Friday, January 30, 2015

The {Perfect} Bouqs For Valentine's Day

I was provided with complimentary flowers to facilitate this review, but all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

How are we already at the end of January?! Luckily, my least favorite month of the year is just about over, and you know what that means?? It's time to start planning for Valentine's Day! I've shared my thoughts on the holiday before, so no need to go into that debate (spoiler: I love it), but even if you aren't a fan, who doesn't like flowers to brighten up a winter month?!  I have the perfect Valentine's flowers for you this year, straight from the side of a volcano: The Bouqs.  What I love about The Bouqs is how fresh the flowers are.  They don't cut them until the day you order, with delivery just two to four days after they're cut.  And because of this, their farms are eco-friendly and sustainable.  What else could you want?  

Making The Bouqs perfect for Valentine's Day is the fact that all of the flowers ship for free.  So it's only $40 for an original Bouq straight to your someone's (or your own - totally my style!) door on the day you choose.  Most companies charge an arm and a leg for shipping on the biggest flower holiday of the year.  And bonus - click on the bottom right-hand corner of the webpage to receive 15% off your first order!  

While Valentine's Day is hard to forget (I hope) some other holidays might slip through the cracks.  The Bouqs offers a concierge service where you can set up Regular Blooms (once a week, month, or at any interval you choose), Never Forget (when you can input all of the dates you need to remember and pre-order the flowers to get there on the date you choose), or Just Because (when The Bouqs will randomly send your special someone flowers).

I chose the Killer Bouq which features some of the brightest pink roses I've ever seen.  They came perfectly, tightly packaged, and all I had to do was fill a vase, snip the ends of the roses, and enjoy them!

So, head over to The Bouqs, choose your favorites, and get them delivered for your favorite holiday (or just because!).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Minimoon Part 2: Disney World

Welcome back to Wedding Wednesday! I am so excited to share our weekend adventure with you today.  Living in South Carolina definitely has its perks (other than the fact that I'm not shoveling 3 feet of snow - oh hey, New England friends and family!).  We are less than 6 hours from Disney World, so this weekend, we headed down there for minimoon part 2.  To be honest, I think that no matter how late you go to Disney after you get married, that first post-wedding trip deserves two "...Happily Ever After" buttons and all of the congratulations you can get from the cast members :)
We went a little crazy and did all four parks in two days: Magic Kingdom and Epcot (and Downtown Disney) on Saturday and Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom on Sunday.  We hit all of the biggies (the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is awesome btw!), ate way too much, and even stopped to see a character in each park.  My favorite was definitely Buzz who told us to hold hands for the photo... I obviously had no idea what he was doing and messed it up... whoops haha!
RIP giant mouse ears /// most delicious Maleficent cake pop ever!
Now it's your turn! Share your own post with Macy and me for our weekly Wedding Wednesday linkup below:

Monday, January 26, 2015

January Outfit of the Month

Earlier this month, I told y'all about the awesome Charleston Blog Society event I attended at Vestique.  Seriously, I am in love with this little boutique in downtown Charleston.  Everything is so affordable and fashionable.  This month, I also wrote about my love for ankle pants, and in turn, bought 4 pairs while writing the post... whoops!  So, my OOTM for January combines these two fantastic things:
What I Wore:
Vestique It's Electric Cardigan
Mossimo Petite Ankle Pant in Navy Reunion from Target
My own tank from Forever 21 (probably 5 years old... oh, hey, college)
Mossimo Lakitia Sandals (similar style to these) from Target
Vestique gold earrings (from another blogger event)
Forever 21 Floral Wooden Heart Necklace

I have absolutely been loving this sweater with the ever-changing Charleston weather.  When it was strangely in the 40s a couple weeks ago, it was perfect with a black long-sleeve shirt, but in (my favorite) the 60s, I can easily wear it with a tank and be good to go!  I definitely feel like I will wear the sweater well into the spring because even though the pattern says "winter," the colors have the perfect springy feel.  We took these photos when we were out at Fort Moultrie a couple of weekends ago.
It was a little windy...

So, what do you think?  Anyone have any fashion suggestions as we approach spring?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Charleston Life: Fort Moultrie

Last weekend, we had Heather and her boyfriend, Nick, in town!  Heather has become one of my favorite people (inside and outside of blogging) and I was so excited to spend a whole weekend with her after only meeting her for a couple of hours last year at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Disney World.  She had never been to Charleston before, so we somehow crammed a million Charleston things into just 48 hours.  My favorite part of the weekend was definitely visiting Fort Moultrie over on Sullivan's Island.  Fort Moultrie was built before the Revolutionary War and was attacked by 9 British warships in 1776.  It held off all of them in a 9-hour battle, and Charleston was saved from British occupation.  It played a minor role in the Civil War and was a communication station through World War II before being turned into a National Park.  You can read more about it here.  

Did you know that the South Carolina state flag represents Fort Moultrie and was originally flown there?  The blue color and crescent stand for the South Carolinian soldiers' uniforms from the Revolutionary War, and palmetto logs (the tree on the flag - also our state tree) were used to build the original Fort Moultrie.  Colonel William Moultrie, himself, actually designed the original blue flag with a crescent shape.
South side of the fort

Inside the fort, facing southeast

Facing west

Seriously, it was an awesome weekend!  We went to Charleston Donuts, Five Loaves, DeSano's, Zia, hit golf balls, and explored downtown.  You can read all about Heather's Charleston favorites here, her part 1 recap here, and part 2 here!  If you're looking for a new blog to read, please check her out - she's an amazing Mississippi blogger who is so positive, inspiring, and trying to make the world a better place.  Oh, and she loves Disney, too, so how couldn't you like her?!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Small Business Love: Royal Mile

I was provided with complimentary coffee from Royal Mile Coffee Roasters to facilitate this review, but all opinions are my own.

Do I have a fantastic company to share with you today!  Ever since Mike became obsessed with coffee, we've been in search of one that we could enjoy together (since I tend to be more of a tea person).  Well, we definitely found that with Royal Mile Coffee Roasters.

Royal Mile is a small, family-owned business with a big passion for single-origin coffees.  They run every aspect of the company and roast each order with individual attention.  Seriously, they are all about talkin' coffee: roasting, origins, brewing methods, even other fantastic companies out there, so you should definitely connect with them on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterest, or even send them an email!

Jamie and Jessica sent us a bag of Rwanda Kigeyo coffee beans.  

Rwandan coffee is just starting to become popular, and our bag was a part of one of the first arrivals of beans.  The best brew came when we ground the beans in our burr grinder and made the coffee with an Aeropress.  When we tried brewing it in a reusable K-cup, it lost almost all of the unique flavors and tasted like your typical, American, nutty coffee.  So, with a good brew, Royal Mile is definitely right when it says that the Rwanda Kigeyo coffee has a nice brightness to it and a lemon tropical flavor to match.  Mike agreed and says: "It has more of a fruity taste than a typical American nutty coffee flavor.  When I brewed it stronger, it even had a buttery flavor."  He drank it black, while I added a teaspoon of sugar (sorry, had to! haha).  This is one of the first coffees I really enjoyed because the lemon flavor almost mirrored a strong tea with a background coffee taste.  This was our first experience trying international coffee and we'd love to try all of Royal Mile's different beans.  If you enjoy experimenting with coffees, you will definitely love Royal Mile!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Our Ceremony Venue

Welcome back to Wedding Wednesday.  Today I am sharing a few beautiful photos our photographer took of the church where we were married: Saint Joseph Memorial Chapel at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.  As I've mentioned before, I graduated from Holy Cross, so it obviously holds a very special place in my heart.  It was the perfect small liberal arts college for a girl from a small town in Rhode Island.  Holy Cross was also where I met Mike.  He went to the University of Connecticut, but his sister went to Holy Cross and was my roommate during our junior year.  Planning our wedding, we really wanted to get married in a church, and Saint Joseph's was perfect because it held so many memories, is a beautiful church, and was a fantastic central location for all of our family and friends from all over New England.  To decorate, we honestly didn't do very much to the church, so that it's natural beauty could shine through.  Our florist, Frugal Flower, made some beautiful hanging pew decorations and two large bouquets on pedestals for either side of the alter.  Everything matched our bouquets and the centerpieces at the reception perfectly!  As for the ceremony, we went with a traditional Catholic mass.  Holy Cross is a Jesuit school, meaning that their philosophy is, "men and women for others."  It's different than traditional Catholic teachings in that they are all about the service side of religion and bringing people into the church. That being said, our celebrant, a Jesuit priest and professor at Holy Cross, made all of our guests of different faiths feel accepted into the church and welcomed all Christians up to communion.  Besides the setting itself, the music was definitely one of my favorite parts of the wedding ceremony.  The Chapel has a 1985 four-manual, fifty-stop mechanical action organ.  That, paired with a trumpet player and cantor, could not have been more beautiful.  

Now it's your turn, link up below with Macy and me to share your wedding-themed post:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How To: Winterize Your Nails

January is definitely the worst month of the year.  I'm sorry to be a negative Nancy, but come on, it's true!  Even in South Carolina, the air is dry, it's colder, and everyone's a little sniffly and "blah" after the craziness and excitement of the holidays has worn off.

I don't know about you, but my nails seem to bear the brunt of January's wrath: there aren't any fun holiday parties to paint them for, they get super dry and cracked with the weather and all of that hand sanitizer, and I use them to scratch the price tags off all of those great new Christmas gifts.  Nails aren't exactly something that make the cut into New Year's Resolutions either.

Well, I think we should change all that.  I'm teaming up with Julep to share How To Winterize Your Nails.  To me, the first step in winterizing is all about keeping my nails (and hands - can't forget those cuticles) strong and smooth.  To do this, I use my perfect honey lemon nail and hand scrub made from simple ingredients.  It's the perfect start before all that clipping, shaping, nudging, and polishing.
Here's what you'll need: 1 tablespoon honey, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon, and 1 cup granulated sugar

To make it, just whisk together the honey and EVOO, then add the lemon and whisk again.  Finally, mix in the sugar and pour it into a jar with a lid.
When it's time to use the scrub, start with dry hands and remove all jewelry.  Rub about a teaspoon between your hands for 30 seconds and then rinse with water.  It will leave your hands feeling smooth and moisturized.

There are so many hand and nail benefits to each of the ingredients, especially to winterize:
  • Olive oil: effective dry skin relief, diminishes the appearance of scars, reduces skin redness, and hydrates nails
  • Honey: naturally antibacterial
  • Lemon juice: removes dead skin and strengthens nails
  • Sugar: natural humectant (helps keep in moisture) and exfoliates, giving hands a glowing and soft feel

Now, after you've scrubbed, you can continue on with Julep to winterize your nails:

Once nails and hands are winterized, you won't want to hide them in gloves anymore, so show them off with a fresh coat of polish.  Here are some of Julep's favorite winter colors.
Ilsa /// Sawyer /// Joanne /// Kiki /// Shari

Check out all of Julep's colors on their new nail polish color page, where you can see my winter favorites: Beverly and Misti!  Last, but not least, don't forget to check out Julep's blog for health and beauty tips, fun DIYs, and fantastic nail art ideas.

I hope you liked this collaboration with Julep.  Now I want to know: Do you winterize your nails?  What is your favorite winter nail polish color?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Currently On A Friday...

Happy Martin Luther King Day weekend!  I feel like these types of "Friday" posts usually have to what you did this week, but we really only did a lot of relaxing this week since I was stressing a bit too much at work.  So, here's more of a "currently" High Five for Friday!

1. Anticipating: Heather is coming to visit this weekend!! She and Nick will be here tomorrow and are staying with us until Monday.  There are just so many places I want to show her: the Market, the beach, awesome restaurants, and she requested a trip to Charleston donuts.  Seriously, I feel like I'm starting to sound like Buddy:

2. Craving: Speaking of cookie dough, GUYS: Ben and Jerry's has outdone themselves again: Cookie Cores.  Seriously, I cannot wait to try all three of these.

3. Accidentally snapping: I use snapchat for weird shit.  Two nights ago, I used it to remember which photos to print at CVS and in what sizes.  Then I accidentally sent it to "My Story" and didn't realize it for a good 3 hours after 8 people had seen it.... great.

4. Restarting: So, Mike and I finished House of Cards on Wednesday night (OMG, btw), and with all of the trailers and such that are listed after it, I didn't know it was the season finale.  Needless to say, I was NOT ready.  What did we do on Thursday night, you ask?  Well, restart season 1.  We have a whole month until season 3 - we had to do something!

5. Listening: to Taylor Swift's 1989.  I burned my coworkers the cd last night, and as of 9:36 am, it's blasting around the office.  My favorite song right now is Clean, written and produced with Imogen Heap.  If you don't know her, you might if you ever watched the O.C., which then spawned one my favorite SNL shorts ever.  Back to Taylor, I tried to find the video to share, but she is all about keeping her music off YouTube.  Instead, here's Ingrid Michaelson singing it, but imagine Taylor's version a little more upbeat.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How To Become A Coffee Snob in 5 Easy Steps

Sometime in November, Mike decided that he was done with Coke.  I was really proud of him; there are lots of gross things about cola out there.  For the entire time I'd known him before that, he always had to have a can or cup (no bottles) of Coke every single day.  If he didn't, he'd get a killer headache sometime in the afternoon.  About a year before that, he had also started drinking coffee, leisurely.  He bought me us a Keurig for Christmas a couple years ago, and he was really starting to enjoy experimenting with different types of K-cups.  In November, Mike decided he'd religiously replace his afternoon Coke with one cup of dark roast black coffee in the morning and one at night (seriously, like 10 pm... apparently caffeine doesn't affect him haha).  It was working really well.  Then, a couple of weeks before Christmas, he was finally out of his wholesale club-sized pack of K-cups and was starting to question how environmentally and economically responsible he was being (I know!! Who is this guy?!), so he started researching online for alternatives.  Long story short, he's becoming a coffee hipster snob, and our Keurig is now a very expensive water heater.  Want to follow his lead?  Here's how:
1. Buy your first bag of fresh ground coffee and an Aeropress but then two weeks later, realize that isn't enough and buy all of the fresh ground coffee (sorry, had to).

2. Cut open k-cups and experiment making the same coffee in the Aeropress and the Keurig.  (Spoiler: it does taste different.)

3. Get a middle-of-the-road (about $100) burr grinder and your first (and second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth...) bag of whole beans (Don't even think about a blade grinder - something about "dust and pebbles" and an uneven grind...).

4. Insist that every person ever try this awesome new coffee thing and even bring your Aeropress and own beans on vacation with you to share the love (and hey, save the money, too!).

5. And last, but certainly not least, never, ever, ever add sugar or creamer (alcohol is acceptable).

So there you have it!  Mike got a bunch of his information from this great series on Life Hacker.  If you're interested in coffee, you should definitely check it out.
I'm just counting the days until I'm sucked in.  For those of you who might not know, I've had all of 5 sips of regular coffee (that's what us Rhode Islanders call plain coffee with cream and sugar) in my life and maybe drink 2-3 red cup lattes each holiday season (black tea is my jam).

Any of you "coffee hipsters?"  If so, any brands we should try?

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