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Friday, November 27, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Happy Friday! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving whether it was with friends, family or what have you. I can't believe "the holidays" have begun already, can you? I barely got settled into 2015 before 2016 came in here and kicked it out. On one hand I hope time slows just a bit so I can continue to enjoy it, but by the same token I just simply cannot wait for Christmas to be here! What a catch 22, right? 

One last thought. As someone who works both in customer service and retail, I extend a gentle reminder to please be kind and patient with any sales staff you may deal with this weekend. There's a chance that they didn't have any kind of Thanksgiving, with friends or family. There's a chance that they've worked eight or more hours every day this week and will continue to do so through the weekend. They don't make the sales, set the time lines on the specials, and can't always go "in the back" and magically produce what you're looking for. It's just stuff. There's plenty of time to find things. Patience. Kindness. Generosity. Love. On both ends- shoppes and sales staff. 

I'm a big fan of REI being closed today, instead choosing to #OptOutside, not gonna lie. I'm aiming for a blend of both- maybe, maybe some shopping but nothing crazy early in the morning, maybe in the afternoon, with yoga and maybe a walk or beach time! Will you #OptOutside?

Anyways, I hope you had a lovely holiday and have a fantastic weekend. I'm linking up with Amanda, of course. 


I recently popped into the Lush store in SouthPark and had an amazing time. I've been in the store before and had terrible customer service and walked out because I was just intimidated. This excursion however, was amazing and I walked out with some amazing new products, including the Buffy Body Butter bar! Not only do you get delicious exfoliation, but the Shea butter and cocoa butter are amazing and leave you with touchable soft, moisturized skin. Go get one ASAP.


My office is doing a step challenge again this month and it couldn't have come at a better time! I've honestly been running all over God's green earth so much that I've been majorly slacking on my workouts there's no question. Needless to say I love competition so I've been making a conscious effort to get in 10,000 steps a day, and I'm so glad I decided to upgrade my pedometer game to a Fitbit Flex for this challenge. I feel like even when my challenge is up at the end of the month, I will keep wearing it and keep consciously tracking my steps and exercise. Do you have a Fitbit?


One of the best choices I've made in the last month or so is wearing my High Rise Chaturanga tights from Athleta, with all of my dresses to work! Not only are they comfortable, but they're warmer and provide more coverage than your basic opaque tight or super cheap cotton Forever 21/Target/whatever tight. The high rise on these tights ensures they lay completely flat under dresses and skirts so it doesn't look weird or frumpy.  I highly, highly recommend not only these tights, but also layering them with your dresses/skirts in the winter. Best decision I've ever made.


So even before I ditched gluten, I didn't drink beer. I think it tastes like sad, dirty water. I don't care how fancy, how craft, how American, how flavored or whatever it is, it's just sad, dirty water to me. Even gluten free beer tastes like sadness. Cider, however, has been my jam! Any time I see a gluten free cider I can get my hot little hands on I try it ASAP. I was in Trader Joe's last week and spotted the Henry Hotspur's Hard Pressed Cider in the Spiced and non spiced. Tis the season for spices so of course I had to get the spiced. The bottles come in 22 oz and I think it was maybe $3 or $4? It's absolutely amazing. It isn't chilled in the store, but I can't imagine drinking it room temperature. Chill it, pop the top, enjoy and recycle.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you have a wonderful holiday, with family and/or friends, good food and lots of love! It's cliche I know, but I want to share a few things I'm thankful for! 

I'm thankful for my health, although I've had some weird ups and downs, new allergies and such, I'm entirely healthy as a whole, which I'm so thankful for. Health truly is your wealth and while you can bounce back from bad eating periods, or get back into exercise after a hiatus, I think it's important to maintain certain baseline healthy habits which I try to do. Keyword being try.

I'm thankful for my family, their support and love. I'm so lucky to have a loving family to go home to visit and spend time with. 

I'm thankful that both of my jobs allow me time off to go spend with my family. 

I'm thankful for the amazing people in my life that support and love me.

I'm thankful for my fun little blog and the few of you that read it!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Check in, check up


Hi everyone! I know, I've been major MIA and I'm sorry to say that I think it's going to only get worse during the holiday season! Part time retail work means holiday hours which means later nights working and such. Womp womp. But hey, that's what I signed up for, which I have to keep remembering no matter how tired or grumpy I may get.

So what does that mean? Hopefully more sporadic posts. I feel badly not posting regularly but life has just sort of taken off the last few months which means less time for blogging/creative outlets/yoga/exercise/life. It's been amazing and fantastic and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but sometimes other things just get put on the back burner, which is perfectly fine. I'm ok with that. I'm not giving up on this, it's just taking less of a priority and less of my time. Fellow bloggers know just how much time it can take to dream up the perfect content, find all the necessary links, amazing graphics and edit everything. It takes a lot of time and I don't like to half ass things, so I won't!

If you have any desire to keep up with things, I tweet (@MLGilling) a lot because hello it takes two seconds, and if I'm ever doing anything fun or Insta worthy you can find pictures on Instagram (@MLGilling). Otherwise whatever appears here, will appear here!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Confessions of a Southern Belle

Hey y'all, how is everyone doing? Good? Fantastic? Amazing? I'm currently sidelined on my couch with lymph nodes the size of actual golf balls, and no idea what's causing it, so that's fun. Hopefully I'll see my internist today or tomorrow and we'll figure out the cause. In the mean time, any suggestions, tips or tricks for getting them to subside? I literally have no more jaw line... It's tragic. There's no amount of bronzer to help this.

In the spirit of ranting, let's get through some confessions, shall we?

I confess that life has been crazy... Really crazy and I've been getting a lot done, doing things for everyone else, but myself.

I confess that I miss barre classes terribly. I need money to grow on trees ASAP so I can resume that aspect of my life.

I confess that when Apple told me that my Macbook is considered vintage and that I can't buy a new battery, but I just have to buy a new Macbook I wanted to cry a bit. Gotta save all the money, then spend all the money.

Breakfast at Tiffany's Southern Belle Secrets

I confess that I'm excited for the holidays, because it will be a time I'm actually not working any jobs, running any responsibilities or doing anything. Call me selfish.

I'm looking forward to sleeping

I confess that last week I ate a 2lb bag of JellyBelly jelly beans in it's almost entirety. By myself.

I confess that I'm majorly feeling the need to spend, spend, spend and I have no idea why!

I confess that I am constantly checking how many steps I have in, with my new Fitbit. We're doing a challenge at work this month and I am determined like hell to win! Or at least get second place.

So there's some things. Do you have anything to confess? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015



Hi friends! I'll spare y'all super details, but life has been busy! Full time job, part time job, being asked to do some freelance work, spending time with friends- new and old, and squeezing in fun wherever I can has frequently left me little time to sleep, write or come up with blog post ideas, so I apologize! I know I keep apologizing and saying I'll do better. I truly mean it... It's a work in progress. What in life isn't?

If you follow me on Twitter (@MLGilling) you may have noticed flurries of random tweets about the Charlotte mayoral race. I've been asked to live-tweet two debates for a local publication. I'm actually live-tweeting one tonight! So if you want some super snark, repetition of questions and big issues, and maybe some random entertainment, follow along!

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

I can hear the collective sigh across the Internet- Friday! Additionally, what's the saying... The road to hell is paved with good intentions? Yeah... That. I hate to say it, but things have been crazy good. Linking with Amanda because it's good for the soul.


I actually really, really dislike Ellie Goulding. I don't like her music or her voice. However I do really like her new song. I'm sure that will change the minute it becomes overplayed, but for the moment it's my jam. I think it would make a fun workout song- barre, running, cross training or whatever your poison is. It has a good beat, it's consistent, it's fun. 


I recently had my nails done and went with OPI's Mat-adore Red. I'm a big fan. It's a great fall/winter red. It doesn't scream Christmas, which makes it versatile enough to wear in the fall and winter. I'm moving towards more natural products and starting the search for a nail polish that is big five free like Zoya, so I'll miss the punchy names and perfect shades, but I know it'll be better for my health in the long run.



It's no secret amongst family and friends that I'm a jelly bean hound. I love Jelly Belly in particular (the Starburst ones are yucky) and can easily drop $15 on a bag from the candy store and demolish them. So I try to buy them sparingly, but as a gluten and dairy free treat I just can't resist! 


So I'm late to 'Fresh Off The Boat' and I'm totally in love with it. Not only is it hilarious but I find the episodes pretty well written, they flow well and don't take forever to get to the point. Some of it is a bit predictable, but what sitcom isn't?


Amanda constantly talks about the crystal nail file from Sephora and how fantastic it is. I hate filing my nails, hate. it. The feeling weirds me out, I hate the sound and it just doesn't sit right with me. I figured why not try the crystal nail? Needless to say I'm a big fan and this doesn't give me the heebie jeebies to use! I consider that a big win in my book. The little travel case for the file is absolute junk- two pieces on it have already popped off. Otherwise this is the best $10 I've spent at Sephora. Go get one.

I'm bummed y'all. I was supposed to go to Wanderlust 108 in Atlanta last weekend but it didn't happen due to all of the crazy rain we had. The event went on rain or shine, but I had no interest driving to Atlanta in rain with crazies, nor practicing yoga or running a 5k in straight mud. Womp womp. Otherwise I have a weekend of work ahead of me. What are you doing?

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things

Look there, it's Friday! We all know it's my favorite day, we all know my favorite way to celebrate is to link up with Amanda so let's do that, shall we?  


Nicki Minaj was absolutely one of my favorite things these last few weeks! I heard she was coming to Charlotte last minute, like found out on Saturday that she was coming Tuesday kind of deal, a friend asked if I wanted to go and I of course said yes! She played the PNC Music Pavilion right outside of Charlotte which holds about 19,000 people so the energy was amazing despite the heat and humidity.


Gluten free blueberry muffin Udi's Southern Belle Secrets

How. Delicious. Does. That. Muffin. Look? I'm becoming a huge fan of Udi's Gluten Free products because they're delicious, carried in most grocery providers and they taste good! I love their Blueberry muffins which are gluten, dairy, soy and nut free! The packaging recommends warming the muffins in the oven or microwave, but honestly I grab a frozen one in the morning, pack it up, let it defrost and enjoy as my mid-morning snack around 11am. I haven't tried using the oven yet (I'll pass on microwaves they make food taste funny) but that's next on my to try list.

Luna's Living Kitchen Caesar Salad Southern Belle Secrets

How glorious, amazing and beautiful does that salad look? One of my new favorite must have items is the Caesar Salad with a quinoa-millet veggie burger from Luna's Living Kitchen. The salad contains romaine hearts with Luna's Caesar dressing, raw kale croutons and Brazil nut cheese. I add the veggie burger for a little more sustenance/protein and always feel full and satisfied after eating it! I cannot stress enough just how awesome Luna's Living Kitchen is, whether you have dietary restrictions/preferences or just want to try something new. Go try it!


My Aloha Paddle and Surf paddle boarding yoga

Earlier this summer I purchased a Groupon for three hours of paddle boarding with My Aloha Paddle and Surf here in Charlotte. I've been dying to try stand up paddle boarding and was determined to make it happen this summer. Enter the Groupon and it was a match made in heaven! I convinced my roommate to try it as well and the weekend before Labor Day we went to Lake Norman to give it a try. I absolutely loved it! Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try some yoga while I was at it (they offer paddle board yoga classes!) and really couldn't pass up some cool photo ops! Needless to say I had a great afternoon and highly, highly recommend My Aloha Paddle and Surf.


Luna's Living Kitchen Turtle Cake Vegan Southern Belle Secrets

I know this is a food heavy post but I eat a lot! So without further adieu I present the Turtle Cake from Luna's Living Kitchen that I had the other day. How delicious does that look? You wouldn't even know it was raw and vegan until you read the menu- caramel and chocolate layered cake made with thai coconut and cashews in a chocolate pecan crust. Even that description doesn't really give it away! Let me tell you about this perfect piece of heaven. Not only is it decadent and creamy, but it's the perfect amount of sweetness to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth, like mine! 

What do you have planned for the weekend? Summer is winding down quickly so I'm trying to squeeze in any last minute definite summer or requires warm weather activities while I still can!