Five on Friday {April 28}

Hey y'all,

We are officially less than a month until my vacation. I will be spending 10 days in Chicago between visiting friends, exploring the city, seeing Hamilton, and celebrating my best friend get married. So I am currently spending way to much time looking for cute outfits for vacation and getting back in a workout routine now that it is finally spring and I want to be outside more.

one. Jack Rogers x Draper James. I love my Jacks and have three pairs but how darling are the new collaboration with Draper James. I especially love the light blue gingham ones.
Image result for Jack Rogers x Draper James Whitney Sandal
two. This Swing Dress. I love a good swing dress. They are perfect for flying, running around the city, or just having a casual dinner. I already have three other T-shirt style swing dresses from LOFT and they will all be coming with me up north.
Primary Image of Floral Mosaic Sleeveless Swing Dress
three. The Land Before Time. On most Thursdays, I watch a 2-year old girl, H, while her parents attend bible study. This week, we watched the beginning of Dumbo as usual (we always stop when the crows appear) and then instead of the Lion Guard, or another show she said she wanted to watch dinosaurs so The Land Before Time it was. Y'all, I have not seen this movie in forever and it was a nice walk back down memory lane.
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four. Working Out. This week I started the Lauren Gleisberg ConfidenceKini Challenge as well as the Tone It Up Bikini Series Challenge. While it means I have been sore most of this week I can honestly say I have been loving it. I might not love jump squats but every morning this week I have gotten a workout in and some days I even got in an afternoon workout to complete the challenges. You can follow along on my fitness instagram to see what I have been eating/working out this morning.

five.Minimizing. Over the last few weeks I have been cleaning out my closet and really purging items that I know I don't use to their full potential. That means this weekend I will be posting more items to my Poshmark closet and taking some items to Goodwill as well. I have a few more handbags that I love but in all honesty, my Longchamp is my go-to bag and I rarely switch it out for my other bags. That means its time to list some Tory Burch and Kate Spade.
kate spade Handbags - Kate Spade Flicker Sophie in Black

In case you missed it, this week I blogged about my weekend adventures, a recent read, and a new restaurant in the Triangle.

Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha
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Also linking up with Tif and Katie.
And Erika
What are your plans for the weekend?
What's at the top of your wishlist?
Throwback childhood movie?

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Thyme for Thursday {Seasons52}

Hey y'all,

This past weekend I was invited to try out the new Seasons52 restaurant at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. My sweet friend Meghan came with me and although it was pouring rain outside we had a wonderful time filled with amazing food and great conversation. 

Seasons52 uses seasonal ingredients so some of their menu items are only available for a limited time. This ensures that you can always find something new and exciting to try when you visit.
We loved the atmosphere of the restaurant especially all the natural light. The service was incredible and we had the sweetest server. The manager and the executive chef both stopped by to make sure that we were accomodated. For this complementary dining experience we were given the choice to choose off the menu or to allow the che to make the selections. If you know me, you know I can be a picky eater but Meghan and I decided to be a bit daring and went with the chef's choice. I do not regret that decision one bit as everything we had was wonderful!

Now let's get started with what we ate:

To start we had the orange marmalade parfait mini starter with greek yogurt mousse, homemade marmalade, and granola.

This was so good and the perfect start to our meal. The greek yogurt mousse is so light and the homemade marmalade makes the dish.

Next up we had the appetizers. 

smoked salmon flatbread: crisp bread, cold-smoked Kendall brook salmon, capers, red onion, topped with horseradish crema.

Meghan and I are not horseradish, capers, or salmon people but we both loved this dish and each had two pieces. I would highly reccomend it if you love salmon and lox bagels!

duck wing lollipops covered in Korean Gochujang red chili glaze, sesame seeds.

I am not a fan of spicy foods but Meghan is and this was one of her favorite dishes. I enjoyed it and I don't think I have ever had duck prepared this way. I used the lime slice to help balance the spice and that worked out well.

lump crab, roasted and panko crusted shrimp, on a spinach stuffed mushrooms

This was my favorite of the appetizers. The balance of mushroom and seafood was perfect! Meghan and I are thinking of having an appetizers night since the flatbreads and appetizers were all so great. 

And I couldn't help but share this pic of Meghan!

Following those appetizers, we began the entree round. Seasons52 went above and beyond in preparing food for us and we decided to start with breakfast foods and move through the menu.

brick oven brioche french toast with blueberry infused maple syrup, whiskey-smoked brown sugar pecans.

I love french toast so this happened to be one of my favorite dishes from the whole experience and I know I will be going back soon to order this dish again. The brioche bread makes the perfect french toast!

Thai Steak Noodle Salad-arugala, cabbage, avocado, toybox tomatoes, with sesame-peanut vinaigrette.

The noodles in this salad was the perfect complement to the steak and salad. I love a thai noodle salad and the fresh mango made this such a refreshing salad.
Blackend mahi mahi tacos pico de gallo, salsa verde, cilantro sour cream.

This was Meghan's favorite dish and I gave her the leftovers. I am not the biggest fan of fish so I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed these tacos. Also, the bacon and roasted potatoes were amazing as a side to this dish.
Asian-glzed chilean sea bass over black rice, snow peas, shitake mushrooms, micro wasabi.

Out of all the entrees this dish was our least favorite. We agreed it would be something we would recommend people try if they love fish or sushi. As stated above, I am not a fish person and I don't love rice. The sauce had great flavor and I know that when I take my Mom here she would love this dish.
Kona-crusted rack of lamb with saute of vegetables, yukon mash, and balsmaic demi-glaze.

Y'all need to order this simiply for the yukon mash. The lamb was cooked perfectly, the veggies a great addition. My Dad would love this dish. It was the perfect end to our entree course.

Now following all those entrees (we boxed a lot of food to go), the hardest decision came when we were presented with the mini indulgences. These are the perfect size since often after a large meal you want to try the desserts but don't have any room. I enjoyed the smore's one and Meghan went for the peanut butter chocolate which was topped with amazing peanut brittle.
I seriously didn't eat for the rest of the day. It was all amazing food. Megan and I discussed how we needed to come back to try the vegetable frittata on the brunch menu as well as plan a night of drinks and desserts since the indulgences are the perfect size. Whether you grab a group and order apps to share, plan brunch for mother's day or escape for a date night, Seasons52 would be a great choice if you are in the Raleigh area.

If you are not in Raleigh, Seasons52 has locations in 19 states and you can check out all of their locations here. They even have gluten free, vegan, dairy and lactose-intolerant, and vegetarian menus at the restaurants and online so no matter your diet you can find dishes at Seasons52.

Have you tried Seasons52?
Favorite meal of the day?


What I'm Reading Wednesday {The Glittering Court}

Hey y'all,

I recently saw the Glittering Court as a reccomended book I should check out (according to GoodReads) and thought I would add it to my library holds list. The book was published last year but is written by Richelle Mead, known for the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series so it took a while to get a copy. Here's the description of this new young adult novel:

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1)
Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands.

my opinion:

I listened to this as an audiobook and really enjoyed the narrator, however, I felt as if this book took a major turn I wasn't expecting about 75% in and I don't know if I loved the later half of the book. I think the book ends rather abruptly with all the loose ends tied up a little too perfectly. I loved the premise of a woman that in order to avoid marrying a distant relation for his money, decides to go to a "boarding school" situation under the guise of her ladies maid to learn to be a lady to entice those that have made it rich in the new colonies. However, the religious persecution part of the novel felt a little haphazard and the part of the book when we leave Adoria was unexpected and seemed rather slow in pace. By the end all the secrets come out within a few pages of one another and the book ends with everyone in a great place.

There is a second book to this series and I am not sure I would reach for it. I liked this book but it's not one that I would automatically recommend to a friend looking for young adult fiction.

What have you been reading lately? 

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Miscellany Monday {Weekend Update}

Hey y'all,

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are rested and ready for another work week. I cannot believe that we are already at the last week of April and summer will be here before we know it. As expected I had a pretty lazy weekend in town and it was exactly what I needed especially since I am recovering from my cold. Since I love seeing glimpses into other's lives through their blog, I thought to share my weekend.

Following work on Friday I ran over to one of my friend's houses as I left my bible over there following our weekly bible study. Then I ran home to make a sandwich before meeting my friend Alexa at one of the local high schools for their performance of Legally Blonde the musical. Alexa is finishing up her MA in teaching and will be hopefully teaching high school history in the fall so it was fun to support one of the local schools. The performance was very impressive. I have seen the show at the DPAC back in college with some of my sorority sisters so it was fun to see the show again.

Saturday morning I intended to go on a walk with my friend Jessica but we ended up switching to coffee so I got up and took a walk around my neighborhood. Four miles later I finished my audio book and got ready. We went to one of my favorite local shops and enjoyed catching up. I had the white strawberry hot tea and I would highly recommend it.

At 2pm, I headed to church to meet with the other PreSchool team leaders to go over the next 6 weeks of lessons. After that meeting it was already time to set up classrooms and get ready to serve with my team for the 4pm service. The kids were all sweet and I headed to church right after at 5:30pm. The message was on Exodus and was the final sermon in our series Unknown God.The rest of the night I spent hanging out with my cat, Max, and beginning the series Game of Thrones on HBO.

Sunday morning I got up and hung around my apartment for a bit before getting ready and heading out to pick up my friend Meghan for brunch. I was invited to try out Seasons 52, the new restaurant at Crabtree Valley Mall and I can't wait to share about my experience on Thursday but until then, I will share this beautiful Brioche French Toast with blueberry-infused maple syrup and whiskey-smoked brown sugar pecans.

After our wonderful brunch, Meghan and I headed back to her place to catch up on Blindspot. Yes, we are still behind so no spoilers from me except that I am glad that the tattoos are coming back in play as this season has been focused more on Jane's past than the fun mystery of all the different tattoos.

The rainy Sunday continued as I ran to Target to pick up a few grocery items, meal prepped a bit, watched a few more episodes of Game of Thrones, and cleaned up my room.

It was the perfect ending to a lovely calm weekend in town.

What did you do this weekend?

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Five on Friday {April 21}

Hey y'all,

This week I got hit with a spring cold. I thought at first it was just a response to allergies but instead by Wednesday I was at home with a fever. Therefore my Five on Friday post is a little random as most nights I have been coming home taking Nyquil and getting to bed before 10pm. I am starting to feel better though and hope that after this weekend the cold will be gone as I get ready for the Tone It Up Bikini Series (an 8 week fitness challenge)

one. She Reads Truth Bible. I decided to pre-order the She Reads Truth bible after seeing the announcement on Instagram a few weeks ago. I am so glad I went ahead and grabbed it. It arrived this past weekend and was such a nice Easter gift to myself. The translation is Christian Standard Bible which I have found to be very similar to my ESV study bible with a little bit more readable. I also love the verse prints. If you have any questions about this bible if you are interested, please let me know! Here is a passage from this week that I was studying.

two. Moana Soundtrack. Last friday night I headed over to my friends' home to eat fajitas, drink sangria, and catch up. We ended up putting on Moana and I have enjoyed rocking out to the soundtrack at work this week. Shiny is still one of my favorite songs ever.

three. Engagement Celebrations. Kristina in my bible study got engaged at the end of March but due to crazy weather cancelling one of our gatherings and her work schedule we finally celebrated her on Wednesday with cupcakes. It was fun hearing her engagement story. That night we also were able to pray over sweet Dana who gets married next weekend! It's an exciting time in our group and I'm so excited for the new season for each of these women.

four.Sproutlings. A few weeks ago I planted some wildflowers and some basil in planters on my porch. I am happy to say that the seeds took and I have little sproutlings right now. I am hoping all goes well and they all grow into beautiful plants. Also, my cat, Max, is loving time on the porch right now!

five. Calm Weekend. This weekend is my only calm weekend for the next month or so. I have plans to hang out with my old roommate M watching Blindspot, going to brunch at the new Seasons 52, going for a 5 mile walk with Jess to catch up, and teaching my little people at church. It will be nice to not feel like I am rushing all over town over the weekend considering we are less than a month until I am off on a 10 day vacation!

Link up with April, Christina, and Natasha
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Also linking up with Tif and Katie.
And Erika
What are your plans for the weekend?
Favorite flower or herb?

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Defending Jacob {Book Review}

Hey y'all,

This past month my book club read Defending Jacob by William Landay. This mystery set in Newton, Massachusetts and involves the murder of a young eighth grader. I personally listened to the audio book and enjoyed hearing about Andy Barber, the assistant district attorney assigned to the case until his son is accused of the murder.

From the cover:
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life, his wife, Laurie, and teenage son, Jacob.
Then Andy's quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy's own son--shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.
Andy believes in Jacob's innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbor's contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy's family.
It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

My Thoughts:
I personally really enjoyed the book and would not have picked it up if not for book club. I will say there are some shocking twists and turns and it was fun discussing with my group who we all suspected throughout the novel. If you enjoy murder mysteries or crime shows like Law and Order I think you would really enjoy this book. My book club even reaced out to the author with questions we still had after reading the novel.

What have you been reading lately?


Toning Tuesday {Tone it Up Bikini Series}

Hey y'all,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. One of the highlights from my weekend was going on a walk with a few friends around Lake Lynn in Raleigh. It's absolutely gorgeous and a nice trail. Plus, we were able to knock out 5.6 miles that morning before I headed to a yummy lunch of Chic-Fil-A.

I'm excited that in just under two weeks, Tone It Up will begin their annual summer fitness challenge. This eight week challenge is free on their website and includes a weekly schedule with fitness and lifestyle challenges, recipes, nutrition advice and a brand new workout video every week! I have participated in the past and the challenge is always very motivating and full of wonderful women in community.
Tone It Up Bikini Series 2017 Sign Up

I am just getting back to working out after a weird hiatus. I would do a few workouts here and there but I was only really consistent with the Pilates I was doing with Robin Long. I plan on still incorporating Pilates throughout this challenge. I might do the Tone It Up workout in the morning and squeeze in pilates right before bed as a way to relax and get settled.

You can sign up for the Bikini Series here. Ashely from Hanging with the Hirsts is also participating!You can follow along on my Tone It Up Instagram here.
Do you have a favorite workout right now?


Sunday Sayings {April 9th}

Hey y'all,

As we get closer to Easter next week I am in awe of the Lord, our God. Yesterday I walked four miles around a lake in Raleigh and seeing all the wildlife was just a reminder of our wonderful creator. I think I often feel that way when I get outside with nature. With Psalm Sunday, I am often reminded that by Christ's wounds we have been healed by ALL of our transgressions! What joyous news! I hope that this week you are able to rest in the fact that we have a wonderful Savior who loved us so much to die for us.

Do you have any Easter traditions?

Saturday Shopping {Easter Dresses}

Hey y'all,

I don't know about you but I love when spring comes and it's the perfect weather for a sundress. One of my favorite things since I was a child was going shopping for a new Easter dress. I still love looking for fun spring dresses but I have stuck with a seersucker dress I have from J.Crew the last few Easter services.

It can be a bit tricky looking for an Easter dress as I think it needs to not be strapless and be more modest than your typical summer dress, I mean you are going to a church service afterall. Here are a few options I have found that are all under $100. All you need is a fun necklace and a pair of wedges and you are good to go!
Easter Dress-2

Easter Dress-1

Easter Dress-3

Easter Dress-3 by postgradprep featuring a short sleeve dress

What are you wearing for Easter?
Favorite brunch food?


Life Update {10 Things in March}

Hey y'all,

It has been over a month since I have sat down to write a blog. I was really struggling with finding joy in my blog and in writing so I told myself I wouldn't post anything unless it felt right. I want this space to be a reflection of me. The things I love, struggle with, want to share, and filled with my story. I hope you understand why I took some time away. I will tell you that a lot has happened since I last posted in February. Here are 10 things to catch you up:

one. UNC won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Y'all, March Madness is a stressful time if you are a Tar Heel. Really I think March Madness might have decreased my life expectancy with all the stress. While I was not on Franklin Street on Monday following the Championship, I did go to Chapel Hill with friends on Saturday night to watch the stressful game against the Orgeon Ducks. I am so lucky to live near my alma mater and to have been at Carolina during the 2009 National Championship win. It's an amazing feeling and I am so proud of our basketball team for all of their hard work. GO HEELS!

two. Chicago weekend. The last weekend in March, I took a whirlwind trip up to Chicago. My best friend from home had her bridal shower and I surprised her by flying up. The look on her face when she saw me at the shower still makes me smile. It was a great weekend spending time with her and just getting away.

three. A South Carolina wedding. Elizabeth is one of my former co-workers/work besties and was married in a sweet ceremony at her home church in South Carolina. I'm glad I made it down and was able to celebrate with the beautiful bride and groom.

four. Women's Conference. My church has a women's conference in March as well. The ladies of my small group all went and a lot of us volunteered as well. It was a wonderful time of renewal and focusing on our living hope.

five. Pilates. In March I started to incorporate pilates with the 21 day challenge from The Balanced Life with Robin Long. While I didn't complete the challenge I have been trying to incorporate more pilates each day. It's a great way to start the day with movement, focus, and working on balance.

six. Beauty and the Beast. If you have not seen Beauty and the Beast yet, go! Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and I tried to keep my expectations low while also praying that they did not ruin a classic. I was presently surprised with how much I loved the movie. Most of the dialogue is exactly the same, with a few more details into Belle's background. Also, any scenes they took out or added I felt like were non-essential. I went with my Mom and we both really enjoyed it.
seven. Girl Meets World. If you need a cute, wholesome show that has flashbacks to your childhood, check out Girl Meets World on Netflix. The show follows Riley Mathews, Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World. I binged all three seasons rather quickly and I'm sad the show is over. I loved episodes where Mr. Feeny, Eric Mathews and Shawn Hunter were featured as I loved hearing how they all grew up.
eight.J.Crew Warehouse Sale. Every so often, J.Crew will do a regional warehouse sale in the Triangle area. Last weekend, I found out that they were having a sale at the NC State Fairground. I love going to find special occasion dresses for weddings and cocktails. I snagged this dress for under $50 for wedding season this summer. The retail price is $250!

nine.Running. I am slowly getting back into running and this weather is really helping.I just ordered some new running shoes from Brooks and signed up for a 5K in May. It's time to get back to morning runs on the weekends as great stress relief.
ten. Spring Cleaning. I have been purging my closet and deep cleaning things. I love that the start of seasons signifies this renewal. I have been enjoying getting to focus on the things I love and donating a lot of things to Goodwill. I also have posted a few things to Poshmark lately too. Let's hope I can finish this project this weekend.

What have you been loving lately?
Favorite spring activity?
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