Friday Favorites: Mother’s Day Gift Guide

“Where you lead, I will follow anywhere that you tell me to. If you need, you need me to be with you, I will follow where you lead.” – Carole King

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and no one could be more surprised than me. It seems to me like it was the beginning of April and now here we are a few days out from Mother’s Day weekend. If this holiday caught you off guard as it did me, hopefully the following gift guide will help make your weekend perfect for the mom in your life.

My mom and I have similar taste so I tend to know what she would like: anything film, travel, or coffee related. However, these gifts should make any mom happy, except, probably Emily Gilmore- ish moms. Enjoy this Mother’s Day, regardless if you have a mom in your life or not. Treat yourself and spend time with those you love.

  1. Pink Notebook // What mom could ever have too many notebooks? If your mom is anything like my mom, she always “needs” a new notebook for whatever her task is for the day.
  2. Movie Tickets // Splurge on your mom and take her to see a movie she has been wanting to see lately. My suggestion: Avengers: Endgame. However, if your mom isn’t into Marvel or superhero movies (you have my condolences). The Hustle with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson comes out of this weekend and it looks mom-worthy.
  3. Cute bag // Get your mom a purse that should wouldn’t normally buy for herself. Something fun and cute more than practical.
  4. TV Series // Your mom’s favorite television series that she loves to watch, but hasn’t purchased for herself may be the perfect gift this year.
  5. Matching pjs // My mom is terrible about buying pjs for herself. She tends to keep the same thing for years. This pink Jcrew pj set is a great mom-worthy gift.
  6. Road Trip // You may want to do something different this year and take your mom on a road trip for a few days.
  7. Chemex // The Chemex coffee system was what I got my mom for Christmas this past year and she can not rave about it enough. She is in love with the taste of coffee made in her Chemex. If your mom is a coffee lover look no further.

Friday Favorites

It’s Friday! We all made it through another week and here we are again with Friday Favorites. The last few weeks feel as if I was walking in molasses, yet as I look back it feels like I blinked and it’s already the middle of April.

As my reader’s know, I have a 101 goals in 1001 days that I’m trying to accomplish. One of my top goals is to read every book I own. I am a bookaholic so I keep buying books before I have read the last few I bought.

In order for me to get to all of these books, I have set a goal to read certain books in a certain month. For the month of April I picked four. This is an ambitious amount of books to read with just half a month left; however, my current (semi) social media fast I am currently on should leave a sufficient amount of time for me to read more.

One// Eat Pray Love

Elizabeth Gilbert had at all. A successful writing career, a great marriage, a wonderful home, yet she was incredibly unhappy. So she left it all to try the world, solo, for a year. I’m halfway through this one and I am enraptured by her frankness regarding how she feels about everything in life.

Two// My Life in France

Julia Child. Need I say more? I grew up watching Julia Child teaching me how to cook beef bourguignon. Although I’m still terrified to try to make it myself. This book was a collaboration of her and her nephew telling the story of the early years of her life in France with her husband Paul. My favorite parts so far are her stories of the food she ate while leaving there and when she signed up for cooking classes.

Three// Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Just because the introvert in the room isn’t the loudest, the funniest, or the most social DOES NOT mean we have nothing to contribute. We are powerful souls who often go unappreciated at home, in relationships, in the workplace. Susan Cain does an excellent job of dissecting the myth that extroverts are the ideal temperament in our world today. As a lifelong introvert I have found ways to use my temperament for good in the workplace and at home.

Four// Atlas Shrugged

I found this classic at a used bookstore in Denver this year and knew I needed to add it to my collection. Although it was negatively received when it first came out, it has since been considered an important an important philosophical novel that is referenced frequently in our world today. We’ll see how I’ll feel about it when I finish it.

If you see me out this month please ask me how my reading is going to keep me focused on this goal. And if you haven’t made a personal goal for the month of April, it is never to late to start.

Until Saturday, Ciao dear readers.

plant the asparagus

When I was a kid my mom and I moved to a house with a large backyard. We had always had a garden; however, I decided I would grow something new: asparagus. Excitedly, I got out our gardening books and got to work. I soon discovered it takes three years for asparagus to grow to maturity.

Three years? No, that wouldn’t work. We were only planning on living at that house for a year, why would I put all of the time and energy into lovingly and tenderly caring for something that I would never get to enjoy?

Eighteen years later I moved out of that house.

Eighteen years later I packed my car with my essentials and moved to another state. I could’ve had fifteen years of homegrown asparagus to enjoy if I had taken the time to try something new regardless of who would get to enjoy the fruit of my labor.

At this point, dear reader, you may be wondering, why am I writing about asparagus. Hang tight. I’m getting there. Lately, I have been feeling disconnected from people and places. Partly, because I may be making a major life change sometime this year and partly because, I have realized, I have a “temporary” mindset.

What do I mean by “temporary” mindset? I have always had trouble being content where I am, because I always knew I was moving on to somewhere else, eventually. If I was struggling making a friendship work, I would always think in the back of my mind, “I’ll only be here for a short time and after I move I probably won’t see you again anyway.” Or I would put off decorating my apartment exactly the way I wanted to because I would only be there a little longer. I didn’t plant the plants I wanted to or paint a second coat of paint to make it look better. All because I knew it was temporary.

As I am figuring out where I am going in life, I have realized that everything is temporary. People, places, and things. They are all going to be gone one day. So why not make the world around me a more beautiful, generous, and kind place while I am “temporarily” here? If people around me are being difficult or if a project seems messy I should still try.

I hope this post makes sense to you and that I am not just rambling about asparagus. Basically, I just don’t want to miss out on fifteen years of blessings…again. I want to fully embrace the world around me regardless of how difficult it is, in order to know I did my best to add order and beauty to the ugly messes of life.

So I encourage you to plant the asparagus in your life this week. Whatever it is you have been putting off because it is just “temporary.”

See you tomorrow for my Friday Favorites.

Meg

New England Road Trip Pt. 2

12 States. 7 Days. And we only got mistaken for sisters twice. Continued.

Day Four// Maine. Kennebunkport and Lobster were the top two things that came to mind when I thought about Maine. My mom and I knew when we started the trip we wanted to spend the majority of our time in Maine. Partly, because we both had romantic views of riding horses along a breezy shore all day and then having a lobster dinner on blankets by an open fire with the Bush clan. Or at least that’s how I had always envisioned Maine. And partly because we felt that it would be the best place to ‘vacation within our vacation.’

However, our time in Maine was quite enjoyable even if we didn’t have a lobster dinner with George and Laura. The first day we were in Portland we walked around the area where we were staying and got a feel for the city. It was more rugged than I had pictured, which was a nice change from all of the cities we had visited the last few days.

We ate a late brunch at a local restaurant, with southern flare, interestingly enough, called Hot Suppa. We talked to the waiter who said the owners had lived in the South for a few years and loved our food so much they incorporated our flavors with traditional Maine dishes. Then we walked over to the wharf and watched the fishermen for a little while. And, of course, had to stop in a few local bookstores along the way. After a long day of walking and eating, we headed back to the hotel or another movie night.

Day Five// We woke up to a chilly, rainy, kind of gloomy day our second morning in Maine. Everyone at the hotel said we got here as soon as their weather was changing over to winter. Although it was rather yucky outside, we enjoyed walking around watching the last few fall leaves swirl around the brick sidewalks.

After a quick bite to eat we headed toward Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s house, one of the Fireside Poets from New England. Unfortunately, we found out his house had closed for the winter the day before we were there, but we walked around the outside and took pictures. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House was where Henry had been born and grew up. You may remember some of his most famous works including “Paul Revere’s Ride” and The Song of Hiawatha. Little known fact is that he was the first American to translate Dante’s Divine Comedy.


After wondering around Portland for the day, we decided to eat somewhere close to the water for our final supper in Maine. We found an amazing place, The Flatbread Company, right on Casco Bay, that had the most delicious pizza. All natural, wood-fired, clay oven pizza that makes me want to fly there tonight just thinking about it. After we were full we stopped in a few shops on our walk back to the hotel and enjoyed our last night getting room service for desert and watching a movie.

Day Six// We started our long drive home today. Vermont was the only state we hadn’t visited so we decided to take the scenic route for a couple of hours to add the last state to our list. After all we thought, “Vermont must be beautiful this time of year, with all that snow.” Although it wasn’t snowing yet, we were both glad we took the extra time to check out the The Green Mountain State. After a long morning and afternoon of driving , we stayed one more night on the road, which happened to be Hartford. It was great to finally to relax another night before our last leg of the journey home.

Day Seven// We were excited to get up early our last day to check out the Mark Twain House. I grew up reading Mark Twain and he his still one of our favorite authors of all time. The great thing about Mr. Twain is that he has a quote for every occasion. The weather? “Everyone seems to complain about it, but nobody seems to do anything about it. Fashion? “Clothes make the man. A naked man has little or no influence in society.”

His house was beautiful and we enjoyed walking the grounds. Then we hit the road again. After a long, long drive we finally arrived home. Our week-long exploration of New England came to an end, but the memories did not.

After the trip I checked one item off of my 101 goals in 1001 days list. If you have not read my post about my goal list, check it out here.


New England Road Trip Pt. 1

12 States. 7 Days. Endless cups of coffee. And we only got mistaken for sisters twice.

Last fall my mom and I traveled to every state in New England. We decided since we were driving to Maine we would take I-95 up the entire Eastern Seaboard. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We paid our weight in tolls up the coast and then took the scenic route back home. We left Virginia with our GPS set to Portland, ME.

Day One// The first day of our trip we woke up in Philadelphia after a late night arrival. We had never been there before so all we knew we wanted to do was eat a famous Philly cheesesteak, run up the “Rocky Steps,” and see where National Treasure was filmed. Oh yeah, and it just so happened that the Declaration of Independence was signed there too.

We did our homework beforehand and scheduled a tour of the city, which was phenomenal. We asked everyone we met where they got their cheesesteak. Everyone said a different place and we were so hungry so we just went to the place closest to us. After a late night visit to the “Rocky Steps,” we called it a day.

Day Two// We had planned on spending one night in Philadelphia; however, we found we liked the city so much we stayed a second night and get up super early the next day. After grabbing some coffee and filling up our tank, we got back on I-95 and drove the longest in a day we had driven. Destination: Providence, RI.

On the way we drove through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and finally Rhode Island. Along the way we spent some time in New Haven and took a tour of Yale. Typical Rory and Lorelai walking around Branford with coffee in hand. Sad we never did see Logan or any of the Life and Death Brigade. However, we did drink really good coffee and took a tour of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The campus of Yale University (I don’t know the guy on the left. Kinda looks like he’s stealing that bike)

We arrived at our hotel in Providence, right around the corner of Brown University, later that evening. We were exhausted after our long day and took a shuttle to an Italian restaurant highly recommended by locals. The food was good, but not a huge fan overall.

Day Three// After a great night’s sleep we walked over to a local coffee shop that the girls at the hotel said was superb and for good reason. After we were fully caffeinated, we hit the road again. Today the destination was Portland, ME. Along the way we stopped in Boston to see the Paul Revere House. We got into town as the entire city held a parade in our honor. Well, in reality, they had just won the World Series, but we didn’t know that yet, so just let us think it was for us.

My friend from Boston (thanks G!) had written an itinerary for us and a restaurant list so we were ready for the day. After getting through the madness of the celebration we got back on the road and drove through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and finally Maine. We hit the state just as the weather was changing into fall. Maine was beautiful and gloomy all at the same time. After a long three days of travel, we treated ourselves to room service and Netflix (National Treasure, of course).



When in Rome…

Stay tuned for part 2 of our whirlwind one week tour of New England. It was an amazing trip and we drank some really great coffee along the way. I found that I really do like New England and it’s people.

Have any of you been to New England. If so I’d love to hear about it. Drop me a line or comment below of your favorite restaurants or things to do. Until next time, don’t forget to call your grandma.

Meg


goals

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” – Stephen King

Goals usually give me a sense of dread. Although I love lists and a clear sense of where I am going, the word ‘goals’ used to make me feel as though I was lacking something. I felt as if I needed to do more, to accomplish more, or just to be more. I used to have 5 am runs, kale shakes, and eight glasses of water a day on my list, but let’s get real. I’m not a failure if I ate a doughnut and overslept: I AM HUMAN.

Goals are those things we accomplish in the awkward period between life and death. Although, the seconds are slipping away as you read this, there is still time to do what you want, to be what you want, and to go where you want.

I have found that goals are there to make sure I am living life to the fullest. If I accomplish my goals, then great and if I don’t then I can figure out what went wrong and do better next time. Goals are not there to make me feel inadequate, but adequate. I can and will accomplish whatever I decide to accomplish.

In October of last year I wrote 101 goals in 1001 days. Some were as simple as smile more, while others were more ambitious as sell one of my screenplays. Some I’m really confident in and have already accomplished, and others are going to be a stretch. Some are physical, mental, and emotional. One is just a wish to meet someone I met over Instagram.

I was inspired to start my own list after I read Makenzie Horan’s at Design Darling. She has had several lists through the years and I thought this is a great way to see how much I will accomplish in a couple of years. The time is going to pass regardless, so I might as well do what I want.

Here is my list for the next couple of years. I have a bit to go, but now that I have a healthy view of goals, I am looking forward to every step of the journey. I will update you as I get to mark off items on my list. Do you have a list or if you are inspired to write one, let me know. I’d love to see it!

Until next time, don’t forget to drink a kale shake every now and then,

Meg



Friday Favorites

This week I decided to do something different for my Friday Favorites. While I’ve been Marie Kondo – ing my house, I’ve been going through all of my childhood memorabilia. I have come to the conclusion that the 90s was the best decade to become a person. From the books, movies, shows, and candy, the 90s was where it all happened.

Although there were several shows I watched as a 90s child, there were five shows that I would buy just to recreate the joys of my childhood. So take a moment and go back in time to 90s Megan and picture to-my-waist French braided brunette waves, white Keds, and a TV tray with my mom’s famous spaghetti. Ready? Here we go.

One // The Torkelsons

A mom and five kids, plus Border Hodges, what else could you want? The Torkelsons was a show about a single mom in the South raising five kids with a border that lived with them, Mr. Hodges. The Torkelsons wouldn’t have made it in today’s world, but I loved them. I always could relate to the oldest of the clan, Dorothy Jane, because she had an eccentric Southern single mom as well.

Two// Growing Pains

Kirk Cameron. I repeat Kirk Cameron. He was the coolest, hippest big brother of all time. Or at the time I thought so. Although Growing Pains did start in the 80s, I got the tail end of it in the early 90s, when I watched the reruns that starred a young Leo DiCaprio. Mike, Carol, and Ben were the best part of the show.

Three // Full House

Full House was my jam growing up. Every Tuesday night I would ask to watch “Michelle.” Two uncles, a dad, an aunt, three sisters, and a golden retriever, all under one house. How cool is that?! I didn’t know at the time, but the oldest sister, D.J., was the real-life little sister of Kirk Cameron on Growing Pains. But let’s get real it was all about Uncle Jesse.

Four // ER

This may not have been a typical show for a 90s kid to watch, but I watched shows with my mom too. Although there were scenes I didn’t watch if they were too graphic, you can never go wrong having George Clooney, a fellow Kentuckian, as your ER doctor.

Five // Early Edition

This was by far one of my favorite 90s shows. A guy starts randomly getting tomorrow’s newspaper today and he has 24-hours to make everything right. I remember in one of my favorite episodes he has to save two people at the same time and struggling to do both. He doesn’t know how he was chosen to get the ‘early edition,’ but he eventually has to quit his job in order to save Chicago every 24-hours.

Friday Favorites

“I’ve been fighting with one arm behind my back. What happens when I’ve been set free?” – Captain Marvel

This past week has been emotionally exhausting, yet productive. I worked hard and was able to check some major items off of my to-do list. If anyone knows me, you know my to-do lists are a major thing for me. If it’s written down, it happens. If it isn’t, that’ll be a no. Another reason I am pretty sure, Rory Gilmore is based after me (still waiting for my royalty check, Amy).

In the midst of my crazy, anxiety-ridden life, there are five things I have enjoyed this week and hopefully you will too!

One // Hydroflask

I researched for a few months, whether or not a Hydroflask was worth the price. After talking to a few coworkers and researching reviews online, I decided to join the club. For my birthday, I bought myself the 32 oz. double-walled water bottle in mint green. They have discounted that color, which is why I bought it at the sale price. It did not disappoint. I have found I drink more water and it stays cold all day.

Two // Sparking Joy

As many of you know from my previous post, I have been slowly, but surely organizing my life. It takes time. It is frustrating and you do not see results immediately. But, take heart dear reader, I can assure you it is worth the headache. I will post a video soon of the process of decluttering and organizing.

Three // Parenthood

I know I am late to get on a Parenthood kick, but it is so good! I’m on the fourth season now and I’m hooked. My mom has recommended if for years, however, I was having trouble seeing Lauren Graham in any other role than Gilmore Girls. Have no fear fellow Gilmore Girls fans; although, her character does remind me of Lorelia, it did not affect the show. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be thankful for your crazy, messed up family too.

Four // Captain Marvel

“I have nothing to prove to you.” – Captain Marvel. Preach girl. So I’ll be honest Captain Marvel was not my favorite Marvel movie; HOWEVER, I enjoyed it and it was needed in order to see Nick Fury’s history. Being an avid Marvel fan (I just completed a Marvel marathon, in preparation for Avengers: Endgame), there were several things lacking that I always expect in a Marvel film. Conclusion, watch it. See what you think. Share your thoughts with me. If you are new to the series (what have you been doing with your life?), don’t judge based on this film.

Five // Fruits and Veggies

Usually when the sun finally comes out after a long winter, my mood instantly lifts: not this year. For some reason this spring has been one of the most difficult. I don’t know why, but my body has been craving fruits and veggie more than usual. I’ve always been a fruit fanatic, but lately that’s all I’ve been wanting. Obviously, my body is lacking something right now. So in the meantime I’ll be over here scouring Pinterest for more yummy recipes.

Let me know what has given you joy this week!

Until next time,

Meg

Traveling Coffee

Not all who wonder are lost. Most of them are just looking for coffee.

I’ve recently become a traveling coffee junkie. That’s right folks. Those little coffee trailers you see roaming from place to place setting up in various locations and caffeinating the general populous. I had seen enough cool pictures on Instagram to get out and see what the hype was all about.

Conclusion: any way to get more caffeine in me is the way to go. Although coffee on wheels is just like any other coffee shop, there are good coffee shops and not so good coffee shops. I would definitely do a quick search for local coffee on wheels and see what the locals say. However, trying new coffee is half the fun. So don’t miss out on something new just from one bad review.

Last week I tried two coffee trucks. The one pictured above I found the first week they were opened. The Bouncing Bean was offering a special their first week of buy one get one free drink. How could I pass this up?

I tried a latte and a hot chocolate. And they did not disappoint. Quality espresso was key. They had good prices and friendly service. The owner, Andrew, was happy to answer any questions we had. Of the two I tried I can definitely say this one was my favorite.

Although I enjoyed trying the other, I would not recommend it. I encourage you to get out and try the local coffee trucks in your area this week. Not only does it support local businesses, but it is fun to try new things, even if they aren’t your favorite.

Until next time folks, my advice is to drink your coffee slower in order to savor every sip.

Meg

Carly Jean Los Angeles

“Life is a party. Dress like it.” – Audrey Hepburn

I was visiting my friend in L.A. and one late Saturday morning (I don’t think anyone gets up early in the City of Angels) she suggested we visit a pop-up shop a few streets over from her house. Excellent suggestion. We stayed for over 2 hours! I couldn’t believe everything was so affordable and versatile. That was my first introduction to Carly Jean Los Angeles.


Carly Jean Los Angeles is an online boutique for women that specializes in a capsule wardrobe: a wardrobe that you can completely mix and match. The result: never having a closet full of random clothes that you can’t put together to make an outfit. The first couple of items I bought were a kimono, a few basic t-shirts, and a bandana. All of which I wear frequently.

This past fall I purchased this long-sleeve pullover and I would wear it everyday if I could get away with it. I. Love. It. Super soft and comfortable. I do not believe they have this exact item anymore but this one is similar. I’m super excited her new spring collection for 2019 will be launching tomorrow. If you have a chance follow them on instagram and check out her website and it will not disappoint.

Have you bought anything from her shop before? I’d love to hear about it.

Until next time,

Meg