Coconut Body Scrub

With so many cute sandals, open-toed heels, and flip-flops out on the market in the summer months, I think most all of us ladies take a little extra time making our feet and toes look good.  I’m not a big “go out and get a pedicure” gal because I’m not too fond of the harsh chemicals used in most salons or spending that much money on a regular basis.

With cosmetic stores open to the public that carry high quality polish brands like Essie, OPI and Piggy Paint, and smoothing lotions by Oil of Olay or Jergan’s extra-moisturizing, it’s so easy to have a salon pedi right from home.

 

But what if you like the smooth feeling you have after being scrubbed up?
I have a solution of you.
How about dreaming of the tropics while smoothing your skin with a wonderful Coconut Body Scrub?

It’s super easy to make, lasts a long time and if coconut is not your thing, it makes a great gift for someone special!

 

1 cup sugar
1 cup coarse sea salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (room temperature)

Combine ingredients together in a medium bowl and then spoon into a jar.

Seal with an airtight lid and store in a cool, dry place.  Rub on in the bath or shower twice a week.

See, I told you it was simple!

Keep your scrub dry and it will last up to two years (perfect if you want to make it in bulk).  Adding water will cause it to spoil.

By the way, Audley used it & absolutely loved it!

{Yes, I’m spilling his secrets}

Enjoy your salon quality smooth skin (and none of the harsh chemicals)!

Jen’s Summer Must-Haves

With a sweltering Southern summer fully underway, I thought it would be fun to share some of my must-haves for the season.
Between road trips, day trips, company receptions with the hubs & chilling at home I’m always looking for ways to enjoy the summer, attempt to look good, and even make things a little more relaxing and fun.
So, in no particular order here are my summer must-haves:
1)  A good book!  High on my list for the summer is Mary Kay Andrew’s latest novel, “Ladies Night”.  I love my Southern authors and after meeting Mrs. Andrews a couple of years ago at  blogger’s dinner I love her work even more!
from my Instagram account
“Ladies Night” has a touch of mystery, a little romance, a great storyline and since the story is about a lifestyle blogger, many of us can relate!
2) New tunes on the iPod.  I have very eclectic taste in music.  Audley refers to it as schizophrenic musical taste.  My summer playlist has a little country and a little top 40, mixed with a little easy listening.
My favorite album at the moment is The Great Gatsby soundtrack.  It’s my “go to” music for working out.
Other songs high on my playlist include:
Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer
Darius Rucker’s Wagon Wheel
Kenny Chesney’s Summertime
Florida-Georgia Line (featuring Nelly) Cruise
Jake Owen’s Barefoot Bluejean Night
Mumford & Sons I Will Wait
Rihanna’s Shine Bright Like a Diamond
The Script’s Hall of Fame
Pink
F.U.N.
Barbra Streisand
&
a little Harry Connick Jr.
I told you I had eclectic taste in music.

3) A cute insulated cup for keeping hydrated while working in the yard, sitting at the ballpark, working out, or chilling on the beach.

This colorful one is from TJ Maxx and was under $10.

FYI: You need to be drinking at the very least half your body weight in ounces of water everyday!  If you drink sodas, work out, or are outside a lot you need to drink even more!
4) Summer color.  I love, love, love makeup and summertime is the perfect time to change up those winter browns & neutrals and add a little color!
If you prefer a more subtle look, go with the Two Faced summer palette.  Light but colorful it just makes me happy!
$36.00 at Ulta.com
If you are bold and daring, pick up Estee Lauder’s limited edition summer palette!  Bold and daring, it’s perfect for a summer night out, dining on the patio of your favorite restaurant.
$48.00 at Belk or any other department store that carries Estee lauder cosmetics
I have both of these and absolutely adore them!

5)  A good neutral nail polish.  I love Essie’s “Penny Talk”.  Whether I wear pink or orange or green, this neutral color is just perfect and the shimmer makes me happy.

It’s perfect for the gym, the beach, church and going out with your significant other.

6) A pumice stone.  Why pay a fortune for a subpar mani/pedi with who knows what chemicals are used on you, when you can spend less than $8 on a pumice stone to rub those heels smooth.
You can find this at any Walgreens, Rite Aid or CVS as well as Target, WalMart or Sally Beauty Supply.
Your feet will be sandal & flip flop ready in a matter of minutes!
I do most all of my own mani/pedis because I do not like the strong lotions & scrubs that a nail spa is prone to use.

Just give me a little Olay body lotion and I
am all set!
I have a great homemade scrub I’ll share next week that is perfect for smoothing your hands, elbows, ankles and feet.
{Think coconut.}
 
7)  Cute hair accessories.  From a floppy beach hat to a cute hair clip keeping the sun off of your face and sweat from your neck requires pulling it back or putting it up.
Have fun picking out great hair accessories.
from Scarves.net
Use a colorful sheer scarf to tie back you hair from your face or check out your local Walgreens for cute clips and ponytail holders.
Or you can do like me and cut all of your hair off.
{Yep, I sure did!}

8) A comfy beach chair.  Whether you are chilling in the back yard or lounging on the beach these great chairs by Tommy Bahama are perfect.

 

Straps allow you to carry it like a backpack for easy transportation when it is folded up.  It also boasts a cooler pouch for a couple of bottles of water, a small pillow for neck support, a pouch to keep you cup out of the sand, and a space for your keys or cell phone.
We found these at Costco for only $28.00 and they come in assorted colors and patterns to brighten up your space.

9)  A colorful beach umbrella.  Large umbrellas like this are perfect for evenings at the ballpark watching little league baseball, sheltering a picnic and of course a little shade on the hot beach.

You can order this exact stye online from World Market for only $3.74 right now!!

 

World Market had a great selection of sturdy and playful umbrellas this season and they range from $10-30.  Not too bad!

10) Outdoor games.  Right now our family favorite is Bocce Ball.

 

Don’t ask me to explain it because I can’t, but I do know whether teenagers or my crazy family is having a cookout this is a must-have for us!
Kids from our youth group playing Bocce in the front yard.

You can find Bocce Ball at Target.  They have sets starting at $35, although we did pay a little more for this one.

What are you summer must-haves?  It’s just getting started and I would love to know what you need for the season!

Shopping for Teenage Girls

With Christmas just under three weeks away, buying the perfect gift for every one on our list is on top of my mind.  With two teenage girls in our house and several others to buy for, picking inexpensive but fun gifts can sometimes be a real challenge.
Here are some of my favorites for this Christmas season.
1.  “Day, Night & Play” cosmetic kit by ULTA cosmetics.  This cute pink case comes with everything any young lady could possibly need to get ready for a day at school or a date with her boyfriend.
These are $25 at Ulta, but they have been on sale for $19.99 the last couple of weeks.
2. OPI Nail Polish.  Over the summer they introduced super fun colors inspired by vintage Minnie Mouse.

At $8 each and accompanied by a bottle of polish remover, they make great stocking stuffers.

Yes, I have three of these colors and L.O.V.E. them!
3. A hat or scarf.  In the last couple of years I have noticed a high trend for young ladies to venture out in stylish hats and scarves during the winter months.  From Target to Etsy, stylish and affordable options are super easy to find.

I loved this one I found on Etsy!  Super cute and works for the girly girl as well as the more athletic type.

And check out these cute personalized scarves you can order from Swoozies!

For $24.00 you can order this one or many other designs online, or visit one of their many locations.

 

4. Picture Frames.  Girls love to take pictures, so give them a way to show off their personality and their  friends.

I found this cute frame at HomeGoods for $5.  They often have cute frames like this in stock year round.
5. Pottery Barn Teen cosmetic bag and make-up brush set
 Perfect to toss in a girl’s backpack for a quick refresh after gym (or color guard practice).
Right now they are on sale at Pottery Barn online for $18.00.

  6. OPI polish sets.  Can’t figure out what color to buy for the teen girl in your life?  Try these mini sets of polish.  Themed and easy to carry with them, they are filled with variety!

You can find this Betsy Johnson themed set (and many others) at Sephora for $24.99 and under.

7.  Charming Charlie for the cutest jewelry and accessories for girls.  From Necklaces and rings to tech accessories I love to pop into the store for fun treats for my girls.
Everything in the store is divided by color which makes picking the perfect accessory for that sweater you bought her so much easier!

8.  Vera Bradley Zip ID Case  This is perfect for the young lady who struggles to carry her purse and backpack at school.  Use it as a keyring and it will hold their ID/drivers license as well as a little money for lunch.

 
9.  The Vera Bradley 2013 Agenda is perfect for the girl that likes to be organized.  The best part of this gift is that it is refillable so she can use it for several years to come!

10.  For the girl who likes to travel or has a trip planned soon, a cute passport wallet will help her travel in style.

This fun cupcake passport wallet can be found at Fluffshop.com for $16.
Many of these cute items can be found online for ease, but if you like getting out to do your shopping, the physical stores carry them as well.
Have you finished all of your Christmas shopping yet?  Hopefully you got a few cute ideas from some of my favorite items today.

{Meet} The Neighbors

Sometimes I think common courtesies have totally disappeared from our society.  More often than not, I feel like we live in the most selfish culture in the world.  For example, last week, I had a flat tire on the interstate about 10:00 at night with my son with me.  Stranded on the side of the road, not one single person even stopped to help, much less even move over to keep from blowing us off the road as people sped by in their cars!  Fortunately, Audley was behind me, and though I knew he was taking care of things,  he was gone 45 minutes!  If you have never been stranded on the interstate late at night, it can be quite  scary!
As if that little instance didn’t bother me enough, we pulled into our driveway over the weekend to find our neighbor spray painting the property line.  It seems my pretty little pussy willow tree Audley planted had crossed over the boundary (part of it was on our side!) and he didn’t like it.
{Talk about petty!}
I guess my point is that it often seems so many people are scared or even don’t care anymore about feelings or emotions of others around them.  No one communicates, they just react, or even ignore those around them.  It is quite discouraging, especially when you are trying to teach your own children to put others first.
There is a ray of sunshine amid the clouds.  Between these two events, one of our new neighbors walked over with her little boy to bring a loaf of fresh banana-nut bread to welcome us to the neighborhood and introduce herself.
It truly made my whole day and warmed my heart!
But it also got me to thinking; would I do the same for someone else?  I would like to think so!
In Alabama my nearest neighbors were my in-laws and a pasture of cattle.  I always noticed when new cows were added to the pasture, so surely I would become acquainted with our neighborhood well enough to know when someone new moves in.  Kind of like “Wisteria Lane” without the drama!
In a era of self gratitude, what is acceptable when meeting new neighbors?  
*This is the one time it is perfectly acceptable to venture out of your comfort zone and take a stroll next door to meet your newest neighbor without calling first.  The whole idea is just to say hello and welcome them to the neighborhood.
*Perhaps you have noticed your neighbor likes to walk their dog the same time every day, or work in the yard.  Maybe you have seen that they leave to pick their children from school the same time everyday.  Use that time for a quick hello.
*Don’t wait until the dinner hour approaches to pop in, and certainly don’t make it a long visit!
Meeting new people can be awkward sometimes.  There is not really a specific time frame for meeting a new neighbor, but if you have acknowledged them with a nod or slight wave on several occasions, you really ought to take five minutes to introduce yourself.  Sharing a written list of area highlights or great places to shop would be a most welcoming gesture.  While an offer to babysit may not be as acceptable since you are obviously unknown, offering to help move furniture or haul off empty boxes would be a huge help to those just moving in.  If you would like to welcome a neighbor with a gift, a loaf of homemade bread, a candle, wreath for the door, even a six-pack of pansies go a long way to making someone feel at ease.
 What ever you do,  don’t spend your visit badmouthing other neighbors or putting down the neighborhood.  Moving is stressful enough without creating the feeling that someone may have made a huge mistake in your choice!
 
Besides, gossiping does not make anyone look good.
Whether you have lived in your neighborhood for a while or are new, there are common courtesies that will make us all good neighbors.
*Say hello or wave to your neighbors whenever you see them.  A smile and wave can go a long way to brightening a dreary day.
*When you have time, stop and talk.  There is no better way to get to know someone than to stop and talk! It doesn’t have to be a long chat.  If you want to visit longer, plan a lunch.
*Call ahead before visiting.  Make sure it’s a good time to stop by.  Once friendships are established, this may change to a more casual drop-in, but as you are first getting to know people, always call first.
*Don’t make your visit an all-day affair or sit around and wait on an invite to dinner.  We all have things to do, even if it is just folding clothes.  There is a time to linger and a time to be brief.  Know those times wisely.
*Don’t take advantage of a neighbor’s generosity.  If they offer to help with something, it is fine to accept, but don’t abuse the offer.
*Honor your neighbor’s privacy and property.  Clean up after you dog if he visits their yard and don’t cut through yards to get somewhere else.
*Keep your yard looking nice.  In an area with manicured yards, an unkept one will stick out like a black-eye.
*Most of all, say thank you.  No one likes to feel unappreciated, ever.  And if a neighbor is willing to do something for you, be sure to return the favor.

{Several of these ideas have been adapted from Emily Post’s Etiquette, 2011}

 Who knows, maybe if we all try to be good neighbors, stopping to help someone will seem more the norm and less the trouble.
I am working on a post this week to help you with stocking your pantry, and I have a fabulous recipe for a a refreshing strawberry pie I can’t wait to share!  I hope you will stop back by to check it all out!