Small Town America

Whenever we travel, I always enjoy getting off the interstate and taking the highways. You can see so much of small town America on the back roads that you miss when you take the quick and easy routes. It’s usually worth the time and effort it takes to travel lesser known roads because you get to see and experience the culture and flavor of the regions that make up our great country. God has made each part of our country to have its own unique personality, and we see so much of Him when we take time to enjoy other cultures.

We came home from Orlando through south Georgia, and its was all back roads for us! Here are a few of the local sights we would have missed if we hadn’t ventured off:

Small Town America

Magnolia Plantation has everything you need to feel like you’ve been through south Georgia! They are known for Vidalia onions, so the pepper sauce is abundant.

Small Town America

I don’t know Pappy, but I bet he makes a good White Lightnin’ sauce!

Small Town America

And who doesn’t need a pair of hot oink baby Minnetonka moccasins!?! Aren’t these the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Too bad my girls are too big for these!

Small Town America

Whether you’re a fan of GooGoo Clusters, salt water taffy, peanut brittle, or divinity, you can find it in south Georgia!

Small Town America

Sure, there’s the obligatory kitch like flamingo oil paintings and I heart Georgia shot glasses…

Small Town America

And you haven’t lived until you’ve had a cold Coke from the little green bottle!

Small Town America

After a few minutes at Magnolia Plantation, we scurried up the road to Carroll’s Sausage and Meats.

Small Town America

Not only do they sell the best hand crafted rockers (which I’m regretting my decision to leave behind!)…

Small Town America

But the meat selection is our kind of deal. We left $49 poorer, but with next week’s breakfasts planned.

Small Town America

The Big Guy was in his element choosing our smoked sausage, jerky, and hot breakfast sausage.

And we would have missed a real spectacle with these cotton fields, bursting with white. I so wish I’d had a pair of clippers to stop and snip a few branches. Do you think the farmer would have minded?

Small Town America

I’ve never regretted taking the long way home. We have had the opportunity to see so much more of what makes life have texture and purpose by taking the road less traveled. And you can take that as literally or as figuratively as you’d like.

Camry Bold, Auburn Bold

Y’all know I’m a sucker for an old classic made new again! Given the choice, I’ll take a remade classic over a new design anyway. The other day, Camry came calling to ask if I’d participate in a campaign featuring their 2015 model, and since it was all about putting a bold, new twist on a classic, I was in like Flynn.

The idea of the campaign was to take an old tradition (like the #1 selling car in America – the Camry), and be bold about doing it a new way. Since the 2015 Camry has been totally redesigned (a bold move, for sure!), we were to totally redesign our tradition as well. There’s nothing more traditional in the south than SEC football, so we went BOLD with a weekend in Auburn.

Camry Bold

Let me back up a little. I am an Auburn graduate, but my husband went to Mississippi State. Through the years, we have had a fun rivalry between the two of us, and we have passed it on to our children. Although I look back on my time in Auburn as one of the best seasons of my life, our roots have been planted in Mississippi State since we married fifteen years ago. We take our girls there, attend ball games there, and it has been our “home team” for years. In fact, we have been to countless Mississippi State games over the years, but I have NEVER, not even once, taken my family to Auburn for a ballgame. This year I decided to get BOLD and do a weekend in Auburn RIGHT!

Camry Bold

Of course, we needed a Camry for the weekend and Toyota graciously supplied us with a 2015 model to drive. Now, you know I drive a big ‘ole SUV, so I wasn’t sure how we would make it for a whole weekend in a sedan. Well, let’s just say we gained a whole new perspective about how well our family of four fits into a car. We had PLENTY of room, and I really enjoyed zipping around town in the Camry.

When I was a student at Auburn and people came to visit, the best place to stay was in one of the local hotels. Auburn wasn’t really known for having the best lodging choices, but how things have changed. Lake Martin is about 30 minutes away from Auburn, and it has really developed with tons of cottages that you can rent for ballgame weekends. So in the spirit of making BOLD changes to the old classics, we stayed at a precious home on Lake Martin.

Camry Bold

And the food, oh the food! It was so, so fun to take my family back to one of my favorite hangouts, Cheeburger, Cheeseburger. The atmosphere was exactly the same, but the food was even better than I remembered. It was also a blast to take them to an old classic which was new to us, Kowliga on Lake Martin. The catfish poboys were to-die-for, and I could easily see us driving down for dinner one night soon. And you gotta love a place that brings out a six-pack of sauces…

Camry Bold

But we upped the ante this time with a meal at Acre. You guys. I had no idea this place existed until I saw an article in Garden & Gun or Southern Living. But one look at the online menu, and we made a beeline right for it.

Camry Bold

Chef David Bancroft has built his entire menu around putting a bold twist on southern classic dishes. And y’all, it just WORKS! Everything on the menu WORKS. I’ll write another post all about Acre, but I’ll leave you with the Sweet Potato Bread Pudding…

Camry Bold

But the real highlight of the weekend was taking my family back to my old stomping grounds. I showed them my old apartment, which was in surprisingly good shape.

Camry Bold

Then we headed over to a VIP tailgate in the basketball arena. We enjoyed Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ while watching the ladies’ volleyball team practice. The girls even stocked up on TP, should we need it at Toomer’s Corner after the game. (Unfortunately, we got to take that TP home with us. Sadly, it wasn’t needed for a post-win celebration.)

Camry Bold

And then I tok my family to their very first Auburn game. It was the first time I’d been back since my college days, and it was definitely more fun to share it with these three…

Camry Bold

It was a bucket list experience to have them with me, and to see this guy in orange and blue was icing on the cake. It suits him, don’t you think?

Camry Bold

I have such respect for a company like Toyota that takes a classic like the Camry, which is the most popular car in America as it is, and totally re-invents it to keep it at the top of its game. That’s a bold move that inspires me to be bold. What kind of bold move do you want to make?

Toyota sponsored this post and the weekend it describes, including the use of a 2015 Toyota Camry for the events. All opinions about the car and the trip are entirely my own.

Work of Worth: Bringing Hope to the Hopeless

God is big. So big.

It’s such a mystery that in His bigness, He cares about the details and loves each of us individually. He is our Jehovah Roi, the God who sees it all. Each little things in our lives is seen and pondered by our big, faithful God who loves us so dearly.

Last year I began stepping up my work with Freeset, a beautiful organization that serves the poor and abused in India by providing them employment with dignity. Freeset offers women trapped in the sex trade the opportunity to walk away from that life and walk into a life of freedom. It’s big work. God-sized work. Work which can only be accomplished one life at a time, one day at a time.

My friend Kristi led the US division of that organization faithfully. She imported goods from India made by the Freeset women, sold them in the US, and returned the money to India so that more women could be employed. That in itself was big work. That in itself was God-sized work. But God was up to something even bigger.

Work of Worth was established last year by Kristi, a friend, and a college student with a good idea. The basic idea is simple: buy goods from artisans in poverty, and sell them to eager customers in the US. “Social entrepreneurship” is the big title given to this business model. The Bible calls it being the Church. Bringing hope and sustenance to the hopeless and impoverished.

Besides having a good business model that addresses one of the issues Jesus talks about most, Work of Worth brings American consumers what they want: excellent goods at excellent prices. I’m happy to share a few of those items with you because I know you will love them and want to purchase a few things. My favorite items from Work of Worth have been curated here:

Work of Worth

First up on the top right is the Sari Infinity Scarf. These are handmade in Bangladesh, the MOST impoverished country in the world, from old saris. The terrific thing about these scarves is the rich colors. Simply gorgeous. They are infinity scarves, but the fabric is light a gauzy, so they aren’t too bulky around the neck. These are great in every color!

The Leather Tote Bag is like butter! It is handmade in India by a gentleman who is a true artisan. The bags enable him to provide for his family, and they are daily rising out of poverty into a life of dignity. These bags are the real deal. They are made from genuine leather that is hand-stitched. The Work of Worth website has several styles available, including a few styles for men.

Working clockwise, the next item is the Decopalm Journal. This jade and gold journal is 30 pages, and it is made from recycled paper. These are handmade in India, and are available in several patters for only $15 each.

The Tribal Meets Regal necklace looks great on the site, but is even more stunning in person. They are made from hand carved and hand dyed wooden beads. And don’t miss the clasp. The details on this necklace are spot on! It is available in black, cobalt blue, and pink salmon. Each color is deep and fabulous.

The Summer Orchard Necklace is 36″ long, so it is GREAT to wear over sweaters and collared blouses. The colors are bold, and the beads are chunky, so it is truly a statement necklace, even though it is simple.

The Gypsy Relic Necklace is a terrific layering piece, but it is fabulous as a stand-alone necklace as well. It is made from a mix of glass and pearl beads, with an antique-style coin pendant. You have, no doubt, seen similar necklaces in boutique shops, but they certainly weren’t $20.00!!! This bargain necklace supports women in poverty in India.

And finally, a closing statement from Work of Worth: Work of Worth is an organization dedicated to utilizing the power of commerce to free the oppressed throughout the world. WoW exists primarily as an import and distribution company, for the purpose of connecting entrepreneurs and businesses in the developing world to the Western market. The result becomes people of worth who are transformed, sustainably employed, changing the poverty cycle, and freed from trafficking. Work of Worth is devoted to philanthropic entrepreneurship in impoverished regions of the developing world through importing manufactured goods from entrepreneurs in the developing world to markets in the United States. WoW supports and promotes entrepreneurs dedicated to treating their employees with dignity, paying a fair wage, and transforming lives. Entrepreneurial philanthropy is bold enough to bring fair wages to the villages and cities of the developing world. We invite you to see their product offerings and value their work so that they may sustain a future for their family’s and future generations.

The Right Necklace for Necklines

Statement necklaces aren’t going anywhere. I, for one, am happy about this trend because bold accessories are a terrific way to liven up a neutral outfit. But if you are like me, and sometimes wonder which type of necklace to wear, check out this chart to help you choose the right necklace for necklines.

Necklace for Necklines Armed with the knowledge of how to best wear your accessories, you can pull together an outfit that accentuates your look in all the right ways. Feel free to pin this chart to Pinterest so you can refer back to it. Wear those statement necklaces well, friends!

Byrom Builders’ Parade Home in The Preserve

A few weeks back, the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders sponsored their annual Parade of Homes. I gave you a tour of the 2014 Ideal Home, but there were other homes on the parade that I knew you’d like to see as well. Byrom Builders, a local Birmingham company, had a lovely home in The Preserve, one of Hoover’s premier neighborhoods.

Homes in The Preserve are styled after classic American architecture. They are inviting and welcoming, and the Byrom home is no exception. When you walk in the front door, you are immediately enveloped in the open floor plan. The dining room is to your right, just waiting on a family dinner.

Adjoining the dining room is the light, bright kitchen.

With white cabinetry, marble countertops, and top of the line appliances, this kitchen is not only functional for a chef, but the looks is timeless and classic.

There is an amazing bar space that provides a hostess everything she needs for entertaining. The stone wall was stunning, as were the concrete countertops.

And it opens directly onto the family room. The family room is a large, open space with plenty of room for the family to gather.

Byrom paid very close attention to detail in this home.

There is a short hallway connecting the den to the master bedroom, which is the perfect space for a small chest and gorgeous painting.

The master suite was a dream!

The millwork could not have been more gorgeous!

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But the crowning glory of the master suite was the closet. And by closet, I do mean a closet big enough to be a separate room. I die! Do you die?

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There were other gorgeous bedrooms…

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And other gorgeous bathrooms…

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alt="Byrom Builders"

alt="Byrom Builders"

alt="Byrom Builders"

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There was a small office, just perfect for a busy mom to keep her things straight.

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But if this home were the Hill Hangout, the space we would use most is this fabulous outdoor room. It was by far, the best outdoor space we saw on the entire Parade of Homes.

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It was large and provided space for a sitting area.

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There was also an outdoor kitchen and dining area.

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Along with a massive stone fireplace to keep everyone warm on cool nights.

Again, this space had exquisite attention to detail!

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I hope you enjoyed touring this home in The Preserve. The guys at Byrom did a fabulous job. I know there are lots of details that you want to keep in mind as you are making your own home a beautiful place of peace and rest for your family.

The Perfect Pair of Jeans

Megan Larussa Head Shot

My friend Megan LaRussa Chenowith, style coach and style blogger at Southern Femme, is back today for a short lesson on how to find the perfect pair of jeans. I admit, I don’t always know which jeans to hold onto and which have outlived their style. Thanks, Megan, for giving us the “cheat sheet” on this question! Here’s Megan…

Recently when cleansing a client’s closet this exact topic of denim came up.

We were sifting through a heaping pile of her jeans (most that she didn’t even wear anymore) and with each jean we looked at she turned to me and said, ‘well they fit, but are they even current?’.

It was an excellent question to ask because jean styles DO come and go, and even certain classic styles sometimes need to be put on the ‘keep but don’t wear now’ shelf in your closet.

This got me to thinking… if my clients are asking me these questions then other women must be wondering the same thing! So, if you have ever wondered what type of jeans to hold on to, which ones to wear, and which ones to toss, then this week’s Style Secrets with Megan video is for you!

How to Find the Perfect Pair of Jeans from Megan LaRussa on Vimeo.

Thanks as always for watching and happy jean shopping!

Yours in Style,


P.S. Need a lil extra style help this spring? Don’t forget I offer one-on-one Style Strategy Sessions to get you out of your style rut and into looking and feeling your best! Click HERE for my Style Yourself Chic in 30 Days program!

Finish Max Paint Sprayer Giveaway

UPDATE: This giveaway has now closed, and our winner is #22, Susanne! Congrats, Susanne!

A few weeks ago, I told you about the Finish Max paint sprayer by HomeRight. I used it to make over a $17 glider that I found at the thrift store, which eventually landed itself in the aTeam Ministries apartment. When I spotted the glider in the thrift store, I knew it has potential to become a place where mamas (or daddies) could rock a sweet little babe to sleep.

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All it took was a little elbow grease. I tightened up a few loose screws to give it stability. I used my Finish Max sprayer to spray it with chocolate brown paint to match the crib.

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The Finish Max paint sprayer made this job super easy. I stitched a new cover for the pillow out of fabric I found on the clearance table at the fabric store. I was quite pleased with the way the glider looked after just a little effort.

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The gracious folks at HomeRight would like to give one of YOU a Finish Max paint sprayer! Isn’t that fun? I absolutely LOVE mine, and I have used it on several projects since I got it. You guys know how much I paint furniture, and the Finish Max has saved me HOURS of painting time. You just can’t beat a good paint sprayer when it comes to painting small cracks and crevices!

Leave me a comment and let me know what kind of painting project you need to tackle. I’ll randomly choose one winner next Friday to receive a Finish Max paint sprayer from HomeRight.

Don’t want to fool with entering the giveaway? No problem! You can order a Finish Max paint sprayer today!

Stitchfix: Your Questions Answered

A few months ago I signed up for Stitchfix. I’d heard about it around the internet and seen pictures of some really cute clothes, so I decided to take the plunge. My first Stitchfix box came Friday, and I was quite pleased with it. Since several people have asked about it, I wanted to give you the low-down in case you want to sign up for it, too.

The first step is to go to and fill out your style profile. They ask you a ton of questions so that they can get an idea of your size, shape, and style. Questions include things like your hair color, age, bra size, height, whether you like fitted or loose clothing, whether you prefer classic, Bohemian, romantic, or preppy styles. You get the idea. They’ll even show you several outfit collections and ask you to rate them. They ask you how often you attend dressy events, business casual events, casual events. They also give you the ability to choose a price range that you’d like to spend on items. And you can link your Pinterest fashion boards to your profile, and they really do check them out before they select your items.

Each month (or however often you specify) they will send you 5 items to try. You try them on and decide what to keep. If you send them all back, you are charged a $20 fee. If you keep one or more items, your $20 fee is applied to the item. If you keep all 5, you get 25% off everything.

Sounds great so far, right? But this kind of thing only works if you really, really like the items they send you. To give you an idea of what they would send, I’ll share a little of my profile:

  • I’m 5’2″.
  • I’m apple shaped, meaning I carry any excess weight in my stomach/bust area and not in my legs.
  • I prefer styles that are classic, preppy, bohemian chic, with a few pieces that are edgy. I do not usually choose pieces that are glamorous or romantic.
  • I’m a mom who typically wears laid back/casual clothes, but I’m looking to build up by dressy/business casual wardrobe.
  • I’d like to avoid wool.
  • My preferred price range for most clothing is $50-$100.
  • I sometimes like trying new trends and brands.
  • For my skin tone, I prefer to avoid clothing in yellows, navy, purple, or pinks.

And here are the items that I received in my first shipment:


The pale green dolman sleeve top was cute, but fit a bit funny for me. I never could get it adjusted just right and felt like I fidgeted with it constantly. The white jeans were a dream. They had the perfect amount of stretch without falling down. The length was even perfect, which doesn’t happen often when you’re 5’2″. The handbag was cute and versatile. It was a different style than I’d normally choose for myself, which was kind of fun.


The flowy peach top was terrific. It was a gauzy fabric with beautiful stitching around the neckline. The white jeans are the same from the first picture. The same handbag is shown here, but I’ve removed the shoulder strap.


The gold bar necklace was dainty and sweet. This would be a great versatile piece that you could wear everyday.

So here’s what I ended up with:

Green Knit Dolman Top: Sending back because the fit wasn’t right. Great color, though, and I’d love to have something else this color.
White Jeans: It pains me to say it, but I’m sending these back. I already own white jeans and can’t justify buying another pair. I asked for these same jeans in another color in a future shipment.
Peach top: Sending back because it was a little sing in the bust line. I really loved this top and told them to send similar items in future shipments.
Handbag: Sending back. It was a great color and a new style for me, but Jonathan gave me a really nice handbag in this color last year.
Gold Bar Necklace: Sending back. While it is a great piece, it’s a little too dainty for me. I need chunkier necklaces. If you look in the two outfit photos, you can’t even see that I’m wearing the necklace. A small dainty necklace just doesn’t show up on my.

All in all, even though I’m sending it all back, I feel like the stylists nailed my style. We just need to work on getting the correct fit. I have to say, it was really fun seeing what a stylist would choose for me. There were several pieces I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, and it was fun to step outside of my box a little bit. I got notice that my June items have already been chosen, and I am super excited to see what they send next time!!

If Stitchfix looks like something you’d like to try, go to the Stitchfix website and start filling in your style profile. They have a great referral program, as well. For each friend who you bring to Stitchfix, they give you a $25 credit to apply to your purchases. (That’s why those are affiliate links.) Y’all get to Stitchfixing. I want to see pictures of what they send you!

Swoozie’s Grand Re-Opening

If you’re local to Birmingham, you might want to check out the grand re-opening going on this Saturday at Swoozie’s. Swoozie’s is one of my go-to spots for printed invitations, cute party supplies, tween gifts, and baby shower happies. They are staying in the Summit, but they’ve moved down by Bed, Bath, and Beyond. This means they have tons of parking – one of the problems of their old location.They are hosting an open house at their new location on Saturday, May 3rd, from 11:00-2:00. They will serve mimosas, give away door prizes, and have lots of discounts.

Swoozie’s hosted a preview party for bloggers on Wednesday night, and I stopped by to see their new inventory. I wanted this sign for my home. Isn’t that sweet?


Lilly Pulitzer was well represented in the party supplies!


As always, they had tons of cute bags. Many of these can be monogrammed.


They had a gorgeous line of frames. These came in a variety of colors, including pink and blue for the bebes.


And these chew beads are my new baby gift! They are made of a soft rubbery material that is great for teething babies to chew on. I’d totally wear these even though we have long since moved on from that stage at our house!!

chew beads

Y’all stop by Swoozie’s and congratulate them on their new place. It’s going to be much more comfortable and convenient for everybody!

aTeam Apartment Reveal: Dining Room and Den

It’s time for the final reveal of the aTeam Ministries apartment. We have already shown you the children’s bedroom and the master suite, so today it’s time to take a look at the dining room and den. Generous donors had already given much of the furniture for this space, including a dining room table and chairs, a sofa, a loveseat, and a coffee table. Most of what I did in this space was to accessorize and add a couple of new pieces of furniture. One of the kindest and most beautiful donations aTeam received was this breathtaking angel painting.

ateam apartment

It is HUGE – probably 5 ft x 5 ft. It is fabulous in the living space, and such a constant reminder that God’s presence is with us and He sends His angels to minister to us. This piece became the anchor around which we chose the rest of the furnishings. We used the existing brown sofa and loveseat, but threw in new throw pillows and blankets to give the room a splash of color.

ateam apartment

We still needed a little something to anchor the room, and so the generous folks at Mohawk Flooring donated yet another rug – this one a large rug to fit the space. The colors and pattern could not have been more perfect. We wanted to create a warm, inviting, comfortable space, and this rug helped pull that look together!

ateam apartment

A few weeks before we started this project, the ladies at More Than A Mission Trip asked for suggestions on what kinds of projects they could help support. I spoke up immediately on behalf of aTeam, and they were kind enough to choose us as one of their charities. They sent us the money to buy this beautiful red desk. Families who stay at the apartment now have a place to do school work, work on the computer, pay bills, write notes, or whatever else they need to do. Thank you More Than A Mission Trip!!

ateam ministries

As we move into the dining area, there are many more generous donations. Someone gave the table and chairs that we used.

ateam apartment

FLOR Carpet Tiles sent us a box of carpet tiles to make a rug. I’ve never used these before, but was so surprised at how simple they were to put together. My little bit helped me lay out the pattern I wanted, and then we taped them on the under side using the heavy duty stickers that come in the set.

aTeam apartment

Once we had them all taped together, we flipped it over and put it in place under the table.

ateam apartment

It took us about 10 minutes to put it together, and we even have leftover squares to use as spares.

Y’all, I could never have imagined a project like this coming together without so many generous sponsors. I was privileged to have the opportunity to serve aTeam in this way. If you’re looking for an easy way to support aTeam further, check out their online store where you can purchase awesome t-shirts. You can also become a volunteer, be a prayer partner, or make a financial donation. God bless you as you support them and God bless aTeam as they continue to support pediatric cancer families.