Tuesday, June 26, 2012

J. Crew Steal

I love a good steal. I’ve gotten out of my phase where I’ll buy something just because it’s ridiculously cheap. Now, I have to really want it and promise myself to get good use out of it. I’m sure you’ve all seen this amazingly awesome necklace from J. Crew this year.

It retails for $150. Um, no thanks. I couldn’t quit stalking it, though. It was one of my first Pins and I had to figure out how to get my hands on this beauty. I came across a blogger that was equally enamored and she found a really good replica on EBay for only $15!

I haven’t seen a remake like this since… well… let me take you back a bit. When I was growing up, there was a high-end children’s shoe shop in Anderson called Cochran Shoes. This place was legit. You knew if you got a pair of shoes here they would last forever – unless the trend didn’t. Enter my mother. In 4th grade I fell in love with a pair of clear jelly heels. That’s right – jellies with a heel. Oh. My. Gosh. Stop me now. I couldn’t help myself.  They were awful now that I look back, but at the time it was all I could think about. They had a plastic buckle and the chunky 1in heal was also clear. Dreamy…

Anyway, mom said no. I was shocked she wouldn’t throw down nearly $40 for a pair of plastic shoes (especially when the only pair they had left was a ½ size too small). Now enter Kmart. They had a replica for only $8. I wore out those $8 shoes that became really smelly (according to my much more sophisticated, older sister). They fogged up every time I wore them – looking back that should’ve been a clear sign. I finally snapped the heel when I decided to wear them while jumping on a trampoline. It’s a wonder that night didn’t end in a broken ankle.
Sorry for the trip down memory lane. I love not paying full price for things – especially things I have to have. I spent a good 30 minutes examining the necklaces on EBay & found, what I thought, was a winner. Sure enough, I can’t tell the difference. It even has the J. Crew tag on the back. I ordered it & within 3 days had this beaut around my neck!
I’m in love with this piece. I wear it at least twice a week. I absolutely changes the look of an outfit!

If you want to purchase this necklace, head over to EBay & check out their selection - it comes in lots of different colors!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stay in Touch...

I know I’m a lucky girl. I’ve always been surrounded by people who love and support me. I also know that to a lot people, being two hours away from family wouldn’t seem very far (or may even seem like a blessing), but I’ve missed my family so much since we’ve moved. It’s been tough, but we’ve been back a lot for various reasons and are seeing family more than I ever expected.

Friends, on the other hand, are another story. I’m making it a point to see my friends as much as I can during my already packed-out trips to the Upstate.

I have a very special group of friends from college. We aren’t perfect, our lives aren’t perfect, but somehow, our times together are. We’ve been through so much together & I know that isn’t going to change. Once a month we get together at one girl’s house, and she cooks the main dish. Everyone else chips in with appetizers, salads, wine & desserts. It’s a perfect couple of hours we get to spend together, then we pack it up, head home and start planning for the next month’s dinner. I promised them when I moved that I would come to every dinner I possibly could. Spending time with these girls is essential for my sanity.

we seriously have the best time together

I remember when we were getting ready to move and I called my best friend, Jamie and said, “I don’t want a new best friend!!!!” I’m sure she thought I was crazy, but I was serious. No matter how busy we are, we usually stop to talk at least every other day. It’s almost like nothing has changed! My favorite pictures of us are from our trip to NYC, and we’re desperately trying to plan another one now.

she took her eyes off me for 2 seconds and I had grabbed a public payphone

These two ladies are also two of my favorites and I try to catch up with them at least every other week. We aren’t a good day-trip apart, but sometimes hearing each other’s voices is all we need.

Mary Kathleen & me on the happiest day of her life. She is the strongest, most understanding, most wonderful, loving person I know. I can't say enough good things. If you don't know her, you should.

This is probably one of my most favorite pictures ever - well every picture from this night. We dressed up as JWow & Snookie for Halloween. Leslie moved to Pittsburgh a couple of months ago and I miss her so badly. Counting down the days until I can convince her to move back to SC!

Without these fantastic friends, my life wouldn’t be the same. Every day I am more and more grateful for friendship.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Salad

Happy summer! That’s right – today’s the first day of summer! What do you have planned? Beach vacations, time with friends & family on the lake, working till you’re blue in the face? Oh, cool. Me too. If you are one of the fortunate ones who are planning to hit the beach, lake or pool, you’ve probably been anticipating bathing suit season for a while.

I’m here to relieve a little bit of that pressure. Fitness experts say fitness is 10% exercise and 90% diet. Ok, to be totally honest, I’ve only ever heard one person say that, but I liked the sound of it. This salad will leave you with no regrets and a satisfied appetite! Have you ever said either of the following: “I don’t like eating salads because they don’t keep me full,” or “I don’t like making salads because they don’t taste as good as the ones in restaurants?” I’m about to change your view of homemade salads!

Toss in some mixed greens, sliced strawberries and top it with these pecan pralines (I found these at Publix & prefer to chop them into little pieces).  Vegetables, fruit & protein – hello!! I top my salad with Vidalia Onion Vinegarette. I love how the saltiness of the dressing offsets the sweet taste of the fruit & nuts.

There you have it, my friends. Eat & enjoy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! You have taught me so much in the past 26 years. I have always been, and will always be amazed by you. You are an incredible person and I so lucky to be your daughter. Thank you for loving me, raising me, teaching me, showing me. You are the best dad in the world!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Outside Updates

We recently made some updates to the outside of our home. We had the shutters painted black to match the front door and I made a wreath to add a pop of color.

Here's what she looks like now!

No "after" would be complete without a "before," so take a look below. This is how the home looked when we bought it, blue shutters and all. The siding is grey, but looked blue against those shutters.

We conned paid some local painters to come out & paint the shutters. I wasn't about to drag my butt up ladder with the risk of dying. I hated those blue shutters, but valued my life more.

With a grey house, black shutters & lots of green (ahem, hard to kill) plants, we also needed some color. There aren't any good spots for hanging plants, so I turned to my next fool-proof option - a wreath. I headed to Carolina Pottery and grabbed some yellow spriggy-things and and a wreath form.

We still need to add a few more flowers & trim some of the plants back, but at least we've brought it into this decade!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekend Getaway

One of the main reasons I was excited to move to Lexington was to be closer to the beach. I feel like I was born to be in a bikini... at least until I have to draw the age-limit card, or until I need a one piece with a skirt. Yikes.

On a positive note, we have decided where we'd like to we will retire. Yes, at the ripe old age of 26 we have it all figured out. We stumbled upon Sullivan's Island a couple of years ago on a cool, Fall morning. It was almost magical, like a scene from a Nicholas Sparks novel, and we've been hooked ever since.

Sullivan's is the coolest seaside town with tons of locally-owned restaurants. It's the perfect place to live. Forever. And who wouldn't visit us if we lived on the ocean?

We headed down for a weekend at our favorite beach and here are some up the shots we took.

I played with this crab for about 5 minutes.

We went into Charleston Saturday night and I saw this beautiful church that I'd never seen before. I also discovered Instagram on my Droid. Danger.

After dinner at Bubba's (fancy, I know) we walked around for a couple of hours and wound up at the Battery. There are only about 4 swings & they're in high demand. We stalked out a group of 3 women & swooped in as we saw them wrapping up their conversation. Score! We hung out on the swing for about 20 minutes.

And what night would be complete without a late run to Micky D's for a vanilla cone?

On Sunday morning we ate a huge breakfast at the hotel, then headed back to the beach for a couple of hours. I ran out of sunscreen after putting in on Ryan, so I kept shifting my towel on different parts of my body so I wouldn't get burnt.

Also, a crazy man from Jersey was out fishing both days and on Sunday it took him 15 minutes to real in this guy... a giant manta ray. Geez louse. A couple of rednecks helped Jersey "unhook" it and they let it go in the water right where the kids were swimming. I was done for the day, so after this we packed up & headed home.


Goodbye, Charleston!

As soon as we got home we hit the showers, then jetted over to Columbia (gag) to watch the Tigers in an elimination game with S. Carolina. We lost by one run to end the season and the Gamecocks are going on the the Super Regionals. Bummer end to the weekend, but it couldn't put a damper on everything else we did!