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.