Friday favorites: back in the saddle edition

cowgirl_on_white_horsei know it’s been a long time since i’ve shown my face around here. (thanks to everyone who’s hung around!) still a bit sorting through reasons why (maybe a post for later), but long story short, not writing these little posts is not helping me answer any of the questions i have been having about what i’m doing and why — here and in a couple other aspects of life. so i’m jumping back in. that’s the plan at least! and since i’m in, you know i gotta post my favorites from the week! this weekend, i’m looking forward to Spy returning home from a week in Germany. with everything going on in Europe right now, i just want him to get home safely! also, pool time, Secret Life of Pets (mandatory viewing!) and a wine tasting on Sunday afternoon. hope y’all have some fun/relaxing stuff planned, too! let’s go . . . Continue reading

Friday favorites: pre-Thanksgiving finds & fun

isn’t the week before a holiday week just the worst?? feels like this one has gone on forever! a work trip to New York sandwiched right in the middle of it at least mixed things up, but let’s be honest — 2 solid days in a conference room doing 2016 planning kinda sucked all the fun out of it. i pretty much officially checked out last night when Spy and i stayed up way too late drinking way too much wine and talking politics. i’ll have y’all know that i actually impressed my husband, who reads 2 newspapers cover to cover every day, with a comment and a perspective he had not heard or thought of on how President Obama is handling ISIS and the media. i was seriously so proud of myself! anyhoo . . . glad it is now officially the weekend! we have a ton of stuff to do to get ready for Thanksgiving guests arriving Tuesday. i am so excited i can’t stand it. here’s a quick look back at some of the awesomeness of the week. (i was terrible about taking photos of anything, so enjoy these much better ones!) hope y’all had a good one and have some big fun planned for the weekend ahead!

cauliflower rice
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you guys. are you ready to be totally amazed? i’m doing a quick 10-day paleo thing so i don’t feel like an absolute cow on Thanksgiving . . . which rolls into holiday parties, my birthday, Christmas and basically a 6-week food and booze fest. it’s the least i can do, right? so i have wanted to try this cauliflower rice for a while, but did not have high hopes. it is the bomb. i used this recipe from The Kitchn (also photo source). it is so easy, makes a ton and was amazing first with salmon and then under fajita steak and chicken (for like 3 meals). you will never actually confuse it for rice, but when you are off carbs and need that texture, or a bed of something to put your stir fry or curry or whatever on, it is absolutely perfect. try it and let me know what you think!

a new dress


a NYC work trip definitely required a new outfit. duh. lucky for me i hit probably the last week of nice (aka not freezing) weather, so it didn’t have to be a pants situation. this Ann Taylor dress looks super prim here, but with the collar open to show this awesome Chloe & Isabel convertible necklace, sleeves rolled up and tall black boots, it was the perfect balance of feminine (did i mention i was in a room with 20 dudes and only 2 other women for those 2 days??) and buttoned up. and at 40% off when i picked it up last week, it was a total win. great staple piece.

at-home manicure


and a NYC work trip definitely required a manicure. i got cheap and lazy and decided to do an entire mani/pedi myself, which i haven’t done in quite a while. i always feel great after i’ve done it. and this time, i was especially psyched because i tried something i’d been wanting to do for a while. when i do take the time to do gels, i use the 3-step L’Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Laque. it gives a really great gel look. i can’t say anything about how long it lasts because i’m ridiculously hard on any manicure. i’m sitting here typing with a few chips after 5 days on this one as an example. they have some really good colors, but i also have a drawer full of nail polish. i’d read you could sub in anything for step 2, so i tried my OPI Scores a Goal. it dried so gorgeous and smooth it honestly looked like i’d gotten it done by a professional. i loved looking at my nails so much all week that i might actually do it again this weekend!

family photos


finally got our images from the shoot we did back in October. these are just a couple of them. Sarah Esther Photography is seriously just absolutely the best! if you’re in Atlanta, i highly recommend her for family, engagement, wedding, baby photos or headshots or boudoir (hubba hubba!). now i get to work on the Christmas card this weekend!

Made in the A.M.
oh,  you know you’ve been enjoying this all week, too!

throwback Thursday: the art of the mix tape

mixedtapes.001
wow. what an unexpected walk down memory lane i took this past weekend. i spent a good part of it re-arranging furniture, making room for new, finding room for books that have been in boxes since we moved in an generally trying to unclutter every inch of this house i possibly can.

we have a corner shelf in our bedroom that hides behind the door when it’s open, which is most of the time. in addition to the stash of books i’ve read over the past couple years that i haven’t known where else to put, some of Spy’s cuff links and odd boxes of foreign money and international electrical adapters, it holds a random assortment of music players — one for an iPod and an old one for everything else except vinyl. i have no idea why, considering we rarely-to-never listen to music in the bedroom. maybe we should.

apparently, when unpacking the house 6 years ago, i also thought this was a great place for one basket woven box half full of old cassette tapes. (the other 4 or so boxes reside downstairs in a cabinet in the living room far from any device that could actually play them. would love to be able to remember the rationale that sparked that.) i still had books to order and stuff to think through, so i popped in one of the most epic work tapes ever and started digging through the stash. not only did i start to remember some of the times to which these tapes served as soundtracks. i also remembered what went into crafting them.

sure, today, you create an iTunes or Spotify playlist, love it and share it. but back then, there was no shuffle function. no skipping around. the flow of the tape meant everything and there was definitely an art to creating it. you had to consider the mood you were trying to create and really ensure that one song led smoothly into the next. there had to be a logic of style or rhythm or lyrics. you had to make sure there were ebbs and flows — you couldn’t run too many high energy songs together without a break for something a little more mellow. and timing it all to really punctuate the end of a side without too much hang time on the end that had to play through before an auto-flip (in later days) was a work of utter mathematical genius. over about 10 years of doing it, i think i got pretty good. i listened to just a few this weekend — actually none of them my own creations — but could absolutely have gotten lost for hours in them. Continue reading

real neat blog!

real-neat-blog-awardwoosh. it has been a heck of an evening. i have a lot of things about the day rolling through my mind to write about  — some realizations, some good times and maybe a belated Wine Wednesday. but for now, Spy just left in a whirlwind of activity, including Miss Girl and me having road trip him to the airport last minute for his next Europe jaunt (2 weeks). the consensus was that he could get us there faster than Uber could, even if they could get a car here in the 11 minutes they promised/it took him for final prep. sure enough, we got down to Hartsfield and back in under an hour (including curbside hugs and kisses and a much slower drive home). Miss Girl didn’t pass out on me on the car ride home and ended up in bed at roughly the same time as always. so, with working out, writing a bit, a painless Miss Girl bedtime achieved and i think i brought home a perfect box for a robot costume (more on that later), i’m feeling like i’m winning today! no, totally winning. super impressed with all of us, for sure.

all that said, it seems way easier to post up another set of award Q&As than to process and write about all the day’s events and (good) feels right now. so . . . without further ado, thanks again for the shout-outs, K. Leighann! please, y’all, look her up — guaranteed good reading! and here goes . . .

rules/instructions:

  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
  • Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

i’m going to nominate before i answer questions because i think that is really important. these are some of my new favorite blog reads. if y’all have already done this and don’t want to do it again or don’t do these awards or whatever  . . . just know i love reading your blogs! my questions for you are the same as below (i know. i slack.). i look forward to reading your answers!

whatareyourwords
SoyDou
Oscar Relentos
Going with the Flow
The Ugly Duckling’s Life
You’ve Been Hooked
Coffee & Coture
Kendall Ashley | Distracted Blogger
Megan Elizabeth
TwoDaysGirl

1. What is your favorite “jam out” song? One you can’t resist to get excited about-perhaps even lip sync to!

hands up for the weekend, y’all!

and also still Blank Space. Miss Girl and i have an awesome time pulling out our best TSwift in the car. don’t judge. we listen to a lot of Radio Disney ’round here. it’s for sure a step up from the CDs she used to bring home from school.

2. Do you prefer to blog about your opinions or life experiences?

life experiences, obvs, but i think i insert some opinions/POV in here occasionally (sorry, Texas). i’m actually trying to re-evaluate what i’m doing with my blog, what i’m writing about and would really like to write more thoughtful/opinion-based pieces, but it’s tough. they take a lot more time and you get lots more opinions back. with the 2016 election cycle starting to kick in, y’all may see more of that coming out . . . for better or for worse.

3. What’s your guilty pleasure?

gaaaahhh. anything that means time just for me seems like a guilty pleasure — writing here (or anywhere) included. but also, currently, watching Southern Charm. and getting a massage. always.

4. Do you ever get “bloggers block”? How do you get around it?

all. the. time. i just came off this amazing vacation, where i had a lot to post that i thought people would be interested in (and were!). but now, back to reality, and i’m struggling a little. in the past, i have made an ed cal for myself and have tried to spend some time looking ahead and giving myself targeted dates and post topics, holiday DIYs, etc. when i get behind on that, though, i usually look at Daily Post to see if it sparks anything or just think back on my day about what was cool or interesting or made me think. it’s kind of surprising how something that seems so boring to you can be interesting to a lot of other people — it’s all about how you tell your story. i also love daily/monthly challenges as a way to keep writing on the regular. it’s hard, y’all!

5. Ever have to write questions and run out of questions?

no, but i think i’m about to! 😉

6. Do you have pets? What kind? Names?

detailed in my About page. they are effing ridiculous. all of them. current sitch with dogs as i write, below. cat is on one of the other striped chairs under the table out of sight. they all will sleep on the bed while Spy is away, btw. and Lily (the puppy!) is getting to be giant, it’s not just perspective in the photo!

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7. What’s the strangest question you were ever asked?

wow. weak finish on my part on this one. i’m not sure i know. honestly, there was probably a lot of booze involved for whatever it was! and it probably totally made sense at the time.

so thankful (again) for the props and being included in this! have a happy rest of the week, everyone

lucky Friday the 13th

small-horseshoe-gold

i know. a lot of you out there are wary of this supposedly unlucky day and all the terrible things that might happen. trust me, i’m not immune to a little superstition, either. but on this Friday the 13th, i’m actually feeling especially lucky. so i wanted to jot down a few of the reasons why. are you feeling lucky or unlucky today? (lucky, i hope!)

the neighborhood nanny
today is like the 246th day Miss Girl has had off of school this year. even the French don’t get more vacation days than Atlanta Public Schools. so with Spy still away, juggling Miss Girl and Lily with actually getting some work done for work (and preparing for a houseguest) seemed like it was going to be challenging. luckily, the nanny next door (who actually sits for like everyone and is truly the neighborhood nanny) texted to see if Miss Girl was available for a playdate. oh, hell yes! not only did i get 30 minutes for a run, i got 2 full hours to do that and some housework, plus get on a work call. and Miss Girl got some quality time with some of her besties. score all around!

friendships that stand the test of time
so, that houseguest i mentioned is a dear old girlfriend of mine. we’ve been friends since high school, so i’ve known her like 5 or 6 years now. bwahahaha. more like 25. we’ve grown up together even if not always in the same place, and we’ve definitely had our ups and down over the decades (oh, god). but we always seem to get back on track. she messaged me a couple months ago, asking if i wanted to go to a show with her in Atlanta in February. at the time, it seemed eons away. but as i type, she is getting her bags and a car at Hartsfield and headed my way. i am so excited to catch up — we haven’t seen each other in a couple years and mostly keep in touch over Facebook. it’s less than a 24 hour trip, but i feel so lucky that even after all these years we have this kind of friendship, where i know we will just pick right back up where we left off.

good music
aaaannnd . . . that show i just mentioned is Lloyd Cole. swoon. of course L and i were huge fans back in the 80s, when he was frontman for the Lloyd Cole & the Commotions. in 1995, we both nearly died when we got to see him in a (then) small venue, the 9:30 club in DC. we were mere yards from him during the show and afterwards, he wandered out into the venue to hang with the crowd a bit. i have a ticket stub from that night signed “Emma, love Lloyd Cole” and i think i probably slept with it under my pillow for at least like a few weeks after that. fast forward to tonight. he’s got a new album out, Standards, that harkens back to some of his earlier work (let’s be honest, some shit got a little weird in the later 90s and 2000s). absolutely cannot wait to see him live again and maybe, just maybe be lucky enough get another ticket stub signature to add to my collection!

good naps
crazy day that it was, Miss Girl has mostly been incredibly good. late this afternoon, when i finally got in the shower, i figured i was going to be lucky to get everything done (much less this post i’ve been thinking about all day!) before L gets here. i came out of the shower to a totally quiet house. alarmingly so, actually. after checking all the usual places, i found that for the first time ever in her history of naps, Miss Girl actually put herself in bed and was out cold. i’ve heard tell of this situation, but thought it had to be a fantasy tale passed down through the ages to give parents hope. never in all my 5 years as a mom imagined it to be something i would ever experience. i feel so lucky to have had (so far) an hour of peace and quiet in which to get cleaned up and write without distraction.

Uber
not feeling as lucky to have them now as i probably will be after dinner at Leon’s and obvs a few cocktails at the show, but a safe ride home is pretty much one of the best things in life.

cheers, everyone and have a happy weekend!

Update: who gets rear-ended on the highway in their Uber?? yep. me! we were stuck on the side of the road almost an hour on the way to the show, waiting for the police. everyone’s okay, but what a way to start the evening. obvs paybacks from the Universe for bragging about feeling unlucky on an unlucky day! that’ll teach me.

Friday favorites

yay! it’s a big Friday around here: Miss Girl makes her acting debut this afternoon in a video we’re shooting for a client (free talent is good talent on this budget). i can’t wait to see how she does pretending to make popcorn and watch a movie with her fake family. speaking of fake families, i was recently cast for another client and got photoshopped into some scenes with another fake family . . . i’m seeing a theme here. if there’s one more i think i’ll have to do a post! on the topic of my real family, though, Spy heads out for another European jaunt tomorrow, so Miss Girl and i will be holding down the fort for the next 2 weeks. i love my husband, but wow, do i love when he leaves for a little while. my house stays cleaner, there’s no pressure to cook (hello, wine and hummus dinners) and it always seems to be productive for writing. absence really does make the heart grow fonder. in the meantime, here are a few fun finds from this week. enjoy and have a great weekend!

all about that bass

so all about this. just really fantastic.

 

all about a closer look
rialtomirrorso while i was in Columbus last week for work, i got treated to an amazing magnifying mirror in my hotel room. it was terrifying. and addictive. nobody needs to see their face that close up/everybody needs to see their face that close up. whenever i have a hotel room with one of these, i vow to get one for my own home. this time i actually did. a Saturday morning whim became reality on Tuesday. thank you Amazon Prime. the good news is my skin looks way better up close than i expected. the bad news is i’m a woman of a certain age and goddamn if there isn’t more random hair growing in random places than anyone would ever deem acceptable. truth, y’all. ugh. thank you 8x for the good and the bad.

 

 

all about that style
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i was an avid StitchFix user back in 2013. they always pushed my limits a little and i tried to like it, but in the end, i never felt like there was an entire box that was really me. fast forward after taking at least a year’s hiatus. i updated some settings and my Pinterest board and tried again. look out for a full post on what i received, but at first glance, i’m thinking they totally upped their game! stay tuned . . .

all about those ads

gaaaaahhh. i know i’ve mentioned before how i’m a sucker for animals in ads and how the Clydesdales pretty much get me in tears no matter what they do. i’ve been sneak-peaking in hopes of not being a puddle on game day. verdict: i’ll still be a puddle when i see this one on game day.

all about PuppyBowl!
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Wednesday, Uber teamed up with animal shelters in 10 cities to bring puppies to the people. simple. order an Uber with the special puppy code and they bring you some puppies to try out for 15 minutes. the hope was obviously that the pups get adopted. the problem was that nobody accurately anticipated demand. at least in super-dog-friendly Atlanta. my agency (among many others hoping for great social cred) tried all day and were consistently met with a response noting that all the puppies were currently being snuggled and to try back later. hope the program was really that successful and that Atlanta Humane Society  (Lily’s previous home) found homes for a few snuggly puppies!

Friday favorites: baby, it’s cold outside!

yesterday morning when i woke it up, it was 10° outside. TEN. that is almost single digits! i know y’all up in the Northeast or over in the Midwest are all what? that’s nothing. bless your sweet, frozen hearts. one of the reasons i live in the South is because i’m too delicate a flower to endure such epic hardships. plus, i refuse to invest in the ugly-ass shoes all that weather requires. (sorry/not sorry?) so. even though cold weather is decidedly not my favorite, i thought i would dedicate this week’s favorites to some other cold things (new and old) that are just totally the best. enjoy and stay warm out there this weekend!

cheap laughs
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received this yesterday in a random group text thread. uproarious lols ensued. i know. it doesn’t take much sometimes.

wine ice cream
wine-ice-cream-610x250

does this really require any further explanation? dying. to. try. so after i get done with this SFC (it starts with Stupid and ends with Cleanse. i’ll let you fill in the middle.) i plan to order every single flavor — there are 8, which encompass pretty much every type of wine with a mixer (think Cherry Merlot, Raspberry Chardonnay, etc.) — and invite some ladies over for Wine Wednesday to give this 5% alcohol by volume dessert a whirl. and of course, i’ll write about it here. until then, check out Mercer’s site for the scoop (ba-dum-bum).

cold pressed veggies
evolution_composite.001

loving Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens and Lemon juice! cold-pressed spinach, romaine, kale and parsley, with lemon, celery and some other stuff that makes it delicious. i have been drinking one of these pretty much every day lately, and it makes me feel like i’m getting all the veggies i never can manage to eat. perhaps a few more will improve my sad, sad Photoshop skillz.

nightstand future feature
bernadette

aight. a bit of a stretch, i admit. but i have been so struggling with reading books lately! i took up Where’d You Go Bernadette, gaah, sometime before Thanksgiving? just past halfway through and it’s finally now getting really good. what’s the cold connection? there is a whole thing about a trip to Antarctica. ain’t nothin’ colder than that, y’all! i won’t give away anymore. but so far, it’s totally an unexpectedly fun and recommended read.

cold as ice

it was too easy. and too awesome. enjoy.

Friday Favorites

anyone else having trouble remembering what day it is? omg. i’m on day 3 of a 5 day break from work and am pretty much in a complete days daze. it’s freaking fantastic. so when i realized on the way home from the vet (fluids for Mr. P) that today is Friday, i thought what the hell? let’s start the year off right with one of these posts. hope y’all enjoy my first favorites of 2015 and have a great weekend!

 

pumpkinseedoilAustrian oil
Spy brought some of this pumpkin seed oil back from one of his Europe trips back in the fall. Austria is apparently quite famous for it. who knew? anyhow, i’ve just finally gotten a chance to use it a couple times recently and it is amazing. it took me so long because everything i read said it’s not supposed to be used as a cooking oil because heat can destroy its essential fatty acids and give it a bitter taste. the gorgeous thick green oil is best used as a finishing oil or for things like salad dressing. i drizzled a bit over some roasted vegetables last week and just last night added it right at the end of my sautéed spinach. it gives a really nutty flavor unlike anything i’ve tasted and seems perfect for these winter veggies. i’m hooked and looking for salad dressing recipes next!

Fly-By-South-BBQ-300x300local sauce
another treat i used just last night is this Fly by South white BBQ sauce Spy stuck in my stocking for Christmas. it’s made right here in Atlanta (we did tons of local for each other and our family, which was pretty awesome) and is just one product in an entire line of all-natural, sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free, low carb sauces and marinades that are all white — without any mayo. i poured a bottle over 4 chicken breasts, added some chicken broth for extra liquid and let the slow-cooker do its thing for about 5 hours. the resulting pulled chicken barbecue was super tangy and soooo yummy. in fact, i’m about to get some leftovers as soon as i finish writing this post. write like the wind, girl.

oldfourthmore local sauce
Old Fourth Distillery is busy brewing up the first legal vodka made in Atlanta since 1906. we were lucky enough to scoop up a few of the first batch of 500 bottles that seem to be flying off the liquor store shelves. literally no one can keep this stuff in stock. it’s made from sugarcane, which is unusual for a vodka, obvs. it gives it a taste that, for me, is kind of similar to a white rum. it’s not sweet, but there’s almost a sweet aftertaste to it. truth: i’ve only just now tasted it to write this post. but i’m definitely looking forward to a more liberal serving during juicetime soon.

IMG_4075my new hat
i am loving this! my Christmas present to myself from Atlanta MADE. i haven’t used the one for you, one for me shopping method in years and i forgot what a fan i am! Suzseams hand makes these beautifully girly creations. i couldn’t find mine online, so this crappy selfie will have to suffice. it is at least 10 times prettier in person (as am i when my hair is brushed and i’m not having a lazy pajamas-all-day rainy Friday).

 

blank space

yeah. it’s Taylor Swift. i have finally fallen victim. and i ain’t ashamed, y’all. not one bit. you spend 18 hours in the car trying to find a Sirius station the whole family can agree on and even try telling me this doesn’t get stuck in your head just a little.

 

Friday favorites

another week and another collection of awesome things i’ve encountered over the course of it. enjoy and TGIF!

retro dresses

shabbyapple copy

absolutely loving these sweet throwback dresses and more! not only does Shabby Apple have super cute vintage-inspired clothing, they are seriously committed to beautifying and empowering women. two reasons to feel good that i placed an order!

a box of cocktails

julibox.001

truth be told, i was going to do a post about last minute Mothers’ Day gifts. as i was doing my research, i came across Julibox.com. order, and you receive a box loaded with fixins for 2 delicious mixologist-created cocktails, recipes included. you can even subscribe and get a package every month. definitely a gift this mom (and probably a lot of other folks) would like to receive!

a cult beer joint

brickstore

i’m almost embarrassed to say that after 7 years in Atlanta, i only this week made my first visit to Brick Store Pub in Decatur. they frequently rotate a carefully chosen array of 17 draught and 75 bottled beers downstairs. upstairs, you’ll find 8 rotating draughts and over 120 Belgian/Belgian-style bottled beers. and because i’m that boring (and hey, i had to cut out early to get Miss Girl), i stuck with my standard Sweetwater IPA. but at least now i can count myself among the initiated! (photo: DecaturMetro.com)

one step closer to August

nfldraft

i’ve never gotten excited about draft time before, but this year i’m hooked. not that i have any idea what’s going on, but i do know this means we are just that much closer to the season starting. first pick, Jake Matthews is lookin’ good! (photo: CBSSports.com)

music!

shakyknees

i’m totally not cool enough to be going, but this weekend’s Shaky Knees Festival is sort of all the rage around here right now. i’m even hearing lots of mentions on SiriusXM Alt Nation. in it’s second year, it’s moving to a bigger/better venue and has an awesome lineup of indie acts scheduled. might just take a drive through Atlantic Station with my windows down to catch an earful!