Tuesday, December 31, 2013

13 Things 2013 Taught Me

I really enjoyed writing this post last year, so as today is the last day of the year, I thought I'd do it again. So here goes, 13 things 2013 taught me.

1. My soul is craving adventure.

2. Beautiful things can come from the ugliest situations.

3. A king size bed is the only way to go.

4. I should be more open to new friends. I've found some pretty great ones this year.

5. When people show me who they really are, I should believe them.

6. I'll never regret a pedicure.

7. Scooters are not my friend.

8. Raising a puppy is hard. Especially if said puppy is of the goldendoodle persuasion.

9. You have to ask for what you want if you ever expect to get it.

10. If you can't stand having dinner with someone, going on vacation with them is a terrible idea.

11. I can bake from scratch.

12. I'm allowed to change my mind.

13. Some things will never change.

Happy new year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm back from my holiday travels and just getting into the groove of normal life again, i.e. work. I'll be back tomorrow with new and interesting content! Thanks for hanging with me!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jessica doesn't want

Tuesday's wish list post inspired today's do not wish list post. In other words, if I were telling someone about gifts I'd dislike or buying a present for my archenemy, here's what I'd pick.

Not Wish List


1. Coach bag - Coach is tired. I'm on to other brands. I haven't seen anything I've liked from Coach in about 5 years.

2. Ugg boots - I hate them and pretty much think they're the worst shoe ever invented. Unless you live in Alaska, which I don't and you probably don't either, I'd suggest you never wear them.

3. Anything living - I have no interest in plants(ahem, mother). Please not again. I can't take the pressure of having to keep something alive.

4. Popcorn tin - no one ever eats this stuff. It's gross. Don't do it to yourself or your loved ones. Especially if your loved one is me.

5. Taylor Swift - I don't care for her or her music. So, no.

6. Home Décor - Home décor is so personal, and I'm super picky. Ask my husband. He'll vouch.

7. Anything gadget-y - I'm not into home repair, projects, etc. Not even a little bit. I've rather have nothing than a gadget taking up space. Did I mention I'm super picky?

8. 1000 Shade Eye Palette - Seriously, does anyone eve use this thing? It's not for me. And, it's probably not for you. Spend your $50 elsewhere. Or just give me the cash.

9. Bath & Body Works Gift Set - I have so much B&BW crap that I'm pretty they'll have to bury me with it. It's almost always a no-go. Unless you're buying for a 10 year old. Then it might be OK. Maybe.

10. Towels - Now some people may like getting towels, but I do not. I am very particular about the brand, color, and size of my towels. In other words, extremely hard to please. You setting yourself up for failure here.

What are you not wishing for this year?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Jessica Wants

If I was buying Christmas presents for myself, or providing someone with a wish list, here's what would be on it.

Wish List

1. Butler Tray - I have this idea that I want a bar stand. I think this bulter tray & stand will do the trick.

2. Kate Spade Agenda - I love writing things down, so an agenda is right up my alley. Plus, Kate and I are practically BFFs.

3. Monogram Earrings - I love a good monogram. I mean, I am southern, so...

4. Kate Spade Library Lane - This is my wedding china. I never received all 12 of my place settings, and I'm trying to finish my set. Love this in platinum!

5. Gel Manicure Kit - My friend has one of these, and I have always been so jealous! I'm dying for one.

6. Real Hot Yoga Gift Certificate - Hot yoga is my jam. I will always be appreciative of a hot yoga gift certificate. Namaste.

7. Chanel Chance Perfume - Chance is my all time favorite number 1 perfume. It's my signature fragrance. I just ran out, so I'm in need of another bottle.

8. Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 - Do I really need to explain?

9. Duvet Cover - Our master bedroom is one of the only rooms in our house that we haven't made how we want it. I'm desperate for a new duvet (and side tables and lamps)

10. Couch - Our little pups are doing a number on our couch, and it is dying a slow painful death. It's time to replace it. And keep the dogs of it. Or invest in a Marie Barone style plastic slipcover.

What are you wishing for this season?

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Blogmopolitan Quiz

So I can never say no to a good quiz. I'm linking up with Two Thirds Hazel for this one!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Eye Makeup

This time of year it seems like I'm running from one holiday party to the next. I have 4 to attend this weekend! I love getting dolled up, but 4 times in one weekend is a little much. That's why I've come up with go-to eye makeup routine that can be done in 5 minutes flat.

Here's what you'll need:

1. A fabulous eye shadow palette. I'm using Studio Gear Holiday Smokey Eye Palette*.

2. Brushes - 1 all over, 1 crease, and 1 blending

3. Your favorite mascara

Ready? Here goes...

Dust your medium shade eye shadow shade all over your crease

Smudge your darkest shade into your crease, dragging slightly down to your outside corner

Add a touch of your sparkliest shade right in the middle of your lid

Blend your lightest shade on your brow bone and on the inside corners

Then swipe on your mascara and you're done!

*I received Studio Gear Holiday Smokey Eye Palette as part of my affiliation with Brand Backer, but all opinions are my own. Studio Gear has offered Love & Loyally readers 10% off with code SGHOLIDAY

Friday, December 13, 2013

High Five For Friday

Happy Friday!

So I'll just get right to my 5 favorite moments.

1. Got a new clipless curling iron, and I love it! Tutorial? Maybe

2. Loved visiting Harvard. It made me feel super smart.

3. Crazy about this guy (the beard is now gone, thank goodness!)

4. The Nutcracker at Boston Opera House

5. You know what? No one knew my name. Bummer. 

As always, linking up with Lauren for H54F! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I'll buy you a beer and more randomness

Wednesdays don't really bother me. I've always thought that if I can make through Wednesday, then I can make it through the rest of the week. It's also my "Oh, shit! I've got tons of stuff to do, and there are only 2 working days left this week!" day.

So before I go into "oh shit" mode, I figured I'd share a few random thoughts with you. Because, if I can't be random with you, with whom can I be random?

I've been wheat free for a few weeks now. It really hasn't been that difficult, but you know what I really miss? Lean Cuisines. Who would've thought it would be nearly impossible to find wheat free, preservative laden, frozen goodness? Not this girl.

To whomever invented Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I'd like to shake your hand and buy you a beer.

Ugg boots. Why?

I can't even talk about what a hot mess Miley Cyrus has turned into. Lord have mercy.

Christmas is 2 weeks away and my trees are up, but they aren't decorated. I'm considering not decorating them at all and telling people it's a nod to simpler times.

To reiterate my Facebook post from last week, leggings are NOT pants. Cover your camel, girls.

This year, I spent more money on Kris's Christmas presents than I ever have. He better be so excited on Christmas morning, because I am straight broke. No lie.

I'm feeling like I need to do more with this little bloggy. Anyone have any ideas or want to collab on something? Let me know.

I'm wheat free and I don't eat pork, but I could really go for bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit from McDonalds right now. Yes, you read that correctly. Don't judge.

Um, does the witch on RHOBH freak anyone else out?

My mother informed me in her sweet southern voice that I was in desperate need of more casserole dishes with lids. I informed mother dearest that my casserole dishes only see the light of day when she's in town doing the cooking. I swear her little blue blood heart broke right then and there.

OK, so that's enough randomness for today. I trust you'll all be back tomorrow for more. No? Well, it was nice having you!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Treat Yourself - Fab Finds Under $50

This time of year can be tough. On top of  buying presents for your loved ones, you also have to buy holiday party wear. Plus, you see other stuff you love, but funds are limited. What's a girl to do?

I've searched far and wide to find some great items on super sale - all under $50! Feel free to treat yourself to a shopping trip minus the guilt!

Under $50

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekend Shenanigans!

This weekend my family came up to Knoxville for a visit. I loved having them here. It had been 6 months since I last saw them. We ate a ton, and I played with my youngest nephews. Below are pictures of Zairyn, who turns into a real ham for the camera! Linking up here for Weekend Shenanigans!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Going Natural

I've previously shared that I only wash my hair once a week, much to my husband's dismay Well, I also choose one week a month to be my "no heat styling" week and go natural. I just feel like it gives my hair an additional break. I'm not crazy about my hair's natural texture, but the health of my is important to me so I just deal with it.

This past week was my "no heat styling" week. I have to say, I got into it way more than I normally do. Usually, I just find semi-cute (or at least I hope) ways to pull it back, but this week I wore it down all week.

Here's my natural hair...I just went to bed with a wet head and teased/hairsprayed in the morning.

Here's my normal hair...I blow it dry at night after it's washed and curl it in the morning.

Which do you like better? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bad Decisions & Cheap Wine

This is my life right now.

I saw this quote on Pinterest, I don't know where it originated so I made this little gem to express how I'm really feelings nowadays. If you're interested in the PDF version of this, leave a comment and I will email it to you.


Monday, November 25, 2013

What to Wear: Girls' Night Out

There are few things I love more than a night out with my best girlfriends. Maybe you drink too much and gossip a little, but hey, a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. As I get older, those nights out end earlier and earlier (cough in bed by midnight cough), but that's a different story for a different day.

Girls Night Out

1. Trendy Top - Tops are great way to wear trends. Choose a silhouette that flatters you figure. A peplum top or a sequin tank are great choices.

2. Skinny Denim - Skinny jeans are perfect for GNO. They're sexy, yet comfortable. I always feel like a sexier version of myself when in I'm skinny jeans. A dark rinse or waxed pair are perfect.

3. Cute Pumps - I always like to show my personality with my shoes. I tend to be subtle, and pumps let me be me without being over the top. I die for these studded booties and leopard pumps.

4. Clutch Bag - A clutch that has a wristlet or chain is a must for a girls' night. Clutches have just enough space for your phone, lipstick, and ID without any bulk. I like clutches that pack a little punch, just like these.

What about you? What do you love to wear when you go out with the girls?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When life gives you mustaches

Life is throwing me all kinds of crazy loops lately.

Our floors were being redone, and our stuff was everywhere for what felt like weeks. The dogs are acting super weird and needy, probably because our stuff has been everywhere. I see Kris almost never, which is really starting to take a toll on me. And work, work has been a daily challenge.

This leaves me with almost no time or motivation to do anything but keep breathing.

So the point of this is to say that when life gives you mustaches...

...rock them the best you can. And that's what I'm trying to do!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


In this season of thanksgiving, I would like to take a moment and express my gratitude to those I love.

To Jesus Christ, my ever faithful Savior, I am so thankful for your grace abundant and your never ending mercy.

To my wonderful husband, I am thankful for our partnership and your belief in me.

To my family, I am thankful for your support and unfailing love.

To my friends, I am thankful to for your encouragement and your loving kindness.

Monday, November 18, 2013

6 Watches You'll Love

I haven't had a new watch in two and half years. So pretty much forever. Or at least that's what it feels like.

I only have 2 watches total, but I am itching for more! Since watches are one of the few jewelry items I can wear to work, they're becoming increasingly important to me.

Here are some of my favorites. I'm sure you'll love them, too!


Kate Spade/Michael Kors
Anne Klein/Karl Lagerfeld
Michael Kors/Marc Jacobs

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Vest of Me

I'm loving vests right now! Seriously, I want to wear one everyday. But, can we talk about how much change you can drop on one of those suckers? It's not always worth it. However, if you do some searching you can find a great vest at a great price.

Lucky for you, I've done the searching for you! Which ones do you love?


Faux Fur/Faux Fur

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tory Must Haves

We all know about my Tory Burch obsession. It started with a cosmetic case, and it hasn't stopped. My friend recently got some Tory earrings as a gift, thus the inspiration for this post.

Tory Love

1. Reva Ballet Flats
2. Tory Burch Foundation Sunglasses
3. Robinson Agenda
4. Thea Zip Coin Case
5. Donkey Needlepoint Pillow
6. Marion Small Cross Body
7. Logo Flag Square Stud

Kris, if you're reading this, I'll take one of everything!

Monday, November 11, 2013


Happy Monday!

I spent this weekend at my best friend's wedding, so I'm a little behind in my blog life. Until I can catch up, enjoy the photo below. I spent most of the reception in the photo booth. Wearing mouse ears.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

No taste like home

Being Southern, I know the value of a good meal. Being a working woman, I also know the value of a good cookbook. I'm not my mother. I don't know recipes for the best Southern dishes intuitively. Thank the Lord for Southern Living!

 photo NoTasteLikeHomefinalfrontcover.jpg
courtesy of Southern Living
I need a place to find all my favorite Southern recipes, and No Taste Like Home is that resource!

Here is recipe from the book that I can't wait to try!

courtesy of Southern Living

Coca-Cola Cake

This is simply one of the best sheet cakes on earth. The magical brew of carbonated cola is the secret to its tender texture.

Makes 12 servings

Hands-On Time 15 min.

Total Time 55 min.

1 cup Coca-Cola

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup butter, softened

1 ¾ cups sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

Coca-Cola frosting

¾ cup chopped pecans, toasted

1.      Preheat oven to 350°. Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk; set aside.

2.      Beat butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.

3.      Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.

4.      Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Pour Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake. Sprinkle with pecans.

Note:  Don’t make the frosting ahead—you need to pour it over the cake shortly after baking.

Because Southern Living and Oxmoor House are awesome, they're giving one lucky Love & Loyally reader a free copy of No Taste Like Home!

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