Tuesday, September 2, 2014

/ / A Weekend in Savannah

 Lamar and I decided to take a last-minute trip to Savannah since it was a 3 day weekend. It's always so good for the soul to get away, explore a different town, and just enjoy being together. And after this exhausting month, we needed it! We've been to Savannah countless times, but this time was extra special because it's the first time we've been back since we got married. It was fun to go back to some of the places we went to when we were only dating. I wish I had taken more photos, but it was so incredibly humid my lens kept fogging up. For real, when we stepped outside of our hotel my hair would curl up in less than 5 minutes! We were sweaty messes most of the time. Nice, right? 

Who needs a curling iron when you've got humidity to do it for you? 
Breakfast of waffles, rosemary potatoes, and strong coffee at Goose Feathers Cafe. 
Buying the cutest ever polka dotted TOMS
Walking around downtown looking in all the cute, artsy shops.
Dinner and drinks at a rooftop bar overlooking the river--the chicken and waffles were amazing!
Sunday morning breakfast at Pie Society. We even ordered an apple pie to go. Yum town. 

We love Savannah, always have, always will. It's such a charming city full of history. Parts of downtown even remind me of France, and you know how I feel about France.

Have you ever been to Savannah? Where are your favorite cities to spend a weekend in? Tell me, tell me! 

PS- Don't forget to link up with me and Anne tomorrow for this month's Currently linkup. We will be sharing what we are currently writing, anticipating, missing, wearing, and craving. Can't wait to see your post! View last month's Currently linkup here. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

/ / Goodbye August, Hello September.

Happy September, friends! I couldn't be more excited to welcome my beloved 'ber' months (you know, all the months that end in -ber). There's so much to look forward to this season and during this new month of ours. Before I go into why I am greeting September with open arms, let's look back at August, according to my Instagram.
Coffee dates with longtime friends // Starting my 4th year teaching 2nd grade // Coffee and lots of it 
Shopping day with my sisters // Planning & cooking yummy meals // Closet Confidential-My first Vlog 
Weekend trip to Savannah with Lamar // Rooftop dinner & drinks with my one and only

It was a good month full of new beginnings, a new routine, weekend adventures, and friend-visits. Turns out, August also receives the Most Difficult award due to starting my new job and insecurities in that area. Thankfully, I'm beginning to feel more confident about things as each day passes. The Lord has answered prayers and is working in me in a way that I'm still trying to figure out. :)

GOALS THIS MONTH:  Okay, y'all, it's honesty hour. I can only cross off one of my goals from last month! Womp, womp. :( It was a rough month, what can I say? So, I really hope to accomplish the rest this month. It's okay to keep the same goals two months in a row, right?

Zumba at least once a week
Restart Couch-to-5k
Meal plan each Sunday
Finish Bread & Wine
Mail three hand-written letters

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO: I love looking at the month ahead of me and picking out all of the things to look forward to. It starts the month off on such a positive note, don't ya think?

Madison's coming to visit me this weekend for girl time and we're also attending Oprah's Life You Want weekend in Atlanta. If you live in GA or surrounding states, make sure you enter my giveaway so you can attend with us!

I have the entire third week of September off of work! Hooray for Fall Break! I see lots of slow, relaxing mornings in my future.

I'll be cohosting with Rachel in her Bread & Wine linkup on September 10th. If you haven't heard of this linkup before, I urge you to check it out. So excited!

So tell me, what are you looking forward to this month? Are you like me and get excited when the 'ber' months come to play? Enjoy your Labor Day, friends!

Friday, August 29, 2014

/ / So, You Wanna See Oprah Live in ATL?

   Friends, I've got such a treat for you! Today I'm giving away a pair of tickets to see Oprah's The Life You Want weekend in Atlanta. This isn't just any normal Oprah event, y'all, it's an entire weekend! It all begins in Atlanta, GA September 5-6.  

   Next week, Oprah Winfrey will embark on the eight-city U.S. arena tour that has been at the top of her personal bucket list for years.  Throughout the weekend event, guests will also have the chance to experience O-Town, a pop-up town square at Centennial Park that will be a exciting hub of music, activity, food and celebration throughout the tour’s stop in Atlanta. 
   On Friday evening, Oprah will take to the stage to share her personal story, speaking of the things that have happened to her throughout her life in ways you’ve never heard them before.  She’ll talk openly and candidly about her “calling” and her place in the world, how she finds empowerment where others might find failure, and why she never stops working at fulfilling her life’s purpose.  She will share how she came to accept herself as she is, and why it is important that she live her “best possible life” in everything she does.  You will experience an intimate evening with the woman the world fell in love with during 25 years of the “Oprah” show and who founded OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
   On Saturday, Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat.Pray.Love) and many other guest speakers will lead the audience into the light of discovering their life’s purpose and tapping into the inner courage needed to fulfill that purpose  It will be a full day of uplifting and inspired life-changing interaction as these great creative and spiritual minds share how to find joy in the smallest moments of each and every day, exercise the power of forgiveness, how to discover and obtain what matters most in your life, and so much more.  
 Also on Saturday, paralympian and “Dancing With the Stars” finalist Amy Purdy will take the stage to acknowledge one of Georgia’s most amazing women with the Toyota Standing O-Vation, in celebration and recognition of this woman’s incredible spirit, kindness and generosity.

So, it's something you don't wanna miss! I don't know about you, but seeing Oprah in person would be pretty much awesome. Don't you think? 

 View other event details (like dates, locations, times) here. 

This giveaway is run via rafflecopter. All entries will be verified, so please play by the rules! The winner must claim their prize within 48 hours of being emailed, or a new winner will be chosen.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 28, 2014

/ / Nutella Stuffed French Toast | Recipe

Nutella. French bread. Butter. Cinnamon. Sugar.

Need I say more?
Okay fine. I'll say more.

When I made these last weekend, I swear I think I heard angels singing from the heavens when I took my first bite. They are a little different, and unlike any french toast I've ever had. But listen when I say, they are good. Another reason that I love them, besides the obvious: You can pick them up and eat them like a donut or sandwich since there is no syrup involved. Perfect for kids, to-go breakfasts, or breakfast in bed.

You'll need: 
French bread
1 egg
1/3 c milk
Cinnamon sugar mixture (1/2 tbsp cinnamon per 2 tbsp sugar)
2 or 3 tbsp butter

The Steps: 

Cut four slices of bread, or more depending on how many you're feeding.

Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl, set aside.

Here's where things get exciting. Grab the nutella and two slices of bread. Spread a tablespoon or two...or three on a slice of bread.

Now grab a second piece of bread and make a little sandwich. See, I told you it's exciting.
Now, take your sweet little sandwich and gently dip each side into the egg and milk mixture. Don't submerge the entire sandwich--just the sides!

Now, heat the butter on a skillet until bubbly. Cook each sandwich until golden brown on each side, get it real crispy. No one likes soggy french toast..right?

More excitement. Right when you take the french toast off the skillet, roll it in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Get that stuff all over it! Now plate it, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy! If you're proper, you can use a fork and knife, but it's so much easier to just eat it like a sandwich.

Make theeeeese. You, and you're tummy, will be happy you did!

Would you ever make this? 

Before you head to your kitchen to whip this up, let me know introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers, Amanda of The Lady Okie. I've been reading her blog for years now, and I love her so! She's currently sharing photos and stories from her recent mission trip to Nicaragua which are blowing me away. The stories she's sharing tell so much of Christ's heart, it's amazing. She also has a great series called Blog Talk where she discusses blogging topics such as sponsorship and reasons she unfollows blogs. Interesting reads, y'all, so check them out! Not only do I love her for her creative and hilarious posts, but she is real y'all. True to herself and not afraid to take risks, and I admire that.

What has inspired you this week?
I've actually been inspired at work this week. I came up with a couple of ideas that I'm really excited about implementing, and I am just so happy that I have a job that makes me excited and where I don't mind going to work. It really is a huge blessing from God that I am so thankful for.

What is the story behind your blog name?
My blog actually used to be named something else, but about a year after I started blogging, I decided I wanted a change. I was in a Fantasy Football league that year, and when I had to choose a name for my team, I typed in "The Lady Okie." Then I thought, "Hey! That's a great blog name!" I bought a domain name a week later, and I love my blog name so much better now. Read more about this here.

What is your favorite part about blogging?
There are so many things I love about blogging, but one of my favorite parts is when one of my friends calls or texts to tell me they love reading my blog because it feels like I'm sitting there talking to them. I get sad sometimes that I'm so far away from my friends and family, and I love that through blogging I am able to share about my life with friends and family around the country.

Show her some love! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

/ / In The Kitchen: Recipe Favorites

   As you know I love to cook, and I'm always looking for new recipes to try so that we're not always eating the same thing. Let's be honest, most of the time I stick with what I know, but there's something exciting about finding a new recipe, trying it out, loving it, and then adding it to the regular rotation. So today, I've got a real treat for you. Three of my lovely and talented sponsors have pulled one of their favorite recipes to share with you. I'm drooling just looking at them. Mm! Read them, try them, and add them to your list of things to make on the reg. Happy cooking!

 Amanda | The Lady Okie | Fresh Green Beans

  "Before last year, I had never cooked fresh green beans. Then one night I went over to my in-laws' house and watched my mother-in-law cook fresh green beans. They were amazing, and I just had to ask her how she did it. This is the recipe as she told it to me. It's super easy and so delicious! We love eating these as a side with almost any meal."

Britney | The Quiet Place | Parmesan Chicken Bake

  "I love this recipe because it makes the chicken taste so moist and does not dry it out. As a cheese lover, I love the flavor that the cheese add's to the chicken. It's always a hit when I make it, my family loves it when I make it!"

Madison | Wetherills Say I Do | Pesto Chicken Burger

  "This is our go to recipe. For a while whenever we had people over, we would just make these burgers because they are so good. I love that it's on ciabatta bread, because it's my favorite. And any recipe that includes tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto I choose without hesitation. The chicken burger is perfectly moist and the tomato and basil on top just add a perfect texture to the whole experience. YUM!"

There you have it, three new recipes for you to try this week! Don't they look so yummy? 
What are some of your favorite recipes to make throughout the week? 

Are you interested in becoming part of my sponsorship team next month? I would love to have you! Just enter HELLOSEPTEMBER for 25% off all ad spaces!

Monday, August 25, 2014

/ / Making Our House a Home

I'm so excited to be inviting you into our home today! When Madison shared her beautiful home with us and invited me to do the same, I just couldn't pass that offer up. Lamar and I bought our first home together a month before we got married, and I realized I've never shared that part of my life with you guys. Decorating our home and making it ours is a work in progress even after a year of living in this cute little space. However, I absolutely love the home that Lamar and I share. Here are some of our favorite spots in the house!

I love our little entry way for many reasons, but mostly because this is where we greet our amazing friends, family, and the occasional neighbor. Another reason I love this little area is because of this vintage coat hanger and chalkboard that hangs on the wall. Ain't it cute!? I found it at a local antique shop and knew it would be perfect! I love changing out the messages on the chalkboard for special occasions, seasons, and holidays. Oh, and yes that is a hot air balloon Christmas ornament that I couldn't put away. It's adorable and cute, so it's here to stay...until Christmas and then it'll go on the tree. :)

Next up: the living room. When we moved in, the walls and ceiling were both painted red. I'm not too crazy about it, but painting is not a fun job, so until I find the time and energy it'll stay red. The chair to the left is a funny story. It's Lamar's and before we moved in I said it wasn't allowed to go in our living room, but somehow it made it's way inside. It's bulky and reminds me of something from my grandparents' house. But wouldn't ya know it, I have come to love that chair. It's actually where I write all of my blog posts. Ha.

One of my favorite rooms is our dining room. This is where we gather around with our friends and family, enjoy a yummy meal, and share stories about life. My sister, Julie, made those window frames for our wedding. Didn't she do such a great job? I just love looking at the photos she chose to include. I'm also a huge fan of our bar cart which holds our favorite wine and drink-making supplies. Overall, this is just a really fun room and already holds so many fun memories.

The kitchen. Oh, the kitchen. This room is the reason why I fell in love with this house. I've learned so many recipes, made up my own recipes, and even ruined recipes right here in this space. This room is more than just a kitchen. It holds so many memories of baking and cooking for some of my dearest friends and family. This is where we gather, drink wine, and eat good food late into the night. Plus, it has tons of storage to hold all of my little baking tools and dishes. Yay.

If you ever come to stay with us, this would be your room! We don't have too many people stay with us overnight, but I always get excited when we do. Those wreaths are very special to me, because Mary Hannah and her sweet mother made them for us out of vines from their yard. We have some of the items from the photobooth from our wedding hung up on one of the walls in the guest bedroom. It's always so fun to look at the photos that were taken. Anyways, this room is one of our favorite spots simply because it's always clean..unlike the rest of our house.

I really like our bedroom, but it has a long ways to go before it's near the top of my favorites list. The walls were purple when we moved in, and y'all, that's just gotta go. The color clashes with everything, and it's just so dark. BUT, we love hanging out in here and the Instagram heart makes me happy. So, it's definitely on the list. Painting is definitely on my to-do list this fall. What color should we paint the walls? I'm thinking a gray color. Tell me your thoughts.

Our patio is for sure one of my most favorite spots to hang out, enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning (or a glass of wine at night), and entertain friends. It's a little hot to hang out there in the summer, but when fall rolls around it'll be perfect. Come on, fall!

Thanks for joining me on this tour! I hope you enjoyed it, and that you feel like you know me a little bit more. A lot of work and creativity went in to making this house our home, and we both feel very thankful that we actually have a house to call home. We feel blessed to have a place where we can host gatherings, feed our loved ones, and make lasting memories.

I've invited Haley of The Blue Dishes to continue this tour through blogland. She has shared so many cute photos and project lists for her and her husband's sweet apartment already, but I can't wait to see what else she shares next week! You won't wanna miss it.

So tell me, what is your favorite spot in your home?

Friday, August 22, 2014

/ / Coffee Date + Highs and Lows Vol. 7

Happy Friday, friends! It's been a bit of a hard couple of weeks here, so I'm excited for another virtual coffee date with you! There's something so fun and valuable about our coffee dates. Not only are we sharing our highs and lows, but a community is being built. On our last date, one of my favorite posts was written by Haley of The Blue Dishes. She shared photos from her beautiful wedding, and wrote the most genuine post about being a newlywed. You'll have to head over there and read it! I know we can't meet in person (for now), but I so enjoy catching up with you through your blog posts. So whether you prefer tea, apple juice, or a big cup of coffee, I hope you'll join us for our 7th coffee date! Let's catch up on life, shall we?

Your hosts:
Twice a month, I team up with Jenna from A Mama Collective to have a coffee date linkup. You can check out the very first Coffee Date linkup here. It's not a typical coffee date post, because you don't have to prepare a post ahead of time! You get to link up ANY post from the last week so that we can catch up with you, just like we would if we really sat down to coffee. Now, you want to make sure to link up a post that shares a little about you (i.e, you wouldn't want to link up a recipe or a DIY). Although those types of posts are great, we want to get to know you.. I've got my latte, now grab yours and let's go!

I'll start off by sharing my highs and lows from the week. Then, I invite you to link up your favorite post from this last week and leave your highs and lows in the comments below. I can't wait to catch up!

The highlights from my week...
+ My little Lucy girl gives me the best snuggles when I get home from work each night. Just look at that little furry face. Isn't she darling?

+ My baby sister turned 14! Holy cow. It seems like it wasn't too long ago that I was being checked out of my first day of 6th grade to go to the hospital because she was born! Now, she's getting to be so grown up. I just can't take it!

+ Lamar grilled kabobs earlier this week and oh snap, they were delicious. It was so nice to come home from work and not have to cook! I'm so thankful for that sweet man of mine and his grillin' skills.

+ My cousin came into town last weekend and we got to spend some quality time together that we haven't had in years. Really, it's been since we were children that we have spent so much one-on-one time together. We went to my favorite brunch place, ate really yummy french toast, sipped delicious coffee, and talked for a few hours. She's one amazing girl!

+ My first ever vlog post was shared! I was pretty excited to cohost The Circle with Kiki and share a bit more about my closet. Tell me, was my voice what you thought it would sound like? It's funny, when I read a blog for months and then I finally hear their voice, most of the time it's not what I expected!

+ My sweet students. I have such a great class, and they bring me so much joy! I wish I could show you pictures of them. They are absolutely precious, and I already love them like they're my own.

And there are always a couple of lowlights...
- Continued feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty in regards to the teaching front. I'm not sure if I'm cut out to teach public school. Everyone says I'll get used to it, but I'm just not sure. I am sure that God brought me to this stage in life for a reason, I just wonder what the lesson is. Because for real, this is hard stuff. It's not the kids at all (like I said, they are amazing), it's other things that I won't go into on this little blog.

- This is going to sound super whiny, but I'm just trying to be transparent, you know? But I'm beginning to feel like a failure in multiple areas of my life. It's not a fun realization or thought, but it's just where I'm at. Have you ever felt this way? How did you get through it?

Now, it's your turn!
1. What are your highs and lows from this week? Comment below and let's chat.
2. Link up your favorite post from this past week. Make sure it's one that will allow us to get to know you more. Only link up the URL of your blog post, not your blog homepage. Make sure to visit and comment on at least 2 other links! After all, that is what this link up is all about--getting to know one another!
3. Grab our fancy shmancy button to place on your sidebar.
Dearest Love