I’m so glad you’re here! (Survey + giveaway!)

28 February 2020

It’s my birthday! And what a gift you all are to me. As an introvert who prefers a small, close-knit group of friends to a large party any day, it might seem strange that I enjoy sharing with the wide world of the internet. A small, close-knit group is exactly what Em for Marvelous feels like, though, and I’m so grateful!

Let’s be honest: I would write here even if no one was listening (I can’t help myself!!), but you gals make it MUCH more fun :) You chime in all the time in a way that is rare in the age of crickets in the comment section, and that does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I’m not sure what I did to deserve that, but I sincerely treasure each one of you who stops by, reads, and joins the conversation.

So if you have a moment, please consider taking the short survey below… I’m so curious, and would love to hear from you! Then, leave a comment below to be entered to win a $50 Airbnb gift card OR a $50 Amazon gift card – your choice. I’ll draw and email a winner next Friday, March 6!

Create your own user feedback survey

Finally, to make the commenting more interesting (and so I can get to know YOU a little better!), here are four questions I’d love for you to answer after you’ve taken the survey, if you’re so inclined:

A favorite birthday memory:
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters:
Something you love about where you live:
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently:

I will answer in the comments, too. Thank you in advance, friends! xo!

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February 28, 2020 7:52 am

I live in the ever lovely and oh so glorious Holland, Michigan!!!! I adore living 1 mile from Lake Michigan (which I visit daily), our incredible downtown, and also the small town feel. I am a professional at “dutch bingo” and adore running into people I know everywhere I go and figuring out how I’m connecyed ro others!

A favorite birthday memory of mine is from my senior year in high school. I was (and still am) truly friends with EVERYONE. Well, I saw just how blessed I was that day – in every class I walked into that day there were balloons waiting for me, a whole pile of notes from people with incredibly kind words, and a pqck of graham crackers w/ frosting (my favorite treat!) I ended the day with a HUGE bundle of balloons amd more than 30 notes. To this day, I have no idea who organized it!

February 28, 2020 3:00 pm
Reply to  Katrina

(continuing my comment :) Best book I have recently read is Digital Minimalism! The nicest thing someone has done for me recently is my grandma dropping off my favorite iced latte and totally surprising me today!!!

February 28, 2020 8:12 am

The last movie I watched was Little Women! I actually liked it so much I saw it twice. What a wonderful imagining of such a classic story.

February 28, 2020 8:49 am

The best book I read recently was To Hell With The Hustle, which is like a close cousin to the book you recently read, The Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry. So closely related that JMC and Jefferson Bethke (the author of THWTH) have a podcast together about the topics in their books. I highly suggest Jeff’s book and their podcast, “Fight Hustle, End Hurry”.

February 28, 2020 9:11 am

What a great giveaway! I found your blog a couple months ago and love reading your posts!

My favorite birthday memory is my 30th birthday a couple years ago. My husband and I took a trip to Las Vegas to see the Backstreet Boys and I got to do a meet and greet with them! It was also a nice getaway for me and my husband as I was newly pregnant with our first baby and had just gotten through most of the first trimester symptoms. It was nice to be feeling good again and we were able to make the most of our time there.

I am currently reading Decluttering at the Speed of Life and it has me fired up about getting rid of stuff! Great read!

I live in central NC and everything about it is great! Easy to get to the beach and the mountains, the weather is perfect for me, and there are so many fun things to do.

One thing that comes to mind is when a church friend dropped off groceries for me and my husband when I was sick with a stomach bug, Our son was 3 months old and teething so it was a really rough couple of days for all of us! I posted something about it on Facebook and then quickly had a text asking for a grocery list and letting me know groceries would be on my porch shortly. It was an amazing blessing!

Laura A
February 28, 2020 9:26 am

favorite birthday memory: 10th bday slumber party with 10 friends
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters:frozen 2
Something you love about where you live: my whole family is here
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently:my sister made dinner for us multiple times during our kitchen renovation

February 28, 2020 9:31 am

Hi Emily!
My Favorite birthday memory was when I studied abroad over my birthday and my family and fiancé joined me. I got to spend the entire day like walking around the Neuschwanstein Castle. It was magical.
The last movie I saw was the Star Wars movie in Boone
I love the seasons of Raleigh and being so close to the mountains and beach
My husband recently bought me a baking book because I started that hobby up again and it totally made my day!

February 28, 2020 9:49 am

I loved my birthday in 6th grade because we got a snow day – it was such a fun “gift”!
I really enjoyed Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. Last movie I saw in theatres was The Rise of Skywalker.
I love how many state parks are in Western New York!
My husband has been starting my car on these cold, winter mornings and it is the sweetest act of service to me.

February 28, 2020 9:49 am

Happy birthday! My fave birthday memory was receiving Hamilton tickets and getting to see the Chicago show! Recently I’ve read and loved An American Family by Khizr Khan (and also the Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory which was so much better than I was anticipating). I love that we live in a walkable small town but that it’s also large enough for things to be located here. Last week my husband (who was leaving for work as I was getting home) had made popcorn for me because I had said on the phone that I craving it! It was a great surprise.

February 28, 2020 9:53 am

Happy Birthday, Em! Thank you for all your musings and sharing the snapshots of your life.
A favorite birthday memory: My 21st birthday was the night my now-husband and I had our first kiss
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: Little Women (in theaters!)
Something you love about where you live: I love living in the triangle because we have all the cultural cornerstones of a large city, with access to small town vibes., and the convenience of suburbia.
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: My director at work donated to a fundraiser I was participating in outside of work.

February 28, 2020 10:08 am

I saw Downton Abby with my best friend in the super fancy movie theater on their $5 Tuesdays and it was GLORIOUS! I was smiling all day long over it! My favorite birthday memory is my mom writing a murder mystery party script for my 10th birthday themed around my love of horses! I love a local women owned exercise studio in my hometown it’s all about building strength and empowering women! My sister met me for ice cream when I was having a really rough day she was super busy but made time to come and hangout with me when I needed a distraction! I mailed a package to my friend who is in grad school of school supplies and then fun stuff she wouldn’t normally get for herself!

February 28, 2020 10:17 am

Happy Birthday!
Favorite birthday: My 24th birthday, it was a full weekend of spending time with the people I love.
Last Movie: ‘Little Women’. While overall I thought the movie was good not great, there was a quick scene were all the girls are sitting by candlelight at night, reading or knitting something. It was such a mundane scene, but both the person I went with and I both commented on the scene later, saying how good it felt to just watch people be so unhurried.
Best thing about where I live: Now that it’s starting to get a little warmer in Raleigh, I love being able to take advantage of all the trails!
Nicest thing: I was buying a cookie at work on Tuesday, and the cashier gave me the cookie for free!

February 28, 2020 10:24 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! May you have an incredible day!!!

– Birthday Memory: No specific memory, really, but… there are a ton of pictures from various celebrations of my 35th birthday, and I look enormously happy in every single one of them. That was a good year, really.
– Best Book / Last Movie: I have about eleventy-two billion books started, but very few finished ones (What’s up Ennea 7?!?)! I’m in the midst of Jennie Allen’s newest one right now (although I can’t think of the name of it to save my life). Last movie was, sadly, How to Train Your Dragon 2.
– Love Where I Live: ATL is a big city, but it’s so GREEN! Plus it’s a quick enough drive to mountains or beach!
– Nicest Thing: Apparently, last week was Random Acts of Kindness Week. I didn’t know. The mom of one of Jett’s little school buddies left me a beautiful notepad and pen, but more touching than the gift was the note that accompanied it. Although I don’t know her well, she pointed out things she sees in me that… honestly, I didn’t know that people notice. It has been a long time since I’ve felt so SEEN. It was very touching and lovely.

February 28, 2020 10:27 am

A favorite birthday memory: when my husband sent me away alone for my birthday weekend (introvert!)
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: Competing Spectacles
Something you love about where you live: the amazing people who live here with me
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: I surprised a friend with coffee and flowers after she had a tough week

February 28, 2020 10:29 am

Best book I’ve read lately was Know My Name by Chanel Miller -AMAZING!!!!!

Maura W
February 28, 2020 11:06 am

A favorite birthday memory is a tea party I had for my sixteenth birthday. It was so fun getting dressed up and enjoying tea & pastries with my best friends!
The last movie I saw in theatres was A Hidden Life, which is the story of a man in Austria during WWII who was a conscientious objector to Hitler. It’s a beautiful film.
I live in Fargo, ND and while it is currently ridiculously cold, we have a great donut shop in town, Sandy’s, that brightens my spirits with delicious donuts!!!
We currently have our home on the market and it’s been a stressful process. My sister-in-law has been amazing to me, especially when we need a place to go during showings. She is so hospitable to us and even feeds us!

February 28, 2020 11:08 am

Birthday: we always got to choose the meals for the day and that was so fun
Book: currently reading Lovely War and it’s a good one so far!
I live in a high desert where it’s hot but dry and cools off every evening. Dry deserts don’t have many bugs- I love that
Nicest thing: my husband just agreed to try for a fourth baby even though he is happy with just three, he’s willing to extend himself for a little more love and a little more crazy to make me happy.

Samantha Hulbert
February 28, 2020 11:19 am

– My favorite birthday memory: going to Disneyland for my 22nd birthday when my husband surprised me by taking me and inviting my brothers and sisters one month after we had our first baby.
– The best book I’ve read recently: The Ten Thousand Doors of January. It blew me away and took me to other worlds.
– Something I love about where I live: How close we are to everything.
– The nicest thing someone has done for me recently: My 6 year old came into the bathroom last night while i was taking a bath and kissed my forehead twice without saying anything. It was so sweet.

February 28, 2020 11:22 am

I always look forward to your surveys, Em! Thank you for the opportunity to provide my 2 cents.

-My favorite birthday memory was my 10th birthday. My family made a big deal of the double digit milestone and met me at the bottom of the driveway as I got off the school bus. And then my gifts were “hidden” throughout the yard on the way up the driveway in scavenger hunt fashion and it was just the best!
– I’m just finishing up City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence and it’s been really great! Highly recommend it if you’re unfamiliar with refugee conditions in East Africa and would like to know more about how politics and real lives converge in quite severe situations.
– We moved to a smaller city in NC from DC about a year and a half ago and we love that there is hardly no traffic (in fact the whole state feels like there is no traffic compared to DC) and the cost of living is a welcome break for our bank account!
– A coworker recently brought me daffodils from her yard to brighten up my office and I so loved that little sprinkle of love from her!

February 28, 2020 11:28 am

A favorite birthday memory: Hmm… Last year we celebrated my birthday with friends and a picnic on the beach (in Seattle!) The weather was perfect and it was just such a warm memory (literally and figuratively!)
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: I’m reading The Secret Life of Bees right now…. and I have to say it may be one of my top 5 favorite books ever.
Something you love about where you live: I live in Seattle, and people who visit are always surprised by how beautiful it is! Mountains, beach, rainforest, national parks… we have everything, just have to deal with a bit of rain now and then ;)
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: I love it when friends bring me coffee or a treat during a stressful or hard day.

February 28, 2020 11:29 am

Favorite birthday memory: I studied abroad in 2008 and the first day there was my birthday!
Book: I went to the summer movie clubhouse with my kids last year! I think it was Kung Fu Panda or a Gnome movie. Lol!
I love our parish church and I love being close to my family.
Anytime my mom helps me with my kiddos or if someone holds my baby while out and about! The little break helps a lot.

February 28, 2020 12:20 pm

Happy Birthday, Em! Hope this is the best one yet :)
A favorite birthday memory: My husband planned a day of all my favorite things with my favorite people for my 25th birthday. We did activity after activity and new friends and loved ones were at each stop to surprise me! I felt so loved.
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley
Something you love about where you live: I live in Nashville and love that we have easy access to so many city and nature spots, and our neighborhood is super walkable over to the coffee shop nearby too!
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: My husband cleaned the house and tidied the play area on a work-from-home day because he knows we’ve both been crazy busy at work and any additional clutter stresses me out!

February 28, 2020 12:34 pm

A favorite birthday memory: This one is so silly, but its one that is coming to mind — in high school (maybe my 15th birthday?) my parents gifted me this beautiful Vera Bradley backpack that I had been wanting for ages. My mom made orange rolls for breakfast, I had presents waiting to open when I woke up and I just remember feeling so happy and loved.
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: Saban: The Making of a Coach (so interesting to get a look into the life of Nick Saban. ROLL TIDE)
Something you love about where you live: I am close to my family and get to live out in the country near where I grew up. It reminds me to stay rooted and humble.
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently:

February 28, 2020 12:49 pm

A favorite birthday memory: going for my first “real” manicure at a spa and lunch with my godmother for my tenth birthday.
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theatres: I just finished reading “Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously”, by Jessica Pan this morning. Such a fun book if you identify as an introvert.
Something you love about where you live: Being able to go for a walk with my dog every morning.
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: A friend sent me a Starbucks card “just because” – it made my day!

February 28, 2020 1:51 pm

favorite birthday memory: Seeing The Avett Brothers with my new fiance in my hometown on my bday
best book you’ve read recently: The War that Saved My Life (technically middle school level, but SO GOOD)
something i love about where i live: It’s a “big/little” college town. Big enough to have cool things going on all the time, great restaurants, and a fun downtown, but small enough to feel like a small town!
the nicest thing i’ve done lately: Took my team out to lunch yesterday. between getting married a few months ago and going on a two-week trip to South Africa last month, they’ve covered my butt A LOT recently. It was nice to “formally” show my gratitude.

Happy Birthday! :)

February 28, 2020 2:12 pm

Congrats on another year of your blog and of life!
A favorite birthday memory: 10th Olympic themed birthday party-coicinded with an olympic year and we had mini competitions, so fun!
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: ENjoyed reading the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Next Year in Havana
Something you love about where you live: Mountain views, fresh summer fruit at the outdoor markets currently and that it has developed a new sense of patience in me (though many days, that need of extra patience does drive me crazy!)
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: Ran after someone who left their credit card at the checkout counter at the grocery store. I would hate to lose mine!

February 28, 2020 2:13 pm

A favorite birthday memory: Climbing my goal route up Castleton Tower!
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: Educated by Tara Westover, I can not put it down!!
Something you love about where you live: Moab, Utah. I can spend my entire life hiking a new trail or climbing a new route every day and still never come close to doing it all.
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: My best friend Bri wrote a really sweet IG caption about me and it made me cry! :)

February 28, 2020 2:19 pm

The best book(s) I’ve read lately are “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” by Lysa Terkeurst and “Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers” by Anne Lamott. So deep, refreshing, and life giving!

February 28, 2020 2:54 pm

A favorite birthday memory: One time when I was a kid my mom made me half a cake on my half birthday :)
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: I finally just read Just Mercy. It was a tough hang, but an important read.
Something you love about where you live: I live in Kigali, Rwanda :) I love how it’s way less chaotic than many other African capitals, and how it’s built across a series of hills so there are always beautiful views.
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: a friend babysitting for me three times in two weeks when I had a schedule change at work that didn’t work for our part-time nanny!

February 28, 2020 3:05 pm

Happy Birthday! Love these questions :)
Favorite birthday memory: It was my 6th birthday and I was positively obsessed with the book Madeline. My mom bought me a Madeline dress (with yellow hat included!) and our neighbor brought over their golden retriever to complete my character. I don’t remember what we ate or any other decorations, but simply that I was Madeline for the day surrounded by my friends :)
Best movie: Just Mercy
Something you love about where you live: close to 365 days of sunshine!
Nicest thing someone has done for me: my husband baking me another batch of breakfast cookies before I got home from work, when he realized he ate the last ones

February 28, 2020 3:45 pm

A favorite birthday memory: On my 26th birthday I rode the Creeper Trail in Virginia with my family and boyfriend. It was just a fun day being out door, riding through crisp mountain air, and enjoy each other. I can just remember the stupid big grin on my face riding down the mountain that day.

The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: Never Have I Ever. Came out last year and I had my book club read it. I just LOVED the twists and drama, and the fact we read it for book club and it was about book club.

Something you love about where you live: There is ALWAYS something to do! Knoxville is great, so many restaurants, festivals, breweries, and the mountains are SO close!

The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: I’ll go with most recent, but this past Christmas my parents got me a special Beatrix Potter book, with a special made necklace. I have English heritage (2nd generation!) and my parents had a special locket with one part being a collected English coin, and the other Beatrix Potter. I had mentioned for my future children I want a Beatrix Potter themed nursery and I thought that was such a sweet nod from my parents.

February 28, 2020 4:34 pm

Hi, Em, and happy birthday!!! The best book I’ve read recently is “Get Out of Your Head” by Jennie Allen. Wow. It really connected with me and I even had chills during certain parts. I loved how the book was full of both Scripture and practical application tips. Those are my favorite kinds of books. Other recent favorites are “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” (of course!) and “You Are The Girl for The Job.”

February 28, 2020 6:01 pm

Favorite birthday memory – Going with my mom and a few friends to see the Dawson’s Creek cast on TRL and at the Paley event in NYC for my 16th. Last movie I saw in theaters – In our 10 years together, Eric and I have been to the movies a grand total of 3 times (Argo, Easy A, and Social Network), so whichever of those was most recent! What I love about CT – able to visit NYC fairly easily while still living in an old farm town. Also being able to experience the beauty of the four seasons! Nicest thing – a kind unknown person “paid it forward” for me in the Starbucks line recently. Completely unexpected and totally appreciated!

February 28, 2020 6:21 pm

The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: my husband made it possible for me to fly across the country for one last girls trip before our baby arrives this spring :)

February 28, 2020 6:26 pm

Fav birthday memory: Going to Disneyland in California for my 21st birthday with my family!
Last movie I saw: 1917 – very intense but was filmed in such a cool way!
What I love about where I live: The North Island of New Zealand – the beaches are so rugged and beautiful.
The nicest thing someone did for me recently: a friend gave me a massage!

February 28, 2020 6:52 pm

Happy birthday!

A favorite birthday memory: We spent my 7th birthday in Disney World, one of my favorite places to this day. I have such sweet memories of being there with my sister and parents, in spite of it being insanely hot!

The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: We recently saw “Just Mercy” with friends from church – so challenging to watch, but I thought they did a great job with the film. I recently finished reading “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” and thought it was fascinating!

Something you love about where you live: We live in Charleston, so there’s not much to love :) Proximity to the beach, amazing history, gorgeous weather, the best food scene. After 10 years here, we definitely feel like locals!

The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: A friend randomly texting to ask how she could pray for me. Such a sweet, unexpected blessing!

February 28, 2020 7:23 pm

Favorite Bday Memory: my husband surprised me with a trip to NYC to see Hamilton and I had a meltdown in the airport (a great meltdown) . I spent my 30th in Italy, can’t top that one either!
Book: Red White & Royal Blue (I’m on a nonfiction detox and only reading fiction)
Last movie in theaters: Little Women
Where I live: Savannah, GA the history and so many new restaurant to try! I moved here 5 years ago and I’m so blessed to have made a home here.
Nicest Thing: a friend from high school planned a Friendcation for all of us!! He planned it and got ALL of us from our friend group there. It was amazing, 18 adults and 8 babies. I’m so thankful someone took the charge!


Michelle Willauer
February 28, 2020 7:47 pm

Happy birthday! I loved my 30th birthday, I took the day off work to spend with my family and my husband surprised me with tickets to Hamilton that night. I live in NC, like you, but both our families are also in the Tarheel state so I’d have to say that’s my favorite thing about it!

February 28, 2020 7:50 pm

My favorite birthday memory was for my 30th, I decided I wanted to go to a Pure Barre class with family and friends. It was hilarious and just so fun! And instead of a cake I got a huge donut. It was just fun to be around family and friends to celebrate.

The last movie I saw was Little Women, it was amazing!

I love that depending which way i drive I live 20 minutes from the mountains or the city.

The nicest thing my husband has done for me is let me sleep in when it’s my day to get up with our son.

Laura M
February 28, 2020 7:55 pm

1. This past year on my birthday, our town did a free kids concert in the park. Having a picnic with my family and watching my kids run and dance on a beautiful summer night is the best birthday I could ask for.
2. I just finished “A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza, and it was beautiful and challenging. I’m still thinking about it!
3. I live just north of Boston along the coast, and I love that we can walk to the beach!
4. My job can be really high-pressure and stressful. Yesterday a co-worker took time to tell me something I had done really well, and it made my whole day. (Also – my husband does the laundry, and it’s the best. Every. Single. Time.)

Emily R
February 28, 2020 8:25 pm

On my 26th birthday I had a positive beta with my first baby (IVF). He’s now almost 4! Hard to beat that birthday :)

February 28, 2020 8:30 pm

Favorite birthday memory: One year when I was in high school, my mom surprised me with dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant with all of my friends. I had never had a surprise birthday party before so I was really shocked, and the fact that my mom pulled the whole thing off (she’s not the best at organizing!) made it so much sweeter!
The best book I read recently was American Royals by Katharine McGee! I’m a total sucker for YA fiction and this was the perfect chick lit book to read on my recent vacation.
I live in Los Angeles CA, and I love being so close to Disneyland. :) My boyfriend and I have annual passes and it’s so cool to go whenever we want, like tomorrow!
The nicest thing someone’s done for me recently: My boyfriend and I recently got back from a cruise and I was definitely experiencing the post-vacation blues. He took a few paper goods we had saved from the cruise and mounted them in a frame to hang on our bedroom wall, and surprised me with it one day when I got home from work. I was so surprised and happy that I cried!
Love your blog Emily, and although I don’t always comment as much as I want, your comments section is the most fun to read! Everyone here is so lovely and genuine. :)

February 28, 2020 8:31 pm

My favorite birthday memory was my last birthday because it was the first one I got to spend as a mom! My then almost one year old made it completely different and so much fun!
The best book I’ve read lately is The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner. It reminded me so much of The Glass Castle (another favorite), and I absolutely loved it!
The nicest thing someone has done for me lately is my bff checking on me constantly even though we’re in different cities and different points in our lives. She has shown so much empathy towards my motherhood related struggles and I find that so valuable because she isn’t even planning on becoming a mom herself, yet has been willing to listen to me for hours on end and offer so much support and advice on this topic.

February 28, 2020 9:50 pm

A favorite birthday memory: A cake fight at my 14th birthday!
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: Book is Small Great Things and move is 1917. Both were GREAT!
Something you love about where you live: The neighborhood is quiet and friendly/peaceful.
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: at work I was following-up on a bill for medical treatment but the provider refused to get it to me. I followed-up so much for such a long period of time that they finally just waived it entirely. This is unheard of and it saved the client at least $2,000!

February 28, 2020 9:55 pm

A favorite birthday memory: Last year, I took the day completely for myself. I got a cup of coffee and read a book outside, walked down streets lined with old houses and blooming jasmine vines, and treated myself to an amazing lunch. It was slow, beautiful, and filled with the things I wanted to do (not the things I wanted to do because I thought others would want to)
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: my favorite relatively recent read is The Nightingale
Something you love about where you live: I live in New Orleans, and there are many things I love – the history, the music, the hospitality, the beignets :) Right now I’d have to say Mardi Gras. The real one that the locals enjoy, not the French Quarter Craziness. It’s a great time to catch up with people you know, eat good food, dance the day away, and appreciate the creativity of the local groups and their floats. (p.s. If you ever find yourself heading down here, let me know! I’d love to be a tour guide!)
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: My best friend lives in Tucson and has 3 little ones that I love dearly. In an attempt to stay better connected with them, I’m sending a packet of coloring sheets and activities/crafts for them to do. This also helps out my friend because the kiddos are occupied!

February 28, 2020 10:52 pm

I just read Trick Mirror with my intergenerational neighborhood book club. None of us loved it, but I’m still really thinking about the comments the author made about our culture, especially about “optimizing.”

February 28, 2020 11:41 pm

The nicest thing: my husband gave me flowers for our anniversary on 2/19. Something I love: I live in Greenville, SC. It offers the best of being in a city, but not a large one. It has a lot of character (a waterfall in the middle of downtown). The best book/movie-The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. The movie is on Netflix and it is also a book. The movie is better than the book. The movie has several actors/actresses from Downton Abbey. If you are looking for a uplifting historical drama in post WWII with a little romance this is the movie for you! A favorite birthday memory-getting a Ford Mustang for my 16th birthday from my grandparents. My grandfather sold his Model A to buy the Mustang. I still have it 17 years later!

February 29, 2020 12:24 am

A favorite birthday memory: When I was 13 my grandparents gifted me their laundry room and I was able to paint and decorate it. It was one of my favorite birthday gifts. I was obsessed with redecorating and makeover shows.
The best book you’ve read recently or the last movie you saw in theaters: currently reading Dreamland by Sam Quinones. Definitely out of my genre comfort zone but it’s been great learning about the opioid crisis.
Something you love about where you live: the recently re-energized downtown. The small town feel but with great local restaurants and shops. Also running downtown is great.
The nicest thing someone has done for you or that you’ve done for someone recently: My co-worker leaves encouraging notes on our desks before work. We all save them and they’re daily reminders and encouragement.

February 29, 2020 5:09 am

First of all: Happy birthday, Em! Wishing you health and happiness for this new year of life :-)

My favorite birthday memory is probably from my 24th birthday which I spend in London with one of my best friends doing all my favorite activities: brunch in Notting Hill, a walk through Hyde Park, Afternoon Tea at The Orangerie at Kensington Palace, strolling through Harrods, eating Macarons from Ladurée and finishing the day with an Italian dinner – maybe the best birthday ever :D

Best recently read book: You are the girl for the job by Jess Connolly.

Something I love about Cologne, Germany: The presence of the Catholic Church in the city. There are so many beautiful churches. little shrines for Mary and cross statues by the side of the road all over the city. You can never forget the presence of Jesus here.

The nicest thing somebody has done for me lately: My co-worker who sits at the desk right next to me keeps sending me encouraging notes via Slack during a difficult time of transition at work. Love her for it!

February 29, 2020 8:55 am

A favorite thing about where I live is the abundance of cheap plants I can buy for my apartment!

February 29, 2020 3:00 pm

Just filled out the survey. I think it’s so great how you continually gauge your audience- it’s so appreciated!

I recently read “12 ways your phone is changing you” and then “Digital Minimalism”. I loved the contrast between these two books (the more theological stance versus a more empirical approach) and found that they worked together in a very pragmatic way. That is, “12 ways” became the why behind why “Digital Minimalism” mattered to me.