Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Survival



Made in USA: Tshirt: Everlane // Skirt: old Anthropologie // Pumps: Julie Bee's // Necklace: Loren Hope (similar) // Clutch: Lauren Merkin (similar)

Yes, it's mid-July and I'm dying in the summer heat. I may or may not have just looked at a vacation trip to Iceland because that sounds refreshing right now (yes, I know Iceland is really green and Greenland is really icy. Thanks for the confusion Vikings!) 

I think my biggest struggle with summer heat is not necessarily the heat itself, rather it's the back and forth shock to my system that comes from being outside in the heat, then entering sub-arctic temperatures in every building, and then back to the heat once outside again. It could also be that I run in the morning before work when the humidity is at its highest point and my core temperature takes forever, or at least an XL iced coffee, to cool down. 

Things that are funny: I posted about this skirt almost one year ago! It's a summer necessity. 

How do you cool down in this summer heat?


More summer American made favorites:

Friday, July 18, 2014

American Made at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale




It's here! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale kicked off this morning and runs through August 4th. The timing is always perfect every year because the sale runs through a few family birthdays and ends right before our wedding anniversary. It's the perfect time to buy gifts for family and be a tad bit selfish and pick up something for myself for the upcoming fall. After this latest run of heat and humidity I'm already looking forward to autumn and cooler temperatures. Except for that bathing suit, that needs to happen ASAP!

Are you picking up anything during the Nordstrom sale? Don't forget to try to pick up something made in the USA - there are plenty of gorgeous pieces!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Heat & Humidity Uniform


Made in USA: Top: Tucker (similar on sale) // Skirt: Eva Franco (next purchase!) // Watch: La Mer Collections // Nails: Essie 'Blanc' 
Imported: Shoes: old Delman  (similar on sale

I don't know about where you live, but it's been brutally hot and humid these past few weeks where I live. There will be a day or two where the humidity breaks, usually after a torrential downpour, but otherwise it's been hot. Welcome to July I guess. All this heat and humidity makes me miss winter's frosty temperatures even more. 

I'm in summer heat survival mode and that means loads of silk blouses, plenty of skirts, and easy breezy fabrics. The worst part of this heat has been working on the patio after work. Thankfully it poured the other night so that meant I could take a night off from that fun project. As you can see in the first photo - we've got quite a ways to go! 

More silk tops all made in the USA below. I want all of them, but I'd have to get rid of all of my heavy winter sweaters to make room for them and I just don't see that happening anytime soon. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Patio Makeover: Demolition


When house hunting back in 2011 one of the things at the top of our list was a decent sized fenced in yard for the dogs. There's nothing better than letting the dogs run around in the morning while still in your PJs rather than have to fumble with a leash and walk the dogs in the morning. Especially when they can operate on different schedules if you know what I mean. 

Our yard was one of the things that sold us on our house. We're just a smidge under a third of an acre and while that sounds tiny it was the biggest yard we saw. It has a lovely 6 foot high fence and even more trees to provide a greater sense of privacy. 

However, when we closed on our house the back looked like this: 

Not pretty and even more importantly not safe. The hubs was convinced that our low deck wasn't "up to code" or structurally sound. The joys of buying a "as-is foreclosed home." We actually realized that there weren't any concrete footers for our deck and while our sandy backyard might have provided a soft landing in case the deck collapsed we weren't thrilled at that prospect. 

Finally, now that the kitchen is done we can start to tackle a few other projects around the house. Our first target was the back patio: out goes the unsafe deck and in goes a new 15' by 45' stone patio. No concrete footers needed.  

Operation Demolition was a go! 
We actually salvaged the brick landing area to the side of our deck (we think there used to be a hot tub there) and most of the deck surface wood. We're re-using the brick as trim pieces in the new patio and we're hoping to make outdoor furniture and a bar out of our old cedar deck. But sometimes a piece couldn't be salvaged and that's when the ax came in handy. 

One of the reasons we decided to go with a patio rather than rebuild the deck is because there were existing concrete steps leading down from our patio door that were previously covered up by the deck. The stairs appear to be in good order and the hubs is going to pretty them up good as new. 


We actually found that there was a 2"by 4" running the length of our deck, plus six feet or so in each direction acting as a footer. The wood was just buried in the sand and that was the structural support for our deck. Not awesome.  Would you want your deck support to be rotted like this guy? I don't think so. 

Here's our final outline of the new patio area. We're keeping the patio area on half of the house and extending it much further. The reason for this is the other side of our house has a steeper slope and we don't really want to deal with that level of grading at this point in time. We could easily add onto the patio and relocate our AC unit when that gets replaced down the road. We'll take on those issues as they arise. 



We finished the demo in one weekend (thanks to our brothers!) and the new patio is going in slowly. Mainly because:
- there are 147 concrete pavers to place and they weigh nearly 40lbs each. That's in addition to all the natural blue stone we purchased and the bricks. We purchased 5 tons of stones and that's a lot to move around. 
- it's been ridiculously hot out
- the World Cup has eaten up a bit of our "free time." 

Hopefully we'll be done with the main parts of the renovation this weekend and then we can get onto my favorite part - building the bar! 



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Scenes from OBX


You know you have a relaxing vacation when you come and you have practically zero pictures of the trip between two DSLRs. I don't think I took either one of my cameras out of its case until the third day of the trip and I'm okay with that because I have the memories to rest on.

I'm trying to take a page from my hubs and just enjoy the moment, rather than worry about trying to take a photo of it. Clearly, it's a work in progress, but it's not a completely bad idea. I think it was easier to adopt that philosophy on this trip for two reasons:
- we've been to the Outer Banks before and honestly how many pictures of the ocean does one person need
- I avoid using my camera while drinking and guess what I did plenty of that on the trip!

What's your take on vacation photos? The more the merrier? Or just enjoy the moment?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chambray and Seersucker


Made in USA: Chambray Top: AG Jeans (similar) // Purse: J.W. Hulme // Sandals: Telic // Belt: Chicago Belt Company

Imported/Unknown: old Hat unknown (made in USA option) // Seersucker shorts: old J.Crew (made in USA option) // Shades: old Ray Ban (made in USA option

What does one wear when it's nearly 90 degrees and yet you plan to be outside all day acting like a tourist? My take on this is usually, "what do I wear to ensure my face and shoulders don't get sunburnt" because those are the things that always seem to burn the nanosecond I don't apply SPF 75+.  The hubs thought I was crazy, but sometimes a rolled up long sleeve shirt is just what the doctor ordered.

I was actually brave a few days while in the Outer Banks and I ventured outside during peak sun hours, which I usually avoid like the plague. Granted, the one day was a beach day and I literally walked down to the beach with my own personal beach umbrella and all my friends let me rotate positions so I could stay in the shade for the entire time. And yes, I wore a hat and tshirt into the water because it takes a lot of work to be this pale!  You know you're the token pale beach goer when you hop in line to reapply your sunscreen when parents start chasing their toddlers to force them to reapply.

I may or may not have been the prime example in, "see - Heidi is reapplying her sunscreen. Don't you want to reapply like Heidi?"This is what happens when people your age start procreating and your idea of "growing older" means drinking aged whiskey.

When a 16 month old looks at you and can basically thinks aloud, "why is she so pale?" you know you're pigmentally challenged.

But, guess who came home with zero sunburn? Yeah, this chick!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chasing the Sunset


Made in USA: Dress: Heidi Merrick // Jacket: James Jeans // Sandals: old Sbicca (similar) // Purse: J.W. Hulme 

I have a ritual that I need to either watch a sunrise or a sunset on every vacation. It's just something I've done ever since I was a kid. Like an honest to goodness, drop everything, and schedule 30+ minutes to just soak up mother nature's light show. Last week, the hubs and I were down in the Outer Banks and as the days sped by I was losing chances to watch the sun pass over the horizon. The sunrise is a bit early this time of year and since I got up to watch the sunrise last year on our trip to Nags Head I figured I owed the Outer Banks a proper sunset. 

Which meant leaving dinner early our last night in town, skipping out on drinks with friends for a few minutes, and running across the street to watch the sun dip into the clouds over the Currituck Sound.
 There's just something so calming about watching the sun near the horizon. It's either the optimism of the coming new day or a reflection on the day as it winds down. 

Plus, as one of my friends joked, sunrise and sunset are the only times a ginger like me can hang out near the beach without fear of getting a sunburn. My friends are hilarious. It takes a lot of work and SPF protection to maintain this paleness. 

What's your favorite vacation ritual?