An Uncomplicated Life Blog: May 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Must Have Beauty Items...

... For The Woman Who Doesn't Wear Makeup

I've said it before - I used to be really into makeup and did a full face everyday... Pre-Henry. Now? Aint nobody got time for that. Also? It's not necessary! I feel just as pretty now as I used to, my makeup routine went from 20 minutes to three minutes and I still catch men doing double takes as I walk by.

If you enjoy playing with makeup, great! If you're like me and don't have the time and/or simply no longer care about it, but want to look good, check out this list of the five items I use to keep myself feeling confident without being over-done:

For the woman who doesn't wear makeup


1) YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils' mascara. I was super skeptical when Influenser sent me a full sized sample to try, but I'm a convert! Yes, it's worth the cost. Especially if you're putting on such little makeup that you want your lashes to truly pop.



2) Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer. I like this formula, coverage and application wand. It's amazing what a little under eye coverage can do to brighten your face! A good concealer, that's the right shade for your complexion, is critical. (I have a winter and a summer shade since my olive skin changes color drastically, even with daily sunscreen.)


3) Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder. Nobody does summer heat like Texas, so a powder to absorb all the shine and sheen is necessary - almost year-round. I like this formula because it doesn't make me break out, and the compact can fit in a pocket of my purse. When I apply it at home I use a big powder brush and when I'm on the go, I use the enclosed sponge. Easy-peasy!


4) theBalm INSTAIN Blush. This is the best blush I've ever used, and I'm a bit of a blush snob. The color goes on evenly, the shades are flattering to a wide range of complexions, and the formula stays all day. Concealer brightens your face while blush brings some life to it! Daily blush usage is a game changer.



5) Mirenesse Glossy Kiss. As I aged (I'm 30, can I even say that?) I got more and more into lipsticks. I ran out of patience for my hair sticking to gloss when the smallest breeze would strike! Then after having children, I got more and more into lip stains, because nobody has time to reapply lipstick all day. This is a hybrid - it's a staining lipstick! The color stays, but there's also a sheen to it, and it doesn't dry out your lips. I think every stain says that, and most the time it's BS, but this is legit.



That's it! Those are the five items I wear daily. It takes less than three minutes to put on in the morning and is easy to touch up during the day. These are my go-to items for a no-fuss, low maintenance look for us girls who don't have time or simply don't care about makeup!

Linking up with Amanda, Karli and H54F. Happy weekend!

*These are NOT affiliate links, and I'm in no way being compensated for this post. They're the products I wear and genuinely love!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Confessional

I love Wednesday Confessional posts! I laugh so hard at some of the thoughts my fellow bloggers have. It's been a hell of a few weeks around here, so I thought I'd finally join in the Wednesday Confessional fun and share what's been on my sick (literally sick, not figuratively) mind.

Alas, I CONFESS:

- I haven't been active on Instagram because I've been so sick, I haven't showered in dayssssss. Six days was my record actually. There is no filter strong enough for six days of unwashed hair. Nobody needs to see that ugliness. Speaking of ugly, when I do pull up the IG, I'm seeing a lot of crazy looking pics. Why would you put that out in the public sphere?! And if your finger is "post" happy and you put it out there anyway, why would you NOT filter that out?! No need to define what "that" is. Go to the IG and see for yourself.

When people put crazy looking (aka BAD) photos on Instagram, I be like...

- I'm really not liking this season of Game of Thrones. WTF, GoT? I'm losing interest fast. Not even large amounts of wine are making this season better, and wine makes everything better, so that says a lot.

This season's GoT make me be like...


- I ate macaroni and cheese THREE times this week. It's like I don't even know myself anymore. It's also like I don't want my pants to fit anymore. Get it together, Paige.

Miss J was my modeling coach in 2008-09. I KNOW he be like "!!!!" if he knew what I was eating...

- I'm wayyyyyyy too excited that Henry starts preschool in two weeks. Here's what society/mom blogs think I should be thinking: "I can't believe my baby is old enough for preschool! Time went too fast, slow down! Can't I just always keep him with me? What am I going to do without my baby!?"

Here's what I'm actually thinking: "Hell yes you're finally old enough to do something on your own! That was a rough year kid, but you're still alive and I'm still alive and you're actually a pretty kick ass kid, so it all worked out. Now go make some friends and some finger paint art for our fridge so we can fist bump to your awesomeness when I pick you up at 2pm."

Getting 10 hours a week of baby-free time and I be like...

 And to conclude, this is how me and all the well-adjusted, realistic moms will be walking out of the first day of summer session preschool. If you're the guilt-ridden crying type, use a different door so we have room to properly celebrate.



Happy Hump Day friends! Those are my deepest, highly edited confessions.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Subsciber Pop-Ups: Bad For Blogging

Let me start with a disclaimer: This is an op-ed piece, not an official "How to Blog" or "Blogging Tips and Ticks" post. Although, obviously, in my opinion, it should be listed as just exactly that. Disclaimer complete! On to the topic at hand:

SUBSCRIBER POP UPS.



Y'all know what I'm talking about? That annoying box that dominates your screen not but three seconds after you land on the site. "Follow us on Facebook!" "Subscribe to our email list now so you don't miss any updates!" "Like what you see? Follow us on Instagram!"

Um, NO. I don't know if I like you, if I want your emails, or if there were even any photos worth mentioning on your site because this horrific pop up dominated my screen before I could even read your headline. Heck, it was there before your dang site fully loaded!

I'm seeing more and more bloggers use subscriber pop ups, likely as a means to gain more followers in whatever channel they're promoting. I'm sure Wordpress has an easy to install plugin for it and Blogger has a widget for you to copy and paste in your javascript. Seems like an easy way to collect more social media followers and blog subscribers right?

WRONG.

Here's the thing. New visitors to your site don't know if they want your incessant communications. They need some time on your site, likely more than a few visits in fact, before they know that they really like you. That pop-up just slows the loading of your site and inhibits new readers from exploring your content.

I'll take this a step further: If you have a subscriber pop-up, I'm so instantly annoyed with you that I click away from your site. And I don't come back. This a) drives away your new readers and potential followers and b) increases your bounce rate. You may not care about your bounce rate if you don't have advertisers or sponsored posts, but if you ever do want to monetize your blog, I assure you, you'll care real quick.

Businesses can pull off pop ups. Bloggers can't.

Businesses can pull off pop-ups better than bloggers because people go to those sites to purchase product or services, or at the very least get a phone number to contact the establishment. They're on a mission. Businesses can offer discounts and other promotions this way. But people visit blogs because they like you (the author), or what you write about, or your pictures, or maybe they just think your dog is cute. Any way you slice it, pop-ups get in the way of readers interacting with you! It's a turn off the second they pull up your URL.

I know blogging is a numbers game and many of us are paid on how many social media followers and subscribers we have. Even if you don't monetize, it's a competitive environment to constantly get more and more new follows. We live in a world where our worth is defined by how many likes we get on social media.

Subscriber pop-ups are a quick solution to the "How do I get more followers?" equation. But you'll also drive away traffic, annoy your readers, lose readers, and increase your bounce rate. Quick, cheap "solutions" to problems are never truly solutions at all, and subscriber pop ups are indeed bad for blogging.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

I always find it strange when people say (or write), "Happy Memorial Day!" Today is a day to remember our service men and women who died, giving the ultimate sacrifice for our country. While it's not completely somber, I'm not sure it deserves a "Happy" in front of it, like it's Thanksgiving or Easter.

Whether or not you think today is "Happy", please don't thank a veteran for their service. That's what Veteran's Day is for. Take a moment and feel gratitude for all the soldiers who died so you can have this three day weekend, full of family, friends and BBQ's.



Fallen service men and women, I'm so eternally grateful for you.


Friday, May 22, 2015

5 Best Domestic Travel Desinations

We've been laid up sick here for the entire week, not getting out much. All this time at home has gotten me thinking about travel. Does that happen to anyone else? When you're stuck somewhere, all you can do is think about other places?

That's how my brain works, anyway.

I had time to craft my top 5 list of favorite places to travel domestically. When people think of adventure, I think international travel gets all the glory. And international travel is great! But there's so many gem destinations right here in America, too.

Here's my roundup of the best, from personal experience:

1) Big Sur, CA
This might be my favorite place in the U.S. Jaw-dropping scenery along the Pacific Coast Highway (rent a convertible, you won't be disappointed), charming places to stay and eat, great hiking - I could go on and on. We stayed in Carmel and went up and down the coast from there. All the restaurants serve Nappy Valley and Sonoma wines, all the food was excellent. In fact, I had the best meal of my live at Casanova in Carmel.

Travel to Big Sur, CA
Big Sur, CA

2) New Orleans, LA
This is probably the most fun city in America! Sure, there's the debauchery on Bourbon St and the whole French Quarter. Get yourself a double decker bus pass (good for the whole day, $11) and check out ALL the spots in the city. We landed at 7am, had breakfast at Cafe Du Monde and spent the rest of the day checking out the whole city, hopping on and off that bus. Way cheaper and easier than a taxi and, you know, it supported the day drinking NOLA is so good at! Also check out air boat tours of the swamps right out side of the city.

Travel to New Orleans, LA in the French Quarter
French Quarter, NOLA

Tara Plantation, LA
Tara Plantation, LA

3) Tybee Island, GA
This had to make the list because I lived on Whitemarsh Island for graduate school (pronounced whit-marsh, not white-marsh). Tybee is about 20 minutes further out towards the Atlantic. It's an unpretentious beach community, but still houses the likes of Billy Currington and Paula Deen. Want some of the best shrimp and crab of your life? Eat anywhere on the island. Need a great greasy spoon breakfast to adsorb the previous night's libations at the beach bars? Go to The Breakfast Club. Charter a boat and explore the inter-coastal waterway (my favorite thing to do is go out on my folks' boat!)

Tybee Island, GA
Tybee Island Pier, GA

4) Beaver Bay, MN
The views along Lake Superior are stunning, and surprisingly rival those of Big Sur. Rent a cabin on the lake, don't stay at a resort. The Lighthouse has, hands down, the best wild rice soup I've ever had. There's an agate shop in town that's fun to look through, and has tons of gemstone rings for reasonable prices. Go up the coast about an hour to Lutsen and ride the Alpine Slide or take the gondola up the mountain. The North Shore along Hwy 61 is simply stunning.

Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior, MN
Split Rock Lighthouse, Lake Superior MN

5) Natchez, MS
Likely the most beautifully historic town in America, and I used to live in Savannah, GA! It's not easy to get to (no nearby airport to fly into) but if you do make it to Natchez, you won't be disappointed. Stay at a historic in or a B&B. Take an old ferry boat ride on the Mississippi. Enjoy the Southern food and tour old plantations. If you're a history buff like I am, this place will fascinate you as much as the beauty will astound you!

Travel to Nachez, MS
Historic Riverboat, Natchez MS


Do you have a "travel bucket list" waiting to locations to be crossed off? Where are some of your places to travel to?

Have a fantastic weekend everyone! Hopefully, next week will be kick off a new healthy week for us. Linking up with Amanda, Karli, H54F and Miranda!



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

All The Ears Are Infected...

I know I said I'd be back with a post today, but guess what... Henry has a double ear infection, I have a double ear infection, we're on round two of strong antibiotics and dealing with icky side effects from all that... I'll spare you further deets.

Basically, all the ears in this house are infected and we're all sick.



Hopefully, I'll be back Friday!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Guest posting at Meetat-thebarre.com!

Hey friends! I'm guest posting over at Meetat-thebarre.com today while my girl Amanda is on her honeymoon in GREECE! How amazing is that? Kinda wish I could be a third wheel on that trip...

Anyway, she's a barre instructor (see that clever blog name?!) so I'm talking a bit about transitioning from the barre to the {yoga} mat for all her fun, fashion forward fitness readers! Which, as it would turn out, most of you are too. Thanks, Google Analytics!

Head on over and give her blog some love while she's lovin' Greece, and check out my post!

Be back here tomorrow. Xoxo

Monday, May 18, 2015

How To Plan the BEST Birthday Party For A 1 Year Old

It's no secret that our little peanut turned one on Saturday.

It's also no secret that I don't care for typical children's parties. They're an extensive amount of work for the parents hosting the party, they're not fun for parents bringing their children to said party, and if you're inviting child-less friends to come and celebrate too, forget it. They'll despise it (this is FACT: I was speaking with two non-kiddo friends who had to endure these types of parties recently and both wanted to poke their eyes out).



So how did we celebrate? We cooked for two days, bought several cases of beer and wine, got some fancy cupcakes and a few cutesy decorations from my friends at Minted.com. They have the BEST invitations and decorations for all sorts of celebrations - showers, birthdays, anniversaries and more!

Half of the spread

The morning of the party, I headed to a party supply store and got some balloons, just to be extra festive. I just beat the rush, and holyguacamole, what is with the excessive princess crap for children's birthdays?! The woman in front of me bought $70 worth of princess balloons. #Iwillneverbethatwoman

 Ahem. Back to the awesome party we threw.

Cupcake flags/banners from Minted!

We had about 35 people eat and drink their way through Henry's party. Corn hole was a massive hit with the 15 months-4 year old demographic. Henry was passed from person to person, drooling this thanks on all the guests. My mom managed the food situation. And the weather, which has been about six weeks of a non-stop monsoon here in Dallas, cleared and the sun shined!

Henry had his first taste of refined sugar, and my health-nut-obessed-self can rest easy. He hated it. #dodgedthatbullet

Not impressed with cupcakes, despite the blue icing and spinkles

Everyone said it was the best one year old birthday party they had been to! Even a dear friend who's hosting his daughter's first birthday party at the end of the month said, "You win at one year old birthday parties." #fistbump

Here's the thing folks: Your kid is turning one. Do you remember your first birthday? Me neither. So plan your party for the adults who are coming. Especially consider the folks who have rambunctious three and four year olds - have some activities for them to expel their energy, and some alcohol for mom and dad. Have a few things for kiddos to do that are in easy view of where parents can gather and socialize.

Keep it simple. The fewer fussy, high maintenance things you provide, the more fun EVEY ONE will have!

 

Friday, May 15, 2015

5 Things I'm Excited About

I'mma have to keep this Friday Favorites post quick and to the point, since SO much is going on this week and this weekend! I thought I'd round up a few of the things I'm most excited about:

One - Hubs turned another year wiser on Thursday, so we got to check out a new dive bar. The man loves dive bars and burgers! We check out a new one every year for his birthday, and it usually gets added into the regular rotation.

38?! When did my husband get so old?

UPDATE: We went to Lakewood Landing as we heard it was a top 10 burger joint in Dallas. Upon entering, we were asked to leave because they didn't allow kids in the place. So, F*** YOU Lakewood Landing! We found another place to eat, where Henry was welcomed and adored. So many "trendy hotspot" eateries in Dallas aren't kid friendly and I just don't understand it.

Two - Henry turns the big O-N-E on Saturday, and we're throwing a big party for him! Not the lame kiddy party, with a petting zoo and clowns and whatnot. He's one y'all, he won't even remember this. No, we're throwing an adult party with alcohol and yard games, and if the invitee happens to have a kid(s), it's cool if they come too. That's how children's birthday parties SHOULD be, especially when they're too young to remember. Nobody wants to sit around sans-cocktail and watch little Sally scream and open presents she doesn't even deserve while eating mediocre food. We're not those lame parents. I bought party hats. Boom.

Party in the front, business in the back: Our invites look innocent, but the back explains just what kind of party this is!

Three - Because our Lil' H is turning one, my mom is flying into town to celebrate with us! And help me cook for all these folks who have RSVP'd for the par-tay. Thank. Goodness.

Four - Do you see that cake I got for hubs birthday? I get to spend the next few days 24 hours polishing off that yummy piece of perfection. See y'all next week when I'm plus five pounds!

Five - BOTH my boys have birthday's this week! Remind me next year to clear my calendar two weeks in advance to better prepare for this madness.

Have a great weekend y'all! Linking up with Amanda, Karli, H54F and Miranda!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Stay Motivated to Workout

I was having a bit of writer's block when I remembered I wrote down these five blog post ideas. When I re-read that post, I got inspired (by my own idea - is that possible? Let's just say it is) to share with you a lil' workout motivation.

I workout five to six days a week. I've been working out five to six days a week since I was a scrawny 15 year old who tried out for (and made!) the varsity cheerleading team in high school. That's nearly 16 years of consistent training!



Clearly, I enjoy working out. I think anything that you want to do consistently, you need to enjoy. But just like the average woman, some days I don't want to. Some days I'd rather sit on my butt and eat pizza. Some days are a struggle to make it to the gym, or the yoga studio or lace up my running shoes.

I thought good and hard about what's kept me motivated to keep going, to keep pushing for 16 years of workouts. So here, dear readers, are my best tips and tricks to stay on your workout game and avoid burnout:

Switch it up! If you always run, or always walk, do something else! Try weight training. Try a yoga class. If you don't have a gym membership, get one so you can experience different workouts! Group fitness classes are a blast. If it's not in your budget, pick up some DVD's try new things at home. Not only is fun and refreshing to try something new, your body will thank you for it - mixing it up yields better results than doing the same workout all the time!

Have it be your "you" time. I was reading lots of Mother's Day posts last week, and one blogger said that she'd never do a marathon because she didn't want to be away from her daughter that long (four-five hours). Are you kidding me?!?! First, that's developing a co-dependent relationship, but that's a whole other can of worms that the daughter will eventually have to work out (READ: not "workout" - see that?!) with her therapist. To the point of this post, it's ok to have time for yourself! You need it. It's mental sanity. Physically you need this time, too. Have your workouts be your "you" time that you get to focus on yourself, and more importantly, doing something good for yourself. "You time" is something you GET to do, not HAVE to do, and viewing workouts that way is key for long-term success.

Don't set weight goals. I know, ignoring goal setting is counter-advice from every other fitness guru out there. But here's the thing: Let's say you reach the goal. Good for you! Will you stop working out then? Where do you go from there? Get skinnier and skinner? Well that's dumb, and unhealthy. Now let's say you don't reach the goal. Bummer. Will you punish yourself for it and binge eat cake... AND stop working out? I never have weight goals and I never weigh myself. I don't care. I want to be fit and athletic and I want my pants to button. That's my only goal. And that's a good long-term goal.

Allow breaks. When you're seriously mentally done/physically done with a workout, take the day off! I've found that when I completely lack motivation, I need a day off. Then I return the next day ready to hit it hard! Sometimes a rest day is exactly the motivation you need to continue for the long haul.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

4 Tips To Boost Your Instagram Account

Instagram's usage exploded in 2014 and continues to grow this year. Social media users are getting sick of Facebook's algorithms (all in favor of that, raise your hand! *raises hand*) and the fast-paced, often inaccurate information found on Twitter. Plus, we're humans. We're visual. We like pictures.

But just like the other social media platforms, there's a way to use Instagram to get the max engagement from your followers. It's not simply point + click + post = gain likes and followers.

For roughly the last three to four months, I've conducted a very (un)scientific study of my Instagram photos. I recorded and analyzed my findings (no seriously, I did. This is what happens when you have a Master's degree and decide to stay home with a baby...) to yield:



4 Tips To Boost Your Instagram Account

1) Post pics during high traffic times. This is logical: the more people who are on IG, the more interaction you'll get with your photo. But what are those times? From my data, I've found early in the weekday morning (before people go to work, such as 6-7am); the early evening (between 7pm-9pm) and anytime on Sundays, but especially on Sunday evenings. Now, I have a national audience following my IG account and am in the Central timezone, so you may find you have to tweak these times slightly if your account differs. When you post during a high traffic time, you'll see more likes, comments and new followers from every post!

Despite a typo autocorrect fail, this was posted at a high traffic time and got plenty of likes and comments

2) Use hashtags, but not IN your post. Whether you're annoyed with hashtags or not, it's a way to connect your photo to similar photos, and people who are interested in that topic. It makes your photo searchable and viewable to more people than just your followers (as long as your account isn't private - see #4). So where do you put those hashtags if not in your actual post? In the comment section! If you put them in the comment section, every time someone comments on your post, your pic gets bumped up to the first of all the photos with that hashtag. Which will invite more participation on your pic. Which will get you more likes. And more followers. See the cycle?

See how the hashtags are the first comment under my pic post? That's where you want them!

3) Post clear, bright, relevant photos. That blurry pic you caught of your dog running after a ball might be cute to you, but the rest of us don't care. However, if you get a pic of your dog balancing a treat on his nose and it's in focus, that's likeable to a wider audience. The same principle applies to children, times 100. I feel like I can say this because I'm a mom, and post pics of my baby on IG. Nobody cares to see an empty, messy high chair after your 9 mo old eats ravioli. But catch them in the act making a funny face? That's likable. Babies are generally likeable as long as they're cute, funny, and in focus. A witty hashtag also helps. Excessive photos of your children doing daily, mundane tasks? Not interesting. The difference is unique content that's in focus.

This was a "#myhomeIRL" tagged post. I used a bright, clear photo where Henry is smiling while he makes a massive mess!

4) Make your account PUBLIC. If you're a blogger and your account if private, nobody can see your photos via hashtags, no one but your followers can interact with you and you're wasting a HUGE opportunity to promote your blog and build community. Make your account public. Why have a public blog and a private IG? If someone you don't like follows you or comments, simply block them. If you don't want "just anyone" to see your photos, you should likely take stock of what kind of photos you're putting out there - nothing should be risque or inappropriate. So if you want to see growth both in your IG following/interactions and your blog, make it public.

I link up with #FridayIntroductions about once a month, and because my account it public I gain tons of followers from that hashtag alone.



A little over six months ago, I had just over 300 followers. After I started to use these tips, my account has grown to over 1400 followers, and adding more daily. Trust me, consistent use of these tips will grow your Instagram following and boost your interaction!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Best Way to Celebrate Mother's Day

I celebrated my first "official" Mother's Day yesterday. Last year I was 36 weeks pregnant and had NO idea I would be having Henry just five short days later.

This year Henry was here as an active almost-one-year-old and it was so much fun to celebrate with him! We kept things simple, easy and low key. It was, in fact, the best way to celebrate Mother's Day.

First, I slept in until 8am. It was amazing. Then hubs and baby brought me coffee in a new special mug.

It's all about letting the moms sleep in guys.

Thirty minutes later, he showed up with a fully loaded breakfast tray. Sprouted grain pancakes, real maple syrup, bacon, and fruit. Mmmmm!



Of course it was hard to ignore the adorable I Love Mom banner (husband with Etsy skills FTW) and big blue bag full of goodies! I got an adorable card that Henry "wrote" telling me all the reasons he loves me. So cute!

Mmmmm, breakfast in bed!

Then I scored big with a Garmin fitness tracker, antique champagne glasses, a manicure set that will fit perfectly in my purse (no more wishing I had a nail file!), scented soy candles and a booklet of "Mom vouchers" for things like a foot rub, sleeping in to 11am, etc.



All our other plans got rained out, so we hung pictures around the house. I took a nap. Then we had an early dinner at a Mediterranean place that was AH-MAZE-ZING (Cedars Mezza on Walnut Hill for all you Dallasites - do yourself a favor and go!)

I'm one lucky lady. And not just on Mother's Day - every. single. day. I hope all my mommy readers had an equally simple, stress free and lovely day!


Friday, May 8, 2015

5 Bloggers You Should Follow

About a month ago, I wrote this post about some great bloggers and their posts I enjoyed. I've decided to make it a monthly thing to spread the word about some fantastic bloggers!

Without further delay, here are my top 5 bloggers I've enjoyed reading over the past month:

1) September F A R M
You might recognize Karli because I link up with her every Friday. And link up parties are fun and all, but seriously - this woman is HILARIOUS. She makes daily life on a farm and raising two baby girls entertaining and relatible - and that's coming from a self-proclaimed-city-girl and boy mom!
Karli of September F A R M


2) Gold-Hatted Lover
Secretly, I kinda loathe fashion blogs. I find them to be more or less the same-looking woman posting 10-15 shots of herself in the same outfit with the same backdrop. Not so of this lovely fashion blogger! Mary Katherine has style. She's creative. A fashion post doesn't contain 15 (+++) images of her walking in a park with just slightly different angles because she couldn't decide which shot was cuter. She's legit. She wears things you haven't seen yet, or combos you wouldn't think of and she makes it easy to shop her style to boot!
Mary Katherine of Gold Hatted Lover


3) See You In A Porridge
Kristen is an Aussie living in KY. She's funny, she's authentic, and her posts range from book reviews to running endeavors to memoirs about various years in her life. I love that when I pull up her blog, I never know what she's going to talk about. But whatever she does talk about, she does it with a great sense of humor!
Kristen of See You in a Porridge


4) Arrows + Apricots
I know I just hated on fashion blogs. I know. But this is another one that's actually really good! Why? They (Shawna and Chelsea tag team the site) show WEARABLE fashion. Not tulle skirts with mid-drift bearing tops and mile high heels - cardigans and vests and cute jewelry. Stuff you look at and think "Hey, that's super cute and I have something similar! I'm going to wear it that way!"
Chelsea and Shawna of Arrows and Apricots


5) A Savory Feast
I just recently got connected to Jenna's blog via a Facebook blog group I was invited to join. Jenna has a fantastic recipe for everything! She shared ideas on how to celebrate various holidays via the tummy, ways to entertain guests for sporting events, and even hosts a Wednesday "Hump Day" link up party to help other bloggers grow and promote their sites.
Jenna from A Savory Feast

I hope you get the chance to enjoy these ladies' blogs as much as I do! Per usual, linking up with Amanda, Karli, Friday Five gang, Miranda and H54F.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Shop Texas: Fredricksburg

Yesterday's post was all about traveling to and around Fredricksburg, TX, and I mentioned some of the fantastic shopping. Logically, today's follow-up post is all about shopping Fredricksburg!

What I loved most about shopping in Fredricksburg (besides the PERFECT weather, friendly people and hillsides covered in wild flowers) was how unique everything was. There were no big-box stores in sight, and the stores along main street carried a wide variety of unique items.

Unsurprisingly, there were also a large number of "Texas" themed treasures. You know this thrilled me, because I'm currently wrapping up my Texas-themed dining room!

Alas, we'll start there. Behold! My Texas themed items:

Wood and metal Texas wall art from Junque Dynasty

Reprint of 1930's Wild West Show advertisement from Yee Haw Ranch Outfitters


Henry also scored big on this trip. We found this adorable antique rocking horse just outside of Fredricksburg:

Refurbished antique rocking horse from Junque Dynasty

And at Natural Baby, they had the CUTEST clothes and I died at all these adorable leather shoes. (I have a thing for baby shoes.) I got Henry the elephant pair!


I wish I knew someone who just had a little girl, because this feather romper melted my heart!


As I mentioned, we stayed in Austin, not Fredricksburg. Well wouldn't you know, it was the Pecan Street Festival, and it was right outside our hotel door. It made for some fun nights and even quirkier shopping! We saw these prints of our dogs with alcohol and just had to grab a pair that resembled our four-legged babies.

Top pic resembles Otis Beaufort, bottom doggie resembles Baxter. Booze hounds!

While I'm typically not a shopper, it was so nice to spend a weekend away with the hubs, enjoy the nice weather and see a new part of Texas! It was also great to finish getting all the things to round out my Texas themed dining room. More to come on that!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Travel Texas: Fredricksburg

When you think "Texas" do you think tumble weeds blowing in the wind, cactus, cowboy boots, over-sized highway passes and guns?

You might. But you'd be wrong. Way, way wrong.

Wild flowers run rampant in Texas Hill Country

Hubs and I ventured out to Hill Country this past weekend for a quick getaway. We stayed in downtown Austin, but spent the day traveling an hour out to Fredricksburg. There also happens to be some of the most beautiful wineries I've ever seen, and my reference for comparison is Napa Valley.

It. Is. Gorgeous.

It's a historic downtown with a charming, bustling main street. Every shop was lively and booming, and every parking spot was full (we somehow managed to snag one in the heart of downtown, at the strike of noon. Lucky ones, we were!).

Fredricksburg, TX

The shops range from stereotypical cowboy, Wild West-ern apparel to organic, bamboo baby clothes. There's a local brewery that's been in business for over 20 years and wine shops from the area wineries. There's beautiful local sandstone buildings and classic, 1800's brick and mortar with wrap-around front porches.

Texas limestone building in Fredricksburg, TX
Historic charm of Fredricksburg, TX

Fredricksburg has cute B&B's to stay in as well as hotels. Or, you could do what we did and stay in Austin, about an hour and 10 minutes (with traffic) drive away. A scenic, beautiful drive to boot, full of additional antique and treasure shops!

After you check out all the shops, there's a Pacific War museum, parks, and winery after winery where you can smell, sample and taste all the flavors of the Texan soil.

Of course, this IS Texas. There is a little Western flavor to be had, even in the midst of a beautiful historic town!

Just outside Fredricksburg, TX, one can find plenty of Western treasures!

And pass a truck full of longhorns.

Have you been to Fredricksburg, Texas yet?!