My Top 5 Summer Fragrances: 2021 Edition

A good smelling perfume definitely sparks joy for me. Along with jewelry, choosing a perfume to wear each day was something I looked forward to greatly during my time at home the last year. Simple pleasures helped get me through! Over the years, I have acquired quite the perfume collection, and I find myself reaching for different scents based on the season, weather, and how I’m feeling, or how I want to feel. These five fragrances are the ones I find myself reaching for most frequently this summer. I would highly recommend them all! With that being said, fragrance is very personal, so I would always suggest getting a sample and trying them on your body before making the commitment to purchase one. My favorite places to purchase perfumes are, Ulta (when I have a 20% off coupon), and Sephora (during their annual sale). I also enjoy reading perfume reviews on and watching fragrance reviews on Youtube.

First up, is Dolce & Gabbana light blue eau intense. I have known about the original Dolce & Gabbana light blue for years, and honestly, it was never really the type of scent I prefer to wear on my body. To my surprise, I recently tested out the light blue intense version and fell head over heels in love. I sprayed it on a testing strip and could not stop smelling it. At that point, I went back to the counter and sprayed some on my body. I knew immediately this was one I wanted to add to my collection, and I was thrilled to discover after hours of wearing it the lasting power and performance were both great as well. This one is described as a floral fruity fragrance. I am very picky about fruity fragrances, and for me to be drawn to them, there has to be a depth and richness to them that helps ground the fragrance. This one has just that! Top notes include lemon and apples, middle notes are jasmine & marigold, and base notes are musk and amberwood. This is one where the descriptions just don’t do it justice. You simply need to give it a try and be prepared to be whisked away via smell to a sexy, summer vacation paradise.

Once the world slowly started opening up again after the pandemic, I found myself at Sephora with a friend smelling perfumes. (Oh, how I had missed the joy of testing out new scents!) I smelled a lot of them that day, but none were jumping out at me…that is until I tried Chloe Nomade. I had told the Sephora sales associate (who was recommending perfumes to me that day) that I tended to like rich, deep, unique and original smelling perfumes. At that point, she walked straight over to Chloe Nomade and told me to try it. I sprayed it on and there was definitely something unique about it. I put some on my arm, and then left the store with my friend. I continued to smell my arm and fell more and more in love with the scent as the day went on. Chloe Nomade is considered a Chypre Floral. Once again, chypre fragrences are not the ones I usually gravitate towards; however, I have no doubt that the basenotes of oakmoss, amberwood, white musk, and patchouli are what helped sell me on it. Something about it reminds me of two of my other perfumes I enjoy: Miss Dior Cherie and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle–it’s as if these two perfumes had a baby in the woods. Just try it. It’s good.

I love Mugler scents. If you know, you know. I have way too many fragrance loves to choose a “signature” scent, but if I absolutely had to choose, Mugler Alien would be way up on that list with Mugler Angel in a close second. Mugler makes a lot of flankers of both of these scents. Some I enjoy. Some, not so much. Although Angel Nova is a flanker of Angel, I don’t believe it should have been a flanker for that scent as it really doesn’t smell anything like it. Angel Nova is a scent that stands all on its own. When I first smelled this, I got a very strong whiff of berries. It was different than the other perfumes I have in my collection. Then, I smelled roses. But once again, the magic started happening during the dry down. This is when the warm, woody, oudy smells jumped out at me and the berries and roses became a beautiful, faint background. It is sweet and fruity, yet mature. This one is also strong and sexy. Just smell it.

I am generally not a fan of celebrity scents. In fact, I believe Ariana Grande Cloud is the only celebrity scent I own. I also am not a fan of this bottle (perfume bottles are often a work of art in and of themselves). This bottle I find a bit juvenile. However, the juice inside the bottle is like a sweet, creamy dose of cotton candy and marshmallows. Think whipped cream, vanilla, and pralines. It’s a bit musky as well. (For those familiar with Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait, I definitely understand the comparisons. Is Cloud an exact dupe? No, but it has a similar vibe for a much more reasonable price.) If you like a good gourmand, this one is definitely worth a try.

Bobbi Brown Beach is one that has been in my collection the longest of these five, and I still reach for it regularly during the hot summer months. It smells like it’s name..think sea, salt, sand, orange blossoms, and coppertone sunscreen. In some ways it’s a simple frangrance, yet it’s an absolutely beautiful summer scent.

Do you have any of these perfumes? Which fragrances have you been reaching for this summer? Let me know your fragrance loves, and if you try out any of these, I would also enjoy hearing about your experience with them. As I mentioned, perfumes are such a personal preference, but their potential to evoke memories and wisk one away is universal.

***I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned above, but I wish I was!***

Our Florida 30A Vacay

Feb. in Missouri during a snow storm is when I booked our Florida vacation. Typically when we go to the beach, we go the all inclusive route; however, this year with Covid and an aging dog, we decided we wanted to stay stateside and take our pups. When I asked friends on social media what beach to go to within a days driving distance, overwhelmingly the answer was to go to any of the beaches on 30A.

I used VRBO to book, and even months in advance, I couldn’t find a dog friendly place to stay with 6 nights available in that area. So, we ended up staying 3 nights in a condo in Seagrove with an ocean view and 3 nights in a house in Panama City Beach about 5 blocks from the ocean and 5 miles from 30A. The condo view was beautiful. It was newly renovated and included a pool and hot tub~which we enjoyed every day after coming back from the beach. While we loved the condo, the house in Panama City Beach was a nice change because we had a fenced back yard for the pups to enjoy. They were located about 20 minutes away from each other.

The Beach: We arrived at the beach after a tropical storm, so the first few days, the ocean was stirred up and rough–red flags were flying. By day three, the water started to settle, and I then understood why people had said it was so beautiful. The white sand and tropical blue combination is gorgeous. However, the beach on 30A was very crowded. Our typical beach routine is waking up and going to the beach early, and then enjoying the pool and hot tub in the afternoon. At this beach, you need to get there early if you want to get a good spot. There were way more people on the beach than I am used to (once again, we usually go to all inclusive vacation beaches). To be honest, we actually enjoyed the Panama City beach more than the one on 30A. It was less crowded and just had a more laid back and relaxing vibe.

My husband lived in Miami as a kid, and he had told me multiple times he prefers Florida’s Atlantic Coast to the gulf because the Atlantic is the ocean, and the gulf is “like a big lake.” However, because of the tropical storm a few days earlier, the ocean had some nice waves for us to have fun enjoying. By our final day there, it was much calmer, and I better understood his lake analogy. We spent 2 to 3 hours at the beach each day. Having beach chairs, a cooler, and beach blankets were a must. (The condo where we stayed supplied chairs and a cooler, and the house supplied a wagon to haul things to the beach.) Some people had elabortate tents and umbrellas. If we weren’t the sun lovers that we are or if we had wanted to stay longer at the beach, some shade would have been necessary. The Florida sun is hot!

The Eats: When I am on vacation, I don’t like having to make reservations for restaurants because I don’t want to have to be anywhere at a certain time. I want to be able to simply go with the flow and do things when we feel like it. Most restaurants required reservations (way in advance), so we ended up choosing where we ate by recommendations combined with where we could just show up. When we first arrived, we went to Publix and stocked up on some breakfast foods and snacks. We made coffee and brunch in the condo and house each morning, and then went out for dinner each night.

The first night we ate at Havana Beach Bar & Grill in The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach. The Rosemary Beach area has a very European vibe with multiple restaurants and shops, and is definitely worth checking out! At the restaurant, we had a short 20 minute wait at the bar before being seated. We had hushpuppies for an appetizer, and Jonathan ordered the burger (which was huge and delicious–according to him), and I had a salad and some of the best french onion soup ever.

Multiple people recommended Goatfeathers, so that is where we ended up going night two. There are a few different locations including a market in Seagrove beach; however, we decided to go to the actual restaurant in Santa Rosa. We got there early (5:00 p.m.) and were immediately seated. It was happy hour, so we both enjoyed a delicious Bloody Mary and Boiled shrimp appetizers on special. I had surf-n-turf (the grilled shrimp were delicious and the steak was very good) and J had Fish-n-chips. This is a very casual, laid back, family friendly restaurant.

We love sushi, so night three we ended up at Shaka Sushi & Noodle Bar. It is located right off 30A and has indoor and outdoor seating. It was hot and humid when we arrived, so we decided to enjoy our meal at the sushi bar. To say the sushi was good is an understatement. It was some of the best sushi we’ve had in a very long time. J ordered The Chef’s Choice & I had the Jaws Roll (very unique, rice-less roll) and Endless Summer. I’d highly recommend both of these rolls! Seriously, we liked this place so much, we decided to return the next night for dinner again. This time we sat in the outdoor area, and besides the amazing food once again, it almost felt like we were at a different restaurant.

While at Shaka, we asked our server what restaurants in the area she recommended as I always appreciate local recommendations, and she said Le Crema in Rosemary Beach and Chanticleer in Grayton. We had already eaten at the Rose Mary Beach area, and we just aren’t huge Tapas fans, so we ended up going to Chanticleer. It didn’t disappoint. All the food there is made fresh, and it was delicious. We both had Bloody Mary’s again this night. They were unique, almost creamy, and we liked them, but they were definitely different than a typical Bloody Mary. We both also split the house salad and had burgers. I opted for brussel sprouts as my side, and J got grits. So good!

The Activites: Going to the beach, pool, and restaurants were our main activities. We did spend some time driving around and simply exploring the area. There are some beautiful houses and flowers and architecture to look at, but watch out for pedestrians and folks on bikes: they are everywhere and will walk out right in front of you! We always buy the Starbucks “Been There Series” mugs when on vacation, so one day we went for an afternoon coffee at the Starbucks in Seacrest. We also had a coffee one afternoon while exploring Rosemary Beach at a local coffee shop called Amavida Coffee Roasters. There was live music at The Hub 30a one night, so we hung out there for a while. When we went to Panama City Beach, we also explored the Pier Park area. I’m sure there are plenty of other activites to enjoy, but we were only there 5 days and truly, when we are on vacation, we like to go slow and rest rather than have a schedule packed full of activities.

All in all, it was a great vacation and definitely an area of the U.S. I’d recommend exploring, if you have the chance!

Adorn Yourself: Copper Robin

I resisted buying an apple watch for years.  I had my iphone, so I thought: why do I need the watch?  However, a few years ago, I finally decided to take the apple watch plunge, primarily because I wanted to be able to go on long walks or workout and listen to music or podcasts without having to take my phone with me, and now I can’t imagine life without it!

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I love jewelry.  By adding cool watch bands, my apple watch has become an additional piece of jewelry to style!  Recently I discovered another woman owned business that makes amazing watch bands, and I wanted to share with you.  Copper Robin, created and owned by Brynn Nicholle, makes beautiful smart watch bands that help turn the functional watch into a beautiful piece of jewelry. Customer service is outstanding, and they often have sales. (I bought two of my three for 30% off.) If you check out the website, you’ll see a wide variety of beautiful watch band options in a variety of colors for many types of smart watches!  Here are the ones I currently own and love:

Aluminum Apple Watch Cover

My apple watch face has silver on it, so when I dove into the world of wearing gold jewelry as well, I wanted to get a face I could easily attach and take off that was gold. This one is perfect. It is light weight, looks great, yet inexpensive, and comes on and off easily,

The posh is one of my favorite apple watch bands I own. I love the stylish, casual, yet edgy vibe to it! Eventually, I’d love to own this one in silver, too!

The Designer is a beautiful band I wear when I’m more dressed up. I love black and gold together as well as the metal and leather look!

The Lotus Goddess

The Lotus Goddess, I believe, is currently sold out. I’m not sure if she will end up making more, but if so, you should definitely check it out. This is light weight and has a bracelet like feel. I also, of course, love the little lotus flower.

There are many other very creative styles of watch bands on the Copper Robin website, so even if you are looking for something other than gold or the styles I’ve shown here, definitely pop on over to their website and take a look!

***I am not sponsored by or affiliated with Copper Robin, but I wish I was!***

The Perfect Cup of Coffee

There is not much better than slow Sunday mornings with my pups, husband, and a good cup of coffee in hand. My love of coffee started in college. I found it easier to study in coffee shops than at home or libraries, so when I wasn’t in classes or working at Gold’s Gym, I was at a local coffee shop, Lakota Coffee Co., studying. It was here that my love of dark, rich, and smooth coffee began. About 10 years ago, I did a week long cleanse and got off caffeine. After going through the withdraws and two day lack of caffeine headache, when I was finished with the cleanse, I decided not to go back to drinking caffeine. I was not, however, willing to give up my daily cup of coffee–so decaf it was! For me, coffee drinking is a whole experience that sparks joy–the smell, the sound of making it, the taste, the feel of the cup in my hand, the warmth as it travels through my body. Today, I’m going to share some of my favorites for making the perfect cup of coffee~both hot and cold brew!

My husband and I haven’t owned a coffee maker in over a decade. If you want a smooth cup of rich coffee a french press is the way to go. Seriously. So much better than drip coffee. I prefer stainless steel french presses to glass ones, as they are less likely to break. I also like the sleek look of them. J drinks caffeinated coffee, so we have two small single serving french presses and two large double serving ones, as well. I found the majority of ours for discounted prices at Marshall’s; however, the one linked above looks great, and is a good price because it comes with a stirring spoon and small frother as well. I scoop 3 heaping scoops of coffee (I tend to buy decaf french roast or decaf espresso roast) into my single serving french press while the water is heating on the stove. Once the water comes to a boil, I pour it in the french press, and then stir for a few seconds.

Some kind of cream or milk in my coffee is a must. I usually add whole whipping cream, half-n-half, Ripple Pea Milk, or sometimes even butter (otherwise known as bullet proof coffee). If I add butter, I blend my hot coffee, butter and collagen powder in my Vitamix. Most days, however, I go for the cream and/or Ripple pea milk instead. Having hot, frothed milk to pour in my cup of coffee is a game changer. Prior to owning a frother, I used to heat my milk in the microwave because I didn’t want cold milk to make my coffee cooler. Getting a milk frother was one of my best purchases. I have the Breville one listed above. It’s an investment, and I’ve had to replace it a few times over the years, but I use it once, sometimes twice each day, so the cost per use is actually fairly low (and it’s way cheaper over the years than going to a coffee shop regularly!) It also froths cold milk, which is perfect for a cup of cold brew.

When I wake up in the morning, I always want hot coffee; however, when the weather starts to get warmer, I often find I want a cup of cold brew in the afternoon. Cold brew is better than iced coffee, because once again, it is so rich and so smooth, and if you don’t want to add ice to it, you don’t have to, so it doesn’t end up tasting as watered down. For my cold brew coffee, I also purchase decaf french roast. I put 10-12 scoops in the cold brew container shown and linked above, fill it with water, and leave it in my refrigerator over night. The next day, it’s ready to go. (And it actually usually lasts a few days, as it makes 3-4 cups). I pour myself a glass (at home I actually like to use stemless wine glasses for my cup of cold brew), and I use my frother to cold froth milk which I then pour over the top. This makes the perfect cup of cold brew coffee. It is delish! Seriously, who needs Starbucks?

Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how do you like yours? Let me know in the comments below.

***I am not affiliated or sponsored by any of the brands mentioned above, but I wish I was.***

A Message of Hope

Years ago, I listened to a podcast with author and researcher, Brene’ Brown, and she described the importance of experiencing disappointments in life in order to learn and know hope.  She was specifically talking about parents who swoop in to guard their children from every disappointment in life, and how those same kids are missing out on the important life skill of learning about hope. She describes hope as a cognitive process more than a feeling. This idea and the relationship between disappointment and hope has stuck with me.

Most of us would probably agree that the year 2020 was filled with disappointment. For some, much more disappointment than others. And, with that, 2020 became a year for kids and adults alike to learn more about hope.

I was recently able to get the first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, and this most definitely has me very hopeful: Hopeful for a life moving forward that allows for eating with friends at restaurants, large family gatherings, concerts, hugs, handshakes, smiles eventually not covered by masks, large and crowded yoga classes with our mats only a few inches apart…I could go on and on and on.

I also hope we never forget. I hope we are a little closer to truly understanding how precious and fragile this life is. I hope we remember human connection is a necessity like the air we breathe, and we should treat all humans kindly, justly, and respectfully. I hope we never forget how truly allowing ourselves to experience the highs and the lows is an important part of being human and healing. I hope we learned how to be more compassionate with ourselves and how to extend that compassion to others. I hope we learned the importance of relaxation and true rest. Along with that, I hope we do not go back to busy but instead place high value on experiencing the simple pleasures of life rather than rushing through it to try and fill it up.

As a recovering Type A personality who can lean towards being a bit controlling (thank goodness for Yoga!), this quote always makes me smile. It could easily be the 2020 motto. Relax. Nothing is under control.  And yet, as we continue to journey through this life, we can remember that we can always choose to invite hope to stay. 

What are you hopeful for? 

Peace Out, Winter: Spring Fever Favorites

While I appreciate all four seasons, I wish winter lasted only one month–let’s have some snow over Christmas, and then call it good, can we? By the end of January, I am yearning for the feeling of LIFE: color, flowers blooming, the return of leaves, and green grass to walk barefoot on. February always feels like the longest month. Then, finally March arrives and feels so hopeful to me, as spring is right around the corner. I also appreciate the longer hours of daylight that comes along with spring. There is just a different energy during springtime, and I love it! I also look forward to moving my winter clothes, and shoes, and coats, and scarves, and hats (and all. the. winter. things.) to the back of my closet, and pulling out my springtime favorites. Here are a few of of my spring favorites I am looking forward reuniting with!

adidas Adilette Comfort Slide

I have no doubt one of the reasons winter feels so constricting to me is that my feet like to be FREE. I prefer being barefoot most of the time, but a good comfortable sandal is second best. I remember wearing slides as a teenager, and I was thrilled to see the style come back around a few years ago. These adidas slides are dreamy. I highly recommend the adilette comfort slides over the regular ones as the extra padding feels so good. I also love everything silver, so there’s that. (There are many other colors available if your silver love doesn’t run as deep as mine.) I cannot wait to slip these on with a pair of shorts and sweatshirt this spring!

Lou & Grey Signaturesoft Plush Drawstring Shorts

The shorts I will be wearing this spring are the Lou & Grey Signaturesoft Plush Drawstring shorts from The Loft. Lou & Grey signature soft anything (shorts, joggers, sweatshirts, etc.) feel heavenly. The only downside is that once your body and skin get used to the feel of Lou & Grey Signaturesoft, anything else you wear feels rough and scratchy. But, they are still worth it! I have this pair in grey and black, and they will be on rotation all spring and summer.

EllandEmm Bisou Bisou

Prior to the pandemic I owned one sweatshirt and two hoodies. I just wasn’t into them. Well, that has changed, and EllandEmm sweatshirts are now some of my favorite. They are playful and stylish and incredibly soft. I can’t think of a more appropriate spring sweatshirt than one that says, “Bisou Bisou,” can you?

Some of my favorite sunnies

Because there are more hours of daylight in spring, and I am outside frequently, I find I reach for my sunnies more often. Sunglasses are some of my favorite accessories, and I tend to like ones that make a statement. I’ve acquired quite the collection over the years. I always keep them in their cases when they aren’t on my face, so they last a very long time. Cites like nordstromrack and saksoff5th are my favorite for finding sunglass deals!

Nordstrom Moonlight Short Pajamas

I usually wear different pajamas in the spring and summer than I do in the fall and winter months. These pajamas cannot be beat. They are so soft and comfortable and cute. I am definitely looking forward to pulling them back out for spring.

it cosmetics Hyrdrating Serum Lip gloss stain in Je Ne Sais Quoi

Lastly, nothing says spring like a fresh, glossy, pink lip. This lipgloss serum from itcosmetics conditions the lips with shea butter, jojoba, and avocado oils. It is smooth and glossy without feeling sticky (I do not like sticky glosses), and the color Je Ne Sais Quoi is supposed to turn the perfect shade of pink based on your unique body chemistry. This color is also available in lipstick and a lip balm if you prefer those to glosses.

These are all some of my springtime tried and true favorites. Peace out, Winter. Spring, I’m ready for ya!

***I am not sponsored by or affiliated with any of these brands, although I wish I was!***

Top Ten Netlix Recs

Especially during the cold, winter months, Netflix is a favorite source of entertainment in our home. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching Netflix series as much as movies. Throughout the heaviness of living during this pandemic, the following series were welcomed escapes and fun to watch.

The first three recommendations are all ones my husband and I watched together and both enjoyed.  We actually watched Schitt’s Creek years ago, and loved it so much, we recently started watching from the beginning again.  This in and of itself says a lot about how much enjoyment we got watching this family because we usually do not watch a series more than one time. It’s just that good. Seriously. After starting from the beginning a second time it is even more apparent how much the characters grow and change throughout the series.  This is an over-the-top family that you can’t help but love, and they provide plenty of laugh out loud moments. (If you finish watching Schitt’s Creek, and love it as much as we did, you will also want to check out the documentary on Netflix about the making of the series: Best Wishes, Warmest Wishes: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell.)

If someone told me I’d be interested in watching a series about chess, I would probably not have believed them.  However, I was easily sucked in to this coming of age story of an orphaned chess prodigy.  While The Queen’s Gambit isn’t as light hearted as some of the others I’m recommending, it is a rich drama filled with moments of hope and triumph.  Whether you like chess or not, you should check it out. And, like Schitt’s Creek, there is also a documentary, Creating The Queen’s Gambit, currently on Netflix about the making of this series.

Kim’s Convenience is another comedy with a family that is easy to grow to love.  The Kims own a Korean Canadian convenience store and have raised two children, now in their twenties. This family provides a great deal or humor as well as depth. If you like Schitt’s Creek, this is another one you will probably enjoy!

The next six recommendations are all series I watched on my own (no husband involved, and if we had children, they would not have been in the room while I was watching as all of them have some risque’ moments!) Grace & Frankie is probably one of my all-time favorite Netflix comedies.   It highlights two women whose husbands leave them to purse a relationship together~which they had been hiding for 20 years. The women are vastly different but slowly become best friends. Grace & Frankie is a show about friendship, family, love, and growing older. It is one that I was truly sad to see come to an end.

Firefly Lane  is the series I am currently watching. It’s another one about women friendships; however, on this one, the two main characters have been friends since their childhood. They come from vastly different families but grew up on the same road: Firefly Lane. This is another one that I know when I finish Season 1, it will feel like too long to wait for Season 2 to arrive in my Netflix queue.

Emily in Paris is a series I would consider a bit goofy and very lighthearted, but sometimes that feels like exactly the entertainment I am seeking. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sights of Paris and the fashion and style on this show as well.

Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce reminds me of Sex in the City except it is set in L.A. instead of New York, and is about middle aged women going through divorce rather than 20-somethings looking for love. The main character is a writer who is going through a divorce. While divorce is no laughing matter, I found myself cracking up much of the time watching it. This series would easily be in my top five comedy series ever. I felt like I was hanging out with my own group of girlfriends while watching it. It’s so good!

Working’ Moms is hilarious. Even without having children of my own, I loved it. Just watch. You’ll see.

Dead to Me is a bit of a wild ride. I don’t want to say too much here, but it’s about two women who meet in a grief group and build a friendship. They are connected in a way one of the women knows about and the other doesn’t. There are a lot of twists and turns in this one. Like I said, it’s a wild ride.

The final recommendation isn’t a series, but a movie J and I watched last weekend, so it’s fresh in my mind. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a strange and quirky movie, and I highly recommend it! We have a local, small movie theater in town, Rag Tag Cinema, that shows creative and artsy movies, and I kept thinking the entire time we watched this flick that it reminds me of something we would have seen at Rag Tag. (Oh how I long for the days I will feel comfortable watching a movie again outside of my home!) Hunt for the Wilderpeople is described as a New Zealand adventure comedy drama about a boy and his foster father. If you don’t want to commit the time to watching an entire series, this movie is a fun, and shorter, yet adventurous, ride.

I’m curious: what Netflix shows make up some of your top ten favorites?

Game Night

When I was a kid, I Ioved playing games. I have great memories playing all types of games with my grandparents, parents, brother, and friends. One friend who lived down the road from me had an entire wall full of board games in her basement, and I was always so envious. I grew up playing Battleship, Mastermind, Operation, Guess Who?, Hungry Hippo, Score Four, Trouble, Checkers, Scrabble, Monopoly, & Pictionary to name a few. As I got older, I stopped playing games other than at the occasional family gathering. With the winter months ahead and staying at home all the time, I thought it would be a nice change of pace from Netflix watching for my husband and I to play some board games. We didn’t really own many games, so when I found the Game House above for $19.99 at Target, I decided this would be a good way for us to try a bunch of games out to see which ones we enjoyed the most. So far from this set, we have played Checkers, Chinese checkers, and Mancala. This is a great little starter game set that has so many options. The pieces are really tiny though, so if we find we are playing some of the games more than others, we will probably purchase full size versions of those games.

While looking for games, I saw this retro version of Mastermind available at Target for half price. The great price coupled with the nostalgia of remembering really enjoying this game as a kid resulted in me purchasing it as well. This one is a code-breaking game for two people and is a quite challenging reasoning game. Definitely not one to play after a long day of work; however, on the weekends or vacation days, it is a great one for the mind.

Yahtzee is probably the game we have enjoyed playing the most. This cool vintage bookshelf edition would make an excellent gift. I played this game a few times as a kid, but I had to watch some Youtube videos and consult a friend the first time J & I played it together because neither one of us remembered how to play. I find that I especially enjoy games that involve dice, and this one is my most recent favorite!

As I was nostalgically contemplating the games I played most as a kid, I could see one I played at my Grandparent’s house in my mind, but I couldn’t remember the name of it. After texting my dad and brother, who also couldn’t remember it, a day of thinking later, it popped into my head: Score Four. I remember loving this game. I don’t know why it is no longer made, but I was able to find a vintage set on ebay for $20. This beat the price of the $300 collectors one on Amazon, so the ebay one it was! This game is similar to Connect Four, but you have 4 rows to play on instead of just one. We are still waiting on this game to arrive in the mail, but I am looking forward to playing it again when it does!

Backgammon is on my list of games to learn to play next. I don’t have any childhood memories of it at all, but it was recommended by a friend. After watching some Youtube videos about it, I think it looks fun. It is one of the games in the Game House, so it will probably be the next one we try, and if we love it, I’ll order a bigger board like the one above.

Do you have any games for two players that you would recommend? I’d love to know!


While I believe we should live our lives with authenticity and never aim to be any sort of copy, in the realm of perfumery, Maison Margiela’s Replica fragrances have proven that Replicas can be absolutely divine! I love fragrance. Once again, I always try to create sensory experiences in my life that help me be mindful and beautiful smells–whether from candles or cooking or nature or perfume–make me feel alive. The truth is: I don’t really wear perfume for others. I wear it for me. During the pandemic, while at home all the time, I find moments of joy choosing different fragrances to wear throughout the long days. Really, I LOVE a good perfume. And, different seasons call for different smells. Today, I am sharing my favorites from the French luxury fashion house, Maison Margiela. Maison Margiela’s Replica fragrances are “reproductions of familiar scents and moments of varying locations and periods.” We all know that the power of scent is strong and can carry us through time and evoke important memories and experiences. This line of fragrances does just that. The following scents are all ones I would recommend you check out, and depending on your fragrance preferences, there is definitely at least one for everyone that would make a perfect gift for a loved one (or for yourself) during this upcoming holiday season!

Jazz Club

Jazz Club is the first fragrance from this line I purchased, and it was the beginning of my love affair. You should know I often find myself drawn to what would be considered male or unisex fragrances. The smoky, sexy, leathery scents are some of my favorite~especially during the colder months. This one is all of that: Smoky, sexy, & leathery with a spicy, boozy flair to it as well! According to the top notes are pink pepper, lemon, and neroli; middle notes are rum, clary sage, and vetiver oil; base notes are tobacco leaf, vanilla bean, and styrax. says, “this perfume brims with sweet notes of opened cigar boxes, old leather bar stools, and fine aged liquor.” I would agree. If you are missing going to Jazz Clubs during the pandemic, pick up this perfume and it will immediately transport you.

By the Fireplace

By the Fireplace is another slightly smokey unisex scent, but imagine the sweet smell of roasting marshmallows while you sit by the crackling fireplace with your loved ones & that is the replica experience of this scent. Top notes are pink pepper, orange blossoms, & cloves; middle notes are chestnut, guaiac wood & juniper; base notes are vanilla, peru balsam and cashmeran. says, “the comfort of wood crackling in the fireplace while snow falls outside is evoked…” and I would agree. There is a definite sweetness to this one, though, that balances out the smoky, woodiness, and makes me crave s’mores.

Beach Walk

If you want a total change of pace from the two perfumes above, Beach Walk just might be your choice. This one replicates all the smells of the beach~salty, aquatic air, and light citrus & florals. The perfume opens with bergamot & lemon, and develops with pink pepper, ylang ylang, coconut milk, musk, and heliotrope. says, “the scent of salt air, the perfume of sunscreen, the glow of sunkissed skin…Replica Beach Walk Women’s fragrance evokes the memory of endless summer days…” While there is a definite sunscreen smell to this perfume (which I actually appreciate), if Bobbi Brown’s iconic Beach perfume is way too much for your nose (think Coppertone sunscreen), this one is a much lighter, more florally option. It is truly beautiful and the next best thing to a beach vacay.

Music Festival

Music Festival is another unisex fragrance that one might say is much more like the real thing than the fyre music festival was. This one is a replica of Woodstock, 1969. While it may not be for everyone, on the right spring or summer day, when I want to smell an earthy, yet sweet forest party scent lingering around my body, I love reaching for it. Top notes are violet leaf, red apple, & cannibis ; middle notes are patchouli, incense & tobacco; base notes are cypress, leather, & cedar. The Maison Margiela website says this about the fragrance, “recall a hypnotic daydream, lulled by the musics vibrations.” We may not be going to music festivals anytime soon, so in the meantime, check out this fragrance.

Under the Lemon Trees

My collection of these fragrances was started many, many years ago. My most recent purchase from the line was at the start of the lockdown for the pandemic this past spring. I do not consider myself a fan of scents with a lot of citrus; however, I received a sample of Under the Lemon Trees and was oddly drawn to it. It was obvious that life as I knew it was shifting greatly, and somehow, this very different scent than my normal go-to felt comforting. Top notes are lime, petitgrain, & cardamom; middle notes are coriander, mate, & green tea; and bottom notes are cedar, rock rose, and white musk. describes this one as evoking “la dolce vita with the signature scent of the Southern Italian countryside.” Through all the worry, disappointment, and sadness as a result of the pandemic, there is something about this perfume that is a comforting reminder to me that through it all life is still so very sweet .

At the Barber’s

Replica At the Barber’s is not a scent I wear~as a big fan of unisex fragrances and as someone who will even wear some fragrances that are marketed towards men, this is not one of those. I bought this scent for my husband for Christmas a few years ago. I generally pick out all of J’s scents, and this one was different than anything else he had. The only way I can describe this scent is the smell of a sexy man~a clean shaven, freshly groomed, sexy man. Top notes are bitter orange, basil, & black pepper; middle notes lavender, geranium, & rosemary; base notes are tonka bean, leather, moss, and white musk. If you are looking for a Christmas gift for the man in your life, check this one out. It is yummy!

This wraps up my Maison Margiela Replica collection. I own a lot of perfumes and all of these are ones I reach for often. While these scents are not cheap, in this case, you definitely get what you pay for. The bottles are large and the longevity and sillage are top notch. I do not like paying for perfumes that I cannot smell shortly after applying them. Out of all the scents, I would say Under the Lemon Tree is the only one that I find I have to reapply during the day to continue smelling it. Other Replica scents I have smelled and chosen not to purchase are Lipstick On (takes me right back to playing in my great grandmother’s powder room and the smell of her lipstick), Coffee Break (thought I would love this one, but I actually wanted to smell more of a coffee scent) & Whispers in the Library (this one is on my wish list).

So, live authentically but if you’re in the market for a good perfume, don’t hesitate to check out Maison Margiela Replica.

***All the lists of notes for the fragrances came from This is a favorite website of mine to check out when looking for fragrance reviews.***

***I am not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post, but I wish I were!***