Tuesday, September 28, 2010

With tightly clasped hands

Hi everyone, I'm Ashton from over at Ashton Dene's Antics (where I either blog a lot or a little...!) and I'm so excited to be guest posting here for Lauren while her and John have an amazing vacation.

I know that most of you are gracefully welcoming the fall weather and all that comes with it (olive everything, jackets, riding boots, leaves falling, campfires), I however, am holding on tightly to what little bit of summer is left.

These bright images help me stay in my summer state of mind
Who doesn't love a bright blue sky and then add on the magic of the balloons being released, it is so pretty! [but really bad for the environment, so just look at the picture, don't try it at home kids!]

I love playing cards [my favorite game is spades] and carry a deck of cards in my purse [you never know when they might come in handy] however, I would love a deck this bright pink, and how adorable that it spells out love!

I have always loved skulls finding them less creepy and more cute than I probably should. These bright colors make them seem less fall/halloween and more fun! I would love to have one of these as a luggage tag or on an iPod case or something.
& another bright festive picture of an arm full of beads -- some inspiring words, hello kitty & a whole lot of pink, all right up my alley! With silly bands all the rage for toddlers and grown ups alike, I would rather revert back to the old homemade bead bracelet that take up most of your arm. I would rock these with someskinny jeans, black flats & a simple t-shirt.

Are you a fall or summer person? What do you do to get in the mood for your favorite season?

xx, ash

p.s. all images via weheartit

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Guest post from Carly!

Hey everybody! I'm Carly, Lauren's cousin [by way of her cousin Lee]. She's off on her awesome vacation and I'm...not...but I'm trying not to hate her too much for it ;)

A few months ago I decided to go back to school to get my master's degree in education. I got my undergrad a few years ago in public relations, so to get my master's in education I had to go back full-time, which meant quitting my full-time job. Now we're living on just one income [plus my student loans] and we're doing fine, but we're trying to find every way we can to save some money.

Sooo, I thought I'd share some of the things I've found to help save money. I figured everybody likes to save money! Maybe yall already know about all this, but if you don't, maybe it'll help :)

{1} Couponing. I've been using coupons for a few months now, and we've really saved a LOT of money on groceries, and we're getting GOOD food! Since I've been using the coupons I've been saving about 50% on my groceries. A lot people can save 70-80% every time they go, but I'm not that good yet. Lee likes to take yogurt to work, and last week we went to the store and got him four 4-packs of yogurt for 25 cents each. Even when you go to Wal-Mart and get their brand it's about 40 cents a cup.

There are tons of blogs out there that match up grocery stores' sales every week to coupons that are out there. They list what's on sale and tell you which insert the coupon was in and what date the coupons came. My favorites are I Heart Publix, Southern Savers, and Money Saving Mom. I subscribe to the newspaper so I get the Sunday paper with the coupons every week, then I take out the coupon inserts and put the date on them and then file them in a big box. They all give tips for organizing the coupons too, so you can figure out which way works best for you.

{2} Fantabulously Frugal. This blog is awesome. She lists all kinds of sales on there. About this time last year Amazon had a huge magazine sale and I got a subscription to Real Simple for $5! She also lists what the sales are on a bunch of daily deal websites pretty much every day. Also, thanks to Fantabulously Frugal, Lee and I are about to sign up for a deal where you pay $12.99 a month and get two Fandango movie codes. Pretty good I think, considering movie tickets around here are about $10 a pop.

{3} Groupon. I really shouldn't have this on my list of ways I save money because I haven't actually used it yet. But I've seen some awesome deals. If you're not familiar, you just put your city and they'll email good deals for that location every day. If they don't have your city you can just put the one closest to you. A lot of their deals are national-type deals. Lots of times they'll have a deal where you pay $5 for $10 worth of food. It's pretty awesome, and I'm sure I'll actually use it when we get closer to Christmas!

I think that's all I've got for now. I hope I've helped a little bit...or at least passed some time while Lauren's gone!

Friday, September 24, 2010


Hey lovies, it's Vanessa from Caramel Covered Photographs.  I am ecstatic to be guest posting for the beautiful Lauren while she is enjoying Europe.  To keep my jealousy intact, I wanted to share with y'all some of my favorite things about one of my favorite seasons!


I don't know about y'all but I LOVE Fall.  I could write a million things but I've narrowed it down to 5 main things I love most.

1.) The Scenery

Fall could arguably be the most beautiful time of year. The leaves change to pretty shades of orange, yellow, & red.  They cover the ground and everything looks gorgeous.  I'm not going to lie, cleaning up all those leaves is not enjoyable but I do still love jumping in them with my niece just like I did when I was younger.

2.) The Clothes

Oh heeeeeey fall fashion.  I love the change in the weather.  The air gets cooler but not freezing.  It's calls for heavier clothes but not bundling up like an Eskimo either.  I love breaking out my boots, cute cardis, my new found love for scarves, and my old time favorite hoodies.  For serious, I would live in a Gap hoodie if I could.  Something about feeling wrapped up and warm, it's perfect.

3.) Fall Activities

There are so many fun things to do during the Fall months! Hayrides, both scary and scenic ones. Picking apples to make some delicious desserts and apple cider. Picking pumpkins to carve. Probably my favorite are the night time bonfires.  Nothing beats being curled up close to the one you love by the fire roasting some marshmallows for smores!

4.) The Holidays

If I put holidays in order of my favorites, Fall holds both my second and third favorite holidays! Who doesn't love Halloween! Not only are there little children running around, dressed in the cutest outfits, we as adults get to return to that childish state and dress up for parties too! Plus did I forget to mention the candy? Mm! Plus Thanksgiving. How can one NOT love Thanksgiving? The main focus of this day is eating. Anyone who knows me, knows I love food! Plus after getting stocked up on food, midnight hits and the yearly shopping extravaganza starts! Hello Black Friday!

5.) Any and all things pumpkin
My most favorite thing about fall is the return of pumpkin. You name it I love it. Pumpkin piepumpkin roll, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin candles. I could go on and on like Bubba about his shrimp but you get the idea.  It's heavenly.

Well that's my short list.  Please tell me your favorite things about fall! I'm sure I missed some great ones!

& Thank you Lauren for letting me take over your fabulous blog for the day. Hope you are enjoying your trip and I can't wait to hear all about it! Love you!!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Love it with me Wednesday: Marriage

“First comes love, second comes marriage…”

Hello, Lovely Lauren readers!  My name is Kimberly and you can usually find me HERE. Today, I am lucky to be guest posting for Lauren.  I love Lauren so much, as I am certain that all of you do.  It is because of the Blog-Twitterverse that I “met” the fabulous Lauren!  One day we will meet and it will be glorious!

So…over at my {poor, sad and neglected} blog I used to do a feature called “Love it with me Wednesday”.  I’m not sure if it is our upcoming anniversary {TWO YEARS on October 11th, thanks for asking}, Lar’s upcoming nuptials or Vanessa’s engagement but I have got marriage on the brain.

I LOVE being married.  Maybe it makes me old fashion but I whole-heartedly believe in marriage.  We are still in the Newlywed-ish stage but I have learned so much.  I am no expert but I would love to pass my knowledge on to Lauren, Vanessa and anyone else heading down the aisle.

      *  He isn’t perfect but he is perfect for me.  I talk a lot about how much I love Will. How he is always doing so many sweet things for me.  I think some girls might get the impression that Will is perfect.  That he does no wrong.  Let me tell you a secret.  There is no perfect man.  There is only the man that is perfect for you.  Will is flawed.  He can be such a man sometimes.  I know y’all know what I mean by that statement.  However, there are times that I know he is only man strong enough to deal with my brand of crazy.  He is the only man that would ever really “get” me.  This is what I have to focus on when he is working that last nerve.
      *  You can be quite a handful.  Women by nature, tend to be more high maintenance.  Some more than others. I blame the hormones and the emotional roller coaster that we are stuck on until sometime after menopause.   When Will is “less than perfect” I try to remember that at any given moment my head might spin around and I may or may not shot laser beams from my eyes.  Or I may breakdown in tears for no reason.  Will takes this so well.  He always knows what to say and how to make it better.  So, I think I can ignore his flaws since I’m no cake walk.
      *  Sometimes they just want a pat on the back.  Like when a dog does a trick and you give them a treat and scratch his head.  Men need that too.  Call it ego stroking, if you will. Like the dog…the more praise you give the more “tricks” they will do.  Example: Will does this dishes and I act so excited that I don’t have to do them.  I hug and kiss him and tell him how much it means to me.  He will continue to do things for me because he likes my reaction!

      *  Honesty really is the best policy.  I crack up when I think about our first year.  It’s all honeymooning and…well, ya know. Anyway, if you lived with someone then you may have already be over some of this stuff but Will and I had not lived together before getting married {I’m not knocking anyone that tried it before they bought it…just telling my story}.  In fact, for the last 3 months of our engagement we lived 2,000 miles apart.  This meant that there was a serious adjustment period for both of us.  At first, we were both afraid to say anything about the things that annoyed us.  For example: I tend to forget to turn the oven off after I finish cooking.  I usually notice when I go back to the kitchen with our dishes or for something to drink.  Sometimes Will would be the next person in the kitchen and he would notice the oven and say “Babe, are you done with the oven?”  This drove me CRAZY.  Really? You can’t just turn it off.  You need to point out that I forgot.  I mean…you dinner is sitting right in front of you so I’d say I’m done with the oven.  I just let this frustration build and build until one day…I snapped.  Like yelling and swearing. Bad. Real. Bad.  Poor Will did not see this one coming and was so confused.  If I had just said how I felt then crisis could have been averted.  Sometimes it’s best to just say, “Hey, it pisses me off when you do that.” 

OK.  I think that is enough for now!  Like I said, I’m no expert.  We are still learning about each other and learning how to be a better couple.  I am happier with Will than I have ever been.  I don’t think that a woman needs a man to complete her or that I wouldn’t be happy otherwise.  I’m saying that I was surprised by the love of an amazing man and I just rode the wave…and I’m glad to still be on it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Poop Talk by Bff Jil

Yes. Poop. Poo. Crap. Dung. Cacka. Kids you drop in the pool. Texans you birth. Food babies. Bowel movements. Last but not least, the all encompassing, Shit. You read it all right…we are talking poop people.
I know what you all must be thinking. That I’m disgusting, that ‘ladies’ do NOT talk about this, that Lauren is all kinds of crazy for allowing me to guest post this topic. Ok, well you may be right. I’m a little disgusting at times, and yes my Grandmother would KILL me if she knew I was talking ‘shit’ to you all. As far as Lauren being crazy…Duh!

Guess what though, we ALL do it. No matter who you try to fool, we know that every person we pass on the street, see at work, talk to on the phone and sleep next to at night, all POOP. YOU POOP!
Here’s the thing though. Your poop is really telling you something about your health! So get familiar with your movements, or why there is a lack of…

I will spare you the dirty dets, and have removed a wealth of information...Like why your poop may be pellet looking, or why it’s hard and dry..or more importantly pencil thin! Basically go here and read up! Know your stool. Take me for example. I am in tune with my bowels. I’m sensitive like that. I know what food will result in what ‘off spring’. What restaurants require me to take an Imo-Ad prior to dining. (That’s Imodium Advanced; I never leave home without it)  What pizza joints I will pass on the pepperoni. Basically I know my system…Personally I don’t think it’s gross. I think it’s healthy. But that’s me…you can judge. I’m fine with that! Go HERE and read up! Know your stool.  

In closing…here are a few pointers and words to remember.

“An ideal stool looks like a torpedo—it should be large, soft, fluffy and easy to pass.”

Never flush with the toilet seat up…fecal matter is catapulted into the air at rapid speeds and lands on all surfaces. Seriously, Google it.

The urge to ‘go’ only comes around every 15 minutes. So if you miss your window, you’ve got 15 minutes to quit talking, shopping, driving and get to a toilet.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

my universe is larcentric...

Oh hey Lauren's blog...and Lauren's blog followers. I am Lauren's Bff Alex (why yes I did just coin myself her bff whatevs, this is MY post), I blog over at Always Alexandria Why yes, I do have proof of said bff-ness...check it...

 Why yes, that IS me and the one and only Lovely Lauren Leigh. Lauren is all kinds of amazing. She basically is the person that the earth, moon, and stars rotate around (the world is her oyster, and homegirl is so not going to share). I have a bff threesome with some of my blogger-turned-real-life-besties. This three-way consists of me, Lauren, and Ashton. We have even officially given our friendship a title #thethreebestfriends, Hangover represent!

What is my point? My point is that I basically l-o-v-e Lar. She is hilarious, supportive, honest, kind of a biatch, my Judgement Twin, and all around fabulous. For these reasons and these reasons alone, my universe turned LarCentric. Basically if you want to be friends with her, you have to acknowledge that the world revolves around her and that your entire life must turn LarCentric (seriously. just ask Ashton).

So now that you all understand what the term 'LarCentric' is all about, let me hip you to the reasons why everything is about Lauren. I like to call this 'Session 1 of LarCentricology'. Get out your pen and paper, and prepare to take some notes!

{1.} Lauren appreciates and understands the importance of food. She is a bomb ass orderer. Seriously. On our epic trip everything she ordered looked DELISH. Case and point...

{2.} Lauren loves all things olive, mustache, and most importantly penis. Yes. You read that right. I said PENIS...

 {3.} Lauren has killer fashion sense. I mean really...could she have picked a more beautiful wedding dress? Or honeymoon send off top? I think not...

{4.} Lauren has a really sweet southern gal voice, and is totally adorable. She just looks SO friendly and nice. Which don't get me wrong she totally is, hence why I love her, but if you cross her...she will not hesitate to cut a bitch. Just keep that in mind...

{5.} Lauren is N-E-V-E-R afraid to act a fool. Which in my humble opinion is one of the best traits a bff can have...

So, now that you have all the basics of LarCentricology I feel as though my duty is done. You should all reevaluate your lives now and realize that Lauren should be everyone's numero uno priority. If not...well then you need to get right with God and work on it. Also, if you didn't get the heavy does of sarcasm that was involved in this post...well I just do not know what to tell you. Basically I adore Lauren, she is totally one of my besties and I love how our blogs brought us together. Lar, you best be having a blast on your European extravaganza...drink some alcoholic beverages for me while you are there!

I hope you all enjoyed your lesson!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Guest Post from Emma the Joy!

Hello Lovely Lauren Leigh readers! My name is Emma from Emma the Joy and I'm thrilled to be here today! When Lauren asked me to do a guest post on anything I pleased, my mind automatically went to cupcakes. Baking is a favorite hobby of mine and there is nothing better than a good cupcake.

Low-fat {yes!} Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a 12-cup baking tin with paper cups {recipe makes about 12 cupcakes}. In a small bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients until well combined.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add half of the four mixture, stir, pour in buttermilk, stir, and finally add the rest of the flour and stir until well combined.

Distribute evenly in baking cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 16-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting
{Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes}


8 ounces light {Neufchatel} cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Beat cream cheese with butter and vanilla until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar. Continue to add more powdered sugar until you reach a consistency and sweetness that fits your taste.

My favorite way to frost cupcakes is to pipe the frosting on! My favorite tip is the Wilton 2D drop flower tip, which you can find here.

These cupcakes are delightful, the buttermilk makes them moist and delicious. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Comfort of Cooking.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen, Au Revoir

It's here, it's here!! My vacation is here and I am SO excited!!!  I leave tomorrow for my epic vacation and I can barely think straight!  Of course five million things came up at work today, but who cares?  I'm going away for two glorious weeks!

So I've decided I need some boots from Amsterdam (or maybe some diamonds... how should I drop that hint to John?) and a cuckoo clock from Germany.  But other than that I don't know what I must buy!  Well, I kind of want a beret from Paris, I don't know why.  I hope to come back with all kinds of goodies!

No worries dear blog readers, there will be tons of fun while I'm gone.  Probably way more fun than it would be if I was here.  I have some absolutely lovely guest bloggers that you will adore, I promise.  And I'm hoping you won't hear from me for the next two weeks!

Please try to not miss me too much :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wedding Shower Weekend

This weekend I was showered with love by friends and family. It was absolutely wonderful, we had amazing food, great company and I couldn't have asked for anything more.  I only teared up once and no crazy meds were needed, woohoo.  So here are a few pictures from my shower.

My sisters and two grandmothers did such an awesome job! (So did my mama, but she isn't in the picture)

John's grandmother and mother were there (clearly it was at the church, if you can't tell by the Jesus poster in the backgroud)

My amazing friends that got up early on a Saturday, love these ladies!


 I truly am blessed to have such wonderful friends and family in my life. I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

ps- even though I don't have bangs, it looks like they are separated in all of these darn pictures and it drives me crazy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Festivities

I went to Charleston, SC last weekend to celebrate this pretty lady's bachelorette party.

This was my first visit to Charleston and let me tell you, it was amazing! Such a beautiful, historic Southern town with phenomenal food.  Seriously, anywhere with good food steals my heart.

The first night we ate at Slightly North of Broad (referred to as Snob which made it that much more amazing).

I got the crab cakes.  They look sick, but let me tell you these were the best dang crab cakes I have ever had! And to be totally honest, I have eaten way more than my fair share of crab cakes.

The wine was also amazing.  Hello lovely riesling and yummy cab.  My friend Blythe and I were loving the wine.

And the wine and amazing food led me to a photo shoot in which I took my favorite self portrait of the weekend.

So this is just a little taste of my trip. Of course I have many more stories that I will hopefully get around to sharing!  Did you do anything fun for Labor Day?