Sunday, June 23, 2019

TO MY M BLEU. / BEHIND THE BLOG


A little over 5 years ago when McKenna and I first met, it was love at first sight.  True to our personalities, I was 10 minutes early and she was 10 minutes late - and slightly hungover.  (I had a feeling we would get along just fine.)  We sat and talked for hours getting to know each other over coffee + crêpes.  We were both just getting our feet wet in the ‘blogging world’ and although we were slightly (and by slightly I mean majorly) different on most things, we instantly knew we had the same soul.  

We ended up spending the rest of that day together and soon, text messages turned into hour long phone calls to catch up, and those phone calls turned into planning trip after trip to see each other.  We quickly started living in each other’s guests rooms and made a pact that we would never leave each other without booking a flight for the next time.  

Over the course of five years, we’ve driven and flown countless miles to be together.  Our families have become each other’s family, we’ve traveled all over the world together just to find out there’s no place we’d rather be than the Carolinas, geeked out any and every time we’ve met a celebrity because we don’t know how to play it cool, celebrated July 4th in The White House, decorated each and every home together with cab in hand - in person and on FaceTime, sang our little hearts out at concert after concert, got on E! News together during NYFW (until we realized we were way more about that sweatpants + pizza delivery life than we ever were fashion week), found a way to be present for every birthday, gotten lost and found ourselves in questionable situations...almost everywhere, bought our first designer bags together (after I talked her into it), chased sunsets hand-in-hand on every coast possible, shared a love for music that has gotten us through every season in life, and so much more.  

I think the goal in life is to have a best friend that will be there for the the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.  We’ve celebrated each other’s highs and cried together during the lows.  We’ve lived our best lives together and ran to each other on the days that we couldn’t function.  We always put each other + our time together first, and although the world of social media brought us together, we never get caught up in it.  Throughout this crazy whirlwind of building our brands together, you have always been a constant, M.  I’m so grateful for every pinch-me moment and amazing experience, but YOU are by far the best thing that has ever come out of this world for me.  

I read a quote the other day that said “a soulmate is someone who allows you to be your true self. Someone who loves you with so much conviction and so much heart, that it is nearly impossible to be anything but.”  From day one, we knew we had the same insides.  Our hearts break for the same things and we love so hard.  You are my soulmate - beautiful inside + out, fiercely loyal, unbelievably strong, and beyond hilarious.  I’m so thankful for our friendship and I was SO proud to stand beside you this weekend as you enter a new chapter in life.  J and I love you so much!  Cheers to the past that has gotten us to this very moment and even more so, cheers to what’s to come! 

XX,
Meg Run

Monday, June 17, 2019

FIVE WAYS TO INSTANTLY MAKE A CORNER NOOK COZY


1. // FLOOR LAMP
There's nothing cozier than illuminating a corner with a pretty floor lamp.  Each morning when we wake up, I like to turn on a few 'staple' lamps around the house and light a candle.  The ambiance completely sets the mood for my entire day and makes the house feel so cozy.  In turn, I love to turn them all off at night.  I know that sounds odd, but after cleaning up the kitchen and picking up the house from the day, walking around and turning off all the lamps just ends the day perfectly.

2. // RECORD PLAYER
I'm sure you know this about us by now, but we love our record player.  This corner nook specifically is in our entry way, so it's the perfect way to welcome company.  All of our every day favorites from Kacey Musgraves + Marren Morris to Frank Sinatra + Norah Jones around the holidays, it's the best way to add a little background music.

3. // BOOKS
One of my favorite things in the world to purchase when traveling, receive as a gift, or give as a gift.  Coffee table books are timeless and everyone's collection is so different.  Ours are a mixture of fashion, French gardens, chickens, and interiors - I love them all.  I usually keep one or two on my nightstand and flip through them each morning.  They're so inspiring!  Wherever you keep your books, there's something about them that's just so inviting.  A couple of weeks ago, I had the 'grand idea' (what J likes to call my ideas or plans that always end up costing more money than expected, haha) to build custom, built-in bookshelves in one of our rooms and I hope we make that idea come to life!  I'm all about it.

4. // ART
Having art that is meaningful is a bit new to us.  Throughout our 20's, we had so many other things we were pouring into around both of our homes that we didn't really have time to focus on what went on the walls.  We did a lot of prints from places like Minted or Etsy and where as those are amazing, we're excited to grow our art collection throughout our 30's.  We recently added this piece to our living room, by our beautiful friend Emily Pope Harris, and it's such a game changer in our space.  Our second piece - this stunning, black + white horse by Chris Coleman Art.  (He will have more horses on his site, available for purchase, soon!)  I saw a piece of his in a store in Charleston a few months ago and couldn't get my mind off of it.  I reached out to him about creating a custom piece for us and we couldn't love it more.  It's now the first thing you see when you walk in our front door and I love that.  Art is such a personal thing and adds such warmth to your space.  It also says 1/1 at the bottom, which I love.  So uniquely ours and that makes it even more special.  I already have my eye on a couple other artists that I'm hoping to add to our collection soon!

5. // FLOWERS OR GREENS
Even after adding texture, light, and art - flowers or greenery instantly bring a corner to life.  It can be something as simple as a few sprigs out of your yard and it totally changes the space.  There's nothing better than having a yard you can clip from.  After spending hours working in the garden, planting and watering each day, clipping flowers and greens to enjoy inside is just the best.  We love understated, in a vintage vase (this is a vintage copper pot) and nestled in-between books.

I hope you had a beautiful weekend celebrating the men in your life!  We were surrounded by family almost all weekend and it was so sweet.  I'm taking off to Charleston again tomorrow for a little girls trip with my mom and I'm excited for a few relaxing days by the water.  My mom and I are the same person - all we want is beach time!

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Thursday, June 13, 2019

OUR FAMOUS 'RUNION HOT SLAW'


HOT SLAW RECIPE:

1 bag of angel hair cole slaw
1 red bell pepper
2 jalanpeños
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Pour the angel hair cole slaw into a large bowl.  Dice the red bell pepper and one of the jalanpeños and add to the slaw.  Pour in the 1/2 cup of sugar + the full cup of apple cider vinegar and mix together.  Slice the remaining jalanpeño in half and lay it on top.  Place the slaw in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve - the longer it marinates, the hotter it will be.

_____________________________________________

By far, our Runion Hot Slaw recipe is one of our favorites!  We make it often and we're constantly asked for the recipe.  I got the recipe from my mother in law, who is an amazing cook, and it's such a bonus that it's so easy to make.  Literally 5 ingredients and voilà!  We add this slaw to our tacos, burgers, as a side with vegetables, you could even add it on top of a pizza.  The possibilities are endless and it's a total game changer to your dish!

Be sure to tag us in your photos when you try it - you'll be hooked!

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely day - X,
Meg

P.S. - Kitchen towels are here and bowl is here!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

THE ONLY WHITE DRESS YOU NEED FOR SUMMER


Dress: Vince {fully restocked in all sizes!} | Sandals: Nordstrom {less than $60 + so comfy!} | Straw Tote: Mar Y Sol {on sale!} | Scarf: Sèzane | Sunglasses: Gucci | Necklaces: Anine Bing + Monica Vinader

Pretty bold statement, isn't it?  Here's the thing - you can wear this dress alone with flats for a casual brunch with your girlfriends, throw a denim jacket over it with nude heels to easily transition into date night, AND throw a light-weight sweater over it in a few months for a completely different look once the weather cools down.  It's a little on the pricer side, but when something I'm investing in is that versatile, it's completely worth it.  Such a great closet staple + so comfortable!

I hope you're all having a great week so far!  Wee've been pretty low key the last few days and I've loved it.  In fact, on Saturday, J and I spent the entire day with each other and didn't see anyone else.  No make up, sweats, and endless pots of coffee.  Then on Sunday, we had a few friends over for brunch and the premiere of Big Little Lies.  We weren't aware that it wasn't released until 9PM, so we decided to just make a day of it and we had the best time.  No make up, sweats, and endless bottles of champagne.  All about that hashtag balanced life.  :)  Anyway, I'm taking off to Charleston in the morning for a quick work trip and I'll be back in time for the weekend to do it all over again!  

Have a beautiful day and thanks so much for stopping by - X,
Meg

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

IN THE GARDEN - HOW TO MAKE A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER BED


MORNIN' -

As you probably know by now, we spend most evenings + weekends working in the yard this time of year.  It's not only therapeutic for us to end a long day getting our hands dirty, but it's also so gratifying.  Sometimes instantly, other times throughout the season, or often times over the course of a few years.  Either way, there's nothing like seeing your hard work pay off as your plants grow, bloom, and come back season after season.

When we were renovating @thelovelycottage, nearly two years ago, we had to take the yard down to nothing but the dirt.  It wasn't great to begin with, so we didn't worry about that part of it, but we knew it would be a lot of work to get it to where we wanted it after moving in.  But, we could see it.  We constantly walked around the yard with a notebook in hand, jotting down ideas and dreaming up plans.  J and I have always prided ourselves on doing what we know how to do ourselves.  It's the things we don't know how to do that we feel comfortable hiring out or asking for help on, but gardening + working in the yard has always been something we love to do together.  It's taken countless weekends, endless trips to the nursery, quite the investment, a lot of patience, a few blisters, and a lot of sweat to get our front and back yard where it is today.  However, it brings us so much joy - and at the end of the day, that's all that really matters to us. 

It's where we start each morning and typically, where we finish each day.  It's where we gather our family + friends and love on them.  It's where we play with our pups + chickens at the end of a long week.  It's our happy place.  And that, my friends, is worth pouring into.

So, on that note, we wanted to share a few things we've learned about creating a beautiful flower bed with you, step by step.  When it comes to planting, a little extra work on the front end makes all the difference.  How the plant will bloom, grow, and flourish each year all depends on the work you put into cultivating it's foundation from the get-go.  Such is life, right?

NO. 1 // PLAN
For starters, know exactly what you want and where you want it.  You don't necessarily have to know what you're going to plant to get the flower bed going, but you do want to make sure you're making the most of your space.  Grab a can of washable spray paint and draw out the flower bed to get a good visual.  Also, know that it doesn't all have to be done at once.  This is something we sometimes struggle with, but it's okay for it to be a work in progress.  All the best things are, right?

NO. 2 // CLEAN IT UP
Within those spray painted lines, clean it up.  Rake out any sticks or leaves and pull/spray any unwanted grass or weeds with Round Up.  This will help to make sure none of those weeds come back into your flower bed.  From there, make sure the base of your flower bed is as level as possible and clean any debris.  

NO. 3 // LANDSCAPING PAPER
Landscaping paper is one of those 'more work on the front end' things, but such a game changer.  Roll out the paper to fit the flower bed (cutting if necessary) and secure with landscaping staples.  (Due to roots or rocks, sometimes the staples can be hard to secure in the ground.  Using a mallet to 'tap them in' has proven to be really helpful for us!)  Although you've pulled and killed the weeds already, the paper helps prevent any new or existing weeds from growing into your flower bed.  Cutting and overlapping the paper in some areas is usually a given and perfectly normal.

NO. 4 // DESIGN
Now that your flower bed is ready to plant in, lay out your plants where you want them so you can (once again) get a visual of the outcome.  Remember to plant based on growth and what type of sun the plant or flower needs.  Additionally, be sure you're planting perennials if you want the plant to come back year after year.  Annuals are typically a one-season, blooming plant/flower - they're beautiful, but we like to invest in things that we can enjoy season after season.  (The tag that comes on the plant should give you all information needed, or you can simply google the name for best practices/advice.)

NO. 5 // PLANT
Once you're ready to plant, use a knife or box cutter to make a 'X' in the landscaping paper the size of the base of your plant.  This will help you know how large your hole needs to be.  Remove any excess landscaping paper that doesn't need to be in the hole and start digging.  Different plants need different size holes and the tag on the plant should give you all of that information.  (As well as the expected growth and sun mentioned above.)

Before planting, mix a combination of soil conditioner and a little mushroom compost in with the dirt from your hole.  You don't need equal parts, but depending on how much you're planting, a few handfuls of each is usually sufficient.  Neither are a must for planting, but help the plant to create a root system within it's new home and stay healthy.  Once you have that mixed up, lightly fill in the bottom of your hole with the mixture.  Before placing the plant in the hole, grab the base of the plant and gently pull out the root system to help them 'grab on' or adapt to the hole.  The base of the plant (full root system and dirt) should be ground level with the start of the stalk.  Fill the rest of the hole in with the same mixture as before and gently pack around the plant for sustainability.  Use a watering can to hydrate the plant shortly after planting.

Repeat STEP 5 until all of your plants are in the ground and keep them watered each morning for the next several weeks after planting.  We love to create a really cohesive look and typically plant multiples of the same type of plant in hopes to one day have a mature bed, full of one specific thing.  However, a lot of people love a wild, more natural flower bed and that's perfectly okay, too!  The best thing about gardening is it looks different for everyone.  Always make your space, in or out, a reflection of what you love.  That's what will ultimately bring you the most joy and turn the 'chore' of gardening and upkeep into truly loving it.

After planting, do a little research on best practices for caring for that specific plant.  Watering as needed, dead-heading when necessary, and knowing when and how-to fertilize is so important to making sure your plant will come back for years to come.

Any other questions?  Ask us below!  I hope this step-by-step guide was helpful and as always, thank you so much for stopping by! X.
Meg

Friday, June 7, 2019

MY FAVORITE BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR SUMMER


It's officially that time of year again where our make up routines start to lessen, our hair air dries in the sun on the weekends, and all we want is beautiful, glowing skin.  After a day full of vitamin D, I'm all about quenching my skin + hair with masks + oils, and taking my beauty routine down to a few must-have products.  It's no secret that I'm more of a skincare girl than a beauty girl, and summertime is the perfect time of year to show that off.  Here are a few favorites that I'll always stock my summer beauty bag with:

HAIR:

This mask is a game changer.  It's a bit on the pricier side, I'll admit, but it only takes a dime-size drop to mask your hair so it lasts for a really long time.  This product is packed full of everything your hair needs to be quenched - honey, almond oil, and coconut oil.  I like to put this on the ends my clean, damp hair prior to drying/styling, or all over my clean, damp hair after a day in the sun and let it air dry.  (Usually before bed and then wake up and re-wash in the morning to avoid too much oil.)  Sleeping in this hair oil a couple of times a month has been a game changer and makes my hair so sleek + smooth - perfect for repairing sun and salt damage during the summer!

Not only do I live by this right after washing my hair, I also keep this in my beach/pool bag.  Since our hair is wet a lot more often this time of year, combing with a wide-tooth combs helps prevent breakage.  I typically throw my wet hair up in a top knot when I get out of the water (with a clip), hut combing it first helps tremendously when it comes time to take it down.

SKIN: 

Typically when I'm out in the sun at the pool or the beach, I don't have make up on.  I like to be comply au-naturale when really having a relaxing day by the water.  However, I don't like to get sun on my face and always wear my favorite SPF, leaving my face a lot whiter than the rest of my body.  These tan drops are the only thing that has worked for me and doesn't leave my face orange or with build-up.  I simply drop two small drops into my hand every other night and mix with my moisturizer before applying.  (Wash hands after)  Again, a bit expensive, but will last you a long time and allows your face to glow with the rest of your tan, without being harmful to your skin.

I've been a fan of Summer Fridays since they first came out with their Jet Lag Mask (which I also use constantly and love) and love that the creators believe in clean beauty.  This mask specifically is perfect for me because it's an exfoliant that removes dead skin cells, but leaves you with an oily, beautiful finish rather than dry and irritated.  It also has Vitamin C, so it leaves your skin brighter and replenished.  I use this once a week, usually on Sunday nights before starting the week.  (Sidenote - this is also the perfect gift!  I give it all the time and it's always a hit.)

FRAGRANCE:

Let me start by saying, I love a perfume oil so much.  It's so much easier and more effective, in my opinion, than a spray on perfume.  One of my best friends, Megan, introduced me to this perfume about a year ago and I've been hooked ever since.  This perfume combines sandalwood + cedar wood with a hint of spicy, cinnamon nutmeg.  (For those of you who know my cinnamon obsession, you get it.)  I wear it daily, applying it to my wrists, neckline, and behind my ears.  It has lasted me forever - I'm still on my first bottle!  Almost every single day, someone asks me what scent I'm wearing or comments on how lovely this scent is.  It's easy to throw in your bag for the day or travel with - trust me, you'll be obsessed.

BEAUTY:

Other than a little Complexion Rescue, this is all I wear in the summertime.  I lightly mix the three shades of bronzer together on my brush and apply to my check bones, jaw line, and hair line, followed by the Moonstone highlighter (upper right hand corner) in those same areas.  I'm constantly told that I look tan or that I'm glowing and I owe it all to this little kit.  It's by far the best bronzer I've ever used and a one-stop shop for a neutral glow.  

I promise you, never will I ever use another blush.  Until they discontinue this one and then I'll buy every one I possibly can.  It is the BEST color all year, but especially looks good in the summer with a good tan.  And it lasts forever - I only purchase two a year!  I apply this on my cheek bones, after the glow kit above, and it's beautiful.  Just a hint of a little golden sun, just as the name portrays.

When I'm going for a super natural, glowing look, I always love a sheer, but pretty lip to go along with it.  I used to be obsessed with this YSL shade called 'Sheer Candy Coconut', but it was discontinued and I haven't been able to find it anywhere.  This Tom Ford shade, in 'Bare', is the closet thing I've found to it and I love throwing it on with my swimsuit or active wear, just to give my lips a little something.  However, unlike my other must-haves above, this product doesn't have to be this exact brand or shade.  While this is a great one, I'm still on the hunt for a similar option and will keep you posted when I find one! 

Like my closet and home, my beauty bag is pretty minimal and I love that.  I can't imagine having an hour + beauty routine each day, especially in the summertime, and love the products I've found that get the job done efficiently + beautifully.  Are there any products you swear by for summer?  Let me know below!

{Cosmetic bag is HERE}

I hope you have a beautiful weekend, friends - thanks so much for stopping by!
Meg

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

WALKING INTO 30 / BEHIND THE BLOG


Today is THE day.  It feels a bit weird to even be typing this, but I'm thirty years old today.  Sheesh.  Do you remember being 18 and thinking 30 was so old?  Yeah, me too.  In some ways, I definitely feel it and in others, not at all.  I've said this before, but I think somewhere around thirty is that time in life where you really start to find yourself.  To be honest, I think I started to feel that shift around 28 and it took me a solid two years to really understand it.  

For the last few weeks, I've been thinking about this 'milestone year' and asking myself what I want out of it.  I'm a list-maker, so I immediately sat down and started writing out some personal and professional goals.  Check, check, right?  Although I always love reflecting, as well as making goals for the year ahead, it started to feel like New Years resolutions all over again.  You know, the ones where you say you're going to eat well + work out every day and by mid-January you've ordered pizza...for lunch.  Yeah, those.  So, if this big, milestone year isn't about setting goals and writing down what I want out of life over the next 365 days, what's it about?  For the past 2 weeks, every morning as I've picked up my computer and my notebook, I flipped past the page where I made that list.  It was sort of haunting me in a way.  I've never felt anxious about turning thirty, but for some reason, seeing it all on paper was making me feel that way.  Almost like I wouldn't live up to my own expectations.  

Over the weekend, J threw me a surprise-ish birthday party here at our home.  I'm too much of a control freak to know nothing, and thank God J knows that, so I knew about the party, but no details.  He invited all of our family + friends and threw the most beautiful gathering.  It was exactly what I wanted - my favorite people, favorite food, favorite champagne, and even my favorite dessert.  He, along with my best friend, even made a slideshow - talk about reflecting on your life.  About mid-way through the party, he asked everyone to gather around in a circle.  J started with a birthday toast, followed by a few friends who spoke up and told their favorite memories + moments together, then my mom who could barely get through her words for the tears (definitely where I get it from), and so on.  

It wasn't until that very moment - standing in our backyard, surrounded by so much love, and in full tears, that it hit me.  This is thirty.

For months, I've had this overwhelming feeling of contentment and I'm so grateful for that.  I talked a lot about it in this post a couple of weeks ago, but for the first time in my life, I know exactly who I am.  What I want, who I want to spend my time with, and even where I go from here.  Rather than desiring for more or writing goals for the year ahead, that moment was a perfect reminder to just simply be.  

We threw the party at our home because it's my favorite place in the world.  The friends + family around me - that's all I can ask for.  That's what I've been so intentional about cultivating.  That's what I've prayed for.

What and who was surrounding me that night, that's the goal.  That's the check, check we all long for.  

And for me, that's thirty.

XX,
Meg
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