currently :: 007

Life has been hectic recently and I may not be posting much this week. But here's a little something to hold you over:

1. Roommate times at our friend's Christmas party (9th year in a row!)
2. Beer flight from White Oak Tavern.
3. Dinner with the family while my brother was in town from Colorado.
4. Organic hot chocolate with a splash of peppermint schnapps.
5. Evie in the fleece heart suit that I bought her... isn't she the cutest?! She's stroller-ing around England with her parents right now :) 
6. Our third roommate gifted me and Laura some amazing hand cream from C&E.... this stuff is so good. It leaves my hands feeling silky, not greasy, so I can type at work without my keyboard becoming a mess. I have it in Pomegranate too!

merry christmas eve!

image via weheartit

 Hope you & yours have a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! I'm going to relax, spend time with friends, and drink all the holiday drinks:) Be safe and have a great holiday!

currently :: 006


^ loving this necklace that Laura gave me for Christmas. how pretty is that?!
^ wading around the amounts of (unwrapped) gifts in my bedroom. must take care of that.
^ missing friends that don't live here anymore (Zack & Emily, if you read this... move back please!)
^ realizing that being an adult means remembering to water the Christmas tree twice a day.
^ drinking chocolate mint tea in the afternoons.
^ watching the final season of LOST! our lives will be so empty after it's over.
^ spending time with my brother before he leaves tomorrow.
^ listening to the Evergreen album over and over.
^ not giving in to buying a Kindle and checking books out of the library. (forever.)
^ sushi dates and fortunes that make no sense.
^ ordering prints from Instantly Framed. it makes an amazing gift and they ship so quickly.
^ finally giving Laura her Christmas gift of Taylor Swift tickets and not having to keep it a secret anymore!
^ snuggling under the knit *NSync blanket that I found in the closet of my childhood bedroom. (judge me.)
^ re-watching favorite episodes of The O.C. with my brother while he's in town. the pilot & Chrismakkuh are the best. also, playing lots of NBA Jam on super nintendo as per tradition.
^ collecting the little sprigs that fall off the Christmas tree and placing them decoratively around the house.
^ chronically forgetting to put my new registration stickers on my car (oops).
^  feeling thankful for good times in the midst of some stress.

music monday :: lily and madeleine

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. My brother is in town from Colorado until Christmas Eve, so I've been spending my free time with him while he's here. It involves a lot of throwbacks (playing Super Nintendo and watching Season 1 of The O.C.) and catching up. :)

 image via google

My friend Elizabeth sent me a text last week asking if I had heard of Lily and Madeleine.She knows my taste in music very well, so anytime she has a suggestion, I take her word for it! These two sisters from Indiana have a really special quality to their music. Folky, lots of harmonies, flawless vocal blends (the kind that I envy!), and relaxed tones. Trust me, these girls are going places.

You can listen to their most current album, Fumes, here.


Yesterday I was doing my usual "browse the web for blogs and random things", when I came across Ann Street Studio. It showcases the work of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, a husband and wife who coined the term "cinemagraph" in 2011. A cinemagraph is a still picture with a minimal moving element. My first thought was, "how is this different than a .gif?" It uses .gif formatting, but differs in that a still photograph is taken, then the creator composites the photographs (or video) into a seamless loop of sequential frames. This is done so that motion between exposures is perceived as a repeating or continued motion, in contrast with the stillness of the rest of the image (more info here).

These are seriously beautiful images and an awesome concept. I wish it were possible to do an art installation of this on the walls of my house! How cool would that be? That's actually not impossible, when you think about it. Who can make this happen for me? :)

Below are some of my favorites:






There's something super magical about this. Check out Jamie and Kevin's site for more!

currently :: 005

1. Sweet chai and my favorite sweater this year. Ultimate coziness!
2. Blurriest picture ever of me and my corgi puphew.
3. Annual best friend viewing of The Holiday, complete with snacks, wine, leggings, and endless quoting of our favorite lines. I look forward to this every year.
4. This is what grad school looks like in your late twenties. Complete panic ;)
5. My best friend found this sweater and picked it up for me... it screams my name if you know me at all! I may or may not have seen this exact sweater on Cory's teenage daughter in an episode of Girl Meets World.

Okay, fine. Proof:

 image via google
No regrets.

Plus, skinny peppermint mocha. YUM.

song of the week :: splitting wood

image via

I had a free night yesterday, so naturally, I was catching up on my DVR. Does anyone else love "Hart of Dixie"? I can't help but be on the edge of my seat waiting for Zoe and Wade to get back together. Anyway, this song was playing in the background of one of the scenes. I've found a good chunk of my favorite music through TV, believe it or not. I promptly Googled it and found out that it's "Splitting Wood" by Claire Guerreso. This Nashville beauty did a good thing putting this tune out in the world. Hear for yourself:


on being 28 & coexisting

image via weheartit

I've been thinking about the concept of age + roommates for a good long while. It used to be strange for a person to graduate college and move back in with their parents, rather than establish themselves in the world and make a living immediately (and get married). Oh, how times have changed. We are at the mercy of a bad economy and high living expenses. I moved back home after school and continued to live there for about six months while I was feverishly job hunting. Once I got my job, I moved into my first (rented) townhouse with my best friend a month or so later. It was absolutely the right decision for an independent personality like me, but I hadn't saved much money.

After two years, I moved in with my current roommate, Laura, because her previous roommate got married. My best friend and her boyfriend had gotten engaged, so rather than wait until the wedding and possibly be out of luck finding a new place to live, I jumped at the chance to live with Laura. We had a house owned by someone we knew and it was the best bedroom I've ever had. Spacious, huge closet, and its own bathroom. That was the only eight months of my entire life that I've had my own bathroom! It was over too soon when the owner decided to sell. So Laura bought a house and we moved the first week of March, 2013. We painted every wall except Laura's bedroom. She, being a new homeowner, fixed up things around the house. We've had various third roommates living in the basement. And we've been thriving on DVR and scented candles ever since. :)

I am not one to live alone. I enjoy isolation once in a while, but I can't imagine life in a house with just me. Having roommates is fun. It's nice to have someone around all the time to talk and laugh with. But I think the reason why it works so well is because we are very independent of each other. We have different friends and activities throughout the week. We're both very busy. We don't do every single thing together. We have our own lives and we aren't joined at the hip. I think that's the key to many successful relationships.

All this is to say that sometimes I do find myself wondering what it would be like to have my own place. I can see myself arranging all my products and makeup in my own bathroom instead of trying to keep them organized on my dresser top. I can envision a bigger, less cluttered bedroom because I could spread out my belongings and not confine them to one room. I imagine taking my things out of storage boxes that I've faithfully hauled from new house to new house, things that I can't use or display because I don't own the space. I dream of cleaning whenever I feel like it and decorating in my own style. And at the same time, I feel that I would get very lonely and discouraged. Things can only do so much for a person. I could do everything I just listed, but I have a hunch that if it actually happened, I would want to share it with someone. 

A lot of people assume they'll be married by 28. I used to. I also used to think it would be weird for two women in their late twenties to live together (again, isn't every girl married by 28?! Spinsters!). Some people might even think that if you're almost 30, you should be a big girl and buy your own home. But having lived with friends, and continuing to, I know it's absolutely the right place for me to be. For one thing, I can't afford to buy my own place anyway. :) For another, I'll never get back these cherished moments: A million hours of girl talk. Watching countless episodes of LOST 'til midnight. Buffalo wings on Sunday nights. Texting funny cat memes to each other from our beds when we're supposed to be sleeping, and laughing hysterically through the walls. Obsessing over The Bachelor every waking moment when a new season comes on (and yelling "journey!" out loud every time we hear that word). Cookie baking in PJ's with our work computers on the couches during a snow day. Climbing on each other's beds to share widsom, gossip, and boy talk. Caring for each other when we're hurting. I love these moments and I will be so very sad when we have to move on to a different stage of life.

So... 28, single, and coexisting. I'll take it.

music monday :: dry the river

I found out about Dry the River because when my friend/honorary sister Jude got married, she planned her honeymoon around going to see their show. Which made me think, "Wow, they must be a big deal." Plus, Jude has great taste in music, so who am I to question that?

These alternative Brits have something good going. I'm a fan of what some people would call "weird" music... but really, I just like bands that have a unique style. I think Dry the River has enough of that to satisfy me, but would still make any other listener happy. The vocals have depth and the writing is meaningful. I always like bands that use a wide variety of instruments, not just the standard guitar, bass, drums. There are horns and mandolins and keys, oh my!

Listen to their debut album, "Shallow Bed", first. Debut records are usually best, in my opinion.

featured :: blogs of the week

image via weheartit

I fell down the blogging rabbit hole this week. Things have been a little slow at work since we just passed a deadline, but I've been keeping myself busy! One click leads to another and all of a sudden, you have a million new blogs to keep up with. 

I wanted to share my findings with you because these ladies are creative, fun to read, and are exactly the type of blog I browse often. Jackpot!

Man D  :: One look through her travel photos, and I was hooked. I now feel the need to fly to Paris on a whim!

Le Blog de Betty :: First of all, can you get any cuter than her blog header? I think not. Secondly, she has great style that one can only dream of imitating. It's best left to her, I say.

What Olivia Did :: Style, adventures, cooking... this girl's life looks so fun. It's becoming more apparent that living outside of the U.S. seems more fun in general. ;)

J for Jen :: I really love what Jen wears (that tartan scarf!!) and enjoy following her travels around the UK.

The Little Magpie :: This blog makes me want to scream, "Can I please be part of your world??" (Cue "The Little Mermaid" soundtrack.) But really. Amy is a Scottish beauty who has incredible taste and I can't imagine anyone not loving what she's producing in her space.

I love new favorites to keep up with in the blog world... happy reading!

meet Chris Pine

I grew up in a household where we went to a Christmas tree farm every year and cut down our own tree. I have such good memories of walking through tree farms and picking out the perfect tree with my brother and sister. And trying to convince my dad to get the tallest one :) We did have a high ceiling though, so our trees were pretty massive! (Kudos to my dad for putting up with that.) After my dad sawed down the tree, we would strap it to the top of the car and pray that it wouldn't fall off on the drive home. Every year we reminisced about "that time" it did fall off the top and Pizza Hut delivery man helped us get it back on (true story). Then we'd set it up in our family room and bring out tons of ornaments from my childhood, lights, tinsel, and house decorations while listening to Christmas music on the radio or record player. It was such a fun time with my family, and I miss it a lot now that we're all grown up and moved out.

Now I live in a significantly smaller house and I don't have a strong man to chop down trees for me, so Laura and I go to our local Lowes to find our tree. If you go early enough in December, they have a really good selection for a house like ours-- about seven feet tall, but not scrawny by any means. I'm picky about my trees! This is the second year in a row we've gotten our tree there and we loved last year's (RIP Sir Fir). On Sunday, we brought Chris Pine home:


I needed my first peppermint mocha of the season for tree shopping!

The Star Wars Christmas story: Mark McGuire's abusive relationship with Barbie, who cheated on him with Han Solo, who is trying to stop Luke and Leia's weird brother-sister romantic relationship.


All lit up! (If it looks like it's leaning-- yeah, it is. Don't worry, we fixed it! Also, pre-tree skirt. Oops.) Despite his name, he's actually a Frasier Fir, and one of the best-smelling trees ever. Seriously, when I got out of the shower later that night, I could smell it all the way upstairs, and it's heavenly.

We decorated our house in lights this year. No idea why the angle is so weird and off in this photo, but that's life! We have lights around the baker's rack in our kitchen and in our front windows, too. And we wrapped a red, sparkly garland around our banister (you can see it in the tree photo). Our house has never been so festive-- usually we just put up the snowflakes and tree and call it a day ;) But I love it. The house feels so cozy and full of holiday spirit, especially when you light a Christmas candle to go with it! I love coming home to it.

How do you decorate your house for the holidays?

today is a good day.

photo via weheartit
I don't know about you, but I often have moments where I go through life not feeling bad, but not feeling great. Just... indifferent, I guess. I don't think anyone feels joyfully happy 100% of the time (wouldn't that be nice), but today I feel closer to it. If you know me, you know that I find joy in the smallest things that life has to offer. I'm learning to look for them as much as possible these days. 
Today is a good day because:
<  i had a Starbucks peppermint mocha first thing.
> i have lots of work keeping me busy (i hate being idle at work).
< i'm dreaming of owning a French Bulldog pup one day. i still miss my Misty so much it hurts, and no pup could ever replace her, but a house just feels empty to me without a little dog running around.
> i've been carrying around "To Kill a Mockingbird" in my purse.
< i heard Straight No Chaser's 12 Days of Christmas medley on the radio.
> i've been reading a lot of artistic blogs in my downtime at work. so inspiring.
< a friend texted to tell me my Christmas present arrived and she's excited to give it to me. :)
> the sun is shining (goodbye, rain!)
< today is my off day from working out, haha! it's nice to relax.
> i've been singing Sam Smith's "I'm Not the Only One" in the car a lot. it's a fun vocal!
< i got an unexpected amount of money from my grandma in her Christmas card.
> my hair goes into a bun easily. thank you, genetics.
< every time i walk into my Christmas-y house, i'm greeted by white lights everywhere. lovely.
Take a minute today to make your own list of the small, good things in your life!

featured :: Newsies & La Tavola

For months, a group of us had tickets to see Newsies at The Hippodrome in Baltimore. I love a good show, especially one set in 1920's old New York. I made Laura watch the 1992 movie with baby Christian Bale the night before we went... so good. :) We got all dolled up and even threw on some red lipstick (overachieving, for me)! And you can't tell, but I got my hair cut that morning. Well, trimmed. Dead ends, you know.
The show was awesome... if you get a chance to see it, go! We really enjoyed it. Even though I'm hooked on the movie version for life, I didn't mind the subtle changes they made. After the show, a few of us went for a nice Italian dinner at La Tavola in Little Italy. It's been a while since I've had a classy, authentic Italian meal, and I wasn't disappointed! Whenever I can get fresh gnocchi, I'm a happy camper. I had a glass of Merlot and a goat cheese salad too. Yum!

I rarely ever order dessert, but I can never pass up real tiramisu. Never ever. The white chocolate stick made it even better.

It's so fun to go to a musical and dinner-- especially for a girl's night out! Check out The Hippodrome if you're in the Baltimore area. We have tickets to see Wicked next, and I can't wait!

music monday :: christmas favorites!

Yesterday, the roommates and I got our Christmas tree! We stopped for some holiday drinks at Starbucks and picked out the perfect tree. We did a really good job this year, I have to say. This tree seems to fill the whole house with its pine-y smell, and I love it. Love love love. Sometimes I find myself sticking my face in the branches just to get a little more of it. (Weird?)

Of course, I think it's sacreligious to decorate a tree without any Christmas music. The horror! Christmas tree decorating is the perfect time to get out your favorite records, or turn on the Christmas radio station that started playing tunes the day after Thanksgiving. After all, Christmas is only 17 days away now! So here are a few of my favorite Christmas albums:

The lovely, magical voices of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward... a new brand of Christmas music for the masses. Revisiting old favorites and writing new songs you can't help but get hooked on.

Sufjan Stevens is always a go-to of mine. He's got a soothing voice and puts an indie spin on classics. He brings the banjos and all the other hipster instruments you could want. ;)

Obviously. It's not Christmas unless I'm listening to this or watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special on TV!

Because it's still one of my all-time favorites. Even ignoring my middle school obsession, this is the only Christmas album by a pop band that I can listen to all the way through and never get sick of.

... except for this one! I have always loved this record. Christina does some amazing vocals on songs like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

And you can't go wrong with Mr. Bing. (Not Chandler, haha!) He's the voice of Christmas. He's fantastic.

What are some of your holiday favorites?

friday, the happiest of weekdays

Friends, I don't have much to say to you this morning other than you need to watch this video:

And keep it on a loop for hilarity's sake. I've now completely forgotten how to use the word "yes." You're welcome.

Anyway-- I'll be meeting up with a friend for dinner at Paladar tonight, and then seeing Newsies at the Hippodrome tomorrow! Followed by a fancy-schmantz Italian dinner at La Tavola in Little Italy. And I can only pray to sleep in tomorrow morning. AMEN.

Have a great weekend!

featured :: miss shirley's

If you're a Maryland native like me, or live anywhere around Baltimore, you know about Miss Shirley's. This is one of my absolute favorite places, though I've only been a couple of times. The food is amazing, you can sit outside when the weather is nice, and they have something for everyone. I went for brunch with a group of girlfriends a couple of weeks ago because our friend Lauren was in town, and we miss her!
First, we start with mimosas. (And/or Bloody Mary's!)

You must get the Monkey Bread. Do not question this decision!

There are a lot of choices (I was jealous of Lauren's grilled cheese!), but when it comes to brunch, I am an eggs benedict girl all the way. I rarely get anything else. This one was insane: crab meat poached eggs, Old Bay hollandaise, bacon grits, onion jam, battered oysters. Oysters!

Of course, we had to document. I didn't get the scarf memo. Neither did Terah, so it's okay. :)

And one more because that's how we do.

There are now three Miss Shirley's locations, including one in Annapolis, so go get yourself some deliciousness! I insist.

the hamilton live :: chadwick stokes

Last night my friend Sarah and I ventured to DC for a show we just couldn't miss. Chadwick Stokes (of Dispatch and State Radio) was playing in one of my favorite venues, The Hamilton Live. Sarah is from Boston, so she has a fun personal connection with Dispatch. I always love when you can put a story behind musical association.
So, the reason why I love The Hamilton so much is because 1) intimate venue, and 2) the food. Oh, the food. It's a little pricey but so good! I'll just let you look at the picture below:

That would be a carbonara pizza. I was all about that fried egg. The dude sharing a table with us thought I was crazy. Also, #bacon.

Another part of the small venue experience is getting to see really talented openers up close and personal. I found a new favorite last night... a couple of cool Boston girls that call themselves Leo Leo. The lead singer, Vanessa, has this amazing soprano, jazzy voice that I equate a bit to Feist and the lead singer of Tennis. And the drummer, Sarah (love the name, obviously), is so full of life and shows every bit of that to the crowd. I loved seeing her smile throughout all the songs. Plus, she's kick-ass at what she does.

Then, the main event. I'd seen State Radio before back in college, and I knew it would be amazing. But I didn't know what to expect musically. I hoped for a combo of Chad's solo stuff, State Radio and Dispatch-- and I got my wish! He played a mix of all three, and it was so good. He had a band of about five or six people, and that was an awesome experience. There was a girl in the back that played everything. Keys, bass, mandolin, banjo... I wanted to be her. And the vocals were incredible, with four people singing harmony at any given time. I was in heaven. Plus, the throwback factor during the Dispatch songs was great. I definitely felt some college nostalgia.

If you're near the DC area, I highly recommend keeping up on what shows The Hamilton has coming up. Every time I go, I love it more. They host all kinds of artists and it's always insanely affordable with a close-up feel. And if you do one thing this week, make sure you check out Leo Leo!

currently :: 004

image via weheartit

> trying to figure out what the password to my work voicemail is. (no idea.)
> drinking copious amounts of ginger and lemon tea.
> getting excited over finding a bag of spinach/kale blend at the grocery store.
> we're going Christmas tree shopping on Sunday!
> twinkle lights and glass snowflakes in our front window.
> kind of looking forward to the Victoria's Secret fashion show because T. Swift is performing.
> i did Black Friday shopping online at Sephora and received a ton of free samples. i love!
> i bought a dress for New Year's, which i will be spending with my best friend. can't wait.
> when it's cold outside and i'm lounging on the couch, i want nothing more but a puppy in my lap.
> seeing Chadwick Stokes (from Dispatch!) tonight... yaaaaasssss.
> listening to 1989 anytime i drive anywhere.
> my brother is coming home from Colorado in a couple of weeks, yay!
> my long hair is super annoying right now. i might try to donate a year early...
> December = Christmas parties and snow and a thousand presents to wrap and busy.
> i've worn snowflake leggings and a men's henley waffle shirt to bed every night. insane comfort.
> my favorite local bar ran out of their pumpkin brew early this year. so sad.
> trying to decide between a mandolin or ukelele for Christmas. it's just too hard.
> listening to my favorite Christmas album of all time, NSync. some things never change.

thanksgiving weekend

Hi friends! I hope you all had a restful, happy thanksgiving. I really loved having a break from work and catching up with friends. I held some babies, did my Black Friday Christmas shopping (online, you couldn't pay me to go to a store this weekend), had a nice long coffee date, and went to my 10-year high school reunion.

Evie's eyes get me every time.

A new, super chubby member of the family!

Love this girl.

Bean Hollow coffee date. I asked them to make me a peppermint mocha even though it wasn't on their menu, and it was so worth it. And I ended up finding my dress for New Year's in one of my favorite small business shops! 

My friend Mike came to my neck of the woods to visit a guitar shop around the corner from me, and ended up with a new baby! (Baby Taylor, that is.)

Oh, high school. Most people say I look the same, but I can tell the difference. ;) 
Reunions are a funny thing. Having lived in the same house my whole life, I saw old friends that I grew up with from elementary school to high. I saw childhood best friends and boys that used to run around my backyard with me playing flashlight tag. So funny to see everyone married with kids and living in different states now. I wasn't sure if it would be weird or fun, but it definitely turned out to be fun. I'm glad I went.
Also, I broke down and finally bought the new T. Swift. I've been listening to it nonstop and it's growing on me. It always takes me a while to accept change. :)