Thursday, October 22, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 10.22.20

  • 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

  • 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)
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  • 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 - 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!

  • 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 ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 10.15.20

  • 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!

  • The sound of 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!) 

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! 

  • Boobie Pot - 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.

  • New 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 - 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!
  • Bitchin' Sauce - 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 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.

  • This Amazon 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 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.