3 most important interview tips from a corporate recruiter

Last month marked 2 years that I have been in the Staffing/Recruiting industry – and in such a short amount of time I have learned A LOT. I’ve seen my fair share of interviews gone horribly wrong, and I’ve also witnessed the art of finessing an interview so well that the candidate received a job offer even though they weren’t the most qualified for the job. By popular demand, I’ve decided to share a few of the things that have stood out to me in my time as a recruiter that are guaranteed to help you stand out on your next interview.

Relax & Be Yourself

This may seem like a cliche – but it’s important to understand the bigger picture behind why this is important. Sometimes when candidates are on the job search, they can get carried away by a “dream” job title, company prestige, or desperation (we’ve all been there) and they can lose sight of something very important: company culture. I would argue that company culture makes up 50% of the reason anyone enjoys their job. For some people this percentage is even higher. For example, I interviewed for a magazine job right out of college that I hyped myself up SO much for. I was so confident that I was perfect for the job and perfect for the company. Looking back on the interview, the magazine was catered to older women who hosted tea parties, and the Editor’s personality honestly did not mesh well with mine. If I had kept the bigger picture of company culture fit in mind, I probably wouldn’t have been as upset as I was when I got the email that they were going in another direction. It didn’t mean I wasn’t qualified, it simply means I wasn’t the right fit for that particular position within the company. There are so many things that go into hiring that have nothing to do with your resume, experience or education. In reality, hiring someone to join an existing team of unique personalities is a delicate balancing act. Sometimes, even the most qualified candidates simply won’t mesh well with the team at hand – I’ve seen it happen – and that isn’t anything personal it’s just reality. This is why it’s so important to be yourself in the interviewing process. On the other hand, on some occasions, showing your personality (obviously while maintaining professionalism) can actually work in your favor and make up for any skills or experience you lack. If you’re a 10/10 culture fit, hiring managers may give you the benefit of the doubt and see you as a good long-term investment for the team, which makes putting in the effort to training you more appealing to them. On your next interview, try to lighten up when the opportunity presents itself and let some of your personality and humor shine through during conversation. It just might make all the difference – and if you aren’t a culture fit, you’re honestly saving yourself from 40 hours of misery per week. A win-win either way.

Prepare Answers to The Hard Questions

If you’ve ever been asked “What is your greatest weakness” in an interview and not been prepared to answer that question, you know the feeling of sheer panic that consumes your soul in that moment. It’s terrifying. Don’t let yourself get into that situation – let me help you prepare. I’ve had the pleasure of working with hiring managers of all different styles. You have the hard-asses, the chill interviewers, and then you have your average, pleasant interviewers. A quick google search will yield all of your typical interviewing questions: strengths/weaknesses, why do you want THIS job, tell me about a time you made a mistake, tell me about a time you learned something, etc. It is smart to spend a considerable amount of time sitting with these questions and really formulating answers that are true, which make them easy for you to remember and deliver, but also that give a really GOOD impression to the hiring manager. This takes more time than you’d think. I would advise definitely having the hard ones down – that way, the worst that could happen is that you feel over prepared. (This is actually the best thing that could happen). In an interview once, I was asked the strengths/weaknesses question among other hard hitting questions, and I felt pretty good about my answers. Then, he hit me with “tell me about a time when you did something you regretted”. DANG. Cue spotlight, crickets. The good news is that I honestly felt so relieved that I had already breezed through what I had considered the “hard” questions I had prepared so much for, that I had the confidence and composure to think on my feet and handle this curveball. If you are actively interviewing, you should have a solid and efficient answer to all of the “common interview questions” that you can easily and confidently deliver. This will also give you the confidence you need to let your personality shine through during the interview.

Research the Company & Ask Questions

This one is a no-brainer – if you’ve been invited to discuss employment with a company, the least amount of effort expected is that you are somewhat familiar with said company. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert, but you should be in the ballpark of what they do, stand for, etc. One of the most impressive things you can do as a prospective employee is to mention something about the company that you researched and ask something about that topic. For example: If you interview with a manufacturing company, you could say that you saw some examples of their products on the website and you are curious who their top 3 customers are. Suddenly, the hiring managers eyebrows are raising and their gears are turning as they happily explain that to you and you have successfully demonstrated that you are interested and invested in what the company is doing. Another great way to show the hiring manager that you’ve put a lot of thought into the company and the opportunity is to ask them “Can you describe what a successful candidate for this role is like?” This shows that you are being thoughtful and truly considering yourself in the role, and it gives you a chance to hear the expectations the manager would have of you directly coming from them.

In a nutshell, interviewing is a complex process. Usually there are several different factors involved in a hiring managers’ decision and not getting a job offer should never be taken personally. If you have any stories you want to share with me or questions about interviewing – I’m here! Job hunting is not an easy thing for anyone and I want to be a resource where I can! Happy interviewing, job seekers ❤ be easy on yourselves.

Our Engagement | Proposal Story

Ben and I met on a warm night in May of 2018. I could have never imagined that the cute, shy guy I sat beside on the patio would be my future husband! But this blog isn’t about that first night, it’s about our engagement and how he popped the question. So here goes!

Leading up to the engagement…

I should begin by making it very clear that from the very first conversation we ever had about getting engaged, Ben’s main goal was to make sure that I was completely surprised. I should also mention that I don’t particularly like surprises. Lol. It got especially hard for me after he surprised me by taking me to Diamonds Direct one afternoon “just to browse”. He walked right up to an attendant and asked for Ashley. We were then lead to the counter where he told Ashley to let me try on the rings he had picked out…(?!) I was shocked! When did he have the time to come out here and do all of this?! That’s when I realized he is sneakier than I thought. He had me try them all on to see which ones I liked, and I was amazed by how beautiful they were. I had told him I wanted a unique band, and I think I showed him maybe one or two photos several months prior. The rings he chose were all so stunning I honestly liked them all! After that afternoon, I got really impatient lol. I was so excited I could hardly wait!

Several weeks went by, and he could tell I was getting impatient. I am kind of the worst – I would try to guess when he was going to propose, and I started asking for hints, etc. Like I said, I’m the worst. But to be fair, I was just so ready to be engaged to him and I didn’t feel like I needed a big surprise or to make a big event of it. We had talked enough about our future that I was SO ready for it!! Eventually, Ben got tired of me harassing him (lol) and he told me he was planning the engagement for the middle of January. My birthday is on January 13th and it was on a Monday. We both took off work that day so I knew we would have the long weekend together. It had to be then; I was over the moon excited.

My birthday weekend came and went, with no proposal! It was an amazing, relaxing and fun weekend. We went indoor rock climbing, ate at an amazing oyster bar, had brunch at the cutest cafe downtown, watched ducks at the park, strolled through the art museum, and had cake with my family. My heart was so full – but I was disappointed that he didn’t propose. I texted my friend Riley “I am the biggest brat ever – I swear I thought he was going to propose this weekend.” Ben had asked me what friends I wanted to be at the proposal, so I figured he had already told her the whole plan (he had). She told me to be patient – and to not think about it for a few weeks. I took her advice, and prepared myself for a February or March engagement.

The Day of the Proposal

Two weeks later, Riley told me she was planning to come to Birmingham for the weekend to see our friend Heather’s new house and tell her the big news that she was pregnant. We made plans for brunch on Saturday, and Riley said Heather wanted to go to the Botanical Gardens because she hadn’t been yet. I didn’t think much of it, I figured she was just trying to come up with things we could do together while Riley was in town. I met them inside at Ruby Sunshine and Riley broke the news. Heather and I had celebratory mimosas in baby Bennett’s honor (sorry Ri lol) and we had some of the best brunch food in Birmingham. It was a fun little girls morning out!

After brunch, we walked outside together and I thought to myself ugh it’s so cold I don’t really want to go to the gardens. Before I could bail, Riley said “ok, we’ll meet you there!” and they practically ran away to her car. lol.

At the gardens, we took our time walking around the gift shop, taking a bathroom break, etc. The sun came out as we walked back outside toward the gardens. We walked by a field full of dead rose bushes lol. “Hey let’s go to that green house over there” I suggested, as I started walking that way. Riley said, “Wait, look at that statue of Vulcan! Heather – go stand by him”. LOL. I was like uhhh ok…. I watched as Riley took photos of Heather doing the Vulcan pose. The next thing I know, someone comes up behind me and grabs my arm.

“Hey can I steal you for a second?” I turned around and it was Ben!!!!!? I was TOTALLY shocked. Like.. completely. “What are you doing here?!” I asked, laughing, confused. He held my hand and started leading me down the sidewalk. I started freaking out, thinking omg this is it…. 

He said “Do you remember when we came here together?” I said “yeah”, grinning stupid happy like an idiot. We had come to the gardens one sunny weekend back in October 2018, about a month after he asked me to be his girlfriend. We had walked this exact route. I remembered the trees lining both sides of the walkway and the water fountain at the end overlooking the courtyard. He said “I knew I wanted to marry you that day, when we were walking here”. He kept talking as we walked, (I blacked out a little lol) and when we were right in front of the water fountain he got on one knee. I started shaking and tears filled my eyes. I said “YES!” and reached for him – we hugged and kissed and he stood up, smiling, and said “ok let’s put it (the ring) on!” Oh, right! Lol

Riley and Heather were cheering behind us – and Anna jumped out of the bushes with my camera! No one else was around. I hugged them and hugged Ben again – it was literally the best, happiest, sweetest moment ever.

 

Here are photos from the day in October 2018 when we came here together:

 

 

Easy Weekday Sheet Pan Dinner

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Since I started working a normal schedule (and operate on a fixed budget) I’m always looking for easy ways to cook meals during the week without wasting any food, or doing prep work for hours. This sheet pan dinner was SO easy and the concept can be used with a variety of different meals – perfect for cooking exact portions (dinner for 1 or 10). The Salmon, asparagus and bag of sweet potatoes I bought at Walmart, and combined, the price for all of that was around $18.00. (And none of it went to waste!)

Let’s talk ingredients:

  • 2 filets of salmon
  • stalk of fresh asparagus
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil

Things you’ll need:

  • parchment paper
  • aluminum foil
  • chopping knife

Instructions

To begin, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Since the potatoes take much longer to cook, you’ll need to start with those in the oven for a good 45 minutes. Wash each potato with cold water, and dry thoroughly. Using a fork, poke several holes throughout each potato to avoid explosion. Once that’s done, cover the potatoes in olive oil and then wrap each tightly with aluminum foil. Place the wrapped potatoes directly on the oven rack and set a timer for 45 minutes. 

Prep work for the asparagus and salmon is fairly quick. To start, line your sheet pan with parchment paper. You’ll then wash the asparagus in cold water, dry thoroughly, and cut the bottom stems off. Then drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and use your hands to evenly distribute the oil/seasoning mixture. Cover the salmon filets with the same oil/salt/pepper combination. Place the salmon and asparagus onto the parchment paper in the sheet pan. Garnish both with minced garlic and parmesan cheese (I didn’t have any or I would have). When the potatoes’ 45 minutes are up, place the sheet pan on the top rack and set a timer for 15 minutes. Check the potatoes for softness, and let them bake longer if needed.

The asparagus and salmon will be ready in 15 minutes, and the potatoes should be soft enough by then as well! Garnish the asparagus and salmon with lemon juice. Enjoy!

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RECAP – All of everything 2019

I’m pretty blessed to have a job that gives me a legit Adult Christmas Break – I’ve been relaxing and pouring all of this extra time into my blog and planning for the year ahead. Every year, the last two weeks of December are always a blur of shoveling food into my mouth, rarely leaving the house and reflecting on all that has happened in the past 12 months.

2019 was kind of a whirlwind for me. A lot of really fun, special moments were enjoyed and scattered around a lot slower, lonelier times and personal growth. January 2019 began with a surprise birthday party put on by my sweet boyfriend, Ben, and that in itself was a warm fuzzy moment that I will always cherish. Having so many of my people (new and old) in one place on my birthday was honestly the best gift I could’ve received. ❤

Everyone is Moving On 

In February, one of my friends moved to Atlanta to be closer to her fiancé (now husband!) and in March, another left for Jamaica to pursue her dream of joining the Peace Corps. Then in May, another of my best friends moved to Florida to start her first big-girl job. Another one bites the dust. Since moving back to my hometown after being away at college, it’s been really hard to make new friends, and this year that reality became even more glaring when my long-time friends moved away. Adult life can be hard to adjust to. On the flip side of that, I always strive to be the biggest cheerleaders for my friends and with them all moving on to pursue adventure, service, love, careers… it’s been really awesome to see ❤

I’ve also been able to develop newer friendships this year – a friend I made while I was in a friend’s wedding last year moved to Birmingham and got married which is a huge blessing to have them here! I’ve also stayed in touch with friends I’ve made through work and I’ve been able to grow those friendships this year.

Personal Endeavers

In April, I channeled all my creative energy into revamping my blog (yay!). I decided to create an instagram account specifically for my blog, and that has been so fun to develop and play around with these past several months. I also developed a deeper interest in photography, and invested in this tripod which I have used SO MUCH this year. Through April and May, I tagged along with Ben during the process of buying his first home (woo!). He closed on his house in early May, and I began the never ending task of helping him decorate. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that guys are very simple creatures. They don’t understand things like decorative pillows and trinkets for the mantel. I have volunteered my money and time to help educate him and help make his house a home. We’re still working on it.

Car Trouble / Bumps in the Road

In July, I took my car to get a routine oil change and they told me it needed over $2k worth of work immediately or it would be considered dangerous to drive. I didn’t have $2k, and I had had that car since high school, thanks to my parents, and I wasn’t prepared financially to start making payments on a new car with all of my other bills. My lease at my apartment was also up in July, so I had to make the tough decision to end my lease and move back in with mom and dad. The next week, I signed on a used 2015 red Toyota and packed up everything I own. 

Makin’ Career (Money) Moves

I think it was the fact that I was struggling financially and had to move out of my apartment that made me start looking for a different job. I had also sort of fallen into recruiting, read that story here, and I had just hit the year mark at that job and part of me wondered if there was something better out there for me. Recruiting certainly wasn’t what I planned for my career to be after college, but then again sometimes the best things happen that way. ANYWAY, shortly after moving out and buying my car, I interviewed for a Business Development position with a company that manufactures fluid systems components. The job paid well, was very stable and offered great benefits, company culture, a president that sees and talks to everyone, a really awesome boss that I could be bffs with – I could go on. The gig was a really good thing, but when I got the call with an offer, I froze. I don’t know how else to describe the way I felt other than unsure. I didn’t quite feel ready to leave recruiting, or the company I was at. My coworkers. My job. But I went against that feeling, and accepted the offer (a $10k+ pay raise). 

I very quickly realized that the job and the industry simply were not for me. Within weeks, I realized I missed my old job, my old coworkers, etc. It did not take long for me to understand that I had made a mistake. I think the stability and pay raise are what sealed the deal for me to accept the job, but it’s funny because I ended up missing the competitiveness and the excitement of my position in recruiting. Three months into the new job, I called my former boss in recruiting. I was SO thankful when she said I could come back to work for her. Everyone at the new job was extremely understanding and gracious to me, and I still get happy hour margs with my boss and coworkers there. Overall, I consider the experience a win. I learned a lot about myself and what I want out of a workplace and a career. And what better time to learn those things than in your 20’s!

Travel

Despite all the personal and financial changes, Ben and I got to travel a good bit together in 2019! We went to Nashville in May, New Orleans in June, took a trip to the beach with his family in July, a weekend trip to Memphis to visit his friends from college, several trips to northern AL for weddings and weekend visits with my friends, a trip to Atlanta and countless weekends at the lake. 

 

In Short –

All in all – 2019 has been an extension of 2018 in learning to navigate adult life, and has brought on a lot of personal discovery for me in regards to my career. It’s been a year of cheering from the sidelines, celebrating lifelong commitments to love, struggling and then thriving again, and lots of adjusting and readjusting. I’m also very thankful for the year i’ve been given with Ben, and I can’t imagine going through any of this without him! I am thankful for all that 2019 has thrown at me and I CANT WAIT to get 2020 started! 

 

The Woodhouse – A review of Birmingham’s new Day Spa

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You know those gifts that are a double whammy because you get to experience them with someone else? That’s what this wonderful day at Birmingham’s newest Day Spa was for me. My boyfriend really outdid himself this year in gifting us a 4+ hour couple’s spa treatment – complete with bottomless mimosas and CBD infused body oils (both optional). Located at the lower level of the Summit shopping center, The Woodhouse is a convenient drive for everyone in Birmingham and surrounding areas, and a great treat for anyone visiting the ‘ham.

Upon arriving, Ben and I were greeted right away and lead through the dimly lit hallway to the men and women’s locker rooms where we parted ways. Inside, the women’s room was beautifully decorated and fully stocked with dry shampoo, hair brushes, deodorant, and anything else you would need to freshen up after the treatment. There were two separate bathrooms and a huge shower. The row of lockers were easy to access and lock with a personal 4 digit code, and I had a customized sign with my name and a fresh white robe hanging for me.

Once I got changed and put my belongings in my locker, I met Ben down the hallway in the “quiet room” where you can relax in between each treatment. There was a cucumber water station, several comfy lounge areas, and a warm FIREPLACE. If we wanted a mimosa, champagne, or wine – all we had to do was ask! They made sure to refill before we saw the bottom of our glass as well.

The package we got included a facial, full body massage, and a pedicure. We started with the facial, which included neck, scalp and arm massages as well. Before you start the treatment, you fill out a questionnaire about your current medications, any skin sensitivities, your daily routine, and goals for your skin. They do a really good job of being attentive to your personal needs the whole time, and they make it very comfortable to ask questions or make requests. I had a slight sensitivity to one of the facial masks and the therapist was so nice about quickly removing it and applying something more soothing.

After the facial, we were taken back for the full body massage. I had never done one before, so I was unsure about what to expect. My masseuse was extremely nice and attentive to any questions I asked (and even the ones I didn’t know to ask!). You remain covered with a heavy blanket the entire massage, and she simply lifts the blanket up (as conservatively as possible) as needed. It wasn’t a big deal at all – and I wasn’t uncomfortable at any point. By the end of it, I was ready to slink into a deep, cozy, noodley sleep. More champagne was poured as we meandered back into the quiet room to await our pedicure and leg massage. We finished with noodley relaxed muscles, a stomach full of bubbles, and fun memories of this day that will last forever. I definitely recommend gifting someone special with a trip to The Woodhouse, or treating yourself! They offer individual as well as personalized treatment packages. Visit their website for full details on package options, treatment specifics, etc: here.

This blog post is not affiliated with The Woodhouse Day Spa in any way, and this is not an advertisement for their company. All opinions and content here are my own. 

Creamy, Cheesy, SKINNY Shrimp Pasta Bake

This dish is one I keep right under my sleeve for those nights I really just want something that tastes GOOD. If you love shrimp, pasta and cheese as much as I do, it’s likely that this will become a favorite of yours, too.

Things you’ll need:

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

For the Alfredo sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (6-ounce) can 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 ounce light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth, or more, to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

If you have frozen shrimp, go ahead and start thawing those first. Empty into a strainer and let lukewarm water run over them for about 6-8 minutes. Next, we’ll start making the Alfredo sauce.  

  1. To get started, place a medium/large saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop. Add in the butter and garlic and let it mix and melt, about 1-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the flour and milk a little at a time, whisking together to make a smooth consistency. Stir in cream cheese and chicken broth, continuously whisking until smooth. (Pro tip: You can add more milk/broth or more flour, depending on what consistency you would like.) 
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Start a pot of boiling water for the noodles. Lightly oil a cooking pan and set aside.
  4. Add shrimp to the cooking tray, and gently toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake shrimp for about 6-8 minutes, until pink and cooked all the way through. remove and set aside. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees after you take the shrimp out.
  5. Once the water is boiling, cook the noodles to the directions on the box; drain well.
  6. In a large bowl, combine noodles, red pepper flakes, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and Alfredo sauce. Pour mixed contents into an oiled, 8×8 baking dish. Top with parmesan. (Pro tip: If you really like cheese, add extra. Eyeball it.) 
  7. Bake the dish for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and all the cheese has melted.
  8. Serve warm! Garnish with parsley if you wish.

Our stay in Mid City and a jam-packed, 1 Day Guide to New Orleans

The month of May kept me BUSY. Ben closed on the house on the 6th, I coached a soccer tournament in Nashville that weekend, we went to two weddings, had a three day lake weekend, and spent the last weekend in New Orleans, which this blog is all about! If you’ve never been to New Orleans, there are a few things you should know right away: it gets next-level HOT in the summer, when walking around the city, you will experience a frequent waft of garbage mixed with the aroma of sweat, and you will learn very quickly that people can be anything they want to be – especially in the French Quarter.

We got in to our Airbnb late Friday night, after attending a beautiful wedding in Plaquemine. We stayed in this cute little studio apartment in MidCity, which is one of the more residential neighborhoods. I highly recommend staying here as a solo traveler or as a couple if you’re ever visiting New Orleans!

 

 

 

 

We were about 15 minutes from the French Quarter, and walking distance to several restaurants and shops. On Saturday morning we walked about 7 minutes down the street to Biscuits and Buns on Banks for some brunch. They have everything from breakfast classics to unique dishes like the Crab-cake Benedict with Chorizo sauce (pictured below) that I ordered. After eating, we asked our waiter how to use the “trolley” and he was nice enough not to make fun of us for calling it a trolley. He explained that it was an easy walking distance away, and you can buy a day pass for $2.00 and it’ll get you basically all over the city. Sweating and completely stuffed, we made our way to the Streetcar like happy little tourists.

 

 

 

 

 

The streetcar itself is a beast on its own. It only takes cash, first of all. Secondly, the first one we rode had no AC, and it makes several stops along the way, so if you decide to take the streetcar be sure to add about 40 full minutes to your travel time. It also gets pretty crowded, which makes it even hotter honestly than just standing outside in the sun. Also, when riding the streetcar, remember what I said about frequent aromas of sweat. This is not a good time for anyone to forget deodorant. ANYWAY, we rode the streetcar into the French Quarter area, and walked about two miles down the river and through all the shops and bars and interesting people. There are so many unique bars and pubs and restaurants in the French Quarter, offering beautiful architecture, unique food, and straight up New Orleans culture. You can stay entertained for days just taking everything in. We eventually stopped in at 801 Royal for a drink (and some air conditioning). One  thing that is really awesome about New Orleans is their open container law. We took our drinks to go, and kept on our way.

 

 

 

 

After exploring in the French Quarter, we eventually took the Streetcar back to MidCity where we both showered and changed clothes (you’ll want to do this after a few hours of walking in that kind of heat) for the sunset jazz cruise we preordered tickets for. There are a couple different options for the cruise, we rode on the Steamboat Natchez which happens to be the last remaining authentic steamboat left on the river. I decided to wear my lightweight romper and wedges on the boat, and I didn’t have time to wash and dry my hair but a few sprays of dry shampoo did the trick. We bought the day pass to ride the Streetcar, but we didn’t want to risk missing the boat so we called an Uber. We were in front of the river in no less more than 10 minutes. For dinner, we grabbed a sandwich at the food court inside the old brewery right across from the dock and boarded the boat a few minutes early, so we grabbed a cocktail and two seats on the deck railing.

 

 

 

 

The sunset cruise was my favorite thing we did on our short little trip, and even though we didn’t opt in for the dinner I think it was worth the $50. The boat docked and let us out around 9:00 pm, and we walked back into the French Quarter and onto Bourbon Street for a small taste of the night life. We wandered into 2 different bars and had a beer at both of them, and that was about as much nightlife as we wanted. In true New Orleans fashion, Ben and I had silver beads draped around our necks by a random dancing guy before we left the last bar. Sunday morning we slept in and headed back to Birmingham early. We didn’t get a chance to visit the Garden District or stroll down Magazine Street like I wanted, but that just gives us a reason to go back! New Orleans is a magical, quirky and culture-filled city with so much to offer. Next time, we’re doing the swamp tours and we definitely won’t make the mistake of referring to the streetcar as “the trolley”.

Digging It – May 2019

Somehow we’re already in June of 2019 (what?!) but a few weeks ago, I did a poll in my Instagram stories and several of you voted for a compilation blog post of all the random stuff I’ve purchased in the month of May that I love. I’ve decided to start a blog series called “Digging It” where I do this periodically (or every month, if I find that much cool stuff) so that we can all stay up to date on neat and useful stuff. *thumbs up* These things can be anything from new tech stuff to health stuff, or cooking utensils.. Just anything that I have discovered really.

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Starting with this jewelry organizer from amazon that has been a true game changer. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had jewelry boxes in the past, wire wall-hanging apparatuses that are cute but not really functional, or you have a spot on your dresser where your most used earrings and necklaces pile up and get tangled, broken, etc. Pro tip: don’t be like me. Unless you buy this thing. This thing hangs at the front of your closet, and has a thousand little clear pockets to keep all your pieces in so you can see them, easily access them, and keep them separated. How much does seamless jewelry organization and peace of mind cost, exactly? $11.90, if you have Amazon Prime.

Okay this, y’all, THIS. I feel like I need to formally apologize for hating on Burts Bees for as long as I have. I’ve never been on board with their chapstick, so I never bothered looking into anything else they make. But this overnight mask is revolutionary. I have combination skin, it gets oily usually during the day but then  also randomly gets dry – in pretty much every season. Sometimes at night after I take my makeup off or when I get out of the shower my skin feels drier than usual, and that is when Burt’s Bees comes into my life in a major way. The mask is a moderately thick paste that you apply right before bedtime, and it soaks in overnight and makes your skin GLOW by morning. Totally worth it. Totally a fan of Burts Bees now. Also, I just checked the product link on Burt’s Bees website and it’s marked down to $1.99 right now!!!! Not sure what that’s about or how long it will last, but you can also purchase it for $14.99 at Walmart, Walgreens, etc.

Publix Dental Flossers, Mint

I’m sure a lot of people discovered these things a long time ago, and I’m so happy for them. I, on the other hand, just recently purchased this useful little dental hygiene tool for the first time. It’s pretty self-explanatory. It makes everything 700x easier. It makes my dentist happy. It’s cheap. If you don’t buy these already, you really need to. I bought Publix brand, I couldn’t find the price online but I think they were under $5.00.

Chevron 2-In-1 Candle and Fragrance Warmer For Candles And Wax Melts from Candle Warmers Etc.

As someone who buys candles every second trip to the grocery store, I have loved this thing from Walmart. It’s decorative, and you can buy little scented wax squares in bulk and let them burn inside the heated tray and it’s the same thing as having a candle, without the smoke. They have so many different scents, and you just plug it into the wall and let it do its thing. I can’t wait to get pumpkin wax squares, and cinnamon wax squares, and vanilla wax squares… and you don’t have to throw away the candle after it’s burned out! I guess some people reuse the container, and thats cool, but I don’t. This is the one I have and it was $18.00 at Walmart, but they come in various sizes, colors and prices.

Wine Aerator Pourer (2-pack) - Decanter Premium Aerating Spout - Gift Box Included

OKAY. I’ve saved the best for last. If you’re a wine drinker, I cannot stress enough how amazing this thing is. $12.95 with Amazon Prime, it’s called an aerator, and it fits on your wine bottle like a little top. The spout basically filters the wine through little holes, opening up all the flavor inside the wine and making it taste 5x better. I feel a little bougie because now when I don’t use my aerator, wine tastes flat to me. So honestly, maybe you shouldn’t get one. It’s up to you.

 

Casual Summer Outfit Pairings + 3 Summer Must-Haves

It is 86 degrees today in Birmingham, AL and it’s only a matter of time before we are up in the 90’s. I’m sweating just thinking about it. Alabama summers are unlike any other, because you get the outrageously high temps AND you get swarmed by humidity so thick you can reach out and grab it. Permanent back sweat, glistening foreheads, pit stains – these are the things Alabama summers are made of!

Okay all whining aside, I really do love summer. It’s my favorite time of the year because there are so many fun things going on. Especially summer in Birmingham, because you’ve got Barons games every week, breweries, rooftop bars, events at railroad park all the time, amazing food + outdoor patio scenes, the list goes on. Every summer I have a few items that I know I HAVE to have in order to brave the heat and look cute doing it.

SHOES 

 

 

Up at the top of this list is summer shoes. Let’s go by the 3 C’s rule: I like to have 2-4 pairs of shoes every summer that I can count on to keep me comfortable, cool, and cute both day and night. I always like to have a casual option and a more dressy option. These two shoes are recent additions to my closet for the season, and they did not break the bank! These brown sandals are seriously so comfortable, they have a padded sole and are perfect for a casual daytime look. I bought mine for $14.99 at Ross, and I couldn’t find the exact pair to link, but I found a comparable pair on Amazon for the same price. You can find them here. These grey wedges are from amazon and I love love love them! They are perfect for dressing up some jeans and a nice top, or with a summer dress for church or dinner. You can seriously pair them with so many outfits – and they are under $30.00. They come in several colors and are very comfortable to walk in. They check all my boxes: comfortable, cool, cute.

OUTFITS

 

I shared this leopard print shirt earlier this week, paired with some work pants and my nude heels and it got so many comments!! This has been such a statement spring/summer staple in my closet. You can wear it so many different ways, and the ruffled sleeves are so fun and feminine. I snagged it at TJMaxx for under $20.00, but It is made by a boutique in Los Angeles called Green Envelope. I found a similar leopard shirt for about the same price here, and it’s so cute I honestly might go buy that one too.

 

This is a tried and true summertime staple!!! A reliable and comfortable blue jean short, (left) made by Old Navy and only $25.00. These shorts are the perfect length, not too short, and will be worn all summer long. I have another pair in the darker wash, and both will be on rotation. My white linen tank is another staple piece, and it’s on sale right now for $15.00!! I’ve paired it with nice pants and heels for work, and also barefoot with linen shorts on the beach. It can seriously be worn so many ways, and it comes in several colors. The green linen shorts (right) are from Altar’d State, and are $40.00 online. I have another pair in a rustic navy blue color, and I will wear both all summer as well. They are the perfect casual look, paired with a tank or T-shirt.

 

This shirt is made by a designer called Sigrid Olsen, her website can be found here. Unfortunately, I cannot find the link for this exact shirt, but I bought it at TJMaxx for $15.00, and I love it. Honestly, this shirt makes me so happy! I love when I find very cute and unique statement shirts, because otherwise, I stick to my neutrals. This one really stood out to me and I’m so glad I bought it. It’s 100% linen, and very breathable, which is perfect for Alabama summer. While I was looking for something similar to link, I did find this linen tank on Amazon and I miggght go buy it in every color. Linen is no joke.

 

These green pants!!! These were another recent steal at TJMaxx, and they are made by a brand called Max Jeans, but I found an identical pair on Nordstrom online for the same price, about $30.00. These are a lightweight, comfortable material and can be worn casually or dressed up as well. A secret to looking good is feeling good, and these pajama-like pants do the trick! My tank is 100% thrifted, about $4.00 even. I hope you enjoyed my summer outfit inspo, and I would love to know what you’ve got in your closet this season!

How to Style Boyfriend Jeans

I’ve always wondered how girls wear those loose fitting boyfriend style jeans. What top do you wear with such loose fitting pants?? Are they comfortable? (YES) Can I pull it off?? (I think so???) During my Black Friday shopping this year, I decided to just go for it and I purchased my first boyfriend style jeans from H&M. The first thing I realized is how comfortable and casual they are!

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I ended up wearing them to the sports bar that weekend to watch the Alabama football game – the perfect setting to be both cute & casual. Since my jeans are high waisted, I styled them with a short basic black Tee. Boyfriend jeans are loose-fitting in nature, so I made sure to pair them with a shirt that is a little more form fitting for the “chic” look I was going for. If you are going for a more casual-cozy look, you can pair them with a cropped or oversized sweater. Fall weather in Alabama means mostly-warm-but-sometimes-breezy so I threw on my sheer, super lightweight cardigan. Lastly, I always love a statement shoe!!! My new printed flats from Forever 21 were the perfect final touch for this outfit – adding an accent color + a dash of sass. You can also pair them with statement or basic colored booties with a sweater. What’s your favorite way to style boyfriend jeans?? Let ya girl know.