project snail mail with charlotte lane

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It’s pretty unique-the power of a hand written letter. I’ve long been a fan of writing a letter just to say hello, of sending a note to a long-distance friend, of mailing my gratitude to family after the holidays. When one of my favorite local brands, Charlotte Lane Co, began Project Snail Mail this month, my heart leaped with joy. To begin a movement, to encourage others to write to their friends and family and even strangers, that’s something that has my heart.

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It’s a funny generational thing that letters have gone so “out of style.” Technology is this huge, wonderful, amazing thing, but physically writing a letter is so meaningful to me. It’s obviously got some meaning to the founders of Charlotte Lane Co., Kristine Cholakian and Ken Cooke, which is why I asked them the question:

Why do you feel handwritten letters are so important?

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Kristine: In the age of social media, with instant greetings and announcements to “the world” and super-short, unedited snippets, it is a rarity to put the extra effort in. Taking the time to send a handwritten letter is more powerful than we think. The lost art of snail mail is making a comeback, or at least it should. Nothing brightens one’s day more than a colorful envelope amongst a stack of bills. Seeing your name calligraphed or even scribbled on the front makes you feel special. Almost famous. And when you tear open the tiny package to discover a witty, sentimental, lovey-dovey or just plain mushy letter, with crossed out words, ink stains and all, you know that someone took the time to write that to you. You read it through, maybe even two or three times, and where does that note end up? On your fridge, desk, or bulletin board, sometimes for months, as a reminder that your friend, relative, or long-distant love was once thinking about you. That card says a lot about the person who sent it. They picked it out just for you. And the watercolor painting or cartoon doodle, whatever is on the front, becomes instant art in your home. So send handwritten notes. Send lasting messages. Send instant art. Brighten someone’s day. And not just the day they receive it in the mail. But for many, many days to come.

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Ken: If you haven’t noticed, communication has now completely turned digital. While that’s great for so many reasons, many things digital lack personality. A handwritten letter brings a human and personal touch back to communication. It’s personal, unexpected, and thoughtful. A handwritten note takes a moment to write and more care is put into the words. Just think about how quickly you respond to an email versus taking the time to write a letter. That moment goes a long way.
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To me, it’s pretty two-fold. The act of writing a letter is a moment of reflection-where all of my focus is towards this person I’m writing to. I’m not distracted by my Instagram feed or tempted to stop and scroll through Pinterest. My heart is full of love, pouring it onto paper so that recipient can feel what I’m trying to express. I’m grateful my mama pushed me to write thank-you letters after every birthday and holiday, to say something other than “Thanks for _________. I will be using it to do ________”-the age old “Thank you letter formula.” And receiving a handwritten letter? Kristine is so right, you feel so darn special. To know someone took the time, thought of you, and wrote that card, it turns a rainy day into a sunny day.

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Are you super emotional and inspired now? ;) Truly, though I can’t urge you enough to grab some stationary, and write a sweet note to your friend who just moved to a new city, or to your mama who lives 12 hours away, or even drop a note to your next-door-neighbor.

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Don’t have any adorable stationary? While even a piece of notebook paper will do, it’s extra sweet to write on your prettiest paper, and Charlotte Lane is giving YOU 15% off ALL Charlotte Lane Paper with the code SomethingSouthern.

So hop on over, order some pretty cards, and write your little hearts out. And while you’re at it, share your letters on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ProjectSnailMail.

I promise you, it’s the littlest of things that can really fill a heart with joy.

Product images above by the talented Heidi Geldhauser for Our Labor of Love and the photos of Ken and Kristine are by the wonderful Buffy Dekmar Photography. SomethingSouthern product code good until May1st, 2014. #ProjectSnailMail is a movement that should never, ever end and is likely to result in extreme happiness and goodwill among others. 

greek yogurt taste off


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Greek Yogurt is my go-to healthy treat. I add it to my smoothies, I mix it with granola, or I’ll just grab a cup and eat it plain. I’ve never really settled on a favorite flavor or brand, so when Yoplait reached out to me to have a taste test between Yoplait Greek 100 Strawberry yogurt and Chobani Simply 100 Strawberry, I jumped at the opportunity.

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Since I love Greek Yogurt in so many forms, I knew it would only be fair if I tried out each brand plain, with granola, and in my morning smoothie.

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Up first, I tried the yogurt plain. One brand was noticeably sweeter, but in a natural way (not the diet coke way). Greek Yogurt can tend to be a bit bitter, so I was pleasantly surprised by this.

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Next, I added my favorite Bear Naked granola to each brand yogurt. They were both pretty similar with the Bear Naked added on. I swear that granola compliments every brand and flavor :)

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The ultimate test was in my morning smoothie recipe. I blended together spinach, almond milk, greek yogurt, strawberries, banana, and chia seeds. Oh my goodness, there was a clear winner here. One brand was so much smoother than the other, I slurped it up so quick!

So who was my favorite brand?

Yoplait Greek Yogurt

Not going to lie, I totally thought I was going to side with Chobani at the end of this challenge. They seem to be “the brand” in the Greek Yogurt category, but Yoplait got me hooked.

Now that that’s settled, I would love to find out your two cents! Find out how you can have your own Greek Yogurt #TasteOff

And while you’re at it, tell me who your winner is!

In full disclosure, Yoplait reached out to me to conduct this taste-off challenge, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. They encouraged me to share my favorite brand, regardless of who I chose :)

macramé

I read an article the other day that told me faux deer heads are out and macramé is in, and I mourned for my gold antlers, but also rejoiced because macramé wall hangings are so darn pretty and I could find a place for one in every room. {side note-my antlers and faux deer head are going nowhere because I’m stubborn and they are pretty and so what if they are “out” :p }

sally-england-macrame sally england-macrame sally england-macrame2 three images above via Sally England 

They aren’t cheap, but they are no joke either. The detail in every wall-hanging is phenomenal. Sally England is one artist I stumbled upon over and over during my Pinterest-macramé-binge. She is so super talented and creates these gorgeous pieces of art that are just so jaw dropping.

macrame wall hanging via himo art

diy-macrame-wall-hanging-118-640x960 DIY Macramé Tutorial via A Pair and a Spare DIY

DIY macrame DIY macramé wall hanging via a beautiful mess

All of the macramé DIY tutorials that are popping up are so inspiring and are extremely tempting to try-minus the fact I have zero skills in that artistic domain, and I would ultimately despise whatever I created. So for now, I’m sticking with drooling over the professional’s work :)

danielledelange via danielle de lange 

easter brunch

In a dream world, I would be sharing a wonderful, beautiful brunch that I whipped up in my kitchen and photographed for you all to enjoy. Alas, half of the kitchen is packed up in preparation for the move.So instead, I’m sharing some drool worthy Easter brunch ideas from around the interwebs.

The Easter Regulars:

overnightcinnrolls-27 overnight cinnamon rolls via averie cooks 

southern_deviled_eggs-291x437 deviled eggs via paula deen 

GoatCheeseQuiche Goat Cheese Quiche with Hashbrown Crust via Cafe Sucre Farine (okay this photo is a bit bizzaro, but omg this recipe is amazing. a friend made it for a work gathering once, and I dreamed about it for weeks. I mean…hashbrown crust…)

cream cheese biscuits southern biscuits via sandy nawrot 

The Nontraditional Route: 

Strawberry-Nutella-Stacked-French-Toast strawberry nutella baked french toast via recipe by photo (I mean….)

peach pie whole peach pie via style me pretty  (I’ve been dying to try this forever! has anyone-other than SMP- ever attempted this recipe?)

honey cloud pancakes honey cloud pancakes via things we make 

Spinach-cups3 egg muffins via simply stacie (these are seriously SO easy and perfect portions for a big gathering) 

Libations:

grapefruit mimosa grapefruit mimosas via the flair exchange 

DLF_AlmondMilk-Shake6-2 mint mocha shake via designlovefest

What are you whipping up for Easter this year?

in a week

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I’m two weeks into the 30 day smoothie challenge, and I’m hooked. It’s such a wonderful boost waking up with a smoothie to start my day. I save my favorite for Fridays-Orange Julius: unsweetened almond milk, 1 banana, 3 oranges, chia seeds, coconut oil, and spinach (makes 2 servings). Yummiest treat!

Chris Wiegand debuted the trailer for The American Blogger. I truly can’t wait to see this film. Some of my favorite ladies are featured, and I know it’s going to be such a special snapshot of a portion of this blog world we live in.

Uber is growing, and this time, they’re looking at the fashion industry.

The H&M Conscious Collection launched Thursday, and from the looks of it is already selling out. I’d do some serious begging for someone to buy me those Embroidered Leather wedges.

One fashion writer’s plea for the return of J.Crew scoop backed swimsuits actually resulted in change-and a cheeky ad from president of J.Crew, Jenna Lyons

ABM spoke to my heart in this post about settling into a new place, high expectations, and when to accept that you will always be decorating

A less offensive alternative to Comic Sans, Comic Neue was developed. Will this help passive aggressive office notes across America?

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and over on SoSo/// I shared my Ghiaradeli chocolate perfect pairing, I rounded up links for gardening for beginners , and I day dreamed about my upcoming office space in the new rental house.

The weather this weekend is going to be in the high 70′s BOTH days. I’m smitten. I’ll be attending my nephew’s birthday party (wild Saturday, I know), and Sunday, the girls and I are having one last dinner as roomies in the townhouse. It actually hit me the other night that I won’t be living with my girlfriends anymore, and I was a bit of a mess about it. I’m very grateful for all the big moves and changes over the next couple months, but there is nothing better than living with your best friends. I’m feeling very grateful for the guest bedroom in the new place. There will be plenty of sleepovers in our future :)

Big weekend plans? Any other favorite links around the interwebs?

dream rental:: office space

Aaaah my office. The room I am most excited to start on once we move in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to design our shared spaces, but it’s wonderful to be able to decorate a room completely reflective of you. I can have girly touches in this room. I can paint the walls bright white without a fight. I can close the door and play The Shins and lay on my cowhide rug because it’s allllll mine. So this is the room I daydream about almost constantly.

rental-office-inspiration Trendenser

I fear an overcrowded office. Well-aware of the future messes that will be contained in that room, I need the rest of the room to have a clean look (ya know, to offset the disasters that will ensue).

Desiree-Spinner-Office-by-Trent-Bailey-Photography-00134 Glitter Guide 

office-pink The Every Girl

office-inspiration  Design Files via Dwell

Function is at the forefront of the design in this room. Pretty, but functional. Styled, but useful.

office-org Domaine Home

Here’s my inspiration boiled down:
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1:: White. A lot of it. And where there isn’t white, I want browns, golds, a bit of blue, and some peeks of pink.

2:: Function. I won’t waste too many shelves on styling because I need them to be filled. Creativity is key here because I need so much to happen in this space (write, photograph, create), that I need to have unique places to keep supplies.

3:: Fun. Unexpected. Fresh. I want a room that is constantly inspiring me, a room that I can spend all day in without being creatively “stuck.”

The first room we need to paint is our bedroom, but I want to dive right into my office as soon as we are even partially settled in. I am honestly so so excited to share the progress and eventual final result.

Here is where I need your help! I need tips, tricks, advice on how to store things functionally but with a nice aesthetic. I’m leaning towards a peg board for some often-used supplies, and I have a file-system for important papers and documents. What I need to figure out is how to store craft supplies, paper products, styling materials, things of that nature. Right now, all of that stuff is in a dresser that is impossible to open and close and I destroy something every time I try and I end up just throwing it all in and shoving it closed with my fingers crossed that I didn’t ruin everything. I’m rambling-but for real-what do you do to hide storage or at the very least-make it look pretty and not cluttered?