monday smiles.

autumn... the year's last, loveliest smile.

After a few rough weeks, I made my way to Durham, North Carolina to spend one last quiet weekend away before baby {v} arrives. Surrounded by three of my closest girlfriends, it was one of those weekends which will forever be written on my heart. I know my world is about to change in a big way, but it is such a comfort to know that some things will always remain the same. Though I may lack sisters, baby {v} will have no shortage of loving and doting aunties. They proved that this weekend.

This wasn't my first trip to Durham, but we did visit a number of new-to-me places worthy of a look if you're in town. Let's just say that baby {v} ate very well this weekend. I wish FedEx could deliver Pizzeria Toro to my door on a weekly basis, along with a few amazing bites from Mateo. As always, Parker and Otis hit it out of the park with their brunch  {and their amazing gallery wall seen above}.  

Autumn hadn't quite hit Durham, but we pretended it had with a trip to the pumpkin patch {as evidenced with those cute pumpkins at the top of this post}. The sunny weather also made a lovely picnic in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens possible. {I only wish I could have brought that warmth with me to Rhode Island. Waking up to temps in the 40s was a hard reality this morning!} I packed for cooler weather, so the bump looked rather autumnal. It is still crazy to see myself in pictures with this 31-week bump. Time is flying. 

As an aside: I've been paying extra attention to amazing stock-up sales in an attempt to dress the bump. As it cools down quickly in New England, finding pieces which will work now and later are most certainly on my radar. I have been living in this Splendid cardigan, which is now 25% off at Nordstrom. {I seriously want it in every color. It is so soft and machine washable. #winwin} Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you know that the Tory Burch Friends + Family sale ends today... 25% off doesn't hurt anyone! Gap is also having a fabulous flash one-day sale: $45 off a purchase of $100+ online makes many of these gender neutral goodies extra affordable. Fall shopping doesn't have to kill your bank account after all ;)

A special thank you goes out to my girlfriends for making baby {v} and me feel so loved. If there is one thing I have learned in my 20s, it is this: investing in friendships is one of the best decisions you can ever make. The same applies to the readers of this blog: though posts have been sporadic lately, thank you for sticking with me. This is an unbelievably hectic but incredibly special time -- and it is a joy to have you along for the ride. Have a very happy week, everyone! xoxo {av}