Friday Roundup

I can't believe I've already gotten so caught up in all the holiday fun and it's not even December yet! Hopefully we'll get to go pick out a tree this weekend and I can finish off my decorating. Here are a few links to get  the first weekend in December started off right. 

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, check out this collaboration between the Red Campaign and GILT.

A very helpful website for people like me:

A mini-series staring Don Draper and Harry Potter? Yes please.

For people like me who love list of "must read" books, one list to rule them all. (via Everywhereist)

Teresa sent me this hilarious video this week. Do yourself a favor and watch Cat Friend vs. Dog Friend. Seriously. Amazing.

Actual cost of 12 Days of Christmas and it's not cheap! Those seven swans a swimming are $7000.

A baby was born on a ferry headed into Seattle yesterday! Jason and I were on the boat headed in the opposite direction at the same time. 

This one is for Teresa, since she LOVES raccoons! (sarcasm, lots of sarcasm) 

Here's a fun dose of social studies: The People's Daily, China's communist newspaper, apparently didn't know that The Onion is satirical and believed America actually picked North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un as the sexiest man alive for 2012. More about that here. 

And finally, loving this song from Annalise Emerick, perfect for New Years Eve. 

Seattle from the ferry window image via @jkoephoto's instagram

Holiday Party Makeup: Sparkles Everywhere!

I had a nice chat with my makeup artist sister, Laura, this week and she gave me two great ideas to get a fun, glamorous look for the holidays. Both involve sparkle eye-shadows, which she says are the big thing right now for high-end holiday makeup collections.

1. Pair light sparkle shadows with black liner and bright matte lips.
Laura suggests pairing a subtle black eyeliner with nude or light/subtle sparkles with a bold lip as one great holiday option. The look now is less about big and chunky glitter but more of a dewy, fine shimmer instead. She suggests Channel's new creme gold shadow which almost foils on or Bobbi Brown sparkle shadow. These glitter shadows are best applied with a finger as brushes make the glitter flake and smudge on your face.

If you're bored of the classic red lip for the holidays, she suggests trying one of the seasons go to lip colors such as plums, purples, or magenta's. She recommends either Bobbi Brown's cosmic raspberry, which is a bright magenta (like Emma's above), or Armani liquid matte lipsticks, which come in a really pretty Red Fushia or Fleshy Orange. (She has been sporting the electric orange with basic eye liner, a little black dress and top knot/bun as of late).   

2. Combine smokey sparkle eyes with nude glossy lips.

If you'd prefer to play up your eyes vs. your lips, Laura recommends a glitter enhanced smokey eye with with a glossy nude lip. She likes to use Bobbi Brown black chocolate glitter, blending it up from eye liner. (Check out this tutorial).

Remember, always go with a nude lip when you have dramatic, dark eye makeup. 

PS. If you want to go extra bold, Laura has been using Lancome gold shimmer eyeliner as a thin line above her black liner and gold glitter mascara at the tips of her lashes on top of black mascara!

(Emma and Thandi)

Drink of the Month: Spiced and Spiked Apple Cider

For Jenny's fair trade gift party last night I decided to whip up some yummy spiced (and spiked!) apple cider for the shoppers. I love drinking cider this time of year, and even better with some spiced rum included. I went for a super easy concoction (can't really bring myself to call it a recipe) of Trader Joe's Spiced Apple Cider (made from Washington Apples!), cinnamon sticks, and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.  What's not to love about easy, delicious, and festive?

Holiday Gift Guide: Fair Trade

Last night I hosted a little party for friends to come and purchase gifts from Karama and Noonday, two fair trade brands which sell products made by artisans from around the world. Christmas is a great time to put a little extra love in the gifts you're giving. By purchasing fair trade, you're insuring the people who made it are being paid a fair wage for their work and supporting communities all around the world. 

Karama's Knots of Love Necklace might have been my favorite find of the night. (Thanks to Jason for buying it for me for an early birthday present!) It's from Ethiopia and made out of recycled artillery metals by a collective of HIV+ women. I just love the idea that shell casings, the remnants of conflict found in the mountains of northern Ethiopia, can be repurposed into something beautiful. I have it on in the photo above, behind the super cute alligator I'm holding which, clearly, I was really excited about. 

Both brands offer great gifts for friends, moms and sisters: beautiful jewelry, scarves, iPad cover, even the perfect present for the yoga nut in your life. A lot of this looks like it came straight from Anthro. Many of the ladies who came last night were surpised at the quality of products and variety. 

What are some of my other favorite products? Well, ok, just because you asked! 

I love Noonday's Stacked Arrows Necklace. The Knitted Bangle (on my wrist in the alligator photo above) is made from alpaca yarn knitted around a gourd, crazy! The Baby Alpaca Striped Blanket look so cozy and the Handmade Stationary (above) is beautifully created by 6 women in the slums of Jaipur, India. Noonday also offers Sseko Sandals, which we love!

Karama's Papa Owl (above) would make an adorable gift for a child. Love these earrings. Their fabric covered notebooks are a perfect stocking stuffer for most anyone. The Maisha Scarf is currently around my neck and not coming off anytime soon. 

All of the products are available online and will ship in time for Christmas! Check out and

Happy shopping! 

PS. Our visit to a fair trade soapstone co-op in Kenya last year. 

Holiday LBD Roundup

It's time to break out the classic little black dress for the holiday season! I know it's cliche, but black dresses really are my favorite, I own too many of them.  And yet I still want the sequin one below from Madewell! Which is your favorite style?

Flapper Style from H&M
Crushed Velvet from Top Shop
Petite Peplum from Nordstrom
Sexy slit back from Forever 21
Sequins from Madewell
Mesh Lace from Free People

Wedding Wednesday: The Holidays

So this week we're taking a little break from the usual to talk about something else that comes with being engaged and newly married: family.

I've worked with so many brides and talked with so many friends who didn't realize that along with picking a venue and a dress, one of the big stresses of taking the plunge into married life* is the inevitable change that takes place as you start a new life together and families and traditions have to be blended. Most people feel that things are going great, until the holidays come around.

I went to my good friend Brittany Blancarte, a marriage and family counselor, who also has the personal experience of being married almost seven years, to see what advice she'd offer to couples new to navigating the holidays. Here's what Brittany had for us:

The important thing for newlyweds to remember is that they are a new family unit. Although the families you come from are very important, your first priority ought to be to each other.  Issues often arise from a husband or wife aiming to appease their parents or siblings at the expense of their spouse's desires.  What can also happen is that a newlywed might put everyone's wishes before their own for the sake of peace, and in so doing, find themselves racing around to two or three or more family gatherings in one day and wind up completely stressed as they try to make everyone else happy.  

Seek to honor everyone (including yourself!) by taking the time to check in with loved ones to see what is most important to them and then prioritizing what can work best for you, your spouse and your families.  Maybe after talking with your mom, you realize that she could give or take Christmas morning, but the tradition of baking together the week before is one of her favorite parts of the holidays.  This can also be the time where you start new traditions.  After I got married and started dividing up the holidays with my family and my husband's family, I missed the time I used to be able to spend with just my sister.  A few years ago, we decided on a whim to go see a movie, just the two of us, on Christmas night.  We've since tried to continue this tradition and have gotten to the point where we start planning as early as Thanksgiving which new movie we'll reserve for that night.  

To be fair, there will likely be some hurt feelings at first, I've had many a conversation with family members of someone recently married who are mourning the loss of past traditions, but over time, families can develop a new normal.  At the end of the day, your family and your spouse will still love you (why else would they all be trying to secure your presence for the holidays?).

Thanks so much to Brittany for sharing her wisdom! 

I have to throw in that I'm so thankful to my family and Jason's that they've all been so considerate and we've been able to blend our family traditions and often spend holidays all together! 

I'd love to hear what you're thoughts are on the subject. How have things gone for you and your families?

*Yes, I used the phrase "taking the plunge" up top just so I could justify using these photos which I love from Jenna & David's engagement shoot by JKoe Photography. How awesome are they for jumping in Lake Washington on a freezing day!

Classic Christmas: A Holiday Playlist

Today we have the first of a few mixes we've made for the holiday season...

These Christmas classics are perfect for background music at any holiday party. Enjoy!

Image from here, along with lots of great facts about the movie White Christmas. 

Next week: Kitschy Christmas Mix

Holiday Cards from Iron Curtain Press

Our friend Rosanna of the Iron Curtain Press has yet again come up with some wonderful letterpress holiday cards. AND she's offering 10% off in her Etsy shop to our readers with the code: TTWWB. Here are a few of my favorites:

Holiday Planning Tool: Doodle

This week we are excited to feature a few posts about hosting and attending holiday parties...'tis the season! Yesterday we got started with the planning for our annual college roommate holiday slumber party reunion, which Jenny has hosted every year since we graduated college. As we were looking to schedule the party, she suggested that we use Doodle to get a consensus on the best date. Have you used it before? I had thought of it as a great work tool for scheduling meetings but around the holidays it's great for coordinating get togethers as well! All you do is enter the potential dates and times of your meeting or gathering and then send the link to everyone you want to invite so they can list their availability. It's simple, clean and super easy.

(White Christmas image)

Monday Motivation

Are we allowed to start playing Christmas music now?! We are excited for some fun posts throughout the month leading up to our favorite holiday. Christmas here we come!

(print available on Etsy)

Wednesday Roundup - Happy Thanksgiving!

Jenny and I are going to take a little vacation from the blog for the rest of the week to enjoy time with friends and family-- hence the "Wednesday" Roundup! Hope you have a wonderful Turkey Day!

Here are some links to launch us into a great weekend:

The pumpkin pie recipe Jenny and I will attempt in approximately 2 hours.

Thanksgiving lessons from FRIENDS.

Vegan stuffing and gluten-free stuffing.

Last minute Thanksgiving craft idea.

Seven fresh cranberry sauce recipes (my favorite).

Anne Lamott on thankfulness and her new book.

Interesting interview w/Keira about Anna Karenina.

Consolidated Black Friday deals.

Made me laugh.

(Photo via themeetcute)

Bye Bye Birdie: A Thanksgiving Playlist

There really isn't any set Thanksgiving music, so in order to keep me from busting out the Christmas music already, I've made my own playlist.

It includes things that are just the right mix of Indy/folk sounds, which remind me of fall, classics for a bit of tradition and some songs that just seem warm and cozy- all of which are needed when you celebrate Thanksgiving.

 When I happened upon the Bye Bye Birdie soundtrack I knew the mix was complete. Now we can all sing good bye to our turkeys as we eat them up. 

Pumpkin. Pie.

Is there anything more delicious than pumpkin pie?? It has to be in my top 10 favorite foods of all time. I'm eagerly anticipating getting together with Jenny tomorrow for our annual pre-Thanksgiving bake-off. Last year we made four pumpkin pies (mine had a clover because we were spending the holiday with Patrick's Irish-American relatives) and a couple of scrumptious Nantucket cranberry pies.

This year we are still in the process of deciding our menu but we'll definitely be cooking up pumpkin pies, homemade cranberries, gratin potatoes, and pea salad!

What are you making for Thanksgiving?

Happy Birthday Sylvia!

Today is my mom's birthday! Here she is with my dad approximately 1/2 of her life ago. 

Seattle Spotlight: Local Artist Nikki McClure

It seems like everywhere I go around town lately I'm seeing wonderful books, calendars, journals, and cards by local artist Nikki McClure. Her unique style always catches my eye and I'm currently pinning after her 2013 "Prepare" calendar. Nikki uses an X-acto knife to painstakingly cut images from a single sheet of paper! Her work touches on themes like activism, work, motherhood, celebration, seasonal change and nature. Her wonderfully unique children's books make great gifts.

Learn more about her artistic process here

Monday Motivation

Friday Roundup

Happy Friday! I hope you have a relaxing weekend ahead. My weekend plans include taking lots of photos, drinking lots of good coffee and perhaps hitting up the local farmers market in preparation for Thanksgiving. 

Star Wars a la Wes Anderson. I'd totally watch a move like this!

Use olive oil to shave and other new uses for things you already have.

Have you seen Bad Lip Reading before? Here is there take on the Hunger Games. Pretty hilarious.

Claudia Kishi, 90's Asian American role model, a comic essay you'll probably enjoy if you (like me) were obsessed with the Babysitters Club. 

This one is for my sister. Design Sponge's living in Harriet the Spy, a movie she loved as a child.

Lytro's living filters, totally trippy photos you can refocus.

Les Mis + Annie Leibovitz + Vogue = Amazing

Photo is from one of my favorite senior portrait shoots of Annie. Loved that she was willing to dance around Seattle Center for some amazing shots, despite the cold and the random people stoping to watch and take photos. This one is amazing too:

Movember is here!

So by now I'm sure you've heard of "Movember," in which thousands of men across the country grow mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically efforts to combat prostate and testicular cancer. Well this year Movember has found it's way into my household and Patrick is well on his way to a full blonde mustache in his hopes to raise awareness and money. While I'm usually a fan of facial hair (ie scruffy beard), I'm putting up with this particular mustache for the sake of a good cause this month! If you're interested in supporting his efforts (he's competing against his colleagues!) click here

PS. The "handlebar" mustache to the left was from our trip to Prague two years ago, at least he's not growing that back! ;)

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Thanksgiving...

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? This year, I'm hosting some family and friends at my house so I've had different ideas bouncing around in my head for a few weeks in terms of recipes, traditions and table decorations. 

Thanks to our Thanksgiving Pinterest board, I'm really inspired to try a few new recipes this year and am inspired to decorate. I have a set of Thanksgiving dishes I inherited from my parents, the leaf plates are my favorite part. So the goal with decorations, is to use those and get creative with other things I already have: doilies, leaves and branches, etc. 

We seem to celebrate Thanksgiving at a different place every year, so creating traditions that can be kept anywhere are a fun way to have consistency, despite the location. Last year, Teresa and I decided to make a tradition of baking together the day before, something I hope we still do when we're old and grey. 

Another tradition I've decided to start, is doing a craft project after everyone is stuffed. Last year, we made t-shirt scarves. This year, I'm thinking about making these. I love how they smell. Or we could really celebrate Thanksgiving elementary school style and make these!

Winter Workouts?

What do you do to stay fit in the winter? I don't have a lot of motivation to go jogging in the dark/rain so I'm trying to find alternatives to my regular routine for the winter months. In the past I've done Julianne Hough's dance workout DVD's and used the Nike App for my iPhone (which are both good but you really have to be self motivated!). Any recommendations for other indoor workout programs that don't involve expensive gym memberships? I used to call my gym membership a donation because I never went. :/
I tend to be far more motivated to keep up with my yoga in the winter though. The warm, low-lit studio calls to me and it's great to have someone else motivate me through a routine. Also, my yoga "guru," Melina Meza, has a fabulous series of books and a DVD that have actually gotten me to do a bit of a home practice in the fall/winter over the years. Check her out, she's great!

(Top photo and Melina)

Go-to Appetizer: Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

This time of year, when we start attending a lot of family gatherings and hosting holiday get togethers, I like to have a couple of go-to appetizer recipes in my back pocket that are delicious but easy. My favorite from this year are simple goat-cheese stuffed dates. All you do is slit open fresh dates, stuff with high-quality goat cheese, bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes (or until toasty) and top with balsamic vinaigrette  Wah-la!

What are your go-to recipes for the holidays? We'd love to hear in the comments!

Wedding Wednesday: Q&A

Today's Wedding Wednesday addresses a question we got from a reader.
"Do you have any tips on how to navigate a wedding when your friends and date will be dutifully attending the bride and groom?" -Natalie

There's so many different ways you can approach this, and it's really up to you. 

Enjoy being a guest.  You don't have any of the added stress that comes with being in the bridal party!  Sleep in and then find something fun to do with yourself for the day, especially if its an out of town wedding. Go to a spa, get pretty and show up to the wedding looking awesome and ready to dance the night away.

But, if you really feel like you want to be a part of things...

Offer to help. There's always something that needs to be done around a wedding. You could do a coffee run for the wedding party as they are getting ready. Offer to be on call to run any needed errands. You could help with decorations, or set up. If your date is a groomsmen, sometimes the guys need a little added help with being on time, ironing clothes, tying ties, etc.

Regardless of how you spend your day, I highly suggest...

Make a new friend. Chances are there's at least one other person in a similar situation to you. Have you're partner ask the other groomsmen/bridesmaids to see who else has a date that's worrying about having no one to hang out with. I found that it's easy to bond quickly with someone who's in the same boat as you. This way you'll be sure to have someone to sit with at the ceremony.

Do you have a question/idea for a future Wedding Wednesday post? Let us know! Leave us a comment or email us: thethingswewouldblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Books on Blogging

Hello all you fellow bloggers out there! I'm curious if you have any recommendations for good books/resources on blogging that you would recommend? I saw that Joy of "Oh Joy" came out with a new book last month that looks pretty interesting (apparently 95,000 new blogs are launched every day around the world-- yikes!).  Have any of you read it? Jenny and I have been blogging for almost a year now (our blogiversary is in January) and we are always looking to up our game and learn more about how to reach a larger audience and create relevant material. Recommendations?

Cat Bath: A Story in Photos

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Holes

My mouth is watering as I write this. I made these yesterday and now they are all gone and I am sad. 
Teresa's mom, Julie, found this recipe for Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Holes on pinterest last fall, and they quickly became a favorite. 

I've adjusted the recipe a bit just a bit, using more pumpkin, more spices and less oil. Here's what I made last night. 

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnut Holes

1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk

Coat in:
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease mini muffin tin. I use coconut oil. 

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl mix the coconut oil (I had to heat mine up so it was liquid), with the pumpkin, sugar, egg, vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until it's just incorporated. 

Put about 1 tablespoon of batter in each mini muffin cup. Should make 36. Or if you're me, make 24 slightly bigger ones.  Bake for 10-14 minutes. Until a toothpick comes out clean. 

While it's baking, melt the butter and mix up the cinnamon and sugar to coat them in. 

When they've cooled a few minutes so you're able to touch them. Dip in the butter then roll n the cinnamon sugar mixture and there you go!

Monday Motivation

-Dr. Seuss

(print available on Etsy)

Friday Roundup

HAPPY FRIDAY! A fall chill has definitely set in around here, but I'm  not complaining because the sun is shinning! What are you up to this weekend? P and I are going to catch the new James Bond movie, love me some Daniel Craig.

A few links to get the weekend started:

Playing this new song on repeat.

Meet Reginald, YouTube sensation. This is a must watch.

Dark had me at hello.

Yikes! Sitting up straighter already.

Macaron coin purse.

15 tasty ways to eat fall veggies.

Kimbra is so cool. So is Solange.

Inspiring and candid speech from our President.

Holiday edible centerpieces.

Impressive and addicting.

How disasters bring people together and other interesting details about how men and women supposedly respond differently.

Fancy FP holiday dresses, drool. One for Jenny and one for me.


Tea Party

Our good friends Brittany & Victor recently did some traveling in China and came back with this beautiful tea set. So after a wonderful steak dinner we had our own tea ceremony complete with blossoming flower tea, which is what I'm so intently staring at in the glass. I loved hearing a bit about the tradition of tea ceremonies, like how you're supposed to drink your cup of tea in three sips.

Pinterest ups its game!

Have you ever wanted to pin something but didn't because you didn't want to share it with everyone? Pinterest has finally taken the hint and is adding private boards just in time for you to pin to gift boards for holiday shopping. Check out how to do it here. 

Personally, I'm interested to see how this changes what my friends are pinning. Looking at other people's pins is a window into people's personal style, eating habits and even their future dreams in the case of all of the "When I Get Married," "Future Children," "Dream House," and "Bucket List" travel boards out there. Seeing what people aspire to have and do has been one of my favorite things about Pinterest. 

We will still be publicly pinning lots of great things. Do you follow us?

Bottle of Sunshine

As most of my friends and family have heard in the past week, I am not a fan of the autumn daylight savings time change. To me, "falling back" just means I never see the light of day. I leave for work in the dark and get home in the dark, and not to be Debbie Downer but around here it's usually raining too. Which means that many people in Seattle have a vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun exposure. One study found that 75% of Americans are vitamin D deficient, which can lead to depression, flu, bone weakness and diabetes.

Thankfully, this deficiency is easy to combat by taking daily vitamins. I'm totally addicted to "Sunny Gummies" which are packed with 1000 IU of vit D and taste like delicious sour lemon candy. Check them out, it's an easy way to combat the winter blues. D is also found naturally in some fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks and fortified dairy and grain products.

PS. This is not a sponsored post (I wish!) just a little tip on one of my current favorite things.

Guess the Accent!

Are you good at guessing where people are from based on their accents? I thought I was until I took this test! Try it out and let me know how you do, it's not as easy as it looks. :)

Also, have you seen this kid's amazing talent for impersonating a ton of accents? Mesmerizing. (Warning: there is some swearing, NSFW). Makes me think about how much effort must go into actors mastering different accents. I had no idea that both Stringer Bell and Officer McNulty on the Wire were played by British actors until like season 4!

PS. Top 10 fake American accents and five American actors that can actually do a British accent.

(Map available on Etsy)