Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, loves!

This is a beautiful day! First, it’s Friday. And that’s always something I love, but it’s also my grandmother’s birthday, and I’m celebrating with her. In person. How many people get to say they’re hanging out with their grandmother on her birthday approximately a century after her birth. I have my husband with me. I have my four sweet babes with me.

My heart is FULL.

The only thing that would make this 5-day weekend better would be coming home to find out that our parents finished up the final details in the upstairs bathroom while we were away (they are so sweet to stay in our home for us when we travel…and they’re always doing little things for us…and since we are finishing up the remodel, I’m just throwing it out there…in case they’re reading. Just saying. No biggie.)

{These were taken when Craig and I visited in November without the kids…she is always making funny faces in photos and cracking up. Maybe that’s why she and our sweet Carter-man are the very best of friends!)

Really, though, what an amazing trip.

And it is a trip. The kids are here. It’s not a vacation with little people.

But, I won’t complain because they are excellent little travelers. They always fly well. We always receive so many compliments in the airport about their excellent behavior. We always know they’ll behave in hotels and restaurants. They’re a little judgmental about rental cars – but that’s probably my fault. I’m a neat freak and rental cars are never up to my standard of clean.

To be able to surprise my grandmother for her big birthday is something very special to me. We’ve been making it a point to come to Texas to see her every 2-3 months. It’s a quick flight from Florida, and she is my favorite person in the world. We alternate trips with the kids and just ourselves, but they would never be okay with missing out on cake.

Anyway, I’m just so excited to be here with my amazing, beautiful, special, wonderful, spectacular grandmother on her birthday with all the people I love most in the world – and I’m still bringing you my Friday favorites. As always, I promise they are super random, but still my favorites.

{How blessed are we that my own grandmother gets to spend so much time with our sweet littles even though we live 1,500 miles apart? How blessed are we that they love her so much, and that she gets to see them grow up? And how blessed are we to be able to make this trip so often throughout the year so she doesn’t have to miss out on this time?}


My favorite part of the day. I just love the new start, the quiet time with a cup of coffee. Coffee as a whole. A little quiet time alone with my husband to start the day. I love it. It’s my favorite part of the day. Followed very closely by bedtime. Perhaps it’s just the whole thing about quiet that gets to me?! Oh, and I like my coffee black.

The Open Sunroof

Before I was a mom, I always drove a convertible – and then I had a hundred kids. So, the next best thing is a great big sunroof, and it always has to be open. I love the fresh air and the sunshine when I’m driving. Seriously, it’s my favorite.

The Phrase “I love you for no reason”

I have no idea how or when it started, but our sweet Charlotte and our sweet Carter – the twins – like to tell us this. “Mommy, I love you for no reason!” “Daddy, I love you for no reason!” and it melts my heart. Every single time. I cannot even with that saying, especially when it comes with a darling little hug and those sweet little voices.

People Rocking Their Lives

I just have this thing for people who are living their best life and making the most of what they’re doing. I love it. I love to hear the smile in people’s voices when they’re so happy with where they are in life and what they are doing and how things are going. It’s such a beautiful change from all the complaints and the pessimism of the world – and it makes me smile.

Spending Time With My Grandmother 

How truly blessed and fortunate are we that we get to spend this kind of time with a woman who has lived a century? How blessed are with that she is with us – and sharper, wittier, and funnier than ever – to get to know her great-grandchildren. Our kids get to spend time with the woman who has been my favorite person on earth since the day I was born, and the twins are like 95 years younger than she is. That’s amazing. It’s so amazing.

One of the things that make my heart so happy since she moved herself off the farm and into an assisted living facility last summer the staff and their kindness. Anytime we visit, they are always so good about remembering us, and they are always so kind to tell us how lucky our grandmother is to have so many visitors despite how far we all live. She never goes more than six to eight weeks without someone making the trip from California or Florida to see her between myself and my brother, my cousins, my parents, and my uncles.

What breaks my heart is when they also share that some of their residents haven’t had that many visitors all year and their families live in the area. Some have no visitors at all. I am grateful every single day that we are able to book a flight and see her anytime we want.

You guys…if you are so fortunate to have a living grandparent – get up and visit. Don’t make excuses. I cannot tell you how amazing it is. How many stories my grandmother tells us from her own youth and from her own days as a young woman. She’s so hilarious, and she’s such a wonderful storyteller. There is nothing quite like listening to her tell us the stories of her childhood and her life, and to hear her sharing those stories with the kids – or to go into her room and find her watching baseball – she is a huge Orioles fan – or watching Tiger play golf (she’s so disappointed in his performance in recent years) or catching up on football with Craig. She’s an amazing lady – and I wouldn’t trade this time with her for anything.

This is a woman who is so gracious, so elegant, so classy, so beautiful, and so funny. She’s active and loves to be outside, in the garden, on the farm, taking classes, volunteering in her church, leading prayer, taking care of animals, reading a book while she drinks her coffee on her porch – she likes John Grisham novels and such. She’s a woman who calls us to ask if we can bring her some beer when we visit so she can have one in the evening, and who is so impatient with “old people” as she calls them – even though they are probably 20-30 years younger than her. She cannot handle that they don’t take care of themselves.

She’s spectacular. I only wish you could all spend a little time with my grandmother. I promise you that you will never meet a more beautiful person inside or out. And that is my Friday favorite every day.


Friday Favorites: 5 Things I Always Have At Home

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Happy Friday, friends!

I love Fridays. It’s amazing how that’s changed over the years, though. Before kids, we loved Fridays because it usually meant we were boarding a flight to one of our favorite cities for a weekend away, or it meant date night, or it meant we got to sleep in like crazy the following morning.

Fridays changed a big with kids. It became spur-of-the-moment Disney evenings. It became long weekend getaways without so much wine-drinking because it was more hanging with the kids in the pool or a lazy river somewhere. These days, my idea of a dream Friday is the one we have planned tonight.

Not. A. Damn. Thing.

Seriously. I’m tying up my loose ends, finishing my weekly deadlines, picking the kids up, and we are coming home. We are going to play outside. We are not going to rush the kids to bed. We are going to stay up later than usual with them. We will grill dinner on the deck, sit down and watch the kids run rampant, and we are going to be in the moment doing nothing more than enjoying our sweet life.

We don’t get many moments like that because we are so busy all the time, but I’m so far off topic right now I’m sure I’ve lost you. It’s FRIDAY! I love Fridays, and I love alliteration, and I love so many millions of things, so I’m starting a new series to share with you all; my Friday Favorites. Whether it’s recipes, cocktails, trips, tips, advice, tricks, photos, books, or stuff, I’ve got so many favorites – and who am I to withhold the best things ever from you all?

Today’s Friday Favorites is all about my house. Five of my Favorite things we always have in our house. Seriously…you won’t find a day in which we don’t have all of these at all times. You’ll note coffee is not on the list, but it’s a given. It’s like a toilet. You won’t find any of our bathrooms without one, and you’ll never find a lack of coffee.

These five items are things I can’t live without. I use them every day – or at least want them on hand every day in case the desire strikes.

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Fresh Blooms

You probably see a lot of photos of flowers on my Instagram feed, and it’s because I adore them. I once read that having live plants in the house makes it feel more like home, it makes it more personal, and it increases the quality of the air (I have no actual idea if that’s true or not). Since I don’t like “stuff” I choose to decorate with fresh flowers.

  • They make me happy
  • They’re so pretty
  • They’re so elegant
  • They smell nice

You’ll find fresh flowers on my master bedroom nightstand (not my husbands, though), in the master bath, on the entryway table, on the island in the kitchen, on the formal dining room table, and on the family room fireplace mantel – at all times. I’m obsessed. I know.

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Wine – Red and White

Every day is a reason to celebrate.

And we have four kids.

So we keep lots of wine. We love red and white, so you’ll always find some Sangiovese, Chianti, Malbec, or a Pinot Gris in our house.

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Cherry Tomatoes

I might be a little obsessed with cherry tomatoes. We might have had a moment a few months ago in which I had some that didn’t turn out the way I wanted, we parted ways, and they weren’t in my house for a few months. We’ve since rekindled our relationship, so you’ll find about 4 packages of cherry tomatoes in my house at any given time. Why? Because they are delicious on everything.

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Lemons – a kitchen staple. I use them to minimize my pores (with a cotton ball, a little freshly squeezed lemon juice works wonders for my sad pores). We use them to cook. We use them in our sparkling water. I don’t know where my lemon obsession came from, but I love fresh items with which to cook (though I kind of suck at cooking), so it’s just one of those things we always have, we always use, and we get a little freaked out when we don’t have a few on hand.

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Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask

I cannot live without this. Between this and the occasional use of lemons on my face, my pores have never looked better. And since they’re honestly a lot like crop circles on my face, I cannot even begin to put into words what this miracle mask has done to my pores (I pair it with Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer for flawless results). A lot of the charcoal masks I’ve tried are difficult to remove, not entirely comfortable, and many irritate my skin. Clinique’s charcoal mask is silky smooth, washes right off, and it leaves my skin looking and feeling vibrant.

What can’t you live without at home? Which items make you feel all out-of-sorts and crazy when you run out or low? I’d love to hear!