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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I Wore: Yellow Skirt and Dot Buttondown

Yellow is just so happy so wearing it definitely brightens up my day. If you think you cannot wear yellow then try it as a skirt or shorts where the color isn't right next to your face or accessorize with yellow. I wore this outfit to work but for a more casual outfit you could pair it with cowboy boots. The skirt is so comfortable... I've been in search of a similar black skirt.

Navy polka dot button down: Gap Outlet, similarsimilar
Yellow skirt: Loft Outlet, similar, similar, midi skirt, similar
Cognac belt: Old Navy, similar, similar
Cognac flats: Aerosoles, similar, similar, very similar
Gold disk earrings: Towne & Reese, similar, similar, similar

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayWhat I Wore to WorkBecause Shanna Said SoTucker UpPTMT Get Pin-spiredTip Junkie

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nantahala Cabin Weekend

A few weeks ago, we had a wonderful cabin weekend away with friends in the Nantahala area near Bryson City! Eric and I stopped in Asheville on our way to walk around for a little bit and have dinner. We browsed through a few shops and took in a large drum performance in one of the squares (there are always random street happenings like this in Asheville).

We then drove just a few minutes away from downtown to the river district area to have dinner at The White Duck Taco Shop. It is a la carte tacos and such with indoor and outdoor seating. It reminded me of Tacodeli in Austin. The salsa trio and the tacos were delicious! I couldn't even get a picture of Eric's tacos before he had eaten too much of them. The best one was definitely the fish taco (one of Eric's).

Once we got close to the cabin area we headed straight for the Nantahala Brewery for a few hours to meet up with two of the other couples. It was a a really nice brewery with plenty of space and had a built in stage where a band was playing. Everyone seemed to enjoy the large selection and variety of brews too. After that we headed to the cabin and the other two couples arrived bringing the total to 10 people. The cabin had 3 bedrooms (one of which was this bunk room where we stayed) so there were beds for 8 people but then also a couple of futons in a room with a pool table.

The next morning we went on a hike through part of the Appalachian Trail starting near the Nantahala Outdoor Center. It drizzled most of the steep and narrow hike but at least it wasn't hot.

Then we went back to the brewery for the afternoon. Then we came back to the cabin to relax and start the fire in the fire pit. The cabin also had a hot tub.

That evening we grilled dinner, relaxed by the firepit and had some fun with sparklers and fireworks. Did you know that you can just toss a whole box of sparklers into the fire and it will make the fire turn all kinds of cool colors? Try it!

Later we played our new favorite game for a group, Cards Against Humanity. It's basically a hilarious adult version of Apples to Apples. After playing it once at Kiawah, we immediately ordered it off Amazon so we could have one of our own. Oh and some midnight snacks that Sean and Angie's dog was anxiously awaiting.

The next morning we packed up and headed back to Charlotte. Eric and I made a brief stop in Hickory for lunch at Cafe Gouda (awesome lunch spot that also serves breakfast food for lunch).

It was so nice to have a little getaway to the beautiful NC mountains!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I Wore: Teal Top Three Ways

I'm about to demonstrate why you need a teal top in your wardrobe. Teal/Turquoise (I think these names are really interchangeable from my experience) is one of my favorite colors if not my very favorite because it looks great and goes with so many other colors. So... get some teal in your life!

The 1st I wore to work, the 2nd I wore out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (I thought we'd be doing a lot of walking around otherwise I would have worn cuter sandals) and the 3rd I wore to an evening baseball game in uptown - actually on the same day I wore the 1st outfit to work! It made for an easy swap into shorts, flip flops and different jewelry after work for a completely new and casual look.

Teal top: Loft, lots of similar options below
Blue/purple blazer: Loft Outlet, very similar, similar - on sale at Nordstrom (semi-annual sale)
Black straight dress pants: Loft, similarsimilar, similar
Gray flats: Anne Klein iflex
Red statement necklace: Pick Your Plum, similarsimilar
Silver earrings: made by me
Red lipstick: Revlon Colorburst Red Velvet
Gray printed pants: Loft Outlet, ssimilar, similar, similar
Sandals: Rainbows
Gray teardrop necklace: Groopdealz, similar - great statement necklace to have in your collection (comes in lots of colors)
Gray studs: Towne & Reese, similar
Cobalt nail polish: Revlon Colorstay Indigo Night
Tan striped shorts: Loft Outlet, similar, similar, similar
Pink necklace: Towne & Reese
Pink earrings: Towne & Reese, similar
Aviator sunglasses: Loft Outlet, very similarsimilar

Below is an assortment of similar teal/turquoise tops. Just click on the numbers below the picture grouping to get to the individual sites for each top. I really like 1, 4 and 7.

Left to right: 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Easy Baked Turkey Meatballs

It is always great to have those easy delicious go-to recipes when you are racking your brain for what to make that week for dinners. I've developed this easy baked meatball recipe from an assortment of other meatball recipes by simplifying the ingredients. I love when we have most of the ingredients on hand and don't have to add much to the grocery list. I'm sure this recipe would work with ground beef too if turkey isn't your thing. I've made these a day ahead of time, stored the raw meatballs in the fridge and baked them the next day and they turned out great. I haven't tried freezing them yet but I don't see why that wouldn't work.

Easy Baked Turkey Meatballs
Serves 6 with a side salad or 4 without

- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup milk (I've even used Almond milk before and it did fine)
- salt and pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (this time I actually substituted with fresh basil since my plants are producing a ton)
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped (or sub with garlic powder to your liking - sometimes we use both!)
- 1.3 lb lean ground turkey
- fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees*. In a large bowl whisk together egg, milk and salt and pepper to your liking. Stir in onion, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and garlic. Then add the ground turkey, mixing well. Form into 1-1/2 inch balls. I ended up with about 30.

Spray a baking sheet or use parchment paper. Place meatballs on baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

 *You can also cook these in a skillet on medium heat covered in sauce for about 8 minutes.

Serve with your favorite sauce. We love Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic. Garnish with the fresh basil. We like to serve these meatballs over Barilla Plus or Ronzoni Smart Taste Whole Grain spaghetti (and with a side salad). But they'd also be great just in the sauce by themselves or in a meatball sub. Eric likes to spice his up by adding crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper.


Monday, July 21, 2014

The funniest book I've read: Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Okay so that may be a pretty bold statement but Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson is definitely the funniest book I've read for as long as I can remember. Now I've read books before with funny parts but most of this entire book was hilarious. I'm talking laugh out loud funny. I mean think about a time when you've thought or spoken the book title and what embarrassing, entertaining or awkward moment had happened.

I read this book while at the beach with our friends and was in the mood for something funny and it delivered more than I could have hoped for. It's written in a conversational tone and the cover (which catches your attention in itself) calls it "A Mostly True Memoir" which Jenny explains pretty quickly as a great way to avoid possible lawsuit instead of calling it a Memoir. Reading this book felt like my funny and awkward best friend was just telling me stories about her life.

I was laughing so much I'm pretty sure our friends (especially Keith) thought I had slipped something extra special into my drink or I was going nuts. I will warn you that the book has some cursing in it in case you are turned off by that. I don't like cursing (spoken or written) but for some reason it didn't bother me... I guess it seemed natural in this book. The only downside of the book is that I wasn't nearly as excited to read another book after this one knowing it wasn't going to be as funny (and rightfully so as it was more of a beachy read/fun drama with funny parts) so it took me longer to get into a different book. Not a reason not to read it but just be warned that it sets the bar high.

So if it wasn't obvious, I highly recommend Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Especially if you are in need of a good many laughs!

Anyone have other funny book suggestions?

For a review of some of my other recent reads go here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

What I Wore: Black and Mint

I wouldn't have normally thought to pair these two colors but discovered they look great together! The mint is a nice contrast to the harsh black and definitely makes outfits more springy and summery. The 1st, 2nd and 4th outfits I wore to work and the 3rd outfit I wore on our recent cabin weekend for travel in the car and a stop in Asheville... a jersey knit skirt is perfect ride in the car attire (more on that trip another time).

Outfit 1
Mint cardigan: Gap Outlet, similarsimilar, similar
Black white striped peplum top: Target, similar, similar
Black capris: Target, similarsimilar
Mint 4 circle bead earrings: Towne & Reesesimilarsimilar
Gold necklace: Towne and Reese, similar
Black flats: Anne Klein - super comfortable and great for narrow feet! It's obvious even just by this post that I wear these all the time. similar

Outfit 2
Black blazer: Targetsimilarsimilar
Black white striped top: Loft Outlet, similarsimilar
Mint capris: Loft, similarsimilar
Turquoise pendant necklace: Vintage warehouse, very similarsimilarsimilar
Turquoise earrings: Apricot Lane Boutique in Charlotte, similarsimilar
Black flats: Anne Klein
Cobalt nail polish: Revlon Colorstay Indigo Night

Outfit 3
Mint graphic tee: Loft Outlet, similar
Fold-over knit skirt: Old Navysimilarsimilar
Teal earrings: Francesca's, similarsimilar
Teal necklace: Towne & Reese, similarsimilar
Sandals: rainbows
Coral toe nail polish: Essie Sunday Funday - only $6 and free shipping

Outfit 4
Black white geometric top: Loft, very similarsimilarsimilar
Black cardigan (pictured in collage): Gap outlet, very similarvery similar
Mint capris: Loft, similarsimilar
Pink disk earrings: Pickyourplum, similarsimilar
Silver necklace: Towne & Reese
Black flats: Anne Klein

I got the idea to start pairing mint and black together after my oversized top and mint jeans outfit.

Linking up to: What I Wore WednesdayWhat I Wore to WorkBecause Shanna Said SoTucker UpPTMT Get Pin-spiredTip Junkie

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Got the GOODS? The HomeGoods App

I am definitely a big HomeGoods fan (as well as Marshall's and TJMaxx) and shop there often. I mean I just showed off my new HomeGoods rug in a post.  I feel super lucky to have 5 HomeGoods stores all within about 30 minutes (love ya Charlotte!) so there is a lot to choose from and stopping in one of the stores is always a no-brainer.

Sometime back I signed up for HomeGoods emails. There wasn't anything special about them until I got an email a couple weeks ago mentioning the HomeGoods App. Say what? Did yall know there is a HomeGoods App?!?! Well if not I'm about to rock your world.

It's called theGOODS and once you download it and sign up, it is pretty intuitive.

photo source

It shows products in real time from real HomeGoods stores that store employees post photos off. You can add stores based on location. I like to follow all the stores within a couple of hours or so of us reasoning that the items are probably pretty similar even a couple hours away to the items that would be in stores in my area. But you could follow stores from anywhere just for more inspiration.

It has a similar feel and functionality to instagram but instead of following people/users you are following stores.

I've noticed most posts are of the larger items like furniture, rugs, lamps, mirrors and those abstract items like a giant phone booth or metal knight statue (last to photos in the collage below)... you know those few odd large items you sometimes see and wonder who in the world has something like this in their house or the room for it. But I've seen some other small items too like pillows, cookware, lunch boxes, vases and tablecloths. It all depends on what the store decides to post I suppose and hopefully since it is a fairly new app the posts will just continue to increase.

This app will be so helpful to watch out for a particular item in a store near me like a large mirror I've been hunting for to put in our bedroom. Here are some example posts.

You can favorite items by clicking on the heart icon and those items will be displayed in your favorites page. Can you tell I really want a mirrored dresser/chest?

I'm surprised an app like this wasn't started sooner but I'm so glad it's here! It's one of my favorites! If you are a true HomeGoods fan, I'm sure you've whipped out your phone and downloaded the app before even finishing this post. I'm not judging.  :)

Note: I wasn't perked in any way to write this post. There's no denying it, I just really like HomeGoods (I mean who doesn't?)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kiawah and 5th Anniversary Dinner

Almost every summer we are able to get away for an extended weekend at a beach house that our friend Justin's parents graciously let a bunch of us use. This year was the longest we have been able to stay in recent years and it was wonderful!

We spent a ton of time on the beach relaxing, playing cornhole, reading and going on walks. We cooked dinners together at the house and also went out to a nearby restaurant one night. We played games and went on a very long (unintentionally long to be exact) bike ride to this luxury hotel on the island and back. The weather was perfect. I didn't get a ton of pictures but here are a few from my phone.

These next five our friend Chris took during the very long bike ride. I actually brought along my nice camera and spotted some pretty flowers at the Sanctuary. Who knew that my dance training would come in handy for photography balancing :)

And these are a few good shots I got of the purple flowers.

We went down to the beach on a Saturday and came home on Wednesday. It was really nice to have a 2 day work week and then having our 5th anniversary that Friday. We went out to a fancy dinner at a fairly new restaurant on top of one of the hotels in Uptown.

The food was great but the view was even better!

For anniversary outfit details go here.
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