| Thoughts on a Monday Morning |


Photo by Alexandru STAVRICĂ on Unsplash


I’m sitting up in bed, crisp white sheets, fluffy duvet and lots of pillows with my sweet baby snuggled up next to me.  He’s currently asleep and my coffee is currently hot..  We shall see how long this lasts!

Most of Josh’s family lives in Florida so for the past 10 days or so we’ve had brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews coming into town as Irma refugees.  His parents stayed with us for a week, I wish our apartment had room for more, but we did what we could and really enjoyed having them stay with us.  Hugo especially loved the oodles of attention and I was happy to be busy while Josh was gone traveling most of the time.

September is a jam-packed month for us, especially Josh.  I’m a little jealous of his schedule right now.  Last week in LA included the Sony Lot, lunch with MY dad (who was out in OC for work) at my favorite restaurant, tickets to a little show called HAMILTON! and much more.  Haha!  With a movie coming out in only 10 days, it’s a sprint to the end and I’m doing all I can to support my guy and enjoy our short weekends together.

One of the great perks of having grandparents in town was having babysitters for friday night!  I know most of you take advantage of free childcare, but we’re so far away from both side of the family that it is actually very rare for us.  Thankfully, Hugo is a happy, extroverted baby and we’re able to bring him most places with us, but there is nothing like getting out sans-baby for a few hours!

We love our Birmingham, and my favorite neighborhood is Mountain Brook.  It’s a gorgeous community, built 60+ years ago high on the hills that overlook the city.  The streets are narrow and lined with gorgeous cottages and mature trees and the city center is called English Village.  Josh and I really hope to stay in Birmingham for a long, long time and someday I have dreams of us ending up in a home there.  Josh always teases me about it, but its the best zip code in the state and basically Perfectville, USA, so I’m sold!

Anyway, we left our (still) teething baby with Mum & Pop Pops and headed to Mountain Brook.  We were both burnt out from the week and went the simple date route.  Dinner at Brick and Tin, which is a lovely little cafe that is open late on Fridays, the food is amazing (don’t miss out of their Classic Salad, its incredible!) then we took an after-dinner stroll through the streets and ended up at the Grand Bohemian for dessert and coffee.  They have this gorgeous rooftop bar complete with Astroturf and funky furniture, and it’s wonderful for sunset or people watching!

And this was a very boring blog post today, short story long, we enjoyed our weekend and now it’s back to work.  My baby just woke up, all smiles in his Sheriff Woody pajamas, fluffy blonde hair and raspy morning voice, being a mom is the best!  I should plan my week out while there’s still coffee in the french press.  It looks like the weather will be warm again, last week was downright chilly!  I’m excited to start reading The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore, tackle a few creative projects, and clean out my fridge.

Wishing you a productive Monday!


GOALS | september 2017


Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

So, how did I do?

  1. New Recipes.  Josh was traveling so much of the month that I ended up eating a lot of simple meals (granola, toast, pimento cheese & tomato sandwiches) or just going out for something quick.  However, I’ve had some success with a “two-week” meal plan and will blog about that soon!
  2. Host my friend Amy!  Yes!  We dropped her at the airport yesterday, it was a wonderful visit, she is one of the best people I know!
  3. Plan a picnic.  RAIN!  I had everything planned and the location was sentimental to us (where Josh first told me he loved me AND the place we found out we were having a baby boy!) and it RAINED.
  4. Hang art in Hugo’s room.  Yes!  I chose to use engineer sized prints and I  love the way it looks.  There are a few more finishing touches to his room, then I would love to do a tour.
  5. See Ellie Holcomb in concert.  No, several things came up that day and we were unable to go.

Goals for September

  1. Work out 2-3 times per week.  Josh and I have been trying go straight to the gym after work, but our consistency could be better.  Even if it’s just a walk with Hugo in the stroller, my goal is to get moving!
  2. Celebrate my 29th birthday!  I’m not a big birthday person, because I hate to be the center of attention, but Josh has a surprise planned and I’m pretty excited!  One thing I always do is pick out an over the top birthday cake recipe and bake it myself, strange, I know.  I love the excuse to make something amazing!
  3. Craft some embellished jeans!  Amy and I had lots of crafty conversations and we are both loving the embellished denim trend.  These pearl ones are so inspiring!
  4. Blog at least once a week.  Again, consistency!  But I love blogging when the little guy is down for a nap.
  5. Curate a fall/winter style guide.  My sizes have been all over the place this last year, and I’m needing to update my wardrobe with good fitting and simple pieces. Pinterest is the best for this!

What are your September goals?  Share, please!

Lilly After Party Sale!


If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a Lilly girl.  Golly, I love this brand so much.  It’s bright and whimsical and preppy and as I was telling Josh last night “It’s impossible to have a bad day when wearing Lilly!” (That’s me wearing Lilly in the Cayman Islands on our honeymoon, see how happy and tan we were.)

Each print is unique and the company was started in the 1950s, which means, if you look hard enough, you’ll find VINTAGE stuff!  Not only do I love the modern prints and let’s be real, the modern fabric, but I’ve also collected some of the old patterns and love to find them at antique and thrift stores.

FullSizeRenderEvery year they host a sale that stays secret until a few days before it opens, the fans go crazy and the online “queue” is 100k people long.  Well, yesterday was the day!  I was a few minutes late, due to my little munchkinhead who requires lots o’ mama’s milk…  I logged in at 7:08 am (hot coffee thanks to my sweet husband) there were only 41,777 people in front of me.  Haha!  As it was, I had secured my spot on the wrong browser (darn you safari) and when I finally got in 2 hours later, I was having trouble adding things to my cart.


Hoo and I needed to do some errands anyway so we stopped at our local store.  It’s worth it to go to a physical store if you have one since they’re all running the sale and they all have different inventory.  I was able to snag the Kelly pant in Lilac Verbena “Rock the Dock” (they were sold out online).  Bonus points for getting to use an old gift card I kept forgetting about!  I don’t usually wear purple, but the print has navy and white in it too and I feel like I could wear them into autumn with a silk blouse or a cozy sweater and flats.  Since I’d tried on these pants 3 different times but couldn’t justify the full price tag, I happily brought them home with me.


It’s not too late to shop.  The sale ends tomorrow night and we’re talking 30-70% off regular prices.  They just added a bunch of new items today and since I have a little cash leftover in my “Lilly Sale Envelope” thanks to that gift card (Dave Ramsey jokes!) I may order a new top or the Jayne shorts.  The dresses are too short for me, as are their “Buttercup” shorts, but if you’re looking for something more modest, I love the Chipper shorts (a true bermuda length and the ones I’m wearing the first photo) and the Jayne is new this year with a 7” inseam and has great coverage.


Did you buy anything at the After Party Sale this year?!?

Crafternoons | Painted Straw Bag

straw tote edit

Josh spent the last week traveling, it was a last-minute and very long trip and oh my was it a rough one!

Our little guy is in some kinda 7mo sleep-regression/teething/I-dont-know-what and has decided that 3am is a great time for a feeding frenzy.  I try my hardest to keep things positive when Josh is away, since there’s only so much he can do from LA and I love him too much to needlessly worry him.  But I’m a terrible liar and he is very intuitive and I had several meltdowns.  It rarely happens and I’m not proud of it, I’m still trying to navigate this whole “my husband travels a lot for work and I miss him like crazy” thing.

I do a lot of crafty projects while he’s away.  In the last few months I’ve sewed a dress, pillows, handbags, hung new curtains, painted bookshelves, hung pictures and super cleaned and re-organized our apartment.  Haha!  You’re probably thinking “Get a life Abbe!”.  I know, I know, it’s just that I have an infant and my options are limited, we get out of the house everyday (this is key to survival!) and I’m getting better about calling a friend to hang out with.  I do a lot of what I call “Crafternoons” and sometimes “Crafter-nights”, usually during naps.

I picked up this Target tote bag for $2 and was originally going to cover it with pompoms or something equally childish (I really love unexpected accessories!) as I was brainstorming on the Pinterest I kept seeing these fun painted straw bags.  Heres the link if you want to buy one for $195!  As my mom always says “my creative juices were flowing!” and I figured if I goofed the whole thing up, I would only be out a couple of dollars.  I will never not love a monogram so it called to me.


A little inspiration, it even has my initials so I think it was a sign…


And here’s my late night painting session, complete with empty Panera iced tea cup.  I taped it off with duct tape (turns out, it’s the perfect stripe width) and painted on a black acrylic paint and a light blue paint that was left over from Hugo’s bookshelf (matchy-matchy).  The monogram stencils were from Hobby Lobby.  Let it dry between stripes to avoid smudges and give it a good day of air-drying before wearing it out.  Done and done!


  • This is the easiest project and so fun to do with any old straw bag!  I do wish I’d picked one that was a tighter weave, it would have made the monogram and stripe sharper.
  • I used a foam brush for the stripes (to get into the grooves) and a small artists brush for the monogram and to add the “dots” between the letters.
  • You will want to slip a cardboard box into the bag to add stability while you paint.
  • For monogramming, it would be so cute with your sweethearts initials or an “A♥️ J” or a nickname or whatever.  I love creative personalization!

Here are some other fun Straw Bag DIY ideas!  PomPoms! A much more detailed version of mine Painted Stripe Bag  And a Spray Painted version!  I would love this in gold!


Five Things | 8/14/17


ONE  |  Sriracha Documentary

This idea would be perfect for an at-home date night or a little get-together with friends (bonus points if you have a hot sauce themed menu!) This came up on a list I was reading the other week of food documentaries you should watch.  Available on Amazon Prime, Josh and I pulled it up and both loved it!  I’ve always been a Sriracha fan, but it was fun to see how it became a trend and what a high quality product it really is.  Sriracha Lime Popcorn would be the perfect thing for snacking while viewing!  (Photo from here – this also looks like a few good recipes.)


TWO  |  Crushed Ice and Foam Cups

Survival of a Southern summer.  Considering that my AC has been out all weekend and is currently getting worked on, it was 86 degrees ALL NIGHT LONG, consider this my best advice for August in the deep south.  Last summer, when I was pregnant with HMW and barely functioning due to (what I am convinced was) undiagnosed Hyperemesis Gravidarum, I would eat cups and cups of crushed ice from Zaxby’s, Chick-fil-a and a myriad of other fine southern dining establishments.  The combination with the foam cup is like nothing else.  Perfection!  Someday I dream of having two ridiculously fancy upgrades in my kitchen, a pellet ice machine and a sparkling water tap.  Go ahead and judge me.  I’ll just be over here with my monogrammed foam cups!


THREE  |  Dr. Teal’s Soothe & Sleep Lavender Bath

This combination bubble bath and shower gel is my current favorite.  With 24/7 caring for Little Hugo and frequent breastfeeding, I carry all of my stress in my shoulders causing muscle aches AND, every mom to ever come before me, I have a hard time winding down.  Josh is really sweet to make me chill out most nights and enjoy a bubble bath and actually read through a magazine.  I also use it every time I shower because I love the smell!

FOUR  |  NYX Butter Gloss

  1. I was on a brief hunt this summer for a popsicle-y lip stain color, but after several attempts I gave up.  My sister Brooke mentioned she’d bought these after a blogger recommendation so I got myself over to Target and bought the Vanilla Cream Pie (mauve pink) and Creme Brûlée (nude-ish pink).  They’re under $5 each and have a light glossy finish and soft color, no smudging!  Target has a buy one get one 50% off deal right now, so go ahead and get yourself a few different colors.  YES! MA’AM! THEY ARE THAT GOOD!


FIVE  |  Wild Caught Fish Sandwich

I apologize in advance for posting such an unappetizing photo of this great product.  I bought a package of 12 burgers last time I was at Costco to try and have been so impressed.  They make such a delicious quick lunch or after-workout dinner.  You can grill, use a skillet or (I just discovered) pop them in the oven!  I’ve served them in a lettuce wrap with Sriracha mayo and as a healthy-ish “filet-o-fish” on a gluten free bun I also recommend topping them with a little slaw!

Of Peach Pie and a Last Will & Testament


Yesterday I baked a fresh peach pie.

And Josh wrote up our will.

Our siblings refer to us as Grandpa & Grandma.  They’re not wrong.

For the record we are 26 & 28 respectively.  We fancy ourselves a responsible, organized couple and I’d figured we’d do all the will-related stuff whenever we take our first big trip sans-Little Hugo, but no, the other night Josh was at the kitchen table typing away and was like “Hey babe! I just finished our will, do you want to look this over?”

I was more than a little tickled.  Not only is he cute and funny, he’s smart too.  My natural tendency is always to procrastinate (due to analysis paralysis) but Josh is a “man of action” as he always reminds me.  And maybe a little paranoid, did I ever tell you about how after he proposed and we were walking back to the car, literally the first thing he said to me was “Don’t worry, your ring is insured!”.  I love him.

Anyway, it’s the height of summer and fresh produce and stone fruits and Georgia peaches and I was in the mood to bake a pie.  Since pie should be shared and the will required some witnesses,  we invited the brother and sister-in-law over after dinner.  Then I contemplated wearing a classic black dress for the whole deal, it seemed appropriate.  Just kidding!

Back to the pie…


I always use the queen, Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee dough.  It requires digging out your food processor, but worth it.  I used Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour and it came out tender and flaky, I was so pleased that I mentioned it over breakfast (I’m sorry I have a problem, I think about food.  A lot.) and Josh was like “What? That was gluten-free?”.  Yes.


For the filling, I mixed up Martha’s fruit pie chart with a few modifications.  I went with the lighter sugar amount since the peaches were at peak, I’d forgotten lemons at the grocery and found a lime in the fridge, so there ya go (sorry) and I prefer cinnamon to ginger so I added a generous sprinkle of that.  I omitted the extra butter pats since the crust has two sticks and brushed the top with a little half-and half and sugar for texture.  I baked for 10 minutes at 400 and then 50 minutes at 375.

Don’t forget the golden rule of pastry, “Work cold, bake hot!”

Yall, it was so good!


Now there’s half a pie in my fridge, taunting me.  Darn it, it belongs with my morning coffee, but I’m holding out for later and it’s time for my Friday deep clean of the apartment anyway.  So, back to that responsible and organized adult thing…

GOALS | august 2017


I’ve always loved being able to share goals on my blog.  It seems to be a clean, organized place to list them and then fun to come back and share the details in a longer post.  Here are a few things on my calendar this month.

  1.  Find two, new, go-to recipes (low-carb preferred).  If you’re anything like me, the last few weeks have been non-inspiring in the meal planning department.  This week I literally made oatmeal for dinner one night.  And ordered in pizza the next.  I’m so sorry.  Couldn’t be sorrier.  I’m know there have been some serious marks against my “homemaker of the year award” application.
  2. Host my sweet friend Amy for a long weekend here in Birmingham!  Amy and I met on a Jane Austen tour in London almost 8 years ago, we were fast friends and although we don’t see each other often, she’s one of those rare people that you can pick back up where you left off.  Plus, she’s a gifted designer and I love talking high-fashion and trend pet-peeves with.  I can’t wait to see her!
  3. Plan the perfect summer picnic for my boys!  Complete with tasty sandwiches, lemonade and ants.
  4. Find and hang art in Hugo’s nursery.  I can’t decide if I want photos, or traditional art or if I should do a gallery (I already have a gallery wall in my living room and don’t want to overdo it…)
  5. See Ellie Holcomb in concert!  I missed an concert of hers earlier this year, and although Josh is not a concert going kinda guy, he was down for this one (I, on the other hand, LOVE live music and would watch almost any band perform).  She is so very talented and her latest, “Red Sea Road”, is really really good.  She’s coming to Birmingham in a few weeks and I’m we have the evening open!

What are your August goals?