Thursday, October 29, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 10.29.20

Things I Love Thursday: A weekly roundup of the simple things that are bringing me joy and that I want to share with you.

A surprise gift: Amazon Infinity Scarf

It was easy for my friend, Amy, to get me to join her "chain letter style" gift exchange on Facebook --not just because I'm a sucker but mainly because I've done this kind of thing before and it's delightful. If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me know and I'll take the time to explain in the comments. Long story short, this chunky, soft, oatmeal scarf arrived at my house today out of the blue from a stranger playing the game and I love it. Seriously. I've been wearing it all day and I haven't even left the house (I only stepped outside to take this rare selfie so I could show it to you). I looked it up by the packaging so I could share it with you and it comes in tons of colors and two different knit patterns. So affordable (and in my case: free). Love. (p.s. If you're looking for some inexpensive sunglasses that hide the fact that you've not "put on your eyebrows" yet, these ones couldn't be better!)

Comfy Season

Chilly temperatures, soups, snuggling... and also when my kids bust out one of the best gifts they received last year: their oversized, ridiculous, amazing, sherpa-lined "poncho thingies" (literally called The Comfy). Here's a picture of my kid wearing one behind our 23 pound ragdoll cat, Richard Parker. The Comfy is so generous that you can see a lot of it despite the size of the cat. Ha! Hooded and with a kangaroo pocket, these babies show up around here all fall/winter long. Thank you to the Bills Family for introducing us! Pictured below, a pile of teens getting comfy in their Comfys (winter 2019).

Lion-Cut Season

Wait. You didn't know? It's a thing. Every winter Richard Parker grows a thick undercoat. This happens despite the fact that he rarely steps outside his temperate home --and when he does venture out a door that's been left open, he typically runs back into the house shortly thereafter due to his being spooked by exceedingly dangerous things that live outside, like wind, and grass, or the occasional leaf. In any event, he produces excess fur, doesn't tolerate a good brushing, and ends up fairly matted. The mats can quickly get out of hand. Thankfully, we've found the solution: Seasonal Lion-Cuts from his stylist groomer. (And yes, he still weighs 23 pounds without the fur. He's chonky.) 
Richard Parker with a mat on his hip.
Sometimes it's hard to choose a "best" angle when all your angles are best.

Understated Holiday Decor

Don't get me wrong, I love OVERstated holiday decor as well --but the understated kind I can squeeze into the house before Thanksgiving by calling it "Winter" themed. See what I did there? I found these little goodies this week in the Target Dollar Spot at our Charlotte Midtown location. I fell hard for the pom pom trees that really are as soft as they look ($1/each). The wooden house silhouettes seemed the perfect compliment on our newly-painted mantle so those came home with me too ($5/set of 4). I wish you luck in finding some at a Target near you, as they are unavailable to link online. :(

Quality Tahini

The best ingredients make the best results. Thanks to my pal, Jill, I've fallen in love with Soom tahini. Are you not even using tahini yet?? Get. On. The. Bus. This is a staple ingredient in a lot of my favorite recipes and serves as the base for some favorite dressings and dips. Soom is nutty and rich, velvet smooth, shelf stable, and recommended by everyone who cooks (just kidding --but certainly by a lot of people who know more than me). Try it in these tasty recipes: Milk Street's Israeli Hummus, Plated's Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs, Half Baked Harvest's Kale Caesar Salad (or just make the dressing and dip everything into it). 

Rubbish Pet Portraits

I couldn't help but giggle when read this feel good story out of the UK. Phil, a father from West Sussex who draws under the fake alias "acclaimed artist Hercule Van Wolfwinkle," (to date he has) raised the equivalent of $26K for Turning Tides Homelessness by giving away his poorly drawn pet portraits in exchange for donations to the charity. This is just one of his masterpieces. Visit the link to read the story and enjoy all of the amazing examples of his work (along with the funny fake reviews of the portraits that he writes as well). Good stuff! If you want a drawing for yourself, you'll have to get in line behind thousands at his facebook page.

The softest (and flattering!) caftan nightgown

I've blogged about this piece before. I bought it last year and it has held up great! It's the perfect thing to grab in the morning if I'm heading downstairs for some quiet time with my coffee and my cat. Pictured below is the version from 2019 that I own and love. Unfortunately, this navy with cobalt is no longer an option; however, it comes in a few other combos for 2020 (navy with grey details and grey with black details are my faves). It's washable, the v-neck makes it feel "sexy" even though you're basically wearing a sleep sack for grownups, the length is chic, and the way the fabric comes together at the sleeves and down the sides gives it a "put together" look that belies it's outstanding comfort. If you're wondering about sizing: I'm 5'6" and I bought this at 135 pounds. Thanks to quarantine, that's not my current weight --but the caftan still fits beautifully. Mine is a small. ;)

Charlotte Nonprofit Spotlight: Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary

On the most excellent idea from my friend, Anne, I've decided to highlight a local nonprofit in each of my TILT posts moving forward. If there's one thing I love it's giving back to our community, our public schools, and the arts in Charlotte. One of the very first "neighborhood adventures" we had was discovering Wing Haven. You can read about our 2013 visit in this blog post --though, I'm sure a lot has changed since then! (The picture below is my now almost 14 year old studying her Bird Watching Chart.) Wing Haven is currently looking for Children Education Facilitators to assist with check-in, read stories, help with crafts, or lead programs. For more information on how you can volunteer for this flexible opportunity (or simply donate), click here to the Share Charlotte webpage for details. You can also support Wing Haven by shopping their holiday greenery sale!

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 10.22.20

Things I Love Thursday: A weekly roundup of the simple things that are bringing me joy and that I want to share with you.

Christening our "porch refresh" 

We spend a lot of time out here when the weather is cooperating. While we love our patio furniture sets (we have another pair of chairs and table facing these across the rug), unfortunately, the cushion covers are not removable. Even less fortunately, we are not known for taking fussy care of our outdoor things (or any care, really). Long story, short: we needed to replace four pillows. I found these gorgeous ones at Marshalls for a steal. They looked great with the brick and trim but clashed with our well-loved and super-sturdy outdoor rug (which was predominately yellow). Soooo.... that got updated too. The other rug had held up like a champ (despite our neglect) so I made it a point to order a replacement made from the same material (recycled plastic) and from the same company (on Amazon). I'm absolutely loving the way this less-than-$200 project rejuvenated a space where we spend so much time! Our patio set(s) are no longer available; however, I did find this similar patio set at a great price. And this one

Coziest and Stylish Target Poncho 

I saw this cozy sweater on Ashley Petrone a super-positive, very pregnant, design blogger that I follow on Instagram. I was INFLUENCED. So happy to report that it is roomy (and also flattering), cozy, and perfect to layer with leggings or jeans this fall/winter. It comes in four colors. Boring me chose oatmeal and it's lovely! (one size)
{image via}

Enlightened Ice Cream Pops = Guilt-free sweet treats

Wow. This is a generous serving of creamy deliciousness --that if you're counting/calculating carbs and sugar, is only 1g of net carbs and <1-1g sugar per pop. That's bananas. Only it's not bananas --because those are actually full of carbs and sugar and this is not. It's just yummy and seems super indulgent. They're Enlightened (clever name) and pay attention to the packaging because not all the flavors are made the same. Big thanks to Samantha who brought them to my attention! Linked here to see the packaging --but you'll need to look for them at your local grocery store.

Swedish Dish Cloths 

I first "discovered" these little sponges at a favorite local boutique, Paper Skyscraper. I bought two, one to gift and one to keep. Since then, I've gifted several others. They really have become a favorite thing! Not only are they mighty kitchen workhorses (Reusable. Washable. Compostable.), I am also quite obsessed with the artful designs. Sadly, Paper Skyscraper does not do online sales. Happily, I've found them elsewhere online just for you! Unable to find my Tigers, but I love these Cheetahs. Check out these LEMONS (already ordered myself some, of course). J'adore these Paris ones! And check out these big ones --adorable!

A surprise delivery - Homemade Macaroons

My thoughtful friend, Sarah, popped over this week and surprised us with an adorable box of homemade macaroon cookies. Sarah's daughter and her friend have recently started a macaroon business. I've been meaning to place an order and sample them... WOW! These are seriously good cookies. If you're in the Charlotte area, I encourage you to follow M&K Macaroons. They have a simple ordering system that you can access from their BIO and they're even doing a giveaway (ends 10/29) that you can enter for a chance to win some goodies!

Homemade pizza... 

... that has been grilled on the pizza stone we gifted Greg for father's day. I'm pretty sure you can use it in the oven as well, but for some reason, the pizzas taste better when I know they've been cooked outside (Or maybe it's the fact that I didn't have to bake them?). In any event, we love homemade pizza night. Everyone does their own and makes it just the way they like. You can make your own dough (I've shared the recipe before). Or you can buy store-bought. When I buy it from the store, I usually split a "standard" (Pillsbury or deli-fresh) portion in half to create two generous individual size pizzas. Always a dinner hit!

(Super Affordable) Wicker Christmas Tree Skirt 

We went to Walmart last weekend to pick up a few more stackable adirondack-style chairs for the fire pit area and as we were walking through the holiday department toward the garden center, I caught sight of a beautiful tree "collar" made of natural fiber (wicker?). I'd never seen anything like it. It's certainly not the traditional fabric "skirt" but for $20, I thought we'd give it a go this year. Later the same day, I was walking through our neighborhood (chain) hardware store and saw an almost identical item for $130! Good grief! For some reason, I can't find the one I bought online but I did find this one that's really similar but a little pricier (it comes apart in more pieces for easier storage and has a cute ribbon) and this burlap one that is simpler and very cute too.
This post contains affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 10.15.20

Things I Love Thursday: A weekly roundup of the simple things that are bringing me joy and that I want to share with you.

Family Visits - Celebrating Lulu 

Grandma's in town! We were overdue for a visit and we're finally having one. She arrived yesterday (her birthday) and is swinging right into our routine. Last night we all put on real clothes (I even put on some makeup!) and went out to dinner to celebrate. There was a great sunset, live music, delicious food, and lots of laughs. Cheers to a tiny taste of normal!

Masks from GAP 

Of course, the aforementioned dinner was outside, socially distanced, and masks were worn whenever we were not seated at our table. Speaking of masks, the ones from GAP are my favorite. They are soft, washable, adjustable, and both styles fit really well! Of course, my favorite one is the one that says VOTE (on super sale). The rest (sold in packs of 3) are BOGO half off right now. 
{image via}

Rosemary Toasted Marshmallows 

I mentioned it last week and it's worth bringing up again: we are making the most of the season and enjoying the yard as much as we can right now. Evenings on the back driveway/patio have been a welcomed change. A few weeks ago, we hung some lighting and pulled our weathered chairs around the fire pit. It feels a little like we have a brand new space! I know everyone has been spending extra time at home these days. Creating a great outdoor experience can be simple and easy. We bought our patio fire pit years ago from the local hardware store. They're even more affordable now. I found this one on Amazon for a great price. If you're willing to spend more, they also have this one that is bigger and has a more open style, or this one that has a more contemporary look (which I love). Any of these could be at your house by this weekend, I'll bet!

Comforting Sounds - cards being shuffled

Seriously. This is one of these sounds that can take me right back to happy memories. Card games have always been a regular feature in my life. I recall cigarette smoke, old men, and gruff voices accompanying the card shuffling in the days when my grandfather hosted poker nights in his backyard workshop. My mom often enjoyed a game of solitaire at the kitchen table. I played an outrageous amount of Gin Rummy in college (instead of studying). While visiting my family in Portland this summer, I learned to play Spades. Spades is a team game with four players. I look forward to teaching the girls and Greg to play. In the meantime, I'm completely addicted to playing through an app on my phone. Not only is the game super fun --but the card shuffling sound effect alone makes me happy! 

Soup Weather 

Y'all (for my Charlotte peeps). Dude (for my West Coast peeps). Soup Weather. It's a thing. It's one of my favorite things. I'm a person who could maybe live on soups and stews alone. I could be a perfectly content toothless person --and maybe someday I will be; who knows? Anyhoo... I've been hitting the soup/stew button regularly these past few weeks. Here are three of my favorite NEW recipes. Top left: Mulligatawny Soup (I had never even heard of this supremely popular take on a curry dish). Top right: Nourishing White Bean and Lemon (Blogged about this one last week. If you haven't made it yet, here is your reminder. I added a few cups of shredded chicken to the recipe.) Bottom left: Naked Wonton (The meatball prep is more time-consuming than you think it might be --but so worth it!) Bottom right: homemade sourdough. (Obvi.)
(I also enjoy soups that are not yellow.)

Black Planter Pot 

I found this planter on sale at a local shop and I love it. Most of my indoor planters are terracotta or white. We are redoing the living room and went with a charcoal sofa so I'm adding some darker pops to the room. The tribal pattern is fun and adds great texture. I love how the greenery feels even more vibrant against the black and white ceramic. While I could not find my exact pot online for you, here are some very similar options from Amazon: footed, wooden stand, 2-piece set

Cash Monays - 

At the suggestion of my friend, Miranda, a successful blogger, hilarious Instagram Story-er,  baker of world-famous banana bread, and all-around great gal, (follow, follow, follow) I have finally jumped through a few hoops to get a special "link-up" through Amazon. Because I'm already such a shopper/sharer of Amazon links in this space, you likely won't notice any difference. However, if you end up ordering an Amazon product that I've specifically linked in this blog, word on the street is that they will throw some pennies my way! I'll let you know how it goes --or, if you see me out around town in a new McLaren, then I guess you'll figure it out on your own. (p.s. The only reason I know what a McLaren is is because a sweet 10 year old I know had a dream-come-true birthday surprise when he was taken on the ride of his life a few weeks ago!) 

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 10.8.20

To say that I've been conflicted about getting back into my groove of posting here about the simple pleasures and often superficial things that make me smile, would be an understatement. There are critical issues, sobering and devastating events, and daily WTF moments happening all over our country that leave me reeling. I believe we are living through an unprecedented time with much at stake. Maybe the minutes you spend here might serve as a small escape from the abundant heaviness? I've decided to tiptoe back into this space, as it has always been a part of my own self-care and helped to make me feel connected to people near and far. Cheers to some cheerfulness! 

Things I Love Thursday: A weekly roundup of the simple things that are bringing me joy and that I want to share with you.

Boobie Pot Planter 

How cute is this hand-painted, terracotta boobie pot from ViaUrban on Etsy? I first discovered Jasmine on Instagram through her amazing account @bookish_botanical. She's all about books and plants, so basically, it's a perfect match! AND I got to fill this little goodie with another sweet goodie: this lovely "elephant bush" succulent that was an unexpected gift from my girlfriend, Megan.  

This kid 

Honestly. How is she in high school already? I love this picture of GJ laughing about something and enjoying an evening this summer visiting longtime friends in Portland. Their house is a masterpiece and just being inside it makes G happy. The company is icing on the cake --of which I'm sure, she'll take two servings every time! Love.

Maybelline Lifter Lip Gloss

My friend, Gretchen (of the masterpiece house above), turned me onto this new drugstore lip gloss and it is so so good! It's Maybelline Lifter Gloss and there's some fancy ingredients (apparently) but overall, it just looks and feels great. The wand is bigger than normal for quick application and the shine is just right. There are lots of choices for color. On Gretchen's recommendation, I went with Stone and it's the perfect neutral. Just noticed that Stone is not available through the Amazon link above but you can find it online at Target or probably at your local drug store.

Ted Lasso on Apple TV

DUDE. This is the feel-good show of the year. Available on AppleTV and so incredibly delightful. Jason Sudeikis is perfection --as is the rest of the cast. The humor is spot-on for those 13+ (IMO). Greg and I sailed through the first season and have been enjoying watching the episodes again with the girls. Talk about a little escape from the troubles of our times and a great way to wrap up an evening with the family... Enjoy!
My California girlfriends just texted me about this new dip last weekend. We had a funny exchange and then lo and behold, I did find some at our Charlotte Costco --and avoided the need for smuggling. You can also find it at Target. It's excellent! I want to put it on everything. The base is almonds. Very low carb, no sugar, good amount of protein and fiber for the quantity. Overall a terrific find! Thanks, Ladies! xxoo 

Insta Dri Polish from Sally Hansen 

I've blogged about this polish before (in "Slick Slate"). Here's why I love the product: it goes on in one coat, the texture is smooth and not at all sticky, it dries very quickly (as promised), it holds up to the dishes like a champ, and I never have to use a topcoat for extra shine. It's a great drugstore find --I get mine at my local Food Lion grocery store --but you can find it at Target online and other places too, I'm sure! My latest color is "Expresso" and it appears to be shimmery in the linked photo from Target but it's not.

Dinner outside by the fire

The evenings have cooled and we are enjoying fall out here in Charlotte. After some much-needed yard cleanup, we've been trying to spend more time outside during what is definitely my favorite season. This week, on the recommendation of my friend and fellow "foodie night" contributor,  Amy, I made Nourishing White Bean and Lemon Soup. Oh my! This one should go on your short list! It's all about the lemon (and so am I)! Anyhoo... in a spontaneous move, we decided to eat it campout-style from our laps by the fire pit. Such a simple idea that I think made a big impact toward appreciating the moment.

The SOFTEST Amazon (long) Cardigan

I have been trying to purchase less "fast fashion." I really have. After our shopping hiatus (ugh... longest 5 months of my life!) I was on a fairly good streak. Then COVID and quarantine. After all the bread-baking, plant cultivating, new recipes, overeating, etc... I've fallen back into some less-than-great habits. Among them, a little fast fashion. However... THIS is the softest, coziest, perfect-length, pockets-included fall cardigan. It's $37. I ordered a Medium. I'm going to wear it all of the days. Perhaps you will too?

Lamb Kofta Skewers from Whole Foods 

My friend, Anne, turned us onto these delicious ground lamb kabobs from the prepared meat section. Greg grills them and I usually serve with a green salad and roasted or grilled veggies. They usually offer two flavors: Greek and Turkish. Greek is our jam. If you have access to Whole Foods through Amazon delivery, then it's even easier to get your hands on some. Let me know if you try any!

And finally, a special shoutout to my pal, Sally, who with a little phone call this week pushed me toward the decision to spend a little time thinking about some happiness and sharing it with y'all.

This post may contain affiliate links and I may make a HUGE commission (j/k it's literally pennies) when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. You should know (and I'm legally required to tell you) that as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Feel free to make me RICH. lol ;)