December 28, 2014

Home for the Holidays

Image via
Hi All! We took some time off from the blog to spend precious time with our families as we were home for the holidays. Julie and I both went to our hometowns of Raleigh and Reidsville respectively for some much needed R&R and holiday family time.

It was wonderful to have a few days off to spend at home surrounded by friends and family. Christmas is always one of my most favorite times of the year. It is not because of the gifts under the tree or the delicious meals, though those are nice additions to the holidays. However, Christmas has come to mean so much more now as we grow older. It is such a special time when family comes together, something that doesn't happen as often as it should.

This year, my family did something really special on Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. We pulled out old home videos from when my sister and I were newborns up through four and five years old. It brought tears to my eyes to watch how simple things seemed back then. Now we are lucky to even have a day to sit down at a meal together.

There was footage from Christmases of years past with our entire extended family gathered around our large dining room table. We had so many people in the house we had to have a separate kids table. Sadly those days have come and passed. I can't remember the last time we had to set up an extra table for the children.

Its an unavoidable fate that time will continue to change and the memories of holidays past will remain memories. However, while the excitement of waiting to see what Santa brought isn't quite what it was 15 years ago, there is something even more special about Christmas these days. I found myself more thankful to just spend time with family, and that we were happy, healthy and able to enjoy the company of each other.

As we grow older, those special moments outweigh anything under the tree.

Hoping you all had a very Merry Christmas and wishing you a prosperous New Year. Stay tuned as Julie and I venture for Music City to ring in 2015.

December 19, 2014

Happy (Almost Christmas) Weekend!

Whether you're out this weekend finishing up your holiday shopping, baking cookies with your friends and family, or putting the final touches on your Christmas decor, we hope you'll remember the true meaning of this season. This quote below (from one of our favorite Christmas movies, The Grinch), always brings us back to what is important. With less than a week until Christmas day, we're reflecting on the things that truly matter most - those we love and the things we need to be thankful for. These are gifts that keep on giving all year. Wishing y'all a happy weekend!

December 18, 2014

A Christmas Playlist

Hello friends! Today, we are hoping to get y'all more in the Christmas spirit (if you aren't already) with some of our favorite Christmas songs. Here are ten tracks we've been playing on repeat since well, when we put up our tree on November 1st. While we overlap on many of these songs, we did try and pick a variety of both traditional and more recent versions - along with a few of our favorite artists. Click on the song titles to see what we chose!

Julie's Playlist

1. O Holy Night 

2. Charlie Brown Christmas

3. The Nutcracker Overture  I can't possibly pick just one track off Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite. Other loves? Waltz of the Snowflakes + Spanish Dance: Chocolate. Actually let's just say the whole suite is my favorite.

4. White Christmas

5. The Christmas Song

6. Carol Of The Bells

7. Silent Night

8. Baby, It's Cold Outside (Listen to the whole Clef Hangers Christmas album, Carols on The Hill, it's spectacular!)

9. O Come, O Come Emmanuel

10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Katie's Playlist

1. O Holy Night - sorry, we love Carrie + this song...

2. Baby, It's Cold Outside - different version from above! Gotta love Idina and Michael

3. Where Are You Christmas - I may or may not be heard singing this in July

4. Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

5. All I Want For Christmas Is You

6. Mary Did You Know

7. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

8. Santa Baby

9. Jingle Bell Rock

10. Christmas in Dixie

December 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Julie!

Today is sweet Julie's 23rd birthday! This southern belle is always so humble and full of gratitude, but today is HER day.

I am so thankful to have such an amazing best friend and roommate. Julie's southern style and sweeter than sugar personality are only two of her many amazing qualities. She carries herself with poise and class, and she brings light into any room. Having a friend in Julie means always having someone to depend on, to confide in and to style your kitchen and living room! Today is her special day, and it should be nothing less than perfect!

Julie - I hope your day is full of southern charm, kittens, sweet tea, wine and fuzzy socks! Maybe I'll watch the Lord of the Rings with you to celebrate.

Leave Julie a Birthday wish here in the comments section or on our Instagram or on Facebook! We are celebrating with friends here in Birmingham this week and hopefully some over the holidays as well!

Happy 23rd, Jules! Hope your day is as wonderful as you are!

December 15, 2014

Monday Musing

A little Monday morning motivation for y'all today. We needed an extra push this morning to get going, and this saying is such a great reminder!

We both have been busy bees this month - between traveling for work, checking off things on our to-do lists and planning for a break (can you believe our to-do lists just get longer when we're planning on taking off for a while?) Crazy. We hope that you all will take a little time out of your week to reflect on those things that have been holding you back - whether that's a hectic calendar or a feeling like you have to please everyone. With Christmas next week (eeee, can you believe it's 10 days away?!), it's the perfect time to refocus and recharge, meditating on the things that truly matter.

December 13, 2014

10 Minute Tone Up

Happy Saturday! This is an exciting weekend for Julie and I. Julie is enjoying a visit from her parents and showing them some of our favorite Birmingham spots. I am visiting my cousins in Lexington, Kentucky and watching our Tar Heels take on the Kentucky Wildcats in basketball!

Whatever your weekend may bring, we've got a quick 10 minute pilates work out that will put some heat on your buns! This is a great, easy way to help stay tight and toned, but not cut into your valuable weekend time too much!

Hayden Panettiere's Pilates instructor, Heather Dorak, leads you in a quick, but intense workout that will sculpt and tone your backside. Grab a light weight — three to five pounds — and get ready to feel the burn!

Click the image below to be directed to the page for the workout!
workout, via
Did you try the workout? Let us know how it went in the comments section below!

December 12, 2014

Crockpot Monkey Bread

With the holidays around the corner, I have one thing on my mind...delicious, warm, gooey bread. Maybe it comes from the years of my mom always having loaves and loaves of delicious sourdough bread coming out of the oven in waves throughout the holiday season. While my bread making skills are not quite the level hers are (nor do I have the patience to get the starter going and go through all of the preparations like she does), but I did manage to find an easy crockpot recipe for a tasty close second. Check out this easy to make cinnamon monkey bread!

Image and recipe, via
What You Will Need:
  • 2 cans Grands! Cinnamon Rolls (5 per can)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 crockpot
How To Make:

1. Open each can of cinnamon rolls and set the icing aside for later. Cut each rolls into 6 pieces.
2. Place the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a gallon size ziploc bag. Add the cut up cinnamon rolls (the pieces will fall apart a little) to the bag. Seal and shake to coat the pieces with cinnamon sugar.
3. Stir the brown sugar and melted butter together in a separate bowl.
4. Spray a 5-7 Qt slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place half the dough pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour half the melted butter mixture over the top, then add the rest of the cinnamon roll pieces and the rest of the melted butter.
5. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high power for about 2 hours. (Check regularly) The edges will start to brown, but the top will still be a little gooey looking. Turn off the slow cooker and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Optional: Drizzle the icing that came with the rolls over the top of the monkey bread in the crockpot, or pour it over like syrup after serving.
Note: The monkey bread will stick as it cools. Serve from the warm slow cooker and make sure that you take it all out before it cools all the way or it’ll require soaking.

December 11, 2014

Christmas Wrapping, Ten Ways

Happy almost-weekend friends!


It's only Thursday morning, and Katie and I both already feel like it should be Friday afternoon. Does anyone else feel that way? Maybe it's the holiday buzz in the air and the feeling that we're about to go home for a break (a short one, but a break nonetheless!). We are both excited to head back to North Carolina and see our home Christmas trees. Then, it will really feel like Christmastime. For the presents under the tree, I've come up with ten ways that may inspire you while you wrap this weekend. We hope these ideas - from traditional pairings to more unique - will come in handy as you turn on a Christmas movie, pull out all your scissors and tape and turn your living room into Santa's workshop.

1. Red plaid + green bow


2. Metallic gold + glitzy ribbon


3. Kraft paper + gingham wrapping


4. Chalkboard gift wrapping + white paint


5. Plum paper + shiny gold ribbon

6. Black + white stripes


7. Map print + blue satin (Katie's favorite!)


8. Black matte paper + velvet bow (my favorite!)

9. Doilies + twine


10. Silver paper + bright fuscia bow

For my gifts, I chose a mix of metallic gold with glittery ribbon and burlap. Lately, I've been a big fan of mixing high and low styles together, to keep it elegant yet not too over the top. I can't wait to get home to put them under the tree!

December 10, 2014

Last Minute Appetizer

For those of you with Christmas parties coming up, here's a recipe we adore that will please just about anybody. It's festive, yet extremely easy to make - perfect for those last minute occasions! We served up baked brie at a party we hosted earlier this year, and since it was such a hit, we thought we may try our hand at this recipe coming up in the next couple weeks. Think, pre-Christmas Eve service? Yum!

Baked Brie with Cranberry Sauce and Walnuts


3/4 cup cranberry sauce
1 16-ounce brie round
Zest of one orange
2/3 cup walnut pieces
Crackers for serving


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove the top of the rind from the cheese using a serrated knife, and discard the rind. Place the cheese, cut side up on an oven safe plate or bowl. Just make sure to use a larger plate or a bowl so your cheese doesn't start oozing off the plate! Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the oven and top with the cranberry sauce. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is soft and warm. Sprinkle the top with orange zest and walnuts.
4. Serve immediately with crackers.

For a simple cranberry sauce, combine 4 ounces cranberries, 1/3 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer until thickened and cranberries have popped. For extra flavor, add 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and cinnamon.

See full post here from Simple Bites for more details!

December 8, 2014

Monday Musing

Here we are facing yet another Monday. While it is easy to get in a funk over the weekend ending and the start of another work week, it is always good to think of Mondays with a fresh persepctive. It is the start of a new week, a clean slate for the next seven days. While we may be a bit tired and not overjoyed to jump out of bed this morning, we should be thankful to be healthy and able to enjoy the day. For today's Monday Musing, we wanted to start off the week on a lighthearted note.

With the holidays around the corner, it is easy to get stressed out over the end-of-year rush, planning holiday travel or family time. However, try to use this time to reflect on the positives of the past year, be present in this moment with your friends and family, and prepare for an exciting and impactful future.

Enjoy some of our favorite pictures, stories and sayings to start this week off right!

Image via

Isn't this adorable? When the cold weather rolls in sometimes all we feel like doing is sitting on the couch under the blanket. Many see the approaching New Year as a time to focus more on a healthy lifestyle. While living and eating healthy is important, sometimes we all just need to sit back and relax. Don't let the busy end-of-year stress get ya down. And when it does, a nice workout is a great way to relive some stress!

WARNING: Tear-jerker! This story of Butch, the Boston Terrier may bring tears to your eyes, but it is worth the read. This sweet pup never really had a chance in life until a few kind humans rescued him. His time on Earth was short-lived, but his last days were not without a few puppy favorites. His inspiring and heart warming story is a great reminder to us all to put things in perspective. We are very blessed to have the things that we have, and there are many that are not as lucky. Don't take for granted the best, most simple parts of life.

Because, Monday.

Have a great week!

December 5, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide On A Budget, For Him

Since we covered our gift guide for the girls on Wednesday, we thought we better not leave the guys out, right?

Plain and simple, men are hard to shop for. We've been there, done that. For some reason, we can never think of ideas for the men in our lives. an effort to help ourselves find things for the guys on our lists that aren't the same old same old, we've pulled a few options in our research. (No ties here, ladies). We hope some of these finds will come in handy if you're out Christmas shopping this weekend, or cyber shopping, and can't quite nail down what to get for the boys. And if you're on a strict budget, like us, hopefully our guide will help!

Olive and Sinclair Duck Fat Caramels, $20

For the foodie, these caramels make the perfect gift or stocking stuffer. They just won Garden & Gun's Made in the South Awards, and we think the guys will love the packaging as much as the candy. Click here to order.

Personal Organizer Toiletry Bag, $29.95

Personalize this bag with his initials - it's something he'll have for years and is perfect for travel. Check out this one from L.L.Bean.

Whiskey Wedge, $15

A silicone ice mold that fits in a glass keeps liquor cold without watering it down. From Corkcicle, see it here.

Bocce Ball Set, $34

This classic beach game is something every guy should own. Amazon carries a range of prices for bocce ball sets. See this one here.

Brooks Brothers New York Gentlemen Eu De Toilette, $45 + on sale!

This fresh, woody scent is a great buy - and it's on sale right now. According to the reviews, it's not overpowering, so if you're not sure what to get, this cologne may be just the right thing!

Glass Bottles with Wood Stoppers, $19-$39

If your man likes to cook, these bottles are great for storing everything from wine to oil and vinegar. Best part? The tops can be engraved with whatever you like. Find these at West Elm.

Sports Coffee Table Book, $24

Pick out a nice hardback covering his favorite sports team. This book is one we would love to display on our coffee table!

December 4, 2014

Simple Snacks: Apple Crisps

Julie and I have a confession to make....

We've been a little slack here lately in terms of cooking. Our lunches and dinners have become a somewhat simplified mix of whatever we can find in the fridge, freezer or pantry. However, I will say we still try to eat healthy. Whether it be a simple salad or greek yogurt parfait, we try to maintain a balanced and filling diet. We also stay healthy by not buying cookies, chips and other snacks at the grocery store. My best method for avoiding unhealthy foods is just to not let myself get near them!

However, I LOVE TO SNACK. Yes, another confession. I love to munch on snacks in between meals. So, in an effort to keep these snacks low-carb and healthy, I have tried to limit my snack options to healthy choices of fruits and nuts. Today I'm sharing a delicious, healthy and filling snack that will also curb your sweet tooth. Enjoy!

What You Will Need:

Crisp Apples
Peanut Butter
Coconut Shavings
Chocolate Chips
Lemon Juice

To Make:

1. Slice apples in thin chips (as seen in picture above). You may want to use a mandolin to achieve nice, thin slices. Remove the core. 

2. Optional: dip the chips in lemon juice to prevent browning

3. Spread peanut butter over the chips.

4. Top with shavings, crushed pecans and chocolate chips to your liking.

December 3, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide On A Budget, For Her

Christmas shopping for all those on your list can be a challenge (we know all too well) if you're on a tight budget. While we've been perusing for ideas, we've come across a few things we would love giving to the ladies we know - and we think you would too! More than thinking of cost, think of what your recipient would treasure. If she loves entertaining, get her something she can use for that passion. If it's reading, buy her a book related to her interests or career goals. Here are some of our finds that may help you out while you're out shopping this month, and keep you from braking the bank.

Pretty Calendar $12

Isn't this Southern saying calendar from Southern Weddings gorgeous? For a recent grad, we love this gift - she can hang it up at work! To purchase, go to the Southern Weddings Shop!

Shimmer Gloves $24.50

These shimmer knit gloves from Loft are a steal and will be something that they can wear all winter long! We love that they're functional so that you can still use your tech gadgets while wearing them. The navy is our favorite, but these gloves also come in white and maeve.

Coaster Set $32

Give your loved one something that is both useful and looks a lot more than it costs. We love the luxe celestial coaster set from Anthropologie. It comes in many different colors to match your home or apartment, and no coaster looks exactly the same! See the set here.

Monogrammed Note Cards $18.60

We both know the value of quality stationary for writing all those important people in our lives. We love Etsy's selection of affordable monogrammed stationary that you can customize by color and font. Check out JubileeDesignStudio (featured below)!

Cutting Board $48 or $20

This bamboo cutting board from AHeirloom would be a treat to give the cook in your life! It comes in many different states, and it's also a piece she'll want to show off in her kitchen. For a less expensive option, look at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Bottle Stopper $28

C. Wonder's selection of barware never fails to disappoint. We adore this elephant wine stopper for some safari glam (Roll Tide!), but they also have a leopard or rhino if you'd like.

Coffee Table Book $22

What woman doesn't love a beautiful book she can display on her coffee table? Camille Styles Entertaining is one we wish was on ours! Check Amazon for great deals on beautiful books your gift recipient will cherish.

Other budget-friendly ideas? A manicure gift certificate + her favorite shade of nail polish, a pretty new iPhone case, a winter-scented candle, a magazine subscription on her favorite topic (shameless plug), a colorful mug + her favorite coffee or a lipstick from her favorite makeup brand.

December 2, 2014

December Goals

1. Continue decorating. 

We're still on the hunt for Christmas stockings to hang over our fireplace. Send any ideas our way!

2. Finish up holiday shopping and wrap gifts.

There's still quite a few people we have left to shop for so we're hoping to cross a few names left on our list within the next week or two.

3. Mail out Christmas cards. 

Our cards finally arrived, and we are both looking forward to addressing them and sending them out to our family and friends!

4. Plan for New Year's. 

We'll be spending New Year's in Music City while Katie is working an event for her job, and we need to get the ball rolling in terms of planning!

5. Baking + exploring the town.

How divine does that white cake look? We can't wait to start making some fun treats for the holiday season (and perhaps munching on them while we explore the Christmas lights of Mountain Brook homes!).

6. Attend Alabama Theater's Holiday Movie Series. 

Alabama Theater is presenting 13 days of Christmas movies. I am dying to attend White Christmas, while Katie can't wait to go see It's A Wonderful Life. The best part? The Christmas carols sung before each movie!

December 1, 2014

Christmas Decor

Happy Monday! We hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving. Hopefully you all were able to enjoy good family, friends, food and possibly some football too! Now that the day of Thanks has passed (followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and now Cyber Monday), we are in full-force Christmas mode.

While at home, we managed to pick up a few home decor items to help bring the spirit of Christmas to our apartment. I'm sure we will have more to add to our display (including our stockings!), but check out how we've transformed our apartment for the season. Also take a look at some of our favorite holiday home decor inspiration.

Our Home:

A coffee table complete with Southern Living holiday edition
A Christmas wreath over the fireplace
A white tree with blue ornaments
Santa on the Alabama elephant
Stocking holders (soon to be holding stockings!)
Boots, the Elf on the Shelf 
Penguins to spice up the dinner table
Winter kitchen towels


Simple, on a budget decor, via
Classic coffee table decor, via 
A simple, festive mantal, via
Recycled wine glasses + candles, via 
Recycled wine bottles for a white christmas, via