Slow Down: A Summer Poem

Slow Down

Slow Down


Slow down.
Pick berries.
Swipe at mosquitoes.
Cuss at thorns, but
gently. Slip a berry
into your mouth and
press it up, up, up
with your tongue. Savor
the sweet, the sour, the
little bits in between.
Summer only lasts so long.
Be there, in it.
Slow down.


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Quick & Easy Summer Treat: Summer Popcorn

Whirley Pop!

Summer means sunshine, barbeques, and “bring a dish.” If people want me to bring a dip, I bring Buffalo Chicken Dip. Because buffalo sauce. If I’m asked to bring a salad, I lean toward “weird” ones, like ramen salads. And if the hosts request a dessert, I panic.

Or, I used to panic.

While I like my birthday cake, I’m not big up on cakes. I love pie, but I’m still working on making a pie crust that doesn’t suck. I also like to make things that kids will like too, so no fancy tartes or tortes or whatever it is we’re all pinning these days.

So I make Summer Popcorn.

It’s really easy.

First, I pop the popcorn in my Whirley-Pop.

Whirley Pop!

If you’re not familiar with the Whirley-Pop, you’re missing out. Best. Popcorn. Ever. My husband purchased one after a fellow firefighter brought one to work to make popcorn for the rest of the crew. I thought he was crazy for purchasing another kitchen thing; kitchen gadgets are his thing though. I joined the crazy when I fell in love with the process and the taste. We haven’t eaten microwaved popcorn in over two years.

Spread the popped corn on to a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Melt white chocolate however you see best fit.

Making Summer Popcorn

Some people use the microwave, but I don’t really like doing it that way. All the beeping and door opening and closing drives me bonkers. I also think it negatively affects the taste, but that might just be me. However, when I went to pull out my double boiler, I remembered in a fit of “let’s clean out our cupboards,” I gave it away. I actually said to my husband, “I can just melt chocolate in the microwave.” UGH.

So I fashioned my own and melted up my white chocolate melting chips. The Ghiradelli White Melting Wafers melted the best of any white chocolate I’ve attempted to melt before.

You then pour it over the popcorn and give it a good mix with a wooden spoon.

Making Summer Popcorn

Then comes the fun part. Pour on the sprinkles! I went with red, white, and blue because nothing says summer like red, white, and blue.

Summer Popcorn

If the party you’re attending has a theme, go with colors that match the theme. Pink and green sprinkles scream, “WATERMELON!” I always like to use a bright, light blue and yellow for a beachy type feel. I used both jimmies and crystal sugar.


Summer Popcorn

Summer Popcorn

And then—the hardest part—let the whole thing cool completely. (Though, trust me, you’ll want to grab a piece of popcorn in the still-warm, melty chocolate. It’s heavenly.) After it’s cooled and hardened, you can place it in a bowl for traveling or in individual baggies if you’re handing them out to kiddos.

It’s a sweet treat that will please kids and adults alike.

And, of course, don’t forget to brush your teeth after such a lovely treat. Even if you don’t eat this treat at your next summer barbeque, there are lots of hidden sugars you may not consider. BBQ sauces contain a lot more sugar than you think. Love lemonade? Me too, but it’s loaded too. Aquafresh® Cavity Protection Toothpaste can help clean the sugar acids from everyday (or special day!) foods with a great taste. You can look at their Facebook page to learn more, or follow them on Twitter: @AquafreshUS.


What’s your favorite way to take care of your teeth this summer? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card.

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My First Golden Tote: A Fashion Review

Close Up of the Color

My first Golden Tote arrived yesterday. Golden Tote is a great way to shop for those of us who don’t have access to brick-and-mortar stores with unique, fun finds. It’s different from Stitch Fix in that you can pick one or two pieces to add to your tote, depending on which size tote you purchase.

I’m so excited about my first Golden Tote!

Not only do I love most of my picks, I ended up with a tote featuring gold flamingos. I used it as my library bag yesterday. I think my previous library bag is no longer speaking to me. Oh well. GOLD FLAMINGOS.

I photographed each piece that came, styled as I felt capable of yesterday. The heat outside felt like melting death, and the humidity kept growing my hair ala Monica-style. But I got the photos taken. Here’s what I got.

Pick One

Nautical Knit Cardigan: My First Golden Tote
Nautical Knit Cardigan, Golden Tote | Navy Blue Maxi Dress, old (Similar) | Gold Leaf Necklace, retired (Similar) | Pave Drop Leaf Earrings | White Rhinestone Sandal, sold out (Similar)

This Nautical Knit Cardigan is the reason I broke down and finally tried Golden Tote. I fell in love with it on site, and happily, it delivers everything I dreamed of in person. It’s super soft, allows for good air flow, and looks just gorgeous. I paired it with a very old navy blue maxi dress, but I can see wearing it with a lot of fall and spring outfits as an added layer of warmth. I’m so in love with it.

Nautical Knit Cardigan: My First Golden Tote

Pick Two

Perfect Spring Tank: My First Golden Tote
Perfect Spring Tank, Golden Tote | Must Have Floral Print Shorts, White Plum | Pressed Paillette Toggle Bracelet | White Rhinestone Sandal, sold out (Similar)

The Perfect Spring Tank in Off White was another one I needed to own as I’ve been looking for a simple but beautiful off white top all summer. I wanted to wear it with these White Plum floral shorts, but also a few skirts, a pair of capris, and even my favorite coral pants. It’s a lovely light and flowy top. I predict wearing it a lot from now through fall.

(Note: I was wearing it this afternoon when I started to make blackberry cobbler. I went and changed rather quickly.)

Surprise One

Cap Sleeve Green and Black Dress: My First Golden Tote
Cap Sleeve Dress, Golden Tote | Marquesas Long Pendant and Drop Earrings | Green Shoes, Old Navy (Similar and way cute)

You guys. This dress. I was completely shocked by this surprise, and it’s definitely my favorite surprise in the whole tote. I can’t remember if I mentioned my affinity for green in my style profile as I took it so long ago, but this dress is everything perfect for me. Green. Stripes. Cap sleeves. Above the knee. Excuse me while I wear it non-stop. Forever.


Surprise Two

Striped Back Tank: My First Golden Tote
Back Stripe Tank, Golden Tote | Boyfriend Jeans, previous Stitch Fix | Navy Wrap Bracelet, lia sophia (Similar) | Feather Necklace, lia sophia (Similar) | Green Low Top Chucks, Converse

This tank it just lovely. It’s just as soft, if not softer, than the Perfect Spring Tank. The stripe detail on the back along with the green make me happy. It features a high-low hemline which is basically my favorite thing for tops right now. And did I mention it’s soft? I wore it straight out of the box yesterday. It’s a new favorite casual piece.

Surprise Three

The Rory Gilmore Shirt: My First Golden Tote
Rory Gilmore Shirt, Golden Tote | Boyfriend Jeans, previous Stitch Fix | Mint Low Top Chucks, Journeys | Pressed Paillette Toggle Bracelet | Round Sapphire Earrings

I refer to this as the Rory Gilmore Shirt. It just feels like something Rory might wear, maybe paired with a pencil skirt and some fun gray boots. I’m not entirely sure it’s me, however. I might like it more if the gray part came down to where the next wrinkle in the blue and white shirt is, but even then. I’m not big on shirts that look like two shirts. I’m a 90s girl. I’ll just layer two shirts, thankyouverymuch.

* I am considering trading this piece.

Surprise Four

Skirt: My First Golden Tote
Tank, to be announced | Midi Skirt, Golden Tote | Gilded Reeds Aventurine Drop Earrings and Modern Deco Bracelet | Beige opened flats, Old Navy (Similar)

This skirt has a lot of things going for it. It’s comfortable. The elastic waist band is wide and forgiving. The melange or heathered look is very on trend for fall. But… it’s a midi skirt. I have pretty epic calves from running, and this skirt hits me in a rather wide portion of my lower leg. It looks great paired with this top (more about it on Saturday), but I don’t know if I’m feeling it.

Here’s a close-up of the coloring:

Close Up of the Color

* I am considering trading this piece.

So what do I think of my first Golden Tote?

I’m pretty much in love with it. My friend Chrystal has been sharing her awesome finds for months on Facebook, and now I know why she sticks with it. It’s just a great deal. Plus, the trading group is a great place to find new things and trade off those pieces you just don’t feel 100% about or don’t match your style.

I’ll be sticking with Golden Tote, especially as I love being able to pick out two pieces. I’m working on adding a number of more casual styles to my wardrobe (because I’m not good at casual), and I think this may end up being the way to go.