what i love: february

Oops, forgive me for being one day late. It’s been a busy week. You know what else is late? SPRING. Or at least temperatures that aren’t the norm in the arctics. Supposedly there’s a big frost on the way this week, but I’ll believe it when I see it. How was your February? I can’t complain about mine: we celebrated the husband’s birthday in style, I’m feeling much more settled in my job (and still love it!), and we’ve seen old and new friends. More exciting news to share: we bought hardwood floors! Ok, technically bamboo floors. We found a good sale and decided to take the monetary plunge and redo the entire main level of our house. They should arrive in a few weeks and then, God help us, we’re going to tackle installing them ourselves. I’m sure everything will go PERFECTLY and there will be no fighting or unpleasantries at all. Heh. Because of that, pretty much all of my faves this month have to do with the house. I’ve been doing nonstop research about things like building walls and how to pick rug sizes for a room. I can’t wait to see how much the house is going to change for the better. Here’s what’s making me smile this month:

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1. I read a ton of home decor blogs for inspiration, but my favorite for years has been House Tweaking. Dana and her family (Cincinnati natives) “rightsized” into a fixer upper a few years ago and she has since made the house into a stunning place to live. The bathroom above is the most recently completed room and as you can see, she has an eye for creating the right mix of warm woods, interestingly patterned textiles, and gorgeous textures. I love every room in her house and wish I could buy it and move in tomorrow (see the house tour here). For now, I’ll just have to be content with stalking her blog page daily and copying everything. Seriously, that kitchen though…

2. You know what I’m obsessed with? This Banana Republic Jacquard Cropped Tank. The husband went on an after-birthday shopping spree and this, um, somehow made it into the shopping cart too. What can I say? I HAD to have it. I might also have to have the matching skirt so this summer I can pretend it’s a super cute dress. Yes?

3. One thing our house is missing hardcore is green, as in plants. I’ve been crushing on the shiny gold planters in this adorable pin from Target (love the tiny white succulent vase and all those awesome patterns too!) and am heading up this afternoon to pick up this hanging planter…I figure we should finally use one of the seventeen hooks hanging from our ceiling. The only problem is the last time I had a house plant, I killed it. Quickly. And it was a succulent, i.e. the most kill-proof plant in the world! So help me, which plant would you recommend to the worst plant owner ever?

4. One thing I’ve noticed in my new office is that all the women really take care of themselves. Shoes are always clean and unscuffed, nails are always manicured, and jewelry is always, always beautiful. I need to step up my game, for sure. I’ve started my weekly DIY manicures (it really DOES make you feel better and more put together!) and I’m eyeing these stunning Kate Spade Balloon Bouquet stud earrings. That blush color is so gorgeous and as a spring neutral would look great with everything.

5. Remember how much I loved The Bookman’s Tale? Imagine my surprise when Charlie Lovett published a new literary-themed thriller! Of course I picked it up ASAP. First Impressions is a fun quick read about Jane Austen (ugh, I’m so sick of her but read it anyway), weaving an imagined story of how Pride and Prejudice was written with a modern-day heroine trying to protect her favorite author’s legacy. While definitely nowhere near as wonderful as Bookman, I still flew through the book and loved the main character Sophie.

What are you loving this month?

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what i love: january

OMG January is over? We’re already 1/12 through 2015? Gah. Life please slow down. Life is pretty great right now. My new gig is going so well, it’s almost a certain husband’s birthday (we can’t sneak away for a mountain cabin escape this year sadly, but I do get to bake a cake!), and Suits is back on. When Harvey Specter is back, do you really need anything else? I didn’t think so.

Here’s what I’m loving this month:

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1. Don’t you love this fire pit? I am longing for a mountain or lake getaway rightnow. I think I’ve been feeling this particular brand of wanderlust for months now. But no dice. For now. We’re supposed to get snow this weekend (thankfully not like the East coast got this week, only a few inches) so I could totally fake it with a cozy staycation, right? Everyone (Nico included) chills in pajamas in front of a fire with bad-for-you snacks and lots of spiked hot chocolate! Not quite as picturesque as the scene above. Sigh.

2. Speaking of fires, this fireplace and mantel is basically my platonic ideal of a fireplace and mantel. I want to jump into my computer and move into this house. The stone work is so gorgeous and I am dying over a floating chunky mantel these days. You better believe it’s happening in our lower level later this year. In fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say everything in that picture is happening in our lower level later this year…luckily for me, here’s a diy version of the mantel. Even I can do it? Sure.

3. This cold, bitter weather has me craving everything hot and/or spicy, but I’m getting a little tired of the same old, same old soup. Enter this Thai Noodle Bowl. Look at those red pepper flakes! I want red pepper flakes on all the things. This Asian chicken noodle soup is quick and healthy, perfect for spicing up any old Tuesday night. Do it now.

4. Ok, so you know how I was disappointed by my unmet expectations of The Hangman’s Daughter? The Husband and I went to the library on Monday (I actually get to go to the library in my free time — it’s so fun when it’s not work!) and the cover of The Brothers Cabal popped out at me. You guys. It’s exactly what I wanted The Hangman’s Daughter to be. It’s full of dark, gothic, dry British humor and mystery galore. The brothers are a necromancer and a vampire and the author-as-narrator works so well here. It’s number four in a series and I already can’t wait to go get them all. I’m hooked.

5. Since I’ve had to enter the adult world and dress up for work, the rest of the time I have been all about some cozy, chic layers. I want to wear sweaters and wraps and jeans all the time. This look is pretty much what you’ll find me in anytime it’s not 9-to-5. Unless, you know, there are yoga pants around.

What’s making you smile this month?

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what i love: december

Happy new year! I remember last year around this time I was so SO ready to be done with 2013. It was not my favorite year. But 2014, despite its ups and downs, was a sweet year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready for a fresh start. Next Monday brings me the start of my new job and like everyone, I find the beginning of the year always bringing me the desire to make better habits or lose a few that aren’t serving a purpose anymore. Thank you for sticking with me along the way this year and giving me a special place to celebrate my own particular brand of nerdiness. I love all you nerds and have great plans for this space next year.

I wish for you a very fun (and safe!) end of 2014 and the crisp, hopeful turning of a new leaf in 2015. Here’s what’s making me smile lately:

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1. How much do you love this diy panel wall? Because I am amazed by it. Actually by the entire room makeover. It’s gorgeous and I’m obsessed with that gray and those antlers. I secretly want antlers in every room…but only if they’re fake. I’m thinking they’ll look great in our lower level, yes? (Help me convince the husband!) Anyway, the paneling gives the room incredible character and elegance. I was about to say it looks easy too, but knowing my diy skills, that’s better left unsaid. Or left to the professionals.

2. You guys, the cozy season is upon us. ALL I want to do is cuddle under a million blankets with cups of tea and a book and my pup. Seriously. I had a five day weekend over the Christmas holiday and I didn’t wear pants with zippers the ENTIRE time. It. Was. Bliss.

3. And yeah, maybe I went on my yoga-pant-binge partly because in less than a week this casual girl is entering a corporate office for the first time. All of my design jobs have been in jeans-friendly offices and trust me, my closet was not ready for this change. I have been pinning corporate capsule wardrobes like a fiend and buying pretty much every trouser and pencil skirt and sensible heel I can get my hands on. I am particularly obsessed with ShopBop’s ultimate workwear wardrobe. It is the perfect reminder than a few key pieces can be remixed in the most creative and beautiful ways. The husband is glad for this as the post-Christmas bank account can’t take much more shopping.

Also, I need that polka dot blouse. RIGHT NOW.

4. Anyone else have an extra delicious Christmas? Yeah, the yoga-pant-binge helped me ignore my cookie-and-wine puffiness too. While this year I refuse to beat myself up, I know the husband and I need to clean up our food game in the new year. Last week we tried this steamed salmon and veggies in foil recipe and it was ridiculously easy and delicious. The veggies (went with tomatoes, red onion, and zucchini with a little olive oil, s&p, and parsley) were perfectly steamed and the salmon was surprisingly tasty. Definitely a quick and healthy dinner to add into your rotation.

5. A week or so ago, I stumbled on David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College called “This is Water.” If you haven’t read it or heard him speak, please, please take a few minutes to do so. The text is written here but this video is well worth the listen to hear it as he spoke and to see the fun designer-y (technical term) animation. Since I found it, I have listened to it a few times, whenever I’m feeling a little negative or annoyed, and it instantly perks me up (and it makes me cry, ok?). It reminds me a lot of The Happiness Project because it’s main theme is that we have the power to choose our thoughts; we have the power to be annoyed by traffic and crowds at the grocery store and the monotony of daily life, or to choose to find meaning in the small moments of life or in how we help others or in choosing to be light instead of heavy. I hope it inspires you to be a little lighter and choose more positively.

Happy new year! Let’s make it a great one!

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what i love: october

October is my favorite month. Sunny skies, pretty leaves, cool enough for scarves but not so cold you always need a jacket. Everything is crisp and full of the reminder that you better soak it all in before the dark of winter returns. And this month has been great. I had a huge freelance opportunity that formed an amazing relationship. We finally painted the deck that I talked about in this post from 2013 (!). Spoiler: It looks great but took FOR-EV-ER. We’ve seen old friends and new friends and celebrated turning four together. And of course, today is Halloween, one of the most fun days of the year! Who doesn’t love throwing on a mask and playing pretend for a few hours, or staying up late to wait for the ghosts of the witching hour?

Here’s what’s making me smile:

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1. For those who know me IRL, this will come as no big shock, but I am pretty hard on myself. You know that feeling that you could and should do and be more? Yeah, I feel that about 98% of the time. So that’s why this “ultimate list” is printed and put in my purse for reminders all the time. I love these little reminders to not be so serious all the freaking time. Trying to do my best to fill my life with these “mores.” Except for that cleaning one. Obviously that’s on the wrong list. Can we change that to laugh or something? Maybe through sleep on there a second time?

2. Gah, I am loving this outfit from anthro. I know, jeez Katie, it’s just a gray sweater and white shirt and black pants. No need to fangirl. But it looks so effortlessly cool. I want to be her in this outfit. On the lookout for a high-low sweater immediately…

3. After painting the deck last weekend, I’m all fired up about tackling some small house projects this weekend. I give it another week or so before the remodel-laziness returns, but I’m gonna ride this high while it lasts and get them all planned! First up: how gorgeous is the walnut-wrapped pony wall (topped with quartz obvi) from this gorgeous mid-century spotlight on house*tweaking? The whole house is brilliant and I suggest you scour it for ideas. I’m totally adopting this idea for our living room/stairway since the current railing isn’t even truly bolted down. Safe, right? Can’t wait for some cold winter weekends to get started.

4. I’m SUPER loving Tana French’s new thriller The Secret Place. It was a book club pick and I think it’s great – I love that you don’t have to read the whole series to jump right in since each book centers around a different member of the Dublin Murder Squad (but you know I’ll be so hooked I read them all right away). It’s slightly creepy, very suspenseful fun and I intend to savor it when I’m lounging on the beach next week.

5. So I hope I’m not the only one already planning Thanksgiving desserts. I’m not right? It’s only a few weeks away! Since I love to bake, the job usually falls to me and I am happy to find new creations for the table. Last year I made a standard pumpkin cheesecake that was delish, but the maple pumpkin cheesecake bars I’m planning for this year take it to a whole new level. They look simply incredible and will obviously be perfect next to some chocolate bourbon cake and pecan pie. Why do eight people need three different desserts? BECAUSE.

What’s making you smile this month? Any good books I should pick up for my trip?

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what i love: september

September: where’d you go? You were a blur. A blur of football and pumpkin beer and boots and smiles. I’ll admit, these extra few weeks of 80+ degree weather have been much appreciated. I’d love to stock up all this vitamin D for February. But my coats and scarves have been whispering my name and the few leaves that are slowly turning red have me love love loving fall. Here’s what’s making me smile this month:

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1. I’m feeling a lot of wanderlust right now. I want to hole up in a lake house with some comfy throws and coffee and books and go canoeing and hiking. I’m thinking Lake Louise up there looks nice for this, yeah? That water is gorge. Sadly, the husband is going to a wedding one weekend and I’m out of town another, so no wandering with my favorite travel buddy for the next few weeks. Maybe an anniversary weekend getaway can be managed? Someone whisper in his ear…

2. I’m totally dying over football this year. It’s on pretty much 48 hours straight every weekend and we sadly watch SO MUCH (seriously, it’s borderline gross) of it but haven’t really made any football food. I KNOW. This is a travesty. I blame the sun and late-summer heat because who wants to cook or be productive in any way when you can sit on your deck and read in the sun or go on 5 mile walks with your friends? So weather, don’t get too cold yet, but just enough so I can make some merlot chili which looks ridiculous. I want to eat it all.

3. You guys. I’m pretty sure this bourbon and cider cocktail is the best thing ever. Is it bad I only buy apple cider to make cocktails? Don’t answer that. Anyway, it’s delicious and only slightly more difficult (though a thousand and one times tastier) than my default concoction of cider, bourbon, and ginger ale. Plus you can make it in a pitcher, perfect for a lazy football day or a night by the fire.

4. Umm…who knew Land’s End was making cool things? Last time I checked it was my grandma’s favorite store. (Tied with Talbot’s obvi.) But they made this fall dress guide and everything is so freaking cute. I want all the outfits for my closet as well as these shoes. I need those, right? Right. And this jacket. NEED. NOW. YES.

5. I am so thankful for the red lipstick review on Oh Happy Day earlier this month. Finding the right red lipstick is like searching for the Holy Grail. For years it has eluded me thanks to some very pink skin that magically turns any and all lipstick to an even brighter shade of pink. I honestly can put on the reddest stick you can find and in 3 minutes it will look magenta. It’s…frustrating. But I stubbornly wanted red lipstick for a wedding so I read over their tips and tried a few out. And guess what, I found one that stays red. It’s a miracle. Now the miracle would be having enough time in the morning to do makeup, but I’ll settle for having the perfect pretty pout for fall date nights.

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what i love: august

Happy Labor Day! I hope you’re enjoying this long weekend and filling it to the brim with all your favorite summer activities you’ll miss as we move into fall. I’ve been lounging at the pool and have cookouts and bike rides in the plan. I am sad to see summer go, it truly has been a special one, but I am ready to stop sweating the second I go outside and I need all the fall things in my life. I mean, college football started yesterday! If that doesn’t mean the beginning of scarves and boots and PSLs and crunchy leaves, I don’t know what does. Here are the things making me smile this month!

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1. These cookies are like magic. That picture even looks like some dark voodoo of deliciousness! Double Trouble Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Honey Cookies. Seriously? I just can’t even with these. They are perfectly chewy and, really, when is peanut butter and chocolate not pretty much the best thing ever? Never. Since Reese’s Pieces are essentially a food group for the husband, these are on high rotation at this house. And I am certainly not going to complain about that…though maybe (definitely?) my jeans will.

2. As I was editing the images for this post, the husband walked by and said, “that looks like something you’d wear.” Amazing compliment because this outfit is totes amazing. Scarves! Leopard! Stripes! You guys. Let’s get real for a minute. Summer dresses are great, but I miss so many of my clothes. Scarves and sweaters now please! Let’s make it happen and boycott this 80-90 degree weather that’s lingering for at least another few weeks.

3. Bet you couldn’t tell this coffee table is an IKEA hack. Yeah, I know. It’s gorgeous! I’ve always loved the KLUBBO coffee table because it’s super simple and would look great in the lower level that I’ve been planning for 4 years now. But that marble contact paper though! It takes it to a whole new level of awesome. I’m more than a little obsessed with this super easy DIY.

4. What am I also obsessed with? This desk area with reclaimed wood in the most amazing house owned and designed by the guy behind Schoolhouse Electric. True story: when I finally am a grown up and have cashmoney, I’m going to buy everything in that store, but that’s a story for another day. Look at those red lights! The hardware on the desk and cabinets! The wood! Everything is so perfect and I have altered those 4-year-lower-level plans to include a reclaimed wood wall behind the built ins and above the fireplace. It’s so good. (Make sure to check out the whole house too, because the kitchen is something special.)

5. I love the reminder on this wise print. My life is pretty great, I know that, and I am beyond grateful for my family and friends and my home and my stable career and my health. It’s sick how lucky I am and I know it. But life is life, and it’s not always easy to keep it all together. Because of that, it IS easy to fall into a trap of complacency and general Eeyore-ness. I think we all probably need this reminder to shake things up — to get out of our heads, get off our butts, and to just do the damn thing. Just start eating better if you want to lose weight. Call a friend if you feel left out. Do better work at work. No need to overthink it!

What’s making you smile this month?

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what i love: july

Ohmygod it’s time for the normal spiel about how it’s already the end of the month and HOW?!? and time is moving too fast and blah blah blah. It’s all true, of course. The days are long but the years are short. Lately we’ve been soaking up time with friends and family and trying to stay in each moment of the long days of summer before they start to march into fall (though this post reminds me I still haven’t done ANYTHING on my summer bucket list, gah!). This has been a spectacular July – here’s what’s been making me smile!

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1. My love for summer dresses has not abated one bit; in fact, it’s grown exponentially this summer. And it’s not like this summer’s been hot! We’ve had maybe three days in the 90s? What the what? Anyway, I just love that summer dresses always look so put together with the absolute minimum amount of effort. This geometric-print shift is majorly adorable (though sadly from last season) and is definitely the silhouette I’m loving right now since it’s oh-so-forgiving after a night of g&ts on the deck. There’s only a month or so left ladies before we have to retire them – let’s have fun!

2. I am OBSESSED with this house. It’s so great. I pinned like three of its rooms because I couldn’t stand all the pretty. But this sunny kitchen is my favorite. The yellow is perfectly bright but not primary or obnoxious and I love the sleek and classic custom cabinetry. Ok, I maybe would switch out those pulls for something with a bit of sparkle, but details. That spindly stool is amazing and I’ll be keeping my eye out for something similar when we finally do something to make our kitchen better (aka, a million years). And did you see that HUGE soapstone sink hiding in the back? Yeah. The stuff (nerdy) dreams are made of. I would gladly cook all the time in this kitchen.

3. Speaking of cooking, doesn’t this gazpacho look amazing? I don’t even know how this has happened, but I’ve never had gazpacho in my life. Seems like a good time to start, yeah? Something about it being cold and kinda lumpy has kept me away, but Jenna has convinced me that it’s super easy and yummy. I love that she topped it with shrimp because they are pretty much the BEST weeknight meal ingredient because they cook so fast. And you know, they’re delicious too!

4. I have been reading so many mysteries this summer! Not sure why I’ve been on such a roll with them, guess all of my library holds are coming in at once, but I’m super excited about Shane Kuhn’s The Intern’s Handbook. The cover alone is freaking amazing. It’s a skull! Made out of office supplies! Basically it follows an “intern” who is really a paid assassin on his last hit. Yeah. Like I said, super excited. I can’t wait to hear what book club has to say about it as it’s very different from what we normally read (sad-wife-of-famous-husband books or ya…). It’s darkly funny and reads like a fast and fun movie!

5. Aaahhhh my future dream lake house! Isn’t it gorg? That beauty is somewhere in Sweden, but I’d love to pick up it’s beautiful black walls and crisp white windows and absolutely perfect deck and transplant it, I don’t know, maybe somewhere in Michigan? I know, I KNOW, I just went on vacation like 6 weeks ago. An awesome vacation no less! But, I really want to go escape for a few days to a quiet little lake, preferably spending a lot of time here. I could do things like make ice cream and go on a boat and finally cross off those summer bucket list items. But seriously, future dream lake house is calling my name in a bad way. Anyone else in?

What are you loving this month?

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what i love: june

Uh, tomorrow is July? How is this even possible? This month (and half a year?) flew by. Work is definitely in its slow season and I’m thankful for the rest. It makes the long and sweet summer days just that much sweeter and stress-free, as they should be. I’m super pumped for the 4th, especially since this year I won’t be spending it sipping out of mini wine bottles in a hospital room. Beyond thankful for a healthy husband this summer. We have a looong weekend ahead full of all-day bike rides (there’s not enough body glide in the world to make mile 60 on a bike comfortable), a cookout involving a whole pig roast, and sun sun sun! Here’s what I’m loving now:

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1. Confession: In addition to not being a very creative cook when it gets to be dinnertime, I am hopeless at packing my lunch. If I’ve got leftovers, no sweat. I love leftovers. But if not, I have absolutely no ideas. I’ll pack like half a sandwich and a tiny side salad and be starving again by 2:30. It’s not cool. This crazy long pin (the link to the actual website seems to be broken sadly) has tons of picture ideas of healthy packed lunches. I somehow always forget about things like wraps and yogurt and hard-boiled eggs even though they’re some of my favorite foods. Totally inspired now to bring delicious lunches for my summertime lunch picnics in the park!

2. I’ve been pinning a lot of food recently because ohmygod ice cream. I can’t get enough recently. Last weekend I had milkshakes twice. The SAME milkshake. And then I had to run a ton of miles, but that’s another story. So naturally I need to make this Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter treat, yeah? It’s based on a Jeni’s recipe so it’s got to be amazing. The Kitchenaid is about to get a workout (and then I’ll have to do mine…)!

3. After the new heat pump debacle, y’all know we are on a majorly restricted budget. As in…pretty much anything and everything house-related is on hold until we can recoup a little bit of savings. But I’ve been brainstorming anyway because I can’t be stopped. For years, the lower level has been a hollow shell with three walls of lavender paint and one wall of wallpaper glue leftover from the day I randomly stripped it of its horror. Since then, I’ve been wanting to paint. So, so bad. But I really have no idea how to make anything work with our greige, yellow, and green couches – and make it sort of tie in with the upstairs look. Lonny played with the Sherwin-Williams Chip It! thingie and made this palette that I super adore. It’s so light and fresh and won’t make the green and yellow look weird. Too bad I can’t get started now…

4. Obsessed. It’s the only word for my feeling toward the nautical prep happening here. Sadly, it’s so FREAKING hot here that I would instantly start sweating buckets in my chambray, despite the fact that my office is currently cooler than Antarctica. I want all the preppy things, though, so the next under-85 degree day in the forecast will see me wearing this for sure!

5. Again, as if you need another show to binge, you HAVE to watch Orphan Black. Watch now. The husband and I tore through season one on Amazon Prime in about three days and season two binge begins this week. It’s happening. How else will I recover from 60-70 miles on a bike? (Hopefully ice cream is involved too!) The acting in Orphan Black is ridiculously amazing and thoroughly addicting. Tatiana Maslany kills it as about seven different characters and the idea of human cloning has never been so exciting and geeky and creepy, all at the same time. We can’t stop talking about it and I fear our families might kill us if we bring it up again. Do it now.

What are loving this month? Any fun plans for the 4th?

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what i love: may

Another one is in the books y’all. Can you believe it? 2014, SLOW DOWN already will ya? I can’t believe the pools are open and backyard bbqs will reign supreme for the next few months. I can’t wait to soak it all in. May has been full of great highs and great lows, much like all of life I guess. High: weeklong vacay in Hilton Head. Low: coming home to a heating/coooling system on the fritz. Yeah, anyone got a few grand lying around for a new one? We don’t either. After a few days of fretting, I think it is what it is and no one and nothing is going to come between me and my awesome summer ahead (already knocked off a few items from the bucket list)!!! No money for projects and trips and shopping means more time to read, right?

Here’s what I’m loving this month!

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1. OMG I want to be preppy ALL THE TIME lately. I am obsessed with this outfit…and the bike…and the flowers. It just looks so cute and comfy for a fun day going to brunch and the farmers’ market (because I do that so often). I just bought a new pair of white sneaks and am having so much fun creating outfits just like this to go with them. Sadly it is already too hot to wear this many layers (especially in my 84 degree house…ugh), but red and white and jean are always a fashion do for this girl.

2. Since it’s so hot inside, I’ve been spending a ton of time on our deck at night because in the shade, it’s much, much cooler. I wish so hard it looked like this backyard oasis though. The black and white stripes obviously caught my eye and I love the unexpected touches of pink. It’s so feminine and elegant. The tree stump table is so quirky and clever: it’s actually a stump still in the ground they worked around in a creative way. Now all it needs is a Sunday afternoon G&T happy hour and life is perfect!

3. It’s no secret here I hate yard work and only do the bare minimum of yard upkeep to avoid looking like the worst house on the street. I have really been wanting to update the front of our house recently, starting with repainting the door and shutters (the husband is rolling his eyes and protesting already) and adding new numbers and a planter box or two. Most of them I find are not my style at all and way too country or ornamental. This industrial one is perfectly simple and will look amazing with this house number diy I’ll someday get around to making. Someday…

4. This picture so perfectly captures the immense joy I’ve been feeling lately. Things are nowhere near perfect right now, but I’ve been cultivating happiness as much as I can and so often I’ve been struck with moments of pure peace and child-like giddiness. Finishing a beautiful book. Walking on the beach. Laughing with old friends. Noticing the sun in the trees on a run. On vacation I kept having the urge to do a cartwheel in the sand, just because I could and it felt like the best way to express my happy energy. I know, I’m even sickening myself with all of this new age-y crap. Can’t help it! For an Eeyore, this feeling is just too good not to share!

5. Guys, I am obsessed with yogurt and granola and berry bowls. I can’t stop eating them for breakfast everyday. Especially with a spoonful of almond butter for fun! I know, I know, granola has a lot of sugar and all of that. It’s probably not the best breakfast in the world (though it’s definitely nowhere near the unhealthiest). But when it’s hot, there’s no way I’m cooking up some eggs or oatmeal or anything that is not cold. I had never thought of subbing quinoa for the high-cal granola, but it looks awesome. And healthy. Perfect to cool off with after my early morning runs.

Your turn: what are you loving this month?

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what i love: april

This spring is killing it. For the most part it has been beautiful and my mood has lifted along with the weather. I’ve loved getting to be outside all the time (though my itchy/burny/crying eyes would beg me to stop if they could – is it possible to get adult-onset allergies?!?) and fresh air in the house has never felt better. I even planted flowers you guys. That’s huge! But one word of advice: go alone to pick out annuals ladies or you’ll end up with only flowers of a certain color scheme. Even our garden screams “geaux tigers” now. Joy.

Here’s what’s making me smile this April!

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1. I’m obsessed with this cookbook shelf and want one immediately. Where else am I going to put my oodles of perfectly coordinated Fiesta pitchers and platters and vases? It’s no secret I love white kitchens and the colorful shelf and stools of this one add in the personality and flair needed to make the space fresh and lively. In fact, the whole house is classically quite beautiful. And the navy in the back of the upper cabinets? I die. Someday my dream kitchen will be mine. Until then, bear with me as I pin beautiful picture after beautiful picture and wax poetic…

2. How adorbs is this outfit? I won’t lie, I’m wearing a slightly less cute and put together version of this today because I love it so much. All I need is white jeans! Can a short, not-super-skinny girl pull them off? I’m going to try. Maybe. Am I that brave? Anyway, the yellow is just so much fun and unexpected. I would expect to see this look many times in the next few months since my office is FREEZING even in 90+ degree weather. Always have to layer.

3. Two words: Funfetti. Blondies. Do I need to say more? I want to make these for a cookout immediately. So someone invite us to a cookout, yeah? The confetti sprinkles are so spring-like and I honestly can’t imagine someone seeing these and NOT singing along to Pharrell in their head. Oh that’s just me? Sorry. I’m happy!

4. Anyone else feel like this all the time? Maybe it’s a symptom of “impostor syndrome” or maybe it’s just growing up, but so much of the time I feel like I honestly am just making it up as I go along. And I’m kinda ok with it. This month I’ve been trying to take a few chances and stretch myself personally and professionally even though it’s frankly scary as hell and I feel all vulnerable and awkward. But on the flip side, it’s also incredibly liberating for a recovering type-a control freak to say, “I don’t know what’s going on,” and just go with it.

5. I know the newest Arcade Fire release has been out since late last year, but I’ve been playing them on repeat the last week or so because tonight we’re going to see them! I am super excited! (Ok, real talk: not as excited as I was to see Billy Joel, but it’s not everyday you get to be in the same room with your longtime musical idol.) The dress code for the concert tonight is “formal or costume.” Yeah. I can’t wait to dance my little fool head off and party hard. Party hard, but responsibly. Work still has to be done on Wednesday. How’s work on the coffee I.V., science?

What are you loving this month?

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