Friday, June 22, 2018

Stylish Southern Mama's Fashion on Friday, Summertime!

Happy Friday, friends!!

Welcome to Fashion on Friday for the Stylish Southern Mama!
Kim had a crazy week so I am sharing again this week in her place. I'm pretty psyched to see what she will share next Friday. She is truly the finder of all the cool things!

Until then, you get to hang out with me again...{the somewhat stylish southern mama who dresses like a senior citizen circa 1989}.😂

Here's a quick post with a few things I found this week:
(some links are affiliate)

It's been a pretty fun week here at our house!
Olivia has been celebrating her birthday all month long (with no plans to stop it anytime soon).

I don't know how on earth she is 16 years old already,
but yet she is!

We celebrated with some of her friends in Nashville this week.

Here she's wearing a cute off the shoulder top I got her at H&M recently. It's a soft cotton fabric with little plumeti dots, it looked so pretty on her.

She absolutely LOVES that store & I will endure going in there because their clothes are CHEAP!
You can get some really good deals in there and the quality is decent.
(unfortunately I cannot say the same about some of some other stores she likes that I have been forced to enter, please kill me right now...)

Speaking of H&M, I fell in love with this print when I saw it in person!

How cute is this little floral off the shoulder dress!!!
It's just $12.99!
There's a wrap dress version of this print also, it's $34.99.

(I do hate those shoes tho, uncomfortable...sorry, I won't do it)

Here are a few other things that have caught my eye recently:

Milumia One Shoulder Floral Top

This print is SO pretty!
I LOVE a one shoulder top, 
I can be a little trendy without feeling like I am completely naked! 

Don't forget to click the coupon box on this listing and get $1 off (making this one just $17.99).

Plumberry One Shoulder Black Gingham Check Top

I've had my eye on this top for a few weeks & the price just went down to $19.99 so I think I'm going to order it for our vacation later this summer. 

I think it will look so cute with my coveted Vigoss jeans that I mentioned last week!
(they say true to size, but I sized up to the 30 & they're perfect)

Unpublished Greta Crop Wide Leg Capris
(links below)

I bought these adorable pants at a local shop, Beauty Boutique & Skincare Spa.
They are the cutest pants ever!

(modeling these cute pants is Necole, shop owner slash local rockstar)

You can contact them directly to buy a pair over the phone (they will ship), they are so, so cute!

Here are a few similar versions I found at Nordstrom:

Madewell Emmett Crops

Madewell Hudson Crops (omg, I need these too!!!)

JCrew Point Sur Wide Leg Crops in White (can you even!!!)

and speaking of JCrew,
those pants (denim or the white) would look darling with this knit tie back top (on sale right now for $11.80...RUN, DO NOT WALK):

JCrew Tie Back Striped Top

or this super soft cotton boatneck striped top which is on sale for $27.65

JCrew Stripe Boat Neck Tee

AND lastly, since I'm talking about JCrew brand...

Here's a sassy outfit option for a stylish southern mama!
I need this in my closet, ASAP!

JCrew Flower Raffia Earrings
JCrew Sleeveless Cotton Shirt Dress in Navy
Treasure & Bond Platform Wedges (these are a MUST HAVE, y'all)

I do love it when preppy meets patriotic!

Cute, cute, cute!!

Well, that's all I've got this week.

Have you guys found any good stuff?
I would love to see!
Share below in the comments or send me a link to your finds at

I'm hopping up to get ready for another fun day of birthday celebration!!

Happy Friday, stylish friends!



Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Reading List {from the Crafty Southern Mama Book Nerd}

Hello, Crafty Southern Mama Book Nerd friends!!

Happy FIRST DAY of Sumer!!

I thought since today was officially the first day of summer (and lots of you were probably hitting the road for vacation), it would be the perfect day to share a list of GREAT BOOKS for summer reading!

(Be sure to check #CSMBookNerd on Instagram for all my suggestions & add this hashtag when sharing your faves too so we can all keep up with the best books) 🤓📚❤️ 

Here are some good ones that I have read lately!

1. Dreams of Falling by Karen White

I am a huge fan of Karen White!
I finished her newest book over the weekend & now I’m having a really hard time trying to figure out which one of hers is my favorite! This one is full of southern families, old traditions, backstories & secrets, I loved it!

Other books by Karen White that I loved:

The Night the Lights Went Out:

Spinning the Moon

A Long Time Gone

The Tradd Street series

2. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

I took this book on our trip to Gulf Shores for a softball tournament during spring break (I like to have a crazy story to distract me on the plane).
THIS BOOK was so thrilling!
It had me hanging on every single page, right up to the end!
I highly recommend it!

Other books by this same author:

A Stranger in the House (not as good, but still a very good read)

3. Jefferson's Sons, a Founding Father's Secret by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

My aunt shared this one with me last month & I am SO glad that she did! I would have never bought this one for myself to read because it is a young adult book (she is a retired middle school English teacher, old habits...).

I enjoyed this one so much, it was very well written. If you're a fan of historical stories, I think you will love it too!

Similar books you might like:

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray 

4. The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

Francine Rivers is undeniably my MOST FAVORITE author!
I bought this book when it was released, but could not bring myself to crack it open because I knew it was going to be GOOD & didn't want to gobble it up (because once it's over, it's over & I'm totally a weirdo about avoiding closure)

I waited until I had a week of few interruptions and savored each page. This one was indeed a Masterpiece, you will not be disappointed!

Other books by Francine Rivers that you might enjoy:

Redeeming Love (so good)

The Mark of the Lion series (LIFE CHANGING good!! Seriously, buy that box set ASAP)

Bridge to Haven (similar to Redeeming Love, very sweet)

5. Mustard Seed by Laila Ibrahim

This is a sequel book to Laila Ibrahim's book Yellow Crocus (read that one first). This is a very different perspective from the old south books that I have read like Gone With the Wind. Both books are short, well written and very thought provoking.

Other books like these that you might enjoy:

The Refiner's Fire series by Lynn Austin
Candle in the Darkness
Fire by Night
A Light to My Path

6. 52 Things Sons Need from Their Moms by Angela Thomas

This book needs it's own post!
It was SO very good!
I think I might have already mentioned this book on the blog, but it deserves a repeat!
If you are a mom of boys, stop right now & order this book!
Do it!!! 😉

Other Angela Thomas books you might enjoy:

Do You Know Who I am (& Other Brave Questions Women Ask) (this lame cover does not do this book justice, it will jerk you up by the scruff of your neck)

When Wallflowers Dance (Becoming a Woman of Righteous Confidence)

Stronger (Finding Hope in Fragile Places)
(this is such a great bible study that can be done independently)

7. The Last Mrs Parrish by  Liv Constantine 

Oh, this crazy book!! 
For the first half of it I was so appalled & agitated about the main character. She was despicable!!
By the middle of it I was sick to death of that horrible creature! I was actually about to put this book down & not finish it when all of the sudden the story took a sharp left turn & everything got dumped out of the bag...

the AH-HA moment in this story is THE BEST!

Similar books you might enjoy:

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
(& next on my nightstand, The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll)

there's my list for this summer!

Obviously, I read a wide range of genres...
I love all the stories! 😉

WHAT is on your nightstand!?
I would really love to know!

If you've been searching for something new to read,
I hope you found a new title from this list.
These are all really good books!

Don't forget to check out the hashtag #CSMBookNerd on Instagram for all my book suggestions & add this hashtag when sharing YOUR faves too so we can all keep up with the best books (no book nerd left behind). 🤓📚❤️ 

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit!

Happy Reading!!



Friday, June 15, 2018

Fashion on Friday...Stylish Southern Mama

Hi, friends!

Welcome to the first Fashion on Friday installment of Stylish Southern Mama, Summer 2018!

Kim and I have decided to take turns sharing a few of our favorite fashion/beauty finds every week  (because loading up our shopping cart online & never checking out is basically our whole life...).
We know you guys love to shop too and we don't want you to miss a chance to add something to your pretend online shopping spree as well. 😉

Some of the links that we share might be affiliate links, but most are just regular links to things that we love. Grab some coffee and join me for a few fun fashion finds on this beautiful Friday morning!

So, let's start here...
last night I had the craziest dream!

In this dream my family & I were at some school orientation or assembly where we were corralled in a large, loud gymnasium like facility. One minute I'm paying attention and focused, the next minute I am UP,
speed walking
and scrambling frantically
trying to find a RESTROOM! 
I'm thinking, HELP, HELP ME!!
I NEED some soap and water!!
I look down & see that I have this massive splat of pizza sauce on the leg of my most beloved, FAVORITE pair of WHITE JEANS!!!!
Then, I wake up in a cold sweat!!😂

I'm not sure what the hidden meaning of this dream is exactly (I suspect it has something to do how much pizza I have consumed recently), but I do know how hard I would try to save a pair of white jeans that fit JUST RIGHT!

This summer I've lucked up and found a great pair that I LOVE!
I've had good luck with Vigoss brand jeans over the past couple of years, but this pair is by far my favorite out of all of them!

Thompson Tomboy Distressed Cuffed Cropped Skinny Jeans, true to size.
These are stretchy, soft and thick enough without being heavy.

My new most favorite lipstick
is an all natural lipstick made by Young Living,
Savvy Minerals in "I Dare You".

I ordered the lipstick when their makeup debuted last summer and I liked how it moisturized my lips, but the color was not my favorite. This spring they released several new colors and I am just tickled to death with the one I ordered called I Dare You!

(& here's a funny pic from my Instagram story so you can see how it looks on)

*I am a Young Living distributor, 
so if you're interested in this one or another color let me know. 

This spring I decided to try Trunk Club, which is a Nordstrom company.
I am SO glad that I did!!
This company is similar to the concept of Stitch Fix, but the quality is much better.
You tell about yourself, your style, share pins on pinterest, etc and your stylist will send you a trunk full of goodies to try. You pay a $25 stylist fee, but that goes toward anything you purchase out of your trunk.

Your trunk arrives all fancy looking in a super nice cardboard box with a handle that looks like a vintage traveling trunk. When you open that baby up, it's like the best Christmas ever! So far I have wanted to cry every month having to send so many things back because everything in my trunks has been amazing & I want to keep it all!!

My trunk stylist has sent me some fabulous pieces made by brands like Tretorn, JCrew, Vigoss, Draper James, Lilly Pulitzer, Madewell, Jack Rogers, etc, etc...

Here are a couple of things that she has sent me that I kept and make me laugh because I would have NEVER ordered them for myself and they ended up being so perfect for me!

Draper James Floral Hillsboro Cotton Shift Dress
This is much brighter in person and is true to size, the medium was just right.

Here's a shot of me in it on Mother's Day.
It is so pretty & SO comfortable!
(Evan is standing on a rock, but I'm sure it won't be much longer before we are hugging nose to nose...he is growing like crazy this summer, despite the fact that he has been forbidden to do so!)

The Anchor Embroidery Cotton Chambray Top from 1901 by Nordstrom!
This is a new brand that my stylist sent me a few different pieces to try. The designs remind me of JCrew, they are simple and traditional (my favorite) and the fabrics were REALLY nice quality!

Here's one that I decided to keep, I love this top so much!!
I wish I had a picture of me in it, this stock photo does not do it justice!

If you're thinking about trying Trunk Club,
I have to highly recommend that you give them a try!

Here are a couple of shift dresses that I have had my eye on, but have not tried.
I have had some great luck buying clothes on Amazon!
They are usually crazy cheap and if they don't work I can just send them right back for a refund.

Merokeety Womens Sleeveless Shift Dress, $18.99

Verdusa Women's Summer Maxi Dress, $20.99

Thanth Women's Off the Shoulder Maxi Dress, $15.99

MakeMeChic Off the Shoulder Tassel Dress, $15.99

One last thing that I've bought this spring that I absolutely LOVE are these wedges!
I am flats all day long, sisters!
But I am wearing these wedges at least once a week,
they are the bomb and they go with everything I own!!
I sized up and got the 9 instead of my regular 8.5 & they are perfect!

Treasure & Bond Platform Wedges

I'm watching for them to go on sale because I want the gray ones too!!

Well, that's all I've got this week!

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit. Kim will be back next week for her first Fashion on Friday and I can't wait to see what she's found!

Have a fabulous Father's Day weekend, sweet friends!



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

My Turn - I'm Back!!

And just like that - it's summer.

It has been a while since my last post, I mean so long I feel like I have to reintroduce myself...ahem..

Quick Stats: 
Kim Love AKA The Ringmaster, Mandy's sister, Wife of ALove, Mom of William (8) and Joseph (6), Dog Mom to Victor and Odie.  
Resides near Chattanooga, TN on Signal Mountain.  
Occupation: CSM Blog contributor and Bekah Cochran Team Real Estate (licensed, but prefer to do the transaction side of things).  

Okay, now that I have jogged your memory, please allow for a brief catch up session from inside the circus tent...

We made a trip to Pigeon Forge for William's 8th birthday (before school got out).  It was a lot of fun, we went to the Titanic Museum (again) to see the Lego Titanic model all 26 feet and 56,000 Lego pieces of it!!! We spent some fun time at Dollywood, and enjoyed a family graduation party at Douglas Lake near the most adorable town Dandridge, TN.

The boys successfully advanced to 1st and 2nd grades at the end of the school year, it was a good year.  Their sweet teachers really earned a well deserved break this summer!!!

Then off to Monteagle for Memorial Day weekend.

Then, we had a week of summer camp.

And, now we have transitioned into the official summer schedule.  I am grateful for a flexible work schedule to allow for at least three days a week to plan and attempt kidventures on Signal Mountain and around Chattanooga.  

I decided to get blue ocean hair for the summer, because A) I have an awesome boss and she's cool like that, B) my hair stylist is a genius  and C) I wanted to. 
I love it - it makes me so happy!  

I've been working on some projects around the house and am currently running my office out of the dining room which is crammed full of everything I had jammed into the extra bedroom, which is now Joseph's room.   SO, that's pretty fun, always a project, always some furniture to shove around.  

I am so excited about our new logo and purpose: Living the Best Darn Southern Life We Can.  I thought it was perfect for us.  Not perfect, always trying to navigate being a mom in this world and just trying to do the best darn job we can.   Southern life has much to do with weather (humidity) and what's for supper, combining history with new ideas, spiritual inspiration and walking barefoot in the yard.  I could go on, but I think you kind of know what I mean.  We simply want to share it with you.  

Looking forward to sharing our summer kidventures with you, with some projects and other fun things sprinkled in there!!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Summer greetings from the Mayor of Crazytowne

(doing a Forrest Gump wave)

Hi, friends!!!

Oh, my goodness it has been awhile!

I wanted to pop in here real quick to say hello and say that I hope you are doing well!

We just got out of school for summer here and as usual we are all already running in Crazytowne mode! (also known as #crazytownesummer on Instagram)

I cannot believe how fast this school year flew by!

Our sweet Evan finished up 5th grade at a new school this year. I was such a nervous wreck about him changing schools in fifth grade, but he had the BEST YEAR!
It is kind of long story (but I mean, are there any other kind with me), the school he is attending now is the school he is zoned for.  He has been at a different school since second grade because we thought we might move (ha) and this particular school was so helpful of his dyslexia issues we just decided to leave him there (even though we definitely were not moving).

Are you following me here? 😅

He was about to be moved to a different school in sixth grade anyway for middle school, so we decided to go ahead make this move to the smaller K-8 school now because smaller is better when you have severe dyslexia.

But, the little trout is doing great. He made some new friends, made great grades, came home every day excited about going back to school the next day. A mama just can't ask for more than that, you know! He's also decided to play on the football team next year (be near, Lord) and is going to run Cross it looks like I won't be stepping down as Mayor of Crazytowne just yet.

(First day of 5th grade, Last day of 5th grade)

Olivia finished up her sophomore year of high school, got her braces off, has learned how to drive and is about two weeks away from turning 16 years old and I am just over here shaking my head because I swear she was in the third grade playing Barbie's just about five minutes ago! She also had a great school year, despite some pretty stressful events that happened at her school. She made good grades (made an A IN ALGEBRA, y'all!!! Thank the good Lord above that she did not inherit my illiterate math genes, amen!!), she played softball, ran for a student council spot (and won). We have been super proud of her hard work this year!

But it hit me hard a couple of weeks ago...just twenty four more months...that's is all I have left before she walks across that stage to get her diploma, packs her car and drives off with my heart like the saddest Kenny Chesney song you've ever heard...(excuse me while I go squall my eyeballs out).

(First day of 10th grade, Last day of 10th grade)

On a sidebar, she would want me to clarify that she is not wearing the same shoes in those pictures. She wore the first pair out & the ones on the right are a brand new pair of the same shoes (she is her mother's daughter)...😂

And then there's this brand new thing that I've been trying to figure out how to navigate called being a "College Mom"...(and feeling like I've earned an F for fail, I might add).
Owen finished up his first year of college (fastest school year I have ever in my entire life...).
He started out last fall living at home and going to a school close by, but since we have rules here at our house he decided to transfer (I'm joking) (not really).

He is four hours away from home now and is considering going to dental school, but still not really sure what he wants to do. He made some pretty decent grades this semester which impressed me because he didn't have his mommy there to hold his hand.

He's home for the summer and I'm pretty sure this will be the last summer he ever comes home for the summer again if he can help it (because we have rules here and all...). 😉

So that's where I am as a mama at the moment. 

I've not been blogging very much this year because quite frankly I have not had the first clue about what I was doing as a mama and blogging like was in control of the situation when I wasn't just seemed so fake (and y'all know I am not fake).

I was actually considering letting the blog go, but about a month ago I ran across a post about having older (but not yet adult) children and it completely change my tune.

A Letter to the Lonely Mom of Older Kids by Rachele Anne Ridge

((thank you, Rachel Anne...I needed those words so much))❤

I realized, that I MOST DEFINITELY DID still have stories to tell!
And if my stories helped just one person, the way Rachel Anne's story helped me....then this adventure was still worth my time.

So, if anyone besides my mother is still reading way down here...(hi, mommy)
I appreciate you taking the time to visit this sad, neglected blog.

Come back to visit soon because now that I've embraced my failures from this past year and gotten a better perspective about this whole "mom of older kids" thing, I have got some {really funny} stories to share!

Take care, sweet friends!
Talk to you soon!


Sunday, April 1, 2018

ALove's Easter Message

"And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, 'My father!' And he said, 'Here I am, my son.' He said, 'Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' Abraham said, 'God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.' So they went both of them together." 
-Genesis 22:6-8 (ESV)

"The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" 
-John 1:29 (ESV)

This Easter, here are a couple of things to remember, and one thing to put your your Easter celebration To-Do list...
Remember Two Things

1.  First, "It is finished." -John 19:30 (ESV).  There is nothing more for you to do.  Jesus has done everything required to take care of your sin and reconcile you to God.  God provided for himself the perfect Lamb, Jesus.  

2.  Second, which follows from the first, the gospel is good NEWS, not good advice (paraphrasing Pastor Tim Keller here).  We don't DO news.  Instead, we hear it, believe it, and proclaim it:  
"Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.

I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.  Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.  
 -1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (NLT).

Do One Thing:

So, what's the ONE thing to do today?  

"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Happy Easter Everyone!! 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Irish Blessings & Other Random Nonsense...

Good morning, sweet friends!

Can you even believe it is the middle of MARCH!!!

It has been pretty busy around here the past few weeks trying to survive February (oh, my word how I hate February), trying to get high school softball on the launch pad and just general misadventures of the normal capacity at our house...

I have SO many things to tell you, but at the same time I don't feel like I've really done anything much to even tell about. Ha! If you follow me on Instagram, you know every move I've made because I have been fool happy making Instagram Stories just to drive my kids up the wall (plus it's fun).

Right now, in Tennessee we are just trying to get through the rest of WINTER (the groundhog did not lie). I saw this online the other day & laughed because I don't think it could be more accurate.
The weather here in the south is so coconuts!!

So much truth there, holy cow!!

I have had my nose stuck in a book for most of the winter season. I've read so many that they deserve their own post, so I'll be back to share those in a nibble.

I've also been glued to the TV watching reruns of Monk (I love that show), The Hallmark Channel & The Hallmark Murder Mystery Channel. My biggest guilty pleasure this winter has been binge watching When Calls the Heart on Netflix!

Last year someone recommended it me & I watched the first five minutes of the first episode & turned it off because it was super cheesy & just eh.

My sister said the exact same thing about it (she hasn't seen it yet, just the first few minutes and turned it off).

KEEP WATCHING, it gets better!!

The entire series is definitely cheesy, but it is so sweet and wholesome. The first season reminded me a lot of Little House on the Prairie. The next few seasons are a bit more unrealistic (everyone looking way too glamorous for frontier life during that time period) but the story itself is so good.

The show is based on Janette Oke Canadian West series, which I have not read. But, I have read her Love Comes Softly books and they are absolutely precious!

If you're looking for something new to watch, I highly recommend you give that one a try.

I recently spent some time (& when I say "some" I mean like 500 hours) waiting on Olivia to spend a gift card at Sephora when I happened upon this lipstick.

I was REALLY surprised at this Sephora Lipstories lipstick, it is wonderful!
( & I'm pretty picky about my lipstick.
And it is only $8!

I got tan lines & love love and they are both really pretty!
And cheap! ;)

The biggest & the greatest thing that has happened at my house so far this year is our new FRIDGE!!

Last summer we bought a brand new Whirlpool fridge from our local mom & pop appliance store. I was SO excited about it & loved it so much! It was absolutely fabulous!

But, unfortunately, it was a lemon!

Bless their hearts, they had to come out and work on it again & again and FINALLY had to call the Whirlpool people to come work on it. Six different times they took it apart!! They ended up replacing the entire motherboard out of the back of it (it was brand new, God bless America) and it STILL did not work right!

Finally last month, they decided to just give us a full refund & I picked out a different fridge.


I absolutely love this new one I picked out!

It is also a Whirlpool, but I think it's going to be fine. It has this fabulous little pullout drawer above the freezer drawer that is perfect for fruits & veggies (& the sprite that was my friend a couple of weeks ago when I was struck down by the stomach virus) (I don't wish that on anybody).

I'm so glad that is finally settled and I no longer have to wait for the repair man to show up
(between 8 & 12)...

In all honesty, y'all...the real reason I have not been blogging much (or doing anything much) is because I have been VERY preoccupied lately trying to parent a teenage daughter.

Olivia (will somehow) be 16 this summer.

We are currently doing this...


and dealing with this...

(Be near Lord)

and I am just worn out.
(& struggling)
(& just not able to even talk about it)

Parenting girls is hard enough, mercy!
But trying to raise a young lady who has a phone and is surrounded by other (often unsupervised young ladies who also have phones and have access to every sin imaginable on the internet...

Y'all, it is a battle every single day!

I could write a whole post about it (& probably will).
It is so hard!

If you still have little people, my parenting advice for you right now is this: (don't blink and) don't buy them a phone until they start driving.

Just don't.
The end.

Well, I'm out of time so I'm hopping up!

It's a gorgeous morning here
and I think it's going to be a perfect day to have a birthday!
Put on your green, friends!

I'm headed out celebrate being alive for "40 something" years! ;)

I hope you have a fabulous St Patrick's Day Saturday!

I'll be back to share some book nerd love soon!




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