One of the silver linings of spending more time at home has been that I've also spent more time reading! When I was little girl, we lived about 45 minutes from my favorite book store and by the time my mom would get us back home, I would have finished my latest book. The trend continued into college and I would stay up late reading. But then came work, social media, and lots of distraction and I didn't pick up a book nearly as much as I should. 

Now that I've not been on the go as much, I have spent much more time reading and it has been wonderful. I've also been trying to read more before bed instead of playing on my phone, and I've found that it helps me sleep better as well! 

What I've Read During Quarantine:

  1. Feels Like Falling 
  2. Beautiful Ruins
  3. Dear Carolina
  4. Summer Friends
  5. The Castaways

What's Next on My Bookshelf:

  • 28 Summers - Elin Hilderbrand
  • Summer of '69 - Elin Hilderbrand
  • Sunset Beach - Mary Kay Andrews
  • Queen Bee
  • Surfside Sisters
Check out a few of my favorite beach reads below!

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It's been a long time coming but one of my stay-home projects has been updating our front porch, and most specifically, our front door. At some point, we would love to get a new front door, but in the interim, ours really needed a fresh coat of paint. After Hurricane Florence, the paint on our door started majorly chipping. Our front door isn't weathered all that much due to the depth of our covered porch but with all the blowing rain that hurricane brought, the door was really impacted. What started as a few small paint chips ended up with large chunks of black paint chipping off. Super cute. 

I looked at front door paint colors for months and had narrowed it down to a few favorites. I was continuing to look on Pinterest but finally just called ahead to our local Benjamin Moore store, ordered Hale Navy for curbside pick-up and got started! 

Front Door Paint Steps:
  • Sand down windows and door
  • Clean thoroughly with Simple Green cleaner
  • Lightly sand again
  • Do one more wipe down with Simple Green
  • Tape windows and hardware
  • Paint!
I painted our bathroom vanities back in the fall so I had some of the materials I already needed + a good idea of how long the project would take, but even still, when I first got started, I thought I had made a huge mistake. Thankfully, after the second coat of paint, everything looked nice and smooth! 

Materials Used:
  • Quart of Benjamin Moore paint 
  • Sandpaper bar
  • Paintbrush
  • 4" roller brush
  • Painter's tape
Once our front door was updated, I wanted to freshen up our swing area as well as the planters around the front door. While I decided to keep our faux topiaries and front door rug, I knew I wanted a little bit of color around the door. I searched online for new planters but ultimately found a set from one of our local plant nursery's. I also bought a set of elephant ear plants to complete the look! We love hydrangeas so I bought two small ones to put in these little planters. 

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I've been spending a lot of time in comfy basics as I'm sure y'all are too! While I'm still getting dressed in my normal "work" clothes when I go to the shop, I've been wearing lots of work out clothes & comfy tees when hanging out at home.

We've gotten some fun new arrivals into the shop + I snagged a couple of things when I placed a Target order last week!
Boxy Oversized Tee - wearing size M
How cute is this t-shirt? We sold out of our first round from the shop but we are taking pre-orders that will ship to customers around the first of May. Use code spring20 for 20% off your purchase at the shop!
Friday Tee - wearing size M
Another cute little tee from the shop! I love the fun graphic & embroidery detail!
Weekend Graphic Tee - wearing size M
Living for the weekend! A simple but fun little graphic tee that would be cute with your favorites shorts or even a skirt.
Trapeze Blouse - wearing size M
How cute is this little top? I love Anthropologie's blouses and this one did not disappoint. It's cute and lightweight! Size wise, I could have done a S but prefer the oversized fit of the M. I also love the panther print but sadly they were sold out in most sizes.
Ruffle Crop Tee - wearing size M
This tee is such a steal! Less than $10 and a cute and easy throw-on and go option. Love it paired with these jean shorts.
Boxy Cropped Tee - wearing size M
This is another little tee that I ordered for athleisure. We've been going on a lot of walks so this little cropped tee will be perfect for that as well as my at-home barre workouts. But I love it with the shorts as well!
Tiger Tank - wearing size M
Hello, Tiger Queen! How fun is this cute tee? While I ordered this to wear while working out, it's super cute with jean shorts too. 
I finally decided to give a try at a homemade pound cake and it did not disappoint! I read a ton of recipes and then decided to take a chance and mix and match some ingredients and see what happened! Thankfully, all went as planned and while I'm certainly no baker, I love how this one turned out. 

I sat the cream cheese, butter and eggs out for about 20 minutes to allow them to get to room-temperature before mixing. This allowed them to whip really nicely! I also decided to add just a touch of lemon abstract. I know lemon pound cake is certainly a thing, but I wanted the cake to have just a hint without being overwhelmingly lemon-based. The lemon and vanilla ratio ended up being a nice combination!

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups of fine sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla abstract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon abstract
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and spray a tube pan with baking spray. I used this one!
  2. Beat the sugar, butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric stand mixer (we have this one) until fluffy - around 7 minutes. 
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  4. Add in vanilla, lemon, and buttermilk.
  5. In another bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Slowly mix into the batter. After all flour is in, scrape down sides and beat for another 2 - 3 minutes until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes to an hour and a half. I used a toothpick to test the middle until it came back clean (1 hour and 20 minutes ended up being perfect for our oven). 
  7. Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan to cool.
  8. Serve on its own or with strawberries and whipped cream for a strawberry shortcake! Enjoy!
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Ever since I began working, I envisioned a fun and girly office. You're often limited by your surroundings and environment in terms of what you can do to your office, but when I decided to open the store, I thought, "Finally! A cute and girly office!" Then, I quickly realized that my office is more than just my work space. It's where our supplies are kept, where my staff and I eat lunch, and there is often more chaos happening than not. 2 years in, and my office was a hodgepodge of furniture, file cabinets, and boxes of things. I thought it was hopeless for me to have a space to accommodate all of our needs, but that's where Ace of Space Organization stepped in. 

To be completely honest, when Andrea and Kristy of Ace of Space first reached out, I was a little overwhelmed. On the one hand, I absolutely loved the idea of having a team come in and overhaul my office, but at the same time, I was worried that they would walk in and think "Oh, gosh, where do we put all of this stuff" or that I would have to overhaul the office before they even came. But that wasn't the case at all!

Kristy and Andrea stopped by for a consultation and we talked about my wants and needs in terms of keeping my space functional but also creating a pretty space I wanted to be in. While we didn't have any major plans to change the furniture setup, the ladies offered recommendations of how we could maximize on the space I have and better conceal some of the "mess" that was often so distracting. Kristy and Andrea also asked me lots of questions and showed me product ideas to get a good idea of what I wanted the aesthetic to be.

The plan was:
  • Declutter paper and find homes for papers that need to be handled
  • Corral "like items", i.e. shipping supplies and excess notecards, etc. 
  • Create labels so that everyone on the team knows where things should be 
I already had some open shelving, so Kristy and Andrea found some great baskets and containers that hid the items inside with labels. The labels have been a huge help for me as now I never have to question where something is!

The organization process:
The day of install, the ladies came by and had everything we could possibly need. They literally took care of everything! We went through stacks of paper, which forced me to file and declutter. They cleaned, and dusted, and drilled - anything that needed to be done, they literally achieved it! If they had questions, they would check in with me but for the most part, I was all-in on whatever they wanted to do!

Most of the plan was already in place due to the incredible planning on their part but they had options and we moved and changed some things around based on what we felt would work vs. not. 

Another solution we added throughout the course of this was a corner desk. There was no true table area for anyone other than my computer set-up, so it's now allowed for the girls to have a designated place for working on their laptops / eating lunch.

Now that we're spending more time at home, you may notice some areas of your home that you want to revamp or reorganize. Storage solutions are a great place to start for home improvement and the amazing news is that Ace of Space Organization is offering virtual organization sessions that will allow you to get a jumpstart on those areas that may need a little improvement.

I know that my session with Kristy and Andrea really motivated me to create systems in other areas - since they organized my office, I've tackled my pantry & under-sink storage area in the kitchen and having those systems in place has made all the difference!

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It feels like spring in North Carolina this week and it is absolutely wonderful! That has me that much more ready to put away the sweaters and jeans and break out all the spring dresses. While this Amazon try-on isn't overly in-depth, I did find a few things that I think I'll wear quite a it this spring and summer.
Neon Ruffle Dress - ordered size S
How cute is this little dress? I've seen some similar dresses floating around in this gorgeous color but loved the ruffle hem and cap sleeves. Perfect for upcoming showers and spring events!
This is an easy dress that I'll probably wear a lot this summer. I also slipped on a denim jacket and sneakers with it and loved the combo. 
Boho Floral Dress - ordered size M (could have done S)
This flowy dress is perfect for spring and summer. After a long day on the boat or at the beach, I love slipping on a comfy dress even if we're just cooking dinner at home. This one will be so cute! I could also see this as the perfect dress to wear if I need a cute coverup for going to lunch on the boat. It comes in a lot of colors!
Tropical Print Dress - ordered size M
This dress is great for the transitional season where it's beautiful but the breeze still has a slight chill. I did think the v-neck was going to be slightly lower as shown online so keep in mind it's not a deep v-neck. 
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