Paris Journals / A little neighborhood tour

Hello again from Paris!

Today we tried to start the day out right by making a short list of things to accomplish:

  1. Write a song
  2. Have lunch at Marche des Enfants Rouges (The covered market in Le Marais)
  3. Buy butter, eggs, bread, cheese & flowers
  4. Go for a long walk to take pictures in the neighborhood
  5. Read & have a glass of wine at a bistro
  6. Sit and chat in Place des Vosges (neighborhood park)
  7. Stop by for dinner at Cafe Hugo (we discovered it last night when passing by)
  8. Try not to nap for 4 hours again...

And believe it or not, this may have been the first entire To Do list that I've ever checked off. The list made for a lovely day with good food and inspiration. I can't remember my last Sunday that was this relaxing for us.

Here's somewhat of a walking tour of our apartment/street:







The market today was quite a surprise. We went expecting a grocery market sort of place, and it was really a bunch of food trucks. The individual vendors also had wholesale booths behind their retail booths where you could buy the cheese, cream, pasta etc. for the ravioli you just ate. But we went expecting to buy groceries for the evening, and wound up eating lunch there. 

It was really such a pleasant surprise though, I think we'll go again and try a few other vendors. We ended up leaving with some beautiful butter, cheese and eggs, but had to go elsewhere for the bread & flowers. 

Ended up finding an open bakery on the way home, and a sweet little flower shop selling these beautiful peonies. I can't wait to see them open all the way up this week.

Our evening at the park was lovely. We brought our books and our journal, and made a little list of our Paris to-do's. I'm hoping the days start moving slower so we can get it all done--somehow these first 3.5 days have FLOWN by.

The Place des Vosges doesn't seem like it will ever get old. Only a 3 minute walk from our apartment, I'm hoping it becomes our little spot to rest and dream and chat. Today we sat by this beautiful fountain:

After we had been sitting for awhile and the sun was beginning to sink behind the buildings, we got up and wandered to Cafe Hugo around the corner. It was our first French cafe experience -- sitting in woven chairs at a marble round-top table, sipping wine and people watching. I love how the French always have both chairs facing the street, even when they're eating with someone. But I particularly love seeing people sitting alone, having a tea or a cigarette with the newspaper. They don't stare at their phones, they sit and enjoy.

I'm hoping to learn something about that while I'm here.

P.S. I've been so embarrassed at my rusty French that I downloaded an app and I've been doing French exercises every night. I'm really hoping that by the time we leave here I'll be a little closer to that old dream of speaking the language well.




Hello + happy weekend!

I've got a fun weekend recipe for you, so if you've got a sweet tooth and you're ready to attempt your most domestic (and also epic) baking adventure of all time, continue reading..

I'm a big fan of tradition. 

In fact, I love the idea of tradition so much that when Michael and I got married we sat down and made a list of festivities and traditions from our childhood (PLUS several newly imagined ones) that we wanted to be a big part of our new lives as a married couple.

One of the things that was really important to me is that we learn to celebrate each other really well, especially on birthdays. 

One year I had the idea of a birthday brunch, and it really stuck. The menu is always different, but the one item that always makes it into one of our brunches is some sort of cinnamon-y sweet. We've experimented with cinnamon toast, cinnamon donuts, and even churros. But the ultimate winner turned out to be a homemade cinnamon roll

I started with 3 different recipes and sort of combined and tweaked until it was perfectly tasty. Now I'll whip these out for any day that needs a little pep in its step. 



2 cups white sugar

2 cups brown sugar

Plenty of cinnamon

3 sticks butter, melted



2 bags powdered sugar

1 stick of butter

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp light corn syrup

2 cups hot water



*yields between 2-4 dozen, total time: 3-4 hours



8 cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup

2 packets dry active yeast

1 qt. whole milk

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1 heaping tsp baking powder

¾ tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp salt

16 oz. cream cheese



In a large stock pot, combine milk, oil & 1 cup sugar. “Scald” the milk by heating on medium-low until just below a boil, stirring frequently. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and let cool for about an hour, stirring occasionally to speed up the process.  When the milk has cooled down to lukewarm, sprinkle in the yeast evenly cover the surface and let sit there for about 2 minutes.

A very important baking note: DON'T ADD YEAST TO HOT MILK. Yeast is a living thing that needs a comfy warm environment in order to rise. If you put it into something too hot, it will die and the bread won’t rise. A good test for temperature is to stick your finger into the liquid and if you can comfortably keep your hand there, then the yeast will be fine. Make sure to touch near the bottom of the pan where a lot of the heat is held.

2. Make the dough

This is a two-step process. (step one) While the milk mixture is cooling, measure and sift out 9 cups of flourThen add 8 cups of the flour on top of the yeast and stir until combined. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough sit out at room temperature for an hour. (step two) Combine the baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of flour in a separate bowl, stirring together very well. After the dough has been rising for an hour at room temperature, add the remaining flour mixture, stirring well. 

Dough should be a little sticky, but should hold together well. The dough is ready to use if you'd like, but for best results cover the pot with plastic wrap and let the dough continue to rise in the refrigerator overnight. You may have to punch it down a few times as it rises above the top of the pot.

3. MAKe the brown butter for the glaze.

Place 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan and turn on med-hi. First the butter will melt, and as its cooking I usually pick up the pot and swirl it around every few minutes. Then the butter will come to a boil, then start to foam. You don’t want the it to burn, so you can swirl it a little more often while it’s boiling. Cook it on this temperature until the foam goes down and you start seeing little pieces of brown (and the butter will smell more like toasted nuts than before) and it will foam up a little bit. Pour the butter into a small bowl and set aside for later.

4. Roll out the dough

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and split it into two halves (repeat the following steps for each half). Place one half on a heavily floured surface to be rolled out. Sprinkle the top with flour and press the dough out into a rectangle shape, then roll it out to about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. The thinner your roll the more swirls you'll have. Take one 6 oz. bar of softened cream cheese and spread it out until its a thin layer covering all of the dough. Make sure the counter underneath the dough has plenty of flour, it tends to stick. Fold the dough in on itself 3 times -- once from each side meeting in the middle and then again where the two sides meet. The dough should now be in a smaller rectangle with the cream cheese inside. Roll it out again to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick.

5. Add cinnamon & roll 'em up

Melt 3 sticks of butter (this will be enough for greasing both pans and for the cinnamon spread on both rolls). Pour a generous amount of melted butter on the dough, and spread it out until it covers the whole surface. Then sprinkle with a layer of cinnamon, white sugar and brown sugar, then another layer of cinnamon. Be generous with all this stuff. Then roll the dough lengthwise as tightly as you can until it forms a log. Using a bread knife or a sharp chefs knife, cut the log into individual rolls measuring about 2-3 inches thick. You may need to flour the knife.

(I rolled mine thick and cut them thick, so these turned out about the size of a Cinnabon)


Preheat oven to 400°. Coat the bottoms and sides of the pans with the melted butter. Place the rolls in the pans, (3 to a circular pan). It’s best to keep them farther apart to let them rise and fully cook in the oven. Give each one of them about an inch or more of space all the way around. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they begin to brown & look like the photo below.


the first batch is in the oven, make the glaze: Add the powdered sugar, brown butter, vanilla, salt, corn syrup and 1 cup at a time of the hot water. Stir together with a whisk as you go, and once your glaze is the right consistency set it aside. I like mine somewhere between an icing and a glaze, so when I stick a spoon in it flows off easily but the spoon never gets completely clean. As each batch comes out of the oven, immediately put a giant spoonful of glaze on top of each one and let it melt over the top. Or just pour it on...



You may not use all of the water, or you may feel like you need to use more. You're adding water to get the correct consistency, and that's really up to you. I like my glaze thick because it melts over the hot cinnamon rolls. But I promise this glaze will taste good no matter what consistency it is.


xo, Emily


Washington D.C. is such a beautiful city.

I've always been captivated by it because if its poise. If any city were to be called 'proper' or 'classy' I think that D.C. fits the bill perfectly. It has the breathtaking monuments, it's shockingly clean subway system, and is it just me or is literally everyone wearing a suit? I have to admit that I always picture Olivia Pope and her gladiators behind the scenes fixing the scandals and accidental (or not so accidental...) murders that always seem to happen. 

Side note / she is so awesome. Is it bad to say that I secretly hope D.C. is really like that behind the scenes? (... oh and New York, it would be nice if you were just like you were in Gossip Girl...)

Michael and I have played a lot of concerts in the D.C. area, but for whatever reason we've never really explored until this weekend, and it was a blast.

We were passing through the city after picking up our newly repaired car... 

(we had wrecked it on tour in Connecticut at the end of last year... not the best feeling at 3am in the 20 degree weather to realize your car is smashed and un-drivable) we decided to make this trip fun and stop in D.C. before we drove the rest of the way home. We spent the day on a mission to find the best food, drinks and sights that we could get to in one day, and I had the time of my life. 

If you find yourself with a good excuse to stop through D.C. for a day, try out a few of these spots /




Amazing coffee and food. They have a rotating daily menu and always have several of their favorite coffees available. Try this place out, it's adorable.

lunch / founding farmers

Probably D.C.'s most popular restaurant right now. It's always packed, its menu is farm-to-table style, and everything they make is absolutely delicious. One of my favorite restaurants I've ever been to. If you want to avoid the hour-long wait you might want to try it for lunch. Michael and I didn't make it in time for lunch, so we wound up waiting at the bar for an hour before dinner, but that wasn't half bad because their bartenders are some of the best in the city. I ordered the salmon, and Michael had the pot roast. YUM.

drinks + small plates / copycat co.

This place absolutely blew me away. It's in a really cute, up-and-coming part of town and the bar is tucked away upstairs. Walk up and order at the bar. Their specialty is the "Dealer's Choice" for your drink. Tell them a favorite drink of yours and they'll whip you up something sort of like it especially for you. It's so fun. But this place is definitely not just a bar -- this was some of the best Asian food I've ever had. The plates are small so we tried a little of everything from the buns to the pot stickers and skewers. You have to try this place.




For those of you who have heard of Jeni's Ice Cream - it's amazing. But Michael and I realized that Jeni had met her match when we had the caramel popcorn and the cookies + cookie dough from Ice Cream Jubilee. This was literally the best ice cream I've ever had. They have homemade crumbly waffle cones that are to die for and will whip you up some homemade european style hot chocolate if you request it. Woooooow, so good.

sights / the national mall

I had walked through parts of the National Mall before, but while I was walking through with my camera on this trip I noticed so much more detail. The monuments, the layout-- it's all so incredible and majestic. If you've never been, you should go walk the mall, see all of the exhibits and even go to all the museums (they're free). Next on my bucket list is to go to the National Zoo (which is also free!)

XO & I hope you find a fun adventure this WKND!


Winter, resolutions + body image

I'm starting to feel like Winter will never end this year.

Every time Spring has peeked it's gorgeous head out for a weekend in Georgia, the next day is inevitably freezing, rainy & miserable.

But I actually love winter for a lot of reasons

Winter is the perfect time to start binge-watching new shows (and re-watching all the seasons of FRIENDS, Gossip Girl, and Grey's Anatomy...), it's the perfect time to snuggle up with a blanket and an entire pot of coffee while you read a great book. It's a perfect time to blog, or for me, write songs. Winter defines the word cozy in such a magical way.

But winter is a difficult time for motivation and healthy habits. I always end up feeling a little fat, unmotivated and insecure around this time of year.  Because by mid-winter I have fallen off any wagon I tried to get on, I've eaten every casserole, cake and cookie I saw at Christmas, my body is like "work out...what's that?", I've had too much coffee, too much wine,

and I'm thinking to myself "why would I eat my veggies when Chinese Food pairs so well with my couch and all of my layers, boots and sweaters?"

And then right after all the regrettable holiday food decisions and the unfinished projects comes the New Year, when we start thinking back on all the mistakes we made and begin making promises to be better than we were last year.

Personally, I've always liked New Years Resolutions because I'm a dreamer. My ideal day consists of listing out all my hopes and dreams and the path to get there. But man, I always let myself down. And when I'm off the wagon I'm OFF THE WAGON.  So I've noticed over the past several years that I'm constantly disappointed in myself, and it has a profound affect on my life.

It makes me feel judgmental of myself, which turns into judgment towards other people. It makes me smile less, have less joy. It makes me feel less adventurous, less interesting, always striving - and all because I'm not perfect yet. 

But here's the thing:

I will never be perfect.

and you will never be perfect.

So why are we trying so hard to get there?

This year i made different resolutions.

Because I can't be perfect,  but I could be interesting. I could be kind. I could make people feel amazing about themselves. I could have fun. I could be balanced

I could simply be proud of the way I live my life.

One of my never ending resolutions

from the past was to lose weight. This year I decided that instead I should stay off the scale and simply improve my health. I started eating at home more and going on long walks every day instead of putting pressure on myself to starve and do intense workouts. Nothing against intense workouts if you like them, but that's just not my cup of tea every day. 

Interestingly enough, the walks made me happy and I didn't dread them. And when they became a part of my routine, I actually started craving a more intense workout every now and then. So I decided to do what I call a "real workout, like with my muscles" about once a week. They range from 20-40 minutes and they make me feel like I'm accomplishing that goal of being balanced.

The crazy thing is that I went to the doctor last week and when I got on the scale I realized I had lost 20 pounds since the last time I weighed myself 4 months ago. Whaaaat.

That may not be your goal, and accomplishing your goals may not always be as easy as you'd like. But just changing your mindset from achieving the perfect body to achieving health (having a little grace with yourself) is the only way to really be happy. 

I'm pretty sure I'm also happier because I'm not so hangry (hungry + angry) anymore...

Don't sit out on your life. You're already worthy, fun, beautiful (or handsome), and capable of smiling and making the day brighter. 

A small step today is just getting your walk in

or maybe just scheduling one of the two workouts below for your weekend.

But keep it fun.

Because even if you get superskinny & superfit, but you don't treat your body with respect and seek out balance (plus you're always hangry), you won't be as happy (or nice) as you hope to be. 

two workout options /

One (CLICK HERE) is a treadmill workout that I came up with when I hated working out. I knew I should do at least 20 minutes of cardio 6 days a week to be considered a "healthy" person (based on the statistic that people need at least 120 active minutes each week). This one is a shout out to you folks who still hate working out and you're counting down the minutes until you can be done. I'm still there most days.

The other (CLICK HERE) is a workout that I made up when I was in better shape than I am now, for you work out-ers. So even though it says to do 2 reps of each round, feel free to modify and only do 1 rep per round. Or heck, if you're feeling amazing try 3 reps per round. Go get 'em.

xo, & have a happy weekend!




I have the best memories of rotten banana days in my house growing up.

You know what I mean... you were at the grocery store and decided to buy bananas. But you don't really like bananas that much. So they end up sitting there for a week (or two or three...) and they start to get too gross, even for a smoothie.

But the best thing about almost-rotten bananas is that they're great to bake with. My mom used to make this DELICIOUS banana bread on those rotten banana days, and I remember the smell of fresh baked bread filling the house.

Banana bread is really good the first day when it comes out of the oven warm, but its REALLY GREAT for the next several days when you cut yourself a slice or two, spread a little butter on it and throw it in the toaster oven.

Well, yesterday was rotten banana day in my house

and a dear friend of mine just did me a huge favor, so I was thinking about writing her a thank you card. But what's better than a thank you card?

A thank you card and banana bread.

I used a recipe for "Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Bread" in the Williams-Sonoma "Cooking At Home" book. It called for whole wheat flour and walnuts, but I (obviously) substituted chocolate chips for the nuts. I also decided to try out a local flour that I found at the Farmers market. If you frequent the farmers market you may find that there are some really cool vendors there that you never noticed before. It happened to me last time, and I've got to say that using the fresh, local flour made the whole baking experience a little more fun.

This is for you, person who accidentally let your bananas rot.

And for you, person who has a thank you card they need to send.

Give it a try...


( M A K E S   1   L O A F )

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick of butter

1 cup sugar

2  mashed, very ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/2 cup chocolate chips

COMBINE flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl

WHIP the butter (room temperature) and the sugar in an electric mixer 

BEAT in the eggs and the banana until completely mixed. It’s ok if it’s lumpy.

STIR in the chocolate chips, then the flour mixture until just combined

POUR into greased loaf pan + BAKE for 1 hour at 350 degrees

When I took the loaf out of the oven I put it straight onto a cooling rack. When it felt cool enough to touch I wrapped it in clear plastic wrap and cut a piece of butcher paper to wrap around the middle. I wrote a little note on it for my friend, but if you're interested in sharing the recipe click HERE for a printable version that you can hole-punch and tie onto your loaf.

I hope you enjoy your baking day!


Because it's on you to make life interesting.

xo, EM

"It's on you to make life interesting…"

Hello, for the very first time ...

My name is Emily Hearn Harrison and I'm a singer/songwriter currently living in Athens, GA, and the creator of WKNDS. I'm really excited to introduce you to this new project I've been working on slowly for the past year.

For starters, I'm reading a book that you should read called "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" I love Bernadette, and she is inspiring for so many reasons, but my favorite quote so far comes at a time in the book when her daughter, Bee, has decided that life is boring (and haven't we all felt that way). 

Bernadette looks at Bee and says, 

"I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn that it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be."

So yesterday, after months of stalling, I decided to finally launch WKNDS.

WKNDS is all about learning that it's on us to make life interesting.

I'm going to be trying new recipes, taking more photos, exploring new places, trying harder workouts, taking advantage of any cities I get to see, really going the extra mile planning awesome date nights & doing holidays the fun, festive way. I know that at some point over the past two months we've all talked about how amazing we want 2016 to be. So follow along with me if you're interested.

Explore the tabs at top right to see the different facets of the site. I'll be posting blogs on a weekly basis that will be focused on ways to make daily life a little more magical (think new recipes, interesting places to see, foodie fun, harder workouts, cool date nights, festive ways to celebrate the holidays + more), plus the thing that I'm most excited about--WKNDS City Guides. I'll be posting these monthly, and January's guide for NYC is currently up under the City Guides tab! Also, check out WKNDS on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

This site is meant to be a celebration of trying new things and learning how to make life a little more creative and wonderful, so be sure to EMAIL US with your experiences! We want to hear your story.

Because it's on you to make life interesting.

xo, Emily

RECIPE: Lavender Gin & TONIC

I remember when I first read The Great Gatsby.

It's one of those books that you have to read for school, so you assume that you won't like it. But I loved The Great Gatsby. I was so intrigued by the Roaring 20's and the way of life for people like Daisy Buchanan. There was a social event every night where women went out in their most elegant dress and sipped cocktails and danced all night. Then I started watching old Audrey Hepburn movies (in an attempt to catch up on the classics I'd missed when I was a little too interested in the Mary Kate an Ashley movies…). Then MadMen became an obsession for all of my roommates in college. I think we watched the whole first season in 2 days. To me there is something so alluring about the way things were in those days.  It's funny, because in most ways I don't like fancy things. My little house isn't perfect or impressive. It's cozy and represents little pieces of who I am, like the paint colors I chose on a whim or the furniture I picked up for $20 from an estate sale. So I'm not fancy, and I turned down my own chance to be a debutant. But I've think my fascination with elegance comes more from my desire for things to feel magical.

One magical, Roaring 20s-esque thing that has become a hobby of mine is making traditional cocktails. It adds a hint of creativity and sparkle to a regular night. Next time you have friends over, I have an easy (and impressive) recipe for you to try for my very favorite cocktail.

One day we'll tackle fancier drinks (like the Martini) but until then, enjoy the Lavender Gin + Tonic. Your guests will think you're a cocktail whiz. Scroll down for the recipe & a print out to stash on your fridge or in your go-to recipe book if you like the recipe.

xo, EM




Gin / St. Germain Elderflower liqueur / 1 lemon / culinary lavender / sugar / club soda

Directions /

    Combine the lavender, lemon juice + sugar cubes. Use the muddler to dissolve the sugar cubes in the liquid. Add the St. Germain, gin + 6 cubes of ice. Securely close the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Top off with about 1 oz. of club soda (I recommend Fever Tree).

PRO TIP / you can make this recipe with any clear liquor (rum, vodka, etc)

Because it's on you to make life interesting.

xo, Em