Category Archives: Book

Random Things I Am Liking Lately

Hi — thank you for your encouragement yesterday with the One Room Challenge.  It’s time to motivate my husband to start painting!

Here are a few random things that I am liking lately.  Remember these posts from back in the day?

One Kings Lane has so many beautiful and accessible pieces of great art these days, including Michelle Armas, Brittany Bass and Jennifer Latimer, some of my favorite artists.  Check out this sale: In Fine Form.


{Bester by Michelle Armas}

This is my go-to summer t-shirt this season.  They are so soft, wash well and are the perfect length.  I used to buy Target and Old Navy tees, but found that they shrunk immediately, got stretched out after a couple hours of wear, and were so thin that they were see-through.  I have upgraded this year.  They come in a ton of colors and they are now on sale for $19.99!  If you order online, they run true-to-size (Ms fit me great).


{J. Crew Vintage Cap-Sleeve Tee}

Have you tried Blue Apron?  Each week they deliver the ingredients for three full meals to your door.  I have been loving it, especially the pre-measured portions and the minimal weekly meal planning.  Of the 9 meals that have been delivered so far, this one was the best!


{Blue Apron Beef Ramen Noodle Soup with Choy Sum and Enoki Mushrooms}

This bathroom designed by Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love is seriously perfect.  I love that nothing is “to the trade” and all so accessible to everyone.  I seriously COVET those shower tiles.



{Photo source and full post HERE}

Have you read this book?  I loved it.  I am trying to whip this stressed-out voice in my head into shape and not let the small stuff constantly derail me.


And, finally, here is my new fave Tar-jay find for under $20.  He is prominently on display in our family room.  In person, mine is a little more distressed and imperfect.  Kind of like me.  🙂


{Nate Berkus Tortoise Shell Box, Target}

Happy Friday!  Have a fabulous weekend.  xxoo

read this book!

Upon the recommendation from my foodie sister, I have been a loyal blog reader of Dinner: A Love Story for a couple years.  Jenny, Andy, Abby and Phoebe feel like my favorite neighbors, so without a second thought, I immediately pre-ordered Dinner: A Love Story, the cookbook/memoir.

Jenny and Andy are both magazine editors/executives and Jenny worked in the now-defunct (and sorely missed) Cookie Magazine.  I have been enjoying Jenny and Andy’s simple, real and fresh recipes on the blog for a while now, and I can attest that each one we have tried has been delicious and accessible.

But my favorite part of this book is the narrative.  I sat down and felt like I was having an easy conversation with my best friend over skinny lattes at my local Starbucks.  Jenny’s voice is pitch-perfect — not too judgey and not too kitschy.  I like her self-depricating snark mixed with her romantic notions of the family dinner table.   I also loved that Jenny meets readers where they are — whether you have never made a dinner from scratch or you are a “foodie,” her life lessons and recipes apply equally.

Below are two of my favorite excerpts that capture the essence and the message of the book:

“But my point is, even though the most important part of the family dinner is the family part, I do not want you to dismiss the role of caring in the equation.  The more you care, the more you’ll cook, and the more you cook, the better you’ll get, and the better you get, the more firmly the family dinner ritual will take hold.  It’s probably going to be a long time before my kids recognize in a conscious way that eating a meal with someone who loves them satisfies some psychological need.  But for now I’m pretty sure that they’re psyched to show up for the pork chops.  And I have no problem with that.”  (page 297)

Quoting with a friend with teenagers: “‘You know, when they were little, dinner was such a pain in the ass.  All the kids did was complain about what I cooked. It was such a thankless job.’  She went on, ‘Now that they’re older I’ll cook anything they ask for.  I’ll cook five different meals if it means they’ll all sit down with me for dinner.’….I call [this scene] up and then force myself to think : Lucky.  Feel lucky.  They are sitting at the table.  They are seven and nine years old.” (page 298)

(copyright 2012 Jenny Rosenstrach)

Watch this trailer, and I dare you not to develop an intense girl crush on Jenny!

We struggle with a picky preschooler and an early-to-bed infant every night, but on some sacred evenings, the stars align and the preschooler, the infant, and my hard-working husband and I are sitting at the very same dinner table that I used growing up, and Cheese-y Peas-y Chicken Orzo  is being enjoyed by all of the dinner participants who eat solid food, and it’s the most beautiful, lovely, happy moments of the day, the week, the month.

This book celebrates encourages and celebrates these divine occurrences.  Read it!

The Reveal: Project Big Girl Room

Project Big Girl Room is finally complete (only 10 months later)!  My goal was to transform my 3 year old’s nursery into a “big girl room” that she can she can grow into with minor modifications along the way.  I wanted the room to have a peaceful, tranquil vibe, and an age-appropriate playfulness, while staying away from matchy-matchy themes and overly girly motifs.   

Sooo, drum roll and Ta-Dah:


And, I am still pondering the closet-turned-secret room for the closet on the right.

I am thrilled with the way it turned out! 

What I learned from this project:

1. I stuck to the Nate Berkus four color rule, which narrowed down my choices and made my decisions so much easier (lavender, mint green, hot pink and white).
2. I splurged on the items that made the biggest impact (bed skirt, flower pillow, books on the dresser) and saved on the smaller details (rocking chair pillow, tissue box cover, sheets for the bed).
3.  Although it took me 10 months to complete, the long process was part of what made it a success because I organically let the room come together and breathe after each change and addition.

Here is some sourcing information for the new items in the room, but if you want sources on anything not listed, leave a comment and I will gladly email you:

Duvet Cover & Shams: Paris Toile, Pottery Barn Kids (similar)
Bed Skirt: Elizabeth Tulle Bed Skirt, Pottery Barn Kids
Monogrammed Pillows: Rattle & Roll, Richmond, Virgina
Headboard: Blanc de Blanc Headboard, Target
Bedside Clock: Target (not online)
Bedside Tissue Box Cover: headtotoe2009, Etsy
Pink Bichon Print: Mod Dog in Target frame
Pink Paris Metro Print: shellsherree, Etsy in Target frame
Other 2 prints are pages from Madeline book in Target frames
Curtains: Land of Nod (similar)
Butterfly Garland: Garden on the Square, Savannah, Georgia
Pillow in Rocking Chair: diypillows, Etsy
Green Ikat Mini-Bowl on Bookcase: Anthropologie (similar)
Typography Print: The Love Shop, Etsy in Target frame
Pink Lampshades and Lucite Lamps: De-Lite Bases and Border Dots Tapered Shade, PB Teen
Horse Book Ends: Home Goods, Richmond, Virginia
Books on Dresser: Penguin Books, Anthropologie
Flower Pillow: Serena & Lily Bloom Pillow, Layla Grace

Great Read: Just Let Me Lie Down

This book had me at hello.  The title could describe most of my days of late: “Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom.”  The author, Kristin van Ogtrop is the mother of 3 boys and the Editor-in-Chief of Real Simple magazine.

But this book isn’t only for working mothers, any busy mom will find humor and solace in this pithey and pitch-perfect set of short stories.  I identified so much with the contents of this book, that I dog-ear’ed 15 of the terms in this book and my brand new book looks thoroughly beaten up.

Here are four of my favorite “terms” (all copyright Kristin van Ogtrop):

Existential lethargy: The state you’re trapped in when you’re so overwhelmed that nothing — and I mean notthing — interests you, not even Starbucks or a York Peppermint Pattie.  This state is particularly acute at the beginning of the school year, the end of the school year, any time from November 23 to January 2 and on Halloween.”

Ignore the tray: The advice generally reserved for waiters that can apply to working mothers as well.  That is, if you focus too much on the load you are carrying — for example, if you look too closely at next week’s schedule, factoring in work- and child-related commitments — it will tip.  Chin up, chest out, watch where you are headed, everything will be just fine.”

Quitters never win: The one thing you learned in kindergarten that is absolutely false.  At a certain point quitters really do win, when quitting means eliminating a bad job from your life.  Let’s be honest.  How many of you have dreamt of writing an out-of-office email that said the following: ‘Having realized, after years of thankless toil, that this job/this industry/my co-workers/my measley paycheck/my crazy boss is no longer worth my valuable time, I will be out of the office for the rest of my life.  If you need immediate assistance find someone else.’  If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.”

Zero-sum living: If you try to get in shape, you will never be well rested.  If you try to get enough sleep, you will always have a little tummy.  If you have too many enjoyable ‘date nights’ with your husband, you will wish you never had kids.  (If you have dinner every night with three young boys, you may also wish you never had kids.)  If you dress to get promoted like all those career-building self-help books recommend, your colleagues will think you are putting on airs and band together to hate you, and you will never get promoted.  If you are a woman who is too tough, people will say you’re a bitch and no one will want to work for you.  If you are a woman who is not tough enough, people will say you are a bad leader and no one will want to work for you.  If you wear flats to work, you will look dumpy but smart.  If you wear high heels to work, you will look pretty but stupid.  If you are too good a team player, people will think you are a pushover.  If you hire your CEO’s goddaughter as a summer intern, that means you are a suck-up.  If you don’t hire your CEO’s goddaughter as a summer intern, you clearly don’t know how the world works.”

This gal is my hero; she should run for President!  I loved this book and give it FIVE SHINY STARS.  It’s a must-read for any busy mother and would make a great Christmas gift for the all of those half-insane moms on your list.

Random Things I am Liking Lately

What’s on my radar lately:

I am totally smitten with this bedroom.  I love the neutral colors, wall-to-wall seagrass rug, fabulous fireplace and amazing vertical bookshelf.  Perfect!

{Image courtesy of Laura Day via  Two Ellies}

This ain’t your mama’s one-piece.  Lotsa coverage with some va-va-voom.  Love the name too: the Accomodating Maillot (as in, for my big wide a$&).  🙂

Life is a parade — don’t you love this Ditsy Pennants Pillow?  It would look perfect in a nursery, kids room or a beach house.    So adorbs.

Cutting for Stone is an amazing epic journey.   A moving and unforgettable story that I didn’t want to end.  Read it. 

I saw this fun tray at my local Target and thought it was a cute, kitschy take on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” print:

This Antipasto-Style Penne is an amazing summer lunch or dinner.  I substituted diced ham for the proscuitto and it was equally as good.  It’s sooooo yummy and a good way to use up pesto before it goes bad.

I love body lotion and I have found a new fave: Heavenly Flowers by Victoria’s Secret.  It smells like a Michael Kors or D&G summer fragrance for a fraction of the price.  A whole bottle is on sale right now for $9.99!

With the humidity during the summers in Richmond, I am always looking for a good hair product to keep the “fly-aways” to a minimum.  My hair dresser came to my rescue last week — this shine spray by It’s a 10 does everything and smells divine too!