Junk in the Trunk...and the House


Hi, my name (err.. nickname) is Lulu, and I am a border-line hoarder.  Don't call TLC just yet! I'm not quite ready to be signed up for Hoarding: Buried Alive, but I am going to need to de-clutter my life stat. And, considering all of the moving of things I've done lately-- watching my parents spend months helping my grandparents move into a retirement community, cleaning out my room at my parent's house, and now, moving classrooms (for the 3rd year in a row, might I add!) I am on purge overdrive! It is amazing, and not the good kind of amazing, how much stuff one person can accumulate! Some of the things that I've dug up over the past week or so go as far back as middle school (I was the note-passing queen!), AND I even found the birthday card that Kyle made me when we were 16 before we started dating! The biggest score was the leftover coupons from a coupon book Kyle made me for one of our Valentines Day presents, one of which offers a 25 minute back-rub...no expiration date on that sucker! I also somehow thought that maybe one day I'd like to brush back up on Latin American Politics, Asian Art and the likes because I literally saved ALL of my notes from every subject in college...whatonearth! And let's not even get into all of the clothes I've been hanging onto in case I miraculously regain my high school size 2 figure...that will be the day! So, the new and improved Lulu has set some ground rules for herself so that I can avoid THIS hot mess...
Luckily this was just stolen from Google and not my actual reality!
What to Purge-- If you haven't worn it or used it in the last year (a few exceptions) or you have more than one... GET RID OF IT!
I have made quite a bit of money selling my gently-used, name-brand clothes to a consignment shop in Wilmington called Fairy Circle, and I'm sure that there are TONS of consignment shops just like it all over!  The best part about it is they'll donate the clothes that they don't want or don't sell to a place like Good Will, so it saves you the extra trip! I also have had great experiences donating non-name brand clothing and other items to places like Vintage Values (also in Wilmington) or the PTA Thrift Shops in the triangle! My newest go-to charity is the Vietnam Veterans of America who will literally come pick the stuff up off of your front porch if you call and schedule it! Do you really need two toasters? Are you reallyyy going to use that ab roller? Will you die without that dress you haven't worn in years but are holding onto just because you joined the gym? In the words of the ever wise and classy Bon Qui Qui... "Needs tah go!" 

What to Keep-- If it has sentimental value, monetary value, or is useful, IT CAN STAY!
I have a memory box full of letters from Kyle, my parents, my grandparents, and close friends. I refuse to part with those! But, random birthday cards or notes written over the years from other people in my life can totally go. It's not that they weren't totally appreciated and valued at the time, but could I imagine reading them to my future children one day? That would be a no! I'll keep certain books, like The Book Thief and  A History of Love that were truly powerful and that I know I'll read them again and again.  But those one-time trash reads can seriously go...or better yet, be swapped with a friend! I'm totally hanging onto the little bear that my dad brought me back from Harrod's when I was a kid, but that stuffed bear from my ex-boyfriend is a goner. Think about the things that are really special to you that you'd be excited to share with your children one day and absolutely keep those! But anything else, if you can at all live without it, let it go! I'd say it's just not worth it. And, there are so many needy people out there who can benefit. It was so exciting to hear the Vintage Value's ladies say how excited they were to get my cute college bed-spread and matching pillows and how some girl was going to love it! It made my day!

Take it from someone who's seen her parents literally give up their lives for the past 3 months to help my grandparents move out of their house of 40-something years. YOU DON'T WANT  TO DO THAT...to yourselves or your future kids! Purge now...relax later! 

To Buy or Not to Buy...


I am having a moral dilemma of the fashion kind, a.k.a., I am lusting after some boots, BUT they are more expensive than anything I've ever purchased (even though technically Kyle has offered to buy them for me as my birthday/Xmas present, so maybe I'll say owned!).  Enter Frye Jane Tall boots... 
And, just to give you a little idea of just how much they cost, I'll break it down for you in a little simple math:

Ugg Boots- Returned to Nordstroms for a $118 dollar credit 

Madden Girl boots, returned to DSW along with...

These Steven Madden cuties for a total of $92 dollars back on the debit card...
And...I'd still need about another $100 dollars to cover them...ohmiword.

I have always LOVED fashion and can shop with the best of them, but I pride myself on finding amazing deals, and so whereas my wardrobe may look like I've spent away my life's fortune and then some, I promise that my general rule of thumb is that I don't pay over $30 for anything...including jeans, dresses and shoes! In fact, I really hate to pay over $20 for anything but jeans, dresses, and shoes! Let me show you a few of my recent clothing scores...

GAP tops... one was $6.99 and one was $8.00...yes, please!

Banana Republic Outlet dress... $8.00...If it's $10 or under and looks good, it's mine!

And...I even just got a pair of super cute Loft skinny leg jeans for $9.00

So, when I say that even entertaining the thought of owning boots that are so expensive gives me slight heart palpitations, you can see why! Even when I was in college and EVERYONE was wearing expensive designer jeans or carrying around Longchamp bags I resisted...not without constant temptation and trying to justify why I just NEEDED those things. But, I always came back to the same reason for not...I just couldn't bring myself to spend money on something I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to fit in for forever (the jeans...although that certainly would be good motivation to not gain weight) OR to buy a purse that was going to sit on restaurant floors (or worse!) and could easily get stained or messed up. BUT, with the boots...my shoe size isn't going to be changing ANYTIME soon and therefore would always be wearable, which is a huge reason why I am even considering. Let's weigh the pros and cons...

Pro's for buying Frye boots
1. Amazing quality and would last "forever" I've been told
2. Don't look like cheap, fake leather boots that are in my budget range
3. Technically I wouldn't be paying for them, they'd be a gift
4. I've never really splurged on anything in my closet (other than my Uggs, which are really a necessity when you have to stand out at car pool in the freezing cold weather EVERY day in the winter)
5. They look AMAZING

Cons for buying Frye boots
1. Expensive-- could get LOTS of little things for my present from Kyle
2. What if they get stolen or lost or messed up before I've had the time to get my money's worth (which would be 10 years of use?)
3. Could I find some that look just as good for cheaper? Like maybe they only cost $100-200 as opposed to $297?
4. Would I feel bad walking around in them knowing how much I payed for them?

So, the question is, my friends, to buy or not to buy? Or better yet, to receive or not receive!? Have you ever splurged on clothing or shoes and was it worth it!? Please help a sista' out!

Super Cute Gift Idea


For me, the perfect gift is cute, practical, & personalized, which is exactly what I got when I opened our wedding package from Ms. Becky, who is my college bestie's sweet momma! She is the QUEEN of cute gifts, and her Shutterfly Photo Mugs  were no different! These were the ones she gave to Kyle and me after our wedding...

They are perfect for all occasions! Kyle and I gave them as Christmas presents to all of our family members this past year, and they LOVED them!  They are super easy to make, AND you get to see them in an actual size model that you can spin around to see what the mug will look like from all sides! SO MUCH FUN...I seriously could have made thousands of mugs if my wallet would allow! And, to be honest, my wallet could actually allow quite a few because they are a pretty good deal...especially if you catch them on sale!

They are a great way to document all of your fave memories, and Ms. Becky has made some pretty cool mugs! Take a looksie...
Ms. Becky's many mugs!
Cute Doggy Pics Mug & Graduation Mug!
Family Pics Mug!
Wedding Dance Mug!
Engagement Party Mug!

So, if you need a GREAT gift idea to get you through the rest of wedding season or have a birthday or anniversary to shop for, these photo mugs might just be your answer! I can't wait to make my NEXT mug...let's see...who's got a birthday coming up!?

I Want S'More, Please!


Welp, I just blew my plans to eat "healthy" this weekend...but it was totally worth it! Kyle and I decided to stay in Saturday night for takeout & movie night after a fun (and rainy) Friday night double date with some friends, Stephen & Abigail. I, of course, being the chocolate addict that I am begged Kyle to let us bake something yummy, and he finally obliged. I was so excited to make use of all those yummy dessert recipes that I have bookmarked, and made him choose which one he'd like. He's not so into the dessert thing, so it's rare for him to get excited about something sweet. Enter...Heavenly S'More Pie, a recipe I bookmarked who-knows how long ago but was well worth the wait! The best part...it's SUPER easy, and even a rookie baker like myself could handle! Well, I guess in an effort of full disclosure I should tell you that Kyle also helped! He is King of our Kitchen, and definitely likes in on the action!

So, if you are totally channeling your inner kid who LOVES camping for the sole reason of getting to make S'mores like myself...this recipe's for you!

All you need is: Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix (1 pouch), Chocolate Chips (3 cups), Marshmallows (4 1/2 cups), Butter (1 cup), & Graham Crackers (1 cup)...
Disregard the flour in the background...not for this recipe!

And, a super cute (mine) or super ridonkulous (Kyle's) apron...thank you Ryan for that little number from Florence!
Now, you are all ready to get baking!

Step 1: Melt Butter in microwave safe bowl...try not to think about just how much butter that actually is!

Step 2: Crush the Graham Crackers...this could probably be done in a blender or food processor if I were brave enough to try again...crushing oreos in food processor = bad memories...let's not go there!
This burns calories...right, y'all?
 Step 3: Combine Graham Cracker, Butter, & Sugar Cookie Mix. Stir until a dough forms. Then arrange neatly in baking dish. Place in preheated oven (375 degrees F) and bake for 16-18 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is! 
Resist urge to steal dough...hands may get slapped!
 Step 4: Remove dish from oven and immediately pour chocolate chips on top, spreading evenly around. Chocolate chips will begin melting. Again, try not to be distracted by the amount of chocolate!

Step 5: Once chocolate is melted and spread evenly, begin sprinkling marshmallows on top. Go ahead and change your oven setting over to broil on High. 
It looks yummy now, but what's to come is EVEN better!
 Step 6: Place dish in oven, on racks that are 4-5 inches away from the top, but DON'T even think about going anywhere! You have to watch those puppies super close! They only need 20-30 seconds! Hint: We realized that 1/2 of the marshmallows were browning super fast and the others weren't, so I think we'll try turning the dish around after about 10-15 seconds. 
Step 7: Remove Dish & Turn off that oven off! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! !
Step 8: It says to let cool for 8-10 minutes, but I've never waited for anything in my life, so why start now! Enjoy

I apologize for the lack of technical cooking terms & overload of photos. It's a rare day that you'll find me in the kitchen, much less find me doing something in the kitchen blog worthy, so I had to document this for my future children's sakes to show that I can, in fact, make some magic happen in the kitchy!

Good Ol' Dub Town


It happened again. The heart strings are a tuggin'. Every time I go home for a few days I realize how incredibly MUCH I miss my hometown, Wilmington. I think it would be impossible to grow up there, and it not be a HUGE piece of you. A true Wilmingtonian knows what it means to "walk the Loop," that you best not be arriving to the beach bridge any later than quarter till' the hour or you're going to get caught, that the best burritos are at Flaming Amy's, that you would never be caught dead at El Club Scorpion, and that you start wearing Rainbows when you're a toddler! I miss feeling so connected to the place where I live! 

Kyle and I spent the 4th in Wilmington, and I could totally see us having a GREAT life there!
Where else can you get the beauty of the beach (Wrightsville, of course!)

And, the charm of the riverfront downtown...

Where else do you have the amazing selection of food that you just can't get anywhere else!? 
You want the best cheesesteak in the world (better than the ones from Philly, I swear!), you go to J. Michael's Philly Deli. You want the best breakfast, you go to Sweet & Savory. You're in the mood for a hot-dog, you go to Trolley Stop. You're craving a burger, you go to PT's. You want to eat a meal on the water...well, first you'd have to choose--ocean-front or river-front...Oceanic, Bluewater, Dockside, Elijah's, Pilot House...you name it! I love local restaurants that aren't chains, and maybe I'm just biased, but Wilmy's just got such a great selection of them!

We even had Trolley Stop at our Wedding Reception! Yum, yum!

And of course, Wilmington is the home of my all time fav splurge treat...the Mocha Shake! Anyone who knows me well knows I love me a Mocha Shake, and you can only get them at Port City Java, which is more popular than Starbucks in Wilmy.  PCJ is where you go for EVERYTHING! Bible study, coffee dates, committee meetings, etc! We had all of our wedding planning meetings there...it's just the best place to go! When I got my wisdom teeth out, I'm pretty sure I had 2 Mocha Shakes in one day! Yes, they are super high on calories...BUT they are heaven in a cup! Good news if you live in Raleigh...they now have 3 Port City Javas! Everyone run out now and try the Mocha Shake! You can thank me later! I'm not sure if regular access to PCJ would be a pro or a con in my case for moving to Wilmington...blissfull treat versus too-tight jeans....hmmmm...I'll have to ponder this more!

Kyle learned to get a smoothie instead so he didn't have to share the Mocha Shake with me!
Of course I found a PCJ during my bachelorette party!

The thing that is keeping us where we are is that we both have AMAZING jobs that we love. We work with wonderful people, under wonderful bosses, and when you've got something that good, you just can't give it up! I love my school, and it's the only school I've really ever known. I student-taught there and started teaching there for real the year after. My principal is the only principal I've ever worked for, and I couldn't imagine working for anyone else! We have some amazing friends up here, and we have enjoyed the independence of starting our life together away from our families (but close enough to visit!!!). So, for now, we'll stay put...but I can't say that Wilmington may not be an option down the road....we'll see what the big Man upstairs has planned for us!
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