Sounds of the Season

It’s that time of year when our ears and hearts are filled with the sounds of the Christmas season.  I’ll admit it, I am a wee bit cheesy when it comes to Christmas.  I love to decorate, travel, carry on tradition, make new traditions with my family,  but most of all I absolutely adore Christmas music!

It starts in October.  I pull out my favorite Christmas CD’s and stick them in the car and occasionally I turn one on as I’m riding by myself.

As I travel along I “fa-la-la” and feel some of the stress of life melt away.

Then in November, one of our local radio stations out of Greenville starts playing holiday music around the clock, I still keep it contained to my car, but as the kids travel with me they are forced to listen along.

Sometimes they will even “FA-LA-LA” themselves which can be a little scary silly from time to time.

 I will spare you a video of that.

Then, after Thanksgiving, it’s on.

Christmas music streams in the house, in all our cars, and even on my workout playlists!

Yes, I “FA-LA-LA, FA-LA-LA” through the gym as I workout; and I smile.

That’s why I love my holiday tunes; they take me away from the harshness of reality…. fussing teenagers, angry drivers, grumpy shoppers, & the frustrations of being micro-managed at work.

They just make me happy; no break-ups, no sex, no violence, it’s all joy and total cheese!

I love the traditional carols of old recreated by symphonies from all over the world, the vintage jazzy tunes of the 40’s & 50’s from Bing, Frank & Dean, some of the remakes of today from the velvety voices of Michael Buble or Harry Connick Jr., but this year, one particular song has captured my heart.

The acapella voices of Pentatonix won me over a couple of years ago on NBC’s The SING OFF and now their Christmas album is topping the charts.  “Mary Did You Know” has been circulating the internet for several weeks, so you may have heard it already.  Even so, it definitely merits listening to again.

“Mary Did You Know” has been one of my favorite holiday songs for years now, as it is a totally powerful testimony of why we celebrate this Christmas season (even if we know it’s not really His birthday)!  I do like the fact this is one time of the year when much of the world focuses on Jesus.  In a time where this is becoming more and more rare, I’ll take it.

I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do and feel like “Fa-La-La-ing” a little yourself!

Tell me, my friends, when do you turn on the Christmas music and what is your favorite song?

Happy Sunday to you!!


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
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
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.
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!