Beach Bound

Beach Bound

The time has come ... sun, sand, and the best fish tacos EVAHHH.

Folly Beach, here I come!

I have a few old issues of Real Simple and a Cook's Illustrated that are calling my name.  Eeek -- I sound old.  (Mental note: gas station stop for an US Weekly, stat!)

This beach draws a large surfer crowd which means: laid back atmosphere, crepe truck, fried pickles, cold beer, local hangout spots.  I'm in heaven.

See ya on the flipside!


Organized Perfectly.

Back in late April, I made my big purchase -- my LV Speedy 30 (debuted here).  I've absolutely loved it from the moment I said "I'll take it!".

Before I walked out of the store with it, however, the sales associate did warn me about the eventual "bag sag" that it could develop.  And being that I'm one to load down a large purse with quite a few items (the larger the bag, the easier it is to fill!), it began to get weighed down pretty quickly.

In fact, this photo from our recent anniversary trip to New Orleans (as seen here, here, and here) sort of made me guffaw at how quickly I was dealing with the dreaded bag sag.

What the heezy?!

I mean, I know I do load it down with a heavy wallet, a large day planner, a plethora of lipsticks and glosses, sunglasses in their case, two phones, et cetera ... but my gracious.  That wasn't pretty.

Plus, with a mere one pocket for my cell phone, digging around to locate my sunglasses or checkbook proved to be a bit of a challenge.

That reason, combined with the fact that I wanted to keep the fabric interior free of pen marks and lipgloss smudges, led me to an incredible Etsy seller.

Samorga is a shop that carries really well-made felt handbag organizers.  Some are especially sized for Louis Vuitton and Celine bags, but there are some other general-sized organizers as well.

(Is curiosity making you secretly wonder now if I got my organizer for free?  Ha, I wish!  Nahhh, they're not even aware of this blog post.)

I ordered one fit for my bag and checked the mail every day for a package from South Korea.  When it arrived, I was incredibly impressed with the quality!

The felt is very thick and sturdy.  I couldn't have designed the pockets to work better with what I carry on a daily basis.  Additionally, that middle section you see below is attached with velcro and therefore removeable.

It fit perfectly in my bag, and I started adding back in my contents.

Now, the panicked search for my phone at the bottom of my bag to try to answer it before it goes to voicemail is OVAH!

Also, even though I store my lipsticks and pens in a zipped pouch, I don't have to worry about one escaping and marking up the interior of my handbag.

The best part for me is that it has really helped to restore the proper shape to the bag since the weight is now distributed proportionally and evenly.

My organizer was $32.50 with shipping an additional $10.  For me, that's an easy amount to protect my bag's interior and keep its shape.

What's your handbag mojo, bottomless pit or organized perfectly?


Mountain Escape

This past weekend was our first annual girls' mountain trip.  No doubt it will be a recurring event!

The air was so crisp and cool, and it was a much needed break from the sweltering Charlotte heat.  Okay, so maybe it's only like 85 here, but that's hawt!

I sipped on vino tinto to cool off ... this is going to be the Summer '12 drink for me, I do believe.

Saturday night we walked to dinner and ended up at Glidewell's on Blowing Rock's Main Street.

We were still thirsty after dinner, so we cozied up to the bar at Sixpence.

There's nothing like good girlfriends and a weekend escape, am I right?!


Come Sit At Our Table

I'm back from the mountain trip with the girlfriends, and we had a great time!  Recap post coming soon, but today I will share what we ate over the past week at our home.  Pull up a chair to our table, won't you?


Last Monday, I cooked a meal that Ian raved over.  For years now I've been loving a recipe from the Whole Foods website circa 2004/2005 called Italian Caper Chicken (I've searched all over to find if it still lives online with no success).  It's similar to Chicken Piccata -- minus lemon, plus lots of capers.  I served this with Mom's recipe for Painless Spinach (thawed frozen chopped spinach with 1 T. butter, garlic, lemon juice, s&p) and halved fresh okra from the farmer's market that I coated lightly in olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and cumin.  Just roast that at 400* until crispy, and even a non-okra fan will fall in love with them.  Ian said they were like "okra fries."


Tuesday I have my late workout class, so I prepared the salmon patties ahead of time and stuck them in the fridge (similar recipe).  I also prepared my homemade pepperjack squash casserole 90% of the way so that all I had to do when I got home was add shredded cheese to the top and broil it.  The salmon patties just needed to be pan-sauteed.  I also put together salads that contained romaine lettuce, avocado, pine nuts, blue cheese, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Ian's a "sauce guy" ... so at the last minute, I whipped together a tasty topping for our salmon patties from spicy deli mustard mixed with some mayonnaise.

Ian had Wing Night with the guys; I grabbed a cobb salad (my favorite) from Dean & Deluca after hitting the gym.


This was our last meal at home together before I left for the mountains.  We had grilled andouille chicken sausage, grilled balsamic squash, grilled avocados with hot sauce and cheese (recipe here), and cheesy roasted onions.

I can't describe how amazing the grilled avocados were.  We used mozzarella cheese and Texas Pete.  I didn't have a lime on hand so I omitted that step; however, next time we'll give that a go.  I originally saw this idea on Pinterest, and it is one I can't wait to make again.  This week.

Ya'll, you eat it with a spoon. 
With a spoon.
Hungry yet?


After returning home from the weekend trip, I had all intentions of going out to the store to get dinner items.  Not so much.  Ian and I were working on a little painting project, and then we got caught into the downward spiral that is the Sunday showing of Office Space on TV. 

It ended up being one of those "hmmmm, what's already in my fridge/freezer/pantry" nights.

We had buttermilk ranch grilled chicken tenders (I bought the rub from Williams Sonoma and mixed it with breadcrumbs), fries from the freezer (I mixed the bag of Alexia sweet potato fries with some Checkers frozen fries), and baked beans.

I also made us fried okra as an appetizer.  :)  We weren't healthy yesterday, but we ate well!

I am linking up with Rachel for her Menu Monday series.


Lights Out

Just like we take a few hours out for mini-makeovers -- whether it be highlights, a new shellac manicure, or a session with a personal trainer -- Etsy is in need of a little time away as well.

This Saturday, beginning at 7am GMT, Etsy will have a site outage for a database upgrade.  The outage will last only a few hours, during which you will have no access to, the Etsy smartphone app, or other apps that rely on Etsy.

So what better way to celebrate than a little SALE!  Through the weekend, enter code "LightsOut" at checkout for 30% off your jewelry order in my shop.

Turquoise and Gold Teardrop Earrings, Sale $12.60 (reg. $18)

Coin Pearl and Gold Filigree Earrings, Sale $12.60 (reg. $18)

Candy Necklace, Sale $16.80 (Reg. $24)

Hamptons Earrings, Sale $12.60 (reg. $18)
Long Neon Pink and Coral Earrings, Sale $12.60 (reg. $18)

Long Pearl and Gold Filigree Drops, Sale $11.20 (reg. $16)

The "LightsOut" 30% off code will only be active from now through Sunday.

Happy shopping!

The Mountains Are Calling My Name

Today is my Friday -- I am one happy gal!

This weekend I'll be in Blowing Rock, NC, for a girls' trip to the mountains.  A little R&R, a little shopping, afternoon cocktails, and girl talk.  I'm definitely in.

Ian will hold down the fort in Charlotte along with all of the other husbands.  I have a feeling our ping pong table will get a fair share of use during the weekend.

Whenever I have any sort of large group get-together, I am always the one that brings sangria.  Typically, I do a white wine sangria in the summer that is filled with all sorts of citrus fruits and flavored sparkling water.  But for this trip, since we'll be in the cooler mountain air, I'm thinking it might be nice to do a version of the Honeycrisp apple sangria.

The recipe for this deliciousness can be found here.  I don't think Honeycrisp apples are in season yet, but I can make do with another red apple.

Also on the cocktail menu may be the red wine spritzer  "tinto de verano" ... and for a fun explanation in defense of this drink, check this GQ article

See?  Totally legit.
Tinto de Verano.
I like it.
I like it a lot.



Let's Do Something Easy

Wow!  You gals are one fun bunch!

Yesterday's post about how we manage our finances as a couple really sparked some interesting comments and a lot of good conversation.  And the takeaway point is that different methods of managing finances work well for different people.  No right or wrong way about it; if it keeps your marriage happy, then mission accomplished!

So today I thought we'd lighten it up and talk a bit about your views on religion.  Or perhaps the upcoming Presidential election.  Or how about my recent Pinterest lovies?

Yep, the third one is going to win out this time.

Grilled avocado with melted cheese and hot sauce.  We've got to try this.

What a great use for mason jars -- just pop in some wildflowers (or a candle) and you're done.

NEED this dress.
I'll take the piece of cake, too.

I never get tired of freshening up our yard with new flowers.  Ranunculus are some of my favorites!  I have spray roses that are doing really well on the patio now.  My sweet peas did not do too hot.

Grilled cabbage with Worchestershire sauce.  We rarely eat cabbage, but I will pick some up from our farmer's market and we'll try this out sometime soon.

Homemade nonchemical pest spray for keeping aphids and slugs at bay.  Those guys love to eat holes in my pansies, hosta leaves, and mint leaves!
Source: via April on Pinterest

Balsamic roasted strawberries.  I think these would be a great treat to enjoy on a Friday afternoon with a glass of wine!  I'll top crostini pieces with goat cheese and the mixture.  And Ian will get the jams going on the outdoor stereo system.  Now that is a good Friday happy hour.

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