The Best Winter Leggings. Ever.

Top Secret Best Winter Leggings

Some of you are going to think I’ve gone insane when you read this post. Some of you will think I’ve just given up. And some of you will think I’m brilliant, go out and purchase them, and then be really, really happy getting dressed for the rest of winter.

My go-to legwear for winter are leggings, since they fit into my boots and I can wear them with dresses. A couple of years ago, Lindsey introduced me to fleece-lined tights, which I would sometimes wear under my leggings for protection. Then, my very fashionable and pregnant co-worker, Amy, told me that she had just ordered some maternity leggings that she would continue to wear even after giving birth because they were so comfortable. Amy is enviably thin–one of those pregnant women who looks exactly the same as usual except when she turns sideways–so I took this declaration to heart.

Then I found the perfect marriage of all those things: fleece-lined maternity leggings.

They came up in my Google search for fleece lined leggings and Amy’s voice rang in my head. I ordered two pairs and when they arrived I was delighted to discover that they don’t look like maternity clothing–no obvious seams or extra fabric. They’re pretty heavyweight for leggings, and jet-black. And unlike my other leggings, they don’t bag in weird places. Just a sleek, totally comfortable, and surprisingly warm legging. Pretty much everything I’ve been looking for all these years.

Anyway, I know it’s a little weird but I couldn’t resist letting you guys in on the secret of the best leggings ever. They’re buy one, get one 50% off right now at Motherhood Maternity. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you get a pair. But you might find that you love them so much you’ll have to tell all your friends too.

This isn’t a sponsored post. I just really love these leggings!

Life Update: We’re Home

Homesick for Portland

Hello, friends! We’re back from Portland and trying to get into the swing of things. We had a great time, even though we didn’t have a chance to do everything or see everyone we had wanted to because of the Arctic Blast. I’m already looking forward to going back in March, when Melissa and I will be making a big announcement together.

Homesick for Portland

We stayed in my old neighborhood, which may be my favorite neighborhood in the world. One afternoon, I walked into the village and visited all my old haunts: a little home boutique, a great indie bookstore, and a bead shop. And then I went to a couple of new storefronts. Things have changed a little but the village still feels quaint and sweet.

On the wall of our cottage, there’s an article from the Oregonian that begins, “Admit it. You love Multnomah Village. Everyone does.” It’s true! I think I spent about 75% of our time trying to convince James that we should move there one day. It didn’t help that the house I used to live in is for sale. I think it’s fate.

Homesick for Portland

Oh, but I do love New England. And even though I was kind of dreading work on Monday morning after flying in on Sunday night, it was so great to see my coworkers! This Friday night, we’ll go to our favorite sushi restaurant, just down the road from here. We’ll spend the weekend with James’ family. We’ll stroll through the Boston Public Gardens. All the things we would miss if we were on the other side of the country.

Homesick for Portland

And now, here we go–the quick slide into the holidays!

J xoxo

P.S. We’re getting ready to launch the 14 Days of Holiday Love series! Follow us on Facebook for two weeks of fabulous giveaways.

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Life Update: Pacific Northwest Love

Headed to Portland!

We’re headed out to the West Coast for a few days on what I like to call “blogging business,” which mostly means seeing friends I don’t get to see often enough. What’s funny is that I didn’t know these ladies all that well when I actually lived in Portland, but now I can’t imagine visiting the city without seeing them! I can’t wait to see Stephanie, to finally meet Rachel in person, and to see Melissa so that we can keep the ball rolling on our big project. (The details are flying together on that one, so we may have more to reveal soon!)

And, of course, I’ll get to see my very best friend, Lindsey, and her new baby Olivia, who looks like a real life anime baby. Oh, the cheeks on that one! I think she’s made of mochi.

Going “Home”

I’ve lived in four different cities in my life, and I have a different kind of homesickness for each of them. Aside from my friends, I think what I miss most about Portland is how easy it is to live there. The neighborhoods are great, there’s hardly ever any traffic, it’s affordable, the food is amazing, and it rarely snows. Yeah, going for weeks at a time with grey skies is hard, but it’s nothing compared to the sheer terror I feel whenever there’s ice on the ground here.

And yet, when I lived in Portland I missed Boston–the pace, the New England fall, the quaintness of the towns and history of the city. So there always seem to be opposing forces pulling at my heart, which is kind of nice, in the end. So many places to call home.

Wish You Were Here

I’ll be snapping lots of photos, so come and see Portland with me on Instagram! We’ll be going to LOTS of our favorite food places. You may even get a hint or two about the project Melissa and I are working on. I’m so excited about this trip that I might burst!

J xoxo

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Simple Recipe: “Magic” Minestrone

Easy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe
Whenever someone in my family gets sick, my mom makes her famous minestrone soup, and it always works like a charm. No one has come down with a cold over here (yet) but we’re feeling the chill of these autumn days, and that has set us on the hunt for comfort foods. In the notes my mom made for this recipe, it says, “Lots of ingredients, but easy–mostly dumping!” Which is true: chop, chop, chop, dump into pot–and voila! Magic soup.

I love that this soup is thick, almost like a stew, but you can water it down with more chicken broth or water at the end if you like it thinner. It’s one of those dishes that’s great to make on a Sunday because it’s such a big batch that it can last through the week. I’m a fan of putting it into a thermos for a steaming hot lunch at work. Anyone else out there a thermos fan? I think it’s the perfect intersection of nostalgia and function.

Easy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
14-oz can chicken broth
1 quart water
2 medium carrots, diced
Half of small cabbage or 1 small Chinese cabbage, sliced
1 medium potato, diced
15-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, diced
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1⁄2 cup uncooked macaroni

Instructions:

1. In a large stockpot, add beans, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes to chicken broth and water. Simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Coat the bottom of a skillet with cooking spray; sauté the onions for few minutes until the edges are just beginning to turn gold. Add zucchini, garlic, pepper, and basil. Cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Add to the stockpot (with the beans, broth, vegetables, and tomatoes) with tomato sauce and macaroni.

3. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Add water or more broth if it’s too thick for your taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Gift Guide: For the Coolest Kids

Win $150 to the DLK Shop!

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If you’re anything like me, you probably have some pretty cool kids in your life. Take my niece and nephew, for instance. These were kids who, from day one, had their own sense of style. Where I grew up in a time where everyone wore matching Sanrio-themed leggings and had basically the same haircut, Akira and Jolie make their own fashion rules, accessorize with freedom, and hop on trends before I even know that they exist. (Jolie, at age four, showed up in an asymmetrical moto jacket and little black boots the last time I saw her–all chosen on her own.)

So I’m not going to the usual kids stores to shop for my favorite littles. Not only do I want to buy them unique things they’ll love, but I also really want to support indie sellers this season. So it was a relief when my friend Kim of Design Life Kids (DLK) opened her online boutique, which is chock full of hip, fun clothes, toys and accessories for kids (along with a bunch of covetable houseware items for their parents), all in one place!

Today, I’m joining up with Kim and our fellow bloggers (and true friends) Lindsey of Cafe Johnsonia, MJ of Pars Caeli, and Melissa of Lulu the Baker to give away one $150 gift card to DLK so that you can get a jump on your holiday shopping! To enter, leave a comment below naming your favorite item from the DLK boutique. For bonus entries, like DLK on Instagram–you won’t regret it; Kim has the loveliest photos of her beautiful girls! Lindsey, MJ, Melissa, and I will also be posting our favorite DLK items to Instagram today, so for more bonus entries you can re-gram one of our images.

The contest closes on Thursday at midnight EST and will be announced on Friday morning on our Instagram accounts! Best of luck!

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