My Six Summer Essentials

Summer Essentials

1 / 2 / 3 / 4a / 4b / 4c / 5 / 6

Summer is in full swing, and there are a few items that I have been loving in the warm weather!  

// 1 //
Emi Jay Silver Glitter 3-Pack Hair Ties (here)
In the warm weather, I love keeping my hair off my neck and shoulders.  These hair ties are not only cute, but they don't leave a crease in your hair.  Additionally, at my last haircut I received a little tsk-tsking due to the fact that I was securing my ponytails too tight (using regular hair bands) and causing breakage around the crown of my head!  Whoops - no bueno!  These ties are cute and they keep breakage to a minimum, ensuring healthier hair and fewer flyaways.

// 2 //
Essie Nail Polish in Braziliant (here)
Orange nail polish for the win!  Summer is the perfect time for coral and orange hues on your toesies.  This hue looks so pretty with tan skin.

// 3 //
C. Wonder Bold Cat Eye Sunglasses (here)
I purchased these in the spring and they have been so fun to wear this summer.  C. Wonder makes some really cute sunglasses, yes?!

// 4 //
Melamine Plates (left, middle, right)
Now that we've redone our screened porch, it's so much fun bringing our dinner outdoors.  I've built up a fun collection of melamine plates which are just perfect for dining alfresco.

// 5 //
Benefit's Stay Flawless 15-Hour Primer (here)
I'm still really loving this primer.  It's lightweight but I feel that it really grips my makeup.  Nobody wants to enter a hot car and experience makeup meltdown!  The cost was a bit hard to justify at first, but now I will make sure this always has a place in my makeup bag.

// 6 //
L'Oreal Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator (here)
I switched to this BB cream from the Garnier version I first tried, and I've been really happy with it!  I don't know that I've seen any major differences between the two, but without being able to put my finger on the reason, this one just seems nicer.  Maybe it's because of the shiny metallic tube and the very soft floral fragrance.  It contains SPF which is important to use on a daily basis anyway, but it's light enough for just a little coverage when you want to hit the beach or the lake without a full face of makeup.  That plus a little gel blush and you're all set!

What are two or three of your summer essentials?  I'd love to hear about any beauty products you use in the summer that you swear by!


Tipsy Bears Recipe

It was late last Thursday night when I made a wine and mascara run to the drugstore down the road (typical).

As I was heading to the cashier, walking through the candy aisle, my eyes landed on a package of gummy bears.  Ding ding ding!  I remembered seeing vodka-soaked gummies on Pinterest and I just knew they'd be a hit with my family during our lake weekend. 

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Making these was simple -- I took a big plastic container, added in a large bag of Haribo gummy bears, and then filled up the container with five vodka mini-bottles that we had on hand (it helps to have a brother-in-law in the booze industry!).  I used a mixture of the Smirnoff Sorbet Light vodka in the Lemon and Mango Passion Fruit flavors.  

The vodka was about 1/2" above the bears once I put the lid on and swirled everything together.  By the next morning, they'd soaked up all of the liquid.  You'll want to agitate them from time to time to keep them from sticking together.

To make them easily served on the boat (and because portion control here is a good thing) I used these little Solo cups and lids.  You can find these at Walmart or a restaurant supply store.  They are a really handy item to have in your home -- bringing salad dressing to work, bringing condiments on a picnic, and jello shots, of course!

To say these were a hit is an understatement!  Everyone thought they were tasty, but more importantly, FUN.  I can say for certain they'll be making a repeat appearance.

Have you ever made these tipsy bears?  What other vodka flavors would be a tasty substitution?

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A Lake Weekend

This weekend was our annual lake weekend with my mom's side of the family.  We had fifteen people and four pups to attend this year ... quite a crowd!  After work on Friday, Ian and I packed up the car with the few essentials you need for a lake weekend and we hit the road.

My contribution for Saturday night's dinner was the banana pudding I blogged about here.  I had several family members say it was the best banana pudding they'd ever tasted!  I'm so glad that Allie posted this recipe -- it has truly become a summer staple in my kitchen.

After hearing rave reviews about the game Cards Against Humanity, on Friday I found out that you can download the PDF version of the cards for free!  I thought this was a great way to try it out before purchasing it, so I printed the cards, cut them, and I can report back that the game was HILARIOUS and one that we will be playing again soon with our friends.  To download the free PDF version, click here.

Saturday we did have a little rain, but we just relaxed on the screened porch and inside until it cleared enough to take the boat out.

More to come on these vodka-soaked gummy bears ... YUM.

That cover-up you see, by the way, is the steal of the season!  You can find it at Old Navy here for $26.94 and you can currently get it 25% off using coupon code MYSTERY.  The code only runs through today!

We were sad to see the weekend come to a close, and that alarm clock sure rang early this morning.  Counting down until next weekend already!


Five On Friday: Link Up With Us!

I may have never been so happy to see a Friday.  Ever, ever, ever.  It's not that anything horrible happened this week, more like a lot of "ehhh" moments just one right after another, so bring on the SUN and bring on the WINE and bring on the FAMILY and bring on the NO ALARM CLOCKS!

And now I'm so pleased to share my Five On Friday along with my beautiful co-hostesses Darci, Natasha, and Christina ... join us, it's simple!  Just write a blog about five things on your mind today, anything goes really, post the logo below on your blog, and then enter your post address below in the link-up section.  I promise, it's easy!

So here's my 5 on Friday.  Cheers to the weekend!

After I wrote the post this week about World Market, I somehow found myself back there again ... funny how that happens.  That store is magnetic, I suwanee.  Anyway, they had the most adorable salad set half off (and I received an extra 15% for being in their WM Explorer program -- free to sign up) so this $20 set ended up costing me around $8.50.  Not too shabby!

I got these and a matching spreader knife since the only spreader knives I own either have Santas on them or high heels.  And the other day I saw Ian using a high heel spreader and it just wasn't right.

Originally $19.99, now $9.99

Sometimes I come home from work to little surprises, and this is what Wednesday's looked like.  I think the reason behind it is so hilariously sweet -- it was Ian thanking me for some work I've done for us recently, like switching our insurance over to a new carrier (that is saving us a few hundred a year!) and working on an IRA we have.  It's so funny how life changes when you're in your 30s.  :)  But I love it.

My sister's recipe for peach cobbler looks PERFECT (read: really tasty and really easy and not calling for 19 ingredients).  She posted the recipe here.

Peach Cobbler.  Calls for peaches plus 5 ingredients you always have on hand: butter, sugar, baking powder, flour, and eggs.

Spotted at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  OH MY GOODNESS.  I think I love it.  Lake party, anyone?

We have a new pendant light over our breakfast table!  I found this one at Crate & Barrel (here) and with some leftover wedding gift cards, we got it for nearly half-price.  I'm loving how it adds so much depth to the area.  Ever do a home project, stand back, and then say -- why did I wait so long?!  The area must have looked positively naked before!

I hope you'll join along in this week's Five On Friday!


Limoncello Spritzer Recipe

With the weekend quickly approaching (hallelujah!) I wanted to share the Limoncello Spritzer recipe that I blogged about and then tried recently. The original recipe is from Martha Stewart and I hope to all goodness you won't compare my photograph to hers. Her version looks so clear and bubbly ... perhaps I got a little heavy-handed with the limoncello?!

Regardless, I can assure you that it tasted fizzy, citrusy, and light.  I hope you'll give it a try!

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Limoncello, chilled
Dry white wine, chilled
Lemon Wedge

Fill a glass with ice.  Fill glass halfway full with white wine.  Pour in a few tablespoons of limoncello.  Top with seltzer water.  Squeeze in lemon wedge, and stir together.

We brought a bottle of limoncello back from our trip to Sorrento, Italy, but you can pick a bottle up at just about any liquor store!  

Forgive the short post; I'm a bit foggy this morning due to the fact that we lost power last night around 8:30 following a big storm.  Thank goodness I have a candle obsession.  Our dark house has never smelled so heavenly -- lemon in one room, gardenia in another room, clean cotton in yet another.  I was sort of on sensory overload and then the heat kicked in.  We sleep in what I fondly refer to as an "arctic zone" bedroom -- the thermostat down low, the ceiling fan on high, and an oscillating floor fan going on too.  I know, I know: it's overkill.  But it works for us!  So from lights out around 10 until the power (and all of the lights, and the TV, and the AC) kicked on at 2:30am, I was waking up periodically and not sleeping too well.  That cup of coffee was much needed this morning!

Well said, Liz.

One more tidbit - thanks for all of the love on the dress I wore to the wedding this past weekend!  I got it two summers ago in Charleston at the Cynthia Rowley store on King Street.  It was from the Resort 2011 collection and I'm sad to say I couldn't find any online, but it may be worth checking eBay for from time to time if you are interested!

See you all tomorrow for the Five On Friday link-up!


Tomato Pie ... Make This Recipe, Ya'll!

Yesterday evening when I came home, I walked out onto the patio and came back inside with six red and very ripe tomatoes!  This is the first year I've grown tomatoes (well, the first year I've done so seriously -- I was given a plant from a neighbor last year but I'm pretty sure the neglect I gave it resulted in the fact that it only produced a few teeny 'maters which never even ripened).  I am now growing two kinds -- Early Girl and Marglobe heirlooms.  I've got them together in a large pot on the patio, and they have gotten quite large and healthy!

I guess the funny thing here is this: I don't like raw tomatoes.  My husband can stand at the sink, slice one up, top with a little s&p, and go to town.  I wish that was me!  But with that said -- salsa, pico de gallo, tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, ketchup ... all good in my book.  And now I have found another love to add to that list -- tomato pie.

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I first had this a few summers ago when a girlfriend cooked it.  I was pretty surprised how much I liked it being that the very name of it sounded like an odd combination ... but I believe you can add cheese, mayo, and basil to just about anything and make it yummy!

We made this about two weeks ago and I'm happy to say it will be on our menu again tonight.

Tomato Pie

1 pie crust (I used the refrigerated kind you unroll and press in the pan) 
Ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly (I used about 5 smaller tomatoes)
1/2 red onion, sliced very thinly
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Texas Pete
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar is a fave, so is mozzarella)
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
salt and pepper 

Lay tomato slices on paper towels for about 30 minutes to help remove excess water. Pat dry. Mold pie shell into pie dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Mix together mayonnaise, 2 cups cheese, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Start layering in the pie shell: onions, tomatoes, basil and 1/2 cheese mixture. Repeat layers one more time. You should end with the remaining cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle a little extra cheese over the top. Bake at 375 degrees about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

The recipe I worked from called for white onions, but I had red at home and I ended up loving the slightly different taste that they provided.

When I first made this, I served it with pulled pork that I made in the slowcooker.  It was such a delicious combination!

When I was younger, I declared to my mother: "I will eat ANY pie!"  This one is certainly no exception.

Have you ever had tomato pie?  If you make it, how does this recipe compare to the one you use?

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World Market Finds + Cute Camera Straps

World Market is a favorite store of mine (and has been for a while), but I feel like lately they have stepped up their game in a major way!

I hopped in last week to look at the outdoor items as most everything is 50% off now, and I just was so impressed to see so many items that would look awesome in our home.

World Market Finds
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O N E 
Black and White Striped Dhurrie Rug - 5x8
$129.99 (here)
How awesome is this rug?  I think it would be a striking addition to just about any room -- kitchen, bedroom, nursery, dining room.

Gold Mirrored Tabletop Tray 
$29.99 (here)
I love that this mirrored tray has feet and the perfect gold patina.  This would look equally as good in a powder room housing perfumes and soaps as it would on a dining room console with pretty glasses or nice liquor bottles.

Hanging Lanterns
$7.49-$9.99 (similar here)
I would love to hang a few of these from the corner of the ceiling outdoors on our patio!  I just love that teal color.

F O U R 
Blue Surf Velvet Pillows
$9.99-$16.99 (here)
These are the most beautiful muted aqua-blue color.  I'm thinking about purchasing two to go on our bed in the cooler months.  The color is the perfect coordinating shade to our wall color, Valspar Sparkling Lake.

Rio Floor Mats
$9.99-19.99 (here)
These floor mats can be used indoors or outdoors, but for the texture I think I'd prefer them outdoor.  They would be perfect over a sisal rug for a pop of bright color.  Easy to roll up and take on a picnic too.

Recycled Glass Pillar Candleholders
$14.99-24.99 (here)
I love everything about these ... the light aqua color, the chunkiness, the varied heights.  I'm thinking a collection of a few of these would look killer in the middle of a table with all white candles.

I found a few World Market coupon codes to pass along to you:
  • $10 off your purchase of $30+ with coupon code WM2030 (good through July 28)
  • 10% off sitewide with coupon code WM610 (good through August 1)
Also, if you are an Ebates member, remember that online orders from World Market will earn you 4% back!  If you need an invitation to join Ebates, click here.  I earned $41.75 back for the first quarter of 2013 and so far my 2nd quarter check is going to be around $66.00.  Buying through Ebates is a no-brainer for me!

One last shopping pointer.  I know you gals with DSLR cameras love the fun straps -- did anyone see the awesome deal this morning on The Plaid Barn for $9.99 camera straps?  Reduced from $29.99, these are a steal.  I love the brown and black designs the best.

The Plaid Barn Colorful Camera Straps

Happy shopping this Tuesday!
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