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J O A N N A | happy 4th of july!

Casons30_084This time last year I was in Miami with my girls, celebrating Cason’s 30th birthday and the 4th of July by lounging by the pool, eating delicious food, and dancing the night away…ahh,  it was magical. This year we’re all spread out, but still together in spirit! Brett and I have a fun weekend planned with some friends in Savannah, so it’s sure to be another great 4th of July… except this year I can’t have margarita’s and will probably be sweating profusely the entire time… but other than that, it WILL be great! (Name it and claim it!)

If you’re stuck on things to do this weekend, fear not! Atlanta never disappoints during the big holiday’s; there are always so many options for ALL ages. Check out these sites for all the events and must-see fireworks shows! Might I recommend hitting up a Brave’s game tonight? It’s Star Wars bobble head night… so obviously it’ll be great. Check it out:

Things To Do In Atlanta On The Fourth Of July 

Atlanta Events

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Stay safe out there, folks… and HAPPY FORTH OF JULY!joanna_crop

K A T | pimento cheese recipe

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It’s about to be July 4th and I have the perfect recipe to complete your weekend. I know I say this all the time but it’s really true, my mom makes the best homemade pimento cheese! It’s the perfect meal to pack up for a picnic with crackers and watch the fireworks or you could always make pimento cheese sandwiches for a beach/lake day. (It’s a Rainwater family tradition on all of our beach trips!) No matter how you’re spending your 4th, this is guaranteed to make your celebration a little more fun!

Pimento Cheese Recipe

:: 1 Block of Cracker Barrel extra sharp yellow cheddar
:: 1 Block of Cracker Barrel white cheddar
:: 2 Tablespoons sliced pimentos, drained
:: Mayonnaise
:: 2-3 Dashes of Worecestershire sauce
:: 1 Pinch of sugar

Let your blocks of cheese come to room temperature, if you let them sit out for around 30 minutes they should be good to go. Grate the cheese in a bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce, pimentos, and sugar. Next add ¾ cup to 1 cup of mayo, depending on your preferred consistency. Mix everything together. Cover and chill.

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Serve with crackers or on sandwiches, I love it both ways! Headed to a party or grilling out and need some other recipe ideas for the 4th? Don’t forget about our pasta salad, strawberry salad, deviled eggs, broccoli salad, pound cake, and banana pudding! All are certain to be hits with friends and family.

Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend. Let freedom ring!

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C A S O N | 4th of july faves

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Don’t you just love this time of year? Fireworks, long days at the pool, grilling out – anything that screams all-American! Kat and I have been really lucky this summer and have been able to squeeze in lots of weekend trips to the beach. I’m blogging from St. Simons Island this week and have absolutely zero complaints. [Insert any Zac Brown lyric here.] To help ring in your upcoming 4th of July weekend, I’ve rounded up my favorite Americana accessories, swimwear, pool gear, and entertaining pieces. Check em out!

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1 | American Flag Beach Towel | Urban Outfitters | $19
2 | Red Leather Bucket Bag | GAP | $79.95
3 | American Flag Sunglasses | Forever 21 | $5.90
4 | Embroidered Beach Dress | ASOS | $45.31
5 | Clambake Cocktail Napkins & Plates | Anthropologie | $2.95 – $8
6 | Red Halter Swimsuit | ASOS | $55
7 | Watermelon Pool Float | Urban Outfitters | $46
8 | Americana Flask | Target | $12.99
9 | Chuck Taylor Stars & Bars | Converse | $55

Could you BE any more American sporting these finds?! In the words of my favorite guilty pleasure flick, Drop Dead Gorgeous, “USA is A-Okay!” Until next time,

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A U D G E | a gentle word

There are a million hot topics swirling around these days filling up our headlines and our news feeds. It really does seem like 2015 is the year to hit it all, and we’re only halfway done with it… (*gulp*).

One thing I would say to you, dear friends, is that no matter where you stand on any of these topics in the limelight – your words have a lot of power. Don’t throw them around recklessly.

umbrella“Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.” -James 3:4-5

“My dear brothers, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” James 1:19

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” – Romans 14:19

“‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” -Matthew 5:43-45

“A gentle word turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” -Proverbs 15:1

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” -Psalm 19:14

I’m not telling you what to do. I’m not giving you my opinion on anything. I’m not saying that you need to think like me. But what I’m begging you to do, especially as believers, is to think long and hard before you speak. Seek the Lord and ask for his wisdom, and if what you want to say is poorly timed or rooted in a wrong attitude… don’t say it. Because you can never, ever take it back.

Just as He did with Jonah, it’s not that God doesn’t see our failures. He chooses to look beyond them and sees our need. Can we do this for each other?

Loving people is hard. Maybe if we walk awhile with Jesus, he can show us how it’s done.

Until next time,

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J O A N N A | sunscreen… please and thank you!

IMG_0842Did you know that pregnant women are extra sensitive to the sun? Yes, it’s true. In addition to all of the other things expectant moms get to “enjoy” during the summer months, we have to be extra careful not to fry our skin. I am already a little crazy about sunscreen, but being pregnant has made it even more of a priority. When I was in high school I got sun poisoning on more than one occasion. I’m talking about feeling physically sick, having bubbly blisters, the whole deal. It was AWFUL. One day I remember thinking “what am I doing? I HATE being sunburnt” and I decided right then and there that I would be more careful with caring for my skin. Throughout my 20’s I have been more and more convicted about sun damage, so taking care of my skin has become a priority on many levels. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the sun and I love having a good tan; just not at the expense of getting skin cancer or having a body that looks like leather in 40 years. Think about it… is it really worth it? Below are some things I think are important for everyone to at least be aware of… what you do with the information is obviously up to you. 

This video was made last year I think. You may have already seen it, but it really puts into perspective the effects of sun-exposer. 

Common-Sunscreen-MistakesBeauty Tidbits shared this article, The 5 Biggest Sunscreen Mistake to Avoid and it has a lot of great points, but I’ve highlighted the main facts below in case you don’t get a chance to read it: 

  • Be generous when applying. “SPF should be applied at approximately 2 milligrams of lotion per square centimeter of skin, or about one ounce for your entire body.”
  • Sunscreen is NOT all the same – “Physical sunscreens are thought to be superior”, ingredients include, “…zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and are a better choice for people with sensitive skin…”
  • Apply, apply, apply! “Apply early, re-apply appropriately and replace often…At most, sunscreen remains effective for two hours.” 
  • Be mindful of expiration dates and whether sunscreen has been left outside of room temperature. 
  • Be careful when mixing sunscreen with other lotions or makeup. “To wear sunscreen along with other topical makeup, rub sunscreen into the skin until it’s fully absorbed, and then apply makeup or lotions after.”
  • Wearing sunscreen isn’t enough! Find some shade! “Every tan is a sign of damage to the skin.”

Weather you are pregnant or not, I really hope you take these facts to heart and maybe even change-up your routine a little. Let’s all encourage each other to age gracefully and NOT have leather faces in 40 years! I think I’ll start working on a post for the best self/sunless tanners… what do you think? Let me know if you have any favorites!joanna_crop

 

K A T | flashback: messy braid updo

Joanna wrote this post in November and as great as it was then…I need it more now! It is H-O-T, hot outside. I’m so close to chopping all my hair off because I’m sick of the thick, humid, sweaty, mess it becomes by the end of the night. (Was that too graphic because I had a hard time typing it?!) BUT I have to keep reminding myself that last time I chopped my hair off in the heat of the moment, I was devastated for weeks…ok, maybe months. That’s where this post comes in, I’ve got to start doing more stylish updo’s to get me through the summer. This cute little 2-braid updo would be perfect right about now! (Now I’ve just got to figure out how to convince Joanna to come to my house everyday and do it for me…pretty please!) 

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Alright folks, we’ve given you recipes for Thanksgiving dinner, helped with your style so you can look your best for the family, now… it’s time to talk hair (my fave!).Wearing my hair down and wavy is my usual go-to look, however, on days like Thanksgiving when I’ll be all over town (we have three stops this year) and no place to touch up, I like to have my hair in a style that’s set, secure, and totally controlled for the whole day. There’s nothing worse than taking a picture at the end of your event only to discover that your hair has gone rogue. Having said all of that, I want to share with you a quick, 4 step hair tutorial that is sure to be a crowd pleaser but is also super easy!

Messy 2-Braid Updo

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Tools

:: Bobby pins
:: Teasing comb
:: Clear hair ties
:: Hairspray

Step 1 | Braid two sections of hair. (I like to prep my hair beforehand by teasing it a bit, I feel like it’s easier to work with when there’s more volume.)

Step 2 | Separate the braids (pull the braid apart). I like for the braids to be more on the messy side so I separate them a good bit.

Step 3 | Take one braid and wrap around the base of your head and use a bobby pin (or several) to secure in place. Repeat on the other side.  My hair is long so I actually have to fold the end of the braid under a bit.

Step 4 | Use bobby pins to position the braids and hold flyaways down where needed. This needs to be done even if you want it messy. Braids are fickle and need lots of taming.  Now, hairspray!

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I added a headband for a little more pizzazz! Decorative bobby pins would look great as well!

See, isn’t that simple? You can whip this up and then get straight to the cookin’ and the lovin’! I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving! Love you guys!

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C A S O N | the BEST pound cake recipe

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My mom’s pound cake is her go-to for just about any occasion. And with good reason. Birthday? You get a pound cake. In the hospital? You also get a pound cake. Had a baby? Yep, pound cake. She’s basically Oprah giving away pound cakes like that. But y’all…They. Are. So. Good. I’m definitely turning into my mother because it’s also turning into my social event offering as well. She makes several of them at a time and freezes them. Pull them out 24 hours before you need it and you’ve got a homemade treat that looks like you spent all day in the kitchen. Gah, my mom is a genius. (Mom, I accept payment in the form of pound cake for saying such sweet things!)

Mama Rain’s Pound Cake

Ingredients:
:: 3 cups sugar
:: 3 cups plain flour
:: 2 sticks butter
:: 6 eggs
:: ½ pint whipping cream
:: 1 tsp. vanilla

TIP: Ingredients should all be room temperature.

1 | Sift flour 3 times.

2 | In a mixer, add butter and gradually add sugar. Lightly cream sugar and butter together until well blended and fluffy.

3 | Add eggs one at a time, mixing until well blended.

4 | Alternately add flour and cream a little bit at a time. Start with flour and end with flour. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and stir in.

5 | Pour batter into a greased and floured bunt pan. Place in COLD oven and cook at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

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Sprinkle with powdered sugar, add a dollop of whipped cream, fresh fruit, or a sprig of mint and you’ve got the most perfect dessert your taste buds can handle. Top with blueberries and strawberries for a little red, white, and blue treat for the 4th!

Happy Thursday friends,

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A U D G E | a case of the lonelies

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetBeing a Mom is really lonely sometimes. There, I said it.

My friend was telling me about a blog post she read about this, and it rang so true for me. You can be surrounded by a group of people, but still feel like you’re floating off on “Mom Island” with just your offspring as your companions. You can even be hanging with other moms, your own kind, and still feel totally alone. I can’t even answer my phone half of the time because there are so many needs that have to be met RIGHT THIS INSTANT OR OHMYGAH MOM I’M GONNA LOSE MY MIIIIND! (<-ok, that’s not what they actually say out loud, but they’re saying in with their crazy toddler eyes) And while social media can be such a great escape at moments where you just want to poke your head up and see what else is going on in the world for just a sec, it can also be salt in the wound. So sometimes it’s just better for me to avoid it altogether… y’know?

Don’t get me wrong… I love being with my children. I am SO thankful that I have the privilege of staying home with them. I know that’s not a circumstance that everyone is allowed, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted. But I have my days where I drive down the street near our house with all of the restaurant patios packed with people on their lunch breaks, and I think about what it would be like to wear real clothes with no mystery stains and eat an uninterrupted meal for 30 minutes. MAN. That. sounds. AMAZING. I daydream about having an adult conversation longer than 20 seconds, where I can finish my thought before I lose it and have to take someone to the bathroom real quick. I long for that sound… what do they call it? Oh yes, SILENCE. I hear it’s pretty awesome.

One of my favorite women of all time told me a story once about when she was a mom with young children, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. She was telling us about a day she was particularly overwhelmed by everything. It was all coming in around her and she was on the verge of losing it. She stopped, sat down on her couch and said, “Thank you, Lord, for my hands.” And it was as simple as that. She moved on to her arms, the ones that held her babies tight. Her eyes, that helped her to see the beauty in the madness. And she just kept going, filling up her heart with thankfulness. Because even those things are gifts, and we shouldn’t take a single one for granted.

When I feel the seed of bitterness and impatience creeping into my own heart, the only thing that can fight against it is gratitude and praise. The hard part is recognizing it and dealing with it right there before it starts having it’s way. If you’re in this lonely mom boat too, take heart. Because whatever phase you’re in, it’s only a season. None of this will last forever, which is both completely exhilarating and totally depressing all at once. Because then something like this will happen, and it’s all totally worth it:2015-06-11 13.26.50

 

“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness.” – Proverbs 31:25-26

This is what I hope my children will say about me after alllll of these hours that we’ve spent together. I hope one day when they’re older and they can wipe their own behinds and they’re wondering where they learned that in the first place… that they’ll quietly thank me in their sweet little hearts. But mostly, I hope that when they think about me, they know how loved they are… and how much more Jesus loves them than even I do.

Hang in there, mama! You’re not as alone as you think you are after all.

Until next time…

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J O A N N A | bump style

imageWARNING: Pregnancy brain is in full effect! I repeat, Pregnancy brain is in full effect! It doesn’t matter how many times I write sometime down or how confident I think I am in a certain decision… it’s all crap. I have been forgetting EVERYTHING and can’t follow through with a decision I make about ANYTHING! It’s the worst. I don’t remember my last pregnancy being this bad… I probably blocked it out. I do remember wearing two different earnings one day, but that’s about as bad as it got. Maybe this go around is so rough because I’m having a girl? A little taste of the drama to come? I’m sure that being in the middle of a move isn’t helping either… I’m literally a hot mess.

The fact that I’ve outgrown all of my clothes has actually been a help in my current state… I only have a small selection of things to choose from so it’s been kind of nice. Last week I shared some of my favorite comfy maternity items that I’ve had on serious rotation; So, this week I’m going to share one of my cute go-to outfits. At this point, all of my friends have seen me in this get-up at least once… and I’m not even sad about it.

DSC_0612picstitch-2Very soon after I found out I was pregnant I went on the hunt for cool maternity jeans. ASOS was my first and last stop. So many options AND free shipping?! Swoon. This top from Motherhood Maternity was also an early find… It’s so comfortable and can be dressed up or down, I’ve loved it!

Looking for more maternity styles? Check out these great finds!

Until next time! joanna_crop

K A T | weekend review

Hey y’all! I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day weekend. My fam headed south to St. Simons to visit my mom’s best friend and Cason and my fairy godmother. (Yes, we really call her that because she’s that great.) Rosie is the perfect mixture of a fun, southern woman and any time spent with her is guaranteed to be good!

Of course, we had to make a stop in Cordele to visit my new cousin, Wesley! Could he be any cuter? I’m not going to lie, he’s so perfect I was tempted to take him…

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Friday was pretty hard to top because Rosie has some friends in high places that got us into the beach club at The Cloister for the day. I’ve never been and it was everything I expected and more!

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Saturday we spent another day at the beach and then headed to St. Simons’ first annual Southern Grown Festival. Southern food, drinks in mason jars, and country music…what more could a girl ask for?! We had such a good time, we all toasted to making it a tradition!

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My first (and ONLY) moonshine experience. The drink was a combination of rosemary, watermelon lemonade, moonshine, and champagne… it sounds great in theory (and looks really cute) but if I actually drank it, I don’t think I would’ve heard The Avett Brothers perform.

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You know this Georgia heatwave was getting to us if Cason or I don’t wear our hair down! I NEVER wear mine up because I have an odd insecurity with the size of my forehead but it was hot AND humid so I got over that real quick.

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I hope everyone had a great weekend. I’m wishing I could rewind mine and relive it all over again!

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