our picturesque fall afternoon

Last Saturday, we took a break from carnival rides, kettle corn, and fair food to support our Tigers at D's parent's house.

That afternoon was:
hay bale-sitting

My Halloween? Since we gathered with some costumed friends on Saturday, tonight it's just me, lamp light, left over party punch, applesauce, and my to-do list. Come home, D!



One night last week, the temperature took a sudden down-turn, and Dustin couldn't take it any longer. He made one of these:

Yes, a real, wood-burning fire. It's one of our apartment's saving graces.

Since we jumped the gun a little, we had to snuggle on the other side of the room while trying not to complain of the heat. And then we turned back on the air conditioning.

In the spirit of Fall and tight schedules [and because I wanted to contribute to the fam's snack food this weekend], I whipped up a semi-homemade pumpkin double doozy.

I baked some of those cookies with the pictures in them. You know, they really aren't that good. But there is something about them that makes me feel that I need to buy at least one pack for each season. Here's the trick: seven minutes. The package says eight to ten, but don't let them back a second past the seven minute mark.

For the filling, I literally grabbed everything in my pantry that made shouted "Autumn" and "sweet."

6 oz of cream cheese
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
As little or as much cinnamon as you prefer [I probably used about 1/2 Tbsp.]

I put a dollop of filling between two cookies and let them sit so that the filling would stiffen. They were g-o-o-d.  And that's coming from a girl raised to believe that made-from-scratch cookies are the only kind of cookies.

I think the extended Jenkins family enjoyed them too. Too bad about half of them disappeared before we even made it there thanks to all that fair-goer traffic.

Happy Fall, y'all!


Abigail becomes an Anderson: a wordy post

Let me start by saying happy one month anniversary, Abigail and Benjamin. It's taken me this long to conjure up the emotional stamina to write this post.

In 2011, I attended seven weddings between January and September - five of which I was in. One being my own. And the year of the wedding is, without a doubt, my favorite of my twenty-two [almost twenty-three].

This marathon of nuptials culminated with a quick weekend trip to Savannah, GA - the destination of our first best friend road trip and the place we lent our Abby to for the last four years.

I flew back for Abs' birthday a of couple years ago, but there was something momentous about being there again with a new hubs in tow and each of the four families. My sister, brother-in-law and niece came. And Ash's grandparents made the trip from Louisiana.

I somewhat floated through that weekend not allowing myself to sit firmly on my emotions being as fragile as they were. The boundary between me being a joy-filled bridesmaid and a blubbering mess was certainly flimsy. You see, when it comes to a wedding of a friend or family member, I celebrate this brand new family as well as the life I've shared with the breath-taking bride. I may have done it silently [those flimsy emotions shatter when I try to express them verbally], but I found myself basking in the warmth of a deep, worn, well-known friendship. I am flooded by memories so much that my mind cannot grasp the relationship's depth. It can only wrap around the fact that moving forward is the only option now. This wedding meant, once again, linking arms with these friends and stepping into a new phase of life. I'll forever be aware of what a gift that is. They had done it for me just two months earlier. Hannah ended their poem at our rehearsal dinner with, "...you're not getting rid of us." A favorite saying of mine. What a gift.

For Ash, Hannah, and myself, what lingered between the top of our heads and the low-hanging, moss-filled oaks of the Georgia coast was the fact that this arm-linked step would be a tremendous one. Abigail was moving to Illinois, and we didn't know when we'd lay eyes on her again. But arm-linked it was. And stepping we were.

As for events, it was a blast - a weekend filled with new experiences. My very favorite kind.

Friday brought an early morning roadtrip with the fam, an unexpected reunion in the hotel, sharing clothes with Ash, rehearsing in a charming church shaded by moss and low-hanging limbs, our first low country shrimp boil [the other half's version of a crawfish boil], a slightly tearful speech, a trip to Tybee, catch-up time with Rach [Abs' big sister], a white-washed beach house, an armadillo cake, pretty little unmentionables, and four bunk beds for four best friends.

On Saturday morning we were awaken with the sounds of four mamas and a sister - Ruston had come to Tybee. It was comical, of course. They all had obviously had their coffee way before us. They were giving hugs and serving breakfast and asking questions and laughing about our need for our own reality TV show. They brought more than cut fruit and egg casseroles. They brought an emotion-deepening reminder that we don't just share lives, we share families. They brought familiarity to a place we'd never been. And they brought us a piece of that home town togetherness that we didn't know [and still don't know] when we'll taste again.

The afternoon was the familiar whirlwind of hair, makeup, pictures, dresses, steaming, prayer, and the moment the dress goes on. One of my favorite instances of that weekend was when Abs, after putting on her dress and looking perfectly ready to go, looks in the mirror and says, "Do we think it needs the sash? Let's try the sash." She grabbed it out of her wedding day bag and requested a small bow. I loved that it was perfectly Abigail - the queen of last minute outfit adjustments. And I loved that I was blessed enough to know that about her.

All of a sudden, the music was playing, my chin was quivering and my eyes were bouncing from my sweet, smiling husband to my neighboring best friends and bridesmaids, to my wonderful family, to the mother of the bride, to the groom, and to the bride herself being escorted by her equally lip-quivering father. I clinched my bouquet, tried not to bend my knees, worshipped, cried, and smiled.

The rest of September 24, 2011 was spent snapping party pics, cutting the wedding cake while learning how to cut a wedding cake, and taking turns dancing with D, Audrey, and the girls in the thick, late-summer air while surrounded by string lights and green seersucker and cotton stalks. If it's the last dance party we have for a while, it was a great one to end on.

When it was time to go, we hugged Abs tightly, said we'd talk to her in a week, and went and got our spot at the front of the sparkler line. We successfully smiled and hollered her all the way to their "Just Married"-clad car until we let reality turn into a puddle of tears and Ash feeling like she was going to be sick. I laugh now at what the rest of their guests must of thought of us with our pitiful faces as I hugged D tightly and Hannah and Ash gripped one another. So thrilled for our newlywedded sister, so heartsick at seeing her drive out of sight, and yet, so determined that there will be a next time.

With these friendships, as well as any loved-ones that I may live far away from one day, I will not spend the rest of our existence wishing for a shorter drive time. We may have to shop together via picture texts and send birthday gifts in a Fed Ex box and give video tours of our homes and splurge on plane tickets when we just can't take it any longer. Regardless, I will celebrate with their everydays and with their pivotal days. And I will celebrate the technology and love that makes our lives seem closer.


Montgomery Holiday Market

Last weekend, I headed near the home of the those poor, defeated tigers to check out the Montgomery Holiday Market. Like many cities, it is put on by the Montgomery Junior League and my sister just happened to be the chairman this year. As in: first in command. Top dog. You get the picture.

I couldn't miss seeing an entire year's worth of meetings and to-do lists and emails come together. And I knew, if Molly had the reigns, it would fabulous! It's safe to say that my mom's two girls got heavy doses of the take charge/planning gene.

There were great decorations:

And it was fun to get a pre-season taste of Christmas:

There were lost of people:

So many that someone thought this was necessary:

There were even activities for kids:

Santa even made an appearance. Audrey loves him:

All in all, I was a proud little sis. Way to go, Moll!

The rest of the weekend was spent celebrating the event's success with rich Italian food and making Audrey's Halloween costume. More about that soon.


wheelin' and dealin': the maxi skirt

Ladies and gentleman, the hunt is over.

I know. With maxi skirts being superbly popular this season, there are shelf-fulls every where you look. Trust me, I know. I've tried on every last one of them. The girls at Dillards probably whisper to one another, "there's that crazy girl coming to try on more maxi skirts," whenever they see me.

I guess I was being a little picky. And, for a girl whose mama and sister taught her how to wear flattering clothes, the bod wasn't loving the maxi. I had pretty much given up the search. And then I went to Forever 21.

Oddly enough, I cannot find this skirt on F21's website so I've posted a very similar style from Top Shop. But that doesn't stop me from sharing. Why? Because it was $12.50. Full price. Black non-knit maxi skirt. $12.50. Cheap and body-loving. 100% worth the digging/hunting through Forever. Oh and comfortable. My gracious it's comfortable. And it was $12.50.

Get yourself a fall maxi.

But no maxi-wearing for me this weekend. Just boots and jeans and button downs. We're headed to the Washington Parish Fair [the largest free fair in the country!] and could not be more excited after this ca-razy week of ours. Photos to come!


bucket list

As a part of this little mini face-lift, I've added some pages and links underneath our blog banner. I wanted to quickly share our way of keeping our bucket list which you can find here.

Like the page says, we were [like many engaged couples] big dreaming of what this life is going to look like as we were wrapping our minds around the fact that we get to share it. Forever. Lord willing.

In high school, I had a thin, heavily creased piece of paper tucked away in my wallet with a list of life goals. When Dustin and I started comparing notes and merging lists, it turned into a quick craft project. Shocker.

I used:
  • A cheap spiral-bound sketch book off Hobby Lobby's clearance rack
  • A scrap of muslin fabric [super inexpensive and gives it that natural look] [next time I would cut it using pinking shears]
  • My typewriter alphabet stamps and black ink pad
  • Two colors of cross-stitching fabric [and a needle, of course]

For the front, I measured how much fabric it would take to wrap the strip around the entire cover and secure on the inside. I marked off the area that would show on the front so I could have my title centered. I stamped the words, obviously, and stitched the bucket.

Don't let the embroidery scare you. I am no expert, yet I incorporate this into craft projects fairly often. I have found that the back stitch is simple while still looking solid. You can draw or trace your design with a light pencil before it if would make you feel better. I probably should have done that here - my bucket got a little crooked.

After it was all done, I secured it on the inside cover by hot gluing the two ends together and then then the strip to the cover.

I wanted the book to not only hold our list, but memories of times when we checked off those items. For each goal that we had on our list so far, I designated a page for it with the alphabet stamps. I don't seem to have the stamina for all of scrapbooking's layers and stickers and paper, so I plan for this to be a simple photo glued to the page and a recap of the best moments.

Here's to stuffing that book starting...now.


wheelin' and dealin': the first post of its kind

I realized, after the brilliant beyond brilliant deal-find for my sister last night, that I've been raised with a love of a good deal. Never do I buy just for the sake of a lower price. You've got to really like your purchase for the experience to be complete. And the best is when you don't realize you are getting a good deal until after you get to the register. You have successfully conquered the department store prices. Makes you want to run through the store ripping off all those little perforated price tags. No? Just me? 

And, because of that love, I've decided to attempt to regularly post these discoveries in the hopes that you'll get a share in them as well.

Deal #1: Anthropologie Shanti Paisley Bedskirt, twin size
Originally: $48.00 // Sale price: $14.95+shipping

Our guest bed is a little too neutral, and I have been looking for a bold bed skirt to mix with other patterns. Let me go a head and tell you that they only have it in a twin size. But, for $15, I might would even get it make some pretty pillows if you have larger mattresses. But you'll be seeing it on our twin guest bed.

Deal #2: Old Navy Scoop neck layer tee
Originally: $16.94 // Sale price: $12.50 [at the register]

Ok, so the price isn't that much different. In fact, I thought I was purchasing it full price until I was paying for it. It rings up for over $4 cheaper and comes in several colors. It has a pretty neckline [in the front and back] and sleeve length. Just one of those shirts you always find yourself needing when putting together an outfit.

Deal #3:  Steve Madden Ashleey Suede Wedge Boot
Originally: $149.95 [on Steve Madden's website] // Sale price: $63.47

My sister sends me a photo of boots she is trying on, I tell her no, and she tells me about these Steve Madden ones that she really wants, but they don't have her size. Us McMahone girls were blessed with ginormous feet. Anyway, I quickly Google the style and find them on 6PM for over 50% off while other stores still have them full price. Needless to say, I made her night.

Love a good deal.


happy birthday, little blog

Two short years ago today, I braved the blog world. And two years later, I’m very glad I did. I’m glad for the mini face lifts it has experienced. I’m glad to have been faced with why to blog and why not to blog. I’m glad for an outlet to develop in writing when sometimes I regret not majoring in journalism. Honest moment.

And that’s where you, a very important component, come in. You faithfully read and offer your kind encouragement. And, because of that, I attempt to hold myself to a little bit higher standard every time I click “New Post.” Not for the approval but for the challenge of gathering all these racing thoughts and for a commitment fulfilled. And, most importantly, a way to share this vapor of a life. I’m OK with blogging enhancing community as long as we fuse it in to our real world lives. I firmly believe the Lord made one me and one you and no one exactly the same yet every single one of us according to His flawless will. And it doesn’t seem quite right for me the blogger to be different from me the employee or me the wife and friend. Responsibilities and roles may change, but not who you are at your core. And, if it can be like that, I think the blog world and real world will continue to blend real nice like.

So let this post be strictly a thank you for your readership and support. You may have no idea that you are having this effect. But, you are. Because it takes me + you to share. And I really like to share. And, if you would be willing, I’d love to hear from you too. I’d love to hear if you relate or disagree or like something or have suggestions for how to make things better. Or how your day is or when you’re free for coffee. Anything, really.

Hopes for growth aside, I will be blissfully happy with you few loyal subscribers for ever and ever. Thanks again. And happy birthday, little blog.


mantel excitement and a download!

The mantel happens to be something D and I were both very excited to have in our little apartment. Me, because I couldn't wait to decorate it. He actually just appreciates what's underneath - the fireplace. He cannot wait to burn some firewood when it gets colder. Us Louisianians might be on the verge of colder weather. Oh please, oh please!

Decorating and fires aside, my hope is that, even if we're in apartment 235 for short amount of time, that this beloved mantel and fireplace will offer friends and family a place to gather. We're learning how to nestle those times into D's ever-so-insane schedule. I'm beginning to think he's superman. Secret is out, mister.   

Our newlywed space is just about put together, but consider this a preview. Besides, everything else has been lived in and is not so photo-ready.

Here's the breakdown:

1. The height:  dried wheat. I'm into wheat these days.
2. The anchor:  a large empty frame with my book page wreath that I made my junior year of college while Dustin, Katelyn and I were watching a movie. It's that easy.
3. The balance:  one of my prized possessions. My sister gave me this piece by Montgomery artist Donnie Sasser.
4. The layer:  a reclaimed wood frame [which adds a little shab] that I got supa-cheap at T.J. Maxx. Similar one here.
5. Fillers:  Lots of mercury glass. Thanks to the wedding, its on every surface of our home. If you want some of your own, Ballard Designs has a great assortment. My favorites are silhouettes that D gave me for my birthday.
6. More layers and inspiring words:  a print I made of 2 Corinthians 12:9 with the ever-popular chevron print [see below]. It's an 8x10 and you can download it here. I printed it on a professional printer on cardstock and put it in a floater frame which I bought with my 40% Hobby Lobby coupon.

If I'm honest with myself, I'll get antsy and this mantel will be changing soon. And I'll probably decorate it for Christmas on November 28.