September 30, 2014

Music Midtown

For today's Travel Tuesday, we are recapping our adventure to Atlanta, Georgia the weekend before last for the two-day music festival, Music Midtown. This year's festival, held at Piedmont Park, brought in several great artists, from the soothing guitar of John Mayer to the infamous Slim Shady.





September 29, 2014

National Coffee Day

We couldn't let National Coffee Day go by without a mention of it here on our blog! While we chatted yesterday about a favorite cold-weather drink, the tasty chai latte, we still have to pay tribute to what gets our morning going every day.

This infographic is too cute not to share (and helpful when you're trying to decipher what to choose at your local coffee shop). Katie and I love a good cup o' joe during the week, but when we want to splurge a little bit, we'll go for a cappuccino or macchiato. But if I had a choice, a freshly brewed cup of french press coffee would be just right.


The best part about today is that there's some great coffee deals and freebies going on nationwide.

Dunkin' Donuts will give you a free medium cup of their hot, dark roast coffee, with a limit of one per guest today only. Then, beginning on September 30 and running through October 5, you can grab a cup of this bold brew for just 99 cents. 

Krispy Kreme offers guests their choice of Krispy Kreme house, dark roast or decaf coffee for free. Or, you can purchase a mocha, latte or iced coffee for just $1.


Peet's Coffee and Tea wants you to celebrate National Coffee Day with a friend - purchase one beverage and receive another beverage of equal or lesser value for free today only.


Kangaroo Express has a great deal on their coffee today - a 12 oz. cup is just one penny between 6 and 10 am.


Caribou Coffee wants you to stop in for free samples of their Amy's blend and Starbucks will be celebrating the birthplace of coffee with tastings of its Ethiopian blend.



One thing's for sure, this Monday will be a caffeinated one!

September 28, 2014

Happy Sunday (with a side of chai tea latte)

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend! We are cozying up in our apartment and relaxing the day away, relishing every last bit of our precious Sunday. The past few weeks have been nothing but hurry and scurry for both of us, so it's nice to have a weekend to well, not do much at all.

I whipped up this chai tea latte yesterday evening, and I have to say it's pretty delicious (and a perfect weekend treat). With a pop of caffeine, this latte does the trick before or after a workout - there's not much I love more on the weekends than a great yoga class and a spicy chai latte. I'm a sucker for a Starbucks chai, but sometimes I don't want to throw out $4 for a drink. For a simple, hardly-any ingredient knock-off here you go!



Concentrate:

4 cups water
4-6 chai tea bags
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

The Latte:

Mix 1/2 cup of chai tea concentrate with 1/2 cup milk. You can spice yours up a bit with some cinnamon on top and substitute regular milk for almond milk (like I did). This recipe will definitely give you extra, so store in your fridge and make for an afternoon pick-me-up!


September 27, 2014

Plum Lips

Although it's hard to say goodbye to my bright coral and pink lipsticks and sheer lip balms, it's exciting to change things up a bit with deeper and darker colors for fall. At my job, our style editors have been going crazy over purple shades this season, and I couldn't agree more. A sweep of highly pigmented plum on your lips makes such an impact and a statement - and I'm definitely on board.

Here's a few brands and shades I'm craving to stash in my makeup bag:

Tom Ford Lip Color in Bruised Plum



This is a brand new shade of Tom Ford that came out this month. Even the packaging makes my heart skip a beat. The rich color would look gorgeous for special occasions and nights out. I'm dreaming of wearing this color with a fur vest, black jeans and tall black boots. Stunning. This little guy is on my wishlist.


Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Live Large




I've always been a big fan of Bare Minerals foundation, and their lip color products have my heart as well. They're great for everyday wear and stashing in your work bag. Bare Minerals also offers a deeper purple color, but I love the more muted, pink-ish tone of this one.


Mac Rebel



Mac's lipsticks are tried and true, and you really can't go wrong with this shade. I love the hint of shimmer and bright pop of color. This will leave your lips shiny and provide a glam look, but without it being too much.


L'Oreal Paris Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick in Persistent Plum


If you want to try out plum color this season but don't want to break the bank, turn to L'Oreal. I have a few L'Oreal lipsticks I have been wearing for years, and they are wonderful when you want to experiment with color. 

NARS Volga



This dark berry shade has a matte, long-lasting finish. The color is dramatic and not for the faint of heart. If you're looking for a rich, more reddish-plum color that will last for hours, this is it.


Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Mulberry



I'm more attracted to brighter shades, so I love the color of this lipstick. All of Bite's products are made from pure ingredients and provide hydrating color. I can't wait to try out more shades from this brand!

We would love to hear, do you have any other fall beauty trends you're excited to test out?


September 26, 2014

Fall Outerwear

There are TONS of great styles and trends for fall, including outerwear apparel. I always try to keep at least one of each of my favorite styles on hand for the fall. The different styles, thickness, colors, etc. are great for mixing and matching with your fall outfits. Take a look at the different styles we like and some of our favorite brands with those styles.

Trench: The longer cut of the trench coat is great for dressing up any outfit. You can choose a trench raincoat, or just a trench that best compliments your outfit.

Anoracks: A great fall jacket. The wide selection of colors and prints are great for mixing and matching with your favorite fall outfits. Check out the Fillmore Anoraks. I love them with the transition sleeves.

Boyfriend: The boyfriend style jacket is great for a casual look. The J.Crew field jacket is one of my favorites. It is just enough thickness for the fall months when you can still get hot at times. I love the dark, earthy tones for fall. 

Leather: Dress up any outfit with a classic leather jacket. There are several great styles for if your looking for a trendier style or just a simple leather. I have a cognac color and a cream color that give the warmth I need and nicely complement any look.

Waxed Cotton: A great choice for as it gets into the later fall months and becomes cooler. There are so many different colors and we love the Barbour coats. A great coat to throw on over any outfit that works for many different styles. 

Quilted: Julie and I both have this quilted coat from J Crew, which we love. This style can come in varying levels of thickness to best suit whatever temperatures you're facing. The cut of these coats compliments any look and easily transitions into the winter months.

Vest: A must-have for casual fall wear. The Patagonia vest is a favorite of ours, but there are several great styles and colors that can work for anyone's taste!

September 25, 2014

10 Wallet-Friendly Red Wines


Photo via blog.anthropologie.com
Here you go, y'all. This is our round-up of our favorite inexpensive red wines to get you through the cooler months ahead. We love an Olivia Pope-sized glass of red wine every now and again, but since we're on a budget, we hunted for bottles that were friendly on our wallet. Most of these you can pick up at your local grocery store or Target, and a few are from our favorites, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. We're just thankful that Trader Joe's is finally coming to Alabama in 2015! Praise!

1. Beringer Founder's Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. $9.

2. Francis Ford Coppola Rossa. $12.

3. Purple Moon Merlot. $3.99. (A STEAL!)

4. Redtree Pinot Noir. $6.99.

5. Gabbiano Chianti. $7.99.

6. Sterling Vintners Collection Cabernet Sauvignon "Central Coast." $11.99

7. Santa Julia Innovación Malbec Tempranillo. $10.

8. Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel. $10.

9. Yellow Tail Shiraz. $12.99

10. Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir. $12.


Through our research and taste-testing, we came across this article that tells you where to look for inexpensive (yet good quality) reds. Worth a read!

September 24, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

We've shared a few spaghetti squash recipes with you, but we have another one we just can't keep to ourselves. As you know, spaghetti squash is light, healthy AND tasty. This buffalo chicken recipe is great because the chicken makes it even more filling, and the buffalo spice gives the meal a nice kick.

Ingredients:
2 small-to-medium spaghetti squash
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
½ cup Frank's Hot Sauce
½ cup ranch dressing
1 large chicken breast or 2 medium chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


To Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a fork, place small holes into the spaghetti squash so it can breath while baking.
  3. Place the spaghetti squash into a large casserole dish and bake for 50 minutes.
  4. Allow the spaghetti squash to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  5. While you are letting the spaghetti squash cool, melt the cream cheese in a large saucepan and mix in the hot sauce. Allow the cream cheese to completely melt.
  6. Add in the ranch dressing and chicken breasts.
  7. Cut the spaghetti squash length-wise in half and scoop out the insides. Place the buffalo chicken on top of the spaghetti squash and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
  8. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted.

Additionally, anyone else find it fun to scrape out the squash after it is baked? It always amuses me how the squash easily peels out in strands just like spaghetti noodles. Enjoy!

September 23, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Boone + Blowing Rock


When fall weather is approaching, I immediately want to start planning a mountain trip. Although I'm definitely a beach over mountains type of person, I do love heading west before all the ice and snow, and when the leaves change into their autumn splendor.

Visiting Boone and Blowing Rock always reminds me of my childhood, as my family would often take mountain trips and stay up in a cabin for a week or weekend. My grandmother's family is originally from that area, so it holds a special place in my heart as well.

If you have a chance to visit the North Carolina mountains anytime soon, make sure you stop at some of these spots and enjoy the scenery of Appalachia.

Photo via 

To Eat

These are just a few of my favorite spots I love to stop in while in the area, including a country breakfast (Melanie's) and a fried green tomato + pimento cheese sandwich (Best Cellar). For dinner, Hob Knob Farm Cafe offers an extensive menu of farm to table food - you don't want to miss out!

Boone:

Coyote Kitchen
Hob Knob Farm Cafe
Woodlands Barbeque
Melanie's

Blowing Rock:

Best Cellar
Bistro Roca
The Village Cafe

To Shop

Take a stroll down King Street in Boone and Main Street in Blowing Rock. Quaint, eclectic boutiques line these two streets, and I love searching for local clothing, handmade jewelry, pottery and artwork.

To Do

Blueridge Parkway - Get in your car and just take a drive. The whole parkway spans 467 miles, but even if you just have an hour or two, you'll want to take a leisurely drive winding around the beautiful mountains. If you're lucky, you may even find vendors on the road selling local jam and honey.

Grandfather Mountain - Make sure you check out the mile-high swinging bridge while you're in town. You'll find an amazing view of the Appalachian landscape, so you'll want your camera handy. If you're up for adventure, hike the Grandfather Trail or take a walk on another one of Grandfather's 11 trails surrounding the mountain.

Valle Crucis - If you have a chance, stop by this little community just a short drive from downtown Boone. Nestled high in the mountains, this town has everything from white water rafting to horseback riding, to the original Mast General Store. In October, Valle Crucis hosts a "Pumpkin Festival" with old-fashioned games like apple bob and sack races. 

September 22, 2014

Rose Golde Jewels

Instead of today's Monday Musing, we wanted to share about a local jewelry line here in Birmingham. Enjoy!

Last Thursday, Katie and I had the pleasure of going to Bustle Gowns in Birmingham (a GORGEOUS wedding gown boutique) for a trunk show hosted by Rose Golde Jewels.


Katie picked out the black arrowhead necklace - perfect for wearing to Alabama games! - and I picked out the black and grey quartz necklace. We both went the more neutral route, although we loved some of Rose Golde's more colorful pieces. She even has a college tassel earring line, and we are swooning over the crimson tassels (Roll Tide) and the white tassels (Go Heels). All the jewelry is handmade (meaning each piece is unique) and created in Homewood, Alabama.


Here are some of our favorite picks from her line...





September 21, 2014

Chili's Skillet Queso

If you've ever been to Chili's, please tell me you've tried their Skillet Queso. One of the most delectable appetizers of tasty cheese, chili and spice, served with their famous bottomless chips. It is a must-have if I ever go to the restaurant, and often times will serve as my meal. So, when I stumbled upon a recipe for delicious creation, I had to try it. I've made the dip a few times now, usually for the Super Bowl or another big football game. It tends to always go over well. Today, I figured it would be a great recipe to share with so many great football games and tailgates upon us. Whip up this easy dip in minutes and you'll be sure to satisfy any crowd. May the game snacks and game scores always be in your favor this football season...
Recipe and Photo via The Recipe Critic

Ingredients:
16 ounce box Velveeta cheese
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
15 ounce can Hormel Chili (No Beans)
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

To Make:
1. Cut the velveeta into cubes
2. Heat in saucepan over medium heat, while stirring in all other ingredients.
3. Stir Frequently until the cheese melts.
4. Serve warm and enjoy with tortilla chips!

September 20, 2014

Sit Back and "Rewined"

Candles and fall. They just go together right? I've been waiting to burn my new Rewined Candle all summer - I received it as a graduation gift in May and it's been sitting on my dresser ever since! So since I can now say it's mid-September, I finally decided it's time to enjoy my new (or not so new) Cabernet one.

Photo via Joss and Main

For those of you who don't know anything about Rewined Candles, here's a little recap. Handcrafted in Charleston, Rewined uses recycled wine and champagne bottles and fills them with soy wax in wine-inspired fragrances. The beautiful packaging makes the candles even better - they really do look like bottles that could be on your wine rack.

I'm a personal fan of the Chardonnay, Champagne and Mimosa scents (probably because I prefer drinking those flavors in a wine glass). My favorite, Chardonnay, is the candle I want to always have in my room - it's one I love to burn when I come home from work and just want to curl up in a blanket and relax. In the spring and summer, the Champagne and Mimosa candles are light and refreshing - the scent is perfect for parties and company.

According to the label, the Cabernet has hints of black cherry, currant, smoke and burnt toast. Interesting combination, right? Let me tell you, though, this candle is amazing - it made our whole apartment smell divine. It's perfect for cooler weather and rainy evenings, or when you just want to cozy up with a good book on the sofa. The scent is definitely one of a bold red, yet I could pick out the fruity cherry. I strongly recommend y'all y'all ordering this one!

Rewined also just came out with a Spiced Cider flavor - I may have to get my hands on it sometime within the next month or two. Katie and I wish we had it lit right now as we're sitting in our living room cheering on our Tar Heels!

And...I would love to hear your recommendations of fall candles to try! What are your favorite fall scents?

September 19, 2014

Boots In Our Closets

Have we talked enough about fall yet? Maybe it is because the actual fall temperatures take a little bit longer to reach us here in Alabama, but Julie and I are anxiously awaiting the time where we can permanently pull out our fall wardrobe. In conjunction with all of the fall wardrobe talk and hope of cooler weather coming soon, today we are talking all things boots. Fall is great for a multitude of reasons, but the shoe selection is definitely a plus. There are several boot styles that can make a great addition to your outfit. They are great with tights, leggings, denim (skinny, boot cut or flare!) and more! Here are a few of our favorite boot styles and how we wear them. Share your's with us in the comments!

Riding Boots: The ultimate go-to shoe for fall. Throw them on with leggings and a comfy sweater for a casual, comfortable look. Pair them with your favorite pair of denim and a blouse for a slightly dressier look. There are several different colors from cognac, navy, black and more. The two-tone look has also become popular which tends to mix black and brown.

Booties: The ankle boot (bootie) is another huge hit in the fall. I love stocking up on multiple colors and styles to suit any outfit. There are multiple ways you can wear them. There is the classic way with your skinny jeans or legging tucked in, but you could also roll a pair of jeans up to hit just above them. There is also the trend of having your socks stick out above them - another trendy, fashionable look. Additionally you can pair them with skirts, both long and short to achieve a variety of looks to best meet your own style.

Boots With a Heel: Boots with a heel can be anything from ankle boots, mid-calf or above the knee. The added heel gives the shoe a little extra to help dress your look up a bit. These are great for transitioning outfits from day to night. It's always good to have a pair on hand to achieve a fall/winter look that is dressy enough for work or evening wear.

Rain Boots: My absolute favorite (especially when I was in college and had to trudge through the rain to class). The Hunter rain boots are a popular look, but I also love my Tory Burch ones. They hit a little bit lower and look great with any casual wear.

Cowgirls Boots: Yes, this summer shoe is good to wear year-round. There are so many different styles from simple to glam and a wide ombre of colors from the lightest brown to black. They are great with jeans or even a skirt and can be dressed up or down to your liking! A must-have for all seasons, really!

September 18, 2014

Return of Fall TV - What We're Watching

Besides cooler weather, cozy sweaters and beloved riding boots, the season of fall also brings us an incredible line up of season premiers that have us stocking up on popcorn and wine (Scandal, anyone?) and settling in for many evenings in front of the TV... Post-college life is really exciting, we know. 

However, after a summer of catching up via Netflix, we are ready for this month of premiers. So many of our favorite shows left us on the edge of our seat and we can't wait to see where the writers take us this season. Yes, Thirsty Thursday has now become TV Thursday... and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday...

Our line-up:

1. Scandal: September 25, 9 p.m. EST. ABC

2. Grey's Anatomy : September 25, 8 p.m. EST. ABC

3. Revenge: September 28, 10 p.m. EST. ABC

4. Nashville: September 24, 10 p.m. EST. ABC

5. Sons of Anarchy: Already premiered, Tuesday's at 10 p.m. EST. FX

6. 60 Minutes: September 21, 7 p.m. EST. CBS

7. Survivor: September 24, 8 p.m. EST. CBS

8. Dancing With The Stars: September 15, 8 p.m. EST. ABC

9. The Voice: September 22, 8 p.m. EST. NBC

10. Criminal Minds: October 1, 9 p.m. EST, CBS

September 17, 2014

Homemade Granola Recipe


A couple weekends ago, Katie brought you her recipe for a yogurt and granola parfait (one of my favorite morning meals as well!). Today, I'm bringing you my homemade granola recipe that I love to toss in the oven and eat on the weekends. It's much better than the store-bought stuff, and combined with Katie's recipe - it's an amazing combo! Making it myself is part of an effort of mine to eat clean and know what ingredients are going into my body. Without all the added sugar and artificial ingredients, this granola still tastes amazing and is a sweet treat to go along with your morning coffee. It's also perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.

I love my granola with almond milk and one-half of a sliced banana (or strawberries, when they're in season) on top. Feel free to add whatever nuts or fruit you desire to this recipe - in my case, I just used what's in my pantry!



Ingredients:

3 cups whole-grain oats (not quick oats)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 sliced or chopped almonds


Directions:

Melt coconut oil and honey.

Add oats and almonds and stir until coated evenly.

Spread into a thin layer on a baking sheet.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes.


Oven temps can vary, so I make sure I check on my granola about every 10 minutes so it doesn't burn! I do like mine more on the crunchy side though, so I lean toward the 35 minute mark.

September 16, 2014

Travel Tuesday - Lisbon, Portugal


Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal and westernmost city of continental Europe, has a unique culture and tons of interesting activities to entertain any crowd. Known for its colonial history, architecture and Fabo music, there is plenty to see in do for the typical tourist. However, one of the things I enjoyed most about Portugal was that I could knock out the touristy activities in a day and enjoy exploring a bit off the beaten path the rest of the time. While there are plenty of museums to satisfy any history buff or art lover, there are also beautiful beaches, delicious restaurants and some of the best nightlife. With weather that is almost always perfect, friendly locals and "cafe culture," Lisbon is a top destination for any traveler.


Tourist Sights:
Oceanario de lisboa - The largest indoor aquarium in Europe. The exhibits take you on a journey through all of the oceans. Favorite exhibit? Definitely the otters.

Eduardo Vii Park - Public park in the center of the city. The hedges are shaped in a unique geometric pattern. Walk through the park to the top and find a delicious little restaurant that over looks the city. 

Elevador de Santa Justa - For some of the best views of Lisbon's rooftops — particularly St. George's Castle, Rossio Square and the Baixa neighborhood. It was designed by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard.

Beer Museum - A fun tour with tasting. The restaurant is delicious and our group loved sitting outside by the water at night.


Shopping:
Chiado - The shopping district. Fashion junkie? This is your spot. All of your favorite brands and stores.


Day Trip:
Caparica Beach - Take the metro or a taxi to the beach. There are several great restaurants along the boardwalk and there is actually sand for those that like to spend some time in the sun. 


Nightlife:
Bairro Alto - The street to be on at night. There are tons and tons of bars and restaurants and everyone floods the streets and bar hops into the late hours of the night (or early morning hours).

Urban Beach - For those that want to dance or just want a beach club nightlife experience. The place is a bit away from downtown, but a really neat club/bar right that opens onto the beach. 

Semester at Sea friends on our last night in Lisbon after dinner at the Beer Museum restaurant 


September 15, 2014

Rest, Replenish, Refocus.





I had planned earlier this week to write about something else, but the church service Katie and I attended yesterday morning really hit home. The pastor addressed a popular topic - stress - and how to deal with it. Although I've heard many messages on worry and giving our troubles to the Lord, this one was one of the most practical and applicable messages I've heard in a while.

Confession, I can be the epitome of stress. My spring semester of senior year, one which most seniors are carefree and don't seem to have a worry in the world, was a roller coaster. One minute everything would be fine and dandy, and the next I would be discouraged and stressed over my job search - something I had started August 1st my senior year. Fall and winter came and went, and still...no job. Although that's the standard case in media careers as a college almost-graduate, not knowing where I would end up was something that I did not want to experience my last few months at school.

Throughout all of that, however, God did have a plan. Looking back at all the time I put into stressing about perfecting each and every email, cover letter or writing sample submission makes me think "why?" God had a plan for me the whole time - and that plan was sending me eight hours away from home with my best friend.

God calls us to be free from the stress that so many of us experience on a daily basis. Yesterday, these two verses almost screamed at me from my Bible:


Hebrews 4:9-11

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.

Proverbs 21:5 

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.


The Hebrews verse, is another the pastor focused on. Sundays are meant for us to rest - resting our bodies and replenishing us so that we can be productive for the rest of the week. Sundays, for me, sometimes are spent rushing around, whether that's finishing my errands, meal planning, shopping or cleaning, when I need to rest both my body and my mind.

Especially now that my days are full of work, and less rest like they were in college, it can be easy to "hurry and scurry" and cross off everything on my to-do list. But careful planning, like it says in Proverbs, is how God wants us to live our lives. That, hits home.

September 14, 2014

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Blueberry muffins are a weakness. I really can't resist one when they come right out of the oven and make the whole house (or apartment in our case) smell like baked-good-heaven. Usually though, blueberry muffins are packed with sugar and butter, and they really aren't the best breakfast option. So, in an effort to stop my muffin craving this week, I found a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats for a blueberry muffin smoothie. Y'all. It was exactly what I wanted. Filling with the just right amount of sweetness.

Here you go! Bam, breakfast (or mid-morning, afternoon or late-night snack) is done.



1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 individual-sized container of vanilla Greek yogurt (my favorite is Yoplait's vanilla Greek yogurt or Trader Joe's honey flavor)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 banana (the more ripe the better)
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup raw uncooked oats
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Blend all ingredients together in a blender. I usually start with the ice, frozen blueberries, milk and yogurt and then add in the rest. For an extra touch, top off your smoothie with chia seeds for a little spike in protein. Delish!



September 13, 2014

Confessions of a 'Real Housewives' Binge Watcher

source: www.huffingtonpost.com 

Okay, okay, guilty as charged… I am here to officially admit my recent addiction to the TV show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Yes, I have completely bought in to what most refer to as “trash television” or “pointless drama.” And I’m not here to disagree.. I can’t say that my hours spent watching the show were the most challenging educationally or that I really learned something new in the short-term. However, after finishing all of the seasons on Hulu+, I have decided to reflect back on what I did get out of my binge watching time.

While the ladies of the show certainly didn’t have any financial strain, they did overcome many obstacles that I think we can all take a lesson or two from. In some regards, they did actually work. Whether they worked in their own business, worked to fix relationships or worked to overcome addiction, they all took us on a journey through life – with maybe a few more diamonds and rosé than we are used to.

Stick up for your friends: There are countless times on the show when conversations will come up about one of the ladies and they will not speak kindly of her. The show also shows one-on-one interviews where the girls will speak their true opinions of each other. It is important to seek out friendships where you will both stick up for each other in times such as these. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you, support you and want the best for you. There are a few times when the Housewives give us a glimmer of hope and succeed in showing us they can stick up for their friends.

Don’t hold grudges: Yes, people make mistakes. Forgive and forget, especially in a group setting. Holding grudges and bring up past arguments can really throw a wrench in the group dynamic. Not to mention, life is short and we need all the friends we can get. The Housewives have a hard time doing so. Many times they will resolve an argument only for it to be brought up again in the next episode. Do yourself a favor, free yourself from the hurt and stress of a frenemy – forgive and actually forget.

Support your friends in their endeavors: The Housewives are actually pretty good at this. They go to charity events, restaurant openings, store openings and more on behalf of their friends. The girls are great about getting together to celebrate their friends’ successes. Maybe its just because they enjoy the social scene, but it does remind us that friendships are two-sided. Support your friends and they will do the same for you.

Friendship takes work: Without a doubt, the Housewives succeed at reminding us that friendships aren't made of stone. They are breakable, changeable and require effort on both parts every single day. Arguments and misunderstandings happen, we must all work to overcome these friendship hurdles. However, they also remind us of the gift of friendship. Everyone needs that support system, shopping buddy or just someone to call when the going gets tough. Having those people in your life make the journey worth it.

September 12, 2014

Fashion Friday - Simple Tee's

We’ve talked a lot about some of the basic fashion styles we love. A simple, elegant style is always a great go-to look. These styles are typically easy to throw together and perfect for a day on the town, a shopping trip or a casual get together. Today, we’re talkin tee’s. We’ve pulled a few of our favorite basic t-shirts that are perfect for anytime, any wear … see what we did there?
The solid: I love the simple solid tee’s from JCrew. I am always grabbing one anytime I’m in the store. They are so easy to throw on for a quick run to the store or errand trip.

The stripes: So flattering, yet so simple. Perfect for a last minute lunch with a girlfriend or casual daywear.

The Crew Cut: Another great look that can be dressed up with a long necklace. The higher neckline allows for more room to dress it up with fun jewelry.

The Oversized: Hello fall. A go-to top for pairing with leggings. If you’re not afraid of a trendier look, try really playing the outfit up with stacked necklaces and bracelets.

The Screen Print: Ultra trendy! Find one with your favorite sassy saying, logo or image. Pair it with some boyfriend jeans and you are set.

My recommendation: whenever you go shopping, throw in a simple tee in the style you love. They are great items to have on hand anytime you want to look a little more dressed up than your norts and sorority t-shirt. You can easily make them more stylish or trendy depending on what you like.

Have another tee or style you prefer? We’d love to hear about it! Share in the comments below.

September 11, 2014

Less is More: 10 Delicate Jewelry Pieces We Love


via She Finds
When it comes to jewelry, I usually go for understated. Although I love a chunky, sparkly necklace or colorful earrings every now and again, my go-to everyday jewelry is simple and classic. Here are some of our favorite picks when you want to lighten up your accessories...

1. Kate Spade New York Initial Necklace. I wear mine almost every other day - it's the perfect necklace to throw on in the morning, and it goes with everything. The pendant shape is just the right size, and the intial gives the necklace a personal touch.

2. Ariel Gordon Mini Diamond Dash Bracelet. For a real splurge, we love this diamond bracelet from Ariel Gordon. This piece you'll have forever, and it will never go out of style. The four diamonds would perfectly compliment a LBD, don't you think?

3. Moon and Lola Love Knot Ring. This ring comes in silver, but we love it in gold. It's the perfect ring to wear everyday by itself or stack with rings you already have.

4. Lila Rice Goldie Bangle Bracelets. These delicate bangles are gorgeous. We love that they're handmade and unique, so not any of the bangles of the stack of three are exactly the same.

5. Loren Hope Isis Studs. Loren Hope is known for her big baubles, but these stud earrings in a gold chevron shape are perfect for everyday wear.

6. Maya Brenner State Necklace. This 14k gold, North Carolina shaped necklace is definitely on our wishlist. There's an option to include a diamond if you wish, ladies.

7. Sheila Fajl Amber Hoops. As a devotee to Sheila Jajl hoops, I love the shape of these thin, hexagonal ones. (These may need to update my jewelry collection soon.)

8. Alex and Ani Cross Wrap Expandable Wire Bracelet. Katie is a huge fan of Alex and Ani, and I've been waiting to find the right one to buy. I think this one (with its thin band and cross shape) is it.

9. Gorjana Taner Bar Pendant Necklace. How pretty is this hammered metal necklace? We love that it could easily be layered with other delicate jewelry, yet makes a statement on its own.

10. Argento Vivo Hammered Stack Ring. This stack is a little edgy, and I love it. You could also mix and match the silver and gold stacks to switch up your metals a bit.

September 10, 2014

Wednesday Funnies

Happy Hump Day! Since we are halfway through the week, Julie and I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things that have us giggling. Laughter is absolutely contagious, so why not share it? There is nothing that warms the soul more. So, we hope you'll enjoy a few of these things that have our bellies laughing and help make this mid-week push just a little bit easier.

Wheel of Musical Impressions
This video was shared with me over the weekend and it gave me quite the laugh. 
Jimmy Fallon never fails to entertain, and this bit with Adam Levine is great.


Little Boy Goes Off On His Mom
This kid is hilarious. His mom has some big news and he doesn't seem to be taking it well.


Pugs
Some of the funniest pug videos, all in one place. What could be better?


Fashion Week
With all of the buzz surrounding fashion week, this one is great. 
The 12 people you'll meet at Fashion Week. 


September 9, 2014

Guest Post: New York, New York.

Today, we are excited to welcome our college friend and glorified baker, Katherine, as our guest blogger. A Charlotte native, Katherine recently moved to the Big Apple after graduating from UNC. We love to follow her foodie explorations in New York City through her social media, and we know you will love to hear some of her favorite spots!


Hey, y’all! Bet you didn’t expect that kind of a Southern greeting from a gal in NYC, did ya? I am thrilled that Katie + Julie reached out and asked me to share a little bit about New York City and all that it has to offer! While my own blog could use some updating, I have been so busy getting to know the City that I haven’t posted in ages! You, though, can follow my adventures on Instagram (@tarheelinthecity).


Be warned, though - I just moved to the City in July, so this list is far from comprehensive! This city has so much to offer that I haven’t even had time to tap into, but I’d love to share some of the fun I’ve had with you all!


To Explore:


Chelsea Market: Located in the Meatpacking District just minutes from the Hudson River, the Chelsea Market is a must-see spot in Manhattan. While I could’ve put this in the “To Dine” section, I think it’s fun to go to this indoor food hall - with over 35 vendors - even if you just want to look around. From wine to coffee, hearty sandwiches to sweet donuts, they have it all. Oh, and an Anthropologie. Be sure to stop by L’Arte del Gelato (AH.MAZING), but be warned, it’s cash only!

Top of the Rock: While in the Big Apple, it is essential that you get a great view of the iconic skyline. My recommendation on where to do that? Top of the Rock. A landmark in the City, you won’t want to pass up on its incredible views of the Empire State Building, Central Park and the Hudson River. And when you’re done, you can explore the variety of shops located in and around Rockefeller Center - plus you’re only steps from 5th Avenue (be prepared to shop till you drop!).


9/11 Memorial: The Memorial portion of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is free to the public and is absolutely a must-see. While I recommend venturing into the museum as well, the memorial is non-negotiable. There are two waterfalls that flow into large reflecting pools that are located where the two towers once stood. Each pool is surrounded by plaques that name each of the victims lost in the towers. I went to the memorial with my oldest sister and both of us were taken aback with emotion. It is heartbreakingly beautiful and a true tribute to those who lost their lives. Never Forget.


Memorial.jpg


To Drink:

10 Degrees: An ussaming bar in the East Village, 10 Degrees has a fabulous happy hour. Buy one, get one drinks from 12-8 p.m. EVERY.DAY. The large drink selection combined with the quaint charm and fabulous music makes for a great experience. Plus the bartneder Lee is pretty awesome.


Agave: A fun gem in the West Village, Agave is a must if you are a margarita lover like me (and who isn’t, right?!). Of course they have traditional margs, but with flavors like prickly pear and passion fruit, everyone will be satisfied! Stop by for brunch, too - less than $30 gets you an entree + bottomless mimosas, wine and/or margaritas. Divine.



agave.jpg

The Standard Biergarten: Located under the canopy of the Highline (an amazing abandoned railway park), the Standard Biergarten serves traditional German fare in a fun and funky space. It’s open air in the summer and enclosed in the winter, but year-round you’ll find ping-pong tables and sausages + pretzels galore. And, of course, beer, beer, beer!


To Dine:


Jane: You know a place is phenomenal when it has an 1.5 hour wait for brunch (thank god for OpenTable reservations!). Jane was certainly worth the wait. While all of their menus are fabulous, they are known for their Sunday brunch. Their three eggs benedict specials are to-die-for, and any brunch entree comes with a complimentary cocktail. Their Bloody Mary is extra spicy, just the way I like it. Also the roasted shrimp ranchero...do it.



huevos.jpg


La Palapa: Another unassuming spot in the East Village, La Palapa is a budget-friendly Mexican option in the City. Their quesadillas were seriously delicious - and not too big! You’ll have room for a side + chips & salsa (because, duh, chips & salsa). Be sure to order a pitcher of margaritas - you can combine their different flavors!

Atlantic Grill: For more a more upscale affair, head to Atlantic Grill, which has two locations in the city. I am a seafood lover, and I was not disappointed. In addition to serving a variety of fish filets, they offer steak and sushi options. If you’re dining with a group, don’t pass up ordering a seafood tower.



To Indulge:

AYZA Wine & Chocolate Bar: And, of course, I couldn’t forget about dessert. For a unique sweet experience, make your way to AYZA. Their dessert menu is heavy on the chocolate, and for someone who doesn’t love overly chocolate desserts, even I was satisfied. Their specialty is their chocolate martini and you simply must not pass it up. I got the Almond Chocolate Martini + the white chocolate covered key lime pie truffle - heavenly.



martini.jpg


My advice for a visit to NYC? Plan! It can be annoying to plan, but you’ll be happier if you make reservations or buy tickets in advance so you don’t spend loads of your time waiting to experience all that the City has to offer! And, of course, enjoy!

September 8, 2014

Three People I Would Invite To Dinner - Katie

Happy Monday, everyone! For today's Monday Musing, I wanted to ask you all a question I've often thought about. I'm going to give you my answers, but would love to hear yours too!

If you could invite three people to dinner, alive or not, who would it be?

I've always feared this question would come up in an interview of some sort, but more so admired other peoples' responses. I feel like this question really tells a lot about who someone is, what inspires them and who they look up to. So when forming an answer to this question I've always thought long and hard.

I mean think about it, one dinner and you could invite anyone you wanted. Think about the conversations you would have, what you could learn and what burning questions you could finally answer. With potentially only one chance to sit down with these people you want to make it worth it, right?

Well today I'm going to share my three people. Maybe in the process you'll learn a bit more about me and what inspires me.

Person One: My Paw (my mom's dad). Unfortunately, my Paw passed away before I was born so I never got to meet him. I think a dinner with him would be more valuable than anything on this Earth. Many family members compare me to him - whether it be our shared love of card games, the Carolina Tar Heels or serving our community. I think a inherited a lot from him, including his wit and sense of humor. Isn't it fascinating how we can be so much like family members we never met? I can only imagine a dinner with him. I could see a lot of talk about our years spent in Chapel Hill concluded with a pretty intense game of Cribbage. Sounds like a pretty great night to me.







Photo by: State of Health Blog
Person Two: Steve Jobs. As a communicator by profession, I am in awe of what Steve Jobs did and more so his ability to speak to the why he did it. He completely revolutionized the way we communicate and his success is a direct result of loving what you do. I think that is incredibly important in a job, and his dedication to a work-environment that fostered such feelings led to true innovation. He was true to who he was, and he worked with honesty and integrity. As I grow and learn in the business world, I think even just a short dinner would him would be so filling.





Photo by: Wikipedia
Person Three: Sandra Day O'Connor. Had to get a lady at my dinner, obviously. But beyond that, O'Connor is a true inspiration. She was the first woman appointed to THE bench that is the Supreme Court (in 1981). She was a hard working moderate conservative on the bench and was often times the deciding swing vote in several game changing cases. She's a strong leader AND a family woman, she retired in 2006 to care for her husband, who suffered from Alzheimer's.

Whew, that was tough. I think I could have added over 100 more people to this dinner, but I think the above three would make for a pretty good one.

September 7, 2014

Cooking Light's Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake

Two recipes in one weekend? Yes, we are cooking up a storm here in Alabama!

Photo + recipe via
At my home in Raleigh, this recipe for sour cream lemon pound cake is a staple in the kitchen. It's the perfect cake for hot weather (which in Alabama has currently been 90+ degrees this week!) because of its lemon flavor and lightened-up ingredients. It's great to serve up with a big glass of iced tea or even in the morning with your coffee (we won't judge). Another use? Bring it to your next get-together as a gift and you'll be sure to impress.

Although fall baking may be all the cooking rage right now, we're still savoring summer flavors while we can. Katie and I still have a lot of lemons left in our fridge, and this is a fabulous dessert when you want to indulge without all the guilt (and use up those lemons!). The fresh lemon juice in the glaze is amazing, and it compliments the sweet and tangy flavor of the rest of the cake.

Give this pound cake a try - trust me, if I can master it, you can too!

My cake for the Southern Weddings ladies this past May

What You'll Need...


  • Cooking spray 
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 3/4 cup butter or stick margarine, softened 
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • large eggs 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon rind (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
  • (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  1. Coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray, and dust with the breadcrumbs.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Beat the butter in a large bowl at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and lemon extract, beating until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add grated lemon rind and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; beat 30 seconds. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over top of cake.



September 6, 2014

Decadent Fruit Granola Parfait

Fruit-granola parfait is a pretty popular breakfast item, mid-morning snack or afternoon pick me up. It is healthy, filling and blissfully tasteful. So, in my recent obsession with parfait and attempt to cut out as many sweets as possible, I created a snack I love.

As simple as it is to make your favorite fruit-granola parfait, this one extra ingredient provides the sweet indulgence you need without totally breaking your diet.




The Recipe:

1 handful of crunchy granola (I prefer the honey kind, but would also recommend peanut butter)
2 dollops of plain or vanilla greek yogurt
1 small dollop of Nutella
Topped with your favorite fruit (I highly recommend strawberries or blueberries to best compliment the Nutella, but anything will do!)

Simple as that. One little dollop of Nutella turns your favorite parfait into a non-diet busting treat. It is seriously the perfect way to curb those sugary cravings.

Have another secret ingredient you use? We'd love to hear it! Share in the comments below!

September 5, 2014

Must-Have Maxi Dresses

There are several great looks that are perfect for a summer-to-fall transition wardrobe. One of our favorites is the maxi dress. You can dress any maxi dress up with belts, long necklaces, sweaters and more. They are cool enough for the warmer days, but the length makes them perfect for fall weather as well. There are several different maxi dress styles that flatter several different body types. We've got our favorite styles and the best way to wear them. When you're out stocking up on your fall wardrobe this weekend, make sure you add in a maxi dress!

Maxi Dress style in Istanbul, Turkey
The Empire Waistline: This style is best for a petite body type. Even if in flats, the higher waistline adds height! Look for a solid color and prints that aren't too bold to achieve an even longer look.

The Color Block: Look for a color block maxi that has a darker toned skirt with a lighter top. This style best suits girls with wider hips. The darker color on the bottom will help achieve a slimmer appearance.

The Cinched Waist: This can be a maxi dress with a full skirt that has the waist gathered, or you can add a belt. This style best suits girls with an hourglass shape. It helps to accentuate your curves in just the right way! Feel free to explore with a fun pattern or a solid color.

The V-Neck: This style is absolutely stunning! It works well for girls with a busty chest, as it balances your curves well.

The Fitted: Great for a longer/leaner body type. The fitted style will make you look even longer! Feel free to try out different colors, stripes and patterns!