Thursday, April 30, 2020

Cute Bathing Suit Finds

Can y'all believe it is almost May? I certainly can't. Typically for me, May starts to feel like summer. We've had more of a spring this year with slightly cooler temperatures but I know that the heat wave that comes May through September is on its way. My favorite way to combat the heat is to spend as much time as possible by the water. The only downside of that is finding a cute swimsuit to wear while doing that. I find shopping for swimwear to be such a chore since so many bathing suits come with cheeky cuts that just aren't something I am interested in. I always end up having to buy tops I like and pairing them with bottoms I know that will offer full coverage. 

This top is from Victoria's Secret last year and no longer available, sorry! 

I haven't found a ton of bathing suits I'm dying to try on yet this year that seem reasonably priced but I had a few messages on Instagram asking me to share some cute swimsuits in a post. So, here we are! I tried to include a variety of retailers and prices but by the time I had gathered the options realized there was no way I was going to be able to do a typical graphic for this. Instead, you can click directly on any of the bathing suits you're interested in purchasing in their individual pictures below!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

What You Can Be Doing Right Now To Stand Out Professionally With The YoPro Know

Today I am so excited to bring you a guest post from my friend, Kamber, that covers a topic I haven’t yet mentioned on the blog during this pandemic. I’ve done my best to keep content pretty consistent with what it would be like without Coronavirus in the picture, but when Kamber ran this idea by me, I was sold. 

Kamber and I met at our accepted student’s day at Furman, later became pledge sisters and were on our executive council together, and even got more time to hang out in Greenville when she moved back there while I was teaching post-grad. She is one of the most driven and dedicated people I know so it came as no surprise to me when she launched her own blog, The YoPro Know which is dedicated to sharing a look into the lives of young professionals in various fields to illustrate how we can relate while encouraging connection. It’s an excellent platform that I have been so lucky to watch grow. You may remember that Kamber did a guest post on my blog around this time last year covering How to Set Up a LinkedIn and Network, so it seems so fitting to have her back this year covering a similar topic that relates to our current time. I hope y’all enjoy her advice and will take the time to check out her blog! 

Navigating The Pandemic: What You Can Be Doing Right Now To Stand Out Professionally
With The YoPro Know, LLC

Whether you are a college student looking for your next internship, your first job, or you’re a young professional in the throes of the workplace, let’s face it: we are all freaking out a little bit. It’s normal and completely okay to feel this way.

I have friends losing their jobs, peers actively seeking new positions, and family members in college looking for their next step, which seems bleak right now. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not the case. Sure, we have to anticipate some discomfort from a time like this, but there is a lot we can do right now to ensure our success as professionals in the future. Here are a few important tips on what you can be doing right now to stand out professionally in the midst of the current crisis.

Take this time to grow yourself professionally. 

a.    Join a book club: not only is this a great way to socialize, but you can also learn something new regardless of the book topic.

b.    Take free online classes: if there were ever a good time to take online courses, the time is now. Free options are everywhere, including some one month free options of resources like LinkedIn Learning or Ivy League Online Courses. Learn a new language, take a follow-up course to that one class you loved in college, or just learn a new skill. There are tons of ways out there to push yourself now that you have a little extra time.

a.    Get A New Headshot: if you can see someone else’s shoulder or strand of hair in your LinkedIn pic, it’s time for a new one. Even if that’s not the case for your pic, this is the perfect excuse to get dressed up for the first time in six weeks and have a photo shoot. Make sure you’re dressed professionally, brush your hair, and avoid any distracting backgrounds, so nothing takes the focus away from you

b.    Revamp Your About Section: this should tell a story about you and what your entire digital resume below is about to outline. Be creative, make sure it reflects what they’re about to see below the About info and make it seem like you. Don’t try to write something that doesn’t illustrate who you are as a professional; if you need help, feel free to reach out to us! It’s not easy, and we know that, so let us know how we can help.

Network like crazy

a.    Just connect: Just because we are in a pandemic, doesn’t mean that we can’t still network. Chances are, more people than not are using this time as an excuse to be a little lax in their networking opportunities, but you shouldn’t. Take this opportunity and reach out to connections you’ve made in the past and just…catch up. This will help you more in the long run than you know. Ways you can do this:
i.    Write a letter: I’m a big fan of the postal service, and most people can’t say they don’t love getting a letter in the mail. Make someone’s day and reach out, asking for a phone or video call.
ii.    Message someone on LinkedIn: This goes for both people you know and don’t know; if you’re looking for a job and are questioning if you should reach out to someone at the company you’re looking into, I say go for it. With the right message (i.e., ask them what they like about working for their company, etc.), you will do yourself a favor during this time where a lot of companies are implementing hiring freezes. After connecting on LinkedIn, consider setting up a call or video.
iii.    Set up a phone or video call: Staying connected doesn’t just have to be through the phone. Consider setting up a video call with your connections and check-in. Ask them things like, How are they doing handling this situation? What are some tips they could provide you with as you continue to navigate this new normal? 

Your career growth, social development, and relationship building don’t have to stop during a pandemic, so stay ahead of the curb and make yourself stand out both now and later by implementing these tips in your everyday life.

Know that The YoPro Know is here to help if you need it. Reach out today!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

It may be 3:30 when I’m finally typing out today’s post, but in this instance, I’m taking the stance of it’s better late than never. You know an instance when that may not go so well? Mother’s Day! There’s no excuse now not to remember to snag something sweet for your mom since I’m not only reminding you of the occasion but also sharing some great Mother’s Day gift ideas with y’all. I took my time scouring the internet for some great gifts for moms at a variety of budgets and am excited to share them with you! You can shop these items (aside from the robe in the top left) by clicking directly on the item in the graphic below to be taken to where each gift can be purchased. Go ahead and checkout before you forget since Mother’s Day will be here before we know it.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Step Into My Week 4.27

I woke up on Monday morning refreshed after going to bed so early on Sunday night. I got myself semi-ready for the day since I had a video conference that morning and was convinced that maybe that would help me to be a bit more productive than last week. After the video conference, I worked on a photo worksheet to send out to a team and worked on pulling props for future shoots while sitting outside. I took a break for lunch and then continued to power through work in the afternoon. Once I had finished for the day, I caught up on the phone with my friend Macy and then went on a walk while talking on the phone to Nell. I did an online true40 workout and then had a very laid-back Monday night spent cooking some food for the week before going to bed relatively early.

I had to be at the office on Tuesday for a food shoot that lasted until around 2:00. After that, I came home and changed into comfy clothes to work outside for a while before hopping on zoom to celebrate my friend Mary’s birthday before getting ready for a quarantine birthday dinner that night. That lasted most of the night and was complete with cake, so there’s not much else to report from my Tuesday other than going to bed a little bit later than usual.

Wednesday, my room was my office yet again, and given the fact that it was pretty rainy, that made it sort of hard to stay motivated. I was able to get some stuff accomplished in the morning and had a good phone call with my boss in the afternoon, but overall wasn’t as productive as I had hoped I’d be. I was supposed to go on a walk that, Once I was done working for the day, Nell and I facetimed while I made myself dinner, and then our friends hopped on a zoom call for a nice catch-up session. I read for about an hour before bed and am hoping to make a better habit of that in the coming weeks. 

Thursday morning, I woke up to our house being without power due to a storm the night before. Overall this wasn’t a huge deal given that I didn’t have to get ready to be somewhere, but it did lead to me realizing that there wasn’t a ton of my job that could be done without access to wifi and a little bit of fuel in the form of coffee. After doing what I could from our dark house, I ventured out and got coffee from Church Street Coffee and Books in Crestline before coming home to excitingly discover that the power was back. I spent the remainder of the morning crossing so many things off of my to-do list, which felt especially rewarding. I think changing up where I was working helped since I opted to work at our dining room table instead of my desk. I was shocked when lunchtime rolled around much earlier than it felt! I spent the afternoon continuing to try to be productive and eventually shower. That night was the NFL draft, so I made dinner with a friend and pretended to be interested in it while watching before heading home. 

Since work doesn’t start for me until 8:00 on Friday, I slept in a little bit before SUCH a productive morning. I was a bit concerned since my to-do list seemed pretty lengthy for only working a half-day, but luckily, I got most of it done before shutting down for the weekend. I made myself lunch and baked some cookies in the early afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon walking some mountain biking trails near my house that I had heard about but never explored. Rebecca and I participated in our weekly booze cruise and then decided to get takeout for dinner as a treat while watching the last episode of Little Fires Everywhere. I’m bummed that the season/series is over but loved having it to look forward to each week.

Saturday morning, I got up around 8:30, made breakfast, and got ready to play tennis with a friend. We played for about two hours, and somehow, I only lost by one game once we called it quits. We picked up lunch from Chick-fil-a and then got ready to go to the pool at a friend’s parent’s house. We stayed there until sometime past 5:00, and I went home to shower before we all made dinner together. We played a couple of card games and Mario Kart before calling it a night.

I slept in on Sunday morning and went and got Crestline Bagel for breakfast before spending an embarrassing amount of time watching Chopped. Eventually, I did some laundry, showered, talked on the phone with my parents, and worked on some blog posts. We picked up sushi to-go for dinner, played some scrabble, and I think I was in bed and reading by 9:30, making it a restful Sunday. 

I hope that y’all are still making the most of your time at home and are continuing to remain healthy!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Saturday Shopping vol. 43

This is our sixth Saturday in quarantine and I'm finding that equal parts hard to believe and also curious as to how it's only six when sometimes it feels so much longer. Towards the beginning, I kind of dreaded weekends since I wouldn't have work and emails to distract me from fun I may be missing out on, but lately I have been doing my best to enjoy my weekends. One of my favorite ways to enjoy the weekend and hopefully share that enjoyment with y'all is through these Saturday Shopping posts. From pajamas, to a pair of sandals I'm tempted to purchase, a tassel dress, and another new cute Liberty of London headband (this one I have previously shared has been one of this month's most purchased items according to my analytics) it would be hard not to find something that would make you smile when putting them on! 

As always, to shop any of the items below you can click directly on them in the image below to be taken to where they can be purchased! I hope y'all have a great Saturday.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Graduation Gift Ideas For Girls

I pretty much covered my sentiments for high school and college seniors in yesterday’s post, but the short of it is that if you know one and are close to one, there’s no better year to make them feel loved. With their end of an era and likely graduation looking a lot different than they expected, a thoughtful gift will show your sympathy while celebrating all they have accomplished. I shared graduation gift ideas for guys in yesterday’s post, so it’s only fitting to share my graduation gift ideas for girls in today’s post. Whether you’re shopping for someone finishing high school and heading to college or college headed to the working world, I hope there’s something that catches your eye. And if there is, click directly on the product in the image below to be taken to where it can be purchased!

The monogrammed towels and robe shown in the image aren't clickable, but they can be shopped here.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Graduation Gift Ideas for Guys

If there’s one thing I can say for sure, it’s that everyone is feeling the effects of the Corona Virus in some way, shape, or form. That’s unifying when it seems like no one can fully agree on how to best handle it since dealing with something of this nature is so foreign to most of us. As we are all doing the best we can, my heart can’t help but hurt for all of those high school and college seniors whose school years are ending drastically different than they imagined. I remember being so bummed when my college graduation was moved from being outside on our football field to inside our basketball arena, and that complaint seems so trivial and selfish when I think about it from the perspective of current seniors. I am bummed for you and know that I am just scratching the surface at the way you must feel.

Gift-giving has always been my top giving love language. I keep a running note on my phone of things people have mentioned liking or wanting and revisit it whenever an occasion deserving a present occurs. While a nice graduation gift isn’t going to get seniors valued time back with their friends and professors on campus experiencing those memorable lasts, it surely will remind them that you are thinking about them. So, today I thought it would be fitting to share some graduation gift ideas for guys. These come at a range of price points, and I did my best to include things that would be great for high school or college-aged recipients. If you see something you’re interested in gifting, you can click directly on the product in the image below to be taken to where it can be purchased.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sephora Sale Products I'll Be Repurchasing

Talking about makeup and beauty products seems pretty silly right now when it seems like most people are wearing less makeup than ever. I know I have been taking advantage of not seeing too many people by opting to cover up with a hat instead of a cc cream. But I didn’t want the opportunity to shop one of the best beauty sales to pass by without first informing y’all about it. As my products begin to get used up throughout the year, I do my best to keep up with which things I find to be worth repurchasing when Sephora’s annual VIB event rolls around. Most of the time, I can go without the products for some time and use this 15 or 20% off sale (depending on your Sephora status) to repurchase these products for the following year. Often this makes my cart total a little bit higher since I wait to purchase the items all at once, but the saving is worth it to me. Whether you’re in the market now for a few new makeup or skincare items or not, I have shared what I am repurchasing, items I love that I would repurchase if they were empty, and a few items I’d like to try in the future here in this post. 

As for the sale, you’re going to want to use the code SPRINGSAVE at checkout to save a certain amount based on your Sephora status (aka the amount you spend at Sephora in the span of a year). 
Rogue Members receive 20% off, VIB Members receive 15% off and were able to start shopping yesterday, and Insider Members receive 10% off and can start shopping tomorrow.

If you’re curious about other products I use that are included in the sale, I’ve included two previously blog post links here as well that recommend products I still love and use often.

How my makeup turns out using the products below. 

Products I'm Repurchasing
This is my go-to form of “foundation” in the summer since it has SPF 50, gives a subtle glow, and doesn’t feel too heavy on the skin. I apply it with a beauty blender style sponge, which provides a pretty polished yet natural look. I'm purchasing it in this bundle since it's the same price as just the CC cream and it'll allow me to try out some other products from the brand as well. 

This product has definitely become a must-have in my cabinet and is the perfect pick me up when my hair is looking dull or damaged. While I can’t say I’ve tried a ton of different leave-in products, I am confident this is the best of the best given how many people who love it as much as I do. I use it at least once a month (sometimes twice if I remember) and apply it to my hair for a couple of hours before washing it out and following up with the Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner, which I also LOVE (but have plenty of).

This duo typically lasts me two years and is pretty much all I know when it comes to the world of blush and bronzer. I like that the bronzer isn’t intimidating and paired directly with a complementary blush in one convenient compact, making it so easy to pack for travel. 

I’m all for protecting my skin from the sun, but like many people crave a healthy, natural-looking glow. This product is hands down the best way I’ve found to achieve that. I apply a pump to my face at night before my regular moisturizer, and it gives my face a little bit of natural color.

You’ll see that this product (like the last) and the next stick to the theme of appearing to be sun-kissed without any actual sun damage. If you want an instantaneous way to even out your skin tone, this is it! A lot of times in the summer, it’s all I’ll put on in terms of foundation or cc cream since it has a way of making even blemished skin look smoother and clearer. It can also be worn under makeup as a bit of added color if you’re heading somewhere that may require a little bit more coverage.

This is pretty much the only self-tanner I trust myself to use since it hasn’t failed me by looking streaky or unnatural. I typically shower it off sooner than it says, but I appreciate that it doesn’t make me feel sticky or smell overly like fake tanner. 

I received this perfume a few years ago for Christmas, and it is the first perfume that I’ve ever completely used up. It smells so good, which may explain why it is so pricey. I have friends that comment that I smell good every time I spray it, which I like to think means that it’s noticeable without being too overpowering.

Other Favorites I Love But Don't Need More Of: 
Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner – I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to switch from this shampoo and conditioner now that I’ve tried it.

Makeup Eraser – If you don’t own one of these and find yourself using makeup wipes, go ahead and add this magic product to your cart. It removes makeup entirely by just putting some water on the cloth. I was so impressed by this product that I gifted it to a few friends for Christmas one year, and they were equally as impressed.

Sephora Collection Smoothing Cream – I’m not sure if it’s a placebo effect or not, but when I use this before blow-drying my hair, it feels more manageable and smoother. 

Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – I purchased this last spring when I knew I had a lot of weddings and wedding-related events that I’d be attending and would need my makeup to look good for. I had read a bunch of reviews, and everyone seemed pretty impressed by this product, so I gave it a try. I was so impressed and will definitely repurchase it eventually when I run out and have a number of dressier events to attend.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation – I found this as a deal paired with some other products I already knew I liked and gave it a try. It’s not quite as great as the Armani foundation listed above (although it’s half the price!) but is an excellent fuller coverage option to have on hand. 

Bare Minerals Loose Powder Foundation – I think this may have been the first makeup product I ever owned and have pretty much had one in my bathroom ever since. Why fix what isn’t broken?

Becca Pressed Highlighter – Highlighter is intimidating to me. Too much and you look like a disco ball, but just the right amount seems to pull everything together exceptionally well. I love this highlighter and have only ever bought it in the mini size since a little goes a long way.

Products I'd Love To Try At Some Point:

What sort of items do you love that you’re considering stocking up on?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

#StepUpYourReading April New Releases with Read and Wright

Alright, raise your hand if you are craving FUN reads this month because I sure am! The great thing about the Spring is that all the fun summer reads and great mysteries and thrillers start to come out. While we may be stuck at home, we can still make a fun drink and head out to our patios, balconies, decks, or porches and soak up some Vitamin D with a good book. These are some that are on my radar for April that I hope you’ll enjoy too! 

A Tender Thing by Emily Neuberger—Historical Fiction. 
A debut novel set in 1950s New York, right in the middle of the Golden Age of Broadway. A young Midwestern girl leaves her hometown for the bright lights of Broadway and is thrown into a leading role in a controversial new musical. It is a story of love, legacy, and art through the challenges of race and change. 

The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry
Meet Roxy. She’s a sometimes vegan, always broke artist with a heart the size of Texas and an ex living in her spare bedroom. Her life is messy, but with the help of a few good friends and by the grace of the goddess Venus she’ll discover that good sex, true love, and her life’s purpose are all closer than she realizes.

Meet Me at Midnight by Jessica Pennington
Teens waging a war of practical jokes declare peace when they fall for one another in this charming YA romantic comedy. Lakehouse and summer, sign me up! The cover alone is swoon-worthy. 

Unscripted by Nicole Kronzer
A funny and timely debut YA about the toxic masculinity at a famous improv comedy camp. This one couldn’t be more right up my alley! A girl who wants to be on SNL at improv camp fighting off the toxic masculinity of comedy? Sign me up! 

The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park
“Love is a battlefield in this hysterically funny rom-com debut, perfect for fans of Jenny Han.
Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich. When one of his classmates offers Nate a ridiculous amount of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family, but is compromising his integrity worth it?

Luck comes in the form of Kate Anderson, Nate’s colleague at the zombie-themed escape room where he works. She approaches Nate with a plan: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize. It could solve all of Nate’s problems, and she needs the money too.

If the two of them team up, Nate has a real shot of winning the grand prize. But the real challenge? Making through the weekend with his heart intact…”

I hope you pick some of these new light reads up and find some joy in them! My favorite reads recently have been fantasy, believe it or not! If you follow me on Instagram (@readandwright), you’ll know I’ve been OBSESSED with the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. They’re not light, but they sweep you away into a fantasy realm that is a joy to escape into. It’s a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling that is sort of Game of Thrones meets Twilight meets The Hunger Games. I love them! 

You can always check out more reviews, recommendations, and features on my blog and I’m still being silly on Instagram. Let me know what books you’d like to see next! Thrillers? Memoirs? I’m all ears! 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Step Into My Week 4.20

It is sad how hard it is for me to sit down and actually recap my weeks as of late. This week I didn’t follow my own advice from last week’s Step Into My Week post when it came to writing it as I went. Maybe next week! 

You may remember that I decided at the last minute to go home for Easter, which meant that my Monday started with a 4-hour drive back to Birmingham with a special passenger in tow. Part of the reason I went home for Easter was to kidnap our family dog, Scout, for the week. Since I worked from home every day this past week, I was able to convince my parents to let me babysit Scout in Birmingham. She made the week a lot of fun, and maybe if stay at home orders continue to last, I’ll bring her back for another week in the future. I got back to Birmingham before lunchtime and was able to be pretty productive in the afternoon. When 5:30 came around, Scout and I went on a walk before coming back home for a 7:00 Zoom call. Once that was said and done, a friend and I had curbside pickup from Saw’s and watched The Parent Trap.

Tuesday morning started with me taking Scout on a walk before getting to work. We got into the habit of walking again around lunchtime and then after I signed out for the night around 5:00. I can’t even remember what I did on Tuesday night, which means I probably did nothing and went to bed early. Wednesday was very similar, filled with walks for Scout and me and work in-between. Wednesday night, we had our virtual bible study that ended around 9:00. Thursday was a lot of the same as well, although that night I cooked with a friend and played clue for a while before eventually heading home. I was woken up around 2:00 that night./morning by Scout throwing up all over my duvet, which was a bummer, but she seemed to be feeling fine once all that got cleaned up. 


I was super productive on Friday, which felt really good after feeling like I lacked focus the rest of the week. After taking Scout on a lunchtime walk, I grilled out and played scrabble with a friend before taking Scout on yet another walk. This time we went to Jemison, which pretty much rounded out the locations of where all I wanted to take her. My roommate and I have had the Friday night tradition of making a cocktail and taking it with us on a walk, and we kept that tradition going before watching the newest episode of little fires everywhere when we got home. We went to sleep shortly after that finished. 

Saturday morning was overcast and cold, so I bundled up for one last walk with Scout before meeting my dad halfway to deliver her back to her rightful owners. The drive was easy, and in the meantime, it warmed up and the sun came out, which was nice. I went to a friend’s parent’s pool until around 6:00 before heading home to shower to grill out that night. We played a few board games and started National Treasure before all calling it a night. 

I did pretty much nothing on Sunday aside from watch movies, fold my laundry, make dinner, and watch Netflix’s new show, Outerbanks, with my roommate. It was rainy, which made it the perfect day to do just that. My lights were out, and I was asleep before 8:30, which was the earliest I’ve gone to bed in a while! 

I hope y’all had a nice week and weekend and are doing well as we enter into week 6 of working from home and social distancing! 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Saturday Shopping vol. 42

After forgetting to post these finds last week, I figured it was better late than never on these pieces! Clearly, I'm ready for sandal and dress weather which is the opposite of today's weather in Birmingham given that it is overcast and dreary. When those nicer days come and there are places to go, these pieces would be awfully cute! If you see anything you're interested in purchasing, you can click directly on the item in the image below to be taken to where it can be shopped. Happy Saturday! 

Friday, April 17, 2020

What I Wish I Were Wearing Part 2

It truly feels like a miracle to be getting this post live. I have never struggled so much to focus on one task in my life, as it feels like I have been with blog posts this week. My to-do list and I seem to be at odds, and I am very excited that it is Friday! Hopefully, the weekend will be just the reset I need to get back in the groove of things next week when it comes to productivity. Fortunately, I am only feeling in a funk when it comes to productivity and not everything else at the moment, so that feels like a win. After sharing my What I Wish I Were Wearing post last week, getting good feedback, and still wishfully envisioning the day when I stand in my closet finally deciding what I want to wear again, I am sharing a second version here for y’all including some new locations. If you didn’t see the original post be sure to check that out here, otherwise, you can shop these outfit ideas using the text beneath each image! 


Dinner Date


Farmer's Market

Where's the first place you're hoping to get dressed up to go once this is all over? 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

10 Things I'm Loving Lately

I feel like I am in a blog productivity funk. Maybe that would explain the fact that I’ve only had one post go live this week, but ever since starting to do my regular job from home, I’ve found it so much more challenging to sit down, focus, and write new posts. I’ve done my best to keep things pretty consistent and upbeat around these parts, but the past couple of days, I can’t even seem to do that. It’s not due to a lack of ideas since I have a drafted content calendar that has post ideas through the end of May but instead realizing that because I’m not as productive at home when working, I am more inclined to save that productivity for my actual job. You’d think on week five, I would have found a better balance, but sadly that hasn’t felt like the case. So yesterday, I gave myself a break from getting a new post live and focused solely on my regular job. It was a nice little break from putting pressure on myself and feeling guilty about not having something up and caused me to pay better attention to what around me seemed to be making me happy lately. 

I am so fortunate that I can work from home in the midst of everything, and as much as I miss my friends still have a lot to be thankful for. I had seen Kate from Lonestar Southern share her own Happy List and thought I’d follow suit to share a few things I’m loving as of late! 

1.    Having Scout (our family dog) here in Birmingham with me.

2.    A close friend’s engagement. I almost didn’t answer my friend Macy’s facetime a couple of weeks ago because I was already in bed about to fall asleep, but boy am I glad I did. It took me a few minutes to realize why she kept scratching her face, but I was elated when I finally connected the dots.

3.    Fresh flowers on my desk and a new orchid on my bedside table (I accidentally killed my first one with Emergen-c, and the blooms looked fried, so it was about time for a replacement).

4.    The number of pajama sets I have that I can rotate through in an attempt to feel slightly put together while at home. 

5.    A new friend made while on a walk who is kind as can be and sent me the text below yesterday just because. It’s funny to me that in the midst of social distancing community can still be found.

6.    The “vlogs” being sent in one of my group texts with friends. We’ve been filming ourselves doing random things and sending them to one another, and they have been so funny to watch. My roommate and I made one of us making cocktails, and I accidentally sent it to my family group text instead and had some explaining to do to make sure they realized it was a joke. 

7.    Sending letters. I am convinced that the way to my heart is through handwritten letters, so I’ve been sending random cards to friends with hopes that they will respond by sending a note my way too.

8.    Constant access to my coffee maker. No explanation needed on this one. 

9.    Lots of time spent outside eating lunch, on walks, and working. 

10.    The Tonight Show at Home with Jimmy Fallon. I’ve never really watched this show until now, and I really only watch the parts where I think his adorable daughters are going to make a guest appearance. Clearly, we are all attempting to make do with our current situations. 

I’d love to hear what has been making y’all smile lately! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Step Into My Week 4.14

I took my own advice from last week and wrote this week’s Step Into My Week post day by day, hopefully making it more interesting for y’all even though I’m not doing too much that is interesting at home. This week the goal will be to take more pictures! 

On Monday, I started my day as I usually do with coffee and breakfast in bed while having some quiet time (I’ve been reading these three devotionals – New Morning Mercies, Bob Goff, and Seamless). I then made my bed and moved to my desk to work through some emails, schedule and reschedule meetings, and pull inspiration photos for a shoot. I ate my lunch outside and read for a bit before getting back to work. I had a conference call in the afternoon that I took outside and then went for a walk before showering, making dinner, and watching The Circle (which can only be defined as trash television). I went to bed around 9:30 and had the hardest time falling asleep. 

Tuesday was rainy, which felt like it put a damper on my productivity. I had a conference call in the morning and created a photo worksheet to send out to that team for the shoot that happened the following day. Usually, I am much quicker at making those, but I am finding it hard to focus on one thing at a time when working from home. After working through that and taking another phone call, I made lunch and this recipe for dessert. I got some more work done in the afternoon before helping a friend build a grill and eating dinner. 

I had to go into the office on Wednesday for a photoshoot for one of our July/August issues, which lasted until around 1:00. This was the last of those shoots that I’ll likely have to do for a while since our company was only doing photoshoots for things that had to ship to the printer in the next couple of weeks. I came home afterward, ate lunch, and worked on pulling products for future photoshoots in the afternoon. I finished my bible study reading after that, made dinner, and then my roommate and I logged onto Zoom for our weekly bible study with our friends. As much as I wish we could all be together for these, I am so glad that we are still able to get together virtually every week. 

Thursday morning was the same ole same ole although I only had to work a half-day since we usually have our half days on Friday, but we were given that as a vacation day due to Good Friday. I finished working a little after noon and made myself lunch. Later on, the plan was to play tennis, but all of the courts were locked, which makes sense. So instead, I went for a drive and got ice cream with the only friend aside from my roommate I’ve seen during this time. We eventually ate dinner and watched a movie before I called it a night.

Since I had Friday off, I did a workout on my back deck after waking up and then went for a long walk while talking on the phone with a couple of friends. Later I showered, watched some Netflix, and then made cocktails with my roommate for our Friday night walk. We came home and put on our pajamas and made dinner before watching the newest episode of Little Fires Everywhere. We were both in bed pretty early for a Friday, but that seems to be part of our new normal.

I went into Saturday with few plans, and it ended up being a fun day. The weather was beautiful, so a friend and I were going to go rollerblade, but I was the only one who actually had rollerblades. Instead, we hung lights on my friend’s porch and played card games for a long time and then ping pong. In the afternoon, Rebecca and I had a facetime date with our friend Allie. It was so nice to catch up with her since it has now been a month since we all last saw one another. Later on, we grilled out and had a laid back Saturday night. 

Sunday morning, I woke up early so that I could make the drive to Fairhope for Easter. I hadn’t been initially planning to go home for the holiday since I am doing my best to follow the shelter in place guidelines but ultimately ended up going. The drive was easy, and I made it around noon before the storms started coming in. We had lunch together as a family, took a nap in the afternoon, and then celebrated Easter at dinner. It was so nice to see my parents, brother, and sister in law after feeling uncertain about when I would see any family again. After everyone went to bed, my mom and I stayed up talking for a while before we decided to finally call it a night.

I apologize that this didn’t go up yesterday, but hopefully, you’re equally as excited to see it today! If you have any blog post requests, feel free to leave them below for me.

Friday, April 10, 2020

What I Wish I Were Wearing

Let’s take a trip back down memory lane, shall we? Remember all those times we had fun social plans with friends and dreaded figuring out what to wear. Well, times have clearly changed, and now I just wish I had an excuse to put together a real outfit to head somewhere with friends. Since that won’t be the case for a while, I instead thought I’d share some outfits I put together with pieces I don’t even own as a bit of optimism for when we can finally head out of the house again. The prices for these pieces are all over the place, but maybe something will remind you of something you already own and can picture yourself wearing when we eventually make it to the other side of this! 

Instead of being able to click on the pieces directly in the image instead, you’ll want to scroll for the product listings beneath the pictures.

To A Brewery

 To Work

To A Wedding

 For A Baseball Game

To Brunch

Happy Good Friday!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Books I've Read So Far This Year

It has been far too long since I shared what I’ve been reading with y’all. I used to be pretty decent about sharing books as I finished them on my Instagram stories but have since gotten out of the habit and have failed to share them here too. Since I feel like most of us are looking for activities that involve a little less screen time while adjusting to working from home, reading has been my first choice for that. So far, I’ve only made it through two books, which is less than I would have thought, but I’ve found that I’m having a harder time staying focused on one task at a time since working from home and spending the majority of my time here. Maybe that will get better with time, and I hope that’s the case since I ordered a few books that I am really excited to get started on. 

For those of you who have been around here for a while, you may already know that my favorite genres include psychological thrillers and self-help/inspirational books. That’s a weird combo, I know. And if people were to really study my bookshelf I could see it creating a puzzled look across their face but I’m not going to deny that those are my top picks. I’m sure I am forgetting a few of the books I’ve read so far, and since there aren’t that many to list, I’ve also included the ones I have on my reading list for the coming weeks. I went ahead and added the Amazon description of each of the books beneath it so that you wouldn’t have to jump back and forth between pages and are hopefully able to find something worth reading right here. 

And I’m going to put the same disclaimer I included in Phoebe’s “What To Read Right Now” post here since it’s still just as important: Also, I’ve linked directly to Amazon for these books since that allows you to read the full synopsis, but if you have a local favorite book store and the means to purchase a book or two, I’d recommend trying to buy your books from there for the time being. I have no doubt Amazon will be in good shape when this is all said and done, but smaller businesses are more likely to be hurting. 

What I’ve Read So Far:

Winter In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a helicopter crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John.

After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures. 

Rich with the lush beauty of the tropics and the drama, romance, and intrigue only Elin Hilderbrand can deliver, Winter in Paradise is a truly transporting novel, and the exciting start to a new series.

Rush by Lisa Patton
Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali’s chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she’s hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.

When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it’s all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid―no matter what.

For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl―as her “babies” like to call her―has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta―and maybe the entire Greek system―forever. 

Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
It’s wedding season on Nantucket. The beautiful island is overrun with summer people - an annual source of aggravation for year-round residents. And that’s not the only tension brewing offshore. 

When one lavish wedding ends in disaster before it can even begin - with the bride-to-be discovered dead in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony - everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield - and no couple is perfect.

Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach book.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life--until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.

Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better. 
Shay would die for them to like her. 
She may have to.

Next On My List:

This is an approach that will empower you to sell your way to success in business and in life. For example, you’ll learn how to create your own “Strike Method” or signature move to help you feel confident entering any situation. Combining case studies and personal stories, Lydia also shares tips from some of the most powerful and successful women in business, fashion, journalism, sports, and the arts.

This book will show you how to take your career to the next level, whether it’s overcoming your fear of asking for something or bridging a wage gap. Lydia has been there and come back more powerful than ever. Inspiring and encouraging, Lydia’s hard-won advice will help you walk into any room with the confidence of a leader and motivate others to find their voice as well. Get ready to embrace your natural strengths, map your career, and take ownership of your life.

What Happens In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too. 

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -- and death -- of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures. 

Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of America’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.

Suffer Strong by Katherine & Jay Wolf
After miraculously surviving a near-fatal brainstem stroke at age 26, as told in their memoir, Hope Heals, life for Katherine and Jay Wolf changed forever - and so did the way they viewed God, the world, and themselves in it. There was no going back to normal after such a tragedy. Yet Katherine and Jay learned that suffering is not the end, but rather the beginning of a new story. 

In Suffer Strong, they invite us into this new story as they share universal lessons and helpful practices that will help us to:
•    Recognize we are being equipped for an uncommon assignment, not cursed by our story.
•    Transform our unmet expectations into brave anticipations.
•    Disrupt the myth that joy can only be found in a pain-free life.
•    Rewrite the narrative of hard circumstances by turning our definitions of suffering into declarations of strength.
•    And, ultimately, thrive even in the lives we never imagined living.

Revolver Road by Christi Daugherty (This is the 3rd in the series)
Even in the chill of February, no place touches Harper McClain’s heart like Savannah. She should be walking beneath the historic city’s towering oaks, surrounded by graceful mansions. Instead, she’s hiding miles away on Tybee Island after a mysterious voice on the phone warned her that someone wanted her dead. The call was too specific to ignore. The caller knew everything about her. But that was months ago, and she’s getting tired of being scared.

Her only escape is her work at the newspaper, where the hottest story in town is the disappearance of Xavier Rayne. The singer had a hit album on his hands, and was about to go on tour, but then he walked out of his beachfront home and vanished. The police believe he drowned, but Harper suspects his disappearance may be more ominous than that. Something doesn’t feel right about it.

His bandmates and actress girlfriend say he’s run away before. They expect him to come home. Until a body washes up with two bullet holes in it. Now everyone in Rayne’s life is a suspect. As Harper digs deeper into the case, though, the threats against her own life return. The phone call she received was very real. A killer from her past is coming for her.

Now she must solve two murders, or end up dying on Revolver Road…

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough
Marriage can be murder… 

Marcie’s affair with Jason Maddox catapulted her into the world of the elite. 
Old money, old ties, old secrets. Marcie may have married into this world— 
but she’ll never be part of it.

Then Jason’s boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London. 
Young, attractive, reckless—nobody can take their eyes off Keisha. 
Including Marcie’s husband.

Some people would kill for the life Marcie has—what will she do to keep it?

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain
North Carolina, 2018:

Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her released from prison immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to be free, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940:

Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and in great need of work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.
What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Let me know of any good books you've read lately as I'd love to add them to my list!

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