Monday, April 13, 2015

Taking A Blogging Break

You Girls are cracking me up over the "H-word!"

And thank you for your kind comments about the bikini. I love all the friendships and encouragement I receive from my blog friends!  Y'all are the best!

I'll be taking a blog break for the remainder of the month because - ahem! - I have a little special place I'm going with my man to celebrate a pretty darn important milestone in our lives!  You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter because I plan to still post and tweet while I'm away.  I'll be back to blogging again around the beginning of May!

Bon Voyage!

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Top Five For Hawaii

If you're stopping by from the Friday link ups, THANK YOU and I would love to hear from you!  If you're one of my faithful readers {I love you!}, then I know you are sick to death of the H-word.  I promise, promise, promise, after this post, there will be no more mentions of Hawaii, a cruise, or anything else related to it.

Until I get back!  Ha!


                                                      X-tremely V

Today I thought I'd share five things that I'll be taking on the cruise with me. Let's do it!

{one.} A Bikini. Y'all.  I'm 42 years old, celebrating my twentieth wedding anniversary and I'm embarrassed to tell you that I bought a bikini to wear to Hawaii {and, no, the picture below is NOT the one I bought, although I think it's rather cute, but a little too skimpy for me}.  Why am I embarrassed?  I. don't. know.  But just don't expect to see any pictures of me in it.  The truth is, Wayne wanted me to buy one.  He asked me one night when we were talking about the trip, "If this was our honeymoon {which we're telling everyone it is because we didn't go anywhere that special twenty years ago}, would you have worn a bikini then?"  I had to stop and think.  Twenty years ago, I weighed this, I wore a size that, my boobs looked like this..."Yea, yea!  I think I might have worn one back then." To which he replied, "%$@#, yes you would have worn one back then!"  Y'all, there's something to be said for a man that still loves his woman's body.  He is my biggest cheerleader!  When I think I look my worst, he makes me feel like I look my best!  Love you, Babe {I just begged him please, please don't let me embarrass myself by wearing something I shouldn't! I'm just really self-conscious about it}!

Laura McKittrick, The Greenwich Girl: a luxury lifestyle brand and digital magazine

{two.} Sunglasses. If Mr. Horton was all gushy about the bikini, he was NONE to happy to find out that I've misplaced my Costa Del Mar sunglasses.  He actually bought them for me for our anniversary a few years ago.  Now, I say, misplaced because I just KNOW they are in a purse somewhere in my closet - even though I went through all my purses this past weekend and only found the case they came in.  It's the EXACT reason I tried to persuade him NOT to buy them for me!  I can't keep up with sunglasses!  I'm so much better off just buying the cheap ones!  So this weekend, I'll be making another swipe through all my purses and looking in every nook and cranny for the Costa Del Mars. Wish me luck {I've already packed a few cheap pair in case I don't find them}!

☮ American Hippie Bohemian Style ~ Boho Sunglasses . . . wild love
{three.} Dancing Shoes.  I grew up Baptist and if you know anything about Baptists - MISSIONARY Baptists, to be exact - they don't dance.  Or, SAY they don't dance.  Remember the trip to Natchez with my girl friends?  Remember I told you how much '80's music the band played?  Yea, well!  WE DANCED {and we also woke up the next morning saying we were too old for it - ha!}! And I can assure you that I'll be donning the dancing shoes on the cruise! Wayne and I love to dance and it's a romantic way to spend the evening after dinner.  In my opinion. Maybe it's too cliche or seventy-ish to mention dinner and dancing. But I'm not talking about DWTS or any tangos or waltzes. The cruise has got several hot spots on board that we can make this happen!

Stardust Heels in champagne from BHLDN

{four.} A book. You may be thinking, a book?  On a cruise?  In Hawaii? I'm actually hoping to spend a few afternoons on the beach or around the pool doing absolutely nothing but sunning, enjoying a nice umbrella drink, and reading a juicy book. Does anyone have any suggestions for the perfect book? Besides, I need a great read for that 8 hour plane ride that I'm oh-so dreading.

{five.} A big suitcase.  Ok.  I'm reaching here, but it's the truth.  Right now we're down to one HUGE suitcase and one carry-on each.  But I'm thinking another suitcase maybe needed.  I simply have too many dancing shoes and too many products!  What can I say?  Does anyone else have horrible thoughts of your plane exploding in the air and when they investigate why it exploded, it was because of YOUR can of hairspray? Of course, I'd be dead so it really wouldn't matter.  Needless to day, I'm packing a "trial size" can of hairspray. So if the plane DOES explode, maybe it won't be too bad and the pilot can land that sucker.  But, wait!  We'll be over the freakin' ocean!!!


So what does everyone have planned for the weekend?  Anything special?  We have a retirement party to go to and I've got to spend my Ulta coupon {20% off the name brands that I use.  They only do it a few times a year so I stock up} by Saturday.  And Alise really needs her bangs trimmed, but other than that, it looks to be another rainy and relaxing weekend!  I hope you enjoy yours, too!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Liebster Award Day

The FABULOUS Brittany and Katie gave me a HUGE surprise last week and this week by honoring me with the Liebster Award!  Thank you so much, ladies, for your kindness!

You can find out more about these sweet girls here by clicking on their blog below:

The View From Up Here
Better Off Benedict

They had some great questions for me and only one was identical, so I kinda combined them all here:

1. Why did you start your blog? I've been blogging for a while - since 2006 {Wow!  Just seeing that makes it hard to believe that it's been nearly TEN YEARS! I didn't even know what a blog was until I read about it in a magazine all those years ago!}! Our family blog continues to be our family scrap book.  I started it so that our out-of-town family could keep up with us, but through the years, writing has also become a type of therapy for me.  I rant, I cry, I blog. I don't pretend that my life is all rosy.  I post the good and bad.

2. Where do you get inspiration for your posts? Mostly just every day life.  Since it's our scrap book, I'm hoping that the internet is still around one day so that Alise can go back and read and see all the fun we had as a family.  I know there are sites that will "print" your blog, but gosh!  After nearly ten years, that would probably cost me a fortune!

3. Where is your favorite vacation spot? Well, seeing as how our Hawaiian Cruise is coming up in a few days, I would say there.  But honestly, it's wherever we are as a family.  As much as I'm looking forward to getting a week away with my man, I'm going to miss Baby Girl.  We've been to Disney twice and to the beach several times.  I would like to vacation sometime in the future out west.

4. Do you belong to any bloggers associations? No, I've never had any interest.

5. What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I suggest reading this post!

6. What's your favorite memory from the last year? My favorite memory is Christmas morning when Alise saw Jack for the first time.  She had NO idea she was getting a puppy for Christmas and just the awe and wonder of it was great.  I get such a joy watching her cheer, too.

7. What is your favorite quote?  My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11.

8. Guilty Pleasure? A cosmopolitan. Chips, M&Ms, and chocolate chip ice cream!  Oh, and chocolate cake! With ice cream!

9. Favorite movie/book? My favorite movie is Titantic. My favorite book is Redeeming Love.

10. What are three words that would describe you? Loyal, Southern, introvert

11. Which bloggers inspire you the most? When I started blogging, most of the blogs at that time were about family life and I made some AH-MAZing friends.  Unfortunately, some of them no longer blog, but we still keep in touch via social media.  Now it seems that the areas of interest are fashion, recipes/food, etc. and, although those things interest me, I miss that personal connection and relationship with people. I believe the cellphones and selfies have opened up a whole new world for bloggers.  I'm more prone to read someone's blog who is authentic and genuine and that I share common interests with.  I don't read blogs just because you cook well or like taking fashion selfies.  There has to be a connection for me.  I also miss the blogging community and comments.  You know, comments use to be a way of meeting new bloggers and nobody does that now.  It makes me think that some people are more interested in having the greatest and best blog and not care about their audience.  I don't want to fall in that trap.

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I honestly have no idea.  I enjoy my life where I am right now and God has placed me in Louisiana for a reason. I definitely have no desire to live over seas.

13. What is your favorite store? Nordstrom's.  Unfortunately, we don't have one where I live, so I do alot of online shopping.  Their customer service is like no other.

14. What are three things you never leave home without? My cellphone {I will drive back home to get it!}, lipstick, my debit card!  Ha!

15. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends? I enjoy spending time with my family.  I like to bike ride with Alise and sit at our outside kitchen {also known as "the cook shack"} in the evenings and talk to Wayne while he grills.  Sometimes we'll watch a movie together outside.  In the summers, we all swim together in the evenings - until the mosquitoes take over!

16. Who is your hero? I would have to say Princess Diana.  I admired her so much growing up as a little girl.  I watched the royal wedding, read about when she gave birth to the princes and kept up with her wildly popular wardrobe.  She was my first glance at a real princess.  I admired her tight-lip philosophy (unlike so many celebrities today), the love she had for her children and the humnaitarian causes that she supported.  To me, she was perfect and even though I was studying for the CPA exam at the time, I got up at 3AM to watch and cry through her funeral.  A life gone entirely too soon.

17. What was your dream job when you were a child? I don't know that it was necessarily a "dream job," but I wanted to be a teacher.  And a ballerina, but I was never tall enough.

18. What is your biggest pet peeve? People who drive slow in the left lane!!  I think every highway, road, street, avenue, boulevard in the U.S. should be FIVE lanes so that there is a turning lane and that people KNOW it's a turning lane so they can TURN!!

19. What is your favorite food? My favorite food is just about anything Mexican or Italian.  I'm a carb girl, what can I say?  I can put down some chips and salsa and spaghetti!  Just not together, of course.  Yuck!

I nominate the following blogs:

The Mason Bunch (my sweet Southern Belle Cousin)
Life In My Empty Nest
The Other Side of the Road
Keeping It Real One Day At A Time
Simply LKJ
My New Favorite Outfit
A Lovely Little Wardrobe

Go ahead and answer the questions below, create a new set of 10 questions, then pass the award on to 10 other bloggers that have less than 200 followers--making sure to notify them!

Here are your questions
1.  If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
2.  What is your favorite childhood memory?
3.  Dust, mop, clean the bathrooms or vacuum?  Which is your least favorite and why?
4.  What are (or would be) staple vegetables in your summer garden?
5.  What one thing would you do differently on your wedding day?
6.  What do you put on your hot dog?
7.  If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
8.  How do you fold your socks?
9.  What do you enjoy most about blogging?
10.  If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Countdown Has Begun!

I'm declaring Easter 2015 the year of the denim jacket!  Nearly every picture I saw on social media yesterday, someone was wearing a denim jacket!  Even Big Mama in San Antonio was sporting one with her maxi dress!  And y'all KNOW how hot it is in Texas!

For every sunny, spring day we have here in the sister state of Louisiana, we have two dreary, rainy, gray days and yesterday was no exception.  Saturday was beautiful with sunny skies and warm temps and then the rain came and I froze to death all day yesterday!  I could. not. get. warm. yesterday to save my life!!  After we got home from early service {8:15thankyouverymuch}, I ditched the dress and jacket and put on fleece leggins, a fleece pullover and red and white polka dotted socks!  But we had a wonderful day with church, Easter baskets - that Alise swears I did and I just don't have the heart right now to tell her that yes, Alise.  There is no such thing as the Easter Bunny.  Or Santa Clause.  I think all that may change though, when she reaches the oh-so awesome and delightful age of double digits next month - a great lunch of steaks, baked potatoes, salad, and Lemonade Pie with my parents.  It was a great day to celebrate Ressurection Sunday!

After my parents left, Wayne and I watched a few episodes of House of Cards on the big screen in the movie room. We're nearly finished with Season 3 and let me just say that it's not my favorite season.  It seems to be rather slooooooowwwwwww.  And Claire's hair!  Good grief!  Just when I wanted to take a pair of scissors to it, she ups and colors it for some gosh-awful reason and I'm too stunned to know if I still need the scissors.  Anyhoo.  Then I started feeling bad, so we went back down stairs.  Just as I had put on my pajamas and was about to crawl in bed and finish a novel that also seems to be in slow-mode, I got a second wind and Wayne and I started packing for Hawaii.  And packing we did!  I didn't even cut the tags or wash the new items I bought!  I'm just throwing it all in a suitcase and dealing with it when I get on Hawaii island time!  And yes!  I'm over packing!  Our bags are 85.7439% completely packed!

Speaking of hair, I had an appointment Saturday for color and I'm blonde again. Not just because of the trip, but because it's nearly summer (in Louisiana) and I like being a blonde the best.  However, I'm a little disappointed that the color isn't blonder, but I think it's because of the darker shade I was before.  I would ask Anna to go a few shades lighter before the cruise, but she's having foot surgery this week so I wouldn't dare.  It's fine for now, I guess.  Anna wanted to go all over blonde and I was too scared to do that just because I've always highlighted/lowlighted.  I certainly didn't want to look like a beach blonde for the cruise.  That's just me.  No offense to you lovely ladies that like your hair color that way.

Alise is on Easter Break this week - not Spring Break - so we're taking a much needed carefree attitude to how we normally roll.  That's the reason I'm not posting a menu this week!  I'm not sure what we'll be eating, but rest assured, we won't starve.

My blog posts will be more sporatic as we countdown the final days to Hawaii.  I still have lots to do to get ready! You can catch up with me on Instagram and Twitter!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Girls Trip to Natchez

This will be my last post this week as I am looking forward to celebrating the remainder of Holy Week with my family.  I want to encourage you to attend Easter services this Sunday with your family or friends.  Even if you do not currently have a church home, find one and celebrate that Christ is Risen! Because He lives, we have eternal hope and I can't begin to tell you how much that hope has been a constant peace and encouragement to me in my own personal walk with Christ.

Y'all!  We had SO MUCH fun in Natchez, Mississippi, this past weekend on our girls trip!!  If you love the antebellum period of history, if you swoon over the big hoop skirts of the Scarlett O'Hara's, if you enjoy stories of pre-Civil War and how the South rose to its prestige, I can think of no other town to visit than Natchez!  Each spring and fall, the city opens its antebellum homes for tours, known as "The Pilgrimage." The homes are staged to resemble the lifestyle and livelihood of Southern plantation life. My favorite time to go is in the spring because the weather is nicer and the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom.

When I picked Jennifer and Jessica up Friday morning, it was 45 degrees and sunny, but still a little too cool for me. Especially if we were going to be outside and walking for most of the day!  I stayed in a thick North Face jacket until around lunch time when we stopped to eat at Roux 61 just outside of Natchez {In case your wondering, Natchez is about the midpoint between Monroe and Baton Rouge}. Roux is a fairly new restaurant in town and every time we drive by there, the parking lot is packed!  Luckily, we arrived for an early lunch and the food did not disappoint!  It was delicious!  I told Wayne that I would like for us to go back one weekend when we don't have much going on, but we'll definitely have to go hungry!  The food portions are HUGE!

After lunch, we went to the Natchez Visitors Center to pick up our tickets for the pilgrimage tour.  Jennifer chose Rosalie, I chose Monmouth Hall (since we were eating there later that night) and Jessica chose a smaller home, The Burn.  The weather, by that time, was wonderful and I was even able to shuck my blue jean jacket!  Here are a few pics!

The Rosalie - this house is open year round for tours

Monmouth Hall - this home is a very popular venue for weddings

Monmouth's gardens - I think the heavy rains have slowed the Spring foliage, but can you imagine what these pictures would look like in full bloom?  The wisteria over the pergola area alone would be where I would want to get married!

At The Burn - Wayne made fun of me when he saw this pic because I had tennis shoes on.  I brought leopard flats, but never put them on.  We did an awful lot of walking, but Jennifer and Jessica managed to walk in their boots!

After walking and touring, we were rather parched and decided to spend the remainder of the afternoon - until we had to go back to the hotel and get ready for dinner - on Fat Mama's porch sipping margaritas.  Fat Mama's is known in Natchez for their margaritas and tamales.  You can't go to Natchez and not have one or the other!

Later that evening, we had dinner at Restaurant 1818 at Monmouth Hall.  The food was out-of-this-world WONDERFUL!  I would love to go back there and eat again.  I had the Pasta Primavera with vegetables, Jennifer had the steak, and Jessica had the pork tenderloin.  The three of us managed to close the restaurant down.  Ha!  What can I say?  We had a late reservation.

At Restaurant 1818 after dinner - Seeing this just made me realize that I wore blue the entire weekend!  Ha!  I actually brought a red sequined blouse to wear, but decided to wear the blue sequined instead.  Notice I switched the tennis shoes for leopard wedges!

For late night entertainment, we went to listen to a few bands that were playing in the area.  Our first stop was Biscuits and Blues and I was so disappointed for several reasons.  First of all, the look of the place inside did not appeal to me, the band did not appeal to me {blues music}, and the biscuits - for which they are known for - did not appeal to me {yuck!}.  I guess you could say the place was just not what I had in mind for such a catchy name.  We moved up the street to Bowie's Tavern next.  When we first got there, the place was rather empty and we didn't hear any music playing.  Our waitress told us that the band was taking a break.  When they came back and started playing, the first song they played was "Sweet Home Alabama," and I knew I was where I needed to be!!  We had the best time that night with the band playing mostly all 80's music!  We closed Bowie's Tavern down, too!

On Saturday morning, we slept in.  Our first activity of the day was a carriage ride through the historic downtown center of Natchez.  We loved hearing all the old stories of the town and people.  On the ride, I asked where Greg Iles lived. For those of you that don't know, Greg Iles is a Natchez writer, similar to Michael Connelley (who I love!), Harlan Coben, and Tess Gerritsen.  He writes about the town of Natchez and the South and his series character is Penn Cage. Maybe you've heard of Natchez Burning?  I highly suggest the series!  Awesome writing, but Greg's books are not easy, quick reads.  His characters, settings, and themes are highly interwoven and complicated.  Our guide showed us his house where he conducts business and does some writing (but he doesn't live there) and it's right across from the Mississippi River.  A little unusual looking, but here's a pic.  It was a running joke with us all weekend that we were stalking Greg Iles!

Y'all see Hal the horse smiling for the camera?  Our guide was holding a carrot over him to make him smile!

Before leaving town, we had lunch at Pearl Street Pasta, another restaurant that you have to visit when in town! Last and final stop was to see the "Turning Angel" in the Natchez County Cemetary.  You'll have to google it and read all about it, but it's also the title of one of Iles' books in the Penn Cage series.  We had hoped to do a cemetary tour, but it was only on audio and we wanted a real, live person to guide us.  The Turning Angel has a reputation similar to the Mona Lisa - her eyes are suppose to follow you where ever you are in the cemetary.  It's a Natchez landmark.

It was a sad afternoon crossing back over the mighty Mississip to go back home to Louisiana, but we had a great time! We're already planning another trip next year and we're thinking about taking our girls with us.  We'll see.

Happy Easter, everyone!