September Goals

Monday, August 31, 2015

plan for a fun and sweet way to celebrate Ben's 25th birthday 
spend intentional time with Jesus daily (a forever goal, but I need it now more than ever before) I've been so blessed by this
blog frequently- this space has served as such a great creative thing to focus on lately
get rid of things we don't need and reimplement some new organizational systems in our home
read three books  went above and beyond on this one, as you may have read here.
try a few new recipes, maybe from Bread & Wine we only tried one from Bread & Wine, but there was a lot of cooking at home for us this month, which we love!

September Goals
decorate our home for fall
visit Nicole with Jamie for Nicole's birthday (!!!!!!!!!)
celebrate Kristen's wedding weekend in Oklahoma (bridal luncheon, bachelorette party, and the wedding!!!)
clean out and purge our cleaning products
clean out and purge our bathroom products

What do y'all have planned for this month? 

Friday No. Fifteen

Friday, August 28, 2015

Now that I have the September issue of Southern Living, all is right with the world! I think I want to try making that delicious apple spice cake!

Last week, this really resonated with my heart. So, so good.

I'm so excited to follow Lisa's fall capsule wardrobe!

THIS. A combination of favorites. Taylor Swift is the best person ever. 

I've been super chef happy this week- I made an easy frittata after reading about it on Sarah Tucker's blog. It was so incredibly yummy. The asparagus was an especially delicious touch. 

That same day I made us stuffed peppers for dinner. I could have made them even healthier than they were.. but ours were stuffed with quinoa, ground beef, diced tomatoes, and black beans. I just sprinkled the tops with cheese and baked for 20 minutes. So incredibly delicious and filling. 

Last year, I shared about my t-shirt quilt. We got a preview of Ben's yesterday and I'm so excited about it! He picked out so many fun, quirky fabrics. The baby blue one has polar bears on it! Ha! Such a sweet keepsake. 

I had been afraid to try these but bit the bullet- and really liked them! The Caesar taste got old after eating a few though.. so in the future I'd try to find some that were just lightly salted or something. Really yummy, I thought! 

I wish I was here.

The Rules of Instagram.. what do you think? 

Happy Weekend, y'all! :)

What I read in August

Thursday, August 27, 2015

You may be thinking.. are you crazy? 8 books? Yeah.. I know. It's a lot. I read incredibly fast though. Ben is constantly accusing me of only skimming the books and so he'll try and quiz me but it never works in his favor because I do retain the information! An example of my fast reading speeds is that three of these books were read in a little over 24 hours on a lazy Sunday. And we even hung out with friends for a few hours that day. So there, no judgement please. I promise that I have a social life. :)

Also, I'm now SO excited to share more about my reading.. my last post stirred up a lot of connection with readers via email and I LOVED that. Yay! Let's share about reading together, friends!

Southern Charm by Tinsley Mortimer 

This was a super fun, chick flick read about a girl from Charleston moving to New York City. I read a review of it before reading where it was described as a book about the main female character's personal journey with no mention of romance (not the case, there is a romantic plotline in the book) so I had a different experience reading this because I was expecting none of the male relationships to go anywhere. Especially for me, someone who loves living in the South but is occasionally lured by the magic of the city for visits, this was a great choice.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass 

The One by Kiera Cass 

You're probably already sick of hearing me share about how much I loved this series. If you like the bachelor, dystopian books, or the royal family.. pick it up! I promise you'll fall in love like I did.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo 

This was a different read for me- but I'm glad that I read it. I gained a ton of practical insight about decluttering and really tried to think seriously through the process. After really enjoying the first 150 pages, I just skimmed the last 50 pages because it got a little too kooky for my liking. Just being honest. :) I'm not going to be "thanking my personal belongings for what they have done for me" before putting them away each evening. That being said, I really did enjoy this book.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I had held off on reading this even though it's been on our kindle app since before our Italy trip, because Ben wasn't incredibly crazy about it. I LOVED it though. I could see how it connected with my Gone Girl reading heart. The female characters in the book were incredibly ridiculous so my only complaint is that I didn't connect with a character like I enjoy doing. Like, I didn't necessarily root for anyone, I just wanted to see the plot unfold. And I really did enjoy seeing the storyline.. I guess it's a different type of book so I should have different goals for reading. There's a reason that everyone's reading and talking about this book- pick it up if you haven't already.

Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard

It's been a long time since I've read a book that took me a bit to get into. I realized when I was 65% done with this book (thanks for that number kindle app) and still having a hard time getting into it.. that it wasn't going to turn around. I never was invested because I didn't really care for any of the characters too much.. and my biggest issue with this book was that there was literally no plot. It was just about a family and a few events happened but there was no plot line whatsoever. Not the worst ever, but clearly not the best.

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford 

This book was a unique reading experience.. the first half I was pulled in but not loving it. After the second half started though I enjoyed it. I rated it three out of five stars on good reads. I just finished this last night so I guess I'm still processing my thoughts.. but it was worth a read for me.

What are you reading right now? What should I add to my list? I've LOVED connecting with y'all so much about reading since I most recently shared what I had read!! 

Master Bedroom Update

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's been a long time since I've given any home updates. As I've been working on my blog's redesign (get pumped for a reveal next tuesday!!) I've been going back through tons of old posts and I found myself missing my old content. That sounds odd, because I'm still the same me.. but I'm excited to reconnect with my blogging roots and really get inspired and share some fun things with y'all. :)

I've been loving our bedroom lately, and I thought I would share a look into the current state of things, especially before all of the fall decor gets busted out!

Bedding: Pottery Barn
Floor Mirror: Ikea 
Dresser: Ikea (but purchased for half price at a used furniture store in college!)
Print (above bed): Southern Weddings Shop 
White Pillow: Target 
Gray pillows: custom with Barbara Barry poetical fabric
Lamps: Target
Eiffel Tower Ring Holder: Anthropologie
Vanity: Target (in 2006!) 
Robe: Plum Pretty Sugar

Hope y'all like it! It's not perfect, but it's ours! :) 

Windsor, England

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

One of my favorite new features I've been working on for my blog is my Travel Guide page (on the top header) which will serve as a place to hold all of our travel information. This honestly may be more for me than anyone else, but I'm so excited about it! Whenever we travel, I love seeing what other people have to say about the places, so I'm hoping this can serve as a great resource! :) Because of this new feature, I'll be reliving a bunch of our old travels, simply to have the kind of quality information ready for when people want to check out what we did in each city. So bear with me as a bunch of random travel posts keep popping up. I'll still be working my way through all of our Italian travels over the next few months as well! :) 

We have family that lives just outside of Windsor, so I grew up visiting here every summer of my childhood. It's a sweet spot, and I'd say worth a day trip from London if you're wanting a change of pace from visiting the city. I understand if once in London you never want to leave, though. :) 

Things to Do: 

Visit Eton- On the first afternoon of our trip to England in 2014 we enjoyed visiting the Eton campus grounds. Prince William and Harry went to school here, as well as lots of other posh people! We visited during exams, so things were quite quiet, but there was a tour group of potential student families touring and we tagged along with them. I really got a glimpse into the kind of people who visit this school, because all of the women were impeccably dressed from head to toe in designer clothes. Kind of fun to see, all while seeing this beautiful, historic school. My favorite part was the main square, but we also visited the chapel. 

Walk the river, watch rowing practice- Enough said! We visited on such a beautiful afternoon, it was really fun to watch all the boys practice their rowing. 

Tour the Castle- Ben always says that he is anti tour but this was a fun one, since I remember doing it as a child so fondly. We especially enjoyed the outside bits of the castle. Once you've seen an old room, you've seen em all! That's just our opinion, though. :) I do make an exception for the Palace of Versailles though!

Visit the shops & see where Prince Charles married Camilla (Team Diana for life!!!)

Watch the Changing of the Guard- this is a given for visiting England, and most people would watch at Buckingham Palace. We enjoyed crossing it off at Windsor Castle, where we could get a little bit more up close.

Take your photo with a guard- yep!!

Places to Eat:

Anywhere with Ice lollies- We got ours right in front of the castle! The place I used to get them when I was little (Woolworth's) has closed, but I always remember getting ice lollies and walking the high street. This was essential for us to recreate when Ben was visiting for the first time.

Wagamama- We visited Wagamama twice during our time in England, and I think I would like to visit every time we make it there.. such delicious, fresh Asian food. The photo below was taken just a few hours after our long flight from Texas. Can you tell we were rather sleepy? :)

La Tasca Spanish Tapas Restaurant- A random stop, but a delicious one.

San Gimignano & Nearby Farm

Monday, August 24, 2015

Psst. Please forgive my under construction blog!

One of my favorite days of our trip was our "Tuscany in a Day" group tour. I know. Group tour just sounds ridiculously nerdy and lame. But we soon realized that this was one of the best decisions of our trip. I originally chose the tour because I knew we wanted to see Tuscany outside of Florence, as well as Pisa. The other two cities were just perks. This seemed like an easy enough way to see it all... but we ended up LOVING it. Our tour guide was phenomenal and gave us clear instructions about everything, as well as as much extra information as we desired. We took the coach from Florence to Siena, then to lunch outside of San Gimignano, into San Gimignano, and then finishing off in Pisa. We were beyond exhausted at the end of the day but had so much fun. I never would have thought for us to visit Siena or San Gimignano, but we loved both cities and visiting them really gave us more knowledge of Italy. If anyone I knew was going to Florence, I would suggest them take this day trip. It was also really fun to be around tons of other tourists from all over the world at this point in our trip. 17 days of only each other to talk to had us eager to make friends with others. At our beautiful lunch overlooking the vineyard, we chatted with a couple from Chicago and a couple from New Delhi. I'm kind of out of order here, but I was just giddy to share about our trip to the farm! 

I was in genuine disbelief of the beauty at this point, and the weather was perfect. 

A randomly snapped Iphone photo that turned out to be one of our favorites, just as we had arrived at the farm. 

The thing about the farm was that Ben was in his happy place. Everything we ate was made there. So like, the pasta was made by wheat they had grown, the meat sauce was made from the cows and tomatoes grown in the garden. So of course it was one of the best meals ever (I never realized how much we would miss the incredibly fresh cuisines of Italia!) and this would be how we would live if Ben could choose. We were on the tour of the farm and Ben was not happy to have to stop listening to snap the photo of me above! Haha!! In the barns the guides were telling everyone to stay away from the cows, but as someone who was raised on a farm/ranch Ben was feeding them out of his hand and so in his element. 

The beautiful olive trees!

I love this shot because it shows what our dining experience was like. So amazing. Although I know little about wine, it was really fun to hear everyone talk about it. Another fun thing about this lunch is that everyone had been visiting multiple cities in Italy so it was fun to swap stories about the same places, and share tips for the places we were about to visit. 

Showing our view from lunch. I was THRILLED that we got a spot at the end table closest to the view specifically so this photo could be taken. This whole dining experience will probably be one of the best of our lives. 

One of my favorite photos of the trip walking up to enter the medieval city of San Gimignano. 

The above gelateria did not earn our vote for the best in the world- one in Roma got that! This was good but no better than any of the rest.

Sigh, I miss you beautiful Italy! 

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