Red, White & Blue Home Tour: 2020

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Hey all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Today I am sharing my red, white and blue home tour.  In years past, I didn't really decorate for the 4th of July.  But last year, my mom suggested adding a bit of red, white and blue using flags (post here), and this year I took it a bit further, adding some additional decor pieces.  

I went with the same decor for the mantle as last year - small American flags from the Target dollar spot in a glass frog found at the antique mall.  Then, I added a 'summer' banner that my mom made me to my 'chip clip' stand.  My mom had done this for hers back home and I thought it was so cute I needed one myself.

I kept things simple on the bookcase, adding in a small little wooden picture/sign found at a local boutique.

One of my favorite things to do with my chandelier is add little candle rings.  I found these red, cream, and blue ones at the same local boutique.  The star pillow was also a new addition for this year.  My mom found it at Walmart - only $9!  It's an outdoor pillow, too, so it would look super cute out on a patio or front porch.  I can't find it online, but it was located in the Garden section at Walmart.

This little basket was an antique mall find.  At only $5, I couldn't pass it up.

The buffet area got its dose of red, white and blue with a flag, and then the addition of a star to the wreath.  I had this wooden star garland that was a few years old from the Target dollar spot.  The stars were on the main string with a loop of string, so I just slid them off, and used an ornament hanging to attach it to this wreath, and a few others.  I really like how it adds a little pop of color without being too much!

Another wreath, another star.

The back - my third wreath/star combo, and then a flag in the flower pot.  

That's a look at my red, white and blue home tour!

Now I am curious - do you decorate for the 4th?  I don't think I did in the past because it seemed so fleeting.  But I've started looking at it as my 'summer' decor, rather than just for 4th of July decor.  So this will be up at least for the whole month of July, and honestly, probably through August, too, until I bring out fall.

Linking up with Andrea and Lindsay.


Friday Favorites: World of Dance, Find Your Path, S'well Bottle, Apple Watch & 4th Decor

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Happy Friday!  I hope you all have had a great week.  I have five favorites from the week to share, so let's get into it!

1.  World of Dance.  Season 4 of World of Dance started a few weeks ago, and I have been so excited about it.  I don't watch many of the competition shows, but this one, this one I watch.  And love.  The dancers are all so, so good and I thoroughly enjoy the trio of judges (Ne-Yo, Jennifer Lopez, and Derek Hough).  Like most shows these days, they include snippets of 'behind the scenes' and it's fun to see how they interact in those settings.

2.  Find Your Path by Carrie Underwood.  I purchased Carrie Underwood's book not too long ago, and spent some time during my week off reading it.  I haven't made it all the way through, but one of the key takeaways has been running through my mind this week.  The gist of it is to basically workout the days you can (even when you don't want to), because there will be days where you can't.  Pretty common sense, right?  Well, for some reason reading it in this book and how she wrote about it just really resonated with me.  It's helped me be a bit more disciplined this week.  For example, I usually try to get in a walk after work a few times during the week.  It's a great way to unwind from work, move a bit more, and soak up the sunshine and soak in the fresh air.  But, I don't always feel motivated to do it.  This week, I just sucked it up and went, because there was time to and no reason not to.  I was always glad to do it, and I think come next week, when the forecast shows rain the whole week, I will be happy that I took the opportunity to get out while I could.

3. S'well Bottle.  For Mother's Day, I got my mom a S'well bottle with a sports cap.  And then shortly after hearing how much she liked it, I bought one for myself!  

I always have a bottle of water with me when I do my Peloton bike.  I kept loosing my bottle cap, though!  I would be spinning, trying to put the cap back on the bottle, and it was like I had butter fingers.  With the athletic cap from S'well, you can just push one side of the top down to open up the cap to get water - no need to unscrew and screw back on a cap!  There is no condensation on the bottle, either, so you don't have to worry about dropping the whole thing when you are sweating.  The bottle fits really well into the cup holder on the bike, too.  

I also decided to get a handle when I ordered my bottle.  I thought this would be handy to have for my walks when it's super hot out and I need to bring water with me.

If you are in of a water bottle, too, make sure to sign up for the emails - like most places, you'll get a discount to use on your purchase!  

4.  Apple Watch 'Find Your Phone' Button.  I have had my Apple Watch for about 2 months, and still really, really like it.  One of the features I have been using lately is the find your phone button.  I am amazed at the number of times I can't find my phone, or forget if it's upstairs or downstairs.  Instead of searching everywhere, I can just hit the button, then my phone will make a noise and I can find it easily that way.  It's even handy for those times it gets lost in your purse, haha!  Not that I have ever had to do that myself...ok yes, yes I am speaking from experience with that.  Really, though, it's just a great little extra that makes me love my watch even more!

5.  4th of July Decor.  When my mom was in town, she helped me decorate for the 4th of July.  I plan to share pictures next week, but wanted to link back to my post from last year where I just used flags from the dollar section at Target to add pops of red, white and blue around the house.  Little flags are great because they are a really inexpensive and easy way to add festive touches to your decor.

On the blog this week:

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

My Hometown Vacation: 2020

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Hey all!  Long time, no blog.  I spent the last week in my hometown, the last weekend at my brother's, and then enjoyed some time at home with my mom.  It was such a welcomed break, and a nice 'vacation'.

Monday, June 15, 2020
I headed back home Monday morning.  It was nice to have the weekend at home, before heading out.  But goodness, was I so excited to be going home.  I usually spend a good chunk of time at my parents' during the holidays, but don't make it home a ton during the warmer months.  I was really looking forward to being back when the weather was nice.  And boy, was it nice.  Once I got into town, we did a walk through my mom's garden (she has the greenest thumb!), walked around downtown, and then spent a good chunk of time outside on the deck.  Exactly what I was hoping to do during my time there.  When my dad got home from work, he put the top down on his '63 Corvair, and we took a drive through the country.  There is something about a country drive that I just love so much.  And it's even better when that drive is back home in my dad's old car.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Tuesday consisted of a long walk with my mom, reading on the porch with Camille, and relaxing.  Lots of relaxing was done earlier in the day, because my brother and nephews were en route, set to arrive later in the day.  the best part was my older nephew running out of the car to give us all hugs.  Such a great feeling!  To round out the day, we took him for a ride in my dad's car.  Much shorter than the night before, but pretty cool to experience his excitement.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Wednesday was a busy day!  My brother has gotten into disc golf with some friends, and my hometown just happens to have a course.  It was my first time playing and even though I was super bad, it was a ton of fun.  And my brother was super patient with me, haha.  It was kind of nervewracking, because the park it is at is right along the river so I was so worried I would lose one of his discs in the river.  Thankfully that did not happen!  Since we were all in town, my grandma came down to visit and have lunch.  While I missed being able to hug her hello and goodbye, it was so great to see her and talk to her in person, as opposed to just over the phone.  My parents had gotten the sweetest little blow up pool for my nephews and they were so cute playing in it together!  I think we all enjoyed watching them as they did playing.  We didn't have any real big plans for after dinner, so my brother and I headed to a nearby town for another disc golf course.  I think I got worse from the morning, but again, still really fun.  And great quality time with him.  It's rare it's ever just the two of us so I thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Thursday, June 18, 2020
My brother left my mom and I with the boys and headed back home.  I have to tell you, I was a tad bit nervous, just because my younger nephew is such a busy little guy and fast as can be, too.  I was so worried we would take our eyes off him for a second only for something terrible to happen.  Luckily, that was not the case at all, and we had some fun together.  There was one moment that really cracked me up though.  Both boys just love my mom.  LOVE her.  And then my parents' cat wanted to be around the action, too, but she wasn't necessarily ready to be bombarded by both boys trying to pet her.  So at one point, my mom had grabbed the cat and was holding her on her lap, my older nephew was trying to pet her, and then my youngest nephew was trying to sit on my mom's lap (which already had the cat on it), and it was a bit of a cluster.  But so very funny, haha.  

Friday, June 19, 2020 & Saturday, June 20, 2020
My dad had Friday off, so after breakfast, we hit the road to my brother and sister in law's house.  We had big plans for the weekend - we were redoing the boys' bedrooms!  My sister in law had done some work while my brother was in Pontiac, then when he got back home, they painted, and it was ready for us to decorate and move stuff around on Friday.  My brother is big into games, so Friday evening we played Between Two Castles.  It took a minute to figure it out, but once we had the general idea it was really fun!

We continued our decorating and moving things around on was pretty much go, go, go.  I love doing that stuff though, so it was really fun and of course, you can't beat the family time.  Once back at my parents', my dad made us popcorn.  It seriously the best popcorn you have ever had.  The popper he has is one you use on the stove top and crank, and he salts it to perfection.  So, so good.

Sunday, June 21, 2020
Father's Day!  We celebrated my dad with one of his favorite breakfasts and then my mom and I headed on back to my house.  Usually when my mom comes (or my mom and dad both come), we have a laundry list of items to accomplish, and this time, the visit was much more relaxing.  We had a grocery run, decorated for the 4th of July, and took a nice walk after dinner.  And watched a few of the recorded episodes of Home Town I had on my DVR.

Monday, June 22, 2020
My last day off work - so bittersweet!  After a morning walk and getting ready, my mom and I went on the hunt for some more impatiens for my front porch.  A few of the flowers had died in one of the pots, and we had the darnedest time finding them!  Home Depot had some, though, although they were in a multi pack with other colors.  I also decided I wanted to plant some basil (I have the best bruschetta recipe I need to share!), so we picked up supplies for that.  Our big outing was to the local antique mall.  Stores here have been open for quite awhile, but I haven't been out a whole lot.  A few stops here and there, but no shopping other than necessities and flowers (which aren't necessities, but I feel like the garden center is a little different than indoor shopping).  I was excited to go, but also a little nervous.  I had no reason to be nervous, though!  Because it was a Monday, it wasn't busy in the least, and the majority of the people we did see had masks on and we were able to distance ourselves for the most part.  I grabbed a cute little festive basket, and a really unique milk glass vase to add to my collection.  We both were tuckered out from the last week, so the evening came to a close pretty early on, but it was a good day.

The time off was truly such a wonderful break.  The time away from work was much needed, and the fact that it was spent with family was icing on the cake.  And you know it was a good recharge, because come Monday I was kind of looking forward to getting back into the swing of things at work the next day.  Of course, I had decided yesterday would be the day that I had my crown replaced at the dentist, so that was a bit of a rude awakening back into the real world, but all in all not too bad!

Linking up with Lindsay.       

My Everyday, Go-To Salad Recipe

This salad is truly my 'everyday' salad...or at least every weekday salad.  Since the beginning of staying at home, I have been making this salad for lunch.  Previously, when I went into the office, I would utilize the bagged salads you could find at the store for lunch.  They were just a whole lot simpler, not having to do all that chopping.  But with being home, I kind of enjoy the chopping that comes with making a yummy salad and actually find it kind of soothing!  This salad has been one of the silver linings of working from home these past months.  

I call this a recipe, but really it's an ingredient list.  The making it part is super easy - chop all the ingredients up, and toss together with your favorite dress!

My Everyday, Go-To Salad Recipe
Shredded Carrots
Red Pepper
Muenster Cheese
Sunflower Seeds

Notes:  I usually toss in some kind of chicken, too, whether it be rotisserie chicken (I like to buy them from the grocery store on a pretty regular basis, take the meat off the chicken, portion it in snack baggies, then freeze for later use), or if I have leftovers from a previous meal, like leftover wings, that will get thrown in there, too.

For the dressing, I really enjoy Tessamae's Lemon Garlic dressing.  It's super light and has a really refreshing taste.

Linking up with Lindsay.

Friday Favorites: Morning Walks, Banana Muffin Tops, Jean Shorts, A New Dress, Candles & A Great Read

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that any clicks/purchases may result in a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Hey all!  Happy Friday!  As always, I am so excited the weekend is here.  And even more so, because as soon as work is done today, I am officially off the clock until the 22nd!  I think the last time I took a whole week from work that wasn't over the holidays was back when my mom and I did a road trip...almost 3 years ago.  I am really looking forward to having a true break.

Onto my favorites...

1.  Morning walks.  We had insanely beautiful weather yesterday (think 60's in the morning), and instead of doing one of my usual workouts, I decided to go for a walk instead.  And it was so nice.  I love getting in a morning walk on the weekends, but I think I am going to have to start doing it more during the week.  

I took this picture as I was on my walk, because I just love the way the sun is coming through and hitting the grass and trees.  It reminds me that even when the world is so dark, there are moments of light to hold onto.

2.  Time in the kitchen.  One of my favorite ways to unwind is to spend time in the kitchen.  The other night I made banana muffin tops after work, and it was really relaxing.  I started flipping through my cookbooks, too, which is another thing that relaxes me.  There is just something about food and cooking that is so comforting!

3.  Jean shorts.  I cleaned out my bottoms earlier this year, and realized I needed new jean shorts.  I found a pair from Target I really liked when I tried them on, but after washing and wearing them a few times, I realized they weren't as great as I had originally thought.  So back on the hunt, I ordered a few pairs from Abercrombie during a sale.  I had seen a bunch of bloggers rave about them, and after getting them, and wearing them this week, I totally get the hype!  Bre Sheppard recommended sizing up, and I would recommend that, as well.  I have both the Mom shorts and the Boyfriend shorts.  They are super similar, the Mom shorts just have a higher rise..  Both are looser on the legs, which is exactly what I was looking for.  I feel like the fit and look are really similar to the Agolde jean shorts I have seen many people wear, but for a fraction of the price.

4.  Free People dress.  As you can probably tell by the favorite above, I have hit the point of wanting to wear 'real' clothes and not just leggings and sweats while at home.  I really like the Free People brand, and when I saw this dress was on sale for $30, I scooped it up!  I got it in the pink, which is a really pretty almost rose pink color.  It's great for this time of year, and I think it will be really nice for the fall, too.  It's definitely an oversized fit, but it lays really nice, so it's not too frumpy.

5.  Laurel Mercantile candles.  Home Town is my very favorite HGTV show, and I pretty much love everything Erin does on the show.  They released a bunch of summer candles, and when I went to grab some, they were all sold out.  I stalked the website, and immediately ordered when I saw they had been restocked.  I ordered quite a few to try, and am slowly making my way through them.  The first candle I lit was Porch Party, and my goodness I think it might be my favorite spring/summer scent.  It's described as sweet tea and mint, which is spot on.  It reminds me of summer days growing up when my mom would make sun tea, and paired with the mint it is such a refreshing scent.  So, so good!

6.  Feels Life Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey.  I LOVED this book.  I flew through it, and stayed up late one night this week just so I could finish it.  You have two main characters - one who has had a tough life, and the other a young divorcee.  Their paths intertwine, and it just makes for a great book.  The only thing I will say is that I wish the divorcee's story line would have been tied up just a little tighter at the end...I just wanted confirmation of one thing.  But all in all, a truly enjoyable book.

On the blog this week...

Linking up with Andrea & Erika.

June Goals & Habits

I am excited for this new month.  I feel like I constantly repeat myself with this, but work has been really busy, but (knock on wood) the rest of the month is look pretty 'normal', dare I say (semi) slow?!  I am hoping this bit of slow will help me get back to getting stuff done around the house.  

Usually when I post my monthly goals and habits, I recap how last month went.  Well, May was a wash, haha, so I am not even going to go back there this month.  Everything would pretty much have a 'nope' next to it.  

That said, I have high hopes for this month.

1.  Walk 3 times a week.  I feel like this, or something similar has been on my goal list on and off for years.  It's getting warm here, but I want to make sure to get out and get in a walk at least three times a week.  The fresh air and sunshine does wonders on my mood, and moving a little extra never hurts!  

2.  Clean out magazines.  Another one that continually comes on this list, haha!  They just seem to pile up so quickly! 

3.  Make bread.  I purchased a Dutch oven not too long ago, and one of the things I would like to try making is bread.  I have never tried my hand at that before, so it could be a big flop, but I sure would like to give it a try.

4.  Try 2 recipes from Magnolia Table Volume 2.  I was so excited to get this cookbook, but since COVID-19 hit, I really haven't been looking at cookbooks for recipes.  I have been sticking to things I know with relatively minimal ingredients.  While that has been nice and easy, I want to get back to perusing cookbooks for meal ideas, starting with this one.

5.  Find a good bug repellent for the backyard.  I have this great little backyard, but the bugs are terrrrrriiiibbbbblllleee.  I don't sit outside as much as I would like, because of this.  I have tried sprays, and tried candles, both of which have helped previously, but for some reason just are not doing it this year.  I have a few things I am looking at and am hoping to find a real solution.  If you have any suggestions, please, please let me know! 

1.  Daily devotional.  

2.  End the night with a clean kitchen.  

3.  Weekly yard work.  

4.  Delete junk e-mail at the end of each day.

5.  Weeknights, asleep by 9:45.  This is a new addition for this month.  I love waking up early, reading my devotionals, and getting in a good workout before work.  Because I get up so early, though, I don't always get enough sleep and I would like to work on that.  Setting 9:45 as the time would allot me 7 hours of sleep.  I'd like to get a minimum of that during the week. 

Linking up with Lindsay.

Book Review: June 2020

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When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley
.  I flew through this book.  One part especially really spoke to me.  She describes a normal morning, full of technology, and a bit rushed.  Then she describes another morning where instead of checking an app for the weather, you step outside for a minute.  Just little changes that lessen the day, while making it the title says.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner.  This was one of the books on my spring/summer reading list.  And my first ebook from the library.  I still am shaking my head at myself for taking so dang long to download the app.  Anyways.  I thought the premise of this book was really interesting.  When I started reading it, though, I had to double check that it was the right book because it seemed so off.  But then it got to the description as shared online...followed by this big twist I had no idea was even coming.  About half way through the book you get a 'plot change' and I was just really surprised by it.  I wouldn't say this was a great read, but it did keep me intrigued and it's an interesting look at influencers.

Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer.  I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley.  This book will make you try to plan a trip to Nantucket, haha.  It truly sounds like such a neat place.  However, there were some part of the book that were a little eh for me.  Either things happened way too fast, or they were way too sweet and cheesy.  I should note that I do enjoy a good cheese and happy ending, but this seemed to be a little bit too much.

The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren.  I have really been enjoying the authors behind Christina Lauren.  Just very enjoyable reads!  You have a husband and wife DIY duo who has taken the world by storm, only to find out that maybe everything isn't as perfect as it seems.  And then you have the people behind them trying to hold it together.  Like I said, very enjoyable.  I read this one real quick.  I was thinking throughout the book that two of the main characters just need to talk to each other, communicate and things would be so much simpler, but then I guess you wouldn't have a book would you?  

Seduction in Death by J.D. Robb.  Since I finally figured out the app my library uses, I have been able to continue with the 'in Death' series.  I really like these books - the settings is just so interesting and I love the love story, as well as the friendships surrounding the main character.

Recommendations to read out of this bunch?  When Less Becomes More (if you enjoy lifestyle books), and The Honey-Don't List.  And if you want to start in on a series, on that has a ton of books you can fall back on, I definitely recommend the 'in Death' books.

Linking up with Steph.

Recent Amazon Purchases: May 2020

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Here's what I ordered from Amazon this past month.

1.  Dirty Dancing Soundtrack Record.  When I searched records on Amazon, this one popped up pretty quick.  Dirty Dancing is my favorite movie, and the price was right, so into the cart it went!  The shipping time was set to take awhile, but it actually came in just a few days!
Dirty Dancing (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

2.  Fabric Shaver & Lint Remover.  I was looking for something to defuzz my sweaters, and this fit the bill.  I had intentions to use it this month, but it's still in the box.  The reviews are good, though, so I am hoping it works out!

3.  The Wedding Dress by Danielle Steel.  I was talking to my grandma on the phone, and she was saying how she had no new reading material with the library closed.  I offered to use my Amazon account to order any new books, and this was first on the list!

4.  Camino Winds by John Grisham.  And the second book on her list!  This is the second book in the Camino series.  I read the first one, Camino Island, and thought it was really good!

5.  ENJOY Conditioning Spray.  This was a reorder for me.  My hair stylist gave me a travel size and I have used it religiously since.  It has made such a change in my hair - I love it!  It lasts quite awhile, too.  The bottle I just finished was purchased in January!  I would say getting a good 4+ months out of a bottle is pretty good bang for your buck!

6.  Folex Spot Remover.  I have seen this all over blogs/instagram, and when I saw it on Biana's blog, I finally hit add to cart and made the purchase.  I just got it in - hope it works!
Folex Carpet Spot Remover, 32 oz

Linking up with Lindsay.