2018 Goals

We are well into the new year so it’s time to think about goals. Or words of the year. I’m kind of over resolutions because I think people see that word and associate a whole lot of nonsense with it.

Did you set any goals? Pick a word? Have you already forgotten about whatever it was you wanted to do? #nojudgement

"Distant Island Pier" - Art Print by Julia Contacessi in beautiful frame options and a variety of sizes.


I went back and forth on picking a word, because I’ve never stuck with one, but something about complete is just making my heart sing.

So let’s call complete my word.

And dear readers, I’d love to expand on that in a meaningful way, but Goop has been so sick this week that my brain can’t spend too much time on any one thing before it flits to something else. I’m not fighting it. But I can share two goals with you today, and they relate to the idea of complete.

More specifically that my wardrobe and my ever-expanding library are complete. In 2018, no new books, and no new clothes.*

Of course there’s a *, which is that if something breaks (like my slippers, which got a nice hole right in the big-toe area), I’ll replace them. And yes, used books and clothes are a-okay. Hello library used book shelf, and ThredUp.


A Check-In

Dear readers, was yesterday a holiday for you? I feel like I spent the whole morning catching up with friends via text message. Half of us were off, half of us were working, and almost all of us are moms, so the definition of “off” isn’t quite what it used to be. This weekend felt extra long over here because Gooplet is recovering from a nasty and contagious virus that has left us housebound for too, too long. If we get the snow that’s in the forecast Tuesday and have to stay in a whole extra day, we might go mad. Let’s share random things that are happening right now. I’ve got three things to catch you up on.



My beloved La Moneda is finally coming together. I was DM-ing back and forth with a blogger I follow on Instagram who joked that almost every room in her house is between 30-80% done. That’s kind of how I feel too. We were so eager to move in after the addition, and then we had a kid, which changed how we use every inch of space, and now we have things we need, but I don’t want to fill our space with just anything. So for some things, it’s a matter of saving pennies, and for others, a matter of finding exactly the right thing. In our other places I was happy to have pieces that were just okay – not so here. (Also, I’ve been super-into more natural textures in a room lately, like the ones you see up here. Maybe it’s not just all white everything, all the time for me.)

I don’t know that I’ve properly told you all about this tomato sauce yet, but it’s a good thing. Whenever we’re low I use the next free weekend day to make a new batch, and store accordingly. Also, I’m pretty sure there’s a test coming up on Instagram to make sure we’ve all made and photographed these pan-bang cookies. I’m here to remind you to GET ON IT if you haven’t yet. They’re giant, and much less fussy than their fancy cookie counterparts.

Which leads me to meal planning. I’m seriously debating paying for Sweet Peas Meals, it’s gotten such good reviews (one from Everyday Reading, whom I adore). And when I say seriously debating, I mean The (Not So) New Girl has had to listen to my agonizing for about a week now. Their meal plans come out every Thursday so I’m giving myself a Wednesday deadline to decide. Pros: Would give us some new options to work into our repertoires, comes with a grocery list pretty much made for you, and takes all of the meal-planning decision weight off of my shoulders for a bit. Cons: I don’t do well with being told what to do, so part of me thinks, I’d get the plan and be like, that’s nice, we’re not doing that.

In Which I Gag at the Notion of Self-Care

Has self-care always been a thing? As soon as I became a mom that term was everywhere, and I swear if one more person told me to put my own oxygen mask on first…


(It’s funny, no, that a metaphor referring to a plane crashing to the ground is so enduring? That can’t be what any new mom, or anyone else experiencing a crisis wants to think about. But I digress.)

Whether self-care is a term that’s been around forever, or it popped on my radar because of my new life circumstances is neither here nor there. Self care is a term that is everywhere now.

hello friend.


Can’t you hear some lady who does the voice overs for prescription drugs whispering it as you read?

Self care.


I read this article, which can’t be new to many of you anymore, as it has been around the lady-lifestyle-blogger block already, but this idea of, “making the choice to build a life you don’t regularly need to escape from,” is in my head and it will not go away.

So in this, the season of hygge, you all are welcome to join me in figuring out what that life looks like. We’re not fighting winter, we’re welcoming all that it offers. We’re not running from our lives and toward deep tissue massages and thousand-calorie burning cycling classes. No. We certainly are not. We’re looking more at the forest, and less at the trees. And we’re figuring out what makes a good life. And then we’re living it. Every damn day.


What Worked for Me in 2017

Yesterday, I shared Anne’s post about evaluating what worked and didn’t work for her this year. And I love that method of reflection and so you better believe that’s what I’m here to share today.


What worked this year:

Sunday dinners – And the kicker of it all was that it was all my husband’s idea. Let’s invite a different family over every Sunday evening in the summer. We did it. It was wonderful. It’s tapered off with the onset of holidays and cold weather, but I have no doubt we’ll get it going again soon.

Trader Joe’s – No matter what I did in my previous, full-time working life, I couldn’t seem to fit in a good time to go to Trader Joe’s (which, if we’re being honest with ourselves, is one of the happiest places on earth). The one closest to me can be a zoo at times. Now, I’m lucky enough to have the 8 a.m. hour when it opens, free on my calendar almost every single day, and you’d better believe shopping there is part of our weekly lives.

ThredUp – Oh man, guys, I know. I know! I could go on and on. And I have. And I will continue to do so because ThredUp is my fave. I have sent 11 bags of clothes to ThredUp. Eleven bags of clothes that I was holding onto because I thought I would be small again soon, or because I thought I was a blogger and needed a new outfit every day, or because the item was a gift and maybe I’d wear it next time I saw the person who gave it to me. Who am I? Not that person anymore because the clothes are gone, I got over $500 in credit, and now I don’t buy clothes from anywhere else. (I’d give you my tips for shopping ThredUp, but Janssen has almost all of them here and here.)

Working – I decided that I’m going to officially say I have a part-time job. I’ve pieced together about 12 hours of paid work every week, and that’s part-time job status. It’s so great to get out of the house 3 afternoons a week, and have someone take over for me on the mom-side of things. It’s not seamless, and I could be so much better organized about it, but in general, working just a little bit is working for me.

Blogging about towels – I’m only sort of joking here, dear readers, because when I said that we needed new towels, you all were quick to text me, comment, or let me know in whatever way worked for you, that you either needed new ones yourself, or you love the ones you have. I’ll see if I can come up with a few more ideas that seem mundane, but strike a chord with so many of you.


What didn’t:

Keeping my resolution – My New Year’s resolution last year was to take a trip as a family of 3 and for many reasons, that didn’t happen. I can’t decide if I want to hang onto it this year, or let it go.

Making decisions that are right for me – Lately, I find myself regretting saying yes or no to any number of commitments. This year, when I’ve had to RSVP, whether formally to an invitation, or with a simple verbal yay or nay to something small, I’ve often regretted my choice. This has 100% happened due to my excellence at over-analyzing (and agonizing) when it comes to decisions. I hate letting people down, and I feel like I’d rather say yes and truck through something, than hurt someone on the receiving end of a no. But I’m realizing that playing the mom card sometimes means saying no when you’d rather say yes, or perhaps more accurately, when it’s easier to say yes, because you have to be the voice of what’s best for your kid. And it sure does stink when that disappoints people, but that has to just be too bad. Does that even make sense?

What about you, dear readers? What worked for you this year? What didn’t?

Let’s Set Goals

Who is ready for the new year? I’ve seen all these posts on Instagram saying that this is everyone’s favorite week of the year. (But maybe that’s just because I follow a lot of people who make planners?) The week between Christmas and New Years is a time for reflection, planning, and goal setting! Those are a few of my favorite things.

what is a weekend?


I’ve seen a couple of these links floating around the internet and I have to share them before I dive into what I’m looking forward to in 2018.

If you do one thing to start thinking about your goals for the next year, go look up Elise Cripe on Instagram (@elisejoy), and watch her saved story about 5 year plans. I adore it.*

She and Ali Edwards, both long-time follows of mine, talk about their One Little Word for the year on Elise’s podcast, and Ali blogs about it here.**

A good BuzzFeed list is everything. I’m super intrigued by this watering plants app thing. SCL said she’s in if I am. But I think she already drinks plenty of water.

Vision boards. Hmmmmm. I’m intrigued, but maybe not called to action just yet.

I love Anne’s idea of listing what worked in 2017, and what didn’t. Stay tuned, because if I sort that out for myself, it will likely turn into a post.


*This is how I’m starting to think about goals for 2018

**The waters of One Little Word are something I’ve dipped my toes in before, though not to much success. That said, it’s really singing my name again this year. Stay tuned.

A Very Slacker Christmas

Dear readers, please do your best to bear with me, as I attempt to explain my thoughts on this Christmas season.



We are having a very slacker Christmas.

I have a couple of non-negotiables for the season:

  1. We will send cards (you don’t have to, really, but it’s something I love to do)
  2. Santa will bring us stockings filled with goodies (I just know it)
  3. We will go to church on Christmas Eve

But that’s kind of it. We have a tree, but the whole house is a mess, and don’t have much else in terms of decorations. We decorated a gingerbread house, but I threw it out during Gooplet’s nap one day because he could not get over staring at it and asking to eat the whole thing. And Larry, our beloved Elf on the Shelf, is taking some time off, because he realized just how much Gooplet is terrified of him.

gifts that sparkle.


I don’t hate it.

And all that sounds so grinchy, and goodness knows every single blogger’s house looks like a very plaid version of the North Pole right now. But there’s something about this year that has me taking all that in, appreciating it, and being able to do what Amy Poehler taught me in her book, which is to say, “Good for her, not for me.”

gold sharpie.


We’ve had a couple wonderful surprises come about unexpectedly – an evening I got to sneak away to a party I wasn’t sure I could make, a morning singing carols with friends, and if all goes according to (5 toddlers’) plan, a second annual book swap I wouldn’t trade for anything. But above all, I’ve been thrilled that almost all of the fun above falls in line with my new little rule for making plans. Aside from that, I’ve turned down virtually every invitation in the name of rest (we try real hard to get that around here), quiet time, and family. Tis the season, after all.

Gifts for Toddlers

This glorious gift-giving idea comes straight from the same place as all my best ideas, and that place, of course, is the internet. What I love about this approach is that using it year after year creates a holiday tradition. And it sets the stage for reasonable expectations on Christmas morning. The kids are getting some gifts. They will be for fun, and will not just be new socks. But we’re not going crazy here, people.

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.*

Oh my gracious, it’s brilliant. Four gifts, each with a distinct purpose. Here’s what I’ve bought Gooplet in each of these categories, click on the pictures to take you to the sources.**

Something he wants:

Chip and Joanna with the Wooden Toy Tool Bench

As soon as I saw this in the Hearth and Hand lookbook, I knew it was going to be mine. I bought it the day it came out. Now to figure out how to assemble it.

Something he needs:

When your pajamas are your costumes, it's a double smart win for everybody. Imagination costumes at Hanna Andersson.

Gooplet never has enough pajamas. The cheap ones seem to stretch out too much after just a couple of wears. These are my all time faves. That blue on blue stripe action is as good as it gets.

Something to wear:

Image result for castaway corduroys holly

You know how much I love ThredUp, so when I saw some corduroys from Castaway for $12, it was a done deal. (They’re usually $75! For toddler pants!) He’ll wear these to church on Christmas Eve.

Something to read:

I don’t know what he’s getting in this category yet. That’s a whole other tradition for a whole other blog post. Check back soon.

*I have seen this idea in a gazillion places, and can’t remember if it was Design Mom or Tsh, who alerted me first.

**But also, sorry if this breaks the rules, but we are totally doing stockings as well because they are the most fun part of Christmas morning. If you’re lucky, I’ll pull off a gift guide before it’s too late for Amazon to ship you anything.

In Which it is Time to Hygge

Since it’s almost time to flip the calendar to December, I’ve been working hard (hard!) to ignore blogs and Instagrams that are telling me how stressed I am going to be over the holidays. No, thank you very much, internet, but I will be just fine. I have a toddler, I no longer cling to dreams of baking 8 varieties of cookies and assembling them on plates for the neighbors, gifts almost all come from Amazon in just 2 days, and Christmas Eve should be a quiet, early night at home.


See? Totally fine.

Wanna know what hygge is? Check out my latest post (link in profile) to find out what it is (and how to do it)!


This time of year means that I need to get serious about hygge, which, if you love the internet as much as I do, you already know to be a Danish word that translates to the warm, fuzzy feeling you get deep down inside when you take the time to recognize little indulgences that cozy up your winter.

Or something.

Here is how I hygge. Picture this on repeat every single night in our house:

Gap has long been my go-to for sweatpants and sleepwear. I have never found anything softer, and Gap prices (and sales) cannot be beat. Last year, I bought two pairs of sleep joggers, and I am the toastiest I’ve ever been. This year I’m eyeing another pair. Stars + navy is my love language.

We’ve reconfigured the set up of our main floor, and that means the fireplace is now in the dining room. This is not terrible, and should make for some seriously cozy family gatherings, but it means our living room is getting a little hygge-ier with candles. These in particular because I’ve been given a couple as gifts and never really used them.

Gooplet has been super into anything artsy lately, which for him means stickers, painting (remember these little guys?) and coloring. It’s rekindled my love for coloring and so I’ve busted out the adult coloring books again. So relaxing. Currently trying to find pages that are scribble free in this one. Is it super-weird that I would love to have this all to myself? And while we’re at it, I need some new pencils.

A Rule for Making Plans

Dear readers, let’s talk about our calendars today, shall we? Be they digital, paper and pencil, or simply a jumble of dates and times rolling around in your head, I’ve got calendars, and more specifically, the filling of them, on the brain.

Creatives Calendar, Calligraphy (Sunday Start)

(The new Lindsay Letters calendars are beautiful.)

In listening to many-a-conversation between Tsh and Erin Loechner, I keep hearing Erin talk about making plans at the last minute. It’s a rule she has when it comes to filling up her calendar. Because she’s got two little people underfoot almost all the time, and a travel schedule that makes she and her husband passing ships at times, she doesn’t commit to much far in advance.

Instead, when it strikes her fancy, she or her friends will send a text along the lines of: pizza at our house tonight. Bring a salad?

And if the friend(s) can join, then they have plans. And if not, next time, then.

I’ve been mulling this one over. At first I thought, nice for them, not for me. But over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a couple of get-togethers that have come together at the last minute and been wonderful. And a couple of in-advance dates on the calendar that haven’t worked out because you can plan and plan and plan, and then you can have a toddler who has other ideas.

So I might hang on to this one, dear readers. I might need to cling even tighter as Christmas draws near.

On Jennie Shows, and Listening to Dirty John

Growing up, Sous Chef Lauren and I watched vastly different TV shows and movies. Her dad was super-into movies, and she was watching Alien back when I couldn’t get enough of Mrs. Doubtfire. Fast forward through high school, and Sous Chef Lauren was my go-to whenever I wanted to watch a show. “Is this a Jennie show?” I’d ask. And invariably, she would know whether or not I’d enjoy something.

For the record, Jennie shows = fluffy, light, warm-fuzzy dramas and/or comedies.

Which means it is truly out of left field that I have been completely and totally hooked on all these True-Crime-y podcasts that are coming out now. If you asked Sous Chef Lauren whether these episodes are “Jennie shows” she would give you a definitive no. And I’d agree with her! They’re not! But I’m hopelessly hooked anyway.


I did “Serial” the year it came out during a fit of Thanksgiving-prep. Then “S-Town” came out and I was dragging Gooplet out for hour-long walks in the stroller so I could binge on all the episodes. And now it’s “Dirty John.” Have you listened? I heard about it from Laura Tremaine, one of the cohosts of my beloved “Sorta Awesome” podcast.

(For the record, “Sorta Awesome”? Totally a fun, light-hearted, Jennie show.)

I won’t even go into the premise because I like going into these things without too much advanced knowledge of what’s coming, but oh am I ever hooked on this dark and creepy story. I don’t find the podcast quite as tight, production-wise*, as Serial or S-Town, but there’s no way I’d stop listening. I need to know how it ends. I’ve got 3 more episodes to go, and if Gooplet wakes up anytime soon, we’re taking it to the streets so I can finish!

*It should be noted that while finding the image above, I skimmed and scanned the Vulture article to find out they like the written narrative from the LA Times way better than the podcast. So perhaps I’ll try that next. But I don’t want to interrupt the story in which I am already deeply entrenched, so I am definitely finishing the podcast first.