Friday Links

 Eliot | The Orange Slate

Albania | The Orange Slate

Happy Friday! What’s on your agenda this weekend? It’s baby shower season around here and I’m so excited to help celebrate the pregnancy of a dear friend tomorrow.

A fantastic roundup of podcast suggestions to refresh your listening list. (via Design*Sponge)

An interesting perspective on friendships after college. (Do you agree?) (via Cup of Jo)

Green smoothie inspiration for the summer months ahead. (via Real Simple)

Wisdom for growing up and prioritizing. (via Shauna Neiquist)

A breathtaking collection of photos. (via VSCO)

Hilarious tongue-in-cheek tips for anyone who has ever sat in a meeting that ran over-time. (via TheCooperReview)

One of the most inspiring fundraising drives is going on right now. (via Opportunity International)

Some lovely Mother’s Day gift ideas. (via The Edwards Dinner Party)

I’m excited about this great way to protect Miles’ baby skin during long sunny beach days. (via Amazon)

Tips for conquering procrastination and forming new habits. (via Zen Habits)

 

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Friday Links.

Inspiration | The Orange Slate

Friday Links | The Orange Slate1

It’s the last Friday in April. Is that unbelievable to anyone but me? I am so excited about this weekend, mostly because we have all sorts of fun things planned, including a barbecue and a kite festival. A KITE FESTIVAL.

I’m working on my summer beach-reading. Any suggestions? Also, if you read on an e-reader, this might be the perfect time to try a free Oyster subscription, on the house. Hope your weekend is grand, lovelies!

A beautiful reminder about friendship and time. These words, especially: “We’ve made an exchange. More friendships, but less time to deepen them. Our networks have exploded, but our time to dip beneath the surface diminished.” (via Ungrind)

A fantastic roundup of travel tips – so many great ideas! (via Balance and Blueberries)

The April’s Fools joke that went viral. (via Business Insider)

And a better explanation of the joke. (via Vox)

A fascinating study on parenting and childhood attachment. (Hint: pick up your child’s sippy cup again!) (via The Brookings Institute)

Advice on weddings and marriage, from the Washington Post know-it-all. (via Cup of Jo)

The sweetest article on what your kids remember. (via Coffee + Crumbs)

Life-changing tips on party-planning. (via Cupcakes and Cashmere)

On the motivation myth. (via Darling Magazine)

Friday Linkage

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It’s Friday! Good Friday, actually. Do you have Easter plans? We’re having a few people over after church. It will be the second time I’ve hosted for Easter, so I feel a little more confident this time around.

I’m excited for Miles’ first Easter and have been furiously working on his first Easter basket. Mark and I colored eggs last night and I love the results. If you celebrate Lent, the coming of Easter morning feels a little bit like Christmas – the waiting, the anticipation, the traditions. And I so love the traditions associated with Easter.

If you haven’t decorated eggs yet, it’s not too late! Here are some easy, beautiful ideas. (via Style Me Pretty.)

A yummy spring pasta recipe. (via Cup of Jo)

I’ve been struggling to find the right lyrics to put on a canvas for my March project. But then I saw this gorgeous canvas in the new issue of Covet Magazine. I love the idea of blending several short beautiful phrases! (via Covet via Alanna Cavanagh.)

Learning to be ok with being last. We all struggle with this one in different ways, don’t we? (via Darling Magazine.)

An essay on friendship – are your friendships twigs or trees? (via Coffee + Crumbs.)

Surprises help babies to learn. This is why they like bubbles! (via The Atlantic)

A hilarious personality quiz based on Easter candy preferences. (My true favorites, those horrific marshmallow eggs, weren’t even on the list!) (via The Kitchn.)

I sort of think this kind of post deserves a hashtag like #problemsnoonebutabloggerhas but seriously, are you a slow blogger? Would you try it? (via decor8.)

Speaking of Easter, these cute egg-cups make excellent desk organizers. (via Better Homes & Gardens.)

One writer on entrepreneurship. (via Kinfolk Magazine)

Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter!

Around Here Lately and Saying Goodbye

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Hello! The demands of family reunion and wedding schedules and a new job for me and planning for Baby McCord have overwhelmed my mind and calendar for the last couple weeks. Those very good things, coupled with a glorious trip to California to see friends and family, have utterly consumed my brain waves recently.

It was good to have one less thing to think about in the midst of our full-of-good-things-April-and-May, but I was surprised by how much I missed blogging. And all of you.

So I’m back, writing in this little space, even amidst life’s rush (because, really, won’t it always be rushed and busy and too full for extra good things?), mostly because I simply cannot step away.

Along with this totally cliche “I’m back!” post comes an announcement of a different sort too. It’s always so strange and awkward to say goodbye to a place, especially a place that has become as familiar as this city has become to Mark and me.

But this weekend, we took our last walk by the Capitol, spent our last Sunday afternoon strolling along the Mall, sat in our church for the last time and said a formal goodbye to the city we know. Movers are coming this week and if all goes well, Friday afternoon will find our Prius somewhere between Washington, D.C. and Michigan.

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We are excited for the new adventures ahead. Excited to meet our little guy and become parents, excited to spend the summer in Michigan, and excited to become Aggies late in the summer as Mark begins new adventures at Texas A&M.

But it’s bittersweet too, to leave a city where we have so many memories. Mark and I both showed up in D.C. as single young professionals, ready to tackle this thing called adult life. We met here, dated here, and planned a wedding in between long work days at our first “real” jobs.

No matter where we go after this, D.C. will always be the city where we started this great adventure of married life. No matter what size apartment or house we live in after this, Northeast D.C. will be the place where we lived for a year in our cozy house on a questionable street with three roommates, five bikes, a shared kitchen and a mysteriously bottomless pile of dishes.

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It’s bittersweet to leave the friendships I have here behind, too. It’s not really goodbye forever, because the kind of friendships that hurt to leave aren’t really friendships that end. The emails and texts and visits will go on, but there’s something sad about this changing rhythm of friendship, about saying goodbye to casual random visits and regular hangouts on back decks and knowing who will come when you invite everyone over for chili at the last minute.

My friendships with these wonderful women have truly been some of the most precious and important relationships of my life. They’ve seen me at my best and at my very worst and their prayers and love and laughter have carved a permanent place into my heart.

But we weren’t made to stand still. Mark and I and all of these dear friends have adventures ahead, adventures that are sometimes hard to begin but adventures that are good gifts all the same. And if I leave our friends here with one thing, it would be this quote from Donald Miller, these words that always ring true:

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“And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?

It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. I want to repeat one word for you: Leave.

Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry.”

15 Creative Ways to Make Memories with Friends and Meet New People

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Humans are defined by their need for other people. Regardless of one’s age, relationship status, socioeconomic standing, career track, or education, we all need friends. But sometimes the same old Happy Hour at the same old haunt begins to feel a little repetitious. Even simply trying new restaurants can start to feel old (and can get expensive!). Also, as life changes, sometimes the same old routines become impossible. Marriages, children, and different schedules can make “the good old days” simply a distant memory. Creating new, fun contexts in which to spend time with people can be a wonderful way to create new rich memories.

I’ve also been struck by how many of my friends have set out to intentionally meet new people and spend time in new social contexts this year. The same principle applies – if you keep doing the same thing and spending time at the same place, you’ll continue to see the same people. If your goal is to meet new people this year, you need to change your routine.

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I read a lot of entertaining blogs and am blessed to be surrounded by a lot of creative, social friends, and I’m always impressed by the fresh, fun ideas for parties and social gatherings.

So here is a collection – all in one place – of 15 creative (and fairly low-maintenance) ways to connect with other people, strengthen old friendships, and make new ones. These ideas can easily be modified to fit the needs and schedules of couples in a new city, moms trying to meet other moms, singles trying to reach outside their regular network, or social butterflies who just want more friends.

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1. Host a mini-progressive dinner party. Serve appetizers and wine and then head out together to attend a play, movie, or concert. Short on picnic blankets? Use these tablecloths for the table and then use them for a picnic blanket later on in the evening. 

2. Identify a day and time in the week when it is consistently easy for you to host. Mentally reserve that time and have a new person or group of people over each week. Saturday brunch not really your thing? Try Sunday lunch.

3. Host a blind dinner party. Invite 4-6 friends over for dinner (fewer could potentially be awkward and more might be too overwhelming). The caveat? Each of your guests is required to bring another friend along that no one else in the group knows. This can be a great way to meet new people and blend networks!

4. Discouraged by the cold weather? Host a chili party. Chili and cornbread are fairly easy to make and can feed a crowd. As the host or hostess, you won’t have to spend the entire evening watching the meal and will have the freedom to relax and mingle. Want to make it more interesting? Ask a few friends to bring a pot of their favorite chili. Have a taste-off!

5. Share dessert. Invite 5-7 acquaintances over and ask that everyone bring their favorite, homemade dessert. Simply provide the wine. Hosting dessert is often less intimidating than arranging an entire dinner party; also, it’s often easier for guests to commit to a couple of hours after dinner than to an entire evening. Purchase a few of these awesome  tablecloths in advance to make cleanup a breeze. 

6. Host a baking party. Ask everyone to bring a favorite recipe for cookies or another baked good, along with any specialty ingredients. As the host or hostess, you simply need to provide the flour, eggs, and oven.

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7. Sign up for a cooking class with a friend. You’re guaranteed to learn something and you know everyone in the room is interested in the same thing!

8. Gather 2 or 3 friends who like to read. Pick a book, set a deadline, and organize a book discussion. The caveat? Again, everyone has to recruit another friend that no one else knows to participate. Here are a few titles to get you started:

9. Plan a hike, a visit to some local wineries, or an afternoon at a nearby beach and encourage friends to invite their friends and co-workers.

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10. Initiate a local photography project. For instance, the goal could simply be “30 photos of our city in 30 days.” (To increase visibility, create a hashtag for the event.) Encourage friends to tell their networks about it and to publicize their project on Instagram and Twitter. At the end of the project, invite everyone who participated over for a time of wine and snacks to share the results!

11. Find a local outdoor concert or play and gather a group of people to picnic together and attend. The only rule? Everyone has to bring a dish to share.

12. Arrange a reglar BYOB backyard Happy Hour. Set a regular date (say, the third Thursday of every month) and take turns hosting. Invite friends, acquaintances, and co-workers as the opportunity arises. Soon your new tradition will be a favorite!

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13. Pick an outdoor activity that you enjoy like running or biking. Set aside a regular time every week or month to participate with friends who also enjoy the activity. Create an “open-door” environment so that friends feel comfortable inviting others to participate whenever the opportunity arises. Soon you’ll have a fully-fledged running/biking/walking/jogging club!

14. Gather other local bloggers for an evening or afternoon of sharing ideas, inspiration, and disaster stories.

15. Enlist the help of two or three energetic, creative friends and have a dressy, multi-course dinner party. Invite as many friends as you can seat, and insist that everyone bring a date or a friend. Everyone has fun dressing up! (And at the end, if you used your magical tablecloths you can simply throw them into the washer for easy clean-up!)