10 Reasons You Should Have a Library Card

10 Reasons You Should Have a Library Card

This week is National Library Week! It’s no secret I’m a total bookworm, but I am always amazed how many adults don’t belong to their local library!

In case you are one of the (apparently) many that’s doesn’t know the amazing-ness that is your local library, this post is for you.

Here are 10 reasons you should join your local library:

10. Are you more of a film buff than book nerd? Guess what, most libraries have a pretty large movie selection, including new releases and seasons of TV shows so you can binge-watch your heart out. Maybe you’ll even want to get ahead of the game and read the book before it comes out on the big screen. As they say, the book is always better than the movie.

9. Borrow Kindle books. Did you know you can borrow e-books from the library? They come in many forms for all types of e-readers, and even plain old PDFs if you want to read from a computer. Some libraries even have e-readers available to lend.

8. Free wi-fi. Sometimes you just need to get out of the house, or maybe your internet isn’t working. The library has free wireless, and many snug corners to tuck into unnoticed.

7. Borrow and renew books from the comfort of home. Thanks to modern technology you can reserve books online and they will put them aside for you at the front desk. If browsing isn’t your thing, you can spend less than 2 minutes in the library altogether and still benefit from it.

6. Buy discounted tickets and attend events at your local library. Many libraries have deals for their members where you can purchase tickets (for as much as 50% off!) to local museums, aquariums, and other attractions. My library also has free movie nights and guest speakers. A free date night or get together with friends.

5. Buy cheap used books. Most libraries have an ongoing used book rack, and use book sales to raise money throughout the year. I buy all my books at these sales and never pay more than $1.00 per book. Oftentimes, on the last day of the sale I can fill a whole box for $5.00. (I never said I had self-control at book sales.)

4. Free magazines. Not only can you sit and peruse current and archived magazines and newspapers, but my local library, and many others, have a free give-and-take magazine bin.

3. Great recommendations. Librarians have made it very easy to find books you might like to read. Missing Downton Abbey? Here’s a table of 20 books that you might be interested in. Librarians have gotten really good at connecting non-readers with book recommendations.

2. Don’t fear the late fee. Not only can you pay late fees online now, but my librarians don’t even ask me to pay fines until I’ve surpassed $10.00. No need to fumble for pocket change at the last minute.

1. The library is FREE! Books, movies, CDs, magazines and more at no cost to you!

There are many more reasons beyond these 10 as well. I haven’t even mentioned the children’s section (I’m not there often!), but I remember loving to go to the library when I was little. Today’s children’s sections even have awesome game centers and indoor playrooms. For adults, there are private study rooms to reserve and computer labs.

Have I convinced you yet? Go get your library card today!

This post is not sponsored by the American Library Association. But if they’d like to send me money, they can feel free. :)

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

24 Hours in New York City

A few weekends ago I met up with some old college girlfriends for a quick whirlwind weekend in New York City.

I’ve been to New York several times, and have reached the point where I’ve checked the obligatory touristy spots off my life, (Central Park, the Public Library, The Met, the Statue of Liberty, Fifth Avenue, Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, etc.) so I was excited to try something new.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively  A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon – a warm respite from this winter we’d been having – and spent it delightfully walking around Brooklyn and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

We took the 6 train line down to the Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall stop and the bridge was just around the corner. Most people say it’s better to walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan because the views are better. We walked over the bridge both directions and there wasn’t a view I didn’t enjoy! The weather was beautiful and I finally got a taste of spring.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively
It’s hard to believe this bridge was built in 1887 – the sheer concept of building it is mind-boggling. It’s put David McCullough’s The Great Bridge, which is all about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, on my would-like-to-read-soon list.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLivelyA Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

Once in Brooklyn we walked around the Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights area. The Brooklyn Promenade provides a beautiful view of the city, plentiful people-watching opportunities, and endless benches to park yourself upon.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

While Grimaldi’s at the base of the Bridge seemed to be a touristy hot-spot (the lines were long!) we opted to try out Siggy’s Good Food, an organic, farm-to-table cafe and smoothie bar a few blocks away. It was busy, but the wait was short.

(Salmon burger gets five stars from this girl.)

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

The Brooklyn Bridge Park at the base of the bridge looks like a beautiful place to take a summer picnic – although not too inviting in March. A Frozen Yogurt food truck (YoGo) caught my attention, and we enjoyed a $4 sweet treat.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLivelyDon’t expect them to be generous with the toppings, as evidenced by the sparse smattering of blueberries and gummi bears.

The next day we do what all New Yorkers do on Sunday, we brunched.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

The CookShop in Chelsea was our destination and was worthy of the 20 minute trek to get there (in the cold, windy weather! Yesterday’s sunshine was long-gone). I strongly recommend a reservation, as there were crowds of people waiting, even when we left around 1:00pm!
While I love going out to a nice dinner, I’m not sure there’s anything better than a leisurely brunch.

Right across the street from CookShop is The High Line, an old elevated subway line turned park-walkway. I look forward to checking it out again when I am in NY in June when everything has bloomed!

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

Fortunately, when there are no flowers and foliage to bring color to NYC, the public murals do. Love this vibrant take of the “Kissing Sailor”.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively
We braved the cold (yesterday’s sunshine was long gone) and walked the High Line down to Chelsea Market, which is located inside the old Nabisco Factory. The urban food market is full of shops and restaurants, and the architecture is scrappy, industrial, and just cool. It’s a bigger, hipper version of Boston’s Quincy Market.

A Girls Weekend in New York City - DesignLively

Between our city adventures, movie-watching, and catching up it was a quick 24 hours, so I am looking forward to returning in June to see some more of the city.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NYC? I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions for when I return!

The Art Institute of Chicago


I have a habit of taking lots of pictures in art museums of all my favorite pieces. I’ve dragged my husband to more art museums than I’d like to admit. If I am ever in a new city I always try to make a stop into new, or favorite, museums.

I thought it would be a fun addition to the blog if I shared my reviews of art museums as I visit them throughout the year! I’ll start with the Chicago Institute of Art.

artinchicagoA personal favorite – the Chagall window

artinchicago3chicago22 chicago20 chicago18  artinchicago4

Where: The Art Institute of Chicago

When: Open daily 10:30am–5:00pm, Thursday until 8:00pm

Highlights: “American Gothic”, by Grant Wood, (seen above, farmers) is one of the more popular pieces in this Chicago museum, as is the “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”, by Seurat (seen above with children sitting on the floor). The Art Institute of Chicago has a sizable Impressionism collection, and a wonderful Modern collection as well. It unfortunately was under construction during my last visit, but opens this month. The museum reconstructed the Chicago Stock Exchange Room (from the 1890s) in one of it’s wings. It was beautiful and, away from the popular pieces, it’s quite quiet! It’s located near the Chagall window, which, is one of my personal favorites.

Things to Know: Mornings can be quite busy with field trips (which can be quite annoying, as they tend to hop to and crowd out the most famous pieces in the museum). One of museum’s cafes is located in the courtyard, which is both quiet and beautiful!

Admission: $23.00 for an adult (Admission is free to Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5-8pm)

artinchicago2If you go, be sure to check out the outdoor installations in neighboring Millennium Park. Chicago can always be counted on for fantastic public art.

Have you been to the Art Institute of Chicago? What’s your favorite art museum?

Making Stuff Happen – My 101 in 1001

image source

I was minding my own business the other day, when the reality that in about 550 days I will turn 30. That doesn’t bother me (yet). But, it suddenly occurred to me that my life is passing by and I’m not taking the time to make stuff happen.

By stuff, I mean the guts of life. Gaining self-discipline, nurturing passions, and self-educating (since my school days are long-gone). I’ve seen a few people on the internet create these 101 in 1001 lists – listing 101 things they want to accomplish in 1001 days. It’s more like a well-thought-out, fruit-producing bucket list concept.

In 1001 days I will be 31 years ago. Many people say their 30s are their favorite decade, and I’m (truly) looking forward to them. (But not a day before they arrive!) I’d like to embark on the next decade of my life with a few things under my belt, be them successes, failures, passions, skills, or simply things I want from life.

In 1001 days I will say to myself, “I made stuff happen!”

(And of course I’m publishing it here because nothing motivated me like publicly stating a goal – or 101 of them.)

Kat’s 101 in 1001


  1. Go to before by 10:00pm every day for 2 weeks
  2. Wake up at 6:00am every morning for 2 weeks
  3. Sign up for a 10k
  4. Try a Bikram Yoga class
  5. Run 8 miles without stopping
  6. Go hiking in the White Mountains
  7. Take an online class in something I enjoy
  8. Learn handlettering
  9. Organize music and get rid of CDs
  10. Create and maintain an address book
  11. Learn a skill that I don’t know
  12. Edit together our wedding video


  1. Learn to can food
  2. Make bread from scratch
  3. Plant a vegetable garden
  4. Make my own granola
  5. Learn the art of making a great cup of coffee
  6. Find the perfect waffle recipe
  7. Make my own pizza dough
  8. Experiment making 10 new flavors of homemade ice cream
  9. Successfully replicate a homemade version of Uno’s “The Cookie”


  1. Daily devotionals for 1 month straight
  2. Get involved in a ministry I feel passionate about
  3. Do one pro-bono design job
  4. Reread all works by C.S. Lewis
  5. Attend one weekend retreat


  1. Write a short novel
  2. Write and illustrate a children’s story
  3. Write one piece of fan fiction
  4. Start and complete a 1001 gifts journal
  5. Write to 10 of my favorite writers and ask for their advice


  1. Restore Granna’s steamer trunk
  2. Install board and batten
  3. Learn how to tile
  4. Learn metal stamping
  5. Learn to use 5 new power tools
  6. Make my own candles
  7. Try glass etching
  8. Learn to crochet (and actually make something)
  9. Sew a patchwork quilt
  10. Sew something I can actually wear


  1. Go candlepin bowling
  2. Buy a book from the outdoor Brattle St Bookshop
  3. Visit Castle Island
  4. Go to SOWA
  5. Attend Boston Marathon
  6. Attend Head of the Charles
  7. Organize a girls “bakery crawl”
  8. Walk the whole Freedom Trail
  9. Eat at Upstairs on the Square
  10. FINALLY go to a Red Sox Game at Fenway
  11. Sam Adams Brewery Tour

Massachusetts / New England

  1. Spend an afternoon at the Worcester Art Museum
  2. Visit Newport (and go inside the mansions this time)
  3. Go to the seaglass beach in Maine
  4. Visit Martha’s Vineyard
  5. Go to polo match at Myopia
  6. Go to Brimfield Antique Market
  7. Explore 5 nearby towns I’ve never been
  8. Explore the South Shore
  9. Go to Block Island
  10. Visit a cranberry bog (in season)


  1. Take a weekend trip with my Mom
  2. Girls weekend in Stone Harbor
  3. Visit Brian in DC
  4. Visit Colls in FL
  5. Go somewhere I’ve never been

Just for Fun

  1. Attend two concerts
  2. See the Phantom of the Opera
  3. Host a fancy girly brunch
  4. Host a fall BBQ
  5. Host a seafood bake
  6. Host a salt water taffy pull
  7. Go camping
  8. Take a dancing class
  9. Read 5 classics I haven’t read before
  10. Participate in a book club
  11. Learn to sail
  12. Go Wine Tasting in the Finger Lakes
  13. Learn to Water Ski on 1 ski
  14. Go swing and salsa dancing
  15. Buy one piece of original artwork that I love
  16. Visit three new art museums
  17. Take a pottery class
  18. Find a perfume I love and buy it


  1. (Finally) finish reading the Meaning of Marriage together
  2. Start playing tennis together
  3. Attempt to learn how to play golf
  4. Buy fishing equipment and go fishing
  5. Start a family memories book


  1. Update personal freelance website
  2. Update/organize my design portfolio
  3. Redesign blog
  4. Transfer to WordPress self-hosted
  5. Start an editorial calendar and stick to it (for at least a month)
  6. Attend 6 blogger events
  7. Launch an Etsy shop
  8. Learn about aperture and iOS on my camera
  9. Start painting again
  10. Find and complete 8 freelance design jobs