Farewell Dinner

I'm officially settled in Charlotte!  I haven't had too much time to blog but I'm excited about getting back to my normal routine.  Ian and I are staying with good friends while the closing process continues on the house.  Yesterday we ran several errands, including a trip to Trader Joe's (where I happened to run into the one and only Classic Annie and her sweet man Kevin). 

Leaving Columbia was bittersweet because my parents live there and have been wonderful to have around.  I also had a really fun group of girlfriends  and we'd get together from time to time to enjoy dinner and some wine.  Last Wednesday evening we met at Rosso for dinner.

Look at all those pretties!  Recognize Liz from Splendid Minta?  She's right there in the middle sitting down and looking oh-so-chic in her black ensemble and A. Liz Designs earrings!  (She even blogged about them here.)

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and I'll share more house details as we continue to move forward with the closing.  Ciao!


Dancing Wildly In The Car.

I've been on the road a good bit lately and the only thing that has gotten me through the long, boring strips of interstate is Pandora's Florence + The Machine station.  I mean, with songs like this, how could you not roll down your windows, put back the sunroof, and sing at the top of your lungs?  (I was doing this exactly 3 hours ago.)

Enjoy, and don't forget that tomorrow is the last day for 40% off in my Etsy store with coupon code "MOVING"!  Discounts won't get this low until I move again, which better not be anytime soon.  :)


Moving + Etsy Sale!

The weekend has come ... we are moving to Charlotte!  Needless to say, I'm up to my eyeballs in packing.  I get nervous every time Ian comes upstairs because he always is like "MAN baby, you have SO MUCH STUFF!"


Well anyway, I'm hoping to ship off some of my A. Liz Designs Etsy store stock before moving to help make room for more creative works once we're settled in our home.  Use coupon code "MOVING" between now and Friday to get 40% off of your order!  The items have never been so deeply discounted and won't be that low until I move again, which better be in a REALLLLLLLY long time from now!  :)

Here are some of the beauties just waiting to be snatched up:

Happy shopping, and I hope your week is off to a great start!


Our Save The Dates

When it came time to pick our Save the Dates, I knew I didn't want to go with something I'd seen a dozen times before.  Now that most folks are doing a Save the Date, my goal was to find something that reflected the style of our May wedding but also would stand out and be unforgettable.

I started at stationery stores but just wasn't finding anything that caught my eye.  As an Etsy seller myself, I decided to start looking there.  One search for "vintage save the date" led me straight to the fabulous Julie at GoGoSnap.  Her store is just amazing.  Julie was a joy to work with and had a quick turnaround time.  So without further ado ....

.... presenting our Save the Dates!

Julie not only handles save the dates but also does lovely calling cards, invitations, thank you notes, and other fun things as well.  Check out these beauties:

Happy Etsy shopping!


Travel In Style.

Greetings from sunny Orlando, Florida!

I flew in this afternoon to do some work here tomorrow.  It was my first flight of the year and I'm gearing up for a wild travel season ahead.  Here's a look at how to travel comfortably and in style. 

Travel Polyvore

Click on over to see a list of all of the items I featured and where you can find them.  What are your favorite travel items?


Oh, The Drama.

Life as we know it is coming to an end.
Folks are speculating that President Obama has DYED. HIS. HAIR.
{insert exaggerated gasp}

Exhibit A:

There is no Exhibit B.  BUT - who needs one.  The evidence is clear.  Oh my word.  Heavens to Betsy.  The political pundits are right!  He has, in fact, darkened his tresses!

Know what I say about that, though? 

Who cares if he wants to look spiffy as one of the top most photographed people in the United States?  Politics aside, I agree with the man.  If I were president, let's just say that I wouldn't stop at a little hair dye.

Can I get an amen?!?!


Back To Blogging!

What a week it's been!  After Monday's blog post I got swept up into a crazy work week.  Tuesday I drove to Charlotte to pay a visit to that office and then struck out for Asheville, NC.  I spent Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday there with tons of work to do and a snails-pace internet connection.  No blogging.  But I did eat some amazing dinner at Bouchon in downtown Asheville on Wednesday night.

Ya'll, this place is amazing.  It's narrow and long like NYC neighborhood restaurants and it serves French comfort food.  I had a big bowl of mussels with onions, bacon, blue cheese, and the most amazing broth.  And because they offer all you can eat mussels on Wednesday nights, I had another half bowl of mussels steamed in PBR with a dijon mustard and butter sauce.  Absolutely delish.

Last night I got in at 7:45 with just enough time to splash some water on my face and head out with Ian to meet my family for dinner.  We went to Cellar on Greene for their fantastic Thursday night special of two brick oven pizzas & a bottle of wine for $25. 

Two pies and a bottle later (prosciutto fig and barbeque duck with a Montepulciano, if you must know!) we all decided to grab one more beer out together at a local Irish pub before calling it a night.

So I'm tired.  And way behind on blogging.  But I'm back!  Thanks for your patience.  :)

By the way -- it's my 50th post, man oh man that happened quickly!


Nailed It.

I love having a nice manicure and especially one that I can do myself.  One of my favorite places to get a manicure is Polished in Charlotte -- not only do you get a great manicure or pedicure, but they play fun, loud music, have a really trendy decor, and serve you wine.  Perfection.

Treating myself to a manicure is something I love doing here and there, but I also enjoy doing my own nails.  Usually, I go pretty classic with my color.  The Sally Hansen Insta-Dri is a really great line that I've been loving.  It dries so quickly, has a nice shine, and has this thick round-trip brush that makes it easy to cover your entire nail in about 2 swipes.  I'd put it up to any bottle of Essie or OPI.  My favorite color is below and it's called Petal Pusher.  It's a pretty ballerina pink and two coats look nice and opaque.

Lately I've been enjoying this one that my sister put in my stocking.  It's Essie's Playa del Platinum.  Definitely different but a great neutral.  I don't think I'd want it on my toenails because my tootsies would look too washed out.  I almost always have red or pink toenails.

Recently I tried this 14 Day Nail Shield also put out by Sally Hansen.  While easy to apply, it can be a little tedious because you need to get the nail films perfectly lined up with your cuticles.  The only complaint I had was that they were pretty thin and not too shiny.  On the upside, they really did stay on for almost two weeks without looking bad (and I'm a nail perfectionist).  I thought my nails were surprisingly stronger after having them on.

You can't have pretty painted nails and dry cuticles!  Keeping cuticles moisturized is key.  I keep good moisturizers in my desk drawer, purse, and nightstand and apply religiously.  The Gilden Tree line has a 95% Shea Butter Balm that is completely luxurious.  I have the small travel size ($6) and it's lasted for almost three years.  A little goes quite a long way.  Once you put it on your skin, it melts right in .... literally.  Amazing, ya'll.

Another classic is a tube of Aquaphor.  Mine is from the drugstore and it's another product that will last you forever. 

A while back at Walgreens I found this gem below.  They make their own line of avocado petroleum jelly.  Personally, I don't know why it's called avocado.  It's not green; it's not thicker than normal Vaseline; it doesn't really even smell like avocado.  Then again, avocados don't really have a strong smell.  But it does smell fresh and yummy and is a nice change of pace from the traditional scent.  And cheap cheap cheap! 

Happy manicuring!



Lovin' Sundays.

Today has been a good day.  Slept in til 9, sweet fiance made coffee & omelets with shredded rotisserie chicken and gooey cheddar (may sound odd, but amazing!), lots of organizing/packing for the big move, lunch at yummy Groucho's in 5 Points, a bike ride together around the neighborhood, and a trip to the dog park with Drake.  Now I'm sitting here with the delicious smells of Mexican Crockpot Chicken cooking away, a glass of wine beside my computer at the kitchen table, and the sounds of Ian cheering on some team that's playing football.  I love Sundays.

Speaking of Mexican Crockpot Chicken ... you are going to want this recipe.  It's easy, tasty, and for the most part - healthy!

Mexican Crock Pot Chicken
  • 1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can pinto beans (you can also sub in or add a can of black beans), rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • Taco seasoning
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded cheese (Mexican blend works well)
  • Sour cream
  • Other desired toppings: sliced avocado, sliced black olives, etc.
Place chicken at the bottom of your Crockpot and cover with taco seasoning.  Top with beans and then tomatoes.  Cook on high 4 hours or low 6 hours.  The chicken will shred easily with a fork when done.  To serve, put lots of shredded lettuce in the bottom of a bowl and use a ladle to spoon on the chicken/beans/tomato mixture.  Top with cheese and sour cream, as well as any other desired toppings.

In other news, the cleaning/organization/tossing out of useless items that Ian and I are doing to prep for the move has been great.  In general, I'm the one who wants to hold on to items (packrat much?!); Ian's more like, "Toss it!"  Well, I was about to add these old and very tired shoes to the trash pile, and he got a little sad that I was throwing them out.  When we first started dating we had a great winter weekend trip to Folly Beach and I wore these out on the beach with him.  I guess he really liked them and associated them with the great memories of the trip.   

OK first of all, don't judge - I know these look horrible.  They've lost their shape, they're scuffed, they're just ready for retirement.  And I know this too.

But I felt guilty throwing them away after he said that!  So there's only one thing to do.  I cut off the rhinestone bling at each toe and I'm going to somehow turn these into a long, chunky necklace.  Think I can pull it off?  I'll keep you posted.

I have had a lot of fun creating custom A. Liz Designs pieces.  I've not yet encountered someone that wanted a necklace made out of footwear accessories, but everything's possible!  Have a new dress and you'd like to have coordinating earrings to match, or have a grandmother's rhinestone brooch that you'd like turned into a necklace?  Visit my Etsy shop to get some ideas and send me a message.  We'll go back and forth to find what works for you and then I'll send you a link to your own personalized Etsy listing with one of these snazzy logos:

Go ahead, give it a shot!  Hope you all had a beautiful weekend with lots of fun adventures.


Honeymoon Help

Its cold outside.  C-c-c-c-c-cold.  I'm ready to be sitting in paradise, drinking a frozen adult beverage, and having my biggest worry be tan lines.

Yep, bring on the honeymoon.

In just a few short months we'll be enjoying this exact scenario in .... oh WAIT, we don't know yet!  (Insert audible gasp.)

Is it bad that we don't have our honeymoon booked yet?  We are not even that picky.  We want:  a) tropical  b) beautiful  c) all-inclusive  d) I hate to say "adults only" because that sounds sketch, but basically just no kiddie pool games going on all day every day while I'm relaxin' with my sweetie.

So please -- if you are reading this and thinking "Oh! I bet April would like to know about (insert great resort here)", then please do tell!  Ian and I will love you forever.  It's true.


Ear to Ear.

Life is just really good right now.  Obviously we just got the news yesterday about our new home and we're thrilled for this new chapter in our life.  I feel like I've just been walking around with a big goofy grin on my face!  Even the smallest things are making me so very happy.  Like......

... sweet notes to come downstairs to find.
And yes, I am "Sweet Flea."  :)

... chai tea with creamy soy milk while checking emails.

... snowman pasta when there is snow on the ground
(in SC, so crazy!)

... yummy shrimp for dinner.  And that dang cute pink colander.

... my birthday roses in my birthday antique cup. 
Aaaaand a crazy good book on my nightstand.

... aloe face mask from our last trip to Chinatown in NYC.

Also, a note on that aloe mask?  It comes out of the package like a big thin white cloth saturated with aloe (which smells amazing).  It has eyeholes, nostril holes, and a mouth hole.  You situate it on your face and smooth out the air bubbles.  I was sitting upstairs in bed reading and wearing this contraption and IAN.CAME.UPSTAIRS.UNANNOUNCED.  I was trying to cover the hideous mask by holding the book over my face but I finally had to pull it down and show Ian.  He actually jumped back.  And then he said I looked like Michael Myers.  So learn from me ... wear this when the guy is actually OUT of the house. 


Unbelievably Great News!

We are going to be homeowners!
Our offer was accepted on a house that we love very much.  You know what this means ... renovations and decorating!  Lots of fun blog posts to share in the upcoming months.

Ian and I are elated.  We were sitting down for lunch together at one of our favorite spots when we got "The Call."  It was great.  Ian got up from the table and hugged me right there.  We high-fived all through our lunch date.  Good stuff.


Back To The Queen City

I have really good news ....

Ian took a job offer in Charlotte, NC and we'll be moving back at the end of the month.  We have a lot of history there.  :)  We met in Charlotte in December '08.  After 6 months of dating, Ian took a job in Columbia, SC.  I stayed in Charlotte and we did the long distance thing for a little over a year.  At that point, we had been engaged for several months, so I came down to join him.  I've only been living here since August, so it was a quick stint but a fun one.  My mom, dad and sister live here, and I can truly say that the hardest part about moving is leaving them.  We all have had some really fun times, but I see many road trips in our future.  And Charlotte's only slightly more than an hour up the road!

I lived in Charlotte for 6 years after college and absolutely adored it.  The restaurants, the shopping, the nightlife, the concerts, the antique shows, the bead shows, the parks, the PEOPLE!  It's an amazing city.  Ian and I have really been missing it.

We went to Charlotte this weekend and did some house-hunting.  We placed an offer on a home just this morning and we are still awaiting a response.  I'm so nervous!  Please send good wishes our way.

While in Charlotte we went out with a big group of friends Saturday night and had drinks at Mortimer's, a pub in the Epicenter.  Then we walked over to Enso and had a ton of sushi - it's one of my favorite spots in Charlotte.  We hit up Mez afterwards for a few drinks and ended the night at Kennedy's in Elizabeth.  It was a great trip.  We took some pictures and passed the camera off to friends -- I rarely end up on this end of my own camera, but I realized how many wacky faces Ian and I make without even realizing it!

I think we're just too, too excited!!!  Seriously - send good thoughts about the house!


Let It Snow!

This morning Ian said the sweetest words to me.

He got out of bed, walked to the window, and said "Baby ... there's no way you're going to Raleigh today!"

I knew immediately what that meant ------  SNOW!!!!  I ran to the window and there were gobs of fluffy flakes all over the place and still coming down from the sky like crazy!

Luckily, I work right now from home, so I don't have to worry about going into the office.  I made a few mugs of chai tea, propped my space heater right by my feet, and had the safest commute to work ever.  :)  And my overnight trip to Raleigh did get cancelled, so now I just have to figure out dinner for tonight.  Hmm.... what's in the freezer to keep me from having to trek to the grocery store?!

Hope you got some snow too and maybe even are enjoying a snow day from work!


Cold Weather Smoothie?

I love smoothies.  Like, LOVE smoothies.

In the cold weather though, it's a little hard to justify a freezing cold island-fruity smoothie.  This fall and winter I wanted to try something with a little holiday spin on it.

PRESENTING.... the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie!

Looks great right? And it's easy.  Eaaaaaaasy peasy.  Promise!

  • Canned pumpkin (about 2 Tbsp. or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup soy milk (or regular milk)
  • Frozen banana
  • Honey
  • Spices: Cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg
In a blender, toss in the pumpkin, milk, and frozen banana.  No ice is needed since the banana has already been frozen!  Blend; add in honey, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to taste; blend again.  Add freshly ground nutmeg to the top and enjoy! 

Oh, and one more thing.  I know this smoothie seems like a treat, but consider this:
  • Pumpkin is packed with Vitamin A.
  • Soy milk is rich with soy protein (regular milk is good for calcium too).
  • Bananas = potassium and fiber!
  • Cinnamon regulates or reduces blood sugar (glucose) levels.
  • Honey is a great source of antioxidants. 
  • .... Convinced yet?
You will love.  Bon appetit!


Attention Calypso Lovers!

Three New Years Eves ago, my friend Kerry and I celebrated NYE in Times Square (never doing that again) and then drove out to the Hamptons on January 1st, my birthday (definitely hope to do that again).  We stayed a few days and did some great shopping, and that's where I fell in love with Calypso. 

Their fabulous clothing line is on Hautelook RIGHT.NOW so don't delay, hop right over!

You don't wanna miss out on an awesome piece like this, do you?!


Nadeau Giveaway!

Hey guys, Bryn Alexandra is hosting a giveaway on her sweet decor blog for the fabulous Nadeau Driftwood Mustang Statue.  Check it out:

Pretty awesome, right?  I already know where he'd reside in our place, so I've got my fingers majorly crossed! 

If you want a shot at winning this guy, head on over to her great blog.  The giveaway ends at midnight on January 10th. 

Check out the Nadeau website for more great finds.

Not Feeling Too Hot.

Every January, without fail, I start getting the sniffles. 

Ugh...........  It's hit me again.

It all started yesterday morning when I woke up and thought I felt a little "off."  I pushed on through, worked til 5, even took a bike ride with Ian after work.  I felt fine but was a little quiet -- I just didn't feel like my normal self.  After a grocery store trip I laid down on the couch and started feeling worse.  Luckily, Ian stepped in and cooked dinner for us, cleaned up everything afterwards, and then was a champion when he took care of me after I got sick.  (Like, SICK sick.  As in -- I'm happy he still wants to marry me after hearing the noises from the bathroom.  TMI?)

I went to bed at 9:30 and tossed and turned.  Anyone have any fail-proof advice for getting better?  I've been drinking lots of water, green tea, and eating clementines for Vitamin C.  Soup will be on the menu for lunch.  I never nap, but I may just have to lay down this afternoon.   What else can I do?


One Year Older.

My birthday was January 1st and it was spent as all of my birthdays are .... around the house, not doing too terribly much!  We stayed out late the night prior so it was wonderful to just relax.  Ian and I went to the gym and later took Drake on a walk to the dog park, but other than that we just hung out together low-key style.  That night we went out to dinner with my parents, sister, and her boyfriend and I had some delicious sushi -- exactly what I wanted.  They then proceeded to spoil me rotten with really thoughtful and fun gifts.  :)

My youngest sister has been working on pulling together all of our family photos into new, archival safe albums.  She stumbled across this picture of me playing with a sprinkler and framed it for my birthday.  I just love it.

My middle sister lives in New York and couldn't be around for my birthday, but while we were all together for the holidays she gave me a new Coach purse.

While we were in Southport, NC, we went into this great antiques store where I fell in love with this antique cup.  Mom said, "Want it for your birthday?"  Um, YES!  Let's wrap it up!  It's from King Edward's coronation in 1902.  The graphics on this are just gorgeous.  He appears on the front along with his "beloved consort Queen Alexandra" and they are flanked by lions, flags, and flowers.  Beautiful!  I can't wait to fill it with big white or blue hydrangeas or fluffy pink peonies. 

I also received this lovely hat from my parents.  It is just the cutest with that black grosgrain ribbon band and bow on the side!

This vase is from Mom and it's such a cool design.  You fill it with water and fill the holes with flowers and greenery.  Isnt' this a great concept?

I also loved this sweet notepad so much from World Market - and it was filled with another goodie that will get used verrrrrry quickly.

Guess what Ian did.  He read my blog and saw my wishlist of Etsy items.  Then he ordered a pair of these gorgeous earrings for my birthday.  They're a bit delayed coming in due to the fact that they are coming from Tel Aviv - how cool is that?!  I can't wait to receive them.  He did well.  :)

And to top it off, he had these for me!  What girl doesn't love big fussy roses?

Thanks family for making my 29th a great one!  I'm considering coming up with a "30 Before 30" list and blogging about it... thoughts??
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