4 March 2014
I love to read, and I have for as long as I can remember. I would bring a book everywhere with me when I was younger, and I can still plow through whole series in a weekend, if given the chance. The way a book can transport me to an entirely new world will never get old! My sisters are the same way, so clearly it’s something we got from our parents. I think growing up in a home where reading is valued is one of the best gifts they gave us, and I am so grateful for all of the things it has lead to in my life, and the way it has shaped me as a person. Unsurprisingly, it is one of THE things I am most adamant about cultivating in our future children – I think there are few things that will open more doors for someone than teaching them to love reading.
Evidence of my love for reading at a young age!
What I read:
So, what do I like to read? I could (and will) devote a separate post to favorite kids books, but these days, I try to read a variety of genres. I track the books I read throughout the year in the Notes app on my phone, which helps me decide what type of book I should read next. I read mostly novels, with a healthy dose of financial advice, books on faith, historical nonfiction, and classics mixed in.
What I’ve read:
In preparation for this post, I updated my Goodreads account so you can get a sense of books I’ve read in the past, if you’d like. In 2013 I read about 18 books (aside from the Bible). My favorites included The Glass Castle, Blue Like Jazz, Seven, and Outlander. So far I’ve read six books in 2014, so I’m off to a good start! The best by FAR was Red Rising – if you liked The Hunger Games, I can’t recommend this book enough! So, so good.
What I want to read:
I also keep a Note on my phone for books I want to read — it’s easy to access and I can update it from anywhere. I find my best recommendations come from friends and family members whose taste I trust. I subscribe to O Magazine, and they often have spot-on recommendations, too! My “to-read” list is about 50 books long at this point; here are a few in my queue:
The Cat’s Table
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
The Light Between Oceans
The Silver Star
Rumors of God
The Last Days of California
All Joy and No Fun
If you’ve read any of these, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!
How I read:
I rarely buy books – most come from the library, and some are borrowed from friends. I prefer to read physical copies, but I just heard that Scribd (a Netflix-like e-book subscription service) is giving away FREE three-month subscriptions this week in honor of National Reading Month, so I’m excited to load up our Kindle, too!
What I am currently reading:
Now, for the most marvelous part of this post! I couldn’t share my thoughts about reading and books without mentioning an exciting development in my literary world. My brother-in-law Seth (you may remember him from his wedding) is a literary agent and now a published author; his first book, The Well’s End, was released just one week ago. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already chomping at the bit to find out what happens next! Every so often I pause and think how funny it is that this person I know wrote these sentences :) If you like The Hunger Games and other young adult thrillers, I think you should order The Well’s End right now (or run out and buy a copy wherever books are sold!). SO excited for and very proud of Mr. Seth.
I would love to hear: Are you a reader? Have you read any of the books I’m considering picking? Do you have any other favorites to recommend?
P.S. The Amazon links in this post are affiliates, just FYI!
3 March 2014
Oh my, March. You started out with a gorgeous 70 degree day yesterday, but today’s low is supposed to be 18!! I’m hoping you have much more of the former rather than the latter in store for us in the coming weeks…
In addition to the garlands I made for some faraway friends, I made raspberry whoopie pie valentines for my coworkers!
To recap, my February goals:
Finalize “Before 30″ list and post. Here! Thank you so much for your comments! I’ve already checked off three items!!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends and husband. Check!
Plan something fun with CT friends in the Triangle. Yes! We have dinner plans for next weekend.
Work on guest accommodations before March visitors. Yes! Lots of progress here. Fabric for curtains was ordered, arrived, and delivered to the seamstress. We (unexpectedly, but you have to strike when the opportunity arises!) bought a bed frame at the flea market on Saturday, so I’m hoping to have that refurbished before they arrive! And we assembled our twin spindle bed and bought a mattress for it.
Plant jasmine around mailbox Yes!
– Practice new calligraphy techniques (picked up from my time with Lauren!)
– Plant peony in backyard, as long as danger of frost passes
– Plan a really happy trip to NC for two dear friends and their gents
– Set an appointment with an allergist
– Help launch a new service/community at our church – First on Chatham! If you’re interested, we meet at The Cary at 9:45!
– Plant the first round in our vegetable beds
What do you have planned for this month? If you’ve written a post about it, feel free to leave the link below, because I’d love to take a look!
28 February 2014
Happy birthday to me! 27 is the first year, I think, that has felt “older.” Not “old,” and not older in a bad way, just… older. It seems like I’m closer to late-twenties than mid-twenties now. I see 30 on the horizon, and I want to be ready for it. So, instead of launching a third 101 in 1001 list, I’m trying a 60 Before 30 list! Some of these “goals” are silly, some are serious, some will be really hard, and some are already well on their way to completion. More than anything, I hope writing these things down and working toward them will help me become the person I want to be — strong in mind, body, and spirit; capable and adventurous; encouraging and kind; grateful and generous — when I reach a new decade.
Start: February 28, 2014
End: February 27, 2017
Items completed: 3
1. Cultivate a lemon tree and/or blueberry bush
2. Make a pinata
3. Support a friend in something he or she is doing
4. Expand on my very minimal eye makeup techniques
5. Host a themed party
6. Go on a missions trip
Plant something pretty around our mailbox (March 2014)
8. Order an heirloom-quality wedding album for our home
9. Make a watercolor, oil, or acrylic painting
10. Develop a repertoire of at least 14 plant-strong meals we love
11. Make an appointment with an allergist and consider treatment plan options
Pay off the Mariner car loan (February 2014)
13. Pay off the Focus car loan
14. Fully fund a savings account for our next car purchase
15. Host a favorite things party
16. Make our porch a comfy place to gather
17. Learn to French braid
18. Celebrate our two year anniversary
19. …and our three year!
20. …and our four year!
Hang a giant wedding canvas in our living room (February 2014)
22. Barter a skill in exchange for family photos
23. Become a morning person (a.k.a. a person who has a habit of waking up at 7am or earlier) with a consistent morning routine
24. Buy a headboard/frame for our bedroom
25. Develop a consistent and fulfilling prayer life
26. Make a square newel post for our stairs
27. Extravagantly and unexpectedly give to someone else
28. Renovate our backyard so it’s more private and a great place to gather
29. Explore the California coast
30. Film and edit a video for our church
31. Convince Nancy to give me a hair tutorial
32. Open a Fidelity Giving Account
33. Grow a cutting garden with dahlias, roses, and peonies
34. Send out a Christmas card that conveys what Christmas means to us
35. Pay off at least 35% of our outstanding mortgage
36. Arrive at a compatible bike situation with John (he has a road bike and I have a cruiser so it’s really hard for us to ride together!)
37. Weed through my shoes and remove/sell the ones I don’t wear and decide on storage for the ones I do
38. Go antiquing at Brimfield, Round Top, Scott’s, Alameda, Brooklyn Flea, or another famous market
39. Start a luminaria tradition in our neighborhood
40. Visit Kristin and Kyle to go hiking
41. Expand our family
42. Install a rain barrel
43. Make a will
44. Create a drop zone near our garage door
45. Go to Europe
46. Give away as much as we spend on Christmas gifts in 2014
47. …and 2015
48. …and 2016
49. Canoe down the Haw River
50. Follow a year-long Bible reading plan with John
51. Send my mom flowers out of the blue
52. Rehabilitate luggage rack passed down from Bingie (my grandmother)
53. Increase yearly giving until we are tithing
54. Learn some flower arranging skills
55. Post a full house tour on EFM
56. Make at least one friend in our neighborhood
57. Write an article for our church’s newsletter on something we’re passionate about
58. Fill out Life Handbooks for Tegan and Baby Fishman
59. Buy a new Bible for the long haul – one I love and can scribble in
60. Make a quilt
There you have it! I’d love to hear your thoughts, if we share any goals, or if there are any goals you’d like to help me tackle! Here’s to a marvelous three years!!
21 February 2014
Plans for Natalie and Joe’s wedding are coming along wonderfully. In fact, this week we made a big decision: bridesmaid dresses!
From the beginning, Natalie knew she wanted something long. She didn’t need all three dresses to match, but she wanted at least one person to represent emerald, the anchor color in their palette. With that in mind, we collected inspiration for a few months, including these lovely examples…
Photo by onelove via Style Me Pretty (dresses by Alfred Angelo)
Katch Silva via Style Me Pretty
When He Found Her via Wedding Chicks
True emerald dresses are hard to find! We requested swatches from several companies, but were totally perplexed when some didn’t come labeled with which swatch was which color — how is that helpful when you’re comparing similar shades??
Another (happy) wrench was thrown in our plans when we found out Marget (lady of honor) will be eight months pregnant at the wedding!! Because a standard gown won’t really be an option for her at that point, we tentatively decided to find one (emerald) dress for her to wear, and then a different, teal-ish dress for the other bridesmaid and me to wear. Marget is pretty settled on a Two Birds dress, since she’ll be able to wear it even when she’s not pregnant. We think the rich peacock shade from J. Crew will be a good complement, so I ordered the Nadia (love that style!) and I think Kate is going to order the Megan. Hopefully we’ll look a little something like this all together:
I just knew we should wait for a Weddings sale event to bring the price down, so I patiently checked my inbox every morning. And oh happy day, the sales email arrived this week!! 25% off gowns, bridesmaid dresses, and bridal accessories through March 3rd. If you’ve been waiting to make a J. Crew Weddings purchase, hop on it!
Now we just have to see if everything looks good together in person, because even with swatches, it’s still so hard to judge! Fingers crossed we can check this item off the list for good soon :)
17 February 2014
My junior year of college, I bought a canvas tote bag printed with pomegranates from a company called Ann Judge. (Sadly, I don’t think they exist anymore!) For the last six years, I’ve used it to carry my things to and from school and then work every day (including my laptop and planner). It’s been thrown in cars, toted to the beach, and tucked under countless airplane seats. If we were doing a cost-per-wear analysis on this piece, it would be in the pennies. Naturally, it’s showing its age, but I love it so much that it never occurred to me to replace it until I noticed that the previously threadbare corners had become holes.
Since that’s actually a problem, I’ve been reluctantly looking into a replacement. Reluctantly, that is, until I found Cuyana. I don’t think there’s ever been a company that has so immediately and completely resonated with me, and I know that many of y’all will feel the same way. From their website:
We believe in both beauty and intentional buying. We love the joy of finding treasures and the pride of spending wisely. Cuyana means “to love” in Quechua, a language of the Andean regions of South America, and every piece we design is imbued with our love for quality, timelessness, and beauty. We want to love every item in our closets. We want to revel in the tactile beauty of the world’s finest materials and marvel at consummate craftsmanship. We believe in style, not fashion; in quality, not quantity. We celebrate fewer, better things and strive to live a life of inspired simplicity.
WOW! Isn’t that amazing? I just love it so, so much, and feel like it applies to so much more than just clothes or accessories.
If you’re interested, here’s a little video from their site that explains their mission in more detail:
The Cuyana Story from Cuyana on Vimeo.
Cuyana is based in San Francisco, but they travel around the world to find and match the best craftsmen and materials (the same ones luxury brands use!) with each product. Because they’ve consolidated their production in one country and sell directly to consumers, they can offer pieces at a much lower cost.
I was not surprised to see that Jamie, someone I consider to have perfectly classic style and excellent taste, carries a Cuyana tote. (That’s her husband’s overnight bag, which I also love!)
I found this gal while Googling, and she looks pretty stylish, too!
I’m pretty set on the tote in caramel, but I’d love your opinion on two details:
– Tall or short? I think the tall is more similar to the shape of my current bag, but I like the look of the short.
– Foil stamping? Since I don’t particularly love my initials (EAT, yikes) or monogram (ETA), I’m considering “T” or “EM.”
What do you think?