Tuesday, May 31, 2011

top 5 tuesday: current obsessions

Do you ever have periods of time when you've become obsessed with something or somethings?

Currently, my Top 5 obsessions are:

1. Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwich from Cookout. If y'all don't live near a Cookout, you're missing out!

2. The Instagram App. Why have I just now discovered it??

3. Listening to my sister impersonate my dad because he sounds like Bobby Boucher. "I poot mah foot own it."

4. Paul Silva. See Saturday's post.

5. Wilmington, NC. For reasons to come...

Monday, May 30, 2011

memorial day

Beyond all of the cookouts and pool parties, today has a deeper significance than just commemorating the start of summer.

Today, we honor those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country. For me and for you.

Those who won't come home. Those who won't celebrate another summer. Whether they gave their lives 100 years ago or 100 days ago, their sacrifice continually enables our freedom.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. - from The Gettysburg Address

Sunday, May 29, 2011

spice up your blog

As promised, here's a little post with some tips on how you can spice up your blog using the tools that Blogger has...and without having to use CSS or HTML codes.

Step 1:
Decide on a theme, color scheme and general "look". You must do this before you actually begin changing anything.

It's important that your blog has a unified look and cohesive look, but also that it represents part of your personality. You want to use 2 or 3 colors that you like and enjoy looking at, because when you view your blog you want it to make you happy.

Color combinations can be tricky. For blogs, it's best to stick with a neutral, main color (non neutral) and an accent color. I like the use of white, gray, black or tan as a neutral. My blog uses white (neutral), medium blue, aqua and yellow. Now, I chose 1 main color, 1 neutral and 2 accents, but you can stick with three colors if you'd rather.

If you're stuck on colors, look at some of your favorite things whether it be a photo, a blanket or even an outfit and draw color inspiration from it. Something I did was compile a bunch of things I liked into one picture and then used a color chart to pick colors from there.

I started out with a picture like this of my inspiration items:

Then I used a color generator site like Color Palette Generator to get some of the main colors in my picture.

Step 2: Implement color scheme into blog.
Once you've decided on your color scheme you can choose to incorporate it into your blog immediately. The easiest way to do this is to manipulate in the DESIGN section of Blogger. Click on DESIGN and then click on TEMPLATE DESIGNER. Then find the BACKGROUND tab and you can choose any of the patterned backgrounds that Blogger offers, or choose a solid color. If nothing suits your fancy there and you aren't a fan of solid backgrounds you could simply create one of your own or use a picture you already have and upload it as a background image. Blogger, unfortunately, doesn't have a large number of striped backgrounds so I created one of my own.

So, now you've got a fresh looking background. When you're placing colors I suggest using your neutral (black, white, gray, tan) as the page background. Keep it solid. This is where the text goes and where everyone reads, so you want it to be easy to do so. My page background is white. To change this, click on ADVANCED and then PAGE BACKGROUND and use the drop down arrow to change the color. If you're using a different layout, it may not read exactly the same, but you can mess around and find the right place to edit the page background. You can change the colors of a few of the boxes and watch the changes to your blog in the preview area below. In the same area, find PAGE TEXT and use the color you want for text. If you're background is light, use a dark text color. If you're page background is dark, use a light text color.

So, I've got my colored striped background, a white page background and dark blue text.

Stay tuned for the next installment when we talk about using your colors for links, post headings and gadgets.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

grown up collecting

Hmmm...I just realized that the title of my blog might hint to something a bit more...um...mature. However, that wasn't the intention.

Let me explain...

My parents (along with many "grown up" people I know) collect art from a particular artist. I've sort of always thought that collecting art, sculpture, photography, etc is a rite of passage into adulthood. It's such a "grown up" thing to do...realizing the potential value in something and investing in it. For many people, they choose to invest in the stock market or maybe even a risky CD account. I, however, choose to use my money to invest in something a bit more...um..pretty. And I'm not looking to make money or to gain value, persay, but to start to invest in something more than clothes and shoes.

Am I nesting? Eh.

Anywho, I discovered this awesome local artist when I was on vacation in Charleston, SC. He does a unique combination of photography, digital manipulation and actual painting and achieves quite an interesting result. His name is Paul Silva. You can visit his website here. (I linked you to the Charleston Gallery...but he has others, too.)

My first purchase? It's simply called "Shem Creek".

Shem Creek
Among the top contenders for my next purchase are:
Charleston Blue Crabs by Paul Silva
Charleston Blue Crabs
Lower Tradd Street I
Rainbow Reflections
Rainbow Reflections
Braod Street Dawn
Broad Street at Dawn
Battery Sunrise
Battery Sunrise
What do y'all think? Do any of you collect anything? If so, what?

Friday, May 27, 2011

new look (the how-to)

If you've ventured by A Little of This and That previously, you'll notice that I've got a new look going on. I decided to change things up a bit. I enjoy doing that from time to time...it keeps life spicy!! :)

Anyway, I've decided to impart my blog design knowledge with all of you. (YAY!!) HA! The average person doesn't really care about CSS or HTML language, and Blogger has a lot of great tools that allow you to completely customize your blog look in a matter of minutes without using all those hard CSS or HTML codes.

So stay tuned next week for a few posts about how to change up the look of your blog without a lot of effort.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

beach week re-cap

Thanks so much for joining me for Beach Week!

I hope you've enjoyed this week of posts on incorporating the beach into your home and outdoor space, beachwear fashion trends and the what I'm wearing beach edition.

Today, I'll leave you with a few photos that I took this past week. Oh, and be sure to check out my tea party guest post later today over at Mollie's Blog "Wild Olive". I did a DIY tutorial on making cute tea party food display pieces.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


[Beach Week posts continue with some of the way cutesy coastal stuff from PB.]

Oh geez, Pottery Barn! As if you didn't already make stuff that I adore and can't afford...you just had to go and launch your line of outdoor decor and furniture.

Now, I REALLY am swooning over the latest catalog! If only I could transport myself into one of these pictures...

Sunblock check! Does everyone have on their SPF?? If you want to read a book outside in some of these rooms, you'll need to slather some on first to avoid getting charbroiled.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

what i'm wearing wednesday

[Today's Beach Week post ties in a What I'm Wearing post as well!]

Don't hate.

As you're reading this post, I'm soaking up some delicious rays at the beach. Here's what I'm wearing today...

I'm pretty much wearing/carrying all of this stuff exactly. Well, okay, I embellished just a teensy bit on the beach bag...mostly because I made my own and wanted to fantasize about my dream beach tote. (It's Kate Spade) Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Now...back to the waves! Happy Beach Week, y'all!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

top 5 tuesday: beachwear trends

[Today's Beach Week post is also a Top 5 Tuesday post. Well, it's actually only 3 things, but Top 3 Tuesday doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as Top 5 Tuesday. HA!]

I'd call myself a genuine trend-watcher. I don't necessarily partake in every latest fad, but I do enjoy observing them...however crazy they may be. (remember the Bindi trend that Gwen Stefani made famous?)

Anywho, in honor of Beach Week, I'm going to post the top 3 summer beachwear trends. Some of these can even apply to the guys as well! Although, I probably wouldn't recommend persuading your man to try #3...unless maybe you were in Rio or San Fran or something. Hee hee. ;)

1. STRIPES! Oh, I do love stripes so much. The fact that it's totally a trend this year is rocking my world! I'm seeing everything from horizontal nautical-inspired stripes, to diagonal and chevron style ones. Sigh...

2. Pink! I know I've commented on the pink trend coming back around recently, but it's even more apparent in swimwear this year. Pink is even in vogue for the gentlemen, y'all. Every shade is game this year from cotton candy to watermelon!

3. Ruffles! (No, not the chips, but dang, now I'm hungry!) While this trend isn't quite gender-neutral, it's still way cute and demure.

Which of these trends interest you? I'm loving the stripes trend (of course) but I could totally rock a cute ruffled tankini top. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

bring the beach home to you!

[This first Beach Week post is all about bringing the beach home to you!]

If you can't be at the beach, you can bring the best parts of it home to you! Sort of like when Michael Scott brings back the steel drum and the ocean soundscape CD to the office with him when he comes back from a Jamaican vacation. Anyone? Okay!

Sandy Candle Globes

Gather a few glass apothecary jars, mason jars or even large vases and fill 1/3 of the way with clean sand. (no need to get it from the beach...you can buy this at craft stores, dollar stores or even aquarium stores) Grab a few beachy-hued candles and push down into the sand a bit. Light and enjoy!!

Image courtesy of Real Simple

Shell Jars

Next to the Sandy Candle Globes, fill up a few tall cylindrical vases or more apothecary jars with some pretty store bought seashells. Add a personal touch to each by writing the name of your favorite vacation location on a sand dollar and wrapping around the jar with some bakers twine.

Image courtesy of poshposh.

Table Seascape

If you have an old serving tray around, simply fill with some sand, seashells or even an old bottle with a note and set on your coffeetable or kitchen table for a little bit of the beach at home.

Image courtesy of thecharmofhome blog.

If you can't live at the beach, you can at least bring it to your place.

Happy Beach Week, y'all!

Friday, May 20, 2011

announcing beach week!!

Tomorrow, I'm heading to the beach for my annual family vacation in beautiful Isle of Palms, South Carolina. In honor of this, all next week I'll be featuring beach-themed posts on fashion, decorating and more. You might even see a little family picture or two!

So, come on back next week to experience the sand and surf along with me!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

this made my day

I saw this beauty today in Instyle magazine.

via katespadeny.tumblr

It's the third installment in what is probably my most favorite ad campaign ever! It's Bryce Dallas Howard for Kate Spade New York.

In case you need to know what I heart it so much, here are the first two ads...

 via popcrunch

via stylefrizz

Now, back to your regularly scheduled day!

daily affirmations & announcement

Hi all!

My (real-life and blog-life) friend Jill had a really good idea on her blog today. At the bottom of her entry, she posted a list of affirmations about herself. I loved it! No one really likes to sound like their tooting their own horn, but sometimes you just have to in order to get out of a funk, a negative attitude or a pattern of self-destruction.

So, I'm going to post a few of mine. You don't even have to read them...but I definitely will. Heck, I might even print it out and put it somewhere where I can view it from time to time. It will do wonders for my outlook when I get down about something.

And, I'm going to encourage all of you to do the same. If you blog about it, comment a link so I can see it. If you just write it/type it out on your own, let me know. Let's spread this idea of personal affirmation like it's RUFUS.

I am a...
great singer! amazing banana pudding maker! funny jokester! good cook! great road trip-er! super-shoe-picker-outer! lover of colors! good dog mom! exceptional planner! cool outfit creator! great advice giver! frugal shopper! good photographer! thorough cleaner! talented nail polisher! good makeup do-er! funny dog voice impersonator! creative crafter!

OH, and be sure to tune in tomorrow for a super-cool announcement about something REALLY awesome that's happening next week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

splurge vs. steal: rubber watch

It's fair to say that many of these cute rubber watches I've been seeing lately have caught my attention.

But you should also know that I am not a watch person. I'm actually, not much of a jewelry person. (gasp!) I haven't worn a watch since I was in middle school and I usually am relying on some guy I happen to be around if I need to know what time it is. Let me explain that... I usually rely on guys for the time because most men still wear watches. It's some rite of passage, I guess...just like carrying a pocketknife. Anywho, most men that I know wear watches every day, and thus I often ask them the time. Also, my cell phone is not glued to my hip or head so I don't always have it on me.

So...needless to say, I was VERY interested when I started seeing these cute rubber watches popping up everywhere. I love that most of them are large faced...almost like a men's watch and soft or flexible. Some of my favorites are...

Splurge: Adidas watch $56.25
Splurge: Swiss Legend Commander watch $105.00

I love them, but I'm not buying a watch for what I could buy a whole outfit for.

That's why I was overjoyed when I saw this guy at my local Wal-Mart (Wally World, Blue Dot Boutique, or whatever bourgeosie name you give it...)

Steal: Walmart $9.98!

I apologize for all of y'all having to look at my freckled arm. :( I couldn't find the "stock" picture of it on Walmart's website...so, you get the freckled whiteness. Oh, and the best part? This watch cost $9.98!! That's cheap enough that I could go back and get the teal one...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

top 5 tuesday: magazine-aholic

Hello, my name is April and I'm a magazine-aholic.

(all together, "Hello April!")

Okay, okay, so maybe I've not officially been diagnosed or treated for this addiction, but it definitely has become more apparent over the last year or two that I am clearly OBSESSED with them. I mean, there really is little else in the world that is better than opening up a fresh issue of the latest magazine.

The smells. Glossy paper has a smell, you know...and the perfume ads!

The ads. I'm quite the sucker for color and pretty pictures.

The articles. Even though I already know the best way to wear red lipstick or how to remove a stain from the couch, I can't help but gorge on these articles.

The time. I'll be honest, reading a magazine does feel a little self-indulgent at times. I mean, I could be doing a million other things, but taking a few minutes (or an hour) to go through a magazine is really necessary for my sanity. :) I've often found myself putting off reading EVERYTHING in the magazine because I don't want to be done with it already.

Does anyone else feel this way? Are any of you backing away from your computer and glancing around maniacally?

Don't be afraid. They don't take the place of REAL relationships or anything...they just make me happy. And speaking of happy, I'm going on vacation next week, well to the beach to be exact, and I'll need to stock up on some mags for my trip. Below are my Top 5 FAVORITE magazines...each of which I'll be purchasing for said beach trip.

1) Cosmopolitan. Y'all, I know. But it really does have good stuff in there OTHER than all the sex articles. Yeesh.

2) Good Housekeeping. Everything I love under one cover...home stuff, fashion, beauty, gardening, family. OH!

3) Glamour/Lucky. Tie between these two. They are both excellent and full of great fashion advice and style ideas.

4) Real Simple. I cannot explain why I love this magazine so much. Mostly because of their covers... :)

5) Cooking with Paula Deen. Don't hate. I love me some Paula...oh, and the Christmas issues are ridiculously awesome!

What about you? Do you like magazines? What are some of your faves?? I'd love to know!

Monday, May 16, 2011

rainy photo session

I had the great privilege of doing a photo session with my beautiful friend Kelly this past Saturday. Even though it was a bit rainy, drizzly and overcast, we got some pretty awesome results.

As far as the umbrella shot, I figured...why fight the elements?? Embrace them!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

color my moment: pale pink

This beautiful color is making a comeback this spring/summer. Ranging in hues from carnation to ballet slipper pink, this color is pretty much universally flattering on all skin tones and complexions.

Doesn't looking at this stuff just make you happy? Even if you're not so much of a "pink" person, you can still inject a little bit of pink into your wardrobe and do this mini-trend right. Not a fan of wearing pink? Get some pretty pale pink rugosas, poppies or carnations from your local florist and let them oooze happiness. :)

Clockwise from top left: fabric floral headband from Etsy; pink ruffled dress from Lipsy; pale pink watch by Zodiac; pink polka-dotted dress by Modcloth; pale pink tote bag by Pale Pink Leather Bag; pink rosette shoe by Urbanog, pale pink Rugosa flowers.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

fashion friday: swimsuit figure fixers

So, maybe where you live it's just now getting around to being springtime. Where I live, we're averaging temps in the 80s and it's just going to be getting hotter as the month rolls on.
Anywho, even if it's still frosty where you live, summertime is coming up soon enough. And y'all know what that means...SWIMSUIT SEASON! [insert terror sound effect and a lady's scream]

Okay, okay so it's not THAT bad. But, let's just say that the thought of wearing a swimsuit does strike a chord of fear in many women. While I can't promise to make you instantly love the way you look in one, I can offer a few tips for finding the best suit for your body type. If you're flaunting your assets and hiding your...um...non-assets then that goes a long way into feeling more comfortable wearing a swimsuit, right? Right.

Two helpful tips are to 1) flaunt the smallest and best part of your body and 2) remember that light colors draw attention to and maximize while dark colors minimize and don't draw attention.

Pear: If you've got dumps like a truck, baby birthin' hips or plain ol' junk in the trunk with not much of anything up top, look for something like this...

Apple: If you've got skinny arms & legs but a wider middle portion, you want to look for anything that cinches in at the waist or has ruching at the tummy portion to skim over the belly. Pair with bright bottoms or a sarong. Maybe like this...

Inverted-Triangle: You have a large bust and smaller hips. You want to de-emphasize the chest...this means no spaghetti strapped tops, ladies! Wear bright colored bottoms to emphasize your bum! Maybe something like this...

And finally, a few good tips to live by:

Well, that's my humble swimsuit advice. Hopefully it will be of some help when you start scanning the racks of your local clothing store for your next victim..I mean bathing suit. :)

All swimsuits from Old Navy.