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2015 Travel Plans


irish sheep
As always, I am constantly looking for my next adventure.  As a result, we've already got some travel planned for the upcoming year & I can hardly wait to pack my bags & hit the road.  I always have to have another trip on the horizon so I can keep motivated but some of my favorite adventures come together last minute.  Hopefully this year we'll find time again to squeeze a few weekend trips in here & there.  As for now here's what I'm looking forward to...

Dear Target, I love you...


gift wrap
I could spend hours wandering through the stationary & office supply areas of Target.  On a recent trip, I found myself doing just that.  Only this time I hit the jackpot.  They had a surplus of stationary, gift wrap, & notebooks in the $1 bins near the entrance.  I had a field day & stocked up! 

Piper & Leaf Teas


piper & leaf teas
If you've been following this blog for any time you're likely to have read where I have mentioned Piper & Leaf teas before (like herehere).  I'm a big time lover of these gourmet teas locally made in Huntsville, AL by a family run business.  They sell these loose-leaf teas online or in many local stores in the Huntsville area. 

Strawberry Tea


strawberry tea
One of my favorite things about visiting the Mobile area is making a stop at Spot of Tea for a phenomenal brunch, complete with endless glasses of strawberry tea. Everything on the menu is beyond delicious & the atmosphere is excellent.  The restaurant has undergone a renovation in the past few years but the food is just as delectable.

Insomnia Cookies (+ Giveaway!)


insomnia cookies
Know what makes any day better? Cookies.  That's right.  Call me the cookie monster.  Or a lonely, fat kid at heart... Either way, I was really excited when the lovely people of Insomnia Cookies contacted me with an offer to try all their cookies.  Um, can we say yum?

My Travel Makeup Bag


whats in my travel makeup bag
Hello all!
After my recent chat about St. Petersburg Beach, I thought I'd do a little post to talk about what I packed in my makeup bag.  Mainly because I'm nosy & like to see what's in other people's bags so why not share the love?

Photo Tour: Downtown Birmingham


bham mural
Brad & I took a little stroll around downtown Birmingham a couple of weeks ago.  It was such an incredibly beautiful fall day that I couldn't resist snapping some photos.  We stopped in to Revelator Coffee for a little warm up beverage during our walk.  We found lots of new spots to add to our food passport & of course had to have a photo shoot at the Magic City Mural next to Joe's Diner.  My love for this city just continues to grow!

Belle Chevre Creamery & Moss Rock Festival


belle chevre
I love cheese.
I really love goat cheese.
More specifically, I really love Belle Chevre goat cheese.  I stumbled across their cinnamon goat cheese spread a year or so ago at Whole Foods & it was love at first taste.  So when I saw a Groupon offering to tour the Belle Chevre Creamery I jumped on it.

Fall Lipsticks


fall lipsticks
The weather in central Alabama has officially become fall & that means it's time to break out the cute scarves, boots, & jackets.  Another thing I like to accessorize with in the cooler months is a dark, vampy lip.  Look on any fashion website or women's magazine & you'll find it's a trendy look in the fall.  I thought I'd share a few of my favorite autumnal shades with you.

3 Miles in 30 Days Running Program


Hello all & welcome back for another Fitness Friday!

St. Petersburg Beach, Florida


st pete beach
Brad recently had a work conference in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida & I thought I'd tag along since I'd never been.  I'm constantly wanting to visit & explore new places so what better time. 

Brand Focus: Kiehl's


kiehl's brand focus
A few months ago I talked about my current skincare routine.  In that post, I mentioned a couple of Kiehl's products that I had been using.  I really enjoyed both of these products so much that I decided to try out a few more.  After purchasing entirely too many items from this company, I have come to terms with something-  I am in love with the whole Kiehl's clan.

Fitness Friday: Toning Those Arms


Another Friday, another fitness post...
Today we're tackling the arms.  No one wants the bat wings or for their arms to wave back at them when they wave goodbye. 

Canning Peaches


As one of my 30 by 30 goals, I wanted to learn to can peaches.  Earlier this summer, I made a trip to Chilton County aka the Holy Land of peach growing.  I purchased two large baskets of beautiful peaches & made my merry way home.

Fitness Friday: Yoga Moves for Better Posture


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Due to the nature of my job, I've noticed I've developed really terrible posture.  I tend to stand with my belly out to compensate for my work uniform. 

New In: Ole Henriksen Skincare


I am constantly trying out new skin care products.  It has recently become my newest beauty obsession.  I've heard lots of good things about Ole Henriksen products but have always been hestiant to try them because they are on the pricier end.  I was browsing Sephora the other day to check out this year's holiday gift sets when I found this OH skincare set. 

Fitness Friday: Workout Playlists


If you're like me, you need some motivating music when you workout so I was really excited to find some new free tunes. 

3 Tips to Make Your Lips Look Fuller


My family is cursed with uber thin lips.  So much so that when I smile, my top lip completely disappears.  While I'm not considering lip injections or anything of the sort, I am looking for a way to get a fuller pout.  Here are 3 quick & easy (injection free!) tips to help your lips look their best.

Fitness Friday: Call Me Maybe Squat Challenge


I really hate the song "Call Me Maybe".  I really hate it when I'm feeling pained.  And I really really really hate cheery, super happy fitness instructors as I'm sweating & ugly crying.

Now that I've gotten all that negativity out...

"The times they are a changin'..."


There's something about the seasons changing that makes me feel the need to declutter.  Now my husband would say it wouldn't take a change of seasons as much as it would a change of underwear.  I.  love. to purge.  I mean- I really love to clean out crap & need no excuse if I'm being honest.  But something about the change in the weather just makes me feel like it's time to change everything around me from my wardrobe to my mindset.

Mental Health Day


Recently, I've felt myself more stressed & irritated than usual.  I'm chalking it up to extra hours of work during this time of year & general workplace politics.  Either way, I knew that I needed a mental health day.  After checking the weather for my off days, I knew that I needed to take full advantage of the incredible fall weather with a little time outdoors.  I took off to one of my favorite old haunts- Moss Rock Preserve

Fitness Friday: Lean Legs Pyramid


Photo source: Tone it Up
Hello all!  I just wanted to bring you a quick workout that will leave your legs buuuuurning.  Skinny jean season is upon us & what better way to rock yours than with toned legs? 

Pepper Place Market


Every Saturday from April - December there's an exciting event that takes place at Pepper Place in downtown Birmingham.  From 7am-noon you can find a plethora of tents & people wandering the block & picking up delectable & handcrafted goodies.  Pepper Place Market brings farmers & artisans from all over the state each weekend.  You can find anything from local produce to handmade jewelry & clothing to food trucks & live music.

Local Loves: Alabama Biscuit Co.


One of my favorite things to do on free weekends is wander around Birmingham & find new restaurants & shops to try out.  I often break out my food passport & hit the road to find a new beloved spot.  One I just can't get enough of is Alabama Biscuit Co. 

Shaun T's Focus T25


As part of my 30 by 30, I've found myself back in workout mode.  I bore quickly of the standard gym rat routine- treadmill, isolation machines, free weights, yadda yadda yadda... I was looking for a way to workout at home without having to purchase tons of equipment.  I also wanted a way to strengthen my body using calisthenics but without having to dedicate hours out of my day.  Enter T25...

Travel Bucket List


I've never been a fan of the lists of must see places or 'once in a lifetime' trips.  I feel that by deeming certain experiences (such as watching the sun set over the Taj Mahal or standing underneath the Eiffel Tower) more valuable than others really cheapens the authenticity that I believe every place has to offer.  Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that the Taj Mahal can be truly breathtaking & I'd love to see it one day, but there's something to be said for the less touristy spots.  In fact, the hype has acted as a deterrent for many places for me. Throughout my travels, I can say that every place I've visited has had something to offer, even the ones off the beaten path.  No matter what country I find myself in, I think my true passion for travel comes from experiencing the different culture, interacting with the people, & learning something about myself along the way.  I cherish every single journey I've experienced- good, bad, & ugly. 

5 Instagram Accounts I'm Currently Loving


It's no secret that Instagram is easily my favorite social media platform.  I tend to spend hours falling down the rabbit hole looking at profile after profile.  Naturally my feed is travel account heavy but I also love foodie accounts.  Here are 5 accounts I'm currently obsessing over:

Rosemary Infused Olive Oil


I love rosemary in any form or fashion.  I love the scent, the taste, the plant, ANYTHING.  When I was browsing Instagram the other day I came across a recipe for rosemary infused olive oil.  Um, hello!  Heaven in a recipe?  I think so.  Of course I hopped on making this right away & I'm happy to report it was deeeelicious.  Best part is the recipe couldn't be easier.

My Skincare Routine


I have a confession: I am obsessed with skincare products.  I'm also incredibly nosy.  One of my favorite YouTube videos to watch or blogposts to read is skincare routines.  I love peeking into people's medicine cabinets to get a look into what products they're loving.  Recently, I've incorporated a few new items into my regime & thought I'd share my thoughts.

Brand Focus: Not Your Mother's


 I have to be honest, I've never found a miracle product for my hair.  Out of the sinful amount of hair products I've purchased in my lifetime, I can't say I've ever found one that I thought "Wow!  Now THAT'S some Hollywood hair!"  That being said, I have found a line that I do actually adore & brings my pretty close to that Hollywood hair.

Homemade Guacamole


On Tuesdays Brad works an extra job so I'm on my own all night.  Generally I don't feel very hungry at night so I opt for a lighter meal or a smoothie.  Tonight I prepped some fresh guacamole in the Vitamix, using the provided cook book.  I figured I could munch on this & save the rest for lunch tomorrow.  It was just the right meal & guacamole always seems like summer to me.  This dish is super easy to prep & chop full of healthy fats from the avocados. 

Carrot Raisin Muffins


In an effort to save time & trips to the grocery store, I'm trying to do a meal plan this week.  If this week goes well, the planning will continue.  Today, I ventured off to Publix after work to make this week's purchases after planning out the meals earlier this morning.  Considering I have to get up each morning at 4 am, there isn't a lot of time for cooking breakfast so I decided this afternoon to make something I could munch on throughout the week for my breakfast.  I broke out the cook book that came with our Vitamix & found this recipe for carrot raisin muffins.  I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly to make it suit our desires a little more.  Enjoy!

Cleaning Your Top Load Washer


Now that we've talked about how to revive your dingy towels, let's discuss cleaning that nasty ole washer so you can remove any smells from it also.  Obviously you want to give the entire machine a good scrub down.  After that, you want to tackle the drum.  The best way to give it a good clean is to soak the washer in hot water & bleach.

Rosemary Rhubarb Lemonade

I absolutely love the tartness of rhubarb.  I had never tried it until our honeymoon in Ireland where it grows abundantly.  After my first slice of strawberry rhubarb pie I was hooked!  I've been trying to incorporate it into recipes & am consistently adding it to my morning smoothies for that extra bite.  One of my favorite blogs, The Merrythought, recently posted a delicious summery drink that I couldn't wait to try.  I tweaked it a bit & voila!- summer in a glass!  Enjoy!

Renew Your Towels

I've recently noticed our towels have had that funky, soured smell.  (Gross)  Even after ensuring we hang them up properly & wash them with fabric softener for added freshness, they still have been coming out smelling less than fresh.  I tried cleaning the washer but nothing was working.  I took to the internet again & found some helpful tips on how to breathe new life into my grungy towels.  I tried this on one set of foul smelling items & was blown away at how effective it was.  Not only did it make my towels smell fresher but they were brighter & fluffier!  Give it a try to refresh your towels!

Current Happies: June 2014


Another month has passed & with that has come another set of favorites:  

Coconut Cantaloupe Smoothie


Now that summer is here I'm craving lots of fruity smoothies.  I recently bit the bullet & invested in a Vitamix (more to come on that later...) so I've been using it nearly every day to whip up a quick & nutritious smoothie for breakfast or a snack. 

Current Happies: May 2014


There have been several things I've been enjoying this month.  I thought I'd share a few of my daily "happies".  All of these things brighten my mood each day & hopefully sharing them with you will spread the good word!

DIY Antiqued Mercury Glass

One of my favorite blogs, 17 Apart, posted this tutorial for creating your own antiqued mercury glass.  I loved the idea of this & after purchasing a lamp from T.J. Maxx with a similar finish I decided to attempt it myself.  I had two Crate & Barrel vases that I purchased a few years ago.  Both were grey & had different finishes.  In order to make these two fit in with the rest of the decor I decided to give this tutorial a try.  

How to Get Silky Soft Feet for Summer


Here in Alabama, we're already in full swing to summer.  We generally have about two weeks worth of lovely spring weather before the summer heat & humidity roll in.  As a result, I've been breaking out my favorite sandals.  Of course no one wants to be caught in a cute pair of gladiators with crusty heels (quite the attractive image, right?)!  A few weeks back I started prepping my soles to make their 2014 appearance.  My sure fire tip for silky soft feet involves only three products & it costs you less than $5.

This Year's Garden


One of the first thing's I do everyday when I get home is walk out to the backyard & check on my plants.  Typically I run into the house & strip out of my polyester uniform, take off my makeup, & run out to the yard to visit with my pups & check on the progress of my little homestead.  Last year I really began to delve into gardening, after starting small (strawberries & peppers) a few years before. 

Soda Bottle Seed Starters


 I found a few packets of seeds stowed away in my office closet the other day (why?) & realized I needed to boogie to get them started.  Considering I have exhausted every pot & usable square inch of soil, I had to get crafty.  To the recycling bin I go!

Slovenia: Part 5 - Bled & Ljubljana


Welcome back for the final installment in our Eastern European wanderings!

After our free time in Zagreb, we loaded back on the bus & hit the open road again.  We crossed the border into Slovenia & reached Bled in about three hours.  We had the most spectacular views of beautiful countryside & the Julian Alps along the way.  The sun was shining brightly & I knew instantly I was going to love Slovenia.

Croatia- Part 4: Zagreb


This next morning we awoke & prepared for another long day on the bus as we made our way to the capital city, Zagreb.  We grabbed a quick breakfast & boarded the bus.  We said goodbye to the coast & headed inland, making our way across the Bosnian border again.  We made another pit stop in Neum, Bosnia where we worked to spend our last remaining kuna since we knew we would soon be heading to Slovenia where they use the Euro.  We made it to Zagreb just before dusk & arrived at our stunning hotel for the night, The Westin

Croatia- Part 3: Bosnia, Dubrovnik, Cavtat


Welcome back for Part 3 of our Croatian travelogue!

Croatia- Part 2: Senj, Zadar, & Split


Last we left off we were preparing to depart Opatija.  The next morning we ventured downstairs for another breakfast before setting off in the rain for Split.  A few hours into our journey we stopped in a small fishing village, Senj, for a bathroom break & to stretch our legs. 

Croatia- Part 1: Opatija


Recently, the hubby & I embarked on another trip- this time for our one year anniversary! I'm constantly browsing the getaways on Groupon & Living Social.  You can find some really excellent deals on there.  We've used these sites several times & I've been thoroughly pleased with every one of the trips.  We've done everything from a weekend in New Orleans to snow skiing in Colorado to white water rafting in Tennessee.  We also used it for our recent trip to Nicaragua.  The accommodations have always been excellent & the customer service is wonderful.  Several months ago I found an 11 day excursion to Croatia & Slovenia. 

Greek Nachos


I've really been on a nachos kick lately... Well, Mexican food in general... Ok I'm always on a Mexican kick...  In an effort to not burn myself out on such, I went to Pinterest (of course), in search of a (healthier) alternative.  Probably the only thing I like more than Mexican food is Mediterranean food.  I found this pin for Greek Nachos & thought "Yum!"  The recipe was pretty sparse so we took some liberties & made it our own.  Plus, it doesn't get much simpler than this.
Doesn't that make you want to lick the screen?

Tropical Green Smoothie

We've had a few warm days here in Alabama recently & it's put the spring fever in me.  Today when I got home from work I decided to sit out in the warm sunshine, with a good book, & a refreshing snack.  I had some kale & mango that were reaching their expiration points so I decided to whip something up with both.  Perfect treat? A creamy, delicious smoothie!

DIY Acne Fighting Toner


I'm always looking for natural but inexpensive beauty products, especially ones that I can easily make at home.  I absolutely love LUSH products for their nautral ingredients.  But let's be honest, their prices are pretty steep & they're not (sadly) readily available in Alabama.  Some of my favorite LUSH products include their toner waters, specifically Breath of Fresh Air & Tea Tree Water.  If you look at the ingredients, these don't seem that hard to make at home.

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua


I always get depressed on my birthday for assorted reasons.  This year I decided the likelihood of that happening was less if I treated myself to an out of country adventure.  As you'll come to notice, nothing makes me happier than travelling. 

Office Reno: Part 2


Last we left off, we had covered the process I used to revamp my vanity.  Today's post will show how I remade the bookcase. 
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