A weekend trip to the city

Nov 26, 2014

We took a quick trip to DC with my sister on one of the coldest days of fall so far. Eeesh. We were aware of the crazy forecast in advance so I wore every layer possible including my fleece-lined leggings and camp socks. It was still cold.

We made the brave decision this time to drive our car instead of taking the metro. If you've ever been to DC, you know that this is usually (and by usually, I mean never) a good idea, but it actually turned out okay. The traffic gods were smiling on us that day. We found parking not to far from Starbucks and started the day off with coffee (caramel apple spices for us non-coffee drinkers) and gingerbread. Yum!

Shop // 
Miss Pixie's - for antique furniture & vintage posters
Salt & Sundry - for eye-pleasing goodness all around
Anthropologie - for this candle that I still regret not buying

Eat // 
Good Stuff Eatery - for fries & mango mayonnaise 

Life Lately

Nov 25, 2014

+ It's definitely winter again. The dry hands and crazy static-y hair are back! I stocked up on several bottles of Burt Bee's yesterday -- one for the house, one for my purse, and one for the office -- and I've been applying ChapStick like a mad woman. Ughh, weather.

+ I'm excited about holiday traveling this week. I know most people dread it, but I think it's exciting! I love a busy, bustling airport (just as long as I don't miss my flight or catch ebola).

+  I have been cooking meals lately like the domestic goddess I am not. Some favorites lately have been this chicken fajita soup and this chicken enchilada soup. Sounds like basically the same thing, I know, but they each had very different flavors. I topped them both off with some sour cream and tortilla strips. Mostly though, I just love having something delicious waiting for me in the slow cooker when I get home from work.

+ I've been having trouble falling asleep at night lately. I don't know what it is, but it sucks. I'm a little embarrassed to share my solution, but it seriously has been working like a charm: piano Christmas carols on Spotify. A good piano version of Silent Night and I am out. Whatever works.

+ Speaking of Christmas, I bought evergreen garlands for our mantel this week. Too early? Probably.

+ I've made grand plans to teach myself how to crochet over the holidays. Things could get ugly, but let's just hope they don't. I've already bought my hook and yard and have been practicing chains and single stitches. That's as far as I've gotten. If you know of any great tutorials, please share! This very non-crafty girl would appreciate all your tips & tricks.

+ Have you ever heard of a side-dish-only Thanksgiving. I have to say, I would be totally down with it. As long as the stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls are provided, I'll be a happy camper. And dessert. Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without dessert.

What I'm Reading, Vol. Thirty-One

Nov 24, 2014

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study In Culture (via Knote)
German business culture is one of intense focus and direct communication. While Americans tend to value small talk and maintaining an upbeat atmosphere, Germans rarely beat around the bush. German workers will directly speak to a manager about performance reviews, launch into a business meeting without any "icebreakers", and use commanding language without softening the directives with polite phrases. Whereas an American would say, "It would be great if you could get this to me by 3pm," a German would say, "I need this by 3pm". When a German is at work, they are focused and diligent, which in turn leads to higher productivity in a shorter period of time.

Nobody Wants to Be the Girl on a Diet (via The Huffington Post)
It's hard to grasp, on a psychological level, just what is so unappealing about someone monitoring her food intake. Maybe it has something to do with phrases like monitoring your food intake. Or maybe watching someone pick discriminately at lettuce leaves subconsciously upsets our pleolithic impulse to consume. Whatever the reason, when it comes to thinness, "effort" is unbecoming. No one actually wants to be seen as the lady on the diet, even though half of us are the lady on the diet at any given time. Maybe it's just that food is enjoyable. Thus, regularly abstaining from large categories of it makes one seem kinda joyless. Who wants to seem joyless? Or worse: the kind of person who pretends to find joy in a bowl of thrice-massaged kale.

The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes (via Zen Habits)
The mind is a wonderful thing. It's also a complete liar that constantly tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us, and stops many great changes in our lives. Scumbag, mind. The mind wants comfort, and is afraid of discomfort and change. The mind is used to its comfort cocoon, and anytime we try to push beyond that comfort zone very far or for very long, the mind tries desperately to get back into the cocoon. At any cost, including our long-term health and happiness.

Weekend links 11.21.14

Nov 21, 2014

Headphones + new episode of Serial + rake + yard full of leaves. Let's do this, weekend.

The authors of Gone Girl and Wild got together for an interview.

5 kitchen essentials you should always buy at thrift stores.

This parody has been cracking me up all week. #noskinnybritches

Wishing for: these tights and this door mat

Love the look of these field guides.

The Downsizing Uprising. "There's something about downsizing that smooths the rough edges away."

The perfect gift for those of us who are obsessed with straight lines: the lettermate.

And since it wouldn't be a true weekend links post without something about Serial: Charts for people who are obsessed with Serial and Behind the strange podcast phenomenon of Mailkimp.

Oh, and there's only 5 more days until Thanksgiving! Whoot whoot!

What I'm Reading, Vol. Thirty

Nov 18, 2014

Hark! Is that the sound of bastions crumbling? (via Oxford Words)
We're not just crabby old pedants: there's a serious issue at stake here. The more people hear or read such linguistic lapses, validated by occurring in trusted, authoritative sources, the more they will replicate these in their own writing, and a vicious circle is created. I feel passionately that, in all news reporting and other factual or 'serious' programming, media organizations should adhere to standard English. Why? Because departures from standard English on this scale hinder effective communication and understanding. We're likely to be distracted from the actual content or misinterpret what's being said. Every time a presenter or journalist deviates from the norm, the message they're trying to convey to listeners, readers, and viewers is becoming diluted or, worse, lost completely.

How Numbers on Facebook Change Behavior (via The Atlantic)
To keep its 1.3 billion users clicking and posting (and stalking), Facebook scatters numbers everywhere. While it collects many metrics that users never see, it tells users plenty of others, too. Facebook tells you the number of friends you have, the number of likes you receive, the numbers of messages you get, and even tracks the timestamp to show how recently an item entered the news feed. Put simply, the numbers encourage users to feel compelled to want more numbers. For example, friend count is seen as a mark of status because Facebook places a small "+1" next to the "Add Friend" button. Even if the user isn't aware of doing so, the number encourages her to make more connections, because she's shown that adding a friend is a positive action. That results in an overall and innate need for more on Facebook.

Confessions of a Woman with Resting B Face (via Verily Magazine)
There are some plusses to having RBF. For one, it's a good people-filter. People have to see past it in order to deal with me. If someone has bothered to get to know me well enough to befriend me, then they already made it through my built-in screening process. If someone is constantly mean-mugging you for no apparent reason, you have to really like some characteristics about them in order to get past it. Score one for me!
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