Currently / / March

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Dreaming | The weather is slowly inching warmer (though an ice storm is supposed to be here tonight!) and I’m looking forward to regular afternoon walks with Jordan. These walks are a perfect remedy for the dreaded 3pm energy slump.

Planning | Meals for the week. I’ve been in a soup/chili rut and while they’ve been delicious I need to branch out. I made this kale, rice, and bean bowl last week and it was delicious! What are you making for dinner?

Making | Checklists — March is already shaping to be the month of getting business done: taxes, budgeting & finalizing vacation details, transferring our car title, etc. Last year at this time I was focused on packing for our impending move and I’m excited to enter the summer more streamlined!

Baking | Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars — yum! And the above pictured banana bread granola.

Watching | Jordan and I are marathoning Friends. We started several years ago, but now that all 10 seasons are on Netflix, it’s much easier to keep up. When I was younger I found Phoebe annoying (probably because I didn’t get her humor) but as an adult I find her hilarious!

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/ / Linking with Anne & Jenna.

Weekend Links / / Golden Statue

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Did you watch the Academy Awards on Sunday evening? I know they are essentially a popularity club and don’t really mean much in the long run, but I still enjoy tuning in every year. Last year we attended a viewing party, but after the crazy weather Nashville experienced, Jordan and I ordered Thai food and decided to watch at home.

Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black was amazing. I’m a bit miffed that Birdman beat Boyhood for best picture, but I’m biased towards Richard Linklater. As a viewing experience, I actually did enjoy Birdman but not quite as much as Linklater’s film. I was really happy Patricia Arquette won; her performance in Boyhood made that movie. Can we talk about how amazing Lady Gaga was during the Sound of Music tribute? I had chills. Jordan and I immediately ordered the 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition.

Quick fashion recap: I would like one of everything in the color of Anna’s dress. How did Lupita sit down while wearing all those intricate pearls? And I contemplated chopping my hair off to resemble Naomi’s perfect lob. Mark Seliger teamed with Vanity Fair and Instagram again for after party photos.

Onto this weeks links!

Megan and Mike’s entrepeneur’s guide towards tax season couldn’t have come at a better time. We pay our taxes quarterly, but still file the year-end documents with the help of our CPA. We continue to learn something new every year and always leave our session with better organizational tips. I didn’t take a class on how to run a small business, so I soak up any advice I come across!

What is culture’s big lie about marriage? Marriage is about achieving happiness. What is/was the big misconception you thought about marriage? I agree with this:

“At the end of the day, marriage is not about me, it’s about we. It’s about learning to choose another person over ourselves—because by choosing them, we are choosing to become greater in humility, strength, forgiveness and love. Marriage isn’t about becoming happier. It’s about becoming better. But ironically, in becoming better, we often find that we’ve also become happier.”

Anna shared 10 commandments of airplane travel. I learned my lesson the hard way about the importance of having a selection of basics in my carry-on after our luggage was stuck on the plane for a day (yes, STUCK!) in California. What are you travel commandments?

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Snowed In

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After dropping Jordan off at the airport on Saturday night for a work trip, I wanted to hit the ground running. I filled my calendar with dinner and coffee dates and had lofty intentions to get a good chunk of our taxes prepped and organized, register our license plates, run errands, etc…and then the snow began to fall on Nashville. I am used to extreme weather, but Chicago has the infrastructure to handle it. Nashville simply does not! The lack of snow plows and salt trucks pose a real threat to the safety of the locals.

The weather (affectionately dubbed #snowbama) rearranged my work schedule and nearly wrecked my car as I tried to get to work. After all this, I’m wiped out! I am so ready to sleep-in tomorrow and pick up my much missed husband from the airport!

I haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, but I stumbled upon her blog while browsing Bloglovin’. “The reward of loving is in the loving; loving is itself the great outcome of loving.” How Real People Really Make Love. Sacrifice, comfort, and choosing each day to be present with one another is real love.

As I near 30, more of my friends have become parents. It’s special witnessing someone become a parent, but then the separation begins. The separation between moms and not moms and moms and adoptive moms…and the rest of us. It’s not always easy being on the sidelines. Sally beautifully shared that she is no more of a mom than the rest of us.

Gluten-free baking isn’t as easy as replacing all-purpose flour with a one-to-one ratio. I don’t have the cabinet space to keep a lot of different flour obligations handy. I’m excited about these pancakes and waffles that only use oat flour. Kate’s advice to freeze some extras to eat during the week is perfect for me since I have to eat breakfast on the go a lot! I love breakfast food.

The perfect solution for hanging miscellaneous pictures and prints. This would also be a great solution for greeting cards! I’m pretty sure I saw something similar floating around during the holidays, but I love how Samantha made this washi tape gallery wall so simple.

..And Kristen Schaal for the win! #manspreaders

Happy Weekend, all!

 

Weekend Links / / Yes, Please

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“Good for you, not for me.”

I FINALLY finished reading Amy Poehler’s memoir Yes, Please. Well, actually I listened to the audiobook… and besides the Harry Potter books, this was by far the most enjoyable audiobook I’ve listened to. In addition to Amy herself, special guests (her parents, Seth Meyers, etc) read certain chapters while Amy interacts with them – – it feels like radio theater! Amy is funny, open, and humble about her successes and failures.

The chapter designated to her life motto, “Good for you, not for me.”  has stayed with me. It’s a good reminder to affirm the decisions of others, while also being okay saying, “…not for me.”

This one-pot spicy egg and potato dish was a hit in our house. I’m not a vegetarian (give me all the bacon!) but a lot of the meals I’ve been drawn to lately don’t include meat. During my transition to a gluten and dairy-free diet, I’ve found soup, stews, and chili’s to be the easiest. Jordan can easily add cheese if he wants it.

I love when Chelsea includes gifs in her blog posts. I was chuckling to myself while reading, 10 (more) lies every girl tells herself. Especially #8 and #9.

“However bad life may seem. Where there is life, there is hope.” – – Stephen Hawking

Tracy shares simple text and quotes on pictures every week or so and while the sayings might seem cliché, I can afford to hear some positive affirmations in my life!

How am I just realizing macarons are gluten-free? Now that I know they are made from almond meal, I’m bummed I didn’t seek them out when we were in ParisBeth’s recipe actually seems doable, but let’s be honest, I’ll most likely stick to the Whole Foods variety. The macarons paired quite nicely with my new Teavana Winterberry tea  — a strawberry flavored green tea. Yum!

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Things On Tables / / 02

/ / Variations on a theme

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/ / Volume 01 – – Sometimes I take pictures of other stuff. Follow me on Instagram. 🙂

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Weekend Links / / Nashville Official

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We are official – – official Nashville residents! Jordan and I finally went to get our drivers licenses changed this week. It may or may not have involved two trips because I didn’t thoroughly read through the guidelines and forgot our passports, but it happened (An Illinois licence doesn’t equate being an US citizen, who knew?)! It feels good to have that crossed off my moving to-do list.

Jordan usually works from home because he corresponds with clients via phone conferences so often, but one afternoon this week he asked if I wanted to join him on a work date at a local coffee shop. It was so nice to have a change of scenery and sit side-by-side working on our respective projects.

Key & Peele / / If sports press conferences weren’t about the game just played, but about movies and award nominations… This sketch parody is enjoyable on so many levels, but I was cracking up when Into the Woods was mentioned by Jordan Peele (aka Marshawn Lynch), “I just think the producers of Into The Woods did themselves a disservice by not including the narrator from the original theatrical production.” Ha!

Photo Organizing / / Erin’s tips on organizing digital photos came at the perfect time for me. Jordan is upgrading his computer soon which means I can say goodbye to my six-year old iMac and have his Macbook Pro! My photo saving has been haphazard at best and Erin’s suggestion to save photos in named files not only by description (birthday or banana bread) but also by year. It might seem obvious but it’s not something I thought of doing!

Contentment / / It’s almost comical how hard it is to be content. The industrial and digital world we find ourselves in bombards us with images of what “having it all” looks like. Not only do we need the perfect guy/girl and house with a white picket fence, we must decorate each room to Pinterest perfection! It’s exhausting. Kelsey intentionally stepped into 2014 with the goal to be content with her home. She said it well, “when I focus on the happiness that is so abundant in our house the actual stuff and the look of it is so much less important.”

Wine Pairings / / When trying to explain coffee flavor descriptions to customers I’ll say, “It’s like wine. Depending on the bottle’s region the flavor might be bright and citrusy or cedary.” I say all that, but I actually don’t know the difference between Merlot and Chardonnay except one is red and the other white! Joanna has an easy wine pairing guide that I’ll be referring to regularly.

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Currently / / February

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Hearting | This guy right here. I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot as our anniversary is coming up and I just feel so grateful to be living life with Jordan.

Reading | Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist.

It’s about food and family and faith. It’s also about everything else, because all of life is a jumble of ideas and experiences and the things we find under the couch cushions. All of life is a whirling mash-up of the big and little things — the things we see and think and remember and smell and feel, the deep values that guide us and the dirt under our fingernails, the undercurrents of belief and doubt and coolness of the cotton sheets right when we slide our toes down to the bottom of the bed. It’s about food, and it’s not. It’s about life, which is to say it’s about everything.

Pinning | Dainty necklaces and stacked rings. Besides a few gifts and pieces from my grandmother’s collection, my jewelry wardrobe is still from college (or high school!). I’m ready for an upgrade.

Eating | Popcorn, hummus, and chicken salad. I like my chicken salad with grapes. Oh and dark chocolate. Always dark chocolate. 🙂

Anticipating | Our upcoming visit to Chicago in April. It’ll be quick, but I’m looking forward to good pizza and seeing friends and family.

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/ / Linking with Jenna and Anne.

Weekend Links / / Nuts & Seeds

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I’ve been spoiled the last couple of Saturdays by being off work! Jordan and I have enjoyed sleeping in and  making big breakfasts. Last Saturday, I went to brunch with a few friends at Adele’s in the Gulch. It was special to partake in a true weekend experience. I got to gab with old and new girlfriends all while eating really great food.

Adele’s shaved brussel sprout salad and famous JW chicken were excellent. One restaurant characteristic that is everywhere in Nashville is industrial garage style doors. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up, so we can enjoy that summer breeze.

What do Saturday mornings look like for you?

Honey Mustard Cashews / / I pinned this recipe months ago, but just got around to making it this week. I was concerned the nuts would burn, but they came out perfectly (and Jordan loves them). I now have my eye on this honey chai almond variation.

Mommy Wars / / Have you watched the Mommy Hood video from Similac? I’m not a mother, but I’ve witnessed friends become burdened by expectations and judgements from other moms (whether intentional or not). It’s disheartening. Everyone is doing their best. The debate over parenting styles reminds me of how important grades were when you are young. As time passes, being a straight “A” student in grade school ceases to matter.

Strawberry Chia Smoothie / / Until recently, the only Chia thing I knew about were Chia Pets! Chia seeds are rich in calcium and since I don’t eat dairy anymore, they can be an excellent addition to my regular diet.

Meal Planning / / Jana breaks down how she makes meal planning work for her family. We eat most of our meals at home, but I still struggle with keeping the right amount of food on hand. Jana overcame a problem that I relate to; our husbands love to eat different foods (dairy & gluten) and need variety in their meal schedule.

Closet Sale / / Susanna breaks down how to successfully run an Instagram Shop My Closet sale. I’ve noticed more and more people running small auctions on clothes they no longer need. Instagram hasn’t cracked down on the sales, so a commission fee isn’t required like Ebay. It’s fun to search #shopmycloset for great deals too!

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan and Christina.

Weekend Links / / Wanderlust

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^Oxford, UK 2013

Throughout the week I scroll through my Bloglovin’ feed, marking posts that I want to revisit. Usually on Wednesday or Thursday, I spend time ultimately choosing which posts I’ll share. After looking over my list, I think a theme developed – clearly, I am ready to travel!

/ / Last year, we ate lunch at Longman & Eagle in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. The atmosphere of their restaurant/inn is chill, the food is fresh and seasonally prepared — all for a great price. When Jordan and I discussed where we wanted to stay for our anniversary, L & E was our first choice, but all the rooms were booked! Kate’s getaway pictures are absolutely beautiful and only makes me wish we would have found a chance to stay a night before our move to Nashville.

/ / I absolutely love reading travel logs. Before we left for Europe in 2013, I spent a lot of time reading blogs for research/tips. I learned so much through different vacation recounts. Traveling to Amsterdam never really crossed my mind until Naomi and her family went in 2013. The beautiful houses along the canal are reason enough to visit!

I followed Hannah as she traveled through Amsterdam on Instagram and am so glad she recapped it on her blog. I now wish Jordan and I would have considered taking a train to Amsterdam from Paris! I didn’t realize how close they are.

/ / Rebecca reminisced on the 10 things she misses the most about living in NYC. First of all I loved that she had a photoshoot with her friends à la SATC when she moved away. After moving away from home, I now realize how specific certain experiences are to our environment/city. I hope to savor this time in Nashville because if we ever move away, some things won’t come with me (currently I appreciate how GF/Vegan baked goods are readily available in coffee shops!).

/ / Speaking of travel planning, Jordan and I have spent several nights researching places we want to visit when we go to Toronto this spring. This website has been really helpful. Have you been to Toronto? If so, I want to hear your suggestions and tips!

Any travel plans coming up??

Happy Weekend!

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/ / Linking with Meagan and Ashley.

Weekend Links / / January Days

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It’s been rather cold and gloomy in Nashville this week, but my weather app is showing signs of 50º F in the next few days! I’m still not accustomed to the idea that winter here ends in February. Are you all feeling settled into January? I still feel a bit jostled from the bustle of holiday season, but hopefully a new routine will fall into place soon! I’ve been spending time planning out our calendar and goals for the year. It’s also been nice to be able to catch up with a couple girlfriends this week.

/ / After watching the Golden Globes on Sunday and reading the Oscar nominations, I am ready for Rebecca’s Oscars Movie Challenge. I am a bit bitter about The Lego Movie’s Oscar snub, but I’m excited to follow a long and watch the 2014 movies I missed.

/ / Jordan is adamant on protecting our shoes for winter. As soon as brand new shoe box is opened, he immediately layers them with a weather resistant spray. A Beautiful Mess explains how to properly maintain the shoes we prepped for rain/snow. Now that we live in Nashville, it’s been really nice to come home without a thin layer of salt on all of my shoes!

/ / My repertoire of pasta dishes went extinct when I gave up gluten, but my soup collection has expanded! Bev compiled her favorite soup dishes from last year and I already made the White Bean, Kale and Italian Sausage Soup and bought ingredients for the Slow Cooker Smoky White Bean Soup.

/ / Each week Lisa interviews infertility survivors. She compiled 21 poignant quotes from recent conversations. This one from Audra really spoke to me, “I was given this life for a reason and although I may not have a complete peace with it now, I am certain that God will get me through it and that His plan is better than mine.”

/ / I share something from Minimalist Baker almost every week, but I can’t help it, they just know what they are doing! Besides easy and healthy recipes, Dana and John have a plethora of blogging resources on their site. They created a “how-to” for an editorial calendar and it was extremely helpful. I found it reassuring when Dana mentioned it takes her 8-10 hours per post. I’ve seen bloggers write that they can churn out a weeks worth of content in one day and that is just not me!

/ / Chelsea just celebrated her two-year blogging anniversary (yay!) and shared why you should start a blog. This really rang true for me, “There are only so many common things you can blog about … A normal work day turns into a chance to find some blog content, and suddenly, you’re looking at things through a much more creative lens.”

Happy Weekend!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.