Friday, May 17, 2019

PIVOT. / BEHIND THE BLOG


I've been working on this blog post on and off for about 2 months now.  It's sat in 'draft' mode as I typed endless paragraphs, only to later hit the backspace button on it all.  You all know how much I love a good 'behind the blog' post, but this one feels different for some reason.  It's sort of bittersweet and even a little uncomfortable.  It's not necessarily one specific topic, but actually the opposite - it's all of those 'behind the blog' posts combined that's led me to where I am today.

I opened up and wrote my first ever 'behind the blog' post exactly three years ago.  It was a time in my life where I was really struggling and could no longer go on as if I wasn't.  I quickly realized that sharing that part of my heart with you was therapeutic.  And relatable.  And simply reinforced the fact that we're all human - all messy.

About two years ago, a lot seemed to be changing in our life and I was in a place of longing to feel content.  We sold our first home, packed our lives into a storage unit while we were renovating our home, and everything just felt so unsettling.  Most of all - I felt like I lost my creativity within this space.  At the time, I had been blogging for over five years and I just felt stuck.  I thought that it was because my world was upside down and I would eventually feel back to normal.  What I didn't realize was that this shift that was happening inside of me wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

These days, the unsettled feeling is long gone and I'm so thankful for that.  Actually, it's quite the opposite.  To be completely honest, I think I'm the most content I've ever been.  I've become such a homebody and my idea of the perfect night is no longer a 7:30 reservation and a fancy dinner out.  It's cooking in, turning the music up loud + pouring a glass of wine, and dancing around the kitchen.  For the first time in my life, I know exactly who I am.  I know what I want to spend my time doing.  And most of all, I know where I want to be at the end of the day.  So much of what I've prayed for is right in front of me and I'm so grateful.  

However, what hasn't changed over the last couple of years is that shift I felt within the four walls of this space.  At the time, I chalked it up to entering a new season of life, but as time passed and that season because my new normal, I could no longer use that as my excuse.  I think a lot of you caught on to this urge I had to switch things up a bit when I wrote this blog post back in December, but even then I didn't fully understand which direction I was heading in, or why.  For months now, there has been a longing in me to do something different.  I have searched and searched (and searched) for what will make me feel motivated again and what I feel proud to put out there.  My closet looks pretty minimal.  The desire to continue to travel the world has come to a screeching halt and I've become so choosy about what forces me to leave my happy place these days.  What I eventually found out is - that shift was simply growing up over the last seven years.  In front of you.  That twenty three year old who started For All Things Lovely will be thirty in a few days. 

Throughout those years, I've gone from having a super feminine style, to thinking I could be a 'cool girl' for a bit, to finally finding a happy medium of the two.  I went from a 20 year-old wife without a clue to one who's intentional about her role as a helpmate.  I've traded out most of my beauty products for skincare.  I started cooking edible meals.  I tossed some of the hand-me-downs and we've filled our home with pieces we love.  I've cultivated my tribe with relationships that will last a lifetime.  I've learned to live by the 'if it's not a hell yes, it's a no' rule.  I'm stronger because I've felt heartbreak.  My carry-on has collected dust this year.  I became aware of exactly what I don't want to be and ran as fast as I could in the other direction.  I started to fully embrace who I am and where I come from.  I'm a feeler and an over-thinker who loves hard, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I think at some point in life, we all feel this shift and somewhere around thirty seems to be pretty common.  I've mentioned this before in my friendship post, but it's in this stage of life, this season, that we need each other more than ever.  We need to be supported and understood.  We don't just need to know that we're not alone, we need to feel it.  From your best friend to someone you've never met on the internet - we want the real and the raw.  The days of endless outfit posts seem to lessen and we're all gravitating towards sharing our hearts.  It's somewhere within this shift that we start to be solely concerned with - what really matters at the end of the day?

FOR ME -
 It's LIFE.  Love.  Family.  Moments, and being present for them, rather than trying to capture them.  Relationships + friendships.  It's surviving.  Focusing on what feeds your soul.

I want to focus on creating a space where the conversation is bigger.  Deeper.  And more meaningful.

After two years of endless prayer, dozens of conversations between J and I of what the future looks like for FATL, and a lot of soul searching - I'm pivoting.  In a couple of months, I'll be launching a brand new website - MeganRunion.com.  It won't look a lot different than the site you're used to visiting and the old url will redirect you right into the new one, just as the flow from the last seven years has transpired.  The name 'For All Things Lovely' has been, and will continue to be, a huge part of my story.  However, the girl behind it all has always been Megan Runion.  As I've found more of myself over the last few years and grown into the person I am today, I want this space to be the most genuine refection of me that it can possibly be.

So, I'm sure you're wondering - does that include a lot of what you're used to seeing?  Without a doubt.  Style, Travel, and everything else you've been seeing for the last 7 years is all such a big part of who I am and this brand I've worked so hard to create.  I'll continue to post neutral and classic closet staples just like I always have.  We will continue to travel here and there, for work and play, and share it with you, just like we always have.

However, I want to focus less on the overall, vague categories and start the conversation about the 'why' behind it all.  Less swipe ups and more real life.  Less generality and more diving deeper.  For example, why do we host + entertain?  To gather people around our table.  Bring them together.  Love on them.  Serve them.  Fill them up in every way possible.  I want this to be a place that inspires you, always.  But, I never want those perfectly styled photos of a tablescape to overshadow the reason behind why we're doing it.  I want this to be a place that's uplifting and encouraging, all while unafraid to talk about the heavy and the real.  A place where we come together and challenge each other to grow, step out of our comfort zones, and find purpose.  So, to sum up, I want both.  From getting dressed in the morning to what we're struggling with at the end of the day.

These days, and in this season of life, I'm all about intentional living.

So, needless to say - thank God for that 23 year old with a love for fashion and a dream.  What started as a style blog over seven years ago has gotten us to this very moment.  Pivoting to an all encompassing lifestyle blog with the same promise I started with in the very beginning: to continue to be a real person.  One with real feelings, emotions, and struggles that you can relate to.  Do I want this space to be beautiful?  Absolutely.  That pretty tablescape is calling MY NAME.  But, the older we all get, we know there's so much more to life.  So we might as well embrace it all together.

Stay tuned for MeganRunion.com - it's going to be better than ever.

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Friday, May 10, 2019

DESIGNER HANDBAGS ON EBAY

Hi friends - 

Hope you're all had a great week!  We officially made it to the weekend and I am so happy about it!

Today, I'm featuring one of my favorite Chanel handbags, and so excited to be partnering with eBay and their Authenticated Luxury Handbags again!  

eBay Authenticate is a program designed to make you feel comfortable + confident when buying luxury items through their website - particularly designer handbags.  eBay has sourced their very own  industry experts, who carefully verify everything from the seller to the authenticity of the item, so  you can shop with complete confidence that you're getting the real deal.   

Mt favorite part about the Authenticate Program with eBay is it's not only vintage handbags.  It may be that one you had your eye on two years ago, but just couldn't justify paying full price.  Whatever the case may be - eBay has a huge collection of authenticated designer handbags for every style + price point.  AND of course, every designer from Chanel and Hèrmes to Louis Vuitton and Gucci!  

As a reminder, here's how to shop:
1. / Simply head over to the eBay Authenticated Luxury Handbag shop.
2. / Sort by category and/or price.
3./ Look for the "verified authentic"blue check mark.
4./ Order the handbag of you've been waiting on!

It's that easy!  I've rounded up a few of my current favorite neutrals for you below -


We're headed to Charleston this morning for a weekend by the water, so be sure to follow along on instagram + stories on what we're up to!  Hope you all have a beautiful weekend - X.
Meg

Thank you to eBay for partnering on this post!  All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 6, 2019

KITCHEN UPDATE WITH CAFE APPLIANCES / THE LOVELY COTTAGE


 As most of you know, our kitchen is pretty small.  It's the one room in our home that we didn't update when we renovated.  Sure, we painted the cabinets, put down a new tile floor, and added/updated a few light fixtures, but for the most part - we left everything as is.  The countertops were new and the cabinets could be salvaged with a little paint, however, the appliances were BAD.  They were so aged, beyond basic, and didn't give the space a cohesive look at all.  We decided the kitchen would be a full renovation itself one day, whenever we could do it, but until then, we would only focus on one thing - updating the appliances.

J and I love to cook + entertain and fully believe the heart of the home is in the kitchen.  From hosting a party to a weeknight dinner with friends, we live for gathering people around our table.  Or on the other hand, we love a good date night in, just the two of us, and a big home-cooked breakfast on the weekends.  Whatever it may be, we spend so much time in our little kitchen.  

When thinking about which appliances we wanted to update our space with, we knew we wanted something that would blend with our style, but also have amazing features.  We found out about Cafe Appliances, a sister brand to GE, and immediately fell in love.  They were so different, yet high-end, and the options were endless.  From multiple color combinations to custom-designing your range + refrigerator, we were so obsessed with this beautiful brand.

We decided to go with the matte white finish and brushed bronzed hardware on our refrigerator, range, dishwasher, and microwave.  We were also able to customize specifics like a double-range oven (convection and gas), over-the-range microwave, counter-depth fridge, and built-in dishwasher. The entire look is so high-end and beautiful - they without a doubt, completely make our space.  Everyone who walks into our kitchen no longer sees old cabinets or tight corners, they're immediately drawn to the appliances.  Cafe Appliances is a total game changer!

As we did a little research and compared the brand to others, we quickly learned that the unique look wouldn't break the bank.  When you put the products beside others, they not only look amazing, but they also have way more features + custom options for the same price.  The Cafe Appliance team was so great to work with with all shipping + installation questions and within about 6 weeks, our kitchen was updated + refreshed.  The matte white is perfect for our space and if we ever decide to switch out the hardware color (doubtful, but love having the option), we simply order new hardware in the finish of our choice!  

From finding the brand, researching the products, and seeing them in our kitchen, we have been so impressed with Cafe Appliances.  We've used the appliances for about 6 weeks now and have zero complaints.  Both ovens have been broken in with family dinners, the microwave is a life saver when we're in a pinch, the dishwasher is SO quiet and holds so many dishes, and the refrigerator is so easy to stay organized!  We're excited to enjoy our new appliances for years to come, gathering friends + family around them in the heart of our little cottage.

Hope you all have a great week - thanks so much for stopping by!  X.
Meg

Thank you to Cafe Appliances for patterning on this post with The Lovely Cottage!  All opinions are our own.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

FIVE SPRING HOSTESS GIFTS


'Tis the season for longer days - happy hours on the porch, grilling dinner in the backyard, and endless hosting!  We love this time of year so much.  Everything is blooming and we officially start living outside more than we do in.  

Usually, we're the hosts here at @thelovelycottage, because we love gathering people around our table, but we also love a good night in with our friends + family at their homes.  Whether it's an easy happy hour with girlfriends or a dinner outside under the stars, I always love taking a little hostess gift.  In my opinion, it falls under the list of things that's easily overlooked these days.  Like a handwritten card, for example.  It's something that's so kind + thoughtful and really shows your appreciation for the person who has inevitably put in a lot of work to make the gathering happen.  Also, it doesn't have to be something that you have to run out and get same day or something that breaks the bank.  I always choose my gift based on the season, but most of these are easy to switch out based on the time of year.  Here are my five hostess gift ideas for Spring!

ONE // A COFFEE TABLE BOOK.
This is always one of my favorite things to gift and receive!  I like to write a little note in the front cover and love that it doubles as decor.  For Spring, I always go with books about florals - this is my favorite and this one is a really close second.  Or, there's always chickens!  Whatever your friend or family loves most - you can't go wrong with a good coffee table book.

TWO // YOUR FAVORITE CANDLE.
Rather than just grabbing a random candle at your local store, stock up on a few of your favorites in a smaller size.  We have an entire shelf in our guest bath closet full of these minis!  They're perfect for pulling out and adding to a bigger gift or giving as a hostess gift.  My favorite is the Baies, but they all smell amazing.  Plus, already having the gift to simply pull out and wrap up is so much easier than having to grab something the day of.

THREE // FRESH FLOWERS.
Pretty much a given, right?  However, you can be a bit more creative here.  Rather than just picking up a pre-made bouquet, find a florist shop that allows you to make your own, stem by stem.  We have a small, family owned florist up the street where I do this often and it's so much more personal.  Or, since everything is blooming so beautifully this time of year, opt for a plant instead!  Something your friends or family can plant in the ground and watch come back year after year is so special and often times, not much more than a pretty bouquet.  

FOUR // A LINEN.
Another thing I stock up on every time I find a good one!  I have a thing for kitchen accessories in general, but especially a good linen.  I just found these on Etsy, straight from Greece, and they are so beautiful.  100% linen and a great price point, too.  You have beautiful linens everywhere else - why not have them in the kitchen, too!

FIVE // A BOTTLE OF YOUR FAVORITE ROSÈ.
What's better than opening a bottle of rosè on a pretty Spring day, am I right?  Typically the host already has the bar menu planned, but it's so nice to give something they can enjoy later.  Our favorites to gift are Miraval, Summer Water, and Whispering Angel.


Last, but not least, a couple of things you can keep in your closet to make the grab-and-go process a bit easier - a roll of twine and a roll of craft paper.  Perfect for making the presentation even sweeter!

Hope you're all having a beautiful week so far and thanks so much for stopping by!  X.
Meg

Monday, April 29, 2019

THE RITZ CARLTON REYNOLDS, LAKE OCONEE


The older I get, the more I've become such a homebody.  For the last four or so years, we've traveled and explored endlessly, and loved every second of it.  When we moved into @thelovelycottage, something inside of us changed.  In an instant, we were so content.  We were cooking in each night, working on house projects every weekend, and for the first time in a long time, our hearts were so unbelievably fulfilled.  Needless to say, over the last two years, we've become very selective about what pulls us away from home.  However, once you step away from the responsibilities of a house that needs cleaning, running endless errands, and a to-do list a mile long, you quickly realize what you didn't know you needed - a weekend away.  Where the plans are cancelled, the days seem longer, and soul is revitalized.  That's what this weekend in Reynolds was for us.


We took off early Thursday morning with bags packed and friends by our side, headed straight for The Ritz Carlton Reynolds on Lake Oconee.  This was our forth time returning to the property, so we knew exactly what was in store for us - a pool that meets the lake, a spa appointment that was calling our names, and delicious food that we didn't have to cook - all weekend long.  This time, we stayed in one of the cottages by the lake and it was beyond perfect.  A huge living room with a fireplace, a big king bed to end the day in, a bathtub to soak in, and a back porch overlooking the water that we started each day on, coffee in hand.  Our cottage was a two-bedroom, and our friends, Paula + Ron, who came with us for the weekend, had their own setup on the other side.  Their own living area, bedroom + bathroom, and wet bar.  It was so nice to all stay together in the same house, but not feel like we were on top of each other.  The cottages are right beside the hotel and still in walking distance to all of the amenities, but secluded enough to where to feel a bit off the beaten path.  It made us feel right at home. 


First things first, we always head right to the water.  Reynolds has a beautiful infinity pool that overlooks the lake/beach area and it's most definitely where we lived throughout the weekend.  It backs up to Gaby's, one of the on-site restaurants, where the cocktails are endless and the lobster grilled cheese is a must.  Without a doubt, the perfect spot to relax and completely forget about that to-do list back at home.


The weather was absolutely perfect and as much as we loved being by the water, we were itching to be on the water.  Let me just say, Meg Run lives her best life on a boat.  Young Harris Water Sports took us out on the lake Friday and Saturday and we all loved every second of it.  Ron was the brave one a went wake surfing for the first time, J was the photographer/boat driver when needed, and P and I did absolutely nothing but soak up the sun and sing along to the country music that was blaring.  Again - best life.


In-between dips in the pool and taking the boat out, we ate some amazing food.  Gaby's for starters, but also at another one of our favorite on-site restaurants, Linger Longer Steakhouse.  Everything from Lobster Risotto and Bacon-on-a-Wire (yeah, look that up) for appetizers, to Filets topped with Truffle Butter and more sides than I could count, our table was FULL.  We indulged in all of it and just when we thought we had no more room for dessert, the waitress walks out with their signature cotton-candy to end on the best possible note.  From start to finish, Linger Longer is always such a treat and a MUST when visiting Reynolds.


Three days of absolute bliss and another trip to Reynolds for the books.  As much as we love our own little cottage, escaping to another one by the lake for a few days was exactly what we needed.  By now, this place feels like one of our favorite home away from homes, and we can't wait for trip number five. 

Plane Outfit: VICI c/o
Swimsuits: ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE
Dinner Outfit: N12H | HANDBAG | SHOESLIPS {heat wave}

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A CASUAL WAY TO WEAR WHITE ON WHITE


Classic Button-Down: Cloth + Stone {under $100, my favorite button-down ever!} | Denim: 7 FAM c/o | Handbag: Staud | Shoes: Schutz {so comfortable + classic} | Hat: Janessa Leone

Is there anything better than an easy, comfortable look that's still chic?  As most of you know, I wear white constantly, but sometimes when I want to dress it up a bit, I simply trade the jeans for all white.  Also, adding a hat makes it even better!  This look is great for Spring days, but when Summer temps hit, I'll be throwing on this button-down with cut-offs or over my swimsuit and trading this hat for a straw version!

I hope you all had a beautiful Easter weekend!  I was present on instagram, but I apologize for being a bit MIA on here last week!  We had company in town, hosted all weekend, and plans every single night.  I felt like I blinked and the week was over!  However, I'm excited for this week to be a little slower (you know you're an adult when no plans is the goal) and we're headed somewhere fun for the weekend!

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Thursday, April 11, 2019

TRADING JEANS FOR CUT-OFFS


Tee: Topshop {$25} | Shorts: Levi's {$69.50, included in the SHOPBOP SALE!} | Booties: Chloe {exact dupe here} | Handbag: Chanel Vanity Case | Sunglasses: Gucci {also just purchased these}

I don't know about where you guys are, but our weather has been all over the place lately!  After it rained for about 60 days straight (no, really though), the temps have raised and the sun is finally out!  Honestly, I prefer a happy medium - I love for it to be warm + sunny all day and then have a little Spring, late afternoon shower or storm.  That's when all of our plants seem to do the best - sunny days and afternoon rain.  Whew sorry, I got off on a little tangent there for a second!  Get me talking about plants or chickens and it's all down hill from there.  

Anyway - this outfit is perfect for transitioning into warmer days!  I've always loved a good cut-offs + boots combination before it gets too hot.  Also, this crop top could literally be thrown on with anything!  A skirt, jeans, cut-offs - any of it AND it won't break the bank.  See how I styled it last, HERE.

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a beautiful day, friends!  X.
Meg
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