Weekend Recap: My Dad’s Birthday

Hey friends!

I took a bit of an unintentional break after my post on Wednesday. My Dad flew into town for his birthday weekend. His actual birthday was on Friday, so we drove up to Greenville, SC, to spend the evening with my aunt (my Dad’s baby sister).

downtown-greenville

I absolutely love downtown Greenville because it is so quaint and charming. I especially love all the lights in the trees which gives it a romantic vibe at night – until I realized I was out with my Dad and Aunt…not so romantic anymore.

We started the night at the West End Grille for dinner. If only the lighting hadn’t been so dark. I could have shared some more food pics. Oh. My. Word. It was so good! Like, thank God this restaurant is dark so no one can really see me stuffing my face with all the food, good.

dad's birthday

This cake? Shoved it in my mouth. Nom. Nom.

dad's-birthday

The birthday boy contemplating his birthday wish. It took all my patience not to dig into the cake while he was not looking. The tiny flame on top managed to deter me.

dad's birthday

After a ridiculously delicious meal, we decided to head to the sister restaurant of West End Grille, Nantucket, for an after dinner drink and photo shoot.

cheers-greenville

dad's bday weekend

Saturday morning, I was awoken at 7:30 AM sharp by the sound of donkeys. Yes, donkeys. My aunt and uncle live on a farm and their neighbors have donkeys who moonlight as alarm clocks.

south carolina farm

When one is woken up by donkeys on a Saturday morning, one must go to Cracker Barrel and eat all the food.

I also saw this in Cracker Barrel’s store:

Christmas in October

I know it’s not even Halloween. I know. But still…Christmas : )

We left Greenville to head back to Augusta around 1 because someone (my Dad) had to be home in time to watch the Georgia game. We did have time to make a brief pit stop for game day snacks though: boiled peanuts!

boiled peanuts

Sunday was another early wake-up call to take my Dad back to the airport. Why did no one want me to sleep in this weekend??

After dropping my Dad off, I went to the early service at church. It felt so weird to get out of church around 10:30. I then went home to do fun stuff like laundry, dishes and take 3 hour naps. #truth

I’m really hoping that nap will carry me over until next weekend. I don’t know what’s up with me, but I have been so tired lately! Even with a full 8 hours of sleep, I want to murder my alarm clock when it goes off in the mornings.

All in all – a great weekend for the books! I’m so grateful I was able to spend another birthday celebrating with my “old man”!

How was your weekend?

When is it acceptable to you for stores to start displaying Christmas stuff?

Anyone else feeling really tired lately? Is my body lacking some kind of nutrient or something?

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Workout Wednesday: Hotel Room Workout

Y’all know I love traveling. A lot. But the one bad thing about traveling so much is that it can be hard to stay consistent with your workout routine. Whenever I’m on vacation, I always try to stay fairly active by walking around sight-seeing. However, some of my trips this year have been work related which means: meetings with sitting – hour upon hours of sitting.

So, what’s a fitness loving girl to do when stuck in a hotel room for work travel, bad weather, etc.? Well, you just have to embrace your surroundings and get a little creative!

Let’s take a little tour around the average hotel room and see what we can find!

Did you know these water bottles are dual purposed…

hotel room workout

Hydration and light weights all in one! Because let’s face it, I’m not going to waste one bit of my allotted suitcase poundage on hand weights when it could go toward clothing instead. Priorities, people : )

hotel room workout

Every hotel room has got some of these hanging around…

hotel room workout

Which make for the perfect make-shift yoga mat. Because hotel floors are just gross – 20/20 told me so!

hotel room workout

You don’t have to stay somewhere fancy to have a chair in your room. Hello, chair squats and triceps dips!

hotel room workout

So, next time your stuck in a hotel room with limited time, don’t fret, I got your back! Here is my tried and true Hotel Room Workout that can literally be done almost anywhere.

hotel room workout

If you have any questions about any of the moves you see in this workout, feel free to ask me!

Do you have any go-to workouts when you stay in a hotel?

Do you ever pack workout equipment (beyond clothing and shoes) when you travel?

Hotel fitness centers: how do we feel about them?

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Time for a New Look

Happy Monday y’all! Notice anything different around here? ; )

I figured that with my blog turning a year old this month, it was time to finally get a more customized look. Something that was more “me.” I have to give a huge thank you to Jenny from Peanut Butter and Jenny for being the graphic design genius behind the new look. I asked for a clean and classic look and am in love with the results! I absolutely loved working with Jenny and would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a lil somethin’ somethin’ to make your blog stand out.

Now, on to my weekend!

I went to Atlanta with Leeanne this weekend to pick up my wedding dress, do a little shopping damage and pick up Leeanne’s sister-in-law from the airport.

ATL with Leeanne

I fell in love with this dress from Anthropologie until I realized that I had absolutely no where to wear it to nor did I have $252 to spare. Sad times.

anthropolgie ATL

Apparently, the store that my wedding dress shipped to was located in Terminus. Any Walking Dead fans out there will totally get the significance of this. Thankfully, I made it out alive and in one piece.

terminus atlanta

For dinner, we stopped at the most magical restaurant ever: Zinburger. A wine and burger bar?? Yes, please! I wish I had taken a photo of my burger, but I was too busy stuffing my face to mess with any distractions.

zinberger atlanta

Sunday was spent going to church, completely a 10 miler for my marathon training, napping with the cats and watching The Walking Dead season 5 premiere! Carrrlll!

Speaking of marathon training, I probably need to update y’all on that. I’ll work on something soon.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

What did you do this weekend?

Anyone watch TWD? How do we feel about last night’s episode?

P.S. I’m still in the process of trying to do a few updates to my blog, so any comments or suggestions are completely welcome : )

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#MyCosmoStyle Challenge

Hey y’all! Happy almost Friday : )

It’s probably no secret to you by now that I love all things fashion. In fact, I wish I just had an unlimited amount of money to spend on clothing. Sadly, that is not the case, nor will it ever be the case. So, when Jennifer from Vegas.com reached out to me  about participating in the #MyCosmoStyle challenge, I couldn’t say no. I mean, if you can’t actually go to Vegas, then the next best thing is imagining that you are!

I went to Vegas about 4 years ago and just loved the fact that I was able to step out of my box a bit fashion wise.

las vegas style

las-vegas-style

Please excuse my outdated looks. I promise I was pretty cool at the time.

So, with the challenge, I get to show you how I would transform my outfits from day to night while staying at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas.

During the day, my main goal is to be cute yet comfortable when I’m traveling. Especially when walking along the Strip and seeing all the gorgeous hotel properties. Buffets are also a big thing in Vegas (which is probably why I liked it so much), so you know I’m going to wear something with a little extra give for that second trip up to the buffet. Just keepin’ it real!

#mycosmostyle

I’m really into red pants at the moment. It’s great being able to have such a bold, statement piece and then work around that. During the day, you don’t want to overdo it too much even if you are in Vegas.

Jeans: Hudson Nico Skinny Jeans

Shirt: Athleta Strip Crop Top

Purse and Sunglasses: Kate Spade

Lipstick: YSL

Boots: Halogen “Glenna” Leather Ankle Bootie

Come nighttime in Vegas, anything goes! I try to stay pretty classy with my evening style, yet you always want to add in some edge.

This is an outfit that I wore in NYC that could easily be re-purposed to suit the Vegas night life scene. (Um hello, trashcan in the background – gotta love NYC!) To spice this look up for Vegas, I would switch out my black pumps for some silver heels and ditch the green statement jewelry in favor of some more bling. Of course make-up is also a girl’s best accessory, so I’d finish the look with a bold lip – probably a bright pink.

las vegas fashion

The Cosmopolitan has a ton of nighttime activities from restaurants to the casino. They even have Bruno Mars playing a few shows out there. I would totally jam out to some Bruno Mars in this outfit.

Now, I’m off to go dream about seeing Bruno Mars in Vegas…my birthday is coming up (hint hint, Mom!).

Quick note: my blog will be down for most of this weekend as some exciting changes are coming this way. Check back Monday to see the new and improved blog : )

Have you ever been to Vegas before?

Do you plan your outfits ahead of time when you go on trips?

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Let’s Give Back!

Oh hey there! Hope your week is going well so far! My travel hangover has finally subsided. Thanks for all the concern ; )

Remember how I mentioned that I had several exciting things lined up for y’all in October? Well…what I’m sharing today just so happens to be one of them!

I’m teaming up with my incredibly talented friend Leeanne from Leeanne Usry Fine Art & Photography for a fun floral crown and custom family print promotion!

floral-crown-promotion

Starting now through the end of November, 20% of each floral crown or custom family print sold through Leeannee’s Etsy shop will be donated directly to charity!

You’ve seen the floral crown around the blog before modeled by yours truly : )

crown1

Each floral crown is handmade by Leeanne and can be customized to fit your own unique style.

10563175_620323628086400_4562896318760703439_n

With Halloween, fall (perfect photo shoot season) and the holidays coming up, these crowns make the perfect gift!

Speaking of gifts, another absolutely perfect holiday gift would be these custom family prints:

custom family print

custom family print

Sorry to all my family members and friends who read this, you might have just gotten a peak at your Christmas gift. Whoops.

Now, I’d like to introduce you to the two charities we will be supporting through this promotion. First of all, let me introduce you to probably the most talented person I know, Leeanne! Below, Leeanne and her gorgeous daughter, Ava, are rocking the floral crowns in an impromptu Mommy/Daughter shoot.

Leeanne Usry Photography

Therapeutic Options, Inc.

Leeanne’s charity is Therapeutic Options, Inc. which is a local organization that provides funding to Augusta area families in need of physical, occupational or speech therapy for their children. This charity is especially close to Leeanne due to the fact that her daughter has a mild case of cerebral palsy. Leeanne knows first hand the emotional and financial strain that can be put on families who have children in need of specialized therapy (which insurance doesn’t always cover by the way). Leeanne firmly believes that no sweet, innocent child should ever be denied the help they need to succeed in life which is why Therapeutic Options, Inc. is the perfect charity for her to support!

Kitty Konnection

I’m proud to support another local charity that is also very close to my heart. Y’all know I that my heart is completed melted by animals. Kitty Konnection is a local foster/adoption group that specializes in kittens and cats, but never turns away any animal in need. I was fortunate to find my own sweet girl, Luna, from them back in March and have been a big supporter ever since. Kitty Konnection relies entirely on the kind hearts of the people in the Augusta area to foster their adoptable animals and provide the funding for basics like food, litter and shots. Occasionally, as in Luna’s case, an animal will come to Kitty Konnection in serious need of medical attention or surgery. Again, Kitty Konnection relies on the donations from the community to ensure these babies get the medical care they need to live a long and happy life.

Well, there you have it! Now, how can you say no to helping out children and animals?? I’m pretty sure you can’t : )

So, starting now – as in, this very second as you are reading, you can help make a difference in the lives of some local children and animals by purchasing your own floral crown or custom family print.

Click here to visit Leeanne’s Etsy shop and order today!

Thank you in advance for all your support! Leeanne and I are so excited to be able to help raise money for some of our favorite charities and give back to organizations that mean so much to both of us.

Do you like to give customized gifts around the holidays?

How early do you start Christmas shopping usually?

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Travel Hangover

Confession: I intended on putting this post up on Friday. But…after getting back in town later than expected (oh hey, flight delay) on Thursday, I was just exhausted. Does anyone else experience travel hangovers? When I’m traveling, I feel like I go, go, go all the time because I don’t want to miss anything. Then, I come home and just go into zombie mode. You know the saying “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation”? Yeah, I get it. Completely.

So, this weekend was pretty low key. I spent it hanging out with friends, seeing a movie (Gone Girl – liked it better than the book), and loving on my cats who were clearly so deprived of snuggles during my week long absence. Oliver spent a good 30 minutes stalking a lizard outside my window on Sunday. Riveting stuff.

oliver

Now, it’s on to my final recap from D.C. I promise!

Sunday night, my Mom and I caught a play at the historical Ford’s Theater.

ford theater

ford theater

After my conference on Monday, we took a tour of Arlington National Cemetery. I felt so incredibly small among the endless hills of white stones marking the final resting places of our nation’s heroes.

arlington cemetery

No trip to Arlington would be complete without witnessing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I don’t think I have ever heard such silence. I was so impressed by the absolute perfection of the ceremony.

changing of the guard

changing of the guard

Wednesday evening (my last night in D.C.), I met up with some friends who recently moved to the area. We had dinner in Alexandria which is hands down the cutest town in America. I mean, look at that Starbucks. Cute! The streets even had cobblestone. Stop being so precious, Alexandria!

cutest starbucks in America

And there you have it – my trip to D.C.! I’m definitely looking forward to going back sooner rather than later. I loved the feeling of being in a real life National Treasure movie. Where is Nicolas Cage??

How was your weekend?

What do you think: travel hangovers – real or just in my head?

Favorite Nicolas Cage movie (it’s so hard to pick!!)?

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WIAW: D.C. Eats

Hello again and happy October!! October is one of my favorite months (just right below November), so I’m one happy girl right now.

Well, except for this: the WIFI in my hotel is just downright painful. It took me a good half hour to get a decent connection in my room, and even now it’s still kinda spotty. Nothing will make you want to break things faster than the internet not working when you need to do work. Technology – can’t live with it, can’t live without it. It won’t hold my fall fever down though!

So, continuing in my D.C. themed week here at the blog, I figured I would just round up all of the delicious food that I have been eating while I’m here and put it into one little post. Therefore, I bring you…WIAW: D.C. Eats!

wiaw

Breakfast

Breakfast has pretty much been granola bars around here except for a brunch outing with my Mom where I got this massive bowl of granola and yogurt, Just massive.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Dinner

Because lunch is really irrelevant with dinners like these!

vegetable gratinVegetable gratin

sea bassFresh sea bass

bacon cheeseburgerBacon cheeseburger with sweet potato fries

pizzaTomato basil pizza

Dessert

Because it’s not vacation without dessert at dinner!

chocolate chip bread pudding

Chocolate chip bread pudding.

chocolate souffleChocolate Souffle

fresh berries

Fresh berries with mascarpone cheese and honey

bread puddingApple walnut bread pudding with vanilla gelato

Now, excuse me as I go run 5.5 million miles to even out all this delicious food!

A special thanks to the following D.C. restaurants for contributing towards my new wardrobe since I probably need a new size of pants now.

Old Ebbitt Grill

Old Hickory Grill

Chef Geoff

Fiorella Italian Kitchen

How do you find restaurants to try when you are traveling?

Do you splurge when on vacation and get desserts…everyday like me? Please tell me I’m not alone!

Best thing you’ve had to eat lately…

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Washington D.C. – Where Do I Even Start?

Oh my goodness – y’all should have warned me that Washington D.C. had so much to see. Talk about being over whelmed! I don’t really know what I expected from D.C., but let’s just say Scandal did not adequately prepare me! I have no clue where to even start because I feel like I’ve seen so much in the short time I’ve been here. I think I’m going to have to break this trip up into several posts. So, just a fare warning, it’s going to be D.C. overload here on the blog for the next week. Hope you don’t mind : )

To break this up since I’m sure y’all don’t want a to read an hour long post, I’ll just focus on Friday and Saturday of my trip today.

Friday

I met my Mom at the airport right around lunchtime, and we headed into D.C. to check-in to our hotel for the night: the W Washington D.C. I could not have asked for a better location for a hotel. It was right in the heart of downtown plus the building has been recently renovated and it’s just gorgeous!

w washingtonw washington

Pretty swanky, right? And check out this view from my room. Oh hello, Department of Treasury building. Sure, I’d love some gold : )

dept of treasury

After settling in, we made our way out to the National Mall and headed to the Museum of American History where I saw everything from Dorthy’ shoes from the Wizard of Oz to Stubby the doggie war hero to the table and chairs where General Lee surrendered to General Grant ending The Civil War.

wizard of oz shoes

stubby war dog

civil war chairs

After dinner on Friday night, we headed up to POV, the rooftop bar at the W, which boasts some of the most incredible views of D.C.

Oh, hey there White House.

white house at night

Saturday

Saturday morning started bright and early since my Mom and I had a 7:30 AM tour of the White House. Yes, that White House. Sadly, no pictures were allowed inside (what’s up with that Mr. President??), so you’ll just have to take my word for how beautiful and timeless everything is. It also made me really mad that my Dad just looks like Bill Clinton and wasn’t actually the President at any point in my life. It would have been so cool to live there! Hey Dad, hop on the 2017 train: Team Wells!

white house tour

After the tour, my Mom and I went to the Holocaust museum which was something I have always wanted to see. It was so humbling and a great reminder of just how strong the human spirit can be even in the midst of remarkable evil.

We finished out the day by taking a bicycle tour around the National Mall to get a quick view of some of the monuments: Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Washington Monument.

washington monumentphoto 3lincon-memorialwhite house

Sadly, we had to leave Downtown D.C. Saturday evening and head to the Gaylord at the National Harbor since my conference started Sunday morning. However, there’s still so much more left for me to share that we have seen since…but you’ll just have to wait for that!

To be Continued…

Have you ever felt overwhelmed when visiting a city?

Who is your favorite U.S. President and why?

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Friday Faves: So Scandalous

Happy Friday! I’m on my way to D.C. today, so any last minute tips or sights I need to check out are appreciated!  Before I head out, I have a few new favorites to share with you this week.

Have a great weekend and we’ll catch up on Monday!

1. Fall TV

Praise the Lord, the summer hiatus is over! This week Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal all started back. Now I can put a stop to the Netflix addiction that developed over this summer. Oh wait, who am I kidding – like that would ever happen!

netflixing

2. Scandal – inspired fashion line

What’s better than my favorite show starting back up? How about my favorite show releasing a fashion line at one of my favorite stores the same week it’s new season premieres?! If you watch Scandal, then you know that Olivia Pope is literally a gladiator in a suit. She wears the most beautiful, tailored pieces that make me just want to move to D.C. and become a politician. This thoughts lasts for approximately .5 seconds until I realize I would make the worst politician ever. But I digress…I made a trip over to The Limited for the fashion line’s release on Tuesday and was so impressed!

scandal fashion line review

I fell in love with this dress. It was so well constructed and had little details such as the front draping that made it far from an ordinary work dress. I almost bought it and then I realized that I wear jeans and yoga pants to work most days and could not justify the $128 price tag. Please let my size still be available when this dress is on sale!

scandal fashion line review

Of course I couldn’t walk away empty handed, so I did splurge on these white pants. They are double lined and honestly the most well made pair of pants I think I have ever owner. I will walk around like a boss every time I wear these in the future – which may be everyday.

3. Fall Weather

I know I mentioned this yesterday and all, but the weather since fall officially started has been so on point. This week was all about cool temps and grey skies. Yes, please and thank you! I’m such a grumpy cat at heart.

grumpy cat sun

4. Whole Foods

whole foods augusta

Another exciting thing that happened this week in my life – Augusta got a Whole Foods! I have never stepped foot in one until this week and now I don’t know how I ever lived without one. They have a cookie bar! Enough said.

5. John Mayer Lyrics

I know this may sound crazy, but John Mayer has literally written a song for every season of my life. There’s something about the fall that makes me go a little more John Mayer crazy than normal. I know some people like to hate on John (yeah, we’re tight), but I will always love him and his songs.

john mayer where the light is

Ok – who watched Grey’s or Scandal last night??

What TV show are you anxiously awaiting the return of?

What should I check out at Whole Foods?

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Behind the Scenes – My Writing Process

Hey there!

Fall is in full swing here in Augusta today. It’s been rainy/misty all day with a cool breeze and temps hovering in the low 60’s. In other words, I am in my element! Has fall weather hit your city yet?

Awhile back ago, I was nominated by Brynn from Balancing B and Courtney from Running for Cupcakes to share the process behind how I write my blog posts. I kept putting this post off because I just wasn’t sure what to write honestly. I wasn’t even sure if y’all would be interested in hearing the craziness that goes on in my mind when I’m writing. It can be a scary place, ya know.

Anyways, I’m done with procrastinating and figured now was as good as time as ever to show you the behind the scenes aspects of my blog.

writing

The Questions:

1. What am I working on?

I’m just gonna guess that these questions are applying to my blog only. Unless y’all want to know what I’m working on for my life : )

It’s crazy for me to type this, but next month Simply Southern Stacie will officially be a year old. Seriously, where has this past year gone? So, I’m working on lining up a few exciting things as a way to say ‘thank you’ for being such encouraging, honest and faithful readers/friends for the past year.

2. How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?

Clearly, it’s just better, duh. (Please, please tell me you caught the heavy sarcasm there.) I really am not too sure how my work differs. I think there are so many incredibly inspiring and well worded blogs out there. I guess I try to set mine apart by maintaining a sense of transparency. I try to keep things honest and open in how I write even down to my comments.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write each post for different reasons. It really depends on my mood or what I feel like sharing at the time. I write some posts (workouts, reviews, etc.) as a way to hopefully share some experience, insight, or knowledge. Other posts (Friday Faves, Weekend Recaps, etc.) are just me wanting to share some of what’s going on in my life and learn about yours at the same time. As special occasions arise, I sometimes feel the need to dedicate posts to them too.

4. How does my writing process work

Man, this question makes me feel like a legit author. This is some Diane Sawyer material right here.

I have a slight Type A personality occasionally in that I like to plan and organize things. It seriously brings me such joy in life. So, often times I will physically write out what my blog posts will look like for the month.

blog writing

As you can see, my blogs this week didn’t really stick to this “plan.” I use this more as a guide. It just helps me to have topics prepared ahead of time, so I never have to scramble last minute for ideas. If a new idea pops up along the way that I’d rather feature, then I go with that and save the original idea for a rainy day so to speak.

Sometimes, if I’m feeling super organized (or bored), I will flesh my posts out a little bit. This is especially helpful on any posts that require a list like Friday Faves. Otherwise, what I actually say within the blog posts tends to be pretty spontaneous.

blog writing

Well, there you have it – a little behind the scenes look on how things go down around here. I hope you are too traumatized : )

Now it’s your turn! Pick one of the questions above and let me in on some of your writing process secrets.

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