12 December 2017
Hi friends! Argh, I was hoping to have written a couple posts between my goals post and this one — so much good stuff to talk about in December! But, life calls, and here we are :) My family arrives for an early Christmas celebration today (YAY!!), so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for another post until next week — but hopefully we’ll be able to catch up then, because I still want to talk about generosity, how I’ve done on my 2017 focal areas, our Christmas cards, and our home’s Christmas decor. Plus, of course, there will be my annual year-in-review post post-Christmas!
But today, I thought I’d share a few things on my personal Christmas wish list. I was so honored when my friend Victoria gave me a sweet gift guide shout-out last week. If you’re still shopping, hopefully you’ll find something fitting here or on a previous guide!
For Sisters, Moms, and Best Friends
Parents, Grandparents, and In-Laws
Your Favorite Kids
A Patagonia | The time has come for a new fluffy fleece. I think I like this one, but I haven’t tried it on in person yet! Anyone have personal experience with this model?
Colorful magnets | You can never have too many! Love these colors. Perfect stocking stuffer :)
A Christmas pyramid | This is totally a sentimental pick! My family had one of these growing up and they bring me right back to sitting around our kitchen table at Christmas. Full disclosure: my parents have already gifted this to me and June is OBSESSED :)
Salad serving bowl | A big salad bowl is one thing we missed out on from our wedding registry. I’d love one for bigger friend gatherings or family dinner parties!
Liberty spreaders | These could not be sweeter! I wish they had better reviews, though!
Holiday plate | Future cookies for Santa plate? :) Every family needs a few Christmas plates, yes?
Bamboo dish rack | I feel like this would be kind of a strange gift, but I really love this to clean up our counter a bit, so it’s going on the list!
More plates | If I collect anything, it’s probably china, and I’d love to add these beauties to the crew.
Blush napkins | We use cloth napkins every night, and I’d love to add these into the rotation!
Gift stickers | My preferred present palette – hard to find!
Scalloped baskets | I think these would be just as fitting in an adult space as a kiddo one! I’m not sure yet where I’d use them, but I know I would find the perfect spot :)
What’s on the top of your list this year? I always get inspiration from what others are wishing for!
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10 October 2017
Articles Club is tonight, and it’s a special one — our two year anniversary! This group is always a highlight of my month. Last year I shared a bunch of the articles we read in our first year, and I thought it would be fun to do so again!
I included tips for hosting your own club in that first post, too — the only difference is that now we eat dinner together instead of snacks! In January we got to talking about lasagna, and I insisted on making my favorite recipe to share its glory with the group. After we realized it’s even MORE fun to chat over a delicious meal, we never looked back! So far, we’ve done Mexican (several times!), Greek, Indian, and American cookout :)
Here are a few of the articles we’ve read in the last year…
Stop Hustling and Get Your Life Back
The Luxury of Silence
Should Schools Teach Kids to Meditate?
Can Money Buy You Happiness?
4 Women with 4 Very Different Incomes Open Up About the Lives They Can Afford
Want to Be Happy? Stop Being So Cheap!
How FOMO Can Ruin Your Finances
The Pope on Panhandling
How Utah Keeps the American Dream Alive
Is There Life After Work?
How to Close the Gender Gap
Career Tips from Entrepreneurs
Aging and Dying
Why I Hope to Die at 75
How to Become a “Superager”
Before I Go
New Year, New You? Forget It
The Cost of Holding On
What Do You Like About Yourself?
Welcome to AirSpace
The White Wall Controversy
Just two great reads :)
The Ghost Ship That Didn’t Carry Us
When Your Child is a Psychopath
Sound like fun? We’re always happy to welcome new gals, so if you’re into eating, chatting, and reading and live in the Triangle, we’d love to meet you! And don’t think you’d be the only one — after the similar post I wrote last year, three new ladies emailed and joined our group! Just send me an email :)
25 September 2017
We said goodbye to our little cat Jack last week. She was an incredible, beloved member of our family, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about her today.
As I’ve mentioned before, John is known as the Cat Whisperer in our circles. Cats make a beeline for him like heat-seeking missiles (which, let’s be clear, is exactly what cats are). It was a foregone conclusion that we would add a cat to our family after moving to North Carolina, but in the name of fiscal responsibility thought we would wait until John started a job.
A few months into our new life together we started frequenting adoption events “just to look.”
For awhile, though, that’s exactly what we did…until a sunny November day when John crouched down to peer into a carrier in the aisle of Petsmart, and Jack popped up beside him and put her paws on his knee. Out of all the cats brought to the adoption event that day, this little seven-month-old was the only one on a leash, and she amused us for the next half hour by attempting to steal food out of other cats’ cages, nearly toppling off several surfaces, and boldly investigating everything within her orbit. We were smitten, and a few weeks later, she (and her brother Oliver) were ours.
(Jack’s official name from the adoption agency was Jackal (what the heck?!?), but we decided Jack was short for Jacquelyn. She was always a tomboy, and she carried her name off with panache.)
We were looking for cats with personality, and boy did we get them. From the minute we set her carrier down in our apartment (and she promptly bounded out to explore), Jack was an energetic, fearless, engaging presence in our family. She was the first to greet someone at the door, the first to jump up on a lap, and the first to explore a new noise or object. Often described as “overly friendly,” we had to warn guests to leave their doors closed at night if they didn’t want a visitor licking their nose and pawing at their faces around midnight. She loved to curl up in the crook of my knees, under the covers, year round.
These friendly cats were the cure for our homesickness, and for that I will always be grateful. They made us look forward to returning from trips when nothing else did, and they made us feel like a family before we even were one. They’ve been a part of almost our whole adult lives, and it aches to move on without her.
Jack was a deadly bug hunter, a ferocious athlete with incredible balance (she liked to parade back and forth on our balcony railing!), and a devoted sister. One of the many reasons I’m sad she left us so soon is that she would have been an incredible role model for June. I know that might sound silly to some, but we talked about Jack often as a brave, bold, confident, independent female – the ultimate embodiment of girl power. She was also a diligent ambassador for the cat species. I can’t tell you how many times we heard “I don’t like cats, but I like this cat” after spending time with Jack.
Another quirk of Jack’s is that she L-O-V-E-D going to the vet. She was famous amongst the techs, who nicknamed her Miss P, for Perfect, early on. When she was diagnosed with nasal lymphoma earlier this summer, her love for Dr. Wendy made our every-other-week appointments much more pleasant than they would have been with another cat.
She is no longer in pain, for which we are grateful. But we are so sad. Jack’s incredible personality made her a once-in-a-lifetime cat, and eight years with her feels like a cruelly short amount of time. Because she was such a constant presence in our lives — following us from this room to that, sitting on the desk next to my laptop every day I worked from home, waiting patiently for us to go to bed in the evening — her absence is felt at every moment. There is a heavy lack in our lives right now.
The inconvenience, the expense, and most importantly, the searing heartache of her illness this summer… nothing changes the fact that given a million more chances at this life, I’d choose our sweet Jack a million times over. I count the fact that we walked into Petsmart that day as one of the luckiest strokes of my life, and I will always be so grateful that she was ours.
Of all the marvelous things I’ve shared over the years, Jack is near the top, and though it feels like my words fall flat, this place wouldn’t be true without sharing a bit about her with you. Thanks for listening, friends. xo
8 September 2017
My recent post about my house contentment hack seemed to resonate with y’all, and I’m not surprised. A lot of us seem to struggle with feeling like our houses are less-than, instead of loving them for what they are: safe, warm, dry, comfy places to shelter our families. There’s a lot of wisdom in the comments of that post so I’d encourage you to go back and take a peek, but as a follow-up I wanted to share a story…
Earlier this week, a friend called me up after reading my post. She and her husband stayed overnight with us for the first time this spring, and truthfully, I was a little nervous before their visit (and spent more time preparing and cleaning than usual!). She’s an impeccably thoughtful hostess and has a BEAUTIFUL home by any standard, and I wanted to make her feel welcome! (And, okay, look good while doing it…)
To my surprise, on the call she shared that their stay had come with an epiphany, that she left saying to her husband, that’s how I want our home to feel. The reason? Precisely because it WASN’T perfect. She specifically mentioned noticing pet fur on furniture, crumbs on the high chair, toys out on the rug. Not exactly what most of us want our homes to be known for (ha!), but there you have it. Instead of being embarrassed, I’m choosing to be honored that my thoroughly imperfect home gave her permission to loosen up a bit in hers.
The lessons here, as I see them:
1. Say the encouraging thing. Don’t just think they already know it. Everyone needs to be encouraged, and you’ll never regret saying something kind.
2. Your home, as crumb-filled or outdated or lacking as it may seem to you, could be exactly the soft landing — the permission-giving space — someone else needs. Never be afraid to invite someone in.
If you think about the homes you love the most, I would venture to guess you don’t love them because of their looks — you love them for the way you feel when you’re in them, the people inside them, and the memories you’ve made between their walls. I’m working to shift how I think about my own home, to value it for these things, and I thought it might be helpful for a few of you, too! xo