.the vine app.

So I have new social media obsession, and it's not Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

It's called Vine.

It's a new app (currently only available on the iPhone) that allows you to film 6-second videos then share them with your followers.

Just another addiction to add to the list!

Here's one of my uploads:

Follow me on Vine at martylou83.


.craft party.

Last night was SO. MUCH. FUN.

A group of girlfriends (there were 8 of us) got together and ate, made crafts and laughed.

My lovely friend Leslie hosted at her house, and she did a phenomenal job.

.the fabulous hostess.

I knew upon walking up to Leslie's house that this party was going to be epic. I mean, check out her front porch decor. So cute, right?!


Each one of us brought an appetizer, but Leslie provided everything else. And when I say everything, I mean she really thought of everything

.the yummy food bar.

.Leslie's hand-written chalk sign. Who does this stuff?? She's my new role model. 

Leslie provided a plethora of scrapbook paper, paint, ribbon, embellishments, etc.  There was such a variety, we were all able to find something we each liked for our magnetic boards, which was our first craft.


 The magnetic boards were so much fun to make! Leslie bought unfinished wood frames from Hobby Lobby and inserted aluminum sheets she found in the plumbing department in Lowe's. She actually had to hand cut each sheet to fit inside the frames.

We painted the edges of our frames then mod podged on our paper of choice, followed by as many embellishments as we pleased. You better believe our amazing hostess had a station for the hot glue gun as well as a variety of paints to choose from!


I love how each of our personalities were reflected in our finished products.



Our next craft was to make scented sugar scrub.

We were supplied with cute little jars, brown sugar, oil, and a variety of perfume samples to fragrance our creations with.


After we got our scrub all mixed together and put in the jar, we chose a ribbon or twine to wrap around the jar with a cute little tag and wooden spoon.


Everyone picked a different scent for their scrub. I chose Philosophy Amazing Grace for mine and I'm crazy about how it smells!

At the end of the night, Leslie gave us each a cute little tote to put our crafty creations in and take home.


Every little detail of this party was literally so thought out and perfect. I can't imagine how it possibly could've been any better.

It was one of the best nights I've ever had with friends and I can't wait to do it again!


.recent DIY projects.

I want to share a few of the DIY projects I've completed the past couple of weeks.

Rustic Glam Cake Stand


+ stump plaque from Hobby Lobby
+ thrifted candlestick
+ super glue

Southern Tee


+ thrifted tee
+ gold fabric paint
+ foam brush
+ freezer paper for stencil
+ silhouette cameo or X-acto knife to cut stencil out of freezer paper
+ iron

Arrow Duvet Cover


+ solid duvet cover
+ acrylic paint marker

What have you made lately?


.woodland baby shower.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of co-hosting a baby shower for my friend Stephanie.

She is due to have a little boy {Ethan Jude} in February.

We went with a simple woodland theme.

Upon entering, guests were welcomed by this message tree for Stephanie and baby Ethan.

The menu included:

Mini Quiches
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Pita Chips
Pretzel Chips

The decorations were kept fairly simple. We incorporated:

Owl & Bird Figurines
Pine Bottle Brush Trees
Pine Cones
Mason Jars & White Votives
Wooden Cake Stands {DIY post coming soon}
Over-sized Chalkboard

The woman of the hour, Stephanie, looked absolutely lovely. It was such a joy to see her open gifts for her little boy while surrounded by people she loves.

Obviously, I had to sneak a few belly shots in!

I couldn't have done it without my sweet friends. Love these ladies very much!

{Stephanie & her hostesses}


.little valentine jars.

 I don't ever decorate around the house for Valentine's Day.


I was thinking about this as I browsed through Pinterest last night, and right about that time, I came across these lovely little jars.

Something about the doilies, paper hearts, and bakers twine struck me with the whimsy romance bug...or something like that.

Since I already had everything I needed to make my own version of these, I decided to sacrifice a few of our drinking glasses (yes, we drink out of mason jars) to make little love note holders for hubs and myself.

I told the hubs about my little plan and made sure he was on board.

From today until Valentine's Day, whenever we get the whim, we will write on little slips of paper different things we love about each other.

Come V-Day, we'll read each others' little messages of love.

What better way to get in the spirit of the holiday? 

I can't wait to see what he writes.

I'm trying to think of things to write that he may not realize I appreciate or things I haven't said in a while.

He already has two notes in his jar.


.currently researching: clean eating.

Sometimes something happens to someone you love that makes you take a good look at your life (and even things you have been struggling with but have yet to overcome) and gives you the immediate motivation to change for good. Recently, my mom endured gallbladder removal surgery after years and years of pain and discomfort that she had always assumed to be Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Her gallbladder was absolutely rotted, inflamed and hard as a piece of wood, according to the doctor. Do you know what causes a gallbladder to go bad? Your diet.

Greasy, fatty foods -- yep, they're terrible. But think about all the processed "food" we put into our body on a daily basis. Chemicals and ingredients we've never heard of and likely can't pronounce. If we knew how much MSG was hidden in the foods we buy at the grocery store, we would be shocked. Even food that is marketed as "healthy" is often anything but. It's actually quite overwhelming when you start thinking about it!

It got me to thinking - what have I been putting in my body? And if it's not natural ingredients, how does my body know how to process it?

Before I go any further, let me say, I promise I'm not going all "crunchy" on you. But I know without a doubt I need to make changes in my eating habits and what I'm fueling my body with.

I'm talking a lot more fresh fruits and veggies. Replacing white flour with whole wheat flour. Buying blocks of cheese to shred myself as opposed to buying bags of shredded cheese. 

Basically, I'm going to start paying much better attention to the ingredients in something, and the less that are listed, the more likely I'll buy it.

This new way of thinking about grocery shopping and eating habits has led me to research clean eating in attempt to determine which elements I can practically incorporate into my life (and which I will leave for all the "crunchy" folks to obsess over).

One website I've been studying lately is The Gracious Pantry.

It appears to be a great source for a beginner like myself. She offers links to explain what clean eating is, recipes, grocery lists, and ingredient substitution suggestions.

We recently got a Fresh Market. Up to this point, I have only been inside it once, and that was to explore. I'm looking forward to going again, armed with a purpose, to explore the aisles with new-found interest and knowledge of what I'm looking for.

Wish me luck as I explore this new way of life!

Here's to a healthier future.


.my favorite things: {beauty}.

When it comes to beauty products, I don't really mix it up too much. Once I find something I love, I tend to stick with it for the long haul.

I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite go-to "girly girl" products, so without further ado, here's the breakdown:

{1} Forever 21 Metallic Polka Dot Cosmetic Bag
Mint + Gold is my numero uno favorite color combo right now, so at $4.80, I had to snatch this little faux leather cutie up as soon as I saw it.
//get it//

{2} L'anza Nourishing Conditioner
This stuff is the bees' knees for tackling tangles. Yes, it's the pricey salon stuff, but it's worth it for me to splurge a little on my conditioner. I can finally comb through my wet hair without wanting to cry. I order mine off Amazon or eBay, whichever has the best deal. You can also get it at any salon that carries L'anza products. Oh, and it smells like a creamy orange dreamsicle. Yummy! Usually costs between $10-$15 when bought outside a salon.
//get it//

{3} Victoria's Secret Dream Angels Body Mist in Forever
It's light and feminine. Blackberry, iris and amber. I think it's quite alluring, and there's a good chance my husband agrees.
The last bottle I bought was on clearance at VS, and it's no longer available on their website. But, for now, you can still find it in stores as well as Amazon and eBay for around $15-$25.
//get it//

{4} Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
I'm sure everyone already knows how amazing this stuff is. I'll never stop buying it because it's the only lip balm that truly keeps my lips smooth and moisturized. I love the peppermint scent. Runs about $3 a tube.
//get it//

{5} Light Mint and Gold Earrings from Charming Charlie
I'm simply in love with these earrings. They came in a set of three pairs which included small diamond studs and mint roses on a gold background. I paid $8 for the set of three. These are only available in store.

Well, that was a fun post! I've got even more favorites I'd like to share in future posts.

If you've ever blogged about a few of your favorite things, I'd love for you to leave the link in the comments!


.my {post-christmas} winter mantel.

A few days ago, I took down all our Christmas decor. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was determined to fit everything I had into two large Rubber Maid tubs, and whatever didn't fit and/or I didn't like anymore got put in the future yard sale pile.

This left me with a blank fireplace mantel and a new decorating challenge to create wintery vignettes that would last through the rest of the season.

I kept it pretty simple and in neutral tones. I'm obsessed with gold right now and also how the color looks with white. To me, it's the perfect color combo for Winter.

I guess I didn't put away all my Christmas decor. I left the sprigs out that I used as my tree topper and placed them in milk glass vases. I also put a couple of white votive candles in a metal soap dish and stood a large chipboard "B" up against the wall.

On the other side of the mantel I placed another vase with sprigs in it along with my trusty navy & lime Reader's Digest (the colors of my living room). Another milk glass dish holds an over-sized pine cone, and a thrifted white owl and empty brown frame complete the vignette.

I'm happy with the neutral tones and natural outdoorsy elements.

I love looking at other bloggers' seasonal mantels, so if you'd like to share what you did with yours, feel free to leave a link in the comments!


.operation: conquer da house 2013.


It's a new year. What better time to set fresh goals, conquer dreams, create bucket lists?

I did not set any resolutions this year.

However, after reading various inspiring New Year's posts such as 


I was inspired to think about what I'd like to do differently this year.

The one thing that stuck out the most to me was: my home. Rather, my house. And how I think daily about tasks I need to accomplish to really work our house into more of a home.

I get overwhelmed when I think about everything I need to do to this house of ours. Besides doing a better job of staying on top of the daily cleaning, there are so many wishes, wants, and DIY projects that need to come to fruition.

I've decided it's time to buckle down, make a list, and face the challenge I will refer to as:


I spent a good hour creating a Word document, where I went room by room and listed out everything I'd like to see happen for each space.

Now that it's all listed out in a pretty, organized manner, I feel like I can take a deep breath, pace myself and slowly but surely start checking off tasks.

Here's to more organized, clutter-free 2013.

And a cozier home. Here's to our home.


.christmas with my family.

It's New Year's Day, and hubs has the day off. Since we didn't get to bed until almost 3 am last night, we slept in this morning. Then hubs went to the nearest grocery store and got us some waffles and bacon for our first breakfast of the new year.

Now, we're both lounging around, it's lightly snowing outside (but not sticking because it's slightly above freezing), and I am blogging about Christmas with my family.

We were able to all get together last Saturday. Everyone came over to our house for a yum-tastic brunch. We had scrambled and boiled eggs, bacon, cinnamon rolls, homemade English muffin bread, sausage rolls, juice and hot chocolate.

After we ate, we opened gifts. It was nice to have some leftover snow on the ground from the day before. We had gotten no more than an inch that only stuck to the grass but left the roads drivable.

I love my family so much.

Looking forward to the year ahead and the possibility of new additions to our clan!