Ornament Round Up 2018

Happy Christmas Eve! Publishing a real quick and festive post since I’ve been MIA for a few months. In years past, I’ve done an ornament review of my trees but I totally forgot in 2017! So here is a real quick peak at some of the newest pieces in my collection.

The first few are from our local Pilot Club that sells ornaments of different landmarks and businesses each Christmas. Transitioning into ornaments documenting our travels, you’ll find a Biltmore Estate piece as well as a Biltmore artisan’s pottery piece featuring designs created by horse hairs. Next, there is the beautiful gem covered crustacean documenting our time in the Delta, and a few fun ones from friends too!


Easy Fall Foods | Crock-pot Chili, Low Carb Pumpkin Muffins, Semi-homemade Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Do you save certain recipes for certain times of year? I know I was waiting all September for it to finally get cool enough to make a pot of chili! Once October hit, I was ready to break out the pumpkin foods--I don't like pumpkin drinks though.

I served a big pot of chili just last week to some of my Junior League ladies. We had a little potluck night with the exec girls as we went through boxes and sorted event supplies. Everyone brought a little something, and it really made for a nice and easy fall get-together that you could replicate!

We had chili and baked potatoes with all the toppings, cornbread muffins, and a few different desserts to round it all out. Afterwards, the girls were asking for my chili recipe so I wanted to share:

Crock-pot Chili:

1 lb ground beef (or venison if you've got a freezer full like I do!)
2 16 oz cans of Bush's Best Chili Kidney Beans Spicy Chili Sauce
2 16 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of sweet corn
1 10 oz can of Rotel Hot Diced Tomatoes With Habaneros
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 mild chili seasoning packet

Cook the ground meat with half of the packet of mild chili seasoning (especially if venison) until well done. Drain. Add with rest of ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high for four hours, or low for six to eight. Serve with sour cream and Tillamook Mexican 4 Cheese Blend.

Another fun fall recipe is my favorite easy "healthy" pumpkin muffins. Easy, because no measuring. Healthy, because they're much lower in carbs and sugars than regular muffins but just as delicious!

Low Carb Pumpkin Muffins

1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin puree
1 box of Pillsbury sugar free yellow cake mix
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
Semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but I mean, come on)

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Grease muffin tin. Bake in regular muffin tin for 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes roughly 16 muffins.

And if you're looking for something not so healthy, but oh so delicious, my friend Kim shared an easy "semi-homemade" pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe that was easy and fun to make! I honestly felt so accomplished after rolling these up and baking them successfully. And they made the house smell too good!

Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

3 packages of crescent rolls (4 rolls per container)
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice

Lay dough on lightly floured surface, pinching together the seams. Mix pumpkin, brown sugar, and spices. Spread with half of the pumpkin mixture, and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Tightly roll lengthwise, and slice into 2 inch sections. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 tablespoons of melted butter

Mix ingredients thoroughly with mixer. Add milk by the tablespoon if you desire a thinner, more glaze-like texture. Ice cinnamon rolls quickly after removing from the oven while still warm.

There is enough frosting and pumpkin puree mix to save and make a second batch for your neighbors or next weekend!

Share your favorite recipes in the comments so I can try something new this weekend!

Fall Home Decor Ideas

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I may or may not have had my fall decor out since the end of August. I justified it by saying we had a football game almost every weekend in September {Hail Southern!} is true, but it really just makes me happy. Plus, doesn't the house seem to stay cleaner when there is some festive decor out and about?

I don't really love the traditional fall colors of orange, yellow, and red inside my home since so much of my home is a neutral color like gray, white, and brown. So I try to find some pieces that bring in a more rustic, fall vibe without being orange leaves, pumpkins, and scarecrows everywhere.

I ordered these buffalo check pillow covers from Amazon, and I'm so glad I did! I actually ended up buying a second set to have more pillows in this pattern! The 20 inch case fit my over sized pillows perfectly. I'm sure I'll leave these out at least through Christmas since I incorporate the buffalo check in to my main Christmas tree as well. The quality was great with these--very thick and you couldn't see through the fabric at all. They're a woven material that doesn't stretch though, so be careful when putting the pillows in!

I really love this neutral fall wreath, too. I have one similar that I picked up at TJ Maxx last fall. The white pumpkins and sunflowers really make this for me. I think these colors really pop on my blue door.

A few other Amazon favorites include my two favorite fall candles: Nest's Pumpkin Chai and Bath & Body Works' Marshmallow Fireside. The combo together is fabulous, and I truly believe the Pumpkin Chai is probably the best pumpkin scented candle ever. I also like these decorative galvanized buckets to sit the grocery store mums in. They add a little bit to the front porch which is nice.

TJ Maxx is also a great stop for fall decor, and I picked up these ceramic pumpkins this year. They have tons of sayings, sizes, and colors, and make the cutest little collection! What are your favorite fall decor items?

Hosting Bridge

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting my first bridge game as a member of the Dublin Girls' Cotillion. When I tell out of town people that I play bridge, I'm usually met with a similar "grandma" remark. I honestly can't remember even being aware of the game of bridge prior to moving here, but in Dublin, it's kind of a big deal.

There are lots of different groups and clubs that teach and play bridge regularly, with annual benefits and competitions. But our group is really social, and it's a great opportunity to get together with some girlfriends twice a month and have a glass of wine while playing a few hands.

I served a homemade pound cake with fresh whipped cream topped with strawberries. Some of my snacks {peanut butter M&Ms for the win!} were served in vintage ice cream dishes. I attempted another batch of my "Fancy Cookies" but the humidity took a toll on the icing, and they didn't turn out as perfectly as I would have liked. Cute though! It's so nice to enjoy some of the finer things in life with friends! And hosting such an event is a really great excuse to do some fall cleaning and decorating too. 

One of my favorite things about playing bridge are all the beautiful card styles and sets. I have one with peonies, one with hydrangeas, and the multi-colored ones seen on the table above. Typically, I shop for all my bridge supplies from Smith's of Dublin, but have been pleased to find sets and score books on Amazon too! Here's a few of my faves: 

Birthday Gift Guide 2018

We're a month away from my birthday--yay! And honestly, when I was thinking about a gift list it took me a few days to come up with anything. I guess we're just at that phase in life where if we want something we buy it. But I did think of a few things that I hadn't or wouldn't buy for myself, so here we go!

Faux Fur Leopard Print Coat: Over the top. Soft. Warm. I have this thing for outerwear, and even though this one is a little out there, I kind of love it. The reviews claim it's super soft and warm. It definitely would add some spice to any outfit! 

Sheila Earrings: Gold, lightweight, and the perfect size. I have a Sheila bangle and I wear it almost every day. Gold hoops are kind of my standard earring, so I'd really like a pair of these to wear almost always! 

Quilted Cross Body Bag: I'm not a huge "big" designer person, but these Gucci cross body bags really spoke to me. Unfortunately, they're super expensive, and are not something I'm willing to pay that kind of money for {especially since it's tiny, and kind of a trendy thing!}. I saw this Kaari Blue similar bag at Belk, and it's often on sale! It's a pretty pink color that would work year round. 

Charleston Rice Beads Necklace in Vintage Gold: I have a handful of CRB bracelets that I love, and I really 'need' the gold necklace! Another great staple, I think I'd end up wearing this necklace, especially with work wear, more often than not. Add another color and layers for a fun effect. 

Barrington Gifts bag set: I bought my first Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote two falls ago, and I love it. I regularly rotate into it as it's great for work and travel with the roomy design. I first saw this lighter combo at this summer's Mint/Smith's photo shoot and fell in love. I would really like the tote and the travel bag to match! And they have a new "side stripe" design for the totes that is really fun. I'll always be a pink girl, so pink and beige accents it is. 

Sparkle Drybar Blow Dryer: This is a holiday special that was just released. I really need a new blow dryer as I've recently cut my hair and my CVS $15 special just isn't cutting it anymore. I think investing in a good dryer would really change the game as far as speed of styling and various temperature settings. This dryer comes in a really great gift set that features some Drybar famous products I've been dying to try.

Fleetwood Mac Tickets: What a dream. CJM took me to the Eagles for my birthday last year, and it was absolutely amazing. Fleetwood is my third "must see" band {Eagles, Chicago, and Hootie have all been checked off since last bday} and I'd love for the hubs and I to go again. They're coming to a few local arenas next February/March, so I need to get to planning--can't let this one pass me by!

Sam Edelman Leopard Pumps: I've been eyeing these for years. I love Sam Edelman shoes, but had always just bought cheap printed pumps before now. With some knee issues I've had in the last year, I've learned how important it is to have quality shoes as they do make a difference in how you walk and feel. I'd love a pair of these for work and play, and I promise to never wear them at the same time as the leopard coat! 

Fall Wedding Guest Dress

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A few weeks ago, we attended my college roommates' beautiful wedding in Roswell. Everything was absolutely perfect, including the weather, which is typically miserable at best early in August in Georgia. I had picked up my dress a few months prior in TJ Maxx just for this occassion because I loved it, but I also loved it for many southern formal events. It got me thinking a little bit about formal attire during the late summer/into fall in the South. It's hot. It's going to be hot until the middle of October at least, but sometimes you want to look more fall-y and not sweat to death.

While I couldn't find my exact dress, I did find this similar one in navy which would work well for August/September. It's such a light, flowy fabric, but the flowers make it fun, and the length a little more formal. I will probably pair my dress with a fun black denim jacket like this one that I just ordered in the fall for a different, more edgy look.

My friend Michelle attended a gala last weekend in this beautiful one shoulder black dress that I had to share, especially after she mentioned it was on Amazon for under $35! I was floored--it's amazing. And it comes in some great fall colors too.

Mint boutique in Dublin has some great options as well, but I really love this green lace midi dress. The color is perfect for fall {also available in a blush rose color!}, and it's a light material that could be paired with a beautiful wrap or jacket as it cools off in October and November. 

I'm obviously a fan of the lace midi dress, since that's what I wore to a wedding last October, too! A midi dress is a great choice regardless of the weather, and definitely fits well in a dressier setting. Plus, who doesn't want to get a little dressed up every now and again?

What I bought from the #Nsale

Now that it's over, I feel like I can safely mention the #Nsale. I'm not an LTK girl {LiketoKnowit bloggers are pretty popular on Instagram, and make commission off of sales. While I do use affiliate links, I don't use LTK} and while I get it's some bloggers livelihood, it can be a tad bit overwhelming to have it blasted across all channels for three weeks.

I didn't shop a lot, but I did pick up a few things from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. There were some good deals out there, and some great steals on designer pieces if you were looking for that dream item. I am more into staples that I can wear season after season, to work and to play, so I didn't get anything super exciting, but did love and hate a few things.

As you can tell, I definitely had a bit of a theme going on. I love gray so much for fall and winter {and my house, and allthethings} and when I saw this gray coat on blogger Brittany @loverlygray I knew I had to order it. Perfect balance of structured jacket but fun swinging movement, plus it was on sale for $100 off! Unfortunately, this lightweight wool blend Kenneth Cole coat was unlined making it the itchiest most uncomfortable piece of clothing I've ever put on my skin! I was really disappointed, but it had to go back. If you want to try it {IMO, don't.}, definitely go down a size. It runs large.

I ordered the gray Caslon Two Pocket Knit Blazer because I knew it would be a great work piece and it was a great price. It still is, even post-sale. It's the perfect transitional weight for cold summer offices into cooler fall days, and can be dressed up or down. I can't wait to pair it with dark jeans and loafers for a casual fall look.

During the sale/after the wool coat debacle, I fell in love with this other Caslon piece, but it was never available in the gray color in my size! The day after the sale ended {boo...} it popped up in my size, so I just bit the bullet and ordered it. Super glad I did, because if you know me you know I basically wear my robe around the house 24/7. This jacket feels just like my robe! It's so soft and cozy but not heavy at all. It looks really similar to the wool jacket and felt like a good replacement.  The asymmetrical zipping adds a funky element that can kind of dress it up, making this the perfect travel/office/life jacket.  I'm so glad I bought it, even at full price. It comes in three other colors, too.

On to the boots. Both the hubs and I needed new boots, so I got these black Steve Madden booties for me. I usually run between a 7.5 and 8 in shoes, and I'm glad I ordered the 8. Even though I know the leather will stretch some, they are a little tight, but I also have very wide feet. Best part? The rubber sole and heel makes them practically silent. These come in two other colors, too.

For CJM, we ordered this beautiful pair of Chelsea boots. I loved the leather color and the plaid detailing on the gore. These boots were even more beautiful in person, but ran a little big {the toe is longer/more pointed in person} so they had to be returned. Thankfully, Nordstrom always offers free shipping and returns, which makes shopping the sale even easier!

What did you buy from the #Nsale? 

Cocktails at Sunset with Mint & Smith's of Dublin





Barrington Gifts Tote & Travel bag -- Call to Order (478) 272-5112

Cheers to a wonderful weekend! Even though I'm not in school anymore, it feels like summer is ending as our area schools get ready to go back in the next week and a half. Doesn't it feel like this summer has just flown by? We've been so busy, and will continue to be through August and football season, but this weekend I'm taking some time to really organize my closets and pantry.

While you're relaxing this weekend, enjoy a sip of something delicious and scroll through the second set of photos from my photo shoot with Smith's and Mint of Dublin. I loved the lighting of this outdoor cocktail hour setting so much! Even the InstaStories of this was beautiful.

Two things I'm loving: the striped jumpsuit and the Barrington Gifts bags. The jumpsuit is the softest thing ever, and great for a date night during this warm weather! And I want to order these bags for myself--I have the tote in the brown pattern with navy monogram {for Georgia Southern games prior to the clear-bag rule}, but I love this white/gray pattern too! I'd like to see a navy and pink monogram personally, and the overnight bag is a really great size. Birthday presents anyone...?