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A pie and a beer from Bagby Pizza Company in Harbor East. If you haven’t tasted their thin crust in all of its gooey, crispy perfection, add it to your summer to-do list.

Hope you all have a great long weekend and a warm kick-off to the summer season. It feels like it came so quick—and I know it will be gone just as fast—so let’s all soak it in and enjoy every second of the bbqs, sunshine and fresh fruit. In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite posts this week:

- I thought it was silly at first, but hearing what Maggie and her readers learned from Oprah turned out to be a pretty endearing reminder of some important life lessons. What has Oprah taught you?

- This made me laugh out loud (some days I can’t help but agree).

- I want to drink one of these this weekend.

- Lisa’s post on the HGTV green home made me drool.


Madewell is quickly surpassing my beloved J. Crew as the go-to place to empty my wallet. While it’s a little weird to think about fall clothes when summer is just now on the horizon, at least I know I’ll have something to look forward to when September rolls around. xo

P.S. Am I the only one who still wants to go back-to-school shopping every September?  It’s a tradition that I can’t seem to give up!

Images via; you can see more of the collection here.

Gardens are one of those things that, if you’re like me, you never really thought of until you became a home owner. Then it somehow occurred to you that a few flowers could really spruce up the front of your home, and before you knew it you were aimlessly wandering through the aisles of Home Depot, trying to make sense of words like “partial shade” and “perennial.” You might figure you need a little more help, so you go to one of the upscale local garden centers, but the garden snobs intimidate you, and even the nicest staff there make your head spin with statements referring to climate zones and deadheading. You start to kick yourself for never looking twice at the home and garden aisle in Barnes and Noble.

The truth is, gardening is both a science and an art, and my mother-in-law Gayle approaches it like Picasso. She has an eye for colors and a willingness to mix different types of plants that I would never think twice about. Fortunately, she’s generous with her expertise and our house is close enough that we can take full advantage of it. Over the years, her passion and attention to detail has transformed our little garden from a drab and lifeless patch of land to a plush garden that attracts butterflies and compliments from passersby (not to mention, it makes me smile every time I come home). She’s my flower fairy—a true garden artist—and I am lucky that she’s generous with her skill.

Her are some photos of our garden, before and after Gayle’s magic touch.


 Before the flower fairy…

…and after.

Thanks Gayle!!  Your passion for gardening has made me look at it in a whole different light. xo

Every gym has an unofficial social director—you know, the guy who says hello to everyone and seems to prefer chatting next to machines as opposed to actually getting on them and working out. He’s the one who remembers everyone’s name and asks about their kids and hangs out at the front desk for far too long. He isn’t actually getting paid to be at the gym, but judging by the enthusiasm with which he greets unexpecting gym-goers, he might as well be.

I have a love/hate relationship with these types of people. On one hand, I admire their energy and the communal spirit they bring to the gym. On the other hand, it’s 5:30 in the morning and I barely brushed my teeth, much less want to have conversation, so just let me sweat in peace, athankyouverymuch.

I am one of those really annoying people who goes to the gym for “me” time. I relish in the ability to zone out and not think about anything but the physicality of what I’m doing. I like the feeling of shared accomplishment of everyone who’s there, quietly determined to bust their ass before the break of dawn. I especially love the people watching—old men pumping iron in docksiders, confounding girls who work out with their hair down and never break a sweat, the requisite gym-a-holic who probably needs a little less time on the treadmill and a lot more time on a counselor’s couch. Mostly, I like that it’s pretty quiet and I’m not expected to talk to anyone. Or, I should say, I wasn’t expected to talk to anyone until the social director made it his job to change that.

My gym’s social director takes his job VERY seriously; I approach my gym quiet time with the same level of intensity. This has created quite the tug of war. He says hello to me, I half-smile and nod noncommittally, leaving my earbuds in as the universal signal of non-interest. I go away for vacation and he stops me on the stairwell welcoming me back, silently daring me to expound on where I was and what I was doing. I shout an enthusiastic “Thanks!” and dash up the staircase, trying to seem nice but too busy to chat. It’s not that I mean to be rude to him—it’s that I know that with one conversation we’ll be flying down a slippery slope from total strangers to full-out gym buddies who are all up in each other’s business. And frankly, my calendar is booked when it comes to forced awkward encounters. I don’t need anymore, much less while I’m sweaty and red-faced and makeup-less. So naturally, I’ve been doing what any self-respecting girl would do: I’m avoiding him like the plague. And it’s worked, until recently.

I made the mistake of running on a treadmill next to Mr. Social Director last week. I guess that means its my fault, but in my defense, it was the only one open, AND I PAY TO GO THERE AND SHOULD BE ABLE TO WORK OUT WHEREVER I WANT WITHOUT CHATTING (sorry, that got intense). Anyway, it was going okay, and when Mr. Social Director stopped the treadmill and started wiping it down I thought I had gotten off scott-free. Wrong. Just as I’m thinking things are okay I see something white dangling next to my face. I turn to see him offering me a wipe. “I always get extras. (insert gag here) Do you want one?” He hands it to me and I smile, choking out the best thank you I’m capable of without falling off the treadmill (coordination is not my strong suit). It’s a sweet—if loaded—gesture, and I kick myself for accepting it when the next day I’m on an elliptical machine halfway across the gym and he shows up with a wipe. And now, it’s a thing. We share wipes everyday. We’re friends.

Let me just say here that I don’t think this guy is hitting on me. He’s probably in his seventies and it’s just a really sweet gesture…except, I don’t know him and it makes me feel awkward and I don’t want to feel awkward at 5:30 in the morning at the gym. It’s my “me time”, remember?

This morning, Mr. Social Director stopped me in the entry way after my workout. “I just have to say… You have the most beautiful features,” he tells me. My protective earbuds are still in, clearly not serving the function I had hoped. “I don’t want to embarrass you or anything, but I just wanted you to know. Really beautiful features.” I nod, say thank you, and head out to my car, wondering how hard it’ll be to switch gyms. The battle is lost.

As I hinted in last week’s post, Scott and I recently traveled to Mexico to celebrate the wedding of our friends Josh and Chrissy. I had never been to Mexico before, nor stayed at an all-inclusive type of resort like the Beach Palace, which is where our group held camp. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the resort and was a little worried about how the food and service would be, but from the moment we hopped off the plane everything was taken care of for us. The resort staff were more than accommodating, the food and drinks were good, and our room was spacious and beautiful, with a great view of the Caribbean Sea. As someone who’s used to more of a backpacking style of travel, it was hands-down the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever been on. It was so nice to not have to think–much less worry–about anything for an entire week, and it allowed our big group plenty of time to hang out together and relax in the sun. As my friend Terri put it, “The biggest decisions of my day are ‘Beach or pool?’ and “Margarita or mojito!’” Though I also love checking out hole-in-the-wall places and adventuring off the beaten path when I travel, the all-inclusive way is one I’d definitely do again. If you’re looking to stay in the Cancun area, I highly recommend the Palace Resorts. I also have to give huge props to my friend Chrissy for planning the whole adventure. I secretly want her to get married every year so I have an excuse to go to Mexico.

Here are a few photos from our trip, if you’d like to see! xo

The view from the resort

Ombre water. Very on-trend.

The aisle for Josh and Chrissy’s wedding – doesn’t the tangerine color look so pretty against the ocean?

First kiss!

Lifeguard station…aka, the best workplace ever.

Water sparkling under the morning sun. Even the pelican was soaking it in.

I’m just returning from paradise, and my mind is still in Mexico. I promise to be back next week with a few more photos and other new posts. xo

Did I ever tell you about the time that my mom followed a high-speed chase with me and my sister in the car? In her defense, we lived in a small town where not much happened and we were all more than curious about what was going on. I’ll never know how she got that 80’s town car to keep up with the chase, but I remember thinking that it was the most exciting/thrilling thing in the world, and that I had the coolest mom ever. Twenty years later, I still feel the same way. Happy Mother’s Day, Momma! Thanks for giving me lots of freedom, tons of love, and a need for speed. xo

Photo above of my mom with her dad, early 198os. Doesn’t she look timelessly beautiful? I never got to meet my grandfather (he died shortly after this photo was taken, while my mom was pregnant with me) but you can just tell from the photo how much she adored being around him.

There’s a mouse in my house. Not the sweet, Mickey Mouse type of character or the Cinderella  mouse that sung sweet songs and tied her hair in a bow. I might actually enjoy a Disney mouse in my house (and my hair might look a little better too). But I don’t have a Disney mouse; I have a ninja mouse. He defies gravity, avoids traps and isn’t swayed by peanut butter or cheese. Seriously, I’ve seen the little guy twice now, and despite setting seven (SEVEN!) different traps, including two different types of traps using two different types of bait, the ninja mouse has defied capture. I picture him descending from our ceiling at night like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible: he’s doing back flips, nimbly avoiding the lines of our motion-sensored alarm, and generally spitting in the faces of Scott and I (I suspect his little mouse brain is thinking, “Oh, you think you own the place? Well honey badger mouse don’t care!”) Scott and I are also convinced that he has nunchuck skills, but we’ve yet to confirm.

Do you have any advice for catching a stealth mouse? Please help–if this lasts much longer I don’t think I’ll ever go in my living room again!

Just a little snapshot of peace during a crazy week. xo

P.S. I want to live in this blue cabin. (and lay under that beach umbrella!)

Image via

A photo of me.

About me

Hi, I'm Pam. I'm a runner, reader and recent MBA grad living in Baltimore with my husband. I work in PR, but I spend my off-hours writing here about my life, which mostly revolves around family, friends, fashion and fitness. Sometimes I throw in the occasional food photo just to make sure you're paying attention.

Contact

For questions or freelance opportunities, contact me at theinspirationfiles {at} gmail {dot} com. I'd love to hear from you!

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