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Saturday, June 28

On a more serious note...

Today began as any other day off would... early morning run, then breakfast with my mom, sister, and nephews. My day changed drastically, however, when I listened to an unopened voicemail from 11pm the previous night. The message was to tell me that a good friend of mine had been in a serious car accident and was currently in ICU at Grady Hospital (a well-known trauma center for you non-Atlantans.) 

It is now the end of the day, and I am writing to remind all of you to take a look at your lives and the people in them that really matter. I had seen Harrison three days ago, and how he's laying in a hospital bed with a broken pelvic bone, broken ribs, and internal damage. (Don't fret. Everything is okay now.. just some intense physical therapy in the immediate future.) I know it sounds so cliche, but we never know how much time we have left, so make the most of what you have. Take a minute today to hug the ones you love and remind them just how much they mean to you.

Tuesday, June 24

summertime outdoors

Here are some lovely outdoor spaces from the designer portfolios on the HGTV website. They all leave me longing for a similar space... a place to entertain, to unwind at the end of the day... with many flowers, cozy chairs and lounges, a gorgeous pool, a fire pit for cool summer nights (for places sans the humidity of the south). Can't you just imagine having a few friends over for a cookout? or curling up in one of those oversized chaises with a good book and a glass of wine?  sigh...

I love the gazebo in this image. It's a very vintage, romantic piece. 

I really like the strand of lights on the inside of the umbrella. It makes for some great ambience, don't you think?

I looove the fire pit idea. It would make a really great place to sit and read or  just hang out and talk.
images courtesy of

And if I had a backyard, I would definitely invest in one of these double chaise lounges from Pottery Barn... perfect for  cuddling with that one special person or just lounging around with a good book.

Friday, June 20

Stephenie Meyer

For the last few months I have been in a bit of a book rut. I go through phases where I just can't find anything captivating enough to merit my attention. When I checked in on homemade grits the other day, however, my luck drastically changed. Inspired by the post on the "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer, I drove to my local Target to pick up my copy of the first book in the series.

"About three things I was absolutely positive. 
First, Edward was a vampire. 
Second, there was a part of him -- and I didn't know how dominant that part might be -- that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."

The back cover grabbed my attention with the snippet above, so I read the preface standing in the store and immediately made my way to check out.  By the next day, I was finished with the book and am now about to head back to Tarjay for the next book in the series. The fluidity of Meyers' writing and her ability to create images so real that you feel like the character of the story have made her one of my new favorite authors. Call me a sci-fi nerd, but I am definitely in love with "Twilight" and plan to read the remaining books in the series, "New Moon," "Eclipse," and "Breaking Dawn." The final book "Breaking Dawn" is due to be released on August 2nd which gives me just enough time to catch up.  So, if you are looking for a good book to get lost in and aren't deterred by the vampire references, I would definitely suggest "Twilight." 

images courtesy of

Tuesday, June 17

cheap, chic, and eco-friendly!

Here are some inexpensive, DYI projects to spruce up your homes for the summer from the Martha Stewart website. Enjoy!

Make napkins or dish towels out of old gingham shirts! Really, you could use any cotton shirt, but, in my opinion, the more patterns, the better! (You can go the extra mile here by using recycled glass dishes as well.)

Create a one of a kind tiered serving tray with mismatched cups and saucers by gluing them together (ceramic epoxy would be ideal.) You can also use this adorable piece for keys, small kitchen items, or jewelry!

Use various glass bottles together to make a centerpiece or fill a table. (Options include old bud vases, apothecary jars, Mason jars, lotion and perfume bottles, etc.)

Collect wine corks and pull them together to make trivets for the kitchen. 
(To make: arrange corks in a tight circle and surround them with a metal hose clamp from the pluming section of your local hardware store. Tighten the clamp and trim the excess! For a medium sized trivet, collect about 50 corks.)

Melt down bits of old candles in a saucer or on a hotplate and pour into old flower pots to create new, rustic-inspired candles. Make sure to cover the hole in the bottom of the pot with an old coin and to tie the wick (found at your local craft store) to a pencil laid horizontally across the top of the pot.

Sew old scarves together to make a unique throw. Don't worry if you are like me and aren't the best seamstress in the world. All this project needs is a straight line on a sewing machine. If you have the skills, however, a solid color backing would make this blanket look extra special.

Make a plastic bag drier from a pretty toothbrush holder and some chopsticks. Although we normally use and discard our Ziplocks, they are actually durable enough to withstand multiple uses and washings. Not only is this project eco-friendly, it is wallet-friendly as well!

For those seasonal allergies or that pesky summer cold, hang a bunch of eucalyptus (from a craft or flower store) from your shower curtain rod for a few weeks. Make sure to hang the eucalyptus in an area that isn't directly in the water and to use garden twine which is moisture resistant. It is an inexpensive and natural way to get rid of congestion. 

If you decide to take on any of these projects, let me know! I would love to hear and see about the outcomes. I plan on trying a few of these (as well as some others) myself, so look for those posts in the near future!

all photos courtesy of

Sunday, June 8

Weekend Adventure No. 1: Tate City, NC

A few weekends ago, K and I went camping along the Georgia/North Carolina border near a very little town called Tate City. When I say very little, I do mean very little (see picture below). I don't think that Tate City even qualifies as an actual town; it's more like a community. We camped in the Chattahoochee National Forest, and the weather was just perfect, cool in the morning and evening, but warm from the sun during the day.

For those of you who aren't so outdoorsy , this camping trip was a luxurious one because we didn't hike into our campsite and therefore had direct access to the car. We were able to bring frivolous things like an air mattress, a bottle of wine, non freeze dried food, coffee cream, and excess changes of clothing (yours truly.. and in all fairness, I needed to be prepared for hot or cold weather, a possible early morning run, wading through the river, and a midday hike.) Normally our camping trips involve stuffing everything we will need into backpacks and hiking into our campsite, so this weekend was a nice, relaxing change.

setting up camp
ahh, having an air mattress was a wonderful thing!

enjoying the weather after setting up camp

backpack survival kit: rain boots, fleece, water bottle, Jane Austen

After an early lunch of PBJ and Sunchips, we spent most of the day on the river. K passed the time by fly fishing while I read, took pictures, and sunned. I did try my hand at the sport, but I was really no good at it. All that I managed to catch were some leaves off of the bank across the river.

I finally got to try out my SJP rain boots!
there were monarch butterflies everywhere

After our fishing experience we walked up the dirt road that led into Tate City admiring the gorgeous scenery and wishing that we lived in one of the homes along the way. The small community is complete with rolling hills and mountains, as many trees as you could possibly ask for, spacious lots, a river stocked with trout, and easily accessible hiking trails.. exactly our idea of the perfect home.

how would you like to come home to this every day!

We came back to camp a little downhearted knowing that it will be quite a few years before we will be able to live in a place like Tate City, so we tried to lift our spirits by cooking dinner. We had a cooler full of corn, baked beans, burgers, and wine awaiting us, and we were starving, so it didn't take long for us to get back into the spirit of the trip. The food was delicious!

cooking dinner
corn, bbq beans, black bean burgers for me, and turkey burgers for k, yummy!

exhausted, but happy couple

After dinner we sat by our little campfire and read for a bit before the light faded away. Once the sun went down, the temperature dropped quite a bit, so we sat by the fire and talked for a while before heading off to sleep. It was really a relaxing feeling to be away from all of the stress of reality and just be together enjoying nature and each other.

our little campfire

The next morning we woke up with the sun around 7 am and made some strong, black coffee (guess I didn't need that coffee cream after all.) We left the national park around 8:00 so that we could stop by the Old Batesville General Store for breakfast (best biscuits in Batesville!) The small town country breakfast was exactly what we needed to bring our relaxing outdoor getaway to the perfect close.. home made biscuits, cheesy eggs and grits, crispy bacon, good coffee, and blueberry pancakes. Just for the record, the Batesville General Store really does have the best biscuits in Batesville.

I feel like a lot of times, even in our friendships and family relationships, we get so busy with our lives that we forget to really take time for each other. I realized on this trip how important it is to just stop and say, all that other stuff doesn't matter right now.. it's just me and you.

Wednesday, June 4

Archipelago and OPI

My leisurely weekend in the Virginia Highlands (more about that later) began with a search for the perfect nail color. (Take note that lately I have been shopping for very specific things and only wanting that one find that will be worthy of what I have imagined... the shoes, the nail color, and a hat which I have yet to find. Hmm. Interesting.) So, back to the story...

My lovely friend Erin of Smock and Bustle and I headed over to the Ulta store on Howell Mill Road. I admit, I was a bit (well maybe more than a bit) skeptical of the Ulta experience, but Erin assured me that it was definitely worth it, and she was so very right! They carry just about every line of makeup, hair care, and skin care generally available at drug stores and salons without the hefty price tag. I found my old favorite skin care collection by Archipelago Botanicals that I used to only find at Anthropologie. It is made from soy milk so it really moisturizes the skin, and it smells divine!

I also picked up my new favorite nail color. It is called "Lincoln Park After Dark" by OPI. It is a deep plum that looks almost black from a distance, but it doesn't have the glitter/shimmer often found in darker nail colors.

I also found (but did not purchase) a few colors from OPI's new "Mod about Brights" line that really perked my interest... "Dating a Royal" and "The 'IT' Color" (top two in the line-up below) were among my favorites, but I really did like all of them.

While browsing the OPI website, I also found this, which I think is really incredible, and you should definitely check it out.