Friday, August 17, 2018

WHAT WE'VE LEARNED ABOUT CHICKENS - PART ONE.


As most of you probably know (mostly because I post about them constantly) we got chickens in January.  J grew up with chickens + horses and begged me for years to get a few of our own.  After moving into @thelovelycottage, we were intentional about creating the perfect space to officially turn our 'french farmhouse' cottage into just that.  

Eight months later, we look back and realize that we had to learn a few things (the hard way) about raising chickens.  For starters, we live within city limits, so we're only allowed to have 6 chickens (hens) and no roosters.  (Which I'm fine with by the way - they are SO loud and I'm not trying to hatch chicks, ever. Too far.)  We have a small patch of woods behind our home, separating us from the neighbors behind us, as well as a few large trees beside and around our property.  Although our neighborhood is somewhat wooded, we are FAR from the country, so we never took into account the role wildlife would play in our chicken coop.  Inevitably, we've had a few ups and downs with our hens, but we're a lot wiser for it.  We started this process pretty naive and have since learned so much about how to best care for our babes.

Here are a few tips + tricks we've learned:

ONE. / SAFETY.
When we initially picked up our first four chickens from Charleston, we only had a small coop, a waterer, and a feeder.  Pretty basic, huh?  Although the coop was plenty big for four small hens, we planned on letting them free range during the day and locking them up at night.  About two months later, our first loss, my sweet Polish - Tammy Wynette, 'went to the wayside' (a country term I just learned that sounds a lot better than what actually happened) from a hawk.  Chickens make noise, we all know that.  What I didn't know is that those cute little clucking sounds they make throughout the day/night attract predators.  The very next day, we went to Home Depot and purchased three huge rolls of black chicken wire to secure the entire space from top to bottom.  Since then, we notice hawks flying around and circling our coop often, only now there's no way they can get to our girls.  The second predator we had to learn the hard way about was a raccoon.  Pardon my french, but the little shits are relentless.  Raccoons have thumbs (five fingers just like us) which means they can get in to almost anything.  Over the last six months, we've lost 3 of our chicks to raccoons during the night.  Although the coop is wired in from the top + all sides, predators can dig underground (in our case, underneath our privacy fence) and still get in.  Not only can they get in, but they can unlock hinges/locks, open doors, and even pull chickens right out of the coop.  (Trust me, I know this is somewhat graphic and hard to read, but the more you know ahead of time - the better!)  Since those three 'went to the wayside' (my sweet Zsa Zsa, Wynonna Judd, and Kitty Wells), we've lined the entire permitter with rocks, switched out the normal coop locks to locks using a tractor pin, and put the actual coop on concrete pavers.  That way, if a predator somehow gets in at night, at least they can't get into the locked coop, only the run.  All of that to say - don't wait until something happens to make your coop safe.  Each time we lost one of our girls, we would make their area safer and safer.  Knowing what I know now, I would've done all of this + more from the beginning.  No matter where you live, plan for the unexpected and be intentional about locking your chickens up at night - you'll be glad you did!

TWO. / INTRODUCTIONS
You know the saying 'rules the roost'?  Well, that couldn't be more true when it comes to chickens.  You'll almost always be able to spot your dominant chicken from the get go.  Ours was our largest girl, which I think is true a lot of the time, and she's still the most dominant today.  Throughout the process of loosing a few of our babes, we've had some practice with introducing new chickens to our coop.  We've learned to introduce the newbies right before sunset, giving the chicks enough time to get acquainted, but right before everyone calms down for the night.  Hens can be extremely terratorial and want to show the flock who's boss from the first moment, so we've learned that time of day seems to work really well.  Then in the morning, check on them early, feed everyone, and take a long a few treats.  Giving the chicks something to take their minds off of and something that brings them all together is a great way to start the day.  In our experience, it will take anywhere from one to two weeks for the chicks to make their own routines, actually like to be around one another, and begin to bond.  They're just like us actually - guarded at first, but form the best relationships gathering around a table to eat + drink! 

THREE. / LAYING.
So far, we've yet to bring a hen into our flock that's already laying.  Most of the time, we get them pretty young (around 2-3 months) and wait on them to develop + lay once they're old enough.  I'll never forget the day our first chicken (Dolly, who we still have) laid her first egg!  I've joked before that I'm a helicopter chicken mom (although it's not so much of a joke, more like sadly serious) and I was SO proud.  It immediately changed the experience of having chickens for me and became my favorite part of every day.  Once she started laying, the other 4 were shortly behind her and before we knew it, we were getting five eggs per day.  During that time, I picked up on a few things that seemed necessary for the chicks - they want a dry, private, cozy spot to lay, they (or the others) will cluck SO loudly the first time they lay an egg (aka an indicator they're about to lay), and you need to collect the eggs as soon after they lay them as possible (at least same day, unless you're trying to hatch an egg, obviously).  We made multiple spots for our girls to lay, but they all ended up laying where they sleep + feel the most comfortable - inside the coop, one at a time.  It was like they had shifts throughout the day of who would go up and when it was time for them to come down.  We nearly had the entire process down to a science, but after our unfortunate luck, we only had two girls left.  They're both still laying though and we've cherished each and every egg!  As I'm sure you're seen on instagram, we added four more babes to our flock this week.  We stopped by our favorite farm in Charleston and picked out four beauties - all different breeds, all young and not yet laying.  We're so excited to see how they adapt + add to our flock!  I already love them so much.

FOUR. / FOOD + TREATS.
We're still feeding our flock the same thing we always have - organic laying pellets.  They're non-GMO, gluten free, and have a lot of protein.  Since we eat the eggs, as well as give eggs to our friends + family, we've always been very intentional about what they eat.  That said, treats are by far their favorite thing!  Like any animal, it's also a great way to train + get them used to being around you.  After a few weeks, they'll gravitate towards you more and more until they eventually eat right out of your hand.  It doesn't take them long to become aware of who takes care of them!  As far as treats go, our girls love bread, corn, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, and lettuce.  We haven't branched out much more than that, but anytime you give them something other than their regular food, they love it.  Also, this is our first Summer having chicks and we've loved giving them ice and ice treats.  It's so hot out and they so appreciate a cold drink, just like the rest of us.  Frozen corn treats are their favorite - simply fill a muffin pan with one can of (frozen or canned) organic corn, fill the rest of the way up with water, and freeze.  They'll love pecking at the ice on a hot day, eventually to get to the sweet corn as a treat!  I found that one and a few others on Pinterest and it's such an inexpensive, easy way to show your girls some love.  Our chicks also love mealworms.  I will say though, I have to buy them already dried out, because your girl here cannot do the real ones.  Ugh, makes me want to vomit just thinking about it.  However, some people can stomach the real ones and chicks love it, but either way, it's a very natural, great treat and they LOVE them!

FIVE. / ATTENTION.
J and I differ on this one a little bit, but I promise you, chickens are just like any other animal in that they need a lot of love.  We never wanted our girls to be skeptical or skittish around us, so we always made an effort to pick them up each day and get them used to our scent and being around us.  I will say, because I work from home, I probably check on ours too much, hence my overly obsessive/too-attached problem that causes heartbreak if God forbid anything ever happens to them.  HOWEVER, like I said before, chickens are very aware of who takes care of them.  Who checks on them, who cleans out their coop, and most definitely, who feeds them.  Our girls run to me whenever I open the gate and some have even sat on my feet/shoes while I'm back there with them.  Some breeds are definitely more affectionate than others, but for the most part, chickens are grateful for attention + care.  More often than not, I think chickens are viewed as a pretty self-sufficient animal, and while they definitely can be, they're temperament all depends on how much love they receive.  Basically, find a happy medium between me and J! :)

Over the last eight months, so many of you have asked for a post dedicated to chickens!  I wanted to start with what I thought to be the five most important lessons learned, although there are many more.  I will answer any questions + share a few more hot topics in PART TWO of this post in a few weeks! That said, if you have any questions - feel free to leave them below or DM us on instagram!

And for those of you who are here for EVERYTHING BUT the chickens, I'm sorry!!  Haha, they've quickly taken over our lives and we love having them + sharing them.  I'll be back soon with an outfit post JUST for you!!  XX.

M E G

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

SUMMER FAVORITES FOR A QUICK GETAWAY



Morning, loves -

I hope you're all having a great week so far!  I was in Charleston for a couple of days last week and posted this photo while packing with a few of my summer favorites.  We're headed back to the water today for another quick trip, so as I'm throwing all of these favorites in my weekender once again, I thought I would talk about each one a bit more!

Staud Handbag - I waited on this handbag for what seemed like forever, but was actually about 2 months.  I love how on-trend the clear bag is, but it's also pretty classic in that the inside white bag is removable.  Everything from the white leather to the gold hardware is so pretty for summer and it has held up really well.  There's also a tan version I have my eye on for Fall (although I'll still continue to carry this one right into the season).

Straw Hat - By now, you're all probably aware of my Janessa Leone obsession.  I have an entire hat wall in my office dedicated to my favorites.  They're so classic and I wear them constantly.  This one specifically, made out of seagrass, is by far my favorite.

Marysia Swimsuit - Another brand that I've invested quite a lot to, as I just keep on comin' back for more!  These swimsuits are SO comfortable.  The material is thick (no cups needed in the tops, which I love), dries out quickly after getting out of the water, and I love the classic silhouettes.  I have maaaaybe 7-8 different pieces, but the best part is they're so interchangeable!  Switch out your tops and bottoms with different colors/styles and you have an entirely new look for another day by the water.

Mejuri Gold Rings - Aside from my every day wedding rings + new pinky ring, these little 14K gold rings are my favorite to layer with.  They're all so unique + special to me for different reasons and I love each and every one I have.  I'm constantly adding to my collection - they're timeless!

OUAI Wave Spray - When I posted this photo last week, a few of you asked how I use both of these OUAI products.  The Wave Spray is great in damp hair (prior to your blow out) because it adds texture and helps hold my curls after using my curling iron.  I also like to throw the Wave Spray in my beach bag and after I get out of the ocean (yes, I'm that girl who really goes for it and gets IN) I spray this in my salt-water hair to help detangle and give me the perfect beach waves.  Regardless of how you're using it, it's a must for me!

La Mer Renewal Oil - I've talked about this product SO many times, but I literally don't think I'll ever be able to go without it.  I use it first thing in the morning and let it soak into my skin while I do my morning routine around the house, and then as part of my nightly routine, too.  While at the beach last week, I mixed this with my sunscreen and applied it all over my face before hitting the beach.  It doesn't look too oily, but gives you a pretty glow anytime it's applied.  You know I'm all about that 'no make-up' look any chance I can!

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask - Since this product launched a few months ago, I've been obsessed.  I'm already on my second tube and use it about 3-4 times per week.  It's moisturizing, makes your skin feel firmer, and helps with those fine lines/bags around your eyes.  It's also one of Sephora's CLEAN products, which I love!

OUAI Hair Oil - Another OUAI product that I use all the time!  For the hair oil, I use it on the day I dry my hair.  My ends tend to be a bit frizzy after curling, so I use a dime-size amount and run it through my ends only.  However, I've already used this rosè oil on my body after a bath if my skin feels really dry.  It's perfect on your legs after a day in the sun and needing a little extra moisture.  The regular oil is amazing too, but the rosè oil smells amazing!

By the way, not one single item on my favorites list is sponsored, just pieces + products I genuinely love and use every day!  Be sure to follow along on instagram stories as we're headed back to our favorite home away from home again - Charleston!

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
M E G
SaveSave

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

NEUTRAL + EFFORTLESS


Top: Mango | Shorts: Levi | Handbag: Mango | Sunglasses: Gucci | Sandals: Hérmes | Necklaces: Mejuri + Monica Vinader | Lips: MAC 'Stripdown' + 'Blankety'

When throwing on an easy lunch or happy hour look - shorts and a tucked in top are always my go-to.  So effortless, yet chic and put together.  I've had these Levi shorts for at least 2 years and wear them constantly.  They come in a few different washes and any of them are perfect closet staples.  Perfect to throw on with a sweater for transitioning into Fall, too!

I'm sorry I've been a little MIA the last couple of weeks!  We've been so busy lately + I was planning a big surprise party for J and the sneaky-ness took up a lot more of my time that I anticipated.  BUT, it was totally worth it.  J was so surprised and the party was so much fun!  We had endless pizza, salad, three different (all of J's favorites) cakes, and a bar on the front porch - complete with a tequila cocktail called 'the J Run'.  It was absolutely perfect and I loved having it at our home - making memories here with our friends + family is priceless.  I hope you all had a beautiful weekend!

Thanks so much for stopping by, babes - XX.
M E G 
SaveSave

Thursday, August 2, 2018

J RUN TURNS THIRTY


{All photos by our favorite, Carrie Elizabeth Photography}

J: Jacket | Pants | Shirt | Shoes
Meg: Dress | V-Neck Dress | Hat | Seagrass Hat | Shoes

J - you are all the best parts of me.  You are my greatest reason to wake up each morning and my favorite part about falling asleep at night.  You are my soulmate, my ride or die, my everything.  You make my laugh more and more every day.  If that's even possible.  You are the definition of what I prayed for and the most amazing man I've ever known.  Today and every day - I am so proud to be your wife.  Thank you for being you, for giving me your last name, and for loving me beyond measure.  Cheers to you, to us, and to what's to come.  

Happy 30th birthday, my love.

-M
SaveSave

Thursday, July 26, 2018

PANTENE CHARCOAL COLLECTION



When I was younger, probably around fourteen or fifteen, my favorite thing to do was shop for beauty, haircare, + skincare products.  Yes, even then.  No matter where my mom needed to stop, I was always trying to talk her into buying me a pretty lipstick, a new shampoo that was out, or even a pack of hair ties - basically, I wanted anything I could get my hands on!  I can remember standing in the aisle, twisting the tops of off Pantene Shampoo's + Conditioner's just enough to get a quick whiff of the newest, latest and greatest scents.  

Fast forward a little over 10 years and I'm still that girl.  (However, I probably washed my hair more back then than I do now. #sorrynotsorry)  Since I only wash my hair a couple times a week, I always need a product that will really lather and make my hair feel insanely clean.  I've tried numerous brands - expensive and inexpensive, different formulas, and must-have brands, but I always end up back with my OG - Pantene.  Not to mention, you can't beat the price point.

When Pantene reached out and asked me to try/review their new Charcoal Collection, it was a no brainer.  The Charcoal Collection is intentionally made for people like myself - fewer washes, yet purifying every single time.  The Pro-V blend of B5 and antioxidants purifies the root while activated charcoal cleanses the hair + scalp to remove dirt and impurities.  After washing + Charcoal Conditioner, my hair feels so refreshed and renewed.  It's easy to brush through and because it's so pure, it doesn't leave any unwanted residue behind.  Also, I love the easy pumps on the bottles - having hands free bottles in the shower is so convenient! 

Currently in stores and online at Target, purchased two of the Pantene Charcoal Collection products and receive a $5 gift card!

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
M E G

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pantene. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, July 20, 2018

#NSALE GOES PUBLIC!

And finally, it's officially PUBLIC, y'all -



ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE

SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT / NINE / TEN



ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE

SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT / NINE / TEN





ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE

SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT / NINE / TEN



ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE

SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT / NINE / TEN



ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE

SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT / NINE / TEN


Here's a list of what I actually purchased from the sale:


Have a beautiful weekend, friends!  X.
M E G
Pin It button on image hover