Friday, August 26, 2016

Six Reasons I Love My Jord Watch

When the nice folks at JORD reached out to see if I'd be interested in trying one of their wood watches, I was ecstatic! I've always been a watch girl and feel like I can't function if I leave home without it. Plus, I'd already seen several of my blogging buddies sporting them, and I thought they were really lovely and distinct...and unlike any other watch I own. Mens Wooden Watches

I had a hard time choosing which watch was my favorite, but in the end I went with the Frankie Zebrawood & Champagne. I liked the size and the color of the watch and knew it'd fit right in with my lifestyle and wardrobe.

 I've been wearing my watch since it came in the mail a few weeks ago, and I've been so, so pleased. Those who know me well know I love making lists, so I thought I'd do that a way to tell you why I'm smitten with my watch. With that said, here you go!
Six Reasons I Love My JORD Watch

1) The packaging.

I'm not going to lie, I do love a pretty package and a pretty presentation. It just makes the item (whatever it may be!) stand out all the more. My JORD watch arrived in a beautiful small wooden box, which both girls immediately claimed as their own. The watch was secured by a cushy pillow of sorts, and Lily's dolls now claim that as their bedtime pillow.
2) It's versatile.

The colors of the watch are light and earthy and therefore neutral enough to wear with almost anything. The fact that it's made of wood keeps it casual yet pulled together.

 3) It's unique.

Have you ever heard of a watch made of wood? Me neither. There are so many watches on the market today, and these stand out. For the women's watches in particular, there are seven series (or styles) to choose from. Once you've chosen the style you like, there are a variety of wood materials and face colors to choose among.
4) It's a nice mix of feminine and masculine.

I love the look of a chunky watch. I think it looks so good paired with more streamlined pieces like skinny jeans or a dainty bracelet.

 5) It's lightweight.

This was a must for me. I have pretty small wrists, and while I like the chunky look, I don't want the chunky feel! This watch feels like I'm wearing hardly anything at all on my wrist, and I love that.

6) It's a conversation piece.

I can't tell you how many times people have commented on my watch. The grocery store, the post office, and the pediatrician's office are just a few. And everyone says the same thing: "I've never seen a wood watch!" And it's always kind of fun when something you're wearing receives positive attention, right?


My friends at JORD have generously offered my readers a chance to win a $75 e-voucher good toward any of their beautiful watches. Even if you don't win, everyone who enters the giveaway will receive a $20 e-gift code. I know it's only August, but the holidays will be upon us soon. I'm already starting to think about Christmas gifts for my loved ones. Any of these watches would make a beautiful gift, and a discount never hurts, right?

Click on the link below to enter. It's easy as pie. Contest ends 9/25/16, and the winner will be contacted directly by JORD.


Check out the full line of JORD's women's watches here.
If you adore my watch as much as I do, you can check it out specifically here.
**A big thank you to JORD Wood Watches for sponsoring this post. It goes without saying, but all opinions are my own.**

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tzatziki Pasta Salad

When Pinterest first came out, I pinned stuff nonstop. And now I hardly get on there anymore. Anyone else? I did look through my food board the other day and wrote down some recipes I want to try. This Tzatziki Pasta Salad was one I had pinned years ago, and I finally made it earlier in the week. It was so good! Rob's been out of town for work so I've been eating it for lunch and dinner. It's filling enough on its own, but it'd make a great entrée if you just add some chicken or shrimp. I especially loved the homemade tzatziki was so light and yummy, and I'll probably use it as a sauce or dressing for other Greek dishes too!
Tzatziki Pasta Salad
{The Recipe Critic}
1 (16 oz.) package penne pasta
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
2 cucumbers, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced (I used a jar of sundried tomatoes instead...the kind packed in oil, which I drained and chopped)
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
**I also added in a jar of artichoke hearts, which I drained and chopped.**
**I also added in thinly sliced red onion, because I like it!**
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Place in a large sized bowl. Add kalamata olives, cucumbers, cherry or sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, artichoke hearts (if using), and red onion (if using).
In a small bowl whisk the Greek yogurt, olive oil, chopped dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add to the large bowl and toss all ingredients together. Chill for one hour before serving. (It tastes so much better once it's had time for the flavors to meld together, and I think it's also better as a cold salad!)
Enjoy! Hope everyone is having a great week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Life Lately + Beautycounter Review

We're slowly but surely getting into the swing of school life over here. Life is different Monday through Friday! The girls are up at 6, and we're out the door at 7 if not a little earlier.

Lily is really enjoying school and has adapted pretty well to the new routine. We haven't had any serious homework yet, so we'll see how things go then. She doesn't like how fast the days go, though...and I love that she notices that. She says there's not enough time between the time she's home from school and bedtime. I want to tell her that I understand...there aren't enough hours in the day for any of us!

She brought home the Ladybug Award last week for being a "great student in every way." She was beaming, and we were too. Her teacher incorporates a lot of positive reinforcement into the classroom, and I appreciate that so much. I think it's so important in life to tell people what they are doing RIGHT instead of always focusing on what they're doing wrong. It makes the constructive criticism a little easier, right?

Hadley has had a little bit of a harder time adjusting to school, but that was to be expected. She's in a young 3-year-old class because they didn't have enough children for a 2.5-year-old class. She'll turn 3 in October, but I'm a little concerned that we're in over our heads. Time will tell, and I'm hopeful that this will work out to be the best class for her in the end.

She did great the first two days of school last week and even said, "Bye, Mommy" and waved as she was dropped off in carpool line. And then the past few days have been much harder. She cried a few times, which is always tough...and now she's trying to be brave, which is honestly even worse. She won't cry anymore, and it's obvious that she's trying so hard to not cry...her bottom lip pokes out, and her little eyes tear up. Goodness it breaks my heart.

I'm so jealous of the people I know who are always excited to drop their children off at school. I wish I could be more like that, but I have to admit when I drop them off I feel like I'm leaving behind a little bit of my soul. I know that sounds/is dramatic, but it's hard for me. I know they're having fun and learning, and I know it's for the best...and I'm also aware that they're not going to be my sidekicks forever...but in the right now, this is tough. I'm hoping it gets easier...
Now, totally switching gears...I know a lot of bloggers say this, so it may sound cliché...but a huge part of why I've enjoyed blogging has been the number of women I've gotten to know from all over. It's been so fun to chat with people with whom I probably never would have otherwise connected. It's nice to get feedback and perspective from people who live outside of your own little bubble and who are just trying to figure out life/work/marriage/motherhood too.

Anywho...I met Mandy through blogging and connecting on Instagram. She introduced me to the Beautycounter skin care/make-up line of products, which she tried for herself after a really bad reaction to a popular skin care line that's out there now. Mandy tried Beautycounter after doing a lot of research on the ingredients that go into our skin, hair, and body products. After using Beautycounter for a few months and seeing positive results, she decided to become a consultant. Mandy sent me a few products to try, and I've reviewed them specifically below. I was really, really impressed with each I'm going to be purchasing several of them when my next paycheck rolls around! ;) 

I enjoyed doing a little research and reading up on Beautycounter myself and was so impressed with their mission to provide safe, effective skin care and cosmetics without all the harmful ingredients that many other lines use. What stood out to me the most was finding out that the European Union bans nearly 1,400 ingredients from cosmetics while the United States has only banned 11. That's pretty alarming...and it made me wonder why we're so careful about the things we put into our bodies yet we are not as concerned about the things we put on our bodies.
Charcoal Cleansing Bar

The Charcoal Cleansing Bar clarifies and detoxifies the skin without drying it out. It also absorbs impurities and contains organic coconut oil and essential oils so it nourishes and hydrates.

I really liked this and plan on purchasing it for sure. The bar made a lot of suds, which is a must for me, and it smelled very clean. My skin felt good after using it.


Purifying Charcoal Mask

The Purifying Charcoal Mask is a mix of kaolin clay and charcoal. It exfoliates, draws out impurities, and soothes. It also works to refine pores and increase elasticity.

This was another product I really loved and plan on purchasing. I always enjoy doing a mask and feeling like I'm at the spa! My skin felt so fresh after using this mask, and it even looked brighter!


Rejuvenating Night Cream

The Rejuvenating Night Cream locks in moisture while you sleep and therefore smoothes and firms the skin.

I liked the lightweight feel of this cream. It wasn't heavy, and I felt like a little went a long way.


Rejuvenating Eye Cream

The Rejuvenating Eye Cream has a cooling effect and gives a pick-me-up to tired eyes.

I really enjoyed using this eye cream and truly need it in my life. Puffiness and dark undereye circles are in my genes, and I promise I sometimes wonder if people think I'm on drugs. I used this for a few nights and felt like the puffiness dissipated some. More than anything it felt soothing on the thin skin under my eyes and felt good to apply before bedtime.


Color Pinch Cream Blusher 

The Color Pinch Cream Blusher is smooth and nonsticky. It brightens cheeks with a natural hint of color.

I'm always drawn to a flushed cheek that looks like you've been out running and not like you're applying to be Bozo's back-up assistant clown. This blush gives that natural look, and it felt great on my skin.


Twig Lip Sheer 

Lip Sheer is lightweight and moisturizing but offers more intense color when layered.

I'm one of those people who doesn't feel right wearing a bold lip. I just feel like an imposter! So the Lip Sheer was a great option for felt moisturizing like a Chapstick would, but it offered a hint of color, which I loved.


The Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer offers lightweight hydration and evens skin tone. It also provides SPF 20.

Fun fact about me: I've never worn foundation or base. Not so fun fact: it's probably time. This is another product that I plan on purchasing. I liked the lightweight coverage, and I especially liked that it contained SPF. My skin has a red tint to it, and I felt like it covered some of that up while also protecting me from the sun!


If any of my sweet friends or readers are interested in reading more about Beautycounter or the products I've specifically mentioned, y'all can get more info at the link below (just click, and it will take you to the Beautycounter site)!


And if you're in need of a consultant I'd highly recommend Mandy. She tailored the products she sent me to fit my needs, and I truly enjoyed each one of them. Y'all check out her Instagram here. Mandy and her husband live in Florida with their three cute kiddos.


Hope everyone is having a wonderful day so far!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Loving Lately: Early Fall

Even though it's still hot as heck here in Mississippi, I have fall on my mind. I can't wait for the day where there's that crispness in the's always been my favorite time of year! Anyone else? Anyway, I've had fun putting together a fall wish list. Look below to see a few of the things that have caught my eye!
I adore the colors in this blouse, plus it's sheer so it'd be great for early fall when the temps are still scorching. I'd wear a tank underneath just to keep things PG.
I have a similar anorak from a few years back, and it remains a staple in my closet. They're lightweight and ideal for that time before it gets really cold. Plus, the olive green is a neutral in my book and goes with almost anything.
The Lush line at Nordstrom is always a go-to for me. The blouses are well-made, and they're not too pricey. I like the burgundy color of this top, plus the draping at the midsection would disguise a food baby. Anyone else deal with that?!?!
Aside from the darling bow detail at the back (I mean, how cute is that?) I like that these are a more casual pair of booties. They'd look perfect with a loose tee or a flannel shirt. And I imagine they're great for chasing the kiddos too.
I have a hard time saying no to a striped tee. It's just such a classic piece, in my opinion. I especially love the longer hem on this one.
A dressed up plaid top in shades of purple. Yes please. I think this would look so cute with black jeans and booties.
I got a Fossil catalog in the mail the other day and flipped through it quickly. This bag caught my eye right away! The color is beautiful, and I'm a big fan of the tassel and the metal detailing.
I don't know how fall-ish these sunnies are, but they're still high on my wish list. I adore the shape, and the color, of course, is hard to beat!
I own the Chelsea booties from Gap from a few seasons ago, and they're on their last leg...this season's version looks very similar, and if they're anything like mine, they are ah-mazing! The heel is just right; they're comfy, and the tobacco color goes with almost anything.
I love this top because I think it'd be fun to wear for a girls' night out or a date night with the hubby. The colors are a cool combination, and I especially like the loose, drapey feel. It'd look perfect with skinny jeans!
What's on everyone else's radar this fall? Any big items you're stalking? I have a birthday next month, so I'm hopeful that a few of these might show up with a bow on them! Hope everyone has a happy weekend...and I hope to see y'all back here on Monday!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Maybe There Is No Reason

On Sunday news spread quickly that three couples from Oxford, Mississippi, had died in a plane crash. They were returning from a conference in Florida, soon to be greeted by their 11 children, soon to be no doubt preparing for the school year, the college football games, the holidays that would be approaching before too long.
Like most people, when I heard the news I felt sick to my stomach. I can't stop thinking about it...about those amazing (and they were amazing, involved individuals from what I have read) couples who died in the blink of an eye...about their children. Eleven children suddenly without parents. To lose one parent is life-changing and heart-wrenching enough. To lose two at the same time. I can't even begin to imagine. None of us can unless we've been through it ourselves. And these are young kids. They woke up one day with their mom and dad in another state, probably anxiously awaiting their return...and they woke up the next day knowing they'd never see their parents on this Earth again.
I know this for sure...everyone here (in Mississippi) is grieving for those lives lost. We are grieving for those children; we are grieving for their family members and friends. We are grieving for the small community of Oxford. We all ask the same questions...why would this happen? How could this happen? How do these families move on with their lives?
As the news spread, the tributes did too. Across social media everyone expressed their heartbreak. Stunned, we try to come up with answers. And when awful things like this happen, many people offer the same response: "everything happens for a reason," or "God has a plan, and we just don't know what that is yet." Even the publisher of the Oxford newspaper said that we must believe "that all things work together for a reason." He went on to say that "one day these children can explain to others how this tragic moment helped them find their calling in life." Y'all, I just can't accept that. I can't wrap my head around that kind of explanation, and I can't believe that the God I love would be the reason for the terrible tragedies that happen in our world every day. 
And I know, I firmly believe, that everyone who talks about or writes about this tragedy has only the best intentions. I do believe that truly. But folks need to stop offering up their reasons. It doesn't help. Maybe, just maybe, there is no reason.
I've mentioned before, but one of my favorite books is When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. I can't recommend this book enough. It is full of so much wisdom, and Kushner, in my opinion, is an authority on the subject because he had a son who was diagnosed at a young age with a terminal, degenerative disease. Kushner states, "To say that everything works out in God's world may be comforting to the casual bystander, but it is an insult to the bereaved and the unfortunate." How perfect is that? Y'all, the clichéd sayings do no good; they honestly only cause harm. How can you tell these grieving children that their moms and dads died for a reason that we just don't understand yet? How can that do anything to them other than make them more angry than they already are? Why would anyone want a relationship with a God who masterminds great tragedies? These responses in times of despair only, I believe, push people further away from God. These responses cause resentment and a time when those suffering desperately need to draw closer to God.
I don't have the perfect answers, and I know that this side of Heaven none of us ever will. All we can do is try our best to understand God's word, to try our best to love and serve others. So while I in no way believe that God is the reason for our suffering, I believe with every fiber of my being that God is with us through our suffering. I believe that God weeps when we weep. I believe that God's heart is as broken as the hearts of those children in Oxford. I believe that God created community for good...for the fun, happy times in life and for the hardest, darkest times we can witness people at work for one another. So we can witness people we know and people we've never met before being the hands and feet of Jesus on this Earth...arranging meals, putting together prayer vigils, sending flowers, crying with and giving hugs to those suffering...and praying, praying without ceasing.
I don't believe there is a reason for tragedy. But I do believe that the Lord is with us through it all. And I believe that He can and does bring peace, strength, renewed hope, and light when we are in the dark.
Please pray for the Farese, Perry, and Poole families.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

I love a good pizza as much as the next person...who can resist carbs + loads of cheesy goodness? I can't...
I tried this Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza last week, and it did not disappoint. Rob even deemed it "the best pizza I've ever had," which is saying a lot because Rob loves to eat.
It was easy to make; the flavors were sweet and spicy; there was plenty of cheese involved, and the colors were pretty.
I doubled the recipe and bought two premade pizza crusts. I've tried to make my own dough before, and it hasn't turned out well...for me or the dough. So I'll conquer that mountain another day. For now I'm perfectly happy with a premade crust. And in the end I made two pizzas, and we ate pizza for three!

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza
{Sally's Baking Addiction}
Pizza crust (homemade or store bought)
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle, and it was perfect)
1 cup cooked, sliced chicken breast (I used a shredded Rotisserie chicken which was perfect for 2 pizzas)
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
Chopped cilantro, for topping
Preheat oven according to directions for homemade or premade pizza dough/crust. For mine, I used a premade crust and followed the directions on the package. That included preheating the oven to 450 degrees and brushing the dough with olive oil before adding on additional ingredients. Once ready, I placed the pizza on the middle of the rack (no pan or cookie sheet) and baked for 8-12 minutes, watching it closely. If you use a homemade crust, follow those instructions.
For the pizza toppings:
Toss 2 Tablespoons of BBQ sauce with the cooked chicken to coat and set aside.
Top the crust with BBQ sauce. Add more or less depending on your taste. Then layer on the shredded mozzarella, then the chicken, then the gouda, then the onion slices.
Bake as directed while watching closely.
Top hot pizza with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
I hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Life Lately

I've been a bad blogger lately only because life has been pretty full. Good full and bad full, which is kind of life in a nutshell, huh? Before I get to the good, I'll share the hard...
We traveled to Rob's hometown a few weeks ago for his grandmother's funeral. She lived to be 100-years-old! She was such a gracious, kind lady, and we will miss her.
Shortly after her funeral I got the call that my grandmother, my Granny, had died. She had been in hospice for a few weeks, so we knew the end was near, but it was still very difficult. I am SO thankful that I had a little time with her a few days prior. I sat on the bed with her and held her hand. She looked at me and squeezed my hand. That's something I will forever treasure.
I have so many good memories of my Granny. And she was the neatest lady who lived a really full life! She was a cheerleader and majorette at Mississippi State University (at a time when there weren't many female students there). She was a talented golfer and artist, and she was a house mother for a fraternity at Ole Miss...can you imagine the things she witnessed?!

Granny and I had a special bond and really connected. I felt like she "got" me, and she always made me feel loved and supported. She lived only about 30 minutes from where I went to college, and any time there was an awards show on I'd drive over to her house and spend the night. We'd watch the show together, picking our favorite gowns. It's such a dear memory that I cherish.
With the deaths of Rob's grandmother and my Granny I realized something...even when someone lives a long, full life, it's still really hard when they die. Knowing they lived well doesn't take the pain away, and the loss remains very real. There is so much peace in knowing that we will all be reunited one day. I do take comfort in that, although it doesn't really make the now any easier.
I learned something really special at Granny's funeral...she had a lot of people who loved her! People from all walks of life ranging from young to old. And she had so many people show up for her that day. I think it was the last thing we all felt we could do to honor her and her memory. I miss you, Granny.
And now, switching gears to the good. Lily started Kindergarten! How can that be? We met her teachers last week, and they are both as precious as can be. This is her first full week at school, and it's gone really well so far, minus a few snafus (including a call from the school nurse). She told me her favorite thing about school is the playground, and her least favorite thing is learning. Hmm. Hoping that will change one day! :)
Below are a few pictures from back to school night where we met Lily's teachers for the year. We were also greeted with a  sno-cone truck, which officially made Lily know she was at the right school!

The morning rush is real, though, y'all! Making lunch, eating breakfast, getting myself ready, getting the girls ready...I think all of that will make me cherish next summer a little more!
And now below are some pictures from Lily's first day...

I have enjoyed my one-on-one time with Hadley, but we've missed Lily too. Knowing she's in her element makes it a little easier.
Hadley starts preschool on Monday, and I'm not sure how either of us feel about that. I'd originally signed her up for three days a week, which I thought would be a happy medium for both of us. But after talking to Hadley's pediatrician and her speech pathologist, we opted for five days a week. They both believe that a structured classroom environment will greatly improve her articulation, and if that's the best thing for my girl then that's what we'll do. Hadley is a chatterbox and is so animated when she talks. I've mentioned this before, but while I can understand much of what she says, others cannot. It's gotten to be frustrating for her, especially now that she's nearly 3-years-old. So I'm hopeful that we're moving in the right direction!
One last thing...right before school started Lily lost her first tooth! To say she was excited was an understatement! Her tooth had been wiggling for a few weeks, and it was literally hanging by a thread. I asked her if she wanted me to pull it, and I was surprised when she agreed. So I did, and that was that! We had a generous tooth fairy who brought Lily $5 since it was her first tooth. The following teeth probably won't get quite as much. Hadley is now convinced that her teeth are loose and tries to wiggle them all the time. We've got a few more years, baby girl!

So that's been our life/lives lately. I hope everyone reading is doing well. Now that school is back in full swing my plan is to be much more active on here once again. Anything in particular y'all would like to see more or less of? Let me know! Have a great's almost the weekend!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cauliflower, White Bean, & Feta Salad

I've been MIA lately, and I'm planning on posting a life update tomorrow! But today I wanted to share an amazing new salad I made yesterday. I'm always on the hunt for easy lunch options, and I've found that if I have something made up at the beginning of the week, the lunch rush is that much easier. Plus this is healthy and filling, and the combination of flavors and textures was a big winner in my book. I loved the addition of lemon and thought it went so well with the herbs!

Cauliflower, White Bean, & Feta Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained
2 large heads of Belgian endive, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Combine olive and rosemary in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cool.

Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Combine cauliflower, beans, endive, chives, parsley, and rosemary oil in medium bowl; toss. Mix in cheese. Add lemon juice mixture and toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.
I hope everyone has a good day. Look forward to catching y'all back up tomorrow!