friday link love

I am completely jumping for joy over the fact that it is Friday!  Sure, it's still cold, but today is the last day of February (and you can just move on outta here you icky month) and my parents are coming to St. Louis this weekend.  We're going to try out some new, and some of my favorite restaurants, and then go baby clothes shopping.  This is to distract me from the fact that our city's biggest drinking holiday (Mardi Gras!) is happening this weekend.  Did you know that St. Louis has the fourth largest Mardi Gras celebration in the world, after Venice, Buenos Aires, & New Orleans?  I've given Darrell reprieve from baby daddy duties and told him to go have fun.  Anyone else have any amazing plans for this weekend?  

The gorgeous bag at the tippy-top of my summer wishlist.  

Bill Cunningham captures the hilarity of businessmen trying to get around NYC in their dress shoes, when it snows.  

These kids are absolutely winning at Vine videos.  

Hilarious tips the Japanese give their citizens for traveling to America.  

As a former Shakespeare student, I totally geeked out over this article detailing how House of Cards is derivative of many of his works.  

Would you try this crazy trick for getting rid of a zit?  I'd say it's worth a shot!  

Crazy historical facts: did you know that there were still wooly mammoths when the pyramids were built?  


maternity style 12

wearing: dress - hatch collection (I bought this for 50% off at Shopbop, but unfortunately it's sold out there now), pumps - jcrew (sold out), necklace - j crew factory

One day last week we had a little event at the office, so I used it as an excuse to get a little more dressed up than usual.  I hope my outfit compensated for my behavior, because I'm fairly certain I said "nice to meet you" to no less than three people who came to my wedding.  Pregnancy brain?  Or am I just terrible?  

Also, this was our miraculous "60 degrees in February" spring teaser, so it felt like a treat to wear a dress without tights.  Tights have not been my favorite thing in pregnancy - I'm assuming that's fairly common.  Bump + elastic waistband = no thank you.  I went all winter without finding a a pair of maternity tights I liked.  Unfortunately, my bare legs are showing me just how badly I'm in need of a tan.  I can't be pregnant and pasty white.  I bought this Groupon for a 3 pack of VersaSpa sprays literally 5 minutes after writing this post.*  

*At one of those open air booth places, don't get all uppity about my inhaling the fumes!


two things i want to make

Since Pinterest has become so popular, it's gotten to where it's sometimes a bit cumbersome to wade through.  I thought it would be fun to start a new series highlighting just two recipes I want to make, both found on the inspirational site.  

This week, I'm actually going to attempt making my own Pain au Chocolat.  It's a time consuming process (mostly making the croissant dough) but I've enjoyed baking bread so much that I'm wanting a new challenge.  I'll let you know how this one turns out.  

I don't know if I'll actually get around to making the gnocchi (I'd love to, but Darrell will probably chide me for making such an unhealthy dinner) but I think it's worthy of a Saturday night in!  Plus, I've never made gnocchi before so that could be a fun thing to tackle as a pair.  


awkward & awesome tuesday

One morning this week I managed to not only burn my oatmeal on the stove, but also melt the spoon I was cooking it with.  I'm apparently very distracted.  

The bra fitting lady at Nordstrom who just was totally unwilling to leave the fitting room because she needed to help me get the bras on?  I am really not that much of a prude, and I understand the benefit of showing her how they're fitting, but just the act of getting them off and on is something I would like to do ALONE.  

Correcting our guest yoga teacher (aka "Top 12 Young Yoga Teachers in America" according to Yoga Journal freaking magazine) Darren Rhodes during class when he tried to mess with my pregnancy modification with a blunt "dude, I'm 6 months pregnant."  Obviously, but there were surely better ways to say that than loudly and abruptly.  

Yelling at your husband from the kitchen "so babe, you about ready for bed?" at which point he reminds you "uh, Mary, it's 8:05."

***awkward update: Per the item below, I'm wrong, the time change isn't until NEXT weekend.  Cue tears . 

We got a little hit of 60 degree weather last week.  I could be bitter that it was fleeting, but I'm choosing to just be thrilled it happened at all.  It was a nice reminder that spring will come eventually.  

Yoga teacher training finished this past weekend!  It's been fun, but I am so very ready to have my weekends back to myself.  Also, I'm now a certified yoga teacher!  

True Detective.  Have you seen it yet?  Darrell & I are on a real streak with finding TV series we both love, and this is our latest "OMG Saturday nights in with pizza and this show are the best thing ever" discover.  

The manicure & pedicure I'm going to get tonight.  I'm normally a do it at home to save $$$ kind of girl, but that rule is being put on hold due to the fact that reaching my feet has become somewhat of an ordeal.  

Spring forward is this weekend!  The time change makes it more real - it's a fact.  


friday link love

photo from here
It's the last yoga training weekend!  I am so grateful to have had the experience of learning to teach yoga, and will be so sad to not spend my weekends with the wonderful people in my class, but truth be told I am thrilled to have my Saturdays and Sundays back to being all mine.  There's just nothing like waking up on Saturday morning with nothing to do, and lazing your way through coffee, brunch, and then an afternoon at the park or just watching Netflix.  And if you want more of an adventure....well the choice is yours!  Even though I plan to savor the last few days of my yogi education, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm jealous of all of you who have 48 hours with which to do whatever you want.  I hope your weekends are lovely!  

I loved this story about a father attempting to set a good example for his son....even while at the airport.  

A little NSFW, but I thought this short French film highlighting how our society still tends to be rather misogynistic was really well done.

How often do you say "I love you" to your family & friends?

Business baby is both adorable and hilarious.

A wonderful little pep-talk of an essay if you feel like you're having an awful time.

Teaching children boundaries: why it isn't okay to steal kisses.

These shoes look so pretty and comfortable.

Are you left brained, or right brained?  

Lastly, this amazing video highlighting a study of how babies are born with the knowledge of right and wrong.  They always pick the helpers!  This was so incredible to me.


maternity style 11

top and bracelet (old): anthropologie, leggings (maternity): isabella oliver, boots: frye, similar

So a little wardrobe update - as of recent, I have not been so into buying official "maternity" clothes!  Earlier on in my pregnancy, buying maternity felt like a rite of passage - it was something I wanted to do because I was so excited about being pregnant, and since I had a while to wear everything it seemed purposeful.  Now, with only about 3.5 months left to go, I'm more in the market for pieces I can make work both before and after the baby gets here, spring through summer.    

Sonnet James, who I featured last week, is one brand I went to for such clothes, but their pre-sale dresses don't ship until April (which is probably good, because I would very likely just start wearing them anyways, and freeze to death).  My Isabella Oliver dresses also feel like a good long term investment, although their fitted silhouette may not be so flattering immediately post baby!  Other than that, there isn't just one brand that I consider a go to for before and after versatility - any brand from Forever 21 to Free People to J.Crew will often carry pieces that have just enough stretch or flow to work with a bump.  This top in particular is by Anthropologie, and after seeing another blogger wear it I had a good feeling about it working well with a bump!  I checked if it was in stock at my local store, popped over, and was lucky enough that the last one in my size had a small flaw (a tiny tear in the seam) that got me $30 off and took all of 5 minutes to stitch up.  These kinds of finds are what I'm looking for to carry me through, but won't make it feel as though I'm spending money on something I'll wear once.  


rustic & gold at target

About a month ago, when we decided to forego moving in favor of saving some money and hassle, we decided that if we were going to stay happy in our current apartment then it needed a refresh.  I had a pretty particular vision in mind - lots of white and gold, with nothing dark or too big that would make the apartment feel even smaller.  When we eliminated our dining room and made the apartment layout into more of a studio (minus the nursery, which is in our only private bedroom) our number one concern became making sure that we never felt cramped.  I thought I'd have to figure out how to make it work over time, but then I was thrilled to see that Target's Threshold brand had released an entire collection of cream & gold home decor with rustic touches - exactly what I wanted, for half of what I thought I'd spend.  

We've already snapped up the little bench and bedside table, and still have a lamp on the list.  I loved the two pictured here, but Darrell wasn't sold.  Anyways, this is basically just a PSA!   The items are mostly sold out online, but if you click through you can check item availability in your local store, just in case you feel like your house could use a spring reset.  


easy homemade bread

I've been itching to do a post about my bread making adventures for a while, but wanted to make sure my methods were thoroughly tested before I sent you into your own kitchens on a hope and a prayer.  I think at this point I've got a pretty foolproof method for baking bread at home - and here's why I think it's important: 

Everywhere you look is a diet book or blog telling you "bread is evil."  Yes, bread as we know it in the store today is total crap.  It's full of preservatives, has ingredients like antibiotic & growth hormone treated milk, and that's not even the worst part.  Bleached flour?  Why do I want to eat bleach?  No one wants to feed their family bleach.  But because the task of baking it ourselves sounds insurmountable and old fashioned, and because Ezekial bread (the only really acceptable form of pre-made sliced bread in the market) costs $5 a loaf and tastes like, well, Ezekial bread, we keep buying things like "Healthy Life" bread.  Which, by the way, only has 45 calories per slice for a reason: it's not real food.  

Eventually you decide that either you'll have to give up bread....which is no life to live at all.  Bread is delicious.  Alternatively you can try out this recipe and eat better bread than you ever have before - and I promise you won't be instantly transported back to the kitchens of Downton Abbey.  This whole process has an active work time of about 30 minutes, I kid you not.  This sourdough recipe is my current favorite.  

Sourdough Bread

3 1/2 cups of flour 
(this can be bread flour, whole wheat flour, all purpose unbleached flour, etc.  Just please don't use bleached flour. I haven't tested any gluten-free flours yet but I don't see why an all-purpose gluten free flour wouldn't work.  Let me know if you try it!)  

1/4 cup sourdough starter*

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 cups very HOT water
(many recipes call for purified, but I personally just don't think you need to have a Brita pitcher to make homemade bread.  My tap water worked just fine.)  

*On the note of the sourdough starter - I purchased mine via Amazon here.  It shows up at your doorstep and you add a little water and flour to it every day for a week.  Then once you've decided it's big enough, you store it in the fridge and "feed" it once a week.  It's basically like a very low maintenance pet that keeps you from ever having to buy yeast.  I was very intimidated by it until I actually tried it, and realized how simple it is to keep one.  

Making Your Bread

1. In a big bowl, mix the flour and salt together.  Fill a separate bowl with either 1 1/2 cups hottest water from your tap, or if your tap water doesn't get very hot just microwave it.  Add to that 1/4 cup of your sourdough starter (which will very likely be the consistency of taffy.)  If your water isn't hot enough, your starter won't dissolve well, and then when you mix it into the dough some parts of the bread will be more "sour" than others.  After I remove 1/4 cup of the sourdough starter I feed it again with 1/3 cup flour & 1/4 cup hot water.  Then it goes back into the fridge until you need more bread.

2.  Pour your water & starter mix into your flour mixture and stir to combine, but don't overmix it.  It doesn't need to look like a perfectly round ball of dough at this point.  Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 18 hours.  I'd like to point out that I totally understand many of us don't have time to schedule our lives around a dough-rising schedule, so if your dough only rises for 16 hours or as many as 22, it will turn out just fine.  Just maybe don't start at a time that will make it impossible for you to continue the process 16-22 hours later.

3.  When you come back to it, your dough will be considerably larger (like the photo above.)  Flour a work surface generously - I just spread out parchment paper to avoid a mess.  Flatten your dough out a bit, flour it well, and then fold it onto itself until it forms a ball.  Cover that with plastic wrap and let it rest on your counter for 15 minutes.  

4.  This is the final proofing step - I swear you will get to eat eventually!  It's a lot of prep steps, but fortunately most of them take 5 minutes.  Line a bowl with a heavily floured towel, set your ball of dough in, and fold the towel over the top.  Let rise for two more hours.  

5.  An hour and a half into the proofing stage, preheat your dutch oven.  I used a cast iron soup pot, but any really large heat resistant pot with a lid will be just fine.  Set the oven to 500 degrees, and place your pot inside for 30 minutes.  

6.  Remove your heated pot from the oven, and then gently place your proofed dough inside.  Your dough does not have to reach the edges of the pan - it will spread as needed, just make it a nice shape in the center.  I frequently burn myself during this step, be really careful!  
My bread didn't stick at all, but if you're really nervous about it you can line your pan with parchment paper.  If you decide to do this, your dough may not have as nice of a crust.  Definitely don't grease your pan, it will smoke.  

7.  Cover your pot and place it in the oven for 30 minutes at 500 degrees.  After 30 minutes, remove the lid and reduce your oven temperature to 450.  Bake for another 10-15 minutes - keep an eye on it, mine was done after 10, some ovens may take longer.

8.  Remove your bread from the oven, pop it out of the pot, and place on a wooden cutting board to cool.  Make sure you share while it's fresh out of the oven, that's the best part!  I eat it plain with butter or jam, it's wonderful with soup, and also makes great sandwiches and French Toast.  The bread will last 4 or 5 days before getting too hard.  Possibly more if you keep it in a Ziploc in the fridge!  


friday link love

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Whoever you're celebrating with today, I hope you enjoy the day as a celebration of love in all its forms.  I've personally never been that big of a fan of the holiday (too much pressure!) but since these are our last few months as just us two, we decided to make a bigger deal out of it than our usual dinner & movie at home and make dinner reservations at our favorite Italian restaurant. Yes we will probably sing the Billy Joel song in the car the entire way there. Other than that we aren't doing anything at all this weekend, which sounds perfect.  If your plan is to hang out and eat Valentine's Day candy all weekend long, well then you and I have a lot in common.   

I adored this essay about motherhood, and how "babies ruin bodies."  

A hilarious and sweet letter from one friend to another, to help out when the latter had amnesia.  

This language game is so addictive and fun.  

25 awesome brunch spots in St. Louis.  I particularly like Rooster & Southwest Diner.  

Ten things that will make you happier, actually backed up by science.  

If your plans are to stay in and cook a romantic dinner Friday, we made this last week and it was delicious!  

I'm totally guilty of the two spaces after a period faux pas.  


maternity style 10

wearing: dress - forever21, similar, coat - bb dakota, similar, boots - frye, similar, scarf - h&m, similar, leggings - old navy maternity, belt - Darrell's from j.crew

 I woke up at 5 am this morning, for no real reason at all.  I didn't have a bad dream, no anxiety happening.  Just awake.  I read about this happening during pregnancy but I hope it doesn't continue, because I'll probably be a legitimate zombie by 3 pm.  Either way, mostly what I was wondering was what the heck you do at 5 am when it's freezing out?  

Apparently, if you're me you watch the Bachelor (which is just okay this season, and I kind of hate Juan Pablo) and Pretty Little Liars (I clearly have impeccable taste in television), then you pay some bills online, write a blog post, and drive to Hardee's for a breakfast sandwich and orange juice.  And now we're going to end this ramble of a post with my weekly "please spring get here soon" complaint, and just hope that next week's forecast of temperatures in the 60s is real and not just a cruel joke.  


awkward and awesome tuesday


While home for work in Mt. Vernon this week, I managed to set off our building's alarm not once, but twice.  Once I legitimately didn't think that it was set, but the second time I just.....apparently I forgot that the patio door still counts as a door.  Oops.  

Every time I said "I need a drink" at my friend's birthday party this weekend, I got the silent blank stare.  OF WATER, PEOPLE.  Geez.  

In case you didn't know, pregnancy energy comes in spurts - do something, sit for a while, repeat.   I pretty much run all errands a little bit at a time.  Trader Joe's & Target?  Unlikely, unless Darrell is coming with me to push the cart and do all the lifting.  

Some serious cravings for turkey & chicken.  Stop it baby, we're vegetarians.  Eggs are all you get.  

Darrell could not suppress his amusement when I was getting dressed for yoga the other day.  Gotta get the tank top down OVER the boobs, and the pants UP over the bump.  It's more work than you might think.  


Prenatal yoga!  My first series started this week.  I've been attending classes the entire time I've been pregnant, but lately things have gotten a little bit uncomfortable in certain poses.  Prenatal yoga classes & modifications are making all the difference for me.  Yoga is the one thing keeping me sane during this awful winter, and it's making this whole pregnancy thing a LOT easier physically.  I'll do a post in the next couple weeks about the exact classes & DVDs I've been using!  

I made homemade Thin Mints this week that literally taste exactly like the real thing.  They're dangerous.  Recipe can be found here - amazingly, they have three ingredients and take about 30 minutes.  Don't bother tempering the chocolate - just melt it in the microwave.  I tempered it once and not the second time, and it just seemed like a lot of unnecessary extra work and mess.  

The bump is finally bigger than my boobs!  Although they're making an effort to catch up.  Either way, this is fantastic because I can finally bust out all of my old "college bohemian phase" tunics and tops, and you can actually tell I'm pregnant and not just big.  They're so comfortable, and I really didn't want to buy many more maternity clothes.  

Getting together with so many friends this weekend.  We tend to be really low key lately, but Saturday night we headed to a big birthday party for two of our close friends.  It was so great to see everyone and catch up - and hear so many sweet words about our impending parenthood.  And Happy Birthday again to Emily & Rob!  


sonnet james

Last week when I was browsing blogs, I came across Taza's post about the line Sonnet James.  I usually click right past giveaway posts to be totally honest, especially on a blog that popular.  What are my odds of winning, right?  But her pictures are always so beautiful, and once I saw how cute the dresses were I had to click through.  Imagine my surprise when I got to the site and realized that they aren't just dresses - they're double duty stretchy maternity & non-maternity dresses for MOMS.  I am totally smitten.  The bright colors & modest cuts are perfect for hanging out with children because they don't inhibit any of your activities, and I love how comfortable they all look.  I basically want one of each.  None of the dresses for spring will be available until April, but you'd better believe I'll be scooping a few up for my transitional pregnancy-to-new-mama wardrobe.  The best part is that the line isn't insanely expensive - most of the dresses are around the $100 mark, and several can even be worn for nursing.  Win!  

You can check out Sonnet James here.  


friday link love

So I hate to say it, but winter is kind of killing us around here.  Usually a midwestern February involves temps in the 40s and a mix of gray and sunny skies, but this year we seem to have fallen into a permanent polar vortex.  There's another deluge of snow every other day, and it doesn't seem to get much warmer than 20 degrees, ever.  

I know spring will come, and I shouldn't wish this precious time away - especially being pregnant - but it's hard not to think about sunnier & warmer days ahead.  Luckily this weekend we have some celebrating to do for our friends' birthdays, and that should generate some much needed cheer.  Also, it gives me an excuse to wear something besides yoga pants and a t shirt (yay!)  

I hope you have a weekend planned that will put a little spring into your heart, at least until the real thing arrives in 40 days!!

My favorite links from this week: 

The questions that will save a relationship.  

Especially on winter Mondays, it's good to adopt this attitude.  

Target's shoes are buy one get one half off, and these are so cute, especially in the stripe!  

I loved this hilarious take on how today will be viewed from the future, written by Olivia Wilde.  

My latest pregnancy craving is anything strawberry - did you have any family members who made this deliciousness during the holidays?  My aunt always brings it, but I may whip a batch up just because.  

24 reasons to date a girl who does yoga.  

Jewelry is everything to a pregnant woman's wardrobe, and J.Crew Factory has a really exceptional selection right now - the necklaces are a fun way to inject a little spring into your wardrobe.  


baby hayes' name

So baby girl's name will be Claire!  We had firmly decided on Claire before we knew.....well before we knew we were even pregnant really.  Claire was my great-grandmother's name, and my parents considered it for my name as well.  I've been told many times "you look more like a Claire" when I've shared that, and although I'm perfectly happy being Mary I'm thrilled to pass that name onto my daughter.  We thought it was a good balance between a pretty name for a child and a sophisticated name for an adult.  I've always loved it, and I don't know anyone named Claire that I don't like (um, this is really true).  Her middle name will be Olivia, which is just a name we liked that we pulled out of nowhere!  

The photo is a little sneak peek at her nursery - I painted the trim that pretty mint green color, the walls are white, the gold polka dot curtains are from Pottery Barn Teen's Emily & Merritt collection, and the name banner is from Rifle Paper Company!  


the name game + maternity style 09

wearing: jacket & tunic (runs small) - old navy, leggings - isabella oliver, sneakers - new balance, scarf - crazy old, wal-mart maybe?  

These are not iPhone photos, these were actually taken with my fancy camera's self timer....which I'm obviously not good at, but I was determined to get in an outfit post this week despite my time constraints and it happened!  So I'm going to call that a win.  Photos taken in my parents lovely apartment - I intend to purloin that baby grand piano someday for our future little piano players, once we upgrade to something larger than 700 square feet.  

Speaking of babies (when am I NOT on here lately, really?), since we already know the baby's gender, you may be wondering what we'll name her.  

Well, we had names chosen from before we knew I was even pregnant.  Darrell and I are both really decisive and we both completely agreed on our favorites.  How lucky am I, right?  

But just for fun I thought I would ask: any suggestions?  Any favorite names right now?  

To give you an idea, here were some of the others we considered that didn't make the cut (but maybe for a future baby!)  We both tended to favor really classic names that haven't been super popular recently.  

For a Girl

For a Boy


awkward and awesome tuesday


Okay, the photo that was previously here.  I really hated it.  And it's my blog, so I am exercising my rights to take it down.  I had yoga training all weekend (literally, 7:30 am to 5 pm both days) so it was a "yeah I just got out of the shower but we really need to snap this photo" kind of thing.  Outfit post coming tomorrow!  

My bedtime routine.  We eat dinner at 6:30, go to bed maybe two hours later, and by the time I've been laying down for half an hour I've probably gotten up to pee twice and gone to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal.  

Husband spies the cookies that I made...all three of them that are left.  Doesn't eat them though.  Then 2 hours later asks "where did the cookies go?"  Um yes, yes I did.  You really need to be faster if you want to beat a pregnant woman to cookies.  

I thought I would be totally calm and collected when people reach out to touch the belly and WOW that is not the case.  With certain people it doesn't matter much to me at all (Darrell, my girlfriends, and a handful of people who just have good energy) but with some people I just do this really startled "WHOA PLEASE DON'T DO THAT."  So bottom line, ask or maybe just don't?  

Realizing how far I'm going to have to stretch this maternity wardrobe.  I'm totally unmotivated to buy any more than what I've already bought, and what I have is great!  But it's going to get worn, and reworn, and by the end of this pregnancy you all may just be viewing re-posts of old outfit posts.  


The Superbowl!  It's the best ever "drinking holiday" for pregnancy women because food.  

Darrell can feel the baby move now, IF we sit stone still and wait for an unspecified amount of time.  I am so excited for her to get bigger and stronger so he can feel her all the time.  

Easter candy is out!  I know, it's ridiculous seeing as it's only January, but Easter candy is my very favorite.  Cadbury eggs!  (Side note: all these awesomes COULD be food related.  But I'll stop here.  You're welcome.)  

Women who DON'T give me unsolicited advice.  You all are awesome.  I will totally ask for help when I need it (and have!), but until then I would appreciate you just keeping it all to yourself please and thank you.  

I have acclimated to our new bed positioning!  I didn't fall out once this week : )  

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