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I just finished reading The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski, and I loved how the book’s clumsy main character bravely accomplishes the goals of a deceased friend. I can relate to the concept of creating a list of long-term goals that include both new things to try and serious accomplishments–I once found a similar list in one of my high school journals and was relieved to learn I had already checked a few things off of it (walking to work, running a half marathon, skydiving, traveling to Italy). Other things, like going to Graceland, aren’t on the top of my list anymore. So I decided to make a new list for my book club meeting, where we’ll talk about what we want to do in the next five years. Here it is, corny as it may be:

1. Begin freelancing again

2. Travel to a new continent (South America is calling my name – doesn’t the Brazilian river pub in the photo above look so relaxing?)

3. Finish my master’s degree

4. Go to a big music festival, like South by Southwest or the New Orleans Jazz Festival

5. Have dinner at Le Bernadin

What’s the next thing on your list? I’d love to hear. xo

Image care of here.

What are you doing this weekend? I had to stick my foot in my mouth *big time* today, so this weekend I plan on laying low and decompressing. Tonight I’m going to go for a long run and then curl up in bed with a Pat Conroy book and a glass of wine, hoping to avoid human contact until I’m sure I can maintain composure (or find a balloon to hide behind). Tomorrow, I’m going to a baby shower for a hilarious mom-to-be that I know will crack me up the whole time. I can’t wait to look at cute baby clothes and laugh my troubles away. xo

Image care of Brookelyn Photography via Cup of Jo

Happy Earth Day! I am hosting an environmental conference and a few associated green events through my work today, and it’s been great to meet people who are so passionate about environmentalism and dedicated to sustainability.

Since I’m at the conference I don’t have much time to post, but I thought I’d leave you with this tree wall decal care of Branch and Birds. I love how they bring nature indoors.

I’m moving into a new workspace at my company and I’ll finally have a good amount of room to decorate as my own. After being in a cramped little corner for three years I’m excited to have a fresh space that I can set up as I please. The possibilities are a bit daunting, so I’ve been looking up photos for inspiration. Aren’t these offices awesome? I’d be lucky to create something half as inspiring.

Tell me, do you have any tips for office decorating? My company is a bit conservative, but I have a good amount of leeway to do what I want. I’d love to hear your ideas. xo

Images via Design within Reach and A is for Architecture

Love this, care of Little Garden. xo

“People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon your life, like fine weather, if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in to manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love


I was downright giddy when I found out Elizabeth Gilbert was going to be speaking in my area last week. She’s one of my favorite authors, and her book Eat, Pray, Love has become a sort of cult phenomenon among my group of friends (and indeed, across the country: her book has sold 7 million copies!) I equally loved her latest book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage, and was thrilled to find out that she’s working on a new novel set to come out in a year or so.

Elizabeth’s “speech” turned out to be more of a sit-down interview with Paul Holdengräber, who is the Director of Public Programs for the New York Public Library. The match worked out wonderfully. Elizabeth and Paul played off each other well, and Elizabeth was very open, witty and self-possessed. She explained her relief on finding out that her ex-husband is writing a memoir of his own (she had been waiting for the shoe to drop ever since her book came out), and shared her schoolgirl-like excitement at having Javier Bardem play her Brazilian lover in the Eat, Pray, Love movie coming out this summer. “The movie me gets to sleep with Javier Bardem…it’s pretty fantastic,” she said.

Elizabeth took a host of questions from the audience, kindly entertaining requests about what audience members should do with their lives (which I thought were rather funny) and responding to criticisms of self-indulgence by saying, “As someone who just wrote two memoirs I don’t really think I can argue with that.”

In short, she was absolutely lovely—so lovely, in fact, that I completely froze when it came time for her to sign my book. I didn’t say one word, and barely captured the photo above with very shaky hands. My apologies for the blurriness! xo


How cute is this cheeky print from Made by Girl? It would be perfect on a nightstand or in a home office. It accurately captures two of my favorite vices, design/fitness/fashion blogs and lattes.

If you were to make your own print of things you love, what would be in it? I’m pretty sure one of my mom’s would be sunshine, and my husband’s would probably involve burritos. xo

Darling readers, I need your advice. I’m going to a potluck wine party this weekend and I’m stuck on what dish to bring. The theme for the party is “Whites of Spring,” but we’re toasting a recently-married couple who doesn’t like white wine, so the host has asked us to bring whites that will appeal to those who usually prefer red. My trusty friend Thom suggested a woody chardonnay, so I’m covered on that front, but now I’m totally confused about what my dinner contribution could be. Should I make something to go with red wine or white? The crowd has a few vegetarians, so for previous parties I’ve made this super easy mushroom quiche (using store-bought dough) and this delicious grown-up mac and cheese. Both went over very well, and I want to keep my streak going.

Do you have any suggestions for me? I’d love to hear your ideas. xo

Image care of Joy the Baker

Growing up I was an eerily lucky kid–I used to win all sorts of raffles and drawings, from concert tickets to a bike from our local grocery store (a blue huffy that took me an embarrassing amount of time to learn to ride). As I got older, I thought my luck had waned. Despite giving money to my company’s lottery pool and registering for the HGTV Dream Home more times than I’d like to admit, it’s been a long time since I’ve won something. But my friends, I think my luck is turning back around! I just found out I won this adorable J.Crew tote from Gigi’s Gone Shopping. It’s such a cute design, and I can’t wait to use it at the farmer’s market this spring. Thanks Gigi!

Image care of Gigi’s Gone Shopping


Lovely readers, what did you do this weekend? I had the perfect spring three-day weekend, spending Friday in a box with friends at the Orioles’ Opening Day, which was lots of fun even though the home team lost. On Saturday, my husband and I made a roast chicken after being inspired by this great Anthony Bourdain series, and my sister and I stayed in to watch Tina Fey on SNL (we thought her brownie husband skit was hilarious). Today I went to the humane society and fell in love with a chocolate lab that is sadly too big for my teeny house, then went on a nice long bike ride to console myself. I even stopped for italian ice! I hope you enjoyed this sunny Sunday. xo

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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