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Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale Picks


Did you have any luck shopping the Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale yesterday? I was so surprised to have gotten through the virtual line within just a few minutes! I ended up with 2 solid colored dresses I think I will get a lot of wear out of, the Allegra and the Novella (in green)! There is still 1 more day to shop and new items will be added. Here are my picks from what was left yesterday:







Happy shopping!

Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale Tips


The Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale (previously After Party...and for the OG's, Endless Summer Sale) is going live online tomorrow! I unfortunately was not able to go to one of the in-store options today as it was not available in Atlanta. But I'm excited to check it out in the morning! Their special occasion dresses have been on rotation for weddings lately, and I have quite a few within the next year. So I'm only really going to be on the lookout for those. However, due to my work schedule, I may not get much of a chance to jump in at the beginning of the sale. But here are my forever favorite styles that I typically look for in each sale: 
 
Pearl romper (these are a more recent favorite, I now have 3 of the romper styles)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weekender leggings (now also available in bike shorts!)

 
And as always, here are my shopping tips if this is your first big sale:
The Sale FAQ page from Lilly answers most of your typical questions you may have about the sale. But here are a few things I would add to it:

1. Create an account if you do not have one already, and make sure you are signed in the night before. It is also good to have your shipping addresses and payment information saved, to save time while all of your favorite items are going so quickly! If you shop on multiple devices (which I recommend), make sure you are signed in on each one, including the mobile app.

2. Know your sizes, all items are final sale! Plus they are all past season items. It is very unlikely that any current items/prints will be included in the sale.

3. There are always disclaimers to expect delays for shipping and processing. But from my experience (with the exception of maybe one sale), I usually have my items within a week or so.

4. You will be placed in a virtual line to enter the sale. It used to be a good practice to place multiple orders to keep things from getting pulled out of your cart, because the shipping is always free. However, this is no longer a good idea. Because you will be placed back in line after your first order has been submitted. And I have learned that using multiple devices is really helpful for the line. It also makes the line seem much longer than it really is, if most people in line are on 2 or more devices. But, I have always found that one device gets far ahead of the others. The website sometimes crashes due to the traffic, but it what it is!

5. Over the years, I have noticed the best deals are on casual dresses, small accessories, skirts, and tops. And if you are looking for any special occasion dresses, this is the best time to buy!


Happy shopping!

Estate Sale Shopping Tips

The console table was found at an estate sale for $70

Estate sale shopping has become a favorite activity for TJ and I over the last year or so. It is an affordable and sustainable way to decorate, as well as a way to get some inspiration from some beautiful homes. Most sales run Friday-Sunday, usually with discounts on Saturdays and Sundays. Some of the best deals can be found on Sundays, as most houses offer 50-75% off by then. However, some houses also tend to be very picked over by the last day. Since we are in pretty good practice with it now, I thought we would share some of our top tips for estate sale shopping.

The 2 green Wedgwood pieces were found at a sale for about $10 each


Start on estatesales.net
TJ and I had stumbled on our first few estate sales from signs on the road. But I heard about estatesales.net from a TikTok and it changed the game. Simply enter your zip code or city and the site brings up a list of all of the sales going on with addresses, hours, and photos of what is included. It also lists online only sales and auctions. When we lived in Charlotte, there were usually about 4-5 sales going on per weekend (although I would think that might have been affected by the pandemic). But in the Atlanta metro, there are more like 20-30! So we usually narrow down to about 5-7 after looking through all of the photos. The photos aren't everything, you don't always know what you're going to find. But it is helpful to keep an eye out for what you are looking to buy. We both look for furniture, but TJ usually looks for musical instruments or more historical pieces like glass insulators. While I look for blue and white pottery, silk scarves, bags, jewelry/watches, and fabric. 

Our kitchen table was found at a sale for $100

Map out where you want to go
We sort the list by distance and map out all of the addresses. It's also important to note the hours, most start between 10-12 on Saturdays and end between 4-6. So this might affect the order you would go in, depending on what time you get started.

Wear comfy shoes and bring snacks
At least if you go to as many sales as we try to in the same stretch, I recommend some sneakers. I usually also keep some snacks in my bag and a bottle of water in the car.

Bring a tape measure and dimensions
If you are looking for a specific piece of furniture, bring a tape measure with you and have dimensions in mind of what you need. I have a note in my phone for sizes that would work for tables, art, etc.

Brass polishing, the brass ginger jar and the mother of pearl box were both found for $10 each

Keep logistics in mind
Estate sale companies do not deliver or arrange for any large pieces to be taken to your home. We actually have walked away from a few pieces because we both drive sedans. But there are options! Home Depot and U-Haul both have vehicles available to rent. And people are usually very helpful in bringing furniture out of the house. But another option (we were told about a sale) is an app called Dolly. It is basically Uber for small moves or furniture delivery. You can book someone with a vehicle, or just some extra muscle. We got my dresser from a sale in our neighborhood, so we had someone from Dolly come help TJ walk it down the street. But that was definitely a unique situation!

I found these blue and white pieces at the very first sale we ever went to, for about $20 total

Oh, and follow the rules! Just be courteous: follow the parking signs, don't open any doors that aren't part of the sale, and wear a mask if they are requested. Happy shopping!

Thanks for reading!

Wedding Wednesday: Decor


I'm so excited to share all about our wedding decor! As I mentioned in one of my Instagram posts, my mom put together the dream team of vendors who executed everything perfectly! I absolutely loved how everything turned out. I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that I wanted lots of blue and white! All photos in this post are by Liz Grogan Photography.


Our reception was at Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro, which was conveniently about 5 minutes from both the church and one of the hotels we had reserved.


Our table settings were placed on this gold framed mirror my mom found at an antique store, and the wax seals were from Amazon. Since we had 24 tables, we ended up listing everyone's names in alphabetical order instead of a card for each table.


We rented the gold chairs, chargers, flatware, and linens from Party Reflections.


The blue and white pieces were provided by our florist, Randy McManus Floral Design. We had planned on rounding some of them up ourselves and renting the rest. But we were pleasantly surprised to learn he had over 60 pieces available!

 

The menu and escort cards were made by our coordinator, Carly Marie Events from templates found on Etsy.


TJ and I made the table numbers with a Cricut vinyl cutter and some frames we found on Amazon.

 

I loved the greenery used on our sweetheart table, the fireplace, and decorating the chandeliers.

 

Our favors were these mini bottles of La Marca prosecco placed at each setting.

  

I thought this vase added so much to our gifts and guestbook table!


We didn't get a photo of the front of our guestbook, but we bought it on Etsy, and the candle votives were from Amazon.


Our cake was made by Sweet Meg's Bakery and everyone loved it! I've always heard lots of wedding cake doesn't end up being eaten, but that was not the case for us! We had a different flavor for each tier: chocolate ganache, strawberry, and lemon. We saved the top layer which was another chocolate ganache.


We celebrated our wedding Mass at the church I grew up in, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Greensboro. I went to the school there for elementary and middle school, and have now received all of my sacraments there as well!


There were some rules that limited the amount of decor allowed. But just look at it, not much is needed! We just had pew markers and some floral arrangements up on the altar.

  

This is the first of likely many posts recapping our wedding. Please let me know if there anything else you would like to see!


Thanks for reading!

Key Lime Pies in the Florida Keys, Ranked by My Husband


I've only been saying this post has been on it's way since the end of June...better late than never? I let my husband TJ take over the blog to share the ratings of all of the Key lime pies we tried while on our honeymoon in the Florida Keys. The rankings were mostly based on taste, crust, and presentation. Now I'll let him take it away! In case you forgot what he looked like, here is he very excited to take down some pie.


 When in the Florida Keys, you MUST try their staple dessert, the famed Key lime pie. You'll see it on every corner, every shop and every restaurant, all claiming to be "the best Key lime pie in the Keys!" Well, we thought, certainly they ALL can't be the best. So, this is how our pie rating story began. Who better than a bunch of amateurs on their honeymoon to bring you the official rating. And so we begin!

#11) The Southernmost Key Lime Shop is where every tourist must stop...if they want a very average Key lime pie. This place was a tourist trap, where they clearly crank out the pies for quantity versus quality. This pie ranks the lowest on our list. I'm not sure there's a such thing as a "bad" Key lime pie, but when you see the others, you'll know why this one is lower on this list. This one has the standard store bought vibe, described as textured, flaky crust, less tart than others and simple presentation. 

#10) I might get some flack for this one since it's chocolate covered..but in at #10 is a Chocolate Covered Key lime pie on a stick from a street stand in Key West. I do love chocolate, but this one is similar to #11 - touristy and made by the dozens and packaged in plastic. The chocolate addition is the reason this one ranks one above #11. But I was here for the pie, so this one was more about the chocolate than the pie. Also, when eating it, you're liable to drop half the pie on the ground. We know from experience...

#9) Coming in a number 9 is the Key lime pie from the Four Marlins restaurant at The Reach Curio Hotel. The meal at Four Marlins was fantastic, and the restaurant is ocean side, so we recommend the food in general. With this level of experience, we had to order a Key lime pie! When delivered, the pie had a perfect whipped cream top with zested lime flakes on the top, akin to a well manicured lawn. The crust was very good - the good ones have a crumbled graham cracker taste. Some of the crust even fell off the table, but in the interest of rebuilding our immune system, we still ate it because it was that good. The actual pie itself though, has significantly less lime flavor than others, and the pie was the most expensive of all we tried. The texture was in the middle between creamy (like pudding) and textured (which we tended to like more). For the price, we have a much better suggestion in Key West. Stay tuned. You can pass on this one, unless you want inspiration for your lawn. 


#8) Number 8 on the list is the Key lime pie from Evelyn's in Key Largo. The pie ranks higher on the list than previous ones both because it seems to be made in their kitchen and because the lime flavor comes though. There was no whipped cream on this one, unlike many of the others. This pie is pretty tart, so if you like a strong lime flavor, you might like this one. This was one of the first pies we tried, so at the time we had little to compare it to and did like it. After trying many others, we found this one was more creamy texture, almost like a pudding. These pudding texture pies were not nearly as good as their textured counterparts, and my guess is it has something to do with less ingredients. This is a very middle of the road option, and we forgot to get a picture. 

#7) Number 7 on the list has a soft spot in our hearts since it was the first key lime pie we tried in the Keys at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen in Key Largo. This restaurant was pretty cool also and definitely worth a stop. Like #8, the texture was very pudding-like and I will say the whipped cream was straight from the a can, which is definitely not as home made feel as the (spoiler alert) meringue topped pies closer to the top of the list. Also, I'm almost convinced that Evelyn's used the same recipe from Mrs. Mac's Kitchen, or vice versa, as these two pies were almost the same. Many "top Key lime pie" lists have both places making the ranks, so it makes sense.

#6) As we get higher on the list, the race becomes closer. All of the pies 6 and above are certainly good and it takes a connoisseur of pies to distinguish between the top selection of pies. It's really a good thing you picked our list to follow because after 11 pies in 9 days, I think we're experts in the pie trade. Hobo's Cafe in Key Largo brings to you number #6. This pie was less tart, but was where we found the right texture in a pie. This was not of a pudding texture and it seemed like it was a secret recipe passed through the generations, or maybe just from a cookbook. Who knows. The texture may have been a little too much though, on the "gritty" side with what seemed to be graham cracker bits in the actual pie. It was good, but it would be one of the reasons this didn't make top five. The crust was excellent and the presentation with a half lime slice, strategically placed whipped cream and cherry drizzle makes this one worthy of the 'gram. For a while, this was top of the list in Key Largo, but as you will see, it'll be soon be dethroned. 

#5) Coming in at number 5 on this list is the Fish House in Key Largo. This place is featured on Diners Drive Ins & Dives, so you know if Guy Fieri likes it, it must be pretty solid. Well, I'm not Guy Fieri, but I have taste buds too. And these taste buds tell you that this pie had almost everything you look for in a pie. For starters, this is the first pie on the list with a white flamed meringue topping, which was top notch like Guy Fieri's hair. Cara's opinion was that this one had the best crust of all the ones we tried - with a more brown sugary taste coming through. I thought the flavor was the perfect level of tartness - definitely lime flavored without being too sour. The texture was middle of the road between pudding-like and textured. This is a solid pie - the only things missing is the pizzaz you'll see in the next few pies.

#4) We're down to the final four and this is where it really starts to get intense. If you want an excellent Key lime pie and you're on the go, Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Factory in Key Largo is your place. Take a look at this thing - it literally looks like a giraffe, with the chocolate river flowing over the top of the pie. This pie was decently priced and was also a larger piece than most of the others we tried. Maybe the best balance of price, flavor and size. We didn't have time to check it out, but this place also had a really cool garden in the back to enjoy your pie, so experience must be factored into the overall total package here. Cara and I both loved the chocolate on top. It was almost like taking the only good thing from #10 on the list and actually doing it right, with the perfect presentation. This pie had great lime flavor - tart without being overbearing. The texture was middle of the road - smooth, but not like others we considered to be like pudding. Also, points for the cool name Blonde Giraffe too. 

#3) Top three - it's the final countdown. Cue the music. Coming in with the bronze medal is actually one we could argue is a tie for second. But for namesake, and a little bit of bias, I'm calling this one third. Number 3 is actually the very last pie we had in the key at Keys Bite in Key Largo. This is the kind of pie that on the last day that makes you want to stay longer...or go back and steal your new wife's blog post. This pie had a rippled surface on top, which looked like the ocean. It was storming outside while we were eating this, so the whipped cream unfortunately blew off in the wind, but it was appropriate for this pie that looked like it was tossed about in a storm. While not presented as smooth on the outside (though I did like the looks), it was so smooth going down into the stomach! The texture was described as "spot on" and the flavor had the perfect level of tartness. One of the best parts was that the crust tasted like a cookie. 

#2) Coming in a #2 is truly what I would consider a "Dive" find, and the name should tell it all. TJ's Tiki Bar in Marathon is our #2 recommendation. Again you could argue this is on par with #3, but I told you I was biased on the name! We actually ended up at this place because it was next to our hotel, walking distance, had good mixed drinks, and was ocean front...oh and because Cara saw the name was TJ's Tiki Bar! What more can you ask for, you say? Good pie! That's what. Well, we ordered it and it came in a bowl to protect it from the wind. Smart choice. It was topped with a strawberry which was held in place by some whipped cream. It was a pretty nice sized pie too. Right off the bat, we were pumped to eat this one. This one had the perfect level of lime taste and the texture was more pie-like, thicker, versus pudding like.  The crust was on point as well. This one took the top spot for most of the trip, until we got to Key West where it was bumped down a spot...

#1) We have arrived at the moment you've all been waiting for, drum roll please!!!! You may have heard the legends, you may have seen it in the tabloids, you may have seen it in a dream, but I'm here to tell you it's real. And it's the best Key lime pie we had in the Florida Keys at Salute by the Sea - Key West. This is Blue Heaven's sister restaurant, so it is technically their Key lime pie. This one had the wow factor and a mountain of toasted meringue on top. We took a 360 degree panorama picture, this one had the perfect lime flavor without being too tart and also a great crust. This pie was more expensive than many others on the list, but definitely worth it. This was the total package and I would say this is the fastest I have ever converted a $10 bill into a little pep in my step. Would recommend if you're in Key West looking for the most unique and tasty pie you'll find in the Keys. It's either this, or buy one of those touristy dime-a-dozen pies up the street in Key West. Salute, I salute you!

Honorable mentions 
We have some honorable mentions as well. If you don't like pie, I'm surprised you got this far in this post, but that's OK, we've got you covered with a few alternative options worth a try:

Islamorada Brewery and Distillery: Try the Key Lime Pie frozen cocktail. You are literally consuming a frozen key lime pie, complete with pie crust rim on the glass. You can get packaged cocktails to go. This was a cool drink - though make sure if you get the cocktails to go, that you can keep it cold! Cara's edit: not that we bought one on our way to a hotel without a freezer. Nope, not us...

Viva Argentinian Steakhouse: They have a relatively affordable cocktail version of all of the best flavors of a pie. Also, this steakhouse had my favorite meal in Key West. 

Hariette’s: The best key lime muffin you will find in the Keys, as we have nothing to compare it to - it might be the ONLY key lime pie muffin in the Keys.  Served warm with a gooey underside of the muffin that hits the spot The powdered sugar on top easy to inhale as you are gasping at the deliciousness of the muffin. Priced at 4.25, one of the best values of a key lime experience in the Keys. Also, the shirts in the store are hilarious. 


So, how did he do? Should I let him take over the blog again?


Thanks for reading!