A Life That’s Good

Just a heads up – this is going to be less blog post and more brain dump.

My life is so good right now – I have Josh and Henry, we have our amazing family and our beautiful home and our sweet dogs. We have food and a roof and clothes. We laugh often and we sleep well. But lately I’ve struggled to shake the feeling that I’m not soaking up as much as I could be. This morning on my drive to work, I started thinking about time. How I’m spending my time now. And how I could be doing so much better.

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Monday Inspiration : Desked for Success

Since I spent so much of last week feeling crummy, I came into the office this week ready to face my to-do list with a renewed gusto! Here are the tools I gathered to maximize my productivity for the week ahead:

This Beyoncé wallpaper is absolutely worth the $3.00. It’ll definitely hold me over until I get my grubby, coffee-loving paws on the coffee mug
Coffitivity: for people who do their best work in a coffeeshop, but aren’t always able to leave the office.
I picked up this mango sorbet candle from Target on a whim, and the scent is refreshing and intoxicating. I just keep it under my lamp so it gets warm enough to smell good without actually burning the wick. Breathe in, breathe out, get things done.
Fresh air always clears my mind, and it was nice enough out today that I was able to work with my office door swung wide open. Perfect.

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I hope your week had a beautiful start! As always, I would love to see what’s inspiring you today! Leave me a link if you’ve got something to share!

New Mom: Necessary Apps

When I was pregnant, I made a list of my top five pregnancy apps – and you guys seemed to like it pretty well. So I’m back today with a list of my current faves. I hope this one helps, too!

When I was pregnant, I was mainly focused on tracking Henry’s growth and development in-utero. Now that he’s here, making noise and causing a ruckus, I’m all about time management and community.

There are a few apps you can go ahead and mark as “gimme” must-haves. Those include Echofon, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Okay, fine, and Candy Crush. We’re all there. We’re all using those. (The same goes for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc.) I won’t bore you with a description of how I use the same apps as every other iPhone owner on the planet. Here’s my slightly deeper dive.

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Monday Inspiration

Real talk for a minute: this weather is putting me through it.  When you have lupus, you can never really be sure how you’re going to feel from one day to the next – but I can always count on the almost-springtime-temperature-swing to send my joints on an inflammation roller coaster. I’ve been doing my best to stay still and take it easy, but there’s not really much I can do to keep these warm-cold-warm-cold spells from wreaking havoc on my body. So I’m just doing the best I can and focusing on the things that make me happy – once springtime is really here to stay, it brings along some of my very favorite things.

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So what’s perking me up this Monday? Flowers.

I’m a total stereotype – whenever I get flowers, my day is made. Sky brightened. World rocked.

I need to do a better job of buying myself flowers for the office. The simple touch of having a floral arrangement in your space (home or office) has always seemed to me such a glamorous, adult thing – but it’s such a simple little treat, and a sweet bouquet or arrangement can make a dreary day so much brighter. I can’t wait to try this shallow vase trick from Lauren Conrad’s blog. I’m especially loving hydrangeas and peonies lately, so I’m going to try and pick some up this afternoon and see what I can create.

Speaking of beautiful florals, go download Oana Befort’s gorgeous March desktop calendar right now! I’ll wait.

I’m totally gaga over this gorgeous floral print of Lumineers lyrics from firstsnowfall on etsy. I’m keeping an art wishlist for our house, and this piece is definitely there with a bullet. Ditto for this print of lyrics from one of my all-time desert island top five favorite songs.

Browsing etsy always gets me so inspired to start creating on my own. I’m hoping to make it to one or two thrift shops this week to find some fun fabric to work with. I’m not sure yet exactly what I’ll make, but I’ve got a few ideas rolling around in the rock polisher that is my brain – and that’s pretty exciting, if you ask me.

What’s inspiring you this week? Leave me a link (or two, or three…) in the comments. I could use all the inspiration I can get!

My Favorite Things

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Henry enjoying sweet potatoes, one of his newest favorite things.

• This article, “The Day Someone Threw Me A Rope,” is such a sweet (and important) dose of perspective for new moms.
• Can’t get enough of this video of my cutie pie acapella Faves The Filharmonic covering Happy.
• This HuffPo article about Highly Sensitive People is onto me. SO many familiar characteristics here. No joke, I can remember a mistake I made or something mean I said to someone else in high school and cringe about it today.
• I can’t stop using the Rhonna Designs iPhone app! So many cute banners, stickers, and icons to add to your photos or use on their own. Definitely one of my new favorites.
• I’m in on too many shows – I was already in the middle of a Nashville Hulu marathon, and now Survivor, Grey’s Anatomy, AND Scandal are back. I can tell I’m going to have to start carving out a block of time in my weekend to catch up, since my bedbug tendencies are way too strong to allow me to actually stay up and watch them in real time.  But Survivor season is so much fun – J and I watch together, and then we listen to The Right Reasons podcast from Grantland and feel validated when Juliet and Jacoby agree with us.

I’ve had a very sleepy, achey, generally bleh-feeling week this week (hence my MIA status from this blog), and I’m honestly glad to see it end. We’ve got a fun family day trip planned this weekend, and I am so looking forward to some happy, relaxing family time to recharge me before I dive back in to next week.

Dear Garth Brooks,

All I wanted was to post “The Thunder Rolls” on Facebook at three-thirty in the morning as this crazy storm blows on out of control…but all I can find is karaoke backing tracks and wacky cover bands.

It was going to be great, Garth. My brother, far away in Germany and probably awake already, especially would have loved it. A nice little in-joke for all of my Southern friends and family who are probably also wide awake as their houses get rattled and rolled by the insane storm currently parked right smack dab on top of Charlotte, NC.

And Garth, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to let a craving for one of your songs go unfulfilled! I can remember wanting to hear “Calling Baton Rouge” on no less than four separate occasions over the past year, and I can remember the sting of disappointment over my fruitless googling.

Sure, I could buy your album on iTunes. I’ll probably cave and purchase your Greatest Hits at some point. But the storm is over now, and the chance to commiserate with my friends over one of your best songs has passed. It’s like my love for you has grown a little cold on this sleepless night.

That’s a reference to the song, Garth. I’d link to the video here, but. You know.

So anyway, just consider it. Maybe have one of your people look into your options when it comes to getting rid of the unsatisfying imitations and sharing the real Garth Brooks with the internet. Because deep in my heart, the thunder rolls. And I know I’m not the only one.

PS – Okay, so I was able to find one version. But we both know things could be better, Garth. Just think about it! I’m off to find a snack and count some sheep.

Monday Inspiration

Hello and happy Monday!

My snow day-cation has been extended for one more day thanks to our good friend George Washington. Henry and I have big plans for today, including a trip to Babies ‘R Us, a lunch break with Josh, and a service appointment at the Toyota dealership. Obviously we know how to live the life of leisure. All that’s missing is a palm frond and someone to feed me grapes from an olive leaf.

I’m in on a lot of streaming TV shows at the moment – partially because The Good Wife and Scandal are both still on hiatus and The Bachelor loses me a little more every episode. And partially because there are a lot of great shows that I missed out on the first time around (I owe this lightbulb moment to Veronica Mars).

One of my new shows is Nashville. It’s got three of my great loves: Country Music, Connie Britton, and Connie Britton’s hair. Check out her beautiful braid and listen to this beautiful song and tell me you’re not on board, too:

Watching this show makes me want to learn guitar for real, listen to Patsy Cline, and write sad country songs with Josh. Don’t you love that feeling? When something you see or hear makes you want to get up and DO instead of just watch?

I feel that way a lot lately; I think I need to find some kind of new artistic outlet. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking a class for the past year, and I think it’s almost time to jump in and do it. Calligraphy, painting, photography, guitar lessons…this creative itch needs scratching!

Here are a few more artists and creators who are inspiring me to start making something:

• Beautiful embroidered passage from The Little Prince by thimbleandthistle
• My Year with Eleanor – a book based on one woman’s year following the famous advice from Eleanor Roosevelt to “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
• This post of 5 fantastic thrift store bloggers makes me want to stop buying retail and start sewing my own clothes. I probably don’t have the time or the patience to actually dig through the bins and alter the garments, but I love seeing other people do it well.
• I love the whimsy and humor behind this Monsters in the Bushes print from Rifle Paper Co.
• So many of Lara Casey’s downloads speak to the inspired artist lurking behind my ribs. This one especially seems to be singing the song of my soul lately.

So there it is – happy Monday. Get out there and have a great week. Consider this your kick in the pants.

My Favorite Things

First of all, I need to say that this week has ROCKED MY WORLD. My office closed down at noon on Tuesday and we’ve had snow days from then on out. I can admit to getting a little stir crazy today, but I absolutely will NOT complain about these extra days at home with Josh and Henry.

I’ve got a lot of happy to share from this week – I’ll try to keep from going too far overboard.

ONE | The Schultzes


Our sweet, talented, inspiring, amazing, hardworking friends The Schultzes launched their new website today!
Check out their beautiful new site here, and then enter their super-fun, super-sweet Valentine’s Day contest here. I seriously Love the Schultzes and I know you will, too.

TWO | MissionCute

I won the MissionCute giveaway!
MissionCute is a monthly subscription box created by Sam at The Ledford Life. The boxes are filled with adorable lifestyle goodies, and 50% of the profits are donated to a deserving charity. I can’t wait to see the February box – I love presents, I love mail, I love worthy causes, and I love winning, so my day was pretty much made when I got the tweet telling me I won.

THREE | Sweaty Wisdom

I love pretty much everything Sweaty Wisdom has for sale (including this fabulous “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce” mug that’s been making the internet rounds).

FOUR | Irena Freitas

LOVE this illustration. I just discovered Irena’s tumblr and website today, and I am so smitten by her style. Don’t let her sweet, cute aesthetic fool you – whimsy like that takes a lot of hard work!

FIVE | Penguin Valentines


Libraries and Publishing Houses have some of the best tumblrs in the game right now, and this collection of literary valentines from Penguin Books is a perfect example.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, this hair isn’t going to air-dry through this Extreme Couponing marathon itself. I’ve got a snow day slug life to keep on living.

linking up with 5onfriday, h54f

Snow Days

Coasting on the Boston Common

photo via

I grew up in Rock Hill, SC – and in Rock Hill, it never snowed. We would watch the skies hopefully whenever the forecast even hinted at snowfall, waking up and running immediately to the windows to look for a blanket of soft, frozen white. Mother Nature never seemed to come through for us, and we eventually grew cynical, rolling our eyes and scoffing at the meteorologists whenever they mentioned the prospect of a “wintery mix.”

But one year, sometime in the mid-1990′s, the conditions aligned. The skies opened up and the snow fell down and it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. We had a sled – I’m not sure why, because (like I said) it never snowed. But we had a sled, and we had one big hill in our neighborhood, and all the families converged on this one hill for this one day of fun in the snow.

I was wearing leggings under my jeans, a turtleneck under a sweatshirt under my jacket, and two pairs of socks (at least). I couldn’t put my arms all the way down to my sides. My glasses were constantly fogging up – big, thick bifocals with dark brown frames. I was cross-eyed without them and couldn’t take them off, so I just had to soldier through, swiping at them with my mittens and pulling my scarf away from my face to breathe.

We crunched through the fresh snow and I was thrilled by the newness of my footprints in the smooth, white blanket. The world seemed brighter than it ever had before, and I couldn’t open my eyes all the way. Everything was muted and louder at the same time – quiet enough that we could hear other families coming from streets away, still enough that we could hear the individual snowflakes hitting the trees and piling on top of the mailboxes and driveways.

My mom rode down the hill with me, holding on to me tight. She was on the back of the sled and I was “steering.” I remember being scared because I had no idea what the sled would do or how it would feel when we inevitably fell off. Dad gave us a push and we careened down the hill, laughter bubbling up in my chest as soon as we started moving. We landed awkwardly in the drift at the bottom and tipped over in slow motion. The fall didn’t hurt, and the ride was like Christmas morning – thrilling and delightful and over way too fast.

Once we were frozen through, fingers aching and cheeks raw from the wind and the snow, we made the trip back home. We were colder and slower than on our trip to the hill, and the untouched snow was carved through with footprints and tire tracks – but there was no less magic in the air. My glasses steamed up one more time as we came through the back door, shedding our snow-caked layers and heading straight for the kitchen to sip hot chocolate, thaw our hands, and count down the hours until we could go outside and do it all again.

The snow melted by the next morning. I hope the memories never will.

Novel Update
Chapters: 3
Words: 2103