I’m Back…

I am now home and settled in after an awesome trip to Ohio and Illinois. And, for those who might be interested, my light packing worked out well! The best thing was definitely having versatile skirts. I never wore the same outfit ensemble twice, and never even got around to wearing one of the skirts I took. The nude pumps and converse shoes got me everywhere I needed to go without a problem. In the summer, I might opt for a nice pair of sandals in place of the pumps.

On another note, while I was gone, the seasons completely changed!

I have this thing about snapping pictures of our mailbox through the seasons. So, now you can visualize just how dramatic this season change was!

March 5th, before my trip...

March 5th, before my trip…

Three of my best friends enjoying some high-powered sledding... If I'm not mistaken (heavy coats make this challenging) this is Kyle (driving), Willa (riding), and Paul (sledding).

Three of my best friends enjoying some high-powered sledding… If I’m not mistaken (heavy coats make this challenging), this is Kyle – driving, Willa – riding, and Paul – sledding.

Sam & Luke walking home after the sledding...

Sam & Luke walking home after the sledding…

That was quite a day! I LOVE living so close to most of my best friends. These last-minute snow days, and all our other various and sundry adventures make life around here more than a little amazing.

While visiting my sister and her family in Illinois, all signs of winter at home disappeared.

March 27th

March 27th

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I’ve been really enjoying these beauties.

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Review: Arnold’s Meat & 3

Today was our family’s semi-annual dental appointment. It’s a family event, and generally, since Dr. Foster is in Nashville, it’s a day-trip. We’ll all have our teeth cleaned, then snoop around Nashville in search of new-to-us restaurants/destinations to enjoy.

Click on the image to see their FaceBook page.

Our search today led to Arnold’s Meat & 3. From the road, it looked like a place I wouldn’t have dared to go in. It’s tiny, tucked back with a small sign – no prominence whatsoever. It kind of looked like a place that didn’t want to be found. But, since it comes pretty highly recommended, we found a parking spot.

A note on the parking: We arrived right during the lunch-rush. The parking was scarce, at best, and the line was impressively long the whole time. But, they kept the line moving, so there was very little wait time.

The clientele was incredibly diverse, and the service/hospitality very friendly. We had heard that it was a good place to get real southern food… And, since that’s what we eat here at home, I have high standards. In most restaurants, (like Cracker Barrel, for instance) I find that the vegetables tend to be undercooked and under-seasoned for my preference. Glory be! My turnip greens from Arnold’s were well-seasoned and cooked! Of course, they were a little different than how we make them. But, as far as I can remember, they were the best turnip greens I’ve ever eaten away from home. Woohoo!

I also really enjoyed my fried catfish. I could seriously go for some more of that…

Since we’re usually adventurous, and ready for a new or unique experience when it comes to food, we all split a slice of “Hot Pepper Chocolate Pie”. Folks, that was delicious! It’s definitely worth a try, if you’re in the area!

With friendly faces, tasty food, and unique options, I’d say this is a great find!

Chick Flicks

To pack movies, or not to pack movies? Hmm. That’s to be determined. But, here’s a list (off the top of my head) of favorite chick flicks that I am considering traveling with this coming week (some, if not all, I usually watch with ClearPlay):

This is my go-to favorite. It suits basically any mood I’m in, and I love it every time. I also really enjoy the older version with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn.

This one can use a bit of ClearPlay, but is so much fun every time we watch it!

This is definitely a family favorite. It’s funny, light-hearted, and ultra-quotable.

I know, I know. It’s really nothing compared to A&E’s 1995 version… But, it’s a lot shorter, and I think it’s a pretty movie. I still really enjoy it.

Florida??? But what about swim suits???

Those of us who have been on this deliberate journey through figuring out modesty and dressing respectably will probably all agree that swimwear is… tricky. That shows too much skin. That’s ultra modest, but I can’t swim in it to save my life – literally. That one really compromises my standards… But, that one makes me look muslim.

Part of dressing respectably is trying to keep in mind what your clothes are saying about you. I am not Amish, Mennonite, Quaker, Mormon, or Muslim, and I really don’t want people thinking that I am. If you’ve never had to work through this issue, just trust me: the struggle is real.

So, my family is getting ready to go to the beach with a couple of other families. We’ve never done a trip like this before, and we’re all really excited. But, seeing as we leave in just a few short days, and I will be out of town for most of those days, I really need to figure out what to pack. Here’s what I’ve been doing for swimwear for the past few years. No, it doesn’t solve everything, but it works.

  • Capris – something you feel comfortable swimming in, and preferably from material that won’t hold too much water.
  • T-Shirt – spandex works great. Look for swim shirts, or other athletic shirts for water-wicking, stretchy material.
  • Short skirt (I like to cover my hips for a little added modesty), or dress – again, look for swim-appropriate materials.

I have noticed that a layer of sheer material over the top or skirt (such as with the skirt and olive-colored dress above) can help with maintaining modesty. The material sheds water quickly, and won’t cling to your body as long when you come out of the water.

I have successfully found lots of options like these at Goodwill through the years. So, you can come away with several swimwear options for hardly any cash!

There ya go. It’s not too complicated after all!

Travel Style – Pajamas

Kyle and I are getting ready to hit the road again for a few days. We’ll be staying at our band leader’s house, so it’s like a second home. This makes staying there very easy and stress-free – but doesn’t completely eliminate the need for thinking through what I’ll pack.

I’ll probably pack a couple of bling-y black outfits for on stage, a pair of boots, a pair of stilettos, and all that jazz. That shouldn’t be much different than any other performance.

And, when we’re on the road, I’ll probably be in something comfortable, but stylish enough for shopping, etc. Hopefully, this won’t be a big deal either.

But, what about pajamas? I could pack something that I would only allow myself to wear in my bedroom. Hmm. But, that’s impractical, seeing as I share a bathroom with my brother, and sometimes another band member. Plus, there’s the fact that, after getting back from the gig, I’ll want to shower and change into pajamas… probably awhile before actually going to bed. Yep. I need something decent.

Ever found yourself in such a position? Here’s what I’ve done to solve the conundrum.

Find some comfy “Yoga” pants (I prefer them to be loose-fitting, like the ones shown above, for added modesty.), and pair them with a basic tank top.

Throw a fun tunic or short dress over this, and you’re ready to settle in for the evening – without the necessity of a robe.

At this point, I like to go ahead and take my hair down, too. So, I pack some knit headbands, and voila! My hair is out of the way, with the comfort of being down. When it’s time to hit the sack, I’ll use the headband to tie up my high ponytail for effortless, voluminous hair the next day.

Traveling Entertainment

I’m talking about when you’re on the road for hours on end, wondering how to pass the time. You’re tired. You’ve seemed to exhaust every semi-interesting conversation topic. And, as “shotgun”, it’s still your job to keep the driver awake.

Kyle and I travel together for at least 4 hours every week (all in one day). Sometimes, it’s twice that, or more. So, we’re getting lots of practice at keeping each other awake, and finding ways to enjoy the trip. Here are a few things we do frequently:

  • Listen to the radio (often The Big 98, or 95.5, and sometimes Hippie Radio), and “critique” songs. We pull them apart from an artistic perspective. Why do we like the feel of this song? The chords? The instrumentation? Why is it catchy? Is it the lyric structure (regardless of the quality of the story it tells)? Perhaps the voice? etc. We’re geeky this way, I guess. We even sometimes talk about what color the songs are…
Or, you could always pass the time by taking wild selfies. ;-)

Or, you could always pass the time by taking wild selfies. 😉

  • Work on Song writing. We’re not great at it. In fact, seeing as we don’t even sing any of our songs, I’d say we’re probably pretty bad at it. But, it’s a skill worth having, and an activity worth doing. Long car rides are the perfect platform.
  • Talk theology. Haha, with a brother like mine, this one can be very effective at producing lots of stimulating conversation. What’s been on your mind lately? What theological topic has been confusing for you? Which topics do you need to understand how to defend more effectively? etc.

  • Listen to Audio Books. This, I think is our favorite. We’ve listened to all of Radio Theatre’s production of the “Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis, along with Les Miserables, and another one or two. We’re currently listening to “Barnaby Rudge” by Charles Dickens, read by Mil Nicholson, via Librivox.org. We download enough chapters to take us to our destination, and enjoy it the whole way. Mil Nicholson is my favorite reader so far, I think. We’ve also listened to (the entirety of?) “Sherlock Holmes” (various readers) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I HIGHLY recommend checking them out, and downloading some classics ASAP. 🙂

What do y’all like to do on those long car rides?

Fashion Hacks for the Ladies

Click on the image to see the whole list…

I found a list of fashion hacks on Country Outfitter… These were a few of my favorites. I definitely need to try a couple!

  • V-Neck Sweaters add length and height to a short torso.
  • Beautiful scarves are easy to tuck into your carry-on and double as a wrap to keep you warm while traveling.
  • Want your legs to appear longer in that cute skirt? Wear a flesh colored pump.
  • Attach a safety pin to each of your bra straps. That way you’ll always have one if needed.

Do y’all have any favorite fashion tips/hacks?