I Want to Go To There: Babylonstoren

I’ve been dreaming of a getaway ever since returning from the book tour and came across the most MAGICAL place in South Africa that made me think that a stay there would change my life (granted, I also get that feeling sometimes at Whole Foods when loading up my cart with kale and organic face cream- a NEW LIFE!)
Babylonstoren is an one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms close to Cape Town. Renovated and made into a simply beautiful hotel, spa and working farm (not to mention the lauded restaurant and winery) it looks like a little slice of heaven.  Be prepared for some SERIOUS eye candy!
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Fashion Friday: The Sweater I Won’t Take Off

Last weekend I was at Anthropologie with my sister-in-law and picked up this patterned sweater “coat”.  As I do often when in Anthro, I asked her if it was totally awesome or some kind of weird daytime bathrobe.  After trying it on I decided it was the former.  And since then I’ve worn it three times (yes, in one week- gross).  It’s just SO warm, so comfy and totally stylish.  Not to mention EASY. Add skinny jeans or leggings, boots (or heeled booties like these for a little dressier effect) and a tank underneath and you are ready to head out the door feeling so comfortable but looking together!  I adore pieces like this!

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(not belted it can function as a jacket!)

Have Yourself A Simple Little Holiday.

Andrew has been playing Christmas music on repeat for the last few weeks (as you may recall, I am married to the real Buddy the Elf) while I’ve been ranting about how early all the holiday decor has been put out (before Halloween I saw stuff out! WHAT!?) But now that we have snow in our forecast and Thanksgiving is looming I realize that it IS that time of year. I do love holiday time, it’s the only part of winter I can tolerate snow and cold temperatures.  I’ve had such a crazy fall that I’m hoping to have a SUPER low key holiday this year. Simple, cozy and streamlined.  So here’s some inspiration I am loving:
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15 Great Reads.

Reading is one of the few activities that really allows my brain to take a break from over-thinking (ok, other than Angry Birds).  I’ve been a voracious reader almost as long as I can remember and probably plow through a book a week even at my busiest times.  I always make time to read before I go to bed at night- sometimes for 10 minutes, other times for two hours (when I’m reading something REALLY amazing).  Nothing is more relaxing to me.  So I thought I’d pull together some of my most favorite reads from over the years for you in case you are looking for a good book.  I omitted some of the obvious ones ( Eat, Pray, Love and Unbroken, the two biggies that I’ve talked about many times) and some most recent reads I really enjoyed (like Amy Poehler’s awesomely funny book and the new Jodi Picoult that was really quite good!)  This is a mix of really deep, sad, funny, scary, light and introspective reads that I think stand the test of time.  What are some of your all time favorite books?

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The Kitchen House- A fantastic book about slavery and the power of taking risks and standing up for what you believe in.

The Language of Flowers- Phenomenally lovely. A must for any woman.

She’s Come Undone- The first book I remember being totally bowled over by. I haven;t read it in 20 years and will re-read it again soon.

Sharp Objects- I loved Gone Girl, but I loved this one MORE. So messed up, creepy and will keep you up reading all night to finish it.

Room- Tough to read if you are a mother (I assume) but a truly awesome book. Wow.

Girl With A Pearl Earring- I didn’t read this for years assuming it was boring. It was NOT.  Wonderfully nuanced and very interesting.

The Light Between Oceans- I talk about this book ALL THE TIME. Amazing. Fascinating. A tale that leaves you wondering what YOU would do and the difference between right and wrong. I pray this becomes a movie.

Cutting For Stone- A heavy, dense read that takes a little time to get into but then it swallows you whole. Patience pays off with this one. Incredible.

The Orphan Train- I just read this recently and LOVED it. An interesting and trying story about children, family and bravery.

Bossypants- Do I even need to go into this one? :)

The Prince of Tides- A classic… for a reason! I just read it last year and LOVED Conroy’s writing.

Me Talk Pretty One Day- My favorite from one of my favorite writers.  The book that made me fall in love with humorous short story writing.

Little Bee- Brutally moving and phenomenally written. Beats your heart up, but SO incredible.

A Girl Named Zippy- A little book that gave me HUGE laughs. Not many other people have read this, and I can’t remember who told me to read it but I’m glad they did.

The Good House- A really engaging tale of alcoholism and family… I know that doesn’t sound awesome, but it really is!

 

Etsy Find: Lola Donoghue

I sometimes struggle with when to keep really, really good finds to myself.  And almost 100% of the time I end up caving and sharing because I love you guys, I’m a big blabbermouth and I love to help people find awesome stuff.  If someone compliments me on something I’m wearing and it’s a total find, I’ll be the first person to be like “OMG! It’s from Target! 20 bucks! Can you believe it? Go get one!”  No playing it cool around here…

My latest Etsy art find was one of these examples.  Finding great, affordable art that is truly beautiful is hard, especially on Etsy.  Enter Lola Donoghue, an Irish artist whose prints you can buy large scale for a reasonable price (and some originals too)! I love the colors, patterns and feel of these works.  Here’s a selection of her stuff- go check her out!

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