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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Grad Gift Guide

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It's that time of year, y'all...graduation season.
It's a happy occasion for some, but also somewhat sad because all of these people are growing up & moving on to new chapters of their lives.

Today I'm rounding up some gift ideas for the grad's in your life (options for boys AND girls!)
But before I jump into sharing a little about each item, I wanted to share some throwback photos from my graduations. . .
I mean, didn't we all use feathers for our drape shots back in 2011?
And thank goodness 🙌 for learning how to do my eyebrows after high school!
I love, love, loved my graduation shots from my college graduation-JSU is always a favorite, but man was it hot out their on that astroturf!
Alright-let's look at these gifts!

This can be a gift for boys or girls, because around graduation they always need blank thank you notes to write for all their favorite presents. This is a little more grown-up than the ones you pick up at Target.

I love a good journal for gifting and this one is perfect for recent graduates to write down their goals and plans, or just to remember important days in their lives.

I love gifting a good motivational book, I think you could definitely tailor it to the specific person you're gifting to but this is a good one for any grad!

This is the perfect gift for anyone going off to college or getting their first real home away from home. It's got great sound but is super compact and portable, plus it comes in a variety of colors.

If you know a grad who is moving into the dorms, especially dorms with a communal shower, please gift them a comfy, cozy robe!
This one is the perfect length and is so soft.

I remember for my sixth grade graduation, my Grandma gifted me my first monogrammed piece of fine jewelry and I still treasure that piece (even though my monogram has since changed!)
This is the perfect gift that's in a slightly higher price bracket, but doesn't break the bank.

I don't personally have a Keurig, but I think for anyone going into a dorm could definitely use one of these little gems.
You could toss in a pack of k-cups along with it so sweeten the gift!

A classic watch is an excellent gift for any new grad. This beautiful piece with a leather band and gold details would go with many different outfits and last for years to come.

Once again, another classic leather strap watch with slightly more trendy rose gold detailing. This would be a great, long lasting gift that is also water resistant.

This is a great uni-sex gift that can also be personalized; another great point is that it comes in at under $75!
It's long lasting and would be excellent for vacations or traveling back and forth from school to home.

What was your favorite gift you ever received for graduation?
Although checks and cash were always appreciated, there is just something special about a gift someone picked out especially for you!

 Until next time. . .

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mother's Day Gift Guide {2018}

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Happy Saturday, y'all!
Did you know that you only have twenty-two days until Mother's Day? You better get on getting that precious Mama of yours a bomb present to thank her for putting up with you for all these years.
In all seriousness, I love putting together gift guides because they are so helpful to me when shopping and I thought this one might be helpful to y'all too-especially since everything in this post is pretty affordable!
Several of these gifts would be excellent stand-alone gifts or even perfect for adding together into a little gift basket for your #1 gal 😊
This little kit is a perfect small present for any hardworking lady in your life.
It's a combo of my favorite body butter & shower gel from Soap & Glory and will most definitely make her feel taken care of.
If your mom is always on the run (or is just a coffee connoisseur) then a cute tumbler is certainly the gift for her-this one holds 16 ounces and is made of stainless steel so it will keep her coffee nice and warm.
Mom's that love to pamper themselves deserve the best, am I right?
This kit has all the essentials she needs to give her nails the treatment she deserves; luxe nail treatments, classic colors, and the tools she needs; and all at a great price.
For the sentimental type; this little book is the best gift to give her.
Share how much you appreciate her by filling out this book & gifting it to your Mom.
Everyone loves being cozy, especially mom's!
This is great for anyone from a new mama, all the way to a retired mom because it's a gift that will please anyone.
If you really wanted to spoil her, add in a Barefoot Dreams robe.
Gift Certificate
Who knows your mom better than you do?
Gift her a certificate for a massage, a cooking class, concert tickets, or whatever activity she would enjoy doing with you! Gift her a memory & I promise, she'll love it.
If your mom loves listening to her favorite audiobook, podcast, or music while she's around the house or out and about, I highly recommend this little speaker.
It's tiny enough to toss in her tote, but definitely packs a punch.
She can use it on the beach, in the garden, by the pool, or just in the kitchen while cooking.
Plus, that pretty blush color isn't the only shade it comes in; they offer it in a gorgeous red, classic black, crisp white, and more!
I think these little mini-mergency kits are great gifts for anyone (they have them for bridesmaids, brides, girls who love to workout, and more!)
But I especially love the one tailored to mom's because it has a stain remover towelette, bandaids, earring backs, mini playing cards, and tons more...basically perfect for mom's because I know those all would come in handy around kids or grandkids.
We've already discussed being cozy, but if you don't have the cash to drop on nice slippers or a big robe, then these socks have a small price with a big impression-they are SO soft and perfect for hanging around the house in.
Mom's have a ton of stuff to keep up with, it's just a fact.
You might as well gift her a cute wallet in a fun color to organize all of her cash, cards, and coins in to make it a little more fun!
A great stand-by gift is a candle; everyone loves a nice candle!
This one is a beautiful light, slightly spicy scent and comes in a gorgeous jar that can be reused after the candle has been burnt.
Once again, you know your mom's style better than anyone else-you know what she likes.
But decor pieces, like vases make excellent gifts for moms...bonus points if you fill them with fresh flowers when you gift them to her.

Well y'all-I hope this little roundup helped y'all make some decisions and reminded you to pick up a little something-something for your sweet Mom before Mother's Day.
Let me know below, what are you planning on gifting the mom in your life with in just a few weeks?!

Until next time. . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ten on Tuesday [No.43]

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I hope y'all have had the best weekend & start to your week!
It's been a cool one here so far in Alabama, but I'm soaking up all the cool weather I can get, because I have a feeling this summer might be brutal. Even if it means holding out on the flip-flops, I'll be okay with that...until then, let's jump into what I've been doing lately.
 Last Tuesday I attended my monthly Inter Se (sort of like Junior League) meeting & the theme was a Spring Tea.
Every single detail was absolutely beautiful and you can peep the menu in the shot below, it was so delicious!

Since we've found out that we're expecting a sweet baby boy; I've been doing a little window shopping for sweet would this blanket be to curl up with after we bring him home?!
And y'all! These sweet little onesies would honestly be perfect for a little boy or a baby girl. I'm dying over the cuteness.

Last week, my husband and I met another couple for lunch to discuss the fact that we're competing for Alabama's Outstanding Young Farm Family and while we were out driving around, we stumbled upon this beautiful little spot on the side of the road.
The pond was beautiful, but that little pavilion was so well done (we drove closer and peeked!) that now I wish we had one on our land!

My very favorite Lilly Pulitzer dress is now in maxi-dress form & I'm crossing my fingers that it will work well for pregnant me this summer because it's gorgeous & comes in a print that was made for boy-mom's!

One of my favorite bloggers, Annaliese at Southern Belle in Training, went to D.C. to visit the cherry blossoms and now I just have another reason to want to go visit that city-her photos were beautiful!

If you didn't catch Saturday's post, it's all about how to catch the best quality zzz's and it's worth a read!
My number one tip? Find a sleep meditation podcast! I discovered a few different ones on the iPhone podcast app and they have been game changers for me.

You know how if you shop on Target's website, they automatically start putting Target ads on your Facebook?
Well, I was scrolling through the other day & saw an ad for this bathing suit top and fell in love.
It's so hard for me to find flattering tops that fit well, so when I checked the size chart and discovered this one would fit I immediately went to order it...and it's either sold out or not in stock or whatever.
I was SO bummed.
So hopefully it will come back in stock because not only do I love it, but I bet y'all will too!

 Yesterday, while I was waiting on my dad to come help me out with some home improvement stuff I walked down to visit my horses & y' know how when you aren't allowed to do something, you just want to do it more?
Now that I don't need to be riding my horses (since it's mildly dangerous) I REALLY want to! The weather is perfect, the days are sunny, and I just want to ride.
Oh well, maybe this Fall!
Until then, I'll just come and share some pets with these cute faces.

Maybe it's just me, but before I got pregnant I was a major water drinker. In fact, other than coffee and the occasional glass of milk-I only drank water.
But now, the taste of it is not good to me at all now-even when I doctor it up with lots and lots of lemon juice, it's still only tolerable.
So, I've been trying to stick to drinks that aren't too bad for me-adding Crystal Light packets to large cups of water & now, drinking sparkling water beverages like La Croix.
I turned to this article for reassurance that sparkling water counts toward my daily eight glasses-thankfully, it does!


Ree Drummond's hotel is finally open...who wants to go visit The Boarding House with me?!
Also, P.S. go listen to "I Hate Love Songs" by Kelsea Ballerini, it's SO good!

Well, that's a wrap-up of my past week...what have y'all been up to?!
Let me know below!

Until next time. . .

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Get Your Best Night's Sleep

Before I got pregnant, I had my sleeping routine down.
I was going to bed at a decent hour every night, sleeping through the night, waking up at the same time & waking up early (by my standards). I was living the life, let me tell you, and I felt great.

Cut to now, being 18-weeks with this little guy and I'm not sleeping well at all.
They say it's practice for when he gets here & if that's the case, I'm going to be a pro and not sleeping well.

But anyways, I'm trying to do anything I can do to have a full, restful night of sleep so I thought I would share these with you. They aren't just for pregnancy either, they're for anyone who has trouble resting!

1) Fresh Sheets/Made Bed
I know I can't be the only one who just sleeps better when I'm sleeping on a freshly made bed with clean sheets on it.
We have several pairs, but we call these ones from Target our "hotel sheets" because they straight-up feel like you're sleeping in the most comfy hotel bed.
(They're also on sale at Target right now, too!)

2) Night Routine
Another thing that has really, really helped me sleep as well as I possibly can is to have a night routine that I go through every night.
It starts with cleaning up the kitchen, then taking Forrest out and feeding him/tucking him in for the night, then I head to the bathroom to wash my face, etc.
Doing the same thing each night seems to give my brain a cue that it's time to start getting sleepy.

3) Don't Rely on Melatonine, etc.
This is more of a thing to not do rather than something to do, but try your best not to rely on sleep aids. Before I got pregnant, if I knew I needed to sleep and couldn't turn off my thoughts it was nothing to me to pop a melatonin or take some Zzz-quil.
But those are just bandaids and don't really solve the problem (in some cases they can make it worse.)

4) Sleep Meditation Podcast
This truly should've been number one because some nights, it's the only thing I can use to rest and rest well.
I know lots of people use the Headspace app for meditation, but I've found some great ones on YouTube as well for free.
But the best ones by far are actual podcast episodes-I just typed in "Sleep Meditation Podcast" and ones of varying lengths popped up; so helpful and soothing!

5) Dark Room
The room I'm sleeping in pretty much has to be pitch black for me to be able to rest-point blank.
All the lights are off, we don't have a digital clock or night light or anything.
But my husband wakes up really early every morning & him getting things out of the closet or turning the bathroom light on was waking me up and disrupting some really important parts of my sleep cycle, so I started using an eye mask my mom had given me as a Christmas present and voila-I'm able to stay asleep through him waking up!
This eye mask is very similar in that it is molded instead of being flat across. It keeps the mask from touching your delicate skin around your eyes and your eyelashes, plus it's very comfortable!

6) Refrain From Using Technology/Watching TV Before Bedtime
I'm really bad about breaking this rule, but I've noticed on nights when I stop watching tv/using my laptop/scrolling through my phone 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, I sleep better.
Professionals can tell you all about the blue lights or whatever, but I also think that all of that just stimulates my brain when I should be relaxing and unwinding.

7) Read a Book (no thrillers!)
When I first found out we were expecting, I fell off the reading bandwagon and didn't pick up a book for almost two months.
I really think that might have effected my sleeping!
Lately I've been trying to read a few pages/a chapter each night before I go to bed and it soothes me.
I wouldn't recommend anything like Gone Girl before trying to sleep though!

8) Consistent Bedtime/Wake-Up Time
This is something I was doing so well before baby.
But insomnia and feeling sick make it hard to fall asleep on time, and then not sleeping well makes it hard to want to get up early when you don't have to.
If you can be consistent, it will make a difference though. I look forward to getting back into a routine day!

9) Evening Shower/Bath
This is something that professionals debate, but I've always been a firm believer in this one.
Some people say a shower at night will invigorate and wake you up, but I think that taking a warm shower or bath before you get ready for bed sets the mood and helps you get cozy before tucking in to sleep.

10) Find the Right Temp (between 65-72 degrees)
And this one, this is my personal favorite!
I love sleeping in a cool/cold room (mostly because I love being able to bundle up in blankets) but science shows that the ideal room temperature is somewhere between 65 and 72 degrees and I feel like this is true. I always sleep better when I'm cool than I do when I'm too hot.

I hope these little tips helped y'all out-if you have any additional tips that might help me or others get a better night's rest please leave them in a comment below!

Until next time. . .

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ten on Tuesday [No.42]

Hey y'all!
I'm so glad to be back in my blogging routine (we'll see if I can keep it up, or not) and glad to be bringing y'all a Ten on Tuesday so I can recap all the stuff that's been going on in our lives lately.

Let's start off with some big news first...In last Saturday's post I shared the results of our gender reveal. . .
We're going to add a little boy to our family in September!
I guess that really means I will be outnumbered with Chris, Forrest, and our little man 😊
On a totally different that I'm finally getting my appetite back, I'm ready to start testing out some new restaurants!
This list of 21 New Birmingham Restaurants to check out this Spring should be a good place to start (if you're in Alabama, I highly recommend!)
I know Hero Doughnuts & Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro are on my to-do list...thankfully my doctor is in Birmingham, so I have a good reason to go every month 😉
Okay, I'm going to talk about shopping here for a second; have y'all see the Opalhouse collection that Target just launched?
Although our house isn't really boho-styled, I do love the look and think that a lot of the items would work within our rustic/farmhouse type style.
I'm thinking this pouf would work well in the nursery for a foot rest/extra seating/etc. since it's soft and not too feminine looking.
We're re-doing our downstairs in our home including a bathroom and I think these would be the most perfect neutral guest towels, maybe with this shower curtain?
And just because I love candles & decor-these chunky candle holders (in both colors!) would be beautiful for the Spring, Summer, or Fall-time.
So my Dad & husband recently bought a new piece of equipment (aka, big boy toys) and so last Sunday afternoon Chris spent time playing with it, cleaning up a fence line in our pasture.
Want to know what I did while he was enjoying his Easter Sunday afternoon?
I was so tired, I laid in the backseat of the truck and fell asleep.
Y'all-I need my energy to come back! (It was a good nap though-haha!)
Is anyone else as excited as I am about the Royal-Baby?!
He or she could be born any day now!
This past Sunday afternoon was a little more exciting (for me) than Easter Sunday, because I didn't have to take a nap during the middle of it 😂
We ended up taking Forrest to the pond so he could swim & play a little fetch...which he did, but it was interrupted. . .
 By these two visitors!
When we pulled up and threw out his duck decoy, a giant goose flew out at him from the little island in the pond (you can see the bridge leading out to it).
 They had a pretty good reason for not wanting us there, though...
They have a nest with six little goose-eggs in it!
So Forrest won't be making any more trips to the pond for just a little while, but I definitely want to come and watch from a distance to see when the little babies hatch.
I know I've already mentioned Target once already-but they are killing it this Spring.
Have y'all seen the new goodies for Spring from Hearth & Hand yet?!
I have yet to pull the trigger on anything from Joanna Gaines' Target line yet...but this just might be the time that I do.
My recommendations:
This list of Southern Living's classic casserole-dish recipes should help me out whenever I need something comforting and easy.
How many of these picturesque, small southern towns are on your travel bucket list?
I definitely want to make it to Williamsburg one day.
Etiquette question; although I'm obviously past the time to register for anything wedding related-I've noticed the trend of "Honeymoon Registries".
What do y'all think?
I read this article and am still not sure of my opinion on it...I do love the personal aspect of picking out a physical gift from someone.
Let me know your thoughts below!

Until next time. . .

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Baby Upchurch is a. . .

 Baby Boy!
Christopher & I are so, so excited to announce that our little one coming in September is going to be a baby boy! (The verdict is still out on Forrest, as to how he feels 😉)
 We had our gender reveal at "The Barn" which is a wedding and event venue that belongs to my aunt and uncle. They are so, so good to us and let us have a lot of our family gatherings there and we're blessed because it's such a beautiful location!

 We kept the decor really minimal, as well as the guest list, only inviting family and close friends.
 My mom and two sisters helped a lot, as well as my Mother-in-Law who let us get a lot of our party supplies from her store.
We had people pick team girl or team boy by the plates/cup/napkin etc that they chose to eat on before the reveal.
 We had some light appetizers and brunswick stew, it was so yummy!
 Obligatory family pic before the reveal 😊
 I bought some simple florals from Publix the day before; baby's breath and some lime & pink carnations. My aunt has a snowball bush in her yard, so she provided us with some of those as well!
My mom, sister, and I put these together in simple mason jars for a little centerpiece action.
 My oldest sister was the one responsible for the pretty box that we used for the reveal (because let's be honest, we all know I'm not crafty like that).

 Of course, Chris and I knew before hand but it was so much fun to reveal to all of our family & friends that we have a little boy coming in September!
My niece and nephew were pretty excited too (even though sweet Lola was team girl 😉)
 Hopefully this video will play so y'all can see the reveal too-there was too much tape on the box so unfortunately we had to tear into it (luckily Chris is tall enough to do that 😂) 
It was such a great moment though!

Now if any of y'all have little boys I need to know...where are your favorite places to shop for them?!
Bonus points if you can leave me your suggestions for what your must-have's are to register for as well!

Until next time. . .

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Candle Empties

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Hey y'all!
So sorry that posts have been sporadic at best around these parts lately; it's a busy season in my life and sometimes something has to give.
Today I'm sharing my "trash" with y'all & giving reviews on the candles I've used up since my last Empties post way back in October.
Usually I'll group my candles in with my regular beauty empties, but today I had a ton so they needed their own separate post.
This candle is such a classic (and this is such old packaging!)
It's a strong, manly scent that I've loved for a long time.
I will always recommend and always purchase this, especially for the colder months when I want that snuggly feeling.

If you're a fan of B&BW Cinnamon Sugared Doughnut, then you'll like this one too.
I personally was hoping for more of a Chai flavor, because the Doughnut candle is a little too sweet for my taste.
It was okay while it lasted, but I wouldn't purchase again.
This is a layered candle with Creamy Pumpkin, Roasted Pumpkin Butter, and Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin in it.
My tastes have changed over the years (this is a 2015 candle that I've been hoarding-y'all, I'm so ashamed!) but I just don't like the strong, powerful pumpkin-y scents even when Fall-time rolls around.
I forced myself to finish burning this one up this year since it was almost gone, but I won't buy any of those scents again.

Sonoma Apple Cider
This is a candle from Kohl's that I purchased on a whim and y'all-it was SO good.
It burned really well, the scent wasn't too overpowering but it was just right.
The price is also usually right on these Sonoma candles because Kohl's offers so many coupons and in-store discounts. I'll definitely be searching for more candles from this brand.

I feel like this is a Fall cult-classic for a reason; it smells SO good!
I love the hint of apple mixed with the caramel, it's not too strong either which is a must for me.
Definitely will repurchase this when Fall rolls back around.
If I ever had to pick one favorite Christmas candle from B&BW, it would be Fresh Balsam.
We always use a faux Christmas tree, so I really crave that pine scent each year to give the feel of a real tree and this candle answers that need.
It's really crisp and fresh, not overwhelming but it does fill a room beautifully.
This will be a repurchase year after year. (Oh, and can we talk about how beautiful the packaging on this one is?!)

I picked this up a few years ago & knew I needed to just burn it to clear out space in the drawers where I store all of my candles.
It's not my favorite scent ever, as I've said-I'm moving past those cloyingly sweet scents and this is definitely ultra-sweet.
It's not on my repurchasing list.
I am a huge fan of lemon scents. They're just so fresh & clean (plus, they make your house smell like you spent all day cleaning, when in reality you didn't!)
This candle is a favorite and I hope they have it again in the future because I love the natural and clean scent that's different than much of what B&BW carries.

I'll be 100% candid...I don't normally love the summer scents from B&BW.
But this candle smelled so yummy and fruity, it was sweet without giving me a headache and I loved the freshness it provided.
The jar is so pretty & will definitely be reused as well.
If B&BW has this again this summer, I would probably pick one up.

Bath & Body Works White Tea & Ginger
Y'all, this is an old candle-I know, I know.
I love all of the tea scents from B&BW and this was a nice, clean Spring-type scent that I wish would return.
I love the classic label and the fact that it's different, not just your every day repackaged candle.
If they were to bring this one back, I would most definitely pick up one if not two of them!
If there is ever a candle I don't really love, I'll make it a bathroom candle.
This candle ended up being a bathroom candle.
I bought it two years ago now at the Yankee Candle outlet and while it did have a scent unlike one of the others I bought there, it smoked up a lot when being lit (as you can see from the blackness on the jar). I also wasn't the biggest fan of the scent after burning it.
I really honestly don't like many Yankee Candles, so I wouldn't be likely to purchase this one again.

This was a Christmas gift a few years back from my brother & sister-in-law's and first of all, I love it because of the jar. The textured mercury glass is just so beautiful, I really love the look of it.
The scent was very light, a little fruity mixed with citrus.
It didn't fill the entire room, but it was nice when I wanted a little background scent.
I'm not a huge fan of Target's candles because I feel like they don't give you a lot of bang for your buck, but it was certainly nice while it lasted & the jar will be repurposed for sure.
Maple Pumpkin Souffle Signature Soy Candle
I know I just got finished saying I thought Target candles were a waste of $$$ and I still think that.
I picked this one up at a discount store (Dirt Cheap, if you have that) and I'm sure I paid a dollar or less for it.
The scent was pretty good before I lit the candle, but it honestly smelled like nothing when I was burning it. Total waste of less than a dollar.

If I had to pick a favorite candle from this entire post, it would be this one.
I purchased it on a whim at a semi-annual sale and fell in love.
I wish this scent had been made in a three-wick because it's such a great candle!
It's lightly sweet, with a little tartness. It even has the bakery/crust note of a pie in it that I love.
I wish, wish, wish that they would bring this one back (or heck, other pie scents too) because I would try them out for sure.

Well y'all, I know that was a little long but I loved sharing my empties with y'all & giving you an opportunity to see the things that I love and would or wouldn't recommend to y'all.
If I was able to find links to purchase any of these, then they're linked in the titles of the candles.

Let me know below if you've tried any of these candles & if so, what were your thoughts!

Until next time. . .
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