it’s friday!! i haven’t been the best blogger lately, but i'm staying faithful to my favorite post each week – five on friday! i'm linking up with some of my favorites: april, christina, darci, and natasha for their weekly link up! you should too – all the cool kids are doing it!
1  |  earlier this week, alex was raving about pottery barn’s mercury glass pumpkins. what’s a girl to do when you don’t want to pay the pottery barn price tag? find them cheaper at kirklands, duh. and you can light these up if you’re feeling extra spooky.
2  |  although the weather isn’t quite cooperating with my state of mind, i put together a little fall crockpot meal this week. one of my go-to favorites is red beans and rice. i've been using this recipe for years, and it never fails. the only bad part? my hands smelled like chopped onions all day.
3  | we’re headed to virginia for the weekend to celebrate our good friends’, marc and lori beth’s, engagement. the party will be at marc’s parents’ picture perfect home on smith mountain lake, one that andrew and i have been lucky to be guests at too many times to count. so excited to celebrate the beginning of married life for these two love birds!
4  |  last weekend, mom took me on a little pre-birthday shopping trip and just couldn’t leave francesca’s without this gorgeous dress. i'm wearing it to the party on saturday and can’t wait to sport it when the weather gets cooler with some tall boots!
5  |  lastly, being in danville for the weekend wouldn’t complete without some niece snuggles. these little girls are growing so fast into young ladies, and our time with them is so so precious! looking forward to some delicious home cooking and a beautiful virginia weekend!




it’s always so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine. take a minute today to reflect on the event that rocked our world 12 years ago. my thoughts and prayers are still with those who lost loved ones on 9.11 and who continue to hold strong today. we’ll never forget where we were on this day, and we’ll never forget the sacrifices that have been made since.  image via.



so i'm full of empty promises and haven’t had a sec to put together my vacay-wrap-up post! instead, i'm dropping by today for a little five on friday action with darci, christina, april, and natasha!


1  |  alex and i received a little surprise text yesterday from our good friend emily with some very valuable information. apparently we’re the carrie underwood fanatics in our group – who knew?! mrs. fisher is coming out with her very own opi nicole line which debuts in january 2014. can’t wait to try some of these new hues!

2  |  yesterday was my dad’s birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! we’re driving up to greensboro tomorrow for a little beer brewing [and beer drinking] in honor of the birthday boy! i love this old throwback picture of my dad and me! it’s so fun/creepy to look back at old pictures of him and see the extreme resemblance to my brother now!

3  |  i'm feeling incredibly thankful for my little fur babies this week. it’s a well-known fact that i'm approaching the “crazy cat lady” title [if i'm not there already], so it’s no surprise that andrew and i both got really freaked out [ex: me, in tears] when we almost OD’d our cats on flea treatments this week. lesson to be learned: don’t just go for the cheapest brand of flea prevention [hartz, sergeants], they can be incredibly hazardous to your pet’s health. go ahead, splurge on the good stuff at the vet if you want to keep fido and fluffy around for a while.

4  |  i'm not a tried and true PSL gal. *gasp* i know! i'm more of a chai latte lover. i'd love to whip up this homemade chai vanilla latte creamer! i think it would be a nice little transition into fall!

5  |  although i'm not crazy about a PSL, i do love a great spiced donut! i had my first little pumpkin muchkin from dunkin’ donuts last week, and i know it won’t be the last. i've never made homemade donuts before, but i'm thinking i might add that to my fall bucket list! image via




phillip lim for target (coming soon!)  |  naked 2 palettefrye paige boots | essie cashmere bathrobe, skirting the issue, after school boy blazer
according to pinterest and every blogger/instagrammer out there, fall is in the air! nevermind that it’s currently 86 degrees outside. it’s definitely by far my favorite season: the season of football, hearty crockpot soups and chilis, chai lattes, boots and leggings, and MY BIRTHDAAAY! i've already started compiling a little wish-list. last year, i [we] got a house for my birthday, so i'm not sure this year will pack as big of a punch [or pricetag]!
i'll be back later this week with a vacay recap! we had a perfect time – i could not have asked for better weather, food, and company!



IT’S FRIDAYY! i thought this day would never come! y’all know the friday-before-vacation feeling? oh yeah, i'm there! i can only imagine how productive the rest of my day will be. for starters, i'm linking up with christina, april, darci, and natasha for their weekly five on friday link party! here’s a roundup of my week and couple of things i'm looking forward to…
1  |   as we discussed last week, i'm headed down south tomorrow for our annual family vacation to the florida panhandle. mom and i usually take a girls day to explore 30A – everywhere from grayton to rosemary beach! my favorite is stopping in seaside for lunch and perusing the shops! buy the jersey here
2  |  we gave a new restaurant a try last year and wanted to eat there every night after! stinky’s fish camp in santa rosa beach is our new go-to favorite! i've spent the past year trying to replicate their shrimp and grits! if you’re in the 30A area, it’s well worth a little bit of a drive to get there!
3  |  i put our jeep in the shop on monday for some maintenance before our trip, and chrystler set me up with a pretty badass rental. we’ve been cruising the queen city in a 2014 jeep grand cherokee – fully loaded, black, with a killer panoramic sunroof. it almost makes up for the fact that they’ve taken all week to get 1 stinkin’ part in stock. we’ve lovingly dubbed it the “batjeep”. maybe it wants to join us for family vacay, yes?
4  |  last night, april hosted christina and me for a little girls’ night action! we enjoyed some delicious little appetizers, a few bottles of wine, and a whole lot of laughs and girl talk! i'm always on cloud 9 after i get home from a night with these gals – everything is just so easy and natural! christina brought us both a little bottle of the organix coconut milk shampoo that darci’s been raving about, and april tied the cutest little nail polishes on our wine glasses as a little treat. i can’t wait to give them both a try next week!
5  |  last but not least: my best friend from high school, lauren, is being induced for labor today! she and her hubby, adam, are having their first little baby boy! it’s such a surreal thing, when friends start having babies! i could not be more excited for them, and i can’t wait to meet their new addition.
as of tomorrow, i'll be off the radar and on the beach! follow along via instagram, and try not to be too jealous!




romper  //  wedges  //  knot bangle  //  w. bangle  //  bellini recipe

it was so fun seeing everyone’s lilly sale picks yesterday! admittedly, my only shopping was of the “window shopping” variety. too bad too because this adorable romper could have been accompanying me on my upcoming vacation next week! if you’re shopping the sale today, you’ll see that the majority of the best lilly items are sold out, but if you look hard, you’re sure to find some lingering sales at other retailers. i found this romper for sale at zappos and a smaller LP boutique.

speaking of sales, piperlime is has a HUGE selection of wedges on sale now! i spotted quite a few steals for around $30-$40. there’s definitely something to be said about planning a vacation at the end of summer – end-of-summer sales = great trip wardrobe!



this week BLEW by, and i'm so thankful for that! it seems as if fall is here already – we’re in the high 60’s/low 70’s all weekend [but in my mind, it’s 85 and sunny, and i'm at the beach already]. linking up today with april, darci, christina, and natasha for their weekly five on friday! here we go!
1  |  i scored the cutest cover-up that i've ever seen a new bright bikini for vacay at marshall’s this week – all for $37. i was completely giddy over the fact that the original pricetag for the cover-up said $96 and it only cost me $10! don’t you LOVE when that happens!
2  |  this time next week, i'll be packing my bags for vacation. if that’s not reason to celebrate, i don’t know what is! my family is originally from arkansas, so we’ve been traveling to destin,fl for vacation since i was little. we moved to the east coast when i was in middle school,but  it only took us 2 vacations to the atlantic to decide there’s nothing like that white sand and emerald waters of the gulf! we’ve decided the 12 hour drive is worth it!
3  |  last weekend we celebrated my mom’s birthday. i stopped by the farmer’s market and grabbed these beauties for the birthday gal! $10 will buy you this gorgeous bouquet, and 20 will get you one twice this size! can’t beat it! i'm planning on heading back today for more to brighten up the abode for my little houseguest [see #5]!
4  |  we’ve lived in our house for 10 months now and i'm JUST now getting pictures hung. i used wrapping paper to map out my little “gallery wall” and hammered away! it’s not a perfect science, but it gets the job done! this project took about an hour from start to finish!
5  |  andrew’s away at a golf tournament which means i'm having a girls’ weekend! one of my best friends, lori beth is bringing her skinny bootie to charlotte, and i couldn’t be more excited! on the agenda: makeovers at laura mercier [along with free champs], cowfish [duh], bridesmaid dress shopping [she’s a bride-to-be!], ikea, and forever 21. looking forward to spending some quality time with this gal!



in exactly 10 days, i'll be headed to the florida gulf coast for our annual family vacation! we’ve taken a family vacation every year as long as i can remember, and it’s a tradition i look forward to year-round! this past october, my parents bought a brand new house, WE bought our first house, and my brother wrapped up his first year living in the big city – we were all feeling like vacation was going to be put on the back burner this year. lo and behold, my dad decided in may that he just couldn’t settle for a beach-less summer, and we all agreed that it’s something we'd rather not miss out on either!

*tip: waiting until the rates drop in mid-august is our go-to saving secret! we might have to fight a hurricane or two, but it’s worth it to save at least 50% on a condo….right?

so since i've obviously got this beach trip on the brain, here are a few essentials that i'm adding to my beach bag this year:


1  |  a monogrammed beach towel: i'm obsessed with this bright and funky ikat print from haymarket designs. pop a monogram on it and it’s that much better, in my opinion! beach towels should be going on sale any day now, if you’re budget saavy like me, score one of those, and drop it by your local monogram shop. you’re likely to score a custom monogrammed towel for under $20!

2  |  an insulated mason jar: i have my trusty tervis prepped and ready for the beach, but this cutie looks like she needs a home too! i would love to make a big batch of cucumber water to sip on all day, and the insulated plastic would make sure that beverage is coooold – a MUST!

3  |  c.wonder tortoise shell sunglasses: traditional tortoise meets glam goddess. these oversized shades would look great on anyone!

4  |  ihome portable speaker: if you invest in anything for the beach, this would be $20 well spent. andrew got one of these portable speakers for christmas this year, and we’ve used it so much! smaller than a coke can, the ihome plugs right up to your cell phone or ipod [using the headphone jack] and pumps out HOURS of music – and high quality sound too! it’s easily re-charged through a usb cord! you can bet this guy will be spending a LOT of time by me!

5  |  vineyard vines gingham whale hat: i love a white ball cap at the beach. there’s just something about a salty ponytail and a baseball hat that makes me feel effortlessly beach-chic. ok, maybe not “chic” maybe just like a college gal again. hah!

6  |  tory burch flip flops: something to slip on, so the sand doesn’t sear the bottoms of your feet. there’s always that 1 time when i attempt to make a mad dash to the pool/trashcan/my towel and end up gracefully skipping leaping in strides like a mad woman across the sand to get there. flip flops, laura – not to be neglected!

7  |  neutrogrena cooling sunscreen: i was immediately intrigued by this when alex blogged about her beach necessities a few weeks back. i'm hoping to score some of this on sale at cvs soon to test it out myself. this might be my first summer ever that getting a black bear tan isn’t a number 1 priority. the older i get, the more i'm thinking about my skin. it’s by no means perfect at this point, but i've gotta keep the good stuff in place! it’s the only skin i've got! this vacation it’s spf 35+ all.week.long.

what are you favorite beach essentials? anything i left off my list?



happy friday, friend!!! i'm linking up for five on friday with christina, darci, april, and natasha. [you should too, because these gals are awesome]. let’s begin, shall we?
1  |  TODAY is my mom’s birthdayyyy! my mom is the sweetest person i know and has a southern accent that sounds like she “just fell off the turnip truck” –as my dad says. if you’re in town, you’re welcome to stop by and tell her happy bday. she’d like that. tomorrow, she and big john are headed into town to celebrate! plans include: getting our hair beautified at t.reid, dinner at cajun queen, and drinking my dad’s home-brewed keg beer all.weekend.long. whew! happy birthday, indeed! in lieu of a birthday cake, i'm planning on making a lemonade pie….with a candle on top. alltogethernow:
2  |  my new fancy curling iron arrived on tuesday! i've been prepping for this occasion by watching as many youtube tutorials as humanly possible. i think it’s paying off. and in case you were wondering, i'm getting really good at snapchat seflies. you’re welcome.
3  |  cookie butter. it happened. as andrew so eloquently put it, “i'm gonna demolish this whole jar on the way to get another jar at trader joes.” i'm eating it now, and i'm not ashamed to say it.
4  |  there are weeks when i really have my ish together and make meal plans and adorable printables. and then there are weeks when i go to the grocery store 3 times and we have turkey burgers with eggs on them and it rocks.
5  |  i just got even more excited about this top from target, for the fact that it’s $18 online, but i scored it for $5 in-store wednesday. naturally, i sported it to work yesterday and it might be my new favorite. it’s super soft, long enough to cover my booty, and it’s got shoulder studs which automatically make me a badass. no? mk.



every 5 years or so, i through one of those "chop it all off" hair funks. about a month later, i'm totally regretting it and longing for my long locks again. my hair is longer now than it's been since high school, and i attribute its health and happiness to a few of my favorite products [and my awesome stylist, chelsea].
i'm really hard on my hair - i rarely have one of those natural, i-just-woke-up-and-my-hair-is-gorg days. so, constant heat and frequent washing were, and is still my go-to routine. heat and bleach had dried out my ends so so bad. last fall, i decided to hop on the ombre’ bandwagon, and i'm so glad i did. we went with a subtle gradient so the blonder locks on the end blend seamlessly with my natural root color. since my initial ombre-ing last september, i've only been to the salon 1 time for color, and that was only to get it a bit brighter for spring/summer [i’ve been in for a few trims in between]! i've never been happier with my hair, and it's never looked healthier, in my opinion.
chelsea introduced me to the loreal intense repair system and mythic oil combo last fall and i havent looked back since! i use the shampoo and deep conditioner once every 3 washes so it lasts longer, and i've barely put a dent in the mythic oil. both products smell like sunshine and kittens [aka: AMAZING] and make my hair so shiny and soft! i'm not totally convinced of the biotin game, but hey, it can’t hurt! and the emijays ensure that i'm not doing any irreparable damage to my tresses on those rare days when i sport a hoodie and ponytail to work. [sad but true]. so there ya go!
what are you favorite tips/products for growing long, healthy hair?



so this little nugget of information popped in my inbox this morning…

two days only. surprise sale. online only. save up to 75 percent off. ends wednesday, august 7th at eleven fifty nine pm. all sales final. shop now.

click the image above to visit the sale, or if that’s too tempting, just stay here for a few and check out my picks. click the images below to be taken directly to the sale item! disclaimer: *i'm all talk, i'm not buying a single thing from the sale on account of me saving every penny for vacay.










woo. i thought summer was supposed to be a time for rest and relaxation? i don’t know about you, but for me, it’s been the busiest summer ever. work has been crazy and we’ve been going and doing LOTS on the weekends. those few and far-between weekends that we're actually home - in charlotte - are so precious and makes for a relaxing and welcome weekend! i'm starting this one off by linking up with some of my favorites for five on friday. shall we?


1  |  we have a visitor coming this weekend!!! our friend and fellow crazy cat lady, jessica, is coming to see the new house and play in charlotte! i'm planning on making my spinach and bacon quiche which is my go-to impress-the-guests dish. i'm SO looking forward to devouring cowfish tonight and doing girly things tomorrow while the boys are golfing!

2  |  i scored a new curling iron this week and can’t wait for her arrival. for years and years, i've been using a 1.25” barrel conair curling iron. after using alex’s 1” one a few months ago, i was amazed at how long my curls stayed and how much more i loved my hair. when i saw the hot tools curling iron for $25 on amazon, i just couldn’t pass it up!

3  |  a gorgeous friday morning calls for iced coffee! i swung through dunkin’ this morning and picked up a butter pecan iced coffee and man, i'm glad i did. i'm sure it has everything to do with my incredible amount of productivity today. AND it’s delicious!

4&5  |  i've become obsessive lately about making my genetically ginormous pores smaller. this combination has worked better than anything i've tried yet. i first invested in the pore refining toner, and not too long after, decided it couldn’t hurt to get the cleanser as well. i use both nightly with my clarisonic, and in the morning i use the cleanser before applying my makeup. i've read lots of articles about how much better it is to apply makeup to a clean face in the morning, and it only took me 13 years to make it a habit. my makeup goes on SO much better and actually has more staying power. not to mention, my complexion definitely thanks me for a morning wash. now, my next thing to master: any advice on anti-aging for oily skin – send that my way as soon as humanly possible!





tonight, friends, i won the lottery…but only if “winning the lottery” means already having everything in your pantry to make cookies. it never fails: after dinner, i want something sweet, just to finish off my meal. because of this little craving, there’s been an unsuccessful stream of mug cakes and eggless cookie doughs. enter: the small batch. tonight, i [successfully] whipped up a small batch of 8 chocolate chip cookies from scratch. the real big deal is that i only ate 2…for now. follow these super simple steps for a sweet midnight [or 8:00] snack.

[makes 8 cookies]

  1. preheat oven to 375*
  2. in a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons of each: softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar
  3. add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to your sugar paste/mix
  4. mix up 1 egg in a small bowl. add 1 tablespoon of the egg to your sugar mix. save the rest for tomorrow night’s batch!
  5. in another small bowl [or your measuring cup, if you’re lazy like me], combine 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt. add this to your sugar mix.
  6. lastly, throw in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
  7. roll or plop your dough into 8 individual cookies, and try your best not to eat the dough!
  8. bake for 10-12 minutes.
  9. ENJOY!

the 2nd best part: i only dirtied up 1 bowl, 1 cup, and 2 measuring spoons! [the pan doesn’t count if you use aluminum foil] the only tragedy in this story is that we were fresh out of milk!



five-on-friday41/3/5  |  if you follow me on instagram, you know that i spent last weekend [and then some] in dallas, texas visiting my best friend from high school and one of my favorite cousins and her family. it was hot, fun, and high-energy [with 3 little ones running around]. I spend half of my trip with my long time bff, lauren, prepping for her baby [coming in august] and just having some girl time! the last half was spent making up for lost time with my cousin, jacqueline, and playing/napping/coloring/snacking with her littles. jac spent many of her teenage days with me in diapers and pigtails – it was so fun/sentimental to finally spend a few days to make memories like that with her children! i can’t say that i didn’t come back with a hint of baby fever after snuggling with those sweet sweet babes! we took a trip to the awesome new perot museum of nature and science in downtown dallas – definitely worth a trip with or with out little ones! i'm so glad i had the chance to take this long-overdue trip this summer!

2  |  i've been raving about old navy all summer and for good reason! they’ve got their shorts [and more] on sale right now – head over and getchoo some! these pretties are only $10 – can’t beat it!

4  |  i'm really excited about something….ready? part custom, part pre-fab. the new “mini-design” template option is now available. i'll design a custom header based on design elements you love, and you choose from a selection of pre-designed navigation bars and social media icons. click here to read more and get started!

link up with me [almost] every friday for april, christina, darci, and natasha’s five on friday!




ohh la la! check out the new design for happily ever parker!! we combined laura’s love for ombre, glitter, and blue hues for a gorgeous, fresh, and happy design! laura is new to the blogging world, so be sure to stop by and show this sweet girl some love!




summer is here and the air is HOT. even though we've seen mostly cloudy skies in the queen city, having a cold drink in hand makes bearing that humidity a little easier. here’s what’s keeping me cool [and hydrated]:


1  |  after sampling the barefoot refresh wine “style” [whatever that means] at the teeter last friday, i decided it would be the perfect beverage for a hot summer night. once i got home, i remembered christina raving about this fabulous libation, and for $5.99, you should be too! my favorite is the crisp white – reminds me of a tastier champagne!

2  |  nothing beats an ice cold diet coke on a hot hot day. [or a cold, wet day for that matter – i don’t discriminate]. i've been watching my DC intake lately and trying to opt for water whenever i can. so only having one every now and then feels like a little indulgence and makes it taste that much better!

3  |  every morning, i throw my VT tervis into my bag, and after i've downed my morning coffee, i'm on a water binge for the duration of the day. in a previous life, it would have been a large diet coke or tea in the cup beside me, and i'm happy to say it’s been an easy adjustment to have something a bit healthier by my side.

4  |  on a quick errand to the teeter yesterday, i was having a craving for that afternoon DC. instead, i grabbed this ICE sparkling water [in grapefruit] for $1. i'm usually not a sparkling water fan, but that grapefruit flavor really pleased my palette. i like to think i did my body a favor by choosing this over my beloved soft drink.


p.s.: in case you missed it last week, hop on over to the good life blog and be sure to enter the giveaway for a custom blog design by moi!




it’s friday! which means i'm linking up with my favorite ladies for five on friday! head on over and link up with darci (or christina, april, or natasha) and while you’re there, enter the faaabulous giveaway going on NOW -- a blog design by yours truly! now that’s worth a #1 spot in this list!

1  |  what? you just skimmed my paragraph above and missed the GIVEAWAY reminder? better get over there now! i'm so so thrilled about the overwhelming positive response from this giveaway! i can’t thank darci enough for this opportunity! YAY YAY YAY!

2  |  j.crew, you jerk. don’t you know that we’re on a shopping hiatus right now? how dare you send me coupons and sale announcements for ridiculous discounts. ugh. daydreaming about these sandals and this gorgeous necklace. for those of you who AREN’T on a financial restriction: j.crew factory is having a 50% off sale PLUS 10% off with the “VIP” discount code. (code is: VIP)

3  |  andrew came home yesterday with a sweet treat in hand. every night after dinner i get a craving for just a little something sweet – it can be 1 dove chocolate or an entire ice cream sundae. with these at 100 calories each, it’s no longer a guilty pleasure! these skinny cow chocolate truffle ice cream bars satisfy my sweet tooth without sacrificing my waistline!

4  |  this weekend is 1 of 2 forth of july weekends! since the holiday falls on a weekday, it’s only natural to start celebrating early at 5 o’clock today. how festive is this scarf?! i'm pretty sure we wont have one of those mild mid-seventies weekends (it is the south, after all), so i think a scarf is out of the question. bring on the cutoffs and tank tops! ‘MERICA WOO!

5  |  we’re hitting the road this weekend (what? i know, we never do that! psh.) to play with my college girlfriends and christen emily’s house with a cronie celebraish! i was blessed with a crazy huge group of college girlfriends (who mostly live in northern virginia and richmond, and who i don’t get to see nearly enough). i'm so so excited to celebrate the 4th, several birthdays, and fabulous friendship all weekend! oh, and emily and her hubs recently got a golden retriever puppy – do i really need another excuse to go?




well hello there! so you’ve GOTTA check out the good life blog today where i'm teaming up with sweet sweet darci to give away a BLOG DESIIIIGN! get your butt over there and enter!


orrrr you can enter below (but still go check out darci’s super cute blog!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



we were traveling last week for father’s day, so i missed the chance to link up with some of my faves for five on friday. [faves – in no particular order: 1, 2, and 3] well ladies, i'm not missing it this week:


1  |  YES, i'm featuring a vacuum cleaner on the blog, but y’all it’s THAT good. this little baby arrived on monday, and andrew can vouch for my level of excitement when the UPS man arrived. i've already used it twice this week! it does a great job of getting into the grooves of our older hardwood floors and sucks up the kitty hair that has a tendency to accumulate like tumbleweeds overnight. if you have hardwoods and need something quick and light, i highly recommend this vacuum [over sweeping] – AND it’s cheap!

2  |  today’s the official start of summer which means i’ve had a tan now for 2 months in preparation. false. working indoors every week and traveling lots on the weekends leaves little to no time beside a pool/lake/any body of water. fake bake to the rescue! i ordered my fake bake earlier this week and have done 2 applications so far. the transition is a lot quicker than the lotions i've used in years past and doesn’t streak or leave me orange one bit! [or maybe no one’s telling me….] ANYWAY! i used this awesome fool-proof self tanner tutorial to ensure a flawless summer glow.

3  |  wednesday, i shared my new meal planning printable. what? you didn’t get that. here you go, friend. having this plan early on in the week made cooking a breeze! i actually looked forward to cooking my new recipes, and we ate a lot healthier than usual [bonus!!] here are some new recipes we tried: parmesan baked tilapia [YES!], skinny grilled buffalo chicken salad [YES!], zucchini cakes [eh…no, because i burnt the breadcrumbs], sweet corn, bacon and greek yogurt chicken salad [YES!]. as long as i can get my act together on sunday, this will hopefully become a weekly routine!

4  |  since andrew’s been watching a lot of basketball this week, i've had a lot of time to myself to take care of some girly things [hence the new vacuum and self tanner]. i scooped up essie’s FIJI polish - only to paint my nails that night, decide i didn’t like it, and exchange it the next day. [did you know you could do that at CVS!?] SECRET STASH came home with me in its place. i'm not usually a pink gal, that’s alex’s department, but it’s such a fun color and looks great on [after 3 coats: step up your game, essie].

5  |  with the sun shining and warm temperatures in the air, i'm craving something cool and refreshing – and i don’t mean ice water. i know i talk about blood orange margaritas on the reg, but they’re always on my mind...always. we really love cantina 1511, a mini-mexican chain here in charlotte. the tijuana taxi margarita is my go-to, and i think it might have to be added to the weekend’s agenda!




yesterday i talked a little bit about the transition from college eating habits [binging on taco bell] to being an adult and taking care of your body with a healthy diet. i am NOT one to stand on a soapbox and be high and mighty on the subject. i wouldn't even go so far to say that i try my best to eat healthy. it would be a lie.

after a hard day at work, or when i'm feeling stressed, i find comfort in delicious food [homemade biscuits, ice cream, anything super cheesy]. in the future, i want to emphasize more that delicious food can [and should] be healthy too. by planning meals at the beginning of the week, it gives me a clear plan of what’s ahead, a stocked kitchen, and reduces the risk of letting my inner fat kid join us for dinner.

feel free to download and print the meal planning pdf above. i'm starting mine this week! at 27, i guess i have to be an adult now, so it’s time to eat like one!



i still haven’t gotten this whole “eating healthy” thing down to an art. i thought that was something that automatically happened when you became an "adult" - you stop craving mcd's and taco bell and start wanting a glass of water and quinoa for dinner. apparently not.

well get excited! i'm sharing a very unique and one-of-a-kind healthy "recipe" with you today. who am i kidding? everyone probably has this dish (in some form or another) at least once a week. am i right? andrew and i are huge mexican fans (of the tbell variety and homemade). actually i could probably just integrate avacado into anything and everything i eat, and be just fine with it! avocado ice cream? sure! avacado chocolate milk? yeah man! give it here! ok, so maybe not everything.

i threw this salad together a few weeks ago and was so pleased with the look and taste. that deserves to be documented! here are the ingredients that went into my fine, fresh, salad:  spinach, diced tomato, canned corn (drained), black beans (drained), avocado, a little red onion, a little leftover grilled chicken, just a touch of cilantro lime dressing from the new teeter.

and my notes: the avocado was mixed with lime juice, salt, garlic, and the red onion – guac makes everything better. which means the salad really didn’t need the dressing.

so, this recipe definitely isn’t pin-worthy. it isn’t one you’re going to scribble down because you HAVE to make it right-this-very-minute. BUT hopefully it inspires you to put a healthy twist on an old favorite, use a little more veggies and a little less filler, and start eating like you love yourself!

From Our Kitchen To Yours




bootsphone casebag  |  umbrella

mother nature has apparently decided she wants to give charlotte a daily downpour. there i am shopping [usually at the grocery store], and while i'm enjoying delicious deli samples and perusing fancy cheeses, i hear the massive raindrops start banging on the tin roof. at this point, i know i should be prepared for a quick “sprint” to the car – only to arrive there drenched, humid, and mad. i use the term “sprint” loosely, because c’mon, i've got groceries [and we all know physical activity running is not my forte]. today, i've put together a little list that would make my rainy day running-around more enjoyable!



it’s friday! which means i'm linking up with my favorites for five on friday – FOOD EDITION! ok, maybe it’s just me thinking and talking about food [what’s new?]


1  |  as i'm picking up my bi-weekly cup of coffee at dunkin' donuts this morning, the man at the register asks me if i want to add a FREE donut to my order? the huge smile that immediately spread across my face just couldn't say no! today is national donut day and they're celebrating in the BEST way possible - FREE DONUTS! my favorite is the sour cream donut, and although she’s not the prettiest, it’s certainly veeeerrry tasty!

2  |   i made crock pot chicken last night and not ashamed to admit that we’ll be eating it all weekend. just 3 chicken breasts is enough to feed andrew and me for a while and we usually still throw a little out. just throw the ingredients in a crock pot for 6 [on high] or 8 [on low] and you’re good to go! i've been adding a little water to the pot too, so the chicken doesn’t dry out. [find those super cute recipe cards here]

3  |  i stocked up on fresh fruit this week at the new teeter, and i've got a boatload of strawberries just begging to be piled on a cake with fresh whipped cream. via

4  |  breakfast is my favorite meal, and throughout the work week, it’s definitely not the most glamorous. weekday breakfasts usually consist of yogurt and a piece of fruit or breakfast bar. weekends are saved for pancakes, eggs, and their friends. i saw a great post earlier this week about mixing cottage cheese with your eggs and i'm excited to give that a go! there i go again, getting excited about food.

5  |  i've been making a conscious effort to drink more water [and less diet coke]. i'm thinking of getting one of these infuser water bottles to liven things up a bit. does anyone have any suggestions of combinations that have worked really well? i might just stick to cucumber, lemon, and mint to boost my metabolism from gorging myself on all of the above. whoops!  [similar]




you may have noticed this gorgeous necklace from my post last friday. that beauty comes straight from my most recent client, madeline, of poppy style. poppy style is an online boutique that has a gorgeous mix of trendy and classic pieces, and the best part is that it’s wallet friendly! you’ve seen poppy style talked about by some of the big time blog gals like hello happiness and julie leah, and i know it’ll be many more soon! madeline and i took her current logo and gave it a bit of a modern twist with some metallic gold stripes and white space. i honestly can’t stop staring at this design! love!




formals-2007-laura-and-andrewzta formals 2007 - back when we were babies.

not too long ago, some of my favorite blog gals did a q&a with their lover-boys. since i'm a big fan of q&a’s, [see my brother’s, here], i thought i’d give the boo a shot:

how long have you been married?
he said: 3 and a half years
she said: 3 years, 7 months [or, if you’re asking me in a conversation, i usually just say “almost 4 years”]

where was your first date?
he said: poor billy’s in blacksburg
she said: poor billy’s in blacksburg, va

where was your first kiss?
he said: in her sorority house bedroom*
she said: in my sorority house

who first said, "i love you"?
he said: i did
she said: he did, at a diner in radford, va

what were your wedding colors?
he said: black, green, and white
she said: black, white, lime

what is her most commonly used phrase?
he said: “it’s okay”*
she said: “i'm hungry”

who is her celebrity crush?
he said: part of me wants to say carrie underwood, another part says ryan gosling
she said: michael buble, jude law

if she was ordering drinks for both of you what would you each get?
he said: she’d get me a bourbon and coke, she’d get a beer
she said: makers and coke, fat tire

what is the best meal she has ever cooked you?
he said: man, probably the fried chicken
she said: fried chicken

what is the worst meal she has ever cooked you?
he said: maybe meatloaf?
she said: meatloaf

what is the most-played song on her ipod?
he said: i know it’s carrie underwood
she said: all american girl – carrie underwood

what would she say is your most annoying habit?
he said: being loud
she said: i can’t think of one [honestly!] maybe his occasional late-night smoke?

what is the last thing she does before she goes to bed?
he said: kiss me goodnight*
she said: set the alarm, snugs

if you could throw out one item of her clothing what would it be?
he said: those raggedy socks, the blue ones [the hole-y ones]*
she said: granny panties [i know i’ve got some in there]

what would you say is your favorite thing about her?
he said: her personality or her butt
she said: my smile

what's her go-to drink at starbucks?
he said: chai latte
she said: grande nonfat dirty chai

what's her blog's name?!
he said: our life in the queen city
she said: our life in the queen city

*he was right
i had to dock his points for forgetting mr. buble, but he got a little extra credit with the carrie underwood answer(s). i'd have to say that he definitely gets a 98%. i'm beginning to think he knows me better than i know me – especially with the socks. i love those holey socks.

thanks for playing along, boo! you’re a good sport! xoxo

and another, because you know you love ‘em.



so, per usual, this weekend was awesome and went by entirely too fast. we had an unforgettable time staying up late night [friday] with old friends and backyard grillin' [saturday] with new ones. these summer weekend nights are what keep me going during the daily work-week grind [surriously] – that, and the occasional after-dinner cookie.

i just wrapped up a super cute blog design with sweet katie, otherwise known as miss dixie. if you haven’t stopped by to see this lady and her sweet family, i highly suggest you stop and go take a look! katie came to me seeking a fresh design and a love list that includes: pink, gold, stripes, simplicity, and her sweet baby boy, weeks [duh!]. here’s what we did:




it's friday again [HALLELUJAH!], and i'm linking up with some favorite blogger girlfriends for the weekly five on friday! here are a few exciting things from this week, sprinkled with items for the weekend and right this minute:
1  |  i'm a big fan of dressing up neutrals or a comfy maxi dress with bold statement pieces. right now, i've got my eyeball on this gorgeous statement necklace from poppy style.

2  |  twice a day, every day for the past 7+ months, andrew and i have been driving past the construction site of our new grocery store. (it's on the way to/from work, we're not just creepin). yesterday was FINALLY opening day of the new harris teeter in plaza midwood! conveniently, we were out of eggs last night (a night that called for breakfast for dinner) so i made a quick stop by. the thing is as big as walmart, i swear.

3  | summer is the season for backyard cookouts, and i'm so so excited to be attending the season's first at matt and christina's. i know it will be nothing less than "pinterest perfect"!

4  |  i designed some bridal shower invitations for my sweet friend, and sorority sister, liz. i love seeing how this event is coming together and that i had a small hand in it!

5  |  j.crew had a BIG sale on monday, and i'm kicking myself for not loading up. right now, i'm especially loving their printed shorts and this sleeveless popover.




hi there! just popping in to share one of my most recent pretties: stefanie from the house spouse. stefanie was so awesome to work with. i hope she looooves her new design – it ranks up there as one of my top favorites (they’re all my favorites, obv)!




did we just have a 3 day weekend? i'm asking because my memory is just a big blur. our memorial day weekend was spent celebrating birthdays, babies, beer, and burritos (actually, all junk food, but burritos fits best here).

friday: i drove down to my parents house to spend the night halfway to danville. i enjoyed some sweet jack snuggles, delicious dinner at lucky 32, did some design work and called it a night around midnight.

saturday: drove down to d-ville with my mom to celebrate my gorgeous mom-to-be bff, lauren. she’s in her 3rd trimester already and, i swear, the gal is in better shape than me. headed back to charlotte saturday evening to nurse my week-long head cold with a tall beer and salad with my boo at big daddy's (i like the old name better).

sunday: up early to celebrate sweet chelsea with brunch at peculiar rabbit and some a moderate amount of day [and night] drinking. oh! and gnarley kitty snugs.

monday: spent the day sleeping until noon, eating fast food, posted up on the couch in front of the tv, vowing to get back in the gym this week, and having my body hate me for the sunday’s activities.

Sami's Shenanigans



i'm so excited, a few of my blog gal pals (here and here) are hosting a new link up: 5 on friday, and i'm so pumped to join the partay! here are a few things that i'm super excited about:


1  |  we went out last night to celebrate one of andrew’s coworker’s (and good friend’s) bday. we ended up going to VGBG and had a ton of fun playing trivia and eating cake. we made our way over to an invite-only concert next door at the fillmore. this was my first concert there, but it won’t be my last! what a great place – such an intimate setting! the free booze provided didn’t hurt either! andrew and i ended the night lounging on the couch, listening to jack johnson and o.a.r. reminiscing about the good ol college days. ahhh.

2  |  NO. i am not with child. i'm NOT preggs. one of my very best and long-time girlfriends is flying in from dallas for HER baby shower this weekend! i'll be going to danville on saturday to celebrate her and rub her little bump! one of my go-to baby gifts right now is a wubanub – which might be the cutest little thing ever. i know i would have been all about this as a child – seeing as how i didn’t let go of my tiny stuffed rabbit friend, “beans”, until i was in middle school.

3  |  memorial day is monday and the unofficial start to summer. this means short shorts are IN season! last year, i did a little tutorial on my american flag cut off shorts for the NASCAR race, and i might just be brining them out of retirement!

4  |  how gorgeous are these kate spade earrings? they would have been perfect for a cinco de mayo bash!

5  |  i've been using this face wash for a week now and think i've found my second life partner. i've mentioned before that i have horrible skin - actually, i'm pretty self-conscious about it. i have really deep pores (damn genetics) and i rarely feel like my face is really clean – even after washing with a clarisonic every night. i can honestly say that my face is softer and brighter and i could tell a difference after just 1 use. -- plus a $7 price tag certainly beats what i've been desperately throwing away at sephora.

look at me! back on the blog-wagon!




i'm back from radio silence to share a project that i worked on over a month ago with sweet sweet lindsay of linsday wynne photography. linsday reached out to me not long ago about a blogger promotion she was hosting and after reading the first sentence of her email, i was hooked! from that point, we scheduled a meet and greet and started gathering our ideas for the shoot. linsday was so awesome throughout the whole process. even though this was totally her idea, she fully indulged my creative side as we started collaborating on a pinterest board to plan the shoot (what a GREAT idea!).

the morning of the shoot, our hair and makeup gal arrived at the house with a suitcase full of tools and we got to primping! i have to say that this was one of my favorite parts - i could watch youtube tutorials on hair and makeup for hours on end, and having someone else do mine on a daily basis would be money well spent! ok ok! now to the good part…

here are just a few of my favorites from the shoot:

laura wyatt designs blogger beauty portraits by lindsay wynne photography_0097logolaura wyatt designs blogger beauty portraits by lindsay wynne photography_0091logolaura wyatt designs blogger beauty portraits by lindsay wynne photography_0210logolaura wyatt designs blogger beauty portraits by lindsay wynne photography_0290logolaura wyatt designs blogger beauty portraits by lindsay wynne photography_0327logolaura wyatt designs blogger beauty portraits by lindsay wynne photography_0271logo

thanks so so much, lindsay, for making me feel so beautiful! you truly are an artist and one of a kind! i had a blast doing the shoot and look forward working with you again soon!

i promise not to go another 20 days before i post again!…famous last words




i appreciate you sticking with me in the last few months - my posts have been pretty bare. 4 in the month of april!? eesh.

i was putting together one of those "fluff" posts today, and halfway through, it was TOTALLY evident that it was just that - filler. i think it’s only fair to me and to you, that i wait until i'm truly inspired to write about something legit. deal? until then, i'll keep sharing some happy, lovely new designs.

as a side-note: thank you for the outpouring of support from friends, family, strangers, and especially my husband and for allowing me to do the work i love to do!



HOW is it already may? i guess that's what happens when you spend all month traveling, working, and having visitors! i promise to have a real post coming up soon, but in the meantime, i'm popping in to share one of my latest favorite designs:

i recently had the pleasure of working with leigh, a fellow carolina gal, from hines-sight blog! check out her new, fresh design and follow along as she reviews the finest hotels and restaurants in the country! maybe i can sweet talk my way into her suitcase for her next trip!




this past weekend was one of the most fun weekends i've had in a looong time! the older i get, the more i appreciate a low-key weekend with great friends and wonderful family. my dad’s newest hobby is brewing beer, and since he had 2 little kegs ready at the same time, we decided to celebrate a successful brew with a crawfish boil! the weather was gorgeous, the beer was delicious, and the crawdads were spicy – all elements that add up to a perfect afternoon! here are a few of my favorite shots from the shindig:

IMAG1210the eligible bachelor

IMAG1211still alive and pinchin’

IMAG1213this is only a little bit. we had 50lbs of crawdads!


IMG_1392pretty/sweet/awesome lori beth

IMG_3347my handsome husband

IMG_9655sweet sweet charlotte girlfriends, chelsea and kristy
(awesome hurr stylists in charlotte @ t.reid – give ‘em a call!)

imageoh, and jack got plenty of attention. i promise he's really loving it!

Untitled-1our gracious hosts/the best parents ever

p.s. special thanks to chelsea for letting me steal a bunch of her pics for this post! xoxo

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