Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Auld Lang Syne

Who else is in denial that today is the LAST DAY of the year? Yep. Me too. It's absolutely been a bumpy year for us. I'm fairly sure I say that every single year, because let's be honest y'all... who can recall a year that's gone 100% smoothly for anyone?

Yes 2014 has had its bumps and absolutely given me trials and plenty to pray about, but I really wouldn't change a thing. With 2015 quickly approaching, I say bring it on. I'm looking forward to what the new year has in store for us.
I tell y'all what, having my tribe... my blogging friends... has certainly made things much easier. Losing two jobs this year? Y'all were right there by my side, cheering me on... praying for me. Starting this blog has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. (Thanks, Amanda for talking me into it). I've learned a lot this year both in the blogging community and personally.

It's only fitting that the end of the year falls on a Wednesday.
This means I get to link up with Anne for Wednesday Wishes!
Love the Here and Now
My wish goes out to all of my wonderful readers, my honorary llamas, my friends. I wish that 2015 brings you everything you want and more. Like I said, y'all have been nothing but the best for me especially when I needed you the most. I'm not going to name any names, but those that I'm talking to - you know who you are! I wish nothing but the best for all of y'all with this new year. I know it won't be easy, because let's face it, there will be bumps along the way.

That's what we have each other for though. We have each other to lean on, to support, to lift up. It warms my heart to know that. I wish that for those of y'all still in school it goes smoothly. For those in between jobs, I wish you find just what you're looking for (trust me- it's out there!). For those not sure what you're looking for, I wish that it finds you... whatever it may be!

Here's to an amazing new year, my friends! Happy New Year! See y'all on the other side!
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Mommy, wake up! Santa Was Here!!"

"Santa Came! MOMMY! DADDY! Santa Came! And he filled the stockings!"
This was my wake-up call on Christmas morning, and it absolutely warmed my heart to hear the excitement in Zander's little voice. When I rolled over to check the time though, it was way to early. 3:30 AM early to be exact! "Um, Zander, can we maybe go back to bed for a few more hours? It's very early" He pouts but walks back to bed.
7:00 I'm awake, but laying in bed still. Waiting for the stampede of little children footsteps to come down the hall. Without fail, 5 minutes later, Zander is back. "Mommy!!! Santa left a BIG box and it has MY NAME on it!" (the little things like him being able to read his name makes my heart happy). The excitement in his voice is the best Christmas gift for me. He's dying to open the gifts. I calmly tell him that we have to wait for Daddy and baby sister to wake up so they can open presents from Santa, too. He pouts some more. He's dying to rip open the paper. I offer him hot chocolate and eggs for breakfast, and he perks up. He agrees.

I love sharing a quiet breakfast with Zander. We talk about letter sounds, numbers, how rain is made. His desire to learn is amazing.

Finally, we hear noises from down the hall. Ainsley and Daddy are awake! Zander starts squirming in his seat. "Is it time to open presents now, Mommy??" "Soon, baby. Let's let Ainsley eat a little something and Daddy get a shower in." I swear Zander had the patience of a saint on Christmas morning. The amount of times I had to say, "sorry just a few more minutes" was the equivalent of watching paint dry to a normal adult. He held out though.

The pay off was priceless! Hearing Zander and Ainsley's squeals of excitement as they tore open the next gift was just magical. "OOOH! SO COOL!" and "OOHH! LOOK WHAT SANTA GOT ME!" I loved each moment of it.

Of course, being the bad blogger that I am I got zero pictures of them opening gifts, but I don't care at all. I was in the moment. I was able to watch them tear into everything without being behind the lens. The joy on their little faces seeing everything that Santa brought was amazing. I'm zero percent sorry for being away from the blog for almost a week now. The memories that were made this past weekend were incredible, and absolutely the best gift I could ask for.

Today, I'm grateful that Josh and I were able to give the kids such an amazing Christmas. But I'm even more grateful that Zander is starting to learn the true meaning of Christmas. We read the story of baby Jesus, and he's starting to understand it's better to give than to receive. I'm grateful that both of my kids are so well behaved and aren't greedy. Not once this past weekend while we were visiting family did I hear from either of them, "ugh, that's ALL I got" or anything similar. Zander and Ainsley were even thrilled to get new socks in their stockings from Santa. To me that just warms my heart to know that I'm raising them right. I'm grateful they're so well behaved when we visit family, and that I'm not raising spoiled brats.
best parents! ;) 
Today I'm linking up with Emily for a Grateful Heart and
with Amanda sharing these sweet conversations from Christmas Morning.
Ember Grey: Grateful Heart
Knock on Wood
I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas, and I truly hope you got to experience the magic of Christmas like I was able to. It was the best Christmas AND birthday for me!
my sweet babies Christmas Morning
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Blow Out The Candles, Make a Wish

Y'all, time is flying for SURE. HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE! I wasn't really planning on showing up for the party today, but I thought given that this year is quickly coming to an end and my birthday is TOMORROW.

I've seen several "my year in review posts" floating around blog land. They've all been really great and fun to read. I thought about doing something similar, but it's Wednesday. On Wednesdays here in blog land we make wishes and link up with Anne @ Love the Here and Now. So I thought to myself, "Self, why not do a different review of sorts and look back on your old wishes"? <<accurate conversation in my head... in case you were wondering.
Love the Here and Now
August: (The first month EVER I linked up with Anne. aawww)
  • Mom Confessions. Wishes for society to give moms some slack to where we don't have to "confess" that we gave the kids cookies for breakfast! 
  • Love, Marriage & Children. Wishing my husband a happy anniversary & keeping a marriage going after kids 
  • Hating Sleep Regressing. Wishing that no one had it as bad as I did with Ainsley for 4 months STRAIGHT! 
  • Rhymes with Zander. Wishes for my boy to always have the desire to learn new things. Even if those new things are "What rhymes with Pizza". 
  • Why you shouldn't get haircuts after drinking. Plus wishes for everyone to have a relationship with their mom (and aunt) like I have with mine. Because everyone needs a special family member to be close to! 
  • Real haircut reveal. Wishing for regular haircuts in the future! 
And that brings us to today... 
Might I point out that this link up has been one of my favorites? I mean, obviously if I keep showing up each week (minus Monthly Musings weeks) 
Today I'm going to be semi selfish and make a wish for myself. Don't worry, it'll come true even though I'm sharing it with y'all. I'm wishing that my relationship with all of my blogging friends. My tribe. Continues to grow. This year has been amazing and the last half of it has been great because of y'all. I've learned a lot these last 26 years of life. Tomorrow I'll be 27, and I know I'll continue to learn and grow. My readers and blogging friends have helped me learn a lot too. I wish that we can all continue to learn and grow together. Y'all have truly made this place very special to me. I never knew how much I would love blogging until I grew into the communities. 

I'd also like to wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS. I won't say new year yet, because I'll be around next week. ;)
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

10 Things to Do in Georgia!

Y'all are in for a treat today! Kristyn from Chits and Giggles and I have teamed up to present:

10 Things To Do In Georgia

Kristyn and I are both Georgia natives and we want to share some things you can do in Georgia that you might not have known were available.
Here's what Kristyn has to say: 

Living in Georgia has been so amazing. I grew up just outside of Atlanta and I wouldn't go back. I wouldn't change anything about Georgia for anything else.

one | Georgia Aquarium.  This is a wonderful place to go as a family to see the dolphins, penquins and whale sharks. The whale sharks are truly amazing and huge, so go and check it out. And while you are there, you can walk across the street and visit the World of Coke.
  beluga whales

  two | Take a trip to the mountains. Yes, there are mountains in Georgia. And they aren't that far away from Atlanta. Between an hour and 2 hours away are beautiful mountains that can just take your breath away. I might be biased about the mountains in Georgia, but I do believe they are beautiful and so peaceful. North Georgia Mountains
three | Helen, GA. If there is one place you want to go when you visit Georgia, it is Helen. Why? Because it's awesome people watching and looks very much like an old German town. It's a great place to go to try new beers and you are close to hiking and wineries.

four | Mercier Orchards. When we were planning our wedding, my mom mentioned Mercier Orchards. This place is located in Blue Ridge, GA and is a great place to go apple picking or just for some wonderful homemade goodies. We have bought homemade breads, donuts, fried pies, jams, and apples, of course. It's such a fun trip if you have a few hours to spare.
  Apple Picking at Mercier Orchards   

five | beaches. Believe it or not, Georgia has some wonderful beaches. St. Simons and Jekyll Island are just a few. They are located on what is called the Golden Isles are are just beautiful. From Atlanta, they are about 5 hours away. It's a wonderful place to go and recharge, and relax. Plus, it's wonderful to be able to get to the beach and not having to drive all the way to Florida.

And for me? As one of the (lucky?) few to have been born and raised in Georgia I've done a lot all over this great state. Here are a few of my favorite activities. (Mostly family friendly)

One | Yellow River Game Ranch. Located in Lilburn, GA. It’s like a zoo… only different. It’s not nearly as expensive as Zoo Atlanta, and you get more of an experience with the animals. Josh and I took Zander when he was younger. Now that Ainsley is at an age where she’s fascinated by animals we plan to go again. When you buy your tickets, you have the option to purchase food for the animals, too. BUT! It’s not a petting zoo. Not quite. You CAN pet most of the animals though. Animals you can interact with: deer, rabbits, goats, sheep, and squirrels. Yes, y’all read correctly. You get to pet and feed live deer. Animals that are in enclosures: bears, mountain lions, and eagles. Your kids (and you for that matter) will love it! Link 

Two | Chateau √Član. Located in Braselton, GA. It’s a hotel, a winery, and so much more. I was lucky enough to go here for my Company Christmas Party this year. Josh and I absolutely plan on going back for a visit though. This place includes a golf course, A SPA (hi! Yes please!), wine tastings, and of course hosts events. Sitting on 3,500 acres there’s plenty of ways to get lost and enjoy your stay. Chateau √Član could be considered both “eat” and “play” since there’s eight different restaurants on the property. Seriously, y’all… go! You won’t be sorry. Link 

Three | Amicalola Falls. Located in Dahlonega, GA. If you’re in the mood for a nice hike and some outside time, the falls are perfect. The falls are 729 ft. You can either park at the top and hike your way down, or vice versa. We’ve always parked at the bottom and hiked up. There ARE stairs and there is a halfway / resting point so no need to panic about walking up a mountain! We tend to go in the fall when the Georgia heat doesn’t make you want to die of exhaustion. PLUS we always get amazing pictures of the beautiful fall leaves! Link

Four | Malibu Grand Prix. Located in Norcross, GA. (Noticing a theme of family friendly activities?) Malibu is one of those places where you have everything from Miniature Golf to indoor laser tag. (Or at least they used to have the laser tag… things might have changed) There’s definitely go-cart racing and bumper boats though. (Like bumper cars, but, well… boats). It’s just something fun to do as a family. Link  

Five | The Varsity. Located in Athens, GA / Norcross, GA / Atlanta, GA. OK, some of my fellow Georgia Natives are going to bash me on this one, but this is one of those places that you have to try at LEAST once when you’re visiting Georgia. (Admit it, my fellow natives… you know it to be true). The Varsity is an attempt at a classic diner that has been around since 1928. It’s loaded with grease, fat, and sugar but the onion rings are to die for! One thing to be sure to order when you visit: The Frosted Orange. Just do it. "What'll Ya Have?" Link
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Monday, December 22, 2014

He's Not Aggressive. He's Just a Big Baby.

Y'all! I have fantastic news to share today! As of this past weekend, we are the proud parents to this sweet boy. Internet, meet Gambit!!

I'm sure as most of y'all are well aware, we brought home Gambit on Saturday. He's a rescue baby. The family we adopted him from had been fostering him for a few months. He showed up in their front yard in the fall, and they spend several weeks trying to find his family. After a month of no one calling from flyers, they decided to foster him and try to find his forever home. They got him neutered and got all of his shots up to date.

If y'all didn't know: Josh delivers medical equipment for hospices. This past week, he happened to get sent to this family's house to pick up some equipment because the family's father passed away. Josh is very good at what he does in that he does a lot to make a family feel comfortable given that he's there in very unfortunate circumstances. After talking with them for several minutes, they asked if he knew of anyone looking for a dog. That's when they took him outside to meet Gambit. Only they had been calling him Leo. Josh fell in love! Shortly after, I got the text with "Can we keep him?" Long story short, I said yes.
The "Can we keep him?" Picture.
Here's where I would like to step onto my own personal little soapbox for a moment. Last week when I announced via social media that we would be getting Gambit, I immediately started getting bad feedback from friends and family. Comments like "That's a full bred pitbull, Melissa. He shouldn't be around kids." Or, "you can't trust that dog. WHY is he a rescue? He's not a good family dog."

Stuff like that pissed me off. Esp since some of the comments came from my father. Someone I thought would've been fully supportive of us getting a rescue. ANY rescue. Nope. He was the biggest naysayer of them all. It upset me to the point of ranting on Twitter, and calling both Amanda and Cassie to vent. I knew they would be willing to be angry with me and remind me that pits ARE sweeties at heart.

What a lot of people don't realize is the dogs that are typically "misunderstood" or the ones that people tend to be "scared of" are the sweetest little cuddle bugs. Like Gambit. I'll tell y'all like I told my dad: the breed that people should really be worried about are Dalmatians. When 101 dalmatians came out from Disney in 1996, my step dad bought a dalmatian for my step sister. She was I think three or four at the time. She was a puppy, and grew up with us. She was really great with all of us, but no matter how hard we tried we couldn't socialize her to be friendly with anyone outside of the family. She was just mean. The vet said it's in their nature to be like that. There's several dogs out there like that. Pitbull's however: are not those dogs.

I found this article on Saturday and shared it via Facebook. A friend commented saying "Omg, I was suspicious of this article at first, but most of these breeds are spot on!" She works at PetSmart in the grooming and training departments. It's a list / slide of the top 10 most aggressive dogs. Pits aren't on the list. Imagine that. 

So to those of y'all that are convinced that dogs like Gambit are mean and vicious, I have a few pictures. Because what's the saying? One picture is worth 1,000 words? 

I mean just look at that face, y'all! He's the sweetest boy and the biggest baby of the family! 

Given that it's Monday, I'm linking up with Emily to start the week with a Grateful Heart. I'm grateful that we were able to adopt Gambit and bring him into our family. I'm grateful that the kids get to experience the joy of growing up with a dog. Gambit is still very much a puppy and we have many more years with him in our family. 

He's still adjusting to being an "inside dog". I'm not sure what happened to him before he showed up at his foster family's house, but it's very clear that he was never an "inside dog". On his first day with us, he literally put all of his body weight down, refusing to come into the house. He had severe anxiety about being inside. Either he was mistreated inside, or he was trained not to come in the house. Either way, it took Josh carrying him inside the house. He's absolutely happy to be outside. 
"nope... not coming in... you can't make me"
As the days have passed, he's gotten better about being in the house. We don't have to carry him in the house anymore, and he'll come freely. However, it's very clear that we need to get several large area rugs as he hasn't quite figured out how to walk on hardwood floors and tile. Poor baby. For now we have lots of blankets on the floor so he feels comfortable walking. 

I'm beyond grateful for this sweet boy to be in our home and in our lives. 

What are you grateful for? 
Ember Grey: Grateful Heart
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Oooh, I Love the Way You Love Me!

Happy Friday! Y'all, I'm so beyond excited for this weekend! The weekend will be jam packed full, but it will be spent with tons of family and friends. AND if you're not following me on instagram (but if you're not- WHY NOT?! you need to be!!!) then you don't know about my super exciting news.

Tomorrow we'll be adding a new member to our family. (No, y'all I have not been hiding a pregnancy) Tomorrow we'll be going to pick up this sweet, adorable baby. OK.. technically he's not a baby. He's about one year old. He's fixed, house trained and SO super sweet! I cannot wait to get him. The kids are going be to thrilled. Even though Zander drives a very hard bargain when it comes to his Christmas gift this year, I think he'll be thrilled. (Basically Zander ONLY wants a power wheels / battery powered John Deere tractor) This kid... I swear... BUT he is getting that. And a dog. As of Saturday. Fingers crossed things go well. hahaha. I'll definitely be sharing more about this guy on another day. I'm such a tease.

Saturday night we'll be spending the evening having Mexican with my mom's side of the family and doing Christmas with them a little early. My grandpa lives about an hour and a half away from everyone, so we always get together and do Christmas either before or after the actual holiday. It's always a great time!

Sunday... actually we might not have anything planned for Sunday. Probably a day spent making last minute Christmas gifts! I'm so behind this year, it's borderline ridiculous!

TODAY is Friday though.
On Friday's we link up with Meagan
for some Blogger Love and Friday Favorites!
All The Joys Friday Favorites
Some of my faves from the week:

+ Sheryl // How to Make a Life : Put Your Phone Down! We live in a day where most things are seen through the screens of our cell phones. Down to concerts and events. Some couples are even glued to their phones during DATES. I love Sheryl's post this week. A gentle reminder that there's REAL LIFE to be seen away from the cell phone screen!

+ Kasey // Kasey at the Bat : Top 5 Ways to Win your Tacky Sweater Party. T'is the season for tacky sweater parties! I'm bummed I missed the one with the Atlanta Bloggers this week. However, Kasey has some pretty amazing tips that are sure to put you in the winner's circle for your tacky sweater party!

+ Kristyn AND Tabitha // Chits & Giggles AND A Hundred Tiny Wishes : These two collaborated with 10 Ways Kids and Animals Are the Same. I  laughed my whole way through this, nodding my head the entire time. Both ladies nailed it with this one. Such a great collaboration!

+ Nina // Flowers in My Hair : When Christmas is Hard. Sure, this may not be what everyone wants to or needs to read, but it's real and it's honest and I LOVE Nina for posting it. Christmases can be hard. Heck, any holiday can be. When emotions run wild and memories are flared up it's HARD. Her message is excellent in this post!

+ Kerri // Hey Kerri Blog : DIY Sugar Hand Scrub. Y'all, if I've said it once on here I've said it a million times: I don't have a creative bone in my body. I want to be the girl that does DIY Christmas gifts but year after year I'm not. THIS YEAR Though, my bloggy buddies have come through and saved me with all of y'all crafting ideas. Kerri is no different. This sugar hand scrub looks SO easy and SO CHEAP! Heck yeah! Love this gal! She's the best.

What were some of your favorite posts for the week? I hope y'all have an amazing weekend!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

That Time I Saved the Salmon

Y'all, I don't know about you, but I tend to run out of things in my pantry at the worst possible moment. Let's take last Sunday for example. I had every intention of making Salmon Patties for dinner. Yum, right? I thought I had everything I needed. I was very excited about this salmon, and began prepping. Salmon? Check. Egg? Check. Seasonings and onions? Check. Breadcrumbs? Umm... not quite enough. Whomp, Whomp.

This is where my quick thinking came in handy. Of course, I didn't have any actual bread or flour to substitute for seasoned breadcrumbs. Nope... that would be too easy. And clearly we did not make a trip to the store that weekend! Oops. I did, however, have triscuits. Stale triscuits to be exact. Dill and sea salt stale triscuits. Yay. How was that going to work? Thinking on my feet, y'all! That's how it worked!

What You'll Need:

+ Stale crackers. Something with a flavor or seasoning would probably work best for this

+ A food processor or grinder

+ A handy, dandy storage tin. I used the old breadcrumbs tin.

Break up your crackers into small, bite size pieces. They tend to grind in the food processor a little easier this way. At least for me they did. Also, I don't recommend filling the container to the top. This way all of the crackers get to the blades.
Blend and mix with the food processor and store everything you don't use!

It's really THAT simple. I was pretty impressed with myself . The salmon patties tasted amazing, and now I have a small stash of breadcrumbs stored up for when I decide to make something like this... or meatloaf. Because I can almost promise that I will forget to get more breadcrumbs from the store next time.
I hope this helps y'all as much as it did me! What have you done to save dinner lately?

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monthly Musings || Christmas

Hello, y'all!!
Lora and I are so excited that it's time for another round of Monthly Musings. Last month we really enjoyed reading what y'all were thankful about. This month we're all about Christmas! Who else can't believe that it's just a week away? Um, not this gal. Denial is not just a river in Egypt! While I'm very much excited about Christmas, I'm also very much NOT ready. Last minute shopper here. I'll probably get everything else I need TOMORROW! Not exaggerating even a little bit. *Sigh* oh well, such is life.

HOWEVER. We're not here to talk about last minute shopping, are we? Nope, we're here to focus on the finer things in life!
The Rambling Llama

So, Christmas. This Christmas will be my 27th one. It will also be my 27th birthday. How bout them apples? Ha! I can honestly say that Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. Because I'm a blogger and all bloggers love lists, (right?) and mostly because I'm having trouble keeping my thoughts in line without a list that's what we're going to do to count the ways that Melissa Loves Christmas.

// Family time. Sure. I get family time with Thanksgiving, but the majority of the time my uncles retreat to the football game after the meal. OR everyone is napping somewhere. With Christmas, as soon as the big meal is done we ALL retreat to the family room for quality family time. (and presents. of course there's presents).

// Stockings. I don't know about y'all but ever since I was  a little kid my mom always made my stocking special. She still does a stocking for me and my sister even though we haven't lived in the house for years. I've carried over the tradition into my own family, and I even fill Josh's and my stockings. Because, you know, we're adults. Zander loves it. Stockings are perfect for little toy cars, candy, and of course socks. Since no one wants to get socks under the Christmas tree.

// My Kids on Christmas morning. Before having kids, I didn't really "get" the whole concept of seeing a kids' eyes light up on Christmas morning. The first year Zander really understood Christmas and grasped the concept of Santa leaving him gifts was magical to me. Seeing his face light up as he walked into the living room and realizing SANTA CAME! Oh my gosh, y'all... it's priceless and it's one of those moments that you can never really fully capture with a picture.

// Apple Pie. Sure, I can get apple pie anytime of the year, but for my birthday I get a special apple pie just for me. Not even kidding a little bit. My grandma makes a special apple pie just for my birthday. She makes the crust by hand. She peels, cuts, and cooks the apples. There's literally nothing artificial in this pie, y'all. The best part? It's my special pie. I have the option to share (or not) if I want. Lucky for me, Josh isn't a huge fan of apple pie. Everyone else in my family (on my dad's side) gets a birthday cookie cake. Clearly I'm not spoiled at all. Clearly.

// My Birthday. I've said it once, I'll say it a million times. For me having a birthday ON Christmas DOES. NOT. SUCK! I love it. I've always loved it. My family has always made a special effort to make my birthday feel like a birthday and not a birthday / Christmas combo. Sure, we always DO open Christmas gifts, but there's something special extra. My birthday has never felt like anything strange or forced. I feel like it'd be what a birthday feels like if it was in July. Except for not wearing summer clothes. It's my special day and I will rock it. I'll make sure everyone knows it, too! Except maybe in a few years when I'm in my mid 30's. HA!
My Birthday 2006; Amanda's Fave pic of me!

// Christmas Trees + Lights. I LOVE seeing all of the Christmas decor as I drive through our town. We live in a small town, and everyone tends to go all out for Christmas. It's like "go big or go home" sort of thing. I wish I had a picture to share, but I always feel strange about parking my car in someone's front yard... BUT there's one house that literally has every square inch of the front yard COVERED in Christmas inflatables. Plus their house is covered in lights. I'm not sure how long it took them to accumulate so many inflatables but it's pretty dang impressive! There's just something about the twinkling lights and the Christmas trees that really make my heart smile. I love seeing all of the decor.

What are your favorites for the holiday season? What are some of your Christmas traditions? Be sure to link up with Lora and I and share!
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Shop Until You Drop

This may surprise some of my friends out there, but I'm not a huge fan of shopping. I'm not. I don't like the crowds and I don't like trying to drive all over the world trying to find the best deal. If I'm going shopping it's because I have something specific in mind to purchase.

However! There are a few shops that are local to Monroe that I swear by. This month with Tell me about your town, we're talking all about local shops. Perfect for the holidays, and if you ever come visit, I promise we really can shop until we drop if that's what you're in to.

Linking up with Amanda for Tell Me About Your Town.
The Rambling Llama
You know the "Shop Local" campaign that's out there lately? The idea is to shop in the small local shops to support local businesses. These are everywhere in Monroe. As you walk the streets of downtown you see the "shop local" sign in most of the windows. It's even better with the whole city decorated for Christmas! I seriously love the small town feel of the town I live in. It's just so freaking adorable.
Downtown Square

This cute little shop has so many adorable clothes! From kids clothes to plus size women's clothes! They're affordable too and with such great quality. I love finding little shops like this. You can tell the owners really care about their designs. When we were walking through the town recently, Zander had to poke his head in the window and said, "Mommy! There's a cool shirt in there you would like!" Thanks, kid. haha.

Don't want the overly priced / overly sold stuff you find in bath & body works? Check out Rinse! Everything in this shop is made by hand. It's not just soaps either. There's lip balms, essential oils, and healing therapy scents. My favorite purchase? The body scrubs. Seriously. Their sugar scrubs are SO much better than anything from Bath & Body Works! 

The picture wasn't that great, but Lollipops is to the left of Amici's (really great pizza place btw!) Lollipops has the cutest kids clothes EVER! Once again, all hand made and all carefully crafted.  LOVE it! 

So where would you shop in your town? Do you have any local shops like these? Be sure to link up with Amanda and share! Or just stop on by to see me and we can have a blast!

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