Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

I can't help it. My deep and abiding love for Valentine's Day just can't be stopped. Every year I am re-inspired to do something fun and bright and happy. Remember the year Zach and I kissed under a shower of confetti? Or made heart-shaped mudpie with homemade coffee ice-cream (seriously, so good).

Tate and I have spent a lot of time over the years making classroom Valentine's. We pretty much always make them by hand, and this year was no exception. Except this- I had to work late last night. And today was his Valentine's party. Which means I got home after his bedtime and he stayed up two hours (two hours!) late finishing them. But we had so much fun. And this year, the Serena and Lily catalog saved the day- it was perfect for cutting out pretty red, pink, green and teal hearts. 

While Zach and I celebrate Valentine's weekend (complete with a comedy show on Saturday night and a best friend visiting over the weekend), I hope you too get swept up in big feelings of love, cheezy Hallmark holiday or not.

Read: 50 Ways to Encourage a Child (scroll to page 2)

Give: Shopping tomorrow, just in time? Check out my Valentine's Day Gift Guides. There's one for men, women and kids.

Celebrate: One of my best friends got engaged last weekend! Hooray! Predictably, this means I've been having fun scouring the web for inspiration. These semi-naked pink cakes- AMAZING.

Love: I think this was a beautiful idea, beautifully executed.

 

The Best Weekend Fort Ever

 

If you checked out last week's Banditry, you would have noticed that among the best forts, there was one that involved Christmas lights. The moment I saw it, I knew we had to try it this weekend, especially since we still have a few of our large moving boxes waiting to be recycled.

Guys, it was so magical! And easy. It took 15 minutes and, assuming you have a large box, requires virtually nothing you don't have on hand.

Basically, I took a big box. And then I took a pen. Just a regular ballpoint pen. And stabbed 200 holes in the top of the box. This is a strangely fun part of the process- the boys got really into it too.  Then we stuck lights through all the holes.

Voila! Total magic.

The boys have spent good chunks of the last few days playing in the fort. Tate even slept in it last night, so cozy in his sleeping bag. It's been so fun seeing them read and dream and play inside it. A good reminder, especially this time of year, that sometimes the very best gifts are those that are made at home, and that spark dreaming.


 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

It's beginning (just a little bit) to feel like Christmas around here. We're foregoing a tree because we're traveling so early (we leave for California on December 17!), which means that things are decidedly less festive than normal. I've been trying to add to the spirit in small ways, like poinsettia's in my wall planters and tiny little wreaths to some of our art. They are bright and cheerful and happy making. I also stated writing Christmas cards last night, which is new for us. We've realized that we've moved enough times that it is a sweet way to stay in touch with those we miss.

As we settle into cookie baking on Sunday (Zach is armed with his list of supplies!), I hope you have a merry weekend.

Read: The pre-Pantone color book

Give: If you're been keeping your eye on my Pinterest page, you may have noticed that one of my very favorite items is now on sale! Go get one! Perfect gift for mothers or sisters or best friends.

Celebrate: You can turn any day into a celebration with indoor forts. My kids love them. Eating in them. Sleeping in them. Playing in them. I am letting these inspire me for this weekend.

Love: This, oh this! So inspired.

 

You need to know about Pzizz.

 

So here's the thing. Since we moved, I have had some major insomnia. I'm not entirely sure why, although I suspect it has something to do with a combination of factors. Ames hasn't been sleeping particularly well (or consistently) since we moved, which I think has to do with the fact that he learned how to climb out of his crib on literally our third night here, so about two or three nights a week he stumbles into our bed around 3:00 am. Plus, my new job is really intense. Good intense. But intense. You know what I mean? And so it feels virtually impossible to shut my brain down at night, or to turn it off if it is woken up by a certain two year old. 

It was so bad- I was running on so little sleep- that I got kind of desperate. So I started researching sleep apps, and I stumbled across this sleep app called Pzizz. Have you heard of it? It is hard (and kind of weird) to explain. But think of it as this- a soothing man says calming things in a slow, quiet voice (things like "Sleep is a certainty. It will come.") While he speaks, all these odd, somewhat whale-like, somewhat in-utero-baby-heartbeat-whooshes play in the background. Occasionally there's rain. There are a lot of chimes. And all of this is backed up by research- some very sound research, apparently, about how all of this combines to put you in a state of sleep.

And you guys- IT TOTALLY WORKS. I've been using it for about 6 weeks now, and I am now totally, absurdly reliant on it. I have a hard time sleeping without it now, believe it or not. And virtually every night, I am asleep by about 20 minutes in. 

Also, it has a Power Nap feature, and I have used it in the middle of the day when I just need a pick-me-up. It helps me zone out and recover in a way some long days really need.

There are, of course, some disadvantages. Chief among them is that Zach finds it a tad bit creepy for a man's voice to soothingly whisper us to sleep (and you can imagine how this *might* negatively impact any spontaneous-pre-bedtime adult time, but I won't get too into that since my mom reads this blog. Suffice it to say, I don't think "turning off your sleep app" is a sexy way to rev up an evening. It falls somewhere between "take-out-my-night-guard" and "remove-the-Biore-strip"). Also, if Zach goes to bed before me, I am always worried that he is going to be woken up by it.

But still- it feels like such a relief to have something that lulls me to sleep, that somehow forces my brain to SHUT OFF, to turn the volume in my head down. It has been so great during this time of transition.

So if you're having trouble sleeping, give it a try. My advice is to try it for at least a week, so the novelty of wanting to listen to it just to hear what comes next ends. And if you do, let me know how it works for you! 

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

I woke up this morning to this happy scene. I absolutely love the day-after a party. I know so many don't- the mess, the piles of dishes... but not me. I love it. I love the ritual of walking through the next morning picking up dirty plates, remembering the happy sounds from the night before. Tossing empty bottles in the recycling and seeing again the sweet touches the boys made (in this case, Tate-made nametags and glitter-covered leaves). And the best part is that the rest of the house is clean! Spotless bathrooms and living rooms mean that spending the morning slowly working my way through dishes doesn't seem so bad. 

Last night, Tate told me he was grateful for (and this is in order): "his brain, nature, the sky and our home". I think that's a pretty good list, don't you? I too am so grateful for his brain, nature, the sky and our home. Zach was grateful for this new season of our life, here in Asheville. I was grateful for all three of my boys, who make me better every day. And Ames- well, he wasn't sure what he was grateful for yet, but I suspect it had something to do with maple syrup and mischief.

Zach and Ames are napping, Tate and I are watching Ratatouille, and all is calm and bright. Our new life is starting to feel more balanced, and I am starting to feel like I have space to be creative again. So I'm going to work hard to come back to this place more often, my little piece of the Internet.

Until Monday...

READ: "We don't make children happy when we simply enable them to be receivers of kindness. We escalate their feelings of happiness, improve their well-being, reduce bullying, enrich their friendships, and build peace by teaching them to be givers of kindness." 

GIVE: Ok, I know we just celebrated Thanksgiving. And I *may* have had a piece of pie for breakfast. But even still, I think this is the perfect "thinking of you", "welcome new baby", "it's Friday!" gift.

CELEBRATE: These Asheville folk really know how to party. So much good inspiration for a winter gathering, don't you think?

LOVE: I've been finding it nearly impossible to explain to people how I've fallen in love with these Blue Ridge Mountains. How at moments I get to live in a cloud. It's not enough, of course, but this comes close to letting your experience it for yourself.

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

We did it! We had visitors! Isn't it funny how having people visit you somehow makes you feel so much more grounded in a new place? We had favorite restaurants and donut shops to show off, and the guest room got painted and new sheets. It felt so great.

At the tail-end of our last visitor, Zach and I both got sick with some terrible flu. It was strange - in addition to fever and an upset stomach, all our muscles and joints just ached, until we both just walked around groaning most of the day. Predictably, the boys felt fine, which is, of course, that special hell reserved for all parents: when you are sick and they are well. This has left the house in a rather disastrous state, which I imagine we'll spend the weekend fixing. At one point, Zach was napping and I was so exhausted, I threw the kids in the tub for over an hour. They were contained. There were lots of bubbles. It's a good trick.

This weekend, I'm finishing up the painting in the living room (good-bye green)! I work on Monday, but Tate has a 3-day weekend, so we're also hoping to get in some early fall hikes. The leaves are just starting to change!

READ: Do you know Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe? A friend of mine started liking some of his social media posts. And as I learned more, I have grown to like  him more and more. He seems so deeply supportive of normal people and important causes. He also seems kind and funny. See what I mean?

GIVE: I got my hair cut this week! I gifted myself with some of these pretty hair products

CELEBRATE: Some friends and I have been having a hysterical discussion about an imagined wedding in which I end up needing to make the bride a wedding dress out of toilet paper. Just in case, I've been doing my research.

LOVE: I was up early with Ames this morning, and this made me a little weepy. We may have watched it together three times.

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

For this week's Banditry, more than one photo was in order. Because Tate had his first day of kindergarten! Isn't that exciting? He had a great day. He started out so proud and excited, backpack on, lunchbox in hand (I love that photo because if you look closely, you can see a tuft of Ames' hair behind him, and this is so exactly right- wherever Tate is, Ames isn't far behind). He came home with a crown ("I rocked my first day of kindergarten!") and a ticket for good behavior for being a great listener. How, I ask you, did he grow up so fast? While I keep pondering that exact question, and we head out for some apple-picking this weekend, spend some time curled up enjoying this week's Banditry.

READ: The importance of freestyling Legos. 

GIVE: Thinking about getting a pair of these for Zach. Good-looking and the drop-in heel is so smart.

CELEBRATE: My niece Margot is having a moon party! (Sidenote: is that not the best party theme ever?!? Margot is already so, so cool). My sister Lis used Paperless Post for the invites: free online invitations with great design.

LOVE: The Glued Notebook. So smart. Can someone come up with the baby book version of this?

 

Lunch Bot: A Kindergarten Lunch Box

 

A major part of planning for school is choosing the right lunch box. Or, in our case this year, lunch bot. 

Tate's lunchbox has always been a big point of discussion around here. Remember this sweet photo from his first day of pre-school?

And last year, we kicked off the year with this Dr. Seuss favorite, which reflected Tate's obsession with all things "Cat in the Hat". It was also a nod to the location of his school, which was in Springfield, MA, Dr. Seuss' hometown (sidenote: every day driving to work I drove past Mulberry Street! There were many things about Western Mass I did not like, but this was not one of them. It made me smile to myself every day.)

So then. How to choose a perfect lunch box for kindergarten? I immediately went the dinosaur route, and this one was in the hunt:

But ultimately, Tate chose the Lunch Bot, a seriously cool and boyish lunch tin robot. Isn't he great?

What seemed to seal the deal for Tate was the very first picture I posted, the one with the lunchbox open and showing it filled with a sandwich, banana, grapes and a plum. According to Tate. these are all things he likes in his lunch, so it must be meant to be. 

With the addition of the Lunch Bot, the perfect kindergarten backpack, and the assorted school supplies hanging around the house, we've officially got ourselves a kindergartner! It's so much fun.

P.S. I often get questions from people (typically other parents at the same pre-school as the boys) about how I manage to avoid the typical boyish obsession with all things Batman or Avengers or superhero. The boys don't own any clothes or toys or gear (backpacks, lunchboxes, etc.) with that kind of brand. This isn't a particular value, it's just based on the fact that I generally don't like the look and quality of that type of stuff. My only real response to this question is that it simply isn't in the sphere of options for the kids. The boys both KNOW all about Batman and the Hulk, and they love them (and frequently reference them), but if they see a Batman shirt in the store and ask for it, they are told no and given a few mom-approved options to choose from. So it went with the lunchboxes. I found about 6 that I liked, and then let Tate choose from there. So we're both happy!

image credit: all photos courtesy of Amazon

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

One of the most fun things about moving to the South has been seeing the different food traditions. Some we expected - excellent barbecue for example. But others have really surprised us. Like the deviled eggs. Really! Many of the bar menus here have deviled eggs on them, something that I am used to making at home, but have rarely seen when eating out, And they are delicious! Also, the unroasted peanuts. All the grocery stores sell big bags of unroasted peanuts so that you can roast them at home yourself. Zach bought a big bag this week and we started roasting our own. So much fun.

We don't have many plans this weekend. We may continue our hunt for Asheville's most delicious donut, but I am looking forward to spending some time at home. The boys haven't been sleeping well, which means that Zach and I haven't been sleeping well either. Perhaps a long nap this weekend is in order!

READ: For women with periods. 

GIVE: Work has been really stressful lately. I've had my eye on this, which would make a great gift for the stressed-out woman in your life.

CELEBRATE: Marty's party is an amazing adult party, with such fun details. I can't get over the party hats!

LOVE: I felt so inspired after watching this

 

 

Love from A Distance: Hallmark's Recordable Storybooks

 

One of the hardest things about living far away from family is that my kids are so far from their aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. It means that we miss out on a lot of family events, and I am often struck by the fact that our choices potentially limit their relationship. It's for this reason that I am so particularly moved and excited when something helps solve this problem of distance.

I love Hallmark's Recordable Storybooks so much. Here's how it works: your loved one can record themselves reading a book to your child, and it is awesome! My sister and brother-in-law sent Tate "The Little Engine That Could", and they took turns reading each page. Our loved ones voices are so special, and both boys can't get enough of it.

The range of books is really great too. They include classics like "Goodnight Moon" and newer favorites like "Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You" and "The Berenstein Bears"

For only $30, the bang-for-the-buck of this gift is huge, and it will make the day of your niece or nephew or far-off loved one, the same way it does my boys.

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

Better late than never, right? That's what I'm telling myself this week. I must admit, keeping up with daily posts while learning a new job and getting settled is harder than I expected. Every week, I think to myself "This is it! This is the week when I'll be able organized and post every single day!" And then I don't. But better late than never. Right? Right.

This weekend I'm hoping to finally put away the small piles of random stuff that don't yet have a home in this new house. I also have the goal of getting the guest bed made up. We have visitors coming soon!

READ: I love Ivanka Trump. Found this to be such an interesting read on how she walks through life as the daughter of Donald Trump. (Also, who knew she was friends with Chelsea Clinton?)

GIVE: The best men's clothes.

CELEBRATE: An egg-and-confetti pinata? How fun!

LOVE: I always dreamed of being a food stylist!

P.S. The photo at the top of the post is of our neighbor, a black bear that roams into our backyard a few times a week. We've named him Beastly. Points to whoever can name the cartoon that inspired his name (hint: we were watching it with Tate when we saw Beastly for the first time, and thought it was kind of pun-y!).

 

Green. Green. More Green.

 
IMG_6730.JPG

Our house is green. Very green. Shades of green cover almost all the walls in our house. The livingroom. The bedrooms. The bathroom. The strange, apron-like curtains, some of which feature variations on green plaid. 

Even the inside of our closet is painted green. A very pale mint green.

Did I mention the kitchen countertops are also green? A kind of speckled mossy green.

But DON'T WORRY. Sometimes the green is broken up by a beige accent wall. Thank goodness.

Now look, I get it. I understand. This part of the country is so amazingly lush and beautiful and all the shades of green are totally inspiring. See what I mean?

But. While I understand the green inspiration, I think it's time to repaint. Maybe add some wallpaper? I'm not sure.

Our home, especially the livingroom, is a little dark. So I'm leaning towards a really creamy, beautiful white, with pops of color that hopefully move us out of country and into something a little more modern. That said, the house does yearn for some natural elements, so I've been trying to figure out how to bring some wood into the house.

It's fun living in a new space, thinking about what it will look like as it becomes more ours.

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

Aren't these boys just the sweetest? And aren't those misty mountains inspiring? While I'm at work, the boys have been hiking all over the place. It's nice that they've been keeping busy while I've been keeping busy.

And truly- things seem  so very busy. It's amazing how much time it takes to move in somewhere. It is hard on this brain of mine to think "where should the broom go in this house?" and "where should the cheese grater go in this house?" and "where should the envelope of Tate's sonogram images go in this house?" all day, every day, with everything I use or see. Happily, we are getting settled in but wow- I had forgotten it would be this much work.

While we try to finish our unpacking and take Tate school shopping, I hope you'll enjoy this week's banditry.

READ: A look inside the man who brought us our much-loved Dyson vacuum.

GIVE: Perfect for back-to-school, especially for anyone who uses a laptop bag. Handsome and functional.

CELEBRATE: Loving the trend of parties topped off with flower crowns. Learn how to make your own for your next party.

LOVE: I love (love love love!) living in the rhinestone buckle of the Bible belt. Won't you come visit?

 

Perfect Kindergarten Backpack

 

Tate's starting kindergarten! In just over 3 weeks, we'll be taking him to his first day of school. I can't wait! I just know he's going to love it. 

That said, we just received the list of supplies he needs, and at the very top of the list: a backpack, of course.

I want something that's durable, handsome, and not overly little boy. To that end, I am in love with the Fjallraven Kanken Mini.  The perfect backpack for kindergarten.

Let's do a rundown on why I think it's so perfect. First, the styling. Handsome but still boyish. And tons of bright colors (more than 25 last time I counted). Squarish, with no wheels (this is an important point as many public schools don't allow backpacks with wheels). Looks great on boys and girls.

And the functionality. Oh, the functionality.  Rugged construction that is durable and washable. And the dual handles! Can I tell you how much I love the dual handles? Easy for mom or dad to pick up off the floor, and the over-the-shoulder straps are designed to distribute the weight evenly over both shoulders (while I do believe that at some point Tate's shoulders will end up hunched from carrying a too-heavy, ill-constructed backpack, I am hoping that doesn't start quite yet). The tight weave of the fabric helps keep the contents waterproof, and the big zippers and buttons are perfect for little hands.

Can you tell I am a little obsessed?

In keeping with our tradition of countdown calendars, we've started one for our countdown to kindergarten (Tate's first day is August 19th). We've included fun things like buying school supplies, and back-to-school clothes shopping on the calendar as well. It's a fun time of year!

image credit: image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

Friday! Friday! I am so happy to be heading into the weekend. This week was a hard one, with two late-night meetings in a row, so I feel like I haven't had nearly as much snuggle time with my boys as I need. I think it wore Zach down a little too - multiple 15 hour days with two kids in a not-yet-fully-unpacked-house would test anybody. Tonight, we're planning a family movie screening of The Wizard of Oz. Zach just finished reading the book out loud to the boys, so now it's movie time. So fun!

We're also planning on heading out to one of the many local Farmer's Markets tomorrow, and I can't wait! We've missed great Farmer's Markets, so it will be such a treat. I hope you find time for some restorative time this weekend too. I have to believe ours will also include a few trips to the big tree swing on campus, one the boys are absolutely loving. Doesn't Ames look so proud of himself up there?

Until Monday...

READ: This concept fascinates me. Can it really work at work?

GIVE: Perfect for the friend with an upcoming overseas flight, who doesn't want cocktails at 30,000 feet?

CELEBRATE: Late summer wedding to attend? You need a perfect dress.

LOVE: How will you use today's jellybean?

 

I Need a Chic Umbrella

 

Holy weather! North Carolina weather has been UNBELIEVABLE. We've been here less than two weeks and have seen the most intense rainstorms: lightning slashing across the sky, deep thunder rolling across the mountains. It is unlike anything we've ever seen.

People talk a lot about how Portland is so rainy. But what nobody ever talks about is that rain in Portland, while always happening, is rarely happening very hard. The joke, of course, is that you can tell who the tourists are by who carries an umbrella. So the idea of pouring rain, great sheets of rain drenching you on your way to the car, is completely new.

Which brings me to the fact that I don't actually own an umbrella. And given the weather we've seen here so far, I will need one. And so the hunt commences. I want something that makes me smile when I open it up. That's bright and happy-making walking across campus. 

That is hopefully small enough to be tossed inside my (rather large) purse. And that works (you know, no popping inside out when it's windy, or a cheap metal frame that bends within a few uses).

I think I've rounded up a few good ones. Now to choose the winner, and get it in hand before the next storm hits!

 

image credit (and links to buy each umbrella!): image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4, image 5

 

 

 

Blackberry Fontina Grilled Cheese: How Sweet Eats

 

You know those times when you have a transcendent eating experience and literally can't stop thinking about it? Such is the case with the fontina blackberry grilled cheese I had a few months ago at the Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville.

I ordered it hoping for a quick breakfast. What I got was the most supremely gooey, salty, sweet, crunchy deliciousness. I have thought about that sandwich every few days since I devoured it.

So when I saw fresh blackberries at the farmer's market yesterday, I made a mental note for this weekend and started to develop a plan. Lucky for me, I'm not alone- various bloggers, notably How Sweet Eats, have also discovered this  winning combination, and set out to make it easy for me.

How Sweet Eats does two things that my original sandwich did not: adding basil and smashing up the blackberries into a kind of jam. In keeping with my original experience, I intend to leave out the basil and keep the berries whole.  I also plan to use sourdough bread, which not only has a spectacular crispy-chewiness when grilled, but also adds its own sour yeasty flavor. 

I think that other fruit-and-cheese combinations would be equally delicious. Strawberries still in season where you are? Try them paired with brie. Maybe blueberries, mozzarella and a little mint? I think the possibilities are endless!

image credit: How Sweet Eats

 

Blu Dot

 

What is is about moving into a new house that makes me want to throw all my stuff away and buy entirely new things, specifically things that feel more-this-house-ish? I'm taking some time to live here before doing anything rash, yet as I am settling in and dreaming up what could be, I find myself continuing to drift back to Blu Dot.

I've had a crush on Blu Dot's style for awhile now - specifically lusting after one certain lamp for almost two years (I know, I know, but it's a pretty great lamp! See what I mean?)

But now, I'm finding myself looking again and again at my bookmark of these perfect chairs, which are strangely and wonderfully like metal origami.

Aren't they amazing? I think that part of the reason I am so drawn to them for this house it because it is a very square box, lacking much architectural interest. As I am thinking about wall colors and wallpaper and furniture, I keep finding myself trying to inject personality into the house, to add literal and figurative angles and visual details. These chairs absolutely do that for me. I can envision the handsome profiles of 8 of them around a big wooden table - maybe all different colors (or possibly all copper?)

What do you think? Do you think a bland house can be made more interesting by furniture? Or will my very square house always feel exactly that way - square?

image credit: Blu Dot

 

Friday Banditry

 

A group of chickadees is called a "banditry." I love that word, don't you?  It's a little bit playful and mischievous - just how a weekend should be.  On Friday, I round up (just for you) a veritable banditry of interesting reads, gifts, celebrations and things to love. Enjoy! 

Is this not the superest, duperest tunnel you ever did see? Zach texted me this picture when I was at work yesterday and it made me so happy. By the time I got home, it had doubled in size and the boys' knees were red from racing through it so many times. Zach and I are celebrating our 11th (!!) wedding anniversary today, and it's these moments no one ever tells you about; how you fall a little more in love with your guy because he builds your boys the world's greatest tunnel.

While Zach and I celebrate by drinking champagne out of our own (unpacked!) glasses, enjoy this week's banditry.

READ: Break-ups are always tough, even for celebrities. But how do they manage all the other details that go with such a public break-up? Find out. (Thanks Shannon!)

GIVE: Best friend or sister newly pregnant? Ignore the terrible name and send her these

CELEBRATE: Eleven years ago, R. Jack Balthazar did the flowers for our wedding. Now they travel the world designing the most amazing events. Loving this amazing 80th birthday party they helped design.

LOVE: It's happened! Zach and I officially live somewhere with lightning bugs! We are positively giddy. Share the magic.

 

I Need a Cozy Sweater

 

So. My new office is cold. Like really, really cold. Like that brutal air conditioning cold where this bitter air is blowing on you all day and after 9 hours, you literally feel dried out.

I need a perfect cozy sweater. One that I can keep on my chair and throw over any outfit and still look reasonably put-together. And also stylish, in that cool-sweater-girl way.

I think it must be oversized. And bulky. And neutral. Possibly nubby. 

I have narrowed it down to these. All from Urban Outfitters, who (in my humble opinion), do an amazing job making cozy, oversized sweaters.

I suspect I like the last one best, but I'm still not 100% certain. I'm giving myself until Friday to make a decision. Any recommendations?

image credit: Urban Outfitters