Thursday, April 29, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 4.29.21

An Evening with Girlfriends

As our hostess and ultimate gourmet gal put it, "The Joys of Being Vaccinated" --so lovely. Thank you, Jill, for having (most of) our Foodie Night gang on your gorgeous patio last night. The weather was cooperative, the food was outstanding, and the company was divine. We began with a champagne toast to Science, worked our way through this beautiful tray of goodies, feasted on one of the best salads I've had --jam-packed with goodness and dressed in so much flavor (we didn't have the linked Kale Caesar --but the dressing was VERY similar and should literally be served on almost everything), then we finished with Jill's insane (not hyperbole) cookies. Bliss.

My Early Mother's Day Gift

Swoon. I'm in love with my Operetta crossbody that arrived this week. It's a splurge, for sure, but as you can see, it pairs great with my Target t-shirt and linen skirt! Balance, people. Balance.

"Am I doing this right?"


It's certainly not the first time I've blogged about this Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish. It always goes on in one coat and I love it (because that's all I ever carve out time for). I picked up a new shade for spring at the grocery store last week. This one is called Hail Cherry and it's a cheerful orangey-red.

Garden Surprises

Looky looky! Our first babies from the garden have made an appearance. We planted 4 tomato starts this year and hope to have even half the harvest we enjoyed last year. So long as we can keep the squirrels and raccoons at bay, we might have a chance. I'll keep you posted because, as you know, I'm basically a farmer now.

Virtual Community Potluck

My friend, Anne, texted a couple weeks ago, "I'm going to host this interesting dinner thing via Zoom. It's a community potluck, but there will just be four of us around my actual table. Do you and Greg want to come?" Me, "YES. Sounds confusing and fun. We'll be there." Fixa-Plate is the brainchild of Kathren Martin, a theatre professor, who came up with the concept: a community potluck to come together around the virtual kitchen table in order to share recipes and talk about the past and the future of Charlotte. There are several steps that come together to create the event. Participants create a "pod" (invite a few friends to their home for the dinner), choose a favorite recipe to share with the larger community group (in advance), and for the meal each "pod" makes a meaningful main dish (and perhaps 1-2 side dishes). In addition, your pod prepares one of the community members' side dish (that you've been "assigned" in advance --another pod is cooking and eating the favorite dish you shared earlier). Everyone enjoys their meals with Gran's biscuits that Martin has delivered to your door (it's her great-grandmother's recipe). Dinner is served in tandem across the community as each pod logs-on to the virtual experience. You're able to see other groups of friends and family as they sit  around dining tables that stretch across Charlotte. Martin was an exceptional facilitator! She effortlessly and thoughtfully lead us through discussions around social justice, economic disparity, gentrification, and the history of Charlotte --all the while making us feel warm, welcomed, and a valuable part of the conversation. There was a nominal fee to participate (Martin allocates 40% of the proceeds to local nonprofits and charities) --but I'm so sorry to report that the event dates have passed. You missed it --or at least, this part of "It." Martin plans to build out the created and shared content of these dinners (in addition to other components) into an artistic production by Fall 2021. I look forward to seeing where she and her team takes us. While you missed participating in one of these unique dinners, you can watch the process unfold on Instagram by following the hashtag #fixaplate. If we're all very lucky, her concept will catch on and more of these events will be offered in the future --perhaps not only here in Charlotte, but elsewhere as well. In the meantime, follow @MixedMetaphorsProductions for more community engagement opportunities in Charlotte and to possibly become a part of the finished piece!

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, April 22, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 4.22.21

A Good Cause (that ENDS TOMORROW)

Many of you know that the Children's Theatre of Charlotte has been near and dear to my heart since moving to Charlotte 8 years ago. I've served as a volunteer, committee chair, event organizer, and president of their auxiliary. Typically, we are able to host a big gala and fundraiser this time of year that helps fund their educational programming, productions, and outreach initiatives. We've pivoted for 2021 and are running a grassroots/community fundraiser instead. I'd love it if you'd consider donating toward my goal. If met, I will film myself getting "caked"--not something I'm looking forward to --but raising money for this amazing organization is certainly worth a little frosting up my nose. If you're ON FACEBOOK you can donate directly toward my goal. If you're not on Facebook but would still like to make a contribution, please use THIS LINK. My second goal is to be as delighted with the outcome as Piper is in this sweet pic.

Pool Tote

The girls and I ventured out last weekend when the weather was near-perfect to visit Nebel's Alley Night Market for some thrifted and artisan shopping. We also stumbled upon a cute boutique in SouthEnd called Lilbelle and I found this adorable tote. They had so many cute options! I know many of you readers are not nearby --no worries! I was able to find the same bags online. Which would you choose?

Ben Sleeping Through the Night

"Good lort" as my friend, Miranda, would say. And if you're not following @MirandaInCLT on Instagram, you are missing out. Seriously. Her stories are GOLD. Back to Ben sleeping: He did it! I hesitate to celebrate because of course, it may have been a fluke but I just have to let myself enjoy this moment. It's been a long time coming. You know, we had a really hard week last week with several trips to the vet, specialists, ER, and then an MRI. He was completely thrown off his routine and we were all fairly traumatized... He's doing so GREAT now. He's getting back on track and last night he went into his crate willingly and without a fuss. And here's the best part: I woke HIM up just after 6am this morning! I cannot emphasize enough what a big deal this is. Seriously. Good lort. Praise Cheeses.

Thoughtful Surprises (especially when they involve naked ladies)

Speaking of our dramatic and traumatic week, last week... my sweet friend, Simone, send me a little "pick me up" in the mail (just for a smile) and I absolutely love how well she knows me and how she knew this was a perfect present. You can have one too --I've linked it HERE. I immediately thought I would put a houseplant in it --but then I saw these images when I went looking for a link for y'all and now I think I may just use it as a vase. TBD

Super Easy Jumpsuit

It's athletic wear! I found this at Target the other day and thought it would be a long-shot but worth a try. I'm so glad I picked it up. I love the elastic cinch at the waist, the oversized pockets with the single pin-tuck design detail, the tailoring at the shoulder, and those cap sleeves. I sized up (XL) because it was the only option on the rack (besides Small) and I'm thrilled with the fit. I love how "roomy" it is around my backside/hips --but I'm not swimming in the top half. With the cinching, I think the oversized fit works flatteringly. If you follow this LINK you'll see models in slightly different fits with the waist less-cinched. I also ordered it in the green color. This jumpsuit will be a regular feature on the soccer sidelines this spring (until the weather gets too hot) because the fabric is totally breathable and it's just too easy to throw on and appear that you've made some effort.

Lemon Chicken Skewers with Creamy Feta Sauce

Half Baked Harvest does it again. Sarah made these Lemon Chicken Skewers with Creamy Feta Sauce last week and shared on our Foodie Night text chain. I'm pretty sure almost all of us have made it now too. Certainly, this was just the first of many times I'll make this dish. Sarah suggested using chicken thighs instead of breasts, which I did. I served mine over white rice --but it would excellent on it's own beside another veggie side or green salad. My asparagus was fairly thin so it was tricky/frustrating to thread onto the skewers without breaking apart. I might sub broccoli florets, whole button mushrooms, or pre-steamed Brussels sprouts next time. You could even do the marinade on whole chicken breasts for the grill and load up the veggies on skewers along to save time. This recipe is a great find for the season and for the warmer temperatures (unless you're in Charlotte and experiencing this crazy cold snap with me). Tieghan offers hundreds of free recipes on her Half Baked Harvest blog but if you're looking for a quick and easy Mother's Day gift to wrap or have delivered, her cookbooks Super Simple and Harvest are fantastic choices!

Simple Leather Slides

These are even better in-person than I had hoped. The leather is supple, the soles are comfortable, and the pop of colored thread on that top seam is FUN! If you're between sizes, size up (I returned them in 7.5 and bought 8s). I got the brown ones. Is that boring? Which color is your favorite?

Safety Pin Earrings

A little edgy and super fun. So affordable. Pick some up for the next girlfriend's birthday that sneaks up on you! Thank you, Simone, for putting these on my radar. xxoo

Mother's Day (thoughtful and affordable) Gift Ideas...

... but don't forget the HOMEMADE CARD. A great resource for sweet and thoughtful Mother's Day gift ideas is the blog post I did during the holidays. There are a ton of gift ideas there that range from a few dollars to about $150 and everything is linked and accessible. If you do your shopping now, you'll have plenty of time for reasonable shipping. Here's a peek at some of what's in the post.

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, April 15, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 4.15.21

BIG BEN, this Target Dress and Hat, and Fran's Lemon Jelly Sandals

Would you just look at this guy? He's growing like a weed. He's 12 weeks and almost 35 pounds. We are all smitten. He is having some health issues --so it seems like we might have some longterm (simple) care to throw into the mix... I will keep you posted. We've just done some preliminary tests so far. In less-stressful news, how cute is this outfit? HA! I love a dress that you can throw on the makes you look like you put way more effort into it than you actually did. That is this dress. I wish I could tell you the dress was still available; however, I bought it in the fall when I under-packed for a few weeks on the west coast and it is no longer online. But this one is similar and from the same brand, as is this one. The simple knit hat is easy to pair with nearly anything and you can't beat the price. I love having a hat for when the weather in wet. No matter the effort I put into styling my hair I can count on lots of frizz and tons of not-so-good volume even if the air is barely damp. I borrowed these adorable sandals from my friend, Fran, (as we were heading to a soggy outdoor gathering and every wedge I own has a very porous heel). I'm thinking I might have to pick up a pair of my own --they were incredibly comfortable and super cute! Necklace and bracelet stack are favorites too!

woman in a red dress and tan hat holding a big puppy

Planting the Garden

We put the garden in over Spring Break. It's been just under 2 weeks, it's already coming along so nicely! Last year we harvested tons of tomatoes, radishes, squash, and banana peppers. We had less success with the pole beans, carrots, strawberries, and kale. This year, we skipped the carrots and kale, planted a couple different onions, went for peas instead of beans, and are trying our hand at cantaloupe. I'll keep you posted!

side by side shot of a raised garden bed
Progress shot!

two teens talking in the garden

A Visit from Simone and Coco

One of my besties and her sweet tween, Charlotte (aka, Coco), came out from California to spend some of their spring break with us and to explore the Carolinas. We were so happy to have them --though it wasn't for nearly enough time! We dined, played, relaxed, sipped, and shopped. Simone also had this lovely plant potted into a perfectly-matched-to-my-kitchen-island pot when we visited the PlantHouse (formerly known as PlantBar).

two women posed with big smiles

bright green houseplant in a blue and grey vessel

Riverbend Retreat

Later, during our break, we had the pleasure of spending a couple days with our friends at their mountain retreat in Todd, NC. Their home is located on the New River and we passed our time playing games, kayaking, taking walks, watching our puppy torment their older and less-enthusiastic older dogs, hot tubbing, and snacking. We intended to stay a bit longer but as I just mentioned, we brought our new puppy along so it ended up being more work than we had in mind.

woman on a lawn chair with a puppy underneath sitting by a river

bernedoodle puppy


This movie is a beautiful look at what defines family and what makes a home. We laughed out loud throughout and during the in-between times, fell in love with each of the characters as they worked through their individual struggles. It's a quiet movie so if you're looking for big action and weighty drama this one might not be for you. 

Minari movie poster

Chicken Braised in Coconut Milk with Sweet Potatoes and Rice

An oldie but a goodie. This flavorful dish from Half Baked Harvest is one I will continue to come back to. It manages to be both hearty and bright. The Instant Pot method results in fork-tender chicken and sweet potatoes that are swimming in coconut milk seasoned with fresh cilantro, spices, shallots, and lime juice. Over rice and with a toasted piece of naan --this dinner is a winner! 

bowl of chicken recipe

Cupcake Surprise

I saw an amazing post on Instagram from a favorite follow: @Flourdeliz. In celebration of the quickly-approaching Derby, Liz had created a Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea cupcake. I mean, come on! I shared the post in my story and invited anyone to bake me a few. To my ultimate delight, the doorbell rang yesterday evening and our amazingly thoughtful friends were standing on the porch with a tray full of these cupcakes! I'm not even kidding. I was thunderstruck --and then I was very full (because I had to have TWO). Thank you, Sara, for your kindness. I mentioned at the top of this post that Ben has been having some health issues and yesterday was a doozy of a day. Sara could not have known just how much I needed a little sunshine in my day --and boy did she deliver!

peach cupcake with white frosting
Normally, the blooming azaleas would also make my "love list"; however, now that the sticky blossoms adhere to Ben's feet and bumbum like sap, they are struggling to make my list.


Basically, all of it. :) I bought these ankle-length, "90s Cheeky jeans" from Everlane (my first pair from there) and they exceeded my expectations. What I love: the waist is high enough to be current but not so high that I look and feel like an idiot; the pockets are set on the higher side which creates a more flattering look, the waist fits AND the hips fit too (hard to accomplish). The tank is as comfortable as they come --but the cut makes it feel a little more "elevated" than it really is. I bought the one pictured here at a tiny boutique in Bend, Oregon a couple summers ago but this one is similar. This "oatmeal" cardigan (named by me for the texture and color --though, it does come in a dozen other colors too) is perfect for the in-between season we're in (mine is a medium). These plastic sandals from Old Navy are cute and ridiculously easy to wear all day long (even with my high arches). Even the sunglasses are an inexpensive favorite --and they have a coupon code available at the moment!

woman posed in front of a brick wall
What is she looking at? What is making her smile? No one really knows.
(Foreheads in image are smaller than they appear.)

Easter Festivities 

You may have noticed that I skipped posting last week. Spring break plans, the Easter holiday, guests from out of town, and Ben seemed to fill up all of my days and I found I just didn't have enough time set aside. I did want to note how nice it was to spend the gorgeous Easter holiday with Greg's mom (who has recently relocated from California to Charlotte and now lives about a mile from us). After a delicious brunch to a newer restaurant in town, The Artisan's Palate (oh my gosh, GO! if you're in town), "Grandma Lulu" spoiled us with outdoor games, prizes, and a delicious ham dinner. We are beyond grateful to have her so close --especially knowing the girls will be heading off before we know it! Also, Ben was super handsome in his borrowed bunny ears, don't you agree?

Signage from The Artisan's Palate Restaurant

a mom with two teen daughters at brunch

bernedoodles puppy wearing bunny/carrot ear headband
"Bok bok"

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, April 1, 2021

Things I Love Thursday // 4.1.21

More Progress on the Study

The walls are filling up and the shelves are getting styled! I found some simple black shelves at Marshall's last week and have been playing around with getting them styled. I just ordered a small piece of art so they will likely change again before I'm "done" --and really, I'm never "done." I also (finally) found a narrow shelf unit for under the window. I wanted a home for some books, cocktail accessories, plants, and photo albums but was having a hard time sourcing something vintage/second-hand that was the right size. The unit I ended up getting is from Overstock and it was very easy to put together. It looks quite handsome too. We picked up a couple small beverage tables from West Elm and plan to use the window sills for cocktail rests too. Most of the time, the middle of the room will remain empty for ease of traffic through the space; however, when serving appetizers or dessert in this room, I have a "deconstructed" coffee table solution I look forward to showing you soon.

plant propagation, my paternal grandparents, Mr.&Mrs. vases from my MIL, and some odds and ends

The console table is unavailable; however, this one is similar as is this one.

Greg's maternal grandparents on their wedding day... sorry about the glare.

An heirloom painting (and featured vase below) from Greg's family at the bar cart might be my favorite.

The Cutest Linen Cocktail Napkins

What a lovely surprise to ring in Spring! My sweet and thoughtful friend, Amy, just gifted me these super-fun cocktail napkins from August|Morgan by Kate Hersch. The detailing is perfection and the sentiments are right up my ally! I cannot wait to put them to good use. That ram is full-on Capricorn and I am here for it!

Our Dogwood Tree

The bloom never lasts long enough --so if you blink, you might miss it! If I were more clever, I might attempt something along the lines of my friend, Laura (CityStems) with these amazing branches. Just look at this arrangement she posted today in her Instagram account! She's too damn good. Sorry non-Charlotte readers... she offers local delivery only --but definitely follow the account for some eye-candy.

Ben the Bernedoodle

The puppy has nearly doubled in size and he's still figuring some things out... like how to be a good passenger in the car. (No worries, we were not moving when this picture was taken.) He is playful, sweet, NIPPY, and is getting so much better in his crate (though he still thinks 5:30am is a good time to wake up). My favorite time is when he's sleepy and/or altogether asleep --though, he does fart when he's snoozing and that is definitely not awesome at 26 pounds --so I hate to imagine what it's going to be like closer to 80 pounds.

Live-Edge Shelves

I absolutely love these wall shelves from Anthropologie. Each one is unique (and so freaking heavy). Unfortunately, one of the sizes I purchased is back-ordered --so it will be some time before they get installed. I'm planning to put them adjacent to the large round mirror in the living room and style them with terra-cotta potted plants (as the window there is one of the few that gives great light). 

This one is size small.

This is the idea... (from the Anthro website). I ordered these sizes + an additional small.

Planning to arrange the shelves in this space.

Ben's Playpen

My friend, Tracie, loaned me this giant playpen for Ben and it's been wonderful. As he is still only 10 weeks old, he must be under constant supervision. When Ben is in his pen, we can all still enjoy movies together in the evening --or even porch time when the weather is cooperating. This is a game-changer and he doesn't seem to mind it at all.

Ben's Tag

Ok, ok! It's a "Ben-Heavy" post... but can you blame me?? Just look how handsome he is in this sweet tag I had made on Etsy. When he was at the breeders, he was called "orange male" and we've kept the orange theme going --because he's so handsome in orange, obviously. 

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 ;)