5 On Friday

This week was kinda long, am I right?!

Super, super excited to know that it's Friday.  I have a cocktail calling my name and a fun weekend ahead!

It's once again time for the 5 On Friday link-up so please do join me, Christina, Natasha, and Darci!

I'm a total creature of habit.  Especially when it comes to breakfast and technology.  Routine keeps me sane, and when a monkeywrench gets thrown into the mix (ahem, demise of Google Reader), it throws me for a loop. 

If you read more than, let's say, five blogs each day -- you'd probably benefit from using some type of a blog reader.  Basically, it lets you quickly hop from unread post to unread post and helps guarantee that you don't miss any postings by your favorite bloggers.  Google Reader was my reader of choice for probably two years now, and it's going away as of this weekend.  I researched all of the options and due to some browser restrictions, I felt like Bloglovin' was my strongest option.  I wasn't thrilled at first but I am a total convert now!  PLUS, they now have an app for iPhone and iPad which I love so much.  Bored at the DMV?  Just pull out the phone and catch up on blog favorites. 

Follow on Bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

The button above will get you started.  If you have any questions about Bloglovin, let me know! 

Neutrogena Shampoo - Anti-Residue Formula
After getting my hair done professionally last weekend, I think I gained four pounds in hairspray alone.  My hair looked pretty but it was gunked up with product!  I was looking for a good clarifying shampoo and landed upon this awesome one.  My hair was literally squeaky clean when I rinsed it out.  It is for once-weekly use and then you use your normal shampoo the other days of the week.  You can order it online here for less than $5!

The Charlotte Social
Loving this local group of bloggers!  We had such a fun meet-up last night at NoDa Brewing Company and then ventured next door to Birdsong to try one of their Jalapeno Ales.  Dinner came from The Tin Kitchen food truck and my chicken tacos were incredible!

Easy + Pretty Updos
It's summer and it's HAWT.  This week and last week, we had humidity and thunderstorms in the forecast every day.  And next week?  Same!  I've been wearing my hair in a high twist most days, but I'm itching to recreate this look below. How pretty is it!

Fun Photos!
Last Sunday I teamed up with a great local photographer and we took some fun photos together ... here's a little preview but I can't wait to give more details soon!  I uploaded this on Instagram's new video platform -- follow me at @alizadventures if you'd like to keep up with photos from the wedding this weekend!

Your turn to share your 5 On Friday... I hope you'll join me!  Link up here:


Tortoise Love

Tortoise Love

On the left:
Michael Kors interlocking link earrings {orig. $125, on sale for $75 here}
Karen Walker Super Duper Strength sunglasses {$275 here}
J. Crew tortoise flats {similar C. Wonder $60 here, similar Sperry $70 version here}
On the right:
Baublebar tortoise cuff {similar Tory Burch $50 here}
Trina Turk Shanghai ring {$59 here}
Michael Kors cuff {$165 here}

I'm having a love affair with any and all things tortoise.  Still loving my C. Wonder tortoise cat-eye glasses but I also have my eye on these awesome aviators, also from C. Wonder, with the tortoise bar at top:

Um, hello.  Love.

Though I have worn just about every shape of sunglasses under the sun before, I always seem to come back to the classic aviator shape.  I also love how light they are compared to other glasses, especially in the hot Carolina heat!  These bad boys are $78 (here) but you better believe I'll be poised to order if they go on sale.  And remember, C. Wonder earns you back 5% on Ebates, so that's always a great way to go as well!

Don't forget -- tomorrow is the 5 On Friday link-up!  I do hope you'll come back and link up with us this week.  It will go live at 7am Eastern time.  We have had such an awesome turnout and I love reading everyone's posts about what they're lovin' this week.


Summer Wedding Style (And Cousin Crushing)

When I was a little girl, I had a big crush on the following:

Jordan from New Kids On The Block
Rick Astley
My cousin Drew

What! You didn't have a crush on your cousin too? Maybe it's just a South Carolina thing (kidding, kidding!). And then the crush passed and I joined forces with his older sister and my middle sister to torture him as cousins and older sisters do.

Well, Drew is getting married this weekend to an adorable gal that we are excited to welcome into the family! A girl that, a few years ago at an ECU tailgate (after a few too many red Solo cups of chardonnay) I introduced to my friends as my cousin-in-law. As in, my cousin by marriage. When they were only dating. Whoopsies.

So I'm glad that the time has come when I can officially welcome her as a cousin-in-law, and now ... what to wear!?

Summer Wedding Style
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The wedding will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, so we are still talking warm temps.  I'm loving the sunny tones from these dresses, both from JCPenney!  Can I get an amen on the rebranding that this store has done and kept up, even with CEO changes?  Our local store never ceases to amaze, and the in-store Sephora is amazing with really sweet gals working there.

From left to right, top to bottom:
Aldo Speegle Gold Heels (Were $60, now $38)
Kate Spade Mikas Pond Lacey Clutch ($178, multiple colors)

The dress on the left is a great casual option and would even look awesome with a belt.  The dress on the right is an incredible option for a dressier wedding.  I love the pop of the Tiffany blue with this yellow ... such a happy and cheery combination!

Now, time for me to go practice my best Cupid Shuffle moves. 
Ta-ta for now!


Tuesday Cocktail + Tuesday Frock

I think my fondness for Friday post-work cocktails is pretty well-known, yes?

Well, this past Friday's was pretty darn awesome, and I couldn't wait to share it!

1 part Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka
1 part St. Germain
Few glugs Pellegrino
Sugar, for the martini glass rim
Mint, for garnish

Let's Do This:
Start off by wetting the rim of the glass and coating in sugar.  In a cocktail shaker, shake one shot of the vodka with one shot of the St. Germain along with some ice cubes to get it really frosty cold.  Add to the martini glass and top off with a few glugs of Pellegrino.  Stir together and garnish with some mint leaves.

If you can think of a fun name for this drink, let me know!  It had such a light and sweet taste.  Almost cotton candy-ish?

Now, on to the frocks.

I was pleased as peas to get an email this morning with a special sale announcement from Social Dress Shop!

Here's one dress that they currently offer that I'm loving.  Tell me it isn't the cutest.  I could so use this for a wedding we are going to this weekend!

Social Dress Shop is now offering 35% off of all full priced items using code SUMMER35 at checkout!  The sale runs through July 1st.  They have some really amazing pieces in their online shop, and I just love that they are based right here in Charlotte!

Hope your Tuesday is off to a wonderful start.  We have a fun night ahead ... adventures in babysitting!  My husband might just get to do something he has never done before -- change a diaper!  :) 


Summer Pops!

When I first moved to Charlotte, I was introduced to Pops In The Park, which is an alfresco symphony concert series at a big ampitheater in South Park.  Annnnnnd ... it was love at first sight.

Let me just explain it this way: it's like a big Southern-style tailgate with an orchestra.  Fried chicken, deviled eggs, champagne, kids playing, the sunset, quilt-sittin', people watching, and an absolutely hilarious conductor that really knows how to engage an audience!

These concerts happen every Sunday in June, and then they do a patriotic concert on July 3rd which we will not want to miss this year.  I love that they happen on Sundays -- less of a chance of already having plans, and the perfect way to send off the weekend before another work week!

The gate opens to claim a spot at 5pm and the opening show begins at 7.  The Charlotte Symphony kicks off at 8:15.  Last night we brought a deck of cards and played gin rummy  and war between the opening show and the Symphony.  It was such a perfect way to spend the evening!

For our spread I had Palmetto Cheese, salami, fried chicken drummettes with ranch dressing, Italian cheese, an assortment of olives, Triscuits, raspberries, and grapes.  I could eat dinner like this every night!

Hearing the symphony warm up is one of my favorite parts!  Then we sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the concert sounds as the sun went down.

I truly think this is one of the best events that Charlotte offers.  If you're around the area, click here for more information!

Lastly, a fun note on the quilt. 

For my high school graduation, my Aunt Karen made this quilt for me.  A true labor of love.  And if that gift wasn't special enough, she included a card that I still have to this day that so sweetly urged me to actually USE this quilt ... it was not meant to be kept pristine and locked up in a hope chest, it was one that she hoped I would not be afraid to use on a daily basis (which we do).  One that would grow soft through love and snuggles and frequent use.  I have definitely heeded her advice.  It brings me so much joy tossing that quilt up in the air and letting it flutter down to the ground, absorbing the wetness from dewy grass and maybe even a little green grass stain from time to time -- which I welcome, because it all becomes part of the quilt's story.  So, while I do enjoy piecing together all of the fun parts of the night of what will come with us -- the cheese, the sauvignon blanc, the playing cards, the cocktail napkins -- the most important and meaningful item always packed for Pops In The Park is my special pink quilt.


5 on Friday Link-Up!

I'm thrilled that it's Friday, and therefore time for another 5 on Friday Link-Up!

I do hope you'll join Darci, Natasha, Christina and me on this FIRST DAY OF SUMMER!  Here's what I'm loving this Friday.

Wait -- you mean it wasn't summer already?  But what about that string of days in the mid-to-upper 90s where we were just dying of heat?  Oh.  That was apparently spring!  Now that it's summer, I'm even more excited about weekend plans -- weddings, engagement parties, lake weekends, and hopefully just a few free weekends to lay on the couch at home with the AC blasting.  Speaking of the first day of summer, did you know it's National Wear Your Lilly Day?  I've got one of my favorite shirts ready!

Yesterday was quite a treat -- after wrapping up a meeting with a client down in Columbia SC (my hometown), I was able to meet Mom out for lunch before heading back to the office!  We met at Lizards Thicket, which any South Carolina girl will know about and vouch wholeheartedly for!  This locally-owned "meat and three" chain is one of the things I miss most about living in Columbia.  Mom and I had an awesome time having lunch together.  Such great chats.  And it goes without saying that my mac & cheese, fried okra, and green beans (oh! and cornbread) were absolutely incredible.  A splurge that was worth it.

Patio beautification time!  We are having our patio painted today and I couldn't be more excited.  We are changing it from a beige/stone color to a medium gray.  I can't really imagine yet what it will look like, but I'm excited for a change! 

Tomatoes ... I'm growing them!  Actually growing them! I promised Ian that this would be the "year of the tomato" and so far my plants are doing awesome.  I've got them growing and green, now just time for them to turn red and ripe!  I also have some onions planted at the base of the tomato plants that you can see below.

This kitchen.... ooh la la!  I truly think this one picture probably sums up my perfect room.  We are not looking to move any time soon, but if and when we do, I think this will be my number one inspiration pic.

Your turn -- link up your 5 on Friday here!
(and PS - many, many congrats to my fellow 5 on Friday co-host Natasha, who had her beautiful baby girl Carson last Saturday!  Check this post for details!)


Spill About Your L-O-V-E ... {Your Turn!}

While Ian and I were on our amazing European adventure, I had sweet guest posters to write a series called Spill About Your L-O-V-E.  I had such positive feedback from this series, so I decided to open it up to everyone as a link-up!

Missed my answers?  You can read my responses here.  And now, here are the questions so you can play along!

{1} Describe your dating life prior to finding your husband/boyfriend/fiance.
{2} Describe your husband/boyfriend/fiance in one word. How would he describe you in one word?
{3} You had a really silly fight. Embarrassing silly. What was it about?
{4} In three sentences (and only three!), describe where you both hope to be in 5 years.
{5} Tell us something about your husband/boyfriend/fiance we wouldn't know from reading your blog.
{6} What's one thing you never thought you'd do in front of your husband/boyfriend/fiance, but you did?

Linking up is easy! 
* Post your responses to those questions on your blog
* Insert a few photos that you think sum up your relationship
* Insert the logo below with a link back to my blog
* Come over to my blog post and insert your post in the link-up!

And now it's your turn ... spill it, ladies!


Yummy Cocktail Recipe + Tomorrow's L-O-V-E Link Up!

When the warm weather hits and the days get longer, I love treating myself to a fun cocktail on a Friday evening.  I typically don't ever drink liquor on "school nights" -- so this is a fun way of starting the weekend off.  This past weekend I made the best little martini and just had to share!

St. Germain Citrus Fizz Martini

(I totally just came up with that name off the top of my head)

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1 part St. Germain
1 part Smirnoff Lemon Sorbet Light vodka
Grapefruit Perrier
Basil leaf, for garnish
Sliced cucumber, for garnish
Sugar, for rim

Make It
Start off by moistening the rim of your glass -- I used a cucumber slice but you could also use a lemon wedge or water.  Invert your glass on a saucer that has a few tablespoons of sugar on it to get a pretty sugared rim.

For the drink, in a martini shaker mix equal parts St. Germain and lemon sorbet vodka.  For one cocktail, I used a shot of each.  Add in ice and shake together, then pour in glass.  Top off glass with grapefruit Perrier (I don't add this to the martini shaker or the top wants to pop off!) and stir.  Add in a basil leaf and a cucumber slice for garnish.

This was my first time of trying Smirnoff's lemon sorbet light vodka ... it was incredibly tasty.

Also, tomorrow is my link-up!  I hope you will want to play along with the Spill About Your L-O-V-E series that I did during our Europe trip.  If you want to participate, here are the questions you'll answer in your blog post tomorrow:

{1} Describe your dating life prior to finding your husband/boyfriend/fiance.
{2} Describe your husband/boyfriend/fiance in one word. How would he describe you in one word?
{3} You had a really silly fight. Embarrassing silly. What was it about?
{4} In three sentences (and only three!), describe where you both hope to be in 5 years.
{5} Tell us something about your husband/boyfriend/fiance we wouldn't know from reading your blog.
{6} What's one thing you never thought you'd do in front of your husband/boyfriend/fiance, but you did?
I hope you will play along tomorrow - it's easy!
* Post your responses to those questions on your blog
* Insert a few photos that you think sum up your relationship
* Insert the logo below with a link back to my blog
* Come over to my blog post and insert your post in the link-up!

Email me or leave a comment if you have any questions :)


Weekend Fun

Saturday was warm and sunny -- and it definitely called for a trip to the lake!

My family has a home at a great lake about an hour from our house.  The thing I love about this lake is that it's totally relaxed ... no mega-million dollar homes, no posh restaurants, no Tiger-sized yachts.  Just a place where you can throw on your denim cutoffs and grab a koozie for your beer.

We packed up the car and got to the lake in time for lunch.

After having a bite of lunch, we threw on our suits and took the boat out!

We had some great music going, and the six of us spent a lot of time just floating in the water and chatting.

We left the dinner decision that night up to Dad as an early Fathers Day celebration.  His choice of burgers on the grill was spot-on ... exactly what we all were craving after a long afternoon on the water.

As a little surprise, we made Turtle-flavored homemade ice cream for dessert!  He has always loved Turtles, but then again, who doesn't love chocolate, caramel, and salted peanuts together?!

We are already looking forward to many more lake weekends this summer!

I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating the Fathers in your lives ... and special hugs go out to all of you who, like my husband, lost his father much too soon.  We still spent the evening last night reminiscing about some of the great and funny things about Ian's dad -- a man I never had the pleasure of knowing.  But I still thank him all of the time for the great man he helped to raise!


5 On Friday ... A Link-Up!

So jazzed that it's Friday and even more jazzed that I get to spend this day linking up with my gal pals Darci at The Good Life, Christina at Carolina Charm, and Natasha at Hello! Happiness for our 5 on Friday series!

If you haven't joined us yet for this series, jump on in!  Linking up is a great way to meet new friends and introduce them to your lil' bloggie as well.

Here's what I'm loving this Friday.

{1} Sweet Dreams of Our European Breakfasts
Not that I don't love my morning sliced fruit, but seriously -- we did it up BIG in Europe.  Lots and lots of croissants with Nutella, salami and cheese.  Below you will also see the delicious muesli that I devoured at our hotel in Switzerland like it was my first meal after being rescued from a deserted island.  And, cappucinos ... cappucinos all the time.  With real sugar.

{2} Warm Weather Cookin'
This weekend we'll be at the lake, and Dad has requested for his celebratory Fathers Day dinner to be burgers on the grill.  Mind you, they will be burgers laced with jalapenos -- my parents don't do anything halfway!  I'm so excited for this as well as all of the fixins' that will accompany these burgers.

{3} Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Before we left on our trip, I decided to go for it ... a little makeup splurge.  This eyeshadow primer by Urban Decay is $20, so not the least expensive product in my bag, but 100% worth it.  You can find it here.  I am amazed at how well it works.  My sparkly taupe eyeshadow is in the same place at 8pm as where I put it at 7am.  Impressive!

{4} Nest Wasabi Pear Candle
My sister saw this on my blog and sent it to me! The Wasabi Pear scent is totally amazing, and it has already lasted much longer than my typical candles.  I like lighting this one on the weekends.  It fills our house with the perfect, fresh scent!  You can find the votive version here.

{5} DAD.
This Fathers Day, I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be with.  So happy I live close enough to my parents to properly celebrate the man who taught me how to write my ABC's sitting on his lap in his office.

Thanks for letting me share my 5 on Friday with you.  Your turn!

All you have to do is write your post about your 5 on Friday, insert our logo above, insert a link back to one or all of our blogs, and enter your post address in the link-up below.

Go for it!
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