Friday

Friday Mish-Mash

I couldn't be happier for the weekend to be here, especially since this Saturday is the long-awaited best day of the year ... Carolina Cup.

The Cup is, hmmm.... a right of passage?  Is that too dramatic to say?  If you reside in the South and you look for any measly excuse to tailgate as soon as the bradford pears and dogwoods start blooming, you've most likely spent a day at the races in Camden, SC.

2010 - With girlfriends Kate and Kerry

2011 - With Ian, about two months before our wedding
We will be going to the Cup with two other couples.  Tonight will be spent packing sunscreen, bottled water, adult beverages, and making good Cup food.  So far our table will be adorned with Bojangles fried chicken, ham delights, devilled eggs, and macarons.  I'm thinking about adding pasta salad to the mix. 

Also, I had a few questions about outfits I wore recently.  (Sidenote: I love replying back to questions via email, but unless you've followed Classic Annie's tutorial to fix yours, I may be unable to write you back!  If you've got a second, check to make sure this is enabled.  Then I can answer your question directly to you.)

For Whitney's baby shower last weekend, the silk maxidress I wore is from Anthropologie.  I found it last summer in Birmingham on sale (obvi).


And the pink cropped jeans I wore in New York are a steal from Marshall's!  I can't recall the brand but I do know they were only $16.99.  You have to go to the juniors section to find the colored denim.  They're thin, comfy, and some of my new favorites to wear.


One more little tidbit before I go.
I decided to host a little A. Liz Designs jewelry flash sale!
Three pairs of earrings just got reduced to $10.

Like, the cost of lunch at Panera, but these last longer and are more sparkly.

The sale will only last through the weekend, so shop shop shop away.




So please do pay a visit to my store, and have a lovely weekend!

Thursday

Eleven Questions About Moi

I was recently tagged by the oh-so-cute Katie from KT Louise to answer 11 questions about myself.  So without further ado, here are her creative and fun questions:

Where were you born? 
I was born in Columbia, South Carolina.


What irrational fear do you have?
I often dream about violent intruders in my home, but I guess that's a rational fear.  As far as an irrational fear goes -- hmm.  I'm scared that I will panic when I sit in the exit row of a crashing airplane and not know how to let everyone out.  I'm scared I'll get MRSA from gym equipment.  I'm scared of being stopped under an overpass because it might crumble and fall on me.  My car, therefore, is equipped with a safety whistle, a granola bar, and a bottle of water.  You know, for survival.

Where’s 1 place you hope to travel before you die?
Italy, most preferably a remote village filled with lots of flowers, olive trees, and outdoor markets.

{via}


What’s your favorite summer cocktail?
I love making white sangria.  There is also a delicious summer drink that I made called sgroppino.

Yummy sgroppino ... an Italian cocktail.

Fine Dining or Casual Dining?
Somewhere in the middle ... inspired food but a comfy atmosphere.

Did you go to summer camp as a kid?
Yes!  After reading the Babysitters Club super series where they are camp counselors, I requested informational VHS tapes from many summer camps listed in the back of my mom's Southern Living magazines.  We ended up going the non-log-cabin route, however, and went to an arts & sciences summer camp each year that was held at college campuses.  Best part?  The camp dance.  Duh.

Favorite comfort food?
Cheap Chinese take-out ... General Tso's chicken and lo mein.

Do you have any siblings?  If so, how many?
Two beautiful younger siblings.  Laura, who will be married this fall and lives in Greenville, SC.  Sarah, who lives in NYC and is an artist.

Sarah, Laura, April

Mr. Chow in Miami

Coffee or Tea?
I like an occasional cup of coffee when I need a jolt, but I'm mainly a tea girl.  I love mint tea.  I'll drink it hot or ice it down.

Friends character you’re most alike?
I think .... Monica?

{via}

What’s the first concert you ever saw?
Bush (who No Doubt opened for).  Ahh, memories.  I even got the huge concert tee afterwards and wore it to school the next day.

Thanks, Katie!  You can see her responses to these questions (and more) here.
Now, because we are close to the weekend and the weather is getting mighty warm, do tell me -- what's your favorite summer cocktail?

Wednesday

Evolution Of Our Home Office

When we first moved into our home, we decided to use one of the bedrooms as a home office. 

We started with nothing, really, other than a computer.  Nice starting point, but that leaves a lot to be purchased!  You've probably already gathered that nothing thrills me more than a good bargain, so putting this room together was a process.  I took the hunter/gatherer approach rather than just turning to a page from a Pottery Barn catalog and saying "I want everything in this photo of an office."

We first started as most people with empty rooms do ... at Ikea!


Desk table? Check!  We went with a frosted glass table top on wrought iron legs.  I also scored that gorgeous rug from Tuesday Morning.

Then we went to work putting together two white bookshelves we also got from Ikea.  I like the look of them, but the shelves slip out so easily.  I definitely wouldn't recommend them, and once we have a tot or two around the house, they will definitely have to go.  A book avalanche would be bound to happen.



Ian has some of his alma mater decor on his shelf.  :)


Next up was a new chair for the corner.  I found this green chair at World Market.  It perfectly matches the green in the rug.


We wanted a way to organize our paperwork, invitations, and bills, so I started piecing together some elements for one of our walls.  I found the hanging wire file system at TJ Maxx, and the old dry-erase board got a coat of black paint to match.


We hung them along with a picture from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, The Wheatfield, of North Carolina.  The frame and mat are from Michaels.

The wrought iron medallion you see below is from Old Time Pottery.

You can also see the paint swatches on the wall ... we were getting an itch to paint!  Boring ivory walls, be gone.


We decided on a color and cleared out the bookshelves, moving everything away from the wall.


We gave the room two coats of paint and went with a greenish-taupe color to make the room feel a little more sophisticated.


Best part is, we didn't have to paint the very top of the room, because we had a very exciting appointment a few days later -- installation for crown moulding!


So we lived with unfinished borders for just a few days and eagerly anticipated the crown to be put up.


And what a huge difference it made!  We splurged on a thicker moulding than necessary.  I just love the look of a molding with a real presence, you know?


So everything was looking great, minus one annoyance.  That fan.

Despite its stubby arms, it put out a heck of a breeze.  Trouble was, we just didn't use the fan that often, the light on it was pretty dang flourescent, and it wasn't very visually appealing.

Down it came.


Ew.

I found a really awesome light at Lowe's that stole my heart.  At $99, it came home with me immediately.


So here is our current office!  I think it is quite an improvement from how it used to look.  Scroll up if you dare!


Next on our wishlist is something to hang on this small wall above the green chair.  Perhaps a big canvas of a wedding photo?


At some point in the near future, I'll take more "styled" photos of the room ... photos where you don't see the bills waiting to be paid, photos where the lighting is impeccable, photos that hopefully showcase a completed room (if that feeling ever really exists). 


But for now, this is a real-life look at the evolution of our office.  It feels so nice to make progress!

Tuesday

A Quick Weekend

This past weekend went by so quickly.  Maybe it's because I was positively spoiled rotten with my recent 3-day weekend in New York.  :)

Ian had work functions Friday evening and all day Saturday.  Even though I missed having him around, I totally took advantage of that time to squeeze in as many Housewives episodes as humanly possible.

One of my favorite ways to spend a solo night in is with cheap Chinese take-out.  And red wine.  A heavenly combo, if you ask me.


Saturday evening we had tickets to see the Black Keys.  They put on a really great show.  If you can catch one of their upcoming concerts (and it hasn't sold out already, as this one did), GO!


And Sunday I attended a gorgeous baby shower for my friend Whitney.  We met in college and were sorority sisters.  She is due this summer with their first child, and they are going to let the gender be a surprise.   The shower theme featured birds nests, which was such a cute touch.


When it was time to open gifts, Whitney took a non-traditional route.  She passed the wrapped gifts around the room and each girl took a present that they did not bring.  Then we went around the room introducing ourselves, saying how we knew the mama-to-be, and opening a gift for her.  It was a cute way of involving everyone.



The best part was seeing college friends and catching up with them.  We were all in the same pledge class of ADPi.  We're spread out now over different parts of the Carolinas and Georgia, but it's always wonderful to have a little mini-reunion.


And on Sunday evening I met up with some girlfriends for a little back porch wine session.  We've recently started this tradition and it's easily one of the highlights of the weekend.  Just a time to sit, sip, gab, gossip.

Only a handful of days more until we get another much-welcomed weekend!

Monday

Not So Horrible At All.

Happy Monday, and do I have a great update for you!

Remember when I was so nervous in this post to get a new license photo taken?

I got it in the mail last week and I was so relieved to see that it didn't look like a shady, scary mugshot.

New photo on left, old photo on right

In fact, even though the old photo was 8 years old, I think my new picture looks like a younger April!  I will say that the lighting at this DMV wasn't in my favor this go 'round as I do have that lovely vampire pallor.  But I know I can't have my cake and eat it too.  I'll trade the ghostly whitness for a really dang good hair day.

Weekend updates to come soon!

Friday

New York: Day 3 {Sunday}

Sunday, why must you come so soon?
I was sad for my girlfriends to have to fly back home -- we always have the BEST time together, and I wish we could hang out like that more often. 

The entryway to our hotel

We spent Sunday enjoying a long brunch and popping into a few more shops.  Then, the moment came when the girls got in a cab to go to the airport, and I hopped in a separate cab.

I still had one night left!  And very exciting things ... a blogger date and also the opportunity to go out to dinner with my sister Sarah and her boyfriend.

So you may know that I finally had the chance to meet Blair's Head Band.  Being a total stunner, she'd run a half marathon that very morning and then still rallied to meet me out for happy hour.  I totally spied her wincing as she walked down the 4 or 5 stairs into the wine bar where we met, but she played it off like a champ.


So, two glasses of wine and THREE HOURS later, we'd covered topics from blogs we love to exes we don't love.  We clicked on so many levels, no shocker!  After following someone's blog for such a long time and talking via email and Twitter, you really don't feel like strangers at all.

Especially when you're so connected that you even show up wearing the same nail polish color.


I'd told my sister Sarah to expect me back at her apartment after being gone for an hour, maybe two.  After those three hours, Sarah texted me wanting to know if I needed a "safe word."

HA!  I'm alive dear sis, just having a total blast with a new friend.


We snapped one more gratuitous Instagram photo (follow me: alizadventures) and said our "goodbye for nows."


That evening Sarah, her boyfriend and I had the most delicious dinner at Hudson Clearwater.  This restaurant came strongly suggested from my friend Lindsay -- she hails from the same town (Hickory, NC) as the head chef, and they are family friends.  The duck is amazing!  They happened to be also hosting a private party that night as a fundraiser.  We chatted with the chef after dinner and he mentioned casually to us that Phillip Lim, the mega-famous designer of 3.1 Phillip Lim, was not more than 20 feet away from us.  Yep!  There he was.  Amazing. 

Celebrity sighting in NYC?  Check!

And in funnier news, the fundraiser had their own event menu, which accidentally made its way over to our table.  What did my wandering editorial eye spot, but a typo.  And a funny one at that.  Can you spot it?


I woke the next morning and caught a flight back home to Charlotte.  A truly fabulous NYC trip!

Thursday

New York: Day 2 {Saturday}

Saturday morning we woke up and headed to one of Ashley's favorite breakfast spots, Cafe Gitane.

I'd read on Yelp that they had an amazing avocado toast -- lemon juice, olive oil, avocado, and red chili flakes on wheat toast.  Of course I ordered it and of course it was life-changing.

I think I know what we're having at home for breakfast this weekend.


After breakfast, we knocked out some Soho shopping.  First stop: the ever anticipated C. Wonder!


From home decor to handbags to clothes to jewelry to accessories... they had it all!







We went to the dressing room armed with stacks of clothes to try.  My favorite part?  This digital menu in each dressing room lets you control the music, the volume, and best of all, the lighting!  How ingenious.  Want to see how that orange cardigan will look in your brightly-lit office conference room?  Or how a tailored little blue dress will look at a dimly-lit dinner?  Done.


I was almost tempted to leave with some new bangles or some new tortoise-rimmed sunglasses, but I walked away empty-handed.  My girlfriends did not; they scored some fabulous finds.


After a Bloomingdales trip, we worked up an appetite.  We stopped in at Rice to Riches, which has so many flavors of rice pudding.


I went with pecan pie.  Kerry chose the marscapone and Ashley took the blue ribbon with her choice of french toast rice pudding topped with tart cherries.

My pecan pie rice pudding in all its glory.

After a quick trip back to the hotel, we refreshed and made our way back to Bloomingdale's for makeup appointments.  Ash and Ker were beautified by the Bobbi Brown girls, and I scored an appointment at the Chanel counter.

Freshly made up and with new makeup goodies in hand, we walked to Haute Air where we had appointments to have our hair blown out.


Here's the before pic -- makeup looks good, hair is ready for some magic!


We sipped champagne and took turns having our hair washed and styled with Bumble & Bumble products by the talented Haute Air staff.


I loved how mine turned out and the girls were equally as pleased with theirs!







On the walk back to the hotel, we shielded our tresses from the wind as best we could.  We slipped into our dresses for the night, sipped on some wine, and got ready for a great dinner out.




We arrived at Beauty and Essex for our dinner reservations.  As you walk in, it appears you are in a pawn shop.


And then an unsuspicious door at the back opens and leads you into the restaurant.


The food was phenomenal, the cocktails very inspired, and the dancing upstairs was a blast.  Time with these girls is always the best.

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