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One of the prettiest places in Tallahassee during the spring is Maclay Gardens. I visited for the first time my freshman year of college and have been taking visiting friends and family ever since. The best visit I ever had was with my mom; it was the very beginning of spring and the trees and flowers were blooming so fiercely that you could scarcely see the leaves. The entire garden looked like it had been covered in pink and white snow. This year I missed the sweet spot, but my mom and I still decided to make a morning of it this weekend.
The main walk of the garden is shaded by massive trees dripping with Spanish moss and flanked by numerous camilla bushes (trees?). It’s such a picturesque setting; in fact we ran into several groups taking advantage of the beautiful weather to do everything from birthday photos to engagement/save the date shoots. There were even a few groups from the college. Frequently on this blog, you hear me lamenting the hot stodgy weather that blankets Tallahassee for the better part of the year, but during this brief period where the flowers are blooming and the weather is fine, I can see why so many people fall in love with the sunshine state. This knurled old tree seems like something from a storybook, and it’s one of my favorite places to go to in the garden. Its lowest branches gracefully rest on the ground and are covered in moss and tiny ferns. The upper branches reach up and out, providing the perfect amount of shade. I love watching the light filter through its leaves and wondering how many people have stood there before me and how many stories must this old guy have born witness too? This tiny gated garden is my mother’s favorite. It’s a bit too orderly for me, but the walls around it remind me very much of reading the Secret Garden and how Mary Lennox must have felt stepping through the gate for the first time.
It was a really nice way to spend a morning, even if we had to share it with a lot more people than we’d initially thought. We’ve hopefully got another week or two of nice weather, so I might try to make it out there once more before the season is over and my vampiric tenancies reemerge.
I fell in love with fantasy long before I fell in love with fashion. When I was a little girl, I didn’t dream of runway shows or owning chic boutiques, I wanted to make clothes for fairy queens and story book heroines. Things made with cloth spun from spider silk and adorned with dewdrops and colorful tiny flowers. Gowns that were so beautiful that they could make princesses out of the grubbiest scullery maids. That dream gave way to slightly more practical aspirations, but there is always that part of me that will dream about making clothing so spectacular that is seems otherworldly. When I saw this article, it brought back all of those long lost dreams. These gorgeous creations by Sylvie Facon are 100% storybook worthy.
Completely fantastical, right? The attention to detail in these garments is down right swoon worthy, and the incorporation of nontraditional materials? I can’t even. Legitimately can’t even. I don’t know what I’d make or who’d wear it, but this has left me itching to dust off the dress form in my home office. I even think I remember where some of my old textbooks are.
It is a rare woman who can just walk into a store and indiscriminately shop, since most of us have something we have to work around to find something in a standard size industry. Wide width shoes are one of the hardest things to track down. I am blessed in that, although I am a size 10/11, my foot is relatively narrow so I can usually find plenty of options IRL, but I have several friends who almost exclusively have to shop for their footwear online. Less than optimal, but better than nothing, right? In the spirit of sharing resources, I have put together a list of retailers that cater to this particular need. Every company is one that I or someone I know closely have had success with in the past.
With a company like this, there really isn’t a defined “style”. There is a bit of everything, but with some digging and a little luck, you can find something really great. The only drawback I saw was that their wider widths didn’t always come in sizes larger than a women’s 10 and a lot of the women I know who need wider shoes trend towards the extended sizes.
A little more sedate, these shoes are built mostly for comfort, but they offer great basics for your daily life.
Very on-trend, lots of fun flashy footwear. Sometimes you may have to sacrifice a bit of comfort for the sake of fashion, but there are still plenty of options that satisfy both.
While the options are a bit limited, this is a great place to go for fun quirky footwear. Designs are rotated out with each new collection, so if you see something you like, keep an eye out and it’ll most likely be in sale in just a bit.
At first glance, this might not be seen as the most fashionable alternative, but with a selection this large, there is always something special if you just look for it. This site also has the added benefit of extra-wide widths.
This site comes in somewhere between Clarks and Woman Within when it comes to their options. The focus is mainly on comfort, but there are some wonderful wardrobe staples to be found.
The down side is that many of these shoes comes with the elevated price tag that is standard with anything that is outside of the industry “normal”, though many of them have email newsletters that let you know when there are going to be sales or special coupons. I am definitely willing to sort through some spam if it means getting a crazy good deal. Just saying.
What is your shopping dilemma? Do you have any go-to retailers that you swear by?
On our recent trip to North Carolina, Andy and I discovered a wonderful new place to procure donuts when visiting his parents. Well…”discovered” might not be accurate, we actually learned about the chain from my brother in law; he and his wife had first encountered the chain when they were visiting the Outer Banks, and while we were all trying to find somewhere to go to dinner, he realized there were not one but two locations with in easy driving distance from our hotel. Donuts and adorable water fowl? I was definitely game for a trip.
I will admit I was a tiny bit trepidatious when we walked into this little shop. I know donuts are sugary and insipid, but this place was so damn pink and cheery. I’ve become a bit of a snob in my ripe old age, and I like my bakeries/restaurants a little more “small town local” and just this side of hipster-y. But we were already there and I was so tired at this point, so I figured “why the hell not”.
To give the place a fair shake, we ordered two of their pre-designed donuts (cinnamon sugar and blueberry pancake) and did two build your own (lemon blackberry & chocolate peanut butter). At this point, I got a little…well…pissy watching the two highschoolers haphazardly dumping toppings on our order and slapping our box together willy-nilly (I sound like such a grumpy old lady!), so by the time we got our order, I wasn’t even interested in trying the donuts and I put them in the back of our car so we could enjoy them as a road snack later… aka when I was in a better mood.
After all that, I’ll be damned if those donuts weren’t pretty freakin’ awesome. 5 out of 5 stars, would go again, highly recommend. We both liked the blueberry pancake the best, closely followed by the lemon blackberry. I am actually sad that this place is a 10 hour drive away. Oh well, holidays in the NC just got that much better.
The take away from this: I’m a mean old grumpy pants when I’m sleep deprived and under the weather, and I should always trust my brother in law when it comes to awesome places to eat.
I’ve reviewed a lot of products on this blog; I’ve tried even more over the years. I am a serial dabbler; if there is something new and shiny, I want to try it. In the last two years though, I’ve really started to see the wisdom in having a core of go-to items for my daily routine. One – it allows me to streamline my morning routine, and two – it takes a little of the stress out of my morning routine, and BONUS – with my go-to’s I have the space/time to add something new without it throwing everything off. So here we go, a few of the items that I use every single day.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick – when Urban Decay debuted the Vice line I was one of those girls who showed up at ULTA the day it come out. Okay, I actually did both Sephora and ULTA, but you guys get the point, I was excited. I used a coupon and bought three different colors, all sheers, but I’ve branched out since then. Now the “metallics” are my standby and I always carry “Conspiracy” and “Amulet” in my purse. When I start to get to the end of the tube, I throw it in my desk drawer at the office or in my travel kit so I have backups strategically located.
Weleda Citrus Hydration Body Lotion – Andy is hyper allergic to EVERYTHING. I have had to change every single personal product I’ve ever used. This is the one lotion I have found that works for my skin and doesn’t make my husband break out if I touch him after I’ve put it on. Smells great, works great, doesn’t kill my husband. What isn’t to love?
Crystal Essence Mineral Deodorant – I do, I do wear magic hippy deodorant guys. I tried it on a whim and it worked and I really liked it. I’ve tried a few of the different options, but the Pomegranate scent is the one I always go back to.
Naked Skin Finishing Powder – For the longest time I was a Benefit girl all the way, but I picked this up on super sale and I’ve never looked back. For me, I use this because it sets my make up and lightly conceals. Also, there is rarely a day where one doesn’t find herself a little dewy and this helps keep the shine down.
Clump Crusher Mascara – I think getting caught up in labels can be a bit ridiculous when it comes to your personal routine. Investing in quality is fine, but it really all comes down to what works best for you. I’ve tried many many types/brands, and this is what works for me and my lashes. Good coverage, no smudges, and most importantly – no icky clumps.
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – the last one is a recent addition to my arsenal. I loved the original black, but being so pale, it can be a bit harsh. The Mad Max Brown wasn’t an option until later and by then I already had a liner I loved. However, I got a gift card for Christmas and I decided to give it a shot. LOVE. It became first string the first day I used it.
What are your go-to must haves?