On friends and sunglasses.

Firmoo review atwww. thesoutherninstitute.com
Last year turned out to be a pretty great month. I turned forty years old… FORTY! Do you remember the fundraiser for Enchanted Makeovers that I posted about? Maybe you contributed! If so, thank you so very much, because you were one of the many that helped me reach my goal of raising $1000 for that amazing non-profit organization. Because of our coming together there will be hope where there was little hope before. I’m so excited about that!

Earlier this year I had told my husband that my fortieth birthday wish was to go away for the weekend with my two best friends, and my sister if she was able. So, I decided to make it happen instead of just wishing about it! We found a weekend in July that would work for all of us, I rented a beach house on the coast of South Carolina, and we hit the road. Sadly, my sister wasn’t able to come with us.

Folly Beach sunrise

We had the best time, just three 40-year-old girls who were college roommates and have been best friends for 20+ years. We listened to 80′s music, we laughed, we cried, we laid out on the beach, we went out to eat, and we relaxed. It was exactly what we needed, a time to catch up without kids and husbands, just like we used to. It had been years since we had time to spend together like that. I missed it. It’s so important to nurture the relationships in our lives. In this online world it’s easy to get caught up in the social worlds of Facebook, IG and Twitter, but please don’t neglect the real life friendships that you are blessed with. They are a gift.

Folly Beach South Carolina

Funny story about the trip. I brought my favorite sunglasses with me, of course, because they go with me EVERYWHERE! Seriously. I don’t really like wearing contacts so I wear my glasses almost all of the time, but I’m also out and about a lot. I wear my prescription sunglasses most of the day when I’m out. My first pair of prescription glasses were from Firmoo.com. Yes, they were huge on my face, but I loved them! The picture at the top of the post is of my daughter and me in my beloved Firmoo sunnies…

So, my besties and I were enjoying a cool off in the ocean. The waves were rolling in, no big deal, they weren’t that big. Silly me, I turned my back to the waves, and I bet you can guess what happened. Oh my goodness, I never even knew what hit me! A wave hit me from behind and put. me. down. All of the sudden I was underwater and had no clue for a few seconds which way was up. Thankfully I had only been up to my waist in the water, so I found the ocean floor pretty quickly and emerged from the water, sputtering. That dang wave had knocked my sunglasses right off of my face. Needless to say I never saw them again. LUCKILY, Firmoo had just emailed me the week before to ask if I wanted to review a pair of their new glasses, and of course I agreed. Could the timing have been more perfect? I think not.

Firmoo review at www.thesoutherninstitute.com

So here I am in my new prescription sunglasses from Firmoo.com, and I’ve already gotten compliments on them. People are shocked when I tell them how inexpensive they are and that they are prescription sunglasses. You really cannot go wrong with Firmoo. Especially if you are prone to losing your glasses (who me?). You can even take advantage of their First Pair Free program and get your first pair of selected frames free! Even outside of that offer, the average price of frames is only about $33! Some of the prescription sunglasses are a bit more, but frames are still $80 or less. So go take a look and see if something catches your eye. I bet you’ll find a pair that you love.

Just don’t wear them in the ocean.

I received my sunglasses free of charge through Firmoo’s blogger program, but I would gladly pay for them myself! All opinions are honest and my own, as always.

SONP 2014: Old Navy Re-Fashion

http://hideousdreadfulstinky.com/sonp2014
Old Navy refashion at The Southern Institute

What it the Summer of No Pants series, you might ask? The Summer of No Pants, or SONP, is a summer-long handmade style series. From the first day of summer to the last, we ditch our pants in favor of skirts and dresses. We’re celebrating femininity, personal style, and the handmade life. It started as a sewing competition and, but it has evolved since then. So whether you can sew or not, everybody can wear No Pants!

When Marigold, the brainchild behind SONP, asked me if I’d be a guest blogger for the series I just had to say yes. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I can usually come up with something… I just keep my eyes open and my wheels turning at all times. I was shopping at Old Navy with the kiddos the other week and was cruising the clearance racks when I found this lone striped dress peeking out. I LOVE stripes! I pulled it out only to find that it was an XXL, about 4 sizes to big. BUT lots of fabric to play with, right? So I asked how much? $.99!!! I grabbed it up as fast as I could and decided right then and there that my SONP post would be a re-fashion.

photo-25

There’s the original dress up there. I completely forgot to take a pic of me in it to give you an idea of how large it was. It literally fell off of my shoulders. I started thinking about what to make out of the fabric. A skirt? I could just cut it off at the waist and add elastic. Should I just tailor it to fit me and keep the style? Nah. I wanted to do something different. Then it hit me! Selvedge Design’s Foxglove Tank, modified into a dress…that was it! I had just finished my first Foxglove Tank and really liked the way it turned out, so this seemed like a good idea. I used the pattern as is, making only a couple of changes. I took the sides in by about 2 inches on each side and then used the entire length of the original dress, keeping the original hem. The length ended up quite a bit shorter since I was cutting from the middle of the original dress, but I think it turned out quite well, don’t you?

Old Navy Refashion at The Southern Institute
Dress back

I used the sleeves to make the knit strips that face the neckline and arm holes… I love the contrast, even though you can’t see it when the dress is on. For some reason, knowing that it’s there makes me happy.

Old Navy Refashion at The Southern Institute

So join us and ditch those pants! Embrace the dresses and skirts and show off those legs… let ‘em breathe, ladies! Use the hashtag #SONP2014 on Instagram and show us how beautiful you look.

Lime-Coconut Krispie Treats

Lime-Coconut Krispie Treats from The Southern Institute

Rice Krispie Treats are one of our favorite treats to make. They’re gluten-free and just plain yummy. I’ve loved them ever since I was a child. Abby and I have had a lot of fun experimenting with different flavors and shapes over the past several months. We’ve made dark chocolate cherry treats, and heart shaped treats with pink candy drizzle for Valentine’s day. For the summer I wanted to try something with a bit of a citrus twist and I was dying to use my DoTerra essential oils… could it work?

Why lime, you might ask?

Doterra Lime oil

Plus, it just tastes great, right? I’ve been putting a drop of DoTerra lime essential oil in my water every morning to cleanse my body and I love it. It’s refreshing and it tastes great! I thought it would taste so good paired with coconut, so I combined the two in a Rice Krispie Treat! Here’s how I did it:

-Combine 3 TBSP of unsalted butter and one 16 ounce bag of mini marshmallows in a large stock pot. Heat over low-medium heat until melted. Remove from heat.

-Stir in 3 drops of DoTerra Lime essential oil to the marshmallow/butter mixture, stir well.

-Add 6 cups of Rice Krispies and unsweetened shredded coconut to the marshmallow mixture and combine well. I think I added about 3/4 cup of coconut (I didn’t measure it. Add as much as you like.)

-Press mixture into a lightly greased 9×13 Pyrex or glass baking dish. Press flat with wax paper and allow to cool. Cut into squares and enjoy!

These turned out to be so delicious! The lime flavor is not overwhelming, but definitely noticeable. It makes for a really yummy summertime treat! I hope you like them!