Warm Weather Favorites

Happy spring! I am so thrilled that the weather is finally warm….I am not a cold weather person, so spring and summer are most definitely welcome! Here are a few things that I’m loving along with this glorious weather.

Victoria’s Secret swimsuits. I ordered 2 of them on clearance last fall, and I cannot wait to wear them! I also love this one and am considering buying it. Free shipping on swim purchases until Thursday!

vsecret

The top is sequined! I die.

I bought this Loreal sunscreen recently and love it!

loreal

Fabletics workout clothes. Cute and affordable!

fabletics

Bright nail polish I picked up at CVS yesterday. From left to right–Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Peachy Breeze, Sally Hansen Triple Shine in Dive In and Wet n Wild’s Grape Minds Think Alike.

2015-04-21 13.07.25_resized

This day cream for my face. It is very light and doesn’t have a strong scent.

goats

I am seriously lusting over these shorts!

oldnavy

And this romper.

romper

And this one!

romper2

What warm weather items are you loving?

Around The House Survey

Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is staying warm during this arctic blast that is happening in the southeast U.S. right now. I decided to participate in this around the house survey that has popped up around the blog world lately, so enjoy and feel free to complete it as well.

1. Household chore I actually enjoy

LAUNDRY! I am one of those weird people who LOVES to do laundry. I love doing it, I love folding it and putting it away. Very therapeutic. Laundry products make me way happier than they should. I love the smell of it, and I don’t care what people have to say about laundry and having children. Please don’t tell me “just wait until you have kids, the laundry will never end… blah blah blah” because I don’t care! Laundry is my favorite chore. Dishes on the other hand….least favorite for sure!

These make me way happier than they should...haha

These make me way happier than they should…haha

2. Biggest house disaster

My pots/pans cabinets. They are a hot mess. I cannot figure out a way to get them to all fit in there neatly. Right now, they are just stacked in there randomly, and the lids are all over the place as well.

3. Before company comes, I hide….

Any clutter that accumulates on the kitchen counters such as coupons, receipts, pens, etc. gets stuffed into the “junk drawer”.

4. Most recent music download (what does this have to do with the house?)

Justin Timberlake “Take Back The Night”

5. The last thing I bought online

David’s Christmas presents– I never shop online because I am too cheap to pay shipping, haha. I received free shipping on the Christmas gifts due to cyber Monday deals.

6. I hate to shop for

Nothing, I LOVE to shop (not online though)!

7. Favorite family ritual

Big dinners or beach vacations.

jekyll

8. I always sleep in

Pajama shorts and a t-shirt. I love Target’s pajamas.

20150218_103734_resized

I am a bit obsessed.

9. I have a style crush on

Emily Thorne’s character in Revenge. I NEED all of her clothes.

emily emily2

10. I am currently reading

Nothing right now, any good recommendations?

11. How did I ever live without

Dogs. I never had them growing up. They make life so much more fun and are such loyal companions.

xmas card

Who do you have a style crush on?

Is there a household chore you enjoy?

What’s the last song you downloaded?

Something you can’t live without?

Friday Favorites: Money Saving Edition

Happy Friday everyone! This week flew by, and I’m ready for yet another weekend! What is everyone up to? I thought I’d kick off the weekend by sharing some of my favorite ways that I save money. I LOVE finding a deal and absolutely hate paying full price for anything, so this post will highlight some of my favorite ways to save on great products.

CVS

I have never been one to regularly shop at drugstores such as CVS because I always thought they were overpriced compared to grocery stores, but I have found a way around that. CVS is so much fun to wander around, am I right? It is so therapeutic for me to browse the aisles of drugstores. Now I can do this without breaking the bank, hooray! I watched several Youtube videos by Jenny at Southern Savers and have learned how to stack manufacturer coupons and CVS “red machine” store coupons on products that are on sale and print Extra Care “bucks”. Basically, these are rewards that print at the end of your receipt that can be used to purchase more items in the store. I recently paid $10 for two HUGE jars of vitamins and a tube of toothpaste that would have been a shopping trip over $30. Awesome.

Goodwill

I am NOT ashamed to admit the fact that I LOVE shopping at Goodwill. Yes, the store always stinks and sometimes there is a LOT of junk to sift through, but I always find some amazing items. I just examine everything really well before I buy it just to make sure there aren’t stains or rips, and I wash all clothes as soon as I get home with extra scent-boosters (I LOVE the Snuggle scent packs). Good as new.  I recently found a purple Nike dry-fit workout top for $2.92. It would have probably been over $20 at TJMaxx and over $50 at a department store. I buy all of David’s Ralph Lauren polo shirts from there for $5 each, perfect condition. He also has Under Armour workout shirts from there as well. About two years ago, I found a BRAND NEW Columbia men’s winter coat there in David’s size. Those retail for like $200! I paid under $10, and it was brand new. WHY DO PEOPLE PAY FULL PRICE FOR STUFF?!

Here is the Columbia coat I bought for under $10 at Goodwill. It had tags on it.

Here is the Columbia coat I bought for under $10 at Goodwill. It had tags on it.

Cash Back/Rebate phone apps

Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Snap are the ones I use regularly. I just downloaded Saving Star, so we will see how I like that one. These are free apps that allow you to submit grocery receipts and receive cash back on certain products. Ibotta also has rebates for restaurants, movie theatres, travel, etc.  Ibotta and Snap are awesome, and Checkout 51 is kind of mediocre. Once you reach a certain amount, you can “cash out” or trade your savings for various gift cards.  I have already reached $81 with Ibotta and $45 with Checkout 51 since September, so it’s worth checking into. I just started using Snap, so I haven’t quite reached $5 yet, but I love it so far. There are so many items that I already buy on these apps, so why not save a little extra money along the way?

Freeflys.Com

I LOVE this site! There are SO many free samples that you can order from this site, and I order a bunch every few weeks. It really is completely free. Sometimes you have to “like” a certain company on Facebook, and you can opt out of receiving annoying emails. My favorites have been Emergen-C packets, Truvia packets, Yogi tea bags, Twinings tea bags, toothpaste, contact solution, and much more. Some of these samples are pretty generous—like the Twinings. They sent me THREE tea bags, and I was able to choose which flavors I wanted. It is worth checking into because some of these things are the perfect sizes to take on trips, or to just try before buying the full size product in a store. Many of these samples will include a coupon to use as well.

What are your favorite ways to save money?

London Themed Bathroom

Ever since David and I discussed the possibility of moving, I wanted some part of the house to be decorated with a “London” theme. My obsession with the city began when I studied abroad there during the month of January in 2010. It was a life-changing trip, and I am saving my pennies to go back one day with David since he has never been. There is something so magical about London. Luckily, as one peruses the aisles of stores like Target and TJMaxx, London monuments are everywhere! On home décor, on clothes and much more. I love it.

london

Some of my fellow study abroad friends at the tower of London.

I went back and forth between decorating our entire guest bedroom as a London themed room, but realized I would have to buy a lot of décor. To keep things on the frugal side, I decided on making our downstairs half bathroom the “London bathroom”. It’s funny because that name stuck….we always call it the “London bathroom” instead of the “downstairs bathroom”.

I found the large sparkly telephone booth canvas at Ross for $19.99! It was the only one there, so you better believe I snatched that thing up so fast when I first laid eyes on it. When I got in line to pay, a woman stopped me and asked if there were any more left. She was so bummed when I told her no. Not even five minutes later I was walking through the parking lot, and a woman jumps out of her car to ask where I bought the picture. David told me I should have auctioned it off, haha. It fits perfectly over the toilet now.

DSC03109

Here is the view before walking into the London bathroom.

DSC03113

These photos are terrible, but I don’t have the time to edit them. You can see how the canvas fits perfectly! The wall goes up much higher than the photo shows. Oh and the photo was taken at an angle. I promise the canvas is not crooked.

As for the big wall, I really wanted to print and frame some photos I took while studying in London. I am NOT a photographer, so these are not professional by any means, but I love them because I took them instead of some random person. The flag photo was taken on a random street in London—I wish I wrote down which street it was.

Here is the wall upon entering with the three photos I took while in London.

Here is the wall upon entering with the three photos I took while in London. Should I add more?

I took the Tower of London photo during a rare sun appearance and the photo of Big Ben was taken while at the top of the London Eye. Since the Big Ben photo was taken through glass, you can unfortunately see some smudges and the photo is a bit fuzzy. I may change it out with one of the other 300 photos I have from that trip, but it’s just fine for now. Should I add anything else?

A fuzzy close-up of the three photos.

A fuzzy close-up of the three photos.

DSC03114

Here is a view of all of them.

DSC03115

There is a small portion of wall space to the right of the mirror, but this portion faces the wall with the three photos. It is pretty much right across from where the towel is. Should I put another photo there?

 I bought the super cheap frames from Target for like $4 each. I thought about finding fancier frames, but I didn’t want a nice frame to take away from the beautiful London monuments…and we are talking about a bathroom here, not a living room. There is a small portion of wall space to the right of the sink, directly across from where the towel is, and I haven’t decided if I should place another photo there. What do you guys think? Would it be too much to put another photo there? Should I leave it blank? Or should I find something else London-themed to go there? I am a bad blogger and did not get the appropriate photo of that piece of wall. HELP! I am new at this whole home décor thing!

Throwback Thursday: How David & I Met

I love the Throwback Thursday hashtag that goes around Facebook every week. I love seeing everyone’s photos from way back when, and I love participating as well. It is so much fun to go through old photos and share them with friends to get a good laugh. Earlier, I was thinking about what I wanted to blog about, and decided to go the Throwback Thursday route and write about how David and I met. It is not one of those stories where we were friends all through childhood, started dating when we were 18 and got married. We sort of have a fast track story, but we love it and could not be happier! Here goes.

Graduating from college was kind of a scary time for me. Yes, I finally had my Bachelor’s degree, but I graduated during a time where the economy was not doing too well and jobs were difficult to find. Needless to say, I did not have a job lined up even after job searching for several months and I did not have a future husband to depend on like a lot of Samford girls did. Literally everybody at Samford University, my alma mater, partners up and gets married the summer after graduation. That meant that the only option I had was to move back into my parent’s house and continue the job search. It was so hard to see everyone marrying off, moving into their first homes and starting new jobs while I was sitting at my parent’s house, jobless. I am very grateful for my parent’s support during that time, but it was still hard. I eventually found a job, so all was well!

I will never forget the summer of 2010, the summer after I graduated from college. My mom planned for our family (my mom, dad, brother and me) to travel to Guatemala on a mission trip with Perimeter Church. I had never been on a mission trip before, so I really had no clue what to expect. It was life-changing! Towards the end of the trip, the Guatemalan pastor/doctor (yes, he is superman), Dr. Alb was giving a devotional and wrapped up with a prayer. Various people would approach him and ask him to pray over them. I always felt sort of awkward about this, but something told me to go talk to him. I remember telling Dr. Alb to pray for my future husband. I do not remember everything he said in the prayer, but I do remember him saying something about preparing my heart to be a wife one day as well as my future husband, whoever he may be.

guatemala

My family and me in Guatemala

A few days after returning home, I received a call from one of my best friends, Paige. She told me that her fiancé, Daniel, and a bunch of his friends were throwing a 4th of July cookout/party that following Saturday. My other best friend, Christine had agreed to go with us as well.

When we first arrived in Athens, GA where all the guys were living at the time (except Daniel…he had already moved to Atlanta), we went in their apartment and started preparing some snacks and an American flag cake. I remember as I was working in the kitchen, David walked in. David is Daniel’s brother…and Daniel is married to my friend Paige who invited me to the cookout. At the time, Daniel and Paige were newly engaged. I already knew who David was, since he was Daniel’s older brother…I may or may not had already Facebook stalked him and called dibs. I was immediately smitten after meeting him in person. I didn’t even know him and I already had a huge crush.

july4

I had only known David for ONE HOUR when this photo was taken. Crazy!

Throughout the day, we spent time getting to know each other and realized we had a lot in common….and it was all history from there. That night, David messaged me and asked if I wanted to hang out again. Of course I said yes. The next weekend we went CAVING. Yes, our first date was a day trip to some caves that we crawled through. No worries, the next time we saw each other after caving was a real date to a nice Thai restaurant.

caving

Proof that crawling through caves happened.

After three months or so, we were already very serious. We spent every moment we could together and had already gotten to know each other’s families. David considered taking a job with the Department of State and asked me what I thought about getting married in case he were to get a job that required relocating. That is one of the reasons we moved so fast into marriage…besides the fact that we loved each other and really did want to get married. He ended up not getting that job, but we still moved forward with our marriage plans.

propose

He proposed at the Sundial in Atlanta. Daniel and Paige were there, secretly filming and taking photos.

Basically, we dated for six months until David proposed on December 28, 2010. Yes, he talked to my parents and they were totally on board with everything. We were engaged for exactly five months—our wedding day was May 28,2011….best day ever!

wedding3

That day was pure magic.

Yes, we moved fast, but we both truly knew that we were ready to be married. The prayer that was said while I was in Guatemala was answered—crazy to think I met my husband exactly ONE WEEK after Dr. Alb said that prayer over me. I still get chills every time I think about that.

cruise

On our amazing Carnival cruise, celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary.

Wish List

Here are a few items I’ve been eyeing….hopefully they will make it under the Christmas tree this year! I know that gifts isn’t what Christmas is all about, but it’s still fun, as long as it isn’t excessive. Here goes!

Patagonia Woman’s Re-Tool Snap-T Fleece Pullover

patagonia

This fleece looks so warm and cozy. I also love the subtle gray color. I have a bright pink North Face fleece that I love, so it would be nice to have that one as well as a more muted one. Plus, gray goes with everything!

Nike Shoes

nike1

I love the gray, purple and light blue combo! So pretty.

Wild Horses Riding Boots- Chocolate

boots

I have some brown boots that are getting very worn out since they are several years old, so I am in need of a new pair. Love the dark brown.

The North Face Women’s Horizon Hat- Marker Blue

northface hat

Love the royal blue color of this hat. I wear hats to the gym a lot to conceal my bed head and puffy eyes since I usually work out first thing in the morning.

The North Face Hudson Scarf- Sequoia Red

scarf

This scarf looks so warm and cozy. I also love the pop of color it will add to any winter outfit.

Can y’all tell I love clothes and apparel over everything else?! What is on your Christmas list?

My Favorite Healthy Cookie Recipe

I thought I’d share a recipe from my friends over at He & She Eat Clean. Those guys have some of the most delicious and healthy recipes. Be sure to check them out! I discovered this recipe when my sweet teeth tooth was in full force, but I didn’t want to indulge in anything too sugary. To me, peanut butter and chocolate is a match made in heaven. This simple cookie recipe contains both of those magnificent ingredients which makes them a winner in my book. Thanks to He & She Eat Clean for this amazing recipe that I make at least twice a week. David and I usually finish off the entire batch in two days or less. Pair one of these cookies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate dessert. I took the photo below from their website because I can never remember to take a photo of these.

heandsheeatcleancookies

(Healthy) Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Almond Butter Cookies

1 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
¼ cup oats (I like to use the quick cook kind)
¼ cup sucanat sugar (I use baking stevia)
1 large egg
1 capful pure vanilla extract (this is my own addition)
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt Chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Place mounds of cookie dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet or pizza stone (the pizza stone keeps my cookies soft). I like bigger cookies, so I use a regular spoon to scoop my dough, which makes about 10-12 servings. You can always make them smaller. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes, if you’re patient. Transfer to a wire rack to allow the cookies to continue to cool if you want. I usually eat them hot out of the oven because they are so good and I have a hard time waiting for them to cool. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!