Can I Wear White After Labor Day?

You know, it’s a shame that Labor Day has come and gone, what with white jeans still in fashion. What’s a proper southern gal to do? Birmingham style coach and fashion blogger Megan LaRussa is here to answer the age-old question about wearing white after Labor Day.

Megan Larussa Head Shot

So, if you are curious to know….

*The RIGHT way to wear white jeans into fall.

*How to incorporate white pieces properly into your fall wardrobe.

*The answer to the age old question–can you wear white shoes/carry your white handbag after Labor Day.

And more…. watch below to learn how to break this fashion rule the right way!

How to Wear White After Labor Day from Megan LaRussa on Vimeo.

As always, thanks for watching!

If you want more style tips make sure to sign up for Megan’s 25 Favorite Style Tips.

Yours in Style,


Fall Decorating With Nature

Fall is in the air, and it’s time to add a little warmth into our homes (even if the temps in Alabama are still above 90 degrees!). Adding a few natural elements to your decorating provides your family with a comfortable, beautiful setting to enjoy the shorter fall days. Fall decorating doesn’t have to break the family’s budget, as so many lovely items can be found for free in nature or for just a few dollars. God has made the world beautiful this time of the year, so look around for elements He provides to add beauty to the inside of your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
















Your home should be a place of inspiration, joy, and comfort for your family. Make it a place of beauty with these easy, cheap natural elements.

HomeRight SteamMachine Giveaway

UPDATE: The winner of the SteamMachine giveaway is Lynne Compton!! Thanks for entering, everybody. If you didn’t win, you can purchase your own HomeRight SteamMachine here.

We live in an old home. I don’t know if you’ve ever lived in an old home, but while they have beautiful character, they can be a pain to keep clean. And even when they ARE clean, they sometimes don’t FEEL clean. The bathrooms in our house are the bane of my existence. They are scrubbed regularly, but I just can’t seem to get them sparkly. I think they’ve lost their sparkle.

I came across the HomeRight SteamMachine some weeks back, and I wondered if it would help get some of the hard to reach and hard to sanitize areas in our home. When they kind folks at HomeRight asked if they could send me a steam cleaner to review on my blog, I was happy, happy, happy. It arrived the other day, and I put it to use immediately on our master bathroom.

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I’m embarrassed to show you how much gunk came out of the drain in our bathroom sinks. Let’s just say it was a lot and leave it at that. I had no idea so much stuff was living so close to where I brush my teeth. Gag! I steamed those bathroom sinks until there was nothing left to steam. I am proud to say we now have the cleanest and most disinfected bathroom sink drains in Birmingham. Hallelujah!

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I moved onto the toilets next. While our toilets get scrubbed almost daily and stay pretty white, I’m sure there are germs looming that I didn’t want to know about. I love having a way that I can get under the rim and know for certain that I’ve killed most of the germs.

The Homeright SteamMachine comes with multiple attachments. The floor attachment is awesome for steam cleaning tile in the shower and on the bathroom floors. There is a squeegee attachment that works wonders on shower doors. It’s great to be able to use one set of attachments for the bathroom, and have separate ones for use in the kitchen.

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The kitchen sink also got a good steam cleaning. The drain and stainless sink were both disinfected well. Since our kitchen sink gets a workout every single day, it’s nice to know that most of the germs have been killed. Raw meat kind of freak me out, you know?

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After the sink, I moved on to the stove top. We have a flat surface cook top, and it gets spills on it from time to time. The steam cleaner worked great to remove some of the spots that remained after I let some peas boil over. Just steam clean it and wipe it off. It looks as good as new.

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One of the things most people don’t know about granite counter tops is that they are porous and hold germs and bacteria if not sealed properly. If it has been a while since you have had your granite sealed, the sealant could be wearing thin in spots which leaves the granite pores exposed to bacteria. Not a good scenario. Since my husband works for a granite company, he is pretty vigilant about re-sealing our granite regularly. But today I gave our granite a good steam cleaning just to top off the cleanliness of it. Not only did I feel good about disinfecting it, but it made my granite shiny and sparkly. It looked awesome when I finished.

The HomeRight SteamMachine also comes with an attachment to remove wallpaper. I can’t wait to put it to use on the outdated wallpaper in our bathroom very soon. Thats a big project, and I’m sure that the steam cleaner will help tremendously in getting the wallpaper down as easily as possible.

The good folks at Homeright have provided us with a little goodie to give away to one of our lucky readers. Enter below with one of several options, and one lucky winner will receive a HomeRight Steam Machine delivered to your home. Yea! Can’t wait to hear what you clean with it. I’m still coming up with ideas on things I can clean with mine.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to HomeRight for providing both my SteamMachine and the one for the giveaway. As always, all opinions about products are entirely my own.

Home School Room Makeover


This week is one of the most inspiring weeks EVER when it comes to homeschooling. It is the Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop at This particular week of the month-long hop is Home School Room week. They have hundreds of homeschool bloggers linking up to show their home school rooms. The organization and creativity of this group of women ASTOUNDS me. Most of these mamas have been homeschooling for years, and they have figured out what it takes to make a school room run like clock work. They have tips and tricks for organization and space planning that I never would dream up on my own.

Last year as I looked through the posts during school room week, I came across one that would become my inspiration for renovating our own home school room. Now listen, you an home school anywhere. For five years now we have done school in the den, in our bedrooms, in the car, at church, at the library, and just about anywhere else we wanted to go. We just do our best to make it work no matter where we are. However, it really works best to have a dedicated space at home to store books, papers, supplies, etc. We use a section of our finished basement as our school room. Though we are grateful for a dedicated space, it was pretty pitifully decorated. I used an old oversized desk that had almost no drawer space and a sharp corner on which I banged my knee every time I turned my chair. Mary Anneliese sat at a six foot folding table in a metal folding chair. We had one closet we used for storage, but the problem is that it is storage for many other things besides home school items. We were constantly crawling over rolls of wrapping paper and boxes of tax records in order to get to the workbooks. We did this for five years. It’s a wonder my children learned anything at all.

So last year as I perused the beautiful, well organized home school room ideas, I got the itch to renovate our space. I could come up with a thousand ways to rationalize spending the money on it, but the truth of the matter is you can’t get blood from a turnip and there was no blood in our turnip for school room furniture. But I’ve tried to teach my girls that when you want something badly enough you’ll find a way to make it happen. We sold a few old pieces of furniture we had around the house and built up the money in our furniture painting envelope (we’re very sophisticated accountants around here). After several months of really hard work by MA and me, we had enough money to buy a few pieces for the new room. And having those few pieces gave us the incentive to keep plugging away. On our last trip to Atlanta, we made the final purchases, and our home school room make-over is now complete!

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We are in love with this space and are so grateful to have it. We started school last week, so we’ve spent a lot of time here recently. We couldn’t be happier with how much room we have for school work and how much storage space to keep all our STUFF. There are 33 cubbies in those book shelves, and we need every one of them to stay organized. I (heart) the baskets to hide the smaller, messier items like loose paper and crayons. Otherwise, those things take over and make your room look trashed all the time.

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Almost all of the furniture came from Ikea, including the tables and chairs. We wanted a nice, large work surface so that we could each have our own space to spread out. We are so happy to all fit well around our big table.

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These baskets from Target work perfectly with large Mason jars to keep scissors, pencils, rulers, markers, etc. within arm’s reach, but still tucked neatly away.

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Though we are still looking for one more piece of artwork to complete the top of the book shelves, we added a few vintage items for fun. Jonathan’s dad gave the girls his old microscope and lab set. We haven’t opened it yet to see if it’s still functional, but I love the metal casing enough to keep it just for looks.

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We also added a globe which I received from Santa when I was in elementary school. Don’t ask. Santa must have been having a hard time coming up with ideas that year. However, my pack-rat tendencies paid off because we use this thing at least weekly as we study history.

The Pottery Barn rug was a purchase on Mountain Brook Trading. I don’t know if you have local facebook trading pages, but I have bought and sold a TON of stuff on ours for some really great deals. I believe it was $75 because it needed to be cleaned. Our sweet neighbor let us borrow her steam cleaner, and it was soon as good as new. I am waiting on the upholsterers to finish the cushions for the rocker in the corner. I found it at a thrift store and painted it white. I paid $10 for the rocker, $12 for the paint, and $150 for the reupholstering. Something doesn’t seem right about that. However, it will be nice to have a rocker in the room because my little Pitter Patter usually sits in my lap for reading time. Not gonna lie, it’s one of the best parts of my day.

We absolutely adore our new space. It has already been so handy. However, no matter what your home school room looks like, the best part is looking across the table and seeing the ones who make it all worth it…

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You might or might not know that once upon a time I owned a little book store/gift shop in Mississippi. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I loved every minute of choosing merchandise that I thought my customers would enjoy. When we would go to market, I would shop for hours and even days for the perfect items that I not only thought would sell, but that I’d love to have for myself.

Stationery was sort of my pet project. I adored choosing new lines of invitations, note cards, baby announcements, greeting cards, and enclosure cards. It was fun to help people put together the perfect paper goods for their announcement or celebration. Helping a new mom choose a design to announce her new little one to the world was a delight. We helped many a mom design just the right invitation to match her child’s birthday party theme. Those were good times, and the stationery was such a big part of them because it was your guests’ first impression of the celebration. Before they even showed up at the shower or party, they’d already had their first taste of what it would be like from the invitation. Yes, stationery became very important to me in those days. And I made sure my customers had only the best to choose from.

The days of helping customers choose paperie are long gone, but my love for stationery remains. In a time when hand-written notes and printed invitations have often been replaced by email or texting, a lovely piece of stationery shows someone that you think they are important. It takes time to write a gracious note of gratitude or send a hand-addressed invitation, and people feel special when they find them in the mailbox.

Not long ago, I came across an online company called Minted that specializes in beautiful paper goods. They have the most gorgeous wedding invitations, save the date cards, baby announcements, and such. I know it’s only July, but their lovely collection of Christmas photo cards caught my eye. For many people, Christmas cards are the only customized stationery purchased during the year. I have used the same sites year after year and am a little tired of the same old look, so I’m delighted to have a fresh, new option this year.

I wonder if I could convince Jonathan to go with a pink Christmas card? I think the Serendipity photo card is so pretty!


The Trimmed Wreath photo cards are so pretty.


Check out the In A Pear Tree design. LOVE!


This one is called Modern Headline, and I love the contrast of the black and white photo with the almost edible colors of the “Peace.”


Besides their lovely Christmas line, they also have a full line of party invitations. I wish I’d seen these precious owl invitations last year when we did an owl-themed party for Patterson. Look how CUTE this party is styled around the invitations!

How lucky is this graduate? Have you ever seen a more darling graduation party invitation? And they are such great inspiration for the matching decorations with SUCCULENTS!! How crazy creative and fun those are!

A Mint Graduation by Amanda, see more

A Mint Graduation board by Amanda. See more

I can’t resist showing you a few of their baby announcements. We are out of the baby business here, so it’s fun to look and ooh and ahh. The Chalkboard Stats announcement is precious!


The Introduced by Infographic is fun and creative!


But of course, I always come back to the sweet and simple. I ADORE the Sweet Garden announcement.


I’ll admit, in the past I’ve been a bit of a stickler when it came to wedding invitations. I liked them traditional and ivory with few adornments. However, I really cannot pass up some of Minted’s very creative, very tasteful wedding ensembles.

The Banner and Branches invitation has a great vintage look!


I also thought the Sweet Florals invitation was nice.


The Sloane invitation is a more traditional look, and there are several option on paper shape and the color of the monogram medallion.


The next time you need personalized paper, take a look through the vast collections at Minted. I will be placing my order this week for a few new sets. I bet you’ll find something you love as well.

The very kind people at Minted are sending me a few items in exchange for this post, but the opinions are, as always, entirely my own.

Bracelet Stacking: How To Get It Right

Megan Larussa Head Shot

We know that our true beauty as Christian women doesn’t come from what we wear, but it comes from within, a gentle and quiet spirit that is at peace with God and other people. But once you’ve spent time on your inner beauty, it can be fun to work on the outer beauty as well. After all, God has made His girls feminine and beautiful, so let’s enjoy being the women He created us to be.

When it comes to looking our best, we all need a few tips now and then. Our friend Megan LaRussa is back at The Hill Hangout today, and this time she comes armed with must-have info on accessorizing. Megan is a Birmingham-based style coach, writer of the fashion blog, and regular guest on our local Fox6 morning show. She spends her days helping southern women look (and therefore feel) their best. Megan always brings us great tips on how to pull together a look in a way that is beautiful and functional. Thanks for joining us, Megan!

One of the ‘finishing touches’ my Style Coaching clients get to experience is learning how to ‘Accessorize like a Pro’. During this session, they learn how to layer necklaces, tie scarves, properly wear belts, learn when to wear certain types of jewelry, and HOW TO STACK BRACELETS.

In this week’s Style Secrets with Megan, I share with YOU my simple tips to help you wear bracelets with ease so you can be out the door looking your best in less than a minute! Enjoy!

Style Secrets with Megan: How to Stack Bracelets from Megan LaRussa on Vimeo.

As always, thanks for watching!

If you want more style tips make sure to sign up for Megan’s 25 Favorite Style Tips.

Yours in Style,


PS: While Megan is a fabulous stylist who is well-known in Birmingham for making women look their best, her heart for people with mental illness make her inner beauty shine brightly. Check out Megan’s work with Oasis, an organization started by her Grandmother which provides mental health services to underserved women and children.

Cleaning Schedule for Busy Moms

There is a battle that goes on daily in my mind. I’m betting if you have children and a husband and a home, you fight the same war.

One voice tells me that my house is a mess, the dishes need to be washed, the laundry needs to be done, and the floors need to be swept. It tells me the closets are a cluttered, disorganized heap, and the list of errands will never be completed. It screams that the fridge is empty and so is the gas tank. And it constantly reminds me that I haven’t exercised for any consistent amount of time since 2007. It’s a real charmer, that voice. She’s a downer who leaves me feeling like I’m never going to catch up.

The other side tells me that my children are only little once. It tells me that they need an engaged mommy more than they need a spotless home. It tells me that they need library days and bowling days and days at the blueberry farm and soccer and ballet and gymnastics and homeschooling and and and!! It tells me that every day of their lives needs to be filled with Pinterest-worthy activities and Instagrammable moments. That voice wears me out with her perfection and necessity for a level of energy that I simply don’t have. She leaves me feeling like I don’t measure up.

The back and forth is enough to drive a mama crazy.

I had to come to the realization that neither voice was right. But neither voice was totally wrong either. Like almost every argument, each has its merits. But neither needs to be taken to the extreme. If we are going to do this mothering and homemaking thing well for the long haul, we have to pace ourselves. A little moderation breeds a lot of stamina.

So, here’s the thing. My house doesn’t have to be spotless, and neither does yours. I give you permission to let a few things slide. It does not have to meet a level of perfection that can’t be maintained. Neither does it have to be totally ignored so that we can spend every waking moment being a helicopter mom who constantly hovers over every move her children make. There is a middle ground here. And maybe my middle ground looks different than yours, but that’s ok.

For me, “middle ground” is somewhere around a functionally organized, marginally clean home and spending several hours daily plugged in with my children. On a day like today, we cleaned house for about an hour in the morning (yes, my children help). Then I took my children and their friends bowling for several hours. We picked up pizza on the way home so that I didn’t have to spend all night in the kitchen. I wrote a little while they played and watched TV. Now we are tackling a few more chores before bedtime. My home is pretty clean, I’ve had time to do my thing (writing), and they have had my attention for several hours. It’s not perfect, but it’s doable for the long haul. Here’s what we do…

Cleaning Schedule

Daily: Cooking / Dishes / Trash / Wipe down stove and counters / Pick up and put away the clutter/ Wipe bathroom sinks and mirrors / Sweep or vacuum hardwood floors / One load of laundry / Water plants / Clean toilets

Monday – Kitchen and Den: Sweep and mop floors / Wipe baseboards / Wipe kitchen cabinet doors / Organize one or two kitchen cabinets / Clean out fridge / Take trash to street / Clean out pantry / Clean microwave / Dust window ledges and furniture / Clean windows and glass doors / Clear cobwebs / Restock drink fridge / Grocery Shopping

Tuesday – Girls’ Rooms and Bath: Vacuum / Dust furniture and window ledges / Wipe baseboards / Change sheets / Organize book shelves and closet / Pick up clothes and put away toys / Remove junk / Organize drawers / Wash towels / Clean tub and counters / Sweep and mop bathroom floor

Wednesday – Mather Bedroom and Bath: Vacuum / Dust furniture and window ledges / Wipe baseboards / Change sheets / Organize closet / Hang up clothes / Remove junk / Organize drawers / Wash towels / Clean shower and counters / Sweep and mop bathroom floor / Dust ceiling fan / Organize medicine cabinet

Thursday – Schoolroom and Playroom: File papers / Vacuum / Dust furniture and bookshelves / Put toys away / Organize shelves / Wipe down bathroom / Clean Toilet / Wipe baseboards

Friday – General Cleaning: Restock drink fridge / Clean porch / Scrub kitchen counters / Water roses / Wipe front door / Sweep and mop den / Grocery shopping / Food prep for the weekend

Sunday night: Check the calendar and organize the week’s schedule / Plan menu for the week / Make grocery list / Back porch time with my husband before the week gets crazy

I don’t stick to the schedule everyday, as we sometimes travel or have other commitments. There are days that we stay home all day and try to catch up on what we’ve missed. But having a written schedule gives me something to shoot for, and I figure it all comes out in the wash. The voices still do their best to suck me in, but I am getting stronger at ignoring them. My worth comes from who Jesus says I am, and not from a perfect home or perfect kids. And by having my girls pitch in, the work gets done faster so that we can play longer. It’s a win for everybody.

What type of schedule works for you?

Petals from the Past


“When you offer a product that people really want, they will drive hours to get it.” Jason Powell, owner of Petals from the Past, has discovered this from experience. Petals from the Past is a nursery in Jemison, AL, specializing in antique roses, old fashioned shrubs, hard-to-find perennials, and fruit plants. Gardeners from all over the southeast drive miles and hours to purchase plants for their gardens that they can’t find anywhere else.


It was a rainy, soggy day when we visited Petals from the Past, but even the rain couldn’t hamper the beauty of the landscape or the friendliness of the service. Jason and his staff know their stuff when it comes to plants and how to make them thrive. And with a 22 acre display garden, they must be doing something right.


While antique roses and old-fashioned shrubs are their specialty, Petals from the Past offers “regular” plants as well.


They have a full selection of shrubbery, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, flowering plants, and my personal favorite… succulents!


In addition to the plants, they offer iron garden ornaments, gorgeous clay and glazed pots, and a few pieces of garden furniture. I ADORE these chairs!!


Y’all, the whole place is just as charming as can be. How much would I LOVE a potting shed like this in my yard? It’s such a darling place for working with plants. Wouldn’t it be fun to have such a special place to create beautiful things for your yard?

Potting Shed

Not only do they offer plants and goodies for sale, but Petals from the Past prides themselves on being an educational source for gardeners. They offer seminars and classes throughout the year. And listen, I’m willing to learn from anybody who can get rosemary to grow like this…


Weekend Projects

We have the whole family working on a painting project this weekend. It’s a beautiful, if hot, day to be outside. What kind of weekend projects are you working on? Leave us a comment or a link!


Painting, Painting, and More Painting

It’s been a while, friends, since I have had time to do any blog writing. On par with most springs, this year has proved to be extremely busy. The end-of-the-year programs, musicals, tournaments, practices, schoolwork, and such has hijacked our time and attention. I’m not complaining because we love the activity and the craziness, but it does mean that I have less time for writing. And to add to the madness, our furniture painting hobby seems to have turned into small side business. The girls and I are having a ball in our garage-turned-painting-studio everyday, and we all love the reward of having a bit of spending money with which to do fun things. My oldest has such an entrepreneurial spirit, that she has purchased several pieces and refinished them herself. She has sold all of her pieces so far, so she has earned quite a little nest egg for herself.

Here are a few of our most recent flips:

Green Dresser

Green Caneback Chairs

Gray Dresser

These were all painted with chalk paint and coated with wax. We loved how they turned out, and so did their new owners. I love helping people make their homes into spaces their families enjoy!