Why you should start a Book Club!

book club maggie whitley

I’ve been making more of an effort to read more often, either during naptime or once the kids are in bed at night, during the quiet times of day when I really need a few minutes to myself :) After I read Jessica Turner’s The Fringe Hours (which I absolutely loved and highly recommend) I decided it was time to start a book club. Definitely time.

library book club maggie whitley

Being a part of a book club is something I’ve been wanting to do for years. My mom is in one and I know she enjoys it so much. I started by inviting the friends I see frequently, then I invited some friends I don’t see very often (but wish I did), and then lastly I suggested for these friends to invite someone they know.

There are about 13 women in the book club, which is perfect because I know not everyone will be able to make our meetings (we’re meeting every 6 weeks to discuss the book), but there are still enough women who can come that book club for sure happen. And honestly, I need this book club. It’s a dedicated bit of time on my calendar just for me. It gives me a personal hobby to focus on in between meetings. Reading enlightens me, calms my mind and gives me a fresh perspective. I host at our apartment on a Saturday morning, and everyone who shows up can drink their coffee while it’s still hot and doesn’t have to cut the food on their plate into sixteen small pieces. Or share ;)

We had our second meeting last weekend; it was so refreshing and hope-filled. For our first book we read Still Alice (a heavy topic for sure, but so well-written and incredibly interesting to read), and our current book is The Husband’s Secret. A close second for book #2 was Dear Mr. Knightley. A book I read a few months ago (and highly recommend (it was so detailed!)) is What Alice Forgot, if you’re looking for one more title to add to your reading list.

I should have known book club was in my future. I mean, I was a very enthusiastic member of The Baby-Sitters Club when I was a tweenie and COULD NOT get enough of the books ;) And every time I visit my parents I’m tempted to bring my entire collection back to Los Angeles.

(Zack, if you’re reading this: that was your warning.)

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“The Best” Chocolate Chip Cookies.

"the best" chocolate chip cookies | maggie whitley designs

One of my most favorite things to do with Maxwell is bake. He is so enthusiastic about baking, and he loves cleaning up the dishes afterward :) We rotate between three recipes when we bake, one being this chocolate chip cookie recipe. This cookie recipe is “the best” because the edges are crispy & buttery and the inside stays soft. Plus, you only need one bowl for mixing the dough. Hooray!

A note from the baker: we use mini chocolate chips and have found the recipe tastes best when you sneak in a few scoops of chips before adding them to the bowl.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
4. Serve warm with a glass of cold milk ;)

(recipe originally found here)

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Girl, get up and RUN!

how to start running | maggie whitley designs

Maxwell walking maggie whitley

I’ve got a whole lot of “do the same thing every day, all day” in my life right now. And it’s OK — really, it’s OK, and here’s why…

About 7 weeks ago I made a personal commitment to work out more. I mean, we live in Los Angeles where the average daily temperature is like 75*, I can totally do this, I told myself! I’ve always taken Bauer for a daily walk with Max, but since Natalie joined our family in October it was getting harder & harder to load up my crew and head outside for some exercise. Especially if we didn’t go shortly after breakfast. Especially since it takes 30 literal minutes to walk out the door. Especially.

Rewind a few more weeks prior. I saw a photo of myself and thought, “noooooo, no no no”. I didn’t like the woman I saw in the photo because I knew it wasn’t the best version of me. For days all I could think about was how “unlike me” I looked, which meant I couldn’t stop thinking about the photo. [Read more…]

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Because bulleted lists are my new best friend.

coffee mugs maggie whitley

friends maggie whitley

We are in such a good place right now, it almost feels too good to be true. These days when the kids are young and we’re tired all the time, they are hard. But they’re so rich in love and happiness; I am so satisfied. Here’s what I mean…

* When Zack and I first moved to Los Angeles (from Minneapolis) we had very few possessions. Basically, we had with us what was inside our Jeep plus a couple of shipped boxes. And that was it. We downsized in a huge way when we moved to LA, not only with the size of our home but with what we owned and used. It has been hard at times — like when I really, really miss not having certain something (which I rarely used when I did have it, oddly) — but for the most part it’s been a simple transition. And when I look around our apartment, anything and everything I see has a very special meaning. I just love that.

* Max and Nat are doing so well together, it’s absolutely precious to see. One of my favorite things about being their mama is watching Max seek out his baby sister just to give her a kiss on her foot. And I’m convinced Natalie knows her brother is little just like her (and therefore super cool), which is why she gives him such big smiles. Of course she loves her mommy and daddy, but she has a special love just for her big brother.

* For months last year, as Max got older (and heavier) and my baby bump with Natalie got larger, I struggled with figuring out how to get our clothes washed. The laundry room in our complex is downstairs, across the way, and then around the corner — it’s not all that accessible. I don’t like to do our wash only on the weekends, in fact I’ve learned there is way less mama drama (ha…) when I get all of my housework done during the week. So just recently I realized if I wash our clothes in the evenings and then air dry them overnight while we’re sleeping not only do we have more space during the daytime to play, but I wake up to a home that smells like fresh laundry. Bonus! We have two fold-up drying racks and they changed my life. (It’s the small things, right?) Doing the wash is one of my favorite things, I actually told Zack once, “don’t hang up the laundry, I want to do it — it’s my favorite part!” Snort.

* I logged my first workout on February 19 with Map My Run, a simple app on my phone that tracks my route via GPS and records my mileage & time. I am a dork and actually counted, I’ve traveled over 71 miles since starting last month. HAVE I MENTIONED I LOVE RUNNING? There’s no use trying to figure out what has changed, because I have never enjoyed running until now. Like, neverrrrrr. But honestly, I’m loving it and here are a few reasons why:

- it’s something I can do with the babes and dog (and it’s free)

- hello, sunshine

- each day the scene is different (I’ve gone on dozens of runs now and never have I taken the same route twice)

- the day goes by so much faster (usually I run late-morning which means we’re home just in time for lunch & naps, suddenly it’s 3pm and the babes have woken up, and in a few hours Zack will be home from work)

- my overall mood has lightened and I sleep better at night

- the final pounds of baby weight are d r o p p i n g off before my eyes.

I’d love to share more about my running journey, but I think a separate post would be best. I have learned so much and am so proud of myself for committing to working out almost 6 days/week. And one of my favorite parts? I found a routine that works really well for our family and with only two workout outfits. So if you see me around town and notice I wore today’s outfit yesterday, and also two days prior, just give me your best smile. Because I warned you ;)

Happy Thursday friends!

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