cover-homepage

K A T | happy memorial day

IMG_2623

Hey y’all! I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend! The YCSWU gals are spread out along the southeast shores, spending time with those we love most. Stay safe out there and remember to be thankful for all the people who have died while serving our country. See you bright and early tomorrow!

kat_crop

 

C A S O N | flashback: favorite travel apps

Happy #flashbackfriday folks! As you’re all headed out of town for the holiday weekend, don’t forget to download my favorite travel apps. Whether you’re far away and need a currency converter, in a big city in need of public transit assistance, or at the beach looking for the best seafood restaurant, there’s an app for you on this list. Stay safe and have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

flashbackfriday_edited-1
best-travel-apps

All four of us here at YCSWU are lucky enough to travel quite frequently. More often than not, we always seem to be coordinating schedules or flights for our next adventure on the horizon. (6 WEEKS UNTIL MIAMI!) Don’t check my savings account, don’t check my Dave Ramsey envelopes, and don’t check my IRA contributions for the year because I could probably be doing a whole lot better in that financial arena. For right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m taking full advantage of this stage of life because, Lord willing, I won’t be in this stage forever. Although, I give SERIOUS kudos to all the hubbies in my life. (I love you Brett, JP, JoJo, Joel, and Ryan!) Thank you for letting your wives go on adventures with me! You give me hope.

what-apps-to-download-for-travelingtravel-apps

Over the past couple years, I’ve come to depend on travel apps. Whether it’s getting around, finding a place to eat, converting currency, or calling home, I’d never leave home without these apps installed and updated! Here is a list of my favorite travel apps.

Viber | This app is great if you are leaving the country. Kat and I downloaded Viber before going to London and Paris last summer so that we could call or text my mom if we needed to. Just make sure you and the people you want to communicate with download this before you go. You DO need wi-fi for this app. (Side note: In my experience, finding free wi-fi outside the US is fairly easy. Most restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops offer free wi-fi to their customers.) Simply leave your phone in airplane mode so that you are not being charged for data. While connected to wi-fi and through the Viber app, you can call or text anyone for free as long as they also have Viber.

[ Jo, Kat, and I being super touristy in London last summer! ]

best-apps-for-europe-travel

GlobeConvert | Another great app if leaving the country. From Cancun to Cannes, no matter where you are in the world, you can figure out how much you’re spending in USD. Especially if you’re traveling with friends, this app is a great tool for figuring out restaurant and hotel bills. This app does NOT require wi-fi – again, just download it before you go! A seriously awesome bonus with this app is that it converts more than currency. You can convert area, energy, length, power, pressure, speed, time, volume, and weight with it. You know – for all those times you need to figure out how much horsepower is in 500 watts. (Shockingly, I use it quite often.)

HopStop | I wouldn’t have survived in New York without HopStop! It DOES require wi-fi or 3G so I don’t really recommend it for international travel unless you have an international phone plan. HopStop offers door-to-door subway, bus, and walking directions to over 140 cities around the world. When I say door-to-door, this is no joke. You simply tell the app where you want to go and it gives you clear directions using the city’s transit system. SO EASY.

Example directions: I’m in Times Square and I want to go to the Empire State Building.

-Start out going North on BROADWAY towards W 46TH ST
-Turn right onto W 47th ST
-Subway entrance near intersection of W 47th ST and 7th AVE
-Take the R train heading towards BAY RIDGE – 95th ST
-Pass 42ND ST
-Get off at 34TH ST
-Exit near the intersection of BROADWAY and AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS
-Turn right onto W 34TH ST
-Arrive at Empire State Building

[ Jo, Brett, Holly, JP, Kat, and I in Times Square for New Year’s Eve 2011! ]

hopstop-app-new-york

Subway Apps | This is my solution for international travel. Always check for underground apps before you jump the pond. The London Underground as well as the Paris Metro have incredible apps that do NOT require wi-fi. We never took the wrong train or got lost thanks to these handy apps. They were just as easy as HopStop.

Trip Advisor | This app is really helpful if it’s meal time and you don’t have anything planned. This DOES require wi-fi or 3G, so if you’re using it internationally, I recommend scouting out your options while still at your hotel. If you’re in the US, simply let the app use your current location to reveal all restaurant options nearby. You can read reviews, get directions, and see how high it ranks compared to other restaurants in the area. I’ve found some great dining options by just winging it and using this app!

[ All four of us at the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago. ]

apps-for-traveling

iTranslate | The name says it all. Translate words and sentences in any language using this app. Extremely helpful when attempting to decipher a menu or reading directions.

[ Audge and I at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. We love when “work” travel turns into fun. ]

what-are-the-best-travel-apps

Rick Steves Audio Europe | Rick Steves has put together an incredible library of audio tours throughout Europe. Download this app BEFORE you go. This is a great alternative if you don’t want to pay for the audio tours offered at the attractions you are visiting. It’s also great if you have long train rides. Joanna, Kat, and I were super nerdy and listened to the Versailles audio guide while on the 30 minute train ride out to the palace! Pack your own earbuds and you’re good to go.

[ Mom and I listening to an audio tour in Athens, Greece. ]

europe-travel-apps

Yelp | Similar to Trip Advisor, this app is another option for scouting out nearby restaurants. You can search by price, food genre, and select features like outdoor seating, accepts credit cards, takes reservations, and more! Much like the Trip Advisor app, you’ll be able read reviews and see the restaurant’s ranking. I like to cross reference options between the two apps. If it ranks high on both, it must be good!

[ Jo, Kat, and Holly in San Antonio. There is a 50/50 chance we are either Yelping for dinner or on a hunt for the perfect filter. ]

best-apps-for-international-travel

Then on really rare occasions, you don’t need an app because you have a 4th grade teacher to catch you up to speed on the history of the Alamo.

travel-app-reviews

Yes, I’m about to quote a member of The Bert Show like he is some wise philosopher. Jeff Dauler once said “I like to collect experiences and adventures like another person might collect baseball cards or teapots.” THIS. Mind, body, and soul I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly.

internationa-travel-apps-paris

Happy Monday and happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend as much as I am.

cason_crop

A U D G E | easy banana pudding

easy Banana Pudding | You Can Sit With Us Blog | 02Summers in ATL. You can’t live with them, you can’t live without em. CONS: humidity (I have curly hair, pity me), sweating your brains out on the 30 second walk out to your car, and just generally not being on a beach when that kind of ridiculous hotness is happening to you. But one of my fave things about summer? Good old Southern FOOD. Cookouts, potlucks, picnics, parties…  you put a table full of sides and desserts out and I’m all about it! One of my favorite dishes is my MIL’s AH-mazing Banana Pudding… Y’ALL. It’ll do you right. And it’s easy! (Which you know means I’ll actually consider making it.) I halved the recipe for a smaller hangout with friends, but if you do the whole recipe you’ll have a pretty hefty size dish perfect for a picnic, potluck, or large family gathering. Your summer just got a whole lot more awesome… (you’re welcome.) ;)

Easy Banana Pudding | You Can Sit With Us BlogEasy Banana Pudding

:: 2 large Boxes of Vanilla Pudding Mix
:: 6 cups of milk
:: 2 large tubs of Cool Whip, thawed
:: roughly 6-8 bananas
:: Large box of Vanilla Wafers
:: Dash of Vanilla Extract

Mix together pudding mix and milk according to package directions. Once it’s firmed up a little into pudding texture, add in your tubs of Cool Whip and a dash of vanilla extract. Stir together until well blended.

In your bowl/dish, lay down a layer of vanilla wafers, then a layer of banana slices. Pour half of your pudding mixture in to cover the first layers. On top of that, add another layer of vanilla wafers and banana slices. Then pour the second half of your pudding mixture in and smooth out. Add another final layer of wafers (and bananas if you wanna and you’ll be serving it soon after prep).

Try to not eat the whole bowl before your guests arrive… If you have to sneak a taste, I won’t tell anyone.

It’s almost the weekendddd! YESSSSSSS!! Let the countdown begin!

Until next time…

audra_crop

J O A N N A | suit-up!

Because of my big news last week, it’s obvious I won’t be stepping into any sassy swimsuits this summer. In the past, I would have enjoyed having an excuse to be chubby during the summer and not  have to worry about how to pull off an itty bitty tinny bikini! But, swimsuits have come such a long way; you don’t have to wear an itty bitty bikini anymore to be cool! There are SO many options now, it’s awesome! One piece, tankinis, high wasted…they all come in different shapes and styles. So, what would have been a much appreciated excuse in the past is now keeping me from trying all these awesome new trends… the only thing I am looking for in a bathing suit these days is something that I can get off fast enough to make it to the bathroom. I can still enjoy looking though, right? Please buy one of these suits and let me live vicariously through you… I promise not to be creepy.

1| H&M 2| TopShop 3| J. Crew 4| TopShop 5| J.Crew 6| TopShop

Now that you’ve got your swimsuit options down (check out Audra’s favorites too!), go get yourself some vitamin D!

joanna_crop

K A T | buttermilk kitchen review

Buttermilk-Kitchen-0020

If  you haven’t had a chance to experience a Buttermilk Kitchen brunch you need to get your butt to Atlanta. This quaint spot is a bruncher’s dream. The bright blue house is downright homey with an air of southern charm. Honestly, I wish I could bottle up the atmosphere and take it with me. The weekend brunch menu definitely brings out the crowd. Whether, you are dragging yourself in after a long night or getting a leisurely start to your Saturday this food is sure to hit the spot! Have I convinced you to go yet? It’s totally worth the wait.

Buttermilk-Kitchen-0017IMG_0810

I’ve been twice now and both meals were delicious but the chicken biscuit totally beat out the pancakes for top spot. Probably the best chicken biscuit I’ve ever had. (Sorry Chick-fil-A…I still love you.) It’s a homemade biscuit with deliciously fried chicken and a roasted red pepper jelly. It gives it that perfect combo of sweet and salty! I would also highly recommend the pimento cheese grits. Word on the street is that the hash browns are to die for but I’m definitely a grits girl. The only downside, no alcohol so you won’t be complimenting your meal with a mimosa or bloody mary but trust me when I say, the food more than makes up for it.

IMG_0808

Honorable mention: strawberry cornbread. It will rock your world and then some.

IMG_0806

Fellow Atlantans, what other brunch spots should we try? I’m always up for a good restaurant recommendation!

kat_crop

C A S O N | pool day beauty faves

beach-day-beauty-products

It’s FINALLY time for trips to the beach and long days at the pool! I could lounge by any body of water with a book in one hand and a drink in the other until the sun practically sets. Whether it’s keeping those locks tamed or protecting your skin, these beauty products need to be on your shopping list this summer!

pool-day-beauty-products

Coppertone Ultra Guard | I know there are fancier brands on the market but nothing (and I mean NOTHING) beats the smell of this classic sun block. I’m trying to take better care of my skin as I get older so you usually won’t find me with anything less than 30 SPF at least until late summer.

Sunnies | The bigger the better for protecting your face! I’m a Ray-Ban lover for life but refuse to let them get oily and sandy. I usually pick up a pair of cheap sunglasses at Forever 21 and leave them in my beach bag all summer long. At only $5.80 a pair, who cares what happens to them!

Aveeno Sunblock for Face | I’ve mentioned this gem before and it’s worth repeating. THE BEST facial sunscreen you’ll ever find. It has a high SPF, won’t clog your pores, and rubs in without leaving you a shiny mess.

COTZ Face Natural Skin Tone | I hate wearing tons of makeup out to the beach but I also want to resemble a living person. I love this tinted moisturizer! A tiny dot goes a long way and with an SPF of 40, your face will love you. (See a theme here? Protect your face people!)

summer-beauty-products

Wide tooth comb | Using a wide tooth comb after getting your hair wet will help to detangle and minimize frizz and breakage. Start combing at the bottom and slowly work your way to your scalp.

Redken Fashion Waves | When your hair is a curly frizzy mess like mine, you need a texturizing spray like this one to keep it in check. After taking a dip, comb through your hair and give your locks a spritz of this sea spray. It will keep your beach waves from pulling a Monica Gellar.

Maybelline Waterproof Mascara | My lashes are fairly light so I just don’t feel myself without a couple of swipes. Grab a waterproof tube and it will stay put all day!

Peppermint Baby Lips | You can’t spend a day out in the sun without protecting your lips. I think I have Baby Lips in every single drawer and purse in my house. I keep a tube of the peppermint flavor in my beach bag, it has 20 SPF!

Vaseline Aloe Soothe Spray | After a long day in the sun, nothing feels better than a moisturizer with aloe! This spray and go formula is lightweight, non-greasy, smells of heaven, and absorbs super fast.

Alright gals, get out there and have some fun in the sun!

cason_crop

A U D G E | mama’s summer faves

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and the beach is so close I can almost hear it calling my name! Gah, I can’t WAIT! This’ll be our first trip to the beach with two super active kiddies, so we’ll see if we all survive the trip with all pieces still in tact. Hopefully I’ll even get a chance to catch up on our latest Bupper book… it’s definitely a page-turner so far! Now take a walk down memory lane with me for this week’s Flashback Friday to see what I was packing up this time last year… apparently not much has changed! (Except maybe an extra bottle of margs?! Hah!)flashbackfriday_edited-1We’ve got a long weekend coming up, and we’re about to endeavor on a journey to a land far, far away… called FLORIDA! We’ve made the trip a hundred times before, but this time will be way different. We’ve got TWO kids now (*insert my wig out face here*) – so what once was a quick little hop, skip, and a jump seems like a huge daunting task. BUT, we’ll make it there… eventually. More than anything though, I’m just SO excited about getting to be on the beach again! I think every time we went last year it was cold or storming the entire time we were there, so fingers crossed for glorious rays, gentle breezes, and an ever-flowing fountain of margs! (Ok, I might’ve gotten carried away with the fountain. A girl can dream.) Over our last few trips down we’ve found a few items that have really helped with our traveling experience, and now we have to take into consideration two totally different ages (little baby + toddler) while packing our entire freaking house jumble of suitcases up.

mama's S U M M E R faves

1. A Puddle Jumper – Tacie did some swim lessons last year, and by the end of them she was pretty confident and swimming in one of these little guys all on her own! As of our first trip to the pool for this summer, she’s a little rusty so we’ll have to re-cap everything we learned. This little floaty was a lifesaver though, it was comfortable for her and let her be pretty independent while still being safe.

2. Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby Sunblock Stick – JoJo refuses to rub any kind of lotion on our children because he hates the feeling of it. (YES I just totally called you out!) This is one sunscreen he can handle. We usually use this for their face and shoulders and use a baby spray for the rest of the nooks and crannies. It’s so easy to do touch-ups throughout the day too, especially on those hot spots! I might’ve used it myself. Whatever.

3. Mommy’s “Special Juice” – Alright y’all, if you’re a fan of the margs THIS is your go-to lazy man’s margarita! When you’re packing up your emergency beach survival bag, don’t leave home without it!

4. Bumbo Booster Seat – When Tacie was little, we used to pack her ENTIRE GIANT HIGHCHAIR to take with us. Mealtime at home was such a nightmare without it, we figured it was worth the battle of packing it. This Bumbo Booster is amazingly compact in comparison! Granted, she’s a toddler now and can hold up her own head and feed herself and all of that jazz (BONUS!) but this one is going to be a great addition, I can feel it. Sure, she could sit in a normal chair but there’s something about being able to strap your child down and eat in (semi)peace…. ahhhhh.

5. ErgoBaby’s Sea Skipper Carrier – I know there are a hundred carriers out there, but this is my fave for sure. I have one in a tan color, but how cute is this little nautical themed print?! I’m kind of bummed I didn’t find it earlier! These things are perfect for… anytime you want to do anything with both of your hands. (That’s considered a luxury now for me.)

6. Lily Padz – I just ordered these on Amazon for our trip, and is it totally nerdy to say that I’m kind of excited about them?? Since I’m still nursing, I think these reusable silicone nursing pads will be perfect for swimming and tank tops and all things summery… I hope they’re a hit!

July42013_005

So those are just a few of the things we’ll be hauling with us… I can’t wait to see how much crap actually ends up in our car. (*gulp!*) And of COURSE you know I’m bringing this month’s Bupper book – have you been keeping up?? Looking forward to having my own private gigglefest… tee hee!

Do you guys have any other summertime faves for you and your kiddies? Let me know! Mama’s gotta keep it fresh! ;)

Happy Friday! (Weekend’s almost heeeeere!)

audra_crop

J O A N N A | oh, baby…

Brett and I have some exciting news to share… I’m growing a baby! Surprise!

photoI’m 22 weeks along and feeling really good! So far, I have had a textbook pregnancy. I had a very rough first trimester, but now that I am into my second trimester I have gotten back (some) energy and the nausea has almost gone away… praise! I haven’t been sleeping well, but I assume that’s just preparation for things to come, right?

picstitch-1We are SO pumped to grow our family and have already felt SO much love from our friends and family. This little girl is already SO loved! That’s right, we are having a GIRL!! Our little lady should be making her appearance sometime towards the end of September.

Here’s her big YCSWU debut… Don’t you just love that high kick? She’s a mover and a shaker already! (Not sure where she get’s it.)

THOMPSON, JOANNA_20150511_13-1THOMPSON, JOANNA_20150511_1

Thanks for sharing in this exciting news with us! There will be more to come, so stay tuned! joanna_crop

K A T | summer casual

IMG_0327

Do y’all have a store that you rely on…I mean really rely on? Like, you know without a shadow of a doubt if you go in there you’ll walk out with a bag full of goodies. That’s how I feel about the J.Crew at the North Georgia Premium Outlets. This bad habit started when I went to school in Dahlonega. When you live 20 minutes from the outlets, you tend to drop by pretty often. I’m currently 6 years out from college (Omg! Insert shocked face.) and I still haven’t found a way to break the habit. I hit the outlets every couple of months and they never disappoint. Lucky for you, if you don’t frequent the outlets you can find all the outlet items at J.Crew Factory’s website. I popped in a couple of weeks ago and am loving all my finds!

IMG_0334IMG_0351IMG_0330

Top: J. Crew | Shorts: Express | Bracelet: J. Crew | Necklace: old J.Crew, similar J.Crew | Sunglasses: TopShop | Rings: David Yurman

All these pieces are still available online and J. Crew is currently offering up to 60% off of everything and an additional 20% off your purchase with code EXTRA20. Happy shopping my friends!

kat_crop

C A S O N | diy home scents

lemon-rosemary-home-scent

Y’all, home ownership can be tough stuff. In the past year, a shelf has completely come out of the wall, my ice maker no longer works, I burned a hole in my porch (oops), and I used YouTube to fix my garbage disposal. And for the love of hoarding, when did I acquire SO. MUCH. STUFF?! Kat and I have been on a spring cleaning binge the past few weekends. Even if it’s just one or two things a day, we’re making a point to toss or donate the unnecessary clutter. I swear there are cabinets, drawers, and closets that I haven’t seen the bottom of….maybe ever. I spotted these all natural home scents on Pinterest and decided they would be a perfect addition to our spring cleaning sprees!

[ what you’ll NEED ]

all-natural-home-scents

:: fresh herbs (ex: mint, rosemary)
:: fresh fruit (ex: lemons, limes, oranges)
:: extracts (ex: vanilla, peppermint)

natural-home-scentslime-mint-home-scents

There’s no right or wrong combination here! Mix and match your favorite fruits, herbs, and extracts to create a perfect scent for your home. Throw everything into a small pot and simmer on low for a couple of hours. Be sure to keep refilling the water as it evaporates so that your fruit and herbs don’t burn. I tried 2 different combinations – lemon + rosemary + 1 tsp vanilla and lime + mint. Both had my entire house smelling clean and refreshing within an hour!

diy-home-fragrance

I stored the extra ingredients in a mason jar in the refrigerator and will pull them out this weekend while I’m doing another round of spring cleaning. Until next time…

cason_crop