Scout Deano Bag

Happy Thursday!

Again, I'd like to reiterate from yesterday's post, I'm sorry for my lack of commenting this week.  It's been hard enough to get my posts written.  I am missing all of your blogs though and am hoping to catch up soon!

Today's post was inspired by Leigh, over at Hines-Sight Blog.  She recently wrote a post that was called "Packing a Boden Swimsuit and Much More in My Pool Bag" (see here).  I love reading all her funny antics as a busy, Southern mama and in this post she did not disappoint!

The phenomena she explained is one any mama or babysitter understands--going to the pool with kids involves a lot of PACKING!

When I go to the pool, river, or beach by myself I pack a cute little Pink & Green crab beach bag that perfectly holds a bottle of sunscreen, my towel, and a few magazines or books.  Once I started taking the Cuties to the pool, though, a few years ago, it quickly became clear that my cute little bag wouldn't cut it.

I, therefore, decided to purchase a much bigger cute bag:  The Scout Deano bag!  All the super cute moms at the Cuties' country club have them, so I fit right in!

Poolside with my Scout Deano!

This is my third summer of carrying the bag almost daily and it is still in great shape!

The thing is huge!

My Deano bag usually contains at least three beach towels, a few pairs of goggles, diving sticks, lots of sunscreen, sunglasses, magazines, books, a cosmetic bag, lunchbox and more!  It is literally HUGE!!

Scout also makes the cutest storage bins, coolers, trash bins, lunchboxes and more, always in bright, preppy prints!

I am loving some of this summer's prints and am thinking I might have to get myself another Scout something!

"Spirit Liftah" for $7?  YES, PLEASE!

"Packin' Heat"..I'll take that too!

An insulated "Cool Clutch" would also be a nice addition to my Scout collection!

Don't you just LOVE the print on this "Uptown Girl"?

Do you own anything made by Scout?  How do you keep track of all your pool gear?

Be sure to hop on over to my giveaway and 15% off Mary Kay sale if you haven't yet!  Click here!

Have a great Thursday..it's almost the HOLIDAY WEEKEND!


Summer DIY Wreath

Happy Hump Day Readers!  Where are the weeks going?  It seems to me that Mondays and Tuesdays drag on and then next thing I know it's Wednesday...then Thursday...and Friday and the week's over!

I'd like to start today's post by apologizing to all of you readers (especially some of my new ones for not reading/commenting as much this week).  I've been busy, busy--I'm with the Cuties all day and then have been going to Mary Kay trainings and/or catching up with friends at night.  I haven't been getting home til 9 or 10 or sometimes even later each night.  On top of that, my computer's wireless has been really funky, it holds a connection for about 15 min and then loses it and I have to try and reconnect.  Because of all this I have been in a blog reading slump--I have been trying my best to keep up, but please forgive me if I haven't checked out your blog yet or lately!

Now onto today's post!  I am thrilled to share a gorgeous, EASY summer DIY project with you:  A Cocktail Umbrella wreath.

This wreath is just what you need to add some summer charm to your front door and would also be a great housewarming gift.

The cuties and I made this last week and it cost less than $15! We bought all of our supplies at Ben Franklin Crafts and Party City.  We started with a 16 in straw wreath for $4.99 and a yard of pink wired ribbon for around $2.  (I would recommend getting a little longer if you want to tie a bow at the top, otherwise, a yard is plenty.)  Then, at Party City, we bought a pack of Cocktail Umbrellas for $5.99 and have tons left over for fun drinks throughout the summer and even another wreath or two!

And now for the steps.  This project doesn't even really require steps, because I literally saw a picture and then just figured it out as I went, but I'll tell you what I did.

  1. Wrap your ribbon around the top of the wreath where you would like it placed.  (If you do not do this at the beginning, you will not be able to fit it or will smoosh the umbrellas in the process of trying to make it fit.
  2. Stick the umbrellas into the wreath in an overlapping fashion alternating colors.  (We followed no specific color pattern, but just made sure all colors were used evenly.  We also alternated our positioning of the umbrellas, making sure that all of one color wasn't at the bottom being covered by others or vice versa.)
  3. Make your way around the umbrella.  
  • Additionally, we did not use any glue, however, depending on your wreath you may want to dab a little glue on the points of the umbrellas to hold them in place, however, the straw was tight enough that we were pretty sure ours would not come lose.
  • Also occasionally as working, we would lift the wreath up and put it against the door to make sure that no straw from the inside of the circle was peaking out, it is not necessary to cover the whole wreath, just make sure that your umbrellas are placed so that when hanging you do not see any straw.
  • Finally, if you are using a straw wreath like we did, you may want to work outside, because the straw sheds a lot as you're working!

Cutie B playing with the umbrellas.
His job was to get the rubber bands off of the umbrellas and open them up!

The lovely Cutie A
She helped me with the layout and design of the umbrella and also helped stick them into the wreath.


It really pops on their bright lime door!

It was quite fun revealing the wreath to the Cuties' mama.  We made it at my house and let her know that we had a surprise for her when she got home.  She actually beat us home, so once we got back we banished her to her office while we hung the wreath on the front door.  We then told her she had to go check the mail.  In the process, she discovered the wreath and loved it and thought it would make the neighbors quite envious!

Do you keep a wreath on your front door?

If you haven't already, please be sure to enter my Mary Kay giveaway and check out the 15% off sale I'm offering readers!!  See here!

Also, don't forget that I'm accepting any and all questions from my readers to compile in a post.  You can submit questions by commenting on Friday's post, here, or by emailing me at sundressesandsmiles@gmail.com!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!!


Father's Day at Mosaic

Happy Monday everyone!

This weekend was just what I needed.  I didn't get nearly as much checked off my to-do list as I had hoped, but I did get some much-needed rest!

Friday night we celebrated Father's Day at a delicious restaurant Mosaic.  It was a gorgeous night so we ate outside!

Mosaic offers a creative spin on Southern comfort food.  They opened in Richmond in 1997 and now have locations in Suffolk, VA and Charleston, SC as well.  Additionally, they offer catering for events big and small.  Check out their blog, here.

We started with Shrimp Wonton and Crab Pita Nachos.  Sadly, we dug in so fast that I didn't get a chance to snap a picture!

Daddy and Allie

For my entree I ordered the Seafood Mac & Cheese which had shrimp, crab, and cavatappi pasta baked in a smoked gouda cream sauce with a parmesan-bacon herb crust.  


Daddy, Allie, Mommy

Other side of the table
My lovely cousins, CAE and CJE

Since it was a Father's Day celebration, we couldn't go without dessert!  CJE and I both ordered the Cookie Monster Cake and both brought home leftovers--it would have been perfect to share.  It was a delicious chocolate cake with a layer of vanilla in the middle with a delectable rich, chocolate icing and cookie crumbles sprinkled on.

heaven in your mouth!

It turned out to be a fabulous Father's Day celebration!

Also, don't forget that I'm accepting YOUR questions for the next week or so to come up with a fun post.  To submit a question or read more, check out Friday's post, here and ask away!

What did you do this weekend?


Ask Allie

TGIF!!  Despite another great week with the Cuties, I am so glad it is the weekend!  This weekend I don't have anything planned and I'm really excited about it!  I'm going to get a lot of little "to-dos" that have been piling up done, relax, and hopefully catch up on some of my blog reading!

I decided to make today's post one I've been planning to do for a while.  I've seen this on a few other blogs and thought it could be really fun!

For today's post I'm opening up the floor to all of you to ask me any and all questions you may have. They can be just simple questions about me, my views on things, advice, ANYTHING!  Nothing is off limits (and if for some reason I get a question that would qualify as off limits, I will simply ignore it!).

I'm going to accept questions for the next week or so via comments or emails to sundressesandsmiles@gmail.com.  Once I've gotten enough questions, I'll do a post with my answers and if some questions lead to their own post, I'll use them for that as well!  

Have a fabulous weekend and ASK AWAY!


True Style

Hello everyone!

I have been walking on sunshine the last two days.  I think the official start to summer may have contributed to some of my happiness, but also I think it is just the overall joy that summertime brings to me.  There's just something about the slower paced way of life as well as being with my family, the Cuties, and my friends here in my home that puts me in a state of bliss!

Today's post is my summertime version of a "deep" post.  As I mentioned last week, I like to keep this blog grounded with some more serious posts every now and then but hadn't really been inspired by anything serious lately, until I thought of the idea for today's post.

Who and what do you think of when you think of true style?

Maybe Jackie O?

Or royal Kate?

Perhaps you think of the glamorous Grace Kelly?

Maybe you even think of me! 
KIDDING...of course!

When I think of Jackie, Kate, Grace, and countless other women that exude style, I think of more than just the beauty and fashion that they may have in common.  Each of these women possesses something more that gives them style.

In the Blogworld, it is easy to get caught up in shopping for all the latest fashions and the materialistic aspects of style.  However, while it is fun to swoon together over these things, it is also important to remember that style is so much more than a clothing label.

Style is not just what you wear, it's how you wear it.

For example, we can all think of "that girl"--the girl that may have the best clothes and always look put together, but behaves in the trashiest ways.  To me, though the girl may have fashion sense, she does not possess true style.

True style is characterized by confidence, poise, a smile, grace, kind words and gestures, etc, etc...

Women that possess these traits and carry themselves with dignity have style regardless of what they're wearing.  So the next time you splurge on that must-have wardrobe piece, also remember that your style comes from within!

Who are your style icons?  What do you think gives a woman true style?

Have a STYLISH day!



Happy Hump Day!

Hope everyone has had a fabulous start to the week.  Last Tuesday, the Cuties and I took our annual trip to Maymont Park.

Cutie B, Allie, Cutie A

Maymont is one of the MANY things I love about Richmond, but the kids and I only usually make it there once a summer when we have an unexpected cool day.

Maymont is a 100-acre estate that was originally owned by the Dooley family.  The family gave it as a gift to the City of Richmond in the 1920s.  It is a free park and has a mansion, gardens, children's farm, animals, nature center, and walking trails.  It is so gorgeous and the perfect activity for a nice day.

Cutie B & Cutie A

We started the day at the children's farm and fed the animals.

Cutie A was grossed out by the goat's tongue!

Cutie B and Mr. Billygoat

We then ventured out to see the other animals the park has to offer!

Can you tell what a gorgeous day it was?

Cutie B checking out the bird cages!


Isn't this gray fox handsome?

HUGE bald eagle

Cutie A's wingspan is no match for the bald eagle's!

scenic waterfall

Next we headed over to the bears' habitat.  Maymont has always been known for its black bears.  A few years ago quite a stir arose when a four year old was bit, while he was reaching through the fencing with an apple in his hand.  The two bears were put to sleep causing great public outcry, because the bite was caused more by poor parental supervision than bear aggression.  Since then the bears have been replaced with two new bears.  When we went last week, I saw the bears the best I had ever seen them (often they are off in the distance or hiding).

After seeing the bears, we headed to our usual picnic spot in the Japanese gardens.

Normally there is the most gorgeous waterfall here, but there was no water to be seen last week...

Cutie B would have stayed on the stepping stones watching these fish for HOURS if I had let him!

Our final stop of the day was in the Italian gardens!

On the way Cutie B decided to check out what he believed to be an "Indian Trail"

The Italian Gardens had these benches in them.  
I loved this one, it reads:  
"Here in 1929 Henry asked Maria to marry him.
Their family and friends dedicate this bench
to all the joy that followed."

We had never noticed this little path and decided to explore...

and of course take a picture!

Standing inside that dome produces echoes!

Allie and Cutie A

Pretty butterfly!

If you're ever in Richmond on a sunny day, Maymont is a must-visit!

Do you have any favorite places like these where you live?

Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out my Facebook page, here!

Have a great day, and get pumped for some very exciting news and...a GIVEAWAY on Friday!


The Time I (Almost) Burnt the House Down

Hello and Happy Summer to everyone!

I hope today's post will bring a smile to your face and maybe even a few chuckles at my expense!

I'd like to think I'm a pretty good cook--I follow recipes and they usually turn out the way they should.  I'd also like to think I'm pretty smart...BUT, every now and then, I have what my family refers to as "blonde moments."

One of those moments was this past Saturday.  Remember the cupcakes we enjoyed at LPC's birthday celebration?  I made those yummy cupcakes, but not without a little excitement in the E household.

You see, I had two pans of cupcakes and wanted to put them both in at the same time.  The only problem is that our oven can be very finicky.  You have to have the racks in just the right spots.  If they're too high, whatever you're baking won't cook all the way through, and if they're too low, whatever you're baking will burn.  I decided to put the cupcakes on the two middle racks.  This was mistake #1!

I opened the oven to see that the bottom rack of cupcakes had risen onto the top rack and made quite the mess.  Here comes mistake #2...

Some batter had fallen to the bottom of the oven.  I thought to myself, if I leave it and wait for the oven to cool, the batter will have hardened and it will be an even  bigger pain to clean up.  I grabbed a napkin and quickly tried to scoop up the batter...


I immediately started yelling "FIRE! FIRE!"  My parents came running in, I threw the flaming napkin in the trashcan and began dumping cups of water onto it.  Luckily, the only casualty of this incident was the bottom racks of cupcakes and the poor incinerated napkin.

Ugly smooshed cupcakes--luckily it wasn't  a full tray!

Pretty top tray of cupcakes.

Ugly cupcakes with the excess shaved off and taste-tested by moi.

Through this mishap, I did discover that there's nothing a little pink can't fix!

The ugly cupcakes were made-over with pink icing!

I thought this little yellow cocktail umbrella would be a fun addition!

I put sprinkles on the top batch and took them to LPC's birthday celebration.

What are some of your funniest kitchen mishaps?

Have a great day!