Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sail Away to the Ocean State!

{top row: card - pillow ~ middle row: tote - card ~ bottom row: pillow - tote}
Greetings from the Ocean State! My name is {av} and I'm the voice behind {long distance loving}. Cambron reached out to me a few weeks ago and I'm happy to be here today! We grew up only a few hours apart--she was raised in Kentucky and I was raised in Indiana, but we both share a love of the South. When trying to come up with topics for my guest post, she mentioned sailing...since Rhode Island {the Ocean State!} is currently my home!

Though I'm no sailor, I definitely love the nautical vibe. Rhode Island is chock full of it--from our airport {it's sailboat-shaped--that was news to me!} to the Newport Harbor. In honor of our home, I chose a few fun sailing-related items, which could make great gifts for nautical lovers in your lives. 

A big thank you to Cambron for hosting me here at Southern Sophisticate! Make sure to hop over to {long distance loving} to see the things I love from afar! xoxo {av}

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

YAY! I received my first Stylish Blogger Award from one of my favorite blogs, Soulshine! I love keeping up with Ashton's journey through law school and hope to meet up with her when I'm in Charleston in a few months! 
Rules of the Stylish Blogger Award
Share seven fun facts about yourself and then pass the award on. 

I am scared of the dark. I would even say that it might be Nyctophobia (phobia of the dark). Most people grow out of this fear, but I think I grew into it. I wasn't horrified of he dark as a child, but mostly as a teenager and into my adult life. My only guess is when I was a child I had night terrors-perhaps that had an affect on me. Please, never turn the lights out on me. I will go NUTS!

I could not live without shrimp....or ice cream....but not together. I once told my Mom that I would not have children if I had to reduce my intake of creatures of the sea. She found it comical-I don't think she realized I was serious. 
I could eat ice cream everyday! I enjoy almost any flavor, but good, ole' fashioned vanilla and cake batter are my faves!

I've lived all over the world. I'm a Navy brat. From the time I was born (in Japan) until the age of ten, I moved every two or three years. My family has lived in Italy, Portugal, Mississippi, California and Kentucky. I've even had the chance to visit Spain! I contribute my travel but to this and loved every minute of experiencing different cultures. It's amazing how much I remember from each place, but I would have to say Italy was my favorite. I would LOVE to go back and explore the places I lived, and revisit some of the places I had the chance to see when I was a child.

This might be the craziest thing ever, but I have a theory on the word, "so."
I don't understand why the word to has another spelling and meaning, "too," but "so," does not. The word "too" can man also or to a greater extent. Because of that, I think the word "so" should have another meaning/spelling, "soo" which would mean to a greater extent. It makes sense. (i.e.) I miss you "soo" much, Mom!
What do you think?

I have a VERY low heart rate. I have to take medicine so that my body recognizes it as normal. If I don't, I will pass out and my heart will stop and re-boot....kind of like a computer. The average heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats a minute. My heart rate rivals that of a professional athlete, 45-50 beats a minute. Please know that I am ANYTHING BUT an accomplished athlete. 

I could watch HGTV's House Hunters all day long! I don't like International House Hunters as much, but will watch it too. I love going home to visit my parents, because my Mother and I will be lazy in the mornings and watch as many episodes as we can until we absolutely HAVE to get up. Love it!

When I was a freshman in high school, I was a cheerleader. During a pep-rally (in which the ENTIRE school was in attendance), I passed out. I don't mean I was sitting in my seat and passed out, I was leading the school, in cheers, ON THE MAIN FLOOR, and passed out after I tumbled and broke my ankle. Needless to say, they stopped the rally because of me. TOTALLY EMBARRASSING!

Thanks again to Soulshine, for giving me this award!
I'm passing this on to:

{av} will be guest blogging tomorrow!

Make sure to check out all of the blogs above! Each of these gals are great writers and share fun things on a daily basis!


Monday, March 28, 2011


As you can imagine, this weekend was one of the best in years for me and everyone else in the BIG BLUE NATION! MY KENTUCKY WILDCATS beat Ohio State and North Carolina to seal their bid to Houston. The last time this happened I was in the 7th grade. My entire week is shot...dreams and thoughts of cutting down the nets in Texas. 


Friday, March 25, 2011

Paint the Town BLUE-Friday Fancies # 5

Tonight I hope to paint the town BLUE! Kentucky advanced to the sweet sixteen and WE will be taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes! After work, I plan to head downtown to my favorite pre-game/game watching place, Broadway Brewhouse, and cheer on the Wildcats with my favorite gal pals and their beaus. I sure hope to be singing a victory song after tonight! While I do have ANOTHER wedding to attend this weekend, I thought it would be more exciting to share another game watching outfit with y'all. Afterall, March Madness only rolls around once  a year....weddings happen all the time- and I promise you will see lots of wedding apparell in 2011.

Hope you enjoy this week's Friday Fancy. I created a game watching/celebrating (hopefully) look. Note the camera...lots of pictures are sure to be taken (especially if it's  anything like last year)!
Paint the Town Blue

Gotta love the christian louboutin shoes! What are your plans for the weekend? Will you be watching any of the games? If so, who are you cheering for?

Be sure to stop by Southern Sophisticate NEXT WEEK for a VERY SPECIAL guest post from Ms. Friday Fancy herself, {AV}!

Until next time, may your weekend be full of magnolias, bourbon, and exciting MARCH MADNESS games!

The Big Blue Nation is more than just a group of college basketball fans. We are a family that makes your worst days BETTER and your better days GREAT. We know a foul when we see one and can convince any AD what's best for their team. We bleed blue and scream loudly-nobody overshadows Kentucky. We're the bluest, brightest fans that support the most winning team around. It's more than just a game-it's a lifestyle. Failure is unacceptable and winning is not an option. WE ARE COLLEGE BASKETBALL-WE ARE UK!
-Yours Truly 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Joy of Creation

Spring has sprung and pollen is filling the air! I am excited to hear the birds chirping,  see flowers blooming and watch the earth come back to life. With the scent of fresh onion looming in the air and fresh fruit showing up at the grocery, nothing more is on my mind than the thought of planting a garden! I've never had the chance to have my own garden, but the more I read about harmful pesticides being used on our produce, the greater my desire to start digging.

If I had a yard, which I don't (sigh), I would plant tomatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkin, strawberries, basil, spinach and peppers.

I think the most important part of gardening is properly planning. It is important to find out what grows best in your area. If you live in Vermont, you may not want to grow bananas. Living in the South gives me a good variety of growing options. According to, I am in the Middle South Region for growing. This gives me about 200 days of ideal growing conditions. Woo!

When I finally get the chance to plant, I want to make sure that I space all of my vegetables properly so I will have ample space to move back and forth. So often, I see vegetables that are stuffed in plot like sardines! Maybe it works, but I would prefer not to feel cramped in tending to the various plants.

Because I've not really had the chance to garden, I don't know much. I do, however, LOVE reading about getting started as well as seeing BEAUTIFUL inspiration. If you feel inspired to start your own vegetable garden, here is a great place to start.

I can't think of a better use of time than enjoying mother nature and growing something from a tiny seed. The hard work and effort are sure to payoff!

Check out some of my favorite ideas below!

Until next time, may your day be full of magnolias, bourbon, and the scent of fresh flowers! 

Raised Bed Vegetable Garden

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Library Epiphany.....

I was in the public library yesterday during my lunch break trying to quickly pay my late fees and check out the last of the Dot Frank Books I've yet to read when, I saw the most precious little girl waiting in line with her mother. I'm not really a "kid" person, so when I notice a child it's unusual. This little girl caught my eye. She had on a classic pink dress and a pink flowered headband. Her dirty blonde hair was thick and long, as were her beautiful eyelashes. Yet, what caught my attention most, was not her angelic features or her future prep look, it was the way she was taking in the world around her. Her little eyes seemed very focused on each and every "thing" she saw. She seemed as though thoughts were racing through her mind and wonder filled every ounce of her. Her innocence connected with something deep inside of me as she took out a small spiral notebook and began to draw. I couldn't tell you what she was drawing, but through the series of images she flipped through to arrive at a blank page, I figured out that she had been drawing pictures to help her remember things she's seen.

I thought about this as the librarian checked out my new books. At what point in life do we forget to take the time to truly see?  We are so burdened by the busy schedules we have along with the things that we want that we fail to take in the details of life. I realized, in the library, that I needed to be more like the little girl. I need to stop focusing on the go-go-go of life and focus more on the details of the things going on around me. Each and everyday, God provides us with billions of sites, sounds, smells, tastes and experiences. It is our job to remember to take each for what they are truly worth. For a few minutes in the library, I did just that. I urge you, and remind myself, to take the time to do this every day. I think we will be surprised what our eyes, minds and hearts are able to experience.

Until next time, may your day be filled with magnolias, bourbon and great joy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friday Fancies #4 Wedding Bells are Ringing

Friday Fancies-a day early. I'm posting this a day early because tomorrow I will be participating in Bloggers Day of Silence to support For Japan With Love...No blogging, y'all.

This weekend I will be watching one of my sorority sisters walk down the aisle and marry her prince charming. I am soo excited to watching Nichole and Chance tie the knot. Not to mention, catch up with all of my LOVELY KD sisters. I sure wish I had luck in finding an outfit similar to this!
Wedding Bells
578 GBP -

$1,760 -

$50 -

$36 -

$38 -

For Japan with Love

As time passes and more images are released of the horrendous disaster that continues to unfold in Japan, my heart feels heavy with sadness and despair. I realize that as often as I pray, it is still not enough. While we each have a unique tie to certain places in the world, I feel particularly saddened by the devastation because I was born in Japan-Yokosuka, Japan to be exact. Yokosuka is a mere 270 miles from Sendai-the city most affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

 I've not had the opportunity to travel back to Japan, but will continue to pray and support the Japanese people as they risk their lives to protect ours from a nuclear meltdown and continue to clean-up their country side and regain a sense of normalcy. In an effort to do so, tomorrow I will be teaming up with Utterly Engaged  and Ever Ours to participate in Bloggers Day of Silence. I will not be posting any blogs tomorrow to help raise awareness of the fact that we CAN do something to help. For Japan with Love is a website setup to accept donations for ShelterBox.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters at the time they need it the most. Large green boxes "ShelterBoxes" are put to together and tailored to a specific disaster (in this case, an earthquake/tsunami). A typical box contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children's activity pack and other vital items. One box costs $1,000.00. As of 10:05 p.m, nearly $21,000 has been raised. Please do what you can to help. I realize, and understand, that we sometimes feel like we can't do much, but in this instance you can. EVERY PENNY HELPS. Even $1.00.

Close your eyes and put yourself in the shoes of those facing this horrible disaster. I can only imagine that I would be TREMENDOUSLY grateful to receive items allowing me to provide my family a dry place to sleep or a small drink of clean water. 

Tomorrow, I will be making a donation to For Japan with Love. I ask that you take the time to visit the website and explore how you can help with your donation. Additionally, I ask for continued prayer for the Japanese people and their leaders as they continue to pick through the pieces of a life they use to know. Prayer is powerful. Please, let's continue to do our part.

Until next time, may your weekend be filled with magnolias, bourbon and continued prayer for the country of Japan and all who are still being affected by this awful natural disaster. 

Call me Crazy, I'll Take it. I'm a CATS Fan!

Call me crazy, but I know a good thing when I see one.....even if that good thing was when I was three years old. I have faint memories of going to visit my grandparents in Kentucky during basketball season and feeling the energy and excitement that would fill the room during game time. From an early age, (like most Kentucky fans), I was exposed to the GREATEST college basketball program of all time.

My love for the Kentucky Wildcats runs through my veins and pours out my heart. I CANNOT wait for tip-off this afternoon! As I sit here and "attempt" to get work done, I am reminded of the best Big Blue game-watching memories from the past.

*The many times our pastor would keep us updated with the score during Sunday games/church services.
*Watching the 1996 Championship game on the living room floor with my entire family (while eating jello).
*Watching my Papaw rock back and forth and holler for everyone to be quite while he was watching the game.
*Hearing my Old Kentucky home after each and every victory (and feeling warm and fuzzy EVERY TIME).
*Celebrating last year's victories with Amy Puckett.
*Big Blue Madness.
*Meeting and talking to Coach Cal.
*Watching Ashley Judd do the John Wall.
*The calendar I can always count on getting from Dad.
*Sitting with Daniel Orton watching a security guard fall asleep at the SEC tourney and laughing uncontrollably.
*Watching Kentucky cut down the nets at the SEC tournament last year.
*My Kentucky shirt that is soo old and holey/holy (hah) it needs to be retired-I refuse.
*Every high five, horn honk and C-A-T-S cheer I've ever been a part of.

This Big Blue Nation is more than just a group of college basketball fans. We are a family that makes your worst days BETTER and your better days GREAT. We know a foul when we see one and can convince any AD what's best for their team. We bleed blue and scream loudly-nobody overshadows Kentucky. We're the bluest, brightest fans that support the most winning team around. It's more than just a game-it's a lifestyle. Failure is unacceptable and winning is not an option. WE ARE COLLEGE BASKETBALL-WE ARE UK! 

It's almost game time ladies! Get ready for the best three weeks in sports!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Julep, Y'all!

It's FINALLY here! I am proud to share with you the PREMIER issue of Julep. This new magazine is for the modern, southern lifestyle. If  you're not down south, this publication is sure to give you your Dixie fix! 
Be sure to check out the first issue and read about my memories of Mardi Gras!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day, Y'all!

Today, we commemorate the mathematical constant, Pi. We celebrate Pi day on March 14th because of the numerical significance of 3-14.....or 3.14 (Pi).

If you are like me and have NO desire to partake in a few fun math problems, enjoy a piece of pie instead. 

I want to especially send a special Happy Pi Day to Carly over at College Prepster....Ms. Math League herself :-)



Friday, March 11, 2011

Barbie's Beau turns 5-0! Happy Birthday, Ken!

Happy Birthday, Ken! I can't believe it has been 50 years since you first appeared! It seems like yesterday you built my girl Barbie a dream mansion and bought her that hot, pink convertable. You are such a charmer.  Over the years, you've only become more handsome! Here's to another 50 years of Barbie and KEN!

Happy Birthday!

Friday Fancies #3...Dreaming of CATlanta!

Hello friends! I can't believe Friday has already rolled around again! You know what that means-another edition of Friday Fancies. I'm linked up with {av} of Long Distance Lovin to share my Friday dream outfit.

This weekend is the start of a VERY special time of the year for me. Why? Because I'm from Kentucky, and March Madness/tournament season to Kentucky fans is just as exciting as Christmas....maybe even better. With that being said, my activity for the weekend is watch basketball-and a lot of it! Today, I am dreaming that I am in CATlanta for the SEC tournament. Even though I'm not, you can be darn-tootin that I am wearing my cutest blue and white outfit! So here's (and cheers) to Friday Fancies and Kentucky Basketball! GO CATS!

Knit top
65 GBP -

Seven For All Mankind skinny fit jeans
123 GBP -

Tory burch shoes
$198 -

$821 -

Kirsty Kirkpatrick stud earring
10 GBP -

$2,700 -

Jamie Joseph tear drop pendant
$705 -

Lip Gloss - Ophelia
$24 -

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Momma Bear!

Today is my dear mother's birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom! It sure stinks to grow up and have to be away from your loved ones on special days like this. It seems like just yesterday my Mom was helping me with my latest second grade science or art project, perfectly tying my bow for cheerleading tryouts and helping me pick out the perfect shoes to go with my prom dress. Yes, my Mom is a great Mom. Even now that I'm 26, she still always welcomes me home with open arms and sends me back with tasty meals and some money in my pocket.

Happy Birthday to the greatest Mom. I Love you and hope your day is EXTRA special!


P.S. I definitely tried typing in "Mom" on the Facebook search bar to tell my Mom Happy Birthday....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beer is Proof that God Loves Us and Wants Us to be Happy...

In honor of International Women's Day (a day late), the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday and the release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout, I have a very special post-all about craft beer. Why, you ask? Because I, myself, am a HUGE craft beer fan (Beer Belle), and it seems as though there is a stigma that women and beer don't mix. Untrue. Let me share with you what I know. Don't dismiss this before you start reading. I promise to tell you why you get that awful hangover the day after a few (poorly selected) brews.

REAL beer has four main ingredients:
1.) Water
2.) Yeast
3.) Barley
4.) Hops
*Additional flavors can be added in to define the flavor and character of the beer.

Quality ingredients are key in defining the quality taste and flavor of a good beer. Many "larger" breweries, ahem, (Anheuser Bush, Miller, Coors) will use rice or corn instead of barley to save on cost. It is important to note, the sugars in rice and corn ferment VERY differently than in barley. Because of this, the sugars do not break down properly leaving you with a bad headache the day after throwing a few back. Point in case, cheap beer=hangover. It's simple science. Larger breweries use these alternatives as up to 40% of the grain needed just to produce MORE beer at a lower price. Look at it like this, everything you know and recognize as "beer" has probably come from tasting or hearing what one of the above three major brewers has told you. To me, that's like thinking everything you know about food has come from McDonalds or Burger King and we all know that food is way better than what they tell us-beer works the same way. You have to go beyond the industry leader to find top-notch products.

In the United States, new breweries are popping up at the rate of one a day. The good news is that majority of Americans live twenty miles or less from a brewery. This is a great opportunity for you to get a behind the scenes look at how beer is made and explore new tastes.

Speaking of tastes, there are many different styles of beer. It might be confusing when trying to pick your first brew. Don't get overwhelmed. There is LITERALLY something for everyone. Beer comes in a variety of fruity flavors, barrel-aged flavors, traditional tastes and very dry, hoppy tastes. I can guarantee that you will not like everything you try, but figuring out what you like can be a lot of fun. You will discover that the creativity that goes into brewing each batch is remarkable.

There are many things to consider when trying a new brew. It is very important to take in more than just taste. In trying a beer, you should consider:

*Appearance - color, carbonation, head and retention
*Smell-note the beers aromatic qualities
*Taste-take a sip-does the beer have a dominating characteristic
*Mouthfeel-light, heavy, chewy, thin, course, etc
*Drinkability-how easy is this beer to consume-would you have another

Ladies, I know what you're thinking. Beer isn't for me. I'll have a few glasses of wine or a vodka water with a lime-less calories. I get it. You would be surprised at the many benefits of a good brew, and I encourage you to check out some of the great beers that might be available to you.

A few of my favorite beers include:
1.) Ballast Point Sculpin IPA 
2.) Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (a beer aged in bourbon barrels)
3.) Bell's Hopslam Ale
4.) North Coast Brewing Le Merle

If you're new to craft beer, I recommend checking out one of these:
*Allagash White
*Sierra Nevada Glissade
*Dogfish Head Black and Blue
*RJ Rockers Son of a Peach

Beer is a great way to bond. Take your gal pals, boyfriend, Dad, Uncle or brother with you on a brewery trip. You'll be amazed at what you see and the beer you try. Even if you DON'T like the beer, you are going to have a great day bonding with those special people in your life. What's better than that?

Until next time, may your day be filled with, magnolias, bourbon and craft beer! 

Monday, March 7, 2011


Monday have you feeling down? Start your work week off right with a FABULOUS outfit. Nothing says, "Have a good week!" better than looking (and feeling) pretty-you deserve it!

Legal Life

My OOTD looks something like this-except my dress is from Forever and my shoes are much cuter than above (not a fan of the silver buckles).  My jacket is actually a perfect matching champagne color that has matching buttons. Can't forget my Macbook Pro and my fair state of mind-I am, after all, responsible for bringing justice to Music City (ha)!

What did you wear to kick-start a FABULOUS week? 
Even if you don't have to punch the clock at at nine to five-you deserve to feel pretty too! Get up and make yourself feel FABULOUS!