Thursday, February 11, 2016

Casual Valentine's Style: A Roundup of Best Looks

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and regardless of your relationship status, everyone can celebrate Valentine's Day...with the right outfit. Since the actual day is on a Sunday this year, most people won't celebrate it while in the office, so this allows for a lot more casual outfits to make an appearance.

Valentine's Day Outfit 1


I love this sweet chambray + floral pairing. It's reminiscent of Vday without being over the top.

Valentine's Day Outfit 2

Pink + Pink Polka Dots ~ What an adorable Belle outfit!:

Pink is one of my fave colors to wear on Vday. This pink polka dot look is just whimsical enough for Vday without being too kitsch.

Valentine's Day Outfit 3

What To Wear On Valentine's Day -Outfits Ideas:

I totally love those red boots! If you have red boots, you MUST wear them on Vday. A slouchy tunic sweater makes this look casual instead of super fancy. 

Valentine's Day Outfit 4

I Heart You. Valentine's Day outfit idea.  Over the knee boots and faux fur vest on Peaches In A Pod Blog. #overthekneeboots:

I love, love, love those mittens! The furry vest is the right amount of texture for an otherwise basic outfit. 

Valetine's Day Outfit 5

How to Stay Stylish All Winter: ADD A POP OF COLOR TO YOUR LOOK – we tend to gravitate more towards darker colors in the winter and often, that gives us a very boring look so to avoid that, make sure to add at least a pop of color somewhere in your outfit. It could be a bright cami underneath that thick and heavy coat or a cute and colorful beanie to top off a head to toe black look.:

This would be just perfect for lounging but also for a casual date. I love the pop of dark red in the scarf!

Would you try any of these looks for Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Show Us Your Books: What I Read in January

I've started this year off with a reading bang, which included finding a few new authors I like and discovering (and finishing) an incredible mystery/crime series. I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for this month's  Show Us Your Books linkup.

A few thoughts about this month's books. First, I only read 2 standalone books that weren't part of a series I was already on. Understandably, those were my least favorites.

This is book #7 in the Miss Fortune series about a CIA operative who goes undercover in rural, small town Louisiana. This book didn't disappoint! We are finally getting to the meat of the story in book 7 and lots of secrets are revealed! I can't say more in case you decide to read it. I gave this one three out of five salted caramels simply because it ends without a lot of resolution...which will hopefully come in book 8. If you are a fan of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, you will enjoy this series.

This is book 4 of the Rewinding Time series about a girl who has a computer software program that allows her to look back in time at what was happening at whatever location she's in. This time, she's researching when Charles Dickens visited America (Illinois) and it was a great 4th book. This is an inspirational series, so beware that it's slightly religious. It doesn't bother me at all and I really enjoyed this book. Four out of five salted caramels.

This was book one of a series and while it "passed the time fine" as Steph says, it's not something I'd choose to read more of. I did enjoy the depth of characterization. More than a few times the book reminded me of Harry Potter, though there was no magic in this book. Three out of five salted caramels.

Again, this was another first of a series books that I probably won't continue on. The premise is that a guy is robbed and beaten and had a tramautic head injury that causes him to see visions that eventually help him solve crimes. It was interesting but not enough for me to pay for the subsequent books. Two out of five salted caramels. 

All of the Rose Gardner Mysteries (there are 8 so far)
I had no idea what I was in for when I  saw this book for free on Kindle. (Kindle frequently puts the first of series for free download to hook you!) Needless to say I loved this book so much that I paid $4.99 for each additional book in the series that's been released. It starts with a girl who lives in a small town in Arkansas, works at the DMV and has "visions". The book starts right out with explaining this girl's family drama/background and she's thrust right into a crime scene unintentionally pretty quickly. This girl-turned-unintentional-crime solver tries to make a life as a single woman in a small town and throughout each book solves a crime/mystery in her town. There are overarching plot lines that go outside of one book that help tie everything together. I quickly fell in love with the characters and the main character...though she was a little frustrating at some parts. This series is an NY Times Bestseller series and it will hook you for sure! It's got crime, mystery, romance, family dynamic/drama and small-town/Southern quirkiness. This is my favorite new author and series and I can't wait until the next installment comes out in May. Five out of five salted caramels.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Five Reasons You Should Cheer for the Panthers

In case you live under a rock, there's a "big football game" this Sunday (it's called the Super Bowl but the NFL is a huge baby and has trademarked that crap...and they hunt down people who use it without their permission...anywho) between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. I've also heard it humorously referred to as the "black cats" and the "ghost horses". HAHAHA.

Anywho, being from Charlotte and being a Panther fan, I am absolutely pulling for the Panthers. You should too. Here's why...

1. They have been underdogs and faced adversity all season.
No team seems to have been underestimated and under appreciated all season than the Panthers. They are rarely picked to win and when they do win it's because the other team had injuries or bad tablets or bad coaching. Because of this, they play with a chip on their shoulders. Last year the head coach's house caught on fire and burned, our starting quarterback broke his back in a car accident and their number 1 wide receiver was injured in a pre-season practice that sidelined him for the entire season. I mean, c'mon!

2. They have never won a Super Bowl.
Peyton Manning (Denver QB) has already won a Super Bowl and the Broncos as a franchise have won 2 Super Bowls. The Panthers made 1 appearance in their 20 years of existence and lost.

3. They are an incredibly exciting and fun team to watch.
From touchdown celebrations, to overall game excitement, the Panthers are fun to watch and they have fun playing the game!

4. Because this. 
The QB Cam Newton hands touchdown balls to kids in the stands EVERY. TIME. He even will go as far as to run and track down the ball to give it to a kid. Even when other team's players are jerks about it.

5. Because Blue and Black are prettier than Blue and Orange.
My last reason may be selfish but the Panthers colors are WAY better. And everyone looks good in black. #amiright

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

So, if you're looking for a team to root for on Sunday, how about you throw some good vibes towards the Panthers?!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

An Ode to a Shelter Dog

[Hewitt's "Gotcha Day" anniversary was Monday. It's been 9 years since I adopted him from a local shelter. Below is an ode to him.]

It's been said that all things happen for a reason,
For good and for the benefit of all.
I believe that this happened
nine years ago, when I answered that call

"We've got one that's been hit by a car.
He's recovering...but chances are slim
He's going to need a lot of work
since the owners decided they don't want him"

"He's not very socialized
and he's not 100 percent.
He'll probably have behavioral issues
and will most likely walk with a limp."

"He wasn't cared for well before
and his owners allowed him to roam
Then someone hit him with their car
and left him all alone."

"A broken femur, a fractured pelvis;
head trauma too.
He's almost died three times
But he pulled through."

"He probably won't jump and may not run
and will need to be sedated to be groomed.
But even with all of that
he definitely sure is cute."

As soon as I saw his photos
I knew I had to go
To see this zombie shelter dog
that needed a good home

And on that fateful trip down
we looked around to find
a Petsmart store for food and a crate
because I knew he would be mine

Nine years later, I will say
My life has forever changed
A little kindness goes very far
and what a huge difference love made!

This dog, he jumps, he runs, he hops
He gets around just fine
I'll forever remember that fateful day
This shelter dog became mine.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Things That Make Me Panic

Here's another edition in the series of blog posts that are probably a little TMI but I post anyway. They started with "Things That Make Me Low-Key Stalkerish" and today's post is "Things That Make Me Panic". Because we all know that sphincter-curling, heart-racing, adrenaline pumping feeling...

1. When I'm driving and I hear sirens
Instant panic...not so much because I'm doing something wrong, but because I'm deathly afraid of being that one car that the ambulance/fire truck is behind and I'm unable to move out of the way because of other traffic.

2. When someone starts drama with me around
You know, because the best place to start a fight is in a staff meeting, no?

3. When someone approaches me for money.
Like when I'm alone at a gas station or restaurant or something.

4. When the same person calls my cell phone multiple times.
I always screen my calls, (that should come as no surprise since I'm 100% an introvert) but when the same person calls me multiple times in a row I instantly panic. Someone is dead. Someone is trapped in their vehicle in a ditch and I'm their last call...

5. Whenever someone starts with "Now, don't freak out but..."
Nope. Just nope. Instantly I can feel my heart start beating in my ears.

6. Networking events
Or anything where I'm forced to mingle and talk with others. Introvert, remember?

7. When Hewitt limps
I realize dogs' legs can fall asleep like humans but there's nothing more panicky than seeing your dog with a limp!

What about you? What are some things that make you instantly panic? I can't be only one with some of these.

Monday, February 1, 2016

DIY Large Wall Art For Under $50

If you've been around TSF for any length of time you may know about "the wall" in my kitchen. No, it's not just any's "the wall". It's been giving me heartache since we bought the house. It's already had a couple transformations and the latest one was, by far, my favorite. Catch up on the transformations here.

I loved how the white wall brightens up the place, but it was a little plain for my tastes. I wanted a big piece of statement art on that wall since the rest of the kitchen is a bit blah...but I don't have the budget to pay a couple hundred dollars for something. PLUS, I wasn't really finding anything that I liked. I'm pretty picky about art. I don't like to just go to Target and pick up some stock art that everyone else and their mother has in their house. I like art/wall decor that has meaning or is unique to us. Anywho, I saw this pin on Pinterest and figured I could give it a whirl.

You can follow the original pin for the step-by-step instructions. I'll just post a few pictures and give you my opinion on how easy the project was.

I knew I wanted to use different colors so I browsed around on seedbed for some color palettes I liked and then went to Home Depot. I chose the turquoise, teal and dark blue from the Behr palettes and had them mix samples for me. They didn't have a metallic gold, so I went and got the Martha Stewart metallic craft paint at Michaels. At Home Depot I also got the 4' x 2' birch plywood that I painted on and some brushes. Everything together was less than $50.

The instructions say to tape off your design and then paint. Seems pretty easy. I will say the taping off part took way longer than I thought it would. For a perfectionist like me, it bothered me that the design wasn't completely symmetrical. But then, I realized the original inspo wasn't either. Eventually I just got over it and tried to make it something I liked.

I wanted it to be a feather/leaf abstract design like the original so I patterned it after that. Again, this came out looking more leafy than feathery...but it's okay. After I taped off the main outline, I started sectioning off the interior part of the leafeather. (leaf-feather)

Then I plotted my colors out. I had 4 colors to work with (dark blue, gold, teal and turquoise) so I wrote a small b, g, t, and u where I would put the respective colors. Think of it like and adult paint by numbers. :) 

Then, get to painting! This is after 1 coat. I ended up doing two coats of the blue/teal/turquoise and 3 coats of the gold. Since the gold was craft paint and not interior paint I did an extra layer to make it as concentrated as the others. After I finished painting I had to wait an hour. The tape says to remove it immediately while the paint is still wet but that made me very nervous so M set a timer for me to wait until it dried. I waited an hour. THIS WAS THE HARDEST PART!

This is after the paint dried and I removed the tape. I like that it's imperfect and weird and a little me. :)

After we had a final product we were both flummoxed as to how to hang it. The original pin said to use Command strips (which is part of the reason I went for this art idea is because I didn't want to put nails in the walls). Except Command strips don't work on unpainted/bare wood. Hmmmm....

So after some Googling and planning, M and I bough some plastic trim from the door/trim area at Lowe's and some Gorilla Glue. M cut the trim to fit about the size of the Command strips we also bought. (heavy duty that can hold up to 16lbs) We glued the flat trim to the back of the plywood and let it sit overnight. The next morning we put on the Command strips and hung it! 

Yes, I know it's not centered on the trim work but I don't really care. I love that it brings some visual interest to this otherwise bland area. And all for less than $50!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Design Style: Transitional with a Touch of Country

I've been going through a bit of a design personality disorder lately. My own home decor style is an unusual one and it's definitely changing as I get older. No longer do I want bright colors everywhere, but I opt for neutrals. As a matter-of-fact, one of the most "done" rooms in my house that we get the most compliments on is my bedroom. My bedroom is 100% neutral colors.

Anywho, not the point. I've always figured myself a "transitional" decor personality and I still think that applies. But I'd like to introduce another little touch to my design

Right? It's crazy! Two months ago I'd vehemently deny that had any sort of country decor style in my genes. M (bless him) got me some magazine subscriptions for Christmas (because I am obsessed with magazines) and one of them was for Country Living. I didn't say anything to him but just figured I'd probably not like anything in there. I had visions of red and yellow plaid prints and chickens/cow figurines.

Boy was I wrong! My first issue came yesterday and I was blown away at how much stuff I loved in that magazine. And M and I were discussing him hanging some shelves for me to display my white servingware in the kitchen and they had photos of that exact thing. I loved the photos in this article and this one!

So, shame on me for not thinking the "country" decor style had evolved since 1991. I was pleasantly surprised and would even venture to now say that my decor style is transitional with a little bit country.

Transitional Country Home Decor Style

Transitional Country Home Decor Style by aprilanne147 featuring inlaid furniture

In the picture above, there are elements of transitional style and country. The style of the chair, the sofa and the side table are transitional, along with the color palette. There are pops of "country" in the rustic wood table, mosaic stone lamp and faux-fur accents. Pretty much I would love to replicate this room in my living room to the T.

What's your decor style? This is a great assessment if you don't already know.

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