The Best of the Best

2014 has really flown by. I can't believe we're now staring 2015 in the face. Last year when I did my 2013 recap, I made a goal of more pictures of the people and things that mean the most to me in my life, and that 2014 was going to be a great year. While not without it's trials, 2014 really turned it around and I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store. Here's a few of my favorite moments from the past year:

Jan. 2014--Starting the year off right/our annual NYE picture

Feb. 2014--Apothocary Ball/Valentine's Weekend in Savannah

March 2014--Back to Florence the fam goes

April 2014--Happy Easter! 

May 2014--New job at the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce

Summer 2014--Lots of time loving on my little house and
spending time with friends

September 2014--Best football season ever at the
prettiest little stadium in America 

October 2014--Birthday month adventures 

November 2014--Sun Belt Champions

Football Season 2014--I loved spending time with all my friends!

December 2014--Merry Christmas from me and my love! 

Christmas Haul

I hope everyone had a very, merry Christmas last week! I enjoyed spending a few days with my mother and family in South Carolina, and a nice quiet weekend settling in back in with all of my new "loot." I was so blessed this year with so many interesting and thoughtful gifts that I wanted to share just a few of my favorites with you.

Thank you, Grandma Claus! I love my new mirrored coffee table. It really brightens up the room, and makes it looks so glam and beautiful! Also, Layla's ball doesn't get stuck under it a zillion times a day like the previous ottoman that was there, so that's a definite plus.

My mother has been using the Younique brand mascara for a few months now. I could definitely see a difference but hadn't tried it for myself until I found this in my stocking. Wowza! I have always had super long lashes, but now they are stunning. I have only been putting it on the top lashes because they get so long and think with just one coat of the fibers. I'm going to definitely do a before/after mini-tutorial soon, because the results are absolutely astounding! Younique is sold by individuals {kind of like Avon}, so look for a supplier in your area, or sign up yourself because it's really such a cool product. 

Da da da da! It's....Might Purse! Literally the coolest wristlet ever. This cute, genuine leather {so soft!} wristlet charges your smartphone--up to four full times! How wonderful! My iPhone is always going dead, mostly because I charge it on my iPad charger, but still. This is little bag fits perfectly in my purse without adding much weight or taking up too much space. It has slots for a few ID/credit cards, room for your phone obviously, and keys, so this will definitely be my new go-to bag for nights out on the town. Now there's no worry that I won't get the perfect picture to Instagram because of a dead phone! Look for the Mighty Purse at boutiques near you.

Christopher's very first gifts to me three Christmas' ago were a cow Pillow Pet, and clip in feather hair pieces {a joke. I did not actually wear them. But I do love the cow!}, so it only seems fitting that he got me another great As-Seen-On-TV gift. The Spicy Shelf! I saw this at Walmart and really thought it would be helpful. My cabinets have a lot of space but they're super tall, and I'm not. So my spices would get all jumbled together right at the front where I could reach them, and then I'd forget what I had hidden in the back because I couldn't see. Problem solved! I used only one of the two Spicy Shelves included in the box, and put the other one in my bathroom for fingernail polish.

I hope Santa was good to you, and that you were able to spend time with your loved ones too, remembering the true Reason for the Season!

Winter Wonderland

Welcome to Statesboro, home of the 75 degree December days!

I really don't mind it though. I don't tolerate the cold very well at all. My cheery front porch has hopefully been making passersby feel rather Christmas-y over the last few weeks--it sure has been a joy to me to drive past in the evenings!

This year, I reused the garland I made for my deck last year, and hung it in the fern hooks on my porch. I love my glittery little trees from Target, which I finally got to stay with Ziploc bags of pennies tied to the bases {shhh...don't steal them!}. My best and newest addition though is Clarence. Clarence came to me by way of my most talented fiance, who not only cooks the yummiest foods, but also makes the coolest stuff out of cedar at his grandparents' house! He started out making wooden coasters for everyone, and now when I find cool wood things on Pinterest, I send them his way for ideas.

He took the wooden dear idea and made it work perfectly for my lack of storage living situation. The legs are screwed on hinges so they fold up underneath the body, and the antlers pop out of their holes so that it can all be stored safely and out of the way. Isn't he {Clarence, and of course Christopher} wonderful?!

P.S. This is my 100th blog post! How exciting is that? I love being able to look back on all the ups and downs of the last two years and see how far I've come. 

Warm Hands, Warm Hearts

Confession: I've had my tree up since the week before Thanksgiving. I love Christmas! And I like to put my tree and decorations up early because I am so busy and travel a lot that if I waited until a normal time, I don't feel like I'd be able to enjoy it all. 

Christmas decorating is kind of always a work in progress situation, as I'm finding new ornaments for my house a tree. I think I'm kind of done for the year...that is, until December 26th when it all goes on sale and I can stock up for next year! 

I hope you enjoy these pictures of my sweet little cottage-y home at Christmas...I'll post pictures of my fabulous front porch soon! 

 Glittery pine cones and bottle brush trees, and snow-topped pine cone S&P shakers. 

My quick version of a stocking hanger!

Bulloch County Courthouse ornament!
I won this ornament at the Phi Mu Alumni
Christmas party--isn't it stunning?
One of my pretty Christmas gifts from the bestie last year.
I love how it catches the light.
Bringing Christmas into my bedroom
with my favorite vintage ceramic tree!
I'm obsessed with this year's wrapping paper--all that glitters, is gold and silver!

A Very Eagle-y Christmas

Deer salt and pepper
shakers make great mantle
Two weeks ago, Georgia Southern won the Sunbelt Conference Championship as a first year FBS participant. While we're {unfairly} bowl-ineligible, the spirit is still pretty high around town with most people agreeing that this is the best Christmas gift we could have received! The game against University of Louisiana--Monroe was great, but unfortunately I totally forgot I even had a camera until after the end, and my phone died in the first quarter. As it turns out, I'm not a great historian.

This weekend, Christopher decided he wanted a Christmas tree, and a Georgia Southern tree at that. "Awesome!", I thought. So we headed to Wal-Mart to pick out a nice, green, artificial tree. Did I mention green? There were not a whole lot of fake trees left, but he finally found one unopened one that didn't look like it had been returned. A nice, 6.5 foot pre-lit Madison Pine. We picked out some gold garland and matching bow for the top, and boxes of blue and silver ornaments.
Very Georgia Southern-y.

After checking out, and hauling it all up the three flights of stairs to his apartment...what to my wondering eyes should appear but Christmas tree. Yes, a black Christmas tree. We were so confused. Nowhere on the box did it say it was black. All it said was that it was a Madison Pine. I had no clue that Madison Pines were black, and apparently neither did the other shoppers who ended up returning theirs and clearing out the store of green artificial trees. We debated on returning it, but thought we would try it out, and it actually turned really cool!

A tree like that definitely needs to be a themed tree, and since it's a house of boys, I think the black kind of works. What do you think?

Seasons Greetings

Hello! Somehow, November got away from me, and I never blogged, not even once. I'm the worst! Let's just say I was busy putting up my Christmas tree, okay?

Here are some new ornaments on my tree that I'm loving:

Can you spot the bling-a-ring in my tree? I love celebrating this once in a lifetime season with the few engagement ornaments I can find. I think this one is a spitting image of my ring, don't you?!


Speaking of bling, I can't forget the "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" ornament one of my brothers got me last year! This got me thinking--I need a JFK/Jackie O ornament! Let the search begin.

Anything pink is perfect for me of course, and this Carolina girl loves the pink and green ball celebrating the beautiful Palmetto state, a gift from another brother last year too. 

What new ornaments are you loving this year?

Happy Reformation Day!

I don't do Halloween.

 Essentially, I am the Grinch version of Halloween. I want to go and steal all of the candy {on Nov. 1 from Walmart, when it's 75% off, and they put out the candy cane Hershey's kisses} and then crawl back to my cave {bed} and eat it all, alone.

Growing up in Christian schools, there were always debates about the appropriateness of Halloween, and costumes, etc. I hail from the land of "Harvest Festivals" on Halloween night, held in church parking lots with "family-friendly" costumes. Even Trunk or Treats were a little too progressive at the time.

Anyways, the school I attended through middle and high school was a non-denominational Christian school, but we learned a lot about all the different sects and how they came to be. Basically my whole 8th grade year was a study of Calvinism, which has ultimately developed some really weird beliefs for this Southern Baptist girl. We always had "Reformation Week"  leading up to October 31--the day in 1517 that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door which argued against the pope and his teachings. Each day was spent reviewing all the "Solas":

  1. Sola scriptura--by scripture alone
  2. Sola fide--by faith alone
  3. Sola gratia--by grace alone
  4. Solo Christo--by Christ alone
  5. Soli Deo Gloria--to God alone be the glory
This week was always one of my favorites. It seemed kind of silly at the time, but we all got really into it, and I appreciated the time to break apart my faith to the core structures of what I believe: salvation in Jesus Christ alone, by grace and through faith only. We learn how to live our lives, shape our beliefs, and be Christ-followers through Scripture {that's it.}, and our ultimate purpose in life is to bring glory to God. It's all there, in just a few simple Latin phrases.

I don't condemn Halloween. I am a great lover of tradition, and I think Halloween can be fun {I just really don't like to be scared}. But I do like to take the time each Halloween to reflect on the teachings of my childhood, and what this day actually means for me and those I love. Happy Reformation Day everyone! Now go out and eat some candy...

*all pictures via Google Images*

2018 update to include this gem:

What to Buy the Boys

I've always found it a little difficult to buy for the men in my life. It's made even more difficult by being engaged to someone who has more clothes, shoes, etc. than I do. My "fancee" says I am a great gift buyer, but I don't always feel like I am--especially for him! I want to get him something useful, not just some silly novelty items. I do tend to find some quick and easy gifts in the specialty Target sections leading up to Christmas, but if you need to give a gift before then, you might get stuck.

 I know some of my girlfriends also have this issue, so I thought I would blog today about some easy go-to 'guy gifts' that can be used for birthdays or Christmas {it is only 57 days away...}:

Shaving Club
First of all, go to the website and watch the video. It's hilarious. Secondly, just go ahead and order the $9/mo set for yourself. In my opinion, the more blades the better. The 'fancee' has gotten really interested in the straight razor business as of late, and luckily there is a cool specialty shop in Savannah that has tons of gadgets and creams that entertain him for hours. But I'm guessing there are times when a normal razor may do the job quicker. Either way, this is the gift that keeps on giving all year long! You get a handle and blades sent the first month, and then {4} new blades each month. How easy! Seriously, I may need this for myself, as I always forget to buy razors before I need them.

Wallet/Phone Case Combo Leather
via Etsy
Does your significant other routinely lose their wallet, keys, phone, etc.? While mine never does, {*rolls eyes*} this wallet/iPhone combo seems super convenient. The cards only model {shown} comes in right at $100, but a fold-over traditional wallet with an enclosed money section is only $50 more.

The Southerner's Handbook: A Guide to Living the Good Life 
via Amazon
The title says it all. A compilation of basically "how to be a good southerner" from the fabulous editors of one of my favorite publications, Garden & Gun. This book is a great gift for any southerner, males and females alike.

University Decanter
via One Stop Fan Shop
If your man friend enjoys the finer things in life, he will really get a kick out of this item. University-specific decanters. Who wouldn't want to show up to a tailgate with this thing? It's pretty classy looking in you ask me, probably along the lines of "University Decanter. It's a #TFM."

Dress Socks
via Nordstrom
This may seem like a silly item, but it's a great stocking stuffer. Most guys I know only wear the no-show black sports socks, even though they're meticulous about their bow-ties, blazers, and every other detail. Dress socks are easy to find, in a wide array of colors and prices, and according to Nordstrom's extensive sock page, "Tradition dictates that over-the-calf socks should match the color of your trousers. If you want to go modern, choose patterned or bold-colored socks that complement your shirt or tie." Have fun with this one!

Nick Offerman Stuff

via The Offerman Shop
Does your beloved obsess about the show Parks & Rec, beards, and being a man? If so, The Offerman Shop is your one stop shop for gifts. Get an autographed book, hand crafted meat paddle or mustache comb...even an end table. This stuff is really too cool, as is Nick Offerman's personal story. {And you know he's married to Karen from Will & Grace, right? for you and the boy.}

What do you like to get for your guy?

I'm Feeling...23

Perfect birthday flowers
from my mother!
Yesterday was my 23rd birthday. It was a really fun and exciting day, which makes this week even better. I'm looking forward to having Friday off, and being able to go spend the long weekend with my family in South Carolina.
     I woke up to a ton of sweet text messages, Facebook wishes, and Instagram posts from so many thoughtful friends and family members. When I got to work, I was in for a big surprise. A birthday sign greeted me at the door, with two pink balloons attached to it. My wonderful co-workers had taken time over the weekend to decorate my office with pink and green balloons, a "Happy Birthday" banner, tinsel, and confetti. They also picked out the most wonderful gifts for me--Kate Spade earrings I've been wanting for forever, and a beautiful pearl necklace that will definitely be a longtime wardrobe staple. We enjoyed our traditional Groucho's Deli birthday lunch together before closing up shop early for the fair parade.

While at Georgia Southern, I would always go to the fair on my birthday to celebrate with my friends. I was thrilled to continue the tradition this year with Niki and Kirstie. We had funnel cake {the best kind of birthday cake right?}, blue cotton candy, and boiled peanuts before riding the Ferris Wheel, the Scrambler, and a flying ride. I really enjoyed the petting zoo, too. I had never ventured into that part of the fair before, and was surprised to see camels, zebras, tiny ponies, monkeys, and more! Probably the best part of the fair is the people watching...I may have to go back for round two later this week!
Can you find the Queen Bee? I did!

The very sleepy zebra. 

Pigs in a bowl! 

The Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair
Thank you to all who made my birthday special, especially my mom, best friends, and co-workers!