Feeling Lucky?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends! Many of you celebrated over the weekend, I’m sure. I did as well, though my St. Patty’s Day fun was without green beer or a shamrock painted face. Instead, the festivities began at the crack of dawn with a 6.2 mile run in my hometown. My second year running the Get to the Green Race was not easy, but despite my lackluster performance, I survived and look forward to continuing this annual tradition.

Still smiling!

Still smiling!

While in Columbia, the place I still refer to as “home”, though I haven’t lived there in nearly a decade, I reached out to many friends, family members, acquaintances, and even complete strangers in an effort to share Noonday Collection with as many women as possible. You see, I have a personal goal to introduce Noonday whenever I can in an effort to create stronger brand awareness for this amazing company. Of course, I’m almost always decked out in our accessories, which is the easiest and most obvious way to show off the line. But additionally, I am striving to inform those around me about the jewelry we sell, and the stories those pieces tell. It’s not always comfortable or natural, and there have been times, much like a few moments during Saturday’s 10K, where I feel like I am not doing what I set out to do. However, like with running, no single moment or minor setback can undo the hard work or dedication you put forth.

As I continue to learn more about Noonday Collection and explain to others how this company is creating change and economic opportunity using beautiful, handmade designs, I have realized that my passion to share what we’re doing is about much more than brand awareness. I think Noonday has something to offer every woman and I want others to see that as well. Whether it’s the story, how it began, the vision, the artisans, the ambassadors, or simply the jewelry alone, Noonday Collection is reaching women all over the world. For me, it’s about connecting with others: women in my community, among my family, old friends, new friends, even those I barely know. Most of all, it’s about feeling connected to the many women I have never met, but who make the gorgeous pieces I wear each day, and are grateful to be able to do so.

image

One of those pieces from our new spring line serves as a reminder of these connections. The bold, yet feminine Linked Lace bracelet is a chain wrapped with sage-colored cotton, it’s materials as intertwined as we are with one another. Leave a comment for your chance to win your own Linked Lace Bracelet, made by our artisan group in India. Here’s hoping you have a little luck of the Irish with you today!

Linked Lace Bracelet in Sage

Linked Lace Bracelet in Sage

To those of you who have been following the Noonday blog train, thank you for stopping by! If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, head over to Bex & Bestie to catch up! And tomorrow, be sure to check out Annie’s blog as we chug along, rolling out more Noonday Collection love for all.

Season’s Greetings!

It’s that time of year! Outfits have been chosen, pictures taken (and retaken), photos critiqued, and finally selected. Now for the cards! There are so many wonderful options out there, and the styles seem endless. Picking the perfect one can feel daunting if you’re anything like me. I wish just one stood out, but there are so many amazing designs (and some really great deals as well)!  Each is equally unique, seasonal, beautiful, or glitzy as the next. Plus, you can customize many of them to look exactly like you want. How is a family to choose? Well, I haven’t yet. But I have narrowed my favorites down to a few…five. Here are the ones I am loving this year:

From Minted (www.minted.com)

From Minted

Since I’m getting down to the wire and still have a little one’s second birthday to celebrate, picking one might become very easy because if I wait much longer, I’ll be considering Happy New Year’s cards instead. Hmm, I bet there are some cute ones out there…

Have you ordered or sent your holiday cards yet? If so, what kind of cards did you choose this year-and how did you pick?

Fall Favorites

Happy fall y’all!

FallTrees

What do I love about fall? Hmmm…just about everything! I wrote about my affinity for this season last year, so I thought I would recap with a top ten list, as to not seem redundant.

Here are my ten autumn favorites:

1. Pumpkin everything

Seriously, everything….beer, patches, lattes, scones, oatmeal, carving, smoothies, seeds, cookies, painting, muffins…I love it all! As soon as Labor Day passes each year, I become pumpkin obsessed and get so excited for the beginning of fall. And pumpkin is super healthy-it’s full of vitamins and fiber, and it’s pretty cheap to boot!

2. Apple Picking

This is actually more of a fantasy favorite since I haven’t done it in forever. Still, each year I think about how much I want to go to a farm (orchard?), pick as many apples as my arms can bear, then peel every single one to make homemade apple pie. This will probably never happen of course, but I would be content to pick some apples with my family on a nice, cool fall day and bring them home to slather in caramel enjoy.

3. Hayrides

It’s probably not acceptable for any adult over the age of nineteen to be taking a hayride by him/herself, but now that I have a child I can totally get away with taking her on one. Which is excellent news because I’m pretty sure this is something I will appreciate way more as an adult than I ever did as a kid-they’re just so scenic!

4. Holidays!!!

Halloween and Thanksgiving are my favorite holidays. I love them! I love the candy, I love the costumes, I love all the decorations (pumpkins again!), I love food, I love my family and friends, I love baking, and I have a lot to be thankful for, so it only makes sense that this time of year makes me oh so happy. Also, Madeline’s birthday is technically in the fall, and of course that counts as a holiday too (for now at least). Let the celebrating begin!

5. The weather

Weeeelllll…I guess technically it doesn’t really feel like fall in NC yet, not most days at least. But the temperatures have fallen some, bringing sweet relief to my sweaty summer self. Whew! Now once we don’t have to run the AC or the heat? Yeah, then I will officially claim the fall weather has arrived.

6. Falling leaves

Due to the slow start of the season down south, as mentioned above, most trees around us are still leaf-packed and full of green; however, I do love when the leaves begin to morph into beautiful autumn shades of red, yellow, and orange, then tumble down and cover the ground. That’s the perfect time to pile them up and stomp through the crunchy stacks.

7. Scarves, sweaters, and boots

Oh my! So cute, so cozy, so ready to wear them! Almost (I hope). I’m sure many of you have long since busted out your cool weather threads and are looking cute as can be, sipping apple cider and hanging around bonfires.

8. Warm seasonal beverages

I do love a pumpkin spice latte, or a splash of gingerbread flavored creamer to get my coffee fix. The flavors are smell so good and just taste like the season, so for a few months I try to drink in as much as I can.

9. Cold seasonal beverages

Then of course there are the beers that are only available this time of year-and yeah, I love those too. So much so, that I did an entire post on my favorites last year when I tasted my way through a good many of them. This year I am showing a bit more restraint, but I do love a good Oktoberfest or pumpkin brew now and then.

10. Candy corn

Colorful sugary goodness-what’s not to love? (even if I do make myself sick on it every. single. year.). Too sweet for you? Mix some up with peanuts! Such a winning combination. I want some right now…

candycorn

Do you love fall too? What are some of your favorites this time of year?

Smashbook Love

I have always been a doodler. You know, scribbling around in notebooks and decorating binder covers as a student, filling planners with more fluffy drawings than actual reminders, or events. Also, I’m big on lists: shopping lists, to-do lists, pro/con lists-love a list! Sadly, however, I have never been very good at remembering to take pictures, or recording memories and milestones. Perhaps I am too busy making lists and then framing them in squiggly borders to prioritize the important other stuff. Enter Smashbook by K & Company, a journal/scrapbook combination of sorts. In a word: awesome.

When my sister-in-law (and doodling extraordinaire), who has a penchant for fancy paper and fine pens, introduced me to Smashbook by giving me one of my own, I knew instantly I would love it. Just a few moments leafing through hers, and I was hooked.

IMG_2702

Oh-and that pen? Yeah, it has a glue stick on one end so you can paste whatever into your book. Very cool.

These spiral bound books come in a variety of themes and are packed with blank sheets of paper just waiting to be covered and filled in. Best of all, there is plenty of space for jotting nonsense, composing multiple lists, and displaying pictures, and keeping track of important moments. You can cram just about anything between the two covers-just smash it in (hence the name…).

Here are a few ways I am currently utilizing my Smashbook:

SBBlog

For blogging ideas/publishing dates

SBposts

Scheduled posts

Smashbook

Madeline’s weekly activities

SBrunsched

My running plan

SBList

Total randomness

I have also been keeping up with what Madeline is up to each week or month in my Smashbook using “Top Ten Lists” of her current favorites, or just writing “Madley-isms” and noting the date. I know we’ll love to look back at these-they are adorable and hilarious. Since I haven’t been great about documenting every detail of our lives up to now, this is a quick and easy way to fill in the blanks on a more day-to-day basis.

Then there are the accessories…K & Company has an endless abundance of “extras” you can purchase to jam your Smashbook with important dates, cards, inspiring quotes, little reminders, mini envelopes, various stickers, and on and on and on. Having so many options can be overwhelming, but it’s a neat and effective way to personalize your book. And obviously all of the cute notepads and modernized Post-its can easily be used for anything else that tickles your creative funny bone.

SBextraSBextras2

As you can see, my Smashbook contains a little bit of everything going on in my life right now. I already want to fill it up so I can look back through it!

Do you have a Smashbook? If so, how do you use it?

***I was not compensated in any way by K&Company for this review-I just love my Smashbook and wanted to share it with y’all.***

What I’m Loving Now: Men’s Watches…for Women!

I’ve been loving larger, men’s style watches on women for some time now. It really started when I saw my BFF’s beautiful, full-faced, silver Michael Kors watch. I gawked at that thing for three straight days, just admiring the time piece, which she received as a gift. And following her visit, my longing for a bold new watch only intensified.

Since then, I have paid more and more attention to this obvious trend. Chunky linked bands in gold, silver, white, gray, black and beyond. Shiny faces, pearly backgrounds, diamond studded, large roman numerals, no numbers at all…so many possibilities to love.

Then I saw this:

My New Favorite Accessory

…and decided it was time for me to start wearing a watch. Specifically this one. After months of pining over it, dreaming of it on my wrist, it became mine thanks to a generous surprise from my thoughtful husband. And I adore it.

Not only has wearing a watch been an awesome change for me, but also an easy way to accessorize. My watch is simple enough to wear with other jewelry for sure, but I love that it stands on its own as well. That’s what is so great about oversized men’s style watches-they can be simple and functional, and still offer a little sparkle too.

What do you think of this look? Do you prefer a smaller, more delicate watch, or are you digging these heavier styles like me?

What I’m Loving Now…L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

Recently my sister came over for a midweek slumber party of sorts. Whether she was escaping the stresses of college life for a moment, or just wanted to see her niece, I don’t recall. What I do remember is the shower intervention that occurred during her brief stay. Basically, she woke up around the same time Madeline’s first nap ended and after gulping down a cup of coffee, asked what exactly she needed to do for me to ensure I took a shower, “like, immediately”. Rude! But not really. In all honesty, I was feeling pretty grubby, and clearly looked the part. So, after a snack, Madley played with Aunt Mimi while Mama scrubbed down.

Finding time to shower during the day can be a struggle with an infant. Sometimes I simply choose to do other things. Other days I don’t have a free moment. Either way, on occasion showering feels like a luxury, so I try to cherish it. I appreciate just having a quiet second to myself. But on this particular day, my eight minute escape was divine. Not only because my sister’s unexpected help allowed me to get so fresh and so clean, but also (mostly) because she handed this to me as I headed for the bathroom:

Heaven

When I saw the shower oil I was unimpressed. Honestly, the thought of using oil in the shower sounded gross and I imagined this slick stuff coating my skin, leaving me greasier than when I stepped into the tub. Then I smelled it. Mmmm…I quickly decided that I didn’t really care how my body felt or looked, I wanted it to smell like a light almond paradise. So, needless to say I poured the L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil into my palm and started rubbing it in. To my surprise the oil lathered up into a thick, creamy, foam body wash of sorts. Amazing! Instant love. And oh the scent-so very good! Now every shower feels indulgent, and maybe soaping up will make my priority list a little more frequently from now on. Here’s hoping (right, sis?)!

What is your favorite body wash to suds up with? Have you tried shower oils? What’s your verdict?

What I’m Loving Now…Overnight Headband Curls

My hair has no natural curl. Zero. It’s very fine and hangs perfectly straight. Even getting my hair to hold some kind of wave is a struggle. I’ve tried hot rollers, curling irons, foam curlers-everything-but my heavy mane pulls any body out within hours. But a few weeks ago when my friend Sarah was visiting, she introduced me to a new way to curl my hair that she discovered while perusing Pinterest. As someone whose hair does hold curl (quite well in fact), I assumed the headband method Sarah shared would be a flop on my slippery locks, but alas I was wrong, as evidenced below. Now next time you see me maybe my hair won’t be in a ponytail for once. No promises, but it’s nice to have options. Especially when one of them is easy and takes less than ten minutes.

Here is a brief tutorial on how to achieve soft curls overnight with just a headband. I believe there is a video on Pinterest if you need a more detailed explanation.

While hair is slightly damp, place a thin, elastic headband around your head and push it up slightly, as seen.

Start with your headband around your head like this.
Make sure the hair above the headband has a slight poof to avoid creating a line across your hair.

Gather a small amount of hair, about an inch thick, and fold it over the headband, pulling it through the bottom. Add an inch of hair to the original bunch and loop it through the headband. Repeat this process, adding more hair each time until half of your head is tucked into the headband.

This is what your hair will look like after looping it through the headband a few times, gathering more hair each time

Next, begin at the front of the opposite side and continue the process until all of your hair has been rolled over the headband. If there is any extra hair, simply fold those strands over the band until there is none left hanging down. You may also need to tuck any extra hairs into the headband. Push the headband off your forehead until it sits right at your hairline. If it’s loose, don’t worry. Your hair will hold it on your head.

Finished, right side

Left side complete.
Ready for bed!

Lastly, if your hair is like mine, you may need to finish up with a coat of hairspray to hold everything in place. Then off to bed you go! When you wake up in the morning, just pull the headband out backwards, lightly shaking your hair free. Gently finger style, spray with more hairspray if necessary, and you’re ready to go! The front of my hair was especially wild, so I pinned a bit back with a bobby pin. Other than that, this is a no fuss do!

And the final results: Curly tresses!

Voila!
Loose & messy, heat free curls.

Love this! Thanks Sarah! So, what’s your favorite way to curl or style your hair?

*This post is not for you Melissa or Mimi, with your perfect and beautiful natural curly hair. Nor is it for either of my Denver girls, Jessie & Sarah, or my sister Hannah, or sister-in-law Aurelia, all who have the hair I most envy that curls on its own, but they can straighten it perfectly as well. And if you fall into either of these categories, well this probably wasn’t a post for you either. And I’m jealous of your not stick straight hair.*

What I’m Loving Now…Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Heard of it? Of course you have. Read it? You should. I just finished and I gotta say, it’s a worthy novel choice if you enjoy twisted, psychological thrillers. Gone Girl is three parts with each chapter alternating between the perspective of the two main characters, a husband and wife whose rocky marriage has left both dissatisfied. When seemingly flawless Amy goes missing, her disengaged spouse, Nick, is the primary suspect following the common, “It’s always the husband” assumption. Of course, it’s more complicated than that and the plot jolts at the beginning of Part II.

The intriguing story is captivating from chapter one, building curiosity almost instantly. I easily predicted some turns of the plot, wheels spinning vigorously page after page. But others left me stunned, mouth agape, unable to detect what direction the book would take next. While originality fills each chapter, Gillian Flynn’s beautifully melodic writing is most attractive-vocabulary making me dizzy with delight; each sentence, every paragraph, gripping my attention throughout the novel.

Obviously, I highly recommend Gone Girl, as I think any reader will be an automatic fan. I only wish I could have finished faster. It was so enthralling that following a break, reabsorbing myself was a struggle. I found myself getting almost impatient, eager for some sort of resolution. Therefore, when beginning the book, be prepared to read straight through. I honestly think doing so will make it even more riveting.

Have you read Gone Girl? What did you think?

What I’m Loving Now…Color Block Handbags!

I’m dying for a new purse. A beautiful, high quality one that I just love and say is an investment, thinking I’ll keep it forever. But that’s an accessory that will just have to wait because currently the only bag I can handle contains mostly diapers. Prior to having Madeline, I carried a camel colored leather Coach tote, a gift from my best friend, until the thread began to unravel and a strap came detached. Before that, who knows-maybe something trendy, probably cheap. What’s in right now, at many price points, are color block handbags and I’m officially obsessed. This is actually a look I like for outfits, jewelry, and even shoes. But a purse is perfect; the easiest way to incorporate a pop of color into whatever you’re wearing.

These are some of the bags feeding my color block fixation:

Keep it simple with this clutch by J. Crew

Looking to save?
Simply Vera Satchel, by Vera Wang for Kohl’s

Or hoping to splurge?
Tory Burch Striped Tote

A more neutral option by Marc Jacobs

The classic indulgence: Gucci Boston Bag

I just hope that this isn’t a passing trend so I can justify saving up for a color blocked handbag when I am in the market for a new purse…

How do you feel about color blocking? What are your favorite looks?

What I’m Loving Now…Bedroom Inspiration

Years ago I saw an episode of Oprah about interior design or home makeovers, and Oprah shared how important it is to love the space you live in. She specifically noted that your bedroom should feel like a sanctuary. Her words have always stuck with me, though my room has never quite lived up to my hopeful expectations. Not yet at least. And over the past few months that goal slipped farther away than ever it seems.

After sharing our room with an infant for six months, the space transformed into a cluttered, diaper filled, laundry packed area where a dog bed and bassinet dominated every extra inch of floor. Sadly, after the baby moved into her own (perfectly organized, practically pristine) room, not much improved in ours. So when my husband compared our bedroom to a thrift store recently, I realized how far I’d drifted from my dreams of a peaceful, romantic boudoir. The place in our home for just the two of us had become the messy catchall. We were sleeping in the junk drawer of the house. Unacceptable.

Over the next couple days we started picking up here and there, rearranging a few things, and slowly putting our bedroom back together whenever Madeline napped. While the difference is enormous, we’re a ways off from the sanctuary Oprah convinced me I need, which has me nearly consumed with fantasies of a cozy, yet bright master suite.

Color inspiration:

I would love to incorporate these cheery, but calming colors into any of the gorgeous bedrooms below, all courtesy of one of my favorite magazines, House Beautiful:

 

For now simply being clean will have to satisfy my bedroom design dreams. But hopefully Oprah’s advice will motivate a real makeover in the not too distant future.

Is your bedroom your sanctuary? What inspires your home decor?