Thursday, December 29, 2016

What's Making Me Happy This Week

// This Room and Board blog post about velvet. So beautiful and I want that pink sofa!!!

// I've starting following @charrrl_iie on Instagram -- her collars are (WAIT FOR IT) on point! She has a daily art project going on at her throat everyday and I think it's the coolest. Click here for an interview with her. Meanwhile I'm off to Gimme Flair to browse (which will lead me to all of Etsy). And La Vidriola -- wacky and I dig it (this is amazing). Let's roll into 2017 with some silliness, shall we?

// Hearing (faintly) Luke sing and play the piano at night again - because we rented the townhouse next door!

// Being back on the low carb wagon. Day 3. Sigh.

// Getting home early this week with time to play:

Sunday, December 25, 2016

2017 Resolutions

Resolutions 2011 // Word of 2012 // 2013 // 2014 // 2015 //  Summer 2015 and Summer 2015 eval // 2016

WORD FOR 2017:


My goal for the year is to schedule more activities in advance and to be intentional and disciplined about how I spend my time. I was thinking about this recently when I realized I needed a haircut and color and when I called the salon, my stylist was booked for weeks (of course). Initial Veruca Salt reaction: I WANT IT NOWWWW! Second reaction: Why don't I make these appointments in advance? (For one thing, my work schedule is different week to week and is created about 6 weeks out -- great for flexibility, difficult for planning). Maybe a more accurate word of the year is proactive rather than reactive. Nothing new here -- the previous six resolution posts revolve around the same goals - more cooking, more exercise, more planning -- but life is getting more chaotic and if I don't plan and organize more effectively, running behind on the activities of daily living will shut out any time for personal growth projects.


// Scheduling my personal training sessions a month at a time with Courtney (Hi Courtney!!!)

// Schedule swimming lessons (in the works) to achieve my goal of lap swimming. (I want to start tennis lessons but haven't found time to go by the club for a tour - doesn't bode well).

// Buy a monthly massage membership. (I like this resolution)

// Schedule my 15-30 minutes of yoga a day (the app allows to add classes to your calendar).

// Amanda and I are going have dinner and attend one cultural event per month. (January's outing is already planned: dinner & dancing with someone else dancing --> Pastaria and Big Muddy Dance Company's Menagerie.)

// Set aside time for meal prep on Saturday or Sunday - actually write it down in my Get To Work Book. I'm very excited to start cooking regularly again. (Here's something I don't need but really want: the All-Clad slow cooker with browning function! To decrease number of pans to clean? I'm sure I'll find a reason).

// Schedule Sunday suppers with friends - very low key, no stress get togethers that require only a quick tidy-up and takeout.

// Reach out to people I don't know (or don't know well) but want to get to know because their work is interesting, they're doing cool things, etc. Come to the suburbs and tell me about your project! I will feed you!

image via

Personal growth projects:

๐Ÿ“ท Shoot Along camera course starting next week.

๐ŸŠ Swimming lessons. I've been wanting to explore lap swimming for a long time and squandering the opportunity of living next to a heated indoor lap pool is ridiculous.

๐Ÿ“š Read at least one book a month (sounds very easy - but weeks like the last one happen, in which I fall asleep next to a sick kid every night).

๐Ÿ˜ฌ Personal un-growth project: I want to lose 20 pounds before our big vacation this year. UGH. This requires that I plan menus, make almost all of my own food, log everything in myfitnesspal, and - horrors! - give up carbonated beverages. Low Carb Land, here we come.

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๐Ÿ‹  In addition to working out with Courtney, yoga to mitigate the damage of a desk job, and swimming (and tennis?), I'm resolving to watch my shows on my tablet on the stationary bike or elliptical (better than sitting still) - I bought the second season of Outlander (going to have to find a bike situated out of the line of sight of other gym goers -- some of those scenes are NSFW(out) ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ) Luke has opted out of The Man in the High Castle and The Crown - those will be gym shows.

Same goes for magazines. I was using the Texture app on my tablet but it crashed and froze so much I cancelled it and just today treated myself to the print issues of magazines that I look forward to reading - Real Simple, InStyle, Rachael Ray, Oprah, Bon Appetit and BUST (which I've never read before, but definitely want to support "magazine and website that provides news, entertainment, celebrity, lifestyle, and fashion from a feminist perspective.") To guard against clutter (the reason I used Texture to begin with) - I will deposit these in a gym-bound bag upon receipt. Cycle, ellipticize, peruse. 

We're rearranging the house a bit and I'll be able to use my TRX (and RIP) trainers at home too. Obstacles are crumbling, excuses are evaporating...

I've learned from experience that a little mindfulness - or follow through, or organization, whatever you want to call it - in one area of my life reinforces positive behavior in others. Went to the gym in the morning -- eats a nourishing breakfast. Got to bed before 10:30 - easier to wake up early. Spent an afternoon in the kitchen cooking and catching up on podcasts -- intellectual satisfaction tied to gustatory satisfaction and the contentment of opening the fridge to containers of delicious meals for my family for the week.

For a post on a theme of discipline this has been a scenic ramble through motives and aims and hopefully some measurable outcomes. 2016 has been a great year for me personally but in 2017 I want to be productive.

Here's to a great year, friends!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Lipsticks, Chopsticks

Realizing I have a bajillion lipsticks but rarely wear them, I embarked a 12 Days of Lipsmas project:

Lancรดme Hypnotique; Lancรดme Bow and Arrow; YSL 72;
Tom Ford So Vain; Bobbi Brown Russian Doll; Nars Dragon Girl

Cover Girls Lots of Lava!; Armani sheer 504; Bobbi Brown Brocade;
Perricone No Lipstick Lipstick (unnamed shade); Perricone Super Berry; Rouge d'Armani 400

Takeaways: lipstick makes a big difference! -- Mint Julips is a great product -- Armani sheers are my all time fave.

Josie was sick all week leading up to Christmas. Irritable, febrile, clingy. On Thursday she felt better and we went to Ramen Tei for the first time. Here she uses chopsticks and proclaims the noodles delicious!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Weekend on Ice

Jenny and I had plans for the pop-up Christmas bar and Luke's show on Friday but all of the plans of all of St Louis were derailed by a Friday afternoon ice storm that paralyzed the city. It took me 1.5 hours to get to Jenny's and we slipped/slid down her street for a burger at Seamus McDaniels.

(Earlier in the day, Grandparents Extraordinaire flew home from Miami and picked up the girls for the weekend, luckily in advance of the weather.)

Cicero's cancelled the show but because the band was already set up, we had a private concert! (My co-workers braved the ice and cold and attended too so THANK YOU to them!)

I went in to work for a bit on Saturday morning and returned home to Luke + empty house + nowhere to be. MAGIC!!! Instead of completing any of the ten things I always say I'd do if the girls were out of the house, Luke and I curled up and watched television We took an early intermission for a Walgreens wine run and a later break to pick up Indian take out. We watched Sicario (scary-bleak), an episode of Chef's Table, the season premiere of The Man in the High Castle (Luke is going to pass on the series - I'll probably watch it solely for Rufus Sewell's performance), some Kimmy Schmidt (I was guffawing), and the very long but very good American Hustle. A very lazy and very fantastic day!

On Sunday morning we picked up Clementine in Washington and brought her home for the Nutcracker with our friends and their kids.

Getting glam.

The dancers circulated for photos and autographs during the Sugar Plum Fairy Luncheon.

Meeting the Snow Queen. C whispered to me: Is she going to magic us with her wand?

She loved the performance (that was awesome!) and when I asked her if she would like to be in it someday- the little kids played the mice ("you could be a mouse!") - she replied immediately that "I want to be a princess." Attagirl.

With no nap, she fell asleep on the way home. She slept here for a while and refused to wake up ... until 9:45 pm, when she awoke hungry and "firsty." [thirsty] She was in the funniest mood and the three of us sat at the table while she nibbled on salami, cheese, hummus, and carrots and she talked and talked and talked and cracked us up.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2016 TAW Gift Guide

Gift ideas either vetted or coveted by me!

As my kids are thrilled with old magazines + sheets of stickers, I don't have a lot of ideas here. BUT

๐Ÿ’ Speaking of stickers I never have them on hand and they are so useful in a pinch produced from whichever bag I have with me: considering a Pipsticks subscription because stickers are fun, receiving mail is fun, having an activity on hand is a dinner-out-saver.

๐Ÿ’  These Lovelane Designs heavy duty screen printed cotton canvas capes and costume pieces are so cute and indestructible. Ours gets a lot of wear and looks perfect. I'll be sending one to Baby Ava.

๐Ÿ’ Lately the girls love picking out records to play on the record player. Their favorites right now are the Frozen soundtrack and Best of Disney. We enjoy listening to music without touching our phones or skipping songs with a swipe. For Christmas I've ordered the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Little Mermaid soundtracks. Josie squeals with delight (SEEPING BOOTY! she shrieks -- don't google it) when she recognizes the Sleeping Beauty song on the Best of Disney; I wonder if she'll like the soundtrack as it is mostly the Tchaikovsky ballet score.

The man in your life: A Yeti cooler? I have no idea.

My friend Kristen asked me what I was getting myself for Christmas this year (move over Terry Gross, that was the best question ever!) and here's my list:

๐ŸŽ„ A bottle of Tom Ford perfume, Plum Japonais. I fell in love with the scent when it was on the wrist of the TF saleswoman applying my makeup in Seattle.

๐ŸŽ„ShootAlong 2017 yearlong camera classes. We have a nice DSLR and I've purchased at least three books about learning digital photography and haven't done more than flip through them. This course consists of 52 weekly projects focused exactly on what I what to do - family portraits. I've taken Gretchen Rubin's quiz, I know I'm an Obliger! I'm very good at responding to assigned tasks. Self-imposed? Not so much. (Corollary gift(s): the version of Photoshop they use in the course; maybe a new lens because more toys = more fun?)

image via

Ideas for you, friends:

๐ŸŽ‰  For the everyday hero in your life, say it with an enamel pin:

image (and many more!) via

๐Ÿท  2016 - annus horribilis that it's been - requires a wine cardigan of epic proportions. Cardigan, robe, what's the difference? We need to be comfortable while we're toppling the patriarchy.

๐Ÿ‘  Wacoal panties that fit size 4-16. Who needs that YOU BOUGHT ME WHAT SIZE drama Christmas morning?

๐Ÿ”ฎ  M Quan ceramic pieces. I saw these in the gift shop (best gift shop, best hotel if you find yourself in San Antone) at Hotel Emma and immediately starting dreaming of a midcentury ranch in which the focal design elements would be a string of these bells, a little gold bar cart, and at least five sheepskins draped insouciantly over these chairs.

๐Ÿ’ต  Made in USA brands: every dollar we spend is political! Think of womenswear from Amour Vert, men/women/kid pajamas from Bedhead, Red Wing boots  

And finally some spendy frivolities:

๐Ÿ’ฐ  Beachwaver for people who can't remember which way they just spun the curling iron (me). I might bump this to the my-list.

๐Ÿ’ฐ LG Styler steaming cabinet? Tell me more! Can I shove a comforter in it? Grubby stuffed animals? If you have one, call me, I'm coming over!

Happy shopping!

p.s. it goes without saying but none of these links are sponsored!

Monday, December 12, 2016


Last Saturday we drove to Mike and Eric's annual Christmas party at their home outside of Chicago. We went three years ago, when I was secret-pregnant with Josie! (In the know then: Elise, who had tried to make me go on a roller coaster about a week after I found out I was pregnant).

We woke up at 5 am with the idea that the girls would sleep in the car (they didn't). The front of Luke's jaw had been hurting for a week or two and he had a Monday appointment with the dentist. Early Saturday morning, though, he pressed gently on the fluctuance he felt at the base of one of his front teeth AND PUS SPURTED OUT. Should we go to Chicago?! The ER?! Feeling much better after the pressure was relieved, we picked up some antibiotics (it's good to have your own personal ER doctor on call) and headed out.

Doughnuts and the Daniel Tiger soundtrack. On the road I realized I had no activities for the kids but I found some sticker sheets in the diaper bag and they happily stickered away for a while.

Josie was here. She also eats pizza upside down.

After a pizza lunch the girls napped - luckily, amazingly.

The party! Santa and Mrs Claus read The Night Before Christmas and distributed the kids' gifts.

Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty costumes.

The children (35 of them!) played downstairs...

Or ate the frosting off of two cupcakes...


My sis and BIL drove over for the party.

Josie got one person to toss her in the air

and then another.

The bar set up in the pool room.

We had a great visit with the Finolans! Not only are they some of my parenting (highly engaged but chill) and lifestyle (real effort put into friend and family relationships) role models but I realized this trip that Mike is the person who has introduced to so many things I'm crazy about (Hanna Andersson, baby Bogs boots, towels from Frontgate). I love you Mike but you're expensive! ;)

It began snowing as we left Elgin and then stopped - I thought we were in the clear. The snow started again and slowed down our drive by about 90 minutes. Stopping for lunch --

Since she was little C's eyebrows make a perfect semicircle when she raises them. I think it's the cutest thing in the world.

I bargained with the girls to nap in the car in order to go to a movie. And they did! 

Back at home, we saw Moana. This was Josie's very first movie in the theatre. During the short film preview she busied herself eating popcorn off the floor and I was certain the two of us would walk home, but she stayed focused for all of Moana (which is so good - strong female protagonist, no romance, great music, visually gorgeous.)

When the girls were down we watched the Westworld finale or as Luke (lukewarm about the show) deemed it, the finally.

Checking off one STL holiday to-do: the lights in Tilles Park on Monday evening, preceded by dinner at Signature Indian Kitchen.

Spurting pus update: Luke went to the dentist on Monday who sent him to another dentist for a root canal on Tuesday. The procedure was uneventful (writes the person who didn't have a dead nerve drilled out of their face) and his recovery is going well except for the antibiotic which is giving him terrible heartburn.

It was a very long workweek and on Friday Luke had a gig at the Four Seasons. I was thrilled to order a pizza and snuggle up with the girls (it's been freezing) and have a quiet night at home.

Craft fair on Saturday morning at a brewery close to home. Later I went to Costco (so busy, hated it, but I did restock all of my favorites: organic milk/cheese/bacon/cream/chicken-pork-beef, Good Food guacamole, meatballs + marinara, organic eggs in the shell and hardboiled eggs. I love egg salad but boiling and peeling eggs is such a pain. Organic peeled eggs? Yes please.)

Dinner at Brooke and Jen's. Picking out a movie (the selection: Polar Express).

Toby keeping an eye on things.

Cutest men in plaid.

Strum stick. After dinner I took the girls home and Luke Uber'ed to Delmar Hall for a concert by a band who has a studio in his building.

Sunday was a catch-up day for me at work followed by a trip to Nordstrom to pick up my refurbished wedding ring. Another mistake because the mall was so busy. Back at home, Clem (who was an absolute terror all day long for some reason) helped me pour the meatballs and marinara in the slow cooker and salt the flank steak, potatoes, and brussels sprouts. They both like helping in the kitchen - reminding me we need to decorate cookies soon!

Meal prep, many spins of the Best of Disney, laundry, many timeouts for a certain three year old, one reading of Corduroy's Best Halloween Ever and Sleepy Time. Her "no-no-no" when I try to turn a page that she's not finished with always makes me laugh (...except when it's late and all I can think is: go to sleeeeeeep, pleaasssssse.)

It was a great day.