Pantone’s Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid

I’ll admit that I was not a huge fan of Pantone’s color of the year, radiant orchid. Now that it is almost March, this vibrant hue has finally grown on me! Better late than never right?

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The reason radiant orchid has grown on me is mostly due to my realization that this color is beyond versatile. Whether you need a splash of new paint on your walls or you’re looking for the perfect dress color to make a statement this can be your go-to color! You would honestly be astonished at the number of companies that are jumping on Pantone’s band wagon to design products around the infamous color of the year and who can blame them?

If you don’t consider yourself fashion forward, making a quick browse of to Pantone’s website will give you the inspiration you need to get this color in your life. Don’t have time after reading this blog post? I’ve put a little radiant orchid inspiration board together just for you! Enjoy!

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Fab Find: Jimmy and Sook

It is truly amazing how a clothing line or brand can make you feel an instant connection to another person. Just last week I was bopping around town and something caught my attention…it was a gentleman in a red polo with the blue crab embroidered on the left side of the shirt. As someone who grew up in the Northern Neck their entire life, I knew exactly where that shirt came from, Jimmy and Sook.

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Located in the heart of Irvington, Virginia, Jimmy and Sook began as a men’s boutique in 2008 and has since expanded to it’s line to cater to women, children and infants.  All of their products from hats, totes, outerwear, phone cases and yes, even wine koozies, are embossed with their iconic blue crab logo. You can’t help but love everything about their brand, especially if you are a true lover of the Northern Neck. (For all of you city gals and guys, the term “Jimmy” refers to a male crab and “Sook” refers to a female crab.)

Lucky for you, if you shop on their website, Jimmyandsook.com, you will receive 25% off at checkout using code “25,” but hurry because this code expires February 28, 2014!

I have to take a second to brag about my nephew, who recently modeled for Jimmy and Sook! Doesn’t he look absolutely handsome?!

Happy Shopping!

Must Read Monday: Cold Sassy Tree

I am going to speculate that Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns was a part of your assigned summer reading during grade school. This was definitely the case for me and I will shamefully admit that I didn’t really read the book. Sure, I flipped through its 391  pages during my family vacation, but I wasn’t really paying attention. Recently I decided to reread the book and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! It was about eight years since the first time that I read Cold Sassy Tree and it is amazing how your current perspective of life will change the way you think about a novel.

Just to give you a small recap of the book, recent widow at general store proprietor, E. Rucker Blakeslee elopes with Love Simpson, an attractive Yankee who is also half is age! While this sparks a wildfire of gossip in Cold Sassy, Georgia it truly is just the beginning. The reader is given an insight to the family (and scandal) through the eyes of Will Tweedy, grandson of Rucker Blakesless. There is so much tragedy, triumph, faith and hope in this novel that is worth reading it even if its for the second time!

Happy Reading!

125 Years in the Making

This time four years ago my body became inflicted with pain and my legs grew so weak that I had to crawl up the stairs to get to my bedroom. Being in college in Alabama, I remember being so scared not knowing what could possible be wrong with me. Little did I know, during those painful moments what would be in store for the upcoming months. Upon flying home to Virginia I was immediately sent to this hospital were my life became consumed with tests, misdiagnosis and doctors who’s faces offered a sympathetic look that meant one thing: I wouldn’t walk again.

After weeks of simply laying in a bed, motionless from the waist down, a doctor came in with the answer I had been waiting for. The last option to try to cure the autoimmune disease attacking my spine would require an aggressive form of chemotherapy and a move to Sheltering Arms Hospital. By the grace of God, my Mom never told me I was going to Sheltering Arms to learn how to live my life in a wheelchair and there wasn’t hope that my legs would move again. From day one of physical therapy I was determined to walk again and willing to push as hard as I could, because I was not willing to give up the promising future I believed I could have. And then one night, my leg moved.

From that night forward, I worked even harder to gain my strength back and learn how to walk again. Less than six weeks later I walked out of Sheltering Arms. While my story has been aired in local television commercials and even a documentary, I cannot say that it is completely my story. Without the hard work of my physical therapist, my amazing doctors, motivation from the Sheltering Arms team, the nurses who became my best friends and my faithful family, I would not have a story. I owe so much of who I am today to all of those people who motivated me to learn how to walk again to kept me sane during times when I wanted to give up.

Tomorrow evening I will be attending Sheltering Arm’s 125th Anniversary Celebration with fellow former patients, doctors, physical therapists, and other members of the Richmond community. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that I was small part of this wonderful hospital’s history and I look so forward to celebrating finding the Power to Overcome.

Guys Really Do Listen!

As someone who believes in the lost art of a handwritten letter, I have always thought calligraphy is one of the most beautiful skills. I mentioned to my boyfriend a while back that I would love to take up calligraphy and to my surprise he gave me a beginner’s set as my Valentine’s present! I was beside myself that he remembered something I casually mentioned during one of our phone dates! This present much better than flowers and I cannot wait to start this venture of learning this beautiful art.

In case you think calligraphy is just like “normal” writing…I have news for you. It isn’t! It is much more difficult then I ever imagined and I will definitely be researching online classes to learn the correct way to write. I must admit that I couldn’t help myself to try my new calligraphy set the night that I got it in. Don’t worry I’ve shared a picture below of my first attempt! It isn’t pretty, but you have to start somewhere!!

If you too are wanting to start learning calligraphy and wonder where to start, my starter kit was purchased from What Katie Does. (A photo of the starter kit is pictured above!) She also hosts an online beginner session and lots of helpful tips to get started. Happy Writing!

Must Read Monday: Where We Belong

Something you may or may not know about me is that I always dreamed of being a television reporter. Thanks to college and an internship I soon realized that this was not something that I truly wanted to do for the rest of my life! With that being said, part of me still sees the VERY small glamorous aspect of the job and that’s why books featuring someone in the broadcast field always stick out. Today’s Must Read Monday is Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong; that tells the story of a woman who is consumed with her job as a television producer until life surprises her with a blast from the past.

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With a handsome lover and busy career Marian Caldwell life seems fairly wonderful and complete. That is until eighteen-year-old Kirby Rose shows up on her doorstep to bring a flood of memories and ghosts from the past. Not only does this make Marian’s world spiral out of control, but it makes her realize that her live wasn’t as fulfilled as her initially thought.

Emily Giffin is a great writer and I’m sure you’ve read her book (or watched the movie) Something Borrowed. Her stories are always so real and will definitely make you think about your own life in a different light.

Long Distance Love

In elementary school everyone brought their favorite pull-apart Valentine’s (and sometimes candy) to exchange with their fellow classmates. In high school, the principal started dismissal early on Valentine’s just to call girls’ names over the intercom who received flowers. Talk about humiliating  if your boyfriend didn’t get you flowers that day!! Not to leave you guessing, but yes I was the girl who picked out sparkly, Disney princess Valentines cards to exchange with my classmates and my name was called over the intercom to pick up my overpriced, hot pink roses from my sweet boyfriend.

My boyfriend and I have been long distance longer than I would like to admit. Let’s just say thanks to my college career and his military career, we’ve spent more Valentine’s a part than together. I won’t sugar coat it, it’s easy to get caught up in this holiday carried by companies like Florists, Hallmark, and Godiva Chocolates. To be honest, there was one Valentine’s Day where I stayed in bed in cried  because being surrounded by love made me miss the one that I love. But,thankfully that isn’t me any more. Being in a long distance relationship makes you stronger and you learn to do one simple thing to get through hard days: you live.

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Sure, I could spend today crying enough to fill up the Atlantic Ocean, just because I saw few silly hearts every place I go and couples displaying a little too much PDA. I have never been bitter about spending Valentine’s day alone and nor to do I plan to. I’m going to call my boyfriend and tell him how much I love him, just like I do every single day. Thanks to Graduate School, I will be spending the evening with my wonderful cohort and may even bake them a sweet treat.

Any holiday spent away from you significant other is not easy. I consider myself very lucky that I can talk to my boyfriend on phone or FaceTime, because many military significant others do not even get that! I hope everyone cherishes the one they love not just today, but every day. Oh, and please do yourself a favor and do not get caught up in all of the commercialization of this holiday!

Fab Find: Old Gringo Boots

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While today’s Fab Find is not new to the fashion world, it is something that I am absolutely dying to have! Cowboy boots are an absolute wardrobe staple, especially for any Southern Belles! I am a true believer that this seasonal footwear are perfect for any occasion from summer concerts or keeping your tootsies warm at an evening oyster roast.

While I haven’t been able to cost justify purchasing a pair of Old Gringo Cowboy Boots for myself (they do cost a pretty penny), it’s embroidered boots are pure perfection. If your bank account can handle it, don’t hesitate! Not only will you be the talk of the town, receiving endless compliments for these beauties, but you”ll be able to wear them forever as Old Gringo is know for its sturdy boots.

Dying to purchase these boots?! Browse here to see more of these beauties!

Must Read Monday: Hemingway’s Girl

One of my favorite places to travel to has always been Key West. From sunning at it’s beautiful beaches to dancing the night away at the historic Sloppy Joe’s, this is one of America’s most treasured wonders. Not only is Key West full of so much culture, but it is know to be the home of many authors, artists and celebrities; including Ernest Hemingway.

In her book Hemingway’s Girl, Erika Robuck captures the life of Mariella a young, housemaid of the Hemingway’s.  Know for his multiple marriages and mistresses, Hemingway’s lust causes chaos and tension between his wife, Pauline, and Mariella throughout the novel. Testing the waters with a local waterman, she falls in love and reaches the surface after plot twist that causes her much devastation. This book is the perfect beach read as it takes you  on a ride of family hardships, the wrath of the 1935 hurricane, culture strain and a young lady’s search for love in the Key West sun.

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Do yourself a favor and read this book…you will not regret it.

Your Cheating Heart

While you may have thought today’s blog was about a Hank Williams tune, I’m sorry to disappointment you, but it’s not. Sadly, a very close friend of mine recently was told by her boyfriend that he cheated on her. As someone who does not have a bad bone in her body and is always full of love, this came out of left field. In the moment, I wanted to transform into Charlotte from Sex and the City by shouting “I curse the day you were born!” as I would hit him with the bouquet of flowers, he conveniently bought her earlier in the week. Thankfully, my better judgement came over me and I bit my tongue.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Cheating is such a selfish act and is absolutely despicable. I realize how incredibly lucky I am to be in such a wonderful relationship, where I have never had to deal with this situation. But, during this time that people came together to show support for my friend I realized two interesting sides to people’s reactions. Some said that it was “commendable” that he even told her, while others simply said “Why did he tell her…I wouldn’t want to know.” This sparked a question for me…should my significant other cheat on me, would I want to know? Is naivety truly bliss? This is truly mind-boggling and I’m honestly not sure if I would or would not want to know.

While that question is to my personal demise, I want to say one thing to any person who is currently soul searching after finding out that someone cheated on them. From breaking up to working it out, your friends, family and loved ones are going to give you a million solutions to how you should deal with the situation. I have even given my friends advice, but in the end what do I know because I have been with the same person for eight years. What is important to remember is that the advice you’re given from your loved one directly relates to their situation and how they would handle it. You are your own person, and at the end of the day you need to do what is best for you. If you get back together and it doesn’t work out it isn’t the end of the world and you’ve certainly learned your lesson.
Take a step back, realize your self worth and what a wonderful person you are.