Five On Friday

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

Thank you to everyone who links up with us each week!

Also, one quick note. Mr. Strong, the veteran in hospice in Asheville, NC that I mentioned recently, sadly passed away. I know many of you reached out to him with a note of thanks and appreciation. From what I hear, he was completely blown away by the outpouring of love that he received. Thank you to all of you who took the time to write him or keep him in your thoughts and prayers. It made an incredible impact. 

O N E  
Last night was our monthly Supper Club and I had such a great time catching up with my girlfriends. Plus, my friend Beth made this amazing Frozen Peanut Butter Turtle Pie (recipe here, if you're interested, which you SHOULD be!). It was super rich and delicious. Lick-the-plate delicious.

Supper Club is definitely a true highlight of each month, and I feel so fortunate to have these friends in my life. 

The wedding we went to last weekend was so beautiful, and when it was time to be seated for dinner, we made our way over to a table that had these s'mores bundles with our name and table number on them.

Such a unique idea, and we definitely enjoyed this sweet treat the other night! There is nothing like a toasted marshmallow and melty chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers on a gloomy, rainy, chilly evening.

Question for fans of the Lilly Pulitzer Elsa tops ... how do you wash yours? They are 100% silk and the tag reads "dry clean only." I recently got a few of these tops (for the first time ever) and I was sort of bummed to think that I would be having to dry clean them each time. I asked some Lilly-loving girlfriends via group texts, and several said to wash on delicate cycle and hang to dry. I did that this week, and ... success! 

Now, it did dry with some wrinkles in it, so I need to hit it up with some steam, but I am loving not having to go to the dry cleaners. Dry cleaning is expensive, it's one more errand to do, and the chemicals sort of weird me out. I'd love to hear if you always dry clean your silk tops, or if you also clean them at home!

Elsa top, Summer Haze (available here)
Ian bought me this one recently as a gift -- 
I love the cheery colors :)

We get to see my in-laws this weekend, and I'm really excited! It is going to rain, rain, rain all weekend long, but I'm excited for the opportunity to just relax with family, hang out with my niece and nephew, watch Camille get loved on, and ... maybe sneak downstairs for a little bit and nap and read?! Ha! You've got to love family that is always happy to lend a helping hand while the parents get a little rest!

Great Idea for Family Reunion Photo Book Quotes. "Families are like branches on a tree. We Grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.":

Lastly, thanks to everyone who is interested in reading The Book Thief with me this month (details here)! I think this will be most fun if it stays rather informal ... I don't want people to feel pressured to read a certain chapter by a certain week or anything. Life is crazy busy for everyone in different ways, and some people are speed readers, some people like to read a few pages a night (like me!). So here's what I'm thinking: what if we come up with a fun hashtag to all use, and that way we can connect with each other on Instagram? If you're reading along, just include the hashtag on one of your reading-related photos, and that way you can see who else is joining along.

Now, I was a Spanish major, not a Marketing major -- so hit me up with your creative hashtag ideas!

TGIF y'all, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!

*Affiliate links used. 


Shall We Read? {The Book Thief}

Who is up for a little reading?

I have the very start of an idea forming, and I need your help tying this whole concept together into a pretty little bow.

I'm currently about halfway through Heaven Is Here (by Stephanie Nielsen, blogger behind, who survived a small plane crash along with her husband and tells the tale of that journey). I'm enjoying it so much. Stephanie's blog was one of the first that I ever read. Our lives did not have a lot of similarities, but I was captivated by her perseverance and strong, active love for her family. She writes beautifully, and I have been reading every night before bed (and sometimes sneaking in a few pages during Camille's naptime).

I'm hoping to have lots of time to read this weekend -- 100% chance of rain! -- so am aiming to wrap it up soon.

Leading me to the question, what next?

I read the other day that our local library is hosting a Community Read initiative, where they invite community members to all read the same book and engage with each other about what was read. I was really excited to see that one of the titles they chose was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It was chosen for their teen/young adult category, but I have talked to plenty of adults who have absolutely raved about this book. It's been on my "must be read" list for a while.

I have decided that The Book Thief will be my next read, and I'd love to find a way to engage with you if you'd like to read it along with me (and many of Charlotte, NC's library patrons!). Here's where I need some ideas ... how could we make this happen? I'm not even sure if a formal discussion really needs to occur -- maybe it's just enough that we can all take a pledge to read this book in October?

So, I'd love to hear your thoughts -- are you in? Any ideas on how to engage with each other? And if you've already read this book, are we in for a real gem of a read?


My Unique Baby + A Tale Of A Dog

This post is written by me and sponsored by Store Brand Formula. They invited me to share a special memory about my unique baby (and boy, she is unique!). They are hosting a sweepstakes where you can also share your own unique baby stories or memories ... details at the end of the post!

+ + + + +

Our baby Camille is now sixteen months old, and this baby is one spitfire of a little lady. She has a BIG personality, and she's not afraid to show it. I think this is what makes people genuinely like her -- she is unique and truly FUN.

When thinking back about some of my favorite memories of Camille, I think about photographs that I cherish. Photographs that I can't wait to share with her when she is older. A lot of these special memories center around Drake, our beloved husky that we sadly said goodbye to this past February.
Camille and Drake had nine months together to try to figure each other out, and witnessing that was an awesome experience. Before we brought her home from the hospital, my husband ran over to the house from the hospital with a baby blanket that Camille had been wrapped in, and he placed it on Drake's bed. This way, it gave Drake a day to sniff around the blanket and get used to her smell before she was actually home. Bringing her home was a wonderful memory and I will always remember him gently sniffing around her baby carrier and getting used to this new family addition.

Over the next several months, Drake's health was worsening and Camille was getting more mobile -- rolling over, sitting up, clapping her hands, scooting, and then full-fledged crawling. We (along with our vet) were nervous that, due to his declining health and age (15), Drake would accidentally snap at her or growl at her. This fortunately never happened -- instead he maintained a careful distance but was definitely interested in this smiling, happy, cooing baby. He was truly a gentle giant around her, even as her presence in the house got bigger, louder, and a little wilder!

Saying goodbye to Drake was one of the hardest times of my life, but I know that we ensured in their nine months together that Camille and Drake had some very special times together. I will always remember the big smile that would come to her round face as I stroked her little hand through his thick, silvery-white fur.

And thank goodness for photographs! I have some pretty magnificent memories that may have otherwise been lost in the haze of sleep-deprived newborn days thanks to us remembering to pick up the camera or phone and snap a quick moment.

We have photos of Drake all around the house, and Camille loves pointing to the pictures and yelling out "DOG DOG!" loudly. I always find myself wondering what it would be like if we could have had another year with him ... he would have seen her walking, babbling all day, and becoming more and more interested in her furry friends. Maybe when she is a little older we will think about adding another pup to our family, but for now I just love reminiscing on his sweet presence in our family and how much joy he brought to Camille! I feel like her love of animals is definitely due in part to the times she spent with Drake.

+ + + + +
Thank you again to Store Brand Formula for sponsoring this post. You know I have always been an advocate for feeding a baby in whatever way works best for each family ... AND scouting out great deals! Store Brand Formula is available through 68 retailers nationwide at one of 40,000 store locations for up to 50% less than name brand formula. Store Brand Formula is launching a “Unique Baby” Photo Sweepstakes in which the winner will receive $5,000 AND a year supply of Store Brand Formula. Every baby is unique, and they want you to show how your baby is unique. They’re looking for funny, silly, odd, crazy, unique baby photos. To enter the Store Brand Formula Unique Baby Sweepstakes, simply visit and follow the photo submission guidelines and the on-screen instructions to complete the online entry form. All entries must be submitted during September 28, 2015 – November 5, 2015.
You can find them on: Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // YouTube // Google+
Now for a BlogHer sweepstakes! Here is a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. Tell me in the comments below about a special memory you have of a unique baby in your life. Whether it is your baby, a niece/nephew, grandkid ... what sweet story do you like to tell about them?
Entry Instructions:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/29/2015 – 10/31/2015
Be sure to visit Perrigo’s brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


Versatile Gloss With Staying Power

I would love to share with you one of my purse staples -- L'Oreal's Infallable 6 Hour gloss. I own it in two colors, but the one I want to rave about today is Rebel Red. This is seriously a perfect color because of the versatility. One coat goes on like a berry stain, and two coats is va-va-voom. I love red lips in chillier weather. Who am I kidding ... all types of weather are great for red lips.

So I wanted to show you the no coats / one coat / two coats photos to demonstrate the versatility. Oh, and it's around $8.50 at multiple retailers, so it won't break the bank. Cha-ching.

Before: No gloss

After: One Coat

After: Two Coats

The pure versatility is why it's a purse staple for me. You won't find a dark red lipstick in my everyday purse, because I'm not going to apply that before I take Camille to Mrs. Amy's music class. But this one is a great option because one coat can be for music class and two coats can be blogger cocktail event or dinner date with the husband.

And speaking of dinner dates, the staying power of this gloss is really amazing. You don't have to worry about it disappearing after the appetizer!

So there's a little more detail about my very favorite gloss ... and you've gotta love one that lasts hours but does not dry out your lips.

If you are looking to purchase online:  Amazon // Target //
(other details: my mascara // my blush // my concealer // 

* affiliate links used


Five On Friday

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

Remember, all you have to do is post about five things on your mind, add our logo (found at the bottom of this post), and join the party using the linky tools below. Easy, and a great way to find new blogs and be found. :)

Thank you to everyone who links up with us each week. And a super happy birthday to my lovely fellow FoF hostess, Christina!

The Ultimate Naked Birthday Cake from Layers of homemade cake, lemon curd, crumbled meringue cookies, swiss buttercream frosting and sparklers to boot!! (@whatsgabycookin):

O N E  
I'm super excited because Ian and I are Raleigh-bound today for his cousin Kristen's wedding! I am a big fan of weddings. Watching the bride walk down the aisle. Seeing everything she painstakingly chose ... bridesmaids gowns, ceremony music, readings, reception decor, the menu, first dance song, the dance with dad, the exit, the whole nine yards. And I'm also excited about dancing with Ian and having a night away! In a hotel! Where we can maybe sleep until 8am! Hallelujah!

Love is the answer:
Is it messed up that I seriously offered to pack Children's Benadryl for Ian and me to take tomorrow night to ensure a good night's rest, and the slight possibility of sleeping in? I'm serious. Also on the packing list will be two eye masks and two sets of earplugs. Mama wants sleep. Good, serene, hotel sleep.

My aunt pinned this the other day and I was drooling. Positively eye candy. If you could only choose one, which would it be?

My choice: middle finger, second up from base of finger. Second choice: pointer finger, bottom aqua/teal colored stone. Gorgeous!

Yes to all of them! (12) Tumblr:

Yesterday we had music class at Miss Amy's, and Camille was really enjoying it. This was the first time she got to play on her own "drums", and she was loving it! I put a video on Instagram last night. I love seeing her try out new toys and instruments. I found these Sound Shapes on Amazon (here) and they are pretty expensive, in my opinion! They do have this mini-verson for less which may be a good Christmas gift for her. 

similar gold baby moccasins found here or here

Not ashamed to admit that I'm on the pumpkin bandwagon and I've been burning a pumpkin candle (Scentsationals soy candle, from TJ Maxx) and using this lotion from Bath & Body Works. It smells sooo delicious. And the kicker is that I had a coupon for a free full-sized product, so I redeemed it for this. I don't know how I got on their coupon mailing list, but it's SO worth it. Every few months I have received a coupon for a free trial-sized lotion or shower gel, and this full-sized product coupon was a real treat. So YES, pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin. I want it all. I will definitely vouch for this scent, if you're on the hunt for new lotion.

TGIF y'all, and hope you will join in on Five on Friday this week! Cheers to the weekend!

*Affiliate links used. 


It's Okay To Be (Fall) Basic

Ahh, FALL.

The first day of this glorious season was yesterday, and I welcomed it with open arms and a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Did I mention I sipped it wearing my white shorts and gold boat shoes? Whaaat .... it was hot here! No blanket scarves 'round these parts just yet!

I think when it comes to this autumnal bliss, you either fall in one of two camps:
1) You really don't give a hoot, I mean it's just a season, or

And if you are in that latter camp, I'm here to tell you that it's okay. It's okay to be Fall Basic.

basic / bā-sik (urban dictionary): 
an adjective used to describe any person, place, activity 
involving obscenely obvious behavior, dress, action.

Here's why I don't have an issue with being Fall Basic: it's cheesy, it's fun, it shows enthusiasm for what is a really beautiful time of year. So, go forth, pick your basket of apples, munch your cider donuts, button up that plaid lumberjack shirt, wear leggings to work, singlehandedly keep Starbucks in business, have your pumpkin patch photoshoot, and monogram your pumpkins (carving is so '90s). 

I dig it. 

fall favorites

And dress the part.
I sure as heck am going to.
I do have a few wishlist items this season. Here goes:

Soft Camel Sweater: A cashmere sweater is a bit of a splurge, but they can last a long time with good care. And the luxurious feel is worth owning one or two, in my opinion! Loving this camel version, and I love the navy and heather charcoal colors it comes in, too.

Dark Flare Jeans: I used to have the most amazing pair of AG flares. Tight across the bum, fitted in the thighs, and then the perfect (not-too-crazy) flare. I rocked them as a senior in college and felt so good walking to class with my pointy-toed heels. I wore them so much that they developed a hole that grew and grew until they were bordering on offensive, and now they still exist -- but as cut-offs. I am definitely willing to embrace this trend again. The flares in the photo above are the exact wash I'd want.

Worn Gold Studs: I am loving this worn gold finish ... less flashy than shiny summer earrings, more muted. Available here, and $20 -- would also be a great gift to pick up for the upcoming holiday season for a mom, sister, or girlfriend.

Cozy Plaid Scarf: Comfy cozy, yes please. I'm not a fan of all plaids (some color combos just don't do it for me), but I love this pattern. Available with free shipping here.

And if you're looking for more of an oversized blanket scarf, I also found some really pretty ones for more than half the cost of the above scarf on Amazon here, but looks like they take a little longer to arrive ... may be worth checking out, though! The "brown red" is my favorite color combination there.
Spring Fever Plaid Checked Tartan Scarf Wrap Shawl Spring Fever
Tortoise Sunglasses: In a crazy moment this year, I sold my C. Wonder tortoise sunglasses (boo). I miss them. I like chunkier sunglasses for fall, and these bad boys are only $12. With a 16-month old who loves removing my sunglasses all day every day, that price point is perfect for me.

Essie Polishes + Gel Setter: Okay, full review coming soon, but let's say that I'm a fan of Gel Setter. This gel-like topcoat gets an A+ rating from me so far (on Amazon here) and I love these two muted polish colors: Au Natural (on left, here) and Sand Tropez (on right, here). I think Au Natural would be so pretty on toes too, and I'd gladly give up my fuschia and bright red for this tone.

Tell me ... are you Fall Basic?
What's on your Fall Basic Bucket List?
You know you have one.

* affiliate links used


(Really) Easy French Dip Sandwiches

When we were at the beach this past weekend with friends, we had a deli that delivers to bring us sandwiches one night. What can I say, the days of late restaurant trips to our favorite sandy beach bars have probably come to an end for the time being (so long, frozen screwdrivers). With five children five and under, it was pure heaven getting them to bed and then having six take-out boxes magically appear at our front step.

I went with one of my favorite sandwiches -- the French dip -- and I probably could have eaten two, it was so delicious. It reminded me of a really easy version of the recipe that Mom shared with me recently. So, naturally, I made this recipe for Ian and me the very next night.

(Really) Easy French Dip Sandwiches

Deli roast beef, sliced thinly (I used 1/2 pound to make two sandwiches)
Provolone cheese
Chicago rolls or hoagie rolls
1 can French onion soup
1 can beef consomme


Heat your broiler to 450 degrees. 

In a saucepan, heat the French onion soup, beef consomme, and all of the roast beef. I heated mine about 10-15 minutes, until it was pretty hot and at a soft boil. The roast beef will get hot and nicely flavored from cooking in this broth.

Slice your rolls almost all of the way through, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Using tongs, remove hot roast beef from soup mixture and layer on the bread. Reserve the remaining soup. 

Top each sandwich with provolone cheese. I also added a small slice on the top piece of bread.  

Watch carefully under the broiler, and remove as soon as the cheese is melted and golden. Add the tops to the sandwiches.

Pour the brothy soup in small ramekins for dipping. This is the perfect au jus!

Two quick notes...
I purchased half a pound of Boar's Head deli roast beef. As soon as I left the busy counter, I got nervous that it would not be enough. So, in the refrigerated meat section, I picked up a small package of thinly sliced roast beef. I was able to make our Monday night sandwiches just from that half pound of Boar's Head and did not need to rely on the pre-packaged roast beef that I had as back-up. However, I did use some of that roast beef to recreate this sandwich for lunch yesterday, and while I will say it was still really good, the freshly shaved Boar's Head was MUCH better. So -- spend a dollar or two more and get the freshly sliced stuff here.

(and yes, if you're counting, that makes three days in a row that I ate French dips ... and guess what's for lunch today? four days and counting.)

Secondly, I'm not sure if you're as curious as I was, but here goes. Beef broth vs. beef stock vs. beef consomme ... what's the diff? Let's let Martha Stewart tell it how it is.

Broth: "Broth is the liquid that remains after meat, seafood, or vegetables have been cooked in water. It may be served alone or used as the base for a light soup."

Stock: "Stock is more intense than broth, having been cooked slowly to extract as much flavor as possible from meat or fish bones and aromatics. A stock is used as an ingredient in other dishes, such as soups, stews, and sauces, rather than served alone."

Consomme: "Consomme is a clear liquid that results from clarifying homemade stock. This is usually done with egg whites. (The cloudy particles in the stock attach themselves to the whites and rise to the surface, where they can be skimmed off.) The French word means 'consumed' or 'finished,' referring to a more complete soup than a stock or a broth. Consomme is often served by itself, typically at the beginning of a meal."

For a meal that goes together SUPER easily, I could not recommend these French dip sandwiches more!


Tuesday This & That

A few random notes this Tuesday!

On Friday, I read about the GIF keyboard on Jenn's blog and downloaded it immediately. UM, YES. This is a hoot. In the same way that you would use an emoji keyboard on your phone, you can search for hilarious GIFs to send to friends. It's a free download in the App store (here)! It's taken my group texts to the next level.

Last night I made the most DELICIOUS French dips for us for dinner. I'll plan on sharing that recipe since it sounds like a lot of you are always on the hunt for yummy, easy recipes that use only a few ingredients. I know how crazy the evenings can get -- who wants to spend hours in the kitchen? And then have a big ol' mess to clean? Not this girl. 

Kitchen art print  The secret ingredient... - cooking quote typographic print letterpress Kitchen wall decor A3 11 x 14. $21.00, via Etsy.:

Thank you to everyone who shared your nail recommendations on Friday's post! You all are just chock-full of information. I'm going to try to run out this week to purchase one of the drugstore gel-type polishes in hopes that it helps me have pretty and low-maintenance nails. Emphasis on the low-maintenance. Oh, and I love cheapie drugstore products. You know I'll share my hits and misses!

Label this: DREAM NAILS
(can I do it? can I do it?)
favorite OPI nail polish color ever!!!! Bubble Bath:

What's everyone having for dinner tonight? I'm jazzed because Ian had the besssst idea this morning ... SOUP! It's sort of dreary out which makes it the perfect soup night. Plus, I can just throw everything in a pot and let it simmer, and then all we have to do is cue up The Strain on DVR and ladle out our dinner into bowls. Now that's good stuff. 

This was meant for me to my husband. I'm always ice cold & he's got enough warmth for the both of us ha ha:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...