The Summer List, 2016

I am all about lazy days, drinks on the porch, and soaking up sun.  Summer is here, and the #LittleJennieHat and I are going to live it up.  Sticking with a simple summer list again this year, but I’m giving you tons of past inspiration below…


Meg: 2013//2011//2010//2009//2008

Ali: 2015//2014//2012

Elise: 2015//2014//2013//2012

Me: 2014//2013//2012//2011

And on a slightly-related note, here is Tsh’s Summer of Stories idea.  Dear Future Self, this is a keeper.

Summer reading suggestions coming soon!

Home Improvements

As of today, we have lived in La Moneda for a year!  A year!  Though it will have been “finished” for a year in July.  But is a home ever really finished?  The warm weather has me re-energized when it comes to getting this place to look like I want.  Here are some of my more recent finds.

wetherly duvet.:

When the Pottery Barn catalog arrived with this on the cover, bam, click, purchased.  Not just that day, that minute.  It didn’t hurt that it was on sale.  We have a patterned carpet in our room, and a big, splashy, floral print, but we’re going big or going home with florals, because I love this duvet.  (Wooden Nickels, allow me to spare you the comment about how you don’t do duvets.  I know you don’t do duvets.)

eating outside.:


Oh my gosh, the porch.  All I want is an inviting outdoor space where I can hang out with friends for hours.  The (Not So) New Girl and I made it happen on a recent Thursday afternoon.  But things aren’t exactly the way we want them just yet.  On the list of things to improve are a patio, grill, seating area, and twinkle lights.  We made that last one happen this long weekend, and have big plans for the others by the end of summer.*

Chip and Joanna Gaines of the HGTV show "Fixer Upper" have launched a new line of furniture, Magnolia Home, manufactured by Standard Furniture in Alabama. Their hit TV show is based in Waco and surrounding Central Texas towns. Photo: Magnolia Home Furnishings


Ah, the dining room.  We have my husband’s dining set from his bachelor days, and dear readers, the only things that table held were some unopened boxes from IKEA.  And yet, here we still are, 10 years later, eating off that table and using the chairs.  They represent a fateful trip to Crate and Barrel in which we learned that I choose furniture differently from others.  Joanna Gaines has some gorgeous looking pieces I’m coveting when the time and budget are right.

my dream.:

(source–and really, are you kidding me???)

And last, but definitely not least come built-ins.  I have dreams of built-ins everywhere in our house to hold my ever-expanding book collection.  Anyone know of a cheap builder?

*Side note, I am obsessed with this porch-themed stuff from Swoozies.



Dear readers, I am in my thirties.  I have a child.  I am too old for all the American Flag inspired items that come out around this time each year.

product photo

And yet.

Exclusive Star Spangled Sandal Midnight - Jack Rogers USA

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.  I’ve celebrated the same way for probably 25/30 of the ones I’ve lived.

I am a sucker for Fourth of July wear.

Even if it’s better suited for people in their twenties and younger.

And only really made to wear one day of the year.

America Shep Shirt:

I love it, it’s my thing, let it go.

Mini Stars Beach Towel:

These are my favorite, maybe age-appropriate, finds this year.

hoodie//sandals//napkins//toms//tank//shep shirt//towel

My First Dinner Back [truffle mac and cheese]

It took me three days (and about another three weeks to post this), but I finally made Ina’s truffle mac and cheese.  There’s not much else to say.  Truffle mac and cheese.  Ina.  As she would say, how bad could that be?


The only tidbit I’ll offer is the extended cooking plan.  If you find yourself short of time with full use of both hands, may I share how I prepped this over the course of three days.

Day One: Boil noodles, and shred cheese (in the food processor, of course).  Pack each up tightly, and store in the fridge.

Day Two:  Saute mushrooms.  Put them in a sealed container, and refrigerate.

Day Three:  Make bechamel sauce, assemble casserole, and bake!


To make a 9 x 13 casserole (or two, 8x8s, which is how I tend to roll these days), you will need:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Good olive oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
3 tablespoons cream sherry
Kosher salt
1 pound pasta, such as cavatappi
3 ounces white truffle butter (recommended: D’Artagnan)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart whole milk, scalded
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the sherry and continue to saute for a few more minutes, until the sherry is absorbed. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt the truffle butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.

Combine the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms in a large bowl and pour them into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until they’re minced. Add the bread crumbs and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

And to show you how seriously I take my carbs, mac and cheese, elsewhere on this blog:
Wooden Nickels’ Macaroni and Cheese (the only recipe you truly need)

What I’m Loving – May Edition

I know, I know, there’s not as much food on this blog as there used to be.  But I haven’t cooked as much as I used to.  On the other hand, it’s warm out, which always puts me in a good mood, I’m not being taxed at work, which frees up some brain space, and I’ve got stuff to share.  Here’s some random internet I’m loving this month.

so fun.:

I spy PillowFort in this picture (source).  I am loving Target’s collection, and have had to restrain myself from buying the flamingo sheets on multiple Target runs.  Also the ice cream sheets.  There would be 0 purpose for them in my life, but holy cuteness.  I love how this room mixes patterned sheets with a striped comforter.  I would never have been fun enough to think of that risk, but it totally works.

My all time favorite 73 questions is SJP, but Taylor Swift’s was fun to watch.

Cup of Jo called Crazy Ex Girlfriend 30 Rock-level smart, and Season 1 is free on iTunes right now.  My husband just set up our Apple TV, so I’m all in.  (A note-perhaps I’m technologocially challenged, but I couldn’t find it free straight through iTunes.  I used the link here.)

A note-I love Cup of Jo, and have for years.  But I do know that whenever she posts a home tour, the house will invariably look just like this.  Intersting piece on the Kinfolk-ization of design. (via Shutterbean)

Also via Shutterbean, is some F-ing Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Titles.  Oh Ina, don’t worry, we all love you so much more than we love poking fun of you.

Holy shoes!  (Thanks, Jessica)

I totally missed summer drinking season last year, so this Not-So-Basic Guide to Rose is already helping me make up for lost time.

Speaking of rose, I thought it was in this, but it’s not.  This is a tart with strawberries cut into roses, like, the flower.  Despite lacking one of my favorite types of booze, it looks tremendously gorgeous, and I’d love for someone to make it for me.

I’ve never made crepes, but Deb says I shouldn’t be so intimidated, and in fact, I could host a brunch with crepes as the star.  I can’t imagine having the energy to host a brunch ever again, but logically, that can’t be.  When I do, maybe I’ll try these.

This strawberry cake, on the other hand, seems like something I could make happen, given the limited time I have to work with.  Should I dare put it on the menu this week?


Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and a special shout out to those in the newborn trenches with me. I recently let AGOMYR in on the little secret that motherhood is not for the faint of heart.  So with that, dear readers, and mothers, here is some inspiration:

Design Mom just posted the most beautiful letter from her mother, and this stood out to me. And by stood out to me, I, of course, mean made my weep ugly, hormonal tears:

I believe, when the day comes and you are forced to lead a simpler life, that you will be pleased that you spent so much time with your children when you had the chance…..I couldn’t have smiled in their faces enough. Touched them. Sat too close. Rubbed backs enough. Listened to and admired the (music) practicing.

Elise posted a great pep talk on Instagram that I made sure to hang on to:

This is just a season.

I was recently looking for an old blog post and I came upon the ones from right before Paul got home from his first deployment. I was SHOCKED to remember that he was gone for nearly 7 months.

seven months?!? what? I remember it was tough but not THAT tough.

in late January of that deployment year, I went to a yoga class and the teacher came around and massaged our shoulders towards the end. I remember tearing up a bit – it was the first time I had been touched by another person in about a month.

I am currently doing the opposite and living in a season of overwhelming touch. often I’ll be nursing Piper while Ellerie climbs on top of me. the extreme physical-ness of early motherhood can be draining and exhausting.

but like that deployment, this is just a season. it feels long and hard but it will pass.

years, disguised as moments, from now I’ll look back and say, “I thought that was tough?”


And then, of course, there are Amy Poehler’s words (from Yes, Please) that strike me even harder over the head now that I’m a mom.  It’s so hard not to compare your baby to everyone else’s.  Or your mom skills, for that matter, But that’s a slippery slope, and it’s not worth it at all.  Instead, you simply repeat:

“Good for her! Not for me. That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again.”

*photos from our newborn session with Claire Harvey.  She’s amazing.

May Reads

It’s May, I have a newborn, and I still read books!  I pray to the good, sweet Lord that I never become one of those moms who over-grams her kids (oops, it may be too late already), or posts “How My Babies Slept Through the Night at 6 Weeks,” (but I have read those posts, and who are those people helping?  Seriously!  Who?).  But please allow me to be that mom who’s all, “I have a newborn, and I still read books!”


Because my biggest motherhood fear was probably that I wouldn’t be able to find time to read anymore.  Turns out?  Not a problem at all.  There are two things I do without fail every single day: eat too many sweets, and read.


There are just some caveats to what I read now.  Books need be:  digital (yes, I know that one above is not…which is probably why I’m still two or three chapters from the end), uplifting, and fast-paced.  That said, here’s what I’ve been working through,

Swimming Studies, by Leanne Shapton – This book is beautiful.  I completely forget how it popped up on my radar, but it did and I am thrilled.  I love memoirs, and this is a true memoir.  So many celebrity “memoirs” seem to be biographies masquerading as something they’re not, but this is chock full of poignant moments from Leanne Shapton’s life.  One of my favorite aspects is that in addition to more traditional chapters, Shapton includes tidbits about other swimmers she’s known, swimsuits she’s worn, and pieces of art.  It’s proof that what’s significant in life doesn’t always fit squarely into chapters.

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson – I started this at some point last year, but ended up going back to the beginning and rereading it.  It’s written in free verse poetry, and it’s beautiful.  A little bit memoir, a little bit civil rights, and plain well-told.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, by Clint Edwards – Since I’m a new parent, the title of this one grabbed me when it popped up on a blog post I read.  It’s full of little anecdotes about having a kid, and made me chuckle a couple of times during 2 a.m. feedings.

I Feel Bad About My Neck, and I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron – I just finished watching HBO’s documentary, “Everything is Copy,” and was happy to have read these first.  I liked I Feel Bad About My Neck much more, but the bottom line with these two is that Nora Ephron is awesome, and writes about the little things better than most.

And in case you’re not all over #bookstagram, let me share something that I’ve seen popping up everywhere:

Book of the Month Club – the StitchFix, or BirchBox of books. I found this on Modern Mrs. Darcy the other day, and it looks crazy cool.  There are a couple of titles I’ve been wanting to read, namely this one and this, both of which keep appearing in my favorite bloggers’ Instagrams.



Making: sure to start each day with no expectations
Cooking: nothing at all
Drinking: all the vanilla lattes
Reading: books with short chapters (post on that coming soon)
Wanting: not much of anything right now
Looking: at our gardens, and loving hat they will hopefully become
Playing: on my stomach with the Gooplet
Deciding: Amazon’s ability to ship you anything in two days is miraculous
Wishing: making tough choices was easier
Enjoying: that after nine months, Rose is back in my life
Waiting: for my husband to get home from work everyday, so we can go for walks
Liking: blue and white striped everything (surprise!)
Wondering: what the next couple months will bring
Loving: Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next podcast
Pondering: a podcast of my own #goals
Considering: that it may be 8 years before I regain the use of both hands at once
Watching: Hart of Dixie – so mindless; so necessary
Hoping: for good nap days
Marveling: at Jared Nickens’ Running Man moment(s) of fame
Needing: sleep
Smelling: spring rain
Wearing: clothes I’ve missed terribly
Following: a bunch of new accounts on Instagram
Noticing: we have some truly kind and generous neighbors
Knowing: I need to keep repeating, “Good for her, not for me” to make it through some days (thanks, Amy Poehler)
Thinking: we need a cleaning person
Feeling: overwhelmed?  loved?  stressed?  joyful?  #allthefeels
Admiring: moms who make it work
Sorting: laundry, always
Buying: this black cardi from Nordstrom to replace my old one that I wore until it had holes in it
Getting: coffee in the afternoon now, instead of the morning
Disliking: how short spring always is
Praying: without ceasing
Opening: little cards and gifts here and there
Giggling: over not knowing what day of the week it is
Snacking: as often as possible
Coveting: a good new pair of sunglasses
Wishing: for endless porch happy hours
Helping: myself by vowing to get out of the house once a day
Hearing: ocean sounds before bed every night

Naptime Scones

Since the Gooplet arrived at La Moneda, we have been so fortunate as to have hot meals brought to us left and right.  I did my best to stock our freezer before he got here, and Wooden Nickels and AGOMYR, along with some other friends and family, have been the ones who have made sure we’re eating a square meal each night.


But I, of course, couldn’t stay out of the kitchen for too long, and so I got back to baking right away.  I get completely famished in the middle of the night, and often find myself wandering downstairs to see what I can grab off the counter.  When the baked goods from our neighbors ran out, I had to take matters into my own hands.  A friend of mine had served her classic scone recipe when we visited her the other day.  She claimed they were simple, and that she’d be more than willing to share the recipe.  A quick glance revealed I had all the ingredients necessary, and so during the Gooplet’s solid nap of the day, I pulled these off.  I forgot how much I love a good scone.  Fresh from the oven, all flaky and puffed up?  There’s nothing better.  And when they come together in about 15 minutes, and bake off in 7, I think it’s safe to say these are going to become staples around here.


To make Caroline’s scones/Naptime Scones, you will need:

  • 1 3/4 C flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C shortening
  • 1/2 C buttermilk


  • 1/2 C blueberries or cinnamon chips (I had neither and used toffee chips)
  • turbinado sugar for coating the scones before baking (I didn’t have any, but they are amazing with it)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter, or two forks, until the shortening is the size of rice kernels.  Add blueberries or chips, if using.  Stir in buttermilk with a spatula, and mix till all ingredients are just incorporated.

Turn out two balls of dough on a flat surface, and pat each into rough circles, about 1.5 inches thick.  Cut circles into eighths, and place triangles of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  If using sugar, roll each triangle in sugar.  Bake 7-8 minutes.

The List of Awesome


Dear readers, I know it’s been forever around these parts, but I’ve been gone with good reason, promise.  There’s a new little Gooplet here at La Moneda, and we’re slowly adjusting to life together.  And I’m slowly adjusting to a complete lack of sleep, and life with less than two hands at my disposal.  But there’s no better way to get back into the swing of things here than with a list of awesome, albeit about a month later than it was due.  Look for more posts around here soon, though you may be seeing them sporadically.


  1. Husbands who do the dishes
  2. Rereading past Lists of Awesome
  3. A great internet link post
  4. Having an entire house that is blue and white
  5. Trying something new, and realizing you love it
  6. Recognizing extraordinary in ordinary days
  7. James Taylor and Carole King
  8. Memoirs
  9. Champagne
  10. Endorphins
  11. March Madness
  12. True happiness for good friends
  13. Emojis
  14. A good pair of sunglasses
  15. Personalized stationery
  16. Laughing so hard it hurts
  17. Windows open (sunroof, too)
  18. Cheap pizza
  19. Routines
  20. A stack of new books to read
  21. Naps
  22. Fresh flowers
  23. Walks in nice weather
  24. Friends you don’t have to clean the house for
  25. James Corden’s carpool karaoke
  26. A good lip sync battle
  27. People who know what you need more than you do
  28. Buffalo chicken dip
  29. Recipes that come together in one bowl
  30. Kimmy Schmidt
  31. Walking every day
  32. Fuzzy blankets
  33. Blue and white striped clothes
  34. 90s music
  35. Thank you notes
  36. Brownies
  37. Toes in the sand
  38. Ordering clothes online and finding out they fit
  39. Mint chocolate chip ice cream
  40. The smell of spring
  41. Screened in porches
  42. Compliments
  43. Amazon Prime
  44. Splurging on something you really wanted
  45. Summer breezes
  46. Inexpensive art prints from Etsy
  47. A fresh coat of paint
  48. Pedicures
  49. Any and all attempts to bring the 90s back
  50. The Kindle app at 2:00 a.m.