26 Nov 2015

life lately // snowfalls and cat cuddles

Hi blog friends! It's Thursday. Actually can we just take a minute to use our #OprahVoices and say that again? It's Thursdaaayyy! I know those of you who are Stateside are celebrating Thanksgiving and eating turkey and sweet potatoes and marshmallows and whatever other literally insane foods are deemed appropriate for such a holiday (real talk: sweet potatoes and marshmallows sounds delish). Happy Thanksgiving to you! For the rest of us, let's just enjoy this cold grey day and acknowledge that it's almost the weekend. There are seven, count 'em s-e-v-e-n, more days of on-call. The light is visible at the end of the tunnel! I miraculously have a free day today: no clinic, no home visits, no phone calls. Just...quiet. I'm sitting here taking deep breaths just thinking about how delicious it is to not have anything to do. Of course, someone could have a baby or some other such thing but it's the principle of not having anything scheduled that matters, you know? Yoda and I are having a Very Serious Cuddle in front of my UV light right now. The day is already off to a good start.

On the topic of Yoda, we had our fist real snowfall the other day. Yoda sat in "his spot" by the window and was completely mesmerized by the snow...

Winter seems like it's really here. Lots of fluffy snow flakes and in the morning when I get up to leave for work there's the most beautiful covering of frost on everything. Did anyone else's parents tell them the story about Jack Frost coming in the night and putting frost on all the windows? I think about that every time I see some intricate frost-covered window pane or blade of grass. Woah nostalgia much? Nature is so rad you guys.

Now that cold weather appears to be here and getting comfortable I've started wearing this ridiculous blanket scarf every day. When I say ridiculous I mean ridiculous. It is ludicrously big and completely trendy, so I have no excuse...but it's so soft and the most excellent plaid! Also it goes with, oh, everything. Let the shameless selfies continue!

Tiff and I are making excellent use of our giant crock pot. Really the 4 quart size is far too big for just two people, but we somehow find a way to eat all the food that gets made in it. I made lentil stew this week; I just threw a bunch of stuff in and cooked it overnight. Waking up to the apartment smelling like comforting stew was pretttty great. Also this cornbread recipe? I told you about it last week, but let me tell you again: you need to make this cornbread. Tonight. Aww yiss.
Well I think that's about it from me. I hope everyone had an excellent Thursday! Until next time, xo

24 Nov 2015

gratitude challenge week 3 // family

Okay! Gratitude challenge week three! (Even though ~technically~ it is week four, ahem) First, I just gotta say: this challenge is harder than I anticipated. I have many, many thoughts about all the good things in my life. Getting them out in a coherent and timely manner? Different story. 
I confess that I've been procrastinating writing this post. Admittedly I had a completely bonkers weekend and come Sunday night all I could do was sit in my bed and half heatedly eat a box of shortbread cookies. Not exactly in peak writing form. It's not just that, though. This week I'm supposed to write about family. What a broad topic, family. It's a rather nebulous concept, isn't it? In my world that means a lot of different things. I have a few families. It's part of being a member of club Kids of Divorce. We're a strange club, but resilient. Before we ever really got the idea of Mom + Dad + Me = Family solidified in our tiny heads, our worlds expanded faster and better than it would have otherwise. We see that family is about more than just people who you're related to. Family is showing up and pushing through the bullshit. Family is helping and loving. Family is divorce and new babies and people who take you in and watch out for you. Family is people who get it. Family is also people were not related to and don't like but have to sit through Christmas dinner with because they're part of some package deal that you didn't quite pay for but is there anyway. Family has no hard outlines, it is what you make it. That's something I don't think everyone gets to learn so early in life and for that, I am grateful. Also all my families are crazy and hilarious in their own ways and at their core there is love. That's what makes it family, I suppose. For that I am also grateful. Here's to families being strange and endearing and what makes us, for better or worse, who we are.
What are you grateful for today? 

20 Nov 2015

internet stuff for reading enjoyment

drink you should make this weekend Bourbon Sour
Dudes I am thiiis close to finishing my last essay ever! What a crazy thing to contemplate after eight years of university. I'm sure I won't think about it at all once I submit it, but for this brief inbetween, it is worth considering. Who is excited about this weekend? It's practically December! People who may or may not have already put up decorations raise your hand *slowly raises hand* people who have already listened to the Phil Spector Christmas album multiple times *starts to put hand down but leaves it up* Yeahhh. Ya girl loves Christmas. Okay, I've got to get out of bed and go to rounds at the hosptial. Here's some internet-y stuff for you! Enjoy!

15 books as enchanting as the Harry Potter series

relatedly, can reading make you happier

this will always be helpful: how to craft the perfect email

Yes and Yes does it again with this fantastic post: How To Hygge (or 29 ways to survive winter)

holiday decorating ideas for small spaces, the window wreaths are really cute!

mmmm cranberry orange margaritas 

ridiculously helpful: how to master the shirt tuck

this is my kind of advent calendar

doesn't this sound like the most delicious apple cider?

I think I need this book  

in favour of glamour

made me chuckle: tweets about being a woman 

Have a great weekend! xo

PS I'm ~pretty~ into my holiday pinterest board these days...

19 Nov 2015

How to Entertain Like a Pro for less than $25

Happy Thursday friends! The sun is shining and I am about half-way done my last ever essay of midwifery school! It's a good day. That being the case, I wanted to share a post I've been chipping away at for a while. My mother is an excellent entertainer. I seem to have inherited her penchant for hosting and, lucky for me, I've picked up a few of her better tips and tricks along the way. My mom is like the Mr. Miagi of entertaining; my teenage years were filled with afternoons assisting with party preparation and I always seemed to be given the most ridiculous tasks. Wax on, wax off. Scoop the cucumber, put in the crab dip. Paint the fence. Line the glasses up in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Sand the deck. Fan the serviettes out. No, not like that. Despite my constant eye rolling and harumphing about such inanities, it really did come together like the Karate Kid. I inevitably hosted a party on my own and BAM! The glasses were lined up properly, the serviettes were fanned accordingly and people had fun. Whether you're having six for dinner or a few friends for a wine and cheese there are some fundamental entertaining principles. Or really one. Dudes, here's the deal: the key to successful entertaining is focusing on how you want your guests to feel. Relaxed, happy, satiated, fun, all those good things. Other than inviting the right mix of people (a never ending challenge) there are a few things you can do to get the ambiance right, and all for less than $25.

Candles (and by association Candle Holders)
This is item number one, always. Here's your excuse to buy the bag of 100 tea lights from IKEA because, guess what? It's only $4. Then go to the dollar store and buy candle holders. Or splurge and get a candelabra at a yard sale. Candlelight is the best and instantly gives the evening a feeling of intimacy and specialness.  
Cost: $8

Music is an important a critical piece of any get-together. My mom always has music playing well before her guests arrive, and rather loudly too. Once I asked her why she insisted on doing this, she paused looked me straight in the face and said in the don't-disagree-with-your-mother-voice: Ina Garten says to do it* (the logic being, if it's good enough for Jeffrey, it's good enough for the rest of us) Really though, how awkward is it when you go somewhere and there's no music? Or someone is "being the DJ" and choosing one song at a time on an ipod? Make a playlist or choose one from Songza. The five minutes it takes to do this will make all the difference. Ambiance, people, ambiance.
*Ina is queen. We should all just blindly adopt this fact and follow suit immediately to appease all our mothers
Cost: Free

Table Cloth
This is a very simple item to own but it makes a big difference. You could be serving dinner on your milk-crate coffee table and a table cloth would make it feel fancy. I have had excellent table cloth luck at thrift stores but you can also make your own, like this confetti coloured one or this Anthropologie copy cat. Hidden bonus of table cloths? At the end of the night just wrap it all up and toss in the washing machine! Table cloths. Get into it.
Cost: $10 or under

Yes, serviettes. Cloth, paper, it doesn't matter just put out serviettes. These ones are cute, festive and cheap.
Cost: Less than $5 

This is probably the best advice my mom ever gave me: have a pre-party. A pre-party consists of you and one or two other people, the people who you would still have an amazing time with even if nobody else showed up. Have them come over an hour or so before everyone else, open the wine, put on your music and enjoy! It takes the pressure off entertaining and gives you an extra set or two of hands to help. Plus, if literally nobody else comes you are all set to have a fantastic evening! Pre-party. Do it.  
Cost: Free

Let's see, I guess that brings our total cost to *calculator sounds* $24. Even the most student-loan dependent among us can get behind that number! So, your pre-party arrives, you put your music on, you light your candles that are sitting on your beautiful table cloth and ta-da! Entertaining magic for less than $25. Well done, you.

What are your party tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments below! Cheers.
Bonus! Some links from around the internet to help raise your entertaining game
How to Host a Weeknight Dinner Party from Camille Styles
How to Get Ready for a Party in 5 Minutes from A Cup of Jo

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