In My House

My Favorite Dresses for Summer (All Under $50)

I’m a fan of wearing dresses year-round, but especially in the summer. Dresses are my go-to for work and play. To me, they win hands down against jeans or pants any day of the week. Here are six of my favorites for summer. I own the top three and frequently wear them. I have not purchased the bottom three, and probably won’t because of my strict one-in-one-out closet rule, but they’re three gorgeous dresses that someone out there should be buying and wearing. (Let me know if that someone is you.) All of these picks are under $50.

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1. This black wrap dress also comes in red. It is comfortable and requires zero ironing. It has been my recent favorite for work. (Gap) 2. I usually shy away from horizontal stripes, but the fit of this dress makes all the difference. I wore this one to a friend’s wedding and plan to sport it many more times this summer. (J.Crew) 3. This dress makes me think of the 1940s, and we all know I love everything about 1940s fashion and décor. I have been pairing this with tights, ballet flat, and a cardigan for work, and bare legs and strappy sandals for weekend plans. (Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s) 4. The floral pattern of this dress caught my eye. I think it can easily be transitioned to fall, too. (ModCloth) 5. This dress looks romantic, but also super comfy and I’m a huge fan of ties at the waist. (Loft) 6. This looks like a great casual dress for chasing the kids around the park or even wearing as a swimsuit cover-up. (Anthropologie)

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Food

A Fun Summer Dessert (and a Fourth of July Recap)

The fact that the Fourth of July fell on a Wednesday this year meant the day stayed simple without feeling obligated to cram travel plans into a three-day weekend. We stayed home, walked down to our small town’s parade, and hosted my parents for a cookout on the deck. We were asleep before the fireworks and that was OK.

July 4 2018 (1)

July 4 2018 (2)

July 4 2018 (4)

July 4 2018 (3)

I made this super tasty no-bake dessert to celebrate the birthdays of both America and my mother. It’s a variation of a recipe I found in an old family cookbook, the kind where church potluck favorites reign supreme. I used strawberries and blueberries for a patriotic look, but you could play around with all kinds of fruit combinations. Keep enjoying summer, everyone!

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Recipe:

  • 3 sleeves of graham crackers (whole)
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 3.4-ounce packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 1/2 cups of cold milk
  • 1 carton of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 carton of fresh blueberries
  • 12 ounces Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)
  • 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

 

  • With an electric mixer, cream together the instant pudding mixes and the cream cheese.
  • Gradually add the cold milk.
  • Fold in the Cool Whip, reserving enough Cool Whip to coat the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Spread a small amount of Cool Whip in the bottom of the pan.
  • Place one layer of whole graham crackers in the pan, breaking them apart if needed.
  • Place a layer of pudding mixture over the graham crackers and sprinkle (or carefully place if that’s your thing) the fruit over the pudding layer.
  • Do another layer of graham crackers, followed by pudding, followed by berries.
  • You’ll do three layers total, ending with the pudding/fresh berries on top.
  • Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and spoon over the top layer. (I spooned it into a plastic bag and cut off the corner to create a little piping bag.)
  • Chill at least four hours (overnight is even better.)
In My House

My Summer Suitcase: 2016 Edition

Because we only get maybe two months of actual summer weather where I live, I don’t buy a lot of summery clothes. The items I do purchase need to be classic and versatile so I can use them again next summer as well as pack them for any warm weather vacations I might get to go on during the year.

Next week the hubby, toddler, and I will head on a beach vacation I have been daydreaming about all through the cold winter months. I will definitely be packing these items (or something similar to them) for this summer’s excursions.

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1. I bought this denim jacket last summer and I wear it constantly on my days off. It’s perfect for a chilly airplane or over-air-conditioned buildings. (Gap) 2. A low-maintenance skirt paired with a tee or tank is one of my favorite summer go-to outfits. This one is on sale for $12.99 so I will definitely be ordering it. (H&M) 3. Ankle pants are one of my favorite summer staples. I like to pair a fun pattern like these with a simple top in black or gray. (Ann Taylor Loft) 4. I am not a big fan of shorts, but a classic pair like these look polished and put-together. I ordered these in mint jacquard which is no longer available, but the navy are pretty, too. (Banana Republic) 5. A casual tee dress is a good staple to have. I grabbed in navy blue at Gap Outlet for $14. (Gap) 6. I bought a pair of shoes similar to these last summer and they have been some of my favorite shoes ever. This floral print is feminine and summery. (Ann Taylor Loft) 7. As always, I adore big sunglasses. Usually Oakley shades are a little too sporty for my liking, but this pair is a little more ladylike. (Oakley) 8. Linen tanks and tees are my favorite for summer. They are breathable, but look a little more polished than jersey. I pair them with everything from jeans to shorts to flouncy skirts. (J. Crew)

In My House

Summer Morning

This was the view from my office on Tuesday morning. That hot air balloon hovered in the sky for a while before landing in a nearby park. It was one of those beautiful, crisp summer mornings that make being up early seem so worth it.

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In My House

Friendships: Quality Time vs. Quantity of Time

This past Saturday my husband, daughter and I spent a lovely day on a nearby lake with some great friends. I had not seen most of these people in several months.

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(View from the boat)

In college, making friends is a breeze. Maintaining friendships is easy, too, because usually you are living with or in close proximity to friends. After college, the demands of careers, marriages, and children can make opportunities to build new friendships hard to come by. Nourishing old friendships is difficult because we are all. so. busy.

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(There is nothing better than a boat day with friends.)

Sometimes my best friend, who now lives a six-hour drive away, and I go months without seeing each other. That can be a real downer, but it also has required us to make the very most of the days we do get to see each other. This day at the lake was no exception.

Really we are quite lucky. Many people I know live several states away from their best friends. My husband sees his best friend once or twice a year and I love seeing how happy they are to see each other. They pick up right where they left off EVERY TIME.

I think the best advice is to never be too busy to at least respond to your friend’s emails or send a quick text now and then when something reminds you of that person. Make a point to get together now and then, even if it means a long car ride or splurging on a plane ticket. Friendships that can survive the chaos of adulthood deserve maintaining.

How do you maintain friendships amidst all the responsibilities of adulthood?