Thursday, March 25, 2021

March 2021 Questions & Answers (Dating, Reading, Routine, and More)

I guess accidentally taking a month off from a questions and answers post left y’all with lots of ideas of what to ask since I think this is my longest Q&A post yet. Although I was working on it off and on, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took over three hours to work on! Hopefully, I got to everyone’s questions, but if not, stay tuned on Instagram since that’s where I always ask you to submit them. 

Before we get into all of the questions, I wanted to take a second and talk about this top. I shared it originally in this post, as it is part of Willow Park Boutique’s Le Printemps collection. Unfortunately, this exact print is sold out, but there are still a few other items from the collection available. Even if one of those pieces doesn’t strike your fancy, I have no doubt other cute pieces on the site will. I ordered it, and it arrived the next day, which was truly impressive and may make the boutique a new go-to for any last-minute pieces I may find! 

How is your needlepoint going?
It’s going well and has been such a fun hobby to discover. I am almost finished with my first project, which was this Taco Mama canvas. I really want to stitch this one next to frame in my bedroom, but sadly it’s sold out, so I’ll more than likely order one from this list instead!

You were one of the bloggers I was really impressed with in 2020 with how thoughtful you were about the Black Lives Matter movement. Are there any books you read or are continuing to read about race and inequality? I feel like I’ve stalled out myself and would love to re-commit!
That is so kind of you to say, especially since I feel like there were so many bloggers who did a much better job being vocal about this than I have. Be the Bridge is next on my list when it comes to nonfiction books on the topic of radical reconciliation. I just recently finished a fiction book, Such A Fun Age, that I feel like brings a wonderful story but also a lot of perspective about race and privilege that I would recommend to anyone! If y’all have recommendations, definitely leave them in the comments! 

What have you struggled with during the pandemic? 
I recognize that I have been so privileged this past year to have remained healthy and been secure in my job. I know that not everyone has been that lucky, and I don’t take that for granted. Compared to those who have lost love ones and struggled in other ways, I feel like my struggles have been minuscule. One thing I’ve had to learn to be better about is being flexible and not so dead set on my plans. We’ve all had plans that went to the wayside this past year and learning to live in the moment and be ok with not having anything scheduled. I’m still working on that (with a long way to go), but this past year forced me into being better about it.

What is your skincare routine?
I’m almost embarrassed to share this because I know it’s probably missing crucial steps that may be recommended by a professional. In the morning, it is so minimal. After waking up and brushing my teeth, I use this Nivea lotion and then use this Cetaphil lotion before putting on makeup. At night, I use CeraVe’s face wash in the shower and a little bit of this Beautycounter charcoal bar. Once I’m out and have dried off, I use the Nivea lotion again and call it a day. When I remember, I apply this Retinol before bed, but because I use it somewhat inconsistently, I don’t know if it really does much. 

Where to buy swimsuits that cover my booty?
I plan to do a whole post about cute swimwear (all of which will have full coverage bottoms because I’m not about anything else). But in the meantime, I rely on J.Crew’s bottoms to cover me up. They usually offer a variety of styles and colors which fit me well and allow me to somewhat match the bottoms to the cute bathing suit tops I find. I’d love to try out a swimsuit from Summersalt, but since I haven’t done so personally yet, I can’t guarantee they are full coverage.

Are you dating? Details? 
Yes, and have been for about a year now (see below).

How did you and your boyfriend (Hunter) meet?
Oh boy, buckle up because a better question would be how many times did y’all meet before anything happened. Because of that, this answer may be a bit lengthy. Hunter and I both actually went to Furman but (despite being a small school) didn’t know one another there. I knew of him, but we are in different grades, so we never really interacted there. 

Fast forward to me moving to Birmingham. One of my first guy friends here is named Wayne, and he invited my roommate, myself, and a few of our friends to a Super Bowl party back in 2019. Hunter and Wayne went to high school, so he (Hunter) was also there. Nell recognized him from Furman and went over to make that connection and came back to me saying that he didn’t really register the connection (which now makes sense given that he’s not the best with names), so when I went over to introduce myself to people in the group I was pretty cold toward him out of solidarity to Nell, oops. Good thing he doesn’t remember that interaction. 

Now fast forward to November of 2019, and at some point during that time, Wayne moved into a house down the street from us, and Hunter became his roommate. Wayne was hosting a small game night and had invited Rebecca, Macy, and me over to his house. When we got there, one of Hunter’s best friends from Furman, RJ, was there who I did know in college, so I went over and talked to them. Mind you, I didn’t reintroduce myself to Hunter since I didn’t think there was a need to, but in retrospect, it may have been helpful for him. We all played a few games together before ending up at Bourbon Street, an old Pizza Hut turned karaoke bar where according to Macy and Rebecca, Hunter was flirting with me but in reality, where we were just chatting. 

You may think that’s where the story ends (begins?), but nothing happened from that, and it took interacting at another Superbowl party at Wayne’s house, a run-in at Taco Mama (where I later learned that Hunter got back in line behind me after already ordering so that we could bump into each other), and then finally at a charity ball before he finally asked for my number. I happened to be there with someone else and was trying not to get separated from him and our group and ended up forgetting to give Hunter the last two digits of my phone number. He didn’t realize the mistake until the next day and although he was able to get the rest of it from Wayne he never used it. 

About a month after that, I was on a run heading back toward my house when we literally ran into one another, and he asked if I intentionally didn’t give him my last two digits and if it wasn’t intentional if he could have them. I agreed but didn’t necessarily think he would use it given that I hadn’t heard from him after the charity ball, but a couple of days later he asked me to play tennis, and I guess the rest is history. 

What would you wear for spring engagement photos? 
Oh gosh, I can’t say that’s something I’ve really thought about. From what I’ve seen friends do, most photographers allow you to have an outfit change mid-shoot. If that’s the case, I’d do something more formal for one outfit and casual for the other. I think the secret to ending up with photos you love is dressing in something that you feel comfortable in. I’d probably go for a dress with wedges for one option and maybe jeans and a cute top for the second.  

Where to get cute décor for an apartment?
I feel like nowadays you can find cute apartment décor just about anywhere. I love wandering through Target’s home section in-store, but I don’t find myself browsing their selection online all that often unless I’m working on an interior design inspiration post (office/guest room and living room). Wayfair and Overstock have great affordable finds that are easier to narrow down if you know what you’re looking for. One Kings Lane and Ballard are some of my favorite stops for general inspiration, and I love Etsy for pillows and trim! I also just discovered that TJ Maxx and Marshalls can be shopped online, which would be another affordable option! 

What are current trends that you can’t get on board with?
Gear up for a long list because it seems like any trend that has originated from TikTok isn’t really my forte. From there includes…biker shorts, tiny sunglasses, cropped tops with sweatpants, long pointy nails, and tube socks. I’m sure I’m missing plenty of other ones I can’t get on board with, but just because I can’t doesn’t mean others don’t have to. I’ve always been a bit more traditional than trendy, so most of these probably come as no surprise.

Classic push present gifts based on your recommendations? 
Another thing I can’t say I’ve ever thought about. I guess it depends on what you and your partner want to spend but something that you’ll have a long time to commemorate the occasion would be special. What comes to my mind initially is jewelry.

What are your impressions of the shooting in Georgia?
I want to say disbelief, but honestly, with how frequently racially charged shootings are occurring, that word wouldn’t be fair to use. Disgusted may be better suited, and I know I’m not alone in wishing that violence of this nature would cease. Since I asked y’all to send questions, we’ve now had an additional shooting in Colorado that I feel similarly about. 

What’s your favorite place to travel and why? I need post covid inspiration!
I haven’t been to many places outside of the US, so while I wish I could say somewhere cool and international my answer is simple, I’m craving a beach trip. Fortunately, that’s a place I can safely travel during Covid, given that my family has a beach house, and everyone is well on their way to getting vaccinated. 

I do have a saved folder on my Instagram with some places I’d love to travel to (although most are a pipe dream). That folder includes:
The Monroe On Spring in Charleston
The Omni Homestead in Virginia
The Broadmoor in Colorado
White Barn Inn in Maine
The Don Cesar Hotel in Florida
Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina
Blackberry Farm in Tennessee
Old Edwards Inn or Half-Mile Farm in North Carolina
Coral House in Harbour Island

Go-to easy dinners you find yourself coming back to over and over.
When I’m looking for something quick and easy, I usually resort to something that can be made on a single pan and assembled in a bowl. Taco bowls and chicken, brussels sprouts, and broccoli bowls are what I tend to gravitate toward most often. I also love making soups in the crockpot because most of the time, all you have to do is dump in the ingredients. I am thinking about doing a post on this if it’s something y’all would be interested in. 

How’d you get into your career design-wise? I love seeing the behind-the-scenes pictures! 
For those of you who may be new, blogging is not my full-time job. Instead, I work as a prop (photo) stylist for a magazine production company (read more about what I do here). I got my start at our company working in an editorial role and, after assisting at many photoshoots with a stylist, discovered my interest in the field. About a year after working on the editorial side, a styling position opened up, and I applied and auditioned. My background in education has no relation, but I think over time, observing stylists on set (and having a knack for creativity thanks to my blog), I was able to develop an eye for the design side of things. 

Favorite tv show lately?
An always favorite for me while multitasking is Criminal Minds. I’m on the final season of Schitt’s Creek and have been really enjoying that too!

Favorite movies/shows you and your boyfriend have watched together?
Hunter knows that if any of the Harry Potter movies are on then, there is no other option of what we will be watching no matter how recently we’ve seen it. Aside from that, we recently went through a phase of watching some Sherlock Holmes movies and The Da Vinci Code duo of movies. As for shows, we’ve watched quite a slew. The 100, Outerbanks, The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Blown Away, The BBQ Cookoff show on Netflix, Queen’s Gambit, the list goes on and on. Currently, we are watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but I’m always open to additional suggestions. 

Cute ideas for décor/furniture for a back patio?
Stay tuned, I have a blog post coming on this!

Have you found a new place to rent?
Yes! I definitely thought I had updated y’all on that, but I am glad you asked! This may be the easiest move of my life since my roommate and I are actually just moving next door. Our landlord also owns that house, and the guys there are moving out, so the timing worked out perfectly. While I wish we could stay in our current home (it’s cuter), our new house will give us the flexibility to get a third roommate. The kitchen is a little bit bigger, which is also going to be nice, and we will have both a yard and a deck, meaning that our patio parties aren’t going anywhere!

Any sunscreen brands you’d recommend? On the same note, any self-tanner recs?
If I’m not using some generic spray sunscreen, then I tend to gravitate toward Sun Bum’s rub in lotion. Because of how often I tend to end up by the water in the summer, most of the time, it’s whatever is on sale at Target. 

As for self-tanner, I’ve used St. Tropez in the past and have stuck to it because I know it works. I don’t use it all that often, so a bottle can last me a while! I’ve also used Coola’s sunless tanner lotion on my face and love the natural color it gives my face when that’s an area I layer on the sunscreen. I recently received a sample of Isle of Paradise’s Tanning Drops and have only used them a couple of times but was pleasantly surprised by how easy they are to use. 

What are you currently reading?
I am in what feels like a forever long process of finishing What Happens In Paradise. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read, but I plan to listen to the third one once I’ve finished. I’m always listening to audiobooks and currently am about five hours into Karin Slaughter’s The Last Widow and just recently finished The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica.

Any trips planned this year?
Nothing major, but I do have a couple of smaller trips lined up. In May, I’ll be going to Asheville, NC with my parents since my dad was supposed to have a bike race there that has yet again been postponed. Since they don’t want to have to keep rescheduling the trip, they’ve decided to go ahead with the trip as planned. In addition to that, I have a wedding to attend in Charlotte, NC in June, but that will likely just be a weekend trip. I’m sure there will be some weekend lake trips and hopefully a trip or two to our family beach house, depending on the progress made after hurricane damage last fall. 

I hope you enjoyed reading through these answers. Thank you so much again for asking such fun questions! 

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