Wednesday, February 20, 2019

EIGHT THINGS I'VE ORDERED IN PREPARATION FOR SPRING


one // two  // three // four // five // six // seven // eight

I don't know about you, but I have warmer weather on the brain - constantly!  I'm so ready for sunshine and everything to turn green again, I can barely stand it.  With Spring upon us, I'm sprucing up some things around the house, as well as my closet.  Here are a few things I've ordered that are helping me cope in the meantime!

1. / This rattan bag is so cute and perfect for throwing on with any neutral outfit this Spring.
2. / Coffee table books are my favorite and these two are my new favorites - so beautiful.
3. / Updating our bedding each season makes me feel so refreshed.  These pillows are perfectly basic + pretty!
4. / The bronzer + highlight palette I swear by - can't live without.
5. / I haven't pulled the trigger on these yet, but they're definitely on my wish list - they'll go with anything!
6. / My favorite denim shorts of all time - and less than $100.
7. / Sprucing up your outdoor area this time of year is a must and this welcoming doormat is so perfect.
8. / This little, floral dress is so sweet for Spring and will be my go-to for any occasion!

What's in your cart for Spring? 

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Monday, February 18, 2019

UPDATED: WHAT'S IN MY MAKE-UP BAG / BEAUTY ROUTINE


Happy Monday, babes - 

I hope you all had a great weekend!  Between the magazine shoot last week, my last post on Friendship, the Q + A on instastories, and the chicken coop reveal yesterday - we have felt the love and we are so grateful.  We've cultivated the best, most genuine community over the years and we couldn't be more thankful for each and every one of you.  We love you!

Between beauty, skincare, and haircare, I'm trying to update my 'routines' and favorite products, post by post.  {My updated haircare routine is HERE.}  It's been quite some time since I talked about 'what's in my make-up bag' and shared my ride-or-die products with you, so I wanted to take you through my routine, step by step.  

As most of you know, I'm a minimalist at heart and do not consider myself to be a beauty blogger by any means.  There are so many amazing women out there who are much more talented and know way more than I do on the subject, however, I do believe there's value in keeping it real + easy.  Although I don't use a lot of products on a daily basis, I do receive a ton of beauty related packages on a monthly basis, so I have tried my share of products + brands.  That said, if you're anything like me - you want the holy grail products that work and could care less about the other 20 that fill your make-up bag for no reason and cost an arm and a leg.  

I like to keep my beauty routine simple, natural, and easy to zip up and throw in my luggage when traveling.  Here are the products I use, in order, step by step, and #notsponsored.

PREP
(I don't use a primer, but because I have dry skin, I put this on about 15 minutes prior to applying my make-up as a primer and it helps everything go on smoothly.)

FACE:
(Even coverage, not too heavy, gives you a pretty, natural glow!)


Bare Minerals Original Powder (in Medium Beige)
(Best powder I have EVER used!  It only comes out in the larger size once a year around the holidays so I always snag 2-3 while I can AND it's currently on SALE!)

(I mix the three, left L shape colors and use as my bronzer on my cheek bones, jaw line, and hair line.  Then, I use the top right color as my highlighter and it's so pretty + perfect!)

Chanel Blush (in Golden Sun)
(I'll never use another blush - I use this color year-round and it's so pretty + natural!)

EYES:
(Front left to right, top row to bottom, I layer 1, 4, and 6 to create the perfect, golden + natural eye.)

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner (in Satin Black, top liner)

Rimmel London Eye Liner (in Blackest Black, bottom liner)

(the best mascara I've ever used!)

BROWS:
Benefit Brow Pencil (in Deep/Warm Black Brown)
(best brow pencil I've used - looks so natural and glides on easily without looking too sharp,)

(I use this after the pencil and brush my brows in an upward motion to create a natural, not so perfect look.  It adds a bit of extra color and keeps your brow hairs in place all day long.)

BRUSHES:
NARS Kabuki Brush
(I use this for my powder, bronzer, and highlighter.  I know that's not technically correct, but that's what works for me!)

NARS Blush Blush

NARS Eyeshadow Brush

LIPS:
MAC Lip Liner (in Stripdown)
MAC Lipstick (in Blankety)
(my favorite combination that I wear every single day.)

MY BLACK MAKE-UP ORGANIZER IS HERE.

And that's it!  13 Products total, but combined, they give you a perfectly put-together look that's natural + glowy.  Of course, if I have a special occasion or need to look more 'finished', I'll wear actual foundation or more eyeshadow, etc., but other than that - this is it!  I will say that my favorite products out of this entire list are the powder, bronzer/highlighter palette, blush, brow pencil + gel, and lipstick.  Simple, to the point, and doesn't break the bank!

Friday, February 15, 2019

FRIENDSHIP, THE KIND THAT LASTS A LIFETIME. / BEHIND THE BLOG


Throughout my twenties, I've learned so much about genuine love, and in that, realizing the importance of cultivating relationships and surrounding yourself with people who get you on a soul level.  Over the last month or so, I've read a post or two from a couple of my favorite blogs on friendship and how to maintain those relationships in your 30s.  Since reading those, I really started  thinking about the subject of friendship in general and how much my definition of it has changed over the course of the last ten years.  Obviously we all have people in our lives who come and go - seasonal friends, if you will.  But, the older I get, the more thankful I am for those few, genuine women in my life who I never have to question.  They just show up in every way - and it's easy.  As I'm rounding out my twenties, I've not only learned a lot, but I've been continually reminded that this is the age + stage of life where a lot of those life-long friendships are cultivated.  With this stage comes so many highs and lows  - marriage and separations, careers taking off and others changing, some with infertility struggles and others with growing families, house closings and big moves, family issues and even loss.  It's now more than ever that we really need our tribe.  

I've always been more of a few 'best' friends rather than a lot of acquaintances kind of person and those relationships mean everything to me.  

For me, I gravitate towards women who are strong because they've been broken.  The ones that have a story to tell and truly know who they are because that story has shaped them.  The ones who will literally run to you when you need them.  Women who support me and J without question and genuinely want to best for us.  The soft-hearted, but strong-minded.  The ones who are the same person in a room of 2 as they are in a room of 200.  The ones who will get down on their knees and pray on my behalf.  The friend I can simply look at and she knows what I'm thinking.  The ones who can go deeper.  The ones who you know will defend you and you trust with your whole heart.  The ones that understand what unconditional love truly means and prove it.

On that note, I asked four of my closest friends to write a short blurb about what friendship means to them at this stage of life.

ONE. / "Friendship to me is is someone believing the best in you at all times.  Someone defending you when you can’t defend yourself.  Someone standing in your corner ready to sacrifice on your behalf at any given time.  It’s someone who pushes you to be the best version of yourself and is the first to stand and clap for you when you succeed.  True friendship is God’s way of reaching down and hugging you at your best, and more importantly at your worst."

TWO. / "A true friendship is easy.  There are so many things in this world that demand stress and force heartache that someone you genuinely care about and want to spend time on should not be one of those things.  I want to be the friend that is always there no matter what.  Supportive, trustworthy, loyal, and always down for a good cocktail!"

THREE. / "Somewhere along the way there is a shift - from the ties of childhood and the memories of college to actual connection that goes beyond social commitment.  Our extra time dwindles as our ability to smell the bullshit heightens, and that’s when we identify with those that will be with us for the long haul. We may not speak every day nor every week, but when conversation happens it matters and it lasts over several cocktails.  Those that will drop everything when you call are now able to be listed on one hand and it’s no longer called friendship - it’s called family.”

FOUR. / "Friendship to me has a whole new meaning in this season of life.  It’s your gift to pick and choose, build your team member by member knowing the value of the power and bond you share.  A true friend loves the imperfect you, the confused you, the wrong you - because that is the real you.  All at the same time they celebrate you, cheer for you and show up for you no questions asked.  This may not be a big group, but a solid and genuine group that expects nothing more than your company in return."

They're pretty amazing, right?  No wonder I love them so much.  Lastly, as I thought about what I've learned about friendship over the last few years, I wanted to share a few of those things with you.
__________________________________________________

ONE. / MAKE THE TIME.
We live in a world where information + life updates are at our fingertips, but don't let the facade of social media be an excuse to not reach out.  I've learned that a simple phone call or impromptu lunch date is so much more effective.  For example, one of my best friends calls A LOT and when we first became friends, it really annoyed me.  However, I quickly learned two things - one, that's her way of showing love.  She's so invested and genuinely cares about what's happening throughout my day.  And two, it's a lot easier to pick up the phone and have a 30 second conversation (because you're so involved in each other's life that's all it takes) than it is to have a 45 minute conversation and catch a friend up on the last month of your life.  The bottom line - making the effort to connect shows how much you care.

TWO. / LOVE WHO THEY LOVE.
When it comes to having a genuine relationship, it's so important to love who your person loves.  With each of my best friends, I love their spouse just as much as I love them.  And if they have kids, I love those little ones like they are my own.  It's a package deal.  I've learned firsthand that a friendship can only go so far if more is not always merrier.  When it comes to those friends I'm so invested in, I want every part of them - from the good and the easy, to the messy and the imperfect.  With that comes a fierce loyalty to love who they love.  When it's authentic, it's easy.  It strengthens your relationship in a completely new way and creates this beautiful, vulnerable extended family.

THREE. / NEVER LET INSECURITY GET IN THE WAY OF FRIENDSHIP.
While we're being completely transparent, let's call it for what it is - women can be difficult at times.  And even that is an understatement.  I've never been one that deals well with making things more complicated than they need to be, but I have learned that judgment, competition, jealously, and little mistruths have no place in friendship.  Or any relationship, for that matter.  However, what all of those things typically come down to - insecurity.  When you genuinely want what's best for someone, all of those toxic emotions are replaced with selfless love.  You don't even want them to have what you have, you want them to have more.  Better, even.  Judgement turns into understanding, competition completely dissolves, jealously turns into things you're allowed to say out loud, and mistruths aren't given a second thought.  Of all people, your friends should support in every way, big or small, and clap the loudest for you.  Never let insecurity get in the way of that.  Actions always speak louder than words.  

FOUR. / DON'T FORCE IT.
I read a quote a while ago that said "I no longer force things.  What flows, flows and what crashes, crashes.  I only have the energy for things that we're meant for me."  I love that for so many reasons, but when it comes to your friends and who you choose to spend your life with, you know without a doubt who your soul connects with.  I've learned that just because you have a history, doesn't mean you have a future.  We are so responsible for whether or not we choose to pour into one another and at the end of the day, you make time for what you want to make time for.  There are too many hardships in life as it is, don't let your friendships be one of them.  Know when to take a deep breath and let it go - sometimes the lesson to be learned is in the inevitable truth.  Or, know when to fight like hell for someone who you can't imagine doing life without.  

FIVE. / BE PRESENT FOR THE IN-BETWEEN.
Most days, life is full of lunch dates and popping a bottle of champagne.  Endless laughter and sweet conversation.  Other days, I don't know if I can function.  I need the friends who will drop everything and run.  Breathe for me and cry with me.   They're not only there for the big things, they're there when I can't get out of bed.  When I need endless prayer.  They love me at my best and at my worst.  From the life changing days to the small, nameless moments.  That type of connection creates a bond that is not easily broken.  

Always remember, no harm can ever come from loving people well.

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

CLOSET STAPLES: CLASSIC BUTTON-DOWN + LEATHER LEGGINGS


Shirt: Cloth + Stone | Leggings: Spanx | Booties: Stuart Weitzman c/o | Handbag: Goyard {dupe here} | Necklace: Monica Vinader {chain here} | Rings: Mejuri c/o + Anine Bing

If there's one thing I constantly reach for in my closet, it's a crisp, white shirt.  Whether it's a classic button-down or a basic tee, white tops pair so well with everything.  This one specifically is my favorite because of the fit and the fact that it's so soft.  It's not too perfect and looks great 'lived in'.  Not to mention it's under $100!  Moving onto these faux leather leggings - also under $100 and so comfortable.  They're perfect for taking your easy daytime look right into happy hour!  Lastly, my booties are on MAJOR sale! 

I'm so excited to FINALLY tell you some really exciting news we have happening this week - our first official home tour (inside and out of @thelovelycottage) is going to be featured in The Inspired Home magazine that comes out in stores on May 1st!!  We've been prepping for a few weeks now and the team from Chicago is coming to Greenville tomorrow for a full day of shooting!  We're so thankful to you all for following along with our little cottage and we can't wait to pour our hearts into this feature.  We'll be sharing behind the scenes of the shoot all day over on @thelovelycottage instastories so stay tuned!

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

PROTEIN BALLS RECIPE

(original recipe here)

As you've probably noticed, I've been OBSESSED with these protein balls for weeks now!  I'm already on my fourth or fifth batch because they are just that good.  I've tweaked the recipe a couple of times as I've figured out what works best to hold them together and what we like best in them, so here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

- 2 cups instant oats (I get the organic oats at Trader Joe's)
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed (Whole Foods has the ground Flax + Chia together in a vanilla flavor that is so good!)
- 1 scoop of protein powder (I use Vital Protein)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup nut butter of your preference (I like to do half Justin's Almond Butter + half regular Peanut Butter)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I just white chocolate)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt

(My baking set is here / coffee cups here / gingham tea towel here)

Mix everything together and scoop into bite-sized balls.  Place on a cookie sheet (cover sheet with wax paper or a silplat) and place in the refrigerator for about an hour.  Finally, store them in a container and keep refrigerated.  

That's all - they only take about five minutes to make and they're so good with coffee in the morning or even as a dessert before bed!

J and I have SO much to do this week to prep for something really exciting we have in the works for next week, so I may be a little MIA this week on here + Instagram!  Ya know, I like to call things for what they are and tell you upfront that I'm most-likely going to be bad at keeping it all together this week.  Haha, BUT I can't wait to share with you what we have going on really soon!  In the meantime, I'm working on the 'Capsule Closet' blog post and our big Chicken Coop reveal to post  (FINALLY) really soon!!

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Megan

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

MY FAVORITE BATH PRODUCTS

{image via etsy}

At the end of the day, I can't tell you how much I love a good bath.  Turning the lights off, lighting a candle or two, and soaking in a warm bath is just good for the soul.  I've always been a bath girl and after trying numerous products - soaks, scrubs, oils, you name it - I've finally found my favorite products in each one of those categories that I can't live without.

For starters, I just ordered and starting using these 100% linen towels (in all sizes, in flax) and they're so useful + beautiful.  Perfect for adding to your decor, too!

BATH OIL - this Jo Malone scent is my absolute favorite.  It's so warm and the scent fills the entire room.  (I also have the handsoap in our bathroom and it's my all time favorite.)  I love using an oil, at least a couple of times a week, because my skin is so dry.  This one not only smells amazing, but hydrates your skin without feeling too oily when you get out.  They also make this smaller size, in case you just want to give it a try without fully committing, and I can typically get 10+ baths out of the small size.

BATH SOAK - I love this Coconut Bath Soak by Herbivore.  It only takes a small amount, but gives your bath water a milky feel/texture that is so soothing to your skin.  Similar to epson salt, it also has anti-inflammatory properties, but is all natural.  It's completely organic - cruelty free, vegan, and no artificial ingredients.  Plus, the minimalistic packaging of this brand speaks to me!

BUBBLE BATH - My favorite, OG bubble bath that I'll never stray from!  I started using this bubble bath about 4-5 years ago and I'm obsessed with it.  L'Occitane is a french brand that is so good it makes you feel like you're taking a bath in the middle of Provence.  The lavender scent is so calming and clean, but not too overwhelming.  It only takes a quarter size drop for endless bubbles that fill your bath tub!

BATH SCRUB - I've tried (and still use) so many of the products by OUAI and haven't been disappointed yet.  This scrub smells SO good and isn't too harsh on your skin.  I simply spoon-out a small amount on a washcloth and exfoliate my chest, arms, and legs with it.  (It's also considered a 'scalp scrub' alhtough I've never used it on my head.)  My favorite thing about it is it turns into an oil afterwards and leaves your skin feeling silky and amazing.  Totally a win-win!

BATH CANDLE - not technically a bath product, but as I'm sure you all know by now, my favorite candle of all time.  The scent is just so good and it only has to burn for a few minutes to fill the entire room.  They're a bit on the pricer side, but as long as you're aware of how long you're burning it, they really do last a long time.  Worth every penny, in my opinion!

We all have those in-and-out baths when we're in a rush, but on those cold, winter nights when lighting a candle and soaking for an hour or so is just what the doctor ordered - you'll love having any of these products to choose from!

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Monday, January 28, 2019

OUR FIRST PIECE OF ART / @THELOVELYCOTTAGE


When it comes to what fills the walls in our home, I'm so selective.  Since we stare at it all day long, I always want it to be something that really speaks to our souls.  Something sentimental, a photo from a place we've traveled to, or in this case - our very first piece of art.  I've always loved and appreciated art, but never quite knew where to start.  I sort of associated it with an older generation and that we would eventually get there one day.


Then I received an email one day, asking if I would like to work together with an artist out of Atlanta who is inspired by old architecture from Charleston, Emily Pope Harris.  I immediately looked at her website + instagram and felt like it couldn't be a more perfect fit.  The technique behind her art is so unique and I love that no two pieces are alike.  Her connection to her pieces and the heart she pours into each one really comes through in her art like nothing I've ever seen.


First things first, J and I started thinking about what we wanted our piece to mimic.  When J and I first started dating, we constantly took day trips to Charleston.  We joked that it was our 'love place' and everyone was confused by the fact that we would simply go for the day and come back, but just getting out of town - breathing in the salty air and walking down those quiet side streets behind the battery just did something for our souls.  Ten years later and we still do the exact same thing and love it just as much.  (Although now we stay a bit longer than a day!)  Charleston has always felt like our home away from home, so incorporating it into art for our home just felt like such a natural fit.  We decided on one specific wall we love at our favorite little bed & breakfast, Zero George.  From the moment you walk through the gates onto the property, you're surrounded by so much history and beauty in any direction you look.  One wall specifically, has always spoken to us.  

It's old.  It's probably been painted over numerous times.  It's chipped and cracked.  It even has moss growing all over it.  But to us, it's perfect.  

It wasn't hard to decide that all of those things were exactly what we wanted in our piece. 


As I started talking to Emily about what the process of a custom piece looks like, I asked her to write what it means to her specifically.  To me: she meets strangers, connects with them about what they want in their homes, dreams something up, and creates magic.  And that is such a powerful talent.  Here's what Emily has to say:

“Purchasing art feels intimidating for many because it is an investment, but it’s probably one of the best investments you can make! Art is personal and tells a story, so finding artists you love and connect with is the first place to start. No matter your style (or even if you don’t really know your style), I encourage people to start following artists that catch their eye. Thanks to social media, it’s even easier these days to discover and follow artists. Get a feel for their work, see what interests you and take note of what you can envision in your own home. Once you’ve established an artist you love, there are typically two ways to go about purchasing a piece. The first is purchasing from a collection the artist has available. This is a great way to dip your toe into purchasing art and building out a theme in your home. The second way is to purchase art via a commission process. Many artists, like myself, offer custom commissions as an option. This means that a piece is being 100% created for you. I encourage people to explore this option if there’s a specific size they’re looking for or if they know something totally unique is for them. It’s important to remember that a custom commission does not mean an artist is straying from their original style to create a piece that is different from their usual work. The style of the art will be the same, but through the commission you have the ability to provide inspiration images / Pinterest boards, thoughts on color combinations, etc. Of course this all varies based on the artist you’re working with, but a commissioned piece is often more personal. The art in your home should bring you joy and speak to your soul. It shouldn’t be purchased because it’s “popular” or “mainstream,” but instead because it tells a story to you, reminds you of days past or inspires you for the future. Have fun with it!”


Whether it's big or small, having art in your home that you feel a genuine connection to is such a special thing and I can't speak highly enough of Emily and how amazing she made this entire process for us.  Almost ten years later, we finally feel like grown-ups, ha!  We loved creating this piece with you and will cherish it for years to come.


If you are in the market for a piece of art for your space, from a collection or custom, I'll list Emily's website + instagram here for you!

{My outfit HERE.}

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

This post is sponsored by LBH & Co.+ Emily Pope Harris for The Lovely Cottage, however, all opinions are my own.  We're so grateful for our partnership!
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