winter coats or parkas or jackets depending on what you call them.

i had to google that. difference between a jacket and a coat. turns out a jacket is a bit lighter? can be simply for fashion purposes? while a coat is a legitimate piece of keeps-you-warm clothing. got it?  whoops! i left out parka. safe to say parka is in a league of its own, right? "the blizzard is coming, the blizzard is coming, whatever you do, don't forget your PARKA!

anyway, i've always had like whatever coats. i wore one for years that i got at the burlington coat factory by my parent's old house in pennsylvania. nothing against burlington coat factory. in fact, it was warm(ish). and then i had a marmot ski jacket, when you only ever wore ski jackets, you know? (even though i've skied a handful of times in my whole life, but that's beside the point.) but then i moved to massachusetts. oh massachusetts. massachusetts' winters will make you scratch your head from your warm bed and think, "how many days till i have to go outside?" it's the state that demands a big girl coat. 

and so, here we are. i'm 31, dammit, and i think i need a "forever" coat. at least that's what i told steve. so, i've done my research. and, if you're also in need of a big girl coat, you've come to the right place today! hooray for you!

here are some of my latest faves + finds: 

fjallraven parka// this is a great one, great brand, pretty warm (down) without being michelin-man bulky. by the same people, a non-puffy parka. steve has a winter jacket by fjallraven and says it's the warmest. it also warms his scandinavian heart to wear the brand.

canada goose parka// this is the jacket that i've looked at online perhaps more than any other jacket everrrrr. what's always stopped me? um, that price. i've heard nothing but rave reviews from people who really like to be warm in the winter, so i guess the price is appropriate but still! come on canada goose! anyhow, true story: i stopped a woman on the ski slopes two years ago to be like, "do you like your jacket?!" when she was wearing this one. that circle on the arm gave her away. i almost suggested we trade. anyway, if you're lucky enough to own a canada goose, consider yourself blessed (and warmer than the rest of us). (also super cute, but not for me cauase i like my butt covered... this one.)

patagonia parka// really nice one with 600-fill power (800-900 is the absolute highest, but i haven't seen anything about 800). a much friendlier price than the others, too.

north face parka// a parka at a fairly decent prize. huzzah, north face!

okay, that should get the ball rolling... 

(and then, for the fancy days, is this jacket beautiful or what?! the dark forest one!)



{jumpsuit: c/o shabby apple}
{gold clutch: vintage}
{shoes: nordstrom}

fancy a jumpsuit for your upcoming christmas parties??

this might be the one.


weekend links.

My birthday breakfast in bed from last weekend. It might not look like much but that's homemade Muesli (I love it).

I saw these at J.Crew the other day on the mannequin and they are perfection.

Google fortunetelling. Really good.

Kind of obsessed with this vest.

"And for the first couple of weeks, they poo Marmite." Babies are full of design flaws.

A beautiful home.

4 facts about the vetting process for Syrian refugees..

It's not a coat, it's not a cardigan, it's a coatigan!

Bible school primer for governors during refugee crisis.

I may try to attempt this bread this weekend.

I love these dinner party tips. Effortless dinner party hosts fascinate me.

Have a great weekend!!


browsing target and other random thoughts.

arriving home after a three-month target fast (calling it a fast is a bit of a misrepresentation when target wasn't even a possibility abroad. nice try, bridge. if target were in italy, you'd have been there because you have no self control.) to target at christmastime is sort of like entering the promised land. snow globes and bottle tree brushes! fir-scented candles! ornaments big and small!

i only needed a few things: shampoo and conditioner, cotton balls, the whole nate berkus home line.

i never did decide on shampoo and conditioner, though i was in that aisle for a good seven minutes and smelled several of them. i literally stood there and thought, "i just don't know. i'm going to ask my readers." so here we are. can i explain to you what i want, and then those of you who know these things tell me what to get? okay. i want VOLUME, my hair is dry-ish, wavy, and has two postpartum bald spots on either temple that need to be fixed right away. oh, and no post-shower care, please. i want to just have it be that way with zero effort. in sum, my needs are simple, please advise.

what do you guys think of the new adult coloring book fad? i sort of love it. coloring is such a quiet activity. it requires almost nothing of you and yet you can't do anything else while you're doing it. it's genius! start with this one.

i sort of liked these boots (sold out in my size at the store, however).

i also bought balderdash, on a total whim which is fairly unlike me. i remember playing it down the shore with all my cousins and nearly peeing my pants with laughter. put away the iPads, let the family game nights commence! you hear that, william and lindsey?

i really exercise my brain when i'm going through the aisles of target, don't i?

p.s. do any of those gel polishes actually work?

till next time!


Important unimportant work.

I have a cold. I was certain it was allergies at first. "My pillow?! Is it down? Is it dust?" Now I'm pretty sure it's... just a cold. Anders woke up sometime in the 4 o'clock am hour almost every day since we've been home but now we are inching closer to 7 and I'm so delighted. Do you know how long the darkness still has to go when you're waking up at 4:30 am in mid-November? I don't either, but it's awhile.

I almost ate an apple in the shower this morning (multitasking at its finest), but then Anders woke from a 20-minute nap--which was just long enough for me to fold one basket of laundry, refill my coffee cup, and feel anxious about the things on my to-do list--so the apple was replaced with a 20-lb. bouncing baby boy. I remember Parker in this stage. The naps were totally wonky, he was totally underfoot and/or on a death mission at all times, and the cuteness factor was maxed out. That last part is crucial.

Steve and I are always moving right now. I said to him this morning, "Think we were actually less busy when we were abroad?" What is that? Why do we do this to ourselves? What am I even busy with? I'll tell you what: laundry, dinner planning, dinner cooking, blog stuff, email, permission slips, cleaning, tending to children, grocery shopping, making a case for the importance of going potty before bed, figuring out whether I'm sufficiently clean and if not finding a proper hat to hide the mess, messying the kitchen, cleaning the kitchen (times eight times per day)...

Important unimportant work.

I recently read on Instagram someone say that she delights in her sink full of dishes at the end of the day because it means she was busy with her children all day long and while I completely loved that sentiment I also thought, "That kitchen's gonna need to be faced at some point." Messes nag at me. I can't be fully present with a messy kitchen. And kitchen messes? They're one of those messes that grows.

Little things are making a difference. Meal planning. I started doing it shortly before we left and picked it up again this week. It helps me make a grocery list (and then Steve does most of the grocery shopping), reminds me to take chicken out the morning of so it thaws, means less food is wasted, so on and so forth. Everyone, myself included, is happier when there is a solid meal at a reasonable hour for dinner. Last week's favorite was steak, mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans.

I'm still figuring out what my "planner" will be. As much as keeping it all on a phone is nice, I love PAPER. I need to feel that list in my hands and physically cross things off of it. One of you suggested the Get to Work Book and, while I love it, I have to wait until 2016 to get it. So, I guess the rest of November and into December I'm going to continue my messy, rambling ways and then come January unleash the new and improved organized Bridget. That's what that means, right? RIGHT.

Important unimportant work, for sure. The most important, I know, is right in front of me with limbs and voices asking me to sign a slip, to write a check, where are the stamps, what's for dinner, can we go outside and play.

But, I also know that I enjoy my time with them more when the rest of my life is more under control. So, let's get there. You and me both.

And this is a P.S. meant for Steve: thanks for being in this with me. We're a team, and I really like being on your team.

Above: sweater // mug


italy! in video!

an italy video! of course!

our time there feels like so long ago in some strange ways. i know the details will get blurry over time, and will all but be forgotten, especially for young ones like parker and anders, so i'm glad to have gotten some video while we were there. we play our videos for parker all the time (sometimes he just clicks around our vimeo account on his own and watches old things) and i think it's nice since he's sometimes too young to remember certain big events. our trip being one of them, of course.

p.s. i didn't get video footage in florence or rome, but i was pretty good about it elsewhere!

(i've had questions about how i put together these videos before. this one was all taken with my 5dmarkii and edited with iMovie on my mac!)


weekend links.

Serious beached whale status.

This Saturday is my birthday! Tonight I'm going out to dinner with friends. Tomorrow we'll celebrate as a family. I'm excited. Throwback to last year. I'm obsessed with Anders but I sure do miss that belly.

Christmas party season is coming. How to make a cheese plate. (I don't know the first thing.)

Enjoying the winter instead of enduring it. The Norwegians are onto something. Also, the whole thing about, "There's no bad weather, there's bad clothes" is certainly a good motto (though, after surviving last winter, I'd say there is sometimes... bad weather). We just got Parker this jacket with this in mind (at that price, I hope both he and Anders wear it!).

If politicians had man buns.

I don't actually listen to this podcast, but since a lot of you probably do, for the Serial fans.

Amazon's best books of 2015.

Do you oil pull? (William is prone to cavities, and has been oil pulling for at least ten minutes every day. He is the loudest swisher when he does. Good luck hearing the TV over his swishing!)

This new movie with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie looks interesting.

Pretty, simple necklace.

The best hikes in the world. Amazing.

Have a good weekend!


taking stock / 10.

Forever wanting to cuddle my babies more than they want to cuddle with me.

Making: plans to see friends! Oh how I've missed them.
Cooking: Last night, Ina's Minestrone. It was soooo good.
Drinking: Shipyard Pumpkin! (My favorite of the many pumpkin beers)
Reading: this blog, a new find for me!
Wanting: This cozy sweater coat; I'd wear it and call it my "house coat."
Looking: at messes everywhere!
Playing: with Magnatiles (and they are cool, you were right.)
Eating: soups, glorious soups! And oatmeal, and smoothies.
Wishing: our first floor were just a smidge bigger (it's quite small)
Enjoying: the smell of this massaged onto my hands every night
Loving: watching Parker in his home environment again; he's enjoying all of his toys, books, and just being in his space again
Hoping: that this winter goes easy on us.
Listening: the new Oh Hellos album!
Needing: a good winter jacket
Smelling: this candle and it smells good
Feeling: content
Wearing: my robe, every morning


What are the biggest cultural differences between America and Italy?

Another question I was asked on Facebook recently, so let's have at it. (FYI: planning on plugging my way through all of the questions--budget, kids' schooling, and all!)

There are pros and cons to both. (Uh, duh?) So let's no one get offended.

Breakfast. You'll go into a cafe and see desserts, desserts, and more desserts. Things with glaze, with chocolate, dusted with powdered sugar, and you think, "Ooh, can't wait till after dinner to treat myself." Nay! Have one right this very minute, you lucky devil you! Wrap that baby in a napkin (so your hands don't get sticky) and eat it while standing at the counter downing your cappuccino in one gulp--as the Italians do! Needless to say, breakfast is quick and is not nearly as much of a "thing" as our sit-down with an omelette or pancakes and coffee the size of your head thing.

(However, worth noting for the second time: San Teo on Via di San Teodoro in Rome has THE GREATEST sweets/breakfast that I've had yet. In Italy, maybe ever. And great cappuccinos too. So even as I say all this, I literally skipped with glee every morning, heel taps and all, to get my chocolate croissant (sometimes two) to shove (them) in my mouth without a moment's pause. That spinach and feta egg scramble can wait!)

Breastfeeding. The person who asked about my observations of cultural differences mentioned breastfeeding specifically. I've nursed all over, while walking down the streets of NYC, to strolling F21, to sitting on the ground at St. Peter's while the kids waited in line to get in. My experience with nursing has always been a positive one. Literally, I've never had even the slightest side-eye. Now, is this because I'm super unobservant and people all around are looking at me with disgust? Is this because I have a face that says, "Don't *!%# with me?" I'm really not sure, but I have never used a nursing cover, and I have never gotten a look. Here or abroad! Steve's always making fun of me to others, "She's literally looking for a fight. God help the person who says anything to Bridget about nursing in public." So maybe it's the second one.

Parenting. I'm really not sure how to answer this one (but it was another that was asked specifically). I've probably been so wrapped up in counting heads and making sure everyone is present, not running into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist, not picking up a stranger's cigarette butt to chew on, that I haven't truly witnessed parenting the Italian way. (Add to that, there's a lot of tourists there. So I'm not always certain who's Italian, who's Norwegian, etc. Except in Orvieto--mostly was Orvietans!) Things that surprise me though? Small things: children being pushed in strollers who are older than they would be in the U.S. Children on bikes without helmets, or in the front passenger seat of a car when they're still quite small. Also, children out late! The places worth eating at don't open till 7. And, at least in Orvieto, opening time of 7 should really have an "ish" at the end. (We showed up at 7 more than once to have things just barely getting under way.) Flip side: I sort of like how children are a part of the evening scene. There's something nice about bringing your kids places and knowing you won't get a side eye for having a baby at a restaurant at 8 pm. We went to a pizza place in Lake Como that made a point to say on their website babies are not welcome in the evenings. I guess one too many crying babies ruined the ambience for other patrons' meals? I don't know if babysitting is as much of a thing here as it is in the States. It seems like if you have kids, you bring 'em and, a lot of the time, I like that. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Rules. On that same note, there's simply fewer rules in Italy. This is good and bad. Sometimes there's just tooooooo many rules in America that it's tiresome while others are in place for a reason. Take building codes for instance. I'm not sure we saw a smoke alarm at any of our Italy stays. And steps, high ones, with no railings. Building codes are casual. Business hours are casual. A lot of things are, you guessed it, casual. There's a certain lovely joie de vivre about it (and, sometimes equal parts, frustration about it.) A pool in your backyard doesn't have to have a fence around it if you don't want one (much more aesthetically pleasing, though less safe). You get to the car rental place by 9 and the person doesn't come waltzing in until 9:30? When in Italy! On the flip-side, America is rule-happy. Rules upon rules upon rules. Rules for your rules! Lay off, America! It goes both ways.

Food/Restaurants. Food, in general, is cheaper here. More bang for your buck. Though, Rome is a bit more expensive than other places we'd been in Italy because it's a big city (just as you would pay more in NYC for the same thing that costs less in the middle of Connecticut). Random things will cost more than you think they should, and other things will be way cheaper. For instance, Steve and I will each get two cappuccinos, and one really great pastry from a nice place, and it's like 6 euros. Soda, though, isn't that cheap abroad (good, I say!). Farmer's markets are also cheaper than ours. Grocery stores are roughly similar, I think? Restaurant service can be hit or miss here, whereas I'm rarely disappointed by the service in the States. (Perhaps the difference is owed to waiters working for tips in the States whereas here there's no tipping system?) And food--you'll find many a great pizza, pasta, or sandwich but I found that I was really missing meat and vegetables. On the other hand, the pasta is really, really good and often homemade.

Lines. Get in line and hold your spot with confidence because lining up and waiting your turn is a little dicier here. Throw some elbows out if you have to.

Babies. The Italians love them some babies. You can't get from point A to point B without multiple people making a fuss over your baby. And not just women! Men made a huge deal over Anders too, which I found especially unusual (and really sweet). In the States, men just do not make fusses over other people's babies. American men need to get in touch with their feminine side. Too much testosterone. I say to you, American men: Turn off that football, put down that remote control, and go find yourselves a baby to fuss over. (Additional note: as soon as we got to Switzerland, the strangers-loving-on-babies promptly stopped! Moving from one country to the next showed such contrasts between the places.)

There are a million more ways in which the two differ. Those who've been to Italy, let me hear yours!


Peak District, Jane Austen, and the Chatsworth House.

Steve's been telling us about the Peak District for years. Since I've known him, really. He went to school in the Sheffield area, twenty years ago now. Jordan was even born there. It's one of his special places. In Zurich, we hopped on a plane and landed at Heathrow to then rent a car and drive north to Derbyshire to spend five quiet days there. (That was a long travel day. There are things I'd repeat and things I'd definitely not repeat. That was too much travel in one day for the little kids. Rhymes-with Shmeve did not communicate how far Peak District was from London. We've forgiven him. Only recently.) Add to that, once we left Italy, we no longer had working phones so we were mostly following maps (how antiquated!) and road signs. Steve managed to stay on his side of the road most of the time.

click to read more!!


being home.

This is us up at 4:30 am.

We're getting up at odd hours, between 4 and 5 am, and I'm wondering how long until Anders is back to his 7 am (we're lucky) wake up. Ever? I made the mistake of staying up late because the past two mornings we were progressing--4 am to 5 am wake up--but then he backslid to 4:30. My mistake! I am lighting a candle in the morning, making coffee, putting my robe on, listening to music. Yes it's jet lag, but it's jet lag at home, in my home, and there's a certain amount of loveliness that comes with being home.

Everyone's asking about the trip and I say, "The trip was amazing. A grand adventure! But I could not maintain that frenetic pace of life forever." Probably longer if it were just Steve and I, but even so, there's comfort in being home. The other day I even took pleasure in the tiny mundane things that otherwise I'd miss entirely. Like putting my dishes away from my dishwasher, or cleaning my countertops. It's my space again! It's nice.

When I sign onto the computer, I never have fewer than five tabs open at once, doing too many things simultaneously and yet doing none of them well. Like just now. I picked up Anders, and then clicked over to ASOS to look for a pair of shoes, and then swung over to google organizational planners, and now here I am again. How about an organizational planner for my brain?

Anders is a different baby entirely then when we left. You usually slowly baby-proof the home. Ah, he's found the plant! Time to move it. Oh, the stairs now, where's the baby gate? We left, and he barely sat up, hardly mobile. And now? He's crawling all over the first floor, up the steps, under the table, everywhere. This is a certain wake-up call to Parker, who's used to setting toys up on the ground only to now discover a little blonde wrecking ball heading towards his train set up within moments of him laying it down. Little brothers.

I made chili the other day in my dutch oven. You know, that's one thing that brought me comfort while away. A big pot of hot something-or-other in my dutch oven upon return. Steve's excited to eat some with his first football game of the season.

But really, what do you do for organization? To stop the chatter in your brain as my sister calls it? I have to-do lists all over the place and can't even keep them straight. I need a to-do list for my to-do lists: Organize to-do lists.


weekend links.

We're home and going through stacks mail and to do lists like mad. Like this morning for instance: we've all been up since 4 am. Jet lag with little kids is for the birds, I tell you. Back to the grind! But, Massachusetts is bringing the nicest weather--70s and sunny! We're glad to be home. 

This is my favorite song on Josh Garrels' new album (though the video isn't my favorite).

Since I was in England, I might've googled where some of The Holiday was filmed. (We didn't go on a search for movie locations though. Considered it.)

This creamy pumpkin pasta looks so good.

These shoes, men and women alike!

I really like Nell's Facebook page. A lot of good posts (this coming from someone who barely browses "The Book" these days). She's worth a "like!"

So comfy and good for all seasons (I'm currently roasting in my white fleecy one).

Can't wait to see this movie.

Balmain chaos. (Did you get anything?)

Have you ever made mashed cauliflower? I'm interested.

The Churchill War Museum (worth a visit if you're in London) was full of these amazing propaganda posters from World War II. Felt like another world -- especially ones like this!

Back Monday with a few more travel posts until it's back to ho-hum normal life!