I wish I had enough to tell you to make this a regular column, but, alas, my life is pretty boring for the most part (and I already share the most exciting parts of it with you… the food!) Anyway, I’ve gathered enough little tidbits and fun products and things to share to fill a post, so, here we go!
(psst… as per usual, there are some affiliate/referral links in this post, and if you purchase I’ll receive a small percentage in return. Thanks in advance for supporting me… and my Amazon shopping habit, lol).
The most exciting thing in our life right now is… we’re headed to Japan next month! We’ll be spending most of our time in Tokyo and Kyoto, with one night at an onsen in Hakone and two nights at Tokyo Disney (because why not?) Have you been? I’d love recommendations for any can’t-miss sights and, more importantly, eats! Domo arigatou gozaimasu.
I’ve actually been to Japan before, when I was 13. Our town had a sister city on the Northern Island of Hokkaido, and a group of 20 or so 8th grade students were lucky enough to get to go for a week (and a group of their students came to our town later that year). I stayed with a host family and we explored the area, visiting the schools, learning how to write our names in Japanese, partaking in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, pounding mochi, and freaking out at all the cool chopsticks and nicknaks in the 100 yen store.
At that point in my life I was a bit of a picky eater (to say the least) so I remember subsisting that week on mostly white rice. Read my journal from that trip and I think I mentioned the “weird little packets of dried fish” they served with the school lunch multiple times. Ha.
I’ve actually been reviewing that journal quite a bit lately because my 8th grade self had the foresight to write down some common japanese phrases in there. I know I won’t be able to remember most of it, but when traveling I like to at least learn the basic niceties of a language (hello, thank you, excuse me and the like) so I don’t feel like a total dumb American tourist. A little effort goes a long way.
I’m hoping, now that my palate has matured significantly since 8th grade, that I can actually enjoy the amazing food that Japan has to offer. And of course, share our eats and adventures with you (be sure to follow me on Instagram as I plan to use Stories a lot while we’re there!)
Can one be a crazy plant lady AND a crazy cat lady? I think so, it just takes some extra thought. I think I’ve finally figured out the trick to the cats not eating the plants (strategic buying and placement, mainly) I’ve gone from 0 to over a dozen plants in less than 6 months. Some are happier than others (I’ve killed 2 ferns already, clearly I’m not a fern girl) but I’m loving the energy the greenery adds to our home.
I bought these Hot Chocolate Cups a few years ago in a random gift shop in Oregon, but had never really used them for their intended purpose. When I found myself with a few more succulents than I had pots, I pulled these out of the cabinet. Turns out, they are quite possibly the cutest succulent pots, well, ever. I die.
It’s funny, really. Since we’ve moved, I’ve become slightly obsessed with 3 things that I never really noticed before:
Before this year, I could care less. I didn’t own a single house plant or candle (well, maybe I had one candle someone gave me years ago but I’d never burned it) I’d read books from the library or ebooks and hadn’t purchased an actual physical book (other than cookbooks) in years. No space for them. We regularly took loads of books to the used bookstore, which makes me sad thinking of all the books I could’ve had in my library. Because I really do love books! Needless to say, being able to indulge in these 3 little things has made me immensely happy (I tell my husband, be glad it’s not shoes or diamonds or some other big, expensive luxury). I think that’s a healthy indulgence, don’t you?
Maybe it’s the extra storage (I now have space for a honest to goodness bookshelf, what a concept!) but I’ve been re-purchasing some of the best books I’ve read over the years like The Bookman’s Tale, Persuasion, and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, seeking out the hardcover or special editions with gorgeous covers where possible. I still do most of my reading via my kindle and the public library, but I plan to buy those 5-star books to add to my library.
About that library… This Drop Caps series from Penguin combines my love of books with my love of design. I first saw them on my friend Kendall’s instagram, used in a table setting she designed for 12th Table (can’t wait to see the final pics!) I love the neon colors (and the edges of the book pages are painted to match) and the gorgeous illuminated letter covers by Jessica Hiche, a designer/illustrator I’ve followed for years. As much as I would love to have the full set (only $400! lol), Taylor would kill me, so I just bought F, M, L, H, N, and S, some of which I’ve read, and others which I look forward to reading. And yes, I’m totally judging the book by the cover here, but they are just too pretty not to!
On the cookbook front, I’ve been making an effort to actually use the cookbooks in my collection. Recently, we’ve been cooking a lot from Skinnytaste: Fast and Slow (which was just nominated for a James Beard award, no less! congrats Gina!), Date Night In (Ashley’s dead-easy pecorino pasta is one of our staples), and Back Pocket Pasta, a gorgeous new pasta book that Taylor got me for my birthday. I’ve also pre-ordered the new Tartine All Day cookbook (I mean, there’s a gorgeous pot of jam on the front so how could I not?) and I just got my hands on a copy of fellow food blogger Robin’s new book, Add a Pinch, which is equally gorgeous and I can’t wait to dive in and try some of the fresh Southern recipes.
Candles, well, let’s just say I’ve got more than a few of them now. I can’t do really strong/floral scents (or the ones that smell like laundry detergent), but soft, fruity candles are my jam. This whiskey + fig candle that I picked up in San Francisco last month is my current favorite (plus that container is going to make a perfect succulent pot when it burns down), along with this white and gold pineapple candle from West Elm (I’ll be reusing that container as well, no doubt).
We took a little road trip to Louisville two weekends ago with two of our good friends. Despite the fact it’s an easy 2 1/2 hour drive from Nashville, I’d never been. It’s charming, and delicious (and oh boy did we eat a lot)! My favorites were the donuts from HiFive doughnuts, S’mores chess pie and bourbon slushies from Feast, and everything about Muth’s candies (especially the friendly people who run it).
Lately I’ve been dealing with some major neck and shoulder tension. I’ve realized that I simply need to move more during the day. yes, that means going to the gym regularly (ugh) but also forcing myself to take regular breaks from the computer, no matter how absorbed I am in what I’m doing. This REST app for mac has helped immensely with that. It blacks out your computer screen every hour (or whatever interval you choose) and prompts you to take a break. I just have to be better about abiding by the breaks, and stop clicking the ‘let me work’ button.
I wish my wardrobe was more stylish, but I have such a hard time shopping for clothes for myself. I’ve pretty much given up on StitchFix (although I do still have a $50 credit, so I guess I’ll give them one more chance). Has anyone here tried Trunk Club? Similar idea, except it’s more personalized (you get to actually have a conversation with your stylist about what you’re looking for) and you get about 12 different items to try on at home from Nordstrom. I have a feeling the clothes will be a bit pricey for my tastes, but I’m hoping to discover some hidden gems that will be worth it in the long run (my goal is to have fewer, higher quality pieces of clothing that I LOVE. Right now I feel pretty ho-hum about most of my wardrobe, I hope to change that!)
I’m sure you’ve seen the ads for FrameBridge, but I finally ordered a few instagram minis for our bare walls, this photo and this photo to be exact. I also have a few bigger pieces of art I’m looking to frame, and the quotes I’ve been getting at Michael’s and whatnot are ridiculous. Framebridge seems like a great affordable alternative. Use this link to get $10 off your first order!
Don’t forget! Only a few more days to win yourself an autographed set of our cookbooks (including both print ones and a full set of That’s My Jam ebooks). This is a rare giveaway that is open to readers worldwide, so get your entries in before it’s too late!
Oh, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! :)