August 31, 2014

September, September.

Image via DesignLoveFest
Can you believe tomorrow starts a new month? This summer has definitely flown by for the two of us. Between graduating, starting new jobs, moving and going on vacations, it's been a busy one.

For Katie and I, September is all about recharging and making steps toward our goals. Whether that's taking risks or making sacrifices, we want September to count and be a month full of meaning. Sometimes it's hard to take that first step, but we hope to do just that - and not be afraid to make mistakes along the way.

This month we are excited to be joining a new small group with a church we enjoy here in town, Church of the Highlands. We will be reading the book Facing Your Giants, by Max Lucado and discussing King David's failures, achievements and his ability to overcome so many obstacles. In conjunction with our weekly meetings, we will also spend time in fellowship and service at the Ronald McDonald House here in town. We are excited to get more involved with other young professionals, join in fellowship and also serve a charity that we care about!

We would love for all of you to read along with us as we embark on this journey! Share with us in the comments section on here or on our Facebook page your experience with the book. Have you been facing an obstacle lately? Let's face it.. we all do at some point, right? Whether it is stress from work, financial burdens, school, family, friends, life.. it happens. We are striving to use this time and study to remind ourselves that when we face obstacles AND in times of achievement, we need to remember to Let Go and Let God. 

Let's all look to turn obstacles into opportunities, surrender ourselves and our worries to Him, and make September a celebration of our achievements.

Believe it or not, September has arrived, and here in Alabama the focus is on the start of football season. There is no denying the exciting energy in the air and we look to channel that excitement into all of our upcoming events this month. The beginning of one of our most looked-forward-to seasons has already made us giddy. Between new projects at work, football, upcoming trips, sweater weather and our new small group it is sure to be full of exciting and fulfilling moments. We cannot wait to see what He has in store this month!

August 30, 2014

Best Brunches

I have a confession to make. I am OBSESSED with brunch. I literally will jump at any invitation to attend a brunch, go out for brunch or even host one of my own. In college I was always determined to have at least one weekend where my roommates and I would cook before a football game. That time was always my favorite and usually resulted in me shoo-ing them out of the kitchen so I could prepare everything just how I wanted - told you I was obsessed.

Today I'm sharing a few of my favorite brunch items. I love many of the classic options, but also pulled a few you may not have tried yet. Click the images for recipes! Don't see your favorite on here? Share it with us in the comments below!


Mimosas: Bubbly is a must for a brunch, and this mimosa bar has all the juices you need. A group of
my college friends and I did this for our moms on our graduation day, which also happened to be Mother's Day.


Bloody Mary: Another great compliment to brunch is a Bloody Mary. This one with bacon and shrimp takes the cake.


Fruit Granola Parfait: Parfait makes a great, slightly healthier brunch option. I love how everyone can choose their own fruit and yogurt combo!


Eggs Benedict: Julie's favorite! I love any brunch option with eggs, but Julie always goes for the Eggs Benedict.


Tomato Avocado Melts: Looks delicious, right? It is. Adding tomato and avocado to your brunch selection is both tasty and healthy. Try it next time, it won't disappoint!


Nutella French Toast: With all of the savory, I had to pick a sweet option. I love French Toast, but when you add Nutella it is out of this world!

August 29, 2014

Tailgate Fashion

Tailgate season is finally upon us! It is something about football and tailgate time that makes the season of fall just that much sweeter. We love how as the days grow shorter and the temperatures sink lower the printed shorts and skirts transition to leggings and jeans, sandals change to boots, and tanks turn to sweaters. Fall fashion is without a doubt a favorite of ours to shop for, and planning the perfect outfit for Saturday's game day is always a top priority.

One of the best things about football season, especially in the south, is that each month can bring about a different wardrobe style. Hopefully your team will be playing into December (or January) and you can even incorporate your favorite outerwear into your wardrobe. To kickoff this season, we've pulled together a few of our favorite styles for each month of the beloved tailgate season. We hope you will all enjoy tailgating in style this season, as for us, we'll be yelling Go Heels!

September: Likely still a bit warm this month, so we chose a cute dress complimented with bold
earrings and bangles and sandals.
October: The weather may be cooling down a bit this month. It's finally time to pull out your favorite riding boots and a lightweight sweater!

November: Just because its cooler out doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your favorite styles. Pull out your favorite wool skirt with tights and a heavier sweater. Pair with your favorite scarf in your team's colors!

December: Outerwear time! Keep yourself warm with your best peacoat and your best pair of denim. Your riding boots will look great and a winter scarf can bring in your team's colors!

August 28, 2014

10 Tips for Sorority Recruitment

via Courtney Approved
Here we go, it's the last installment of our mini-series on sorority recruitment. We know many schools are on the eve of recruitment week, so we want to offer our advice for anyone going through this year! We wish you all the best! (And secretly wish we could go back to being in your shoes).

1. Stay positive.
No matter what, keep a positive attitude. How you present yourself and what you're feeling really shines through when you are talking to chapter members.

2. Reach out to others in your recruitment group.
Make friends with the other girls who are going house-to-house with you. It will make the experience a lot more easy-going, and you may just make a best friend you'll hang out with throughout college. (The sweet friend I made in my recruitment group ended up being my junior year sorority house roommate!)

3. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Your recruitment counselor is there to guide you. If you have questions, ask. Recruitment counselors, as well as the Panhellenic community, are there to support you throughout the process.

4. Keep a notepad handy.
After each round, it may be a good idea to jot down some notes about things you liked about each house or what you found memorable, who you talked to, etc. Especially during first and second round, it's helpful to have some notes so you remember each one!

5. Have an "emergency kit."
Keep an extra pair of shoes, as well as mints, a hairbrush and makeup in your bag. You'll thank yourself later when you're walking from house to house in the sun (or in the rain in some cases!).

6. Don't over-think it.
It's easy to just say "be yourself," but you really don't want to go through recruitment stressed about how you should act or what you should say. You want to spend college surrounded by people who make you feel comfortable, so go into each round as your natural self and you will find those people!

7. Trust yourself.
Focus on what YOU liked about each sorority, instead of listening to others' opinions. Recruitment is personal, so make sure you are staying true to what you think deep down after every round. Your instincts are usually right, y'all.

8. Call a friend.
Sometimes it helps to share with someone (other than maybe your mom) who has been through recruitment before, or maybe is an old friend who can just listen. Call someone who doesn't go to the same school who can listen to how you feel about each house. Just talking it through to someone who's separated from your school's recruitment is often helpful in solidifying your thoughts and feelings.

9. Take a deep breath.
It isn't a lie when people tell you that you end up where you are supposed to be. It does work out despite any bumps in the road along the way! Yes, everything happens for a reason.

10. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!
Recruitment is for you! Chapter members have spent hours practicing skits, dances and songs for you to enjoy them. It's okay to laugh and smile and show that you're having fun. They want you to!




August 27, 2014

Ikat Tableware

With the tribal trend all the rage these days, Ikat is definitely having an "it" moment. It seems to us that many are retiring chevron in place of this geometric print - a pattern that's covering everything from pillowcases to drapery to wallpaper. We love that it's both bold yet versatile, and can come in so many different colors and shapes to really make your space pop. Ikat is also a little exotic, and the print even has a Middle Eastern feel that both of us find interesting and beautiful. In history, Ikat derives from an ancient art form and the print has been used for centuries, symbolizing wealth and privilege.

C. Wonder has a fabulous line of Ikat tableware that's reasonably priced yet looks a lot more than it is. Katie picked up these gorgeous navy blue Ikat coffee mugs for us to enjoy in the mornings. What better way to try out a trend than with decorative dishes?



Here are some of our other favorite tableware in the Ikat print. Those gorgeous trays + the bone coaster = swoon.

Untitled #3

August 26, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Dallas, Texas

Today we have a special treat for you all! Diana Oates, social editor at CultureMap Dallas, is here to be your Dallas tour guide. Be sure to follow her @Diana_Oates for even more coverage on this thriving, Texas destination!



Hi ya'll. So happy to pop in and talk about Dallas, a city that I am lucky enough to now call home. Perhaps the most glorious thing about our city is its pockets. Regardless of what you are in the mood for, there is a Dallas scene for that. In fact, its hard to just give one concrete list of all of the places that make me LOVE living here, but I am going to break it down as best as I can.

Pocket: Downtown 

Where to stay: The Joule .. seriously the best place in Dallas. It has everything you need for an amazing home away from home. The rooftop pool is absolutely breathtaking, ESPA is an underground heaven { think cool stone massage } and their coffee shop, Weekend Coffee, is fantastic as well. 

Where to shop: The Flagship Neiman Marcus is located right next to the Joule. Coincidence? I think not. Enjoy floor after floor of luxury shopping then head next door to TRAFFIC LA for fashions that will blow your mind.

Where to eat: Before you leave Neiman's, make sure to make a stop in at the Zodiac Room. This is the ultimate spot for ladies who lunch where everyone sips champagne and noshes on delicious salads and sandwiches. Depending on the time of year, make sure you get a reservation on Open Table. Need a fun spot for dinner? Head over to Savor for a great view and even better cocktails. 

What else can I do? Check out the eyeball statue, explore the sixth floor museum, hang out at Klyde Warren Park with friends. 

Pocket: Knox Henderson / Greenville Ave 

Where to stay: Hotel ZaZa and The Mansion on Turtle Creek are easy cab rides to these areas and both in very fun areas of town. Hotel ZaZa think Las Vegas meets Dallas luxury and The Mansion on Turtle Creek think Palm Springs. Both solid choices

Where to shop: This stretch of shopping is totally hitting its stride right now. Milk & Honey is all the rage right now for affordable clothing for the girl about town, The Bonobos Guideshop is changing the way mean get dressed and the Warby Parker store has even set up shop. On the hunt for accessories? Head over to Gypsy Wagon for the cutest momentos to remember your trip by.

Where to eat: Start your day off at Houndstooth Coffee or Mudsmith. Both of these amazing coffee shops are for those serious about their coffee and the perfect way to get energy for your day on the town. Head over to The Corner Market for a delicious sandwich or if its a nice afternoon go share a pizza with friends while sipping rose on the Taverna patio. Hang out with friends at the Truck Yard for live music and beers. For happy hour hit up HG SPLY CO and head straight up to the roof for a frozen moscow mule and for dinner The Porch is an old favorite that will never let ya down. The strawberry crush will change your life. Finding yourself hungry late night and in need of a night cap? Head over to Victor Tangos for custom drinks and amazing small plates. 


Pocket: Highland Park Village 

Where to Stay: The Highland or The Lumen. Perfect if you have any business to take care of at SMU

Where to shop: Seriously your one stop shopping spot is Highland Park Village. From Tory Burch to Rag & Bone and even an amazing Anthropologie, these high end shops will leave you dreaming all things luxury.

Where to eat: Grab a coffee or a smoothie at Number 1. While you're there step next door to Chapter Two to look at luxury coffee table books. Grab a sandwich and a cake ball at Celebrity Bakery and make sure to save room for half price sushi at Lounge 31 at happy hour. For dinner, you must stop in at Bistro 31 which is just lovely. Regardless of if you are with friends, co workers, your grandmother or on a date, this spot is perfect. If you are craving a steak, head to Al Biernat's. Best steak in town, despite what all the Bob's lovers say. 

What else can I do? Go see a movie at Highland Park Theatre's (think plush, large seating), get a blow out and a makeup application at DryBar & Blushington (neighbors), or take an afternoon to explore The George W. Bush Presidential Library. 

August 25, 2014

Monday Musing: Memories With Dad


There’s something to be said about Dad’s in households with only daughters. They definitely deserve some sort of grand prize for being the man of a house full of girls. Now I may be a little biased, but in my opinion my dad had the whole act down pat.

Growing up, I loved that my parents balanced their time with my sister and I. Mom and I would tackle dance competitions, while Dad and my sister took on horse shows. When Dad and I would embark on kayaking trips, my mom and sister enjoyed their own special time together. I loved that each parent had a certain activity that my sister and I did with him or her.


While I have great memories with each of my parents, I want to share some of the memories from my times with my dad today. I think every girl holds a special place in her heart for her dad – partly put in place by many of the traditions society holds for that relationship (i.e. “daddy’s girl,” a girl’s first love, her escort down the isle, etc. etc.).

My Dad and I have a mutual love for the outdoors and adventure. He always jokes that I am his "son" because I'm the one that does the things a father would usually do with his son. I loved that growing up we would kayak together down the river or in the ocean. My favorite days are days spent at the lake with him pulling me on water skis or in the tube.

It's never a dull moment when my Dad and I get together. We are always competing or dishing dirt out at each other. Sports seasons are even better because he went to NC State. Even though we can knock heads at times and I'm probably responsible for a good portion of grey hairs in his head, I wouldn't trade him for the world.

While I'm no longer his little girl living at home, I know I'll always be his little girl. I can always count on him for love and support ... Even a little tough love when I need it. I am so lucky to have the Dad I have and cherish all of the memories we've made and the ones yet to come.

August 24, 2014

Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

If your hair is anything like mine, it can really take a hit from all the summer sun and chlorine. In order to soothe my dry strands, I searched for ways to moisturize my hair and bring back the shine in time for fall. With a little research and beauty blog browsing, I found that coconut oil is highly recommended for naturally (and inexpensively) treating sun-damaged locks.

I stopped by my local Publix to pick up some coconut oil - a beauty secret for your skin and hair! (Apparently, coconut oil can be used for cooking and baking, but in our case, it's being used for beauty purposes). For hair, coconut oil leaves it silky and smooth while also promoting hair growth and strength.


All we did was microwave a tablespoon or two of oil in 10 second intervals until it was all melted through. Then, we divided our hair up into sections and spread the oil from roots to tips, making sure all strands were covered. We left it in for about an hour and tied our hair back, to let the oil seep in and deep condition. Afterward, we just shampooed and conditioned our hair normally.

To increase the effectiveness of the oil, we also read that covering your hair with a shower cap and wrapping your hair with a hot towel works wonders. We'll be trying that next go round!

Have any of you tried coconut oil on your hair? We'd love to hear what you think!


August 23, 2014

Who We Follow


Happy Saturday, friends! We hope you are all having a great weekend, and enjoying the end of summer! Today we wanted to share a little about some of the accounts we can't go a day without. We've got our favorite bloggers, Instagramers and Tweeters here on one page so that you too can experience some of our favorites. Take a look at the ones we love and let us know your favorites!

Bloggers
Julie's Favorites: Camille Styles | Look Linger Love | Dallas Wardrobe
It was so difficult for me to narrow down my favorite bloggers down to three. Trust me, I have a pretty lengthy list of blogs that I love and read daily. My Southern bloggers, however, take the cake (currently). I love Camille Style's features on everything from beauty to entertaining to lifestyle. The blogger behind Look Linger Love, Chassity Evans, is a Charleston stylist and mom - I can't get enough of her timeless, lowcountry style and mommy posts. Dallas Wardrobe is another who's closet I would love to raid - she's always dressing feminine and classic.

Katie's Favorites: The EveryGirl | Happily Grey | The Football Girl 
I love all of these blogs for various reasons. They have great tips and tricks for living life, style tips and my daily dose of  sports. The EveryGirl always has great advice, I dream of Happily Grey's style and The Football Girl balances out my day with some football talk. 

Instagram
Julie's Favorites: Love and Lemons | Yoga Girl | Gadabout
Love and Lemons is a favorite food blogger of mine, and each one of her photos makes me want to go out and make whatever she's cooking. Her recipes are always based on what's in season, and her food styling is just incredible. For inspiration, I love Yoga Girl's posts on strength and challenging your body. Another thing I love? The tropical locations she's always in, practicing and teaching yoga.
Hanna Seabrook (Gadabout), a creative designer and graphic designer based out of Kentucky, also has some of my favorite Instagram posts. Her style is so clean and airy, and I love her perspective on finding beauty in her everyday surroundings.


Okay, so the first one probably comes as no surprise. I love checking my Instagram feed to find adorable pictures of pugs (I also follow Boston Terriers of Instagram). Travel and Leisure is another favorite because it is a constant fuel to my wanderlust fire. When the travel bug bits... there is no cure. Finally, I highly recommend following Murad Osmann. He takes some of the most amazing, breathtaking photos using the hashtag #followmeto. He is always holding his wife's hand and the photo is taken from his perspective with a phenomenal backdrop. 

Twitter
Julie's Favorites: @theSkimm + @AP | @AdWeek@thewordoftheday
Although I'm not a huge Twitter fanatic, I do enjoy using Twitter as a news source. The Skimm is actually a daily email newsletter that combines news fact with editorial content, and their Twitter is full of news tidbits and fun photos. The Associated Press (@AP) is yet another news source with more breaking news content and hard facts. Ad Week's Twitter is also a great source of news, yet it targets marketers, media and agencies. Being in the advertising business, this is a must read for me as I can keep up with ad trends and successful campaigns. Word of the Day is just a fun one that expands my vocabulary knowledge (sorry, grammar nerd).

So I may have just given away my secret use for Twitter - mostly sports. I do follow news outlets and enjoy their tweets, but when looking back through my feed these were the accounts I favorited and retweeted the most. What can I say, UNC is a place that gets in your blood and stays forever and being from North Carolina the Carolina Panthers are an obvious choice. Also, Adam Lucas writes the best Tar Heel articles out there, like this one or this one that both bring me to tears every time.  If you follow me on Twitter, I apologize in advance for my excessive retweeting as football season begins. 

August 22, 2014

Fashion Friday: Sorority Fashion

For today's Fashion Friday post, we continue our mini-series on sorority life with a brief overview on sorority fashion for recruitment. While many sororities have already gone through their recruitment process, there are still many that are about to begin here soon. Some of you may not know that part of the recruitment process does weigh on presentation. This means for each round you want to have a nice, polished look - also because looking your best will help you be the most confident! We have a few of our own tips for dressing your best each round.

Round One: Open House

Open House round is a whirlwind of a day, and you'll get a chance to meet a lot of girls over just a few hours. This round is the most casual, as sorority members will most likely be dancing and cheering to welcome you into their house. Make sure you wear shoes and clothes that you feel comfortable in getting up and down off the floor. Shorts are the most popular option - we love prints because they will make you stand out. Choose fabrics that will breathe as well, since you will be walking from house to house (in most likely, the heat). Keep your accessories simple and not too overdone because you'll want to glam it up for the other rounds! More than anything, choose an outfit that you feel confident in for the first day!

Round Two: Skit Round


Skit round is a blast! If your recruitment is anything like UNC's, you will be watching a skit and spending a little more time at the house talking to members. Show off your personality in this round - find pieces that could be conversation starters and have fun with it. We love the idea of a romper for this round, since you can dress it up a little bit but still be comfortable if you have to sit on the floor. This is a great round to personalize your outfit with colorful accessories and dress up your sandals. Think high/low for this round - mix in casual with dressier accessories or shoes.


Round Three: House Tours

House Tours is one of our favorite rounds. Every school is different, but at UNC you will get to tour up to five houses and learn more about their socials and philanthropy. This round is typically dressier than the previous round. You want to look for a nice dress that you may wear to church or a nice dinner. There may be times where you sit in a chair or even on the floor, so make sure your dress is an appropriate length. Style the dress with either big earrings and a simple necklace or vice-versa. For shoes, we would suggest something like a comfortable wedge heel. Remember you may still be walking a lot, so pack flats to save your feet!



Round Four: Preference Night 

Preference Night is the final round of recruitment before Bid Day. This is the most serious of all of the nights and you will spend your time talking to only one-two members per house. A good rule of thumb for an outfit is to find a dress you might wear to formal church or a wedding reception. Don't be afraid to choose a color other than black! Accessorize with a bangle or bracelet, nice earrings and simple pumps.




All in all, choose outfits that you feel comfortable in. Each round gets a little bit dressier, but you want to chose brands, colors, styles that best compliment who you are and show your personality! One of the most important parts of recruitment is to find a house that is the best match for you!

August 21, 2014

10 Things Thursday: Birmingham Restaurant Week

Birmingham Restaurant Week started this past Friday and there are still a few days left. If you're in the area, you have until Sunday to squeeze in a chance to try out some of the best dishes from restaurants, cafes, bistros, bakeries, grills and gastropubs in the greater Birmingham area. The best part of all, the participating restaurants are all locally owned businesses that are unique to the Magic City. While we are just over half way through the week, we pulled together five highlights from the week so far and five things to check out before its over.

1. The week included several events, such as yesterday's Wine-ol-ogy, a wine flight tasting hosted by Rush Wines, and last Saturday's Beer Saturday, a tasting class presented by Good People Brewing Company.

2. This marks the fifth year for Birmingham Restaurant Week, and it's bigger than ever.

3. This year boasts 17 new participants: Bettola, Chez Lulu, Continental Bakery Downtown, Dixie Fish Co., FoodBar, Homewood Gourmet, Iron City Grill, Jinsie, Little Donkey, Maki Fresh, Melt, On Tap Lakeview, Parish Seafood & Oyster House, Primeaux Cheese & Vino, Sol's Deli and World of Beer. Additionally, newcomer The Summit Club is a private club that is opening its door to guests during BRW.

4. The culinary experience isn't just specific to Birmingham. The entire state is joining in making the total participation 233 restaurants in 55 cities. Learn more on the Alabama Restaurant Week site. 

5. This week brought to you in part by REV Birmingham. An "economic development organization that stimulates business growth and improves quality of life in Birmingham’s City Center and its Neighborhood Commercial Centers."

6. Each participating restaurant is offering a fixed entree at a fixed price. There are lunch platters ranging from $5-$15 and dinners from $10-$30. The participating restaurants and their price points/entrees can be found online at the BRW website

7. Join the fun on social media. Follow along on Twitter, @Bhamrestweek or Instagram, bhamrestweek, and use the hashtag #BRW2014 for your posts to be included in the festivities. 

8. Dinner to try: The Summit Club. Grilled Rack of Lamb with a Cabernet Demi-Glace, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Asparagus with Kahlua Creme Brulee for dessert and a signature cocktail to wash it down.

9. Lunch to try: Oscar's Cafe at the Museum. Choice of Grilled Grouper Banh Mi or Southern Fried Catfish and a dessert option of House-made Green Tea Ice Cream or Plantation cake with fresh summer berries & chantilly cream. 

10. When does it end? Sunday! So taste it all before it's gone!

August 20, 2014

Bar Cart Style

If there's one thing that can really make a small apartment pop with style, it's a bar cart. Stocked with pretty glassware, decorative trays, fun party trinkets and your drink of choice, a bar cart can truly show off your individual style. We love the unique ways people are styling their carts all over the blogging world, and they've almost become a staple in furnishing a home rather than just an extra accessory.

While our bar cart is stock full of gold glassware and nautical accents, these bar carts are inspiring us to switch things up and add a fresh twist every season. We are just swooning over all of these carts, especially the pink blooms, crystal champagne flutes and shabby-chic blue paint...


Rustic 

via HGTV


Colorful:
via Gingersnaps

Glam:

via DustJacket-Attic

Modern:

via Domino

Country-inspired:

via Domaine

No bar cart or little room? Check out this article. The EveryGirl dishes out three ways to style a bar without one.

August 19, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Turkey


To say “thank you” in Turkish, you say, “teşekkür ederim,” or as I was taught “tea, sugar and dream.” Those three words strung together and pronounced quickly are a close example of how the Turkish give thanks, and also an adequate representation of a trip to Turkey. In this beautiful and unique country you can’t help but sit down and enjoy tea with the locals, you will be drawn to the sugars and spices, and some of the scenery looks as though it is straight out of a dream.

I traveled to Turkey during my Semester at Sea excursion, where I explored Istanbul and Cappadocia – two of many amazing cities in the country. It is hard to put in to words the eye opening experience I had in Turkey. Going into the trip I had no idea what to expect or look out for, and I can certainly say it took my breath away. I highly recommend stopping here if ever given the chance. The culture, the people, the sights and the experience are truly amazing.

Istanbul:


1. Grand Bazzar and Spice Bazzar: Over 4,000 shops ranging from apparel, souvenirs, handmade gifts, spices, tea, etc. I had to dedicate an entire day to just browsing through these markets. The locals love to pull you into their shops and get you to buy some of their goods. Take a minute to speak with them and hear their story – they love to share their culture over a cup of tea. (I recommend apple tea!)

2. Blue Mosque: A historic mosque, known for the blue tiles in the interior. It was really neat to go inside and see the locals spend time in prayer and worship. Non-worshippers (i.e. tourists) can experience the site as long as they are dressed appropriately, which means shoulders and knees covered and headscarves for the ladies. However – it is closed specifically for worshipers for a half hour during the five daily prayers.

3. Hagia Sofia: Ataturk made The Hagia Sofia into a museum purposely, so that anyone could come and experience it. It’s also not a mosque, but a combination of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish religions – no specific wardrobe required.

4. Basilica Cistern: This is like an underground water chamber that would historically hold the water for the aqueducts. While there, make sure to toss a few coins in and made a wish at the Medusa heads. Also – keep a look out to take an awkward Ottoman Turk Royal Family photo, hilarious.

5. Sufi Dervish ceremony “whirling dervishes”: This is a religious ceremony where these men come out and literally spin around for about an hour. The significance is that the dervishes are entering into an almost trance-like state where they are receiving the gifts from God with one hand and giving them to the earth and the people with the other.

6. Club 360: A rooftop nightclub on Taxim Street. The views are breathtaking, the drinks and food are delicious, and there will probably be some sort of entertainer. The entire club is glass and gives an actual 360 degree view of the city.

7. Hookah: You have to try it! There are many places along Taxim Street. It is a neat way to immerse yourself in the culture of Turkey and many times you can strike up conversation with locals who frequent the bars.

8. Bosporus Straight Cruise: A half-day trip along the Bosporus Straight. This is a neat way to see some of the waterfront, which has amazing realestate. You end up on the other side and will step of the boat into Asia. Worth the trip and great seafood!

Cappadocia:

1. Kismet Cave Hotel: An actual cave hotel. Such a cool (literally) way to experience how people used to live in Cappadocia. No worries, there are actual beds!

2. Uranos & Sarikaya: A delicious cave restaurant where you can indulge in several different traditional courses. We enjoyed kabobs (not like on a stick but they make them in this really cool pot that they crack open to serve to you), soup, salad, and baklava.

3. Horseback ride through Rose Valley: Do this at sunset. The views are phenomenal.

4. Sunrise Hot Air Balloon: This was one of my favorite adventures of the trip. We were able to see some of the most breathtaking views. Literally hundreds of hot air balloons were all rising out of the valley together as the sun rose over the cliffs, creating the most picturesque scene I’ve ever experienced. We traveled in the air for a while, and our pilot tricked us a few times and brought our balloon down awfully close to the cliffs. We came in for a rather bumpy landing and toasted champagne to our newly acquired flight skills.

5. Historical Underground City: Here generations of groups lived and hid from their enemies. It was amazing to see how these people had created a fully functional city completely hidden from the outside world.

Final Must-Do = Turkish Bath: 

What an experience! The hammams can be found throughout Turkey. As you walk in they separate you by gender and lead you down to this changing room where you strip down and wear only the provided towel and flip-flops. Next you’re lead by a Turkish lady that barely speaks English to a room where you get a paste-like mask applied to your face. You are then taken to a boiling steam room to sweat out all of your toxins. After a bit of time the ladies return and instruct you to shower off the mask and come into the main room. In there is the huge marble slab that everyone lies down on. (The final fight scene from Taken 2 is filmed in one). Then in come these very burly Turkish ladies in only their bra and underwear. They scrub you down and lather you up with tons of soap, all the while singing and dancing around. It was awesome! Then they rinse you all off and lead you to a room for a massage-wonderful!

August 18, 2014

Family Tradition + Crab Cake Recipe


Writing this post very well may bring tears to my eyes, but I've wanted to write about my sweet grandmother for quite some time. She passed away my freshman year of college, right before my first round of finals. I remember the call I received early that November morning, and that feeling in the pit of my stomach as my brothers and I drove to the airport. When we arrived in Maryland, all I could think about were the memories I have in my grandparent's home, and especially the ones I shared with my grandmother, my Mom Mom as I called her. Tradition played a huge role in my Mom Mom's life, and her passion for holidays, family gatherings and celebrations will always be something that stays with me.

Growing up, I didn't have the privilege of seeing my grandmother as often as other grandchildren living in the same city as their grandparents. Maryland was six hours away, and with school and all our extracurricular activities, it was lucky if we got to see Mom Mom and Pop Pop three times a year. Despite the distance, the memories I shared with my Mom Mom overcame the miles between us, and I am so thankful for the time I did have with her.

For me, being back in my grandparent's home always brings a peace more so than any other place. The memories I have sitting at her kitchen counter in particular are some of my most cherished. My Mom Mom was always in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and making sure everyone had enough to eat. She would never sit down until everything was set out on the table, ready for us all to dig in. Her hospitality was something I always admired about her. She was inherently a selfless person, always serving others before herself, expecting nothing in return. She truly loved each one of us with her whole heart. She led an example for us all to follow without her desiring any glory or praise.

As I said before, the importance of tradition was something that my Mom Mom valued. Every Thanksgiving, we would use the same dishes, eat the same Southern green beans brothed in butter and bacon and share what we were thankful for around the table. It's funny how simple traditions like that have such an impact down the road. It's those traditions when time stops, and you remember exactly where you were, what you were eating, and who you were with the year, three years, five years before. I loved how the photos and decorations in their home never changed and even the newspaper and magazine clippings from decades ago remained on her refrigerator doors. I loved how she always greeted us with a big hug and then started cooking immediately even if we weren't hungry. I loved her stories of what was going on in the town, and her stocked up cabinets of food fit for an army.

One meal I grew to cherish when visiting my Mom Mom were her crab cakes. They were not as much as a tradition as they were staple in her kitchen, for she served them every time we came to visit. I remember her cooking up the fresh Maryland crab, and the aroma would fill up the entire house. When I was younger, I couldn't stand it, that is until my taste started to evolve and seafood became a favorite of mine. If you've never had crab straight from Maryland's shore, you haven't had real crab. My Mom Mom could attest - she was so particular about her crab meat and wouldn't serve them unless they were just right.

Even though I could never come close to replicating my Mom Mom's pound cake or potato salad, here's a recipe for her famous crab cakes (thanks mom for the help!). It's one of those dishes that I can never eat without thinking about my Mom Mom and reflect on what a humble, beautiful woman she was.

Mom Mom's Crab Cakes:

2 slices bread, crusts removed
2 tbsp. mayo
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 egg, beaten
1 lb. crab meat

Break bread into small pieces. Mix in mayo, Old Bay, parsley, mustard and egg. Stir in crab meat.  Shape mixture into patties. Fry until golden brown.

August 17, 2014

Weekend Links We Love

We hope you all are enjoying your Sunday! To wrap up the weekend, we bring you another round-up of our favorite links this week.

1. 5 Easy Breakfast Ideas, The Everygirl. We can't wait to taste that avocado + egg toast! This article shows off some of our favorite breakfast combinations for when we're on the go, like fruit topped with Greek yogurt and simple toast paired with honey butter. Yum!

2. 100 Best Restaurants in the South, Southern Living. We love that two Chapel Hill favorites, Lantern and Crook's Corner, made this Top 100 List! The other weekend, we tried out Nashville's Pinewood Social for Katie's birthday, and it definitely made an A+ in our grade book. Travel plans to visit more of the placemakers may be in the works...

3. 10 Organization Habits You Need to Establish Before Age 30, Domain Home. We especially love this quote from the article: “Believe it or not, research has shown that making your bed in the morning is correlated with greater productivity and overall happiness. Starting your day off right will train your brain to keep up good behaviors throughout the day. Don’t underestimate the power of a made bed.” We'll remember that next time we want to blow it off in the morning!


4. 8 Game Changing Marketing Lessons from the ALS 'Ice Bucket Challenge, Inc. The ice bucket campaign sure went viral over social media this past week - this article explains a few key components of why it was successful. We're taking note. We love that our sorority, Alpha Delta Pi at UNC even took part of the fun during recruitment practice this past week. We miss all our lovely ladies on Rosemary Street!

5. Signature Style, Damsel in Dior. We love how Jacey paired a cream fitted blazer and white tee with distressed denim and heels. Her effortless style is always on point, and this outfit is a perfect transition from summer into fall. We can easily see ourselves pairing a neutral jacket and top with dark skinnies when the weather gets cooler.




August 15, 2014

Friday Fizzy Drinks


What better way to enjoy the weekend than with a fruity, fizzy drink? Our recipes for strawberry + lemon and mango + lemon wine spritzers are just the kind of refreshment you'll want to bring with you while you're out in the sun. These simple, easy drinks are fun and colorful, and the multiple flavor options will suit any taste bud.

Ingredients:

1 bottle moscato or chardonnay
1 bottle Sparkling ICE Water
Lemon wedges

To Make:

Fill a wine glass with ice and pour in wine until 1/2 to 3/4 full. Fill the remainder of the glass with the Sparking ICE Water in the flavor of your choice. Place lemon wedge on the side and enjoy!



August 14, 2014

Secrets to the Perfect At-Home Manicure

A latte + hot pink polish, what could be better?

Katie and I have an affinity for getting our nails done at the salon. It's a luxury that's hard to pass up, especially on the weekends when we just want relax and get pampered every few weeks. However, it can be an expensive habit, and with our budget, we've learned to cut back where we can. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to achieve a beautiful salon-like manicure with a steady hand, good products and pretty polishes.

Since it's still Katie's birthday week, I tested out my nail polish skills and treated her to a DIY at-home manicure.

Here are ten of my secrets to achieving that salon look...

1. Remove old polish. First things first, use an acetone-based polish remover to get rid of all your chipped away polish. I like using Q-tips to make sure no color is left on the edge of my nails.

2. Cut your cuticles. Use a cuticle cutter properly take away the dead skin near your cuticles. Sometimes I put on cuticle cream to moisturize and soften my cuticles beforehand. Definitely doesn't hurt!

3. Trim down. I like to keep my nails short, but it's up to you. Be careful to not trim them too short though, because filing them later will make them shorter.

4. File. A nail file is your friend. Make sure you even out all the jagged edges and choose a shape that's right for you, whether that be round or square. I like using the nail tool that smooths the nail down as well, so that my nails stay looking healthy.

5. Exfoliate. After all the above prep, next you're ready to exfoliate. I often use my body scrub to clean my nails and clear away the dead skin off my hands. Sometimes I use a dish tub and fill it with hot water, letting my hands soak for awhile before I move on to the next step.

6. Soften. When I really want to indulge, sometimes I heat up a damp washcloth just like they do in nail salons and wrap it over my hands. Then, I use a hand cream or body lotion to moisturize my just-exfoliated skin. Currently, I'm loving OPI's line of hand and body lotions. (I'm partial to the sweet tea one at the moment!).

7. Prep with a base coat. Now for the polish! My #1 rule I have to follow is applying a base coat. Without it, my polish ALWAYS chips, so I've learned my lesson. I use Sally Hanson's Double Duty for my base coat and apply a thin layer.

8. Apply two coats of color. Thin, even strokes are the key here. To avoid mistakes, make sure you let the first coat dry completely before applying the second. Katie chose Revlon's "Seashell" - a perfect neutral when you're working in the summer! However, both of us love Essie's line of corals for our toes during the warm months. You can never go wrong with a bright pedicure!

9. Finish with a top coat. Always always top off your manicure with a top coat. I use Essie's Good to Go Top Coat, but anything that protects against chipping and strengthens your nails is great!

10. Reapply a top coat every couple days. I like my nails super shiny, so I like to put on a fresh top coat every couple days. It also helps in making all your hard work last!