C A S O N | fall in atlanta 2015


It’s October! You know what that means? Pumpkins, s’mores, boots, football, mountains, PSLs, and scarves! Don’t even get me started on those new Toasted Graham Lattes. Take full advantage of fall in the south with this list of fun things to do in and around Atlanta!


Pumpkin Festival | Stone Mountain  |October 4 – 25
Features a costume party, family shows, storytelling, kids’ activities, and a pie-eating contest at Stone Mountain Park.

Owl-O-Ween | Kennesaw | October 23 – 24
A hot air balloon festival featuring balloon rides, balloon glows, trick-or-treating, food, beer tents, vendors, and entertainers at Kennesaw State University.


Atlanta Cheese Festival | Atlanta Botanical Gardens | October 9
Taste samples from 100 cheese producers, see cooking demonstrations, and hear bluegrass music at the Botanical Gardens.

Georgia Apple Festival | Ellijay | October 10 – 11 and 17 – 18
See 300 vendors of food and handmade items, plus craft demonstrations, a parade, and an antique car show.

Boo at the Zoo | Zoo Atlanta | October 17, 18, 24, 25, and 31
A Halloween festival with costume contests, treats, magical paths, decorations, music, and kid crafts at the zoo.


Gold Rush | Dahlonega | October 17 – 18
Come and see fall colors peaking and celebrate Dahlonega’s 1828 discovery of gold. Over 300 art and craft exhibitors and food vendors gather around the Public Square and Historic District in support of this annual event.


Brookhaven Chili Cook Off | Brookhaven | October 10
Buy a wristband to taste spicy, mild, chicken, beef, and vegetarian chili. It has live music, a kids’ zone, and arts & crafts.

Sips Under the Sea | Georgia Aquarium | October 16
Adults can wander the aquarium enjoying live music, cocktails, and tapas.

Decatur Craft Beer Festival | Decatur | October 17
features 100 craft beers, live music, and food for sale in downtown Decatur.


Martinis & IMAX | Fernbank | October 30
Enjoy live music, drinks, a costume contest, and a movie at Martinis & IMAX Fright Night for adults at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.


You won’t find me here, btw. It’s not my thing but I know some of you live for this stuff, so here are the deets.

Netherworld | Norcross | October 4 – November 7
This haunted house thrills and terrifies with stunt actors in intense makeup, movie-quality special effects, and detailed sets.

13 Stories Haunted House | Newnan | October 4 – November 13
This haunted house has 6 terrifying attractions and Hollywood level of detail.

Zombie Escape | Tucker | October 8 – November 27
You and 11 others are trapped in a room with a zombie on a growing chain, with only 1 hour to solve clues and escape.


Walker Stalker Con | GA World Congress Center | October 30 – Nov 1
Meet the casts of some of your favorite shows including The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries. Walker Stalker Con has panels, celebrities, vendors, and a party at the Georgia World Congress Center.


The Great Georgia Air Show | Peachtree City | October 31 – November 1
The Great Georgia Air Show has civilian and military aviation acts, plus live music, food vendors, and family activities at Falcon Field.

Jersey Boys | Fox Theatre | October 6 – 11
The rags-to-riches story of 20-somethings Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Fright Fest | Six Flags over Georgia | October 4 – November 1
Enjoy pumpkin painting & trick-or-treating in daylight, but beware of the ghosts, ghouls, and zombies at night!


BOO-seum Trick or Treat | Fernbank | October 24
Features treats for kids in costume, games, entertainment, and music at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

With a list like this, Netflix marathons can wait until winter. Happy fall!


A U D G E | take a hike already


It’s almost FALL Y’ALL.  I mean, technically I think it already is. But it’s finally starting to actually feel like it!! I’m so pumped! We’ve been exploring a few new places with our homeschooling adventures, and I stumbled back across this post… I forgot all about this place! We might have to take another trip out there now that it’s not brain-melting hot outside… things always seem more fun when you’re not afraid of turning into a heap of melted mass. Make sure you get outdoors and enjoy this last little stretch of niceness before winter makes it debut… and let me know if there are any new places we need to hit up! I’m always down for a new adventure. Now go on… TAKE A HIKE! ;)
flashbackfriday_edited-1sweetwaterstatepark1So lately I’ve been getting the itch to get more creative with our date nights + family outings. Nothing crazy, just something other than going out to eat and then binging on Hulu+ all night long (don’t get me wrong, I’m down for that every other night of the week!). One random weekend I had a free Saturday, which I feel like never happens… so we decided we’d head out to Sweetwater Creek State Park with the kiddies and scope out their hiking trails. It was the first spring-ish day, simply BEEEEEYOOTIFUL! And apparently we weren’t the only ones with that idea. We put baby Ollie in the ergoBaby, suited Tacie up with her “climbing gear” (aka her hot pink pants and sunglasses), packed a lunch and headed out. I had no idea what to anticipate (I’m picturing every possible toddler meltdown in my mind and shuddering), but it ended up being surprisingly successful. They had bathrooms (no toddler pee pee pants, check), marked trails (no surviving in the woods all alone the rest of the weekend huddling for warmth at night, check), and trails that were easy enough to hike without mountain-climbing picks. We strolled around for a couple of hours, and then made the 30-ish minute drive back home. (That was actually the worst part, it was double baby meltdown tiiiime!) On our way out, we snagged a flyer for their upcoming happenings and they actually had some pretty cool stuff lined up! We planned our next trip back (without kiddies), rallied up a few friends, and did their Night Hike – it was AWESOMEEEE.

sweetwaterstatepark2It was a kind of brisk night, and we had a hodgepodge group all going through the trails together. I liked that we got to go down trails that aren’t normally open to the public, so even if you go all the time you’re still seeing something new.

sweetwaterstatepark4That’s our ranger guide up there in the righthand picture – she was SO knowledgeable about the history of the area and how it’s changed over the years. She told us about this bridge we had walked over and how it had survived the flood that happened in 2009, do you guys remember that?? So crazy to think that actually happened so close to home. There was even a huge piece of debree that was left in the river because it was too large to remove without disrupting the water system. I will say, sometimes I’m not that into the guided tour thing, but this one I could get down with. Let’s be honest – if your guide is a dud, it kinda ruins the whole experience. This one was a hit… with an awesome ranger sweater at that.

sweetwaterstatepark3We even learned all about the Cherokee heritage and how they used to live on these lands… which was rad because I’m Cherokee. (I’m only like 1/16th. Which explains the lack of tan.) Obviously nobody is living on the land anymore, but it was cool to think about what it would’ve been like back in the day… a whole little community just living in the hills and surviving off the land. I think I’d love it. Maybe.

sweetwaterstatepark5On this hike, they took us around to the East side of the park where you can see the skyline of Atlanta. It got a little cloudy when we were up there, and it was a bit too far to photograph, but it was still pretty beautiful. It was crazy to look one way and see all of the city lights and neighborhoods and then look the other way over the protected areas that hadn’t been developed. Such a huge contrast! There’s something about just pulling away from everything and going out into nature though, even if it’s just for a little while… I think it’s good for you. To slow down and be simple. I just feel so refreshed afterwards, it’s like a “restart” button for me.

Anywho, if they ever do another night hike over the summer you should definitely hit it up! It was only like $8 a person I think? They have all sorts of other activities you can do too if you’re there during the day. You can fish off the docks, rent a paddleboat or paddle board when it’s warm enough (I think they should be doing them by now), hike around, have picnics/cookouts in their shelters, all sorts of good stuff. They’ve also got a whole rotating line-up of featured seasonal outdoor activities, which includes everything from history hikes to kayaking to photography classes – there’s something for everybody! It’s a hop, skip, and jump from Atlanta – make the hike! (pun intended) You won’t regret it.

What are some other family-friendly hiking spots around Atlanta that you guys have been? We’re making a summer family bucket list… help me out!

Until next time!


J O A N N A | ycswu friends: amanda = hair guru

I am very excited to start a new trend on YCSWU blog that features folks in our “real-world”. A common perception of bloggers is that we only share our lives after edits and filters to the point where our lives can seem artificial to our readers. This is something we have worked hard to avoid at YCSWU and we always try to be honest about our wins and fails so that you can get to know the real us, not just an edited version of us. Much of who I am is a result of the people in my life. I love being around people and I am constantly encouraged and inspired by the family and friends God has placed in my life. Many of these folks inspire me and I kind of feel bad for keeping the inspiration to myself, but no more! Over the next several months I’ll be picking my friends brains about DIY-ing, cooking, beauty, etc. and how God, family, and friends, fit into the mix. They’ll be sharing everything from their favorite products to what motivates them to keep creating. It will definitely be worth the read. Who knows… maybe you’ll be encouraged to try something new! 

 My sweet friend Amanda is going to kick off this series for us. Amanda is actually one of the first people I thought of when I started throwing around the idea of interviewing my friends. She always looks so stylish and chic, but anyone who knows her knows that her identity is in Christ and she makes of habit of loving people like Jesus. She’s is always so open and honest about her wins and losses, good times and bad, and I envy that vulnerability. (I also envy the fact that she has the nerve to change her hair color so much… it’s amazing.)

Amanda is a stylist for Vigilante Cosmetics… her work is awesome. You can find her on Facebook OR follow her on instagram to get keep the inspiration flowing. Take it away Amanda! IMG_3788

Q: Can you share about your journey to loving all things beauty?

My grandmother (dad’s mom) was my biggest influence. That lady LOVED her some fashion. Most of HER fashion consisted of the American Flag (which I thought was weird then, but now I’m like, “that’s rad!”), rose patterns, metallic shoes, and lots of bling! She taught me what Dooney and Bourke was… I would sit while she had her weekly blow outs (at one of the nicest salons in Dallas, TX)… she only used Estee Lauder makeup… and bought me REAL diamonds when I was just a kid! Now I have a tattoo dedicated to her because of her love of all things “girl.” 

Q: Do you think taking care of yourself and looking your best is important? Why/Why not? 

Absolutely! It’s totally an inside-out transformation when I put effort into how I look. If I’m dressed frumpy, you know that’s a heart reflection (especially for a fashionista!). Not to get too serious on you, but I’ve suffered with some depression in my past.. and it’s amazing how differently I act when I care about myself. Even if it’s just putting on a facial mask or deep conditioner while I’m being lazy around the house. It makes me feel like “hey, you matter! Even while you’re scrubbing the toilets!” As my momma always use to say “you’ve got to be the best you can be” and I don’t think that can happen unless you care about and love yourself.

Q:  What is your favorite product?

KENRA 25 Volume Hairspray. Holy. Moly. I’ve tried so many other stinking hairsprays and I cannot find one that compares to this stuff! It holds SO well, but is pretty easy to comb out. And it smells glorious. Let’s be honest, I’m from Dallas, TX, I use only the best hairspray around. Anything else would be blasphemy.Image-5Q: You change-up your look a lot, why? 

Honestly, I get bored. haha! And why stick to one certain style when there are SO many out there to dabble in??

Q: What your biggest hair style regret?

Well, the most random thing I’ve done was get a perm right before my wedding. I thought “oh, a perm will give me glorious waves and volume!” But in turn, it really did nothing. Haha. My hair was too long for any of it to spring up into a lovely ringlet. So, I just had some weird textured hair for the next.. year or so… until it all grew out. (note: this was before I went to cosmetology school and learned the truth about perms. Silly Amanda.)

Q: What’s your favorite trend right now?

In Fashion: mixing and matching! Take what I’m wearing right now. Grungy, torn, grey jeans… a pretty white see-through blouse… and classic cognac colored pointed toe flats. I read some article the other day that made fun of Americans for dressing so “put together.” I like being unique, so I’m embracing my inner Brit.

In hair: [more blue than grey] grey hues.

Q: Who is your biggest influence? 

Everyone! I know that sounds crazy, but I just love people! I always have found people absolutely fascinating. I learn from bad traits and soak up the good ones. I also only let people influence me if I feel like they will make a positive impact on my life. Life is already too dramatic as it is for all that!

Q: Do you have any advice or encouraging words to give to women who maybe don’t feel like they are capable to step out and try new things?

Don’t put all that pressure on yourself!! Go get a blow out (a good hair stylist will help you learn how to achieve this on your own)! Go get advice (and most of the time free application!) from a makeup counter! Shop with a fashionable friend and let them pick out outfits for you (you never know what you’ll love out of things you may NEVER have looked twice at). Long story short, there are people out there to do the leg work if you don’t want to or feel intimidated to do so!

Q: It can be hard to find the motivation to take time for yourself and the things you want to do… How do you keep yourself motivated to do the next thing and why do you think it’s important to take time for the things you love? 

I’m not going to say this part is easy. It’s definitely a learned thing. But you just have to realize that YOU ARE IMPORTANT. If you don’t take time for yourself every now and again, you will become (and feel like) a crappy daughter/sister/mother/wife/person. AND you STILL end up being selfish when you don’t care about yourself because all you end up doing is telling other people how sad your life is and then it STILL all ends up about you. So, wouldn’t you rather take a little time for you, do something YOU love to do, be self-loving (not selfish), and just feel good about yourself? To put it into a Biblical point of view, God made YOU in His image, we need to honor that gracious gift by taking care of ourselves; body, mind and spirit.

Q: Words to live by? 

Lamentations 3. It’s kind of lengthy (and a pretty random book of the Bible to love), but you need to read it. (Be warned, I can’t ever get through it without at LEAST tearing up.) I’ll sum it up with verses 21-24… But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”IMG_3785Thank you Amanda, for being so transparent and lovely! I’m glad I know you and get to witness your beauty, inside and out!

Until next time,joanna_crop

K A T | etsy fashion finds

Obviously, it goes without saying that Etsy is kind of a big deal to me. ( Job + shopping habit = my life.) It has pretty much turned into my go-to for all things. When I couldn’t find pillows I liked for my bedroom, I had someone make custom pillows for me on Etsy. I wanted ombré colored napkins for a shower I was throwing. I literally hit up every TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, and Marshals within driving distance but I don’t know what I was thinking because of course, Etsy had them. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I do the majority of  birthday, Christmas, and all other gift giving through Etsy. Not only do I love the fact that I’m supporting small businesses (which I’m extremely passionate about) but their items are usually 10 times more unique and well made! That’s a win win in my book. We’ve shared some favorite Etsy beauty finds so it only makes sense to share my favorite fashion finds as well.

SABRINATACH | Belar backpack and shoulder bag | $185


Frecklefacemonday | Red plaid infinity scarf | $26


plumusa | Namastay in bed sweatshirt | $23.95


ClaribellaDesigns | Long tassel Necklace | $25


MilkhausDesign | Carryall Tote | $106


Now go out there and support small businesses!


C A S O N | penne alla vodka with kielbasa


A couple of weeks ago, I told you about this penne alla vodka we served at our latest Bupper Club. SO. GOOD. As promised, here is the official recipe so that you can make up a batch of your own. Warning: This is a labor of love, but definitely worth it!

Penne alla Vodka Recipe

:: 1/4 cup good olive oil
:: 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
:: 3 cloves of garlic, diced
:: 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
:: 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
:: 1 cup vodka
:: 2 (28 ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
:: kosher salt
:: freshly ground black pepper
:: 3/4 pound penne pasta
:: 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
:: 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
:: grated parmesan cheese
:: 1 package fully cooked Polish kielbasa

1 | Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.

2 | Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

3 | Drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Pour mixture into casserole dish with lid or foil and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

4 | Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta. Drain and set aside.

5 | Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

6 | Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes.

7 | Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan. Slice kielbasa and saute over medium heat until heated through. Set aside.

8 | Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Add kielbasa after pasta has already been plated. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.


Holy moly, did you catch all of that?! It’s okay if you have to read each step a few times. I totally did. Once you’re finally sitting down and taking your first bite, you’ll know every single second in the kitchen led you to that perfect moment. Bon appetit!


A U D G E | the mountain times

We’re in the middle of a super busy season where some days it literally feels like we’re two ships passing in the night. When things start getting that crazy, it’s time to hit the re-set button! Our friends Eric+Lauren invited us out for their wedding in Colorado, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! They’ve been living out here for years and have made a life out in these mountains, and we were SO stoked to be able to celebrate with them in the place that they call home… and it. was. AMAZING.

I mean… #letsgethitchelled or something. ❤️

A photo posted by Audra Starr Photography (@audgiedodgie) on

This was probably one of my favorite weddings I’ve ever been to, hands down. They got married in a field with a backdrop of sunshine-y mountains, they wrote their own (hilarious) vows to each other, there was OF COURSE a choreographed dance at the reception, and a whole lot of Beyonce love (which she unfortunately missed – #yourlossB)… Everything was just so them. We’re SO happy for these little lovebirds, and thankful for the time we got to revel in their awesomeness with them!

Instaweddingmagic! #letsgethitchelled

A photo posted by Audra Starr Photography (@audgiedodgie) on


This was my first time coming out to Colorado when there wasn’t snow covering everything, and I won’t lie. I liked it SO much better! This is going to be my new favorite summer vacation spot! It might have something to do with the fact that I hate being cold, which usually tends to happen in CO. But this season, I can handle. We mostly hung around Dillon, Frisco, and Breckenridge for the first part of our trip and took in all of the little gems around there. Then we ventured into Denver for a couple of days and did some exploring on the last leg of our trip. I’ll do a full-on travel post for you guys soon with some of our fave spots and eats, so get excited! For now, here’s just a little bit to whet your appetite…

Denver… I think I kinda like you. #coloradolovin #rockiesbaseball

A photo posted by Audra Starr Photography (@audgiedodgie) on

Now I’ve gotta switch gears back to real life… whew. The struggle is REAL.

Happy Monday y’all! Until next time…


J O A N N A | flashback: diy fail: gold leaf bowl

Are you in need of a good laugh today? Well, look no further! This is probably my favorite blog post by YCSWU so far. Cason had the best intentions of making a cute gold leaf bowl, but it ended up being more of a challenge than she anticipated. This project also took FOREVER, as Cason put it, “we were able to play the entire Twilight Saga in the background. Bella and Edward met, fell in love, survived a lot of battles, got married, and had a baby and I STILL wasn’t done with this thing.” And the best part of this whole DIY fail is, there’s a video! I could seriously watch Cason deflate the balloon and listen to Kat giggle in the background, over and over!  Enjoy! flashbackfriday_edited-1pinterest-failA few weeks ago, we conducted a reader survey so that we knew what you wanted more of. We heard you loud and clear on the DIY projects! I’ll be honest with you – I am hands down, 100%, without a shadow of a doubt more of a buy-it-yourself girl than a do-it-yourself girl. I said it. I sit in front of glue, paper, scissors, and glitter all day long. So at the end of a long day or when I’ve FINALLY made it to the weekend I don’t want to be crafty. I want to split a bottle of wine with Kat and watch Scandal. Or get retail therapy at J.Crew. Or do ANYTHING other than artsy, thrifty, clever Pinterest things.

With that said, I am more than willing to expand my horizons and enter into the DIY world for the sake of our readers! We’re kind of nothing without you guys so I gave it a go. It really only goes downhill from here. I found this cute DIY confetti bowl on Pinterest and thought it was right up my alley for a DIY amateur. How hard could it be to mod podge something to a balloon, let it dry, and pop the balloon?ConfettiBowlI had the insane idea that I would make this my own version and use gold leaf flakes instead of confetti. How cute would a little gold bowl be on a vanity or by a sink for jewelry?! So I got to work with my materials: a balloon, gold leaf flakes, mod podge, and a paint seemed very tedious at first. Like, holy crap I’m going to need to do a million layers for this thing to resemble a bowl. But I kept at it. All. Day. Long. I mod podged the hell out of this balloon. To give you an idea of a time frame – we were able to play the entire Twilight Saga in the background. Bella and Edward met, fell in love, survived a lot of battles, got married, and had a baby and I STILL wasn’t done with this thing. Every time I thought I was getting close, I’d spot another place where the balloon was peeking

And on the seventh day, when it seemed like I finally had a solid gold layer, I rested. The balloon and I spent 10 days apart from each other after that. Mainly because I was so annoyed I spent an entire day on this DIY project but also because I could tell it wasn’t dry yet. This had been such a complete disaster that Kat filmed me popping the balloon so that we could send it to Joanna and Audra. (They were kind enough to periodically check in on the status of my bowl.) Pardon my awful video quality. If I had known the video would be this funny, I would have tried harder. Click here to see the big reveal.

I won’t leave you totally hanging. If this post really has you wanting to make a cute dish, check out these from pro DIY-ers.


1. Kelli Murray | Gold Leaf Paper Mache Bowls
2. V Juliet | DIY Confetti Bowl
3. Two Zero One | DIY Gold Bowl

Aaaannnd if you’re more of a BIY girl, that’s okay too! Here are some cute decorative dishes that only require a credit card and shipping address.biy-gold-bowls_edited-1

1. West Elm | Textured Metallic Dip Bowls
2. Panselinos | Paper Mache Gold Leaf Bowl
3. up in the air somewhere | Small Zag Dish

So my first attempt at a DIY project was a fail but that’s okay. I’m not giving up yet. Stay tuned for more hit or miss DIYs from me!cason_crop

K A T | white chocolate, cranberry, pecan cookies


Who doesn’t need a little fall dessert in their lives? I was racking my brain trying to come up with a festive dessert to share with y’all and was really struggling so I decided to make up my own… This had potential to be a disaster but fortunately the outcome was delicious and they might be one of my new favorite cookies! I started with your basic white chocolate chip cookie recipe and got a little inventive by adding pecans and dried cranberries. (Pumpkin seemed a little too cliché, if you know what I mean.)

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Pecan Cookies

:: 1/2 cup butter, softened
:: 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
:: 1/2 cup white sugar
:: 1 egg
:: 1 tablespoon vanilla
:: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
:: 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
:: 1 cup white chocolate chips
:: 1 cup dried cranberries
:: 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Step 1 | Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Step 2 | In a small bowl mix together flour and baking soda. Slowly add flour mixture to your sugar mixture. Once your dough is well blended stir in your chocolate chips, cranberries, and pecans. Drop by spoonfuls onto your prepared cookie sheets.

Step 3 | Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes before transferring them to wire racks. Once they are completely cool, you’re free to enjoy!


Making a batch of these is a decision you won’t regret! Trust me.


C A S O N | am i weird? 10 things you don’t know about me


Kat did a “10 things you don’t know about me” post a few weeks ago and I thought it was hilarious. I live with her so nothing came as a surprise to me but hopefully you know her just a tiny bit better. We got such a kick out of calling each other out on our quirks that she helped me come up with a list of my own. Yeah, you know I own a paper business, love to travel, and live with my sister but what about everything else? Do you even know me?! (JK…I’m not about to get crazy deep on you.) I’ve even searched Facebook photos high and low to provide photographic evidence.

CITRUS | In a word: ewwww. My main issue is pulp but anything that smells or tastes like oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, or clementines are my worst nightmare. The internal wrath I feel when someone peels and eats one around me isn’t healthy. I handle lemons and limes on a case by case basis. Key lime pie with no visible pulp? Fine. Freshly squeezed lemonade? SICK. When it comes to candy, Kat HATES this. I eat all the red and green gummy bears, Skittles, and Sour Patch Kids and leave all the other gross flavors for her.


BAREFOOT | I just can’t do it unless I’m on the beach. It really grosses me out to feel anything under my feet except socks, shoes, and sand. If I so much as step on a crumb with bare feet I’m embarrassingly disturbed by it. When it’s hot you can find me walking around the house in flip flops and when it’s cold I’ve always got my slippers.

CHAPSTICK | I’m OCD addicted. I don’t have tubes of Chapstick in my car, every purse I own, my office, my kitchen, and my living room just because I lose them. They are there because I PUT them there on purpose. I’m never an arms reach away from my lip moisturizer. The only thing redeeming about this is I don’t even need anything fancy. Just Chapstick brand will do.

LEFTIE | I’m just a leftie trying to get by in a right-handed world. I’ve owned left-handed fishing poles and softball gloves but the world hasn’t totally accommodated this rare 10% of the population. Because of this, I’m pretty ambidextrous. (I would actually think most lefties would be.) Just don’t get me started on those weird right-handed desks. I’m scarred from searching for the ONE left-handed desk in all of my college classes!

SQUINTING | Whether I’m watching TV, driving, or talking on the phone, I have a bad habit of constantly squinting. I have 20/20 vision so I have no clue why I do this. My mom does the exact same thing so I blame her. She can help me pay for my Botox when my impending crow’s-feet make their debut. (They’ve already started. SSHH!)


TALKING IN QUIET PLACES | It drives me insane (like a Hulk-like rage) when people talk in situations where you should be quiet! I can’t concentrate on anything else if I can hear people whispering at the movies, during church, or in a meeting. Don’t you know you should BE QUIET right now? Why won’t you at least step outside? Don’t you know how rude you are being? It literally consumes my thoughts and I can no longer pay attention to what I’m suppose to be paying attention to.

WET PAPER | No. Just no. I’m gagging right now as I write this. No joke. Wet TP on the floor of a public bathroom, a newspaper left out in the rain, wet tissues  – all examples of my worst nightmare. The worst is when people wrap napkins around their drinks. I’d rather my hand be…cold (GASP) than have to hold on to that soggy mess!

MASCARA | I pick it off. Like bad. I’ll spend all this time perfecting my lashes only to pick it all off within a few hours. The worst part is I end up pulling out tons of eyelashes when I do it. Which in turn makes me feel like I need more mascara the next day…it’s just a really bad cycle. I’ve made it my New Year’s resolution half a dozen times to stop this! (It never stops.)

[ Oh man, two bad habits in one pic. Squinting AND picking off my mascara. ]


CIRCUS PEANUTS | You know that orange peanut-shaped marshmallow candy? They’re called circus peanuts and I LOVE THEM. (It’s important to note that although they are orange, they are actually banana flavored. This just keeps getting weirder.) One of my most favorite candies! Don’t knock it till you try it.

Sooo…after writing all of that, I’m embarrassed. I don’t even need to ask. I’m officially weird. Please don’t start skipping my posts!


A U D G E | we’re going all KonMari in this mess

So I’ve been prepping for my fall capsule wardrobe, which I should technically be transitioning into this month buuuut who knows what Atlanta’s thinking. One day it’s brisk and refreshing, the next day it’s almost 90 again. So I’m still operating out of my summer capsule with my fall wardrobe on standby. Once it’s officially pulled together, I’ll update you with what all I included, but for now… you wait. (Gotta build up that suspense!) But so far I think it’s been a major success. I’ve made it through a full season without feeling deprived or restricted at all really. It’s been kind of refreshing and a little bit of a challenge, but in a good way.

Over the summer I picked up Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I JUST finished it this past week. You might’ve seen this on your radar lately, it’s gained a huge following and a lot of people are starting to swear by it. It’s a fairly easy read, and if you’re considering moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle than I’d definitely recommend it! While I loved the first part of the book that covered her methods for discarding items, it did get a little spacey for me with the second part of the book that was more focused on how to place each item that you decide to keep in your home (or organizing). She’s a little extreme in some of her practices for organizing – for example, she’ll take her shoes off when she gets home and thank them for their hard work and support throughout the day, then unpacks every single item in her purse and puts it in it’s proper home. She’ll stroke her sock drawer and talk to her things so they don’t feel neglected or undervalued. And hey, to each their own I guess. Maybe me and my socks just ain’t got it like that. But overall, her underlying principle is to “keep only what brings you joy, get rid of everything else”. There was a great animated summary of her book on JuJu Sprinkles that was not only super precious but also pretty spot on… if you want the ultra mega-condensed version of the book!


[image via JuJu Sprinkles]

Overall I think it’s just been a really great process for me personally of re-evaluating my relationship with all of my things, uncovering right and wrong motives for not just buying items but keeping them, and just generally  re-prioritizing what I spend my time and energy on the most. I think it’s huge just being able to recognize how much of a consumer I truly am, and it’s totally convicting. That’s not really what I was made for, even though that’s kind of what I’m constantly being told.

There was also this really great blog post about de-cluttering with kids by Crazy.Tiny.Free. that we tried out this week, and it was surprisingly successful! One of their practices they suggested was having a “Clean Out Day”, and doing it while giving your child choices. I would lay toys out two at a time right next to each other, and tried to pick similar items or atleast things in the same category. Tbaby would pick one that she wanted to keep, and one that she wanted to donate. There were even a few rounds where she wanted to get rid of both (*alleluia choir!*) – but overall we were able to stow away a pretty decent stash for our upcoming yard sale in October.

While I know our house is a loooooong way off from being completely purged, it felt good to atleast get the ball rolling. And in the KonMari method, she said that discarding needs to happen quickly and all at once… but then clarified and said that six months was considered quickly. (*whew!*) So we’ve got a little bit of a grace period here. I’m loving the direction we’re heading though, and I can feel my load getting lighter the further we go. (Literally.)

Anybody else out there dancing to the minimalist drum? Moving in that direction? Feeling inspired? Loop me in!

Happy Tuesday y’all! Until next time…