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Friday Faves- Birthday edition

July 20
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Happy Friday y’all. Today is my birthday and honestly, my favorite part of this is birthday freebies. I mean really, who doesn’t love free stuff? So today I’m going to share my favorites.

Coffee:

Everyone knows Starbucks gives you a free drink for your birthday. Make sure you have a registered card a month before your birthday for this deal. Mine expires the day after my birthday.

Dunkin’ Doughnuts also gives a free drink. Again, have an account ahead of time.

Food:

Firehouse subs will give you a free sub for your birthday. Make sure you sign up ahead of time and download the app to redeem.

Moe’s will give you a free burrito. Same deal, make sure you have the app and an account ahead of time.

Ruby Tuesday gives you a free burger for your birthday. They will send an email ahead of your birthday and you have a few weeks to redeem. This is one of my favorites and you will receive the coupon ahead of time which is helpful.

Cafe Rio gives you a $5 credit for your day. Find in in the app. Also, get $5 just for downloading the app. (I love this place.)

Other:

Ulta: if you have a free rewards account look out for an email with a freebie. I got a mini mascara.

Sephora: beauty insiders get free mini products once during their birth month. Redeem at checkout in store or online.

New to me this year is madewell.com. At the beginning of the month they sent me a $25 gift card to use by the end of the month. This is a great gift.

The best part about these is that they don’t have to take place on my birthday. I write down expiration dates in my planner and then I can use these whenever.

These are my favorites. Do you know any great birthday freebies? Let me know so I can add them to the list!

birthday freebies

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Friday Faves- Nordstrom Anniversary sale

July 13
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Happy Friday!

Today I figured I’d share a few favorites from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. Honestly, I don’t shop at Nordstrom very often. We don’t have one here in Central Florida, and let’s face it, I’m cheap and they are not. But, they do carry some brands that I like and if you ever want to try out their stuff now is the time.

The way the anniversary sale works in the first week (July 12-19 is just open to cardholders. Then, July 20-August 5th the sale is open to everyone else. You can buy online or in store, up to you.

 

So below are some of my favorites from the sale. Two lovely Kate Spade bags are on sale. The large one is $100 off and perfect to take to work. The other is a great travel back with a cross strap and zip closure. (see more on my travel bag tips here.)  Be sure to click the bags to see more color options.

A must for me will be the Zella leggings. I hear so many good things about these, better than Lululemon! They will sell out so act fast. The Spanx leggings are pretty popular as well. These are a faux leather and are super slimming. Both items rarely go on sale.

The other items are just cute things for fall. Check them out if you’re interested.

Well, that is about it! Have a great weekend!

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link from the page I will receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay for the item. In fact, I research the best prices for my site. – Amber D.

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Travel Tuesdays- What I carry in my day bag

July 10
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Today for Travel Tuesdays I wanted to share what I carry with me when I am out and about while traveling. I know a ton has been written about the essentials you must carry, but I like to keep things really simple so today I am sharing the few items I consider necessities.

Before we go any further, let’s talk about bags. When overseas or in a more dangerous place I always carry a crossbody bag that has a zip closure. This way a pick pocket cannot just reach in and grab something nor can they grab it off my shoulder. Also, I hold the bag in front of me when on the train or in other congested areas. I carry something similar to this one by Kate Spade.  Although backpacks are in right now, I do not suggest a backpack purse as you cannot see your belongings and they are too easy to steal from. As you can see, I like to carry an actual purse instead of a backpack or messenger bag. I like to blend in as much as possible and I think carrying a regular bag helps. When we do need more storage my husband brings a small black Timbuk2 bag that blends in well most places.

Ok, back to the contents. Like I said, nice and simple.

Before we leave I check my wallet and leave any unnecessary items at home. I keep a few credit cards, insurance info, my ID, and anything else I need. Other cards, especially work IDs and credit cards are left at home (unless traveling for work of course.)  I carry a small wallet, like this one when traveling as it holds the essentials without taking up too much valuable space.

During our trip to Europe, my husband carried both of our passports on his person. Although I did not have my passport on me I felt safe knowing I would not lose my passport if my bag was stolen. This worked for us, but if you need a passport decide for yourself the best way to carry it.

I like to carry a smaller  makeup bag with my personal essentials. I carry this at home too and just restock it for trips. This bag contains lipstick, eyeliner, tampons, medicine, (ibuprofen and Zyrtec), a pen, gum, a mini hair brush, and a hair tie. Having these items on me at all times helps to ensure a good trip. If I need an afternoon makeup refresh those two makeup items do it for me. You items could differ.

A reusable water bottle. Although I love my big fancy water bottles, when out for a long day or short on space I like to use a regular disposable water bottle as my container. They are lightweight, cheap, and disposable if needed. Refill whenever you see a safe water location. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!

Something to snack on. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and meal times change. Keep a small snack in your bag just in case. An apple, granola bar, or carrot sticks all work perfect. I usually carry enough for both of us.

If we have a heavy travel day I might toss in my Kindle Fire or headphones, but for just day to day exploring I leave those at the room.  Also, if I have a phone with a bad battery  I might bring a backup. Right now I have a new phone so the battery is great.

That is basically all that I carry. It is pretty similar to what I carry daily. If it works most of the time, why switch it up, right?

Do you carry anything unusual or different when you travel?

A few days in Maryland

June 19
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This past weekend Charlie and I spent some time in the town where Charlie spent most of his childhood. Although we spent most of our time visiting with old friends and driving around his old stomping grounds, we did get to spend a little bit of time exploring in Baltimore on Monday.

I had heard of the Sagamore Distillery and found it intriguing. They make a classic rye whiskey and do tours. We’ve been on tons of brewery tours but hadn’t yet had the chance to tour a distillery so we jumped at the chance. We were also exited to find that there was a Groupon for the experience. Be sure to check for one of you go.

The tour was super informative and because we went early on a Monday morning we were the only people in our tour. We learned all about the process as well as what makes different types of whiskeys.

At the end of the tour we were able to sample the products and found rye whiskey to be pretty good. Now to find some for sale here in Orlando.

Each bottle is hand labeled by the last person to touch it at the distillery. In the visitor center we were able to mark our own bottles. Sadly we were unable to purchase them as we were not checking any bags for our flight.

After the tour we visited Nick’s Fish House on a recommendation from our tour guide. This little harbor-side restaurant was super cute and carried Sagamore cocktails. We enjoyed both an Orange Crush and a Moscow Mule made with their whiskey and are happy to report they were delicious.

Guess what? I had never had raw oysters! Surprised? No? Well I was kinda surprised I hadn’t and when I saw they had them a-la-carte I figured now was the time to try one. My only experience with them was when I was twelve my family visited Key West and my dad ordered and ate a dozen raw oysters and was then in the bathroom for the rest of the night.

Anyhoo, it took me about twenty minutes gather the courage to eat them, and I had to google how to even do it, but I did. I’ll spare you the video proof. Did I like them? I’m still not sure, but I’d be willing to have a few again.

I also had some great crab cake balls. Perfect for Maryland.

By the time we were finished with our meal it was time to head to the airport and go home. Hopefully next time we’re in Baltimore we will have more time to spend. If you have ideas of where we should visit let me know in the comments!

Friday Faves

June 9
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Happy Friday y’all! (Ok, technically I’m posting this on Saturday, so bear with me.)

I love that once piece bathing suits are “in” again. Finally, we can wear something that covers stuff. Yeah, most of them are more skimpy than a bikini, but I have seen some cute stuff this season. Right now I am loving this black one from Target. Those scallops? Adorable. Want to show a little more skin? This one is cute too and has a full coverage bottom.

I just finished The Beauty of Dirty Skin by Whitney Bowe and really connected with a lot of what she said regarding skin, diet, and how it all connects. I will be sharing more about her book in the future, but if you’re into those topics check it out.

Charlie has a gig tomorrow so I am going to do a little bit of summer planting. Generally we are done with most plant-y things by now here in Florida, but I am going to try and put in some hardy plants and see if they stick. I’ll share more about that on Instagram.

Now that the rains have subsided we’ve been swimming every day. I am looking for tips as to how to help my skin cope with the water and chlorine it is getting so much of. Any ideas?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Summer weekend staples

May 27
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Just as my beauty routine gets simple in the summer, my weekend wear also starts to get very basic. here in Florida it gets hot, like for real. So when summer comes along I like to just stock up on these staples to get me through.

I love a basic v-neck and these v-neck tanks are perfect for warm sweaty days. They are nice and thin and the pocket is the perfect accent. Stock up on a few to get you through the season, or for year-long wear here in the south. (Hint: wear a cami under these for the evenings if you get chilly.)

Cut-off shorts are one of my favorite staples. They can go with just about anything, but also look stylish with just a tank. I’ve been wearing these midi legnth ones for years as they are shorter than a burmuda, but don’t make me look like a teenager in booty shorts.

I would be remiss without mentioning sandals in this post and don’t worry, I won’t. The two strap sandal is still super popular this year and I am still loving the J. Crew Factory option. Old Navy ones are cheaper, but these are are worth it if you’re going to wear them a bunch.  The fake leather is great and the soles look super nice.

I have super sensitive eyes so I don’t leave the house without sunglasses all year round. My favorite all day wear pair are these ray-bans. A classic look is always a good ideas. Check out this budget option too.

When it comes to evenings I usually just toss on a cardigan or a pair of distressed jeans. Here is Florida shorts are acceptable day or night almost everywhere.

Happy Planner Garden Planner

May 23
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One of my favorite aspects of home ownership is having a yard of my own. A space where I can create and nurture life and spend time outside. Although I have been a homeowner for several years now I had not taken the plunge into vegetable gardening until the spring. Vegetable gardening is a little different here in Florida. Our soil is bad, our temperatures are sweltering, and the bugs are everywhere. Because of this I held off on growing vegetables for so long. Finally, after seeing friends be successful I started my own little garden.

It is not much yet, I am just growing some beans, squash, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes; but it is a good solid start. This is kind of a trial run for the fall. In Florida, fall/winter gardens often have better luck as the temperatures as much more mild. My plan is to take what I learn from this season about my land and soil and use it next month.

While planting my garden I realized I needed some way to keep track of what I planted, when I planted it, and what actions where taken regarding watering, fertilizing, and weeding.  This is when it dawned on me that using a Mini Happy Planner to record my garden would be perfect.

The planner is used as a cross between a planner and a journal. I can mark when I want to plant and fertilize so I don’t forget, as well as journal how my actions, the weather, and outside factors influenced the yield.

I have also added grid paper so that I can make a diagram of my garden. I use a few varieties of seeds as well as planting methods so I wanted to be sure I remembered which plants were which in the end. This will also help in the future to see what spots work best over time as well as if I need to remember for crop rotation.

I will be keeping my punch handy so that I can punch used seed packets and keep them on hand. I also included a pocket for other literature and receipts. (Did you know many garden centers accept returns on dead plants if you keep these?)  You never know when you need to go back and see the “rules” for the plant.

Have you ever made a garden planner? How did it go? Also, please share your favorite gardening tips, especially for Florida!

Teorizanthes Apparel!

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Old Navy fashion

May 9
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For most of my adult life I have been pretty loyal to Banana Republic and Gap for work staples. I like to think I am petty easy going with these items. All I want are items that cover me, fit well, and wash well. With staples like black work pants, being able to withstand wear is important as I wear them all the time.  As of late I have not been as happy with some of the items at those stores so I decided to check out Old Navy as I had seen many bloggers shop there. Generally when I think of Old Navy I think casual wear, but if you look closely they have quite a few options in the work wear category.

The Pixie Pant is of course a cult classic, but I also have found love for their high-waist pixie which boasts a flat front and comfortable elastic waistband on the interior. They have really stepped up their cardigan game as well with items like this one and this line of open front cardigans in all the colors. I have also been grabbing a few of their casual summer dresses  because they are so easy to dress up or down for work or weekend wear. Here in Florida simple dresses rule in summer.

As for more casual favorites, I love this tee and these sandals.

So for now, I will continue to shop at Old Navy and see what works for me. Of course, all the brands mentioned as part of the same company so who knows, maybe it is all basically the same thing.

 

Knowing yourself and knowing your habit type

May 2
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Wow that feels like a long title, but this is something I have struggled with I know many of you do to. I love planning out my day and week and allotting tasks and to-dos, but sometimes when the day or time comes I find that I lack the simple motivation to make it happen. Sound familiar? Good. You’re human too. Today I want to share a little bit into my struggle, as well as a resource to help.

I have again and again failed at following through with my plans. You know all those people who show up at the gym on January 1st? That is me. I plan out a great week and schedule and then by Wednesday I stop following it.

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I finally had a light bulb moment when I read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Rubin categorizes everyone into the following four habit tendencies; upholder, obliger, questioner, and rebel. Everyone more or less falls mainly into the categories which by understanding them can start to understand how we make and keep positive habits (for me, getting plans done.)

 

Here are the four tendencies:

Upholder: This person says she is going to do something, so she does it. She is accountable to herself and does it for herself. She probably stopped reading this post because she does not have this problem.

Obliger: This person may skip out on a habit (like going to the gym) unless the promised someone else that they would. She might neglect to follow plans that are just for her, but will totally make sure anything that she promised to anyone else gets done, like prepping meals for her husband. (I fall into this category.)

Questioner: This person has a hard time with things unless they understand why doing it is good as well as what the benefit is for them.

Rebel: These people resist expectations from themselves and others. Also, they probably don’t own a planner or read this blog.

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Once you understand where you fit you can start to find ways to make your plans work for you. As an obliger, I found that being accountable to others makes me work my best.  My best personal example of this is that I wanted to wake up earlier in the mornings, but was having trouble because I didn’t have to get up, I could sleep in and it would not hurt anyone. My husband leaves for work about an hour before me and I wanted to get up with him. I also wanted to make us both smoothies to take to work each day. I spoke to my husband and told him my intentions to get up and make smoothies and asked him to help me do this by reminding me if I was still in bed to make smoothies. The next day, without his reminder I was out of bed and at the blender. I wanted to do what I had promised him.  I use the same system to keep myself on track. I tell him what I intend to do and he will come back a few days later and ask how I did. To the outside eye this could come off in a slightly controlling way, but I have asked him to keep me accountable. If you’re an obliger, find someone to be accountable to and ask them to help you. When you do something for someone else you will be more likely to follow through.

Please read more about these types, it really did help put everything into view for me. Rubin has two books Better Than Before and The Four Tendencies. I suggest reading both, but if you don’t have time at least check out her website.

BONUS: Understanding the tendencies as well as how your family scores helps so much in understanding where they come from in things. My husband in a Questioner. Knowing this, I know that if I ask him to do something without giving him the WHY he will just drive me crazy with questions. I now explain why I am asking him to do something while I ask so he understands the reasoning and is more willing to comply.

While I don’t have any one great tip, I honestly believe that looking into your tendency will help you know yourself the best.

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Travel Tuesday: Road trip tips

April 3
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Since it is still spring break in some parts of the country I figured today would be a good  day to share road trip tips. We love road trips, but they have to be done right. Below are my seven tips for a successful road trip. Note: We don’t have kids so these tips apply to adults traveling without kids. Some tips will relate to older kids and teens, but I can’t promise anything.

1. Know your route
I feel like this is pretty obvious, but I feel the need to mention it anyway. Know where you are going, how you are getting there, and if possible a few major cities on the way. Share the basic plan with the entire car so that everyone can assist is paying attention to the route. We’ve all missed an exit before, it happens, but it is best to realize this as soon as possible.

2. Bring beverages
Staying hydrated on road trips is super important. We always bring big water bottles to get us going and refill them as needed at rest stops. As a coffee drinker make my coffee before we leave and take it with me, saves money and the time it takes to stop. Yes, the more you drink the more you need to use the restroom, however it is worth it and the bathroom breaks give legs a minute to stretch.

3. Healthy Snacks
Avoid the gas station crap by packing a small cooler or lunchbox with a few snacks to keep you going. I like to pull these out when we get a little tired or just bored. Favorites include carrot sticks, grapes, baked potato chips, and trail mix. Apples, bananas, popcorn, and a handful of nuts are also good options.

4. Pack a lunch
If you are watching what you eat, or just trying to stay healthy and on budget consider bringing your lunch for the first meal of the trip. Before the rise of fast food road trippers always had picnics at rest stops but these days it is not popular. As a nod to the past pack a light lunch to eat at a rest stop and remember the old  days. Salads, cold sandwiches, potato salad, and chips and salsa are favorites for packed lunches.

5. Avoid gas stations
Of course you have to gas up the car, I understand that, however limit time spent wandering around the convenience store. I can’t count the group road trips I’ve been on where we have walked around one of those for 20 minutes and everyone ends up buying junk. Gas the car, use the restrooms and get out. If you do need snacks consider stopping at a grocery store and getting enough for the next leg of the trip instead of single serve options. (If you must stop, Wawa is our favorite for healthy options)

6. Power up
Before you leave ensure you have at least one phone charger in the car. Running navigation, music, and surfing the internet drain phone batteries and for the sake of safety you need at least one working phone. We usually have two chargers just to be safe. Make sure all other entertainment devices are powered up and ready to go as well. Note: check on your phone data allowance before your trip, all that time scrolling instagram in the car can totally blow it.

7. Plan ahead entertainment
Road trips are long but a great time to enjoy an audiobook together. We like to download one to my phone via Overdrive from our local library.  We also love listening to and playing along with our favorite trivia podcast, Podquiz. This is also a great time to talk about life goals, dreams, aspirations, and whatever else needs hours.  I like to bring a pencil and notebook for notes as some of our best ideas come from this time. Eventually I will publish that children’s book.

 

So those are my tips, nothing crazy but just a starting point for a good road trip. Most of all, have fun. A road trip is the memories you make it. So take the time to relax, be silly, and share the real you with your companions. I believe this is the reason so many of us love road trips; in the car we can return to the real us.

 

Check back next week for Travel Tuesday and I will share some of my favorite road trip destinations in the southeast. See you then!

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