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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 favorite places for on-line shopping.

...when I first saw this prompt, I was thinking I'd have to skip it because I didn't really shop enough on-line to have ten favorite places. and then I thought a little more. and remembered the page or so of my email inbox that's holding receipts and shipping status for the on-line shopping I've done recently. whoa! when did that happen? when did I become an on-line shopper?!
1. amazon. the king of them all. I'm still amazed at the selection, the prices and the speed with which they deliver. and this year, I'm also a fan of the giftcard ad on their boxes.
2. barnes and noble. a close second to amazon because much of what I buy is books. with my membership, I get free shipping. and when a 25% or 30% off coupon lands in my inbox, it's hard to resist.
3. ravelry. hands down the best place to buy knitting patterns.
4. twist collective. my 2nd favorite place to buy knitting patterns.
5. designer digitals. the only place I buy digital scrapbooking supplies.
6. etsy. a virtual marketplace where you can find just about anything, especially anything that's handmade. I'm a huge fan of hand-dyed yarn from here. and my computer bag and camera bag are from here.
7. russell+hazel. I order about once a year, when it's time for an updated calendar. they have great customer service and my order comes wrapped in pretty tissue with a handwritten card.
8. lands end. for luggage and christmas stockings.
9. itunes. love how much I can get for free.
10. costco photo processing. I use them for all my photo printing. they're good, fast and cheap - only $0.13 for a 4x6.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

apple bread pudding.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 things I love about thanksgiving.

...we've been talking about this one for weeks and I can't believe the big day is just two days away. here are the 10 things I love about thanksgiving:

1. the planning - it's one of my favorite things about fall. making lists, poring over magazines, cookbooks and blogs, emails and phone calls. ...and I love that my girls are both planners right along with me!

2. the cooking. once the girls got interested, we made this a real group effort. we start early, make a huge mess and finish around noon or 1pm. perfect timing to clean up and enjoy a glass of wine before the meal.
cooking with sara, thanksgiving 2008

3. time with my family. my parents always visit (and stay with my sister :-) and the ten days or so that they're here is a whirlwind of shared meals, college football and photo opportunities.

4. family traditions. marc & I hosted our first thanksgiving in 1985. a blend of what we'd grown up with and a few of our own ideas. I love that we now have "our" thanksgiving (what we eat, when we eat, where we eat, what we wear...) katie is having her first thanksgiving this year. and I love seeing how she's making it hers (with rob).

5. setting the table. I have a mix of serving pieces from my mom and my grandmothers, as well as a few things I've collected - silver, china, blue ridge and stengl pottery and depression glass. love how it all looks together and the memories those different pieces carry with them.

6. the macy's parade - so glad we have a tv in the kitchen so I don't have to miss a second of it - and then friends' thanksgiving episodes.

7. pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake and something warm with apples. all for dessert at one meal!

8. leftovers. I'm sure I'll be tired of turkey and stuffing and cranberries at some point next week, but right now, the thought of not cooking again for a few days is wonderful.

9. the friday after - putting up our tree and officially starting the christmas season.

10. making memories for my girls. I'd forgotten a few of the details from even these past few years. but sara hasn't. and I doubt katie has either. and even if all those memories aren't the best, it's important to have them. it makes us a family.

...and I am so very thankful for all of these things - the shared love of family and friends, an abundance of delicious food and beautiful memories.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

holding myself accountable.

...a few weeks ago, I got a letter from katie that included a list of things she was planning to accomplish by the end of 2010. she closed with the question "do you have any resolutions for the rest of 2010? or...things to do...?"

and that got me thinking - of course I have a weekly to-do list, but that includes stuff like paying bills, returning library books, the things I won't remember to do unless I write them down. and katie was talking about bigger things. the things you need to plan for and make time for and really commit to in order to make them happen. of course there's not much time left in 2010 (on november 10, when I started my list, there were 51 days left...and that seemed like too short a time!)

a lot of what I want to accomplish for the rest of the year relates to the holidays, and coming up with 10 things wasn't that hard. but then I thought about how I'd hold myself accountable. in years past, I've created an annual list and even blogged about it. but some of what's on this list is too personal to share with the internet.

instead, I decided to type up the list and share it with katie & sara. as I was thinking through the 10 things, I realized that a big part of what motivates me to keep going, to set goals for myself and accomplish them is the mama in me. is it the same for all the mamas out there - that you want to be the best version of yourself for your children?

I wrote them each a note about it - and know they'll help hold me accountable!

Friday, November 19, 2010

27 years.

...ago today, I had the incredible good fortune to marry my best friend. he is impossible to shop for, so I put together this layout and intend to give it to him in a frame. a small reminder for his desk that we were once very young and somewhat silly...and that we are still very much in love.
photos from 1980, 1981, 1997 & 2008 - we need a new one this year!
happy anniversary, marc! I truly can't imagine my world without you!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

best wishes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2 movies I'd like to see in the theater.

...I am honestly not much of theater person anymore. I used to be - like back in our just-married days, marc & I would go at least once a month. we'd see a weekend matinee and then go out for pizza and beer. but that was ages ago. I remember seeing ghostbusters to give you some idea exactly how long! or the first year that katie was in college, sara & I had a regular chick flick saturday thing. we'd go to phipps plaza and start with lunch at the tavern (we'd share onion rings, a hamburger and cheesecake) and then see the movie. sisterhood of the traveling pants was one of my favorites.

yep, good times. but I've fallen out of those habits and now a movie must really be something special to catch my attention (otherwise, I'd rather watch it at home). and right now, I have only two* must-sees on my christmas list:

harry potter and the deathly hallows. one of my all-time favorite books, and for sure my favorite of the entire series. the movies have stayed pretty true to the stories and I've enjoyed the five I've seen. last week I DVR'd the sixth and I'm looking forward to watching it with katie before we see the new one.

morning glory. looks fun. sara loves rachel mcadams and diane keaton as much as I do. we just have to find a different place for lunch. sadly hamburgers and onion rings just don't cut it anymore!
*apologies to Ten on Tuesday for the abbreviated list!
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

birthday mexican.

...was all the best things I love about these gatherings. catching up with my friends (who are also my family). opening presents (sara had a big baking cookbook and I had a fabric bowl - very cool - lydia made it!, a coffee scoop and champagne). sharing white chicken chili nachos. drinking margaritas. and knitting.

thanks to sara for the photo - that's me on the left, powering through the stockinette body on my peasy cardigan, and lydia on the right, likely working on a gift, so I won't say anything more about that!

thank you all for a lovely outing - I'm glad we have the next one on our calendars already!!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


(thank you, laurie, for the inspiration - more background here.)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the first sign of the season. friend honore sighted hers last week. I'm not talking holly - although the tree in the park is full of berries - I'm talking the starbucks christmas cup. when I was working in an office, there were a few of us starbucks devotees who would compare notes and share christmas cup sightings. the goal was to be the first one who could say "my starbucks has christmas cups" (note the "my" part of that statement...and sadly "my" starbucks has closed and I'm trying not to think that's just because I stopped going there every morning before my drive down GA 400!)

the christmas cup thing was such a  big deal (we did "real" work, too, I promise) that when friends moved away we'd text about it - no photos, just messages - in years past, I've received updates on christmas cup sightings from chicago, boston and north carolina.

last week I was really excited when my (well, one of "my") starbucks had the christmas cup sleeves. and I asked about when the cups might come out and they said a week or two.

so imagine my surprise when sara found one yesterday. darn, now there's no way I can win the christmas cup race.
sara's sighting - at the starbucks in the georgia tech bookstore
 but at least I placed. yes, here's my christmas cup.
my sighting - at the starbucks at windward plaza
for the record (and because I'm sure I'll want to know next year) - the cups appeared here on monday, november 8. how about where you live?

and as near as I can tell, xm radio has not yet started playing christmas music.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

another birthday celebration.

...our fall birthday bonanza continues - we celebrated sara's birthday with all the best things - two lunches out at bistro vg, which means two delicious desserts,
pumpkin bread pudding from the first lunch, back in october
a perfect opportunity to start our thanksgiving planning,
and the second lunch, on friday - if they'd had pumpkin bread pudding on the menu again, we might've ordered it! but the browned butter tart was delicious!
and a two-of-us photo.


including a handknitted one.
the 2nd pair of these I've knit for sara - she wore out that first pair last winter!
and, of course, cheesecake
from alpine bakery
with a candle for making that all-important wish.

happy birthday, sara and best wishes for the upcoming year - I'm so glad we got to share the celebration with you!!

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

happy birthday. sara.
pleased that my photoshop skills have improved this year!
happy birthday, sweet sara - your first one away from home. and while I won't surprise you today with a pumpkin scone for breakfast, I am thinking about you... and promise a few treats and surprises this weekend. love you. xxoo - m.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 ways to simplify your life.

"Simplify". To me that means "streamline, take out the unnecessary, nothing wasted". For the purpose of having more time to spend on things I love and enjoy. I think most of us get plenty of practice doing things that contribute to that goal - me, as a wife and mother with a full-time corporate job for 27 years, I definitely had a lot of practice! most of these are now part of my life. habits I couldn't break if I tried.

1. Have one datebook where you keep all of your appointments. I've tried to go electronic, but my tool of choice here is a russell+hazel mini binder with monthly tabs. I like being able to see the whole month at once. this book goes with me everywhere. and I don't have to worry about checking another calendar someplace else before I make a commitment (or figure out what I'm doing today).

2. Have one to-do list where you write down everything you have to do. how much detail you put here depends on how bad your memory is. me, I tend to put it all down, just so I don't forget. this means that if I agree to do something, and you don't see me write it down, worry about it!

my datebook and to-do list
3. Learn to say "no" - and do it every so often.

4. Plan ahead.

5. Handle mail once. (for me, this means reading and either trashing or filing for follow-up - I am ruthless about the trash part, too).

6. Put things away. sometimes this is harder than I'd like, but the idea is that if everything is in its place, I don't have to spend time looking for it, and I don't have to allocate a chunk of time to "straighten up".

7. Cultivate good friends and healthy relationships - and disassociate yourself from the poisonous ones.

8. Consolidate vendors. we had our cell phones, internet and TV with three separate companies and just consolidated them all with at&t. so far, very good. and now I only have one bill to pay each month.

9. Get an iphone. I love having one small device that does so much!

10. Drink your coffee black. My mom suggested this to me when I first started drinking coffee (wow, over 30 years ago!) - it is very good advice. But I haven't been able to do it! I need a little bit of non-fat milk (or "the skimmest you have") and I really love it to be hot before I add it to the coffee. oh well.

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