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courtneyg

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Silver Beach Adventure

Sam’s friends recently got married in the adorable waterfront town of St. Joseph, MI. They had their ceremony under the gazebo and reception at Shadowland on Silver Beach and it was beautiful! I loved everything from the centerpieces to the sunset.

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And I can’t forget to mention that they opened up the Silver Beach Carousel exclusively for guests in between the ceremony and reception. Sam and I stayed on for more than one ride because we’re kids at heart. I thought that was the best little treat of the night … until the sunset.

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Watching the sun sink over the water (Thanks Kenny), behind the lighthouse and painting the sky all sorts of colors, was one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.

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We were only at Silver Beach for the wedding, but from the looks of it, it is a popular summer hangout and I can definitely understand why. For those who may be interested in visiting, I did a little research for ya and here’s what I found!

Silver Beach offers:

  • Swimming Beach
  • Kayak Rentals
  • Grills and picnic areas
  • Pavillions
  • Volleyball Courts
  • Concessions
  • Outdoor Showers

Parking:

  • $12 daily fee for non-residents
  • RV’s welcome (you pay $12 for the amount of parking spaces used)

There are plenty of hotels nearby, but I obviously recommend this artist’s loft because we had such an amazing experience and it’s so close to the beaches!

Perfectly timed moment captured by Sam

Perfectly timed moment captured by Sam

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3 Ways to Combat Dry Skin

Apparently winter decided it wasn’t ready to leave yet as it’s April 16 and snowing in Nashville today. With the cold weather that has been creeping back in comes dry skin. So today I thought I’d talk a little bit about 3 of my favorite ways to lock in moisture until the real southern spring weather arrives.


 

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

The wind has been no joke here in Nashville. Adding that into the cold weather and my lips are not happy. Every now and then they need a little pampering so I exfoliate and revive them with a homemade sugar scrub.

It’s fast and easy and can either be done during your morning routine or prior to bedtime. I don’t usually make a lot at a time. Just enough for a one time use, but you certainly can make more to store in a container.

Here’s what you’ll need: 
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 TBSP Brown Sugar
1-2 Drops of Vanilla

In a small container mix all 3 ingredients together until all liquid is absorbed. Then with your finger or q-tip, scoop out a dime sized amount and brush in a circular motion across your lips for about 30 seconds. Leave on for another minute or so and then rinse off.

Do this about once a week to keep your chapped lips under control!


Coconut Oil Body Butter

My friend Devin introduced me to homemade body butter last winter. She said it was pretty easy to make and she was right. It’s just 3 ingredients!

1 Cup Shea Butter
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
30 Drops Essential Oils - I’ve used both lemon and cucumber melon

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To mix all ingredients I used my KitchenAid Mixer. Add shea butter first and mix on medium speed until fluffy. Then, add coconut oil and mix until well blended. Some blogs melt their coconut oil first. I just make sure it’s room temperature.

Once mixture is fluffy and well blended, continue to mix on low speed while adding drops of your essential oil until lightly fragrant.

That’s it! So easy! 

I store my body butter in a tightly seeled mason jar and use daily.


Honey Face Mask

The easiest moisturizing face mask you ever did see!

All you need is:
1 TBSP honey
2-3 drops of fresh lemon juice

Mix 1 TBSP of honey in a small dish with lemon juice. I usually do about 2-3 drops of lemon. Add drops of lemon in slowly because once you add too much, it’s hard to get it back to a consistency that won’t run off your face. Once mixture is well combined, smooth over face and leave on about 10-15 minutes. Rinse with luke warm water.

For sensative skin, leave out the lemon. It can sting a little.

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Hanging with Dolly at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort!

I got to spend some time at Dolly’s DreamMore Resort in Pigeon Forge, TN and I absolutely loved it! How cute are those bunk beds in the hotel room? I couldn’t resist. From the moment I pulled in, the customer service was amazing.

The concierge took my bags from the car and had them to my room in maybe 10 minutes. After that I took a little self-guided tour around the resort. It has its own spa, an indoor and outdoor pool, game room, fitness center and dining that offers both a breakfast and dinner buffet.

My favorite part was the grab and go cafe that served up Starbucks!

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If you have little ones in tow, this is such as awesome place to be. With nightly bedtime stories and s’mores making by the fire pit, they will have a blast!

The resort also has free trolley rides to Dollywood and Splash Country which is right next door!

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If you prefer to do a little more adulting, the resort is only a few miles away from the Rocky Top Wine Trail. There are 5 wineries within 12 miles of each other with about 70, yes you read that right, 70 wines to try!

From the resort, it only took me about 10 minutes to get to Gatlinburg. Walking their downtown area is one of my favorite things to do when I visit.

If you make it there you have to try out Anakeesta! I wasn’t able to this trip, but it looks so cool with a sky lift over the mountains, zip lines, canopy walks and a mountain village.

How cool is it that we have our own vacation destination tucked right in the mountains of east Tennessee?

This week’s motivation quotes come from Dolly herself.  These were on the wall in the hallway on the way to my room and I just loved them!

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Walking in Memphis

Sometimes all it takes to get a little inspiration is walking the same paths as “The King.” I’ve always wanted to go to Memphis. It took me awhile, but I finally got there! We stopped on our way to Little Rock and then decided to stay the night in Memphis on the way home.

We stayed at Hotel Napolean, which I highly recommend. The room was so nice and walking distance from Beale Street. Valet made it easy to get in and out and they even had free coffee and cappuccinos in the lobby!

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We stopped by Graceland on the way to Little Rock. We didn’t have enough time to tour, but they have so much there to see. If you’re an Elvis fan, definitely check it out. Sadly, Sam and I found out they closed the Heartbreak Hotel. They built a brand new one across the street called, The Guest House.

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I can’t really explain how amazing it was to finally get to Sun Records. To hear the stories of Elvis, Johnny Cash and more was kind of what I needed. It was a simple reminder what happens when ordinary people with dreams don’t give up.

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Of course during our night stay we hit up Beale Street! All Sam wanted after his weekend of running was barbeque and blues. O’Sullivans had this super cool outdoor area that I would love to go back to in the summer time. They also have Wet Willies in Memphis, which of course made me nostalgic for Charlotte so Sam and I couldn’t leave without stopping there for a frozen drink.

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Good music, good food, good drinks and even better company. It was a great trip and I definitely can’t wait to go back!

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Sparkling Lavender Lemonade Recipe

Sam knows how much I’m all about trying unique restaurants when we go somewhere new. The day before he ran the Little Rock marathon we had lunch at a cute cafe called The Root. I ordered a sparkling lavender lemonade and when I got home I was determined to figure out how to make it.

I did a little research and then ventured down to the Savory Spice Shop in Franklin to pick up some lavender. My replica recipe was pretty spot on so I’m sharing if you’re looking for a fun new drink idea. I can picture me making many of these for sunny summer days while writing by the pool.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (juice from about 1 and 1/2 lemons)
  • 1-2 tsp of lavender
  • 3/4 cup carbonated water (I used my soda stream, but I think club soda would work well too)

Directions

  • In a small sauce pan over medium heat bring 1/4 cup water, honey and lavender to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add lemon juice to mixture and stir.
  • Pour mixture through stainer into a glass over ice and then add 3/4 cup carbonated water.
  • Stir and sip!

*If you want a stronger lavender taste, let the boiled mixture cool for a longer period of time, 1-2 hours. 

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Exploring Little Rock + Area Travel Tips

There is just something about road trips that brings excitement. The open road. The adventure. The discovery of something new, I love it all!

Recently I took a trip to Little Rock to watch my boyfriend run his 15th marathon. On the way there I had a crazy question that I seriously never thought of before. Why is Arkansas not pronounced the same as Kansas? I may be way late in the game, but has anyone else ever asked themselves this? If so, I did a little research and here’s what I found.

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Okay, now back to our trip!

We took advantage of the amazing weather the day before his 26.2 mile run to explore a city we’d never been in before. The downtown area was very clean and had tons of restaurants within walking distance of each other. The River Market on the waterfront reminded me of Charlotte’s 7th Street Market. We had dinner the first night at Bruno’s Little Italy and the second at Copper Grill. There was even a pitstop for a beer tasting at Blue Canoe Brewing. Outside of the quaint downtown area though, there was so much else to see and do.


 These are the steps of Central High School, a place that played a prominent role in the desegragation of public schools in the 1950’s


I’m not a very fashion conscious person (as you can tell by my outfit here), but if you’re into it, Little Rock is home of the Esse Purse Museum. This was right around the corner from our lunch spot which you’ll find below.

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The Root Cafe was a great lunch spot. They have a great outdoor area and focuses on one of my favorite things… local food!! I ordered a drink there, the sparkling lavender lemonade, which I’m planning on trying to recreate for a future blog post, so stay tuned!

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Gone with the Wind lovers… here is the Old Mill you see in the opening scene of the classic film. It’s believed to be the only remaining building from the movie. IMG_3515

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Just because we were there for a marathon doesn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy a special treat. We picked up some milkshakes from the Purple Cow.
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Post marathon lattes at Nexus Coffee were the perfect way to end our trip before we headed off for a night in Memphis (that blog coming soon)! I ordered a matcha latte of course, sweetened with honey. IMG_3510


 

5:30am wakeup calls had nothing on this guy. He finished his run with a smile and I couldn’t have been more proud. He inspires me every day to push myself. Snapseed (17)

A few tips

  • North Little Rock is just a few miles over the river. Hotels are a little cheaper and it took us less than 10 minutes to get into downtown.
  • There seemed to be plenty of sidestreet parking downtown and it was free after 6
  • Most of the sightseeing we did was pretty close in proximitiy so if you are making a quick trip like us, map it out and you can do a lot in a day.
  • Check schedules before you go. With it being the south, there were quite a few things closed on Sundays
  • Little Rock has 2 trolley routes you can take to get around the area. The blue line crosses the river into North Little Rock. The Green Line stays downtown. The green line doesn’t run on Sundays.
  • There are plenty of FREE activities in the area including Old Mill, Central High Visitor Center and MacArthur Museum of Military History that we visited.

Stay tuned for my next trip recap…. Memphis!

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City Living – Bathroom Organization

City living can sometimes mean minimal space. I’ve been in my apartment now for about 8 months and I’m still trying to figure out how to fit everything in it. This past weekend I continued trying to organize my life. Last week was the pantry, this week… the bathroom.

I don’t have a linen closet and my drawers and countertop were overflowing with all of my things, so I decided it was time to do something about it! Being on a budget, I needed to get creative, so I spent zero dollars. I just took things I had lying around the house and I have to admit, I’m pretty happy with the outcome!

My everyday toiletries are normally set out on top of my counter. Things fall over into the sink while the water is running and it’s all a bit mess. I wanted to clean in up, so here’s what I did. I took 2 chargers that I wasn’t using from my kitchen and a large mason jar. I stacked them together and filled in the space with all my toiletries. I used leftover mason jars from the kitchen to keep things in one place like my hairties, tweezers and q-tips.

Now, my counter is clear and I still have easy access to my everyday items. Not to much, it matches perfectly with my beach theme!


 

Before

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After

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Pantry Organization Tips

I know that it’s only February, but it was 75 degrees this week in Nashville and I caught the spring cleaning bug! I decided it was time to organize my mess of a pantry because I was making my roommate look bad.

I made a trip to the Container Store and for about $50 I now have nicely organized pantry shelves and look like I have my life together. I bought a mixture of jars to add a little contrast to the shelves. In the jars I poured in nuts, oatmeal, flour, loose leaf tea and everything else I could to eliminate bags and excess containers.

In the baskets I put my spices, cooking oils, nut butters and any miscellaneous items that I couldn’t pour into jars. Copper Wire Basket HERE

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I wish my handwriting was neater, but I guess we can’t have everything in life. I may print labels next time for a more sophisticated look. Stackable containers HERE

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Similar Glass Jars HERE and HERE

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