Aloe Vera Ice Cubes…How Have I Never Thought of This?

Are you feeling the summer burn?

Down here in Florida we have officially entered the dog days of summer. It is hot…like fry an egg on the sidewalk hot. Despite this fact, however, we still find ourselves loading up the car, ordering some Publix subs, and hitting the local beach or pool.

Since we were little, people have drilled the value of sunscreen into our stubborn heads. Yet somehow, we forget to put it on, forget to reapply, or forget that baby oil is still not a valid alternative. We end up burnt.

For days following these burns we barely survive while doing the following things:

Taking ice cold showers

Walking around saying “Ouch” at every step

Peeling and itching like a mad man

Claiming that we’ll never go into the sun again (until next weekend)

And finally, slathering ourselves in aloe vera

Ahh, aloe vera. A delectable nectar bestowed upon us by the plant gods. A frequent user of the stuff since childhood, you can imagine my surprise when I realized I’d been missing out on a pretty incredible summer life hack all this time. Frozen aloe vera cubes! Continue reading “Aloe Vera Ice Cubes…How Have I Never Thought of This?”

Five of My Favorite Summer Reads

Five of My Favorite Books for Summer

Ahh, summertime…a time for beach days, lemonade, and family vacations. Want to know what I think the perfect accompaniment to any of these things is? A good book.

Like so many of my fellow book nerds, picking the next thing to read can become a major problem…#TheStruggleisReal! Lucky for you, however, I’ve gone through the roster and chosen some pretty, perfect options.

Check out five of my personal faves for those lazy dog days of summer.

1. Spring Fever, Mary Kay Andrews

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If one thing screams summer for me, it’s Mary Kay Andrews! Her books are always light, fun, and oh so irresistible. Spring Fever tells the story of Annajane Hudgens and her unconventional love life in Passcoe, North Carolina –  Home of the Quixie Cherry Soda Company. This story has love, laughter, and some small town secrets that will have you flipping pages at lightning speed!

2. One Plus One, Jojo Moyes

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Written by Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You, this Little Miss Sunshine-esque story is the perfect pick for a day by the pool. One Plus One will tickle your funny bone and break your heart all at the same time (Ms. Moyes seems to be good at that!) A mother and her two kids find themselves in the debt of a stranger who offers them a ride to a math competition in Scotland. After a series of unexpected events, they all wonder if their lives will ever be the same again.

3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple

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Currently making it’s slow transition from book to film, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? is a hilarious delight of pessimistic and neurotic proportions. The title character, Bernadette Fox, is an opinionated woman, revolutionary architect and loving mother to her fifteen year-old daughter, Bee. She is also overwrought with agoraphobia. Things quickly become complicated when Bernadette disappears while planning the anxiety-inducing trip to Antarctica that she’s promised Bee. Intrigued yet?

4. Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

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From the author of Gone GirlSharp Objects spins a wicked web of dysfunction, mental illness, and family psychosis. What happens when a damaged reporter, Camille Preaker, is sent to her own hometown to help figure out why young girls are being found murdered and mutilated? This one’s not for the light of heart, but will keep you turning pages long into the night.

5. Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society -Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

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A personal favorite of mine, the adorable Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will give you all the feels. When a struggling writer, Juliet Ashton, is searching for the subject of her next book, she finds inspiration in a letter from a man she’s never even met. This individual, and his quirky companions on the island of Guernsey, begin an intriguing correspondence with Juliet that will change her life forever. This was one of those books that made me wish I could crawl inside and stay for awhile!

Now that I’ve given you five of my top picks for the summer, I’d love to hear your suggestions! What are you all reading right now?

Splish Splash!

Over Labor Day weekend, our little family of three took a short trip to Orlando.  We had nothing in particular planned, but wanted to spend some good quality time together without the worries of doing dishes or mowing the lawn.  The highlight of our trip…putting our sweet Haddie girl in the pool for the first time!  She absolutely loved it!  We weren’t to sure how she’d handle it, but were pleasantly surprised.  About a month ago, I tried to dip her feet into a different pool and she wasn’t too thrilled.  As soon as her cute, little toes hit the water she screamed out in disgust!  This time though, she started kicking like crazy as soon as we got her into her floaty!  She was looking around, completely mesmerized by this brand new experience.  In fact, I’m pretty sure she was a little disappointed when it was time to take her out!  No doubt about it, this girl is a true blue Florida water baby! Check out a few of the pics that I snapped!

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A New Orleans State of Mind

I’m feeling a little homesick today.  That’s a strange thing to say when you consider the fact that I’m currently sitting in my hometown going through the motions of my normal day-to-day routine.  You see, my dear friends, I’m not talking about my literal home.  I’m talking about the place that makes my heart sing and puts a jaunty, little skip in my step…New Orleans

The great Louis Armstrong once posed the question, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”  Well Louis, the answer is yes; I most certainly do.  Even before I’d actually set foot on the sacred cobblestone streets of the crescent city, I had an elaborate infatuation with it.  There was something so mysterious about its history and reputation that just sucked me in.  When most people think of New Orleans, they think of Bourbon Street and partying until they puke.  When I think of New Orleans, I think of the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted.  I think of jazz and gorgeous architecture.  I think of the most delicious cocktails you can imagine and the sweetest people that you can meet.

New Orleans is my happy place and on this dreary Florida day, I’m longing for my old friend.  What I wouldn’t give to take a stroll down Royal Street or to stop by the Central Grocery for an authentic muffaletta.  I miss the risky business of eating a fresh beignet at Cafe du Monde without breathing to heavy and winding up coated in powdered sugar.

I miss the open-air ambiance of the French Market and all of its quaint, kitschy finds.  I miss being pulled a million different directions by the music as I wander down Frenchman Street.  I miss the dozens of offers to tell me where I got my shoes for just a $1 (if you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about!)  Disgustingly, I may even miss the smell of yesterday’s “something” baking on the streets.  Don’t ask what the something is…I don’t think any of us want to know.

All of these minute elements are a part of the city’s overall make-up.  They create this world of wonder where everyone is made to feel at home and has the opportunity to try the kinds of things they’d never dream of doing on any regular day.  Ten years ago, nature tried to destroy this beautiful place, and I suppose in a sense it succeeded.  But here’s the thing about New Orleans, the kind of love that surrounds its streets won’t let it fall.  It’s been lifted back up and continues to thrive the way it always has and always will.

My husband likes to laugh at me because I’m already dreaming of Haddie’s first trip to the Big Easy.  He asks, “What are we going to do with a little kid in New Orleans?”  Well, my sweet husband, it’s not so much about doing; it’s about letting her soak it all in.  I hope that she obsesses over this glorious city the same way I do.  I can see it now; we’ll be holding hands as we stroll along the Mississippi while she slurps down a snowball and I knock back a hurricane or two.  And Daddy will be right along side us with a neon green hand grenade resting snugly in his cup holder.  We’re coming back for you, New Orleans…just you wait and see!

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