The Truth

Since the new year, I’ve been inspired to take this blog more seriously. But more than that, to fill in the gap with what I feel is needed. I am NOT an Instagram Model, and I don’t aspire to be. I want to be a Role Model. There are so many opportunities to compare yourself with others on social media, and it’s seriously exhausting. I’m hoping to take an alternate approach and tell it like it is: with humor, honesty, and a realistic budget for the everyday single woman. At this point, I don’t get anything for free. I buy everything myself. On one salary. And I want to show you how to “live an abundant life” the same way. It IS possible to live fabulously AND save at the same time, and never feel like you’re missing out!

Having said that – I’ve been sitting on this post for several months now. Half of me wanted to share all of my secrets, the other half wanted to keep it all to myself. But, I went to the Sisterhood One Night event at my church in September, and the guest female Pastor was speaking about when you’re vulnerable and share your struggle with other women, they can share in your miracles too. And it got me thinking, “I’m never ashamed to talk about the deals I’ve scored, so, why should I be ashamed about the other things I do to keep myself feeling good?” If y’all can share in my struggle of trying to keep up with all of the other women, then y’all can share in the joy about having it all. Suddenly, we are all on the same team! And instead of trying to out-do each other, we instead share in the sisterhood bond of taking advice and tips where we can, so we can be the best versions of ourselves. The best women to get tips from are the women we admire – The women who ask for help when they need it, women who live the lifestyle we aspire to, women who have the relationship we desire, women who have scored the boss-job we crave, and yes, women who admit that they go to Hair Cuttery for trims to save money. Today, I’m hoping I can be the sister that shares her vulnerability, so that we don’t feel alone in our struggle to do/be/have it all.


Do you ever see Instagram or Pinterest photos and think, “I didn’t even know women existed that could look like that?!” Every contour is perfect, hair is flowing, clothes are endless, bodies are incredible, homes are out of a magazine, engagement rings are the size of a small car, oh, and their husbands are usually millionaire models.

How do they do it?? Well, I can’t answer for everyone, and I surely have some things that could be improved (currently working on snagging all of the above). But, I’m going to speak some truth and tell you my tricks for making me feel like a goddess on an everyday budget:

Beauty

SAVE:

I paint my own nails. I like Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure line, with her Gel Topcoat. I can usually get 3-4 days out of that!

I swear by a good self-tanner. If I could only do one thing, it might just be this. I’ve posted about SUN, my favorite self-tanner here. That post was from 2012 (ah!) They’ve recently changed their formula, so I might look into another one, but this one does the trick for now.

I purchase my services in packages. I like to say that the only Italian trait my mother gave me is thick body hair. So, waxing is a MUST. For my Philly fans, I used to see Annie Morris at Salon L for the past 12 years! They used to take a percentage off of your visit if you “checked in” on Facebook. They may have updated their policy, but you could always ask if there’s a “bulk” discount. And just this past week, I just started seeing Liz Bailey at Bikini and Bronze by Liz. She gave me a great (and *almost* pain-free) wax, and I bought a one-time spray tan session to be used at a future date, since it was a little cheaper to buy them together! Same thing with purchasing mani-pedis together, if I feel like treating myself!

I buy some drugstore makeup products. In the winter, I mix my usual Lancome foundation with a drugstore brand, and I use drugstore mascara. I’ve tried expensive brands, but I think I get similar results with cheaper brands!

SPLURGE:

I REALLY REALLY REALLY need to have a skincare routine, and if I did, it would be in this section. Currently, I’m still in denial that I’m at an age where I need a skincare routine. Also, feeling overwhelmed with my options and the cost. I’ll need to resolve this sooner than later 🙂

I use Rodan + Files LashBoost. Using Rodan + Fields LashBoost isn’t cheap. I usually pay $135 per tube, but it lasts me about 4-5 months. However, it beats the cost of getting lash extensions every 2 weeks. *Note: There’s TONS of reviews, likes and dislikes about this product. I’ve had great results and I love it, but there’s a few other options you can look into if you’re still feeling unsure!

I buy a few good-quality makeup products. I love Lancome, Makeup Forever, and The Balm for my splurges!

I had Invisalign. OK, so this could be an entirely separate post by itself. And it will be. But I did spend the money to get my teeth to where they are now. However, I was able to save in a few ways – my orthodontist generously gave me a discount because my ENTIRE family (Step-dad, mom, brother 1, brother 2, ALL got their braces there) and I paid for everything up front, which saved me an additional 10%. Altogether, I paid less than $2,000 to get a straight smile.

I got Zoom Whitening. I probably would have wanted to get this anyway, but, after the Invisalign, I wanted to get my bonding re-done. Bonding only lasts 10 years, and I was running up in the 15+ zone, so it was time. It doesn’t bleach, so, in order for the new bonding to match white teeth, I had to get this done before the bonding.

I have bonding. Genetically, the two teeth on either side of my front teeth are extra small. This is called peg laterals. “Thanks, Mom and Dad!” So, bonding, which is *kind of* like an acrylic nail for your teeth, has really been helpful to create a seamless smile. This only needs to be updated every 10+ years, so it’s definitely not a normal splurge item.

Hair

SAVE:

I go to Hair Cuttery/Great Clips for all hair cuts. *Insert shocked face* I know…Can you believe it? Since I only ever get a trim anyway, it doesn’t make sense for me to pay more than $20.

I only get balayage 3x a year. By choosing a method that doesn’t require too much upkeep, I can keep my costs down, but still feel bright and sunny.

SPLURGE:

I go to a good stylist. When I DO get my hair colored, I don’t mind paying a bit extra, especially because I only get it done every few months. Side note: I was enjoying a rare third mimosa at a restaurant this past fall, and couldn’t help but stare at a woman at the table next to me with perfect hair. I went over and asked her where she got her hair done, and she said she does it herself. SHE’S the stylist! Not only that, but SHE’LL COME TO YOUR HOUSE! Shout out to my girl, Jenna Frontiero #networkingwhiledrinking

Clothes

SAVE:

I shop at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and outlets. With so many bloggers linking their clothes to LikeToKNow.IT, and listing all of the sales, it makes it easier to navigate so many stores. But let’s face it, I cannot afford Nordstrom every week…even if the items are on sale. My post on my favorite jeans for “petite height with normal thigh width” girls is coming soon – but TJX always has my favorite brands. Going to outlet stores and/or signing up for their online notifications has allowed me to score some pretty great deals., especially at J Crew Factory.

SPLURGE:

I’ll *occasionally* get a few key pieces at a boutique. Sometimes you just need a few unique, good quality pieces. And I think it’s important to mix expensive and affordable items together. As I get older, I have a little more money to spend on myself, so sometimes I splurge. But, it’s funny, because there’s times when I still can’t justify spending money on clothes that I think I can find at a better price elsewhere. Case in point: The $108 Pistola boyfriend jeans that I did NOT buy, which I featured on my Instagram Stories today. But, I’m sure to check out the sales rack first to see what deals I can score. I never really did boutique shopping in Philadelphia (no idea why…) – I’m sure there’s PLENTY of cute shops there, but I do have a few favorite around Charleston. Post to come soon!

Fitness

SAVE:

I paid for a package gym membership. By paying for a 2 year membership in advance, I was able to save some money. Bonus, it includes ALL of the classes I want to take, so I have full-access!

I follow YouTube fitness videos in between trainings. Check out these videos that I watch to supplement my training and classes. I also follow Beach Body’s “Leandro Carvahlo’s Tummy Tuck videos from his Brazilian Butt Lift” series.

*Note: I’m not a fanatic about these, I just do them when I get bored.

I don’t drink too much alcohol. I’m not much of a drinker…I mean, if I could get drunk on Betty Crocker brownies, then I might have a problem, but I’d ALWAYS rather eat my calories. I’d say I might have 2 drinks a week. Maybe more, if mimosas are involved…

SPLURGE:

I pay for personal training. I see Tom at Pivotal Fitness 3 times a week for weight training. This cost was separate from my regular gym membership, but I really wanted some one-on-one time with someone knowledgable. Now that I’ll know how to use the machines, I’ll feel more comfortable doing this on my own, intermixed with classes.

MENTAL HEALTH

SAVE:

I listen to Abraham Hicks on YouTube. This is totally free and has helped me way, way, way more than anything has ever helped me before. It has opened the door for my relationship with God and to see the abundance around me every single day. Abraham has calmed me down and opened my eyes to the fact that every day is made for my enjoyment. And it’s true for everyone, which is so wonderful!

I go to Church. Now, this is something that’s kind of new for me. I mean, I was raised Catholic but would hardly consider myself “religious”. In Philadelphia, I occasionally attended Epic Church, but in Charleston, I’ve become really involved in Seacoast Church. It’s my time to reflect, pray, and mostly THANK God for everything I’ve been given.

SPLURGE:

I work with Jacki Crawford from Everybody Energy. Jacki has seriously turned my life around. I highly, highly, highly recommend talking to a therapist, meditating, going to yoga, reading, listening to inspirational speakers, going to Church, or whatever else gives you some mental peace and clarity. I can’t say that I would have always been ready for the kind of work that Jacki and I do – I had to get to a certain place of healing before she could help me be more “bright and shiny”, as she likes to say. But I can always talk to her about what’s going on in my life and we work on how to overcome any obstacles.

Home

SAVE:

I shop at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Target. I’ve found SO many pieces of furniture, accessories, lighting, bedding, dishes, and candles at these stores, that I can’t even imagine going anywhere else to buy things!

I repurpose hand-me-downs. I’m lucky to have some really great antique pieces that my family has given me. I love that they tell a story. My home feels so much like me, because it’s filled with my history.

Through my profession, I’ve been able to use my trade discounts on furniture. Everyone has a skill that they use to help them. I can get discounts on furniture, but I pay to get my taxes done…so, we’re even 🙂

SPLURGE:

I buy a few key pieces from brand name stores. A few years ago, I bought the Montclair sofa from crate&barrel. My first “Big Girl” piece. I love it and it was worth every penny.

Travel

SAVE:

I fly Frontier as much as I can. Frontier has awesome deals, so I check their site first when I’m booking my flight. Sometimes I even book one-way trips, since it can be cheaper to mix-and-match flights.

I choose all-inclusives. Let me just say that I’m a super snob when it comes to hotels. I never want to stay at a place that isn’t as nice as where I pay to live every day of the week, so I can be picky. However, I’ve found some excellent all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, and even better,  I could budget the entire tript by paying for everything together and upfront.

I stay with friends/budget hotels. Sometimes I’ll stay with friends or a cheaper hotel for a majority of my trip, so that I can stay 2 nights at a really fancy place.

SPLURGE:

I’ll stay at a nice hotel for a few nights max. By treating myself to a 2-night stay in a fancy hotel, I still feel like I”m living my best life, but not depleting my bank account!

Finances

I allot portions of my paycheck to savings/bills. This is one of my FAVORITE tips to saving money. I have a direct deposit to my savings account so I’m constantly saving with every paycheck. I also figured out how much of my paycheck needs to go to my bills, so I have that direct deposited into another account, meant only for bills. Anything else is for me!

I negotiate pricing for living arrangements. Often, apartment complexes will run holiday or seasonal specials. Look for them! If you live in an old house, like me, sometimes you can negotiate the cost, especially if you agree to stay for a longer term, or pay more upfront.

I take on side projects. I take on some side hustle if there’s something important that I’m saving for. I’ve been blessed to have some great, repeat clients that have helped me!

I cook most meals at home. I do go out to eat, but by cooking at home most of the time, I’m able to save some money there! This is SO hard to do in Charleston, because literally, every restaurant is unreal!

I really hope that spilling ALL of my secrets has been helpful. And, go ahead, tell everyone. These are the kinds of secrets that are meant to be shared!

❤ The Huntress

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Avocado Brownies


Last week I read a meme that said something to the effect of “Why do recipe posts include a 5 paragraph story about strolling along a tree-lined path in the fall smelling the scent of cinnamon apples and crisp leaves?? Just give me the damn pie recipe!” I laughed, seeing how true that was. And now I’m about to do it.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

I’m not a good baker. I can’t even call myself a bad baker. I’m literally not a baker. At all.

A brief history of my baking attempts include the hits: Singed Sweet Potato Pie and don’t forget Extra Extra Extra Crispy Crunchidoodle Cookies.

My trash has eaten more of my baking than I have. My kitchen walls have heard more curse words than a prison cell. In fact, most of my Christmas presents this year involved some kind of device lovingly meant to help me in my quest, including cookie cutters and an oven thermometer. The “whipped cream on top”, if you will, was as I got cozy on the couch to write this post, Worst Bakers in America came blaring on to the TV. Was the Universe trying to tell me something?! As my Aunt Cathy says, “you just have to laugh.”

All of these struggles only made me more determined to succeed. So, I started with Pinterest. With the new year upon us, I decided to organize my recipe board. As I was going through pins and pins and pins of crockpot dinners, protein shakes, and cocktail concoctions, I came across a few brownie recipes. Now, if you know me, you’ll know that brownies are my weakness. If you really know me, you know that I tend to say that about everything, but I mean it this time. I love me some fudgey, chocolate-y, from-the-box brownies. I love these so much, that, in order to gain my affections, a smart gentleman recently made me an incredible 4 course meal, with the dessert being Betty Crocker’s from-the-box Fudge Brownies. Told ya he was smart…

Anyway, I thought 2019 might be my year of an Adventure…in Baking. So, I thought I’d start by making The Shirley Journey’s Avocado Brownies. If I’m going to eat horribly, there might as well be a healthy avocado or two in there, right? Right.

CHRISTINA SHIRLEY’S AVOCADO BROWNIES
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 
Total time: 
INGREDIENTS
    • 2 ripe avocados, mashed
    • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
    • ½ cup light brown sugar
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • ¾ cup flour
    • ¼ cup cocoa powder
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

  3. In a large bowl (or I used our food processor), mix avocados and melted chocolate until smooth and creamy.

  4. Add in sugar and eggs. Mix until well combined.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

  6. Stir into chocolate avocado mixture until just combined.

  7. Spread batter into prepared pan.

  8. Bake about 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Umm, OK, these are incredible and will SERIOUSLY make you feel like a Baker Extraordinaire. They are extra-fugdey, super-gooey, and totally-chocolatey. And I’ve already eaten 3 squares…in the past 20 minutes.

Now that I know this is a recipe I can’t “fudge up”, I think I’d like to experiment by adding a little more brown sugar. Maybe some vanilla extract. Maybe a sweeter cocoa powder. The possibilities are endless 🙂

Thanks for listening.

Enjoy!

 

 

Word of the Year: 2019

Hello!

It’s been quite a whirlwind the past few months. I’ve been going on dates, making a ton of friends, getting involved, and keeping myself creative at work. And I’ve truly never been happier. It’s like anything I’d been doing before was just, well, a half-life.

You know I do a Word of the Year every year. Check out 2018’s word in this post, which links to previous year’s words! Last year, “Welcome” came to me so clearly. I barely had to think about it and it appeared! However, I thought that it meant that I would be welcoming new people into my life, welcoming new situations. But March 22, 2018, as I was living my best life on vacation in Charleston, I walked past a pineapple sketched on a chalkboard sign…and “Welcome” scrolled across the bottom. Everything aligned and I had so much clarity! Welcome…to Charleston! Whatever fog I had been in was lifted, and I knew exactly what the year was going to bring. #captainobvious

This year, my word came to me early, but not so clearly. I wanted Commitment. Or Security. Or Abundance. But, that’s not what I got. I struggled: “Are You sure that’s my word? Really? What about Limitless?” *prays to anyone who’ll listen*

No. None of them were my words.

But, now, now, I’m kinda excited about it. Gahhhh! OK, actually I’m super excited about it. Like jump-around-the-room-tell-EVERYONE-post-it-on-your-Insta-feed-AND-your-Stories excited about it. Maybe like if you really wanted a girl, and you find out you’re having a boy, but then you start creating a boy’s room and buying boys clothes, so your baby can look like a mini version of your hubs…so then you’re all, bring it! You with me?

Here we go! Literally…

 

An adventure is an exciting experience that is typically a bold, sometimes risky, undertaking. How could I not be FREAKING out in excitement?!

When I think about my 2018, there were so many totally unexpected, cool, kick-ass things that happened to me. So, I can’t even imagine what 2019 has in store. I have so many questions: What kind of adventure? Solo trips? Romantic getaways? Friend journeys? Finding a copilot to do life with? Blazing a new career path? Finally redesigning my blog format? I don’t know! Damn, this is gonna be a good year.

What’s your word?

You Asked For It: Dating Wisdom

I’ve been finding myself in a few dating situations lately where I’ve managed to really stand up for myself, reflect on a part of my life that wasn’t clear before, or even help friends with their dating struggles. One of my friends told me that I should write about it (why didn’t I think of that?!) And so, because I felt so inspired today, I’m taking her advice to dish out some advice of my own.

Now, you may know how I feel about advice, if you’ve read this post, which talks about how I’ve been trying to stop asking for advice and follow my own intuition. Maybe “advice” isn’t the best word. Maybe “wisdom” is better? Overall, I just want to share some situations that have happened to me and what I’ve done to get past the obstacles and keep moving forward.

SITUATION 1: Guy asks for first date at 7:30pm days in advance, yet on the day of, sends intermittent texts from 7:30-9:00, then trails off without actually confirming plans

SOLUTION: Respond by texting, “I’m thinking that tonight isn’t going to happen, no worries. I have a couple of other things I would like to do tonight, and waiting for you to respond isn’t one of them. Have a good night!”

BENEFIT: You get to go on a date with someone else instead, write a blog post, fold laundry, call your best friend, watch Dateline, paint your nails, cook a fantastic dinner, or stay at home without wearing pants. But mostly, you get to stand up for yourself and make it light-hearted. No, you’re not going to throw yourself on your bed sobbing yourself to sleep, but you ARE letting him know that you have higher standards and that you are a highly sought-after commodity who doesn’t accept that kind of behavior.

 

SITUATION 2: Sober man at party is catcalling, making inappropriate comments, and being offensive to you and your friends

SOLUTION: Walk over and say POLITELY and SINCERELY, “You have been extremely obnoxious this whole evening while I’m trying to have a conversation with my friends.” *Look in their eyes, so they can see that you’re talking person-to-person* “It’s really inappropriate. So, I’d really appreciate that for the rest of the party, you can tone it down, OK? Have fun, but please respect us.” This only works if you’re actually sincere. You can’t have an attitude while saying this. You need to rouse feelings of remorse rather than defensiveness.

BENEFIT: You’re standing up for yourself when most women would put their bitch-face on and curse this guy out. That’s what he’s probably used to. By approaching this head-on, you’re catching him off-guard, and likely to get an honest respect.

SITUATION 3: New (or old) relationship is feeling a little “off”. You talk all of the time, but it feels like there’s no communication. You try to do nice things for him, but it’s like all of your actions are going unnoticed.

SOLUTION: Ever hear of the The Five Love Languages? Yeah, well, once I started reading about them, it pretty much blew my mind. You often do for others what you’d like done for you, but if you’re not speaking the same love language, there can be so much miscommunication, when there doesn’t need to be. There I was showering my partner with texts and notes gushing about how much I loved him (Words of Affirmation) and letting the dishes sit in the sink so we could spend a quiet night together (Quality Time), when what he really needed to feel loved, was for me to offer to cook dinner (Acts of Service) and pick up a little something for him when I was out “just because” (Receiving Gifts). What’s funny is that often you don’t even think about this, you just realize that something’s missing when it’s not happening. This man was not a material person, yet, he liked small presents.

BENEFIT: You FINALLY get to “talk” to your partner in ways that mean something to THEM.

 

SITUATION 4: Boy you’ve been dating for several months goes out to a bar with you and blatantly flirts and exchanges numbers with another woman right in front of you, completely humiliating you in front of his friends. Then asks, “Are you mad?!”

SOLUTION: Talk to this man-child about the situation once you have a chance to be alone. The fact that he’s asked you “Are you mad?!” indicates that this is a “prepared response”, meaning he’s done this before and is used to self-sabotaging relationships by creating situations where the woman breaks things off, so he doesn’t have to. Similar to Situation 2, most girls would probably slap him in the face, call him a f*ckboy, and maybe even throw her drink at him. But not you, you Glorious Goddess. By having an adult conversation with him in private, you are handling this like a woman. You are forcing him to man-up and face an action that was more embarrassing to him than it was to you. You could say something like, “If you are still looking to date around, that’s totally fine. You should do whatever and whoever you want then! But that kind of behavior is really unacceptable to me, personally. I have higher standards that need to be met, in order for me to invest any more time in someone.” I can report that this interaction caused this particular guy to:

  1. Apologize
  2. Open up about a whole bunch of other deep-seeded issues he was facing
  3. Tell the truth
  4. Turn off his defense mechanisms
  5. Self-reflect about his behavior
  6. Tell me he loved me
  7. Continue contacting me after we both agreed the relationship was over

I do believe that some people have different capacities to love, and that one person’s 100% still may not be enough. Not a bad thing, just not the right thing. Whether or not the constant contact is behavior typical of today’s 30-something male who loves staying a “text’s distance away” is highly debated amongst my friends, however, it’s proof that you can still show your worth and he won’t run away (but with that behavior, who cares if he does!) They seem to like knowing that you’re holding them to a higher standard, even if they don’t attempt to achieve it.

BENEFIT: First, you get to move onto a man who can’t take his eyes off of you! But for your own pride, you’ve stood out against other women by behaving like a woman, not a girl. This guy won’t ever be able to forget you. You might just turn his whole world upside-down by showing him that there is another way of handling things. That’s not guaranteeing a lasting relationship, but certainly creating a lasting effect. #illtakethehighroad

SITUATION 5: After a few dates, you realize that the nice man you’re seeing (you know, the one who’s TOTALLY into you) is not The One, and you aren’t reciprocating the feelings.

SOLUTION: Thank him for the time you spent together, say you weren’t vibing, and keep it light. Inevitably, this type of nice guy is going to ask you “Why?” To which you will ALWAYS respond again (paraphrasing your orignal sentiment), “I didn’t feel like we were vibing the way we need to, in order to continue” or “I’m looking for chemistry that I didn’t feel was there.” There might be a couple of other quirks, or beliefs, or traits that combined with pages and vibes weren’t working for you. But, if you feel final in your verdict, be final in your delivery. Leaving it open ended can cause huge amounts of hurt and confusion, where the man tries to find the loophole to get you back in that instant.

BENEFIT: Ugh. Why do they always want to know why? NOTHING, and I mean, NOTHING good can come out of answering this question more fully. Think about it this way: What if you asked a guy that you were super into why it wasn’t working, and he said “You know, your family is just too loud and opinionated, and it was too stressful for me to be around them.” Ummm, guess what? It’s possible that you end up feeling a little self-conscious about introducing your new man to your loud, fun Italian family because you’re afraid that he’ll leave too. Meanwhile, that same new boyfriend has been hoping, wishing, praying that he’d meet a crazy fun family that would make him feel like one of their own. And now, you’re making him miss out, because of some other bozo who wasn’t right for you. Don’t make a man self-conscious for a trait that YOU weren’t into. The next woman might be looking for exactly that.

Hope that helps! I could really go on, but until we have more situations, this will have to do!

❤ The Huntress

 

What 4 Years and Some Sunshine (and palm trees) Can Do…

Hi Y’all!

I FINALLY made my move to Charleston! And I’m that happiest that I’ve ever been. The kind of happy that’s not because of anyone, but because of the peace I feel inside. I went grocery shopping today – like, maybe the most mundane errand ever- and as I was unloading my cart, I thought about how freakin’ happy I am, even to be putting bags of food into my car. How fortunate am I that I can live my idea of a dream life? How happy am I that I worked really hard to be exactly where I am. Right now. In THIS moment.

Today marks 4 years since my life changed forever. It became a turning point, to which all other events in my life either fall “before” or “after”. There was a time when I thought I could never be myself again. How could I, when I didn’t even know who that was? I felt hollow. I felt like I lost all of my identity. I had no idea that I was just beginning to find it.

Many people told me stories about someone they knew who lived through the devastating loss of a “forever” relationship. They told me the ex-bride was doing well. I asked how long ago it happened. They said 2 years. I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure if I could make it 2 hours, let alone 2 years. And here I am today feeling like it happened to an old acquaintance. If someone recorded me telling my story and played it back to me now, I would honestly gather their hands in mine and tell them I can’t imagine the pain they feel. It’s like your mind goes into preservation mode and makes you forget, so that you can keep going forward. A few weeks after John left, my aunt gathered all of her friends, my friends, and our family and asked them to write me beautiful letters of love and encouragement. I still have them in a little box, and I pull them out occasionally to remind me how much I’m loved. There was one in particular that always has stuck with me. My aunt’s friend wrote, “Just as shattered glass is used to make a beautiful stained glass window…one day dear Sarah…one day your own shattered glass around you now, will come together as a magnificent window.”

Wow.

Hopefully that gives you a better idea of the kind of window I am now. Made of tiny pieces of shattered glass: sharp when I need to be strong, colorful when I need to brighten someone’s day, bold enough to speak my mind, soft enough to filter harshness, clear enough to spread light.

If you are going through something that seems impossible, I can promise you that it does get better. Let me shine for you and tell you that I am proof of the colorful light at the end of the tunnel. There is so much joy to be had. Every day is made just for your enjoyment!

❤ The Huntress

On The Hunt: Purses, Pants, and Pom Poms (just for fun)

You ready to talk about some new things I want?? Because there’s always more, and I’m never done! Just part of the joy of life!

Since I’ve made the decision to move, I’ve really been doing a lot of self-reflection about my style. I’ve completely cleaned out my closet by donating all of my “Philly” clothes to GoodWill and posting the rest on PoshMark. It felt SO great to make room for new clothes that feel more me now, which reminds me of this classic 😂

Let’s jump right in!

Monogrammed Scalloped Cross Body Purse The epitome of Southern style is the monogram, so I’ve suddenly started craving some embroidered initials of my own. I found this sweet one, but it’s currently sold out. I definitely put in my email address for when it comes back in stock 😳Plan B: Etsy. They totally delivered and I found several identical bags from different vendors. I think I might go for one of these from PoppyPine.

I already have a hot pink cross body, but isn’t the Coral uh-maz-ing?? All it needs is a seersucker dress, straw hat, and a matching coral lip *swoon* Or, I could do the tan. Or the cork. All with straw hat and coral lip, obviously.

White Denim And I’ve still never got my hands on white denim pants. I did find a pair of these distressed Blue Spice cuties on Bob’s Stores. Never heard of it, but at $29.99, that’s totally reasonable! 

For years, my job is to source the most trendy, desirable, and cool AF furniture. So, naturally, I’m exposed to lots of unique pieces…So, naturally, I’ve wanted everything…So, naturally, I’ve changed my mind about what I like…a thousand times. This has resulted in not purchasing anything new (just furniture, duh!) – with the exception of the gorg Montclair sofa from crate&barrel in 2014. But that’s basically like forever ago, so yeah, it’s about time for some new stuff!

Pom Pom Bedding After my last bedroom post, I started to get real antsy about my new bedding. I’ve had my current duvet cover since it rose to “stardom” in 2014. But, it’s overused and I’m over it. I’m a completely different person with a new life in a new city, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have my bedding reflect it. *drops mic*

I’ve really been craving some all-white bedding. You know the feeling – climbing into clean, crisp, cool sheets after a hot summer day. Bring on the daydream! Since I am a self-described whimsical woman, I thought maybe Berber Wares’ fun pom pom quilt would be the perfect light-weight cover for the warmer months.

But the price is a bit steep, $244 for a Queen, without matching shams. Yikes. Guess I’m not eating for a month…

So maybe this one by Sweet Home Bedding via Amazon? But it also doesn’t include shams.

Grrr. Is it a quilt with no matching shams OR sleeping with a heavy duvet in a non-airconditioned apartment that keeps me up at night?

And then when the temps drop, I’ll add this winter white duvet cover with matching shams from Amazon.

*Separately, I just cancelled my Prime membership a month ago today, because I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t compulsively buy on Amazon – I prefer to compulsively shop in person – and of course, now I’m shopping A to Z on the daily*

Thanks for listening!

 

 

 

 

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Photoshop Fun: Charleston Bedroom

Hope you enjoyed my Living Room reveal!

Now, I want to show you my Bedroom. First, I want to share some overall photos, so you can get a better idea of how the room looks!


How do you feel about those green walls?? And the tiny sink in the corner, because there’s no sink in the bathroom 😳 But the fireplace is SO cozy! So, let’s see the BEFORE and AFTER.

I’m thinking of having the walls painted bright white, along with the trim – and I guess the fireplace too (still figuring that out) and painting the upper part of the walls above the picture rail in a soft blush. All of the furniture is my own, with the addition of the same long white linen drapery that I used in the Living Room. The ceilings are super tall and my current curtains are too short! I’ll replace my bedding with a fresh, white duvet or quilt, and crisp shams. See that little gold pineapple mirror? I just snagged it on sale from Michael’s a few weeks ago. And it’s currently on sale again for $11.99! I thought it was so perfect for Charleston, but still looks classy, not kitschy.

I’m thinking of using Velcro to add a beige linen skirt under the sink to hide a basket with my straighteners, curling irons, and brushes, since I’ll be getting ready in my bedroom. You’ll understand once I share my bathroom reveal…

Thanks for staying on for the tour! Stay tuned for more soon!

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