Valentine's Day: In My Shoes

     I don't know about you, but I had a wonderful and simple Valentine's Day. I spent the morning enjoying coffee and breakfast (while snuggling with Brody) and really embraced the freedom of no obligations. My sister and niece (Laura & Ellerie) and I all face-timed which had me smiling ear to ear. Somehow when you face-time it just feels like you are all together (thank you to advanced technology!).
     Ellerie is completely full of life and loved showing me all of her toys along with her cooking supplies (loves being in the kitchen). Her voice will always melt my heart. I tend to have flashbacks of the night she was born...I remember being told she had arrived and I (literally) ran down the halls of the hospital to Laura's room, hearing the most precious cry, and looked at the most precious little creation from God (gives me chills just writing about it!). I ave never cried so many tears of joy in my life. There is nothing like being an aunt!
   
     Back to my day...When Corey got home, he had a dozen roses (pinky peach colored..my favorite) along with hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries and a card from him (and of course one from Brody too). Did I mention there were balloons involved as well? If there is one thing my man knows...it is that I enjoy the most simple (yet thoughtful) gifts and gestures. He knows that on these (minor) holidays it means more to me to receive a bouquet of flowers than anything else and how I will love them so.
     AND if there is One thing I know...it is that I am a lucky girl. I think we take our relationships for granted and don't always appreciate the little things we are given or told. I will not lie..there are days I take Corey's 50 kisses on my forehead and cheek for granted..him making me my favorite foods for granted..his unconditional understanding and support for granted and his love and respect for me ...for granted.
      It is not that I don't give thanks or show love back (believe me I do) ..it is more that because he is so good to me (on a regular basis) that I tend to not give him enough credit. I decided yesterday morning (as I was sitting and rubbing Brody) no matter what happens on this beautiful day... I will cherish every little thing and give credit and appreciation. This helped opening my eyes a bit, and will be telling myself this more often. Sometimes you need a reminder (even if is to yourself) that you are lucky and blessed and have many wonderful (big & little) things going on in your life...that are special in their own ways. For that love should be shown & most importantly thanks :) Here are some photos from my Vday!

























Snow Day: Take 2

     We were lucky to get another beautiful snowfall yesterday, and I had to capture a few details of it once more! I know I keep talking about Spring and really wanting the warm weather to get here (which I do BELIEVE me) ..but for now I honestly am appreciating this gorgeous fluffy snow we rarely see. Not to mention most people had the day off ..so there cannot be too much complaining if any. I love that Charlotte always offers the most beautiful and invigorating seasons. I always am so thankful to have the various places to travel (mountains..beach..lake...city) along with timeless seasons. God you are good!














 

Moving Day: We Meet Again

     Yesterday morning was moving day for me (for the 450 time it seems). And no, it was not to a townhome or house or apartment ..but a storage unit (for the meantime) until I find a place I love. I will be staying with friends and my boyfriend for a few weeks until the moving takes off again! It really never ends.
      You know ...I can't really say I regret all the various places I've lived or would go back and change anything if I could. I think different homes with different roommates have always shaped me and taught me something.
     I really do think I want to stay in Charlotte (at least for another year) and work some and get a plan together. I have so many ideas of moving and traveling and where I want to raise a family..(blah blah blah) however I would rather have some money saved...I would rather have some set goals...I would rather utilize the opportunities and connections nearby and would like to be close to all my friends. So for now, looks like the QC is my home. I am okay with this too. I did see myself in another city, possibly exploring and just trying something new, but if that isn't for another couple years..so be it! This is the beauty of taking your time and cherishing the different years of your life. God always has a plan..
     Back to my topic...yesterday's move...we used Gentle Giant Moving Company, and they were superb to work with! Had all of my stuff loaded ..packed ..moved and unloaded in under 2 hours! Was pretty affordable too (saved me tons of labor all yesterday) and the men were tremendously amicable. If your wondering..the storage unit was affordable too! I only need it for about a month or less... and Public Storage (on Park rd.)..currently has a promotion going on which is... $1 on your first month of rent for certain units. So this is costing me a total of 50 bucks (administrative fees too) for a month of storage. Talk about deal!
     When you are not married yet and you have a ton of furniture (home decor) and just stuff...movers can be lifesavers and won't cost you an arm and a leg. Same with storage units..I didn't want to make a hasty decision on a townhome so why not store for a month and get a game plan together?
     We will see what the future has in store (more like the next few weeks) but I will be sure to keep ya posted! Here are some photos I snagged of the move.







Snow: Brody Boy

   Had to share a few photos of Brody from today's snow adventures. He was not loving it quite as much after about 15 minutes ..especially once his nose was cold & wet. He always tries anything ..even if he s not really adapt to it or sure of it. Being predominately fearless, he loves to explore everything and anything his paws touch. If ever it gets to scary...retreating typically occurs back to my lap ...and that is perfectly okay with me!








5 Things: My Thoughts

     Been awhile since I have talked about 5 things on my mind right now so figured it's Monday..let's give it a go. Babes are currently napping and let's hope they keep it up for another 30 minutes so I can get some things done (like eat at some point haha). 
     I hope I didn't bombard everyone yesterday with all my posts ...but sometimes there are a billion things on your mind that you just have to talk about (or in my case write about mostly). I also have a hard time not sharing info (whether it's fashion, food or advice). So here's 5 things..



1. I am such a fan of Valentine's Day. I know and understand half of the US is not..and finds it overrated (which is fine). I guess I just have never understood the hate towards it or dislike. I mean we celebrate St. Patricks Day and Halloween and I don't see how those are not overrated too? 
     The big quote I hear (that's rephrased quite a bit) from many people is "We should not have one day that we express our love for others" Well DUH... but because our society (which is slowly I feel going downhill and loosing touch of what matters) is so hurtful and mean at times...that it's imperative to have a day to remind everyone the importance of loving. Whether it's a significant other or a random lady down the road or you local target cashiers....use this "overrated" holiday to cherish your close ones (random people in your community too) and show them how to love and be loved. I don't see anything overrated about that....

2. I am craving one more hit of snow...Please please please :) They are calling for at least an inch this week come Wednesday (apparently)..yay! I always am wanting the warm weather but if it's going to remain negative zero might as well snow.

3. I'm loving my new polka dot scarf. Found it at Black Lion ...which has the best little finds. It is like Etsy but store version (amazing). It was only 17.99 too ..so if your in the Dilworth area be sure to stop in!




4. These shabby chic straws are too cute! Can't wait to use them for a brunch I am planning. Also think they would be great for showers (weddings or engagements or even birthdays).. Love the stripes and pops of color. I found mine at SAS Cupcakes and they were pretty affordable! 



5.  Don't assume people have nothing going on in their life simply because they don't have a kid or a full time career. I made this mistake once (pre-jugding) and it was a big learning lesson and new understanding to cut others some slack. Job hunting, nannying, house hunting, birthdays, moving, events, interning for a wedding event company...life is very busy and no some of us are not just "sitting around." 


3 Quotes: I Love You

     Call me cheesy, but I love great romantic movies (preferably the classics that fostered such inspirational romances through the years). Here are a few quotes, from all time famous love movies, that remind me of this man of mine. We have so much that we have been through together yet so much to experience still. I am thankful to have someone that can put up with my stubborn self and make me laugh when I'm upset and kiss my forehead 50 times a day. When we are together nothing else matters, and we are simply content in loving one another. I think that is my favorite part..

"It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it." – Tom Hanks, Sleepless In Seattle

 "No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how." – Gone with the Wind

 "So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day…" – Ryan Gosling, The Notebook

Cupcakes: SAS

     If you are not from around Charlotte or haven't heard, SAS Cupcakes has some of the most delicious cupcakes ever and on Tuesdays they are a whopping 2 bucks. I opted of course for 6 of them, seeing as how I have a boyfriend who devours dessert in minutes. They had a bundle of chocolate variations... along with my personal favorite, s'mores (YUM). It is located on Rea Road in the South Charlotte area. Along with delicious cupcakes they have all sorts of party items you could want and need including striped pink straws I keep seeing on Etsy...glad I waited and got them at SAS for $3. Here are a few pics of the cupcakes we got ...don't drool too much! ;)








Style: Orla Kiely Spring 2014

     I don't know if you hadn't already noticed, but I am getting very excited about Spring and all the colors and styles coming out. Orla Kiely, has done wonders in her new collection by pairing bright colors with nudes and adding safari prints (I have died and gone to heaven). She always has amazing style and designs some of the most trendy and versatile pieces to go crazy over.

 "If Wes Anderson ever sets a film in the Serengeti, then he should call on Orla Kiely to design the costumes. For Spring 2014, her signature nerdy girl went on safari, but that didn't mean she left her printed dresses and quirky knits at home. Inspired by brownies and girl guides, the Kiely girl was always prepared with a binocular case, a beret, and a plethora of '70s-inspired outfits. We loved the giraffe and zebra prints, a white prom dress with a pearl collar, and the cute button-down sundresses." (Soure: IMAXtree)

     Here are my personal favorites from the Spring collection. I cannot wait for the season ahead! 








**Photos from online source**


Life Goes On

     SO... many of you have probably heard through Facebook and what not that our lovely home in Madison Park was hit by a drunk driver a few weeks ago. I never really talked about it because truth be told...there have been so many things we have had to fix and update in the house that it has been more a huge pain than anything else. The drunk driver hit the front of the home causing significant damage to the exterior and foundation on the property. After discussing and negotiating options, we decided it was best to end the lease due to the amount of time it would take to fix the property and it's unlivable conditions. You can read all about it here.

    SO... like I state over and over... life in your twenties is not bliss all the time. In fact, quite the opposite. I am currently looking for a new home/townhome/apartment and have been living out of suitcases pretty much. Just when you think everything is going smoothly ..something typically has to come in and shuffle things up to keep you on your toes. I will say it generally makes me stronger after each trial I am put through which I have decided is okay with me. I mean we are suppose to grow and learn and become stronger each day so why not.

    Amongst these trials (that inevitably come about) I continue to find things that bring happiness and smiles to my life..even if my day doesn't go as planned. I recently purchased a floral scarf and who knew it had the power to make my whole day brighter. Sometimes you need to just wear something cheerful to get through the difficult times you face. I know florals are nothing new ...but something about wearing a floral print completely lifts your mood. Here's to the little things..








Gift Guide: Be My Valentine :)

    Thought I would gather some of my favorite items (for Valentine's Day) that would make perfect little gifts! I have many birthdays (my mom's!) and many dear friends that I love to spoil...especially over even the minor holidays. I guess it makes me feel better shopping knowing it is for others (...right?).
     I have been told, by many people, finding fitting gifts can sometimes be challenging, however I have scouted a few that will be great for just about anyone. I did throw in a gift idea that I am smitten over for the little ones in your life (the back of the bag says "Bye"...too cute). 
    Gift giving does not have to break your back if you know the right places to look! Enjoy :) 

-Links below-


Essentials: Plane Ride or Road Trip

     I was recently asked what I would wear on a plane ride (in the next couple weeks) and the essentials I would bring along. I am all about packing well and having complete comfort no matter how I am traveling. Some of these products are a little more pricey (like the camera) but are imperative to bring if your a photo guru like myself. So here goes..



1. Leith Chunky Knit Slouch Hat ($24)..getting better at wearing these and they keep you super warm!

2. Celfie Sweatshirt..comfortable & cute..need I say more? This one is actually from Etsy!

3. Skinny jeans! (Or leggings) I have a pair that look the same from Old Navy if you wanna go a more affordable route..

4. Leopard Flats ..these go with everything and are versatile for most seasons.

5. Leather Camera Bag ..currently dying to have this bag but not an essential I suppose. Any camera bag will do!

6. Ombre Infinity Scarf ...these are very comfy on plane rides and give a little something to a basic outfit.

7.  Journal ...I like to document everything and remember all my little (and big) experiences. Plane rides are also nice downtime for some journaling.

8. Galaxy S4... cannot live without my galaxy S4. It goes everywhere with me. Pictures are incredible!

9. L'Occitane 'Subtle Violet' Hand Cream ($12) moisturizing and relaxing. This stuff feels and smells amazing!

10. Claudalie Eye Cream (or any eye cream/moisturizer).. just recently tried this from my friend and couldn't believe how much better my eyes looked. It runs pricey but if you have a long trip keeps you looking refreshed!

11. Nar Lipgloss in Larger Than Life ($26) ..love the color and beginning to LOVE all Nars products.  They are more pricey but last forever and keep those lips looking lustrous!

Etsy: Prints for Vday from Just A Bird

     In lieu of Valentine's Day (which is clearly a favorite holiday of mine if you haven't gathered that already)...I found a couple pretty fitting prints.. that I really am thinking about ordering soon. They are all reasonable in price (right around 5 bucks), and I crave the simplicity of each. Etsy never fails to provide one of a kind items. Thank goodness for that!
     All of these prints are from "Just A Bird" printables. They are also having a killer deal..buy 3 get 1 FREE :)!



Here are a few of my favorites I picked out-















My Body Image

 

     One thing I know for sure, is that I love good rich food. The kind that leaves your mouth wanting just one more bite. A few years ago, I struggled with my weight a little. I was in college ...and found myself grabbing fast food left and right because of the efficiency (and it taste so darn good).  It ended up adding a good 10 pounds to my body in return, and I didn't look like myself at all (in my mind at least). I also had a bad snacking habit...real bad. Lots of chips, crackers and even cheese sticks. Even going for healthy snack foods like nuts and avocados have some fattening components. I felt like I was in a loose/loose situation most days.
     I remember trying to figure out what workout or diet would be best to get my body back in the shape it was ...prior to fast food cravings. Most workouts seemed annoying and I dislike the gym to a large extent. I have always been an avid runner (I will say) and find much more joy in exercising outside or doing an activity that isn't classified as "working out."
      In regards to dieting...Most every diet I found seemed so silly and required you to eat barely anything of substance. I love meat and a good piece of steak...why should I not be able to enjoy it in moderation and have a fit body? Same with bread (the world's leading carb)..I love it and enjoy a big roll for dinner or a biscuit for breakfast.
     I will never forget the day I was driving...and somehow got listening to a health topic on the radio. A nutritionist, who was talking, said something that I really took to heart and began practicing immediately.
     He said "Eat when you are hungry..don't eat when you aren't." Took me a minute and I realized how valid his simple point was. I thought about the times I snacked throughout the day..usually when I'm bored/stressed/lazy. Therefore, I began crafting or finding something to keep myself busy to replace the "snacking urge" when those feelings occurred.
     I also started working more after college (mostly nannying) which helped with my body tone and staying active. People don't realize, but when u are carrying infants up and down stairs along with routine walks during the day...your body is getting a killer workout. I added it up (one day) and I had gone up and down the stairs over 30 times due to changing diapers...baths...etc.
     So here I am today. I eat only when I am hungry and stay busy keeping my body active. I eat a good breakfast (usually eggs and oatmeal) a light lunch (turkey sandwich & yogurt) and a pretty substantial dinner (anything from crab cakes to pasta to a hearty filet). I weigh 132 pounds and I am 5'9. According to the doctor (who I saw a few weeks ago) my blood pressure and everything else is healthy as a clam! My skin has also been phenomenal I might add.
     SO what I'm trying to get across is the fact that you don't need to workout for hours everyday or go on some crazy diet to have a body you love. I stay active (rarely go to the actual gym) by taking walks outside and simple things like staircase climbing. I eat whatever I want as long as it is somewhat organic and fresh. I make brownies at night and have no guilt indulging in them.
     Don't put yourself in a health cage where you limit yourself from good food and practically live at the gym. Enjoy your life and find activities that give your body a workout without forcing yourself to a treadmill. Hiking..walks..stair climbing..even washing your car gives your body a stretch and workout. Enjoy your life and don't put restrictions on everything you eat. Like my mom always told me.."everything in moderation."

Until next time!

Mint Green: It's everywhere...

     Anyone else seeing mint green everywhere!? I think just about every magazine or wedding idea book or pinterest find..is talking about mint green being the "color for the season" ahead. Now don't get me wrong, I really dont mind the color but I get really annoyed when our society tends to choose one color as the season's "trend."

     Why you may ask? Well because I don't know if you remember when we were all hooked on royal blue and now the color is slightly obnoxious and reminds me solely of Kate Middleton (who I'm also sick of hearing about!)
      This happens with patterns too..like chevron... OVERUSED. I get so overjoyed when I see something that is not chevron, especially grey (I mean we probably have 400 patterns to choose from people..let's broaden our minds).
     SO anyways...mint green is clearly the hot color right now...so i suppose instead of fighting it (even though it was the color of my room from ages 10 to 18) I will embrace it. I'm pretty sure every wedding, party and event along with at least 200 nurseries around the US will feature this color so I probably should find ways to love it.
     Here are a few pictures of decor and styles with mint green that I actually do like quite a bit. Some are very DIY and some
 feature a rustic look which gives the mint green a more shabby chic effect (love). Enjoy!









Little Vintage Treasures: Love

     Blogging away on this rainy day which apparently is not ending for another week or so (lovely right?). Anyways, I Found (in my mind) some beautiful antique treasures at one of the shops we went to yesterday. I adore vintage earrings that are slightly over sized and have some gold element to them. They just seem to make a statement wherever you go and spice up any ordinary ensemble.
     I also like old woven knits and pieces that just seem so delicate and dainty. I found a beautiful cloth to go on top of a vanity or jewelry stand. It is hand woven and probably dates back to the 1900's. I want to pass down all of these things one day after I have little ones. I hope they will have some of the same love and passion for history/delicate things..like myself!
     Be sure to check out vintage shops (even if they look like hole in the wall type of places). You really never know what you might find!







An Afternoon in Waxhaw

     Wanted to share a few of the photos I took in Waxhaw yesterday. Waxhaw is located in the "South Charlotte" area (I guess you could say) and is very small and quaint. We like going to historic Waxhaw,  which is not too far from his parent's house. This spot features the cutest antique stores, fresh market, local restaurants and beautiful tall trees with benches everywhere you look.
      I fell in love with the railroad track that went through the town as well. It would make for a perfect picture spot for an engagement session or portraits. I love areas that have a vintage feel and offer a sense of true southern spirit. I look forward to going back once the weather is nice again..(aka not this 30 degree nonsense). If you are ever in Waxhaw, check out the historic area...you will not want to leave!






















A walk: God's gift

     Today, after Corey and I explored some of Historic Waxhaw (which was adorable), we came back (sent some emails) and realized we needed to take advantage of this killer weather. I mean 72 degrees in January?! It was literally snowing a week ago..but I'm not complaining! As we were walking through his neighborhood (by the most gorgeous pond) I realized how stunning God's creation is.
     There is a verse I love reading over and over because when you think about the meaning.... it makes you tremendously thankful. "Every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17). I am always so thankful and filled with joy when God is doing amazing things in my life or even teaching me patience and contentment. Today I am thankful for His gift of beauty in nature and the indescribable views He creates for me each day. Thankful to say the least for the little things.






Boone: Quick Trip & Lots of Laughs

     Saturday afternoon I decided to go visit my dear friend Laramie who lives in Boone, NC. She lives right past Blowing Rock in a shabby chic apartment on the mountainside. I fell in love with her abode filled with antique treasures and lots of vibrant colors. She sure has a wonderful way of welcoming you smiling bright and holding her adorable kitty, Pierre.
     I met Laramie back in college when I was joining Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. She soon became my "big" and I became her "little." We have had such a close relationship ever since our college/sorority days and I don't know what I would do without her genuine self in my life. She also is a makeup artist and a VERY good one I might add. I get the best tips on trends and cosmetics that are so healthy for your skin...love. Anyways, she certainly is one of a kind and I am thrilled we got to spend some time together and catch up. She always cracks me up and we find ourselves rolling on the floor laughing more than anything. Love this about my girl because sometimes you need a good laugh here and there (am I right?)
     We decided to go to Black Cat on Saturday night for some delicious fresh mexican food and ended the night watching I Love New York. On Sunday her roomie, Alex, and us went to King street to do some antique shopping and just to check out the local shops. We got lattes and didn't let the clouds get in our way of us having a great time. Here are some pics I snapped from the trip. Cant wait to go back and visit longer!







































Recipe: Gluten Free Banana Bread

     I will say I have been loving some banana bread (lately) mainly because it is just so so good!  Trader Joes always has different kinds that you can add fresh ingredients (like ripe bananas). I am annoyed at myself for throwing away the box before snapping a photo of it and can't seem to quickly find a picture of it online...BUT... If you go to your local Trader Joes it is in the baking Isle and the one that is labeled Gluten Free.
     My mom has Celiac disease...which in short words means she cannot process wheat and therefore must eat food that doesn't contain it. It used to be quite challenging, however, now most restaurants carry a gluten free menu and groceries are offering more selections when it comes to wheat free products. I do not have celiac, but sometimes feel the urge to eat gluten free to protect my body.
     OKAY so enough of me rambling.  It is very simple to make this. Make sure you have at least 2 ripe bananas on hand before getting started. Mix the banana bread mix in a bowl along with 2 mashed bananas, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons of milk (any kind) and 1/3 cup of an oil of your choice. Once everything is well blended put it in a sprayed bread baking pan and bake it for an hour at 350. This recipe is effortless and the results are phenomenal.
                   
 Enjoy!!







Monogrammed: Alphabet Soup

     Since I'm on a bit of a style kick here with my blog posts..thought I would add one more post on all things monogram. If you hate monogrammed items and think it's all annoying and obnoxious...you may not want to read this post. I, however, love to have a few things monogrammed such as basic canvas totes, cosmetic bags, vests & koozies ....to name a few.
     I recently discovered an adorable monogram boutique called Alphabet Soup (located off Sharon Rd.). They have such various items you can purchase and are all reasonably priced. I had a hard time only picking a few items, because many of the bags sported subtle colors ..which in monogram world isn't very common..but something I love. It's nice to take a break from the hot pink/mint green combo.
     I ended up going with a Koozie (6.00), tote bag (30.00) and a cosmetic travel bag (10.00). All the monogramming starts at $8 and goes up from there depending on how big you want it displayed. They had my order ready in about 2 days and I couldn't have been more happy about it!
     Be sure to check them out and stop by if you are around the area! Here are my items I purchased pictured below!