Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas Gifts for Women: On a Budget


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Is anyone else completely into the Christmas spirit, now that Thanksgiving is over?
I totally am!
Our Christmas tree is up & most of the decorations are out, it's just a good and cozy feeling...and one of my favorite parts? Giving presents!

There is just something special about picking out the perfect gift for each person on my list, I work on it all year long to get it just right & I love it so much.

Today I'm rounding up gifts perfect for the woman in your life, especially if you're shopping on a budget. Everything on this list is below $40, but most of it is much less than that!

Some of my favorites from this list would be the idea of giving a yummy favored coffee with a pretty mug-I love little sets like this so much!

The tumbler and the planner would also make an adorable match made in heaven-perfect for the girl in your life who is always on the go.
And while all of these gifts are cute when paired, they are equally as amazing on their own!

All the items are linked below in the widget-make yourself at home & click away to find yourself the perfect present!

Until next time. . .
xoxo,

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ten on Tuesday [No.35]

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Happy Tuesday, y'all!
I hope each of you had an amazing Thanksgiving weekend full of food, family, friends, and football-all the best things in life, am I right?

ONE
Speaking of football, my Auburn Tigers took home the Iron Bowl win against Alabama and clinched our trip to the SEC Championship to play Georgia again!
I'm not a fired up, ride or die football fan-but I love Auburn the community and the school, just the entire feeling of Auburn, it's unlike anything in the world & I'm so proud of this team!

P.S. this picture is like 3 years old & Chris and I look like babies!

TWO
My skin has basically been revolting lately, I'm thinking it's just the change in the weather-but I'm trying to get things balanced so I've been looking at my skincare trying to decide what to nix and what to add.
In my research I found 6 Reasons to Add a Toner to your Skincare Routine and so I'm definitely going to be doing this every night...anything that will shrink my pores!

THREE
My oldest sister & I are headed to Atlanta in January and of course I'm going to try to trick her into visiting the brand new Draper James store!

FOUR
If you missed Saturday's post; make sure you go check out Forrest's Adoption Story & I also give 10 Reasons to Adopt instead of buying a pet-it's got lots of good puppy pics in it too 😍

FIVE
Have you seen on Facebook where everyone is sharing the photographer who took picture's at Lowe's pictures?!
This almost makes me want to go have a photoshoot in the garden department, almost!

SIX
This video of a protective Golden Retriever mom is so adorable!
She doesn't want anyone touching her baby!

SEVEN
I was wearing this palette on my eyes on Friday at my family's Thanksgiving gathering & when you mom notices how bomb your eyeshadow is...you know it's good.
At under $40-this palette is a stunner & a great buy. Everyone needs it!

EIGHT
Yesterday I got most of our house finished being decorated for Christmas-I have just a few last minute touches, so of course Chris and I cuddled up after dinner, had hot apple cider,  & we I watched CMA Christmas, which is my favorite because it's got all of my favorite country musicians singing Christmas songs.

NINE
I picked up these beautiful monogrammed cards yesterday on sale for less than $10!
It's so difficult for me to find things with my last initial, so I jumped at these. 😊

TEN
 Has anyone else been watching all the Hallmark Christmas movies?!
I have a DVR full of them and whenever I know I'm going to have an hour or so to kill, I put one on.
Sunday night while I was working on our tree, I watched One Starry Christmas and loved it so much...basically if there's a cowboy, I'm gonna like it. 😉

So y'all-let me know if you're ready for Christmas yet below-do you have your decorations up? Do you have your shopping done? I'm dying to know!

Until next time. . .
xoxo, 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

10 Reasons to Adopt, Not Shop (Forrest's Story)

If you ask me to name my favorite things in life I'll start with Chris (my husband) and then Forrest, our lab, will be right behind him.
We've had Forrest for almost two years now and as you'll probably hear me say multiple times throughout this post-he's one of my biggest blessings.

Chris & I adopted two dogs early in our relationship that we absolutely loved; Jake & Bullet.
However Jake was hit by a car accidentally and Bullet disappeared from our yard a few years later.
After losing dogs that we so loved, it was hard to want to have another dog to love and possibly lose.

In the summer of 2016 I began to want another dog and one of our friends had a labrador retriever that was about to have puppies & Chris was planning to buy me one...until I looked at our local animal shelter's Facebook & saw a beautiful black lab on their page-I knew it was fate.
I literally drove to the animal shelter the next morning and picked him up.
 When I first saw him, he hadn't been at the animal shelter long so he was still underweight & needed a bath. I honestly was pretty overwhelmed when we first got him & was afraid I had gotten more than I bargained for.
The picture above is the day we brought him home in July of 2016-he was eating ice cubes out of a bowl at my parents house & was as happy as could be-that cute pink tongue owns me, y'all!
 Fast forward to now, we've had him a year and a half & I'm so glad I took a chance on the rough looking lab at the animal shelter.
He's my very best buddy & the closest thing Chris and I have right now to children and I wouldn't have it any other way.
 Reason #1 to Adopt:
Adoption Helps More Than One Animal
When I adopted Forrest, I opened up a kennel at the animal shelter for another animal in need that most likely would've been turned away otherwise.
 Reason #2 to Adopt:
You're Saving a Life
The shelter we adopted from is a no-kill facility, however many animal shelter's are not so lucky to be no-kill.
If you adopt a dog from a kill shelter, you truly are saving it's life.
If you adopt from a no-kill shelter, you're greatly increasing that dogs quality of life!

I truly think that Forrest is grateful that we adopted him & took him home, just by the way he treats us and looks at us.
 Reason #3 to Adopt:
Pets Reduce Stress & Can Lower Blood Pressure
Essentially, either having a pet or spending time with one can help make you more healthy!
If you're unable to adopt, perhaps you can foster a pet for a short time or just volunteer at an animal shelter-you can get the health benefits while the animals benefit as well.
 Reason #4 to Adopt:
Many Shelter Pets are Already Trained
Whether it's simple commands or being house-trained, many dogs that are in shelters and rescue groups are already at least semi-trained. This is mainly a result of owner-surrendered dogs.
When Forrest came to us he surprised us with his ability to already sit and quickly mastered shaking & staying. He also is excellent at retrieving, which could be a result of his breed or someone teaching him (or both!) He also is house-trained as well, which is great for us!
 Reason #5 to Adopt:
You Can Choose the Right Dog for You
When purchasing a dog, usually that dog is still a puppy.
If you visit the animal shelter you can have your pick of sizes, age ranges, temperaments, etc.
There are so many to choose from & you'll get to see them all.
 Reason #6 to Adopt:
Animals from Rescues or Shelters are More Well-Known
If you go to an animal shelter or rescue group, they are very familiar with the animals they work with every day and can give you a pretty accurate description of the animals activity level, temperament, health background, etc.
This comes in handy versus purchasing from a pet store because they may not be the breeders, etc.
 Reason #7 to Adopt:
Adoption Typically Costs Less
At the last meeting I went to for a local club I'm involved in, we had a speaker from our local animal shelter talk about cost of their animals to be adopted.
She said that the cost of the animal is lower than all of the money they put into the animal once it arrives at their facility, because they want to make sure it can get a home.
The fee is still substantial, but under $100 and they even run specials at times.
This insures that not just anyone can adopt, but that they don't just stay in the shelter because no one can afford them.
 Reason #8 to Adopt:
Shelters & Rescues Normally Include Veterinary Care
Going along with number 7, the value that you get with a shelter animal is incredible.
Many times, when you adopt an animal it is already up to date on vaccines, sometimes it has had a microchip put in, and is always spayed or neutered.
In Forrest's case, I was given a gift certificate from the shelter to take to my vet's office to have his procedure done (because he hadn't been at the shelter long enough to have it done).
The cost alone for his neutering would have been as much as I payed for him.
 Reason #9 to Adopt:
You'll Have a Partner for Life
Whether it's an exercise partner or a Netflix binging buddy, you'll always have someone by your side if you choose to adopt.
Whenever I want to go for a walk around the neighborhood, Forrest is always game.
When Chris and I go to get in the truck, he always wants to jump on back.
He's been canoeing with us, he always likes to go over to our friend's house with us, and he is definitely game for any trip to the lake.

Y'all, I took the picture of him below at my parent's pond last Christmas afternoon when we had given him an entire bag of tennis balls to fetch out of the water & he was insanely pleased.
He was leaping in the water & found stumps of old trees in the pond to stand on and I fell even more in love.
This year we're planning to take him again on Christmas day & he has a special toy that he'll be able to play with that I already bought him & I'm so beyond stoked!
 Reason #10 to Adopt:
They Love You Unconditionally
This is the truest and most important reason.
The love that dogs have for us is so, so pure.
I once read a quote that said, "If those with the kindest souls were awarded the longest lives, then dogs would live forever".
Isn't that so true?
When I look at Forrest & know how much he trusts me and how he loves me it just breaks my heart into a million pieces because humans don't deserve dogs-we just don't.


 I mean, how could we deserve animals like this one? All tucked in warm in his bed with his toys?! 😍
 I couldn't resist a chance to share my love of adoption and my obsession with my dog with y'all.
And it's not just me, Chris may seem like the tough cowboy type, but he's as much of a sucker as I am...I mean, he lets Forrest cuddle up in his lap while he drives.


Guys, there just is nothing like saving the life of one of God's purest creatures.
If you're thinking of getting a dog (or a cat!) in the coming year, please consider visiting your local shelters or humane societies.
You just might (and probably will) find a gem like Forrest. 💙

Until next time. . .
xoxo, 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday 2K17: Steals & Deals

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I'm currently sitting here with my belly full of Thanksgiving leftovers, watching the Mississippi State/Ole Miss game, whitening my teeth, and trying to make a game plan for all the things I'm planning on purchasing this weekend!

I'll be updating this post through Cyber Monday-so if you're missing a store you normally shop at revisit my post because I'm searching out all of the best coupon codes and sales all weekend long.
In addition to the larger stores, I've also tried to include smaller online shops that I have used & love.
Below I'll be listing stores with their corresponding sale or coupon code (& whether it's online or in-store or both!)...so get to shopping!

Ann Taylor: 50% off everything site wide with the code THANKFUL
ASOS: 20% off Everything with Code WIN20
Bath & Body Works: Buy 3, Get 3 Free the Entire Store
BooHoo: Take 50% off Everything
Chic Soul Boutique: 30% off Sitewide-Use code GOBBLE
Country Outfitter: $20 off $225 or more/$40 off $350 or more/$60 off $500 or More
Crate & Barrel: 15% off Full Priced Items (use code SAVE15)+Free Shipping on orders of $49 or more!
Gap Factory Store: 11/24-11/25 60% off Everything Storewide + Free Shipping (Use code BFSHIP) 11/24-11/29 Extra 15% off (use code BF15)
H&M: 20% off everything+free shipping with code 1662
Houser Shoes: 25% off with the code BF25+free shipping on orders over $49 
J. Crew Factory: 50-60% percent off of everything-prices as marked. Shop in stores on Friday the 24th for 60% off everything. Plus; take an extra 50% off clearance with code FRIYAY
J. Crew: 40% off your purchase-use code THANKU
Kate Spade: Up to 75% off+free shipping when you spend $99
Kendra Scott: 20% off everything with the code YELLOW20
Kirkland's: 20% off entire store in-store & online (online use code STORE20) 
Knitted Belle Boutique: 30% off the Entire Store
Lilly Pulitzer: Free Gifts with Purchase-Free Jewelry Tray with $75 purchase/Free Set of Jewelry/Jewelry Pouch/Ornament with $200 Spend
LL Bean: 25% off Bean Boots with code FRIDAY25. 20% off Clothes & Outerwear with code THANKS20+Free Shipping on All Orders 
Macy's: 20% off with code HURRY-free shipping with $49 purchase
MadeWell: 25% off Everything with Code DONTSTRESS
Mark & Graham: 20% off your entire purchase+free shipping+free gift wrap with code FRIENDS
Marley Lilly: Up to 70% off shop-wide online!
Morphe: 25% off Sitewide 
Net-A-Porter: Take an Extra 50% off New Styles
Nike: Take an Extra 25% with code EPIC25  
Nordstrom: Take an Extra 20% off sale items
NuMe: 30% off sitewide with the code INFLUENSTER30
Old Navy: 50% off Entire Purchase+free shipping on orders over $25 with code FREESHIP
Revolve: Up to 50% of Sale Styles 
Saks Fifth Avenue: Up to 60% Off  
ShopBop: Take up to 75& off sale items & 30%off full-priced items with code MORE17
Shutterfly: 10 Free Cards+40% off your Entire Order with code PREVIEW
Smile Brilliant: 30% off the site+free whitening trays-use code SAVEMYSMILE
Southern Proper: 25% off sitewide with code RIVER 
Tarte: 25% off with the code PREVIEW
Tory Burch: 30% off $250 or more with code THANKS
Tula: 25% off when you use the code BLACKFRIDAY
Ulta: Free 9-Piece Beauty Gift Set with Any $50 Purchase
Urban Outfitters: Buy one, Get one 50% off
Yankee Candle: Buy 3, Get 3 Free on Any Item

I'll be updating these as the weekend goes on & I'll be sharing my favorite sale items on Twitter & Facebook-so make sure to check those out as well!

Also guys-I just want to put this out there that many online retailers are offering cash back through eBates this weekend-so it's the perfect weekend to sign up for free, shop, & earn money with no strings attached. I've been using it for years and get checks four times a year that really help out when it comes to being able to give even more gifts!
You can sign up on the EBates website or using my link!

Hope y'all have the best weekend. . .
Until next time. . .
xoxo, 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ten on Tuesday [No.34]

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It's Thanksgiving week-y'all!
I am so excited that the weather is becoming more crisp every single day here in Alabama & I'm also thrilled about all the food that I'll be cooking tomorrow in preparation for Thursday...anyone else excited?

ONE
If you missed the last two posts from this week, you're seriously missing out!
I shared one Thanksgiving outfit, three different ways & the photos are some of my favorites-you really can change up a simple outfit with layers and accessories!
Photo by: Amy Cole Photography
And then on Saturday I share a post a long time in the making; the last installment of my #GoingToTheUpchurch Wedding series...our big day!
This day was oh-so-special and I'm so glad I've finally gotten it all posted. It was truly a joy to share it with all of y'all & I hope you're able to find some joy & inspiration from it.

TWO
If you're not following me on Instagram then what are you even doing with your life?
Really though, it's where I show some behind the scenes & fun things that don't always make it to the blog-I would love to be insta friends!

THREE
If you're hosting this Thanksgiving or Christmas here are a couple of tips to make everything run smoothly; number one is right-fresh flowers around the house cover a multitude of sins.

FOUR
 Last Tuesday night Chris & I went to see some of my "kids" that I taught last year at one of their basketball games.
It was so fun to see them play & just to see them in general! There were lots of hugs & catching up on how they're all doing-I miss them so much!

FIVE
This week Audrey shared a recipe for a Cranberry Ginger Fizz Cocktail & y'all-if you're looking for the perfect drink to serve at your Thanksgiving gathering or Christmas party, this is the one!

SIX
On Sunday afternoon, Chris & I had to go to The Barn (my family's wedding venue) and help to finish decorating for Christmas & decorating the tree.
They have two horses that are in the pasture by the venue & I had to stop and snap a picture (which you might've seen on my Insta story!) because they were so pretty.
 We finished off our day at our farm, feeding the cows & checking on the baby calves.
These trees are a reoccurring subject that I feature everywhere, but they're just beautiful in all seasons.


SEVEN
Have you seen Kammy's DIY on recovering her old chair seats with feed sacks?!
The aqua blue chair is just what I have in mind for the head chair at my future farmhouse table. 😍

EIGHT
These heels are fantastic for the holiday season and are just over $20 right now!

NINE
If you're like me, you'd rather gift an experience than an actual gift to some people; this is a round-up of 16 experience gifts that people would love!
I personally have taken a cooking class with my mom & sister's and that was so fun; I also think that massages are always a winner.

TEN
Until Christmas, I'm going to start sharing something each week that's on my Christmas wish list...this week's is this gift set from Sephora, I would absolutely love to test these out on my self-care/pamper nights.

Let me know below one thing that's on your Christmas wish list!

Until next time. . .
xoxo,

Saturday, November 18, 2017

#GoingToTheUpchurch The Big Day!

With the end of the year coming soon, I really wanted to share the last installment of my #GoingToTheUpchurch series, where I've detailed our wedding which was May 30, 2015 (was it really that long ago?!)
So far I've covered. . .

and today will be the final installment-The Big Day itself!
But before we jump in I want to let you know about my vendors, in case you're an Alabama bride (or Georgia!) because they were a dream team 😍
Venue: South Wind Plantation
Photographer: Amy-Cole Photography (she is amazing and made my day perfect-if you need photos in Alabama & Georgia, call her!)
Bridal Boutique: The Quality Shoppe
Menswear: Sam Stewart Formalwear (Anniston, AL)
Florist: The English Cottage (Ashland, AL)
Catering and Cake: The Glass House Catering (Munford, AL)
All professional photography in this post is from Amy-Cole Photography.
The morning of our wedding was bright & beautiful, perfect weather.
Thankfully, the rain that had been in the area on the 28th had moved out and everything was sunny and dry for our special day.
 We started the day out with Starbucks (duh) and Chick-Fil-A (double-duh) and then headed to Exquisite You Salon for hair & makeup (& mimosas!)
 I'll probably say this a million times, but I had the most fun group of friends with me that day!
 Mrs. Dina did my hair for both of my proms in high school & has been such a great family friend-I couldn't think of anyone else I would want to do my hair for my wedding.
 These girls did my makeup & kept the party going in the salon!
 Amy's sweet second-shooter, Robyn was able to capture a few photos (& help my husband learn how to work cuff links 😂) of Christopher getting ready.
 After the salon, we headed to the venue (about 15 minutes away) where the girls finished their makeup, touched up their hair, and we finished getting ready.
 I thought there was a photo of the gift I got Chris (this watch) but I guess not...anyway, my sweet husband picked this set out as my gift from our favorite jewelry store.
The pearls were classic & simple and were beautiful with my dress.
 Y'all, aren't my friends stunning?!
This was one of the most special parts of my day-my mom sewed in a piece of one of my daddy's blue shirts in the shape of heart.
Y'all I am a daddy's girl and loved having that little piece there forever!
 My mom helped me into my dress and then my girls gathered around me and my bestie since jr. high (Katie Bain, I love you!) prayed over me and our day.
Details:
Our wedding invitations were from Minted, I loved the classic look-they were a favorite.
Both mine & Chris' rings are from our favorite jewelry store; Couch's Jewelers.
His is a tungsten band & my ring and band both are from the brand Tacori.
 My oldest sister, Trystan did all of our lettering for the wedding-those special touches made the wedding in my opinion.

 Is this board of events not the greatest?
All of our chalk boards were borrowed from friends and family, it was a collaboration of love!
 We decided to go with koozies as our wedding favor since we both hoard them and we love how they turned out!
 My sister who did all of our lettering chalked my favorite love quote onto this antique sideboard-I love it!


 For our reception food we had a served buffet & my sister lettered our menu; all favorites of ours!
 Our florist took my vision (soft, sweet, and southern) and turned it into perfect centerpieces.
They weren't overwhelming, but left the prettiest touch on the tables.

 Since it was the end of May, we offered our guests bottled water while they waited for the ceremony.
We surrounded it with pictures from our engagement shoot!
 Along the aisle, we had shepherd hooks with mason jars filled with flowers similar to our centerpieces.

 I ended up ordering our cake topper from Etsy and the shop sent us two, so our florist used one in the buffet table's centerpiece.

 Instead of printing programs, my sister used a huge borrowed chalkboard to letter our program out for people to see as they entered.



 I gave my florist total freedom in creating my bouquets, all I wanted was once again soft, sweet, and southern.
He knew I loved hydrangeas so he added those in, of course!
The lace around the base is from my mother's wedding dress-it was SO special!

 I've know Tess & Tylin since they were itty-bitty and I was SO happy they kept our guestbook for me; two of my most favorite girls in the world!
 We chose a Shutterfly photo book with our engagement photos in it and I love looking at it still.
 Our venue had a wagon that my Mom covered with family quilts & we used it as a gift table.
After both the guys & girls got ready, we headed down to the Barn for the first look. . .
 We exchanged letters & then. . .
 I saw my groom! Although I'll be honest with y'all-I was totally peeking through the slats on that door 😉
 After our first look, I did one with my daddy & y'all-if you're a daddy's girl like I am, I highly recommend doing a first look with your dad!
 He totally cried & I totally loved it!
After all of the first looks were over, we did all of our couple & bridal party pictures so we could go straight to the reception after the ceremony.
 My sweet niece & nephew were our flower girl & sign bearer-they were adorable & perfect!






 I loved having some shots right here & not just because that light is so buttery and beautiful, but because we took our engagement photos at South Wind as well & I loved recreating those.
 If you were to ask me to pick a favorite picture, this one would be it!


 Another special detail about our day is that we had three pastors near & dear to our hearts, participate in our ceremony.
The pastor that officiated our wedding was Dr. Tommy Miller who was my childhood pastor, then we had Brother David Phillips & Brother Jerry Colquette who both prayed over us during the ceremony.
Right before we walked out for the wedding, we were all packed into the groom's room & my sweet niece wanted me to put lip gloss on her, so you best bet that I did!
 Then it was time!
The families were seated to "Just The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars (it was a violin cover)
The bridesmaids & groomsmen walked down the aisle to "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perry (a violin cover)
And then I walked down the aisle to Daniel Jang's cover of "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran.
I honestly still can't listen to that song without tearing up-I love that version.
My dad and I stood quietly behind the barn doors as the piano music started and when the violin music began, the doors opened and I stepped out-it was totally magic.
 If you're worried that doing a first look will make you less emotional when you walk down the aisle, don't even worry because we got more emotional walking down the aisle than we did at the first look-it was so sweet!
 We did the unity cross during the ceremony & I love that it's something that is displayed in our home & I think of the wedding and our love every time I see it.
 Then, the kiss!
We walked back down the aisle to Randy Travis' "If I Didn't Have You" and I loved it!
 Right after our ceremony ended, we snuck back up the the house for a few pictures on the porch, this might have been my favorite part of the day because we got to soak in just a few minutes of being husband and wife.
 Then look at these faces of those two excited newlywed kids!
 Our first dance was to Mean to Me by Brett Eldredge 💖
 My daddy & I danced to Your Daddy's Boots by Dustin Lynch & it was perfect for the relationship between he, I, and Chris.
 Chris & his mom danced to My Wish by Rascal Flatts.
Our wedding photographer said she had to step away from taking pictures of them because what Debbie was saying to Chris was too sweet & was making her cry!
 We did a very simple two layer cake with fresh flowers & served small sheet cakes to our guests!
 And then we danced the night away (so many of my favorite people are in this shot!)
 At the end of the night our photographer grabbed us all for one last group shot-minus a few groomsmen, whoops!
 Then it was time to leave!

 Does it get any better than a sparkler exit?!
 And then we climbed into our truck and headed home to take a shower because we were both so sweaty (gross, but so true!)
After a quick shower, we headed over to hang out with some of our friends before calling it a night, so we could head out to Savannah the next morning.
Our wedding was an absolute dream and couldn't have happened without the help of all of our friends, family, fabulous vendors (who have all become friends), and more.
That day was seriously my favorite and I'm so glad I shared it all here on the blog for y'all to see!

Until next time. . .
xoxo,