diy · entertaining · Food & Drink · Living · Uncategorized

Relaxed Summer Luau and Advice to a Fourteen Year Old

Hi, loves.

I had every intention of posting on Tuesday, but by the time I made it home from a CRAZY work day (you may have seen my hometown on the news) , I could not focus.

Better late than never, I suppose.

Last Sunday was my eldest niece’s birthday. She turned 14, and I feel OLD! My sister has been down with a herniated disk, so my other sister and I last minute took on throwing a little shindig.

We didn’t have the luxury of time or a large budget, so we kept it a relaxed, glam luau. I thought I’d share the sweet details.

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party

See? A little bit can go a long way. I recycled some of the pom streamers from my engagement party, and I ordered the cute foil balloons and metallic tattoos for fun details. And aren’t the spray-painted pineapples darling?

All in all, it turned out to be a lovely gathering for a lovely young lady! I cannot believe my niece will be a freshman in high school this fall! Her birthday got me thinking about advice I’d give my fourteen year old self….and oddly it is the same advice I am working on internalizing these days as well.

I think it is most eloquently put by Scott Stabile:

Truth bombs. Mantra. Bullies.

This is what I hope to convey to my niece as she enters some exciting and difficult years. This is what I hope to convey through my lifestyle.


Shop my party looks here:

Gold Foil ‘Happy Birthday’ Balloon Set

Metallic Birthday Tattoos 

Summer Birthday Party

Summer Birthday Party



My dear, sweet [W]IT GIRLS, keep on shining like you do.





Fashion · Fashion & Beauty · Uncategorized

The “Good On You” App is a Great Tool for Consumers Supporting Fair Fashion

Good morning!

I hope you all have had a nice week so far–it’s Friday eve, woohoo! I’m currently home from work tired as can be and experiencing some allergy issues…the one downside to Spring. I’m not going to let it get me down though!

I’ve recently shifted focus on this blog towards conscious consumerism and ethical and sustainable shopping. I know that these concepts are a hard sell when put against today’s booming, exciting fashion industry.

At first glance, it appears there are no easy or affordable options for fair fashion, and at second glance it appears to be a whole lifestyle change.

It certainly is an adjustment; however, it doesn’t mean ditching every brand you’ve ever known and loved.

To put this into context, say you wanted to eat better for your health, and possibly also you had interest in the treatment of animals in the food industry. You wouldn’t become a vegan PETA chairman overnight, and truthfully, neither may be the degree to which you want to take your lifestyle adjustment.

This doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference.

You make a difference by becoming knowledgeable. When you grocery shop you purchase meat from places you know give their animals good living conditions; you participate in meatless meals when you aren’t sure about the meat served; and you give yourself permission  to enjoy Grandma’s beef stroganoff guilt-free without questioning her about her meat supplier because you are actively make conscious decisions in every situation that is in your control.

This is how change starts. This is how the difference is made. Small, deliberate decisions and discipline. Not every situation will be ideal. But if you have to power to make it ideal, then do so.

With that being said, today I want to share a really neat app with you: Good On You, an “Ethical Fashion App.”

This app allows you to search through a database of fashion brands to check on how ethical their methods are based on their practices for labor, environment, and treatment of animals. It gives you background on progress brands are making to become more ethical or reasons why they received a low score.


Additionally, the app serves as a database of brands you’ve probably never heard of that have great ethics ratings and allows you to browse through them based on article of clothing for which you are searching.


I think that Good On You is such a great app for pursuing ethical, sustainable shopping practices, and it is certainly a great place to start. I did notice that they don’t have information on a lot of brands on which I was interested in finding out more; however, they do have a field where you can submit suggested brands for them to add to the database. I’ve suggested a couple, so we will see what happens.

I am making a shift towards sustainable, fair trade, and ethical brands; however, I was pleased to see that some of my favorite brands fall under the rating of “It’s a start,” meaning that they are beginning to take action to become more ethical. Three brands I was happy to see fall under this category opposed to “Not good enough,” include Levi’s, Vans, and Mossimo.

As a consumer, I have made the decision that I will support brands in the beginning phases of progress towards ethical and sustainable practices; however, I will be monitoring their progress as information is available.

Friends, I hope you download this app and check up on your favorite brands. It’d be such a delight if you’d even consider making the decision to only purchase from brands scoring “It’s a start” or higher. You have an opportunity to make a difference; use it wisely.

What’s an example of a time you’ve used baby steps to reach  a lifestyle goal?




Culture · Food & Drink · huntsville · Living · Travel · Uncategorized

Green Sangria is Basically the Same as a Juice, Right?

Hello & Happy Monday!

Here’s to hoping everyone had a great and safe St. Patrick’s Day weekend! May the theme of green carry on as you detox post-Patty’s Day celebration.

Benny and I chose to branch out on Friday night. I had been hearing about a Korean fusion restaurant in downtown Huntsville for well over a year now, and seeing their Instagram photo of a green sangria finally won me over. Big Oh’s Korean Fusion for this Irish holiday Americans use as a reason to go hard it is! Makes sense.

Big Oh’s is nestled on the north side of the square downtown, and like many of the restaurants on this block, it is two stories. We elected to sit upstairs in a cozy dining room decorated with photographs of Korea. This is an assumption based on my deductive reasoning. The photos might not actually be of Korea. My photography eye is not yet refined enough to detect the authenticity of such subject matter.

Benny ordered a stout (his drink of choice St. Patrick’s day or not), and I ordered my coveted green “Winter Sangria.” The sangria was great–there was a nice kiwi flavor to it!

We were quite hungry upon arrival, so we knew we wanted an appetizer. I was tempted to order their rice paper spring rolls, which looked amazing on the menu, but we decided to leave our comfort zone and try something crazy. Like…a kimchi bacon pancake.


Perhaps this menu item would more aptly be called a kimchi bacon flatbread, as Benny pointed out that it really didn’t have much in terms of a pancake going for it, aside from its round shape possibly. I digress, this appetizer was really quite delicious! The kimchi gave it a sour, briny flavor, which paired nicely with the salty bacon. Packed with flavor, the kimchi bacon pancake did not disappoint our adventurous hopes.

For an entree, I ordered spicy Korean ramen with pork, also an item I admired from Big Oh’s Instagram. Hear me when I say that I am a changed woman after eating this ramen. It was just that good, and we are both looking forward to the next time we can order it (Benny got the mild ramen with chicken). This dish was so well seasoned, packed with fluffy egg, and topped with crispy pork and melted cheese.


It is a regret we must live with daily that we were too stuffed after our drinks, the appetizer, and our entrees to even take a gander at the full dessert menu. The obvious silver lining to this sad situation is that we have to return for more ramen and to give Big Oh’s dessert menu the chance it deserves.

Jokes aside, we definitely plan to return to Big Oh’s. They had a great menu selection: everything from burgers and wings to traditional Korean cuisine. I highly recommend the ramen! My mouth is watering as I type!

What is the craziest food you’ve tried?



animals · cute · dog · relationships · Uncategorized · Wellness

My Rooney

Hello and happy Friday, friends!

I hope that you have had a great week, and cheers to good holiday weekend!

Today I wanted to share another furbaby story. Say hello to my Rooney.


Rooney is my baggy-skinned, 63 lb weiner dog lookin pupper who LOVES cuddles and following me around.

The last semester before our senior year of university, Benny was so keen on getting a dog. I LOVE animals, particularly dogs, but I had major concerns about getting a pet during our last year in college. I knew that Benny would get one whether or not I agreed, so I decided that I should choose what kind of dog seeing as it’d end up being mine as well.

At the beginning of 2015, we were experiencing some frozen weather. A family friend was working on a construction project and noticed a dog hanging around. One evening he decided to bring her home because he knew it’d be a very cold night and was afraid she wouldn’t survive below freezing temperatures. So he brought the scraggly daschund mix home to sleep in his garage.

His wife made a post on Facebook regarding the dog to see if perhaps it had run away from a loving home. A few weeks later she was contacted by its owner who hadn’t even realized it was missing. Our friends decided to keep the dog and find it a better home than the neglectful one it came from. Before too long it became obvious that the dog was pregnant.

I mentioned this to Benny, but when he saw pictures of her, he was unimpressed. Truthfully, she wasn’t the cutest dog. She gave birth to a pretty big litter of 8 or 9 at the end of February.  When I showed Benny pictures, he told me he didn’t want one of those “ebola puppies.”

Our friends connected with a local rescue group to get the puppies and the mama dog vetted and up for adoption. Within three months, all but two of the puppies and the mama pup had been adopted! One day I was at my mom’s house when our friends passed by as they were walking the two remaining pups.

That’s when I first laid eyes on him. My Rooney.

My first encounter with Rooney.


He was the cutest puppy with an awesome coat and beautiful green eyes. I texted Benny letting him know I’d met our dog. That weekend Benny adopted him.





Rooney was the most joyful, well-behaved baby! His name comes from Benny’s favorite soccer player, Wayne Rooney. Rooney’s amazing little personality definitely sold me on him, but I also thought he’d be a good fit for us because since his mom was a small daschund mix, I figured he’d be a small dog, good for apartment living.


While most of Rooney’s siblings stayed relatively small, Rooney has grown to be my 63 lb boy! It is so crazy! We like to imagine what kind of dog his father must have been…Rooney definitely favors daschund through his head, but he has a brindle coat, long legs, and a curly tail! His tail looks like God held it on a curling iron for a quick second before deeming his creation complete.


Even though Rooney grew quickly, he still believes he is lap-sized, and if he had it his way, I’d carry him everywhere. He is very much a human companion dog. He is friendly towards most other dogs, but he has little interest in them. He is so bonded to Benny and me, that while he is our best behaved animal at home, when my niece watches him, he is the problem child. He acts out when we are away, and he feels abandoned so easily.


Whenever we return from a trip, he gives us the silent treatment for a few hours, followed by howling. He is very vocal and has the most hound dog bark I’ve ever heard! It is low and makes the apartment vibrate it seems. I love that it is a such a deep scary bark because I think it’d deter an intruder were we to ever have one.

Rooney’s favorite pastime is fetch. He loves his Frisbee, and he expects you to keep throwing it until he drops. When he’s not outside playing fetch, he loves chewing on bones and destroying soft toys. We were very paranoid about him being destructive as a puppy, so we always supplied him countless bones and chew toys…as a result, he doesn’t chew shoes or anything of the like; however, he can go through even the “toughest” of bones so quickly!


Rooney is a most loyal companion, and when Benny isn’t around, he is quite protective of his mama. I love that on nights where Benny retreats to bed first, Rooney waits for me and follows me around as I lock doors and close up the kitchen. His face is the one I wake up to most mornings, and he loves to spoon. He’s my precious boy, and sometimes he feels like a true friend. He knows when I am sick or upset, and he is always by my side.

So there you have it, my sweet, sweet Rooneykins.

He fetched a little too hard. Tore up his feet on gravel, poor baby!






“I waz just testing the paint, Mom. Iz promises.”



Have you ever felt like one of your pets was your bff?



lessons learned · love · mental health · reflection · Uncategorized · values · Wellness · womanhood

Introversion is not a Problem, Disorder, or Loss. (It IS a cool way of thinking, creating, deciding, and existing!)

Happy Hump Day!

So today I am doing something a little different. I’ve done plenty of reflection on the blog, but today, I won’t lie… This is a slightly raw topic for me; however, I feel particularly compelled to write about this topic due to recent circumstances.

At the beginning of this year,  I accepted a change in position at work. I’ve gone to sit at a customer site. The exciting thing about this move is that I am a contractor for the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of a government entity. The PAO is sort of a dream for me, as I have a technical background but thrive in creative environments. This position allows me to strike balance between the technical and creative aspects of my personality, all the while supporting a great organization.

The PAO has a vibe like no other. It is almost always buzzing with excitement of upcoming events and projects. Most of the office is staffed with other contractors from my company and some wonderful government folks, so I really enjoy my team.

One of the first things I noticed as I met people in the building where I sit is that almost everyone has a sign indicating their Myers-Briggs personality visible at their cube or desk. For those of you that don’t know, Myers-Briggs can be googled for an amazing personality quiz. 

The system breaks all personalities into 16 different types. I first took this quiz years ago, and my results were dead on! The quiz shares celebrities and fictional characters who share your personality type, and also describes how different personality traits interact. This interaction guide can be really useful for learning how to work and successfully interact with different personality types!
One of the first questions I received from my team on my first day at my new duty station is what personality type I fall under. Without thinking, I responded “The Defender.” Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. ISFJ. 

ISFJs are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity.

I did not expect a reaction beyond “Oh, cool!” to my response.

Instead, I received: “What? An introvert?” “We have an introvert among us!” “Um, I’m going to need you to retake the quiz. That can’t be right.”

I hadn’t even realized that everyone else’s signs started with the letter “E.” These reactions stung initially, but that’s not a new storyline in my book.

While I am a quite social person, and I am able to converse and enjoy interacting with people, there is no mistaking that I am an introvert. I’ve always struggled with a seemingly imaginary social problem, but in reality it is not a problem. It is who I am. I am introverted.


As an adult looking back, I now see that a large portion of  my feeling inadequate throughout childhood into young adulthood can be attributed to introversion. I have always had a strong sense of self. I know what I want. I know what I like. I know my values. The problem is always that my sense of self typical does not correspond with social perceptions of myself. Internally, I chalked this up to me not being enough of…some thing. Of some item valued socially. I chalked it up to my being lacking.

My mother sometimes talks about how as a child I always strove to be like others, to follow norms, and how I always seemed ashamed of how I was or what I had.  Even though I see things with more clarity now, these feelings still flood my plains of thinking occasionally. 

One of my biggest continuous internal areas for improvement is acceptance. It’s normal to want to fit in, and to be valued within a group of people. However, I’ve decided that fitting in and being valued are not worth it if these are occurring for less than the fullest version of my being. While I may not experience these two feelings, I think that it is time to start paving the way for future acceptance of introversion.

I try not to get too down on myself for feeling like my personality type is a problem because as few as seven years ago, experts in the field were considering introversion a disorder according to this Huffington Post article.

That’s right–experts RECENTLY viewed having an introverted personality a disorder. This is pretty messed up. Like majorly messed up. But hey, now is as good a time as any to start the dialogue about the importance of introverts in societal systems.

Thankfully, leaders such as Susan Cain have started platforms to inform and educate people on not only what it means to be introverted, but how and why these individuals are important to a functioning society. Cain’s platform is called Quiet Revolution, and you may recognize her from TED Talks, where she delivers a presentation on celebrating the power of introverts. I get chills every time I listen to her talk because it hits so close to home.

Introversion isn’t a disorder, nor is it a lack of competence in social situations. Introversion is truly a difference in where an individual draws her or his energy. Introverts find power, answers, and energy from within; whereas, extroverts draw theirs from external environments.

For example, I love spending time with people! I love being a friend. I enjoy working on a team. However, naturally I am in my head. I plan, create, and execute all things in my head before I vocalize them when left to my organic devices. 

While I love collaborative efforts, I am most comfortable presenting what it is that I bring to the table after I’ve prepared, and I also need time to recollect afterwards. I used to mistake some of this nature as self consciousness, but now I understand that this is part of my introverted nature. I thrive most when I am go through processes internally and personally versus candidly. 

I guess this is my feeble call to action: quit buying into the idea that whomever is loudest is the best or right. Extroverts, I challenge you to look at your workplace, your home, your group of friends. I challenge you to tune into the introvert in one of these places. Seek what they have to say. Study them. Embrace them.

Introverts, I challenge you to accept yourself. Accept who you are. The way you are, and let your work speak for you, rather than forcing yourself to raise your voice!

I hate feeling like I am less than enough, and I hate even more the idea that a lot perfectly talented, intelligent people do at times all because they aren’t loud or as outgoing as an extrovert. 

What is really crazy to me is that according to my Myers-Briggs results, ISFJ is not an uncommon personality type. It reported a statistic higher than 10% of our population (presumably speaking about the United States) shares my type! It’s time to change how we perceive those that draw from within for energy and inspiration.  

What is a time people have viewed one of your personality traits as a disadvantage? How did you disprove them?


“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.”
― Susan CainQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking



animals · dog · fashion · Fashion · Fashion & Beauty · ootd · physical health · scheduling · Style · Uncategorized · Wellness · what I wore

Bunny Chasin’, Tongue Scrapin’, and GRATITUDE

Good morning, y’all! I’m sippin’ on coffee #2 in hopes it helps my body vaguely remember what is a routine.

I listen to this podcast called The Ultimate Health Podcast on a regular basis (highly recommend!) and the hosts ask every guest about his or her morning routine. There is a lot of research behind the habits of successful people, and something they tend to have in common is a set morning routine or ritual. The Ultimate Health Podcast are not the only ones onto morning routines–I see a lot of articles addressing this topic on my favorite website, The Everygirl, as well.

Prior to the wedding and holiday season, I got into a few consistent morning habits. In honor of today being my first day of work this year, I decided to make the most of my morning.

I got up bright and early and took the doggos for a walk. They enjoyed fresh air and chasing bunnies. We managed to only splash through a couple of puddles.

Wut where?!
Hungry muffins post bunny hunt

After I got the muffins back, mud off their paws, and food in their bowls, I drank a whole 8 oz. of water before I brewed my cup of joe. That’s right. I wasn’t joking when I said I made the most of the morning. (I frikkin hate water first thing in the morning, but it’s 2017 gosh darnit.)

Before I let the first sip of caffeine run down my throat and touch my soul, I scraped my tongue. You may be thinking you read that wrong. But you didn’t. At the beginning of fall I purched an Ayurvedic tongue scraper. Believe it or not, tongue scraping is a hot topic on The Ultimate Health Podcast. 

The thought behind the practice is that when you scrape off the white film that forms on your tongue over night, you reduce bacteria in the mouth and stimulate your digestive system, thus waking up the body.

After I finished getting ready for the day, I logged my 5 points of gratitude. I got into this habit last year. Every morning I jot down 5 things for which I am grateful. I try to make these items specific. Some people do a similar practice before bed each evening; however, I am more successful at consistency if I do this in the morning, and it helps me form a positive mindset each day.


What about you? Do you have any morning rituals?


Shop my outfit of the day:


Shirt is less than $15 if you use code SHOPCREW

Pants are on sale for less than $30