Galentine’s Day Gift Guide

Guys. It is February. How did that happen? I’m not quite sure, but I’m already looking forward to the next big holiday on the calendar…Galentine’s Day! Much like Leslie Knope, the genius behind Galentine’s Day, I will take literally any excuse to celebrate my friends and shower them with love (and cute gifts). If you’re in the mood to treat the ladies in your life to a little something special, look no further than our Galentine’s Day gift guide. Everything is under 50 bucks, but most items are way cheaper!

Galentine's Day Gift Guide

 

1.  A cute Valentine is a must and this one is adorable.

2. Chic rose lip polish is the perfect gift for your beauty-obsessed BFF.

3. Four words, y’all: champagne-soaked gummy bears.

4. This mobile backup charger is festive yet practical.

5. A book of Parisian cocktails is an excellent excuse to get together for a drink (or to start planning your girls’ getaway to France).

6. She’ll smile every time she takes a sip from this cute water bottle.

7 & 8. A lovely votive and a sassy matchbook is a classic combo.

9. Who wouldn’t love these delicate zodiac rings?

10. I’m so intrigued by this party girl surprise ball (it contains 12 mystery prizes)!

11. Every girl needs a compact, and this is the classiest one ever.

12. Use a cupcake decorating kit to whip up some insanely pretty treats for your friends.

13. This awesome makeup pouch tells it how it is.

14. Add a little sparkle to her life with some keychain bling.

Do you and your lady friends celebrate Galentine’s Day? This year Jules and I will both be traveling (not together, sadly), but last year we spent a glorious day together watching rom-coms and eating Thai takeout. It was the best.

♥ Mil

New Year. New Goals.

2016 new year blog resolutions
Hello lovelies! Today I want to talk goals for the new year. I love embracing the idea of the New Year as a fresh start, a time for reflection and self-improvement. 2015 was a big year for me. We moved to Seattle, which marked the first time Mil and I have lived in the same city in 10 years! I also turned 30, which was both exciting and bittersweet.
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As we kick off 2016, Mil and I wanted to share our goals for the year, both for the blog and for ourselves personally.
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2016 Blog Goals

Mil
1. Improve my photography skills. I’d love to do a workshop like this one to learn more about camera basics, photo styling, and editing. Actually, just upgrading to a proper camera (or even a newer iPhone) would be a major improvement!

2. Plan blog content further in advance. This is something that Jules is really good at, whereas I tend to fly by the seat of my pants most of the time. I usually have plenty of ideas, but when it comes to creating the content itself, I don’t like to feel tied to any particular concept on a given night. However, I’m sure I could save myself some stress if I fill out our editorial calendar for the month and just stick to whatever it is I have scheduled.

Jules
1. Share blog content on Instagram. I love following bloggers on Instagram. I love getting little glimpses into their “real” life, as well as sneak previews of upcoming blog content. As much as I like engaging with other bloggers on Instagram, I’ve done very little to engage others with my account and our blog. I know I’m never going to be interested in overly curating my content, as I like posting in the moment. However, I want to do a better job of previewing and teasing blog content. 

2. Take more risks with content. As you know by now, food is my happy place. This year, I want to push myself to not only write about new topics, but to also try out new content. I’m particularly interested in playing around with video, so stay tuned for some experiments.
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2016 Personal Goals

Mil
1. Expand my brunch horizons. You guys know I have a certain fondness for brunch, and I’m making it my mission to try a new brunch place every month in 2016. (Of course I’m making Jules come with me. I can’t drink all those bottomless mimosas by myself, now can I?)

2. Shake up my beauty routine. My collection of beauty products is vast, yet I only use a small percentage of it in any given week. For someone who’s so obsessed with makeup, it’s a little shameful that I tend to reach for the same eyeshadow every day. Not to mention all the items I have that I’ve never even tried (hey there, false eyelashes)! I’m determined to branch out more, whether that means a bold red lip on a random weekday or trying a smoky eye look in an unexpected shade.

Jules
1. Pursue freelance opportunities. My dream is to run my own business, whether it’s running a cafe or consulting on marketing and nonprofit strategy. When we first moved to Seattle, I dabbled with pursuing freelance writing and consulting, but stopped once I got a full time job. Now that I’ve been in my role for about a year, I feel ready to start building out my side hustle. 

2. Complete Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 Reading Challenge. I am terribly inconsistent with my reading habits. I go through phases where I read a book a week and then won’t read anything for a few months. I also gravitate towards the same types of books: humorous memoirs, family dramas featuring strong female characters, etc. I’m hoping this challenge will gently push me out of my comfort zone.
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Do you blog? What are your goals this year, both professionally and personally? Looking forward to hearing about them!

XOXO,
Jules

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List // via South by Northwest

Even though we’re grownups now and we no longer get the summer off (undoubtedly the cruelest twist of adulthood), I still tend to think of the entire season as a sacred time meant for lazy beach days, spontaneous road trips, and reconnecting with friends. Summer in Seattle is glorious, and it’s always been my favorite season – but this year I’m even more excited since Jules and I will be experiencing it together for the first time in ages! So, to ensure we don’t forget anything, we put together our very own super official Summer Bucket List (which I reserve the right to embellish as necessary):

1. Enjoy a picnic at Gasworks Park, watching the seaplanes and sailboats go by

2. Lounge in the sun at Golden Gardens

Golden Gardens
3. Cheer for the Mariners and share a plate of Safeco Field’s legendary garlic fries

4. Watch a movie outdoors. There are so many options this year…I vote for Raiders of the Lost Ark. Or Grease!

Fremont Outdoor Cinema

5. Try the gelato at Fainting Goat in Wallingford

Fainting Goat Gelato

6. Shop for art and homemade treasures at the Bellevue Arts Fair

7. People watch at the Fremont Solstice Parade

8. Indulge in some day drinking at Kirkland Uncorked

9. Rent a boat for the afternoon (or maybe jet skis)!

Boating on Lake Union

10. Find the most spectacular view of the fireworks on the Fourth of July

11. Sample cuisines of the world, from funnel cake to pho, at Bite of Seattle

Bite of Seattle

12. Round up some friends for a beach bonfire at Alki (s’mores are mandatory)

13. Take a ride on the Cycle Saloon

14.  Pick up some fresh produce at the Ballard Farmers Market and cook something yummy

15. Close out the summer at Bumbershoot, Seattle’s biggest and best music festival!

Bumbershoot

We’ve got our work cut out for us, but I can’t wait! What’s on your summer bucket list?

♥ Mil

Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 456 / 7

On Celebrating Both Marriage and Friendship

Yesterday, Nick and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. He cooked a nice meal and we spent the night reflecting on our highs and lows from the past year. We’re low-key like that. Sorry I don’t have pictures from an exotic vacation to share. You’ll have to head over to another blog for that!

One of the things I love about our marriage is how interconnected it is with some of my closest friendships. My friends have played a key role in our journey as a couple, and it’s something that I will treasure for the duration of our marriage (which better be forever).

Little known fact: Mil knew I was getting engaged months before I did. After about a year of dating, Nick and I started talking about marriage. Of course in classic Julia/Nick style, I was thinking about something happening in three-five years, while he was thinking about something happening in the much more immediate future. Unbeknownst to me, he reached out to Mil on Facebook and asked for her help finding the perfect engagement ring. Since I’d never fantasized about my dream ring, they had very little to work from. They went back and forth looking at different designs and then magically sent each other the same ring. The same ring! I still love thinking about it today. It’s a wonderful thing when your husband-to-be and your bestie get together to plan your future happiness.
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milandnick1

Nick and Mil, post brunch at Lowell’s. For some reason we were visiting Seattle in the spring, instead of the usual Christmas trip. I’m a big fan of Mil’s hair in this picture.

 

milatwedding

Mil delivering her Maid of Honor speech at the wedding. While I’m smiling in the background, about three minutes later I started sobbing. Thank goodness for waterproof mascara.

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Once the ring was designed and purchased, Nick popped the actual question while we were on a couples trip to Charleston with my good friend Veronica and her fiancé Alex. I had no idea it was coming. All I knew was that I wanted to spend as much time with Veronica as humanly possible. Nick proposed during sunrise on the first morning of the trip, and almost immediately after saying “yes,” I dive-bombed into Veronica and Alex’s bed. I may have been screaming at the top of my lungs. Poor Alex. I forced Nick to let Veronica come with us on a romantic walk on the beach, followed by a celebratory breakfast feast. We spent the rest of the weekend goofy with joy. And while I would have originally thought I would want to celebrate our decision privately, it was actually so much better have a girlfriend to share in my excitement. Veronica and I both took a similar path finding our life partners, so it felt right having her there to see things come full circle.

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veronicaatbeach1

On Folly Beach right after getting engaged. I look so awkward in this picture…

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Balancing both romantic love and platonic love can be tricky. Everyone says all the time that “marriage takes work,” which is without a doubt true. But, I think less often we acknowledge that strong friendships require work as well. Maintaining meaningful longterm friendships requires making extra effort to stay close despite miles of distance, and having to work through rough patches. It can be a lot of work, and I’ve seen many female friendships shift after husbands and babies come into the picture. No one is necessarily to blame. We get put into tough situations where there’s just not enough of us to go around, so we have to make hard choices.

I feel lucky that so far I haven’t had to choose between one or the other – my husband or my friends. My husband understands how important my friendships are to me and has intentionally made them a part of our story. I’m also lucky to have friends that are unbelievably supportive of me and my relationship with my husband. They are invested in our success and having that support makes all the difference.

So this year and every year, as I reflect on our marriage, I will be thinking not just about my husband, but about everyone else who has helped support and strengthen our relationship.

XOXO,
Jules

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