As is tradition, here is the Christmas card we sent this year:
Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas!
WAITING for this book to arrive in the mail. I’ve had it on my library waiting list for two months now and there’s no end in sight so I decided to just buy it.
WEARING open-toed shoes.
LISTENING to this song on repeat.
CELEBRATING my sister’s baby this weekend! I’m going to be an aunt so soon!!!!
EATING Trader Joe’s sweet potato chips.
SPENDING more time our backyard. See above photo!
DRINKING hot water with lemon and honey in the mornings. It’s no cup of coffee, but apparently chock full of amazing health benefits (according to Pinterest I think?). We’ll see how long this lasts.
ENJOYING our neighborhood trail. It looks different every time I visit it this time of year!
DREAMING about the next big project for our home. I’m thinking our pantry… I have ideas!
STRUGGLING to find time to blog about our trip to Europe. I have about 12 posts started in my drafts folder, just need some time and energy to finish them.
WATCHING the last season of Mad Men. Don Draper, you haven’t changed at all in the last seven years.
READING Lara Casey’s Make It Happen.
WISHING everyone who reads this a happy day!
Like it or not, the gift giving season is officially upon us.
I like buying people gifts that they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves, but would still use, like and fits their personality. There is nothing greater than watching someone you love open up a gift that you put a lot of thought and love into!
But because of this, buying gifts can be very tricky, and the pressure of finding the perfect gift can be very stressful. Especially when everyone seems to have everything they need or want!
One of my favorite things about this week, right before Thanksgiving, is seeing all of the sales and deals and gift guides out there. My blog reader is clogged with dozens of gift ideas for men, women, kids in all kinds of price ranges. And even though there are so many, I love looking through each one of them because maybe — just maybe! — I’ll find that perfect gift, or at least get an idea of what it may be.
I was recently contacted by Uncommon Goods to feature some of their products for christmas gift ideas, and thought I would share some unique gifts I found. I also like that many of the their items are hand-made and American-made.
Here are some of my favorites…
A DIY embroidered poster of the Brooklyn Bridge.
A scarf for your literary friends.
My brother in law would appreciate this beer towel.
It would be neat to try a new cuisine each month next year, inspired by this calendar.
I love this scratch off map! It would make me want to go to Russia, just to scratch off 1/4 of it. :)
This fox clock would be sweet in a kids room.
Another tea towel, for the newlyweds :)
I love a clever bookend.
And a cheesy board.
Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
How do you do gifts with your family and friends?
Can you believe Christmas is one month away?
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods, but obviously these opinions are all mine, and I support their mission to support and provide a platform for artists and designers, as half of what they sell is made by hand, and their involvement in the community. See more gifts under $25 and under $50.
Soon after sharing what podcasts I listen to, I saw Ira Glass on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and he shared that he was helping to produce a new podcast called Serial. It follows one true story over the course of a whole season.
One weekend in October I was taking a trip to Charlotte, so I decided to download the first three episodes and listen to help pass the time. WOW. I was hooked. It is such an interesting case, and the host, Sarah Koenig, is such a great storyteller.
Here’s the gist of the case, taken from the Serial website:
On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.
A new episode airs every Thursday morning, and I look forward to it like a TV show that ended on a cliffhanger.
Does anyone else listen to Serial? What’s your theory? Do you think Adnan did it?
My thoughts: I really want to believe he is innocent… but then who else would have done it? And why? It all makes no sense, and I totally can relate to every single question and frustration the host voices. Ah! Can’t wait for the next episode.
I thought about writing a letter to your younger self, but she has already lived those days so what’s the point of going back? Life is too short for regrets and today is too important to worry about the future, so let’s focus on this present day. These beautiful, golden days that you wake up to every single morning.
Here are five things I want you to focus on during this season of your life:
1. Enjoy this free time. I am not even going to pretend like your life is busy because it’s not. You have a lot of free time. Continue to fill up your free time with J. He is really funny and makes you happy. Go on trips together and get to know your city. It’s a pretty place. Try new things and learn as much as you can. Don’t bother spending time doing things you don’t enjoy — you don’t have that much time. Figure out what makes you come alive and spend your time celebrating that.
2. Invest in girlfriends. You have some pretty awesome friends. Keep them, and keep making them a priority. Text them when they pop into your mind and have them over when your house is really messy. I have a feeling these relationships are going to be pretty important in the years to come. Don’t be afraid to make new friends, either. Kindred spirits are just a hello away.
3. Make church a priority. Do you remember how long it took you to find this church? And do you remember all of the mediocre ones you went to before? This one is a gem, and you are so lucky. Continue to attend and sing and soak in the wisdom. Smile at the people in the hallway, because attending a new church is scary. And say yes when you are asked to help in the nursery. Those kids may be your babysitters one day.
4. Improve your inner beauty. Stop looking at yourself in the mirror so much. Continue to make healthy choices, because it makes you feel good, but don’t be consumed with it. Attraction is 90% personality and 10% looks, so focus on making your personality beautiful. Be kind and wise and helpful. Speak up against injustices and fight for what you believe in. Listen more than you speak, and when you feel like giving others advice, give them a hug instead.
5. Don’t worry about the future. Do you remember years ago when you were worried about college and grades? God provided and you went to a great school. Do you remember crying ugly tears, worried you would remain single forever? God provided and you get to do life with a great guy. Do you remember when you were worried about moving to DC? God provided and you met some great friends and started a wonderful career. Do you remember when you were worried about money after paying for a wedding and replacing both cars in the first two months of marriage? God provided and you were able to save enough to buy a house in the next two years. Whatever you are worried about, just stop. God is going to provide.
The days are long but the years are short, and being content with today is hard. One day you are going to be so nostalgic for this time in your life, so try your very best to savor every single moment of it while you are in it.
I’m not sure how to end a letter to yourself, so we will just leave it at that.
PS – Photo above from Death to the Stock Photo.
SINGING this Hillsong song in the car on my way to work.
READING the $100 Start Up
WATCHING Girls on HBO Go.
DREAMING of our trip to Europe next year.
PLANNING our autumn weekends. They are filling up!
WISHING for this necklace for my birthday. #hinthint
PINNING inspiration for fall fashion.
REDISCOVERING my favorite Dixie Chicks songs. Such a great band!
TRYING to lift weights three times a week.
COOKING lots of paleo foods.
STRUGGLING to wake up early.
ENJOYING the last few days of summer.
SEARCHING Craigslist for tufted headboards and runners.
What are you currently up to?