Links I’m Loving

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1. Gear up for the return of college football by meeting the wives of SEC coaches. (saturdaydownsouth.com)

2. Transition into fall with boyfriend jeans and a bright lip. (sunshadesandsnowflakes.com)

3. Glean that bridal knowledge and learn from the 50 mistakes brides always make. (brides.com)

4. I’m on a spending freeze but maybe you aren’t and want to splurge on these beauty essentials. (glitterguide.com)

5. Start practicing all-day habits for a better night’s sleep. (self.com)

6. I dare you to read through the 8 Life-Changing Lessons We’ve Learned From Dogs and not tear up smile. (hellogiggles.com)

7. I hate that I love the new Taylor Swift song. (youtube.com)

XOXO,

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10 Ways To Soak Up These Last Days Of Summer

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August is coming to a close – can you believe it? – and while it doesn’t feel like it right now, Fall is almost here. (YAY!) So in an attempt to be present and appreciate the here and now, I’ve thought about some ways to enjoy these last days of summer before we bid the heat farewell. Who’s in?

  1. Grab a magazine and an extra large ice water and head to the pool for one last hurrah! SPF required.
  2. Wear your favorite sundress and strappy sandals to run errands or for date night!
  3. Grab some peaches and make this. (NOM) 
  4. Wear white from head to toe because hey! you still can.
  5. Get your HGTV on and DIY something, whether that’s giving your kitchen a fresh coat of paint or giving your doormat a facelift that all your guests will ooh and ahh over.
  6. Go to a late movie and don’t feel bad one bit for eating too many sour punch straws and popcorn.
  7. Take full advantage of your hammock and relax for a while underneath the stars.
  8. Have a porch? Grab some sweet tea and good friends and sit for a while.
  9. Work on your fitness outdoors. Tennis, running, or touch football anyone?
  10. Popsicles at the park. If you’re in Nashville, might I suggest here.

XOXO,

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The Weeknight Date Night

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You know those Mondays that feel about two weeks long and leave you exhausted/frustrated/emotionally done at the end of the day? Yep, I had one of those this week so you can imagine my excitement when the fiance suggested we go out for dinner and a movie last night. I love a good weeknight date night because not only does it make you feel like it’s Friday (!!!) but it gives you a chance to break up the work week with some fun time.

We went for some Chinese – his favorite – and then to see the new Oprah movie – my choice, naturally. We laughed all through dinner and then got plenty of candy for the movie. We were both pleasantly surprised by how sweet the movie was – I highly recommend it! – and fear not, Oprah does not make a cameo. It was the perfect way to spend a Tuesday night and I woke up this morning feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated for the rest of my work week.

Ladies and gentleman, might I suggest an impromptu date on a school night? Ladies, throw on a little lip color and some fun shoes. Gentlemen, let her pick the movie and you might find yourself enjoying it, too! The most important thing is spending time with the one you love. Take your mind off all the other stuff you’ve both got going on and focus on each other. Chinese and chick flick optional.

What’s your favorite weeknight date spot? Let’s hear ‘em.

XOXO,

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Mom and Me and the Wedding Dress

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Last weekend Mom and I headed to Arkansas to find the perfect wedding dress. Why Arkansas? That was my initial question, too, but another bride had told us this was “THE place” located in the middle of nowhere. Mom and I had no idea what to expect when we drove up to Low’s Bridal last Saturday morning – this was a first for both of us – so we were anxious but mostly excited as the massive gates, yes GATES, opened. Remember that episode of Friends where the girls go shopping for Monica’s dress and 50+ aggressive brides run though the doors as soon as they’re open? It was kind of like that, but much more civilized and passive, of course. It is a nice place, after all. Gorgeous and perfectly Southern. Low’s is located in an old train station and I loved that we got a small history lesson as we walked to a new floor or room.

After I filled out some paperwork about my wedding date and preferred styles, we were greeted by our consultant who then whisked us away to the next floor up. Talk about dresses on dresses! Mom was in heaven and I was in a dreamy state of “ummm” while she pulled a couple dresses for me to start with. We moved from dress to dress and floor to floor and finally we narrowed the search down to two dresses, completely different in every way. I was torn.

“Want to try a veil?” Our consultant asked, adding that this final touch is typically the tipping point for most brides who are indecisive. She added the veil to my high ponytail and I stepped onto the block surrounded by mirrors and the next thing I knew Mom was crying. That was the dress, and oddly enough, the second wedding dress I had ever tried on! It was such a surreal moment, standing there in white and seeing Mom’s face light up. I attempted a happy dance, much to the amusement of other brides and consultants scurrying around with armfuls of lace and tulle, then offered Mom a tissue.

As we walked to the car, dress bag safely in tow, we were all smiles. It was such a perfect morning spent with Mom – laughing, gauging the “wow” factor of each dress, taking pictures on the grand staircase, and wedding scheming. A morning I’ll never forget.

XOXO,

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The Art Of Correspondence

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I recently got engaged – YAY! – so the crickets for the past few weeks are justified. I’ve been basking in the glow, gabbing with all my girlfriends and trying to keep Mom calm, cool and collected amongst all her lists and charts. The fiance and I are beyond thrilled, and while the diamond and wedding planning is fun, we’re most looking forward to starting our life together.

So with an engagement comes so many kind words and well wishes, many in the form of beautiful stationary with matching envelope. While I love using my iPhone – publicist problems – I’ve always been a huge fan of communicating the old-fashioned way, i.e. correspondence that requires a stamp. Call me crazy, but there’s much to be said for receiving a sweet, handwritten note at just the right time and hey, who doesn’t enjoy checking the mail to find something other than a bill?  I also find something therapeutic about writing notes to friends or co-workers just because, whether it be a note of thanks or something on the silly side simply because the card made you giggle for two minutes too long. BONUS: Writing a note takes you about 2-3 minutes and will more than likely make the recipient’s entire day!

Need some inspiration to get you in the corresponding sort of mood? Here are some of my favorite places to find great stationary for any and every occasion:

Inslee 

The Paper Source 

Scarlet & Gold

Etsy 

XOXO,

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Hey Girl, Your Dreams Just Got Crushed

Well, maybe.

Every news source with a twitter handle is reporting that Eva Mendes is having Ryan Gosling’s child. We all knew this day would come and call me old fashioned, but I thought I would have a wedding to mourn over first. Nope. Just straight to “we’re having a baby who will have the prettiest eyes ever and we’ll all live happily ever after looking gorgeous.” All the single ladies (including Rachel McAdams), don’t lose heart. There are still plenty of eligible bachelors out there to swoon over. Ahem:

Bradley Cooper

Leonardo DiCaprio

Prince Harry

Drake

John Stamos

That one guy in Divergent 

Sam Hunt

XOXO,

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Simplify Your Closet, Simplify Your Life

01cb193ee343fedf3da0551933a7cd89Sure, Spring is when the cleaning happens but Summer is definitely when the simplifying should happen. It’s hot out. When you’re not at work you’re outside, vacationing, planning your next vacation or taking up a new sport (ask me about my recently acquired tennis skills!) What you don’t want to be doing is spending forever sorting through all the articles of clothing and shoes and random belts/scarves thrown everywhere in your closet! Honestly this morning I found two shirts I cannot ever remember wearing and one that I am 98% sure hasn’t been worn since college. In an effort to simplify this summer, I am vowing to start by simplifying my closet!

Here are some questions I will ask myself in a stern tone when going through the keep/toss process:

When was the last time I wore this?

Do I feel like it’s flattering? Or so comfortable that I don’t even care if it’s flattering? 

Does this reflect my personal style?

Can I dress this up & down? 

Did I wear this on a major date with THAT Ex? 

Does this make me look like a high school student?

Does this make me look like my grandmother? 

Is this a statement piece that I absolutely cannot imagine parting with? 

Bottom line: If I don’t love it, I’m tossing it, and by tossing it I mean selling it for $2 at a yard sale and/or donating to Goodwill. My goal is to get rid of the excess and simplify – starting with my closet. Who’s with me?

XOXO,

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4th To-Do List

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Sleep In – No work means more Z’s

Brunch – Because I clearly won’t be up for breakfast, nor will my friends

Walk around/Shop – Is there anything more American?

Hot Chicken Festival in East Nashville – I’m 100% in it for the promise of Retro Snow

Pool – Yes, I need more freckles

Nap – Why not?

Make a peach cobbler – Because I’m not a huge apple pie fan and this is always a crowd pleaser

Fireworks – I may or may not start singing a medley of Katy Perry and Lee Greenwood classics with sparklers in hand

What are your plans for the 4th? Whatever you choose to do be safe, have fun and in the words of my mother, make good choices. ‘MERICA.

XOXO,

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Lessons Learned From Mindy Kaling

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Ladies and gentlemen, let’s all take a moment to send Kelly Kapoor some birthday love! Happy 30-something birthday, girl! Keep on keeping on and proving that women can very well be smart, sexy, HYSTERICAL approachable and yes, successful. I’ve learned so much from Mindy – where do I even start?

Don’t take yourself too seriously 

Whether she’s making a fool of herself as herself on The Mindy Project or via her amazing Twitter  mini-rants with her bff BJ Novack, she never takes herself too seriously and that’s highly refreshing. I love that despite everything that solidifies her celebrity status and borderline Oprah-ness she can still laugh at herself/be completely accessible.

Write an honest book and you’ll hit the Times list

If you haven’t read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns) stop reading this subpar post and immediately read Kaling’s masterpiece. I belly laughed through all 240 pages and refer back to many a quote on the daily. Case in point:

“Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched.”

“You should know I disagree with a lot of traditional advice. For instance, they say the best revenge is living well. I say it’s acid in the face—who will love them now?”

“Listen, my body is attracted to your body but when you speak it makes my brain angry.”

Wear color

The woman is not afraid to throw on a crazy print with a magenta heel and own the fact that she looks like a fruit rollup. I love it. Thanks, Mindy for inspiring us all to stop wearing black on black a la NYC and venture into the California rainbow.

Work hard, Play Hard

She went from being a minor character on The Office to being one of the head writers on the show + more face time as Kelly to bestselling author to writer/producer/lead actress of her own show which I adore. With all that + speaking at ivy league commencements + media tours she has to be EXHAUSTED, right? Apparently not as much as normal humans because how is she celebrating her birthday?  In Vegas with her favorites and that makes her my favorite.

LOVE YOUR BODY

Yes, that needed to be screamed. I will not go on and on with a rant about how the media screams at women all day long to be waif-thin BUT I do love that Mindy owns her figure and is all the more beautiful for it. She’s not afraid to take chances with her wardrobe and she’s not afraid to eat a cheeseburger after the gym. She’s a REAL WOMAN and this girl who always eats way too much Mexican after yoga can relate.

Mindy, be my best friend.

XOXO,

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Bonnaroo 2014: What You Missed

 tumblr_m5mdusdvSK1qhsmllo1_1280I did it! I managed to survive another Bonnaroo, thanks to LOTS of water, good friends, veteran booties, mini-fan/mister and far too many pistachios/assorted trail mixes. Now that I’ve regained (most of) the ability to hear, I’m processing all the ridiculousness of the four days on the farm. Oh and let’s be clear: we did not camp. We’re far too smart for such shenanigans. We left the “riff raff” every night and went back to a sweet little cabin complete with a screened-in porch and yes, a hot tub in the living room with view of the flat screen. You’re welcome. The promise of a hot shower and good sleep in a real bed is all that kept me sane amongst 100,000 smelly, sweaty people for 8-10 hours. So whether you’re considering attending next year or you’re just here for the laughs – who isn’t? – here are some highlights from Bonnaroo 2014. In no particular order and yes, I am partial. Deal.

Jack White, Saturday Night Show, Main Stage

It’s no secret I have a slight obsession with this guy and every project he touches, but there is no denying his ability to put on a phenomenal show. Maybe it was because we were backstage or maybe it was because there were upwards of 100,000 people who didn’t move for 3+ hours, but this is one of the best shows I’ve seen. Period. I had my nerd-alert ear plugs in and still couldn’t hear for a solid 24 hours after. It was one of those “yes that really happened and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat” nights. Well played, Mr. White.

Kanye’s Rants That Kept Him From Actually Performing Which Led To Much Boo-ing 

Exhibit A: “If you’re a fan of me you’re a fan of your _____ self. They try to make me look CRAZY.  I don’t see the people in the press performing for 90,000 people. They can’t even perform for they CHILD.”

Exhibit B: “In all honesty this may not come off as humble but I’m not concerned about anybody who’s actually living. When I talk about Walt Disney (pause), Henry Ford (longer pause), Shakespeare (pause)…they all had they time on earth. I’m only 37 and I’m rocking for 90,000 people RIGHT NOW. So I’m not going after anybody on the radio, I’m going after Walt Disney.”

Exhibit C: “Somebody once told me if you have 100,000 people jump at the same time you can feel the EARF move so JUMP!”

Amish Donuts – Hot and Ready and Amazing 

Those Amish really know what they’re doing and let me tell you, there is nothing sweeter (pun the pardon) than a massive, hot donut handed to you by an Amish brother after a long day of listening to music.

Valerie June 

She’s one of my favorites, and not just because I adore her entire family. We go way back. The girl killed it and looked fabulous in 90 degree heat, singing tunes from her album + old church hymns that made my heart happy.

First Aid Kit

Two sisters from Stockholm with great hair and even better harmonies put on quite the show. They just released a new album – Stay Gold – and I highly suggest you give it a listen on your next road trip.

People Watching That Trumps Anything You’ve Ever Experienced, Trust 

Everywhere I turned there was man tank covered in cats, Biggie Smalls, an assortment of Aztec prints or my personal favorite, “Skys Out Thighs Out.” There was a guy who wore an actual TV, a girl with a Kanye backpack, lots of guys dressed up as random superheroes and WAY too many girls who seemed to have thought a top made solely from neon orange duck tape was a good idea.

I love you, Bonnaroo but you can’t compete with a show at the Ryman with a trip to Jeni’s after.

XOXO,

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