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Pursuit of it All

Friday Favs: Book Finds, the Ultimate Banana Pudding & S.H.E. Week

Welcome to Friday Favs, a skimmable weekly post of random thoughts, tips, inspiration and fun finds. It’s a little bit random, a little be haphazard and a whole lot like me.



Every year about this time you can usually find me in a state of panic obsessively making lists, pouring over details, forgetting to sleep.


S.H.E. Week.

S.H.E. Week is an initiative I spearhead at my workplace which celebrates the Strength, Heart and Equality of women in Frederick County, Maryland. Now, make no mistake, this is not something I do solo. Not even a little bit. It takes a legion of incredible staff members, volunteers and sponsors to make it happen every year.

S.H.E. Week Volunteers

Volunteers Chenee Beach, Amber Smith and Danielle Rizzo. This year’s theme is IGINITE!

That being said, it is a huge project. One that I am passionate about and ultimately responsible for and one that I try my hardest to make an incredible experience for everyone involved and attending. And at this moment in time, I’m in the throws of all of the last minute details: writing scripts, stuffing bags, reconfirming technology, assessing dietary restrictions, writing confirmation messages, and on and on. Fingers crossed that all goes well next week for the official series of events. I’ll keep you posted!



Highly recommend! A locked room mystery, a dysfunctional family, unreliable narrators in a rundown eccentric apartment in Paris… basically a recipe for a great psychological crime drama. (Did I mention it was set in Paris?) The book rotates between different character points of view with chapters from Ben, Jess, Sophie, the Concierge, Mimi, and Nick. The rotating narrators piqued my interest and kept the suspense flowing.


The more official description…

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List comes a new locked room mystery, set in a Paris apartment building in which every resident has something to hide…

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.



Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding  [200 Columbus Ave, Upper West Side]

My husband and I recently went to New York and one of our first stops while wandering the city was for dessert at Magnolia Bakery. If you’ve been to one of their locations, you’ve most definitely been faced with one of the hardest decisions of your life, and that is which dessert to actually choose.

Overwhelmed at the number of confections in front of me, I asked my husband to make the final decision and man, I wasn’t disappointed.

The Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding is pretty legendary in the region. I personally am not a fan of banana anything but I’ll be damned if I didn’t immediately fall in love with this recipe. It is a little taste of heaven, let me tell you.

We ate it multiple times in a single weekend. Not even remotely ashamed!

What’s so special about the Magnolia Bakery banana pudding recipe? I wish I knew, friend. All I can tell you is that it is a must-try for literally everyone.

If you’re not heading to New York City any time soon, you can actually whip it up yourself, because they’ve released the recipe for their famous banana pudding to the masses. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Your taste buds will thank you but your hips may not. 🙂 

Blogger. Marketer. Deadline juggler. Flibbertigibbet. A fan of all things glitter and girly, Jen’s passions include gabbing with girlfriends, running marathons, sipping (okay, gulping) cocktails and waxing poetic about the tortured soul of Professor Snape. Rarely found without her nose in a book (or her iPhone), she acknowledges that her level of geekery might not be for everyone. Consider yourself warned. Her ultimate goal in life is to be a professional wanderer of the internet or Amy Poehler’s BFF. (Both totally accomplishable, of course.)

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