Pretty athletic leggings

23 March 2017

My friend was wearing these Lilly Pulitzer leggings the other day, and I about died. I didn’t even know Lilly Pulitzer MADE leggings! At $98, however, they’re a little out of my budget at the moment, so I went down a rabbit hole to find some other fun, floral, girly options. Here are my best picks at a range of price points!

pretty athletic leggings

First row:
Lilly Pulitzer ($98)
Old Navy ($20)
J. Crew ($52.50 on sale)
Nanette Lepore ($68)

Second row:
Fabletics ($45)
J. Crew ($52.50 on sale)
Champion ($28)
Fabletics ($55)

Any other great sources to share with the group? :)

HGTV Home Town and our house portraits

21 March 2017

Are you all planning to watch the new HGTV series Home Town tonight? It’s at 10 EST, right after Fixer Upper – and if you love Fixer Upper, you probably will love Home Town! They both have a sweet, talented, smart, very-much-in-love couple at the center; small town coziness; fun house transformations; and a Southern heartbeat. Plus, Erin from Home Town wrote my favorite Southern Newlywed interview ever, and has been one of my favorite blogs to read for a few years. (She writes a short note sharing the best thing that happened that day, every day – admirable!) It has been so fun to see the show develop on her blog, from the first covert mentions (before they could even talk about what was going on but it was obvious something was up), to the pilot’s debut last year, to the past few weeks building up to the premier. They are an easy couple to root for and it has been so fun to do so!

We also have some of Erin’s original art hanging in our home! Before she became an HGTV star, she was a wedding and social stationer. Though she’s now using her drawing and watercolor skills to help Laurel-ites imagine home renovation possibilities, she used to create house portraits for people like me! She drew both of our family cottages (that’s one of them under her pen, up there), and they hang proudly in our main room. Since we live far away from Maine, I love walking by their sweet facades every day. I’ll always be grateful for her talent in bringing them to life!

Join me in supporting this sweet Southern couple tonight, friends? 10pm EST – I’ll see you there!

P.S. I am going to Laurel next month – counting down the days!!

60 Before 30 Recap

16 March 2017

Astute readers will remember that not only did the end of February mark my thirtieth birthday, but the end of my 60 Before 30 project! This was one in a long line of goal sets with a longer time horizon, as I generally prefer them to yearly goals. Though I’ve done a few 101 in 1001s before, this was my first time trying a 60 before 30.

In short, I LOVED it! I think I’ve improved over time at this long-term goal setting thing, because in the past, I’ve been a little over my lists by the time I entered the third or so year of them – but not this time. Though I didn’t complete all 60, I still feel as passionately about each of these as goals as I did three years ago. Partially, that’s because I allowed myself the freedom to replace any goals along the way that were no longer relevant or important to me. I only ended up changing about three, but the freedom to do so was liberating.

To quote myself (ha), “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.”

So… did it work? I’d say yes! I will never be these things fully in this life, but I do think I am more these things than I was three years ago, and I think this project helped. Plus, I had a lot of fun along the way!

Let’s take a look at how I did! We’ll start with the goals I did not complete (womp womp):

— Host a themed party
— Go on a missions trip
— Make a watercolor, oil, or acrylic painting
— Learn to French braid
— Become a morning person with a consistent morning routine
— Make a square newel post for our stairs
— Convince Nancy to give me a hair tutorial
— Grow a cutting garden with dahlias, roses, and peonies
— Go antiquing at Brimfield, Round Top, Scott’s, Alameda, Brooklyn Flea, or another famous market
— Run a Chick-fil-a 5k
— Create a drop zone near our garage door
— Follow a year-long Bible reading plan with John
— Make a quilt

Just 20%! Not too bad! Alrighty, now for the four goals that were in progress when I crossed the finish line:

— Post a guide to the Triangle on EFM (Easily my most long-suffering goal :))
— Make our porch a comfy place to gather (We made progress, but are still locked in a head-to-head debate over whether a porch swing would “damage the integrity” of our porch ceiling. You can guess which side I’m on.)
— Renovate our backyard so it’s more private and a great place to gather (This is happening!!! More soon.)
— Develop a consistent and fulfilling prayer life (Ongoing, but research has been done and rhythms have been established.)

I won’t list all 43 goals I checked off (you can see them all here!), but I did want to give you a few of the highlights!

The goals I’m most proud of completing: Nos. 12, 13, and 14, paying off our two car loans and fully funding a savings account for our next car purchase

The goal that took the most planning to complete: No. 45, going to Europe (see my posts here: Paris, Provence, Cassis, and the Cote d’Azur)

The goal that’s made the biggest difference in my health: No. 11, making an appointment with an allergist

The goals that stretched me to be more generous than I would have been otherwise: No. 3, supporting a friend in something he or she is doing and no. 27, extravagantly and unexpectedly giving to someone else

The first goal I completed: No. 21, hanging a giant wedding canvas in our living room

The goal that took the longest to complete: No. 43, making a will

The final goal I completed: No. 59. buying a new Bible for the long haul (I eventually decided on the ESV Study Bible)

The most expensive goal I completed: No. 35, paying off at least 35% of our outstanding mortgage

The goal on which I most overachieved: No. 56, making at least one friend in our neighborhood

The goal I’d most like to experience again: No. 29, exploring the California coast (posts here, here, here, here, here, and here)

The goal I least thought I’d do but I DID: No. 4, expanding my very minimal eye makeup techniques (thanks to my personal consult with Sam)

The goals I most loved writing about on EFM: Nos. 18, 19, and 20, sharing about our second, third, and fourth wedding anniversaries

The most-anticipated and sweetest goal: No. 41, expanding our family (the one and only June)

Other favorites: nos. 8, 22, 24, 34, 46, 49, 51, and 54! Really, all of them :)

Anyone else wondering what’s next? Me, too! I already have a pent-up collection of ideas for another list, and just need to figure out the format that makes the most sense. I’m not in a huge hurry, but also already feel the void of not having an ongoing project! Any ideas you want to throw my way? So far, the best I’ve got is something that fills the time until we pay off our mortgage!

How to host a favorite things party

13 March 2017

Ever since Brooke wrote about throwing a “Favorite Things” party many moons ago, I’ve wanted to host one myself! The rapidly-approaching end of my 60 Before 30 project was enough to get my butt in gear, and I’m so happy to say that this eagerly-anticipated event was just as fun as I thought it would be. Here’s how I organized mine, in case you’re interested in hosting your own!

Instead of inviting my usual roster of friends, I decided to use this party as an opportunity to get to know our neighbors a bit better. To make things simple, I issued a Facebook invitation. Here’s the text I used in case you’d like to copy it :)

Hi friends and neighbors!

I’ve wanted to host a “favorite things” party for a long time, and figured Valentine’s Day and meeting more neighbors were perfect excuses! :)

If you reply YES (which I hope you do!), plan to bring your favorite thing with you on the 16th (anything you like… your favorite lip balm, favorite kitchen tool, favorite gift wrapping supply, a gift card for your favorite frozen yogurt, favorite plant, etc.). Don’t spend more than $10, and bring THREE of the same thing (for a total of $30 or less). You’ll go home with the favorite things of three other ladies!

If you’d like to bring a dessert or bottle of wine or another drink to share, as well, that would be great! You can comment below with what you’ll bring so we can all get excited :)

Finally, please feel free to extend the invitation to any other ladies you love in [our neighborhood]!!

Looking forward to it!


Going the Facebook route made it very easy for friends to invite other friends, something I was really trying to encourage! We ended up having three gals attend who I’d never even met before – success!

The party was on a Thursday, starting at 8pm (after kiddos were in bed – another bonus of it being neighborhood-centric was that everyone just walked over, some in slippers, after lights out!). The first half hour or so was spent chatting and eating dessert, the second was spent passing out the “things,” and the third was spent chatting :) For decor, I cherry-picked the Target Dollar Spot on February 15.

Upon arrival, I had everyone write their names on three slips of paper and fill out one of the interview cards I made:

Then, I read the cards one by one, and everyone tried to guess who had written each. The person who guessed correctly introduced her favorite thing, then drew three slips of paper from the bowl and gave her things to those three guests. We continued until everyone had three new things to go home with!

I had a duo for my favorite thing: EO French Lavender hand soap, which I first smelled at Serenbe and always makes me feel like I’m in a fancy hotel, and a few brownie bites from Whole Foods. If you haven’t tried the latter yet, you probably shouldn’t – they are my ultimate WF weakness. Other gals brought cute socks, a milk frother, a body scrub, a silpat mat and three favorite recipes, and face masks, to name a few.

This was such a fun evening – in fact, we’ve already talked about making it a twice-yearly tradition! I was definitely nervous to put myself out there, especially without my usual crew around me, but I think the “favorite things” aspect actually lowered the pressure, because there was something to “do” instead of just stand around and chat. Highly recommended all around :)

Have you ever been to a Favorite Things party? What would you bring if you were invited to one? It was really hard to decide!