Category Archives: Style and Design

Cute Gifts for Foodies

Buying gifts for loved ones right now is proving pretty difficult. The coronavirus pandemic means that many shops are closed and we’re unable to leave our homes to browse different options. On top of this, we can’t hand the gifts we settle on over in person, as social distancing guidelines prevent us from going to one another’s houses. At the same time, birthdays and other important days go on and you’re going to want to send that perfect gift to the person you love. Now, there are endless potential gifts out there for all different kinds of people. But for now, let’s focus on the foodies in your life. Here are a few different gift ideas you can have delivered straight to the foodies in your life…

Pretzel Gift Boxes

Who doesn’t love soft pretzels? They’re delicious. These come in a range of flavors, from cinnamon sugar to vanilla sugar to various options with melted chocolate, caramel or other dips. This is a gift that can be delivered straight to your loved one’s house in time for their birthday through esprovisions.com. They’re bound to bring a smile to your loved one’s face!

Edible Arrangements

Flowers are a popular birthday delivery. But why not offer an alternative that the recipient can eat? Edible arrangements are essentially lots of pieces of delicious fresh fruit, cut and prepared into the shape of flowers and arranged into a bouquet. You can get all sorts of different arrangements with different varieties of fruit and even chocolate dipped options. Yum!

A Snack Subscription

For the gift that keeps on giving, consider a snack subscription. This can see a box of delicious goodies arrive at your loved one’s house every single month – generally for six months or a year. There are subscription boxes suited to everyone out there. From chocolate lovers to vegans, people who are gluten free and much much more. Browse the wide variety out there and settle on the options best suited to your particular foodie. 

Edible Photos

There are companies out there who will print pictures of your choice onto the icing sugar of delicious treats. This is a cute and sentimental gift for those who are nearest and dearest to you. The image could be one of you together, a picture of a pet, or anything else that they might like!

These, of course, are just a few potentially great gifts for the foodie in your life. It’s important to still make an effort with people during these difficult times. It’s easy to feel alone – especially on dates where you’d usually be out celebrating with your friends, such as birthdays or graduations. Hopefully, one of the ideas outlined above will offer the perfect surprise to show a loved one they are thought about and loved!

Photo above via Eastern Standard Provisions

5 Ways To Remember Someone You Love

When a loved one tragically passes away, it can feel like the end of the world for those left behind. Dealing with loss isn’t a discussion often had, and it’s not a topic that many people feel confident in talking about. But it is a hugely important for those going through it, and one which everyone will experience within their lifetime. The experience can be lonely, and it’s usually made even worse by the fact that a lot of people simply don’t know how to start a dialogue with someone who has been bereaved, and will even go to the lengths of avoiding them out of awkwardness. Of course, this only serves to make the person grieving feel more isolated, exactly when they need the most support. 

This difficult, but often undiscussed, situation can be doubly tough if you don’t have the tools to work through grief. Mourning for someone is definitely a process – and one that no-one can put a time limit on. People who have lost a loved one often talk about it in terms of learning to live with the pain, rather than it being something that goes away. And I agree.

There are of course steps you can take to help you process your negative emotions and work through what you feel, and it can be helpful as you do so to find ways of remembering the person you have loved and lost. 

Being able to create memories can be a hugely important part of the mourning process, so consider what you could do once you feel ready to express yourself. When the focus of arranging a funeral is over, and you feel ready, creating a lasting memorial can be helpful. It gives you a tangible connection to the person you have lost, and provides a way of feeling close to those we can no longer see or speak to.

Create A Memorial Seat

If there’s a special view, a place in nature or a walk you used to take together, dedicating a memorial bench is a lovely way to remember someone you loved. It draws on a base of shared memories and provides a location you can go to when you need to remember that person. Your bench can feature a plaque or carving with an inscription, naming or commemorating that person, sharing a memory or containing a special piece of verse, a passage from a book they loved or song lyrics that remind you of them. 

Cherish A Piece Of Clothing

In life, our clothes are a tool of self-expression. If your loved one had a favorite garment – perhaps a treasured dress or an old sweater – there are ways to use this piece of clothing to provide a lasting link to them after their passing. You can even have a memory bear made using fabric stitched together from a patchwork of their favorite items. This simple but effective idea is especially lovely to help children who have lost someone dear. They can cuddle with the bear and remember the person they loved so much in life. The same principle could also apply to anything soft and squidgy really – from a cushion to a quilt. Equally, a much-loved item of clothing can be preserved and framed.

Create A Memory Box

If you have lots of treasured artifacts from your time with that person, you could consider creating a memory box. In it, you can place all sorts of things – letters and cards you exchanged, old photographs, memorabilia like concert tickets and small souvenirs, pressed flowers and other little tokens. This approach is especially lovely because there is always something new to rediscover or a different memory to recall depending on what you pull out of the box. 

Get A Piece Of Jewelry Made

If you feel like carrying your loved one close to you, memorializing them with a piece of jewelry is a great way to hold them close with something portable that you can carry around wherever you go. Sites like Memorials.com can even help you to incorporate the ashes of a family member into an elegant piece of jewelry that you can wear and love forever, and pass down through generations. 

Plant Something Green 

A connection to the living world is a huge source of comfort for many, so it can be a really nice idea to plant a tree or a shrub in memory of a lost loved one. This gives a beautiful connection to the world as well as a place you can go to enjoy some quiet time and remember that person. 

Have you honored a lost loved one in a way you found to be especially helpful to your grieving process? If you’re comfortable, I’d love to hear about it below. Sending all my love to anyone hurting or mourning a loss. xoxo 

7 Work-from-Home Looks Made Possible by Le Tote

I’ll be honest. I had the idea for this post over a month ago. I wanted to document some of the outfits I actually where as a work-from-home freelancer, specifically showcasing how I use pieces from my beloved Le Tote subscription to build the looks. I snapped photos of seven of the outfits I wore over a couple weeks. Outfits that I wore in my home office, but also to run errands, work from the library, and out to dinner with Chet.

Things got busy with work, we had some friends come into town, and blogging sort of took a backseat. Then, everything started to escalate with the Coronavirus and I was lucky if I could peel myself away from the news for long enough to actually do anything productive.

While my work-from-home looks have looked a little less put together this past week, I still thought I would go ahead and share this post. Especially as all but non-essential services have gone remote, more folks than ever will be throwing together work-from-home looks. I’m not one of those people that’s going to preach at you about getting dressed in your best first thing every morning when working from home. I usually start working around 7 am every day, but rarely change out of pjs until 10 or 11. You gotta do what works for you and helps you be the most productive. But what I WILL tell you is that you should wear outfits that make YOU feel good.

…And if you’re sick of everything in your closet already, you don’t have to leave your house to get clothes from Le Tote. Just sayin’.

Ok, enough of my blabbering, here are 7 work-from-home looks I put together with Le Tote pieces

1. Flare Hem Sweater, Jeans and a Cuff Bracelet

2. Black Sweater and Floral Trousers

3. Tie Neck Blouse and Jeans

4. Boxy Ribbed Sweater with Charm Necklace and Boots

5. Yellow Cardigan and Printed Pleated Skirt

6. Red Tunic with Gold Locket and Jeans

7. Floral Peplum Button Down under a Cardigan with Skinnies

Which look is your favorite? 3 and 4 probably felt the most like me, but 5 was a lot of fun! Also, shout out to all those snaps where I’m in socks! Not wearing shoes is probably my favorite perk of working from home. 🙂

If you’d like to try out Le Tote, click this link to get a free tote!

P.S. Since I know this is a concern these days, here is info on Le Tote’s cleaning process.

How to Transition Your Capsule Wardrobe from Winter to Spring

how to transition your capsule wardrobe from winter to spring

When you set up your capsule wardrobes based on the season, it can get a little difficult in the weird in between times. Here in North Alabama, there are definitely days in late February/early March where we could bust out the barbecue and then days when I’m running to wrap up in an extra blanket or two. If this sounds like your current climate situation, I would recommend swapping out a few of your winter pieces for more springlike items and to ease your capsule into warmer weather. You don’t want to pack up your cozy sweaters and stow them away only to sheepishly pull them back out on one of those random frigid mornings!

But swaps don’t have to just be about temperature control! After months of dark hues, maybe you want to throw in a pastel or two. If you’re drawn too chunky cocktail rings and statement necklaces for winter party season, maybe you want to switch out for something more dainty! Just because capsule wardrobes help us embrace minimalism doesn’t mean BORING. Have fun with it!

Here are 12 swaps you can make to turn your winter wardrobe into a WINTER-TO SPRING wardrobe — 

Swap a turtleneck for a vintage inspired tee shirt.

Swap dangly statement earrings for dainty geometric studs.

Swap your chunky knit scarf for a silk scarf.

Swap every day pearls for every day hoops.

Swap a parka for a polka dot rain coat.

Swap black hoodie for a creme fleece pullover.

Swap heavy duty flannel for a lighter plaid option.

Swap a midi skirt for a mini.

Swap a white button-down for a white crop top.

Swap a chunky knit sweater for your lightweight crewneck sweater

and dark colored pieces for WHITE.

Finally, for those super unseasonably warm days where you just want to go for it, swap black skinnies for black shorts!

Have you ever tried seasonal capsule wardrobes? Any more advice for transitioning from one season to the next? 

P.S. If you’re more of a one and done capsule wardrobe person (or the concept sparks your interest), you can get a checklist PDF of my 50 Piece All-Season Capsule Wardrobe right this way! 

My New Photo Wall

mixtiles photo wall

Guys! I am so obsessed with my new photo wall. I’ve been toying with the idea of putting one up for months now but it always just seemed like SOOO much work. Choosing the photos, getting them printed, then framed, and – MOST DAUNTING OF ALL – hung.

(Hung straight and without making the wall look like swiss cheese with all the nail holes, that is.) 

Well, then I discovered Mixtiles and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally pull the trigger on the photo wall of my dreams! I still took great care to choose my photos, narrowing down a field of many to 12 of my favorites. I wanted them to all have a cohesive color palette (blue, red, green, and light maroon) so that the arrangement would look nice in our living room. This helped weed out some contenders. Also handy was the fact that the Mixtiles website will tell you if a picture is going to be lower quality when printed as soon as you upload it. So that eliminated a few more.

My 12 winners included:

  1. Chet at the aquarium
  2. Me on a trail with my trusty Tom Bihn
  3. Katie at the shuffleboard club
  4. A snap from a trip to the Everglades
  5. Andy, Mom, and I at Sunken Gardens
  6. Chet and his Mom at his doctoral graduation
  7. Chet and I on a trip to St. Pete
  8. The weekend we moved to Alabama
  9. Breaux Bridge
  10. My Mom in Miami
  11. Wink enjoying some outdoor time
  12. and the Berger siblings

All I had to do was upload the photos, select the type of frame I wanted, and the next thing I knew they were on my doorstep. And best of all? They hang WITHOUT nails and are removable, reusable, and leave no marks. Perfect for people (like me) who are indecisive and want to play around before they settle on the ideal placement.

I would highly, highly recommend Mixtiles if you’ve always wanted a photo wall but were too scared to take the plunge! I’m already itching to order more!! They are beautiful quality and the perfect addition to any home.

Do you have a photo wall?

The Purchase that Saved the Summer (+ a cocktail recipe)

When we moved to Alabama, I was so excited that we’d have a backyard. Coming from a big city, where it was starting to feel like we were living on top of our neighbors, I was excited for the extra space. Our first summer here, we hung out in the backyard a bit. Did some grilling, sat outside chatting with friends, even planted a few things. But the mosquitoes were pretty horrendous. In a true case of “the grass is always greener,” I started to miss our screened-in balcony in Miami.

But this summer we showed up with an action plan! We splurged on a pop-up tent (more like a pop-up gazebo…this thing is pretty huge) that offers a bit of protection from all the bugs. It’s proven to be the perfect place for eating dinner, reading a book on a lazy afternoon, and just CHILLING. We’ve even run an extension cord from our kitchen on a few occasions so we could hook up a box fan. Hello, GLAMPING!

Do you hang out outside in the summer? Do you have a porch, a stoop, or do you just head to the park? Let me know in the comments below.

Wherever you’re chilling, this drink would be the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing summer’s evening. Enjoy!

Cocktail Recipe:

Ingredients –
– 1 bottle of Prosecco 
– 1 cup Limoncello
– 1 cup raspberries, muddled & for garnish
– 2 lemons, for garnish

Instructions – 

At the bottom of a wine glass, muddle approximately 4-5 raspberries.

Fill each glass half way with Prosecco, then fill the remainder of the way with Limoncello.

Garnish with fresh sliced lemon and raspberries before serving.

P.S. Other summer faves are linked HERE.

Found! The Perfect Striped Dresses for Spring

It’s Friday! To celebrate the end of the work week, let’s do a bit of online window shopping, shall we? I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect dress for spring and my eyes keep getting pulled in the direction of stripes. There are so many options that are colorful, airy, and fun…and the stripes feel a little less expected than a floral print. What do you think? What prints are you feeling drawn to this spring?

If you’re in the market for a STRIPED DRESS, here are 5 options I found from one of my favorite online shops, Lulus

Option 1

Brooklin Pink Multi Striped Button Front Mini Dress

Option 2 – 

Sun-Shiny Red Rainbow Striped Midi Dress

Option 3 – 

Binx Green Striped Short Sleeve Shirt Dress

Option 4 – 

Peppermint Green Striped Shirt Dress

Option 5 – 

Kersee Olive Green and White Striped Midi Shirt Dress

Which would YOU choose? xoxo

A Super Simple Capsule Wardrobe for Warm Weather (with outfit combinations!)

If you’ve been around these parts long enough, you know I LOVE a capsule wardrobe. I love creating them, I love reading about them, I love wearing them. Today, I’m back on my bullshit and bringing you yet another capsule wardrobe. This one is for warm weather and I created it with basic wardrobe pieces in mind. Think: items you probably already have in your closet. (And if you don’t they’re super easy and affordable to find — I’ve linked Amazon versions for all of them!!)

Once I decided on the capsule’s 37 pieces, I tried to think about outfits I might put together for events in my own life to show you how easy it is to create combinations.

37 Pieces

Tops

White Tee 

White Tank 

White Button Down 

Chambray Tank 

Striped Tee

Grey Graphic Tee 

Athletic Tank 

Plaid Button Down 

Bottoms

Athletic Shorts 

Grey Trousers 

Joggers 

Black Jeans 

Blue Skirt 

Jeans

Jean Shorts 

Boyfriend Jeans 

Dresses

 

Work Dress 

LBD 

Sun Dress

 

Layers

Black Blazer 

Leather Jacket

Pastel Sweater

Grey Sweatshirt 

Jean Jacket 

Loose Cardigan

Drapey Vest

Shoes

Black Slide-ons

Brown Platforms

Black Booties 

Dressy Flats 

Brown Booty Heels 

Black Birks 

White Converse Sneakers 

Neutral Sandals

Bags

 

Day Bag

Work Bag 

Evening Bag 

Outfit Combinations

Funky night on the town: Chambray Tank + Blue Skirt + Dressy Flats + Evening Bag (add a chunky watch and beachy waves)

Meeting with a client at the coffee shop: White Button Down + Jeans + Brown Booty Heels + Work Bag (add sunglasses and a pink lip)

Gallery opening and outdoor drinks: White Tank + Blue Skirt + Neutral Sandals + Day Bag (add pretty nail polish and a big spring scarf)

In and out of air-conditioning all day at a campus event: Plaid Button Down (maybe w/ a white tee underneath) + Loose Cardigan + Jean Shorts + Neutral Sandals + Work Bag (add SPF and a dainty necklace)

Dinner out at your favorite downtown restaurant: White Tank + Drapey Vest + Jeans + Brown Booty Heels (add a gold bangle bracelet and your phone for snapping Instagram pics)

Thrift shop ‘til you drop: Pastel Sweater + Jean Shorts + White Converse Sneakers + Work Bag (add a cozy scarf and no-show socks)

Perusing the library book sale for deals: Chambray Tank + Black Jeans + Black Birks + Day Bag (add stacks of rings and eyeliner)

After work activities like stopping by a friend’s event or your monthly book club meeting: Graphic Tee + Black Jeans + Dressy Flats + Evening Bag (add a loose ponytail and a chic watch)

Evening concert in the park: Work Dress + Jean Jacket + Neutral Sandals + Evening Bag (add a blowout and red lip)

Saturday morning errands: White Button Down + Athletic Shorts + Black Birks + Day Bag (add rolled up sleeves and self tanner)

Networking or promotional event: Plaid Button-down + Grey Trousers + Brown Platforms (add business cards and texturizing spray)

Travel day in the airport: White Tee + Jean Jacket + Joggers + Dressy Flats + Work Bag (add earbuds and a cute water bottle)

Administrative happenings like house showings and accountant meetings: Striped Tee + Black Jeans + Jean Jacket + Brown Platforms + Day Bag (add a loose braid and hoops)

Day trip spent exploring nearby towns: Graphic Tee + Black Blazer + Jean Shorts + Black Slide-ons + Work Bag (add sunglasses and a changed up part)

Picking up the CSA at the farm and then going for brunch: White Tank + Boyfriend Jeans + Neutral Sandals + Day Bag (add a to-go mug and dangly earrings)

Cheering on a sports team: White Tank + Drapey Vest + Jean Shorts + White Converse Sneakers (add a bandana/headscarf and sunglasses)

Getting all the meal planning and grocery shopping done: White Tee + Denim Jacket + Athletic Shorts + White Converse Sneakers + Day Bag (add a flowy scarf and beaded jewelry)

Outdoor fair and silent auction: White Tank + Plaid Button-down + Jeans + Brown Booty Heels + Day Bag (add a cocktail ring and gold studs)

Attending a class or lecture: Striped Tee + Loose Cardigan + Boyfriend Jeans + Black Birks + Day Bag (add a moleskine notebook and colorful pens)

*Whew!* I’ve barely even scratched the surface on outfit combinations…but you get the idea! The possibilities really do feel endless. What do you think? Have you ever tried a capsule wardrobe? Do you have a few wardrobe basics you think you could pull from your closet to create one? Let me know your thoughts below. 

P.S. If you’re more of a one and done capsule wardrobe person (or the concept sparks your interest), you can get a checklist PDF of my 50 Piece All-Season Capsule Wardrobe right this way! 

Round Up: Throw Pillows

A new season is nigh! And if you’re anything like me, new seasons have you jonesing for a home decor switcheroo.

This call toward updated interiors is especially strong for me in the transition from winter to spring. Something about the temperatures rising, the days getting longer, and hearing birds chirping outside my window every morning makes me want to throw open the curtains a la Cinderella and get to work redoing my whole home with pretty colors, lighter fabrics, and dainty decor.

Unfortunately, I only want to spend a Cinderella budget on these updates (and I don’t have any adorable mice to help me)…so I’m always on the lookout for home decor pieces that pack a big visual punch without a big price tag. One of my favorite items for this? Throw pillows! Obviously we can’t change out our sofas for spring or buy brand new bed clothes every year…but pop a few new pillows around the home and VOILA! These pieces have a brand new look.

Below, I’ve scouted a few of my favorites…

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

Which would you choose?

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Our Weekend Stay in a St. Petersburg, FL Tiny Home

As promised, below are some photos from a recent weekend trip to St. Petersburg.

Unfortunately, our stay in the tiny home we rented from Airbnb wasn’t as pleasant as we had hoped. Because this is my first bad experience with an Airbnb rental, I thought I’d go ahead and share about it, too.

As you can see from the pictures, the tiny home was super cute. It was decorated in a “Little Havana” style and there were lots of little touches throughout — vintage books, tropical throw pillows, stenciled floors…you get the idea. And it was small…which of course, is the point (and the appeal) of booking a tiny home.

However, of all the Airbnbs I’ve stayed at, this one was by far the dirtiest. The coffee pot was covered with a film of gunk. The window sills all had a layer of dust. There was a wad of dirty/wet paper towels the size of a house-cat in the tub. Not cute!

Because it was nearing bedtime by the time we started to notice all of this, we decided to tough it out. (Upon arrival, we’d tossed our bags inside and headed out to explore, get food, etc. As ya do!) And honestly, I thought it was still livable…just not getting a good review.

Oh but then dear readers, I climbed into the bed. And it STUNK. The mattress was putting off an odor that was part cat pee, part body odor. Also…NOT CUTE! Yet, and I hate to admit this here…I slept in it. Well, sleep is a strong word for the situation. I laid in it for a night.

Not wanting to go for round 2 on sleepless nights, Airbnb was contacted and we were able to cancel // get a refund for the rest of our trip! Praise be for good customer service on Airbnb’s end. Not so much on the end of our hosts, though. They were out of town… Something I think I’ll be more aware of prior to making any future bookings through Airbnb.

So, while I was super excited about experiencing tiny home living…by the end of my trip I was shacking up in a Doubletree king size bed. C’est la vie! *shrug emoji*

And the happy ending for the story? Once the hosts were back on site and saw the tiny home, they realized their cleaning service had def been doing them dirty (har har!), apologized profusely, and issued us a FULL refund. Thanks dudes! Can’t say I’ll be back (or link to any of your properties here, sozz!) but I won’t slam your review section with ALL the sordid details.

Onto the pics…

The Takeaway…

If we hadn’t been paying a pretty decent cleaning fee… and had there not been any available/comparably priced accommodations nearby, we probably would have just made it work. But we were and there were.

If your Airbnb isn’t up to snuff or you feel like it isn’t quite what was advertised, communicate with your hosts and get Airbnb involved if needed. They may have a solution that works for you but you’ll never know unless you ask! Airbnb requires photo documentation and gives the host 2hrs to come up with a plan. (If the host has multiple properties, sometimes they’ll move you into another one of their own.) However, if they can’t come up with a satisfying solution, Airbnb will cancel your booking and issue you a refund. The more you know!

Some St. Pete places I CAN endorse…

Karma Juice Bar & Eatery
The Hangar Restaurant and Flight Lounge
BellaBrava
St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club
Museum of Fine Arts
Savory Spice Shop

Ok, thanks for making it to the end of this somewhat ridiculous post. Here’s a picture of us enjoying golden hour in downtown St. Pete before you go. 🙂 (…just to prove we actually had a good time and aren’t just fussy lunatics lol)

Have you ever been to St. Petersburg? Have you ever stayed in a tiny home (or do you LIVE in one full-time!)? Do you have any Airbnb HORROR stories? I’d love to hear about any and all of the above! xoxo