Top Picks This Week

Apartment Living: Maximizing Space and Style

by Cary Rogers

As an apartment dweller, I know that creating a functional and stylish space can sometimes be a challenge. Your home can easily become a stressful environment if it is overcrowded or lacking on storage. Add in restrictions from your landlord, budgeting, and… it can seem almost impossible. Luckily there are a lot of renter-friendly solutions to creating a functional and beautiful home.

Here are my tips for making the most of a small living space…

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Simple Citrus Marmalade (& Friday Links)

If you happen to have neighbors who share their winter citrus bounty, consider yourself lucky—and consider using some of it to make some marmalade. A few years back, we happened to have enough Kumquats on our trees to try it with the small, tart fruits and used a basic 1:1 fruit to sugar ratio so as not to hide the brilliant flavor of the citrus. It turned out delicious! It’s also an easy one for children to help with—who can eat it up alongside a reading of Paddington. Find the recipe for Kumquat Marmalade here, but this could be easily adapted to any citrus, adjusting the sugar depending on the sweetness of the variety.

Any fun plans for the weekend? We’re gearing up for our first season of little league, attending some birthday parties, and going out to a crab feed with friends. I have some home-improvement projects on my mind, too, so it’s a good time to stay close.

Here are some links of note to start it off… 

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Happy Valentine’s Day! How do we all celebrate?

Most real romance is small and mundane, happening in unscheduled, quiet moments. Still, I never shy away from a chance to celebrate a holiday—and, in this case, have no qualms about exchanging love notes or pouring a glass of champagne to toast to those we cherish.

It just so happens that this year, the kids and I are on our own. I’m thinking poke bowls for dinner and candy from their classroom exchange for dessert, and maybe a movie together before I indulge in a favorite—either some Meg Ryan classic or Pride & Predjudice. (By the way, any good recommendations for kids on Valentine’s Day?) I’m sorry that Aron can’t join us, of course, but I’m also completely fine with this plan.

That said, I am familiar with how busted expectations for a certain kind of Valentine’s day can get to anyone. Usually I consider myself very low-key about it, but all bets were off the year Skyler was born. Valentine’s Day fell just 10 days after we’d brought her home from the hospital, and I was so shocked, as I sat down with our newborn at my breast, that Aron hadn’t planned anything special at all that I burst into tears. (There may also have been some hormones involved.)

Since then, I think we’ve been more careful to be clear about expectations. So I’m always curious to hear about others’ expectations when it comes to this particular day. How are real women around me celebrating? And how would they like to be?

We reached out to some of our friends—women between the ages of 25 and 55, mostly mothers—to ask:
“What will you be doing on Valentine’s Day?” And “What do you wish you were doing?”

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