Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fool-Proof Summer Navy Combinations to Try

Navy is my absolute favorite neutral to wear. (heck, I even included it in my wedding!) It's classic, timeless, seasonless and not quite as harsh as black. Black is difficult for me to rock some of the time because I am so pale. It makes me look a bit goth. And black is more difficult to pull off in the summer. Enter navy! It's the perfect summer (and fall, and spring and winter) neutral.

There are a few colors that basically always go with navy blue. These are what I call the fool-proof colors to wear with navy and these are perfect for summer.

summer navy combinations

summer navy combinations by aprilanne147 featuring shirts & tops

Navy + Pink, Navy + Yellow, Navy + Coral, Navy + Mint/Aqua, Navy + Emerald Green

Would you wear any of these colors together?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Over the Vacay: Things I've Learned About Myself

This year, M's parents invited us to stay with them at a beach for the week. We went down Sunday and came back later on Friday (so almost a week!). Though I go on vacations (even if just for a few days) every year, I've begun to realize that there is a pattern of behavior that emerges every vacation I go on, no matter where I go or how long I stay.

1. I have a hard time "doing nothing".
I can't just relax. M is the King of Relaxation, ha. But I just can't. I feel guilty for sitting around doing nothing and feel like I should do more "beachy" things rather than just sit around and read. So if I read, I feel guilty for not going outside. If I go down to the beach or pool (or go shopping, etc.) I feel guilty for not reading more. It's cyclical and sick.

2. I have a hard time not having a plan.
I'm a planner. Even if it's just plans for the day, I like to talk over my plans with M for the day and it drives him crazy! He's one of those go-with-the-flow type people and for me to try and plan the day in chunks overwhelms him. For example, I said one morning, "I think we should go to the store this am, then have lunch, then come back and go to the beach when the sun isn't as strong. Then I'll come back in and start making dinner and we can do a movie or something later." He can't handle it. And I'm beginning to think that my vacation planning is actually causing me harm because when my plans don't go accordingly, I get anxious.

So, all that to say...vacations are hard. They are fun...but quite challenging to my OCD, Type A personality.

With that, I did a few things that are out of the norm for me this past week and ENJOYED them. First, I played miniature golf. I've literally not played in about 20 years. And guess what??? I smoked them with 2 hole-in-ones! Now, I came in second place overall because my father-in-law is the slow and steady tortoise. He would pretty much get straight 2s the whole time. Me? I'd get a hole-in-one and then 6 on the next one. It's always a production. :)

The other thing I did that isn't my norm is watched a ton of movies. I even went to the theater and saw a movie! (Inside Out - not that good though) I watched Minority Report, Get Smart, The Tourist and the first Harry Potter movie. (that was a re-watch)

Other than that my vacay consisted ocean side reading, playing in the sand with my niece and nephew, wave jumping, sleeping late, eating horribly unhealthy food and shopping my heart out. (hello outlet mall!!) Here are a few fun photos (sorry for the insta duplicates) of the week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ways that I Betray my Southern Heritage

Disclaimer: This is NOT a political post, nor is it intended to remark upon the tragic events that occurred in one of my favorite cities. The deaths of those people were horrible and taken by a heartless, soul-less racist. This post is also not going to discuss any other issues that people have attempted to bring up in light of the Charleston shooting. It's lighthearted and fun...hopefully. :)

My family has literally lived in the South since the 1700s. We've actually lived almost exclusively in the Carolinas since then, with very little family members moving away from what I call the center of gravity in eastern South Carolina. Anywho, I'm about as authentically Southern as they come. But I betray my heritage on many occasions and I will elaborate below.

1. I hate tea.
Sweet or unsweet. Iced or hot. I hate it. I think it stems from a tragic apple-juice mistaken identity incident when I was a child. I loathe tea and never EVER drink it.

2. I despise NASCAR.
And everything about it. That culture, the loudness, the tons of people...no thank you.

3. I prefer Dunkin Donuts over Krispy Kreme.
Fellow Southerners, please do not kill me. I prefer a DD chocolate frosted donut above any other. KK puts a little too much glaze on their doughnuts for my taste. While nothing beats a "Hot n' Now" I still prefer the deliciousness of the Dunkin.

4, I do not like Cheerwine. 
It's just gross. Way too sweet. M loves it. I do not.

5. I do not eat pecan pie. 
I don't love nuts in general. But the concept of a pecan pie is just disgusting to me: pie crust, goo and nuts. No thank you.

6. I'm not a fan of flags on clothing. 
Unless it is the emblem of an entire flag (like on the Old Navy tshirts) I'm not a fan. The American flag should be a flag...not a pair of shorts or a towel or a bikini or anything else. I find it disrespectful and tacky.

I'm at the beach this entire week attempting to not get sunburned. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

You Probably Don't Know...

Today, I'm linking up with Helene from Helene in Between for this interesting take on a personal blog post. I would consider myself a pretty quirky human...and maybe...just maybe, this blog post will help you to understand just how much.

Much to learn you have, readers. Quirky April is.

You Probably Don't Know...

//I'm afraid of being squished to death by a strong hug. Like my neck or spine would just snap. My husband knows this and doesn't squeeze me in hugs.

//I abhor having my face or hair touched. Especially my face. Also my feet. Actually, I'm not a big fan of being touched in general.

//In another life I made a living by singing. Now, I just do it on the side.

//I have a scar on my forehead/eyebrow area from chicken pox as a kid.

//I've had dark brown hair, blonde hair and red hair in my lifetime, but I'm a legitimate natural blonde.

//I had my very first alcoholic drink on my 21st birthday. I'm a rule follower.

//I have more than 60 cousins.

//My favorite flowers are ranunculus, daffodils and poppies.

//I don't really watch a lot of movies, whereas my husband is an extreme movie buff.

//I don 't eat Chinese food.

//I'm obsessed with naming things. Lots of inanimate objects are named in my life like my car (Patty....Patricia when she's acting up), my computer (Dellina), my booty (Judy), stuffed animals, etc. I also enjoy naming animals. I've had fish named Puppy, Squash and Leon. If I ever have a farm, every animal will be named.

//I'm allergic to dogs (and cats, and horses, and feathers...and life) but I  have a dog anyway. He doesn't shed at all so that helps to tame my allergies for the most part.

Linking up below! Join in on the fun!

Helene in Between

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Ideas for a Beautiful and Cozy Bed

1. Layering
Think of your bed like a cupcake. You need the wrapper/liner, cake part, frosting and something beautiful or delicious on top. Combine a duvet, comforter, throw blanket or quilt (or all of the above) and layer for a full and plush look.

2. Stick to a color palette
Keeping your bed/bedding to a color palette will help to unify the look. Maybe it's all one color or it's a few colors, but repeating the colors will be help to make it all look "put together".

3. Consider going unkempt
I absolutely love how Ikea styles their beds/bedding. Why? Because they are slightly unkempt looking. They look like you want to dive in, rather than make you afraid to sit on it.

4. Add throw pillows
Throw pillows allow you to incorporate smaller pops of color and texture without fully committing to it.

5. Experiment with prints and textures
I think mixing prints and textures is really what makes your bed look beautiful (in my opinion). If everything is matchy-matchy it looks a little too bed-in-a-bag. Incorporating a striped pillow or a chunky cable knit throw makes everything look collected and ecclectic.

Incorporate one or more of these ideas and you will be on your way to a beautiful and cozy looking bed!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

American Accents & Dialects (And Why I'm a Nerd)

For as long as I can remember, I've been obsessed infatuated slightly in love with accents. They are fascinating and interesting! I pride myself on being able to place someone's geographical region of origination after I hear them talk for a while. I'm a phonology nerd...okay?

Accents fascinate me because they are so varied. Even in America, we have a number of recognized dialects (accents) in America  but there are definitely even more that aren't documented.

Some of you may be wondering why in the world I'm blogging about this...because it is a weird topic to write about...unless you are obsessed with it like I am. There have been three distinct phonological instances recently that got me thinking about this kind of stuff that I want to share with you. Ready?

1. I met a new neighbor over the weekend and after greeting her and introducing myself I told her we'd just moved from the next street over (in the same neighborhood). She asked me where I was originally from and then quickly said, "Obviously not from the South...we're from Wisconsin and Ohio too."


I was both saddened and slightly happy with this. You see, my people are always stereotyped as being dumb, idiotic, slow, etc. if they have a strong Southern accent. There are lots of us that are indeed smart, sassy and Southern. But the Southern accent, unfortunately, usually comes with negative connotations. With that, I've made an effort to not sound like the world's biggest redneck when I speak...especially when I speak publicly or in a professional setting. But I was saddened because I don't want to "lose" so much of my accent that people don't know where I'm from. Now, sometimes when I'm angry or on the phone (apparently) I have a very strong accent, but still it makes me a little sad that someone couldn't instantly place me as being a native Carolinian once I started talking.

2. Along the same lines, I've recently come across two people who have CHANGED their accents. They were born/grew up in one place and now live someone else and have adopted that accent. I can understand this to some degree because I have a tendency to assume the speech patterns and colloquialisms of those around me at times. But it is so intriguing to me that the accent you've had for 20, 30 or 40 years can change once you leave that area.

3. Finally, over the last few weeks I've been binge-watching Mob Wives on Hulu Plus and I'm in the seasons where they introduce some girls from Philadelphia. WHO KNEW THERE WAS SUCH A THING AS A PHILADELPHIA ACCENT?!?! I didn't! I knew there was a Boston accent and a NY accent and a Maine/upper NE accent... but Philly? So interesting! Now I will be able to pick it out when I hear it from now on. Thanks Mob Wives! :)

Do you have an accent? Do you wish you did?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weekend Review: MOVING WEEKEND!

Ugh, I forgot how much I hate moving. I literally moved from Friday after work until Sunday evening. We'd only lived in our other place for about 14 months so how did we accumulate so much stuff?!

As I mentioned on Instagram, the first thing I do when I move is set up the bedroom. Our house was literally a hurricane of boxes and packing material but the bedroom was in some semblance of order. At the end of the day, I was able to close the bedroom door to the mess on the outside and sleep in a peaceful and not chaotic environment. #worthit

Though we went up a bedroom (from 2 to 3) we don't have all the same storage areas and closet space so we've had to be clever with how we store things. My main closet is considerably smaller...which is okay, but just an adjustment. Everything fits! :) But the DA home builders installed the closet doors to where you can't hang something on a hanger without the door pushing it back or brushing up against the door. Does that make sense? Like the hangers are about an inch too wide to sit in the closet without touching the doors when they are closed. It's not that much of a hassle now but I could see it being in the future. The solution is either to move the rack where the stuff hangs, or take off the doors and replace them with curtains. 

Forgive the mess in this picture. I took a quick snapshot when we got our fridge delivered Saturday. Who knew you could get so excited about a fridge! It's this new kind of stainless steel that doesn't show fingerprints. (Praise the Lord!) Because that was one of the main reasons I hated stainless was because it always showed fingerprints. The best part was that my dad bought it for us as a housewarming gift. So awesome! 

We are slowly, but surely, getting everything set up. First on my list was the bedroom, then the kitchen and M worked on the guest bathroom and his man cave. He hasn't hung pictures yet, but it's coming along! Also, what more could a guy need: movies, TV, Xbox and liquor. #amiright

One other project we finished this weekend was to paint the guest room. This is how we have it set up so far. I haven't hung any art or photos so bear with me on that. We went for medium gray and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. We painted over a really dark green wall and this is a vast improvement. :) I will add more pillows and artwork and "fluffy" decor stuff to make it look more homey. But at least we've got a bed and tv set up. HA! 

More project updates and photos to come soon. We are both exhausted from moving and we are almost done! Just a couple of more things to get out of the old house and then on to pictures! M is going to help me hang artwork and curtains this week. :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Flamingo Home Decor

It's no secret that I lurve flamingos. (I mean...I did name my blog after them...)

I love the idea of incorporating flamingos into the new house as we start to decorate. I already have a small dose of flamingo in our mini gallery wall, but I want to do more. The catch is...lots of flamingo decor is super pink and while I have no problem with pink, I think the mister might if it were in abundance.

So, subtle flamingo decor ideas...

Here we go!

Trend Alert: Flamingo Decor

For the front porch?

Bright pillows: http://www.stylemepretty.com/living/2015/01/05/abby-capalbo-seaside-home-tour/ | Photography: Leila Brewster - http://www.leilabrewsterphotography.com/

A throw pillow is a nice punch of color.

Handmade Flamingo Bust  #anthropologie

I keep trying to talk M into letting me put up a faux animal bust. Perhaps a flamingo one would entice him?

I just need a rolling green yard and a croquet set to go with these. Or at least a balcony.

What about some flamingo glass tumblers? Perfect to sip pink lemonade in.

You Are So Loved - This pink and grey flamingo print is part of the Olivia Collection and would be the perfect addition for your little girls

Of course, I could just go for the obvious choice of some flamingo wall art

Do you have any flamingo stuff in your house?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Show Us Your Books: What I Read in May

Life According to Steph

I only read a few last month...mostly because I stayed pretty busy in the evenings. Anywho, my reviews are below: 

The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
My coworker recommended this one and I really enjoyed it. She's similar to Jodi Picoult but I didn't find the plot nearly as predictive. It reminded me a little of the plot of Love Actually how all of the characters are introduced and then later you see how they are connected with each other. I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more of this author soon! Four out of 5 salted caramels.

Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella
This followed very closely with the author's typical style. This was a night "light read" after the previous book I read and I would consider it amongst the beach read category. I had a hard time identifying with the main character who kind of comes across as a flighty and irresponsible woman. I guess that's part of the whole plot though? Three out of 5 salted caramels.

The Double Bind - Chris Bohjalian
I decided to give this author a second chance after I didn't really care for his last book I read. I was not disappointed. This plot was much better and much more mysterious and believable. It was so believable, in fact, that I Googled some of the historical figures the book references to make sure they weren't real. This plot goes back and forth between current time and the 20s-50s. The author does a great job of adding good supporting characters with actual depth in the book. (Laurel's roommate and her bosses) I really enjoyed this one and will definitely continue on with this author. Four out of 5 salted caramels.

Feels Like Home - Evelyn Adams
I needed something lighthearted between The Double Bind and the next Jodi Picoult book I'm currently reading so I downloaded this one on my Kindle for free. Again, I would put this as beach reading but it does seem to have a little more of a substantial plot than your typical fluff romances. Some unexpected plot twists and unique characters left me with a desire to find more by this author. This is a great vacation book! Three out of 5 salted caramels.

I'm going on vacation in 2 weeks so anything you can suggest for beach reading is appreciated! 

Read my previous monthly books reviews here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Our New Home: Ideas & Boards

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that every single major life event must be in want for a Pinterest board." Quote by me. However, I do feel that a modern Jane Austen might also think along the same lines. ;)

Whether it be a wedding, engagement, baby, birthday party, or new house...Pinterest is the place to gather and collect ideas. For our new home venture, it's no different. I've started a few Pinterest boards collecting ideas for decor styles and remodeling. Now, our house is considered move-in ready. However, there are some things that we will probably want to update/upgrade in the next 5 years or so.

Starting off is our bedroom. The walls are already painted a nice tan/taupe color so we will start with that. We have dark furniture that looks similar to some in the pins below and I'm all about some neutral grays/tans/white bedding and white/clear accessories. Since the walls and furniture are so dark, I want to brighten it up with whites and grays everywhere else. Hopefully, this will give it that grown up, spa/hotel feel and not look like Pinterest threw up everywhere.

The very top pic is our actual duvet cover and I have a white throw over it. Gray/white/neutral throw pillows too! I love the faux sheepskin rugs on the sides of the bed! I smell a DIY project coming soon!

Next is the kitchen. We will eventually want to either paint our cabinets white/gray or stain them dark. I'm not a fan of the medium shade of wood they are now. I also would like to consider doing some open cabinetry or glass front for some of our white serveware. I also want to add a tile back splash and update the countertops. This is all eventually down the road. For now, it's fine.

Here are a few other ideas I've been toying with to just do or make:

I do fully realize the undertaking of some of these projects...especially the kitchen. Some will take a few hours and others a few weeks...but I'll just remind myself that the place IS MINE and that I have no landlords to answer to. MUAHAHAHAHA.

PS: Today is closing! Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Maxi Skirts: A Do or a Don't?

I love the look of maxi skirts since they are long and breezy, but also break up around the midsection to avoid what I affectionately call the "faux pregnancy" look. To be honest, I've only ever seen maxi skirts on skinny mini girls so I wasn't sure how one might look on a woman with curves. Because mama got hips and sometimes there's just no taming Judy the Booty.

Pinterest to the rescue!

A simple search brought about some great inspiration for curvy women wearing maxi skirts. Here are some of my favorites:

PERFECT article!  Modest, Feminine Dressing for the Plus Size Woman | Deep Roots at Home http://www.deeprootsathome.com/modest-feminine-dressing-for-the-plus-size-woman/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DeepRootsAtHome+%28Deep+Roots+at+Home%29

Hattie Collins Moll of Hattie Sparks Boutique in New Orleans // NOLA // boutique // fashion // career // photography by Maile Lani

Comfort and style - love this whole look - full skirt with blazer, hi impact clutch, orange...

love this

Perfect curvy girl red and black belted dress

ONTHEQTRAIN: Summer Fun With This Reversible Maxi Skirt!

It appears that the key to rocking the maxi skirt is emphasizing the upper waist. Whether that be by belting your middle or tying a shirt in a knot around your waist, the key to not looking like one amorphous being is to create definition. I love the pairing of something structured and form-fitting up top with the looser, breezy skirt. The skirts are also being worn at the top of the waist (over the belly button) and not under it like you might wear a normal skirt. 

What are your thoughts on this? Would you try a maxi skirt?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Our New Home: The Search Process

Our closing is set for June 8. We are so excited I can barely stand it! Everyone! Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well. :)

Searching for the home was...well...it was a process. If you enjoy browsing, online shopping or window shopping, you would probably enjoy the home search process. If you hate those things...well, then you'll probably hate this process.

It very much reminded me of online shopping (which I consider myself an expert at). I had a budget in mind and an area we wanted to live in. Now, this was more of the preliminary search before I got an official number from the mortgage officer and found a realtor. In reality, what I did was download a few home buying apps and used their websites to search my parameters.

Some of my favorites are Trulia and Realtor.com. Both of these have excellent mobile apps and desktop versions that are easy to use. I used a basic online mortgage calculator to get an idea of my budget based on what I could afford to pay as a mortgage every month. Obviously this wasn't an exact science but it kept me within a very close range to what the mortgage company actually approved me for.

Armed with a dollar amount and a wish list, I started saving some custom searches. It was through Realtor.com's app that I ended up finding the house we are buying. I loved browsing photos of homes and seeing people's decor styles...is that sort of weirdo stalky? I found a few serious contenders and saved them, then emailed them to our realtor. We did use a realtor and he showed us a few properties that we didn't find on our search...there's some super secret realtor site that they use to pull listings. :)

My advice on the search process:

  • Go virtual! Real estate websites and mobile apps are a great way to make these types of properties accessible to everyone.
  • Dedicate search time. Don't just peruse when you have time. Make the time for it or you'll easily get overwhelmed when you only have 5 minutes.
  • Sign up for "alerts" when new properties come on the market or when one you've favorited drops the price or changes status. 
  • Get a realtor. Even though you can do some of the legwork yourself, ultimately, it helps to have another set of eyes on a property and they can find you properties you may not be able to find yourself. 
  • Figure out a basic house budget (even a preliminary one) before you start looking. This will help manage your expectations on what you can and can't afford. 

Get out there and start searching! Good luck!