Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meet Adrienne!

Adrienne is 3 years old and battling a brain tumor. She lives in Spartanburg, SC. Her dream is to go to Disney World and meet Cinderella. Please help make her wish come true by donating to a Reality Wish giving page. If you are the parent of a healthy child then you should know how fortunate you are. Find $5 to give today. These kids and their families deserve a little happiness. The Make A Wish foundation -and folks like you -can make that happen.

To donate directly to Adrienne's Make-A-Wish fund go here! 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Make-A-Wish Come True!!

I have been blessed with so many things. In reality, I think I can admit I am a bit spoiled. My parents have always been able to provide me with everything I need and have given me more then I could have ever asked for. And now that I am married, my sweet husband spoils me too! But I still find myself wanting more. I want a boat, a new Lilly dress, a new pair of Jack Rogers. It seems, no matter how much I receive, I always have a wish list. But the fact of the matter is...I don't NEED any of these things. Now I am very good at convincing myself that I need them. But when I sit down and really think about it, I feel guilty. Recently I have been trying to give back more and it feels great! If I go out for one less meal a week, I can give that money to someone who really needs it and even such a small amount seems to go along way! 

Today, I was contacted by a good friend, Tona Dahlquist who is putting together a fundraiser for the South Carolina Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is bringing together reality television contestants, fans, and anyone else that wants to help in order to grant a wish for three children. The first annual “Reality Wish” online event will be held April 26 - May 14, 2010. 

The first two kids are 8 year old twin brothers Matthew and Nicholas from Ladson SC, both of which are suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Matthew’s wish is to have a room makeover and Nichloas’ wish is to go to Legoland.

The third is a precious 3-year-old girl, Adrienne from my hometown, Spartanburg, SC. She is suffering from a brain tumor. Her wish is to go to Disney World and meet Cinderella. 

I have seen first hand how fast medical bills tend to accumulate and how expensive fighting these illnesses can be. So I am sure making these wishes come true would be a huge blessing for these kids and their families! These children have been faced with so much and ask for so little. Let’s bring some happiness to their lives. We can Make A Wish, a Reality for each of them.

A simple $5 dollar donation is all that is needed to join in. Think about it –that's one cup of coffee from your favorite coffee place in exchange for making a wish come true for a child battling a life threatening illness.

I know times are tough but please find it in your heart to donate $5.00 to your favorite shows caring page and Make A Wish Come True. All proceeds go directly to the SC Make A Wish foundation and are used to grant our kids wishes! (I am a little biased but I would love for you all to donate to the "Survivor" fund! hehe!)

I promise you it will be the best 5 bucks you ever spent!

Here are the links. You can click on each link and it will allow you to donate DIRECTLY to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Once you make your donation, you will receive a receipt immediately via e-mail from the Make-A-Wish foundation. 

For Amazing Racers Wish page click;

For Big Brothers Wish page click;

For Survivors Wish page click:

For Biggest Losers Wish page click;

Please Join In! Every little bit really helps and makes a difference! 

Caroline Grace Jewelry Giveaway!

I love fun, bright, and well-designed jewelry. I came across Caroline Grace Jewelry on Twitter a few months ago and I fell in love with a ton of her pieces. Check out her Etsy store here!! Then Shopaholic in Alabama posted her final Mother's Day giveaway today and it happened to be a GORGEOUS Caroline Grace necklace! So I had to share the giveaway with you all. I won one of the giveaways I entered last week. And I just received my Lilly Pulitzer agenda book in the mail! So it is very possible to win! 
Here are a few of my favorite items from her Etsy Store:

Flora Chandelier Earrings in Sterling Silver and Luscious Lilac Lucite Filigree

Turquoise and Coral Cuff Bracelet- Limited Edition

Monogram Charm Necklace in Sterling Silver with Cross and Freshwater Pearl

Caroline Grace designs are fun and wearable, they easily transform from day into night. All of the pieces are handcrafted from the finest materials with her perfectionist's eye! And she offers a lifetime guarantee on all her sterling, gold, and gold filled Caroline Grace Jewelry. 

This is the necklace up for grabs!! It is worth over $300!! 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sweet And Cheap Treat!

Well I LOVE baking and I love dessert. But lately I haven't had a whole lot of spare time to make a lot of my favorite treats. So I have started looking for quick and easy alternatives. Recently I started making a DELICIOUS treat that literally takes less than 15 minutes to make. And the total cost is about $6.00. Not to mention, it is one of my all-time favorite sweet snacks, chocolate-covered strawberries!!

I grab a carton of strawberries from Publix, which are nice and cheap this time of the year. Then I get "Baker's Dipping Chocolate," which is less than 3 bucks. I prefer the real milk chocolate flavor, but for those of you who like dark chocolate, they have that too! I have tried several different brands but this one is my favorite.. .and it is very inexpensive!

Go home, rinse of the strawberries, and throw the dipping chocolate in the microwave. Make sure you stop the chocolate and stir it a few times while it melts in the microwave. Then start dipping. Put them in the fridge and they are ready to go. So easy and so delicious! They are always a hit when we have people over for dinner. And I have convinced myself that they are probably a whole lot healthier than chocolate cake. Enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

E-mail Subscription Box

So I had a few friends ask me how to receive an e-mail when I posted a new blog... I figured out how to add that feature to my old blog and I think it worked great. But honestly, it wasn't as easy with this new one. I found one "gadget" that allowed me to add a similar feature but I thought it looked kind of tacky. I couldn't find a good alternative so I left the "tacky" feature on the bottom of the blog. Hope it works!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Soaps and Suds

Everyone loves a nice long, hot bath! I especially love bubble baths. I buy all sorts of bath products. I even gave in and bought some of those products from the Dead Sea that they sell in the kiosks at the mall. To my surprise, they actually work really well! I am always on the lookout for new and yummy soaps and suds. I came across The Vintage Soap Shoppe Etsy store and they sell a ton of delightful homemade soaps and bath products. Take a look at the photos below. This soap looks good enough to eat. Did your mama ever threaten you to wash your mouth with soap? I am not sure I would have objected if my mom ran after me with one of these these! hehe! And the cupcake soaps, I think my friends Marisa and Brooke, need these in their lives. They are the cupcake queens. If you visit Jessica at the Kitchen Belleiciousa Blog you can enter to win a gift bag of these lovely products! 

Or to purchase some homemade soap, Visit the Etsy store here!! 

Fender Bender Huffman

Erik and I have the most precious pup. His name is Fender (after Erik's bass guitar.) And he is a Mini Australian Shepherd. Australian Shepherds have several different marking patterns and Fender is considered a Red Merle. 

He is the man. Fender is very lovable and enjoys playing all day long. He will actually run laps around the backyard for hours. He is EXTREMELY smart, loving, affectionate, and fun. We have had a great time teaching him tricks and watching him grow over the past few months.  Here are some photos of Fender as he has matured over the last six months. My little guy is growing up so fast!

Fender 3 weeks

Fender 4 weeks

Fender 6 weeks

Fender 8 weeks

Fender 2.5 months

Fender 3 months

Fender- 6 months old

Monday, April 19, 2010

"You're a Pisa Work!"

So I am in love with O.P.I Nail lacquer. My all-time favorite color for the spring and summer is "Cajun Shrimp." But this past weekend, I came across a new color that I love. It is called "You're a Pisa Work." Cute name right!? haha! It is similar to the color above but is a little bit of a brighter pink. I tried to find an exact photo online but none seemed to do it justice. So, next time you are at the nail salon, take a look and see if they have it. If so, I am SURE you will love it! 

Need a Little Bling?

Lauren Hope is a fabulous jewelry designer! I was just introduced to her collection. I think it is very chic, classic, and versatile. Check out Lauren Hope's website.

She incorporates a lot of Czech glass in her jewelry. After our trip to Prague, I have a slight obsession for anything Czech and I am a huge fan of the Czech glass. Currently, Loren’s jewelry can be found in England and the United States.

If you want a chance to win the Gracey Bib necklace (valued at $160!!!) you can enter the contest here!  P.S. If you decide to enter the contest, make sure that you let them know I referred you, I get an extra entry if you do!! :) Help a sister out. 

Here are my favorite items from her website:

I love, love, love this turquoise Gracey bib necklace! (This is what you can win!)

                               Pink Jade Earrings                                              

Spring Scents

I am a big fan of perfume and cologne. Unfortunately I tend to stick with what I know and I wear the same scent year round. I love several of the Burberry scents. My two favorite are Burberry Weekend and Burberry Summer. I still love my old school Ralph Lauren "Blue." I think I have been wearing that for years. My favorites colognes for men are "Acqua Di Gio" by Giorgio Armani and "Light Blue" by Dolce & Gabbana. 
But this year I want to step out on a limb and try something new for the spring. Does anyone have any suggestions? I like the more feminine scents. Nothing too bold or overbearing. Do you know any amazing colognes I could get for Erik? 

I came across a fun blog today, "The Tale of a Southern Belle." She is currently running a fun contest. If you are feeling lucky, you can enter HERE to win a a sealed 0.6 fl oz/20 ml bottle of Banana Republic's Rosewood Perfume. I have no idea what it smells like but I have heard very good things about the fragrance.  So check out the blog and enter! This could be your lucky day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Personalized, Pretty, and Preppy Pads Giveaway!

I found another giveaway on the Shopaholic in Alabama blog!! I love pink, polka-dots, and anything preppy. So this prize is right up my ally. The prize is sponsored by an Etsy store - MCC Designs. This year, I would love to start sending more handwritten letters to my friends and family. When things settle down a bit, I am going to make a conscious effort to start taking the time to sit down and write my loved ones. So I really hope I win this contest!   I love cute stationary and when it is personalized, I love it even more! MCC Designs sells adorable personalized stationary and note pads. Here is a link to the Etsy store! 
Now for the FUN!!! Melissa, the owner of MCC Designs, is sponsoring a fantastic giveaway, exclusively for Shopaholic readers! Included in this giveaway is a set of two note pads (one is 3" x 5.5" and the other is 5.5" x 5.5") , and one set of (12) 5" x 7" flat cards with envelopes. Items are pictured below. The winner will be able to choose any item in the shop in these styles. All personalization as desired by the winner, with choices of fonts and font colors. One lucky reader will be oh so happy to win this giveaway! Are you feeling lucky!?! If so, check out all of the details HERE!! 

The giveaway will end at midnight central time on Monday, April 19. The winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on Tuesday, April 20. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Block House Steeplechase

Today Erik and I joined some friends for the Block House Steeplechase in Tryon, NC. I had a pretty stressful week so this was the perfect getaway. We had never been before but our good friends, Marisa and Kent, invited us to join them so we decided to go. After all, everyone loves a good horse race! 

We didn't really know what to expect. It was very similar to Carolina Cup but a little more casual. Some ladies wore the typical "cup attire." I saw lots of bright sundresses, floral patterns, Lilly Pulitzer designs, wide-brim hats, and pearls. And some men  flaunted their frat-tastic attire, pastel oxfords and polos, seersucker pants, and bright bow-ties. Others wore jeans and cutoff t-shirts. I even saw the occasional pair of jorts. It was rather amusing but I missed all of the southern preppy attire and fashion that you see at Carolina Cup. 

We had a hard time finding the entrance for the steeplechase. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere. But after a few wrong turns we finally found it. Buying tickets for the event is a little unusual. When you buy a “ticket”, you are actually purchasing an assigned parking place for your car.  Every person in the vehicle is included at that price. So my advice is to get a pickup truck and stuff as many people as you can in the back of it! There are no additional charges per person, only a charge for the parking place itself.  So you might as well get as many people in each car as possible. Unfortunately Erik and I had to come a few hours after the rest of the crew so we didn't have an assigned spot. If I don’t have a pre-purchased parking space the only parking available on race day is in an off course, non-viewing area called “Reserved Pasture Parking (RPP)”.  It is a general admission lot with a first come, first serve basis. Spaces sell for $60. Erik and I ended up taking that route! 

The gates open at 10 a.m. for admission to the grounds.  Pre-race activities start at 11 a.m. with the beginning of the judging for the Tailgate Competition.  The Hat Contest starts around 11:30 in front of the judge’s tower.  I forgot my big hat in Nashville! But next year I am going to have to make sure to remember it and maybe I will even decorate one and enter it in the contest! Then between 12:00 and 1:00 you can watch the “Parade of the Hounds”, the Carolina Carriage Club, and exhibition by the Tuckaway Farm Paso Fino Training Center. 

One of the best parts about the best parts of a steeplechase is the tailgate. With a good tailgate comes lots of yummy beverages and snacks. We had a ton of amazing food at our tailgate. We had the typical Chick-fil-a platter, Pimento cheese and crackers, chicken salad sandwiches, fruit salad, chips, cupcakes, and cookies. But if you don't bring your own food, you can still enjoy excellent barbeque from the vendors at the track.  Lindsey’s BBQ is located at the base of the tower by the sponsor’s area on the infield.

 Make sure that you have everything you need upon entering the gates as we have a “1 entrance, 1 exit” policy.  Your parking pass will be pulled if you leave early.

Throughout the day there are four races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association and 1 or 2 Amateur races depending on the number of entries. I normally like to bet on a few races but I got distracted with corn-hole and throwing the football and never made it down to watch a single horse race! I have a great method of betting, I pick the horse with the cutest name or my lucky number. It worked wonders for me at Churchill Downs, I am kind of sad that I didn't get the chance to try my luck. But overall, the event was a success and we had a blast! 
Kent and Marisa! Aren't they cute!? 
Enjoying the beautiful weather! 

Here are some photos I took throughout the day: 

I love this bow-tie. If anyone knows the designer, please leave a comment. I think it is darling! 

The very springy purple polo from Southern Tide. 
Custom Palmetto tree Vineyard Vines tie from Dumas and Sons in Charleston, SC.

Southern Tide khakis. (Don't worry, these are Erik's pants. I didn't take a photo of some random guys butt! haha) 
I thought this hat was hilarious! The poor horse looks deceased. 
I love corn-hole and have serious skills. I actually kicked Erik's butt and made three holes in a row! 
The ladies were celebrating in the back of a pickup after one of the races. 

We had a wonderful time at the Block House Steeplechase and plan on going again! Maybe next year I will even win some money honey! 

Lilly for Less!

I just bought the Eliot Shirt Dress in lawn printed above and I recommend it to anyone looking for a cute, comfortable, and bright dress for the spring/summer. It is made of cotton and is really adorable!

It is rare to find a sale on anything Lilly when is it still in season. But I came across a great offer on the shopaholic blog and I wanted to share it with yall! 

Lilly Pulitzer Via shoppes, Under The Palm Tree is running a special sale, just for Shopaholic readers! Today, Saturday April 17th, you can receive 30% off one item from their website - ( be sure to enter "Shopaholic" in the order notes section when placing your order online. The new total will be confirmed back to you via email. Please note this promotion does not apply to special orders, sale items, or previously purchased merchandise. This is a wonderful promotion and a great way to pick up that Mother's Day gift (or maybe just a gift for yourself, those are fun)! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Year Down, A Lifetime To Go!!

Well it is hard to believe Erik and I have already been married for an entire year. Our actual one-year anniversary was April 4th. It fell on Easter, so we ended up celebrating the following weekend. But man, what an amazing year it has been.

Honestly, it was one of the most stressful years of my life but one of the most rewarding. Erik and I bought a beautiful home in Nashville, TN. We had a blast decorating our house and making it a place of our own. But with a new home comes a whole lot of work. Especially when you have two people moving all of their things under one roof. Erik spent a lot of the past year on the road touring with Florez, and another large portion of the year traveling for modeling opportunities. I had to travel quite a bit for my job and when I wasn't working on the weekends, I was driving down to South Carolina to visit my family. I think we lived out of a suitcase for a majority of 2009 and really the beginning of this year! It was difficult on both of us. We had a really hard time moving all of our things into our house, some still remain in our garage in boxes. I couldn't lift a lot of the large boxes by myself. So we tried to organize and unpack whenever Erik was in town, but we never seemed to have enough time to finish. Although our lives and our careers are very fun, unique, and exciting... we both desired some sort of normalcy and structure. An "8 to 5" job started to have a certain appeal. Not to mention, I was really tired of doing the long distance marriage. The most consecutive days we spent together was actually in China when we first met! Kind of crazy considering we have been together for several years!

I also had a hard time being  away from my family. My mom has been fighting cancer since the Fall of 2008. When we found out, I had just moved to Nashville. It was hard being away from my family during that time. And it made it especially difficult when my mom lost her voice. Luckily she learned how to text and use the Internet but that is still not the same as picking up a phone and calling her whenever you want to check in. I tried to make up for the distance by traveling home on the weekends. But it was still not the same.

With the hard and trying times, I started to really appreciate all of the blessings in my life. Erik is the most caring, compassionate, and loving husband. I never dreamed of ending up with such an amazing best friend and life-long companion. We rarely argue  and seem to make the best out of every second we spend together. I have always had an adventurous soul and I feel very lucky to have found someone who shares that passion in life. We manage to keep each other entertained. And when I come up with crazy plans and dreams, he usually goes along with them and when my ideas are too far-fetched, he always remains my voice of reason.

So we hope this new year brings a little more simplicity to our lives. We want to take out some of the stressful factors from the equation and spend more time together. We are extremely blessed and I am so thankful for our first year as a married couple!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Not all those who wander are lost!" - J.R.R. Tolkien

In the Summer of 2008, Erik and I had the time of our life when we backpacked through Europe. We spent almost an entire month exploring the different cultures across the Atlantic. Starting in London, made our way to Prague, Venice, Florence, Sienna, Cinque Terre, Rome, Barcelona, and Paris. We started off with an itinerary but after realizing the multitude of possibilities and adventure, we strayed from the original plan. Some of our unplanned and spontaneous activities were the most enjoyable. After all, according to Lao Tzu,  "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." 

One of my favorite areas we explored was Cinque Terre, Italy! Cinque Terre is located along nothern Italy's Riviera in the region of Liguria. It consists of five breathtaking villages that overlook the coastline. Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, make up Cinque Terre. We stayed in a quaint and charming town called Manorola, at a wonderful hostel called, Hostel "Cinque Terre." The location of the hostel was ideal! It was very clean, the staff was nice, and overall it fit our needs perfectly. Honestly, you spend a majority of your time in Cinque Terre traversing the five miniature villages... so a fancy hotel is not necessary. I would recommend you stay at a hostel and save your money for indulging in amazing wine and cuisine Cinque Terre offers! The grapes of the Cinque Terre are used to produce two locally made wines that were fantastic!

We arrived in Manarola by train. Once you arrive at the train station you should take the tunnel to the village center, and after exiting the tunnel turn right, up the hill. Warning, when you are hiking up this hill with a backpack on, it is quite the workout. I complained for a majority of that little excursion and was ready to throw my backpack off the cliff. But it is SOOO worth it once you make it to the top. So don't get discouraged!  Follow the road to the church square. Turn left at the church. The hostel is the large green building behind the church. The distance from the train station to the hostel is about 300 meters.

Everything about Cinque Terre is magical. The town is painted in whimsical pastels, the locals are very friendly, and you meet travelers from all over the world. All of the villages are connected by walking trails. The views from the paths are breathtaking. A part of its beauty and charm is its lack of modern development. The towns are still rustic and minimal, and even the paths are unpaved and rugged. It is really hard to express how beautiful the landscape really is. 

The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the "Love Walk" and varies in difficulty from an easy stroll to a rough and physically challenging hike. Erik and I decided to take an entire day and make our way down the steep well- trodden trails along the coastline throughout the villages. We had a blast!! We stopped in each village to explore and find souvenirs. Each town had its own unique art and cuisine. I would recommend the local seafood dishes to anyone! The hike was long but worth every minute. The trail from Vernazza to Monterosso is by far the steepest and most difficult part of the hike but it had some of the best views! Erik and I didn't know this... and stopped for a glass of wine and a beer before this leg of the trip. Not the best idea but it was kind of amusing! We should have drank water and were parched halfway through the hike. We even found a local vendor selling fresh squeezed lemonade out of a cave. It was refreshing and delicious and gave us the boost we needed to finish our journey! 

So I would highly recommend that everyone put Cinque Terre on their travel itinerary. You won't be disappointed! 
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