, December 2, 2010

sleighbells ring...

it's officially time to start thinking about christmas correspondence, and i officially think these cards by shanna murray are perfect for sending joyeux noels and happy holidays galore. (full disclosure: it's mean of me to even post this because they're sold out, but they're too beautiful not to share.)

are you sending cards this year? even better, do you send photo cards? (i sometimes half-seriously/half-jokingly think of sending one of oscar and me, but am afraid it would quickly catapult me into crazy cat-lady territory.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

on deep breaths.

the past five days have not been the best for my family. there was the thanksgiving-day drama, which has turned into something that's not only sad but also ongoing, even though i feel that the sadness will be worth it in the long run; then my brother had a pretty bad car accident on sunday night (thankfully, he's ok); and to top it all off, i had my own car mishap and broke off a chunk of tooth biting into an almond on monday, which is going to require dental work and is not something i was planning for during the holiday season.

i promise i'm not trying to be negative, but ugh.

and it's not only me and my family. some other friends and friends-of-friends are going through their own hard times right now, too, and i just feel like something was a little off-kilter at the end of november -- like maybe we all need to get our balance back.

obviously, my tooth and car are super minor in the grand scheme of things, but they're also the kinds of incidents that are so easy to get tangled up in and upset about. in fact, the older i get, the more i realize that, especially at this time of year, it's important to stop and  remind myself that my reaction to something is what i make it, and to remember that things often have a way of working themselves out. a little mental check-up and a deep breath are always good.

so i'm checking up and breathing deep. november is over; december is upon us now. here's wishing us all a month that's full of silver bells and christmas trees and free of chipped teeth and broken hearts.

see you tomorrow. xoxo

photo via weheartit

Monday, November 29, 2010

the (long) weekend and committing to...

hi, friends! how were your long holiday weekends, if you had one? if not, how were your regular weekends? mine was...well, it was interesting. some family drama went down that you probably wouldn't believe even if i told you, so we'll leave it at that -- but i will say that it had nothing to do, directly, with me, my parents, or my brother. and while it kind of put a damper on everyone's spirits, i still managed to enjoy my precious days off: i saw two movies, visited my college roommate (who also happens to be one of my best friends in the whole world), almost finished my book, visited my favorite cupcakery (sadly, rifle paper co. was closed when i tried to stop in), and ate pie with every meal.

i'm currently going through pie withdrawals, actually.

anyway, it's a new week, and with it comes a new month that's also the last month of this year (!). i mentioned last week that i want to make these last days of 2010 memorable, so in the spirit of that thought, here are my commitments for this week:

+ put up my christmas tree. it's tiny, yes, but it makes things feel festive in my little home.
+ try this recipe, because it just screams "holiday comfort food."
+ plan my christmas cookie attack plan.
+ continue to focus on the things i'm thankful for, because truly: i need to remember them every day.
+ pilates in the morning. stretching and coffee sound like a pretty great way to start the day. plus, i need to get up earlier to give myself a chance to settle into the day. i'm really bad at sticking to that commitment, so i'm re-committing, here and now.
+ take care of myself emotionally, and help my friends and family take care of themselves that way, too.

and you? what are your commitments as we stride into december? tell me, and i'll see you back here tomorrow!


photo by m_paessler

Friday, November 26, 2010

what are you doing this (holiday!) weekend?

happy friday, friends! did you all have a wonderful thanksgiving, if you celebrated? i did -- i stuffed myself full of turkey, mashed potatoes, salad, stuffing (oh, stuffing), cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie i brought home, which was every bit as good as i'd hoped. yum. i love thanksgiving, and it's nice to be at my parents' house for a few days.

something else i love? the fact that i don't have to work today, which gives me the freedom to pretty much do whatever i want this weekend. i'm going to make a trip to the gym, for sure, but i definitely also plan on stopping in at the bluebird bake shop (best cupcakes ever) and at the new bricks-and-mortar rifle paper co. shop. i'm going to visit my college roommate, too -- i'm so excited to see her and her new home! -- but in between all that, i'm just going to relax and enjoy every minute of this break. (in fact, as i type this, my brother's puppy is curled up in my lap, snoring -- pretty much my idea of perfection.)

what are you up to over the next few days? tell me, and i'll see you back here on monday!


photo by celluloid mon amour

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

i know the heart of life is good.

things i'm grateful for as thanksgiving draws near:

+ my family, which includes two parents who are still married to each other; a whip-smart, hilarious younger brother; my dad's sister, who i consider one of my best friends; countless talented aunts, uncles, and cousins; and two absolutely amazing and lovely grandmothers, who have set the bar so high for me as a woman and as a human being.

+ my friends, who really also should fall under the the category of family -- the kind of people who laugh with me, cry with me, nickname me, help me organize my finances and my life, fix my car for me out of the kindness of their hearts, dance wildly with me, sing at the top of their lungs with me in the car, drop little presents off on my doorstep, and share cocktails, wishes, and secrets with me. sometimes i pinch myself wondering how i got so lucky.

+ my cat, oscar, who brightens my life with his fluffy white fur and little pink paws and the way he likes to give eskimo kisses and cuddles whenever i need him to.

+ my job, because even though it isn't necessarily what i expected, i know that i'm lucky to have it.

+ a sunny outlook on life, because it makes the hard things easier. (my friends sometimes tell me i act like life's a marshmallow. and you know, why not?)

+ this blog, because i love it. and the readers of this blog, because your comments bring me joy every day. i feel like you're all my friends, and i wish we could all get together for coffee/tea/cocktails.

happy thanksgiving to my american readers, and a happy and thanks-filled thursday to everyone else.


photo of pumpkin bourbon pie by helen. other things i'm grateful for? pumpkin cream and chocolate cream pie this season. yum.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

hey, sugar sugar.


though i don't write a whole lot of notes by hand, i love the (truly) written word with an intense burning passion. i love getting cards, i love analyzing other people's handwriting, i love collecting stationery (my most recent acquisition: monogrammed notecards for my birthday, given to me by my dear friend j.), and i love perusing paper shops, both online and in real life. so when i came across the beautiful store sugar paper, and its classic, feminine pieces, i immediately fell in love. so pretty, no?

p.s. those coasters would be a perfect holiday gift!

Monday, November 22, 2010

the weekend + committing to...

happy monday, friends -- and happy thanksgiving week! i feel like this week marks the official start of the holiday season -- even though christmas decorations have been up in my local target since halloween, and christmas carols were playing in the mall yesterday afternoon, i never fully embrace the season until thanksgiving rolls around. it just doesn't feel right. so i'm excited to go to my parents' house for a few days, have two days off work, and then come back to sarasota and start thinking about my holiday 2010 decorating and gift plans.

and speaking of holidays and celebrations, how were your weekends? mine was great; i came home from work on friday night and basically vegged out, which was delightful and a nice contrast to the busyness and errand-running that made up most of saturday morning and afternoon. then saturday night was my friend s.'s wedding reception at the newly renovated sarasota yacht club, and what a beautiful party it was -- s. looked gorgeous, the food was delicious, and you really can't beat the sight of an almost-full moon shining down on sarasota bay on a crisp, clear fall night. oh, and the pink shoes were a total hit, and also incredibly comfortable, considering all the dancing they did. (here's a terrible-quality phone picture of me and my friends t. and k.; not sure what that weird white "ghost" is, but i'm so sad this didn't turn out.)

sunday was a bit of a recovery day (oh, vodka-cranberries and wine at the wedding, why were you so good?), particularly the morning, but i also spent a lot of time outside, by the bay, with my friends k. and c., and then again later, still with k., eating outside at the columbia restaurant and walking around st. armands circle, which is totally gorgeous this time of year. so it was a great weekend, indeed.

and as far as this week, i'll probably be blogging monday through wednesday, taking thursday "off," and then potentially blogging again on friday, but it kind of depends on what my mom has planned for me at home. still, even so, here are the things i'm committing to this thanksgiving week:

+ not totally stuffing my face with the pumpkin cream pie i'm toting to my parents' from sarasota and yoder's, which churns out the most amazing menonnite food and seriously decadent pies. (a little stuffage is ok, though.)
+ concentrating on the things i'm thankful for, and focusing on remembering those as we step into the last bit of this year.
+ also focusing hard on work, because my mind has a propensity to wander during weeks like this.
+ finishing another book. (i think this one might warrant a little review next week.)
+ spending quality time with my family, who i haven't seen in a few months.  

and you? what are you committing to this week? tell me, and i'll see you here tomorrow! xoxo

lovely photo by nikaa

Friday, November 19, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

hi, friends! it's (almost) the weekend, yay! yesterday, as i was leaving work, i suddenly realized that the end of the business week was drawing near and squealed to another co-worker, "oh my gosh, tomorrow's friday!" she looked at me and laughed, but my excitement was very real: i'm so happy the weekend's here.

and for me, it's another weekend of celebration. my friend s., whose 30th birthday we celebrated last saturday, is having her wedding reception tomorrow night, and i can't wait to throw on a fancy dress, some pretty baubles, and my hot-pink heels (showcased in the photo above).

i'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that next week is thanksgiving, and that just a few short weeks after that we'll be toasting the end of 2010 and -- even better -- the beginning of 2011. a little voice in the back of my mind is telling me to make these last days of the year memorable ones, and i'm going to do my best to obey it -- starting, of course, with the wedding this weekend.

what are you up to over the next few days? tell me, and i'll see you  back here on monday! xoxo

photo by me

Thursday, November 18, 2010


full of thoughts this week, but not words (at least, not yet). so until i can find a way to prettily and meaningfully articulate all those thoughts, here's a photograph for you -- one that i'm loving, a lot. (that light...)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

all that glitters.

dear j.crew,

please stop making such sparkly, holiday-party-appropriate clothing. i'm not sure my sequin-loving heart -- which i didn't know was quite so sequin-loving until browsing your website -- can take it.



p.s. madewell, you too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

the weekend + committing to...

happy monday, friends. are you excited for a new week? i am, but i can't believe we're mid-way through november already -- where is the time going? i feel like 2010 is flying by; it seems like every time we get to this point in a month, i'm like, "where did the past 15 days go?" (maybe it's a getting-older thing.) anyway, even though i am apparently shocked at time passing, i am looking forward to the next month and a half -- i have a wedding to go to this weekend, then next weekend is thanksgiving, and soon after that comes christmas and new year's.

and speaking of holidays and the like, i had a great time this past weekend celebrating my friend chris' 40th birthday and my friend steph's 30th. we started chris' birthday on friday with dinner and wine downtown, then ended it at a trendy bar, also downtown, that was filled with the most young people i've seen in sarasota in one place in awhile.

steph's birthday, on saturday, was a potluck, and we had it at my friend t.'s new home. the weather was beautiful, so t. opened up the entire house and we spent most of the night on her lanai, eating and drinking and playing catchphrase, the most fun -- and most funny -- game in the entire world. seriously, have a couple of glasses of wine and then play this game with your friends; you'll laugh so hard you cry.

sunday was a day of relaxing, mostly; i slept way in, then cleaned a bit and ran some errands. oh, and my lovely friend k. gave me the most beautiful vintage coach bag that she found while thrift shopping -- all buttery leather and roomy pockets.  i've been looking for a great brown leather bag lately -- the kind that looks better as it ages, and as you bang it around -- and she found it for me! thanks, k. you're the best!

oh, and i did make the salted caramel banana pudding pie, but i didn't turn out quite as i'd hoped. i don't want to talk about it yet. but i will soon, and i'll let you know when i post the entire story -- which, in retrospect, is actually quite funny -- over here.

so that was the weekend, and now here are my commitments for this week. share yours, too, please?

+ take advantage of my gym membership. it's dark by the time i get home from work, and i'm too nervous to exercise outside by myself when it's like that. so: gym again! yay! (sub-commitment: pack gym clothes to take with me to work the nights before the days that i go.)
+ go pescetarian again. lately the only chicken i've been eating is the fried variety, and i don't need that. i'm not going to go full pesc until after thanksgiving, and i know that's hypocritical, but i love turkey at thanksgiving, and this is really the only time i eat it in mass quantity, so i'm going to allow myself the treat.
+ finish my current book, even though i don't really love it. but if i finish it, then i get to move on to something i know will be good, so there's motivation right there. i dislike leaving books unread -- i know some people have no problem with this, but i guess i always like to know how a novel turns out.
+ make a list of the to-dos i need to get accomplished this week, because i work better when i have something tangible on which to check things off. plus, i secretly -- or maybe not so secretly, considering this blog feature! -- like making lists.
+ try out this savory oatmeal and a new scone recipe i've had bookmarked for awhile.
+ focus on my friendships. i've felt a little burned in the friend department lately, but i am lucky to be surrounded by a group of real, true pals who i would trust with my life and who never let me down. so i'm committing to them -- for this week and for always.

see you back here tomorrow! xoxo

lovely photo by pia

Friday, November 12, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy, happy, happy friday, friends! i am so glad it's the weekend -- not only because it's been a long work week, but because i have a celebration-filled few days ahead of me. my friend chris is 40 (!) today -- he doesn't look a day over 30, seriously (why do men age so well?) -- and my friend steph turns 30 on sunday, but we're throwing her a little party tomorrow night. (i'm making a salted caramel banana-pudding pie; recipe and results to come on monday.)

so, it seems like tonight will be a night to strap on some heels and cocktail it up, and tomorrow will be a night where my best friends and i end up sitting barefoot around my friend t.'s living room, drinking beer, playing games (hello, catchphrase!), and laughing our heads off. i'm looking forward to it, and to the whole weekend, really.

i also plan on doing some more thinking about next steps. i've pretty much come to the conclusion that i need a change; the next thing i need to do is to map out a way to make that change happen. and you know, no matter what it is, the first step comes in getting my finances in order so i can do it (a thought i owe to my dear-friend-cum-financial-advisor jenn). we've been talking about end-of-year, six-month, and year-long goals, and i think i'm going to flush those out a little more clearly. so there's that, too.

what are your plans for the next few days? tell me, and i'll see you back here on monday!


lovely photo by coquinete.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

thinking about...

taking a page from melisa's blog and sharing the random things on my mind right now. thanks for indulging me.

+ a birthday-party-filled weekend. 
+ finding joy.
+ the holidays: turkey, pumpkin pie, peppermint, hot chocolate.
+ 2011.
+ baking, always.
+ clothes, always.
+ my new obsession with jeffrey campbell wedges.
+ side-swept bangs (yay or nay?).
+ how cute oscar is when he throws one paw over his face while he's sleeping, like, "people, please. i'm trying to snooze."
+ how much i'd like a dog of my own, and how very, very, very much i miss our family pup, lola.
+ a rug for the living room.
+ the amount of love i have for semicolons -- they're so woolfian.
+ how happy i am that we're one wee day away from the weekend. yay.

what's on your mind today? xoxo

photo via here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

lights will guide you home.

lately, i've been caught between this irrepressible desire to run away, far away, to another city, another state -- another country, even -- and another, equally irrepressible, desire to crawl into a cozy bed in a cozy room and hibernate for awhile. something -- i'm not sure what, but something -- is going to happen soon. i can feel it in my bones. but until it does, i'd be perfectly happy to spend some time in this lovely bedroom, watching the shadows from that pretty light dance on the wall.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


i've been thinking a lot about my shoe wardrobe lately. i am lucky to work in a super casual office where where, honestly, i could wear shorts and my beloved rainbows flip-flops every day and no one would look twice. that being said, flip-flop weather, even in florida, doesn't last all year round, and i've managed to build up a wardrobe of clothing basics that i'm pretty happy with, but that deserve better shoes. so i put together a little round-up/wish list of shoes that, i think, are totally fall- and winter-appropriate and that i would be happy to add to my current (and, ok, limited) rotation.

Monday, November 8, 2010

the weekend + committing to...

it wasn't until about 1 p.m. on sunday afternoon that i realized what a nice weekend i had.

friday night, i came home from work -- laden with sticks of butter and cartons of cream -- and got started baking six layers of white cake and two pots of coconut cream filling for my cakes. after everything was set, i laid down on the couch and watched what not to wear with oscar, enjoying being wrapped up in a blanket in my sweatpants while the barometer steadily dipped outside.

saturday i finished the cakes -- frosting and assembling (and almost going into sugar shock due to all the tasting) -- and dropped them off at their new home. then i spent the rest of the day doing errands and rearranging a few things in my house. my night was spent with a bowl of soup on the couch, watching another movie and intermittently reading my latest book.

then, sunday, i slept in until 10 a.m., cleaned, went out for big greek salads with my b.f.f. k., and ended the night with more reading and movies. this weekend was made for snuggling weather, and i fully embraced it.

something else i fully embraced? my absolute love of baking. making those cakes was the highlight of my weekend, if not my week, and even though i practically went into sugar overload, after watching "dessert first" on the food network on sunday morning, i began wanting to bake even more. (salted caramel banana pudding pie, anyone?)

that's why i've decided to start a little side project: a baking blog! called  { pink o'clock } pastries, it'll chronicle my baking adventures and be a place for me to share my favorite pastry recipes and the stories that surround why i make them with you. i won't be updating too regularly -- once a week, at most -- and i am certainly not a food writer or a pastry chef, but in my attempt to provide myself with more creative gratification, i think this will be fun. in fact, if you'd like, you can read about my coconut cake adventure here. and i'll be sure to let you all know when i update, both here and on twitter.

whew! so that's what's happened this weekend, and now here's what i'm committing to for this week (i'll make it quick, since this post is long already):

+ trying to stress less. after last week, i want to just take a deep breath and start over -- but this time, with a little less naivete.
+ celebrating my friend chris' 40th birthday and my friend steph's 30th birthday this weekend. (i'm thinking there'll be some baking blog material in that!) this is obviously less a commitment and more just two awesome things that'll be doing.
+ working on my follow-through. sometimes i should have more. i also tend to be a little, um, last-minute.
+ starting to think about holiday gifts for my friends and family.
+ taking the steps to start 2011 on a good note (personally, financially, professionally). and on that note, trying to get as much as possible out of the last few weeks of 2010.

and you? see you back here tomorrow! xoxo

photo of the pretty tulips adding some color to my apartment by me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

what are you doing this weekend?

happy, happy, happy, happy friday, friends! we made it through the first week of november (yay!), and i'm personally super excited that we're moving deeper into the month and that the holidays are creeping closer and closer. this weekend will be the first time since early this year that the temperatures dip below 80 (we're supposed to have lows in the 40s tonight!), so i'm excited to turn off the air conditioner and pull out the sweaters, even if it's only temporary. cool autumn weather just makes everything seem more festive.

what are your plans for the next few days? i'm going to be whipping up the coconut cakes i mentioned earlier tonight and tomorrow morning, and then who knows? i'm definitely hoping to get in a long walk, do some reading, and just relax. it's been kind of a tumultuous week, so some quiet self reflection is exactly the prescription i need.

enjoy your weekends, everyone, and i'll see you back here on monday!

p.s. thank you so much for all of your lovely comments this week. i can't say enough how lucky i am to have you all here with me in this little space.

love this image by candice lesage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

blue jean baby.

if ever there was a "megan" outfit, this is it. it encompasses basically everything i love: long, straight, dark hair (if only my own long dark hair would look that perfect all the time); a cardigan; a ruffled shirt; perfect-fit dark denim jeans; a great heel and bag.

this is the exact style i'm aspiring to attain this fall, especially as some cooler weather (lows in the 40s!) finally heads florida's way this weekend.

what are you shopping for right now?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

due north.

the internal compass is a funny thing, isn't it?

up until maybe a year and a half ago, mine was pointing due north. i had no question about where my life was going: i had a great job at a magazine, even greater friends, and my life seemed pretty much on track. sure, i had some credit card and school debt, and i occasionally wondered where i'd be in 10 or 15 years (here in florida? somewhere else?), but those questions were few and far between.

then i lost my job, and with it i lost a lot of my surety. the questions were less "where will i be in 10 years?" and more "where will i be in six months?" that old internal compass -- the one that had been so steadfast up until that point -- was in freefall, personally and professionally, and i feel like i've never quite been able to get it back to where it was, in spite of a new job and my wonderful, supportive family and friends.

with this off-kilter compass has come a particularly thin skin. i'm an emotional person who has always placed far too much trust in others; this is a well-known and self-admitted fact. even so, it's also one i value because i feel it lends me a great deal of empathy for others (your best quality is always your worst quality, too, right?). but i feel like my self-doubt has exacerbated these qualities, to the point where i've willfully ignored warning signs and insisted on placing a great deal of trust in people i really shouldn't -- and then felt completely crushed when that misplaced trust circled back around to gnaw at me and my feelings.

i know that sounds very dramatic, and the reality is that the things i'm talking about wouldn't even be a blip on many people's radars. but i don't think that makes them any less important, either. so my question to you, dear readers -- and it goes along with this week's commitment to stand up for myself -- is how do you grow a thicker skin without compromising the best parts of yourself, without becoming totally jaded?


photo by erika svensson

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

putting it on the table.

my apartment is boxy in every way possible: square living room/kitchen, square bedroom, rectangular bathroom. three rooms and not a whole lot of extra space. i don't have a true workspace; in fact, i often fall into the not-so-great habit of laying down on the couch with my laptop instead of sitting up straight or working at my kitchen table.

so in looking for inspiration, i naturally turned to back issues of domino and blueprint -- yes, i have a whole archive of both. that's when i came across these photos of former blueprint editor sarah humphreys' drop leaf table -- isn't it a lovely, space-saving option? a place that's not the couch where i could eat dinner and type -- adding it to my "ideas" folder, for sure. (click on the link for some more drop-leaf options, if you'd like.)

p.s. i have a thing for dining-room tables. i'll write about it as thanksgiving -- the ultimate dining-room-table holiday -- gets closer. xoxo

images via blueprint magazine, which, yes, i still miss.

Monday, November 1, 2010

the (spooky) weekend + committing to...

first and foremost, i just need to acknowledge the fact that today is my grandmother's 95th birthday. ninety-five. talk about an accomplishment. especially since she's smart as a whip and is in almost-perfect physical health.

my mom -- her daughter -- is practically a replica of grandma in terms of smarts and strength, and they are both women i aspire to be like. so, happy birthday, grandma. thanks for setting the bar so high for our family. i love you.

secondly, how were your halloween weekends? mine was good (and it started thursday night, with pumpkin beer): i went to a party with friends on friday night that continued into the wee hours of the morning; spent most of saturday lazing around my house; and then started sunday -- halloween -- by doing breakfast and errands with my friend k. and then handing out candy to trick-or-treaters at my friend's house on siesta key. a good weekend, indeed, albeit one that was a little too filled with cake, fried food, candy corn, and pumpkin ice cream. which means i'm in detox mode this week, for sure.

detoxing is just one of commitments for the next seven days, though. here are the others:

+ work on a decorating plan for my house. i want to, eventually, swap out my current coffee table, get a great rug for the living room, paint my bedroom, and diy a fabric headboard for my bed. easy, right? ha.

+ in the spirit of detoxing, planning out my weekly dinner menu. i'm thinking shrimp with aspargus tonight, and a yummy-sounding parmesan-crusted chicken recipe i read about in women's health on tuesday night. i'll report back or tweet pics (or both!).

+ following up on some awesome potential (creatively gratifying! YAY!) projects i have in the works. continuing to think about next steps, some of which i'll share with you this week.

+ starting to plan my friend s.'s 30th birthday bash with my friend t. yay!

+ not feeling guilty about the dissipation of a friendship. this is hard, guys. i am a super emotional person who was raised catholic, so guilt flows through me like blood. and before this year -- before the last six months, even -- i would have felt ridiculously guilty about a situation like this. now i'm confident that i am not fully to blame for it, and that beating myself like i would have in the past serves no purpose and benefits no one -- not me, not my friend. i am far from perfect, but i know i deserve to feel good about myself and my relationships. so: operation feel-less-guilty, in combination with operation stand-up-for-myself, commences now. (if you're going through something similar, i highly recommend reading this post by jane and this post by dominique browning, both lovely and talented ladies who have articulated this feeling perfectly.)

in the works this week, as well: two of the giant coconut cakes that i've become kind of infamous for around these parts. a friend and colleague is having a family reunion, and she's asked if i would make a pair of these baked beasts. they're pretty labor intensive, but they are beautiful and delicious and, honestly, i kind of wish more people would hire me out as a baker.

so that's what i plan on doing over the next several days (what a varied list, huh?), in addition to being here more regularly, too. tell me your goals, and i'll see you back here tomorrow! xoxo

images from sarahseven's fantastic etsy shop. aren't these beautiful? you've got to check out her custom-made wedding dresses, too. lovely, lovely, lovely. sometimes you just need some pretty on a monday.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

i got sunshine...

anna bond of rifle paper co. is one of my favorite stationery designers ever. i'm so sad that one of her wood recipe card boxes isn't in my budget, and if i ever get married, i totally want her to design my wedding invitations. even cooler? anna lives and works in the same town where i grew up: winter park! she's opening a store there soon, too. yay. 

anyway, yellow is my favorite color, hands-down, so it's no wonder that i love these custom wedding invitations anna designed. aren't they pretty? just a little sunshine for your thursday. 

p.s. i feel weird typing this when it's not even halloween yet, but anna's holiday cards are up in her shop now, too.

p.p.s. this post is taking a left turn now, but are you dressing up for halloween? i am sadly costumeless, have a party to go to on friday, and am in need of last-minute ideas that don't involve the black cat ears i've worn for the last three years.