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Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer. Show all posts

Jul 23, 2020

Romper Life

Back in April, AJ's mom offered to take me shopping for some clothing for our honeymoon as an early birthday present.  Her theory (and one that I totally love), was that it's just fun to have some new clothing when you go on a trip, so we set out on a few little shopping excursions to find some "resort clothing" for me that is fit for a week on an island!  

We hit some of the usual spots, like Old Navy, and then, a few weeks ago, we headed to Lancaster to grab some other pieces before all of the summer stuff is replaced by fall clothing.  Despite trying time and again, I haven't found a romper I liked until now.  I think it's mostly because my hips are on the wide side and most rompers aren't made for that...if I find something that fits my bottom half, it's huge on top.  But when we found this one, I knew I had to try it on!

This piece restored my faith in rompers (to be totally honest, I'm not sure how much faith I had to begin with....but let's just go with it).  It's pretty, a great color, and unique...I don't think I've seen one that's so swingy before!  And because of that swingy-ness, it's so comfortable. 

And apparently, it makes me look like a dancer.  The day I took these photos, my best friend and I went to get manicures, and halfway through mine, the lady doing my nails looked at me and said "You're a dancer?"  (which, I think is a strange, rather matter-of-fact way to ask someone that sort of question)  I replied "Nope, not really" (I figured I couldn't exactly count the year of ballet I did as a 4 year old...), and she went on to tell me that my outfit, hair, and makeup made me look like a dancer.  I'm going to blame it on the outfit, because I wear my hair and makeup like this almost daily and I've never had anyone tell me that I look like a dancer before.  

Romper:  H&M
Necklace:  Target
Sunglasses:  Target

Jul 8, 2020

Blueberry Mint Iced Green Tea

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeAndMyTea #CollectiveBias

I've always loved tea.  My grandmother taught me well and raised me on cups of strong black tea in the mornings that we spent together over the summers when my parents were both at work.  Even now, I still love visiting her and sipping tea on her porch.  I often spend Sunday afternoons cutting my grandparent's grass and then love sitting on my grandmother's porch swing with her and catching up.  And her first offer to me is still always a cup of tea.  Although, during these summer days, I prefer an iced tea! 

Iced tea is a great, refreshing summer drink, and I love that I can enjoy it without any added sweetener!  My favorite way to dress up a cup of iced tea is to include some fruit and fresh herbs in it, and my current obsession is blueberries and mint.  Besides being super simple (as in, I'm going to give you a recipe but it can hardly be called that because you don't even need it), it's quick, versatile, and so tasty!

So, to make my new fave, all you need is some fresh blueberries (convenient since it's blueberry season, huh?), fresh mint, and Bigelow green tea!  Brew the tea bags as if you were making hot tea (one bag per every 6-8oz of water is a good ratio), and let them steep for a little bit longer than you would with a hot cup.  You'll water it down with some ice cubes, so it's good to err on the strong side.  I like to muddle some blueberries and mint leaves just to get the flavors moving a little bit (simply mashing them with a fork will do!), and then of course, topping your glass with some whole leaves and blueberries makes the experience summer perfection.  

Every time I pick up or make a glass of iced tea, I'm back in my grandmother's kitchen as a little girl, chatting about boys and school and enjoying my morning cup just the way she used to make it.  Bigelow is my favorite choice because their tea is all America, fresh, and Bigelow supports our troops!  Next time you're at Walmart, pick up a box of Bigelow tea and turn it into your next refreshing summer drink!  


Jun 1, 2020

Recipe for the Perfect Summer Afternoon

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ArtisanFlavors #CollectiveBias

I'm learning over and over again about the importance of taking some "me time" and recharging by putting myself first and my schedule last once in a while (more to come on that soon!). Because I'm an extrovert, I often find myself filling up my time surrounded by other people or scheduling every minute of my time doing something. But as I've realized the toll that that sort of lifestyle takes on my mental and physical health, it's become more and more apparent that stepping away from everything for an hour or two here and there is so important.

With summer here, one of my very favorite ways to grab some time to myself is in our backyard. We have a great hammock that we can move around, so I love putting it out in the sun and taking a nap or curling up in it with a good book!  We had a gorgeous weekend here in PA and I was able to grab not one, but two afternoons in our hammock, which is pretty much unheard of for me!  

Stepping away and resting on my own is incredibly refreshing.  With the stress of wedding planning, my parents' health issues, and just life in general, I know I need to schedule that time "away" more, and find the opportunities to have those "me moments" regularly.

Basically, my favorite way to enjoy a summer afternoon in the hammock consists of a few things:

+ a good book
+ some things to keep me comfortable like a pillow and a light blanket, for those early summer breezes
+ a magazine (if I'm wanting lighter reading)
+ my phone and headphones, for some music or a podcast
+ a glass of water
+ a great sweet treat, like the new New Nestlé® Häagen Dazs Artisan Collection ice creams

I think that it's important to be sure that your me-time isn't rushed or less than great.  At work, we strive to approach everything we do with a level of excellence.  I know that that leaks over into many other areas of my life, but it's easy to forget that mindset when I'm taking care of myself.  Often, we're the last thing on our own priority list, and that means that we often make concessions or don't approach that self-care time with excellence.  Choosing the right environment, reading materials, music or podcasts can obviously make your me-time a ton better, but it even goes for things like my glass of water...something as simple as chopping up a few strawberries in my glass just makes it feel a little bit more special!  I also love really treating myself and indulging in a really special sweet treat!

Now, if you follow me on Instagram, you might have realized by now that I have a severe love of ice cream. It's pretty much my favorite dessert, and I love to enjoy it all year round. And if you're an ice cream lover too, then you know that there is a difference between ice cream and ice cream.  Häagen Dazs has always been an indulgence, but their new Artisan Collection is nothing short of ah-mazing.  Featuring a variety of flavors (my favorite is the Tres Leches Brigadeiro), Häagen Dazs teamed up with six unique artisans to bring a passion for quality, the best ingredients, and the perfect bite of ice cream.  And none of the flavors in this collection fall short.  You can pretty much taste the excellence!  It makes it the perfect option for an afternoon of indulgence.

Häagen Dazs is also offering a few lucky winners Artisan Collection prize packs...including a KitchenAid Mixer (um, yes please!)  You can pick up any of the Häagen Dazs Artisan Collection ice creams at your local WalMart, but be sure to enter the contest below for your chance to win!  And don't forget to check out Häagen Dazs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Häagen Dazs #ArtisanFlavors Contest


May 27, 2020

5 Tips for Caring for Your Curls This Summer

If there is one phrase to describe my summer style, it's "easy and comfortable". I live in running shorts and tank tops, or when I need to look a little dressier, I opt for easy-going sun dresses in the summer months. And when it comes to my hair, it's no different. I really, really dislike getting sweaty before my day even starts, and I can't stand spending lots of time doing my hair every day with various hot tools that will just add to the heat outside. Plus, summer is such a great time to give my hair a break and let it recoup from the winter's brittle cold.

But when you have some natural wave in your hair, (and especially when your hair is crazy coarse and dry), then letting your hair go au-natural can be a little bit treacherous in the summer months! Between frizz and curls that have a mind of their own, managing your locks in the summer can take some extra skill and finesse. So with that in mind, here are a few of my favorite ways to keep my hair looking good in the summer months!

1 // Quench the Thirst
If you have curly hair, then you probably know that the key to fighting frizz is keeping your hair moisturized. Dry hair = frizzy hair, so making sure that you're nourishing your hair with great, moisturizing products is essential. Finding a good deep conditioner it work into your routine every week or so is a great idea, but make sure that the products you use every day also include moisturizing ingredients. (Personally, I love Dove's New Quench Absolute line!)  

2 // Skip the Soap
I've tried the whole no-poo thing and my hair, while dry, can get greasy-feeling, so I've found that what works best for me is shampoo-ing no more than once every other day. If you've never tried to give yourself a break from the 'poo, then I highly recommend experimenting! Giving your hair a break from shampoo can help it regulate the natural oils that your scalp produces and contribute to your hair's health, therefore helping to ease dryness. When you do shampoo, be sure to use a moisturizing product!

3 // Be Picky About Your Products
Some products contain ingredients that will only further dry out your hair, so be picky! Finding a product that will not only define your curls, but leave them feeling nourished, smooth, and looking natural is not easy, but I'm currently crushing on Dove's Quench Absolute Supreme Creme Serum. It absorbs into your hair quickly (so no greasiness!) and it's lightweight and creamy, so it leaves your hair nourished! I also love that it can be used on dry or wet hair, so it can be incorporated into any part of your morning routine. Finding the right product that works for you is essential!

4 // Find a Routine that Works
Like I said, I really dislike having to use a ton of hot tools on my hair in the summer, but sometimes, I need a little bit of extra definition in my curls, so putting away the curling iron and blow dryer for three months isn't exactly an option. What I have found, however, is that there is middle ground. For me, a routine that works is throwing some product in my hair and letting it air dry as long as I can in the morning, then getting the dampness out of of it with my hair dryer and finally, finishing it off by throwing in a few curls here and there with my curling wand, set on a low heat. This routine gives me the definition of heat tools, without having to use them start to finish. The only trick to this style is making sure you don't fry your hair by trying to curl it...be sure it's dry enough before breaking out the curling wand!

5 // Love Your Curls
No matter what, don't forget to love your curls! Too many times I look in the mirror on a bad hair day and decide I hate my hair, or looking at someone else's curls and thinking "I wish my hair looked more like that!" So even through the bad, frizzy hair days, be sure to show your curls some love! I love my curls by treating my hair well, getting regular trims, giving it a break from my hot tools, and moisturizing it like it's my job!  

I really love Dove's new Absolute Quench line.  It's moisturizing and nourishing products are great for smoothing and defining natural curls in the summer months, without weighing curls down or leaving them feeling crunchy or greasy!  

Did you know that one in three women in the US have curly hair, but only 40% of little girls with curly hair think that their hair is beautiful, and only 10% of women with curly hair feed proud of their hair. That's so sad! Dove Hair recently launched a "Love Your Curls" campaign to encourage women to celebrate their curls, and the new Love Your Curls book is a poetic tribute to curly hair. The book features real stores from real women and is intended to inspire curly-haired girls of all ages! You can download the book for free here, and you can even personalize the book to include a photo of yourself and a poem about your curls! (Check out mine here!) If you have a daughter or niece with curly hair, then think about creating a customized book for her and encouraging her to love her curls!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

May 18, 2020

Grilled BBQ Ribs & Homemade BBQ Dry Rub

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®  Smithfield® and Farmland®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #GetUpandGrill #GetFiredUpGrilling http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

There's almost nothing I love more about summer than a good BBQ.  We love eating outside as soon as the weather permits, and try to hold out as long as we can throughout the fall.  I love walking barefoot through the grass, gathering around picnic tables, and lingering on the patio long after the food has been consumed, just chatting and enjoying a good evening with friends.

Last summer, AJ and I spent a solid week watching a TV show in which people competed for the bragging rights of having the best BBQ around.  We promptly decided that we could totally make ribs and then we promptly failed epically.  They were incredibly spicy and not completely cooked.  But we've grown quite a bit as chefs since then, and we've perfected a delicious dry rub and the method to making fall-off-the-bone ribs!  (Hint:  it's not as hard or as complicated as it may seem!)

+ a rack or two of baby back ribs (we like Smithfield, which are available at Walmart!)
+ 1/2 c brown sugar
+ 2 tbsp garlic powder
+ 2 tbsp salt
+ 2 tbsp black pepper
+ 2 tbsp cumin
+ 2 tbsp paprika
+ 2 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional, or to taste)
+ 2 tbsp chili pepper (optional, or to taste)
+ your favorite BBQ sauce


1.  Flip over your ribs.  You'll notice a thin white membrane coating the underside of the ribs.  Insert a knife underneath this coating and pull it back (you may need to grip it with a paper towel).  This membrane will feel rubbery and hard to chew if left on.

2.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in a few pinches of your spices, plus a dollop of BBQ sauce.  Then, toss in your ribs.  Boil the ribs for 30-45 minutes, or until tender.  (You'll be able to feel when they're tender by poking them with a fork).

3.  While your ribs are boiling, make your dry rub by mixing the brown sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.  Feel free to adjust the amounts to taste, and if you like your BBQ a little spicy, then add in some cayenne and chili pepper!  (Hint:  The more brown sugar you use, the more melted and crystalized your rub will get.)

4.  After boiling, place the ribs on a plate and pile on your dry rub (it's ok to let them cool for a few min first).

5.  Then, fold foil loosely around them and place them on the grill on the top rack on low for another 30-45 minutes.  Check occasionally.  (Once you put them on the grill, you're just looking for the rub to melt and crystalize on top of your ribs.)

6.  Pull them off of the grill and enjoy as is or topped with your favorite BBQ sauce!

It's as simple as that!  Take it from two people who learned the hard way:  making ribs does not have to be complicated.  While you can absolutely do them from start to finish with the "low and slow" method on a grill, we now prefer to cut that time by a ton and start them in the kitchen and finish them up on the grill, but we definitely are dreaming of having a smoker someday!  (Maybe when we live in that farmhouse in Tennessee that we've been daydreaming about lately?)

Visit the Get Fired Up Grilling website for additional recipes and tips from BBQ Pitmasters Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone. Also enter to win a trip to the American Royal BBQ contest and other great grilling prizes!


May 14, 2020

The Golden Vlog // May

I'm super excited about this month's Golden Vlog because we're talking about one of my favorite things...summer vacation!  If you're not familiar with The Golden Vlog, here are the details:  it's run by Faith of Life with Mrs. G & the Artist.  Each month, Faith chooses a topic and sends out a list of questions to those who have linked up in the past.  We all create a little video of ourselves answering the questions and then link-up!  It's a fun way to connect with other bloggers...I always love seeing videos of blogging friends because it feels like I actually know them in real life then!

So, without further ado, here is this month's Golden Vlog...watch below to find out what I did as a kid for summer vacation, where AJ and I are going on our honeymoon, and what some of my favorite trips have been!


Aug 15, 2020

A Summer Take on Jeans and a Tee

i work at a church where we're allowed to dress pretty casually during the week.  for me, that means a lot of jeans!  i'm a total jeans and tee kinda girl...i like looking cute, but i also need to feel comfortable.  that's often when i feel most confident.

this outfit is one that i love for the office for summer.  it's so comfortable, and it's a fun take on the jeans and a t-shirt classic.  plus, i picked up both the jeans and shirt on sale at gap, and you can't beat a pair of jeans for $13 (especially when they were originally $70)!  i also love my saltwater sandals, particularly when they're paired with jeans.  i ordered them last summer and they quickly became one of my favorite pairs of sandals!

one of the other things i'm attempting to do more is wear my glasses instead of my contacts.  i've been wearing glasses since i was in first grade, and contacts since i was in sixth, and i'm basically as blind as a bat.  i'm on a mission to fall in love with glasses again, so i ordered a fun pair from coastal.com (thanks to their first pair free program!) and i've been working on wearing them more often!

shirt // gap
cami // forever 21
jeans // gap
sandals // saltwaters
glasses // coastal.com

if you haven't yet, make sure to enter my august giveaway for your chance to win $100 to gap and $30 to starbucks!

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