Winter Mantle 4 Ways

Happy Monday Y’all! I had a super productive weekend so I’m feeling very fresh and inspired this morning! I was able to sell a few pieces of leftover furniture to make way for our new buffet, set to arrive this week! For now, I want to chat mantles. One of the pieces that sold me on our new brownstone is the fireplace and oversized mantle – I just love it so much! But once I took all of the Christmas decorations down, it immediately felt so bare & empty! Now, y’all probably know that I’m a less-is-more type of gal and I crave simplicity, especially in home design. Here are 4 simple, tasteful, charming ways I’ve styled our mantle. Given that it’s winter, I stuck to neutrals – white, gold, gray – and some wood + greenery to help warm it up a bit. As you will see, I kept the eucalyptus in every option as we need the height (16′ ceilings) and I just love it!

Option 1:

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Option 2:

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Option 3:

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Option 4:

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Now that you’ve seen all four options, help me decide which one should stay.

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Life Lately, Vol. 32

Happy Friday Y’all! This week was a super short one, given that I was off on Monday (still mourning the loss of the Dawgs, but damn they have SO much to be proud of – what a season!) and I was traveling up to Vermont Wednesday & Thursday. This weekend we’re actually quite busy – we’ve got dinner with friends at Tuscan Kitchen in Seaport tonight (checking off #2 AND #5 from my Boston Winter Wishlist), a friend’s surprise birthday party on Saturday and a lot of little things to do around the house. A productive weekend it will be!

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the living room, coming together (still waiting on our console to arrive!)

Traveling vicariously through my parents, who are headed this weekend to Australia + New Zealand. They’re doing a two week cruise around New Zealand (hello hobbits + Sav Blanc!) and then two weeks in Sydney, Melbourne & the coast. Cue the envy! This trip is definitely on my bucket list, though it’s not on my 2018 travel goals. Maybe 2019! Who has tips & suggestions for them?

Speaking of traveling, I keep reading that Iceland air has so many new direct routes to Reykjavik, including from San Francisco, Baltimore, Kansas City and Tampa Bay. If y’all haven’t read my Iceland posts, be sure to check them out: Southern Iceland, Reykjavik, Golden Circle, The Blue Lagoon, What to Pack & 10 Tips. It’s such a beautiful, unique country – I highly recommend that you snag one of these direct flights and spend a long weekend in the land of fire & ice!

Searching for some new skincare products. I was listening to The Skinny Confidential this week and heard Dr. Dennis Gross talking about his Peel Pads and product line. I am by nature very skeptical about skincare products; however, his story is interesting. With years of training in skin cancer research & molecular biology (now dermatology), he has such an understanding of the science behind skincare. I may try these peels – has anyone tried his line before? Would y’all be interested in more posts on skin care?

This Week on South End Style

Cape of Good Hope Road Trip

2018 Travel Goals  | 2017 in Numbers2018 Resolutions

Life Lately, Vol. 31

Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

Boston 2018 Winter Wish List

Happy Monday! I’m going to keep today short and sweet because today is a VERY big day for us Southerners / Georgia folks! Today my Georgia Bulldogs are in the national title game for college football. Y’all, the Dawgs haven’t been to the game since 1980, before I was born! I flew down to Atlanta last night to meet up with a bunch of college friends and we’re tailgating today and doing our best to cheer on our Dawgs to a victory!

That being said, I always like to share a seasonal “wishlist” to explore Boston (ex. Fall 2017, Spring 2016 & Summer 2017. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. No matter how long you’ve lived in your city, there’s always something new to explore!

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Go ice skating: The Boston Common Frog Pond and City Hall both have large outdoor rinks for like $5 that you can go skating in. On a non-windy, warm(er) day this sounds like so much fun, followed by a warm hot chocolate! Perhaps a weekend day date or outing with girl friends?

Eat at 5 new-to-me restaurants: Oh my gosh there are SO many restaurants in Boston that I have been dying to try. We really limited our dining out majorly in 2017 because we were saving calories money for our wedding and honeymoon. While we are still on a budget (more on that in another post), we’re hoping to explore more restaurants in the city now that we’re walkable to most. On my radar is a new hot pot place, an authentic Chinatown pho restaurant, the Eately popup, a new North End Italian spot any more. Any suggestions?!

Take at least 2 ski weekends: We are quite spoiled here as we’re 3 hours from Loon/Lincoln, Sugarbush, Stowe and various other mountains. I do really enjoy skiing when I (a) have a friend my level and (b) it’s above 20 degrees. We’re hoping that my in laws will come up for a Vermont ski weekend and we’ll likely go with our other friends to their New Hampshire house. Getting outside for the weekend, getting some exercise and getting some fresh mountain air really helps me survive winter here. There’s no better feeling than an adult beverage after a long day of skiing. Am I right?!

Get out of the house every day: As someone who works from home at least two days per week, there are times when I will look up from my computer to realize it’s 3pm and I haven’t eaten a thing, brushed my hair or left the house. Nature of the beast, I guess. So now matter how miserable it is outside, I’m hoping to get out every single day, even if to grab coffee or hit the gym. Cabin fever is a major problem here in Boston!

Once a month date nights: I realize that once a month doesn’t seem very often but when your husband is knee deep in a start up (that literally takes 24/7 work) and I travel for work/pleasure at least 3x/month, and it’s freezing cold majority of the time, it’s hard to muster up the energy to actually plan (and go on) a date night. This is something we’ve got to get better about so I’m making a pact here to do it! In fact, we’ve got plans on Friday to go on a double date to dinner + a comedy show so that’s a good start!

Visit a museum or two: with so many to choose from, I’ve actually only ever been to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and the Isabella Gardner. On my list for years has been the JFK Museum and the Museum of Science. Hoping to make both this year (the perfect snow day activity!)

Try many new fitness classes: if you’re following me on Instagram, you probably have noticed that I joined a new gym – Lynx Fitness Club (new here in Boston!). They offer over 50 classes per week, including boxing, barre groove, yoga, treadmill training and various HIIT style workouts. I’m eager to try them all and see which is my fave!

Learn to cook some new dishes: there’s no better time than winter to get into the kitchen and start cooking. I definitely will try making some homemade Mediterranean dishes from the cookbook I got for Christmas, as well as some new healthy crockpot and casserole types. I’m not big on hearty, rich meals but I do like whipping up a lighter version. Stay tuned as I’ll share any great recipes I’ve found in my Friday posts.

Make it to a Bruins game: Hockey isn’t really my sport but it’s always fun to cheer on your local team. The games are somewhat short and definitely high energy. I’d like to grab a bite at Ward 8 or another nearby spot and then head to the Garden for a game!

Life Lately, Vol. 31

Happy Friday y’all! Somehow we survived blizzard #1 of the season. Lucky for me I work from home, but I was able to get out to the gym and grocery store for necessities (you know…chips, ranch, wine…). I was getting major cabin fever so getting out of the house felt good, even if it meant being pelted in the face by 40mph snow winds.

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blizzard #1 in Boston – January 2018

Researching a possible European vacation in May 2018. We typically always go somewhere for Terry’s birthday around Memorial Day (Puerto Rico, Iceland, Paris, Amsterdam) and my best gal pal cousin has a birthday the same time also so I’m hoping to do a week with her and then 4-5 days after with him. We’re looking at possible 2-3 city options, such as London-Paris-Amsterdam, Dublin-London-Copenhagen, Lisbon-Porto-Barcelona…anyone have suggestions for 1 week in Europe and 3 close cities?!

Cooking all of the soup, stew, chili and crockpot recipes possible. As I mentioned, the temps are frigid here so really having a hearty, hot meal is the best way to keep the body warm! Last night I made some vegetarian chili and on next week’s menu I’m trying Lexi’s lasagna soup, Angela’s spiced lentil soup & Lisa’s turkey bolognese.

Shopping for the perfect ottoman for our bedroom, which if you’ve been following along my Instagram story, you’ve probably seen many times. I picked up a charcoal rectangle one (from HG, but similar) but now I’m second guessing it. Something if “off” but I can’t figure out what. Then I saw a round light grey one which I think may work better. Only downside is that it doesn’t have storage, which we need. Hmmm, decisions decisions.

Which ottoman do you prefer?

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Cape of Good Hope Road Trip

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If you’ve been following along on my honeymoon recaps, you know that we spent a week in Cape Town eating and drinking, we climbed a lot, we enjoyed both Stellenbosch & Franschhoek wine countries and took in all the sights that South Africa has to offer.

One “must do” that people kept recommending was the road trip to the Cape of Good Hope. Now, we considered hiring a driver but at $200+ for the day, we decided to be adventurous and drive ourselves. HA! Let me just remind y’all – in South Africa, the cars were small, old, stick shifts and they drive on the left side, like the British. And this place is hilly! We came thisclose to returning the car about 30 minutes in and calling it quits but we persevered on and have some funny stalling out driving videos to remember it by.

Though the drive says it’s only about 3 hours on paper, you should expect about 3x as much due to traffic, two lane highways, frequent stops, etc. In fact, the entire trip took us about 9 hours from start to finish and we tried to be efficient, therefore foregoing a few places we would have enjoyed staying longer. Here is the route we took:

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Stop 1: Muizenberg

It takes about an hour to get to Muizenberg, a popular beach town in the False Bay (most cities in Cape Town are identified by which bay it’s in). In fact, it’s considered the “birthplace of surfing” so naturally Terry wanted to try. I was trying to ignore the “caution – great white shark” signs everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I think I held my breath the entire hour he was in the water. But he had a blast and I enjoyed laying on the beach, photographing the ever-so-famous colored huts and enjoying the views. We had lunch at Tiger’s Milk, which has a stunning view of the water. We could have stayed here much longer if time allowed!

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colorful huts line the beach

Stop 2: Simon’s Town

While surfing was high on my husband’s list, the penguins were at the top of mine! There is absolutely nothing cuter than a penguin colony at the beach, y’all! They even have these little huts for them to sleep in, like a little apartment complex. We just ooh’d and awe’d our way through this adorable place. There are hundreds of penguins and some are sunbathing, others riding in waves, a few sleeping or mating, just living their best life. It’s an absolute “must do” if you are ever in S.A. to come here. Also, we picked up some great souvenirs by local villages here (maybe a tourist trap but who knows, I love my wooden zebra salad tongs!)

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the residents of Boulder Beach

Stop 3: Cape of Good Hope

Many people turn around at Simon’s Town, but we opted to drive the full Cape of Good Hope route and head down to the Southern Tip at the Cape Peninsula. There’s a beautiful nature reserve with incredible wildlife, rocky coast view & some seriously blue-green water. I wish we had taken a picture at the Cape Point (that sign you see everyone with) but we were running short on time and wanted to make sure to allocate enough time back. Side note: when driving this route you must keep your doors and windows locked. Why? Baboons! I kid you not, there are aggressive, mean gangs of baboons that break into cars and steal your stuff. Don’t believe me? Google image search “baboons cape of good hope“. Picture #1 is my favorite.

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so aggressive…looking for food

Stop 4: Kommetjie

There are a ton of routes to go back and many beach towns to stop at. Kommetjie is a super famous surfing spot so we just made a quick stop here at the local beach shop for some tshirts (for him) and some snacks (for me). The break was huge but we didn’t have time to surf, though I know Terry would have loved to. Another beautiful beach town.

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how beautiful is this drive along the Western Cape beach side?!

Stop 5: Llandundo Beach

The drive from Kommetjie to Llandundo Beach reminded us so much of the Big Sur drive in California – stunning cliffs, rocky coastal highway, little to no guardrails. It was scary but beautiful. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. Llandundo is one of the most expensive beach towns in Cape Town because it’s probably the most beautiful. We were told that a few years back it got voted “most beautiful beach in the world” by T+L or one of the big travel magazines. I couldn’t agree more!

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Llandundo’s water is breathtaking

Stop 6: Cape Town

Back home we went! The drive was very uphill but with only a few stalled situations, we made it out alive. All in all, we spent a full day driving up and down the Cape Town coasts and explored so much that this beautiful city has to offer. Whether you take a tour, hire a driver or drive yourself, I can’t recommend this day trip enough. There are so many hidden gems around Cape Town and this really allows you to explore a lot at once.

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back in time to watch the SA sunset from the V&A waterfront

2018 Resolutions

Happy New Year!
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You can read my review of 2017 in numbers and my 2018 travel goals. As I wrap up 2017, I can’t help but make some “resolutions” for 2018. While I’m not a stickler about these, I find that making resolutions is a great way to make some much-needed goals and to start the year off on a healthy, productive note.
Pick a new hobby
For me, I’ve been super in barre lately. Now I know working out isn’t really a “hobby” but I’ve been enjoying the way it makes me feel and how it takes me back to my 10+ years of ballet growing up. It’s a fun “me” thing that I enjoy doing so I’m keepin on!
Make the Time
There’s nothing more annoying for me to hear than people say “I don’t have time.” Yes you do, everyone has time…it’s just a matter of prioritizing. Like those guitar lessons I was supposed to start last year but “didn’t have time” for (also a new hobby #twobirdsonestone). Or the old friend who I keep saying “I’ll call her next week”. Or that trip back home to see grandma that will come later when we “have more time”. Unfortunately, time is the one thing we aren’t guaranteed and there may not be more. So don’t wait. Now is the time.
Let it Go
Whether it’s the promotion you were promised but never received (possibly the most frustrating thing ever), the recurring family drama that somehow can’t be squashed or that one friend who can’t just ever seem to be happy for you….let it go. This is a VERY tough one to do as it’s hard to let go of hurt, resentment, pain…but it’s not doing anyone any good to harbor it. Either cut it out of your life or promise yourself to move onward without it! No bringing negativity into a new year!
Start Meditating
I downloaded the “headspace” app after heading rave reviews about it. This is going to have to be a conscious effort for me everyday to do this but I am going to try my hardest to meditate when I wake up for 5 minutes every day. I get super anxious and stressed out easily, especially after a bad nights sleep so Im hoping that this 5-minute habit will help ground me and start me off on a healthy mental note each day.
Save for a goal
This is a great resolution for a few reasons. First, having an end goal is always a great way to keep on track financially. Second, the sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving that goal is motivating. Third, having this goal will have you second guessing any frivolous purchases & create healthy spending habits. It may be saving for a down payment on a home, a new handbag or a trip somewhere. For me, I’m saving for a trip back to Africa in 2019. So every time someone says “wanna grab lunch” or “let’s go to Starbucks”, I’ll have to rethink that. I may suggest a walk around the park & bring my own lunch instead, putting that $15 to my trip fund. Little changes add up quickly!
Call one friend a week
Now this is of course now counting those I talk to regularly. But when you move away, people get married & have babies, and life gets busy, you lose touch! All it takes is a 15 minute window to pick up the phone, grab a cup of tea & call an old friend. Is there any better feeling than a great conversation to reconnect old friends?
Quality over Quantity
This is something I put into place in 2017 that I’m keeping with me for 2018. Whether it’s clothing, furniture, dining out, events, etc. I want to invest in things that I love & that bring value to my life, not just excess junk. This can be done by purging items from closets (the BEST way to start a new year), from buying organic, healthier foods and cooking at home versus spending $10 on an overpriced, unhealthy lunch or kicking that habit of buying all of the crap you see at Target (easier said than done, I know). Less is more, always.
Those are my resolutions for a healthier & happier 2018…what’s your resolution?
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wishing you a happy & healthy 2018 from my family to yours 🙂

2017 in Numbers

Happy Hump Day Y’all!

As for most, this week is a super light one for me – basically, I’m taking time to spend with family, catch up with friends. I’ll keep this short & sweet but want to share a pretty amazing year, recapped in numbers.

2017 IN NUMBERS

15,000: Number of y’all that visited South End Style and shared your time with me as I document my journey through life. (WOW)

127: Number of blog posts I wrote this year.

96: Number of countries that my readers are from. Again, blown away! (anyone that has a relation with their country’s tourism board, please contact me).

29: Number of flights taken in 2017.

15: Number of animals we spotted in Africa, in the wild, that I had never seen before.

11: Number of incredible girlfriends who surprised me with the most incredible bachelorette party weekend at the beach.

7: Number of new design clients I got from the blog alone (pretty pleased with this considering I never really “advertise” and I’ve got a full time job).

3: Number of days we hosted friends and family for our wedding weekend extravaganza in Saratoga Springs, New York.

1: Number of days that takes the cake as the “Best Day of My Life”. My wedding day was hands down the highlight of 2017.

This year will go down in the record books as the best year I have ever had. I mean, how do you top getting married to the love of your life and taking your dream trip together?!

Thank you for an outstanding 2017. It wouldn’t have been this successful without my readers & their support. Love!