happy labor day

Happy Labor Day!  Enjoy those linen dresses, seersucker suits, and white pants.   
Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday.


long weekend and some links


And not just happy weekend, but happy LONG weekend!  We are sneaking in a mini-reunion with friends from W&L, and we couldn't be more excited.  I am savoring every minute of "summer" this weekend, as Labor Day always seems to be summer's last hurrah.  (Never mind the fact that it will be in the 90s until October in Florida!)  

Just in case you discover some extra time on your hands this weekend, check out these two videos:

The first is a little longer (20 minutes), but I promise it is worth it.  My niece sent it to me, and while I don't usually have the patience for something so long online, it was one of the most inspiring and beautiful things I have seen in a long time.  

The second is much shorter, but also amazing.  It has sparked lots of conversation about would you "be ready" if given the chance to live your dream.  

Enjoy the last bits of summer and get excited for college football's debut this weekend!  



house updates

In the past few weeks, I have finished unpacking (most) of the boxes that have been lingering around our house, and I have started attempting small house projects.  We have decided to hold off a while longer on any major changes to the house, but in the meantime, I am working on little ways to make the space feel more lived in and personal, despite a few empty rooms here and there.  

nothing like fresh flowers, framed map prints, and a gold tray to give a little life to an entry

I can't claim to be a true DIY pro yet, but I am pretty proud of my work with a little black spray paint

We will add a little height when we actually fill out planters, but I was super excited to find these in the clearance section at target.  The before picture shows the old brass lanterns that flanked the door on the day our roof was redone (sorry for the poor quality photo- this was the only picture I had of the front of our house before)
Next up: new paint and maybe a few pieces of furniture for our living room.  

Hope you enjoyed a little peek into the new space.

PS: I'm not sure why the caption on the gallery wall photo is in all caps?  Please let me know if you see other format issues when you open in your browser or device.  Thanks!


wedding registry: julia knight

I'm so excited to be back with a new wedding registry post!  I'm sorry for the lack of posting in the world of registry items lately, but with so much transition I haven't had as much time to try out new lines and give you an opinion "from the trenches" so to speak.  Today I am thrilled to tell you about Julia Knight, one of my favorite lines for adding a little color to your home decor/entertaining arsenal.  
classic spreader knife

my classic spreader knives add the perfect amount of color to cheese plates

Some of you may know about Julia Knight products, or at the very least you may have seen them in some of your favorite stores.  I am here to tell you that if some of these gorgeous pieces aren't on your registry, they should be!  Saks (and select Bloomingdales) carries the line, and you can often find a few pieces in local jewelry stores.  (In Jacksonville, you can find Julia Knight at Underwoods, and in Chapel Hill, look for Julia Knight at Southern Season.)

lily bowl
cheese tray

In addition to very cool glass pieces, the collection has the most beautiful trays and serving pieces.   AND, be sure to check out the "home decor" section of the site for gorgeous vases and picture frames.

high ball glass

LOVE this frame...what a great way to add a little sparkle to a room!

Don't forget to email me or leave a comment if you have a wedding registry question. 
I love hearing from you!

PS: I feel like I should mention that my wedding registry posts are not sponsored.  They are my reviews and opinions about the things I use and love that I want to share with all of you!


skillet roasted shrimp and okra

As I mentioned here, Josh and I recently signed up for home produce delivery.  We do get to pick the veggies that will be arriving at our doorstep each week, but we are trying to branch out and experimenting with new ways to prepare our favorites.  (I tend to stick with the good old olive oil and roasting method generally.)  This week, we got okra and it is Josh's favorite.  While I was a little nervous to mess with a good thing, I am SO glad I did!  This recipe is fantastic and super healthy.  Josh has been raving about it, and now is the perfect time to enjoy it before summer comes to an end.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Skillet Roasted Shrimp and Okra
Recipe from Southern Living

  • 1 pound unpeeled, large raw shrimp (I had mine peeled and cleaned at the store to make cooking/eating a little easier.)
  • 3 cups fresh okra, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 pt. heirloom cherry tomatoes (I couldn't find these, so I just used regular grape tomatoes)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I used my tried and true pre-chopped garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • Garnish: thinly sliced okra blossoms 
  1. Peel shrimp; devein
  2. Saute okra in 1Tbsp. hot oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 4-5 minutes or until browned.  (I put the cut-side of the okra down in the pan and try not to touch it for at least 5 minutes to minimize the "slime" factor that always comes with okra.)  Transfer okra to a bowl.
  3. Cook tomatoes in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in same skilled over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes until skins are charred.  (Remember to wash your tomatoes early and let them dry completely- water and hot oil do NOT mix well.)  Place in bowl with okra
  4. Saute shrimp, garlic, and dried crushed red pepper in remaining 1 Tbsp. hot oil in skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.  Stir in okra and tomatoes.  Add salt/pepper to taste; cook 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Garnish if desired.  


happy friday

original via
Happy Friday Loves!  Any grand plans for this weekend?  We are debating a last minute trip to Orlando and IKEA to go furniture shopping. I must admit, I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of an IKEA adventure.  It might be that I am just overwhelmed making decisions about furniture in general, and I am very aware of not making rushed choices that I won't like in the long run.  Decisions, decisions...

Anyone have any great suggestions for living room furniture sources?  

Hope your weekend is fabulous! 


musings: the exploring jacksonville list

As dear friends pointed out to me last week, my post on "50 new things to do in Jacksonville" should have us covered for the next 4 years (at the rate of one new adventure each month.)  Fear not friends, Josh and I have already checked a few things off the list, and made a few additions (see below.)  We are having so much fun I think we will be through this list in no time.  
Thanks to those who have submitted suggestions- keep em' coming!

Here are a few of our recent adventures:

I won't lie...I am SUPER excited about signing up for deliveries from Black Hog Farm.  We just got our first bundle of fresh veggies, peaches, and chicken breasts, and I am salivating thinking about what to make.  I'm not sure what it is about farm to door delivery, but in my mind everything just tastes so much better.  I'll definitely be making crispy kale this week, and I'm thinking of trying out this skillet roasted shrimp and okra  recipe, or I might just stick with classic okra and tomatoes.  Check back for recipes/reviews next week!

Jeff after a workout...Josh said, "no way" when I tried to take his picture post-workout
My brother-in-law Jeff is the owner of CrossFit West Jax, just a few miles down the street from our new house.  Josh has been through the beginner one-on-one sessions and is in his second week of regular classes now.  While I have yet to muster the strength (or courage) to try a class myself, I am very proud of Josh for giving it a try.  If you are in the area and want a tough workout with lots of people cheering you on, check out Jeff's website here.  It looks tough, but Jeff and his coaches will make you feel right at home.  

13 Gypsies is hands down the best tapas (and sangria) in Jacksonville.  The only problem we had was deciding which dishes to try, knowing we only had two people to eat everything.  Josh preferred the chorizo with pears and the citrus beef, but I LOVED the garlic shrimp, and the kale.  By an odd stroke of luck, we wound up with all three desserts on the menu, and despite our best efforts, we are still split over whether the tres leches or the bread pudding was best.  Make sure to call ahead for a reservation, and read the policy on their website about how long you have to enjoy your meal...they are serious but it's worth it!



wednesday roundup: late summer

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

 A roundup of a few must haves to keep that summer feeling alive a little longer...



thought for the week

While it feels a little strange not to be headed "back to school" this week, I have to admit it is also extremely freeing.  For the first time in a long time, I am waking up with nothing on my agenda except visiting with friends, working on our house, and spending time with Josh.  I know this time won't last forever (jobs and start dates are looming), but in the meantime, I am cherishing my lack of obligations.   

This weekend I realized how precious this time is.  It hit me yesterday that for the first time in years, I didn't have to spend my Sunday afternoon on work, reading, or some other assignment to prepare for the week ahead.  To say I was thrilled to sit by our pool and visit with a friend is an understatement.  It made me so thankful for the chance to spend a few weeks without a schedule, and it made me extra aware of enjoying every moment of this stage in my life.

Whatever obligations you may (or may not) have this week, cherish them.  Time slips by quickly, and each phase and stage of life brings its own blessings.  

How do you make the most of your scheduled or unscheduled time?



weekend rain

original image via
Happy Friday friends!  This weekend we are set for rain, rain, and rain.  Sounds like the perfect excuse to stay inside and get some projects done around the house...or maybe just snuggle up and watch a movie.  When we do leave the house, we are planning to try out the fantastic thai food here, and the best tapas in Jacksonville here.  We are also super excited to spend some time with some of our best friends before the arrival of their baby boy in just over a week!  

Happy weekend to you all!



musings: exploring our new city

As many of you know, Josh and I are Jacksonville natives.  We lived in North Carolina for close to six years, but we have always considered Jacksonville home.  While we have loved coming home to a familiar city, we are also painfully aware that our version of "Jacksonville" is extremely limited in scope.  We grew up a few miles apart, we live on the street that Josh lived on until he was 7 (and the street where we had our first date), and we spend most of our time in roughly 10 square miles of our home.  Ironically, this is not that uncommon here.  Jacksonville is a huge city in land size (800 square miles), but that means most people don't get to see even half of what the city has to offer.

When we moved back to Jacksonville we made a promise to ourselves that we would be deliberate about exploring our new city.  It is so easy to eat at the same restaurants, go to the same stores, and run the same routes everyday.  While it is nice that when we stay in our neighborhood we undoubtedly see some of our family or friends, we want to meet new people, try new places, and really experience everything that makes Jacksonville a great place to live.

In an effort to move outside of our comfort zone, we made a list of 50 things we want to try in Jacksonville.  Our current goal is to try one new restaurant, attraction, etc. each month and add to the list over time.

For any "Jacksonvillians" out there, please help us add to the list.  We are painfully aware that even with these 50 things, we are still missing some great spots to explore.




Just a quick smattering of some of the highlights of the past few weeks. 
 Lots of celebrations, new additions, and a chance to actually enjoy living in Jacksonville!

1. Josh appearing in a sizzle reel for an upcoming TV series my mom is helping produce.  He definitely wins "Son in law of the year" for that favor.

2. Beach day!  I am starting to feel like a true Floridian.

3. Welcomed my newest nephew into the world yesterday.  Adam Gillespie ("Lep") Adams V.

4. Birthday date with our niece B.

5. Date night with Josh to see the "Future Retro" car exhibit at the Cummer.

6. Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie for my Dad's belated birthday celebration.

7. A shower for Simmons before the arrival of her little boy.

8. All the girls at Simmons' shower.



texas caviar rice and beans

Florida in August is HOT, HOT, HOT.  The weather forecasters keep calling for temps in the upper 90s but saying it "feels like" 106 degrees.  With temperatures soaring and the humidity making it tough to get a deep breath, cooking is the very last thing I have felt like doing.  Luckily for me, Southern Living did an entire article called "No Cook Summer" in their July issue.  I jumped on that bandwagon and made this rice and beans recipe last week.  It was DELICIOUS and the perfect way to get a healthy meal without so much as preheating the oven.  Give it a try and make sure to save some for leftovers...they are even better the next day!

Texas Caviar Rice and Beans
Recipe from Southern Living


  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped poblano pepper (I can't handle too much spice, so I omitted this)
  • "Texas Vinaigrette," divided
  • 2 (8.8 oz) packages cooked basmati rice (I used sushi rice seasoned with cilantro and lime)
  • 1 1/4 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (I unintentionally omitted cheese and it was still delicious)
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • Tortilla chips
  • Garnish: jalapeno peppers (I omitted to avoid the spice)
  1. Stir together the first 4 ingredients and 1/4 cup Texas Vinaigrette in a microwave safe glass bowl; let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Microwave on HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring at 30 second intervals.  
  2. Cook rice according to package directions; fluff with a fork.  Divide the bean mixture, rice, tomatoes, and next four ingredients among 4-6 individual plates.  Serve with tortilla chips and remaining vinaigrette.  Garnish with jalapeno if desired.
Texas Vinaigrette
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 2 Tbsp. hot sauce; 1 garlic clove (minced), 1/2 tsp. ground cumin.  Add kosher salt and black pepper to taste.  




Hello Friends!  It's been too long, and I apologize for being MIA for most of the summer.  As you all are well aware, my summer is just now beginning after many weeks studying for the bar exam.  I am happy to report that I did make it out alive, and now I just hope and pray until the results come back in September.

I know you all are sick of hearing about studying, but I want to document a few things about my experience this summer.  If you want to stop reading now, I won't blame you one bit...I promise to be back to normal posts after today.

Things I learned while studying for the bar exam
Disclaimer: I am a pretty level headed person who works hard but doesn't generally stress out too much over any one test.  This one was a little different...  

1.  If anyone tells you preparing for the bar exam isn't so bad they are lying
I can't tell you how many people told me that when I was going into my bar prep summer.  While I think they were trying to make me feel better, it makes me all the more confident that they are either suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or have completely blocked out the experience.  I can say without a doubt that it was the worst thing I have EVER done in my entire life.  I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but I don't know that I can describe the feeling of studying hours upon hours, not seeing friends or family, and not taking a day off for more than 12 weeks.  (I did take 3 days off from May 14-August 1 to move into our new house.)  The stress was intense and prolonged, but I am telling myself that the naps after the bar were so wonderful that it makes up for a spike in my blood pressure.

a horrible picture but it captures the essence of the summer...learning that stack beside me, no make up, workout gear
2. While studying really was terrible, it was also extremely empowering.  
While I definitely had my moments (ok days and weeks) of self doubt, I have to say that learning that much material in a short period of time made me confident that I can handle almost anything thrown my way.  If law school and studying for the bar taught me anything, it's that learning about an extremely daunting subject area is possible if you put your mind to it...even if those topics are secured transactions and commercial paper.

my "war room"

3. I imagine studying for the bar is a little like a shortened pregnancy.*
While I have never been pregnant, I do think I experienced almost every cliche "pregnancy" emotion, craving, etc. while studying.  I would literally go from energized and excited about getting a question right, to a giant puddle of tears, to angry, back to calm and collected all in the course of 10 minutes. And then there were the cravings.  I got into quite a routine of petit fours at 11 am,  coffee 4 times a day, and cheese at 5pm.  To say I am detoxing and running a little longer every day to recover is a bit of an understatement.

*Just so we're all on the same page, I understand that pregnancy is obviously significantly harder than the bar exam...it was just the closest thing I could come up with to make the experience relatable.
just about every emotion right here...
4. "Re-entering" the real world is no joke.
Aside from catching up on all the news I missed over the summer (Royal Baby is a boy!), I felt like I really needed one of the stylists from the Hunger Games to come buff and scrub me.  Some of the first things on my list post-bar were getting manicure and pedicure, haircut, and facial.  I kept laughing because I don't think I have ever been so pampered and polished only to still look so tired.  Not only did my re-entry involve some beautification, I also struggled for a few days with not being sure what to do with myself.  I had gotten so into my routine that suddenly having nothing to do was more daunting than I expected.  After plenty of naps, HGTV shows, and a few days of doing nothing, I am happy to report that I am loving my "no routine" routine.

via pinterest

5. I have the most amazing family and friends on the planet.
I don't know that I can tell you how humbled and blessed I felt throughout the bar prep period by the utter outpouring of love and support I received.  As I mentioned before, the bar exam is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I have no doubt in my mind that I would not have made it through without so much encouragement from everyone around me.  I  made a post-it note with hashmarks every time I got a card, text, email, love gift, etc. and I looked at those hashmarks every time I felt my confidence start to slip and I was instantly encouraged.  With so many people pulling for me, it was impossible to give it less than everything I had day in and day out.  If you are still reading, thank you all.  I know I wouldn't have made it through with each of you and I am more grateful you will ever know.
thank you, thank you, thank you