Friday Things

1. Today, my mom is having surgery to have her gallbladder removed, which means an early wakeup call and lots of magazine-reading for me. I’m hoping that everything goes well and that she has an easy and quick recovery!

2. Speaking of magazine-reading, it occurred to me when we took our road trip to Florida that I don’t have a nice tote bag for things like magazines, books, snacks, etc. Do you have a favorite tote bag? Feel free to share recommendations and links below!

3. You may remember that last week I mentioned I had signed up for a women’s hockey clinic… well, it begins on Sunday, which means that I had do some equipment shopping this week. I am officially ALL-IN, as you can see:

Also, hockey is crazy expensive. I had a big “whoa” moment at the cash register!

4. We’re finally completely caught up on the new Boardwalk Empire episodes. At some point last year, it became one of my top three favorite shows. It’s not what I typically watch, but I’m totally caught up in the story! Next on my list is to watch the first season of Homeland and then get caught up on the new episodes as well. What are you watching this fall?

5. Can we talk stink bugs for a minute? I’m not sure if they’re only a regional issue or if they’re invading everywhere, but I seriously feel under siege. They were all over the back side of my house the other day, and when I went to Target yesterday, they were all over the outside there as well. All I can say is, UGH!

6. Madonna pictures, finally! I know many of you were eager to see photos from the Madonna concert in DC; unfortunately I had some import issues last week and couldn’t get them into last week’s Friday post, but here they are! A sampling of the show…

7. As of last weekend, I am officially all Mac. An iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro with Retina Display have been added to my previously lone Apple product, the new iPad. Thanks to everyone who has offered up their recommendations and first-hand experience with different products over the last few months. So far I am loving everything; my biggest obstacle has been the trackpad on the laptop. My fingers need some practice!

8. I’m craving a Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate like no one’s business. It’s happening this weekend. Write it down.

9. I’m loving all of the fall colors lately! The landscapes and the skies have been beautiful this week!

10. TGIF! Take some time to play this weekend!


42 Responses to “Friday Things”

  1. ida on October 5, 2012 at 12:31 am

    i hope that everything goes well with your mom today and that her recovery is easy and swift.
    i have a lands end bag, but it’s kind of heavy. it is very nice and is personalized, but only has a snap-wish it had a zipper instead (something to think about)
    take care!


  2. Valerie on October 5, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Michelle, Lots of good wishes to your Mom on her upcoming gallbladder procedure tomorrow. I had laparoscopic gallbladder surgery myself two years ago, and everything went very smoothly. Whatsmore, the doctor even repaired a minor hernia that I had at the same time, so I got a twofer — LOL!These types of procedures are a lot easier than what they were several years ago, so I’m sure that your Mom will do just fine. Regarding a recommendation for tote bags, I tend to favor the Vera Bradley totebags. And on the subject of stinkbugs, all that I can say is UGH!!!


  3. Katie on October 5, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Land’s End makes a zip top tote bag now! I got the original (without the zipper) as a gift for my bridesmaid’s (and myself of course) for my wedding a couple years ago. I’ve taken it on several trips and fits magazines and lots of other things perfectly! And the quality can’t be beat.


  4. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on October 5, 2012 at 1:03 am

    I hope everything goes well with your mom! I give you a lot of props for doing the hockey thing – too cool 🙂 Happy Friday!


  5. Susan on October 5, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Welcome to the world of playing hockey! You’re going to love it!! (Even better when you start doing tournaments and can combine hockey and travel!)


  6. Aimee on October 5, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Hello there! I hope your Mom is doing well. I was so excited to see your pics of Madonna & have tickets to see her on October 18th in Denver. So excited & appreciate a sneak peek of the show!!! I love your recipes & always look forward to your emails! Thank you for inspiring me to try new recipes & satisfying my cravings! 🙂


  7. Adrianne on October 5, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Hope your moms surgery goes well I had mine out when I was 17. I sell thirty one bags they are amazing there are several different Styles and patterns to choose from and they can be personalized check out the organizing utility tote. Thanks! Love your blog


  8. Martha in KS on October 5, 2012 at 6:10 am

    My thoughts are with your family & hoping all goes well with your Mom’s surgery.

    As for stinkbugs, here in KS we have a problem with Boxelder bugs – red & black crawly things. I’ve been spraying my front porch about every other day to kill all the new little guys basking in the sun there. Ewww!

    Have a good weekend.


  9. LeAnna on October 5, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Good luck to your mom today. Had mine removed in July, and recovery went smoothly. Hope she has the same experience.

    Check out Vera Bradley for a tote bag. Lots of styles and colors, and completely washable if you get it dirty. I am totally hooked on Vera.


  10. Penny Wolf on October 5, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Well wishes to your Mom and a fast recovery.
    Do you have her meals ready and cookies for the nurses?


    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you, Penny! Ahh no I’m not that organized, ha! I didn’t make any cookies, although now that you mention that it’s a good idea! She’ll be on a liquid diet for 48 hours, so I’ll have some time to get her stocked with good food 🙂


  11. Theresa on October 5, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Praying your mom’s surgery is incident free and that she heals quickly!

    Totes – Land’s End is great as previous readers have suggested – they are sturdy and will last for years – come in all sizes and colors and can be monogrammed for a small fee but the bags are fairly inexpensive. VB are very colorful and come in various styles, are lightweight and can be washed – they are more on the pricey side however. FEED bags ( have all kinds of options for tote bags – Lauren Bush started the project 5 years ago and money for the bags goes toward various projects (feeding children, reading programs, etc.) in different countries so you can feel good about your purchase. I have totes from all of these companies and like them all for various reasons.


  12. Meg on October 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Second/Thirding the Zippered Lands End tote! They hold up to everything. My toddler dragged it through the parking lot one time – scuffed, but no holes! And if it can survive my penchant for spilling/throwing things in the washer, then it can survive anything.


  13. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on October 5, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Sending all of my best wishes to your Mom! Everything will be just fine!!!

    Enjoy your weekend and get your Starbucks!!


  14. leslie on October 5, 2012 at 7:37 am

    my go to carry on bag is a baggu! they have every color you could ever imagine, and they fold up into a little bag small enough to fit in your back pocket when its not being used.


  15. Amanda Rae on October 5, 2012 at 7:59 am


    First of all the bag: Kate Spade all the way! You can’t go wrong with a good Kate Spade, which go very nicely with all things Anthro. 🙂 If KS is a little too pricey (although not next to hockey equipment), there’s always Vera Bradley: great pockets, cute patterns, and washable! Check out both websites!

    Secondly, the stink bugs- YES! Gross! Don’t you wish Einstein would save you from them. I try to get my bullie, Ginger, to kill bugs for me (seriously, she eats anything else: fennel, antlers, logs, etc), but she has no interest!

    Finally, I love that Madonna’s still rockin’.

    The end.

    Thanks for all your posts!



  16. b. on October 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

    my favorite totes for work and travel is Kate Spade’s ‘Play Hooky’ which is actually now on sale at


  17. Tracey on October 5, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Hope your mom’s surgery goes well! Sending lots of good thoughts 🙂

    Also, Homeland is pretty much my favorite show on tv right now. Can’t wait to hear what you think!


  18. Lori on October 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Michelle, Prayers going out for a successsful, speedy recovery for your mom. Congratulations on your hockey clinic. Your equipment looks so cute. My husband and two sons are USA Hockey Referee Officials. I am the equipment manager! As matter of fact I am traveling 6 hours this weekend to pick my son up at school and take him to a clinic near Buffalo for his recert. I can’t skate very well nor do I know all the rules of the game. Go figure…but I love watching college hockey. Have fun.


  19. Laura Dembowski on October 5, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Love the pics of the sky and the Madonna concert! Good luck to your mom todsy, hopefully her surgery goes well. I am watching tons of TV. Homeland is great. I also love Grey’s Anatomy, Last Resort, Once Upon a Time, and Grimm amd many more.


  20. Joy on October 5, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I started my day with your great pics- thank you! 🙂 Have a great weekend!


  21. Katy on October 5, 2012 at 9:08 am

    A few things. First, I’m keeping your mom in my prayers today! Next, my favorite tote bag is the Kate Spade tennis bon shopper, seen here:
    That specific one is no longer available, but the bon shopper bags are available in every season in different prints. Wait until they go on sale and treat yourself! Finally, there must be something in the water in Pittsburgh because I just wrote about craving a S.C.H.C. from Starbucks, too. Enjoy yours 🙂


  22. Amy S. on October 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I hope your Mom’s surgery goes well. I had my gallbladder removed about 2 years ago. I felt so much better after it was gone! As for bags, I love my organizing utility tote from Thirty-One Gifts. They come in lots of colors and have 7 small pockets on the outside.


  23. Erin on October 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

    My mom had her gallbladder taken out this summer. Hope all goes well for your mom!


  24. Amy on October 5, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Love your autumn pictures! I’ll keep your Mom in my prayers today…surgery is never fun! I use a Vera Bradley tote…I got mine at Hallmark but apparently they have outlet stores now, and a mall near me just opened a store not so long ago. They have a ton of shapes and sizes and patterns. I LOVE it! 🙂


  25. Julie on October 5, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I have to agree with earlier posters about Kate Spade. I am on the road weekly for my job and need a sturdy, light weight, hold everything type of bag and a Kate Spade diaper bag did the trick! It has 2 exterior pockets on the outside ends and 2 on the inside for great organization of the “stuff” I just have to carry. Who would have thought – a diaper bag! It’s black and very stylish.


  26. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite on October 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Yesss to Boardwalk Empire! I always forget how much I love that show until a new season starts 🙂 I also love Dexter, Homeland, Fringe, Castle…clearly I have too much time on my hands! Best wishes for your mom!


  27. Gillian on October 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

    LL Bean zippered tote all the way! They’re cheap, washable, sturdy, and last forever!


  28. Rachael P on October 5, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Thinking good thoughts for your mom’s speedy recovery. I have a monogrammed canvas Lands’ End tote with leather handles that I’ve had for like 15 years. It only gets better looking with age. Has a zipper and everything. I just don’t think they make it anymore, so I’m not quite sure why I even mentioned it. 🙂

    Is that your Jack Russell pup? What a sweet, adorable clown!


    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Hi Rachael, He’s not mine, but he’s so darn cute!


  29. Eileen on October 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Hope your mom’s surgery goes well too Michele. Here’s to speedy recovery. Also, I’ve noticed we have an unusually large amoung to stink bugs around here this fall too. What gives??? The concert looks like it was amazing, and I want to kiss the pup! Have a great weekend 🙂


  30. LuAnn on October 5, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Wishing your Mom the best today.

    Looking for a cute tote, and not the ordinary (we don’t like ordinary). Check out Rebecca Percy designs darling totes, handbags and accessories. Everything is made in their studio in lovey Portland Oregon. Love them!!

    I also love your daily emails. I only have one pumkin scone left, making the fig and oatmeal scones today. Can’t wait,



  31. Elisa on October 5, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Best wishes to your mom and a speedy recovery.

    Vera Bradley has some cute totes, not crazy priced either. I do love the Michael Kors totes though too.

    Btw that picture of ur dog is to die for!!


  32. susan on October 5, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Best of luck to your mom for a speedy recovery. I’m pretty new to your site, but I love what I have seen so far. I’m soooo excited you have found hockey!!! My eight year old son plays, my husband plays and I cheer them on! Play It Again Sports is a great place to find equipment. For my son’s birthday this year we built him a hockey rink. His friends came over and painted “advertisements” on the walls. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

    I’m very excited to try some of the recipes. Your pancake cupcakes were a huge hit at work 🙂


    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Susan, How fun, an ice rink!! That is all kinds of awesome, I love it! Now I want to build an ice rink in my backyard 🙂


  33. gloria on October 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I bought this bag approx 2 years ago….and it still looks great. I love that it has structure to it so that it stands up and makes it easy to locate something inside and that it looks so good anytime, anywhere. Esp for the small shopping trips and farmer’s markets. I keep a small clutch/pouch with the necessary items inside and just pull it out for quick run-ins at the store or….. Many times I have a drink cup/bottle standing in the end of it and have yet to have it topple.
    Only downside is that it is a little difficult to fit under the seat on airline, (you kinda sorta have to fit it sideways.) Be sure to get this one with the leather straps that run all the way down the sides.


  34. Danielle on October 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I hope surgery goes well. Had my gallbladder out last December. Not fun but not the worst thing ever either.
    Very favorite tote
    Nice heavy duty nylon but does not make the bag heavy. Doesn’t stain like canvas can. I got the dark olive.


  35. Michelle on October 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes for my mom and all of the tote recommendations! You guys rock!


  36. Risa Golding on October 5, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Unfortunately I’ve got no suggestions on tote bags. I get mine free – every October Pepperidge Farm has a deal at the supermarket – buy a certain amount of their products, send in the UPC and the form and you get a free Breast Cancer Awareness Canvas Bag. So I do it every year – I have 3 of them and love them. They are very sturdy. I use them to carry magazines when we go on long trips.

    Good luck to your mom. I hope the surgery goes well.

    When it comes to TV, I also love “Boardwalk Empires” – I have kept up the whole time. I also love “Bored to Death” on HBO which should be starting again. I watched the whole season of “Girls” too. Right now I am totally into “The Middle”, “Modern Family”, “Dancing with the Stars All-Stars” and “Parenthood.” I guess those are my favorites. I am not all that thrilled with most of the newer shows. The only one I really like is “The Neighbors” but “Nashville” is starting soon and that I want to see.

    The Madonna concert looks like it was a lot of fun. I used to be a fan but when she started with all the Sex-stuff (the book and the record and videos), I got a little annoyed with her. I love her first 3 albums. I have her latest and don’t really like it much. Too much dance stuff – too much electronics for me. Glad she is still out there though. Good for her at her age (actually she is around my age, slightly younger). I wish I could move like that.


  37. Ardex Sd P on October 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Hope your moms surgery went well… and oh my gosh, is that your dog in that picture? Adorbs!!!


  38. AQ on October 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Hey, hope you’re mom is recovering well.

    Louis Vuitton’s never full bag (Large) is the best tote I could have bought! I have been using/abusing it for almost every single day for University for the past two years and it still looks like I bought it just yesterday – hasn’t lost its charm one bit! Would totally recommend it, really durable stuff and actually never gets full!


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