What I Always Keep in My Beach Bag

Beach Bag

Dress, Bag, Towel, Sunnies, Facial Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Lip Balm, Beach Read, Gummies

This week has been crazy for us! We put in an offer on our first house, helped start a new company, and left for Costa Rica! Needless to say, we’re ready for some R&R! Today I’m stopping in to share what I always bring in my beach bag, whether it’s just to the pool or out to the beach. Even though I love a nice golden tan, I’m starting to see a few sun spots so I never go out into the sun without sunscreen on my face and body and these are my favorite two brands.

If I’m going to be out for awhile, I also try to bring a book to keep me busy and some candy to keep me happy. I’m so excited to start reading ‘Reconstructing Amelia’– I’ve been saving it for over a month now and I’ll finally be able to crack it open tomorrow when I hit the beach. Do you have some summer reads you’ve been saving for vacation? Anything you have to bring with you to the beach?

Have a great weekend!


Mid Century Modern Combinations

Just popping in to show you some awesome mid century furniture combinations that I put together. Mid century modern is one of the biggest trends in design right now but getting all vintage pieces can add up quickly. Each one of the pieces below actually from Target(!?!) and extremely well priced.

Mid Century Modern Combinations

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When I asked my husband which one he loved, he said “all of them.” My husband loves anything and everything mid century and would totally take them all, but he finally decided on #2. Which one of these is your favorite? Can you believe you can get these from Target? I love how they’re stepping up their game, don’t you?

Also, don’t forget to grab your Red Card if you want to snatch one of these babies up to save 5% and get free shipping. Don’t have have one? Get their debit card easily HERE.


I’m a Proud Southerner- Please Take It Down

Cotton_field

I am a Southerner and I love the South. I’ve lived other places, but my heart will always belong in Dixie. Always. I guess you can say it’s in my blood. Half of my family has been here nearly nine generations, the other only left the South a couple of generations back. I am a proud Southerner, but I’m against flying the Confederate flag.

I feel like you can’t really get a good understanding of how Southerners might feel unless you look at the Civil War. I’ve always found this war tragic, yet extremely fascinating. Somehow, I got a chance to study it with a notable historian in college and it was one of the most interesting and exciting courses I got to take. The professor was actually from somewhere up North and joked that had a great “yankee accent” and a “Northern perspective.” Even with loyalties far outside of our Southern region, he still understood the complexities of the Civil war and the plentiful and varying causes for Southern secession. Slavery was one of the main issues, but definitely not the only one. With only a tiny fraction of the population owning any slaves, most of the Confederate army was made up of poor white young men who were fighting for their region, not to keep slaves they never had. No one issue can be easily pointed to as the cause of the war. War just usually isn’t that simple.

The war was brutal for both sides and even though the South suffered greatly, one could argue that Reconstruction was the worst offense with lasting consequences. Reconstruction was no Prodigal son moment, it was punitive and vindictive. To give you just one small example, records show that President Johnson made many wealthy southerners come to his office and literally beg for forgiveness and to have their US citizenship restated. I think we were nicer to Japan and Germany following WWII than we were to lower half of our country after the Civil war. And many speculate (me included) that part of the southern landscape never got over it. I mean, many people still put on Civil war reenactments 150 years later- that doesn’t necessarily demonstrate to me that they’re over it. I like to think about the reunification of the union like two estranged brothers forced to live close and play nice, despite not all of the issues ever being resolved.

And that’s why over 150 years later, we’re here. Generations have passed but not all wounds have healed. The South is still a proud but damaged place, still trying to rebuild while holding on to its remaining identity. Yes, slavery was abhorrent. No way around that. Even so, there are so many wonderful things about the South both then and now. But just because we have still have pride in out beautiful region doesn’t mean that we should fly the Confederate flag. I honestly believe that there are individuals who feel an affinity towards that emblem without harboring racist ideals, but the flag has come to mean more than just southern pride. The flag lost its meaning over and over again when it was present at lynchings, KKK rallies, and other horrific events. In the 1860’s, the flag represented many ideals but now it’s been stained with the sins of the racist actions it’s flown over.

So today I think it’s time we accept that the flag should be taken down. I’m glad to see that in both Mississippi and South Carolina, it will no longer appear on state grounds and will be taken out of the Mississippi flag. I hope that individuals will come to see it as an inappropriate symbol in our modern day and will not want to be associated for what it has come to represent.


Make a Difference Monday: Why I’ll Only Order Austin’s Pizza

Austin's Pizza- Mopac Pizza

Don’t you love it when a company you already support goes and does something awesome? I don’t know about you, but it totally makes my day. We’re already huge lovers of Austin’s Pizza because they’re local, close, healthy-ish, and straight up delicious. We always order their “Mopac” (it’s essentially supreme) and they always load our pie with tons of veggies. It makes justifying ordering it for lunch WAAAAAY easier.

A couple days ago, I needed something fast, and kind of healthy so I called in my order and got in the car to pick it up. Walking in the door, I was greeted by the usual guy but also an additional employee. A beautiful woman, who obviously had Down-Syndrome, was there helping fold pizza boxes and fill orders. She smiled big as Texas when she saw me and her spirit was simply radiant. She was extremely kind, and seemed super happy to be doing her assigned tasks and helping me. While I’ve never had a negative experience with Austin’s Pizza, I haven’t ever received that level of service and attention during any of my other pick ups or deliveries.

Even with her great customer service and sweet smile, I know that hiring someone with disabilities isn’t always the easiest route. They could have hired some high school kid and I’m sure he could have done her tasks far faster and with less help. But they didn’t. They hired her.

Walking out, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up just a little. This kind of thing hits close to home as I have a brother who has some physical and verbal challenges. I’ve spent hours talking with my husband about my brother’s future and potential educational and employment opportunities, wondering what he’ll be able to do and where he’ll be able to work. I’ll readily admit, it’s worry that is never far from my mind as he’s nearing eighteen. Talking with that sweet woman not only made my day (her smile was completely infectious), but it also helped me gain a little more hope for my brother’s future opportunities.

So today during my drive home, I resolved that Austin’s will forever be our pizza place. I love supporting businesses who do the right thing, instead of just the cheapest thing, and I love telling everyone about it.

I’d love to hear more about other companies who are doing it right. Are there any businesses in your community who stand out because of their awesome values? What makes them stand out?

 


The Perfect 3-Minute Vinaigrette and Salad for Summer

The perfect vinaigrette

I’ve been tweaking my recipe and I think that I’ve finally made my perfect vinaigrette. It’s just in time too because I leave for the beach in a little over a week and I’m not feeling a 100% beach ready. But anyway, this is my super easy, absolutely delicious, extremely flexible vinaigrette recipe. So let’s get down to it and start with what you’ll need.

Perfect Vinaigrette Ingredients

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Shallot- Minced
  • 3 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 4-5 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard

Step 1: Mince Shallot

Step 2: Mix ingredients together

Easy, right? I have used this on so many types of salads and it’s great for outdoor parties or events because there’s no dairy or anything in the dressing that could spoil. It really will make your salad stand out and I’m sure you’ll get at least a few compliments where ever you take it.

While we’re talking about salads, I thought that I’d share one my favorites and perhaps the easiest salads. What you’ll need:

  • My Vinaigrette
  • 1 Bag of Trader Joe’s Brussel Sprout Mix
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of Pine Nuts

Step 1: Mix ingredients

Step 2: Eat the salad because you’re pretty hungry

Now all you need to do is just buy a baguette or some other artisanal bread and you’ve got a great lunch or dinner. Add a fried egg on top and you’ve got heaven on a plate, my friends.

*A helpful hint I learned from a cooking blog is to mix it about 10 minutes before serving it so the greens soften just a little.

The Perfect Summer Salad

Try the recipe and let me know how you like it! I’d love to hear about your favorite summer salads or if you have a recipe that you absolutely swear by.


Think- Free Thursday: Feeling China Blue

Have you ever thought about where the term “feeling blue” come from? I’ve always been a little curious because personally, I love blue. It peaceful, calm, soothing and doesn’t usually scream for attention. It’s such a nice, friendly color that plays so nice with so many other colors, even garish orange. I feel like blue sometimes gets a bad rap.

But I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone when it comes to loving blue. China blues are everywhere this year and I can’t get enough. I only have a six or seven pieces which could be considered “China blue” but after perusing a few of my favorite sites, I think that I might need to pick up a few more. Here are a few that I have my eye on:

china-blue-indigo

 

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Which one is your favorite? I honestly love them all and want each one, but the ginger jar and the dress are the ones that might already be in my online shopping cart. They’re just too good to leave behind. Anyone else out there ” feeling blue?”


Why my iPhone is Full of Photos

Photos on my iPhone

*I need to thank you all for the love yesterday- I didn’t expect such an outpouring of support and it was simply wonderful. You guys are the best. A few of your comments actually inspired me to write this post.*

The screen shot above is a mere fraction of the photos I keep on my phone. I have so many photos on my phone, in fact, that my phone is always nearly full. The husband always tells me to delete a few (or more than a few) photos to free up space. Sometimes I do, but most of the time I just can’t. What happens instead is I end up looking through my photos and thinking about the moments each one represents.

Each snapshot is more than the ‘likes’ it receives, it’s a piece of my life. On hard days, or even just really boring moments, I often find mind myself turning on my phone and scrolling through my photos. In doing this, I’m reminded of all of the truly awesome and amazing things about my life. Travel, family, friends, adventures- all of these things are blessings in my life. When life gets a little rough, which it sometimes tends to do, there isn’t much that helps me get out of that funk faster than remembering how good I have it. My phone carries more than enough proof. Proof that I’ve had great moments, truly lived and have been loved.

I will admit that eventually I run out of space (how did I ever think 16 gigs was enough?!) and I have to load some of them to my hard drive. Each time I do this I usually resolve to do two things: 1. Capture and appreciate more of life’s moments and 2. Next time buy a phone with more memory.


Talk About it Tuesday: Would You Buy Baby Clothes Without Having a Baby?

Antique Blessing/Christening Dress

So today I did something I vowed I would never do. I bought baby clothes. For me. Or rather, for the baby that doesn’t quite exist. A little crazy, right? I mean, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen some adorable baby outfit, but this vintage blessing dress instantly caught my eye at an estate sale and I was mesmerized. And now that I think about it, I actually broke two of my personal rules- I bought used clothing at an estate sale. But seriously, did you see that lace and hand embroidery? It was just too delicate and pretty to leave behind, especially since it was only $16!

Even with it only being $16, we’re still childless. Still no squiggly babe arms to fit into those beautiful little sleeves. We’re currently working on the kid thing (and have been for a couple years), so I am a little worried that I might be jinxing it with this purchase. Does that make me even crazier for thinking that? I’m not sure, but fertility issues can do that to ya, I guess. Then there’s also that pesky gender issue. I know that these days boys are wearing dresses but if I ever have a son, I’ll be dressing the little man in adorable pants, not a flowy, cotton dress.

But despite all of these factors, as I picked up the dress and showed it to my husband, he immediately told me to buy it. He knows how crazy I think it is, but he didn’t hesitate. I’m pretty sure that he could tell that despite all of the logical reasons not to buy it, I still really wanted it and this was his way of saying that sometimes it’s ok it to be a little crazy, maybe even a little hopeful.

So packed I’ve got it all packed away, hoping it’ll get some use at some point in the future. And if not, well, I’m that crazy lady who has a baby gown in her closet.


Make a Difference Monday: Jammies with a Cause

Punjamies 3

It makes my day when I can buy something I already need and some of the proceeds go to a great cause. I feel like I have to share this amazing company that I stumbled across a few weeks ago. Punjammies are incredibly beautiful and comfortable pjs that are handmade by women who escaped human trafficking. These women who have endured unimaginable horrors and have learned a marketable skill and their products are beautiful! I love that their motto is “made from hope and made for comfort.”

Punjammies

So often it’s so easy for me to feel completely disconnected from so much of the world. I’ll confess that I have a bit of guilt when I think about how privileged I am in relation to the rest of the world and it’s often countered with the feeling of smallness and insignificance. But I honestly believe huge change comes from small and simple acts, so often when I feel overwhelmed with the issues of the world (and there are plenty) I look for small ways I can make a difference. It’s fabulous that that I can look amazing and chic in these pjs while feeling amazing for supporting a great cause in a small way.

So I’m hoping that each of you will visit their site HERE and pick out an awesome pair of of pjs. Let’s feel good and look good!

Have a beautiful Monday!


What to Buy at Estate Sales

Estate Sale Finds

I love estate sales. My husband says that I love them because you get a chance to dig through people’s stuff, but I say that it’s because of the amazing deals you can find. If I’m going to be honest with myself though, it’s probably a little bit of both. Either way, I love taking half an hour or so and heading to a couple after my Saturday donut runs. But do not be fooled, not everything at every sale is a good deal or even a good buy. I’ve come across half burned candles, dirty linens, broken plastic toys and many other less than desirable items at plenty of sales. After going through quite a few homes, I’ve learned for experience what’s worth it and what’s not. Here’s a basic list of things I always keep an eye out for:

  • Original Art– I am always on the hunt for a great oil painting or water color that would fit in my home. I’ve purchased awesome pieces for pennies on the dollar. Pro tip: look beyond the frame. Sometimes the artwork is beautiful but just need a little update.
  • Vintage Scarves and Ties– See that taupe tie in the picture above? It’s a beautiful Dior tie that we paid 50 cents for. That is crazy, I know. Not every sale will have gems like that, but it’s worth looking. Pro tip: I usually have more luck with finding awesome ties if the home is mid century modern.
  • Cuff Links– We’ve found some of my husband’s favorite cuff links at estate sales- the ones above are actually really cool 1930’s cars. Pro tip: Don’t just look in the cases in the front. Many times they’ll have some in the back bedroom/bathroom near where the ties are.
  • White Serving Ware and Milk Glass- I use my little white flower bowls all the time during parties and dinners. I think I got the set for something around $4 so I have more than got my moneys worth out of them. Milk glass is also awesome for serving and adds that extra touch. Pro tip: Many estate sale companies know that milk glass is hot right now so sometimes it can be incredibly over priced. I never pay more than $7 for anything milk glass and recommend not going over $10 unless it’s extremely large, detailed, or unique.
  • Silver Plate- I think old silver has a beautiful patina and can add depth to a space. Pro tip- Like milk glass, it is often over priced! Don’t be afraid to walk away from something if the price is too high because you can find tarnished silver in most sales.
  • Blue and White Ginger Jars- Ginger jars are so popular right now and some of the best prices I’ve seen on them have been at estate sales. Pro tip: Unless you do your research or have some way to authenticate age, be a little wary of the super pricey “older” ones.
  • Plants and Planters- I’ve more recently discovered that buying plants and planters at these sales can mean you can get INSANE deals. Pro tip: Don’t forget to check out any planters in the front and back yard, especially on the last day. I’ve missed out on some beautiful antique urns because I saw them just a moment too late.

So there’s my list of things to watch out for. Have I missed anything? Anything you always pick up when you go to estate sales? Good luck at the sales this weekend!