revisitng the nights of lights in america's oldest city

soooo... i've had this post as a draft for over two years. i was originally going to post it after our visit to st. augustine for new years eve 2014, but the holiday had already passed, and it just felt too late to make a post about christmas lights.  this poor draft sat in my inbox and kept getting further and further back until i forgot about it.  i saw it sitting there all by it's lonesome a few days ago, and i felt like it was crying out to me "publish me!  publish me!".  well, with christmas being two days away... now is just as good a time as any!

this was the second year we rang in the new year in st. augustine, and we've had a blast each time.  in addition to all things adorable this town offers at all times of year (historic houses, cobblestone streets, spanish forts, etc), they decorate the town each christmas for the the st. augustine nights of lights.  almost every home, inn, and restaurant is beautifully covered in an elaborate display of lights, garland and wreaths!  our last night there we took a lovely stroll through town after dinner, and i of course took way too many photos.  i can promise you the lights are equally (if not more) spectacular this year, as they were in 2014!

this is by far my favorite house we saw... but then again, who could not fall in love with the glow of a colorful christmas tree shining in the window of a mint-colored house covered with icicle lights?  swoon!

^^^they even put lights on the horse carraiges!

st. augustine... you'll always be one of my favorites (especially at christmastime).

lavender simple syrup

several weeks ago, i had my first taste of a lavender iced latte... and my life has now been forever changed.  i knew the minute i took my first sip, that i would need to figure out a way to make these at home.  lucky for me, i still have pounds of culinary lavender in my pantry leftover from our wedding (in hindsight a birdseed toss may have been a better idea)!

this lavender simple syrup is super easy to make, and makes the most delicious lavender iced lattes (full recipe for that coming soon!!).  it's equally as delicious drizzled over desserts or pancakes, you can mix it in with a glass of lemonade, or you can add it into a cocktail for a yummy twist (lavender french 75, anyone)?  you can even bottle it up and give it to friends as a last-minute homemade christmas gift!


2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp culinary lavender

bring the 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat.  add the sugar.

add the lavender and reduce heat to a simmer.

simmer for five minutes and continue to stir.

allow the mixture to cool.  strain out the lavender.

pour into pretty bottle.

voilĂ !

be sure to comment below with your ideas for different recipes using lavender simple syrup!


our 2016 christmas card

i've finally tackled the task of writing, addressing, and mailing out all of our 2016 christmas cards.  it really only took a few days, but i worked on a few cards each day after work until they were finally complete and ready to send out (probably took me a little longer too because my handwriting is awful, and i have to "try" to make it somewhat decent).  also, i have no idea how people have enough time to write those christmas essays they include with their cards, describing their year prior and things they've accomplished (mine would go something like this, "i worked too much, i ate a lot of food, i slept, and i cuddled my dog a lot.  the end").  ha!

i have a fun time coming up with a photo idea for our card each year (luckily, cory normally goes along with whatever i decide... even if he will only agree to pose for pictures for no more than five minutes. haha).  this year we kept it a bit low key in our christmas jammies.  of course, i had to include a solo photo of louie in his jammies because he's so darn cute in them!

we ordered our cards via paperless post.  they have so many cute designs (including my favorite featured designer, rifle paper co.), and they take such great care when shipping your cards to you. along with being shipped in your typical cardboard container, the cards themselves are secured in a nice sturdy box and wrapped in tissue.  their prices are good, and they're printed/shipped fast as well.

for those of you who didn't get a card this year, please consider the above version completely yours ;)  merry christmas!


rockin' around the christmas tree

cory and i are lucky to live in a state that grows beautiful frasier fir christmas trees, however our schedules don't always allow us to take a four hour drive (each way) to travel to the western part of the state to cut down our own tree.  due to crazy work schedules and a bit of a time crunch, we visited the nearby boyce farms last week to pick out a tree.  they have several types growing on their property that you can cut down, or you can choose a pre-cut frasier fir (they're the best in my opinion... if not just for their aroma alone).  i spotted our tree from afar immediately as we pulled in, it was love at first sight.  once we had the crew trim it and tie it to the car, we got some hot chocolate and walked around the farm a bit.  this place was seriously so cute, and the people working there were so nice... this may become our new tradition rather than traveling so far to cut one down ourselves ;)  

once we got home we dressed in our christmas jammies (and a christmas sweater for louie), we put on some christmas records (michael buble's christmas album is essential, in my opinion.  LOVE HIM), and we went to town decorating our tree!  i have so much fun and look forward to this every year, and 2016 was no exception.  a few pics (and a video, of course because i can't help myself) below:

you can see our 2014 tree pickin' adventure here!


five on friday

i'm linking up today with christina from carolina charm to share my five favorites from the week.  here we go y'all...

1.  a super sweet co-worker of mine picked up these kendra earrings for me on sale at nordstrom rack for $19 (orginally $65!!!!).  the colors in the abalone shell are absolutely beautiful!  can't wait to pair these with a black turtleneck this winter.

2.  all the heart eye emojis for this beautiful christmas decor i saw in anthropologie this week!  i went in looking for a shirt i saw online (couldn't find my size online), and the last one they had left in store was MY SIZE (on sale, too).  i love when the stars align.

i can't stop listening to kacey musgraves' christmas album!  my favorite song from the album is "christmas makes me cry" (thought i was the only one, haha.  it's quite sappy).  also, she does a wicked version of mele kalikimaka!  i love how distinguishable her voice is... even if she's singing a cover song, she still manages a way to give it her signature sound.  and gosh darn it, she's gorgeous too!  okay, i'll admit it... i have a bit of a girl crush. 

last week, i fulfilled my lifelong dream of having a lavender iced latte at ollie's cafe in downtown wake forest.  it was so unbelievably good, that i had to recreate my own at home.  my concoction was pretty darn close... annnd i will be sharing my recipe for lavender simple syrup here on the blog soon!

recently i've been slightly obsessed with the amazing podcast, "my favorite murder" (and by slightly obsessed, i mean i've exhausted my phone battery multiple times by carrying my phone around with me all day wherever i go playing back-to-back episodes nonstop)!  the hosts are hilarious, they make you feel like you are in your living room talking with two of your best friends while discussing various topics like hair dye, cats, and murrrrrder!  it's seriously so good.  several times, they've referenced facts from the above book about ted bundy,  which was written by his co-worker ann rule.  i ordered it on amazon today, and can't wait to crack it open.  any other murderinos out there?

anyways... i hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  stay sexy, and don't get murdered!


louie's one year adoptaversary

this is the first text thread i had with cory, after immediately seeing louie on a nearby rescue's facebook page.  we had been going back and forth about getting a dog for several months.  i've always had a love for schnauzers (i have my first dog, bently, to thank for that), and since "doodle" mixes are kind of the dog of the moment... i remember thinking that a schnauzer-poodle mix would be super cute.  And hark... two days later appeared louie on my facebook feed!  i immediately contacted the rescue, and after a few weeks of paperwork and a recovery period for louie to overcome bilateral ear infections and a severe flea/tick infestations due to neglect... he became ours on october 24, 2015.  

last weekend we celebrated louie's one-year adoptaversary!  i can't believe it's only been a year since he first sauntered through our front door (it's hard to remember what our home was like before we adopted him).  i remember expressing only one fear to cory before we adopted him... i hoped he liked to cuddle and wasn't one of those dogs who wasn't "into" people.  haha... let's just say, i got what i was looking for.  louie, you bring so much joy into our home and put a smile on our faces countless times each day.  i love your passion for car rides (especially when the windows are rolled down), your incessant need for constant belly rubs (even if it means by physical force), the fact that you sleep more than i do (that's impressive to say the least), the cute way you burp after you eat (coming from someone who HATES flatulence), and the way you grab your toys when you get excited and when you greet us with them when we come home from work each day.  we couldn't have asked for a better pup and we love sharing our home with you!  here's a few pics from louie's first adoptaversary:

louie took this celebration quite seriously!

he got a puffer jacket, a new toy, and some treats...

he only cared about the treats!

i used this recipe for his "pupcake"!

he loved it!  especially the frosting :)

happy adoptaversary, louie!  we can't wait for many more adoptaveraries to come!