Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Help for Texas

Natural disasters have always frightened me. There's just something about the helplessness of it--none of us can control Mother Nature, and we have to accept whatever comes. The worst is what comes afterward. The rest of the world moves on, but everyone in the community that was hit is left to literally pick up the pieces. That's what happened in New Orleans after Katrina. I went there two years after the fact for a service project, and there was still so much that needed rebuilding.

Sharing a more light hearted picture from my trip to New Orleans, because in the midst of all the destruction from Harvey that's already out there, I couldn't bring myself to post any of the pictures I took of the devastated areas. 
The devastation from Hurricane Harvey has been weighing heavily on me all week, so I wanted to share with you all some of the many ways you can help.

- The Red Cross makes it really easy--you can text HARVEY to 90999 and a $10 donation will be added to your phone bill.

- A huge way to help is through the Texas Diaper Bank--you can donate to help them fund kits that will provide diapers and other baby essentials to families who have been affected. You can go here to their website and select "disaster relief" in the drop down menu. More info in this article from Today.

- Austin Pets Alive! is a non profit that is working really hard to help save and place animals that have been affected by Harvey. You can donate money if you're not local, but if you're local they've got a list of important items that are needed. Read all about that here.

- Lots of bloggers and small businesses are contributing! The Daily Tay is raising money for Austin Pets Alive: Helene in Between is donating the 100% of the proceeds from sales of her Lightroom presets; Barn Owl Primitives has some awesome Texas t-shirts, with profits going to Harvey Relief; Ruffle Butts will donate $1 for every new follower on Instagram.

- Lastly, this article has a good list of ways to help from near and far: http://m.chron.com/news/houston-weather/hurricaneharvey/article/Hurricane-Harvey-How-to-help-victims-of-the-12003372.php

This is obviously just a small sampling of all the different charities and relief agencies that are helping out in Texas. I know it's overwhelming--which is why I kept this list small--but please consider donating to just one agency, if you are able to do so, and continue to keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. It's a long road from here, but we can be there to support them through it.

All Love,

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Battle of the Bridesmaid Shoes

The thing about blogging is that you make a grand statement saying, "I'm back, baby," and then life throws you a curveball and interrupts all your plans. For me, that curveball would be a Crohn's Disease flare up back in June. Although I recovered pretty quickly in physical terms, mentally I was a little shook up, and I just couldn't wrap my head around blogging.

I enjoy writing and I enjoy connecting with others in the blogging community, but I also enjoy lying on the couch and not using my brain. Most days, I choose the latter and play candy crush until bedtime. #dontjudge

I'll do my best to put together posts, but it won't be easy as we pack up our house! It's very bittersweet, but we worked all summer towards getting our house on the market, and just this past week we got an offer. I'm feeling very nostalgic and a little depressed to say goodbye to our first home, but am also excited about our next (TBD) adventure.

And now, on to today's post! One of my dearest friends is getting married in October, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I've got the dress, now I need the shoes. I was instructed to find "silver shoes, the sparklier, the better," so I wholeheartedly dedicated myself to this task. I clearly don't have time to spend a few hours at the mall trying on shoes (I can barely get through a quick Target trip these days without a certain toddler having a meltdown), which meant I ordered a bunch that looked pretty from Nordstrom, sat back, and waited.

I thought it would be fun to include you all in the process, so here's Round 1 of the Battle of the Bridesmaid Shoes!
Option 1:



Pros: Simple, so I can wear with other outfits and get more use out of them // The cheapest pair I ordered (just under $60)
Cons: A little bit tight and uncomfortable (could possibly go up a size) // Not very sparkly (this is a con for myself and for the bride :) )

Option 2:



Pros: Sparkly! Comfortable! (As far as heels go) Bride approved! 
Cons: A little bit pricier // When will I ever wear these shoes again?

That's it for Round One! The winner will advance and face off the winner of Round Two. Like a bracket, you know, sports and stuff like that. Cast your vote in the comments--all the items in this post are linked below.



All Love,


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wanderlust Wednesday: Abingdon, Virginia

Hello, friends! We are trying to get back to normal after our weekend trip to my hometown of Abingdon, Virginia. I love traveling--and when I travel to Abingdon I always feel like I'm going home--but it sure feels nice to be sleeping in my own bed again.

Obviously, our trip inspired today's post. I love going to big cities or exotic locations just as much as the next person, but small towns of America hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it's because I grew up in one, maybe it's because most of them are a cheaper getaway than a popular destination--either way, I think they make for a great trip and are highly underestimated.

So, just in case your travels ever take you to the southwestern corner of Virginia (or northeast Tennessee), here are five great activities to do while in Abingdon.

1. Explore the haunted history
Abingdon was settled back in the late 1700s--you can't be a town for that long without retaining a few, notable ghosts! I have always been fascinated with all the many haunted buildings in the area; in fact, The Mystery of Ghostly Vera is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I highly recommend checking out a ghost tour, but if getting up close and personal with the supernatural isn't your thing, there's plenty of other historical adventure to be found.

wolf cave abingdon va


2. Take in a show
Not to brag, but Abingdon is home to the state theater of Virginia. It's known as the Barter Theater, and was founded during the Great Depression. A group of out-of-work actors from New York moved down to Virginia to find work (and food). One of the actors, Robert Porterfield, knew that that rural areas wouldn't necessarily have money to pay to watch a play, but they would have food--so audience members could "barter" their way in by bringing food from their farms for the actors to eat (hence the name).


wedding photography
Talk about a missed opportunity with that marquee sign! Guess we will just have to get married all over again. 
3. Hike the Creeper Trail
There are outdoor activities a'plenty in Abingdon, but a favorite of mine is the Virginia Creeper Trail. The Creeper Trail (named for the foilage, not because creepy people hang out there) actually used to be a train route that ran from White Top Mountain down into Abingdon. It was used frequently in the days when logging was a huge industry on White Top Mountain and surrounding areas. Once that died away, the train was no longer needed. Luckily, instead of letting it rot, it was turned into a hiking/biking trail.

What I love about the Creeper Trail is that it can fit everyone's needs. You can walk it, run it, bike it, or even go horseback riding. There are even several different companies that offer a shuttle service to the top of Whitetop, where you can then bike down the mountain (info here).

4. Eat your way through town
There's no shortage of good restaurants in Abingdon--too many to choose from to list them all here! Our favorites include the Tavern, housed in the oldest building in the town, and Rain, which I will be doing a Foodie Tuesday post about next week. Abingdon isn't the kind of town that stays open late (you'll want to go to Bristol for nightlife), but if you happen to consume a few too many speciality bourbon drinks at the Tavern, there's always McDonald's and Taco Bell for those late night cravings.

5. Enjoy a horse and carriage ride
I'm a bit partial to this one, because Matt and I got engaged on a horse and carriage ride through Abingdon (and we exited that way after our wedding). The beauty of a horse and carriage ride though is that it's not something that needs to be reserved for couples--in my opinion, it's fun for all ages! (Although perhaps it could take more than that to impress teenagers, who knows.)

december wedding
This post was really just an excuse to show you more wedding photos. 
There is so much more to do than what I listed above, but that will get you started. Not to mention, there's lots more to explore in all the areas surrounding Abingdon (such as Bristol and South Holston Lake).

Anyone out there have anything to add? How do you all feel about small towns?

All Love,

Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer Roadtrip Playlist

Happy Friday, friends! My brilliant idea to post three times a week is already looking rough. We are going out of town this weekend, and trying to pack for any roadtrip is time consuming, let alone packing for a toddler! In my usual fashion, I waited until the very last minute to pack, so I spent most of Thursday hustling up and down the stairs during Aida's naptime, trying to wrap up laundry, pack things, and make lists so I won't forget anything.

Needless to say, by the end of the day I was exhausted and in no mood for a blog post, but I bravely moved forward for the sake of you, dear reader!

Anyway, our impending trip gave me a great idea for a blog post--a Summer Roadtrip Playlist!

summer roadtrip playlist

It's no secret that I consider music to be part of my heart and soul, so I am always in charge of putting together a killer playlist for any trips we take. (Although, one thing is for certain--the debut album from the band Joseph will be playing at some point, because for whatever reason that music never fails to soothe her right to sleep!)

For this playlist, I chose some songs that are quickly becoming summer favorites, and I added in a few for nostalgic purposes. Is it just me, or are there certain songs out there for you all that will always remind you of summer? No Doubt's album Tragic Kingdom always makes me think of summers spent at the Outer Banks. I can remember being ten years old, and just lounging on the deck at my Grandma's beach house, listening to the album on my walkman over and over.

Check out the playlist below and tell me what you would add! We will be visiting my parents in Southwest Virginia, so be sure to follow along on Instagram to see all of our adventures.

All Love,

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Foodie Tuesday: Chili Dogs

When I was fresh out of college, I told everyone that I loved to cook and bake. This typically meant that I could boil pasta, heat up marinara sauce, and successfully make funfetti cupcakes. The truth is, I never had much reason to get fancier than cooking up some frozen cheese tortellini, but I wanted to, and over the years I've slowly learned to actually make real meals, and bake delicious sweets that come from ingredients in my pantry, and not a premixed bag. (Ain't nothin' wrong with funfetti, though--I'll stand by that!)

Which brings me to my Foodie Tuesday post--I'm not clever enough to make up my own recipes, nor have I advanced far enough in blogging to take fancy pictures. I can, however, share my favorite recipes and let you all know the level of difficulty, the tastiness, and, let's be real, how much of a mess it will make.

Just last night, we had chili dogs. There is something about summer that "makes me want a hot dog real bad," (name that movie), and I'd been craving these for a while. I decided to use the Mix and Match Mama recipe for chili, then throw together some hot dogs and voila! Classic summer supper.

chili dogs
Straight devoured. 
You can find the link to the recipe here, and I also recommend checking out Shay's cookbooks on Amazon. Her recipes are all very easy to follow, plus she even provides a shopping list! (Meal planning itself is half the battle.)


If you can chop an onion, brown meat, and operate a can opener, then you are totally set for this recipe. Pro Tip: (Yes, I'm referring to myself as a pro, I have a very high opinion of myself) Have everything prepared before you get going--onion and jalapeno chopped, chili powder measured out, and cans all opened. That makes things much simpler when you're throwing things into the pot.

I believe that the beer really brings out the flavor in this recipe, so choose wisely! I heard once that when you're cooking with wine, use a wine that you would drink, and I feel like the same principle applies here.

Top it off at the end with some chopped onions and shredded cheese. Don't worry if you have too much leftover--freeze that bad boy and save it for your next cookout, or rainy summer evening when you need some comfort food.

Overall, it's an easy recipe, VERY tasty and makes minimal mess because it all cooks in one pot.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Foodie Tuesday concept, and if you have any recipe suggestions!

(P.S. I'm including some of my favorite cooking utensils and whatnot below, that helped this recipe come together. I'll be doing a more in-depth post in the future about my favorite pieces I own.)


This post contains affiliate links, and if you click on one and make a purchase, I receive a commission. Thank you for supporting Thoroughly Modern!

All Love

Monday, June 12, 2017

Music Monday

Happy Monday! How was everyone's weekend? Ours was very low key--I worked on Saturday, and during our free time we worked on projects around the house. We did make sure to visit the splash pad, and Aida--being the kind soul that she is--made sure that Mo and Baba got to experience the magic of the splash pad as well.

mom life

We have a busy week ahead--we're going out of town on Friday, which means a weeklong extravaganza of packing when you've got at toddler. I'll also be continuing my efforts to get Aida acclimated to the daycare of my gym. We have been making slow progress there, and it just about breaks my heart every time I leave her in there, bawling her eyes out, trying desperately to cling to me so I don't leave her...

And on that note, the best way to make Mondays (and other tragedies in life) more bearable is through music--and oh buddy, have I got some great, new music for you! I'm pretty positive I've rambled on about Bleachers before, but if not, here's the low down: Bleachers is fronted by Jack Antonoff, a former member of the band Fun., and is a band that you need in your playlist rotation. Their breakout album was nothing short of awesome, and then they topped themselves by releasing the album again, this time all songs done by various female artists. Now, they've released their second album and of course it is the bee's knees. Check it out on Spotify or Apple, but below is a little sample of my favorites. (P.S. You'll notice a female voice joining in at the end on "Don't Take the Money," and that just happens to be a little lady from New Zealand known as Lorde.)

All Love,

Friday, June 9, 2017

I'm Still Here

Hello! Do you remember me? My name is Kate and I used to have a blog.

What happened to me? Well, I can tell you exactly what happened to make me stop blogging for almost a year--my little baby went through a sleep regression and it was one of the most overwhelming experiences ever. To be honest, I can't tell you much about that time. Looking back, it's all a blur, and I just remember crying a lot and eating my feelings.

I wish I could be one of those moms who could truthfully say, "she more than made up for it with her smiles!" but honestly, as sweet as she could be, it did nothing for the sleep-deprived neurons in my brain. 
Somehow, we got through it, and life became more manageable once I was getting eight hours of sleep again. At that time, I made a conscious decision to just let go of blogging. Like I said, caring for a fussy, cranky baby almost 24/7 really took its toll on me, and I knew that if there were any other responsibilities/burdens on my mind that I could drop, then they must be dropped. So it was "see ya later, blog!" and I didn't think twice.

I have to admit, I did miss it, but mostly in a nostalgic sort of way. However, there were times when my fingers itched to put up a new post, but I had also decided I would not publish random posts here and there--if I was coming back, I was going to go all the way. So, here I am! Not quite going all the way, because I feel like committing to three posts a week is about all I can handle right now, but good enough!

It's a long story, but I felt like I needed to put my energy towards my own creative project. Maybe one day I will explain it in a blog post, but for now that's the only way I feel I can explain it.

I am a little scared to commit myself to such a project by saying, but I'm also very excited to be part of this supportive community again. What should I write about? I'm open to suggestions, I want to know what you want to know!

All Love,
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