Happy Sunday everyone. We are excited to have Emily back from her spring break vacation so we can vicariously live through her stories! We also want to make sure you saw Julie and Velinda’s reveal this week. It’s beautiful, welcoming, and thankfully not the last one you’ll see from them this year. Shall we link up??

This week’s house tour via The Design Files is a Mediterranean-inspired home by artist, Gemma Leslie and her partner, Mike Chambers. It’s a happy, inviting home that is clearly filled with beloved treasures from their lives. This home feels like a hug when looking at it:)

From Emily: The two books I’ve read (so far) on our spring break trip (both were hard to put down) and what is next in my cue. Like in design, I am picky but not snobby when it comes to what I read and planned mostly fun, easy-to-fly-through books for this trip. I have a lot to tell you but basically, the first four days of our trip were so action-packed that I barely read – only when going to bed, but I couldn’t get Daisy Jones and the Six (Kindle and Local) out of my head. Admittedly in the middle of it, I was frustrated with the writing format (very documentarian, with all the exposition told from 10 different characters). At times it felt a bit muddy to wade through and I was like, “move it along already!!!” but the writer Taylor Jenkins Reid must be doing something right because I couldn’t wait to get to it every night. I LOVED her other book, Malibu Rising (Kindle and Local) so much, but less so The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Kindle and Local). And to be fair I didn’t finish it so maybe it paid off and I think I’ll pick it back up next week. I am VERY excited to see the series now on Amazon because I sure did fall in love with the world and the characters (it’s set in the 70s about a rock band making its way to the top, with a lot of very human problems that go along with that time in that industry – i.e. addiction, fame, the patriarchy, feminism, ego, and of course, LOVE). After that, I switched to Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren (Kindle and Local). Fun fact – they are two women/best friends named Christina and Lauren. I’ve read almost all of their rom-coms and mostly thoroughly enjoyed them. I flew through this in two days and it was exactly what I was in the mood for – a coming-of-age teen love story, revisited 14 years later with some family drama and enough layers to keep it from feeling totally basic. It’s like reading Sweet Home Alabama – you know what is going to happen and that knowledge is actually so comforting.

As you know, I started reading rom-com fiction during the pandemic which absolutely helped with my daily situational anxiety – it’s my emotional comfort food. This one was one of their better ones although it took me 10 pages to get hooked (sometimes I’m hooked on page 2). Now on day 7 of our trip (with two days left – writing this on Wednesday) I’m 20 pages into The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (Kindle and Local), which I’m fearful might keep me up, so the new Jojo Moyes book, Someone Else’s Shoes (Kindle and Local) and Ali Hazelwood’s Below Zero (Kindle) as backups. Who am I kidding, The Candy House might be less of a good beach read and will finish it when I’m home (it’s already a tiny bit unsettling). All hail the convenience of the kindle when traveling:)

From Ryann: This is the perfect crewneck sweatshirt. I have it in a few colors and it’s one of those pieces that I find myself gravitating toward every day (to be fair I am definitely into utilitarian basics as of late – probably because of all this rain!). But I do love it (I sized up for an oversized look) and wear with leggings or jeans and sneakers for a very laid-back but pulled-together look.

From Mallory: Summer is right around the corner so I think this is an appropriate time to bring up the bikini line conversation. I’m personally a shaver because I don’t love having hair down there (for me personally, totally cool if you’re in another camp :)) but shaving constantly in the summer brings up some razor burn issues that I also don’t love. ENTER MY RAZOR BURN SOLUTION. I heard about this wet/dry trimmer on TikTok and for $30 I was certainly ready to try it out. Not gonna lie I think it’s going to change my life in the coming months. It works GREAT. The three-blade system gets the bulk of the hair outta there but it doesnt give you razor burn because it’s not a CRAZY close shave. Plus I love that you can shave dry with literally no product, so if you have a spontaneous pool moment you can get that bikini line ready to rock without having to fully take a shower. Now I’m still planning to do a razor shave once in a while because it will be a smoother/closer shave, but this will be a great way to keep the hair down without constantly irritating the skin down there. Highly recommend!!

From Caitlin: It’s been a minute since I’ve fallen in love with a candle, but I am SO EXCITED about these “plant the box” scented candles. There are 8 different scents (running the gamut from Lavender to Tomato), but my favorites are the Fresh Cut Grass and Sweet Sunflower. The best part: the boxes they come in are biodegradable and filled with seeds, so you can actually grow the plant that the candle is based on! I’m going to try the Siam Poppy scent next – I can’t wait to grow some Flanders poppies on my balcony this spring:) (This would be a really great gift for Mother’s Day, too! It’s a slam dunk for anyone who loves candles or gardening…or both. Just something to keep in mind if you’re trying to get your gifts done early this year!)

From Albie: I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting closer to 40, however, I feel like I’ve been learning so much more about my body, and especially my skin…which in term triggered a whole skincare journey that I’m currently on. One of my fave new finds and facial skin care tools is this cryo ball. I leave it in my mini skincare fridge so it stays nice & cold, and use it every morning. Y’all… it feels so good on my skin! Bonus: it’s owned by a black woman! And without even realizing it, many of the other items in my facial skincare arsenal are black-owned, which means they were created with melamine in mind. I love that for me. 

From Jess: When I was talking to my dad this past week, he asked where I bought the sweatpants I got him for Christmas because he wanted to buy more. If you have anyone in your life that is hard to shop for then you know the wave of pure shock and excitement that went through my body. I DID IT!!!! I got him a gift he actually loved!! He says they are the best-fitting sweatpants he’s ever worn but also are so comfortable that he doesn’t want to change into his PJs. Y’all he bought TWO more pairs (dark gray and navy) and the man is particular about his clothes. I really have to thank Brian and his gift guide from this last year. He talked them up so I thought I would try to gift my dad a pair of “cool but casual sweatpants.” So here’s another rave review if you are stumped for a gift for your dad or a person in your life. Oh, and they come in tall sizes too!

Before we leave you, we, of course, need to talk about the most recent mass shooting that happened in Nashville, TN this past week killing 6 people. It’s unimaginable to us that anyone who lives in the US feels good that these shootings continue to happen. Clearly, a gross understatement. And yet there is a recorded video interview of an actual Tennessee congressman saying quote, “It’s a horrible, horrible situation, and we’re not going to fix it.” He says more but it doesn’t get any better. The protection of our guns over our lives has to stop. Giving up is not an option. Sensible gun laws HAVE to be put into place. No one is saying guns can’t exist but our lives, and especially our kids’ lives, are just more important, aren’t they? What an unbelievable sentence to have to write. Please call your reps. Here is the official phone list. Also, pay attention to when your local and state elections are. Google it because it matters.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Velinda Hellen Design | Lead Designer: Julie Rose | Contractor: McLeod Construction, Inc. | Styling by Emily Bowser | Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: A Kitchen Makeover That Focused On Small Changes For A BIG Impact (Julie And Velinda Did It Again!)





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