Weekend Links / / Comparison Ladders

Gifts from London

My days off from work fluctuate from week to week. Sometimes my days off run consecutively and sometimes they are split. There are advantages to having week days off, such as scheduling doctor appointments, but it can be difficult to recharge for the upcoming week. I wrote a post about creating your own weekend when your job isn’t M-F. Sometimes I still need a reminder to celebrate and relax even when it’s a Wednesday.

Jordan’s brother will be staying with us for a week starting tomorrow and we’re really excited to show him around town! What are your plans for this weekend?

/ / I was hit with a case of the comparison bug this week. Sometimes it feels like everyone around me is climbing the invisible ladder toward “successful adulthood” while I’m left standing on the second rung. This is just a fleeting feeling though; I know I’m moving! I’m also aware that what I observe of others’ lives is just a glimpse — like this blog is glimpse of my story. Anna reminded me that what we do all have in common is messy lives.

/ / Reading Brittany’s observations on gratitude this week came at just the right time. Like I mentioned above I was in a bit of a funk earlier in the week and this reminder was just what I needed to hear.

“Jumping for joy over the gems we have frees us from needing more.” 

/ / What to keep on hand for impromptu parties. Elsie breaks down what “staples” she keeps stocked to avoid scrambling something together last-minute. I love that she included fancy popcorn. We love popcorn and it’s a great crowd pleasing snack to serve.

/ / I am splitting a CSA box this season with a friend and the first pick-up is next Tuesday. I have been saving different vegetarian based dishes for inspiration. Daisy’s recipe for vegan vegetable wraps will certainly be in rotation once we’re up to our ears in vegetables!

/ / I’ve published 209 blog posts in two years. That is crazy! I enjoy creating new content weekly, but the posts become buried so quickly. I was scrolling through my drafts looking for an old recipe and realized even I had forgotten some posts. Lauren has several great ideas to bring new life to old blog posts and I’m excited to try a few out.

Happy Weekend, all!

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Incase you missed it:

Toronto | Day Two

Netflix | Little Gems (shows you might have missed)

Weekend Links / / We Bought a Dyson

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This week was absolutely gorgeous with most days being sunny and in the 70s. My apologies to our family and friends back home in Chicago, who were dumped by another snow storm. 😉 I had been feeling a little overwhelmed the past few weeks, but now that taxes are completely behind us, a huge weight has been lifted. I felt like I could get to other parts of my life that had been ignored for a bit. I finally finished Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman, we purchased a Dyson vacuum, (the true sign of adulthood?) and I got my hair colored!

Spring in Nashville has a great energy and this weekend is already shaping up to be really fun: birthday parties, dinner dates, and a first attempt at gluten-free brownies. Wish me luck!

Oats are a weakness for me and I eat them in many forms. Anna’s recipe for grain-free granola looks so good! I’ll be adding this to my granola arsenal.

Susanna collected a great list for spring date ideas! Our anniversary post from last year was included. Visiting Lincoln Park’s Conservatory was one of my favorite days from 2014.

I love following bloggers in other countries. Reading bits about their life and the food they eat gives me a glimpse into what life outside of the western world really is like. Australian food blogger, Bec, is one of my favorites to follow. Her love for brunch rivals my own. I wouldn’t have thought to make a pot of savory baked beans for Sunday brunch, but this recipe sounds too good to pass on up!

An honest and realistic look into the financial burden placed on women (and potentially their partners) after a miscarriage.

“Miscarriages usually have an emotional cost. But they also have a financial cost as well.  That economic pain can have profound consequences on women’s lives.”

Jana shared her steps to actively beat Social Media comparison. I only want to follow people who exude joy and inspiration, it is perfectly acceptable to unfollow someone if it is causing you distress.

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

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 / / 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.

Weekend Links / / New Year

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How are we all feeling about January 2015? So far, I like it much better than January 2014, mainly because Nashville isn’t in the middle of a polar vortex. Two thumbs up for Southern living!

I received the sweetest package from Kelsey and Erica, the hosts of one of my favorite podcasts: The Girl Next Door Podcast. They ran a giveaway in honor of their shared birthday and I actually won! They filled my box with their latest obsessions. The mulled cider candle left the whole box smelling like Christmas.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole / / I will be saving this for Thanksgiving next year. I’m assuming I could simply sub out all-purpose flour for GF flour? Anyone tried that before?

DIY Candles / / Allie shows us step by step how to create our own candles. I love how she recycled an old Anthropologie Volcano jar for the finished product.

Gilmore Guys / / Jordan and I have been in another Gilmore Girl’s marathon recently. This happens almost every year (you can’t just watch one) and I am not complaining! I never tire of Stars Hallow. The Lorelai’s were on my brain when I discovered the Gilmore Guys podcast. It’s interesting to hear a guy’s perspective on the show. It’s just too much fun.

Explore / / Katie’s perspective on exploring locally, completely aligns with how Jordan and I like to live. Out of state travel can sometimes put a dent in the budget, but we’ve always tried to take advantage of local spots to satisfy our adventurous spirit in between larger trips.

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Gluten Make Up

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/ / I did a little gluten-free baking this week: chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. I was pretty proud of myself for how they each turned out. Baking is really all about the recipe you choose to use, so the originators get all of the credit. I still have several more bananas that need to be used, so I think Minimalist Baker’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread is next on my list.

/ / My photography journey has been trial, error and a bit of luck. I have found that using food as my subject allows me to try different angles, settings, and locations without the fear that the item will walk away. Elizabeth shared several great tips that I’m excited to begin working on.

/ / Serial Parody on Funny or Die.

/ / Make up and hair tips for glasses wearers. My favorite look is a top knot with a bold lip.

/ / Five, easy, DIY garlands from A Beautiful Mess. I’ll be visiting after Christmas sales to purchase bauble ornaments to make one of these!

/ / Bek wrote beautifully on Advent.

“This is what Christmas is. It set the stage for how He would save the world. Joy & pain. Faithful & forsaken. Silence & angels. Darkness & light. Loved & hated. Miracles occurring & treks across deserts. Fully man & fully God. Death gives birth to life.” 

Wishing you a beautiful and relaxing weekend.

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Sea Salt Memories

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^ My mom’s dried lavender.

How was your Holiday weekend? I spent a whirlwind two days back in Chicago for Thanksgiving (pictures coming next week!). It was great seeing family and friends, but the seven hour drive home while still having to work the rest of the week was rough! I’m just now catching up.

Jordan didn’t need to rush back, so he stayed until Wednesday. I’m glad he had that extra time with family and friends. I did what all girls do when their husbands leave for a week, I watched sad movies (TFIOS and Wish I was Here) and caught up on blog reading.

Here are a few of my favorites!

/ / Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Popcorn. I love popcorn and often eat it for a light meal. This combo sounds utterly divine and would be a great party snack!

/ / Rae’s reasons why she chooses to bring her camera with her and photograph the little moments are spot on! When do we ever look back at old photographs and wonder why we captured them? We really don’t. I have regretted not taking photos.

/ / I kind of wish Tracy was my older sister (if I had an older sister). Her gift guide has a little bit of everything: fashion, home and crafts. Even if I don’t purchase a specific item from someones gift guide, it does give me lots of ideas.

/ / Elizabeth wrote about praying intentionally for our husbands on Cassie’s blog series, Equally Yoked. She gave tips such as having note cards with scripture that allows us to dive deeper.

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Serial Obsessions

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This was a crazy full week. It began by filming my first video blog (eek!). I watch a lot of vloggers on YouTube and after this week they get all my kudos. Filming yourself (or in my case, making my husband film me) and staying on task is not as easy as it seems! Our unique ticks and quirks become extremely apparent after watching back the footage. My voice and the way I say certain phrases has always been a topic of teasing, particularly because Jordan doesn’t have a Chicago accent. It really sticks out in Nashville though, especially when I’m calling out beverages loudly at work. Haha. I coined my accent the “Chicago Valley Girl.” Watch at your own risk! 😉

I got a bit behind on my blog reading this week, but I still managed to find a few gems!

/ / Are you listening to the Serial podcast? No? Well, you might want to consider starting. It’s truly remarkable.

“Serial is a podcast where we unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. We’ll stay with each story for as long as it takes to get to the bottom of it.”

Serial has received praise from The New Yorker to The Telegraph and criticism from certain corners of the internet. News outlets such as the New York Observer have responded in defense.

Jordan and I’ve been listening each week and fervently discussing it. As Anna Silman reminds us on Salon.com, “…it’s a real family’s ongoing tragedy. We shouldn’t forget that.”

/ / I also started reading Bad Feminist. This quote from Roxane Gay’s introduction pretty much exemplifies her theory.

“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I’m just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself: a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she KNOWS is terrible for women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground.”

It’s like she knows me.

/ / Ashley shared her day in (hilarious) gifs. I was taking a break from work and couldn’t stop laughing at her selections. Gifs make me all giddy.

/ / Chelsea has gathered some unique and affordable Christmas gift lists. Here are some under $20 and under $10.

/ / These Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Rice Krispie Bars from Joy the Baker. Did I mention that I’ve been gluten-free for almost two weeks? I’m still on the journey to completely solve my acne dilemma. Dairy doesn’t seem to make a difference either way though I’m still trying to avoid it. So far the gluten removal has brought a noticeable change. Gluten is everywhere, especially in sweets, but I love dessert so I’m on the hunt to find great-tasting solutions. Rice Krispie’s for the win!

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Stretchy Vines

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^ A typical breakfast, always with lots of coffee.

This week took it out of me. Working retail during holiday season is fun, but so busy! It’s after I got home from work each day that I realized my body just couldn’t do anything else. Thankfully, I have tomorrow off. 🙂 I’m looking forward to sleeping past 5 am and spending the day exploring Nashville with Jordan.

Onto the links! (If you want to see more of what I read this week, follow me on Bloglovin’. I always click “like” on my favorites.)

/ / When I saw A Cup of Jo post six stretches for people who sit at desks I immediately saved it to show my husband. I don’t sit at a desk all day, but Jordan does and he suffers from back pain from time to time. Taking a break to do light stretches is attainable, it just has to become habit.

/ / Speaking of Jordan, earlier this week he shared a series of videos with me. Buzzfeed complied several vines Katie Ryan filmed of her daughter, Ava. Ava is hilarious and clearly attuned to what is said around her. My favorite clip is Halloween themed.

/ / I read posts and laugh, but sometimes I read posts and cry. Tj reminded me that I need to be kind to myself. This season of life has brought some really hard moments, but at the end of the day I’m still beautiful, kind and smart.

/ / I recently discovered Erin’s blog and I’m obsessed with her 21 Day Experiment concept. The experiment for November is a fashion remix: 21 outfits created by 21 items. I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a capsule wardrobe, but honestly our weather is really unpredictable and I’m not ready to commit to anything for three months. This capsule light version still encourages creativity, which is ultimately the goal, but is only three weeks long.

Happy Weekend!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

Weekend Links / / Family Visits

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I’m going to be brief here as we have family staying with us for the next couple of days! Jordan’s dad had a business trip planned to Nashville and we asked if Jordan’s youngest sister could tag along! Thankfully, they don’t mind cramming into our small apartment.

They arrived just in time for dinner yesterday, so we took them out for some good ol’ southern BBQ. We live near several good ones, but my favorite so far is Martin’s Bar-B- Que Joint.

And now for the links!

/ / While reading, A Cup of Jo, I was reminded about the newest season of City.Ballet. Did you watch the first season? Each mini episode follows a different dancer or choreographer from the New York City Ballet. I’ve always been a little obsessed with dance. If a movie or television show (Bunheads, anyone?) centers around dance I am most certainly watching it. In high school, one of my favorite movies was Center Stage (and maybe still!). Dance is a beautiful form of expression.

/ / Caroline, the master of capsule wardrobes, shared her tips on wearing socks with ankle boots.

/ / I’m a total sugar girl; a girl after my father’s heart. 🙂 I do try to be wise with my sugar choices, but I’ve only recently discovered “sugar” can be replaced with things such as dates! Niamh’s Refined Sugar Free Cookies would be a great alternative to satisfy any sweet tooth.

/ / I’m a recent convert to black tea and Daisy’s Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies would be the perfect pairing to an evening cup of tea.

/ / During the month of October one of my friends, Emily, took a step back from blogging. Breaktober she deemed this creative break. She recently shared a few lessons she learned and it was a good reminder for me as well. It’s so important to listen to yourself and take a couple steps back when life becomes unbalanced. In this age of social media, it can feel like the world will quickly forget about you if you don’t post that photo to Instagram. I know I’ve felt that pressure.

Happy Weekend, y’all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.