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Book Review: Unbroken

(This post may contain affiliate links.) Ever since Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, became a movie in 2014, I’ve wanted to read it (then see the movie!). I recently found a copy on the shelf at my local library, but was almost deterred by its size. I don’t often read 400-page books, and was afraid it would take me a month to finish. I checked it out anyway, then went home and read it cover-to-cover in three days. I could not put this book down! Even though I knew how the story would end, I was in total suspense, reading frantically, Read more…

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How to Style a Fireplace Mantel

If you have a fireplace in your home like I do, you know that styling the mantel can be one of our biggest decorating challenges. The fireplace is often the focal point of a room, so bringing it to its full potential can enhance the entire space. But most mantels are only a few inches deep, so how can we pack a lot of style into that small space? Today I’m sharing four elements of a well-styled mantel. 1. Focal point A strong focal point will draw attention and encourage the eye to linger on the mantel. A large mirror or Read more…

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Pineapple Rhubarb Pie

When I was a little girl, I lived next door to my grandparents. My grandfather had huge vegetable gardens full of all the summertime yumminess you can handle. He grew everything from asparagus to zucchini. My favorites were his sugar snap peas and corn on the cob. He even had rhubarb, which my grandmother would bake into delicious pies. In our little hometown, she was known for her scrumptious desserts, including the pineapple rhubarb pie I’m sharing with you today. Many people aren’t familiar with rhubarb. The best place to get it is a farmers’ market or roadside produce stand. Read more…

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Five Habits That Made Me a Happier, Healthier Thirty-Something

Birthdays sometimes come with a bit of trepidation about growing older. For some people, 30 is tough, while others dread the big 4-0 or 5-0. For me, it was 37. Suddenly, I was in my “late thirties.” There was no more pretending I just graduated from college “a few years ago.” I found myself saying things like, “I remember that…it was 25 years ago.” [Cringe!] I also felt physically older. For the first time in my life, I had to face the fact that I was aging. Life would require more of me if I wanted to continue feeling healthy Read more…

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How I Found A “New” Wardrobe In My Own Closet

Have you ever stared into your closet full of clothes and thought, “I can’t find anything to wear”? I found this happening to me on a regular basis, but couldn’t figure out why. I had plenty of shirts, sweaters, skirts, jeans, etc. Why was I having such trouble putting an outfit together each day? First, I thought, “Maybe I need a whole new wardrobe. I should get rid of all this and start over.” Then I thought about the time and money that idea would cost me, and rejected it swiftly! Next, I thought, “Maybe I have too much clothing. Read more…

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Strawberry Shortcake

It’s strawberry season in Charleston! And you know what that means…time for some strawberry shortcake! In our family, the strawberry shortcake recipe starts with strawberry picking, which we like to do at Wabi Sabi Farm in Cordesville, SC. I rounded up a couple of friends,  we packed the mom-mobiles with our best strawberry pickers (otherwise known as our kids), and made the trip to our favorite strawberry patch. What a gorgeous day! We couldn’t have asked for anything better.   We came home with quite a haul! We could hardly keep our hands off these deliciously sweet berries. It’s hard to Read more…

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Five Favorite Charleston Restaurants

Before I moved to Charleston three years ago, I began looking at local restaurant menus online. I knew I would fall in love with lowcountry cuisine when I read Hominy Grill’s menu, where deep fried cheese grits are listed under the heading “Vegetables.” I’ve visited more than 30 restaurants in the Charleston area, and I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. I could dine out once a week for years without visiting the same place twice. Here are a few of my favorite places to experience Charleston’s delightful cuisine: Hominy Grill – This is a great place to taste Read more…

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Book Review: The More of Less

(This post may contain affiliate links.) A few years ago, I discovered Joshua Becker’s blog, Becoming Minimalist. At the time, my husband and I were anticipating a move, and preparing to downsize to a smaller house. Becker’s posts have inspired me again and again as I’ve walked the path from de-cluttering to downsizing to embracing minimalism. Now, truth be told, anyone who walked into my home would not describe it as “minimal,” but that’s ok. If I’ve learned anything from Joshua Becker, it’s that minimalism looks a little different for everyone. His latest book, The More of Less, describes his Read more…

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The House on Hancock Street

Antonio Gentile packed his personal belongings and left the tiny Italian village of Atena Lucana, bound for a new life in America. He arrived in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1919, and was greeted by his brother, Alfonso, who had recently emigrated as well. Antonio trained to be a machinist like his brother, and worked diligently for Van Norman Machine & Tool. He learned to speak English and became a U.S. citizen. In 1920, Rosina Mango (also from Atena Lucana) joined Antonio in America and they were married. Over the next eight years, Rose gave birth to five boys: Luigi, Alfonso, James, Read more…