The Lone Bellow.

In the deep freeze of February, the Lone Bellow warmed up Burlington big time at Arts Riot last night. They had the audience stomping, singing, laughing & dancing all night long. 

I first heard of the Lone Bellow about 2 years ago thanks to my ever-well-tuned father. At that point, they'd just quit their "real jobs" to pursue their music career in Brooklyn. They made headlines in the NY Times and the radio started picking them up quickly. Always looking to be one step ahead of the curve, I started spreading the word about this new band. When they played a tiny pub at Sugarbush on a Friday afternoon, I missed out but sent my folks and friends to see them there.

Fast forward almost exactly two years, and this band is about to break through big time. They just released their second album, played hits from it on David Letterman and CBS This Morning, and are kicking off their already mostly sold-out tour. I caught them last night at a small venue and brought along my dear friend Kate. They lured us in with their lyrics, made us foot stomp with their beats, and made us laugh with their outrageous impromptu 90s hip hop covers. 

If you have the chance to catch them, enjoy! In the meantime, enjoy the videos posted below and check their album out.


Summer Girl.

This article about the many ways summer camp has  lifelong effect resonated with me big time. It's a bit cheesy but full of "yep" and "me too!" moments. I'm grateful for the many impacts that my summer camp years had on my development, and the dear friends it brought into my life.


Date with Dad.

 Sweet fluffy ski turns at Burke Mountain, happy hour at the base, and Van Morrison on the stereo on the way home. When I imagined moving back to Vermont, it was for days like this one. 


friday funnies.

these posters made me laugh quite hard. hope you get a kick out of them, too. click here to see them.


How to make the most of your instagram feed.

It's no secret that my favorite social media is instagram. It feels more personal and "smaller" than the facebook world, and I love the artistic side of capturing/filtering/editing the perfect image. My instagram page captures the little and big moments in my days, and I love both sharing those with others and having them stashed away for myself.

But then what? How do we make the most of that little feed?

I want to share my two favorite ways, each of which comes with a little promo for you.

1. Magnets! What could be better than a little series of magnets on your fridge with some of your favorite snaps? I've been using Sticky9 (formerly stickygram) for a few years. I've only done the classic magnet series, but they've certainly expanded their offerings. You can use my code FRIENDNI49 to save 15% off your order.

2. Books! I discovered Chatbooks in December and have fallen madly in love. I subscribe to an "instagram series" which prints a book every time I hit 60 photos in my feed. You can edit to omit photos (I left out a ton of my early instagram-learning how to use it-photos), choose to include date or captions (or not), and choose your cover shot. I now have 10 books in my collection. They are perfect little books to stash on your shelf, and the best part is that they only cost $6 per book. You can also make a custom book by selecting the specific photos that you would like included- I made one for Teo's first year as well as our wedding as Christmas gifts this year. Plus you can add friends to be contributors and incorporate their photos! I can't say enough awesome things about Chatbooks- and it is incredibly easy to use. You can use my code A4H4Q6AX to get your first book free!

What else is out there that I should know about?



recent themes: awesome snow for skiing, the best of friends, a great puppy & the very best husband. i am blessed.

Evening storytime, snuggles and selfies with this little man.

sweet, sweet snow.

birthday week powder skiing. foiled concert plans in boston = weekday morning skiing instead.

cold but awesome.

sunday morning chapel.

puppy love.

9 years of skiing with this guy = my happy place.


A Ski Filled Day.

The best kind of winter weekday is that which starts and ends on skis. Wednesdays are "dog day" at Morse Farm so it's a great day to get out for a ski. I got out for a quick lap before work. Lu came too, but she consistently picks Brett over me as he goes a bit faster with the groomer than I do on skis!

Trail Boss.

Lu leads the pack.

Last night we headed out for a second ski. Temps were warm, wind was mild, and the snow was falling fiercely. We had six people, four dogs, five headlamps, and some awesome fluffy snow. It was so fun to get out with friends for some winter fun. This isn't the best photo, but you get the idea.


the luckiest.

four years ago, i sat at a long long table filled with more than twenty friends who had gathered to celebrate my birthday. i remember thinking to myself, wow. i am loved, and i am so grateful for all of these friends. i may never have this experience again. 

last night we celebrated my birthday with a crew that rivaled this one. four years later, across the country, i was surrounded by more than twenty different friends for a night of skiing, laughing, and pizza & cake consumption. we combined three circles: high school friends, our crew of the past couple years, and several new couples we've met more recently. it was a fabulous success and i can honestly say that even when you think something may never happen again, it can-- in new and fun ways. 



a great workout, the weight back to back with kansas city on the radio during my drive to work (made for some great singalong), two hot air balloons rising over my office building, and a glorious sunset. it's the little things.


2014 in photos.

Ski Days, Jan-April.

Gran turns 95, February.

Skiing with the boys, February.

Valentine's Day Snowstorm, February.

Farewell to Gran, March.

Honeymoon in Mexico, April.

Brandon & Lindsay's Wedding, July.

Reunited with my boys, July.

Cape Cod, August.

Three Generations on the Cape, August.

My two biggest fans, August.

Cape biking, August.

Summer in Vermont, August.

Old Crow Medicine Show at Shelburne Museum, August.

Summer Evenings, May-September.

First Anniversary, September.


Fall in Vermont, October.

Christmas Tree Hunt, December.

Christmas 2014.

It was a good one! Traditional Christmas eve church service and gathering at the Kidney's. Brunch and presents at our house with my parents, then an afternoon at my parents' house. Cheese Fondue. And this year, dinner and games with dear friends. Gratitude for good friends, sweet family, and some lovely items from Santa! :)


The Great Christmas Tree Hunt.

Here are some belated photos of our Christmas tree hunt. This was our fourth annual hunt with the Bravakis/Leeper clan. In our four years, we've dropped two names (Kidney, Dodd) and gained one kiddo. Here's to starting traditions young so we may enjoy them for decades to come, and to measuring life from one year to the next. xoxo

See also: 2011, 2012, 2013


Leisure by William Henry Davies

What is this life, full of care
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows. 

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass. 

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance. 

No time to wait til her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Local Beauty.

We've had some serious weather this week- frigid temps, dumping snow, sleet, rain, and more. Among the weather adventures, we had some stunning moments. One morning Lu and I took a chilly walk around town as the sun was rising. With the moon still up, it was quite the scene. Because I'm out of town all day all week, it feels like such a treat to walk around town and see it waking up. 

Midweek during the storm, we had the biggest snowflakes I've ever seen. They were literally the size of a ping pong ball, and incredibly wet and heavy. They were quite the sight!


a long and gracious fall by david budbill

i shared this poem last fall as well, but came across it today and it just felt so perfect i thought i'd share it again:

A long and gracious fall this year.
The leaves are down. Gardens: emptied,
manured, tilled, smooth, waiting.
Mower and tiller serviced and put away.

Smoker put away, as is the summer table.
Prayer flags, windsocks , and their poles: down.
Twenty-foot homemade badminton poles,
peace flag at the top of one, store-bought net-
all down and put away for another year. No more
outdoor summer chores.

Fall planting-- peonies and tiger lilies-- done. 
Summer flower stocks removed, beds mulched,
a blanket for the cold. Fall pruning done.

Woodshed roof hammered down and sealed again.
Cellar closed. Drive staked and flagged so the
snowplow knows where to go.

What else is there to do? Finally, for once, we are ready
for the snow. Ready to come inside. Time now for
words and music, poems and shakuhachi. Time now
to light some incense, sit and stare at the candlelight.



I thought I'd share a few tasty recipes we've made lately.

Last weekend we had friends over for dinner-- a fabulous opportunity to play in the kitchen, enjoy some of our wedding-gifted kitchen & dining items, and feel like grown ups. I love a good dinner party.

I kept the meal simple and made dishes that could be done in advance. What's better than having everything staying warm in the oven when your guests arrive, instead of scrambling to finish cooking?

We had butternut squash roll-ups, salad & garlic bread. As one must do with all weight-watchers recipes, I basically doubled the cheese and added sausage :).

For dessert, vanilla ice cream and soft monster cookies. Baked with toffee bits, m&ms, and chocolate chips. So easy, and so good.

We're well into soup season in Vermont. Yesterday I tried out this crock pot minestrone soup. B says he had never had minestrone (how is that possible?), and he loved every bite. It was super easy and made plenty for leftovers, too.

What have you been enjoying lately?


The New Basement Tapes

the basement tapes, which are unreleased songs by bob dylan & the band,  have been ever present the last few weeks. dad & i caught a fun show in burlington that was the basement tapes project by howard fishman. it happened to be the same week that the basement tapes were re-released.

this week i discovered the new basement tapes- an allstar group of artists covering the songs (and making a showtime show or something like that). so far this is my favorite track, though i haven't listened to them all yet.


sweet, sweet summer.

i love each season for a dozen unique reasons, but summer consistently trumps the others. this little video highlights what a delightful and special summer we had this year. fresh veggies, bike rides, cape trips, weddings, amazing concerts, and fun with friends. yes, yes, and yes. 




life lately? making new friends, cherishing time with the oldest of friends, snuggling in for winter, cooking squashes galore, hunting for houses, enjoying a musical date night with dad, loving my little town, watching downton abbey with mom, and appreciating the little things. 
blue, blue everywhere.

baby steps.

kings of the hill.

fancy new chair, i'm in love.

mamas working it.

sunday morning brunch date.