Category Archives: Style and Design

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. Need MORE capsule wardrobe content? Work Capsule Wardrobe for Spring and My Autumn 2017 Capsule Wardrobe.

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 

Some of My Favorite Life-Changing Products (in case you need more gift ideas…)

December is a popular time for bloggers to share favorites from the year. Today, I thought I’d get in on the action and gush about a few products I’ve found to be especially life-changing. I think any of these would make a fantastic gift, if you’re still looking for ideas, but they also get the Beth Berger stamp of approval as a doodad that has added value to my life in some way. Here we go…

1. Tom Bihn Synapse 19
I’ve talked about this backpack a lot on this blog, and for good reason. The design is absolutely genius and will keep everything you need to carry organized. It doesn’t matter if you’re flying somewhere for a weekend away or just heading to class, this bag is super fun to pack!

2. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens
Fine-tipped marker pens are my key to writing neat and fast. Plus, with all the colors these pens come in, it is super easy to create color-coded systems in my notebooks and planners.

3. Tangle Teezer hairbrush 
Ok, seeing is believing with this bad boy. And I certainly didn’t trust the fuss before trying this hairbrush out for myself. I have long, fairly tangle-prone hair and with just a few swipes of the Tangle Teezer all my knots are taken care of. Witchcraft? Probably.

4. Instant Pot
I thought the crock-pot was a thing of beauty and convenience until I cooked beans…FROM DRY…in a matter of minutes with the instant pot.

  • and steaming basket and silicone cover, too
    If you really want to up your IP game, this steaming basket is how we make a protein and a veggie side in one fell swoop, and the cover is great for saving leftovers to reheat the next day!

5. 8-days-a-week planner
A to-do list is only half the battle for me. Once I’ve planned out everything I need to do for the day, I like to take it one step further and plug those to-do’s into a schedule. This planner has the whole day laid out in half hour increments which allows me to see where things can go. I love this puzzle approach.

6. Nomatic compression cube
I’ve tried a ton of packing cubes and this one is by far my favorite! Not only does it slot perfectly down into my Tom Bihn backpack, but the fact that it is two-sided gives me an extra level of organization.

7. Whirly board
This has been SUCH A FUN addition to my workouts over the last couple months. Not to mention a really fun way to get in an active break in the midst of my work day. I just peel myself away from my desk, hop on the board for a few minutes, and PLAY. Bonus: Makes me feel like a badass skater/snowboarder chick.

8. Mask brushes
I try to do a mask every Monday evening. (Set it and forget it self-care FTW!) When I started this ritual, I was just using my fingers to gloop on the masks…which is fine. But then I discovered mask brushes and it was a total game changer!

9. Minimalist wallet
Sometimes I just don’t have a need for a huge billfold and I want to slap a few cards together, throw them in my back pocket and GO. This is the wallet I use for those times. Plus, it even comes with a little spot to tuck a key! Love it.

Do you have any life-changing products you think I should check out? Leave ’em below! 

P.S. The entire 2018 Holiday Gift Guide!!!

Gift Guide 2018: Fathers, grandfathers, father-in-laws, uncles and any other jolly gents!

Christmas is just around the corner! Today, I’d like to conclude my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide with the final installment. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at various price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

National parks pass to encourage visits to beautiful places (over 2,000 federal recreation sites to choose from!). (National Park Service, $80)

A one year subscription to a magazine you know he’ll love. (Amazon, $24)

Everyone’s favorite classic gaming system so he can challenge family members to beat his high scores. (Nintendo, $60)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Because he loves winding down with a good novel and a fine glass of port. (Amazon, $12)

A box filled with all the fixins a true grill master needs to whip up deliciously grilled meats, fish and veggies. (Taste Trunk, $49)

Eliminate the travel “head-bob” once and for all! (GOSLEEP, $40)

Designer fragrances shipped straight to his door (bonus: he gets to choose the scents!). (Scentbox, $45 for 3 mos.)

A glimpse back in time, this functional art would make the perfect addition to his cozy study. (Modern Artisans, $110)

Because he has a bowl of popcorn nearly every night. (Amazon, $27)

A classic pair of jammies. (L.L.Bean, $70)

He thinks music still sounds best on vinyl. (Amazon, $25)

P.S. More gift guides for jolly gents (2016 and 2017) and here’s the whole 2018 gift guide shebang! 

Gift Guide 2018: Brothers, boyfriends, best dudes, husbands and any other groovy guys!

‘Tis the season of giving! Today, I’d like to continue my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide with the third of four installments. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at a variety of price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

A fun print, because he needs to spruce up the walls of his office and this will conjure fond memories of a recent vacation. (Hello!Lucky, $20 + cost of frame)

A night out at a local axe throwing club…wait, did I say AXE THROWING? I did.

Everything he needs for the perfect sh*t, shower, and shave. (Dollar Shave Club, $5 starter kit and $33.75/quarterly if you want to keep him stocked by way of subscription)

This incredible sleep mask that won’t put pressure on his peepers and encourages restful REM sleep. (Manta Sleep, $30)

Stock the bar cart with a bottle of his favorite bourbon so he can mix up boulevardiers all winter long. (Total Wine, $35)

Christmas-themed slime for ooey-gooey stress relief. (And because he’s still a kid at heart.) (Amazon, $13)

With notes of white cedar, juniper and fig, this candle will cast a soothing outdoorsy scent in his home. (Mersea, $55)

Everything he needs to make juicy, delicious truffle burgers. (Amazon, $62)

A book that will chill him to the core. (Amazon, $10) (This one looks fascinating, too…if he’s not up for something so scary right before bed time!)

A gorgeous overcoat to keep him warm on business trips, plus a pair of super soft gloves tucked in the pockets. (ASOS, $119)

A visual tribute to some of the greatest hip hop songs of all-time, using the periodic table as the framework. Cool and nerdy, just like him. (Etsy, $79)

Because if watching 30+ seasons of Survivor has taught him nothing else, it’s that nothing is more versatile and necessary than a good buff. (And this one is super warm for all those non-island outdoor adventures.) (Etsy, $15)

P.S. Last year’s gift ideas for the guys in your life!

Gift Guide 2018: Mothers, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, aunts and any other sophisticated gals!

‘Tis the season of giving! Today, I’d like to continue my 2018 Holiday Gift Guide with the second of four installments. I tried to find items that would suit lots of different folk at a variety of price points. Each gift is something I love or would love giving! I hope you find some inspiration. Happy Holidays!

Print physical copies of her most-loved Instagram snaps (think: grandkids, her pups, and recent family vacations).

New walking shoes because she believes in the power of a daily stroll around the neighborhood. (Amazon, $73)

As Isak Dinesen says, “The cure of anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea,” and this scent will remind her of being by the ocean. (Mersea, $32)

Maybe a bit of an unconventional gift, but nothing says “I love you” like turning someone on to a natural deodorant that actually works, amirite? (Native, $24)

A bucket of Maltesers, which makes any movie watching experience more enjoyable…even if you need a rather LARGE purse to sneak them into a theater. (Amazon, $25) Pair with a DVD or tickets to see a new film, just the two of you!

This  journal has so many sweet prompts to help build an attitude of gratitude! (Erin Condren, $12)

A scarf for all her future travels that comes with a neck pillow hidden inside. Genius! (Sleeper Scarf, $35)

Her door would look so whimsical decked with this cheeky wreath. (Target, $25)

You both agree with the Washington Post, “There is no one quite like Barbara Kingsolver in contemporary literature.” (Amazon, $19)

A food photography class, so she can slay the social media game and showcase the spoils of her culinary prowess. (Creative Live, $74)

Finally, a cozy long-sleeve tee with a powerful message to always be considerate of others and try to make the world a better place — something she embodies entirely. (Cents of Style, $30)

P.S. Last year’s gift ideas for the moms in your life!