Friday Five

I thought it would be fun to add in a fun Friday post, that just quickly lists 5 things I’m loving, excited about or looking forward to.  This could be anything really, so I hope you like it!

Without further ado….my first “Friday Five” post!

What I’m:

Loving, eating, drinking, needing, wanting, doing, singing, purchasing and using!

1.  This Uncommon James Atocha necklace!  I wear it almost everyday.  I love Kristin’s jewelry because it’s just dainty enough to look elegant, but still has the slightest bit of edge to it.

img_2212

2.  This palm print halter bikini from Amazon.  Can I tell you how scared I was to buy   a swimsuit on Amazon, a week before we left on vacation?  Well, let me tell you, Amazon came through, per usual, with flying colors.  I am in love with this suit!  It has perfect coverage and fit perfectly (I ordered a medium).  The top is lined and the bottoms are super flattering, especially on my short legs! 🙂 Oh and the best part?  It’s 23.99 and right now has a 2.00 coupon attached to it as well.

FF suit

3.  I am loving this Marrakesh hair styling elixir oil so much!  My stylist swears by it and I decided to give it a try.  Let’s see, it makes my hair feel incredible, it smells amazing and it’s repairing some of the breakage I had.  I had never used a hair oil before (late to the party as usual), but I don’t think I’ll ever be without this again.  I even use it on my dry hair to tame frizz.  It-can-do-all-the-things.  Get it!

FF hair oil

 

4.  Tarte eye shadow is my favorite.  Less chemicals, more pigment. I wanted a palette with some shimmery brown shades in it and came across this adorable Tarteist Pro to Go palette and it’s basically my best friend.  We go everywhere together.  Peas and carrots, seriously!

img_2124

5.  Jessica Simpson’s Frankie Flap Wallet in Ashra Floral.  Caught my eye.  Had to have it.  On sale at Nordstrom Rack.  You know how it goes.  It’s currently out of stock at Nordstrom Rack, but you can find it on Amazon!  It can double as a wristlet for a night out, or a wallet with enough room for your lipgloss!

img_2113

 

Alright all!  That’s all for this week!  Drop me a message and let me know if you like the concept!  Generally when I write, I tell a 5 page story, but short pieces like this always catch my eye when I’m browsing other websites!  Have a great weekend!!

xoxoxox

Mary

Advertisements

Gradual Changes for a Healthier Life

wellness image

2019 has thrown our family some curve balls.  I’m not going to get into WHAT those are at this moment, but it has prompted my entire family (parents and brother included) to make some changes.  As a whole, we are pretty healthy peeps.  We are all pretty active and decently aware of what is good and what is bad.  For me personally, the past year I have really cleaned up my diet.  And I would say, in the past 3 years, I’ve just made minor changes that have become permanent.  BUT, hey……I know, You know, We all know….there is ALWAYS ROOM to improve.

I’ve always been this weird nutrition researcher nut; any opportunity I can get to put my blue light blocking glasses on and hit up my friend google into a deeper dive, I’m up for the challenge.  Only now days, I have more resources, like podcasts, blogs, audio books and documentaries to supplement my nerdy-ness with.  I’m not a doctor, but I did take nutrition courses my junior and senior year at IUPUI.  I mean, for a hot minute, I thought about being an RD.  But then, you know, I didn’t.  haha.  Regardless, over the past 20 years or so, I’ve always been a sucker for nutrition information and ways to lead a cleaner, healthier and “greener” holistic life.  No, I am not and do not want to be the lady wearing hemp clothes I made myself, while harvesting my own crops and beheading my own chickens, making my own soap and cleaning everything with said said soap.  Sorry, literally, I’m laughing at loud at that last sentence because I think I just described someone I can guarantee you I will never be, unless the zombie apocalypse happens.  In which case, I’m going to MI to live with my friend Andria who knows how to DIY everything out of virtually nothing.  I’m sure we could totally set up a bunker and survive with our families in tow! haha.

I do believe, however, that there are really crappy things in our every day lives that we could clean up a bit to be healthier.  I also believe that gradual changes are everlasting in the long run and that you will feel and look better when you adopt some healthier lifestyle changes.  I completely 100% believe that beyond genetic factors, our environment, and the foods we choose can play a big role in making us sick.  On the flip side, knowing that, we can do things to prevent those diseases sometimes by taking extra time to care for ourselves and our families.

Here are some simple swaps for a healthier life:

Household:

Laundry Detergent:  Swap out the Tide for Seventh Generation or Honest Co laundry detergent.  The “fragrance” in traditional laundry detergents are horrible to put on our bodies.  Anything that breaks my kiddos’ skin out immediately when they come in contact with it, is something I don’t want in our home.

seventh generation products

Dishwasher Detergent: Swap whatever powder or liquid you use for the lemon Seventh Generation liquid dishwasher detergent.  It smells great and doesn’t have all the chemicals!

Dryer Sheets:  Instead of chemical filled Bounce or Downy sheets, I use Method organic sheets (I buy them at Target).  You can also buy wool balls and put lavender essential oils on them and toss them in the dryer.

Home Fragrance:  DO NOT USE PLUG INS!!!  Swap them out (yes, even the Bath and Body Works plug ins) for organic candles and/or a diffuser and some high quality essential oils.  It’s hard, I get it.  I love the B&BW plug ins….especially in the summer time.  But really, they are just emitting chemicals we don’t need in our body.  My favorite thing to do in the summer now is to diffuse tangerine and lemon in my diffuser.  You can grab a diffuser on Amazon for 20.00 and they last forever!  There are several Etsy shops that carry natural candles as well, and the bonus is that you are supporting a local business!

Cleaning Products:  I mean, most of these are horrific and I think most of us know the chemicals in them are horrible for us to breathe in.  I’m not an expert, but I was brought up with my parents using white vinegar to clean most things; which made me want to use natural cleaning products for the most part.  In fact, before my OCD diagnosis in 2014, I never even used Lysol or bleach products, because I was scared of Brayden breathing them in.  Since then, I’ll admit, I’ve used Lysol more than I should and bleach bathroom cleaning products more than I care to own up to.  But, little by little, I’m going back to my old ways of using natural products when I can.  I mean, life happens and people get sick, so I don’t think it’s bad to have a can of Lysol or strong cleaning products on hand for that situation.  But, for the regular routine, I’m switching to more naturally derived products.  My favorites are Honest Co surface cleaner and Seventh Generation bathroom cleaner, along with good ol vinegar.

Outside:  Please don’t use Round Up or like products to kill weeds and “treat” your lawn.  The end.

 

Foods:

Meats:  Limit red meat.  No, I did NOT say exclude it.  Just limit it.

Also, beef should be organic, pasture raised, not just grass fed.  Grass fed can actually mean a plethora of things.  Google it.

Turkey and chicken should be organic and free range, cage free.  Local is even better if you have access to it, but just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s not pumped full of antibiotics, so make sure it’s all the things listed above as well.

PS–just as a side note for ya…organic bison is actually really really good.  Keep it in mind when shopping next time for your red meat fix.

Dairy:  Keep it organic.  Local organic if possible.  Yes, milk delivery still exists in some places.  It’s really important to keep meats and dairy organic because of all the growth hormones, grains and antibiotics that are fed and injected into animals.  I know so many farmers and have picked their brains (would you expect anything less?) and they swear up and down the reasons for doing what they do (as far as raising beef and chickens), but I know there’s a cleaner way.  I mean, most of us have seen it and know it IS possible.  Is it traditional?  No.  Is it possible?  YES!  All I can suggest is to keep asking around.  I think if you are local, you can order from Tyner Pond in the Fortville/McCordsville area and they deliver for free!

Tyner Pond info

Fruits and Veggies:  My thought on these are to make sure to buy organic if it’s grown in the ground.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, root veggies etc.  I personally do not buy potatoes of any kind at our house…which is totally a personal choice.  Starchy carbs…not a fan.  But, that’s for another day and another post.  Also, I like to buy organic for all of our berries, lettuces, and apples.  Oranges, bananas, peaches, lemons, limes, pineapple, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and avocados I usually buy non organic.  I mean, I probably should be buying organic peaches, but I don’t buy them often and when I do, it’s usually at a local orchard, so I just wash them with a natural fruit and veggie cleaner really good before I peel them and eat them.  As far as canned fruits and veggies go, I buy organic because of the coating on the insides of the cans.  I just always have, and always will.  As far as frozen fruits and veggies…I usually just buy organic green beans, corn, spinach, and berries.  I dont really buy a ton of frozen fruit and veggies only occasionally since I really prefer fresh.

 

Beauty/Hygiene Products: 

If you use nothing else organic on your body, USE ORGANIC DEODORANT!!!!!  Especially if you are a woman.  Think about it.  It’s literally right next to your boob.  With breast cancer as popular as it is in this world today, why would you not use something as natural and organic next to that area of your body, knowing it soaks into your skin/bloodstream.  My favorite brand (and I’ve tried about 5 kinds) is called Native.  I can work out, I can be outside all day….I can do all the things with it on.  I love it.

We also have always and will always use organic body wash/shampoo/conditioner.  I use Honest Company body wash/shampoo for the kids.  Yes, even my almost 11 year old uses lavender or orange vanilla body wash/shampoo, because, well, those are basically the only scents they have right now haha.  If Honest is not available, I will pick up Burt Bees.  I just have never, ever even thought about buying the boys something that’s not naturally derived.  I also use the Honest Co lavender body wash myself.  When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I will use paraben and sulfate free brands.  Not organic, but much better than “the usual”.  Some of my favorites have been Living Proof and certain types of Biolage.  I also use some Alterna Caviar products as well.  I’ve been eyeing a new brand called Navy that I may try out soon, since their finishing spray looks like a life changer!

honest co products

When it comes to sunscreen, I will use 2 brands.  I use Rodan & Fields on myself because it does not contain the ingredient oxybenzone, which is very harmful because it’s a hormone interrupter, or vitamin A (while good for skincare, very bad for sunscreen).  While not a “natural” product, R&F sunscreen proves year after year to provide excellent coverage and protection.  The kids use Kiss My Face natural sunscreen.  It may seem strange, but there are some REALLY bad chemicals in sunscreen.  Not just bad for us, but actually bad for the ocean and little critters in the ocean.  I say no thanks to putting anything on my body that could not only harm me, but also the fish swimming around me in the ocean.  How crazy is that?  Just remember, oxybenzone.  Stay away from it.

Skincare.  I know what you’re thinking…how can you publish a post on using natural and organic items and sell a non-natural skincare line as a side hustle.  Welp kids, because it’s really super simple, Rodan & Fields Unblemish is THE ONLY PRODUCT that has worked for my acne and cleared my skin up and I’m forever grateful to those 2 superior Dermatologists that created the entire Rodan & Fields product line (there’s actually 4 main types of regimens and several other types of amazing products, I just use the acne regimen called Unblemish, for those who aren’t familiar).  Here’s the thing, I’ve looked at the ingredients in Unblemish and several other R&F products I use.  The Unblemish does not contain parabens or some of the other harmful products out there that are commonly found in most brands on store shelves.  R&F also does NOT test on animals and is considered safe by dermatologists in the USA, Canada and Australia where we have expanded our line thus far.  (PS…we are expanding to another country very soon…lips are sealed right now though).  Also, as a side note, this will probably come as no surprise, but other countries are a lot more strict on the products they use than the US…unfortunately.

The bottom line is this….while I do not owe anyone an explanation for this, I choose to explain, because I want people to know it’s very important to do your own research.  I look at it like I had spent so much time and money on natural and organic lines that didn’t work on my acne or skin tone at all.  So if I use a brand of skincare that works, and yet doesn’t contain a lot of the harmful chemicals listed out there, I’m winning; whether it says natural or organic on the label or not.  And also, have you read all of the above that I am doing, and am using organic for?  As for the kids, they don’t use a separate skincare line yet.  The Honest Co body wash/shampoo works great for their little faces right now.

Makeup: I’m a big Tarte Cosmetics user.  I love their eye shadow so much, their eyeliner and Shape Tape are also a few faves.  I think Tarte may be a cleaner option, though not 100% natural by any means.  I actually want to try some eye shadow palettes from Beauty Counter though, as I think they seem pretty clean.  I think cosmetics are kind of hit and miss.  Some of the products in a line can be “safer” than others.  Again, I think it’s important to do your own research.  Don’t be fooled by words like “bare” and “clay” and “naturals” or “minerals”.  While these are all words we may associate with nature and association with nature may be “clean” and “natural”, it’s just simply not true.  Watch out for ingredients like talc.  Talc used to be very popular back in the day, but it’s very dangerous to our body.  PS, don’t use baby powder that lists talc as an ingredient either.  I think it comes down to what you feel comfortable with using because there will be probably more bad than good when it comes to cosmetics.

 

Misc Items: 

Sheets contain high levels of formaldehyde….did ya know that?  So I try to shop for organic bedding as much as possible.  Also, think about next time you have to spray for bugs outside.  I mean, I feel ya sis, I don’t want a spider infestation or bees swarming me when I walk outside either, but just do some research and see if there’s a “cleaner” way to get rid of them.

 

There ya go, friends.  Those are the main items I choose to swap for (hopefully) a cleaner, healthier lifestyle for our family.

I’m no chemist.  I can’t tell you why harmful ingredients are harmful and so common with certainty.  But, I can tell you what I’ve researched and what I’ve learned along the way; and I can also say with some certainty that no one is going to be perfect and sometimes you just have to do the best you can.  You notice that I used the word gradual in the title of this post, and there’s a reason.  If this all seems overwhelming to you, just try to change 2 things a month.  These are pretty easy changes, but they do take time to incorporate and probably a little more money.  Cheaper than doctor’s visits though! 🙂

I hope you found this helpful!  If you make different swaps, comment and let me know!  I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day, all!

xoxox

Mary

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Books

I’m starting this post with an asterisk.  It’s never good when a post starts with an asterisk, right?  But, I’m starting it that way because although I love to read and learn new things from books, I don’t have a lot of “extra” time and I don’t really dig listening to books on Audible.  I like to have an actual book in my hand to read.

*When I say I don’t have a lot of time, I mean that.  I work over 40 hours a week away from home, have 2 kids, work a side hustle with Rodan & Fields, try to schedule blog posts (I promise I really do), spend time on starting my own personal growth/development journey, have a 10 year old in travel sports, have a very needy (although also very cute) 5 year old in tee ball and try to keep up with a house, a 7 month old puppy and occasionally laundry.  On a good week, I can get a walk or two in on the treadmill.

So, without further ado….my FAVORITE books that I continuously come back to, year after year.

Reshaping It All, by Candace Cameron Bure.  This book is G-O-L-D!  She wrote this book back in 2010 or 2011 I believe, when she was starting to come back into the spotlight, and I’m telling you; it’s relatable, down to earth, HONEST and something every woman and mother needs to read.  It’s no secret that Candace is, and always has been one of my favorite people in the celebrity world.  I love many of her books, but there was something about this one that clicked with me instantly.  I refer to it all the time, 8 years later!  It contains ways to mindfully eat, a handful of very simple recipes, scriptures related to each chapter’s subject and even touches on getting back into a workout routine and getting your mind back to what’s important.  Go get it or download it!

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.  I was reading Self Magazine one day in 2011 while eating breakfast (side note: this only happened because we only had 1 kiddo at the time, obviously haha) and saw the suggestion for this book.  At the time, I wanted to read something new and different, and what’s better than a book called with this title?  Right?  I walked myself into Barnes and Noble and bought it a few days later.  We were living with my parents at the time while our home was being built and the only piece of workout equipment they had was a stationary bike.  So I took the book with me every night while I was on the bike.  I was hooked.  What an amazing book!  And, at the same time, my workout went from 30 minutes to 60 minutes because I literally couldn’t put the book down.  The idea that every month Gretchen implemented something that sparked happiness in herself and in others made me happy as well.  The notion that if you just change things up, start some new habits that are good for your soul and change your perspective on every day occurrences was a little mind blowing to me.  It made me think about what my habits were at the time and how I could change them ever so slightly to become a happier person, and/or make someone else happy.  It’s a book I’ll never forget or get rid of.  Every time I even see it in my book collection I think of happy times.

The Frugalista Files, by Natalie McNeal.  I can’t even remember how this book fell into my lap.  Maybe another magazine suggestion?  Maybe my friend suggested it?  Regardless, it was funny, insightful and enlightening!  Ironically, I remember reading this book while watching the Royal Wedding (William and Kate)…so I mean, basically this concept sums up my life, haha.  As I’m reading a book on how to save money and how this amazing woman paid off over 30,000 in debt, I’m watching a million dollar wedding and getting googly eyes over Princess Diana’s massive diamond ring on Kate’s finger.  All joking aside, this book was awesome!  Natalie, the author, is so funny and honest and gives realistic goals and tips for cutting back on expenses, while being a woman in the workplace that still has a great social life.  It was a fun read and would be good for anyone looking to change up some of their financial habits. Check Natalie and her hilariousness out!

Do you guys notice the word habit keeps coming up?  It amazes me, that even in 2011, changing habits was something I was not knowingly gravitating to.  Habits are obviously the HARDEST thing in our lives to change.  You don’t even realize how hard it is to change them until you try to be consistent to make a change.  Now that I’m slowly stepping into the personal growth/development world, I’m realizing how naive I was before, when I THOUGHT I had good habits.  Friends, let me just tell you, I have a looooooong way to go.  Sorry for the side step from the book reviews, but it’s amazing to me that even 8 years ago…personal development was there, under the surface, screaming to be heard.

Girl Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.  If you haven’t heard of this book, you are living under a rock.  If you haven’t read this book, you are missing out.  So listen, sometimes we search for something to grasp when we go through hard times.  I was doing this last spring/summer when panic disorder was ruling my life at the time and my anxiety was spiraling out of control.  I was desperately looking for something and someone to relate to.  I would google anxiety help and all kinds of crazy stuff would come up, I would search and search for books on anxiety and OCD and panic disorder and only clinical type books would come up, no matter how I tried to search.  Then, deep, dark in the rabbit hole I had gone down in, I came across someone recommending this book.  Here’s the thing, this book is NOT a book on how to help anxiety.  I think it was more like a red blinking light sent to me from God that I needed to do a deeper dive into the world of all things Rachel Hollis.  When I did this, I found her podcast called Rise.  I had never listened to a podcast and didn’t even know how to work the podcasts on my iPhone.  I came across her podcast from April of 2018 about how she dealt with her debilitating anxiety.  I felt like the world sat still for just a minute….I had FINALLY found someone I could relate to, someone my age, that was a mom, that had been an event planner, that wanted to work, but had bigger plans no matter the struggle with anxiety and that was honest about her successes and failures.  Are our reasons for anxiety the same?  Somewhat.  But, I took the TOOLS in that podcast and in the book that I found and applied them in my day to day life.  Game-changer.  As I mentioned above, the book is not about how to deal with anxiety, but if you are struggling with anxiety and know the red flags associated, then you will find the tools in the book.

This book is about lies we tell ourselves as women, moms, sisters, daughters, co-workers etc. that we have started to believe.  This book is about ENCOURAGING you to live the life God created you for.  Will it happen overnight?  Heck no….God wants us to work for what we want, ya know.  It’s about using our gifts God blessed us with, to their greatest potential.  It talks about getting out of your own way and not caring so much about what people may think of your goals!  It opened up a lot of doors for me; for example, I felt led to talk about my anxiety struggle and knew so many others around me dealt with similar issues, but I just didn’t know how to display it.  Now I use my blog, yep…this little sucker here, to be completely 100% honest about my anxiety battles.  Do you know what that did?  It, in turn, helped other people, which in turn, helped me feel better, helping others.  Then I thought, as silly as it sounds, I’ve always wanted my own platform, and it’s giving me one…albeit a very small one right now, but it’s something.  It encouraged me to keep going, through the panic, through the OCD, through the anxiety and get my story out there.  I have no idea where all of this will lead, but I know where I would ultimately LIKE for it to lead….anxiety and all.  So, stay tuned and please please please, go get this book and subscribe to the Rise podcast!!!

The 5 Second Rule, by Mel Robbins.  I’ll be honest, this was another find on my quest for all things anxiety help last summer.  I didn’t find out about this book until last fall when I had come across something of Mel’s on You Tube.  I, again, like many times, fell down the rabbit hole of listening to her Ted Talk on the 5 Second Rule, then going on to listen to her give interviews with several personal growth gurus and before I knew it, I was following her on social, subscribed to her You Tube channel, ordering her book and listening to her morning coffee talks.  The book is not all about how to get past anxiety.  It’s about learning how to change your brain’s thoughts.  We can retrain our brain, ya know?  It’s about developing habits and staying consistent and doing them anyway even when you don’t.  You hate working out, welp, 5-4-3-2-1- DO IT ANYWAY.  You can apply this teaching to basically any situation in life.  It takes work.  Don’t let the simple concept fool you…because trust me, I’m still working on it.  I have a long way to go before my brain adjusts to accept different thought.  Here’s something to take away though, Mel is one smart woman.  She is a lawyer and is one of the most sought after speakers in North America.  All of her research is backed by science, generally from Harvard or Yale studies and she is hilarious!  Also, she’s a busy mom with an even busier life that still manages to be present and open to new thoughts and ideas.  And yes, she’s an anxiety sufferer as well, but has self taught her way around it.  It’s a great read guys, you should definitely check it out!

Well, there ya have it!  My top reads!  I really hope you will hit up your local library or Target, or hop on Amazon to give these books some love.  I have several others that I have read that are definitely some awesome reads, so I may include them next time.  As you can see, I’m not a big fiction reader.  I really don’t have an answer for why that is.  Maybe because what little time I can devote to reading, I want to read about ways to make my life the best it can be?  That sounds right.

(Side note: I’m 100% positive that Rachel Hollis’ new book Girl, Stop Apologizing will be on the next list, but I just haven’t finished it yet.)

I hope you all have a great day and if you have read any of these books, drop me a note and let me know what you thought of them!!

xoxox

Mary

North Carolina Has My Heart

Before we really begin the story, there are some things you need to know about me.  When I was 12 and in 7th grade, I suddenly fell in love with all things North Carolina.  That was also one of the years UNC went to the championship game for college basketball.  I’ve never been a huge sports fan, but I taped every single one of those games from the Sweet 16 that year, onto the championships; and if I dig deep enough at my parents house, I bet I could find them!  Now to find a VCR to play them on……. #generationxprobs.

Other than UNC basketball, at the time, I don’t really know what spurred on the love for NC.  A few years later, I started hearing all about Wilmington and how it was the movie production capital of the East, and also the prettiest coastal “big city” in NC (to me).  That pretty much made the love grow….because my love for movies/TV production was just as strong as my love of the beach/small town coastal feel.  As I moved into HS and started exploring college options, I knew I wanted to apply at UNC Wilmington.  At this time, you may have heard of a little show called Dawson’s Creek that was all the 90’s teenage rage, and you guessed it, it was being filmed in Wilmington.  Keep in mind, I had only ever driven through parts of North Carolina at this time, and was certain I was ready to move to Wilmington for school.  Something deep down…it just kept telling me I needed to pursue it.  I applied and was accepted (yay)!  The thought of being 12 hours from home didn’t scare me at the time, but the thought of out-of-state college tuition sure scared the crap out of my parents.  Ha!  It ended up being one of those conversations kinda like this:

Dad and mom: “We will support you wherever you want to go, but do you realize how expensive out-of-state tuition is?  We can help you, but you will have to apply for student loans to cover the rest.  Or, you can stay around Indy, go to IUPUI and we will pay for all of your college.”

I guess even at the age of 18 I was logical enough to take them up on their offer.  I had also been accepted to Franklin College and was pretty much dead set on going there to study Journalism since it was in state, after I had decided UNC Wilmington was off the table.  Franklin was a smaller college and very expensive (cue the above conversation from my parents…they got pretty good at this, having to repeat it to me a couple of times), so guess what, I ended up at IUPUI and I’m SO THANKFUL I never had one student loan to my name.

My love for Wilmington and the area around it continued to grow.  Fun fact: my senior year in interior design we had to design a home and I know you will be shocked, but my home was a coastal home a few miles from the beach near Wilmington, of course decorated with all things Pottery Barn.

Then in 2012/2013 Safe Haven was filmed and released.  I FELL-IN-LOVE with the small seaside town of Southport, NC, about 30 miles outside of Wilmington.  Like, as in “pack me up, let’s move tomorrow” love.  I had been telling Brock and my parents that we needed to take a family vacation to Wilmington, stay on the beach and explore Southport for nearly 2 years before it actually became a reality.

This past winter, we were trying to get a big family vacation scheduled for our usual spot in Madeira Beach, FL, but not everyone’s schedules could line up, so my mom and I decided to take the boys to North Carolina and go on the vacation I so badly wanted, basically since I was 12, ha!  I did my research and found the closest beach to Southport with the best reviews.  I also did a lot of fun research and found out several movies and TV shows I’ve seen a million times were filmed right in Southport!  I Know What You Did Last Summer was filmed in several spots and the TV show Revenge filmed there for several years as well.  A Walk to Remember and One Tree Hill were also filmed there.  I have to admit though, I don’t remember much from A Walk to Remember (except that there was crying…) and I never watched One Tree Hill, but the list of movies and TV shows filmed in Southport and the surrounding beaches goes on and on.  Did you know parts of Iron Man were filmed where we stayed on Caswell Beach?  Pretty cool!

IMG_6395

We ended up staying on Caswell Beach at the Oak Island Beach Villas.  Caswell Beach is a beach in the town of Oak Island, about 7 or 8 miles outside of Southport and 30-35 miles outside of Wilmington.  We were in the perfect spot.  The beach was GORGEOUS and, to be completely honest, is there REALLY anything better or more peaceful than a sunset at the beach or morning coffee time on a porch or balcony overlooking the beach?  Does thinking this way make me old?  Haha, oh well!  Our condo was super cute and the view from our balcony was heaven to me.

Day 1

Now to the fun!

The first day was just like any other first day of vacation; settling in, getting some groceries and usually a quick dinner while you unwind and get comfortable.  I can tell you this much; the Food Lion on Oak Island is the place to be at 3pm on a Sunday.  We could barely even get our cart through the doors and into the fruit and veggie section.  So-many-people!  And let’s be honest, the Food Lion on Oak Island is NOT a giant superstore.  Think Publix (if you are from the South) or Kroger, only much smaller.  I love that people were driving their golf carts or riding bicycles (with baskets on them of course).  Ya just don’t see that everyday in good ol’ Plainfield.  We ended up getting take out from a place next to the grocery store, where kids played corn hole while waiting for food to come and the ONLY seating was outdoor seating.  Inside was literally a cashier and the kitchen.

The next morning we all slept in and had cinnamon rolls overlooking the beach on our balcony, followed by hitting the beach ourselves.  It was so nice to have no agenda other than to be present, in the moment, on the beach.  The boys ran straight for the water and we had fun collecting shells (our beach was full of them), playing in the ocean and watching Mason dig giant holes in the sand.  Later that evening for dinner, we ventured to Southport and my heart was in my throat.  That’s a thing, right?  I had addresses of movie locations prepared and ready, plus we wanted to check out the Fishy Fishy Cafe for dinner.  When we pulled onto Moore St. and I saw the Fishy Fishy Cafe and other Yacht Basin road restaurants I almost cried!  Seriously people, this is something I had DREAMED about doing and I was actually doing it.  It was like I was seeing a highlight reel of movies and TV right in front of my eyes and at the same time, it was the most beautiful, perfect, seaside sight.

When we finally made it onto Yacht Basin drive, I was THE HUNT for the Grey Burris house, used in Safe Haven as Alex’s house.  Thank goodness for Google Maps on my iPhone!  When we pulled up to the house I told my mom to stop the car and she looked at me like I was crazy.  I literally just stood there for a minute taking it all in and looking around…across the street, where they built the general store (then burnt it down) for the movie, down the street at the amazing view of the docks and marina and the restaurants that line Yacht Basin drive.  It sounds so corny I know, but I couldn’t stop taking it all in.  It wasn’t even just the excitement of seeing the house from the movie, it was just being there and actually seeing it through my own eyes and not looking at someone else’s pictures.  Everything I had thought about Southport was dead on, but better.

Here are some other sites along Yacht Basin drive (we’ll touch on movie locations later).

Day 2 (16)

Day 3 was spent on the beach!  We decided to do an early dinner at The Frying Pan in Southport after shopping at some of the adorable shops in town.  After dinner we talk a walk down Bay St. (and found another movie location) and then came back to Oak Island for some mini golf and ice cream!  This was our second attempt at mini golf.  We actually went the night before and were stuck behind 3 families of 7+ people.  I’ll let you do the math on how long we had to wait between holes.  We got to the 9th hole and Mason was screaming that he had to pee and my anxiety was a bit high since there was so much waiting.  So we ended up calling it short and trying again this night.  I’m happy to report there was only one ginormous family in front of us this time and overall it went a lot faster…also, there was no 4 year old screaming to everyone he had to pee, laughing the whole time.  We finished up day 3 by enjoying a sunset on our beach and watching the lighthouse on Oak Island.

Day 4 consisted of a day trip to Wilmington!  After all, it’s the city that started my love affair with this area way back when.  Wilmington is about 30-35 minutes from Caswell Beach/Oak Island/Southport and is probably the closest “big city” around.  The boys wanted to play on the beach all day, so my mom and I decided heading to the historic district of Wilmington near the River Walk was probably the best idea to see the sights I knew I wanted to see.

If you ever watched Dawson’s Creek or Revenge, you may notice some of these places look familiar.  The shops all along the River Walk were ADORABLE and the little hole in the wall restaurants were amazing.  I could have eaten my way through the city…for real.  Coffee shops, donut shops, gourmet pizza and tons of sea food joints….sign me up!  More beach time followed after our mid day trip to Wilmington.

We ended up going back to Southport for dinner to eat at Provision Co.  I can’t explain exactly how the seating/ordering/eating process works there because it’s like nothing I’ve experienced.  First off, they have an honor system for all drinks….including beer and wine.  Secondly, as soon as you walk up to the host/hostess, they immediately ask you for keys, sunglasses or anything that can “save” your table.  You can’t go inside….only they can.  Ha!  Then when your name is called, you are ushered into this tiny ordering area with coolers of drinks and you have about 30 seconds to decide what you want to eat, then you grab your drinks and are sent to your table, which was reserved by your item they took.  Then when your food is ready, wait staff comes out of the kitchen screaming your name, and you have to raise your hand to get your food.  All the seating is outside under a giant porch, right next to the inter coastal waterway.  The food was really good.  And, I gotta say, this place was probably more popular than the Fishy Fishy Cafe.   All I know is that I definitely felt like a giant tourist because I had no idea what I was doing.  Haha.  The yellow fin steak was worth it though!  After dinner, I sadly said “goodbye” to what is HANDS DOWN my favorite place ….ever.  We visited a few more movie sites and walked around one last time.  (sad face guys…sad face).

We spent our last night on the beach, watching the sunset, taking pictures and making the most of every second!

I mean, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this trip.  It’s literally every SINGLE thing I thought it would be and more.  My heart was so happy there.  I definitely plan on going back (and dragging Brock the next time).  The boys had so much fun and Brayden spent considerably more time in the ocean than I ever thought he would have.  He’s always liked the ocean and has been several times, but this trip….he didn’t want to leave the beach.  And Mason, well, per usual, he enjoyed entertaining everyone around him at all times of the day or night.  It was good.  It was REALLLLL good.

Here’s some movie fun for you:

Sites from Safe Haven (images courtesy of Relativity Media):

Alex’s House:

The lunch/coffee restaurant where Katie meets Jo, Moore St Market:

Ivan’s Fish Shack (where Katie works), The Old American Fish CO:

Sites from I Know What You Did Last Summer (images courtesy of Sony Pictures):

Southport Muscle (Barry’s gym), Fishy Fishy Cafe:

Julie’s house:

Southport Community Theatre (where Helen wins Croaker Queen), Amuzu Theater:

Dawson’s Creek Sites:

Pacey’s Restaurant the S.S. Ice House, Elijah’s in Wilmington

Pretty much every outdoor scene that didn’t take place at their homes, The River Walk (notice the bridge…go back and watch any episode and you’ll see it)

Day 4 (2)

Lots more films and TV shows have been filmed in Southport and Wilmington, but I only had 5 days to search and let’s be honest, the beach was also calling my name.

I hope you enjoyed!! 🙂 🙂  If you love the beach and movie production as equally as I do, then you’re gonna want to visit this amazing area in the near future as well.

xoxoxo

Loves Lately

Hello lovelies!

I’m coming to you today from my semi-completed office.  I say semi complete because I probably should put up some kind of curtain or blind so the creepy peeps don’t slooooowly drive by the window anymore when I’m on the treadmill at night.  I literally hate curtains so much (I recently took down the ones in my living room and have been on a search for something that’s decently tolerable…and by that, I mean a valance of some kind that’s coastal without being floral)

hello sprigRE

Anyways, happy spring everyone!  It doesn’t really FEEL like spring in Indiana, but whatevs…at least I know we are over the hump that is stupid winter.  I wanted to share some of my everyday faves with you all!  I’m going to blow right past the fact that I haven’t posted since last June and just try to immediately do better.  I think the reason I suck at keeping up with this is because I want to keep this blog really pretty and let’s face it…to keep it really pretty you need to hire someone that knows what they are doing, to make your blog designs and pages.  Oh and I don’t have a DSLR camera, so that’s also an issue.  But, for now, I’ll work with what I have….

FAVES:

So lately I’ve been using and loving these AWESOME products!!!  These are products I use 3-5 times a week, and some I use every single day.  I wouldn’t steer you wrong…these products give RESULTS you can actually SEE!

Product 1:  Thieves oil by Young Living

thieves-with-lemons-min

I use Thieves every night with some coconut oil on both our boys’ feet.  Supposedly it helps boost immunity and fights off the germs.  With my OCD, Thieves just kind of brings a calm feeling to me, knowing I’m helping to boost my kids’ immunity and ward off any of the bad germs they probably pick up at the petri dish we call school.  Young Living actually carries an entire line of Thieves products now, because of the popularity of this magical oil.  I also use the Thieves spray as well at my office.  Bonus: it smells like cinnamon and everyone compliments the smell of my office.  Where to get it: if you are interested, please email me HERE and I can get you a discount!

Product 2: Urban Decay’s Shadow Box

UD Eyeshadows

I’m so weird about eye shadow!  I love certain brands, and Urban Decay is certainly one of them.  I love this box because it’s not huge and the colors are so fun!  My favorite colors to wear are Baked Cowboy and Smog and I love highlighting with Bordello.  Where to get: Sephora or Ulta.

Product 3: Rodan and Fields Lash Boost

lashboost peach2RE

You know how there are all these products that “claim” to do certain things and never do?  Or, my personal least favorite saying ever “could promote” or “studies show this product COULD”….you get the idea.  So anytime I try something that makes claims to move mountains, I’m a skeptic.  Enter Lash Boost by Rodan and Fields.  Game changer.

I’m not kidding when I say I saw actual results in 5 days.  Typically, they say you will see a big result after the first 4 weeks, then a bigger result at 8 weeks and the max result at 16 weeks.  This magic clear serum that you put on your lash line at bedtime must be laced with Miracle Grow.  I cannot stress it enough…if you ever want to use a product that actually produces REAL RESULTS, go get you some Lash Boost.  Don’t spend the money on lash extensions or continue buying the false lashes to glue in….get Lash Boost.  Where to get it: Product Link or send me an email HERE and I’ll give you my discount!!

Bonus: each tube is a 60 day supply, but my tubes last about 90 days because after the first 4 weeks, I use it every other day. 🙂

marylashboost2

Product 4&5: Rodan and Fields Sunless Tanner + Microdermabraison Paste

sunscreen and micro paste2RE

You guys….I’ve tried a loooooooooooot of self tanners.  I’ve tried the cheapest and the most expensive, the organic and the not so organic and just about everything in between.  I fell in love with Rodan and Fields Sunless Tanner ….and as if I didn’t think anything could make it work even better, I started using it with the Rodan and Fields Microdermabraison paste.  They are like the best dynamic duo ever.  The micro paste makes skin so freaking soft, I can’t even explain it!  It seems like in the winter time, everyone is so covered up and I never think to use sunless tanner.  But, now that spring is here, I have been using it 3 times a week and I love it so much!  No streaks, no patches, no “orange” look.  Silky smooth color that melts right into your skin seamlessly.  1 bottle will last you several months and there is even a 60 day empty bottle money back guarantee on all the products sold by Rodan and Fields.  (Applause, ladies!)  Where to buy: Email me HERE and I’ll give you my discount!

Product 6: Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation

makeup forever

I haven’t ever been a huge foundation wearing kind of girl….and looking back on pictures now, maybe I should have worn it more, but to me, it always felt heavy and gross and most of them that I had used would break me out.  Granted, that was in high school and I went to the Clinique counter and the lady swore she was giving me the oil free foundation.  I’m sure it was a fantastic product for some, but I hated it.  About 2 years ago I started hunting for a foundation that would feel so lightweight that I didn’t even realize I had anything on, plus even out my skin tone.  I found it with Make Up Forever’s HD foundation.  I love it.  It’s sheer, but covers evenly and I only use a dime size portion.  If you go to Sephora, they have a tool now that will help match your skin to the perfect shade of foundation (that’s winning people).  Oh, and this is kind of pricey for makeup, it will run you about $48 for a bottle, BUT know that it will last a long time since you have to use so little product.  Where to buy: Sephora

 

Alright, so there you have it!  Those are my current tried and true favorites!  Please feel free to comment on this post with some of your favorites!!

Happy Spring!!!

 

 

 

Inspired, Natural and Creative

Inspiration is Natural.

Mary Keevers

Real Talk, Motherhood, Lifestyle, Health

queenjarrell

Journey to Better Health and Living

Project Light to Life

A bucket list blog: exploring happiness, growth, and the world.

Happily Oiled After

Journey into healthier living and essential oils

mandy odle

stories from a mommy + makeup artist

Little Miss Momma

Real Talk, Motherhood, Lifestyle, Health

Eat Yourself Skinny

Real Talk, Motherhood, Lifestyle, Health

Skinnytaste

Real Talk, Motherhood, Lifestyle, Health

a is for abs

Real Talk, Motherhood, Lifestyle, Health

%d bloggers like this: