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Monday, June 19, 2017

Beach Vacation Recap

Last Sunday after church, M and I headed down to North Myrtle Beach to spend the week with his parents. The vacation was very much needed and anticipated!

Highlights: 

  • Finishing four books in 6 days! I never have a chance to just sit and read anymore so this was such a pleasure. 
  • Not getting badly sunburned. Yes, I got some sun...but mostly it was just freckling and not a lot of burn. 
  • Outlet shopping (specifically Kate Spade outlet shopping!).
  • Eating lots of ice cream. 
  • Catching some pretty sunrise/sunset shots from the condo balcony.
  • Spending time with M's family. 
  • Relaxing in the pool. 
  • Riding the "Skywheel" Ferris wheel type thing. This was definitely out of my comfort zone but I survived! 
Here are a few shots from the week! 







And on this neon coverup...I'm kind of obsessed with neon colors now. I feel like it makes me look tan...well tanner than I normally am. And I love it. Commence searching The Internets for all things neon for summer. 


And finally, I'm feeling pulled to stop blogging for a while. Or at least as frequently. I still enjoy reading blog posts but have found I've grown tired of creating my own. I'm not really sure where this leaves me...but for now, I'll keep my blog up and blog whenever the itch hits...but not nearly as frequently as I used to. I just think between work and family stuff my creative juices have dried up. I've been doing this bloggy thing for almost 10 years now. That's a long time in blog land.

Maybe this will change but for now, I won't be bringing you riveting recap posts like this (HAHA) quite as often...but will still read other people's posts daily. 

Have a wonderful week! 



Thursday, June 1, 2017

The May Edit: Hits and Hits

I'm only doing my "hits" for May since I really didn't have any misses. I'm keeping this one short and simple!


I ordered some makeup brushes from e.l.f. (love their brushes!) and I got a free gift with purchase. Normally this stuff gets passed on because it never works for my extremely pale skin. However, there were two hits in this free gift. The first is the Contouring Blush and Bronzer in St. Lucia. This bronzer is surprisingly not too dark for me and the blush...though warm toned...is really nice. It actually could function as a nice summer dupe for a well-known Nars blush. Plus it has a bit of shimmer which is perfect for this season!

The second hit in the free gift from e.l.f. was this Clay Eyeshadow Palette in Necessary Nudes. It comes with a plastic cover that has the words on it for where you're supposed to put everything (lid, crease, highlight, etc.) but I can't adhere to that. I've found that the highlight shade is a good base for me and the base shade is great for a crease/transition color. I was pleasantly surprised with this and have found myself gravitating to it a lot over the last couple of weeks.

I found this Sherosa Floral Chiffon Kimono Cardigan on Amazon and I bought it originally to use as a beach cover up. However, on a whim, I wore it over a tank and jeans to work and it worked perfectly! I'm a big fan of these types of kimono shawls/kimono cardigans this summer because they are lighter than my normal cardigan but still provide some coverage. I do recommend sizing up one or two sizes since it runs small.

Lastly, another big hit for me came in late May but I'm still loving it...and it's a short, blunt haircut. I love my extensions but they are hot and heavy in the summer so my sis gave me a blunt hair cut and I've been in love with how thick it makes my baby fine hair look. I can style it straight or wavy and it's so summery!

Those are my May hits! Have you tried any of these?

Friday, May 26, 2017

For Those That Won't Come Home



On Monday, we'll honor those that fought for our freedom and gave the ultimate sacrifice...their life. We are so blessed to live in a country that is free. We are free and it's because of the countless men and women serving every day to protect us. Our country is indebted to those that gave their lives for the cause of our liberty.

While we should always be thankful and grateful to those that serve, Memorial Day is when we honor those that died in service. Those that won't come home.

So to all those parents, spouses, children, grandparents, brothers and sisters who live on...know we are eternally thankful for what your family member did. We are a grateful nation.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Things That Give Me Headaches

It's been a hot minute since I've done a "things that make me" post. (Links to the others at the bottom of this post.) I'm sitting here writing this post with a headache so it got me to thinking...what else gives me headaches? For the sake of this post and given my current physical condition I'm talking literal and proverbial headaches.

Things That Give Me Headaches



Rain
This one is a literal reason for headaches and most likely the culprit for today's headache. When it's been dry for a few weeks and rains for days I get bad headaches. It never fails. I know it's allergy related because I'm allergic to...life...so it's the norm for me!


Dumb Drivers
Since my job change my commute has been drastically reduced...which is awesome...but that doesn't mean I don't encounter traffic. I work in the largest city in my state and the city with the second worst traffic in the southeast. (Second only to Hotlanta.) So traffic is a given. However congestion is different from bad drivers. Nothing irritates me more than people not obeying traffic laws and trying to merge in at the last moment from a lane that's ending. And don't even get me started on people that don't drive the appropriate speed limit. Proverbial headache though I'm sure it may have resulted in an actual one.


Dealing with Insurance People
Dealing with insurance people in any capacity is something I'd never wish on my worst enemy. Whether it be health insurance, home insurance, car insurance...they are generally a group of people I try to always avoid. No offense if you work in insurance and you're normal...unfortunately all the rest of your counterparts have sullied your reputation.


Cats
Sorry cat lovers...but I just can't deal. I'm highly allergic to them and they give me major headaches along with the typical sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, congestion, etc. But they make for really cute memes and gifs.

//Things That Make Me Roll My Eyes
//Things That Make Me Rage (Office Edition)
//Things That Make Me Rage (Travel Edition)
//Things That Make Me Panic

Monday, May 22, 2017

Showered in Love


I recently posted about my sister's wedding back in April. This weekend, we had her bridal shower and the theme was a mash-up of "Southern", "Rustic" and "Casual". My sister is NOT the typical Southern belle that's into monograms and pearls and seersucker (BUT I AM! WE ARE SO DIFFERENT!) so I wanted to emphasize casual.

The Southern Elements

  • Cheerwine punch
  • Chicken & waffles
  • Bojangles biscuits and seasoned fries
  • Grits buffet
  • Mason jars
  • Pimento cheese
  • Cotton blossoms
The Casual Elements
  • Farmer's market flowers (instead of arranged bouquets)
  • Sangria! (Although any excuse for sangria is good enough for me!)
  • Mini doughnuts
  • Location (small, modern local art gallery) 
  • No monograms! 
  • Buffet style food and no assigned seating
The Rustic Elements
  • Metal/galvanized decor and serving ware
  • Wood accents including handmade food description card holders 
Here are some photos. I'm pleased with how everything turned out and it was a great way to celebrate the bride with some of her closest friends and family.









Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Summer Swimsuit Trend I'm Obsessed With

There's a women's swimwear trend I'm really, REALLY into and I'll tell you why.

1) It's modest (which is something I'm a huge fan of)
2) It's supportive (duh!)
3) It's CUTE

The trend is the halter or high-neck swimsuit. I've seen these in both one and two-piece sets. Many of them are tribal printed or crochet/macrame material which just adds to the overall fun and trendy vibe. Not only are halter necks better for actual swimming (because they are supportive and keep everything tamed!) but they are mega cute and the neckline shows off your shoulders! Now you don't have to worry so much about a big wave robbing you of your swim top and your dignity. (Tell me I'm not the only one this has happened to...)

I've long been a fan of a halter neck anything and this trend is just right up my alley. I've put together some of my favorites below with links if they are available. I actually just purchased the crochet tankini top for a beach trip next month!



Black Macrame High Neck Tankini // Crochet High Neck One-Piece // Cropped High Neck Swim Top // Crochet High Neck Bikini Top // Black Jewel Mesh High Neck Swimsuit

How do you feel about halter/high neck swimsuits like these? Would you wear?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Venturing into Vegetarian (First 5 Days)



Well it's been a full work week of eating vegetarian and so far it's not been that difficult. Yes, it does require some creativity and sometimes double the dishes but it's not as hard as I thought.

This week I've had:

Monday
Lunch - Taco salad (black beans, lettuce, pico, cotija cheese, salsa)
Dinner - Scrambled eggs with pan-fried sweet potatoes

Tuesday 
Lunch - Pimento cheese on crostini
Dinner - Whole grain macaroni & cheese (Annie's) with sweet peas

Wednesday
Lunch - Sides from a local BBQ joint since it was catered at work
Dinner - Leftovers from Tuesday night

Thursday
Lunch - Hibachi veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, carrots) with rice
Dinner - Homemade tomato soup

Friday
Lunch - Egg salad on whole wheat with sautéed yellow squash
Dinner - Cheese pizza

Okay, so looking at this...eh I admit it's not the healthiest of weeks but I'm trying to get more comfortable with eating out. Also I realize that I shouldn't use going veg as an excuse to just eat cheese and carbs. MEH. On deck for this weekend is a huge pan of roasted veggies (which I will eat off for a few days) and some homemade succotash. I also want to try some of the Morningstar brand "meat" items like their veggie burger and buffalo chicken bites. I've heard great reviews on those particular things. This week I'd give myself a C- for a score since yes, I technically didn't eat meat but I didn't necessarily eat super-healthy. I hope that now I've got a few days under my belt I'll be able to make wiser choices next week.

Also I could pretty much eat a taco salad every day. It's so dang good. And there's a latin street food place within walking distance from my job. SO....yeah... :)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Venturing Into Vegetarian


For awhile now I've considered, debated and thought about venturing into being a vegetarian. It's mostly for animal-rights reasons and part of a larger effort I'm making to pursue more cruelty-free/vegan products for things like beauty and cleaning. I've also considered it for health reasons as well since heart disease runs rampant in my family and eliminating meat is a step towards health from a heart-perspective.

So, I decided that from today through June 5th (4 weeks) I'm going to attempt to not eat any sort of meat. In theory, I'd like to also try to eat fewer carbs but I'm worried that if I try to do too much at once I'll fail. So I'll be quasi carb-conscious...especially at dinner...and 100% meat conscious.

I've decided that a lot of my favorite meals/foods/dishes (think pasta dishes, soups, etc.) already are or can easily be made vegetarian so this will be helpful in meal planning. But if any of you have any vegetarian-friendly recipes or meal ideas, I'm all ears! Even if it's something I could omit the meat from. Ready? GO!

Monday, May 1, 2017

The April Edit: Hits and Misses

It's been a quiet month on the blog...partially because of dealing with some treatment setbacks with my mom and partially because it's been busy with my new job. But I wanted to make sure to blog about April's hits and misses since I had quite a few to cover! Here we go...

Hits


Links: Blue floral dress // Keds Chillax slip-ons // Colour Pop pressed powders // Colour Pop Super Shock shadow // Colour Pop Ultra Satin Lip in Jiffy //Rose Gold Aluminum Apple Watch Series 1 (available from many retailers)

First off, I must say that I'm becoming way more of a makeup junkie than I'd ever have thought...partially in thanks to a coworker telling me about Colour Pop. It's an American cosmetics company with budget-friendly prices (think e.l.f.) but incredible selections and formulas. I am now obsessed with their eye shadows both the pressed powders and the super shock (which are cream to powder) formulas. Their lip items are just as great! I've tried the ultra matte lip and the ultra satin liquid lipsticks and I'm a fan. I didn't include the ultra matte lips in the hits collage because I have one issue with them...they dry down WAY darker than they look in the tube. And for a pale chic like me some of the mauve shades I ordered are borderline Goth. However, the ultra satin lip doesn't have quite the color discrepancy and the formula is...well...insert 100 emoji.

I recently purchased an Apple Watch when it was on super sale at Target and I really have enjoyed it. I've never been much of a watch person and I had bad luck with fitness trackers (they all kept breaking or just stopped working) so this is a a nice hybrid...plus about a billion other things. But honestly, the most nifty part of it is I can ding my phone from my watch to see where I left it. I'm always leaving it somewhere around the house and even if it's on vibrate I can find it. DUDE WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

These Keds slip-ons are adorable, comfy and nostalgic for me (and many other 80s/90s kids). They are an updated version of the school uniform from my childhood. They are cute and perfect for spring and summer!

I got this dress at Target for my sister's surprise wedding and got so many compliments on it. It's comfortable (though I belted it because it's a bit shapeless) and I love the fun neckline and sleeves. I will say it's a bit low cut so you might have to wear a cami under it for work.

Misses



Links: Wild Meadow dress // Colour Pop super shock shadow in Co-Pilot // Floral wrap dress

Okay so I obviously went a little crazy on dresses this month. I purchased the ivory/gray frilly one first for my sister's wedding thinking it fit the occasion more. But I quickly discovered I am just not built to wear that style of dress. Thinking I needed to go back to the silhouette that I know works for me, I purchased the floral wrap dress from Amazon. The dress, had it remotely been the correct size, would have been a dream. However, the sizing was so off, it wouldn't have fit a child. It was like 4 sizes too small even though I ordered a size larger than I normally wear. I'd say it was on par with a women's small. UGH.

The Colour Pop eye shadow is in this list more because of the color than the formula. The formula is AMAZING and it lasts all day. However, this shade, which I thought would be a pale pink, look white on me. Like a frosty white shadow. Not bad and usable but I already have plenty of shimmery white shadows. UGH.

Have you tried anything I listed above? Similar or different experience?

A look back > The March Edit

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Surprise!

My sister and her now husband tied the knot over the weekend in an intimate wedding ceremony at a friend's home. There were only about 30 people in attendance (mostly immediate family) and it was amazing. I've never been part of such a small wedding and let me tell y'all that is the WAY TO GO. It was exactly what she wanted...small, casual and with a hippie/boho vibe. The house hosts prepared a wonderful dinner after the ceremony and we enjoyed barbecued pork, mac & cheese, slaw, potato salad, broccoli salad and then banana pudding and doughnuts for dessert under twinkle lights and a cool breeze. It was totally them and totally perfect.

Here are some iPhone photos to share! I didn't get a lot of the "details" and decor but I did get a few. Enjoy!









Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three Years

It's hard to believe it's been three years since we got married! Sometimes it feels like the blink of an eye and other times it feels like forever. I've learned so much over these three years...

I've learned that marriages are about losing. Losing an argument. Losing control. Losing your pride.

I've learned that marriages are about compassion. Compassion for things you can't empathize with.

I've learned marriages are about grace. Giving grace to someone even if they don't deserve it.

I've learned that marriages take work. They aren't easy and they require constant work.

I've learned that marriages can reshape who you are in a good way.

But most importantly, I've learned what it means to have a constant advocate, caregiver, protector, stress-reliever, guardian, encourager and lover.

Happy Anniversary, M!


Friday, April 7, 2017

Living Room Update

Do we really need to go into depth psychoanalyzing why I keep changing and redecorating my living room? I think not. Honestly, I like to change things up and rearrange furniture or move decor items around a lot to keep things fresh. Well, it's hard to rearrange furniture in our current living room given the set up but I can still swap out the decor items. Here's where we are now:



Yes I have two animal pillows in my living room. It's hard to see the detail on the elephant one (from WalMart!!) but it's got gold accents. The other thing I do quite frequently is switch out my throw pillow covers. Both of those gray/gray check pillows are Ikea pillow forms with Ikea pillow covers. I've had them forever and love them!

The white wall things...because I have no idea what to call them...are actually rubber stair treads we got from Lowe's that I spray painted white and then distressed with M's electric sander.

And as a reminder, here's where we've been in the living room area in the past.


Will I ever get tired of gray? Maybe. But I don't see it happening any time soon. 



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The March Edit: Hits and Misses

I'm starting this recurring monthly post about things I've tried and liked or tried and didn't like in a particular month. I'm kicking off this series with some fave beauty and lifestyle stuff and some of the ones that I didn't like so much!

Hits


Links//Foundation//Undereye Setting Powder//Laptop Bag//Burt's Bees Facial Wipes//Tank Top

This foundation is my new favorite. It works really well with my dry skin and stays on all day. Also, it's nowhere near as expensive as the Born This Way one I was using. I've been using this for a couple of weeks and I'm very impressed!

I got this undereye powder as part of a free gift with purchase when I bought some products from e.l.f. cosmetics and I really love it. It's not too drying to make my undereyes look crepe-y but it also keeps my concealer in place all day. I'll definitely purchase this when I run out.

This laptop bag is seriously adorable. I love it so much! It's slimline and lightweight but protective and so cute! It comes in other patterns but this big rose floral is very springy and fun!

I was on the lookout for a new face/makeup wipe and tried a bunch of them. These Burt's Bees ones are a hit! They are good for my sensitive skin and the cloth is soft. I'll be repurchasing these for certain.

These Old Navy tank tops are my new fave for layering. I'll admit that I gave up on Old Navy for a while because I wasn't happy with the quality of their stuff. But these tanks are soft and drapey but not clingy. They don't wrinkle easily and look expensive. I purchased a gray one and then loved it so much I went back online and purchased in navy and this peachy color. LOVE!

Misses



I tried these Croc d'Orsay flats thinking they'd be the best of both worlds...Croc comfort and a cute style. And while they are adorable they are not comfortable. I don't have wide feet but these things are SO. TIGHT. around the strap. Like uncomfortable. I might wear these a couple more times to see if they'll stretch but otherwise these are a dud.

In my hunt for facial/makeup wipes I tried these and while the formula itself isn't bad the wipes feel like sandpaper. There's no way I would keep using them on my skin.

I was trying to find a cheaper alternative to my beloved It's a 10 light spray and I failed miserably at this one by IT. This product is very sticky and made my hair feel heavy, dirty and greasy. I used this twice and gave it away to someone with very thick hair. It could be that because my hair is fine it just was too much and could work for someone else but for me? No thanks.

I got this e.l.f. volumizing mascara as part of a free gift with purchase and I used it once. I'm glad I didn't "pay" for it because the formula is very, very dry. If you like a dry mascara this one is nice for a natural look but it didn't work for me.

Finally, I love my regular Batiste dry shampoo. It's the best I've ever used...hands down. But I wanted to try this one specifically for blondes to see if it could brighten my roots in between hair appointments. UM. It did not brighten. What it DID do was leave a yellowy/golden cast on my scalp...so much so that my sister (who is a hair dresser) was like, "did you put bronzer on your scalp?" Nope! I'll stick to my regular Batiste dry shampoo from now on.

Well, there you have it. My March hits and misses. I really enjoyed this post so I hope to do these monthly! Let me know if you had any experiences with any of the products mentioned above.


Monday, March 27, 2017

My Ancestry DNA Ethnicity Results

NERD ALERT! :)

I'm really into learning about my family's ancestry and tracing our roots and heritage. I've got a pretty complete family tree dating back to the 1500s in Switzerland on my paternal side and to the 1600s in England and the 1700s in Ireland on my maternal side. My paternal family has been located in South Carolina since 1736.

I started my interest in my ancestry/heritage by creating an account and a family tree on Ancestry.com. I actually found a lot of information there to begin with and blogged a bit about some of the interesting findings here.

However,  I was really interested in what my actual DNA composition was made up of since I have a variety of leads from each side of the family. Well, the results were not THAT surprising...except for what I'm calling the wildcard...more on that later.

First up, my percentage breakdown for the expected (aka non-surprising) part of the results.



Okay, I figured GB and Europe. Here's a map breakdown which explains it a bit better. 


Great Britain also includes Scotland, so that makes sense. My mom's maiden name is a Scottish name and we'd always been told that her side of the family is Scot-Irish. So "Great Britain" accounts for the Scottish side. Europe West accounts for France, Germany, Switzerland, etc. so that also makes sense because I've traced my paternal lineage to Switzerland and Germany. Then there's the fairly self-explanatory Irish and Scandinavian heritage. 

The cool thing about these results is that Ancestry.com gives you a ton of historical data and background to help figure out why you could be showing DNA from a particular area. For me, I easily figured out the Scandinavian portion since I didn't knowingly have any lineage in that area. The Vikings and other tribal types from Scandinavia conquered and settled in parts of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales,  so many of my ancestors might have been descendants from those people. That also can help explain the Finland/NW Russia and Iberian Peninsula trace regions.  People from these native portions could have immigrated to other parts of the world and intermarried but the DNA still remains. For example, many Germanic tribes like the Visigoths pushed into the Iberian peninsula areas and conquered kingdoms to the north into Scandinavia. 

Are you ready for the wildcard? You may have noticed that I'm 98% of European descent but there's another 2% that's missing. Well, it's actually Asian. South Asia to be specific. Here's the full breakdown. 


And the map that shows the general area. This includes countries like India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 



Okay, so obviously I do not LOOK South Asian AT ALL. But I find it very interesting that there are still markers in my DNA from this area. The best I can figure is it must come from the Great Britain portion since India use to be a British territory. Perhaps there was some intermarrying? It's just so fascinating! Who would have thought?!

I was slightly disappointed that some of my Jewish and Native American ancestry didn't come through nor was any portion of my DNA African. Given that many of my paternal ancestors were slave owners I figured that there might have been some. BUT, that's not to say it isn't a part of my heritage, it just didn't manifest into my own unique DNA. So how will I know? Well, I plan to purchase this test as a gift for my sister, father and mother. (Surprise! If you're reading this, family!)  I'd like to see how my results compare to theirs and what theirs might show that mine didn't. Stay tuned! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bathroom Update: Painting the Vanity



One of the projects M and I both wanted to tackle was painting our bathroom vanities. It was something we desperately wanted but we were unsure how time consuming of a project it might be...so we kept putting it off.

Well, we bit the bullet and started in the master bathroom this weekend. I'll be honest, I had to work half a day on Friday so M actually ended up doing most of the work with this project. But that is a good indication of how easy it really was!

The entire project took less than a day and we are thrilled with the results!

Our first step was to sand the 11 year old builder-grade oak cabinets. M did the larger parts with a electric palm sander but chose to use regular old sandpaper for the cabinet faces and drawers. Because of the molding on these it was easier for him to use sandpaper. He sanded them all enough to knock the sheen off and rough up the surface a bit for painting. I'd say it took him about 2 hours total to sand everything. He removed the drawers and doors and sanded them all outside because, well, it's kind of messy.

After the sanding was done we headed to Lowe's and picked out our paint. I knew I wanted a blue-tinged dark gray. I like the look of dark vanities with white tops so we figured a darker gray would contrast nicely with the white top and hide any stains well. We ended up going with Valspar Reserve paint in Muskeg Gray. We purchased a couple of chip brushes and some small high-density foam paint rollers specifically for cabinetry and went to town. I started by painting in the door molding and the edges with the brushes and then finished with rolling the wide, flat parts. Overall we did two coats  of paint on everything and it looks great! We ended up painting inside the house in the kitchen area because it was really windy and getting chilly out.

I've never painted anything in the house before and the house not smell like paint. Actually unless you saw the painting stuff in the house, you wouldn't even know it. I smelled NOTHING. No paint fumes, no paint smell. Honestly, I loved that. I didn't pick this paint because of the low odor and no VOCs, but I would definitely pick it again because I loved walking into a house that didn't smelled like paint!

We opted for a semi-gloss since it's a bathroom and this is the most chip and stain resistant. I love it. The final product is a bit more of a babyish gray than I thought but I don't mind it at all. We purchased a gallon of this paint and plan to use it to paint the guest bathroom vanity as well. I'm so happy we chose to do this and it feels like I'm walking into a different bathroom!

Slowly but surely, my house is becoming void of color and much more neutral...i.e. gray and white. And I don't hate it one bit! Here are the before and afters! (Also I know my grays don't all match. I need to get a different rug...maybe a pop of color to tie it all in.)

BEFORE


AFTER




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We Need Suggestions! Warm Weather Vacation Destinations

Our honeymoon in Ocho Rios, Jamaica


Calling all travelers!

M and I are starting to look at locations for our vacation next year (2018) and this time we want to opt for a warm weather locale. Our last big trip was in August and we did a cooler weather place (Banff) so this time we're switching it up.

I'm not opposed to the Caribbean or an international place but I'm also okay with something tropicalish in the states. Our requirements are that it's not a super-long flight from our area (Charlotte, NC)...meaning...less than 3 hours...and it's somewhat affordable. We definitely don't need to be in the center of a town full of nightlife as we prefer a more relaxed environment.

So, now, travel friends, where are some warm weather destinations you've enjoyed? Any recommendations?

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