Good Old American Values

"The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, our faiths. That is the bedrock of what makes America, America."   ~Mitt Romney

Well said, Governor Romney!


Wine Brunch Prep!

This time next week we will be prepping for the Annual Lexington Wine {and Beer this year} Festival held here in Little 'ol Rockbridge. Don't let it fool  you - it's a darn good time!  AND with wine comes food and a reason to through a brunch!  Which means... fun food and crafty decor!!

I have a few ideas in mind...

We have more corks than you can shake a fist at - so these bad boys, will be in full supply! 

Yummy Breakfast Casserole's are a must for the guys in the group!

I wish a had a better picture to share, but my Mother's homemade cinnamon rolls and sausage pinwheels will be on the table - and I can't wait! She only makes them once a year on Christmas morning, and since I can't be there this year to divulge, I decided what better occasion to have them than for wine festival!?!

 I think Meg mentioned fruit ka-bobs!  Can you please make my fruit into butterflies and flowers??  :)

....and what brunch isn't complete with out mimosas and bloody mary's!  We have the juicer and a full basket of oranges ready... and enough bloody mary mix to get everyone feeling a little happy!! 

Any more fun brunch ideas??  


Wall Makeover

Last weekend the hubs and I decided to do some antiquing {browsing} and see if we could find some new items for the house.  We found this fabulous guy below and {I} decided he would be the perfect focal point for a new wall collage. I feel like wall collages are the new trendy thing in decorating - don't just put up one large picture... no no, you need lots of random items that you can stick together and make a funky new accent wall in your house.

The owl fit the bill. He was funky and fun, but not too out there.  Too bad I'm not a Chi Omega - that would have been perfect.  I know you are asking - why the owl? I dunno.  I just picked him up and thought, this could be fun!

So, here we are - we have an owl. Now what?  I knew we wanted to include some pictures in the wall makeover, so we stopped in at Ross and found three different ones that were all similar colors, but different sizes.  If you're looking for frames - Ross and TJ Maxx are the place to shop.  They have the best selection and let's just say the price is cheap right!

We got home and cleaned the wall, mapped out our dimensions and decided that we needed more funkiness. I had seen people use mason jars on the wall to decorate. So, I grabbed a mason jar and some picture mounting wire and added the mason jar to the mix. But - he needed something more. I couldn't find any neat sticks, but I did have some green sprigs of berries in my craft box... we added those to the mason jar, and ta-da! He looks great!

After hanging the entire collection - we found another brass frame that complimented the owl well, but decided to wait and add it to the wall when I received my last piece. Our wooden monogram.  They are all over Pinterest and Etsy - I finally caved and bought just an L from Southern Proper Monograms just for the wall.  I wanted to full monogram - but the hubs said that was a little much. Guess we'll have to wait and use that in a baby's room  - or maybe on a wreath!

For now, the wall is up and it's a fun addition to the Lyons' den!  I'll post new pics after it's complete.

Until then, Happy Wednesday!


Home-grown Salsa

Summertime is full of many great things... fresh air, beach time, BBQ's and my new favorite, fresh veggies from the garden!  I will say, this whole garden thing is new for me.  My great-grandfather was a superb farmer, but growing up in West-Mobile I didn't really do much farming.  Now, living in small town Virginia... everyone has their own garden!  We have been blessed this season with armfuls of fresh veggies from co-workers and friends and even a few form our own little garden!

Thanks to our fabulous friends Suz and Walt, who filled our veggie basket last week, we decided to give homemade salsa a try. This was our first stab at the recipe - but it turned out delicious!!

Our Spicy Salsa Recipe:

3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
2 large Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, finely diced {we left the seeds in for some extra kick!}
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1/4 of a large onion
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
*extra garlic salt and pepper to taste!

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and salt to taste. Refrigerate for 45 minutes before serving.



The Masters gets a Touch of Grace

For those of you that are golf fans, you have most likely heard the latest news - for the first time in the 80 year history of August National, they have invited a women {or two to be exact} to wear the famous green jackets. Kudos to August National Chairman, Billy Payne! 

"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership," Payne said in a statement. "It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their green jackets when the club opens this fall. This is a significant and positive time in our club's history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family." ~ Billy Payne

The first two women to wear the famous green jackets will be, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore. 


Baked Oatmeal

What a fabulous low-key and fun weekend!  I guess that's what makes Monday's so hard...

I wanted to share with you a recipe I made on Saturday that were so easy and really delicious! This breakfast casserole was a little different than most that I've had. No sausage, eggs and biscuits in this one... it's baked oatmeal!! It's sweet, but pretty healthy if you follow my recipe below:

Baked Oatmeal Casserole
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6


2 cups oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon light salt
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup fresh cut strawberries 
{1 cup blueberries - I would use next time}
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups fat free or low fat milk
1 large egg {or egg substitute equivalent}
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the walnuts, half the berries and all the chocolate chips. (Save the other half of the berries & walnuts for the top of the oatmeal).
In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract.

Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on top. 

Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. 

Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. 
For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar.

The first time I made it I used more chocolate chips - which it did not need. I also cut the brown sugar in half (like I listed above.)  I think I'll be making this one for the local wine festival in a few weeks - it would be great for a crowd! The serving sizes are also pretty small to be satisfied - needless to say, we are still enjoying this delicious dish!  


My folks!

Happy Anniversary to two of the most amazing people ever!!! I am so blessed to have such caring, loving, fun parents {that would give their left arm for us}. I love you so much and just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful example you have set for all three of us!

 38 years and more in love than ever before!  

Mom & Dad on their wedding day ~ August 17, 1974 ~ St. Pius Catholic Church, Mobile, AL

Our wedding, May 21, 2011 

The Anniversary happy I made for them.  Thanks for the idea, Etsy!


My Before 30 Bucket List!

This list started last spring when I came across an article from the Huffington Post that talked about 30 things that every women must know/have before 30. It made me think about 30 things I would like to do before I'm 30 {which is now less than 15 months away}, so I started my list and as I think of items I kept adding them on... until I {finally} reached 30!

My dear friend finally posted hers this week, so I decided to finish mine up and do the same.  I keep adding things and taking away others - and I know there are so many more things that I want wish I could do to do before I turn 30, but I figure this is a good place to start!  Since I first started the list I've crossed off a few this summer .... and started a blog. AKA, where the idea came from!

So, here we have it: my 30 before 30 Bucket List!

1. Take a design class - Adobe Captivate
2. Visit the BVI's
3. Make a t-shirt quilt with old t-shirts
4. Go to a show at the Lime Kiln
5. Start a blog
6. Plant a Garden
7. Go fishing with my dad - Labor Day 2013
8. Visit Uniontown, PA
9. Finish our Honeymoon scrapbook
10. Purchase nice jeans for myself
11. Join Life Loyal AOII
12. Complete our china for 8!
13. Finish the Harry Potter trilogy 
14. Visit MASS with the Lyons'
15. Start Recycling!
16. Take a class in Sewing {in person, online or read a book}
17. Run a race with Jesse {a 5K will do!} - Autumn Ridge 5K
18. Grind my own coffee
19. Take a dance class
20. Hike House Mountain
21. Throw a {hopefully Mango} baby shower
22. Go snow-skiing
23. Order our wedding album
24. Bake a cake from scratch
25. Purchase a home computer/iPad
26. Visit NYC at Christmas time! 
27. Pick apples from an Apple Farm.
28. Buy a piece of pottery {Did this one yesterday!}
29. Pay off my after College CC
30. Give the Jeepster AC

Wish me luck... I'm off.


10 Years & 1 Bid Later

10 Years... It seems like a really long time when you think about where you'll be in 10 years... or what you'll be doing in 10 years... or maybe your nephew is 10 years old {woof - that ones hard to stomach, join the club} ... 10 years seems like entirety!  Unless it's in the past. Like your 10 year high school reunion {checked that one off this year} or the 10 years that you lived in your childhood home... or 10 years that you've been married or dating.

This month marks the 10th Anniversary of when I packed up my blue little jeep with picture frames, bedding, lamps, books, school supplies, my very first lap-top computer {and every piece of clothing, jewelry & shoes that I owned} and headed north to the plains of Auburn.

I was so ready for my freshman year of college - and for Sorority Recruitment!  I think back now to how I felt attending the parties and meeting new girls - I loved it! So much so, that my roommate and I would come home at night and tell stories about how hilarious xyz sorority was, and ridiculous abc sorority looked jumping up and down and bopping their heads to the music. Now, don't get me wrong - I LOVED recruitment... and everything that comes along with it... matching outfits, cheesy chats, slaving over decor and skits and outfits and speakers... and yes, even work-week. I loved it all!  But, when I read various girls blogs about how dumb it is and how they would never want to be a part of anything so superficial - I'm calling your bluff. Yes you do, it's just so overwhelming that you don't want to take the time to understand it and appreciate what it's all about. I get where you're coming from - parts are cheesy and silly - but that's what it's all about.  My wonderful freshman year roommate and I used to see who could tell the best story during each party. Said roommate once spent an entire party {yes, 20 minutes} talking about TCBY. The flavors, the shakes, how she loved eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner... working there... {almost} living there... where the closest one was to us, etc. It was amazing - but she had a blast and so did the girl. Guess what, they loved her - and she got invited back.  We would tell stories about crazy vacations we went on {only in our dreams} and about all our talents that we had {also in our dreams as well}. But most of the sororities bought it - and it seemed to work just fine for us. Really though, we were really just being ourselves. Yes - we worried about what we wore {terrible outfits that we thought were cute in 2002} and if they liked us. But, I'm so lucky that we were fortunate enough to really enjoy the whole crazy process too.  I think this was mostly in part because of my fabulous roomy - who kept it all light-hearted and fun - even once bid day arrived and we both opened our bids to chapters that we knew nothing about.  I cried.  She laughed. and our mom's didn't know what to do with us. The funny part of it all... we really had both been placed exactly where we needed to be and today - I don't think either of us would change a thing.

So that's why going through recruitment was so much fun for me - Yes, I will admit I knew what was going on - I knew how it worked - what to say and what to not say, how to act and make each and every chapter feel like THEY were the ones that I wanted on bid day. {Hey, I was just helping out my own cause.}  I did want to be with every one of them on bid day {I had lots of favorites} and really in the end it was just a toss up with who cut me first and who I had to cut because I couldn't fit another party in my schedule. But, looking back - I know now why God placed me in the hands of AOII. I was meant to do something spectacular with that bid - and I've spent the last 10 years trying.

So, as high school graduates around the country pack up their things and head off to college - I'm dripping with envy and excitement for what lies ahead. {I guess here is where I'm supposed to tell you why you should go through recruitment and why you should go Greek, but} I think that in the end - I just wanted to share my story and have a good laugh about the memories.

Thanks roomie for giving me such fond memories about being on the other side of Sorority Recruitment!  Most would say, "If I knew then what I know now..." Well, I'm kinda glad it all worked out the way it did - it was fun being in our shoes, 18 and clueless.


A healthy twist on my favorite dip!

I'm a snacker. Ask my husband and he will tell you... I love to snack and would absolutely prefer finger foods or appetizers in place of a meal any day of the week!  I think that my parents are the ones to thank for this snacking obsession  way or life. As a child I distinctly remember a snack always out on the bar before dinner... cheese and crackers were the usual fair, but occasionally we had veggie dips and pretzels, chex mix of some sort, peanuts, popcorn... veggie sticks and ranch - or another all time fav: anyone remember Twigs {those cheesy little sticks crackers} ... man did they go great with Hidden Valley Ranch dip.  Yum!

But, usually when it comes to parties and apps when we are out to eat - the safe choice for me will always be spinach dip!  You can almost guarantee what you'll get, and for sure I'm going to polish off half the bowl by myself.

So, last night on our monthly wally world run, I treated myself to spinach dip made with Greek yogurt! {While looking for a picture to share, I found this Trader Joe's version - which looks even more amazing!}

But what an awesome idea! My favorite dip can now be healthy?  {or at least make me feel like I'm being healthy - I mean, it is Greek yogurt!}

So, I did a little searching a found a great dip that  you can make at home. Simply Allis gives us a detailed version of the dip - which I mist try very soon.

You will need:
8oz, plain greek yogurt
8-9oz. fresh spinach
1/2 clove of garlic– minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
dash of cayenne pepper
For now, I'll be polishing off the tub I have at home. But next time I'll have to try her super easy recipe {or stop by a Trader Joe's}! 


Weekend Adventures

Good food, great fun and time well spent with awesome friends.... what a fun-filled weekend it was for the Lyons!  Friday was my last half-day Friday... so Kel and I treated ourselves to a pedi - and nice purple toes!  Kelly went with "Do you Lilac it" and I picked "Purple with a Purpose."

Friday night we checked out the newly renovated slightly updated sushi place in town with some great friends, the Hastings. Check out my meal - the Rockbridge Roll.  Let's just say it was divine.

We also capped off the night celebrating a summer interns departure ...back to Arkansas he went! {with a nice yard sale purchase in tow} Which, speaking off, ended up turning out pretty great! We made some good dough, met some nice people and donated everything else to Goodwill. Let's just say that it was worth getting up at 6am on a Saturday.  It does feel great to have a clean house {and car... and storage... and basement} too.

Saturday afternoon we joined some friends at their house on the river to do some rafting/exploring Rockbridge county.  It was an awesome time.... Jesse learned to paddle, Suz and I soaked up some rays and Walt did a little fishin {and rock diving, ha!} - then we all did a little cave exploration. So cool! There is so much to see and do right here in Rockbridge County - who would have ever known?  Suz and Walk have got it down - they live on the river, they have an amazing garden {which produces amazing meals for us to eat} and are full of life!  They are just the coolest couple. Thanks for a relaxing Saturday afternoon hanging with you guys - y'all are the best!

Sunday we made it to church {success} and then headed to Staunton for a little T.J. Maxx shopping!
First stop of the shopping day - Starbucks! Now, I'm not a huge Starbucks fan, but it was pretty cool to actually have one we could drive to {rather than in the airport coming or going through ATL or CLT - which is usually the one place we grab Starbucks} So, we had a nice Sunday shopping for new bedding {which I will share soon} and grabbing a few household items and clothes. We hit some amazing sale racks - such a steal. Love TJMaxx!! 

Pretty good weekend huh? I would have been satisfied... but it only got better from there! We met Matt & Megan in Waynesboro and went off to explore Afton, Virginia!  First stop -Afton Mountain Vinyard.

Awesome wine and beautiful views... mixed with fabulous company.. makes for a pretty good time.

Next stop was Wild Wolf Brewery. A new little restraunt just outside Wintergreen resort. Great beers {average food} and a fabulous atmosphere. It was a fun little getaway to the middle of Virgina. I forget just how many little nooks and crannies of this state there is to see.  So, J and I took the scenic route home through the national forest - and spend about an hour on roads like this...

It was a wonderful drive to top off a great weekend in Virginia. This weekend I was reminded how lucky we are to have such awesome friends surrounding us every turn of every day!

Here's to wonderful friends and awesome weekend adventures!


Garden progress

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is soaking up the last few days of summer and ready for a relaxing weekend. I just wanted to give you an update on one of our summer projects - our own garden - that is garden is looking pretty good, if I do say so myself!

We finally have fruit {YAY}! I snapped a few pictures this morning to give you an update on the progress.

Jesse is really the one to thank for all the hard work. I'm just there for moral support and watering. I just can't wait to enjoy some veggies from our labor of love veggie garden.

Cheers to a great weekend!




Last week I was nostalgic for summer to end... how I love the long sunny days by the pool, on the river... driving to find the closest beach we can sink our toes into.  But this week I have had a change of heart... I'm dying for crisp fall mornings, football Saturdays, the smell of BBQ across the plains of Auburn and bonfires late into the night with s'mores in abundance.

Not really sure why the sudden change of heart... but I am ready to pull on my Blue and Orange and head south for some football!  This is somewhat odd most would say... for a beach girl, who wears still packs her swimsuit on thanksgiving vacation just in case a warm day allows for some beach time! But, I guess being in Virginia kinda wears on you... something about the mountains and beautiful fall leaves that leaves you longing for them every fall.

So, today the hubs scooped me up for lunch and surprised me with a trip that took me back to the plains. 60 West Market - a hole in the wall quaint little place just on the outskirts of town has "Wild Wings Thursdays"... which means delicious BBQ wings, right off the smoker... and full of flavors of tailgating and fall!  We grabbed a box of 25 wings, a tub of macaroni salad and two bottled waters {plus some banana pudding I snagged on a trip back inside} and had a picnic right out front of the convenience store. With the smoker in full swing and the fall breeze on the way... I was in heaven!

Delicious wings! 

 Meet the grill-master! 
 ...and the view from the Market isn't too bad either! 

It was a brief trip, before hitting the sun on the way back to the car and realizing that summer is still, very much here.  :)  Maybe we'll sneak away for one more beach trip before the summer sneaks away... but I'm eager for fall and short cool days in the valley! 



I know I have blogged many times before about being crafty... but I forget to mention my best trait of all {or so my husband says} - my Thriftiness. I LOVE to find a bargain!  From clothes & accessories to household goods... and everything in between. I am always on the search.  More often than not, if I'm out of town and spot a Ross - I pull over for 20 minutes just to check the dresses...and household goods and decor aisles {ok, pretty much a quick run through the whole store only takes 20 minutes when you know what you're looking for} too! I can usually spot a good deal, but sometimes I buy it just for the price and then toss it to the back of the closet, maybe to be worn once.  So, this weekend - we have decided to rid our clutter once and for all and hold a YARD SALE!  Now, we have had a few in the past... but this time if it doesn't sell, it's going to Goodwill. Nothing comes back inside!

The hardest question for me - is how to price my items. So, tonight I was doing some research and found some great advice from the yard sale queen. Take a look at her blog - she's great!   She gives you some good pointers on keeping your eye out for those tricky customers... and also how to get the men to let their wives stop and shop.  I'll definitely be taking full advantage!

If you're out and about and looking for some deals Saturday - stop on by. The corner of Preston and Jefferson in Lex!  We got some great deals for everyone.


Be who you are!

Today is for a good friend of mine...

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind at all."  ~ Dr. Seuss