July Reads

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm such a bookworm. I can get lost in a book and look up to realize that the whole day has passed while I've had my nose buried. Or at least I could. I'm sort of relegated to reading during naptime and at night now, but I still love it. So I wanted to share my July reads with y'all in the event that anyone is looking for a good book and may come across this site. Also, I'm always on the hunt for new reads, so please share in the comment section if you have any book recommendations!
 I really enjoy every book that MKA puts out. She has such a sharp wit and her books are some of the few that can literally make me laugh out loud while I'm reading them. Without giving anything away, then ending to this one has some ambiguity, but I still loved it. It's reads a lot like a romantic comedy sort of book.
 I'm just finishing this one up, but the characters that Dorthea Benton Frank portrays in this book are so interesting. The point of view shifts in this book throughout amongst the different members in the family. Sometimes I don't care much for that type of writing, but she just does it so flawlessly. Frank is another like MKA that has such a dry humor in her writing that I really love and appreciate. Like I said, this one deals a lot with family dynamics, but it's so interesting how shifting the points of view in which the story is written gives the characters so much more depth and helps you to empathize with each of them. I definitely recommend this book. It's a great summer read!
I was about 1/4 of the way into this book before realizing that it was part of a trilogy (book three hasn't been released yet). Usually, I hate reading books out of sequence, but since I'd already started this one, I decided to go ahead and finish it. It follows the journey of three sisters in the middle of returning to their 'summer home' with their grandmother, who's character I love. I like this book because I think a lot of women will relate with one of the three sisters, if not aspects of all three and the journey's they are on.
 This is the next book on my summer reading list, the first book of the aforementioned trilogy. If you want to read them in order, unlike me ;) you can pick both of these up via the links provided. Happy reading!


Workout Wednesday

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I've got a fun little leg workouts for y'all this Wednesday! This is one that you can do just using body weight, so no equipment required. It mixes some plyometrics (explosive movements) in with some body weight resistance moves. If you want more of a challenge, you can add dumbbells to exercises 3-6. I don't recommend using them on plyo moves, too dangerous and unnecessary anyway.
On any lower body movement, squats and lunges in particular, always be sure that at the bottom of the movement, if you look down at your knees, you can see your big toe over your knee.  If not, you're shifting forward and putting your knees at risk for an injury, focus on shifting back until you can see that big toe. Mirrors are very helpful when it comes to checking your form, even if you're working out at home.
Also, skate jumps are less known than the other moves, but you are basically doing lateral lunges with a jump to get you from one side to the other. When in doubt, Youtube it ;)

My Birthday Wishlist

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's a BIG birthday year for me...I'm turning 30 in less than two weeks!!! It's kind of hard to believe. It's like King George says though, I still feel 25, most of the time ;) Our trip to Charleston was an early birthday present to me from Juston and he knocked it out of the park for sure. Since Caroline and I share a birthday, we had to take the trip early. So naturally, Juston's birthday duty is complete, unless he wants to get me some Gigi's Cupcakes, but I still make a birthday list every year anyway. One that I usually buy myself everything off of haha. Happy birthday to me!
So here it is; My Dirty Thirty Birthday Wishlist.
I love how classic and timeless Annie Griffin Collections pieces always are and this dress caught my eye as soon as it was released with the summer 2014 line. I typically never buy from AGC unless it's on super clearance during their warehouse sales since they're pricey. But I have gotten some amazing deals from the warehouse sale....like 60-80% off retail. And I'm always trolling eBay, too.

I have turned into a perfume junkie here lately and I love these scents. I'm sort of torn between Dot and Honey. Honey reminds me of summer so I'd love it all year I feel like. It's more subtle. Dot has a really sweet scent that I love as well so I may end  up with both. It's good to have choices in life ;)
I love this bag SO MUCH. It's actually sold out in the stripes online, but they have it in dots, which I don't really love as much as the bold stripes, but it's still cute.
Random and a long shot but still on the short list is this Concept2 Rower. Juston and I have talked about getting a rower for the house for quite some time now and this would be my top choice. We don't belong to a gym, so all of our workouts are dome at home, and a lot are Crossfit style, thus rowing would be implemented frequently. We've talked about a treadmill, but for the money, you can run outside for free pretty much year-round here, so it would probably end up sitting more often than not. I found a much cheaper option that would probably get the job done and a middle of the road option that will likely end up going with sometime down the road unless we're able to find one of these from Craigslist or someplace like that.
And last but not least...
I'm in the process of saving up so that I can do a mini-makeover on our front room. I want to paint the walls, change the curtains, add in some new accent pieces and eventually (like a few years from now) get a new couch. I'd also really love to junk the ginormous bachelor monster television that takes up 1/4 of the room. Juston got that piece before we were married, otherwise, it would be in the basement right now. This run is on the list for the mini-makeover taking place over the next few months. I have loved this rug since I saw it quite awhile ago in Ballard's catalog. It's so subtle but elegant and a great neutral so it can be moved around and used in different spaces if ever need be.
So there it is...my birthday wishlist. I'm compiling a post of Caroline's wishlist as well. We typically only get her one bigger gift and maybe two smaller ones. She plays with the simplest of things so it's really a waste to splurge on a ton of things that will likely not be used too much.
I feel like since I'm approaching a milestone birthday I should do something epic to celebrate, but I'm drawing a blank. We've already got Caroline's birthday party planned, so mine takes a backseat to that, but still, you only turn thirty once. I may have to search Pinterest and see what I can come up with.

Week in Review

Monday, July 28, 2014

The older Caroline gets, the easier it is to start running around town with her and the more fun it seems, especially when the weather is cooperative. So here's a few pictures from our week last week and some of the places we ended up :)
We started the week off right with a visit to see Juston at work. Caroline is always a big hit around the college and I think her daddy is proud as a peacock parading her around to show everybody he works with. He thinks the world of his co-workers and has said since before we were pregnant that he wanted the college to be like a second home to her. And Lord knows she's not shy. She hugged at least seven people and spoke to everyone she walked past before we'd left that day. She is her daddy's child.
On the evenings that I don't run, I've been trying to take my sister's kids for a bike ride around downtown instead and Tuesday evening was absolutely perfect for it. We did about a 3.5 mile loop through town and always stop for a bit by the river. I love our pretty little town.
Wednesday meant some pretty hard playing with her cousins and some pool time. This has been the most unseasonably cool July that I can ever remember. I like my summers hot, humid and sunny and this one has fallen a little flat in some regards but we sucked it up and played in the cold pool.  Kids don't care, it's adults who are wimps about cold water usually ;) Caroline is doing great with her puddle jumper. She wants to swim by herself with it on and loves to swim in circles. It's obviously not a life-saving device, so I stay in arms reach wherever she kicks to, but it's so great to see her be so fearless. I hope she stays that way. I feel like kids learn to be afraid of things according to their parents reactions to them, so I make a real effort not to freak out over the things she wants to try.
Those two pictures above are two of my favorites to date!
There was also some pretty hard core napping after all that splashing around.

While Juston and I were in Charleston, my sister took Caroline to story time at the local library. I was a little bit worried she wouldn't sit still and behave so I hadn't taken her yet, but my sister said she just loved it, so we went this past week and she had a blast! Her favorite part is the music and dancing. She had ants in her pants during the three books they read, but she has to learn to sit still and listen, so no time like the present to teach her. She got to use rhythm sticks (which she LOVED) and do a craft after dancing.

She was so proud of her art project :)

 Swinging on my sister's front porch is one of her favorite things to do. We spend a lot of time at my sister's house in the summer since her kids are home and Caroline loves playing and my parents live right next door.
We were driving around town before library since I had a little time to kill (I'm never early so this was a surprise), and I happened to see the smoke stacks of one of the boats that docks downtown sometimes. We parked and ran to the dock just in time to catch the Queen of the Mississippi docking. Another thing I love about our little town.

Friday evening, we decided to get dinner at a local pizza place and take it to the River Park to eat in the picnic area and then Caroline just played and played on the playground and swings. She had the biggest time. I was too busy chasing her to get any pictures. And our weekend has been pretty low key. Just did a little swimming Saturday and hung out at the campgrounds with the whole family Saturday and had a lazy Sunday yesterday since the rain kept us inside. We did help my brother-in-law move a ton of furniture around in their house since they're re-finishing they're ripping up carpet,  hardwoods and painting. I love getting into projects like that. I have to be honest though, it's giving me the itch to paint something (s) around our house and freshen up. Renovating must be contagious :)

Weekend Words

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I have always loved eloquent or poignant quotes. Always have. All through high school and college, I'd find quotes to coincide with my journal entries that seemed fitting. Since I'm always pinning away on Pinterest, I thought I'd start sharing some of my favorite quotes on here on the weekends. Just short and sweet posts that someone else may love like I do. Happy Sunday :)

Five on Friday

Friday, July 25, 2014

I've never done this Five on Friday thing before, so I thought I'd give it a whirl and start with five things I'm loving found via Pinterest this week.
One. These adorable leopard slip-ons. I couldn't find them anyplace to actually buy online, but I think at one time, Gap had them. Either way, pretty sure I need them.
Two. This picture is absolutely my idea of heaven! A big hunk of fresh watermelon, a good book and the beach. What's not to love here? We are in countdown mode to our next beach trip to Isle of Palms in November!
Three. How gorgeous is this entryway?! I'm always daydreaming about what our next home will look like; the home we plan to make our forever home and this staircase is just what I had in mind. I love a grand staircase. I just imagine Caroline walking down it in her prom dress one day, some starry-eyed little gentleman and her very nervous daddy waiting at the bottom. Either this staircase, or the one from Tara in Gone with the Wind. Either would do ;)
Four. This garden pathway. I love landscaping and this is what I'm working towards with our landscaping eventually. Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers so I love the height and color they add in the center and how the boxwoods fill in the space between the perennial hydrangeas and whatever annuals you want to add that flower and grow low nearest the sidewalk. Looks perfect to me.
Five. I just love antiques and shopping through flea markets or antique stores looking for the perfect pieces to add to our home. I've had a mirror in mind for our entryway forever that I think would look perfect. Maybe a little ornate for our house right now, but again, thinking in terms of our eventual forever home, I like to look for pieces I think could work for both. This mirror is exactly what I have in mind. The scale is definitely too large for our current entry, but I love how opulent and ornate it looks. And I love the character that antiques and older pieces can add to a home. They just don't make things like they used to.
So that's it, my first Five on Friday. Hope everyone has a great weekend :)


Fashion Friday

I have always really enjoyed shopping and putting outfits together, so I thought it would be fun to start sporadically doing some Fashion Friday posts with some different outfits I've worn during the week. I don't really have a specific style that I lean towards, I just get what I like. Sometimes it's trendy pieces and sometimes more wardrobe staples. And most weeks, I spend the majority of my days in workout clothes because my work warrants that wardrobe and I work out most days, too. But on days that do call for "real clothes" here's a taste of my taste ;)

Top old (similar) | Shorts (sold out) both by Lilly Pulitzer

Tunic by C Wonder (sold out online, some stores still have them on clearance) | Shorts by Lilly Pulitzer (old, found on Ebay) | Shoes

The Holy City~ Part 2

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day two in Charleston was just as great as day one and involved a whole lot more walking. We got up that morning and enjoyed breakfast at The Palmer House before lounging around for a bit. We decided to walk up to Calhoun Street to check out the Ft. Sumter boat tour and just happened to get there right before a boat was set to leave at noon. In all of our trips to Charleston, we've never actually gone to Ft. Sumter. We've done Ft. Moultrie over on Sullivan's Island but for whatever reason, never made it to what is possibly the most infamous fort in the Civil War. It took about three hours total, but we ended up getting to see a ton of dolphins up close and personal on the way to and from the fort, so that was pretty cool.
As soon as we returned from the fort, we headed straight for Jestine's Kitchen and some shopping on King Street, always one of my favorite activities while in Charleston :) Just these few things ate up practically our entire day. By the time we finished shopping, the skies opened up just as we were starting to walk back the East Bay.
I kid you not, every time we do Charleston, we end up getting soaked in the rain while walking someplace. I don't think our trip would have felt complete if we hadn't gotten drenched on the walk home. Making memories and remembering to dance in the rain :)

We had intentions of going to Husk for dinner, but they were completely booked the day before when we called, so we decided to walk to High Cotton instead and were not disappointed in the food or the atmosphere. 
We met this beauty on the walk to the restaurant. She was just hanging out at her gate watching the world go by.

And yet another plate of shrimp and grits for me. What I really love about dishes like shrimp and grits is just how different each person who makes them does it. These had a ton of depth of flavor and if it's possible to taste like the Lowcountry, they did. Dessert was peach cobbler. I'm telling you, we eat like royalty in this city, but all the walking (and sweating like a whore in church) means it's allowed.

Thursday morning came WAY too quickly and we were really not ready to leave this beautiful city at all. I still had so much on the list of things we wanted to do and see that weren't checked off, but leaving was just a tiny bit easier since we already know we're going back in November.
On the list for November is definitely seeing the Angel Tree, trying a few other restaurants we haven't been to yet, Drayton Hall Plantation, Christmas shopping and a few other things. Check out the view from our piazza Thursday morning!

Is it any wonder it was so hard to leave? These last two posts have all had my iPhone pics; I did take a ton of photos with my good camera, but I'll do a separate post with all of those in it.
Until we meet again, Charleston. I'll be carrying the memories from this magical visit and dreaming about you!

The Holy City~ Day One

Friday, July 18, 2014

Juston and I just rolled back into Kentucky late last night after a whirlwind and much too brief trip to my very favorite place, Charleston, South Carolina. The trip was an early birthday present for me.  
We obviously can't leave on my birthday since Caroline and I share one :) We dropped Caroline off with my sister Monday late morning (more on her adventures while we were gone later) and hit the road around 1:30. At first, I admit I was feeling pretty anxious about leaving Caroline for a few days and going out of town. I knew she'd be well taken care of and very entertained, but it was still my first time really leaving her, but she did great and I have to say, we really needed the trip.
After one stop for gas, and one stop for dinner in North Carolina, we got to Charleston around 11:00 p.m.  We ate at Stone Mountain Lodge just outside of downtown Asheville on the way to town and it was wonderful if you're ever passing through. Most of what we were doing once we got to Charleston I had picked out before we left, but where we were staying was still part of my birthday surprise. Since we weren't due to check into our downtown Charleston hotel until Tuesday, we crashed in North Charleston Monday night. I went out like a light after a long day of traveling. Juston and I both got up pretty early for not having a baby alarm clock ringing, so I squeezed in a workout in the hotel gym and then we packed it up and drove the last few miles into the most beautiful city on this planet (at least in my opinion).
Day one went a little something like this...
Strolled through the city market

Hit A.W. Shucks for an early appetizer brunch

Got a parking ticket for outlasting our meter...
Found my favorite fountain in town

Magnolias for some fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits, a stop in the Gordon Wheeler art gallery and The Beer Exchange for a refill on the old growler and off we went to check-in to what I just figured was the downtown Marriott.
But the biggest and best surprise, staying at The Palmer House right on East Bay overlooking The Battery.
Every time we've come to Charleston, we always talk about how grand and amazing it must be to live in those old homes overlooking Charleston Harbor and Ft. Sumter. We can daydream that way because I know we'll never have to worry about the foundation repairs, painting, leaking roofs, etc. that likely accompany these grand old beauties. To be able to stay in one though, and enjoy the fruits of labor that the owners put in was truly a wonderful treat.
Upon checking into the hotel, we were taken straight up to our room where chocolate-dipped strawberries and pink champagne were waiting, along with a birthday gift of a carriage ride. Juston certainly outdid himself on this birthday, I have to say.

Juston had to do a couple hours worth of work as soon as we got settled into our room, so I hung out on the piazza for a bit before deciding to take a stroll in search of some window box inspiration for ours at home.

I ended up just up from Waterfront Park hanging out watching the water and was luck enough to witness a pretty amazing dolphin show. There were about 15 or so dolphins swimming around looking for dinner and I snapped away while they did.  It was really a treat. I'm pretty sure I got up close and personal with a few manatees as well, but there was a storm rolling in and I didn't have time to try and get much of a closer look. Anyone happen to know what this is? There were two of them and they were really close!

Dinner that night was one of our favorites, Hank's Seafood. They have the best friend chicken I've ever eaten! I know, I went to a seafood place in Charleston and got fried chicken, but if you ever try it, you'll understand. We finished up with some dark chocolate bread pudding, which was divine, then walked around downtown a bit more before heading back to the house for some piazza-sitting.

That's my favorite part about Charleston, I believe. We go there and eat the most incredible food, but typically, I've lost weight by the time we get home because we walk so much and SWEAT so much that is all balances out :)  I'll post out day two later. Trying not to picture overload all at once.