Bookshelf Styling

July 29, 2015

Let's talk bookshelves.  I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to little knickknacks, books, and random objects that aren't actually bookshelves are like a goldmine of opportunity to me.  I get giddy whenever I even think about styling a bookcase, and the process of arranging and rearranging all the items is exhilarating.  I mean, there are just so many possibilities!  And there are so many different moods and feelings you can convey all by switching up what is on your shelves.  Ok so now that I've professed my love for shelves and I look a little like a crazy/obsessed person, here is my "baby"...aka my giant room divider bookshelf. 

First and foremost, you need to have books.  Most of mine are decorating, DIY, travel, art or recipe books, but if you're lacking in the book arena and don't want to spend a ton of money you can always go to a flea market or thrift store and buy books on the cheap. 

I like to group books by color families (but I make sure to not be too crazy about it because I like it to feel natural and not overly planned).  In the photo above you can see that I did a black and white cubby and a turquoise cubby.

If you need more filler in your bookcase, don't be afraid to add magazines.  My favorite magazines to decorate with are House Beautiful, Southern Living and Coastal Living.  These are all magazines I read regularly, and the ones with the prettiest covers and spines get used in shelves and on cocktail and side tables.

After books, then next thing you need are accessories and knickknacks.  Mine range from sentimental (like the tin Union Jack lion I bought in the UK) to merely eye candy (disco balls).  I also add things in colors and styles that I like, such as ginger jars (I love me some blue and white), foo dogs, coral, pretty bowls and Staffordshire dogs.  I even threw in a grouping of antlers for good measure.  Seriously, a books shelf is a place for you to display things you're interested in (or even just things that catch your eye), so don't be afraid to layer and add some quirkiness.

I also like to use various bookends and throw in some photos/artwork.  I currently only have one framed photo in the bookshelf, but I intend to add more once we move and I start from scratch.  One neat trend that I really like is hanging things on the front of your bookshelf.  I hung (with an adhesive 3M hook) a framed print that Tom and I bought in Hawaii on our honeymoon, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

A bookshelf is also a great place to display random collections.  In the photo directly above you can see (barely) a shark tooth and a rock that I found on the beach.  I didn't want these to just end up in a drawer, so on the bookshelf they go!

If you're using your bookshelf as a room divider, like I am, don't forget the backside!  I tried to decorate the back where I could, even though the front is the side that is seen more often.  On this side you can see that I added some hour glasses, a vase of flowers, and a lucite "LOVE" sign.

I also hung a mirrored star on the back because I wanted to use it and had no extra wall space for it.  3M picture hanging hooks are the best!

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of my bookshelf!  This piece will get a complete overhaul in August when we move, and it's going to be COMPLETELY different.  I can't wait to share with you what I have planned!

Below are some items that I love that would look great on any bookcase:

Note: All photos are by Sarah Bradshaw.  She takes amazing interior photos (obviously) but her true passion and career is in wedding photography, so if you're looking for a talented and super nice wedding photographer then you've got to check her out!

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Weekly Workout Recap

July 27, 2015
It's the start of a new week, which means it's time for a fitness recap from this past week.  Did you meet the goals you set for yourself?  Last week I set the goal of running 16 miles, and I managed to surpass that by running 17 miles during the week.  I also went on many beach cruiser bike rides and treaded water a few times.  I don't normally have the opportunity to swim or bike so conveniently, so this time at the beach has been nice.  Beach cruisers provide much more resistance (and effort) than the high speed road bike I'm used to, so I feel like just a few short rides over these past few weeks has really helped tone my upper thighs.  Treading water is a great exercise too, especially if you don't want to swim laps.  Just go to the deep end and swim in place for 10 or more minutes.  I like to switch between just using my legs (for 50 or 100 strokes), then just using my arms (for 50 or 100 strokes), and then using arms and legs together.  It makes it more challenging and keeps your mind engaged.

After a run while 25 weeks and 6 days pregnant.  Bump is really growing!

Below are the workouts I completed this past week, which was my 26th week of pregnancy.  I still feel great, although running more than 4 miles at a time seems to affect me the entire rest of the day now.  I've been really hungry too, and I feel like my belly has really popped as well.  I think the baby went through a bit of a growth spurt...or at least I like to tell myself that to make me feel better for being hungry all the time.  

Monday, 7/20.  1.8 mile beach cruiser bike ride in 13 minutes.  Morning bike ride to and from the Olympic pool with mom.  (before and after a run and a swim).  Went fishing on uncle's boat later that morning so we weren't able to swim as long as we wanted to.

3 mile run in 31 minutes.  Run through marsh and along bike path.  Felt good until I picked it up and then got round ligament pain/cramps, then had to slow down a little.

10 minutes treading water in the deep end alternating between only arms, only legs, and arms/legs together.

Tuesday, 7/21.  5.55 mile bike ride in 44 minutes.  Early morning bike ride to Ocean Point Pool with mom (and back after running and day at pool).

3.02 mile run in 35 minutes.  Run from Ocean Point Pool along rocky river side of island with mom.  Very hot and sunny!

30 minutes (or more) of treading water in the deep end.  Lost track of time because my mom and I were talking.

Thursday, 7/23.  2 mile beach cruiser bike ride in 17 minutes.  Rode to pool and back.

Friday, 7/24.  5 mile run in 55 minutes.  Morning run to cul-de-sac and back then on the beach.  Looked like a storm was coming in.  Felt great but got round ligament pains during the last 2 miles because I had to go to the bathroom.  Thankful to still be running so strongly.  (Felt sore and slow the rest of the day.  Probably shouldn't run 5 miles at a time any more.)

6 mile bike ride in 50 minutes.  Late morning bike ride with my cousins and aunt.  Cloudy and looked like rain.  Went across marsh bridge then out to tree houses and dock (an area of the island where the homes look like tree houses).  Watch died half way through so distance may not be entirely accurate.

Saturday, 7/25.  3.01 mile run in 35 minutes.  Late morning run with mom to cul-de-sac and on beach.  Squeezed a quick run in before my brother's girlfriend's mom showed up for the weekend.

20 minutes (or more) of treading water in the deep end at the pool.  Lost track of time while swimming and chatting.  

Sunday, 7/26.  3 mile run in 32:19 minutes.  Slow, late morning run in the sunshine to cul-de-sac and back, and then along bike path.  No bathroom breaks needed!  Planned on only doing 2 miles so that I could reach my goal for the week of 16 miles, but decided to keep going for an extra mile.

My goal this week is to run 15 miles and complete 2 Nike Training Club workouts.  I'm at my parent's home in Georgia now, so biking and swimming aren't going to happen.  My goals right now aren't exactly lofty, but I like to set them anyway to keep myself accountable.  

What are your fitness goals this week?  Don't forget that even squeezing in a 10 minute workout will help your body and your mind feel better.

Have a great week everyone!  As always, please let me know if you have a question or want to chat fitness (or talk about any other topic I often write about)! 

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Easy Breezy Maternity Dresses

July 22, 2015

Now that it's summertime and I'm well into my second trimester I've been living in either maternity dresses or shorts and a tank top.  I love how dresses show off my growing bump, while also providing a simple clothing option so that I don't have to put together an entire outfit.  I'm so glad fashion rules have changed over the years because maternity clothes are so cute now!

This striped dress from PinkBlush Maternity is one of my new favorite pieces.  I like how sporty it is, but it has a feminine cut so that it flatters a growing baby bump.

Outfit Details: 

PinkBlush Maternity Dress c/o, Old Navy Sandals (sold out but these are similar), J.Crew Necklace (old), Ray-Ban Sunglasses (similar)

I've never really been a fan of maxi dresses until now.  They normally just seem to swallow me up and make me look frumpy or like a little girl playing dress up, but this color block maternity maxi dress is amazing.  Plus it has pockets!  The ruching along the bust makes the top of the dress flattering and prevents the squeezed and tight look that many strapless dresses create.


Outfit Details:

PinkBlush Maternity Dress c/o, Lilly for Target Sandals, J.Crew Bracelet, Gold Coral Earrings (similar)

I don't normally wear lots of floral prints (or chiffon for that matter) but I think this dress is so feminine and fun.  It's the perfect dress for a baby shower (especially if you're having a boy like me!), a date night, or even for church.  

For all you pregnant mommas out there, you've got to check out PinkBlush Maternity!  They have cute and trendy maternity clothing for really great prices.  I especially love the dresses!

Outfit Details:

PinkBlush Maternity Dress c/o, J.Crew Espadrille Wedges, J.Crew Bracelet, Kate Spade Earrings

This post is in collaboration with PinkBlush Maternity.  I only collaborate with brands I love!

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Weekly Workout Recap

July 20, 2015
Well it's Monday again, so it's time for a workout recap from this past week!  I'm feeling the weight of the baby more and more everyday, and I can tell that my center of gravity is starting to shift.  I can't believe I'm at 25 weeks already!  I feel Baby Vail move all the time, and he especially loves kicking my side and doing flips when I try to go to bed.  I just love and cherish each and every jab and roll that I feel when he moves.  Even though I'm so excited for the baby to be born I know I'm going to miss being pregnant.  It's such a beautiful and exciting time of my life and I'm so thankful for this little blessing and I can't wait to become a mom!

24 weeks pregnant and still plodding along.

Here are the workouts I completed this past week.  Not as great as the week before, but I'm still staying active and for the most part the weight I've been gaining seems to be all baby.  Hopefully that trend will continue!

Tuesday, 7/14.  3.16 mile run in 35 minutes.  Run to Flounder Point (a part of the island where we used to fish for flounder) and back with mom.  Belly felt large and like it was going to pop...and I felt slow.

Wednesday, 7/15.  6.5 mile beach cruise bike ride in 1 hour.  Rode through the marsh and around island with mom.

Thursday, 7/16.  4.02 mile run in 45 minutes.  Run on the beach as the sun rose.  Felt strong.  Saw turtle tracks from a turtle that laid eggs during the night.  Mom ran too but we didn't run together.  After the run we did a 10 minute dumbbell workout on the beach using 5 pound dumbbells (3 sets of 20 reps of squats, lunges, bicep curls and tricep extensions).  7.44 mile evening beach cruiser bike ride in 1 hour 6 minutes around the island with mom.   Saw dolphins!

Saturday, 7/18.  4 mile run in 45 minutes.  Slow run to the cul-de-sac at the end of the road and then on the beach.  After the run I met mom on the beach and we did a 13 minute dumbbell workout (3 sets of 20 reps of squats, lunges, bicep curls, and tricep extensions).  

Do any of you track your workouts?  Do you set fitness goals?  Do you want to chat fitness or would you like me to address any certain fitness topics?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  My goal this next week is to run 16 miles total.  Before I got pregnant I liked to run over 20 miles each week (while not training for a race), and attend at least 1 body pump class, 1 yoga class and 1 spin class.  Pregnancy sure has changed things but I really do think that staying active has prevented many of the common pregnancy complaints such as back pain, heartburn, leg cramps and bloating.  Here's hoping that the next 15 weeks go as smoothly!

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On my Mind...Lately

July 17, 2015
It's almost the weekend again!  Anyone have any big plans?  Most of my dad's side of the family is showing up at the beach tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to seeing my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  This past week has been a busy one for us when it came to tending to the beach cottage.  We've pruned prickly sago palms, hung curtains on the screen porch, made over a mirror that came with the house (it was green and now its white!), and cleaned the picket fence.  I've gotten in some good workouts with my mom too, which has been lots of fun and it keeps me strong as my belly continues to grow.  

Ok enough are a few of the things that have been on my mind this past week.  Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!

1.  Lowcountry Shrimp and Grits. 

 This recipe is AMAZING and this Instagram photo of mine does not do it justice!  I followed the recipe for the most part, but used cheddar cheese instead of parmesan cheese (and used about a cup because I looooove cheesy grits), used a jalapeño instead of poblanos, and used extra chicken broth instead of Madeira.  It was so good and really pretty easy.  If you want a taste of the lowcountry you've got to try this out.

2.  DIY Storage Upgrade.

Image via Better Homes and Gardens.

I'm in full on baby mode now and love seeing creative ways to corral small objects.  I love the idea of spray painting the bottom of baskets and bins to make storage solutions effective and pretty to look at!

3.  Peach Preserves.

My mom and I made peach preserves a few days ago and we used this recipe.  The peaches in South Carolina are heavenly right now, so it was hard to resist eating the peaches before we turned them into preserves...but we did and now we have 6 jars of yummy preserved peach deliciousness!  The peach preserves turned out really well and they are perfect on toast or even on Greek yogurt.

4.  Hot Pink Egret on Navy Print.

Have you checked out The Pink Pagoda before?  Well you should, especially if you're a Chinoiserie fan and like fun and colorful artwork and beautiful home accessories.  I'm pretty crazy about this pink and blue egret print and I wish I had room for more art in my little apartment.

5.  Vintage Woven Chair.

Image via Style By Emily Henderson.

See that chair on the left of this image is from Emily Henderson's amazing blog?  Well, my Dad had one almost exactly like this before my parents got married over 32 years ago.  Luckily my mom let him keep it even though it's been sitting in my parent's garage for years and years.  Anyway, my brother and I both laid claim to it a few years ago...and our sweet mother promised it to both of us.  (Thanks mom...)  Well, my brother lives in Portland now so I seized the moment and convinced my mom to let me take it home!  Yay me!  I'm going to be transitioning to a more neutral look once we move in August, so it'll be a great way to add a little much needed masculinity to the living room.  I'll give the chair to my brother once he's fully settled down and back on the East Coast, but for now I can't wait to use it in my humble abode. 

Life with a Dash of Whimsy is on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin' - and I'd love for you to join me there!
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Coconut Lemonade Icebox Pie

July 15, 2015
Looking for a deliciously cool and easy summer dessert?  You've got to try this coconut lemonade icebox pie!  

Over the weekend my mom and I decided we wanted to make an icebox pie.  We forgot that most recipes call for a can of condensed milk, so we only bought the frozen lemonade, a pie crust and some Cool Whip.  When we got ready to make the pie we searched for some condensed milk alternatives in the pantry but all we could find was a can of coconut milk.  We decided to give that a try and I'm so glad we did, because it was amazing!  The coconut and lemon flavors meld together perfectly to create a refreshing, summery treat.  Here's what you need:

-1 10 oz. can of frozen Minute Maid Lemonade
-1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
-1 14 oz. can of coconut milk
-1 graham cracker pie crust 

Note:  This recipe could actually make two pies if you don't fill up the crusts all the way.  Realistically though, it only makes one and a half pies if you fill one all the way to the top.  We just poured the extra filling into an empty pie plate and froze it.  We will likely turn that one into individual dessert parfaits by layering it with crumbled graham crackers, fruit and whipped cream or Greek yogurt.

Directions:  Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  It helps if the Cool Whip is not frozen.  Pour into pie crust.  Freeze until the filling is hard (about 8 hours).  Enjoy!

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Weekly Workout Recap

July 13, 2015
A few weeks back (ok actually nearly 2 months ago) I said I would start posting my weekly workout recaps. I posted once (you can see it here) and then I never got my act together to post any more of my workouts. is an almost 2 month recap of workouts from May 18th thru July 12th.  I'll try to be better about actual weekly updates in the coming months.

Prepping for a run at 23 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

I keep track of my workouts on the app OnTri.  I've always liked numbers and data, so keeping track of workouts has been a part of my life since I was in high school.  I used to use a workout log notebook, but I have found that keeping track of the data on my phone is much more convenient, especially because of all the traveling I've done lately.  I'll often write a short note about how I felt, what I did, and for how long.  Here are my workouts and the notes (meant for my personal use but I figure I'll share anyway) from my workout app:

[Note:  I go from week 16 thru week 23 of pregnancy in these posts...thus the frequent bladder talk.]

Monday, 5/18.  5.01 mile run in 48 minutes.  Bladder revolted and I had to pee so bad.  Didn't want to run at all but managed to pull out 5.

Wednesday, 5/20.  1 hour of yoga.

Thursday, 5/21.  1 hour of Body Pump.  30 minutes and 2.5 miles on the elliptical after body pump.

Friday, 5/22.  5 mile run in 50 minutes.  Centennial Lake loop twice.  Bladder control is getting worse and worse! 

Sunday, 5/24.  7.5 mile run in 1 hour 15 minutes.  Run to lake and around it with Tom.  Beautiful day and I felt good!

[Note:  We were in Paris from 5/25 thru 6/2.  We walked between 8 or more miles a day and my feet were so sore and swollen every night.  I could only manage to get myself out of bed to run once while we were there.  Tom ran twice.]

Sunday, 5/31.  6 mile run in 1 hour.  Run to Arc de Triomphe and back with Tom.  Amazing!

Wednesday, 6/3.  5.15 mile run in 51 minutes.  Morning run around the lake with Tom.

Friday, 6/5.  1 hour of Body Pump with Tom in the morning.

Saturday, 6/6.  4 mile run in 40 minutes.  Arrived in Portland, OR and ran with Nathan (my brother) and saw a beautiful park with gorgeous roses.

Tuesday, 6/9.  4.36 mile run in 44 minutes.  Run in Portland with mom, Nina (my brother's girlfriend) and Elizabeth (her mom) then a short hike in Pier Park.

Wednesday, 6/10.  10 mile hike at Mount St. Helens with mom, dad, Nathan (brother), Nina and Elizabeth.

Friday, 6/12.  9 mile hike at Eagle Creek with mom, Nina and Elizabeth.

Monday, 6/15.  3.21 mile run in 34 minutes.  Run with mom along the water at Whidbey Island.

Friday, 6/19.  5 mile run in 52 minutes.  Morning run in MD with Tom before he flew to Seattle.  50 lunges and 30 dips while Tom added some mileage.

Saturday, 6/20.  1 hour 15 minutes of yoga.  Awful class.  (The amazing instructor I've had for months just left the gym I belong to.  I'm going to have to figure something else out because unfortunately the new instructor was not good at all.)

Monday, 6/22.  5 mile run in 56 minutes.  Run around the lake by myself in the heat.  Felt good.  20/20/10 leg step ups on benches while running (on each leg).  30 minutes of Nike Training Club "Body Surge" full body workout after run.  (Nike Training Club is a fantastic app.  It takes up a lot of space on your phone but it provides tons of great workouts and it's free!)

Tuesday, 6/23.  1 hour of Body Pump.  Tweaked my back yesterday.
Friday, 6/26.  5 mile run in 52 minutes.  Run around the lake with Tom before driving furniture to Fripp Island, SC (10+ hour drive).

Saturday, 6/27.  2 mile run in 22 minutes.  Short run at Fripp Island then bike ride with mom.

Sunday, 6/28.  4 mile run in 45 minutes.  Fripp Island beach run with Tom before driving back up to Maryland.  Felt slow with some round ligament pains.

Wednesday, 7/1.  5 mile run in 49 minutes.  Run around Centennial Lake twice by myself.  Best pregnant run so far!

Saturday, 7/4.  5 mile run in 51 minutes.  Run at Fripp, first 3 miles with Tom (then he kept running when I turned back).

Sunday, 7/5.  2 mile run in 23 minutes.  Run at Fripp.  1 mile with Tom and Tommy (Tom's 9 year old son), and 1 mile by myself.

Monday, 7/6.  8.16 mile bike ride in 1 hour 15 minutes.  Beach cruiser bike ride with mom.

Tuesday, 7/7.  3 mile run in 32 minutes.  Slow, hot run at Fripp with mom.  Got a late start and too hot to do more.  4.5 mile bike ride in 38 minutes.  Evening beach cruiser bike ride on beach with mom.

Thursday, 7/9.  4 mile run in 43 minutes.  Slow run on the beach.  Never stopped for a bathroom break!  Felt good, just hot.

Friday, 7/10.  3.5 mile run in 40 minutes.  Hot afternoon run with mom and dad.

Saturday, 7/11.  2 mile run in 22 minutes.  Early morning run on the beach with mom followed by 30 minutes of Nike Training Club "Extreme Full Body" workout on advanced level on the beach with mom.  So tough!

Sunday, 7/12.  4.16 mile run in 45 minutes.  Slow morning run at Fripp through the marsh, finishing up on the beach.

Nike Training Club on the beach with my mom.  I'm 23 weeks and 5 days pregnant here.  

As you can see, I try to be consistent with squeezing workouts in, even if I only have time for a short one.  I also am determined to not let pregnancy be an excuse to get out of shape.  As I've progressed through pregnancy I've had to shorten my runs because 5 miles seems to be my upper limit and my back hurts the rest of the day if I run any farther.  My runs are also slower than they used to be (and include more bathroom breaks), but I feel like maintaining a good fitness level has made pregnancy a breeze and I hope that it will make labor and delivery more manageable.  

I love to chat about fitness, so if you have any questions I'd love to hear them!  

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