Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Girl's Weekend 2012: Mildin' Out

When I called Southern Helle in desperate need of a getaway from work and she suggested a low-key spa retreat in the mountains, I jumped at the idea. As I move up the military food chain, my work has progressively gotten more and more stressful, and a chance to truly recharge and relax was a perfect idea. Lakeview at Fontana is nestled right off the main road but far enough away to forget it all but making the next happy hour. Our girl's weekend package came with three spa services. One of the ones I chose was an all-in-one massage with Grace, their masseuse. She definitely has magic hands and with the aid of hot stones turned my tensed out body into a puddle of blissed out goo by the end of the house massage. I am already mentally planning our return trip and pondering if I can just schedule three massages. They were that good!

Bryson City is a quaint mountain town but had lots of quirky interesting shops to feed Southern Helle and I's shopping addiction. It definitely has its own personality and I quickly found several have to have items, a christmas present and the shop, Humanite. If you haven't heard of it, read Southern Helle's post about trip to see how Erin also uses her store to give back. We had arranged an after hours trip there through the spa that included wine. After hours shopping with a glass of wine in hand is the only way to go! Among the many purchases included an amazing orange militaryesque coat that I am sure will be featured in a future post and a green and yellow dress with cut outs on the back. Anyone who knows me, knows that coats and jackets are my downfall and I could almost fill a closet with my coats alone. If I had had another glass of wine I probably would have done even more damage to my credit card! But, we had more Bryson City shops to explore.

High on shopping and wine

Why hello Mr Scarecrow

Preparing to explore Bryon City shopping

Between the natural beauty of the area, the five star treatment from everyone and everything at Lakeview at Fontana, Grace's amazing massages, the savory crepes from The Cork and Bean, Humanite, mountain music and good beer from Nantahala Brewery, and the chance to escape the world for a few days with my best friend by me, this past girl's weekend was one of the best in Southern Helle and I's 15 year friendship. the only true question left is, Is it too soon to go back?

The Spa's mascot, Sylvester, or as we affectionately called him Chunk, for his never-ending appetite.

Navy Blue Turtleneck: Victoria's Secret
Dress: Francesca's Collections
Black Boots: DSW Warehouse
Jeans: The Limited
Leather Jacket: Wilson's Leather
Purse: Marshall's
3/4 Length Blazer: Target

Excursions in Hiking

One of the many advantages to Southern Helle and I's recent trip to the mountains for our spa retreat was seeing the Smoky Mountains in all of their fall splendor and doing a little hiking. We arrived while all of the fall foliage was at its peak (and just in time for wine at happy hour!). Our first morning we had well intentioned plans to go to yoga after a light breakfast (which included the most amazing granola I have ever had - Out of the Blue Granola, which also has a great story). Yeah, we didnt make yoga. Any day we were there actually. Oops! Instead of yoga we took one of the meandering trails that led right out from the spa's property. The trail was beautiful in all its morning glory and a wee bit longer than expected. Southern Helle and I definitely got a better work out than in yoga!

Doing my best Rocky impression, at what I thought was the summit of the trail.

On Sunday morning, after another morning of pampering, and with the reward of scrumptious crepes from the Cork and Bean, in our minds we decided to explore the Deep Creek trail of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We saw some gorgeous views, a mighty creek and a waterfall. It also gave me the opportunity to break in my new hiking boots some more. Of course my hiking attire naturally consisted of jeans but at least no heels:

Taking advantage of the parks natural light and shadows

The Bryson City area had a lot of different trails to choose from and the weather was perfect to explore them without being cold or too hot. I can't wait to go back and walk some more of them!

Jacket: Target
Running Pants: Target
Hiking Boots: DSW Warehouse
Jeans: American Eagle

I Make Credit Cards Cry And Scarecrows Smile

Yes, the main objectives of this year's girls' weekend were to unplug, relax and recharge but Leather Peacock and I simply can't go anywhere without a huge shopping trip. After spending most of the day getting pampered at Lakeview at Fontana's spa, we headed to downtown Bryson City. The staff at the hotel had arranged an after hours shopping trip for us at a local boutique. And there was wine. They knew how to hook us.

Prior to our private shopping trip, we perused a few other stores, picked up some cute jewelry and even got a jump start on some Christmas shopping. Most of the stores were amping up for Halloween and had their take on scarecrows out front. I am one of those people who can't resist posing (usually in a ridiculous manner) with statues. Turns out scarecrows are no different for me. The more wine I consumed, the worse it got.

Around 7 p.m., we met the lovely and stylish Erin Smith at her store, Humanité. This woman has fabulous taste, as reflected by her store's selection. Fueled by a great selection of wine and Erin's keen eye for styling, we ran through her store like a pack of hyenas, snatching up all kinds of goodies.

Style is a enviable thing to have, but without substance, it really is just smoke and mirrors. This is where Erin and Humanité will always hold a special place in my heart. Inspired by a mission trip to Africa a few years ago, Erin hand-picks Fair Trade, organic and reclaimed items for her store AND commits 10% of her store's profit to charitable organizations. Check out her story here on the store's website. We enjoyed her hospitality and making our credit cards beg for mercy but knowing that we could help contribute, even in the smallest way, will last much longer than any trend.

Cardigan: Modcloth
T-shirt: Forever 21
Skirt: Forever 21
Tights: Target
Oxfords: Ruche
Purse: Modcloth

Still early but you can tell by my hand placement that I am already starting to get fresh with Mr. Scarecrow

My favorite: Scarlett O'Scara!!!

I am sure lap dancing a scarecrow was a good idea at the time

I couldn't even manage to put my wine glass down long enough to model my new ring and bracelets picked up at some random shop in Bryson City.
Erin Smith, owner of Humanité, fashionista and humanitarian. She also has great taste in wine!

Humanité is located at 130 Everett Street, Bryson City, NC

Taking A Hike

Why are hiking boots so ugly? I knew we would go hiking while on our girls' weekend at Bryson City so I searched high and low for a mildly attractive pair of hiking boots. These are the best that I found:

Gross but comfy

Sweater: Old Navy
Tank and Yoga Pants: Target
Puffer Vest: Eddie Bauer Outlet
Boots: So ugly I shouldn't even give them props but I picked them up at Shoe Carnival

Doing my Captain Morgan pose on some slippery rocks

Postcard views from The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Fall splendor

Girls Gone Mild

Leather Peacock and I have taken our fair share of girls' weekends in the fifteen years we have known each other. Our first trip together saw us taking advantage of Greyhound Bus' companion rides free promotion and riding overnight all the way from Louisville, KY to New Orleans, LA. We stayed in an awful youth hostel for $12 a night so we could save our money for more important things... like booze, swamp tours, booze, voodoo and crawfish.
In our 20s (and first few years of our 30s), we continued to act like sorority girls on Spring Break by vacationing at party spots like Myrtle Beach, Savannah, Washington DC and Memphis. We have danced on the bar at several Coyote Ugly joints. We both have gaping holes in our memories from the night in the piano bar in Savannah, cringe when we think about the time we licked Jell-O shots (served in a syringe, of all things!) off some random Marines in Myrtle Beach and have deleted way too many pictures from our cameras due to their incriminating nature.
A few months ago, Leather Peacock called me, stressed out from work, and commented that it had been a while since we had taken a trip. Fearing that I was going to get ridiculed for losing my mojo, I cautiously suggested that we do something more relaxing like a spa weekend. Luckily, Leather Peacock agreed that this was right up her alley too.
The Internet quest to find an ideal spot for this new style of girls' weekend begin. I hit jackpot with the Google search "girls spa weekend north carolina" when the Lakeview at Fontana in Bryson City, NC came back as the number one return. They have this spiffy Girls' Night In package for only $565 per person for three nights. This includes your room, yoga classes and three spa treatments of your choice. (And, no, I don't work for them or get any benefits from this). The icing on the cake for us was when there was an opening for a weekend in mid-October, right at the height of the leaf turning splendor.
During the seven hour car ride from my house, our decision began to be questioned but any anxiety was quickly erased upon our arrival (conveniently just ten minutes before their nightly Happy Hour!). Lakeview at Fontana is an old 1950s motor lodge that has been converted in to a resort that they tout as "Rustic Chic". I would put more emphasis on the chic. We were too spoiled and pampered for anything to be considered rustic.

The view at Happy Hour from their observation deck.
Jacket: Wilson's Leather
Shirt: Forever 21
Tank: Old Navy
Boots: Old Navy
Relaxed smile: c/o Lakeview at Fontana
The Main Building
Awesome retro room key

Our cabin (right across from main building)
 Living room. No TV or Wi-Fi at the resort so we brought Trivial Pursuit.

The kitchen/dining room. Note all our bottles of wine.

Bedroom. We thrashed it within minutes of arrival with our eight suitcases for the three day trip.
Nightly Happy Hour offerings. I still dream of their feta-pesto spread.
 In room S'mores maker included in the package. Also popcorn and fashion magazines in the room. See how spoiled we were?
To commemorate our 15 years as friends, I decided on an updated version of the old Best Friend split heart necklaces. Behold our awesome matching whale necklaces with "Amies" etched in to them. P.S: We were a little hammered at the time of this self-portrait so pardon the wacky expressions.
Necklaces: Etsy shop IAdornU

Monday, October 15, 2012

Date Night Flowers

Deer hunting season kicked off here in North Carolina this weekend. A few years ago, I would have been oblivious to this fact. But my gun-toting, Bambi-killer husband has this event marked on the calendar much like a teenager marks Homecoming. For him, file it under EPIC!

Since he drags himself out to the woods as early as 4 am and sits in a stand until sunset (no talking, no texting, no smoking... zzzzzzzzzz!), my weekend social life with him usually comes to a stand still for a few months. Much to my surprise, he was game for dinner at the Moroccan restaurant followed up by a jaunt to the karaoke bar.

In other news: I am a redhead now! Finally got tired of staring at 2 inch long roots and dyed it. I have been a redhead many times before but usually tire of the upkeep. For now though, I am loving it.

Blouse: Forever 21
T-shirt: Old Navy
Jeans: Forever 21
Boots: Guess at DSW
Earring: New York & Company

Isn't there a rule somewhere that redheads can't wear pink? Breakin' the law, breakin' the law!

"One of these days these boots are gonna..."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Prep Attack

What is it about Fall that makes me feel so preppy? Take today's outfit for example. Plaid pants, cable knit sweater, oxfords for crying out loud! Give me a few more days and I will throw in a headband and start calling myself Muffy. Hmmm... actually a headband might look cute here...

Pray for me. I might be slipping over the edge.

Sweater: Old Navy
Tank underneath: Target
Plaid jeans: New York & Company
Oxfords: Ruche

Hanging with my new buddy in the front yard

I am mildly obsessed with these new oxfords!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Summer to Fall

As someone who never used to wear dresses, I have, over the past two years or so really gotten into dresses and will use any excuse to wear them. I've acquired several dresses this summer from Francesca's Collections but still want to wear them this fall. For dinner with friends the other night, I paired my new turtleneck with one of my summer dresses for a perfect transition outfit!

Dress: Francescas's Collection
Turtleneck: Victoria's Secret
Belt: Target
Boots: So old, I have no idea where I got them!

An outfit like this makes me ever more giddy for the fall season.

As a complete bonus, while I was out, I found a Choose-Your-Own Adventure Jane Austen novel!!! Can't wait to read it. I LOVED choose your own adventure books growing up!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Decorating Tips Leather Peacock Style

The Fall Season always makes me feel more alive. It makes me want to redecorate, restyle and a find a good beer by a nice fire on a cold night. I've been waffling on how I want to decorate my bedroom but finally figured out where all my random purchases have been leading me. I want to have a modern but being overtaken by nature look. A not-quite-Mrs Havisham outside meets inside garden room. So far I have started incorporating small woodland creatures to the decor:

And in lieu of a jewelry armoire have used a bird cage to hold my favorite jewelry.
I put my earrings to hang on the edges:
Its useful, makes it quick to grab or change out jewelry and keeps with my room's new theme! Must go to some local thrift stores and flea markets to see what I can find to continue on! Birdcage and small table from Garden Ridge.

Monday, October 1, 2012