Aug 29, 2014

Weekend links 8.29.14

Before I share some links with you....have you heard about Minted's new foil-pressed stationery? Their designs are all so pretty and you can customize them with either gold or silver foil. The Holla Hello design pictured above is one of my favorites. They also have a series of foil-pressed business cards that you can choose from. I have no need of business cards at the moment, but that personalized stationery I could go for! (Full disclosure: These are affiliate links, so should you decide to purchase some pretty, shiny cards for yourself, I will get a small commission.)

Here's what I've been reading and looking at this week:

I love the story behind the The Peach Truck. Stephen and Jessica look like the nicest people!
Honest slogans that made me laugh.
A super cute 1st birthday party.
This is what happens when you like everything on Facebook.
Why you should stop using your phone as an alarm clock.
A great perspective on blogging.
The trick to getting a good night's sleep.
Such a pretty kitchen makeover.
This thought-provoking blog post talks about our inability to sit and do nothing. (Thanks, iPhone!)

Have a great weekend!

Aug 27, 2014

Local Guide: Richmond, VA

I always said I didn't want to live in Richmond after I got married. I became disenchanted with this city during college and was ready to move as soon as possible. Mark is from Atlanta and I've always had a soft spot for Georgia, so that was on the top of our list as a destination.

You know what they say about the best laid plans, though.

We decided to get married during my last year of college rather than waiting another year, so instead of me moving to Georgia, Mark packed his bags and moved to Richmond. We started married life off in a tiny little apartment with barely any furniture to call our own. The thought was that it was all just temporary. I still had moving on the brain that entire semester. As soon as I graduated, though, I was promoted to a full-time position at my job and we moved into a larger place in the West End of Richmond. Without really meaning to, we suddenly became official Richmond residents.

Since our move in December, Richmond has nudged its way back into our good graces. For me, moving away from the college side of town and having an actual driveway has made a huge difference. I loved our small apartment in the Fan, but parallel parking can lose its charm really fast! I wasn't really familiar with the West End until we moved here, but I've come to love its old houses and shady tree-lined neighborhoods. The best thing about where we live now is that we're not smack dab in the middle of the city anymore, but we're still close to a lot of things. I started to write a post about my favorite things about Richmond, but it quickly exploded into a super long post. So I've broken it up into a series of posts that I'm excited to share over these next few weeks.

If you write a post about your own city (or have in the past), I'd love it if you shared a link to it in the comments. I get most of my travel recommendations from other people's blogs, so I'd love to read about your city and why you chose to live there!

Aug 26, 2014

Love Letter to a Porch

Dear porch,

We didn't give you much thought when we first moved into this little house. We were glad you were here and in the back of our mind there was a small inkling of what we could do with you, but at that moment it was late December. You weren't exactly inviting and, besides, there were boxes to deal with, rooms to clean and things to organize. As the polar vortex dragged on and on, you began to loom larger in our minds. You were the bright beacon of spring and dreaming up ideas for you was a glimmer of hope in a never-ending winter of ice and snow. There were a few warm days in February and March, as Virginia weather tends to be a huge tease during those early spring months. During those days, our dreams and plans for you would go wild. We started sketching out an actual plan and added to you little by little. The days would turn cold again but we had a clear picture of spring in our minds. On a day in mid-March while it poured freezing rain outside, Mark began hammering and sawing and nailing until we had ourselves some porch seating. We added a rug, some outdoor pillows, and string lights. You were coming together and we fell in love with you hard. We added some potted plants and began eating our meals with you every night. The days warmed up and the humidity came. We flipped on your crickety ceiling fan and spent all of our afternoons out there anyway. Every morning before work, I would step out on you with a bowl of breakfast in my hand. The world was quiet outside of your old, torn screen. Sundays were my favorite, though. After lunch, we would lounge out there together - Mark and I - and eventually we would both doze off to the sounds of the outdoors. We had no idea how much use we would get out of you when we moved here, but you've been a good little porch. I have already taken some blankets out there so we can keep using you as the nights grow chillier. We don't know how many more summers we'll get out of you, but I have some great memories from this summer because of you.

Thanks, little porch.

See more pictures of our porch here.

Aug 22, 2014

Weekend links 8.22.14

August is marching right along and I can hardly believe how quickly summer is ending. These late summer days have been so beautiful, thought! After a very mild summer, it seems like these last few days have been trying to make up for our typical hot, humid weather. Because I'm mostly in the office all day, I have been loving it but I am sure those who have to work outside in it all day aren't very pleased.

We're packing our bags for a quick trip to Pennsylvania this weekend. It has been a very good week, but it's always nice to leave everything behind for some quiet days away. Here's hoping DC traffic will be kind to us....

Should you feel like browsing the internets this weekend, here are a few links that I've bookmarked lately:

One of these books is my list of things to order.
Walking your chicken around Paris in style. These pictures just made me happy.
Apparently, this kid is my new hero.
As summer draws to a close, this post on The Fresh Exchange has become my anthem.
I love the beautiful pictures Amanda Jane Jones' home and her design philosophy of "Less is more".
Cropping is an art form.
3 questions to ask yourself while you're in the dressing room.
A cinnamon roll birthday cake. Say no more!

Aug 20, 2014

Taking back my time

I have always been a firm believer that the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, etc. could wait until tomorrow. I am not opposed to sitting down after a long day of work and spending my evening binge-watching Netflix, reading through every post in my Bloglovin' feed and flipping through Instagram. Sometimes you just need to turn your mind off for a little while and that was the way I did it. But gradually, without me realizing it, these pastimes have become a big part of my schedule. I've started to feel like I have to do these things. Not in a dreading it kind of way -- I still enjoy them -- but I've found myself thinking "I have to watch the next episode of Friday Night Lights tonight because we'll be gone this weekend and I won't have a chance." or "I have to sit down and read these blogs because my Bloglovin' feed is filling up and I'll fall behind and I'll lose all my inspiration for blogging." These relaxing little pastimes of mine suddenly become "have-to's". And do you know what happens when you let things that aren't important become important? You run out of time. There was no time to do the dishes, no time to fold the laundry, no time to vacuum the floors, no time to cook dinner, no time to spend with Mark, no time to read my Bible. I had all these things that I had to do and no time to do them all.  It took stepping away from my computer, iPhone, and a reliable WiFi connection for four days for me to realize this.

I'm working really hard now to keep things in order and to keep the pastimes in their place. I may be missing a lot of things on Instagram and the number of unread posts in my Bloglovin' feed may be reaching an unheard of number, but those aren't things that truly matter. I don't lay my head on my pillow at night, satisfied that I've looked at every picture on Instagram, read every post in blogland and watched all the latest episodes of a show. No, I lay my head down at night, satisfied that I have checked meaningful things off my list that day, that I have had quiet moments throughout the day or that I have had really great conversations with my husband and even that I've finally folded that enormous basket of laundry. Those are the things that make up my life and bring satisfaction at the end of the day.

And, lest I give the wrong impression, I'm still reading blogs and browsing Instagram and watching Netflix. I'm just doing it in the right order now.