Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Second Anniversary Gifts: Cotton

I can't believe that in just under a month, Mike and I will be married for two years!  It's been a crazy year and so rewarding.  We bought our Charleston home, traveled to new places, and lost a total of 65 pounds together.  Obviously, it's time to start thinking about shopping for gifts!  Last year, we stuck to the traditional paper and gifted each other tickets to a Philadelphia Eagles game in Atlanta - the opening Monday Night game against the Falcons.  This year, the traditional gift is "cotton."
Living in the South, cotton is everywhere, so it's the perfect gift inspiration!  I've rounded up 10 gift ideas for him and her that your spouse would love (or at least I'd love) to receive:
1 ||| I love these cotton wreaths from local South Carolina artists.  I first saw them around Christmas in gift shops but love the way they look throughout the year outside our neighbors' homes.

2 ||| I am obsessed with Cat Studio products.  They make beautiful pillows, glasses, and tea towels with amazingly intricate designs representing cities, states, national parks, and colleges.  This Charleston pillow has been on my wish list forever!

3 ||| If you're like us and are decorating, a fancy accent chair that you might not normally buy could be a great gift!

4 ||| With our anniversary in September coinciding with the start of football season, an NFL or college-themed gift like this Eagles shirt would be perfect.  Pack it with some tickets to a game, and your significant other will be one happy camper!

5 ||| Matching aprons for y'all who enjoy spending time together in the kitchen.

6 ||| How adorable is this hammock?!  And it has tassels!

7 ||| Two years in, maybe those sheets from your wedding registry could be replaced?  I love the pattern of these Egyptian cotton ones!

8 ||| Monogram this LL Bean tote, pack it with a picnic, and enjoy an afternoon together!

9 ||| Speaking of monograms, I love the font on these turkish towels.  They come in six different colors, too.

10 ||| Last, but not least, my favorite: a cotton candy maker!  Yes, I know I stretched this one a bit, but if your significant other has a sweet tooth, this would be such a fun gift!

If you're looking for more gift ideas, you can see my full list of first anniversary "paper" gifts here.  

Linking up with Macy and Nikki for Wedding Wednesday!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Five Walking Adventures in Charlotte, NC

Mike and I spent the last three days in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It's only 3 hours or so from Charleston, so we thought it would be a great weekend getaway.  Around our anniversary last year, we took a weekend trip to Atlanta, so why not try another city?!  This was our third time to Charlotte since moving to the South, but the first real weekend where we had time to visit a lot of the places we had on our bucket list.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Charlotte-City Center, and we could not have picked a better spot.  My favorite part was that we could walk to almost everything we wanted to see in the city (and there was a rooftop pool!).  There are nearly 20 hotels inside Interstates 77 and 277 that make a beltway around the city, and staying there, I came up with a list of five things you do not want to miss (and can walk to) in the Charlotte City Center from morning to night!
1 ||| 7th Street Public Market - Each morning we started our day here.  It's a fantastic group of local and regional farmers, food artisans, and entrepreneurs with more than 15 restaurants and shops.  Our favorites were Local Loaf (try the Croque Madame!) and Not Just Coffee.  They also have a creperie and bakery as well as a cheese shop (with gourmet grilled cheese!), sushi bar, pizza counter, and cocktail bar for lunch and dinner.
2 ||| Museums - After our breakfast on Saturday, we walked a few blocks down the Charlotte Rail Trail to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  Mike loved Jeff Gordon growing up (like every boy growing up in the late 90s), but that's our collective knowledge of the sport - haha.  There were a lot of interactive exhibits on everything from the mechanics behind each car to the history of racing over the last century.  If you're looking for a museum to drive to, outside the City Center, you can also find the Mint Museum and Charlotte Museum of History.  
3 ||| Breweries - There are so many fantastic breweries in the Charlotte area, and thanks to Chesson for all the suggestions!  We decided to stick with two that were walkable, but another great way to see them is on the Funny Bus that I did back in March.  We went to The Unknown Brewing Co (loved the Ginger Wheat and Let's Get Tropical IPA) followed by Wooden Robot Brewery (try the Good Morning Vietnam!).
4 ||| Sports - We went to a preseason Panthers game this trip at Bank of America Stadium (loved our first game last year that we just had to go back!), but Charlotte also has The Hornets NBA team at the Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Area).  Both are right in the middle of the city; something so different than almost every other city!
5 ||| The Epicentre - Our first night, we grabbed beers, chips, queso, salsa, and split a burrito at Vida Vida after the football game (their prices are fantastic), and then we could not wait to go to Howl at the Moon on Saturday night for their dueling piano bar.  Again, we were only two blocks from our hotel, so it made travel so easy!
The last stop on our way out of town (even though it was about a 15 minute drive) was IKEA.  My FAVORITE!! We had a fantastic weekend and definitely suggest it for a weekend adventure!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Five on Friday: Fall TV Excitement

Raise your hand if you got home from work this week and didn't know what to turn on now that the Olympics are over!?  Both of my hands are high in the air.  With more than two weeks of Olympics coverage, I forget what we used to watch at night.  Then I remembered that the fall tv lineup will be starting soon.  For today's Friday Five, I'm sharing five tv shows that I'm super excited to premiere in the coming weeks.  You can click all the names of the tv shows to view the official trailers:

Panthers Football - Thursday Night Football: (September 8 - 8:30pm NBC) - HELLO FOOTBALL SEASON!  We're going to a pre-season Panthers game this weekend, but the real thing starts up in just a couple weeks!

The Good Place: (September 19 sneak peak at 10:00pm but will run Thursdays at 8:30pm on NBC) - I actually just saw the first commercial for this a couple days ago, and it looks so fun.  Kristen Bell is hysterical!

This Is Us: (September 20 - Tuesdays 10:00pm NBC) - Everyone is talking about this show - the trailer looks great, and I really hope it lives up to the hype!  It reminds me a lot of the movie Crash.  

Designated Survivor: (September 21 - Wednesdays 10:00pm ABC) - We are huge 24 fans!  I know this is a much different role for Kiefer Sutherland, but we are still so excited for this one.  American government dramas are the best. 

Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life: (November 25 - Netflix) - It's been more than nine years since the show ended, and I cannot wait to see what Amy Sherman-Palladino has up her sleeve for these three 90-minute specials!

And just because, here are five returning favorites to set your DVRs for, too!
The Big Bang Theory: (September 19 - Mondays 8:00pm on CBS)
New Girl: (September 20 - Tuesdays 8:30pm Fox)
Modern Family: (September 21 - Wednesdays 9:00pm ABC)
Law & Order: SVU: (September 21 - Wednesdays 9:00pm NBC)
Saturday Night Live: (October 1 - Saturdays 11:30pm NBC)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Lilly Look and After Party Adventures

First things first, who else has a Lilly hangover after a crazy day of shopping yesterday?  I can still hear that beautiful sound coming from my computer as I finally reach the front of the line.  Did everyone else have some success?  I feel like less items were disappearing from my cart versus previous sales, but I know just as many people were shopping because after my first check out, I went to number 40,000-something in line!  Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post to check out some of the items I grabbed, and links to some that are still available.  

I can't wait to get my new Lilly in the mail, but in the meantime, last weekend seemed like the perfect excuse to wear as much Lilly as possible (and remind myself why I needed more!).  In the past, I've been all about the more subdued patterns like Of Corsage and even had a lace overlay to bring down the level of bold on my bridal shower dress in the Mojo print.

But now, living my life as a wannabe Southerner for two years, I decided to go all out when I saw the You Gotta Regatta pattern in that Ritz Romper
This romper is the most comfortable thing ever.  I have been loving everything strapless this year, PLUS there are pockets.  Total win-win in my book!

I'm also wearing this pineapple necklace from Moon & Lola, a pair of gold earrings from a shop in Charleston called VestiqueFiesta by Essie on my nails, and flip flops that I got in a swap ages ago (similar style here - and on sale!). 
My mom was in town last weekend, so obviously we packed in as many Lowcountry things as possible into the last few days including adventures to Hilton Head Island and Kiawah Island.  This was the perfect look for a day strolling through Harbour Town.
And now for my favorites from the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale.  Of course, I bought a few things for myself, but also had fun shopping for matches looks for our goddaughters as well as a bunch of gifts to pack away until Christmas!  Full disclosure: I compiled this list last night at 10pm.  The links are to the items I purchased or to a similar item on sale, if possible.  I apologize if some items are not available when you go to shop!
Luxletic Swing Tank in Multi Sandstripes (could not find available link) ||| Girls Infinity Loop Scarf ||| Glass Water Bottle ||| Jewelry Pouch (similar) ||| Girls Mini Callahan shorts in Shorely Blue Double Trouble (similar)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tailgate Ready Recipes: 5-Ingredient Mexican Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #GameTimeHosting #CollectiveBias
We are so close to football season, I can almost taste it.  We love watching our favorite teams and fantasy football players on tv and are all about big plays at home with delicious food.  My #1 tip for creating awesome tailgate food is to make it easy, and my favorite way of doing that is in the slowcooker.  I wake up on Sunday morning, throw a few ingredients in, and by the noon or 1:00 game, we are ready to eat!  Add in a few bottles of Coca-Cola™, and you have the perfect afternoon.
Today's recipe is one of my favorites.  Thank you to Erika for first sharing it with me!  It makes a whole mountain of dip and is so delicious.  It's the perfect food for that first week of the season when everyone wants to get together for a party: everyone's team is still undefeated and we're all excited for a new year.  It only takes five ingredients and a couple bags of your favorite Wise Chips.

- 1 lb of boneless chicken (2-3 breasts or 6-7 tenderloins)
- 16 oz jar of salsa (you choose the heat!)
- 15 oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 15 oz can of corn (drained)
- 8 oz block of cream cheese
- Garnish suggestions: cilantro, lime, hot sauce, sour cream
1. Combine chicken, salsa, black beans, and corn in a slowcooker.  Cook on high for 3 and a half hours if using full breasts and 3 hours if using tenderloins.
2. Take the chicken out of the slowcooker, shred it with 2 forks, and place it back in the slowcooker with the block of cream cheese.  Cook on low for 30 minutes.
3. Plate it up on your favorite chip and dip platter with a bag of Wise Restaurant Style Tortillas and garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, and sides of hot sauce or sour cream!
To shop for all your tailgate favorites, look for the one-stop Coca-Cola and Wise snacks display at Family Dollar.  You can find a store near you by clicking here.  SAVE $1 when you buy (1) 12-pack of any Coca-Cola® product plus (1) Wise snack 3oz or larger at Family Dollar today!
Now you're ready for a party!  Are you excited for the start of football season?  What are some of your favorite tailgate eats?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New House DIYs

I forgot how relaxing DIYing can be!  Mike and I have all these plans for what artwork and cool decor we want in our house, but man, does that money add up quickly.  I've enjoyed really make our house our own with homemade pieces (and it's saved a few dollars, too!).  It's been probably 6 or 7 years since I've painted anything, but I found some cool canvases for 60% off at Michael's, and decided to give it a try. 
The next place I'll be painting something for is our bedroom - maybe something Charleston-themed?  Any ideas?
Another project I've been working on for years are these cork letters.  I started the 'M' way back when and used corks from special events we went to while we were living in Connecticut.  I write on the sides of them, so it's fun to look back on the dates and where they were from.  Around our wedding, when I finally finished the 'M,' I realized that Michael's had stopped selling this font and size letters.  Mike measured the 'M' and had the 'D' and 'T' made by a local artist as a wedding present.  Did you know we have the exact same initials?  M.D.T.!  To fill the 'T,' we used all the corks our wedding venue saved from our reception, so that letter is so special to us, and we've slowly finished the 'D' with wine and champagne we've drank over the last year.  
Here's our next project!  I cannot wait to refinish this dining set and reupholster these chairs that have been in Mike's family for over 80 years.  We found a perfect rug for the room, too.  My best suggestion when searching for rugs is to make sure you look at a place with a good return policy.  You really need to bring the rug home and roll it out in the space to see if the color, pattern, and size are right.  Our first rug looked perfectly tangerine on the website but was definitely more red when we actually brought it home.  This one is only a 5x7, so a little small, but the accent blue perfectly matches the wall color and the brown coordinates well with the wood in the set.
 Lastly, here's this: just because every post needs a good cat picture.  Hope everyone has a great Thursday!

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