Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Freshen Up

I was so excited to have the afternoon yesterday to get some things done in the yard. We still haven't adjusted to the size difference from our last yard, and this one needs quite a bit of maintenance. Once life gets in the way, it's hard to keep it in tip top shape- but Stephen and I both are lovers a nicely kept yard, so it drives us crazy. I bought some fall flowers and a few new evergreen plants for replacing some foundation plants. 

 It makes me so happy to walk out the door and see these bright and happy plants! I'm crossing my fingers these mums will bloom and not be toast in 2 days. And I'm loving the zinnias for fresh cut flowers, my fave! 

Potting the new plants was easy, I spent most of my time pulling weeds and deciding where things would go. This bed {seen below} also holds a rock pond that we are working on getting rid of. Too much maintenance and I don't like the added bonus of frogs, lizards, etc. No thank you! 

I also repotted several plants- an Autumn Fern and this ivy topiary that is still going strong from our rehearsal dinner in 2010! {It was a lot smaller back then} I worry every year it's not going to survive me forgetting to water it or a bug getting on it and taking over. The heart topiaries were on the tables, isn't that best idea? I love that we still have it!

This is another bed that you see when you pull in the driveway, it's my little project. We immediately lined it with boxwoods as a border, and filled in with a few hydrangeas and other old timey plants.

I also get to see it from our kitchen window. Love the view.

I cleaned up the potting bench and kept it real simple with some coleus for now. We are notorious for cluttering it up with yard tools and grilling tools, but I guess that's kinda what its for. 

 And I also added some new plants for the pots on our driveway-snapdragons, violas and dusty miller.

And last but not least, some baby pumpkins for the steps! 

 Three of them, to be exact ;)

It feels SO good to have things freshened up in the yard, before the leaves start falling. We are also looking at replacing more foundation shrubs with plants more our style- boxwoods, some pretty ligustrum etc. We took down some scraggly looking rose vines yesterday and it already is looking so much better! Little by little....

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2014

An Honest to Goodness Review

As most of you know, a very popular company, the Honest Company, is huge among young moms, savvy with environmental and health minded decisions. I have to admit, for a long time I was not convinced and not interested. After Weeks was born, I became curious about "green" lines and what exactly was different from their products vs. what I usually bought. This is not sponsored in any way, just my personal review. Please just view this post as me sharing my opinions and experience.

First up, being a new Mom I just had to buy those adorable little diapers that had anchors printed on them. I mean...anchors! Are you kidding me. It really does not get much cuter, plus, we live at the beach. They were perfect. I bought them after Weeks was a few months old. Up until then, he had been a strictly Pampers Baby, with no issues and we were happy parents. I just bought them for fun, and to compare. However, I found myself not trusting the durability of the diaper itself. I would only put the cute little anchor diapers on when we were either going to be around people, or after he had a major blowout (ensuring that another blowout wasn't surely to follow in the new diaper brand). I also knew that the Honest diapers were a bit more expensive than Pampers...and this is something they literally "poop" on. I quickly realized this was oh-so-silly. I love the idea of the diaper, but on the other hand I am pretty happy with our little Elmo Pampers. Weeks doesn't have skin irritations from his diaper, which is a very important part of your decision. And if I did have a little more in our budget for diapers, I might change my mind. I know plenty of Moms who love and trust Honest Diapers, and I respect that.

 Next up, Honest sunscreen. I felt like a lotion being rubbed and absorbed into Weeks' skin should be as safe as possible. I really wanted to love this stuff. After several uses (last summer) I just couldn't do it anymore. It was SO thick. And while I was thrilled it was safe for his new, sweet, baby skin, I literally had to scrub it off. I would put him in the bath and wipe and scrub those sweet little cheeks as long as he would let me. I just couldn't do it anymore. This summer, I experimented with several other sunscreens, and I really utilized sun-safe hats as well. If you have a favorite baby sunscreen I would love to know.

Recently, I purchased the Honest Laundry Detergent. I had read it was great for babies with eczema, which Weeks tends to have on his legs. I was a little sad to push the Dreft aside. Because nothing smells better than the entire world. But anyway, I haven't noticed a HUGE change in his eczema, but I think it is slightly better. On another note, I had a few towels that had started to have that mildew smell. Embarrassing. I have never had mildewy towels before! Ew. I credit it to our new front load washer and dryer. I have always heard they have issues, but they are supposed to be designed better now. I have learned, you simply cannot leave things in a front load washer for very long at all. I did one load with the Honest Detergent and it was gone!! I was this close to trying a Pinterest trick for removing the smell, but the Honest worked awesome. I was impressed. Also, semi-unrelated but...I learned in textiles class (in college) that fabric softener leaves a huge buildup (actually wax)  on your clothing and towels. If you think about the texture of a dryer sheet, that gets distributed on to your laundry. I use dryer sheets sparingly and never do a full dryer cycle with a dryer sheet in. Fabric softener also causes your towels to stop absorbing as well...because they are covered in wax. Just some food for thought!

My last Honest purchase is the Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner. I have really enjoyed using it as my daily countertop cleaner. It isn't filled with toxins on my countertops where food may land or be prepared. It has a fresh grapefruit smell and works really well to remove grease and food grime. But also, I am a stickler for thoroughly cleaning anything that comes in contact with raw meat- so anytime I have raw chicken, beef, fish etc, I always spray everything down with Clorox. I am just paranoid about that. Other than those times, I love using this spray as my cleaner! I wipe down Weeks' toys and high chairs with it as well. Once we enter flu season I am wondering if I need something stronger as well. Would love advice!

I would love to hear your reviews on Honest products, or other green lines. I am not saying I am converting all of my daily products into the green versions, but I am open to the idea of welcoming more into our home. So far, I have been really pleased with green cleaning products. It feels good and I like that I am being proactive in being careful what enters these walls :)

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Awesome Southern Meal

We had this for dinner last night and it was simply, delicious. My Mom had made the BBQ chicken recipe a few weeks ago, and I knew right away I would be making it at home. Since we are entering prime time crock pot season, I figured I would go ahead and get it warmed up :) I put this together in a few minutes over my lunch break, and it was ready after work. I served it on small Hawaiian rolls, with boiled corn and some simple baked beans.

(slightly adapted from, see for more details)

2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Kens Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Place chicken in crock pot and lightly season with salt.
In a small bowl, combine BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and mix well. Pour over chicken, cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours (I cooked for 4 and then switched to warm) Shred chicken, and re-cover crockpot and cook in sauce for about 10-15 more minutes to absorb the flavor and liquid. 
My Notes: After 4 hours, it seemed like it had a lot of liquid remaining and I halfway shredded it, and switched it to warm until it was close to dinner time. Once we were 15 minutes out from dinner being served, I finished shredding and switched the heat back on. This allowed the chicken to absorb lots of the remaining liquid and thicken.

Here is another idea from our meal...this is truely the easiest and such a tasty way to make boiled corn. Bring a pot of water to boiling, add your corn (with the husks removed) and boil for 5 minutes. Remove and serve as desired with butter/salt/pepper. (Also- we love Brummel and Brown as a butter substitute- made with yogurt and I cannot tell the difference for toppings on veggies/toast/bread etc) So quick and easy, and there is no reason to cook it longer! It is perfect like this.

I kept it simple with canned baked beans. I'm trying to keep at least one part of our weeknight meals really simple with one veggie or bean just plain and not overthought.

Let's all be real, there are way too many recipes on pinterest boasting they are the best of whatever, and I know I have been dissapointed from time to time. This one did not. It is the best crockpot bbq chicken I have tried, and it couldn't be simpler! However, an even better part of this meal is the leftovers! I reserved one container for Weeks in the freezer for quick meals, and we also have one container in the fridge for a meal or two this week. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Few New Purchases Lately

I popped into Ann Taylor last week when I was out running some last minute errands to get ready for my brother-in-laws wedding. I really lucked out with some awesome deals. I thought these would be perfect for this time of the year and I don't have any in this pretty tan color. Guess how much they set me back? $17.99. Everything was additional 40% off and is right now too! 

I scored these for $26.99 with my additional 40% off in store. They are cheaper in store than online. I think they are perfect for transitioning into fall. The longer I look at them, the more I love them! I bought the taupe, but they are so pretty in black too!

I haven't bought a pair of Sevens in a long time. I just felt like they were all looking the same, feeling the same. However, I am in love with these Slim Illusions. Not only do they look good, they feel even more amazing. Nothing is worse than a pair of jeans that aren't comfortable and you are stuck in them all day. My favorite pair in a while!

But since most sizes are sold out, I think these would be just as fabulous. I think they might be next on my list! They look amazing with those heels too.

Happy Tuesday and Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Little Inspiration

It's been a while since I've done one of these. But they always speak to my heart! I've always been drawn to quotes- even reading them once can make an impact. When I was little I used to cut them out of magazines or write them down for later. Now, thank goodness, I have dear old pinterest for that. Just a little thought for your day. And if you have an inspirational board on pinterest I'd love to know about it! XO.







Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thoughts on Thursday

Here's whats going on lately in my little corner of the world.

I used to work for a handmade jeweler in high school and learned all sorts of skills for making jewelry. I thought it would be fun to pick that hobby up again and make some necklaces, bracelets in my free time. Actually, I thought what I really needed was a "hobby" when I'm not doing house projects, house work, etc. Does that even make sense? No. No, it does not. Most normal people would plop down in front of the TV but I am wanting something to do when I have free time? Ha! Anyway, here was my first necklace....

And then I made one in black for my sister...

I am loving it and have worn it so many times already. Perfect transition into fall.
Side note: I was wearing Lilly Pulitzer beach pants. The perfect thing to wear in the car because I like to be comfortable, not cold when I travel. Stephen asked if I was wearing pajamas? No, no.

Who can relate to this one?

Bills and Sales

It seems like we have had an onslaught of bills lately and I am so over it! Why do they all seem to come at once? In the mean time, I am going through my closet to get it ready for fall. I think I have too many things I am not wearing anymore. I was thinking about doing a blog sale. Anyone interested?

We are also going through our upstairs room that has not been touched since we moved in. {Lets file that project as #the20dollarchallenge} In fact, we keep loading it up with more "stuff" that doesn't have a home. I started going through my fabric collection, and gracious- I need to get rid of some! I was also thinking about listing some of it for sale. 

Big Little Lies

I just started reading this and I can't wait to get into it. My sister said several of her friends said it was the best book they have ever read. Reading it yet?

..Linking up to Thoughts on Thursday..

Thoughts for Thursday

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Shoe Roundup!

I love browsing shoes and this is my favorite part of the season to do so. I like to buy early so I have all fall and winter to wear them. So anyway, I had so much fun coming up with a round up of shoes from some of my favorite sites to order from. Take a look and let me know if I missed out on a key style for Fall!

First up, Sole Society. If you aren't familiar with their site, they offer on trend shoes at great prices. You can find booties under $100 that look much more expensive than they are. It looks to me like a lot of their cute pairs are selling out quickly!

Next, Piperlime. I love Piperlimes shoes. I think they are the site that most closely resignates with my style. It's really the best of the best and the selection isn't SO big you get lost and confused browsing.

Next we have J.Crew. I tend to love their selection of flats. I think they seem to be a little better priced than I remember them being in years past. Right now, some of theirs are on sale too!

And lastly, have you ever heard of the site 6pm? It is new to me. But you can score some serious designer shoes at majorly discounted prices. I'm sure they aren't shoes that are just hitting the racks for fall, but you can find some classic pieces that are well made by a good designer. I like to search by my size to weed out any styles that aren't available for me, and then by color or style. It's worth checking out!

I hope you enjoyed my picks for fall! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Design Idea: Stenciled Walls

Stenciled walls are nothing new, but I loved finding some fresh looks with a stencil. I bought this stencil for our mud room because I was dead set on using it. I love it. Now I can't decide what color(s) to use in there. I planned on navy and white originally, but that's all up in the air now. Would love your suggestions, pretty please! 

I love the color scheme below, originally inspiring my design for the room. Not sure if this is a stencil or not. 

And here is a look at one side of the mud room in progress. We have done more since then, but you get the idea. White cabinets, quartz countertops and nickel hardware. You can see where I tested out some blue paint, which I really didn't like. I'm thinking more like the shade of blue above.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer Days...and Fall

Can you believe that summer is over? I really can't! I know we were wrapped up in house projects most of the summer, but we did get a few good beach & boat days in, finally. We realized yesterday that a day on the water is so much more exhausting with a toddler and two dogs than we remembered it being. I was tired all day! As much as I am sad to see one of my favorite seasons end, I always look forward to the beginning of fall. Well, usually it's like a mild version of summer for us here that I look forward things like tailgating, changing out my pots, fall foods of course!!!, taking out my fall decor and rotating my closet around. I am always ready to pull on a pair of jeans about this point and grab my boots! Oh, and one of my favorite parts about fall? I love coming home at the end of the day and putting on some comfortable sweat pants and a sweatshirt. And don't even get me started on my favorite robe being acceptable for lounging in most of the day. Also, the steamy humidity and the mosquitoes...I'm over them. So, so long summer, I guess I'm ready for you fall.