11.20.2018

2018 Holiday Gift Guide: LADIES

Happy Tuesday readers!

I hope you're having a great week! 

Today is my Friday and I am so excited for Thanksgiving break.

We are hosting my family for Thanksgiving this year and I am glad to have the extra day to prepare. 

I'm excited to bring you my Ladies Gift Guide today. I always have so much fun putting these together and was glad to hear from so many of you on Instagram that you love shopping them. This year, I'm adding a new feature. As always, all items will be linked below the guide, but at the bottom, I'll have notes about each item (promo codes; why I chose it, personal experience with products I own, etc), so if there's something you have your eye on, be sure to scroll down for more details and to see if it's on sale. 

And for those of you that told me you always find your man's gifts on my guides, Gents is coming tomorrow!

Many of these items are under $100 and many already on sale as Black Friday seems to now be a whole "Black Week." 

As in past posts, many of these links are affiliate meaning I earn a small commission if you click and purchase. Thanks for your support!


Leopard Booties: booties are a go-to fall through winter and these might be top of my personal Christmas list; also come in a fun star print and solid leather options; Boden is known for quality and you can get these for 30% of with code V4N9
Rose Face Cream: I recently received a sample of this and it lasted me about a week- in that time, my face became so incredibly smooth, so as soon as I run out of my daily moisturizer, I plan to replace it with this one; it has a lovely rose scent and feels very decadent on so would be great for someone on your list who could use some pampering; a little pricey, but there's also a gift set featuring it here that you can get for under $50 with code BEAUTY20
Pearl Ring: I have been swooning over this since I found it for the gift guides and might just have to order it for myself; it feels very Julie Vos, but is under $50!
Leopard Ornament: I love this little guy and ornaments can make fun gifts or even look great tied on the outside of a present with your gift tag and bow; what's even better is he's chic enough to stay out year-round long after the tree is gone; 20% off with code HOME
Dream Design Live: under $25 and another personal wish list item; you may remember I mentioned it in this post; I've flipped through this book in Barnes & Noble and have a major design crush on its author Paloma Contreras
Bow Back Sweater: on sale for under $50; must see the back of this sweater; it was one of my very favorite purchases last winter so I'm thrilled it's been restocked and you can see it styled on my Insta here; it does run large (mine is petite XS and still roomy enough to be cozy or layered over a button down)
Hoops: currently on sale with free shipping; I've seen these in person in a local boutique and love;  they make a statement while still being subtle enough for daytime wear; and if you really want to splurge and spoil a special lady with hoops, you can get these which are a staple in my wardrobe that I wear at least 3 times a week
Overnight Peel: I started using this peel about 3 weeks ago and holy moly, y'all: what a transformation in my skin!; you've even been commenting on Insta and asking for a skincare post- it's coming - but in the meantime, get this; I use it nightly; if you don't believe me check the 1,183 5 star reviews and snag it while it's on sale for under $50 (from Kathleen Baker, if you don't have your own consultant)
Pink Scarf: okay, I'm ordering this- it's on sale for $10...I may order 10 and get them for all my friends; love that the pink is versatile for post-holiday wear (hello, Valentine's Day!), but it also comes in 4 other colorways including a tartan that screams Christmas!
Wavy Bowl: I'm a big fan of Susan Gordon Pottery and these wavy bowls; they are stunning and I've gifted them to others before; bonus points for supporting a female small business owner!
Sunglasses: there's just something so glamorous about a big pair of tortoise shell sunglasses; I've been eyeing (pun intended) a pair of Karen Walkers for years, and one of my faves Katie Chalk wears these so well; these hardly ever go on sale so snag them now for up to 25% off with code MORE18
Leather Leggings: these were a favorite of yours and mine last year and for good reason; they're high waisted and suck you in in all the right places; if between sizes, I recommend sizing up; I wear a medium; I recently learned they come in a maternity version for any readers who are expecting and a friend who is due in late December was raving about them, and you can get them up to 25% off here with code MORE18
Tray: trays are one of my favorite design elements because they can make a table look pulled together; also love them for entertaining; natural fibers ground a space, but I love that this one takes the design to the next level by modernizing the rattan with acrylic; 20% off with code HOME
Candle: under $50; I'm really picky when it comes to candles; I don't like anything strong or fruity; I prefer crisp, clean scents and this one is amazing, y'all; I had it burning when I hosted barReVA Friendsgiving last week everyone was asking where I got it!
Champagne Ornament: under $15; another fun ornament for any ladies with an effervescent personality; this one, too, can stay out on the bar cart through New Years and past the holidays
Olive Vest: this fleece lined vest can be dressed up with a blouse or down with athleisure gear; it is made to be a Barbour liner, but doubles as a vest; if you want to purchase as a liner, purchase in the same size as your Barbour coat; if you want to purchase as a vest, I recommend sizing up one size; up to 30% off with code GOWILD
Crossbody Bag: I have this in navy and it may have been my best purchase of the year; it is big enough to hold a wallet, keys, phone, and more, but still sleek; I used it during our entire England trip; the strap is removable so it can be worn as a clutch or crossbody; dressed up and down; since getting my Goyard, I keep mine in my bag with my wallet in it at all times, so I can just slip it out if I don't want to carry my big tote somewhere; Gigi New York always has amazing sales, so I'd watch this over the next few days leading up to Black Friday
Lip Balm: under $10; this Mint Rose balm is my absolute favorite; I've been using it for probably 10 years now and always have a jar on my bedside table and a tube in my bag so I'm not using germy fingers when out and about; would make a perfect stocking stuffer or teacher gift paired with some nice hand lotion and a candle
Southern Appetizers: under $15; I came across this book in a Norfolk boutique and added it to my wish list; it is filled with recipes for favorite Southern appetizers, but the recipes are divided into sections focused on a party theme so the book does double duty as a cookbook and party guide
Cashmere Throw: comes in 10 colors!; perfect for the friend who has everything; more of a splurge, but 40% off with code TOGETHER
Mocassin Slippers: I've had these (in the color pictured) now for 6 years and absolutely love them; come in 7 colors and an animal print here; come so cozy, water resistant and have a rubber sole so they can be worn outside; I often slip them on when I'm headed to the barre studio at 0 dark 30 to teach 6:00 am class; run large, order one full size down; also love this more affordable monogrammed version (just over $25 with code NOVEMBER 40)
Nail Polish: this shade "No More Film" might be my very favorite nail polish; it's almost black, but has a subtle navy/purple tint to it; I always get compliments on it; perfect as a stocking stuffer or bundled with other beauty gifts
Tan Towels: another great beauty stocking stuffer; my favorite way to get a faux glow; perfect for your friend who dreams of tropical places during the cold, pale winter months
Champagne Key Ring: this "Press for Champagne" key ring is too cute and again, would be a great stocking stuffer; I also think it could be a fun white elephant gift; attach it to a bow tied around a bottle of your favorite bubbly!
Cashmere Tech Gloves: for your friend who's always gramming, texting, emailing - ensure her fingers stay toasty all winter; come in 9 colors; 50% off TODAY 11/20 (putting them under $30) with code GOLDENDEAL
Keepsake Cutting Board: currently 25% off; still a bit of a splurge, but what a keepsake!; upload an image of an heirloom family recipe and have it engraved on this board; would be perfect for a newlywed
Pearl Cluster Earrings: these were actually my wedding earrings! - see here; I've gotten asked for a source a few times, so knew y'all would love them; what's great is they look equally cute dressed down as they do up, and I love wearing them on special occasions (like my 30th birthday party this past weekend); 40% off (putting them just over $40) with code TOGETHER
Y'all Socks: just $15; perfect for the friend you can have yoga pant wine nights with; socks make the perfect stocking stuffer, too
Oyster Dish: I received this oyster dish as a wedding present and it is a stunner; it can be used for entertaining or would be equally useful on a nightstand for jewelry; aluminum so it never tarnishes; I also have the medium and the small can nest inside the corner which is great for serving dips with raw veggies, etc
Garden Stool: I have one of these in our dining room and am thinking of getting it a mate; makes a great little side table, too; if you're local check out Three Swallows in Norfolk to get one, and other blue and white finds, for a steal!
Crossover Cuff: I've had this cuff for 3 or 4 years now and love it; it is delicate and elegant and can also be stacked with other bracelets; also comes in rose gold here
Pajamas: on sale for under $50; pajamas are one of my favorite gifts to receive; love the colors and "sweet dreams" detail on these; I don't have them, but have found other J. Crew pajamas to run true to size
Perfume Roller: just $30; this is my favorite perfume that I've been wearing now for probably 5 years; the roller is great for travel and I always keep it in my purse; nothing like some perfume and red lipstick for a boost; awesome stocking stuffer
Pink Velvet Pumps: vavavoom!; perfect for the glam girl who has everything; pink - check; velvet - check; pearls - check

Have you started your holiday shopping yet?

Who's on your gift list?

Who do you find the toughest to shop for?

And for fun, what's on YOUR wish list?

Happy shopping!

11.09.2018

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

TGIF readers!

What a week it has been here!

I came down with a cold Sunday, had to travel for work Tuesday-Wednesday, took a sick day yesterday, and am finally feeling on the mend today! On top of that, Bryce and I have been ships in the night. He left Sunday morning for a conference, got home Tuesday (while I was traveling), we had Wednesday night together, and then he packed up again yesterday to head to South Carolina for a work shoot. He'll be back late tomorrow night.

I had promised my "Must Have Vests" post this week, and had planned to take photos and write that post on Sunday but was feeling too crummy. I always get requests for more recipe posts, though, so hopefully today won't disappoint.

Aside from bingeing The Affair (still can't decide if I like it or not) and snuggling Millie, the only thing I accomplished on Sunday was making a big pot of soup. Nothing brings comfort during a cold like chicken noodle soup and this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is the perfect spin on the classic. The original recipe was found on Good Life Eats and I'm sharing my slightly modified version below.



Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
For the chicken:
1 lb chicken (I used chicken breast tenderloins)
half of a lemon, sliced
handful of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1 c water
1/2 c chicken broth
salt
pepper

For the soup:
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
1/3 c white wine
3 carrots, sliced into rounds
7 1/2 c chicken broth
3/4 c orzo pasta, uncooked
3 egg yolks
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs fresh parsley, minced
2-3 large handfuls of baby spinach, chopped
salt
pepper

Directions
For the chicken:
Combine all ingredients in pot on stovetop. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, drain, and shred (this trick is life changing).

Set aside.

For the soup:
Add 1 tbs olive oil into large dutch oven. Saute the onion over medium-high heat until golden and tender. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more.

Add the white wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and carrot. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and lemon together. Add 1 cup of hot broth from the dutch oven very slowly to the egg yolk mixture, whisking as you pour. Then, transfer the mixture to the dutch oven. Stir in the orzo and the chicken.

Continue cooking over medium-low heat until the pasta and carrots are tender, 15-20 minutes. Add the parsley and spinach, and stir until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!



This soup was just what the doctor ordered! I ate it for dinner that night, shared some with my mother-in-law who watched Millie while Bryce and I both were traveling, and froze the rest for us to eat for dinner another night soon. In fact, making soup on Sundays has become a bit of a tradition this year. It's so comforting for a Sunday night, and perfect to freeze for a simple meal later.

What are some of your favorite soups?

What comfort foods do you crave when you're under the weather?

Have a great weekend!

11.01.2018

30th Birthday Inspiration

Happy November friends!

I can't believe November, and my birthday month (!), is already here!

This week has been a crazy one so I knew I wouldn't have time for a big post and polled y'all on Instagram to see what you'd rather see: Must Have Vests or 30th BDay Inspo.

Birthday Inspiration won with 59% of the vote, so I'm posting that today and will get to vests next week.

November 28 is my 30th birthday and believe it or not I am really excited about turning 30. While I have felt a little old here and there (hello forehead wrinkles!) and went back to a blonder shade during my last hair appointment, perhaps in an effort to cling to my youth, I overall can't wait to be the big 3-0. I've always thought my 30s would be my best decade. Bryce and I are in a great place and have settled into married life, my career is in a place I actually didn't anticipate even reaching before 30, and finally, we have our sweet Millie baby with plans to grow our family even more at some point during my early 30s. So, yeah, 30 is looking good!

Being a milestone birthday, I'm thrilled to report that my mother-in-law is hosting a 30th birthday party for me! I haven't had a true birthday party since my Sweet 16 surprise party, so this should be fun!

In an effort to guide her planning, RoseMarie, my mother-in-law requested some ideas and inspiration and pulling together a Pinterest board for her made me even more excited. I'll share the overall vision with you here.

The theme is a little Kate Spade-ish, with black and white stripes, gold, and varying shades of pink and red. I also decided some zebras needed to be thrown into the mix and lots of bubbly.

Here's a proof of the invitation that hit mailboxes a week or so ago:

It will be a traditional cocktail party with heavy hors d'oeuvres. My mother-in-law even has bought a bunch of ramekins to make my favorite Pasta in the Pink (recipe coming soon) to be passed! 

Those that have been following along for a while, know how much I love the iconic Scalamandre zebras (anyone remember this post from almost 6 years ago?). When thinking of a party, though, zebra print runs the risk of getting tacky really quick. That said, classic Scalamandre cocktail napkins add a subtle and chic pop of zebra, don't you think? 


You can't have a birthday party without cake, and I am loving this one! 


Bubbly and balloons are also a birthday must, and these photos are oh so feminine and chic:


Does a millennial even turn 30 without 
giant gold 3-0 balloons to document it!?

Because gold tinsel makes everything more fun!


Every birthday girl needs a crown right?

I'm pretty sure I need this?

Finally, on the docket, and of top priority for the evening, is my birthday suit...jumpsuit, that is! 


I scored this jumpsuit on mega sale a couple of weeks ago! It's price has since been marked up a bit, but it's still heavily discounted, and also available at less of a discount, but in more sizes here. If you do order, know it runs small! I am a typically a 4, sometimes 6, and the 6 was a bit more snug than I'd like. I've exchanged an am waiting for the 8 to arrive and am really hoping it fits nicely. 

See the full Pinterest board, including many other swoon-worthy cakes and fun details, here.

So what do you think? 

Any details I'm missing or recommendations?

How do you celebrate milestone birthdays?

Have a great day first day of November!

10.26.2018

Foo Dogs vs. Staffordshire Dogs

TGIF readers!

It's been a hectic few weeks over here and I'm excited for a low key weekend!

I'm also super excited for today's post: Foo Dogs vs. Staffordshire Dogs.

If you read Wednesday's Fall with Serena & Lily post, it will come as no surprise that I love Staffordshire dogs. The post features an antique pair on the mantle and a contemporary pair on the dining room tablescape.

What may or may not come as a surprise is the fact that I love foo dogs, too!

Dare I try to pick a favorite?

We'll start with first in the alphabet and history, foo dogs. These "dogs" in fact represent guardian lions and date back to about 200 BC. They can also be referred to as shishi which translates to "stone lion" and first stood in front of Chinese imperial palaces, tombs, government buildings, temples, and homes of the wealthy. In Buddhist culture, lions are seen to have protective powers, so your foo dogs could in fact be seen as guard dogs.

Smitten.

Double the foo dogs, double the fun!

How sweet are these little baby pink cubs/pups?

I sure do like things in pairs, but this guy can stand on his own.

A well styled bookshelf makes my heart flutter!

I was going to stop at 5, but can't resist- fancy me one more!

The holidays are right around the corner, and these two sure do look good with tinsel!

So now that you're obsessing over foo dogs / guardian lions / shishi...let's discuss Staffordshire dogs.

Staffordshire dogs became popular in 19th century homes, and too are meant to stand guard in homes. Manufactured in England and Scotland, the most popular favor the King Charles Spaniel, a favorite breed among monarchs. Designed to adorn the mantle, the canines were a quintessential Victorian bourgeois status-symbol. Fun fact, in the 1800s, children as young as 7 or 8 years old were paid two shillings a week to paint the gold chains on the dogs'  necks. 

Why have just a pair, when you can have a whole family?

Jessie Short of Oak City Interiors is one of my design idols - swoon!

Talk about making a statement!

Love the simplicity and elegance fo this neutral look.

Couldn't resist another #shelfie.

And to keep things even, Staffordshire #6:

Holiday style looks good on you, too!

So now, what's the verdict? Foo dog or Staffordshire dog? 

Is it even possible to choose a favorite?

I think it's a tie, and was oh so pleased when in my "research" for this post, I discovered this bookshelf that shows foo and Staffordshire can play nicely at the same dog park...errr, bookshelf.


What are your thoughts? Is one breed superior to the other?

Have a great weekend!

10.24.2018

Fall with Serena & Lily

Happy Hump Day readers!

Can anyone believe Halloween...aka the end of October...is just one week away?

Work has been busy, busy, but I luckily have a bit of breathing time before the last push of the calendar year.

I have a long list of new, fresh blog ideas I've been adding to regularly and am going to try really hard to knock them out, amidst the craze of year-end fundraising and the holidays.

First up, today I bring you a fall home tour. I'm excited to partner with Serena & Lily on this post.

The last few years when it comes to all holiday decor I have majorly simplified.

I used to pull out Halloween decorations, but made the switch to just pumpkins a few years ago and haven't looked back! I usually get a big pumpkin haul in late September and it lasts through Thanksgiving. Chic and simple!

I also pretty much only decorate the front of our home, living, and dining room these days. Our little cape cod is chock full of enough things, so I don't feel the need to add additional clutter to the other rooms.

We'll start first with fall curb appeal!


I can't get enough of our new-ish blue front door! It is Sherwin Williams Jetstream in high gloss. The corn stalks have become a tradition, but the hurricanes this fall have put a beating on them (it just makes them more rustic, right?). 


The candy corn sign is the only Halloween decoration I still put out. It's just so cute and was a Home Goods find years ago (similar)! I also always have fun putting together a pumpkin topiary.


Inside the mantle takes center stage. You may remember from this post that I restyled it a couple years ago to incorporate the collection of pewter cups. It's evolved over time, but what I still love about it is that I'm able to change it with the seasons. Hydrangeas in summer, pumpkins in the fall, ornaments at Christmastime, etc. 


Serena & Lily was kind enough to send me this Ojai Mirror and it was just the finishing touch the mantle needed! I love that it's neutral, but also bold, and seems to make everything else on the mantle pop. It can be hung horizontally as shown here, or vertically, and is truly versatile.


(Side note: Does anyone else struggle as much as me to get good photos straight on like this? No matter how hard I try, mine always wind up looking crooked as shown here...)


The Staffordshire dogs (similar) were an anniversary present from Bryce and they make me happy every time I see them. We jokingly named them Charlotte and George after the princess and prince.


This picture gives you a close up of the detail on the mirror. I love its contemporary bamboo look. I also love, love, love these striped bright orange and yellow pumpkins and thought they were much prettier displayed upright as shown. Finally, these trumpet vases were another mantle addition since my original post and bring the symmetry I crave. They're currently on sale and a great price point for an authentic look.


These velvet pumpkins were a Marshall's find a couple years ago and solved my dead orchid dilemma. While they're not as luxurious as the real deal made with true pumpkin stems, I'll take the plastic stems for the savings! Since I posted these years ago, I know many of you have also had luck finding them at Marshall's/Home Goods/T.J. Maxx, so if you want the look for less, keep your eyes peeled! I also love this affordable option, where you choose your own Set of 3!


To me, decorating for fall is also about creating a cozy feel. This Linnea's Lights Reserve candle in "Earl Gray" has been adding just the right amount of cozy! It has a subtle, clean scent that I love. The pom pom throw has been a comfy cozy favorite for years now, as well. It's no longer available, but I've found similar ones here and here.


And now for the pi├Ęce de reistance: the dining room! Serena & Lily was also sweet enough to gift me these napkins. I mean, hello! Pom poms AND gingham! A match made in heaven! They inspired me to put together fun new fall tablescape on Saturday. In fact, the table is still set, because it's too pretty to clear! Who wants to come have dinner?


Those who follow along on Instagram, know that we gave the dining room a face lift this summer. I thought the new lighter and brighter look called for all white pumpkins and gourds, so it was fun using the napkins and other elements to bring some color onto the table.


Staffordshire dogs make an appearance here, too! These little guys are so fun and were a steal from my all-time favorite home design shop, Dwelling. I've used them in quite a few tablescapes and think they added to the neutral vibe I was aiming for. The candlesticks are an Ikea steal and I zhushed them up with these napkin rings that were a bridal shower gift.


I mixed and matched everyday and fine dinnerware here, as well. Originally, I set the table with my Tobbacco Leaf dinner plates, but instead of complementing the gingham, the patterns competed. A quick swap with my everyday Emma dinner plates did the trick! The white added a clean feel and the border complemented the pom poms on the napkins perfectly. I also found that the Tobbaco Leaf bread plates added just the right pop of color and pattern play, while still keeping with the neutral theme. The chargers are from Target (similar here), and I actually bought them in college for this dinner with girlfriends in 2010(!) that made an appearance in the very early stages of the blog. I only wish I'd had the foresight then to buy a set of 12 instead of 4. The napkins rings were a gift from our wedding registry, and I selected them because the gold pairs well with the gold edge on the Tobacco Leaf.


The table runner was a Home Goods find (similar here), and the bowl (similar) is one Bryce actually uses to make bread, though I borrow it every year for pumpkins. Finally, can we talk about the rose tinted wine glasses!? I am obsessed and bought 4 at Crate & Barrel on clearance years ago. Well, one broke while I was washing it, so I'm down to 3. Talk again about wishing I'd had the foresight to buy 12. Since I'm down to 3, I often will set the table with two pink and two clear, his and hers, if you will! I did track down two that are nearly identical here (with gold trim!) and here (love the shape!).


And last, but not least the bar area got a little attention with the addition of a single white pumpkin!


As part of our dining room refresh, we had this table painted high gloss in the same color as the front door, Sherwin Williams Jetstream. The tray is Home Goods (similar) and bamboo wine rack is from a  favorite local boutique Van der Wolks (similar and like this one, too). The ALLIEgator bottle opener was a stocking stuffer from my parents, and I ordered the monogrammed napkins for Bryce's 30th through Gracious Bridal



Garden stool is from an amazing Norfolk shop with great authentic blue & white deals called Three Swallows. Millie is not for sale. 

Big thanks again to Serena & Lily for partnering on this post. If you're in the market for bedding, be sure to check out their sale!

Shew, now I'm exhausted! I forgot how much work this blogging thing was...

How do you decorate your home for the seasons?

Have a great day!