Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, almost July, and four-day-weekend eve! Wahoo! Here's what I've been loving this week:


Smoothie Bowls! My favorite way to sneak in some veggies (spinach) and protein (almond or cashew butter) into Parker's diet (and also a fun way to get Patriotic with red, white, and blue!). Parker also loves helping to make the smoothie bowls, adding all the ingredients to the food processor and pressing the "on" button - if you have a little one, these are a great way to get them involved in the kitchen.  I give Parker his bowl plain because little man loves to put the toppings on all by himself. I can't blame him, adding the toppings is the best part! Find my favorite smoothie bowl recipes here :)


My PSA for the week: these gorgeous postage stamps can be found at your local USPS. I do believe they're the prettiest, poshest stamps I've ever seen.


Our basil is going crazy! This is the first year we've had our garden fenced off, and I'm so happy that the chipmunks aren't eating all the basil! The rest of our garden is a bit slow-going this year - we are practicing our patience waiting for our cherry tomatoes to ripen :)


At age four, I think Parker is finally transitioning out of naps. We still try a nap every day (and he still insists on changing into pajams). Most days he just rests for a bit, but some days he'll sleep for a solid three hours (usually when we have plans that afternoon meaning I have to wake him up, ha!). Be still my heart - is there anything sweeter than a sleeping child? On a side note, the sleeping photo (and most of the photos above) are with my beloved 50mm 1.2 lens (best birthday present ever). I've been trying to use our Canon 5d more often - it takes just the best photographs! And the 50mm 1.2 is definitely my jam. If I had to use just one lens forever and ever, this would be it! 

I've been on a suspense/thriller kick lately with my reading...

My favorite read of the year was Behind Closed Doors. It's a completely twisted story and unlike anything I've ever read. It's about a newlywed couple living in a new town, but that's about as much as I can say without giving out any spoilers ;)

I also picked up Into the Water, the second (and new) release from Paula Hawkins (author of The Girl on the Train,  which I enjoyed). Unfortunately, I feel Paula Hawkins fell into the "sophomore slump" with this one. It read like she was trying too hard. Each chapter was from the point of view of a different person, and I'm not lying when I say there were more than a dozen different characters narrating. It made keeping track of who was telling the story a bit arduous, and I kept wondering while reading how anyone could possibly listen to the audio version and remember who was narrating. The actual story followed the Gone Girl style of going back and forth in time and included lots of twists (down to the very last page), but overall I'd give it three out of five stars (with Gone Girl of course earning five out of five).

I recently discovered Mary Kubica, who fits the Gone Girl style of writing as well. I'd give her book The Good Girl a solid four out of five stars. The book was about an abduction gone wrong, going back and forth in time to finally let the story unfold.

After all the suspenseful reading, I had to kick back with fun, light hearted, fivolous, hilarious Kevin Kwan. His new release, Rich People Problems, is the perfect summer read. Kwan's first book, Crazy Rich Asians, follows New Yorker Rachel Chu and her trip to meet her boyfriend's Singaporean family for the first time. She assumed he came from a humble background, but what awaited in Singapore was nothing short of a palace complete with private planes, and a family that was equal to Singaporean royalty. The shenanigans that ensue with the various family members (jet setting weekends, couture shopping sprees, and real estate absurdness) are very US Weekly and Vogue magazine inspired. Rich People Problems is the third installment, and I think my favorite! Kwan must have definitely spent some time in California as well, because my heart would smile with every Bay Area (Stanford, Palo Alto) or UC Santa Barbara reference!

Happy Reading & Happy Weekend!


What's Up Wednesday

I'm joining in for What's Up Wednesday this week!

1. What we're eating:

I've been all about homemade ice cream lately, specifically anything from the Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook. I purchased the book a couple years ago after visiting a Jeni's scoop shop for the first time (and declaring it the best ice cream ever). I had a renewed interest this year after husby asked for homemade ice cream for Father's Day, and now I'm determined to work my way through the entire book (well, save for some of the more "out there" flavors like celery and gouda). I'm all for the semi-wacky though: Beet Orange Poppy Seed, Star Anise and Lavender are all on my radar! The recipes do take a fair amount of work (and some require what seems like a million steps), but oh my word, I can't believe I'm making ice cream this good at home. If you have an ice cream maker, you need this book! 

So far, I've done a Berry Crisp recipe from the book (which included baking fresh streusel and making a sauce out of local blackberries - all totally worth it).

Next up was Jeni's Roasted Strawberry with Buttermilk (ah-maze). The buttermilk makes the flavor just a tad bit tart - totally unlike any other strawberry ice cream I've ever had (find the recipe here). 

Then there's Jeni's classic vanilla bean (recipe found here). This one was definitely the most basic and straight-forward, but it did include some ingredients you might not have on hand - vanilla beans, organic cream cheese and tapioca starch (though you can sub cornstarch). The book really goes into detail as to the science of everything and the specific reasoning for each step and ingredient - and it all just works :) 

Luckily, we have our weekly CSA box of produce to balance out all the ice cream ;)

2. What I'm reminiscing about:

Max has been doing lots of business travel lately, so Father's Day weekend was extra special this year as Parker and I had been missing Max, and were so happy to love on him for his special weekend.

3. What I'm loving:

Every time I'm out and about and see peonies for sale, I think that they're the last of the season. So I pick up a bunch, and then spot another bundle the next week and have to do the same. 

I had one little peony bud that took an entire week to bloom - I called it the little peony that could!

I had a sweet tiny man photo bomb a peony photo shoot, so I had to take the photo op!

4. What we've been up to:

Parker and I have been spending our days outside, and it's been fabulous!

And how lucky am I to get to spend my summer days with this cutie?

The weather has been phenomenal here, so we've been hitting up the pool and the botanical garden, and have been doing morning walks to downtown (where I have transitioned from cappuccinos to iced lattes, because summer).

We soaked up all the Dada time we could in between business travel...

This little guy just loves his Dada! 

I'm a fan, too ;)

Especially when that Dada goes on a dessert run to the food carts at Music in the Park and brings back my favorite ice cream flavor. #icecreamlover

5. What I'm dreading:

Any second now, Alabama is going to turn into a literal hot sticky mess. I'm trying to soak up all the wonderful weather before this happens, eeks.

6. What I'm working on:

Still workin' on my fitness ;) (Fergie anyone??) All the bonus points for a cute Pilates studio.

7. What I'm excited about:

We are deep into summer t-ball league! Parker couldn't be happier about playing again this year, and it's so much fun just to watch how excited he is. We are doing a very laid back YMCA league, and it's such a perfect fit.

Parker has improved his catching and throwing this year. Go, Parker! And go, Marlins!

8. What I'm watching/reading: 

We took Parker on a Family Date Day to see Cars3! It was Parker's very first time to a movie theatre (though he's been to several live performances). He's only seen a handful of movies ever, so movies are a big treat (this was on our summer bucket list). We all thought the movie was well done, and Parker had such a blast that he insisted we sit through all the end credits, too.

Since then, he's talked about the movie non-stop and insisted on wearing his Cars baseball hat all the time, everywhere. 

9. What I'm listening to:

Parker has figured out how to do Pandora stations on Alexa - his favorite is Vivaldi Pandora, but I can usually get some Ed Sheeran Pandora or Vance Joy Pandora if I sneak them in ;)

10. What I'm wearing:

I feel like I've been living in swimsuits and cover-ups!

11. What I'm doing this weekend:

We have nothing on our calendar this weekend, and I'm stoked. Lots of time with my favorite boys is all that's on my agenda!

12. What I'm looking forward to next month:

The 4th of July is just around the corner (also, how is it almost July already?). We enjoyed an early fireworks display here this week for Armed Forces Celebration night at Music in the Park - the display was rained out the past two years, so it was super special to see it this year! Crossing our fingers for the 4th of July fireworks to happen! 

13. What else is new:

Front yard hydrangeas, I'm kind of in love with you. 

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