Friday, July 22, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things :: Summer Edition

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things..."

Don't you just love that song from The Sound of Music? I do, and it's inspired a new blogging topic called, "A Few of My Favorite Things"! My plan is to do a post for my "favorite things" each season - Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. Over time, I might expand and post other "favorite things" here and there. I'd love it if you'd do your own blog of summertime "favorite things" and leave the link in a comment so I can read yours too!

#1 - Fresh cut flowers 

Okay.... to be honest, I love fresh flowers in my house year-round, but there's something about summer colored floral arrangements actually in the summer! My favorites are these orange/coral roses or bright pink roses (with just about anything!), blue and white arrangements (roses, hydrangeas, delphinium, etc), and any combination of yellow and purple (daffodils, statice, sunflowers, irises, roses, lavender, etc). And to save money, I'll even cut wildflowers from the back yard. There are few things happier than a daisy!

I am in love with this new rose bowl (also called a flower frog) that my husband and I found antiquing a few weeks ago. (Okay...okay... I was antiquing. Meanwhile, my husband was playing with the fake sword in the antique shop and giving me a heart attack by how close he was getting to all the breakables!) I'd been looking for one ever since my friend from college, James, wrote about them on his blog. A rose bowl is the PERFECT way to ensure a full floral arrangement, and it looks great on my end table! I wasn't wild about the base at first, as I was looking for something more formal (see - heavy silver bowl) but it's growing on me. I'm hoping I'll find a couple more that I like better on future antiquing trips :)

#2 - Hammocks

Who doesn't love a hammock? There are few things more peaceful than swinging lazily in a hammock in the summer sun, staring up at a bright blue sky. Honestly, I feel more peaceful just seeing my hammock outside on the back porch! When it's there, that means it's officially summer!

#3 - Petites Tahitian Green nail polish

I got this little bottle of polish for 98 cents at WalMart, and I am in LOVE with it! I'm pretty much obsessed with green right now - specifically emerald green or that lovely turquoise color that's everywhere these days. When I saw this color I just had to have it! It reminds me of the color of the ocean in Thailand, and it's just so much fun for summer. I've only tried it on my toes though - not sure if I'd like green fingernails!

                                           #4 - A Thai Two-Piece

I hate swimsuit shopping. Who doesn't?! It is torture of the cruelest kind! Even in college - when I had a personal trainer, killer abs, and was winning swimsuit awards in Miss Alabama preliminaries (those were the days! *sigh) I still hated swimsuit shopping! I could try on 50 suits and maybe, just maybe, find one I liked. There's just way too much that can go wrong when that much of your body is exposed! So when I saw this gorgeous green and black print (did I mention I am loving green right now?) in the night market in Thailand, I was almost too afraid to buy it! It was so pretty, but the odds of buying a swimsuit from a street vendor (without trying it on) and having it fit (much less look good) were pretty slim. Still - at $10 - I just couldn't resist. Imagine my surprise when I got home and it not only fit - it was the most flattering, comfortable swimsuit I'd ever owned! I especially love the fact that
it's strapless - so no more terrible tan lines to deal with!

                                     #5 - Arbonne's "Awaken" lotion

There is one thing I HATE about summer - those blasted mosquitoes! But I also hate putting bugspray full of harmful pesticides on my skin (did you know everything you put on your skin absorbs into your bloodstream in 26 seconds?! Eek!) and the smell of citronella (which is in almost every natural bug repellent). So it seems I had 3 options - get eaten by mosquitoes, put harmful pesticides on my skin, or smell like disgusting citronella.... until now!

Several years ago, some other Arbonne consultants told me that the Awaken lotion (formulated as an aromatherapy line) kept away mosquitoes. Naturally, I was skeptical. If it didn't have pesticides or citronella, how would it work?! So - a friend of mine and I tested it for ourselves in India - against mosquitoes that didn't just BITE - they also carried malaria. Turns out - those women were RIGHT! Apparently, mosquitoes don't like the scent of lavender or lemon peel oil. This amazing lotion that smells fresh and summery (and isn't strong at all!) actually did keep the mosquitoes away - as long as it was applied to ALL my exposed skin. I was THRILLED! Now I recommend it to everyone, especially my friends with kids! It's my go-to summer lotion. And the good news for guys is - it doesn't smell "girly" at all, so you can use it too!

            #6 - Summer Reading

Go ahead.... call me a dork, or a bookworm, but I miss my childhood "Summer Reading Programs"! Not the terrible literature forced on me by my high school teachers or college professors (okay, it wasn't all bad... but I hate being forced to read something I didn't choose!) but the programs put on by local libraries to encourage kids to read during their summers off. My mother used to enroll us kids in BOTH programs - at the Anniston and Oxford Public Libraries. There were summers I'd read 80 books (40 for each library) and I couldn't have been happier!

Sadly, over time reading for fun has been put on the backburner. I blame my Southern English professor for forcing me to read an entire semester of books I HATED my senior year of college. I never fully recovered! So - this summer - I'm doing something about it. I'm making time to read for fun  - even if it's just a few chapters before bed every night. Last week I started "I Still Dream About You" by Fannie Flag. It's a fictional story (that I'm loving!) about a former Miss Alabama and it's set in Birmingham. It only took about 4 chapters before I was homesick for Alabama and missing my Miss Alabama Pageant friends!

#7 - These pictures....

I'll finish this off with one of my favorite summer pictures of me and my husband. Okay... maybe two of my favorites (I couldn't choose between them!) These were taken by Rosie Gearhart, who hired us to model for her iStock portfolio. I'm pretty sure we have a picture for every season thanks to her - and I'll do my best to pick my favorite and share it with you on a similar blog in Fall, Winter, and Spring too!

I just love these shots. We were so genuinely happy here... we laughed a lot that day!

Okay - your turn! What are your favorite things for summer?


  1. OH honey... I NEED that Awaken lotion. Get this... a mosquito got into our place tonight and bit me five times: back of my neck, base of my back, ankle, twice on the foot. Then another one came along and bit me three times on the other foot. *itchy itchy* Not to mention all the vacations that have been ruined from bug bites (By the way, Ericka, "ruined" is BARELY an exaggeration).

    Great list!

  2. YAY! Katie took my blog challenge! Read about her favorite summer things here: