{eating} comfort meals - chicken and dumplings

Now that it's getting colder, I'm craving cozy comfort meals. I was thrilled to see Chicken with Buttermilk Dumplings on my Sweet Peas Meals meal plan this week. Although I occasionally try to make my mom's chicken noodle soup recipe, with homemade noodles, I've never made homemade dumplings before.

This meal can't be classified as a 30-minute meal, but the dumplings did come together a lot more quickly than homemade noodles do. Plus, it was delicious! If you're a dumpling fan, this is for you.

Given the lack of natural light, my photos turned out terrible, and I admit my version didn't turn out quite as gorgeous as Jessica's--so full disclosure, this is her photo below.

Photo via How Sweet Eats
Chicken and dumplings are delicious, but if you don't have quite as much time and you'd still like a similar comforting meal, there are still plenty of options. 

  • If you have some prep time earlier in the day, make your soup broth by cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken in water (add seasonings and bay leaves too) for an hour or so. Skim off the foam from the top, and discard it along with the bay leaves. Then shred up your chicken when it's cool. When you're ready to eat dinner, all you have to do is heat up the broth, add the shredded chicken (and whatever veggies you like), and noodles. We like Reames frozen noodles. 

  • If you're really short on time, just buy chicken stock and a rotisserie chicken and all you have to do is shred up the chicken, heat up the stock (or broth), then add in the chicken, and noodles.
What's your favorite comfort meal? 

{reading} subtle vs bold

I read a couple of books recently that made me think about the way authors often have such power over our emotions. Specifically, one book I read was more of a slow build; I gradually grew attached to the characters and invested in their stories. The other was an emotional roller-coaster, and I was moved from the start. Reading these books back to back made me realize, while I enjoy most books that elicit an emotional response, I prefer the subtle build-up to the bold emotional drama.

{The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall} Two couples are joined together when the men are hired as co-ministers of a New York church. Nan, married to James and the daughter of a minister, is a wholly devoted and passionate minister's wife. Her warmth brings her fiery, activist husband down to earth, and yet she is no match for the depression that her infertility struggle brings. Lily is an academic and an atheist, and she and her husband Charles fall in love over intellectual conversation. He tries to understand her atheism just as she tries to understand his ardent faith, but both of their staunchly held beliefs are shattered when they have a child who is eventually diagnosed with autism, a diagnosis few understand at the time. This is a beautiful story of love, family, faith, and relationships. While a lot happens in this story, its unfolding felt quiet and gradual. Subtly my emotions and connections to these characters grew, and by the end I cried, equally saddened by the ending as by the thought of letting these four people go. My rating: 4.5/5 stars.  

{All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood} Wavy is the daughter of meth addicts, and she bounces from home to home when her mother is unable (or unwilling) to take care of her. Her aunt--her mother's sister--means well, but she has her own children to care for. While living with her parents, she develops an attachment to Kellen, a man who works for her father. Kellen takes care of Wavy in a way her parents do not, making sure she has food and clothing, and that she goes to school. Wavy's attachment grows into something more, and although he tries to resist, Kellen falls for Wavy as well. At the time, Wavy is only 14 while Kellen is in his late 20s, so their relationship is controversial at the least, and potentially illegal. This story packed a bolder punch, emotionally, and yet I find that I prefer a more subtle development. While that may be my preference, I would still recommend this one--just be prepared for a few gut-punches. My rating: 3.5/5 stars. 

Do you prefer subtle or bold choices, when it comes to emotional books? 

{wearing} casual sweater blazer

One of my "must buy" items for fall this year was a sweater blazer. I love all the ways I've seen them styled, and I like that I don't necessarily have to put it away when it's coat season. (Don't you hate how regular blazers just can't work under a coat?) Anyway, I bought this one during a recent J.Crew Factory sale and I've worn it about a million times since then.

Usually I dress it up for work, but I thought I'd try it for a really casual weekend look too. I think this proves that the sweater blazer is right up there with my jean jacket as a closet MVP, you know "most versatile piece."

What layer are you reaching for these days? 

Disclosure: this post contains an affiliate link. 

{eating} around Scottsdale, AZ

Last week Aaron and I went to Scottsdale, Arizona for a good friend's wedding. Other than Aaron coming down with a bug while there, we had a wonderful time. We stayed in Old Town Scottsdale, which meant that we were surrounded by shops and restaurants, all just a walk (or a scooter!) away.

We didn't do a lot of sightseeing, but we did do a lot of good eating, so I thought I'd share a few places we enjoyed and would recommend.

At the Saguaro Hotel, where we stayed.

{eating} in Scottsdale

  • Barrio Queen - their tacos were delicious (yes, there was one with an egg on it) 
  • Hula's Modern Tiki - I loved the Jerk Pork and also enjoyed a blood orange martini
  • Morning Squeeze for brunch - Probably my favorite spot, my breakfast burrito (with green sauce) was outstanding, and the mimosa flights--in cute little mason jars--couldn't be beat. 
  • Shakes and Cones - a cute little organic soft serve spot, I had the "Vanutzel" but with chocolate ice cream... so the "Chocnutzel" I guess? Chocolate ice cream, Nutella, and pretzels. Yum. 
  • The Daily Dose - This was our first stop for breakfast after our early morning plane trip, and I had Eggs Benedict Tostadas. They were excellent. 
  • Brat Haus - I didn't get a photo, but I recommend this one for great sausages, the biggest pretzel I've ever seen, and good beer. 
  • Sip Coffee and Beer - After breakfast, we treated ourselves to an arrival brew at Sip (although their coffee looked tasty as well)

Have you been to Scottsdale? I hope to go back again!

{reading} a life, in (almost) deaths

I don't remember where I first heard about The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, so it was one I knew next to nothing about before I started reading it. A 464-page library hardcover, it was pretty hefty to lug around, but I'm happy to get a little extra exercise (or potential backaches) for a good read.

Stella Fortuna grew up in Italy but moved with her family to the US as a young adult. This is the story of the seven (or eight) times she nearly lost her life. I liked the way the near-death experiences wove the story together, but not in a completely linear way. I liked the subtle ebb and flow of time.

I wasn't engrossed immediately; Stella's story took me a bit to get into (after about a third of the book if I had to guess). Don't pick this up if you like fast-paced, plot-driven novels. However, if you love a family saga that focuses on the ups and downs of one person's life--a life that can't quite be called extraordinary, yet is far from boring, this may be for you.

For a completely different take on a similar theme of a life told in nearly-fatal experiences, try I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O'Farrell. It's a memoir, and much shorter--only offering a glimpse into her life--but a great read nonetheless.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

{wearing} purple pants

Jeans are definitely my go-to in fall and winter, but sometimes I want a dressier option. During a recent 50% off Loft sale I decided to try a couple pairs of their dress pants, one classic black pair and a more colorful option.

This one looked more burgundy online, but I was pleasantly surprised by its rich eggplant color in person. Bold purple pants meant I kept the rest of my outfit pretty simple, with a twist-front gray sweater and black tasseled loafers.

I don't think colored pants have really gone anywhere, but I have seen them everywhere lately. Do you like bold-colored pants, or do you stick to neutrals? 

{shop bold pants}

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

{eating} chocolate snack bread

I love to bake year-round, but we're entering the time of year that spending time in the kitchen and baking feels magical. When it's chilly outside, but the kitchen is oven-toasty and smells like cookies or cake or bread. Mmmm, I love it.

Over the weekend I tried a recipe for Double Chocolate Quick Bread from (a favorite!) Mel's Kitchen Cafe. The time of year when everyone else is reaching for everything pumpkin, I'm still devoted to chocolate with chocolate and more chocolate.

Although I did have a slice with my coffee for breakfast yesterday morning, realistically it's more of a dessert or sweet snack than something I would eat for breakfast every day. To me it tastes just like a chocolate muffin, which is what I was going for: sweet, chocolatey, and a little bit indulgent.

Do you like to bake this time of year? Have you made anything yummy lately? 

{reading} favorite fall series

Fall is such a perfect time of year to curl up with a blanket and a good book. My fall has been packed with activities, so that cozy reading time has unfortunately come less often than I prefer. Yet as soon as there was a hint of cool weather in the air, I placed a hold on the next (for me) installment of my favorite detective series, the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny.

Despite our busy schedule, I made sure to find time to delve into The Brutal Telling, the fifth in Penny's series. I have enjoyed the books up to this point, but this one pulled me in even more than the others, making me feel as if I was right there in Three Pines, rooting for its villagers and hoping that the the resolution of the murder case won't mean saying goodbye to a beloved character.

If you're looking for a series of books to get swept away by this fall, I can't recommend this one enough. I still have a ways to go (she's up to 15!), but I hear Penny's writing remains impeccable as the series progresses.

I'm typically not a series reader--this one is an exception for me. How about you, do you have any series you love? 

The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

{wearing} a few favorites

I love shopping for new fall clothes, and I've added some fun new pieces to my closet already this season (including a sweater blazer and cute tasseled loafers that I'll style soon no doubt). Sometimes though, when I need a quick outfit, I like reaching for a few favorites that I know won't let me down.

This is a combination I wear again and again: jean jacket, striped top, black pants or jeans, and bright shoes. It's fairly season-less, and because I can't seem to stop buying striped shirts or bright shoes, I can wear this combination rather frequently and not feel like I'm always wearing the same thing.

What is one of your go-to combinations that never lets you down?

{shop: a few favorite things}

My favorites in this post are from last year (with the exception of my ancient denim jacket), but here are a few new pieces that definitely meet my "favorite things" criteria.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

{eating} oven roasted gnocchi

Several months ago I shared about my experience with Sweet Peas Meals, and I'm happy to report that I am still loving this meal planning service. Some of the recipes I've received in my weekly meal plan are things I know I will keep in my "dinner repertoire" for a long time to come.

In this case, it isn't so much a recipe as a method, which is roasting gnocchi rather than boiling it. In case you're not familiar with gnocchi, they're little dumplings made from potatoes, and I find them in the freezer section at my grocery store. When I've cooked gnocchi in the past, I just boil them in water like regular pasta, and toss in sauce.

However, from a Sweet Peas Meals dinner plan I learned something new: gnocchi is AMAZING when roasted on a sheet pan. The edges get a little crispy while the inside is still soft. The best part is I can just dump out the completely frozen gnocchi onto the sheet pan--no thawing required.

When we tried it, we combined the gnocchi with fully-cooked sausage, peppers, and onions, tossed with some olive oil and herbs and roasted on a sheet pan (425 F for 20-25 minutes). It was delicious and ridiculously easy.

Have you tried gnocchi this way before? Have you learned any new mind-blowing methods lately? 

{reading} outside my wheelhouse

While I try to read pretty diversely, there are books I too often ignore because I deem the genre “not for me,” such as science fiction and fantasy. Lately I’ve been trying to push myself to give books that I’d typically ignore a chance.

Two recent reads both fit this bill for me: Sleeping Giants, which would be classified as science fiction, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely, which falls into the fantasy camp.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. As a child, Rose discovers an artifact that shapes the rest of her life. While out riding her bike, she falls into a large hole, its walls aglow with intricate designs. From above, the firemen who rescue her can see that she has fallen into a giant metal hand. As an adult, Rose is a scientist, and throughout the rest of the story she is being interviewed about her research on the same metal hand she discovered as a girl, as well as other body parts found throughout the world.

Classified as science fiction, I would not have picked up Sleeping Giants had I not heard so many great reviews from other readers who don’t typically gravitate towards that genre. It was compelling, creative, and well-written, and I was enthralled from the start.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. In this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, prince Rhen is forced to repeat the same season--fall of his eighteenth year--again and again until true love can break the curse. Harper, who exists in the modern world, gets taken against her will to Emberfall, Rhen’s kingdom. Often underestimated due to her size and cerebral palsy diagnosis, Harper is different from other girls Rhen has met. Her fierce determination to return to her dying mother and brother who is desperately trying to provide for their family make Harper a lot more than just a potential savior to Rhen’s curse.

I don’t typically go for fantasy or fairy tale retellings, but I kept hearing about this one and decided to give it a try. It went quickly, and I found myself engrossed in the story and wanting to find out what happens next. I loved Harper and appreciated the way cerebral palsy was a part of her life, but didn't define her character. However, I just couldn’t get into the last part of the book. Some of the fantasy elements were too much for me, and I also didn’t like the obvious way she set up the book’s sequel. I knew this book had a follow-up, but I have no interest in reading it. I’m glad I read this one, and it was a fun departure from my usual choices, despite not loving its wrap-up.

{wearing} a jumpsuit

My style is pretty classic, so I’m not one to jump on trends right away. (See what I did there?) Some I skip completely, but more often I just take my time and try things in a way that works for me. That has definitely been the case for me with jumpsuits, which have now been around for a while.

After trying on several jumpsuits with no luck, I recently found this one at Target and was surprised with how well it fit and how much I liked it. It’s not the most practical--unbuttoning all those little buttons in front is kind of a pain, but I love it regardless. The color is perfect for transitioning into fall, and I can imagine it with a thick cardigan and some mules once the weather cools down.

Have you jumped on the jumpsuit trend? 

{shop} jumpsuits 

These two wanted in on the photo shoot and I obliged. I think these photos convey their  personalities quite well: Violet - I'll do my thing; Jona - oh a camera, I'm supposed to smile! 

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

{eating} easy homemade donut holes

We've been trying to cut back on eating out this month, so last weekend when I was craving donuts, I decided to go the homemade route instead. I know there are lots of ways to do homemade donuts, but this muffin-meets-donut recipe I saw years ago on In Residence felt like the perfect easy solution.

My plan was to make them before everyone got up so that they could have a little surprise donut treat. Jona must have sensed that baking was happening, because he got up and helped me.

These look like little donut holes, but made in a mini muffin tin, so they're a perfect combination of two breakfast favorites. Whatever you do call them, donuts or muffins, they're delicious.

What's your go-to for a breakfast treat? 

{reading} backlist fiction

Over the summer I read a lot of books published this year, mostly because that is primarily what was on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide. (Anne Bogel rarely lets me down.) However, new books often mean longer wait times at the library, and recently I wanted a book and I wanted it NOW (just call me Veruca Salt), so I hit up my Goodreads for some backlist.

I picked up Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler, a “big buzzy book” (as they say on the Reading Glasses podcast) from a few years ago. I remember hearing mixed reviews at the time, but it was a win for me.

Tess is a young college graduate who decides to shake up her life and move to New York, and lands a job as a “backwaiter” at a ritzy restaurant in the city. From the restaurant staff she learns all about food and wine, with a hefty side of drugs and partying mixed in. Simone, a long-time server, takes Tess under her wing and educates her on the restaurant and its patrons, cuisine, and fine beverages. However, when Tess falls for Jake, a bartender who has a known history with her new mentor, her laissez-faire restaurant life begins to get complicated.

I worked as a hostess and a server at a few restaurants in my younger days, and while my experience was far different from Tess’s, her story made reminisce about that part of my former life. I liked Tess. She was flawed and made some poor choices, yet I liked her earnestness and honest observations. It was a book I enjoyed getting lost in. I recommend reading this book with a glass of wine.

Have you enjoyed any backlist titles lately? 


Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. 

{wearing} tie-waist pants

I can't say that I love to shop, but I do enjoy finding pieces to update my wardrobe. It's the process that I don't always enjoy, especially for certain items, like pants. Now a new pair of shoes I like, I swear I can blink them into existence. But pants? Pants shopping is a slog.

I took a chance on this tie-waist pair from Old Navy when I was ordering some clothes for Violet recently, and I was pleasantly surprised. I'm loving this trend and how wearable it is--no buttons or zippers, just pull these on and go. The downside is they wrinkle so easily, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for comfort and style.

I love the polish that the fun tie-waist detail gives a look. The rest of my look is simple: just a striped tee, neutral sandals, and colorful jewelry. Are you a fan of this style of pants? 

{shop} similar pieces + more tie-waist pants

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

{eating} caprese pasta salad

While summer is not my favorite season, it does have the best produce, so I’m soaking it up while I can. Tomatoes are delicious right now, so I made a caprese pasta salad over the weekend. We had friends and family over for a barbecue, and I wanted a light, fresh side to balance the pork and ribs that Aaron smoked.

I followed a simple recipe I’ve been making for years from Iowa Girl Eats. I did leave out the arugula, only because I wasn’t sure if everyone would like it. Also, since I use regular pasta (she calls for gluten free because she is a GF blogger), it lasts for a few days in the fridge without getting soggy.

Our basil plant actually grew this year, so between that and the constant supply of tomatoes in my house since Violet LOVES them, a caprese salad may have to happen at least once more before fall.

What is your go-to summer side dish? 

{reading} Literary Mysteries

I love sharing what I read, but I was starting to get overwhelmed trying to recap all the books I read every month in one post. Instead, I'm going to focus on one or two that I loved and would recommend each week.

I am often drawn to thrillers, but too often I walk away feeling disappointed by them. I like the idea of a page-turner, and yet sometimes I find myself turning those pages just to get to the end already. With these books--both of which I would put in the literary mystery category, although Never Have I Ever did have a thriller vibe as well--I couldn't put them down, and at the same time I found them to be well-written along with being all kinds of compelling.


Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson. The neighborhood book club has quite a shake-up when Roux, the new tenant in a run-down house down the street shows up at Amy's door. She gets the women to spill their secrets, yet when Roux hints that she knows things about Amy's past, things Amy has never shared, a game of cat and mouse begins. Roux soon realizes that blackmailing Amy wouldn't be as simple as she thought, and Amy learns that if she wants to beat Roux at her game, she has to face her past.

This was a bit of a departure from the other Joshilyn Jackson novels I've read, but I really enjoyed it. She is such a fantastic storyteller.

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Lucy has always had a strained relationship with her mother-in-law Diana, yet from the outside they appear to be a perfect family. When Diana is found dead, with a suicide note nearby, everyone wonders what made her want to take her own life... if that is really what happened. 

Wow, this one drew me in from the very beginning and kept me guessing the whole time. The characters were incredibly well-written, and I didn't want to stop reading until I had the mystery of Diana's death figured out. 

The Mother-in-Law: A Novel

Have you read anything good lately? 

{wearing} animal print + I'm back!

Hey there! I'm dipping my toe back into blogging waters, but like my apprehensive six-year-old, I'm not too sure what will come of it. My blogging break was long and complete. Other than one guest post, I didn't do anything blogging-related since my last post in May. (I didn't even respond to comments. I'm sorry.)

Anyway, I'm going to try to get back into the groove, but keeping posts shorter and more focused. Each week I hope to what I've been wearing, reading, eating, and/or loving. I may not get to all of these each week, but having this limited focus will help me, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

I shopped a few Labor Day sales this weekend, and something I saw everywhere--even more than usual--is animal print. I feel like they say it's a trend every fall, but it really is out in full force right now. The leopard blouse I'm wearing today is old (it was a big "trend" when I bought it no doubt), but I have my eye on a few other leopard print items this season as well.

{what I wore}

{shop similar pieces below}

{on my wish list}

I have quite a bit of animal print in my wardrobe already, but I could be tempted to add some more. My wish list includes a leopard-print sweatshirt, leopard ankle booties, and a leopard midi skirt.

What's your favorite way to wear animal print right now?

Summer Post at In Residence

Hey there! I know it's quiet here, but I wanted to let you know that today I'm over at In Residence sharing a few summer favorite things while Anne is traveling. I'd love for you to read it, and while you're there check out some of Anne's other great posts. She always has excellent book reviews, recipes to try, and style inspiration.

Summer Break

Hey. Thank you so much for coming by this little space and letting me share it with you. Lately I've been feeling like my life is lacking margin. I'm hurrying from one to-do to the next, with little space in between. Without realizing it, somewhere along the line this blog started to feel like an obligation rather than a creative space that brings me joy and connection.

Fortunately, it is not an obligation. I'm going to step away for a little while, to gain a little bit of breathing room back in my life. I'm not sure how long I'll be, a summer break, longer, I don't know.

I'll still be around on Instagram, and visiting blogs when I can. Thanks for reading. I feel incredibly blessed to have gotten to know so many of you, albeit virtually, over the last several years.

In My Library Tote: April Book Reviews and Recommendations

I took an unintentional blog break this week thanks to strep throat, which for some reason has been my nemesis lately. I got it for the first time since childhood at the end of last year, and then again this week. Luckily this time I recognized it right away and went to the doctor, who told me that my tonsils may have to go if I get it again this year. Yikes!

Anyway, I couldn't stay away for long, I had to share my reading round-up for the month of April. Here are my April books--quite a few good ones, I might add.

Special Birthday Post for Ada

I just wanted to stop in to share that I'm over at Ada's blog today for a special birthday post! She is celebrating her birthday with a bunch of bloggers this weekend, so head over and wish her a happy day!

We're all wearing shades of coral, red, or pink, so to see how I style these oldies-but-goodies coral shoes for a night out, be sure to head to her blog. Happy birthday Ada!

Join the link-up below! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

April Wins and May Goals

This year, along with my word of the year, I am focusing on a theme each month and creating goals around that theme. Similar to my happiness project last year, I hope to cumulatively build on the habits I create with each monthly theme. Every month I’m sharing my goals, along with a few wins and things that brought me joy from the previous month, since joy is the word I’m focusing on in 2019. In April, my goals centered around parenting, while in May I'm tackling my closet.

Currently and a 35 at 35 Conclusion

It's the last day of my favorite month... sniff. April was pretty great, and I admit that I want spring to stretch on for as long as possible. I'm hoping that May continues with beautiful spring weather and doesn't hurry too quickly to summer. Because tomorrow is May first, I'm joining in Anne's monthly Currently link-up, as well as sharing how I did on my 35 at 35 list I created on my 35th birthday last year.

{currently: almost May}

April Daily Style: Spring Colors

After a few months of soft muted colors and neutrals, I was drawn to brighter colors for the start of spring. It started with my "accidental lavender" purchase, and from there I shopped my closet for the rest of my color palette. I settled on bright orangey-red, yellow, and lavender, adding a couple of new items along the way.

I don't think these colors work so well all together, but I found a way to incorporate them, mostly separately, all month. Here are my daily looks from April, most of which you may have seen on Instagram.

{yellow + classic prints}

Spring Family Style: Floral, Stripes, and Plaid

I'm in a season of life where convenience trumps everything when it comes to shopping. It's not the greatest place to be--I'd love to have more variety in brands, more ethically made items, and even more second-hand pieces, but right now that's just not where I choose to put my time. The result is I find myself at Old Navy (either the actual store or online) way more often than anywhere else, and dang it if they don't keep coming out with cute styles!

I was in there last weekend because Violet needed some spring clothes in a bad way, and EVERYTHING was on sale. Her little toddler belly was busting out of the few short-sleeve shirts she had. While there I decided to peruse the women's section to see if they had anything I could wear for Easter, and I stumbled on this yellow dress. 

You know I have a thing for yellow right now so after I tried it on I knew I found a winner. I'm happy to report that I did wear it for Easter, and for the first time in years I didn't have to wear tights (which wouldn't have looked quite right anyway with such a springy dress)! We had a lovely, relaxing Easter weekend. How about you, how was your weekend? 

What's your shopping style right now? 

On Violet: ruffled dress: OshKosh Genuine Kids, Target | sandals: Cat and Jack, Target
On me: lavender cardigan: Old Navy | yellow floral dress: Old Navy | earrings: Nickel and Suede | sandals: Catherine Malandrino, Marshall's
On Jona: plaid shirt: Cat and Jack, Target | navy pants: Old Navy | shoes: Old Navy (similar)

Sweet Peas Meals Review

At the end of February I signed up to try Sweet Peas Meals meal planning service. I love to cook and I actually do enjoy looking through recipes and choosing what to make each week, but it takes quite a bit of time (at least for me) and it was starting to become stressful. After reading Janssen's review on Everyday Reading, I thought Sweet Peas Meals may work for me as well.

Casual Spring Look with a Yellow Striped Top

My plan was to post our Easter outfits today, but I was a little late getting my shopping done. I finally did find something to wear, but not before writing this blog post. Next week I'll share our Easter outfits, but today I have something at the opposite end of the spectrum, a very casual spring look.

I complained about this top on Instagram, how I buy these tops with cute sleeves and then always cover them up because I'm cold! While I inevitably did put a jacket on later, I wanted to show off the sleeves here, otherwise it's just an ordinary yellow striped top. I've really been into sunny yellow lately, and I love how it instantly brightens up any look.

Speaking of brightening up, I got my hair freshly cut and colored over the weekend. It had been a while so it felt really good to get it done. Plus the wait time under the warm dryer with my book wasn't too terrible either. ;)

Do you usually get something new to wear for Easter (if you celebrate Easter)? 

Yellow striped top: Old Navy | jeans: American Eagle | earrings: Nickel and Suede | white sneakers: Converse

In My Library Tote: March Children's Book Reviews

I’m thankful that Jona enjoys being read to, because I have so much fun choosing picture books to read together. Sure, for every library book we read we also read one or two Lego/superhero books as well, but thankfully he accepts my “only one superhero book per read-aloud” rule. I keep telling him that once he’s reading on his own he can read about whatever he wants, but he remains reluctant about the whole concept (despite flying through his reading homework). Sigh. And Violet isn’t quite ready to graduate to non-board books yet, but hopefully soon I’ll be able to share the joys of library books with her as well. For now, I’m crossing my fingers that eventually I’ll have an enthusiastic reader plus a child who can be trusted not to use a book as a weapon/chair/coaster.

Lavender Cardigan + Chambray Dress

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the pitfalls of online ordering, and how I thought I ordered a pink striped shirt and got a lavender one instead. Old Navy's mix-up (because despite the shirt being called "pink stripe" it is VERY CLEARLY purple) turned out to be a blessing in disguise--I can't get enough of this color! I ended up going back to Old Navy and buying a lavender cardigan.

I'm going bright and bold with my color palette this month, mixing shades of lavender, poppy red, and bright yellow. I may not wear them all at once but something about the start of spring made me want to pull out all the colors.

What colors are you wearing a lot of this spring?   

Lavender cardigan: Old Navy | chambray dress: Gap (similar) | earrings: Nickel and Suede | gingham sneakers: Target (similar)

In My Library Tote: March Book Reviews

How do you track your reading? I mentioned in this month’s Currently post that I have been considering changing up how I track the books I read as well as those I read to my kids (mostly Jona at this point). In the past, I’ve used Goodreads to track my reading, although I use it strictly to track what I want to read, what I finish, and the star rating. I don’t post any reviews to Goodreads.

I also have a “book bullet journal” where I record more details about the books I read, such as the number of pages, genre of book, how I read it (e.g. audiobook, Kindle version, etc.) and more. In that same journal I also keep track of books I want to read to Jona (and sometimes Violet) as well as the books we read together.

If that sounds like a lot, it is, but in the past I have genuinely enjoyed this type of manual tracking. However, lately I’ve noticed that it’s felt more like a chore, and I’ve been thinking about a digital--yet not social--approach to my tracking. I created a Google Sheet with multiple tabs for my reading and kids books, and am going to test the waters there.

I’d love to hear about how you track your reading!

{what I read in march}

Currently: April

Happy April! I can't deny that this is one of my very favorite months of the year, which I'm sure is mostly because it's my birthday month. But I think even if I didn't have a birthday this month I'd be a fan of this first full month of spring. March is unpredictable, you never know if it will feel like winter or spring, but by this time, at least around here, it's finally starting to reach that ideal "light jacket and flats without socks" weather that I adore.

The beginning of the month also brings Anne's Currently linkup, so once again I'm sharing a few things I'm currently up to.

March Wins and April Goals

This year, along with my word of the year, I am focusing on a theme each month and creating goals around that theme. Similar to my happiness project last year, I hope to cumulatively build on the habits I create with each monthly theme. Every month I’m sharing my goals, along with a few wins and things that brought me joy from the previous month, since joy is the word I’m focusing on in 2019. In March I focused on health and wellness, while April's focus is all about parenting.

Striped Tie-Waist Tee and Classic Trench

I ordered a couple of spring tops during a recent Old Navy sale, and I've been debating on whether to keep them. Online shopping is about all I have time for these days, and yet I'm often disappointed when what comes in the mail is different from what I was expecting. This shirt for example, online appeared to have blush pink stripes. When it came in the mail the stripes were pretty, yet clearly lavender.

I thought about returning it since lavender isn't in this month's blush and olive palette, but because I like the style, fit, and even the color, I'm going to hold on to it. So a bit of lavender is sneaking into my closet this month, and I'm okay with that. I love the tie-front style, and I feel like that little detail, along with the pretty-hued stripes, instantly refreshes a few older items in my closet.

Do you mostly shop in store or online? Do you often get surprised by the way something looks at home vs online? What do you do? 

Trench jacket: Gap Factory (similar) | lavender striped tie-front top: Old Navy | jeans: American Eagle | earrings: Nickel and Suede | perforated sandals: Universal Thread, Target

Olive and Blush: March Daily Looks

Time for another round-up of workweek looks that I share on Instagram. It feels a bit like blog-cheating (ridiculous I know) to post photos I've already shared here, but I love seeing the month's looks all together like this. Especially since I've been working with monthly color palettes, it's nice to see how cohesive--or not--each month's closet feels.

This month my colors were olive and blush, along with a healthy dose of neutrals. I love these soft, somewhat muted colors for a month that feels so transitional. As the month goes on we've been getting some spring-like weather and it's been wonderful.

Here are my March daily looks.

Camo and Blush for Spring

I’m kidding myself that it’s spring, because it’s totally not yet, but we have had some nice weather lately. I will take it while I can get it! We even spent some time outside over the weekend--we went to the zoo--which was wonderful because I think the kids were starting to feel a bit like caged up zoo animals themselves. Would that make me the zookeeper?

I mentioned last fall that I was slow to adopt the camo trend, feeling like it just wasn’t “me,” but after I bought this camo jacket I was sold. Since then I’ve also added a camo tee to my closet, and I’ve definitely found a way to make this trend work for me. For me to embrace camo, I need to pair it with something more feminine. Since my color palette this month is olive and blush, that idea works perfectly.

For a casual weekend look, I wore my camo tee with white jeans and a cardigan. I added my favorite blush sneakers, and I like the relaxed feel and color contrast. Confession: I wore nearly the same outfit on Friday of last week, swapping out the camo tee for a plain olive one, and the white jeans for a regular denim pair. I love a good outfit formula.

How do you feel about camo, and how do you like to style it?

Gray cardigan: Loft via ThredUp | camo tee: Target | white jeans: Old Navy | earrings: Nickel and Suede | blush sneakers: Target

In My Library Tote: February Children's Book Reviews

You would think that with as many days as Jona was off school for snow days in February, the stack of books we read together would be high. We did read a few, but I admit that there were probably more movies watched than normal, rather than books read. Part of that was because it was mostly Aaron home with the kids, and he’s not as excited about read-alouds as I am, and partly it was because veering from the normal schedule is a challenge. I’m looking forward to some normalcy around here. Anyway, here’s what we read in February.

Olive Jeans with Gray and Blush

For the past couple of months I've been trying out sticking to a color palette each month and it's been really fun so far. Surprisingly I don't get bored even though my selection is more limited, instead I've found that getting dressed is easy and mostly fun.

Last month I wore neutrals with burgundy and blush pink, and for March I wasn't quite ready to let go of the blush. So instead of burgundy I'm pairing it with olive green--a combination I've come to love over the past couple of years.

I found these olive jeans last year and since I wear jeans almost every day (thanks casual office dress code!) it's been nice to have a little color to add to the rotation. I picked up this twist-front tee at Target recently; it is so soft that I couldn't pass it up. It's the perfect weight too: a bit warmer than a tee shirt, but not a thick sweater either.

What colors do you like to wear in the spring?

Gray twist-front top: Target | olive jeans: Old Navy (similar) | blush earrings: Nickel and Suede | necklace: Target | leopard flats: ThredUp (similar)

In My Library Tote: February Book Reviews

Do you read more print books, audio books, or eBooks? Typically I prefer print books, for me it’s a more enjoyable experience to hold a “real” book in my hand and physically turn the pages. However, I’ve increased the amount of audio and eBooks I read in the past few years because you can’t beat the convenience of either. When I was looking at my books read last month, I was surprised to realize that only one of the seven is a hardcover print book--the rest are either audiobooks (checked out from the library) or eBooks (purchased via Kindle deals). Anyway, here’s what I read.

Currently: March

Where I live, March feels like the month where we pretend it's spring. Schools have their spring breaks in March, and everyone is usually so sick of winter that we're hopeful this will be the month it finally ends. Spoiler alert: it never does. This winter has been especially brutal, and yet another snowstorm kicked off this month. At the rate it's going, I'm setting my sights on April and not even entertaining a hope that March will feel remotely spring-like.

I'm sorry, I feel like that's all I talk about these days--the winter, how terrible it's been, and how much I'm over it. Thank goodness for Anne's Currently link-up to help me focus on some other things. Here's what I'm currently up to in March.

Plane photo - Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash