Archive for Mar 2013


I woke up this morning with a bit of time to spare before my 8:30 gym class.   I thought I’d read a quick chapter and then head out.  Then I decided to keep reading and hit the 9:30 class.  Then I gave up all hope that I would be leaving my bed before I finished this INCREDIBLE  book.   Five hours later, I flipped the last page to realize I was littered in tissues and absolutely starving.  I literally couldn’t put it down.   I cursed Jessica for recommending it and throwing my entire day into an unproductive mess.  And then I thanked her for making my heart so full I can barely contain it.  (How does she do that!?)  Seriously, read this post, then go buy this book.

mebeforeyou Flipping Pages: Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Before we dive into this gem, a couple of questions:

1. Do you have a 2-3 day stretch of time in which you can neglect all responsibilities and do nothing but devour this book?

2. Are you stocked up on Kleenex?

If you’ve answered “yes” to both of the above, please proceed. You will not be sorry. You will cry buckets. You will question whether or not you’re living your life to its fullest potential. You will realize (but not care) that you’ve accomplished nothing between the time you opened this book to the time you finished it. Nothing.

Me Before You is about Louisa, whose life has stalled. She still lives with her parents, who depend on her salary to live, and has just been laid off from her job as a waitress in a coffee shop. She’s got no ambition, no dreams beyond not letting her family starve. So, she takes a job as a caregiver to Will, who’s only recently had an accident which left him a quadraplegic. He is also suddenly living with his parents, after leading a life of non-stop adventure, promise and privilege. Though the two are from the same country village, their paths would never have crossed if Will wasn’t suddenly dependent on others for even the simplest of tasks. Forced to spend countless hours together, the two eventually explore together what it would take for each of them to lead a full and happy life.

This is the sweetest, most emotional and hopeful book I’ve come across in a long time. Before you’ve reached the 100th page, you find that you care about the characters in it as much as you care about the real people in your life. And you desperately want for them to find whatever it is they’re looking for. Because of that, you cannot stop reading, even though it might be past midnight and you have to work in the morning, or maybe you forgot to eat all day and you’re trying to feed yourself without taking your eyes off the page and you’re not so great at finding your mouth with a fork. No, you’ll keep reading. Everything else can wait. xo, Jessica


My very first 13.1!  It was crazy, ridiculous, and amazing!  I can definitely understand why people say your first 5K is a gateway drug. Last Sunday went a little something like this…

NYC Half Marathon 0001 Running, Running, Running

5:30 am The alarm goes off and I realize that I’ve been tossing and turning because I dreamt that I missed the race.  Apparently, I am excited to run 13.1 miles in 29 degree weather.  I question my sanity.

6:30 am We head to the subway to Central Park, the start line.   I am wearing a long sleeved running shirt, my OAR singlet, a running jacket, another long sleeved running shirt, a cotton long sleeved shirt borrowed from a lovely neighbor, running pants, two pairs of gloves, a little hat and a trash bag.  The trash bag makes me feel ridiculous, or like Bradley Cooper.  I can’t decide.  I worry about freezing to death.

7:00 am My Aunt Jill and I stand in a bathroom for 25 minutes with a handful of other runners.  It is the only “warm” place in Central Park.

7:25 am We head to the corrals to wait.   The gun sounds at 7:30 am and the first runners start!  We stand there for another 25 minutes.  As we start walking toward the start line, the elite runners pass us.  It’s been 28 minutes and they’re already exiting the park.   They’ve run 6 miles.  We haven’t even started  yet.

7:50 am As the starting line looms, I shed two layers and my trash bag.  I realize that my toes are asleep.  Apparently they haven’t left the apartment yet.  I think that perhaps this is a good thing.  If I can’t feel my feet, they can’t hurt me.
NYC Half Marathon 0005 Running, Running, Running

8:02 am We start!

Mile 0-2  I feel so good!  The CNN tower reminds me that it’s 29 degrees and I realize it’s not so bad while I’m running.  I think I maybe wouldn’t mind living in NYC and could probably handle the cold.  And the snow.  My toes have not yet joined me.  MapMyRun tells me that the first mile was 9:47 and I feel proud.

Mile 2 There’s my toes!  I thank them for getting out of bed.

Mile 3 I decided to wear two pairs of gloves.  One for warmth, one for protection.  I take off the under layer because my hands are sweating and stuff them in my pockets.  I realize that purchasing the running jacket was a super good move.  There’s a hill, and I want to kill myself.

Mile 5 The second pair of gloves has to come off because I’m sweating to death.

Mile 6 I’m still running under 10:00 pace and I can’t even believe it.  I realize that I like racing and I think “I could totally run a marathon!”  I’m excited about it.

NYC Half Marathon 0002 Running, Running, Running

Mile 7 Out of the park and down to Times Square.  This is really kind of fun.  I take pictures of myself running because I’m bored out of my mind.

Mile 8 We run across 42nd Street and the wind coming off the water is frigid.  I curl up in my jacket and curse the cold! MapMyRun tells me I did this one in 8:39.  I’m pretty sure it’s lying.

Mile 9-11 I realize that running is very very boring.  The West Side Highway is real pretty, and there are more cheering fans.  One guy with a sign that says “This is the most boring parade I’ve ever seen” makes me giggle.  I was a little unsure before, but now I’m positive.  MapMyRun is coutning mileage faster than I’m running them, so I think I’m further along than I actual am.  I’m mad at it.

Mile 12 This race is never going to be over.  I feel really good, and I think I could definitely run a full marathon, but I realize i wouldn’t even be half way finished yet.  It’s heartbreaking.  At the 20 KM mark, I hit unrun territory, the furthest distance in my short running career.  I give myself a pat on the back.
NYC Half Marathon 0003 Running, Running, Running

Mile 13.1  Done done done done done!  I can’t believe it!   MapMyRun says 2:11:40, with a 9:45 pace.  I am astounded with myself!  (As I should have been.  It’s been lying to me.  Actual stats are 2:13:36 with 10:12 pace.  I’ll take it.)
NYC Half Marathon 0004 Running, Running, Running

I’m so proud!  I call Chris and he doesn’t answer.  I curse him in my mind for still sleeping when I’ve done something incredible and I want to share it with him!   I call my Mom and am so happy to relay the good news!  She reminds me about that time I ran track in high school and managed to sit out nearly every single race I was supposed to run because I’m not so good at running.

That runners high, it’s definitely true.  I feel excellent!   It’s such an amazing way to become part of a city, to experience it in a way that you just don’t get being a tourist.  You really feel that you’re discovering it differently, and that you’re part of something within this community.  It’s an incredible feeling and I would so highly recommend it!

For this race I raised money for the Organization for Autism Research.  As a team, we raised $32,190, I was responsible for $2,175 and am so incredibly proud!  Thank you all for your donations and your support!

afterglow 300x300 Its here!  Its here!

I’m embarking on a 13.1 mile adventure on Sunday.  Through rain, snow & cold.  While the wet cold is definitely weighing on my mind, I’m mostly super thrilled that this training is going to be OVER soon!   The last few weeks I’ve found myself negotiating with, well, myself.  Do I actually have to go run 10.5 miles?!  Maybe if I just do 9.  Or, if I just push it off until a liiiittle later in the afternoon.  I’ve done it, but begrudgingly.  And on Sunday it will be all worth it as I cross the finish line with a slightly faster pace than in October and (fingers crossed) bones that are warm and cozy!  Wish me luck!

March 13, 2013 BroBros Baby Shower


I’m not going to lie, I hate baby showers.  The cutesy colors and the games (especially the games!) and the present opening (Ok, maybe not the presents because baby clothes are just too cute).   But generally, baby showers are not my favorite thing in the world to do.  So, when Jess & I threw a shower celebratory luncheon for our dear friend Natalie, we wanted to keep it clean, sophisticated and generally adult themed.  A black, white & gold palate.  A menu full of good Southern comfort food.  And some of the most wonderful ladies.  What more could you ask for!?

The shower was featured on On To Baby this week!   You can see it here!
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0001 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0002 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0003 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0004 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0005 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0006 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0007 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0008 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0009 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0010 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0011 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0012 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0013 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0014 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0015 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0016 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0017 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0018 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0019 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0020 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0021 BroBros Baby Shower
Emerald Art Deco Photoshoot 0022 BroBros Baby Shower

March 11, 2013 Turning Thirty

 photo 768x1024 Turning Thirty

On Friday, I turned thirty.  Which isn’t entirely odd for me, as I’ve pretty much behaved as if I was thirty for a good chunk of the previous decade.  I settled into adult life super quickly and I’ve loved every moment of it.  But, something feels different about this.  Odd.  A little uncomfortable.  For most of last week I was sad.  Maybe a little depressed, but mostly just blue.   I was blah and I cried for days.  And I don’t think it was at all because of the turning thirty, because I’m not sad about it.  I’m quite thrilled in many ways.  It definitely feels like a new chapter in my life.  There’s something different and I don’t know if it’s just the number.

I think many people are settling into themselves when they hit thirty.   They’ve discovered who they are and they are finally hitting a place where they are comfortable in their own skin.  For me, I’m almost feeling the opposite.  I’ve been pretty solid in the “who am I?” category for a long time, and suddenly, I’m feeling unsettled.  Almost that I packed all of these amazing milestones into one decade!  Too many good things and now, what is thirty going to be?!   How am I going to top building my marriage, building my business, building my home?  What’s next?  I feel like I’m sitting on a plateau and I want to keep climbing up, but I’m not quite sure how.  How do I make sure that I’m constantly being challenged?  What’s the next adventure? I don’t know any of these answer and I hate the feeling of complacency while I’m figuring it out.  Somehow this birthday has brought all of this to the surface.  For some reason I feel that a new number must mean the beginning of a new chapter.

So, here’s to thirty.  To rediscovering and moving up.  To figuring it all out.  To finding new challenges and beginning the next chapter.  Cheers!


images Flipping Pages: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Guess what, guys? I’m recommending another YA novel! And I’m totally ok with it. You will be, too, once you read this book because it is pure, solid, way more than 24-karat gold. It’s about one of my favorite topics in the Universe: young love. And one of my least favorite: cancer. I know, major downer. But this is so much more than a book about teenagers with cancer. First, the main characters have fun names: Hazel and Augustus. They meet at a support group for teens battling cancer and they fall in love. Deep, hazardous, wild, throw-everything-else-out-the-window-because-this-is-it love. Hazel is our narrator and after about 3 pages, YOU will be deeply in love with her. I know a kid with cancer narrating a book doesn’t sound like a great time, but she’s just perfectly lovely. She gets that life is still happening around her, she gets the cruelty of her malady, she knows how much everything sucks, but she hangs on to her sense of humor through it all. She and Augustus hit it off because of their shared sense of humor that skews dark. They begin talking frequently and they decide to read each other’s favorite books (for me, this is not just romantic, but borders on pornography…shared love of books? Please!)

Teachers are already using this book in the classroom, and for good reason. It’s so relatable. Pick it up today!

Happy Reading,

March 4, 2013 Entouriste


I have an obsession with travel, as you likely know by now.  It’s pretty much the only thing I want to do with my life.  So, when Ami from Elizabeth Anne Designs told me she was launching a new travel site I was so over-the-top excited!  For her, and for her new venture, of course.  But mostly for the beautiful eye candy that would be coming my way everyday!   Today, Entouriste launched and it’s more beautiful then I ever could have imagined!   I am so looking forward to all the goodness that I’m sure will be coming my way!

And to make it all the more amazing, one of her first posts is our Tuscan cooking class from last summer!   I am honored and thrilled Ami!  So, go over, drool over all the pretty images and just try to stop me from opening up a new tab and booking plane tickets to every single destination!

Screen Shot 2013 03 04 at 9.55.43 AM Entouriste