Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Our Fall Porch Decor

After working hard to get other people’s porches looking photo-ready for the pumpkins and porches shoot I styled last week, I figured it was time to at least attempt to get mine up to par. Although it’s not necessarily magazine-worthy, I thought it was worth sharing since I love seeing how other people decorate their space for different holidays. The nice thing about fall décor is that if you do it right, it looks natural and can go from the beginning of October until you’re ready to put up Christmas decorations. Although, if you haven’t bought any pumpkins yet, it’s better to do that sooner rather than later since it seems like stores like to take those away right around Halloween. 

The house my roommate and I rent has a massive deck in the back that sometimes makes me forget that our front porch exists. I don’t spend nearly as much time there as I do on the back deck, but now that it is decorated, I am more tempted to. Our decorations started with the pumpkins and caused a domino effect of wanting to make it all look good from there. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, I feel for you since I think they have some of the very best pumpkins around. The large stacked pumpkins are what they call their “Fantasy Pumpkins,” and no matter the size or color will cost you $7.99. Not too bad compared to some places! Since I like a variety of colored pumpkins, it was easy to get exactly what I wanted there and add in some brighter ones through the use of little pumpkins as well. I definitely had a “the more, the merrier” outlook for our house, but I didn’t use nearly as many there as I did on the porches I decorated for work. 

Now that our pumpkins were stacked, I looked down to realize that our doormat was a little too springy with flowers on it and went to Target to see if they had one I had liked online in person. Luckily they did, and I like that even though it works for fall, it’s pretty much seasonless and will likely remain out there year-round. The wreath on our front door was pretty much the last step when it came to making our house look festive and is from The Magnolia Company. They make the prettiest dried wreaths that can be used multiple years in a row, and despite the fact that we had this one hung up for Christmas last year, I think it looks perfect for fall too! 

The last things I added were a neutral-colored pillow and blanket to make the bench in front of our dining room a bit more inviting to encourage me to use this space more. Now that the temperatures are semi-consistently cooling down, I think that will make the perfect spot to get some fresh air and work outside on days I don’t have to go into the office! While I don’t have a close shot of the blanket, it deserves acknowledgment as my favorite blanket for indoors or out! If you are trying to come up with a creative gift to give or receive, I can’t recommend Chappy Wrap blankets enough. They are so cozy!

Before I sign off and share some fall outdoor decor I wanted to mention this fun dress. I found it at Target while taking a detour on the way to get the things I actually needed and took it home to give it a try. As soon as I put it on I knew there was no hope in considering returning it given the colors, pattern, and length (I'm 5'7" for reference). Lately I've been wearing it to work with these cute blush tennis shoes, but I suspect it will look equally as cute with tan suede booties too! 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Step Into My Week 10.19

I am writing this from my bed this morning after a full night of sleep recovering from the most fun weekend! It's going to be one of those days where a lot of coffee and a detailed to-do list are necessary. I'm warning you now that thi post is very photo heavy!

 I woke up Monday morning to go to a true40 class early before work, which jumpstarted my week to be pretty productive. After coming home and showering, I went into the office to respond to emails, discuss a shoot I had on Tuesday, and return a bunch of boxes that were taking up a lot of room at my desk. I completed most of what I had to do for work at the office in the morning and was able to go to Trader Joe’s on my way home to get groceries for the week. Once I got home, I made myself lunch and did some work there before going to Nell’s apartment since she had the day off, and we figured if we both had work to do, why not do it together. This worked out well for me since she was in the process of making pumpkin bread, and I got to snack on some. I stayed over there until around 6:00 when I decided it would be smart to go home and make dinner. I made taco bowls to eat for dinners during the week and have shared the recipe before here. Once dinner was made, eaten, and the kitchen was clean, I watched Halloweentown in the living room until going to bed. 

I had a shoot on Tuesday, so I got up and worked on my computer for a little while before heading into the office for that. It was for Southern Home magazine and involved styling various fabrics and trims in a specific color scheme for one of their upcoming issues. We finished that around lunchtime, and I did a few more things at the office before heading home to work from there the remainder of the day. Once I finished my work, I went for a walk and eventually took leftovers from the night before to my friend’s house for dinner. We watched a TV show for a while before I finally went home to go to sleep.

Before work on Wednesday, I went to true40 and celebrated my 100th class there. Afterward, I went to Trader Joe’s and Target to get the remaining pumpkins I needed for my shoot the following day, as well as a few other props. After working from home for a while, I went into the office to pack everything up and load my car for the porches and pumpkin shoot I had on Thursday. I finished working at home and then moved onto doing laundry and packing to head out of town the following day for my friend Macy’s wedding. Around 7:30, a few friends showed up for bible study at my house, and by 9:00, I was back to finishing up packing and getting ready for bed. 

Thursday felt like it was two days crammed into one with how much got done. I got up early to finish a few things packing wise before heading to run another errand before arriving at the first shoot location of the day at 8:00. Since the shoot theme was porches and pumpkins, I did my fair share of heavy lifting, moving pumpkins around all morning. At the first location, we focused more on green and white pumpkins with cool textured details. After finishing at that house, we moved onto the second location that had an incredible porch with plenty of places to get different shots. We finished around noon, and I was in desperate need of a shower and food before loading my car with my luggage and picking up my friend to head out of town for a long weekend. On the way out, we dropped off all the pumpkins and other props at the office and then were Fairhope bound. We got to my house around 6:00 and caught up with my parents until another friend in the wedding arrived at our house. Eventually, we had dinner and spent the rest of the evening in the living room talking before everyone headed to bed. 

I got up early on Friday morning to ride our Peloton and shower before everyone else woke up. We had coffee and breakfast and hung out for a little while before it was time to get ready for the bridesmaid’s luncheon at 11:00. It was outside in downtown Fairhope, and the entire set up was beautiful. We had mimosas and bloody Mary’s before sitting down to our meal. After everyone had eaten, we were given a sweet gift from the bride and had a bit of downtime before needing to get ready for the rehearsal. Addie, the other bridesmaid staying with us, and I went back to my house to get Hunter and then drove into downtown Fairhope for a cup of coffee and ice cream before sitting down by the bay to enjoy it. I wanted a bit of quiet time, so I stretched out to relax for 15 minutes before needing to change and be at the rehearsal at 4:45. Although it was chillier than we were all expecting, the weather that night (and the entire weekend) couldn’t have been more perfect. From the church, the wedding party took a trolley to the location of the rehearsal dinner at Hope Farm in Fairhope. Hunter met me there, and everyone mingled for about an hour before sitting down for the four-course dinner. All the tables were outside and decorated differently, which was unique, and the food was top-notch. When we were served cake, toasts began, and the evening wrapped a little after 11:30 when we headed home. We stayed up talking for a while before ultimately realizing it would probably be best to finally go to sleep with a big day ahead of us. 

I've had this dress for a few years, but you can shop something similar here

Saturday was very eventful with a run and brunch scheduled beginning at 9:00. I know I just mentioned how great the weather was, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky on Macy’s wedding day, and it was perfectly crisp out, making the run and brunch outside a great start to the day. From there, we needed to go back to my house to shower and gather all of our stuff to get back to Macy’s house to get ready for the wedding. Macy is one of those people that is such a good friend to all and therefore has so many close friends, which resulted in 27 bridesmaids and honorary bridesmaids. Since she is a family of a lot of girls, they were the bridesmaids + her soon to be in-laws and a couple of lifelong friends, and the rest of us were honorary bridesmaids. As honorary bridesmaids, we got to select our own dresses and were asked to do something similar to the “champagne” bridesmaid’s dresses, which Macy clarified as being white, metallic, or even blush if we wanted. Talk about a laid back and easy to please bride! After pictures in the pajamas she gifted us, it was time to change, have flowers put in our hair, grab our bouquets, and wait for her to get dressed! After that, we took some photos and were off to the church for the ceremony. They had to cut the ceremony down to the wedding party and family, but after witnessing their marriage and a few more pictures, we went back to Macy’s house where the reception took place, and other guests were waiting. Macy and Drew were introduced to the guests right as the sun was setting while the rest of us waited until they came back to where the wedding planner had us to all proceed in after them with a band playing. Everything was beautiful and after eating a plate of food and getting a drink, the rest of the night was spent mingling and being on the dance floor. Macy and Drew left around 10:00 by boat, and those of us staying at my parent’s house-made a s’ more before making our way home. 

I was hoping to sleep in on Sunday but unfortunately didn’t but was able to spend more time with my parents that morning when everyone else was asleep. We had a lot of coffee and ate brunch before packing up our cars and heading back. I was exhausted on the way home and was looking forward to an early bedtime the entire drive. Once we were back in Birmingham, I went for a walk with Nell before showering and making myself dinner. I think I was in bed with the lights off by 8:30!

It was such a fun weekend that I think everyone is feeling a bit sad that it’s over! Hopefully, I’ll be caught up on sleep in no time and am looking forward to a productive week. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 2020 Q&A

 Today is an exciting day beyond just sharing my monthly Q&A post because I have one of my favorite shots of the year, and after the workday is over am headed home to Fairhope for the long weekend! It has been since Easter that I was last home, and even then, I only stayed for 24 hours to kidnap our dog, Scout, and bring her back to Birmingham to hang out with me while I worked from home. So, let’s hope that today feels fast so that I will be on the road headed home in no time! But, in the meantime, here are my answers to some of the questions y’all sent in on Instagram! 

shop this outfit here

What parts of teaching do you miss?

I think the thing I miss the most about teaching is the people. I really loved my team of coworkers and the relationships I formed with them. On a similar note, I miss interacting with kids on a daily basis, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t miss a lot about the actual teaching job. Since grad school taking place in the summer sandwiched my first year of teaching, I never had a real summer off from teaching, so it wouldn’t be fair to say I missed that. I definitely think that a career switch was the right move for me, and am so glad to be doing what I am currently doing! 

What’s your Halloween costume going to be? 

My boyfriend isn’t the biggest fan of dressing up, so I was trying to come up with an easy costume idea for us, and initially, we were going to be the Crocodile Hunter. I was going to dress up as a crocodile, and since his name is Hunter, he could either just be himself or get more into character by dressing in camo. While that costume did get the go-ahead, I came up with an even better one for a larger group of friends to participate in. I’m going to be sharing some quick and easy costume ideas next week on the blog, and I’ll share that then! 

Looking for cute fall work from the office outfits. Casual and easy! Any recommendations?

Since my office environment is so casual, I usually rely on a pair of jeans and a cute top in the fall and switch that top out for a sweater in the winter. Having a “uniform” of sorts helps make getting ready in the morning incredibly easy. I know not all workplaces allow jeans, so if that’s the case at your office, a casual dress would be the next best thing since they are so easy to throw on. I have been really impressed by the dresses I’ve seen at Target so maybe start there if you’re looking for some new pieces. I will try to add a work from home and work from the office outfit inspiration post to my content calendar, so stay tuned! 

Favorite restaurants or places to go in Birmingham? I just moved here! 

Every time I am asked this sort of question, I get mad at myself for continually putting off creating a Birmingham guide for y’all. I think my hesitation in making one is that there are SO many good restaurants here, and I don’t want to leave any of them off accidentally. I am working on updating the blog, so maybe a tab specifically related to Birmingham favorites should be added to the site so that I am able to update it easily. 

While I think through the logistics of that, I’ll share some of my favorites with y’all here! I know I am missing some of my favorites, but it’s a solid start. 

Breakfast: Crestline Bagel, Church Street Coffee (and get a Breakup Cookie to go with your coffee), Big, Bad, Breakfast

Casual Dining: Saw’s Juke Joint, Taco Mama, Real and Rosemary, Olexa’s, Carrigan’s 

Sweets: Pastry Art’s Baby Bites, Cookie Fix, Big Spoon

Breweries: Avondale, Back Forty

Wine Bars: Freddy’s, Golden Age

Elevated Dining: Gian Marco’s Wine Bar (it’s a great date-night spot too), Bottega Café, Chez Fon Fon, Automatic Seafood, 

Activities: Baron’s Games in the spring, walk Jemison trail, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Shopping in the villages (Crestline, Mountain Brook, and Homewood)

Can you post more of your favorite fall outfits?

Yes! I shot the photo accompanying this post just for the person who asked this question. Since the Coronavirus started, I haven’t really shared many outfit posts with y’all since most of us didn’t have anywhere to go. When I do share my daily outfits, I tend to only post them in Step Into My Week posts, but I am going to try to remember to take more pictures of my fall outfits for you. 

Both the dress and shoes in this outfit are super affordable from Target and can easily be worn in plenty of different ways, which is a key factor in whether or not I’ll purchase something. I like loose clothing, so this dress stood out to me on the hanger as looking particularly comfortable, which is ultimately why I gave it a try. Puff sleeves are quite the trend right now, and since the sleeves are longer, they aren’t as overwhelming as some I’ve seen, which works well with this silhouette. I wore the dress with slide on leopard shoes (although I just realized they aren't visible in the picture I shared) that I’ve had for years from Target, but I also anticipate wearing this with sneakers and another pair of leopard shoes I have when it cools down. Although not shown, a scarf would be super cute thrown on as well! 

Until I get around to sharing more of my fall outfits, I share lots of outfit inspiration in my Sunday posts that may be of interest to you too.

Fellow Furman alum, just much older! What are your favorite Greenville must-dos?

Like my answer to the Birmingham question above, this could be a lengthy stand-alone post! I have shared a Greenville guide here, but Greenville continues to expand, so I am sure there are plenty of newer places I’m missing, but off the top of my head, here are some of my favorites.

Casual Dining: Cantina 76, Sully’s Steamers, Sidewall, Smoke on the Water

Elevated Dining: Jianna’s, Soby’s

Traveler’s Rest: Tandem, Sidewall

Sweets: Spill the Beans, Brick Street (for a slice of their Sweet Potato Cake)

Drinks: Foxcroft, Sip, Up on the Roof

Activities: Exploring the Swamp Rabbit Trail, Walk around the Furman lake, Downtown Greenville Farmer’s Market, Hiking trails on mountains nearby, Greenville Drive games

Favorite fall pattern? 

I am having trouble thinking of all the patterns that signify fall to me, but the first thing that comes to mind is leopard print. There are times when it can look less tasteful than others, but when the pattern is done well, it’s one of my favorites! 

What are you most excited about for Macy and Drew’s wedding?! -Macy (given that it is very specific, I feel the need to call her out on it).

Hooray, that Macy’s wedding weekend is pretty much here! Aside from the excitement of seeing she and Drew get married, I am looking forward to hanging out with her other bridesmaids since we all had a blast on her bachelorette, seeing how everything comes together with all of the details she and her family have meticulously planned, hanging out with friends I don’t get to see as often as I’d like to, seeing my family and going to the wedding with them (am I weird for loving when my parents and I are at weddings together?), and showing my roommate and Hunter Fairhope since neither of them has been recently

What does your blogging schedule look like? You’re so consistent! 

It’s a lot of working at odd hours for me since I work a full-time job during the workday. The habit I’ve gotten into is to wake up early so that I have about an hour each morning to work on blog posts and graphics. I usually spend an hour two or three nights a week also working on posts. Even with it being a time-consuming hobby, I love having a creative outlet that is all my own. I used to be really great about having all of my posts for the week written by Sunday afternoon and have been slacking on that as of late. 

At first, I was worried that wouldn’t be enough questions to make a post, but in a word document, it’s over three pages long, so I’m going to say it suffices. I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to these questions, and if you think of any others, you can always send them my way via email or Instagram! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

My Favorite Fall Totes

All-day yesterday felt like it was Wednesday, so I’m a little off schedule today and didn’t realize until now that I forgot to hit “publish” on this post. I’m glad I realized it when I did, though, since I had a lot of fun working on it. Between outfit photos that I share in my Monday Step Into My Week posts and blog posts over the years, y’all have probably gotten used to seeing Barrington Gift’s tote bags in those images, and with good reason. At this point, I have quite a collection of them, which makes it so that I use them pretty much year-round. They are durable, a great size, and completely customizable making them a no-brainer in my mind! 

After seeing tons of cute posts from Barrington Gifts on their Instagram of the new fall patterns and monogram styles, I thought it was time to head to their site and play around with the designs on my own. I am loyal to the St. Anne Tote (all mine don’t have a zipper, but that is an option if you want it) for everyday errands and work, but I’m hoping that a St. Charles Yacht Tote (which is much larger in size and great for travel) will be the next addition to my collection. Although the holidays currently feel like a distant thought, it won’t be long before you’re brainstorming a personalized gift to give someone, and one of these tote bags or any of the products on Barrington Gift’s site would undoubtedly be well received. 

I am sharing some of my favorite combinations of fall patterns and colors below for you, but if you have some free time, then play around with the bag creator on their website to make something that is entirely your own! And if you see a bag that strikes your fancy, you can click on it in the image below to be taken to where it can be shopped. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Amazon Prime Day Favorites

 It’s funny to be working on this post now since usually Prime Day is in July. I had started a list in the spring of what items I’d want to include in a round-up for y’all, which made narrowing down what to include as my favorite purchases from Amazon relatively easy. While I’m never entirely sure of what items I love will be included in the sale until the sale starts, I figured it was best to do my best to share favorites in a broad range of categories. The good thing about most of these finds is that they are pretty affordable to begin with! 

Like many people, I have fallen into the trap of loving the near-instant gratification that an Amazon order can provide. It’s just too easy to stock up on anything you may need plus plenty of things you didn’t realize you wanted until you started to scroll mindlessly. In college, I had a Prime Student Membership, which meant that I could easily order textbooks, coffee, or even a dress or shoes for a function and have it within two days setting the bar very high when it comes to delivery speeds. 

For those of you who may be unaware, a yearly Prime membership gets you free two-day shipping and returns, access to tons of movies and shows, and more. For me, the shipping benefits alone are worth the membership price, but today is an especially tempting day to get on board with a Prime Membership since the deals on their site are exclusive to those with membership. The sale will end tomorrow, and some deals like the lightning deal products will be gone even sooner. Some of the best deals I am seeing so far are those that include various technology items like a ring doorbell, multiple TVs, and webcams to make zoom calls a little more high-tech. 

Since graduating from college and grad school, I have outfitted a classroom in Amazon supplies, ordered furniture and décor for my house, and have relied almost exclusively on some of Amazon for cute, comfy, and durable workout wear! I’ve shared plenty of posts in the past that feature these items that I’ve included as links below in case you’re hoping to add a few more things to your cart before checking out. 

Top Personal Amazon Buys // Top Teaching Amazon Buys // Affordable Workout Wear // Fall Amazon Finds

Below you will find my favorite Amazon purchases. To shop the items, you can click directly on them in the image below! So far, all I’ve purchased are these at nearly half off, but if I had more room in my kitchen, I would definitely be getting one of these!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Step Into My Week 10.12

Happy Monday! The weather has finally cleared up here after a rainy weekend, and I'm glad to leave my rain jacket in the car today (hopefully I won't regret that). I feel ready to take on the week and am hoping to have a productive start today especially since I'm leaving town on Thursday and don't want to have to take any work with me! Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday morning, I woke up a little after 6:00 and started my day working on blog posts from bed. Then it was time to get ready and head into the office to be productive before a meeting I had scheduled that morning. I was shocked by how much I got done, most of which involved packaging up boxes from the shoot I had the previous week that needed to be shipped back. Then it was time for my meeting, more shoot returns, and nailing down a location for a shoot next week. By the time I slowed down, I realized it was nearly 1:30, and I still hadn’t had lunch. I ate at my desk while finishing up some more tasks on my to-do list before heading home to work from there that afternoon. I went for a walk with a friend in the afternoon. We then played a few rounds of Monopoly deal, and ultimately decided to eat pizza for dinner. I think we watched football that night (so many sports) until I left to go home.

I worked in bed for a while on Tuesday morning before heading to true40 for a workout. I came home, got clean, worked a little, and then decided to head into the office to work for the afternoon. I needed to start packing up for my shoot on Thursday, which meant I also needed to finish unpacking from my last shoot to do that. I went home after doing all of that and spent my evening on the sofa watching Emily in Paris on Netflix. 

Wednesday morning, I woke up early to get some work in before true40. I went to class and then to Trader Joe’s to pick out pumpkins for a shoot I actually have this coming week. I went home and showered after that and as I was grabbing my bag and getting ready to leave for the office encountered a lizard. If you know me at all in person, you probably know that I am terrified of lizards. I wish I could pinpoint why so it doesn’t seem so irrational, but when I stepped on it barefooted that morning, I screamed (and I’m not much of a screamer). I eventually handled that situation and went to work with my heart still racing. I finished packing up for my shoot and arranged the flowers before running one last errand for the shoot. That night I met Eliza of Paper Eliza for a glass of wine at Golden Age in Mountain Brook. We’ve followed each other on Instagram for a while and finally were able to set a date and time to meet in person, and I am so glad we did. Kindred spirits for sure! After that, it was back home to watch the debate with Rebecca and Nell. 

I woke up way earlier than I wanted to on Thursday after not sleeping well at all that night. I got ready and headed into the office to finish loading up to head to the location of my shoot for the day. The theme of this one was a spring Sip & See, which was a lot of fun to put together. We wrapped up around 1:30, and I went back to the office to unload the props. Once I went home, I showered and got some work done. I attempted to take a nap but couldn’t fall asleep, so I did laundry instead. I made dinner at a friend’s house, and we watched TV for a bit before I went home.

I started my Friday morning with another workout at true40 and then got to work from home. After going into the office most of the week, it was nice to stay home to work, especially since it was gloomy. Before I knew it, it was the afternoon, and I changed my sheets, cleaned a bit, and was able to get a lot of blog work done. I made cookies after that to take to a football-watching gathering I was going to the next day and then eventually went to a friend’s house so we could figure out what we wanted to do about dinner. We ended up picking up Taco Mama and eating it at his house while watching the NBA game and then watching about an hour of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I was falling asleep during that, so I ended up leaving and going to bed.

Saturday, I woke up to it pouring outside and rolled over and fell back asleep for a while. Eventually, I got up and went to Crestline Bagel to pick up breakfast and take it to my friend’s house while we watched football. After watching one game and a bit of another, I came back to my house to work on blog work while watching Hocus Pocus before our evening plans. A group of our friends were hosting some of us at their home to watch the Alabama game that evening. We arrived around 6:30 when the game kicked off and stayed until just after it was over. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but I am glad Alabama could pull through in the end. 

It was raining again on Sunday morning, which made for a good day to sleep in again. I didn’t’ do much that morning, aside from going to Waffle House and take it to my friend’s house to eat while watching a soccer game. I did some blog work on the sofa while finishing some blog posts, showered, and hung out with Nell before getting ready for a cocktail party that evening to kick off Macy’s wedding week. We had drinks at our friend’s apartment before going to The Grand Bohemian in Mountain Brook for a cocktail. I got home around 9:15 and went to bed shortly after.

Hopefully, y’all had a great week as well! 

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