40 Hours in Nashville.

D251F52A-D56F-4D68-A2E2-DA512C7804C4.JPG

Girls weekend in Nashville! My friend Savannah and I trekked up to the center of the Bible belt to celebrate my friend Holly’s birthday, and I have to tell you - I was seriously looking forward to this weekend. Something about planning ahead and being able to look forward to a super fun girls-only trip, well, I don’t know about you but that always seems to motivate me. Need to clean the house? Just think about Nashville. Need to finish mailing a zillion DoTERRA packages? Think about Nashville! My kids are going nuts, there’s no food in the house, dinner has to be cooked by someone, I need to wake up early to exercise… think of Nashville! Having this trip on the horizon really kept me motivated, and it lived up to all the expectations!

I haven’t ever really “done” Nashville, even though its not all that far from Atlanta. We went to a wedding there a few years ago, and it was a total blast, but we were in and out of that city within like 24 hours because Everett was a baby and all that good stuff. So this time around Holly took us around to all her favorite spots, and even though it was a fast trip, we managed to do SO much (its amazing how much you can do when you only have to feed yourself and tie your own shoes).

340F23F3-EBA7-4A9B-8A18-977FA674BF03.JPG
JPEG image-8E36E62E1140-2.jpeg
31B3D47C-9855-46A6-A53E-FD9760648C36.JPG
514F3802-09D9-4281-85FE-31D73F574A2E.JPG
49173BF3-2A28-4678-92C6-7C40358A7A46.JPG

This little spot called Cafe Roze was kind of like, the most perfect little cafe in all the land. I mean, when you have a choice between a rose cardamom latte, an orange blossom latte, and a black sesame latte, how do you actually choose?!

836D938C-E86B-450C-820A-00EBF4C179A1.JPG
3FF841BC-308F-46CA-ABAB-CE3E55CF323B.JPG
5E672A83-ED82-4CDC-B981-E68672EB0BE8 2.JPG

Cured is a nail salon that does a lot of extra special glittery, foiled, holographic & iridescent wonders to fingers and goodness gracious, I am still going gaga over my nails. We all went with the foiled technique and it was a GOOD CHOICE.

F2513B50-71F7-4679-B5C3-441920F1894E.JPG
ACS_0061.JPG

I have this thing for floors. Said every basic girl, basically ever.

ACS_0060.JPG

Frothy Monkey, Frothy Monkey! Because one hot beverage per day just really isn’t enough. Although I really need someone to teach me how to man up and enjoy a matcha. I just can’t, you guys.

JPEG image-8E36E62E1140-1.jpeg
JPEG image-9505BF87BAD8-6.jpeg

Also, we did a crazy good dinner at Milk & Honey and I am still dreaming of that porky fried rice. Also, the burrata and fig on sourdough toast situation was exactly what the doctor ordered. Still kind of dreaming on that one, too.

photo.jpg
JPEG image-9505BF87BAD8-2.jpeg
JPEG image-8E36E62E1140-3.jpeg

I got a little carried away in Lemon Laine, which is this wondrous natural beauty and wellness shop where we all got to geek out. You all know how much I love me some green beauty products! Lemon Laine had an ample smattering of skincare products specifically, and I was able to sample so many clean products that I’ve only ever seen online. It was really fun to try out so many things while we were in-store! I purchased a few fun things to try out so I will report back with thoughts! The green beauty trials live on!

JPEG image-9505BF87BAD8-4.jpeg
1E850FB4-29F3-4B6D-AA0C-19A7EA312352.JPG

Then we got gussied up and went out to celebrate the woman of the hour. There was dynamite food (I forget the restaurant!), a really fun crew and mayyyyybe even some dancing. I basically didn’t sleep but it was worth every moment of exhaustion for all the laughter!

9DA86E66-379E-49EC-AB57-198068274252.JPG

I’m so grateful for these friendships in my life. I just have to say, becoming a mom can be really all-consuming, and I honestly have felt like in the years since becoming a mother that my focus hasn’t really been on my friendships. I’ve been figuring out family, figuring out who I am all over again, and figuring out how to run a business while staying home with my kids. I have relationally really leaned into my family over the past several years and I am so grateful that I have had my sisters and parents who’ve been so supportive.

But there is truly nothing like having girlfriends! At the beginning of 2018 I made a promise to myself to take more intentional time for my friendships, and you guys, it’s been like the best 2 months ever! I have had so many lovely coffee dates and connect times with some beautiful women who inspire and uplift me, and I am so grateful! This trip was one of those experiences that left me feeling so full of love and admiration for life!

I just want you to know, if you’re in a season where you feel like your current situation is all-consuming and you can’t possibly add anything else to your list - I get it. I really really do! Be good to yourself and don’t stress about it. My biggest piece of advice would be, when you feel a little space in your mind open up (because I truly feel like you need space in your mind, not your calendar!) - carve out the tiniest bit of time to lean into 1 friendship at time and see how you do. There is truly nothing like the “iron sharpens iron” that comes from friendships with people who love you, know you and want the best for you.

Like me and Nashville. We just met but we’re already besties and I think it’s already time that I make a second voyage ;)

P.S. - I made a little Nashville travel diary over on my IGTV if you want to see more video clips of these spots! xx

Charleston Ladies Weekend.

Chaaahlston, dahlin'.

In case you're wondering, that's the legit way to pronounce "Charleston". C'mon, say it with me, "CHAAAH-lston." You got it. Now all you need is a mint julep in hand and perhaps a pimento cheese sandwich out on the steamy back porch. Let's sink into this sweetly-southern town a bit, shall we?

I just had a ladies weekend in Charleston with some of my best friends from Boston, Charity and Carrie. Now that none of us live there anymore, we decided to meet up for a warm-weather retreat (my moaning about the bitter New York snow might have had something to do with it) where my darling Carrie and her husband Troy were residing. I say "were", because they literally moved two days after I boarded my plane back to New York. Relocated to the savvy, posh hub of London. So, while this Charleston memory is lingering so presently in my mind, their apartment is already empty and all their warm belongings (along with their baby AND cat) are already off in another country, awaiting another thrilling adventure. And while I think they were totally CRAZY to host a girls weekend in their home in the midst of all their packing, craigs-listing and overall MOVING, I am even more thankful for their crazy, over-the top generosity and love. Wow, what an absolute blast I had with these heartfelt friends. And Charleston! It's a truly delightful town to visit, especially for a southerner like me.

Map.

Charleston is the kind of place where time seems to have stood still. It's a tiny bit of Edith Wharton's Newport and a rich helping of Scarlett O'Hara's Atlanta. The downtown streets are stately, lined with ostentatious antebellum-era homes and whispering moss and the kinds of tangled flowers that only flourish in this heatstroke kind of humidity. The streets are naturally cobbled, uneven and uncaring. The air is thickened with ocean salt and the scent of sweltering boiled peanuts. Family monograms are ubiquitous, likened to a monarch's coat of arms, and borne across apparel, mailboxes, cars, you name it. Even etched into the frilly, fold-down socks worn by the scrambling children that keep bumping into me on the sidewalk. They're almost sickeningly polite. I can't help but feel a tiny little bit of judgment toward these blatant, grandiose displays of southern pride. But a secret part of me is also allured by this peculiar community, who grasp so tightly to their roots, I can almost feel the pressure in my sun-blinded eyes. Time to take cover under a mighty magnolia.

//  Rainbow row //

// Waterfront pier. Swings. Gelato. Need I say more? //

// This gal is such a good mama. I was inspired by her all weekend long. //

// Love this shot. Our tourism is visible! //

Mmm.

Everything I ate in this town was delish. Troy and Carrie cooked for me and didn't let me help clean up once, so it was TRULY a vacation unlike any other. Coincidentally, this is also the weekend where my 5-month pregnant belly popped... hmm. I might be seeing the connection here. Because I ate WELL. Although we did a lot of meals at their home in our pjs, a few noteable places to mention (if you find yourself hungry in Charleston):

Mamacita

We took a winding drive out to Sullivan's Island where there are rows and rows of beachside cafes. After lots of tempting cravings and indecision, we finally feasted upon fish tacos at Mamacita. A worthwhile place to munch if you're willing to trek out there. The beach was gorgeous, too.

5 Loaves

The BEST lunch I've had in a month? In Charleston, at 5 Loaves. It's a farm fresh, organic cafe and and not super-duper southern (although the lemonade was pretty to-die-for.) Though not in Charleston proper, this cafe has several location and is worth the 30-minute wait (no reservations!) We ate in Mt. Pleasant. And it was truly, oh so pleasant.

Belgian Gelato.

I had a flashback to my over-indulgence in Italy at this delicious gelataria, adorably named Belgian Gelato. Grab your cone and head towards the Pineapple Fountain (yes, that's a real thing) along the water. It's the perfect place to devour your three-scoops of pistachio, stracciatella and hazelnut goodness. K I gotta go pick up some less-worthy ice cream now. Cravings!!

Moment.

Sitting with these beautiful girls (and our fast-melting gelato) by the murky, east-coast waters just did me in. I had such a reality moment, and was filled to the brim with thankfulness. So grateful that we each found each others' friendship while navigating the social anthropological experiment of our time at HBS. For us, it was a foreign experience, part hallowed hallways of prestige, part wilderness in the bizarre unknown. These girls, we were all "partners" according the program's description, but we were partners-in-crime (or rather, partners-in-trying-to-keep-our-heads-on-straight) during the brief, strange and wonderful span of time when we were neighboring Cambridge-ites. Supporting our husbands. Navigating the experience. Trying to take in a mountain of hurried activities squeezed into two eager years. No one will ever quite understand that part of my life the way they do, because they lived it exactly as I did. And now, we are as far apart as can be, each pursuing new interests, each living in a new culture.

Sitting by the water in Charleston, a random location that means very little to the narrative of our stories, I felt the full impact of these glorious relationships. And I was a little bit undone. All the while, the sticky gelato melted all over my hands and I just had to laugh. This strange city, Charleston, suddenly felt so familiar to me. But it was only for these sweet, brave women.

Ladies in the Snow

Ladies Weekend.

You can't deny the power of a girls weekend. It's the circled dates on the calendar that you look forward to for months. It's the light at the end of a frazzled holiday season. It's the relief, due in part to that glass of wine, but mostly due to just having those heartfelt girls near to you. You can see the warmth in their eyes, hear the music in their laughter, feel their sweet empathy and let go of all worries. You don't have to talk about work. Who wants to talk about that? You can just laugh. Let loose. Be free. For those 48 hours, it's all about fun... probably with a few tears thrown in there for good measure. I mean, we are women, right??

I had some of my best girl friends in town this past weekend, and... well, they just wowed my socks off. Mostly with their wit. But also with their humility, perspective, grace and vulnerability. These girls. They are the lifeline, the lively, the lifers. Isn't it wonderful to know who will be by your side forever? These treasured women flew in from all corners of the earth - Mobile, Al., West Palm, Fl. and NICARAGUA - all to stay in my tiny abode here in New York. What blessed souls. I'm sure they returned home with a new-found appreciation for space. Though I already miss them, I am most thankful for our times together. It's the best Christmas gift. I hope everyone has friends like these.

We traipsed all over this town, even in the midst of the heavy snow that fell upon us all day on Saturday. Hence the wet socks and the necessary trip into Urban Outfitters to buy more. All photos are taken by these sweet ladies: Natalie at Fresh Life Findings, Alex at The Wonder List and Erica at This Side Photo.

// It was Santacon in West Village // The big tree in Midtown //

// Cafe Lalo (remember this from You Got Mail?) //

// Cafe Lalo treats //

// Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (really tricky to capture) // Radio City Music Hall //

// On the stoop of Kathleen Kelly's apartment (We might have a slight You Got Mail obsession, yes.) //

// Art on my windowsill. //

These girls just made this cold weather a little bit sunnier. I hope you're having a wonderful week, counting down to Christmas!