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

Monday, June 3, 2019

FRENCH GIRL STYLE


Dress: Sèzane | Sandals: Stuart Weitzman {similar here} | Scarf: Sèzane {love thisthis, + this one} | Sunglasses: Cèline | Tote: Mar Y Sol | Lips: NARS 'Heat Wave'

There's nothing I love more than a chic, comfortable dress for Summer.  Something that's easy to throw on, comfortable enough to be in all day, and super versatile.  I saw this little backless number the other day and couldn't check out fast enough.  I styled it with wedges for church + brunch in Charleston the other day, but it could easily be paired with a pair of sandals or even sneakers, too.  Also, I am fully in to light-weight scarves at the moment.  It's something that's so easy, but instantly takes your look to the next level.  Not to mention, you know it speaks to my 'love for all things French' soul and makes me feel like a chic, french girl.  If it's not around my neck, I've been trying it on my straw tote (currently on sale!) and it's perfect!

I hope you all had a beautiful weekend!  J gathered all of our friends + family on Saturday night to celebrate my 30th birthday and we had the most amazing night.  A huge tent, my favorite food, a Veuve Clicquot + rosè cocktail bar, and all of my favorite people in one place.  We toasted to 30, watched a beautiful slideshow that my best friend put together, and danced the night away under the stars.  Another party for the books at our little cottage and my heart couldn't be happier.  My actual birthday is Wednesday and I'll be sharing more on what I've learned in my last year of my 20's and what I want for 30.  Stay tuned!  

Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
Meg

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

MEMORIAL DAY SALE WITH SERENA & LILY

A FRESH TAKE ON CASUAL DINING:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17

CHIC BEACH DAYS:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

OUTDOOR STAPLES:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15

READY FOR SUMMER GUESTS:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15

It's officially that time - we're mid-Spring already and Summer is just around the corner!  From long days by the pool to grilling in the backyard + gathering around the table for dinner, it's our favorite time of year.  Around this time each year, I like to give our outdoor living areas a little refresh.  When you spend as much time outside as we do, you want to make sure it's comfortable + easy.  Lightweight throws, plush pillows, comfortable seating, and pretty lights strung around the yard creates this beautiful, cozy vibe that you + your guests won't want to leave.  

For Memorial Day, Serena & Lily has you SET on all things outdoor!  Whether it's for your own backyard or grabbing your chairs + towels and heading to the beach for a few days, they have you totally covered.  Best of all - they are kicking off their memorial day sale a bit early this year!  I'll post he code + details below so you can officially start freshening up your outdoor living areas, just in time for Summer!

May 22 - 28: 20% off your order with code SUMMERPREP

I have my eye on THIS as a birthday present, from me to me, and this new arrival has my name written all over it.  Let me know what you pick out!  Have a great week, friends!

Thanks so much for stopping by,
Meg

P.S. - Thank you all SO MUCH for your kind words + support regarding Friday's post.  I am so grateful for each and every one of you and SO excited for a new chapter!  I love you all!

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