Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Favorites: Twentysomething Edition

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To ring in the big 3-0, Todd and I are heading up to D.C. for the weekend. The weather's looking rather dismal on Saturday, but I'm still excited to stroll around Georgetown, see the National Christmas Tree, and eat some good food (reservations here and here).  Here are a few other things I'm liking during my last few hours as a 20-something.
  • The renovation of this Brooklyn townhouse is pretty perfect. 
  • I love all the end-of-year best book lists coming out now. Time to load up the ol' Kindle!
  • The New York Times wrote about one of my favorite Richmond neighborhoods, Church Hill.
  • I would love to do this with River. He's already grown so much!
  • We're having a few people over for a holiday open house and I definitely plan to do this.
  • Christmas is making me feel extra crafty. Love this gold DIY garland.
  • This garlic cheddar beer bread was a big hit — and super easy to make.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Etsy Gift Guide 2014

When it comes to thoughtful, unique gifts, Etsy is one of the best resources online, but I'll be honest — sometimes you have to sift through a lot of crap to find the gems. My best advice is to find a few shops you love, and then look at who they follow. Before you know it, you'll have tons of favorite shops, and plenty of gift ideas for everyone on your list. Here are a few of my recent Etsy favorites!


Sparkvites makes affordable customized rubber stamps as well as cute stationery. Imagine how cool this would be stamped on your Christmas cards!


Sweet Peony Press has some really fun little prints starting at just $10. I like the idea of the His and Hers prints hanging in the bathroom.


Blackbird Tees is based in Richmond, and though their tea towels are a tad pricey, they're undoubtedly adorable. 


Remember I wrote about Finkelstein's Center for Charleston magazine awhile back? Michelle has an Etsy shop filled with dozens of animals who need a loving home. These Finks aren't just for kids, either. I'd love to have one for myself.


You've never seen cross stitch like the cross stitch from Bananya Stand. Choose your favorite pop culture reference or ask her to customize something just for you.


Of course, if you love vintage anything — books, blankets, clothing, brass figures — Etsy has it all. I especially love it for glassware.

You can see more of my favorites here and here! What are yours?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas Countdown


I don't know what's wrong with me. I've never felt like this before. It's November 20, and I desperately want to buy a Christmas tree. I usually wait until December, sometimes even after my birthday (Dec. 6), but I might have to break my own rules this year.

Something about this house makes me want to go overboard with twinkly lights and boughs of holly and candles that smell like pine trees. I have a real mantle for the first time in years, a bannister that's just begging for an evergreen garland, and room for a 12-foot tree if I want it. And Christmas music? It's been on heavy rotation since last week.

When do you start decorating for Christmas? I'll try to restrain myself until after Thanksgiving, but after that — no promises.

Also:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thirty-something: 7 Things


I'm turning 30 in a few weeks. I haven't really thought too much about this milestone, but every now and then when I say it out loud or write it down, I start to feel like ... an adult. This means I can no longer make fun of my husband for being "old." I can no longer call myself a twenty-something.

I'm happy with where I am at almost-30, but I have been thinking about who I've always imagined I'd be as a 30-year-old. Who would have thought I'd still be feeling like an awkward teenager every now and then? Here are a few 30-year resolutions I'm keeping in mind as I enter this new decade.
  1. Get comfortable in the kitchen. As much as I love food, I'm really not a great cook. I have a few dishes that I can make without a recipe, but I want to branch out and try new things, and add some more complex recipes to my repertoire. 
  2. Be nicer. I tend to be a little snarky and sarcastic. I think 30-year-old me should be nicer.
  3. Expand the fam. I love our furry babies, but tiny humans are starting to sound fun to me, too.
  4. Refine my wardrobe. Last weekend I threw out nearly a third of my wardrobe — some stuff with tags still on it, some stuff that doesn't fit, some stuff that just doesn't suit me anymore (so many strapless dresses!). I want to open my closet and only see things I love, and if that means having a small wardrobe, that's OK with me.
  5. Refine my home. No more disposable furniture. It's time to fill the house with quality, long-lasting pieces that I actually love — even if that means it'll take a lot longer for it all to come together.
  6. Be more drink-savvy. I love cocktails, but I rarely make them for myself at home. I want to have the fixins and the skills to make a few of my favorites myself. I want to learn more about wine, too.
  7. Get more national bylines. Time to kick the freelance game up a notch.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Favorites: Puppy Love

It's been a fun week here at Casa Curran. We celebrated our four-year wedding anniversary (with dinner here), took in a sweet, sweet puppy that we found in the park (temporarily!), and basically soaked up Richmond's glorious fall foliage (including at Maymont, above). A few other things on my mind this week:
  • I wrote this article about Hardywood's Gingerbread Stout in The Local Palate. This limited-release beer has been known to sell out of stores within hours!
  • Alton Brown was in Richmond this week and he managed to visit an impressive number of local restaurants in one day. Putting all of these places on my to-do list.
  • 15 slow-cooker recipes.
  • I love how the couple behind The Fresh Exchange hosts a dinner party.
  • These cake toppers are cute.
  • Also I wish I had $451 for this mailbox. Darn.
  • One more Maymont photo below! Stupid pretty.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Green Thumb.

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I come from a family of gardeners. Growing up, my mom would spend hours at plant nurseries, or digging around in the backyard, or thumbing through landscaping books. Botanical gardens were worthy of a day trip. When we visited my grandma, they could spend all day walking around her beautifully landscaped yard, talking about plants and digging up a car-load to take back home.

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I used to think plants were incredibly boring, but as I've gotten older, I've found my thumb turning greener. It started with two or three houseplants. Then my grandma passed along a few cacti to me. Now that I have a yard, I fantasize about herb gardens and raised beds and banks of hydrangeas. I've got a lot to learn, but luckily I have some amazing teachers.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

A Wedding Weekend in Charleston


I'm heading down to Charleston this weekend for a dear friend's wedding. I can't wait to spend time with old friends, eat at some of my favorite restaurants, and see what's new in the city. By the way, did you see that Charleston was once again voted the best city in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler readers? I've gotta vote for Richmond now, but this video makes a pretty compelling argument.


A Love Letter to Charleston from Charleston Area CVB on Vimeo.

P.S. My Visitor's Guide to Charleston.
P.P.S. I'm doing some writing for Wedding Paper Divas, and got two articles published this week: How to Brand Your Wedding on Amorology and The Weatherproof Bride on Smitten.