Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: Summer Rental {Mary Kay Andrews}

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie have been best friends since grade school. Now in their mid thirties each woman is at a crossroads in her life. Ellis was recently fired from a job she loved. Julia is caught between her modeling career and a man that loves her dearly. Dorie was recently betrayed by a man she loved and trusted most of her life.

The women rent a beach house, Ebbtide, in the Outer Banks, NC to spend the last month of summer together. Here they plan to relax, have fun and catch up with each other. Along the way they met Ty Bazemore (their landlord) and Maryn Shackleford (a woman on the run from her husband). As secrets are revealed they question everything they thought they knew about life.

4/5 Stars

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Night Cocktail Hour {featuring Midnight Moon}

If you read last Friday's post you can see that moonshine has been my Friday Night Cocktail of choice. Today I will feature two more authentic moonshine recipes. Last Saturday I headed to my local ABC store and picked up a few liquors to make a couple cocktails, shots, and beverages.  Along with my pink lemonade vodka, screaming O's, and honey whiskey I bought a Mason Jar of Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon authentic moonshine in the apple pie flavor.

Apple Ale

2 oz. Midnight Moon Apple Pie over ice. 
Fill with ginger ale.

Midnight Mary

1 1/2 oz. Midnight Moon Original
3 oz. Bloody Mary Mix over ice.
Garnish with celery stalk.

Seriously their recipes are so easy because they have so many moonshine flavors to choose from. They have Original, Apple Pie, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cranberry, and Strawberry.

Between the non-alcoholic drink recipes and the moonshine recipes I've been sharing you should be ready to have fun and make some summer memories you won't soon forget!

xoxo Gwen

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fun Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Summertime calls for beach days, lazy days spent reading in a hammock and fun times with friends and family. To spice things up offer some simple and easy non-alcoholic "cocktails". I recently spotted a recipe shared by Ashton on Something Swanky and it looks so good! The drink is called My Three Sons and has just 3 ingredients (orange juice, apple juice and strawberry sherbet). Click the link and head over to view the full recipe (as easy as it is) and check out two more drinks perfect for summertime.

Photo Credit
xoxo Gwen

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Movie Talk: Maleficent

I have been waiting for this movie for what seems like forever. Now it is just three days from release. Angelina Jolie is one of my all time favorite actresses and I can not wait to see her in this role. As most of you know Maleficent is the villain from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

Maleficent (unlike the other fairies) was not invited to the christening of Princess Aurora. In order to punish Aurora's parents she puts a spell on Aurora to prick her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel and die on her 16th birthday. One fairy, Merryweather weakens the curse and makes it so that instead of dying Aurora falls into a deep sleep, and can only be awoken by a kiss from her true love.

The movie is told from Maleficent's point of view so we find out what happened before the Sleeping Beauty story.

"I was really moved by the script from first reading, It was like uncovering a great mystery. We all know the story of 'Sleeping Beauty' and we all know Maleficent and what happened at the christening because we've all grown up with that. But what we've never known is, What happened before?" ~Angelina Jolie

In Theaters May 30th
This curse will last until the end of time,
xoxo Gwen

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day 
a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.
xoxo Gwen

Mani Monday {Nontraditional}

You've seen the hashtags on Instagram. Monday is show off your manicure day. Today I am forgoing the traditional colorful manicure and giving my nails a break.

First I remove all of my polish. Next I shape my nails with a file and smooth my ridges with the Polar Block.  Then I take care of my cuticles. I push them back and trim off the excess. While Bio-Oil is traditionally used for scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, and dehydrated skin I use it on my nails to condition and hydrate them. I will reapply the Bio-Oil throughout the week as needed.

xoxo Gwen

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Night Cocktail Hour

I recently saw an episode of Bar Rescue with Jon Taffer featuring a failing bar named Characters renamed and re-branded into MoonRunners Saloon. I don't know how well they're doing now, but I do know that one of the signature drinks The Moon Runner sounds really good!  Stir one up tonight or any night. Share your pics with me on Instagram by tagging me @lavendermud.

The Moon Runner

1 oz. Moonshine
2 oz. Root Beer
2 dashes Vanilla Extract
0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
Garnish with Lemon Peel

Check them out:
MoonRunners Saloon
1506 US Highway 70 W
Garner NC 27529

xoxo Gwen

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck

It seems like art has flooded my life lately. From theater to art history class and this past weekend my big and I went to the Chrysler Museum in downtown Norfolk, VA to view the Rubber Duck by Dutch artist, Florentijn Hofman. There was quite a crowd.


This 40 foot version floating in front of the Chrysler Museum will be on display through Memorial Day (May 26th, 2014).

Stop by and check it out:
245 W. Olney Rd.
Norfolk VA 23510

xoxo Gwen

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Acting 101

I've been spending a lot of time at the theater lately. Last year I started volunteering as a way to get Daniel interested in auditioning. He originally went to college for theater and somehow along the way became a computer programmer. Needless to say I thought he needed a creative outlet and I saw volunteer opportunities for me and possible stage opportunities for him. Together we helped build the set for Black Tie and The Royal Family, did the opening night receptions for Black Tie, Good People, and last night I did the opening reception for The Royal Family. I have also ushered at several shows. Auditions came and went for Good People, but by the time The Royal Family auditions rolled around myself and several board members at the Little Theatre of Virginia Beach convinced him to go for it. He landed a small role and has been rehearsing for the last several weeks. Last night was the opening show and it will continue Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm and Sundays 2:30 pm until their last show on June 8th.

My curiosity has peaked and I have read several articles about auditioning tipsauditioning tips, and even more auditioning tips.  Article after article I read I think this is something I want to try. The first step is to continue volunteering at the Little Theatre of Virginia Beach. I will also fill out volunteer forms at the Little Theatre of Norfolk and the newest theater in this area, Double Dog Theatre. I also reached out to the director of LTVB's next show, Follies, offering my services back stage, etc. Lastly, I am considering taking Acting 101 in the Fall. It allows me the summer to think about it, and continue volunteering, etc. I was happy to see that Tidewater Community College offers a fast track theater certification degree. No, I will not be dropping ASL Interpreting, but I think I will take the intro acting class and see how I feel after that. I am sure the first class will give me a good idea if I really want to pursue it.

Meanwhile I will enjoy The Royal Family (May 16-June 8) and Follies (July 18-August 10).

Check out what the LTVB has planned for the 2014-2015 season!

xoxo Gwen

Monday, May 19, 2014

DIY Hair Mask

Transitioning from winter to summer does a number on my hair and not in a good way.  I have long naturally blonde, thick, curly hair and there's nothing worse than split ends and dry "straw" hair. To combat the elements I use a treatment on my hair to add a bit of extra conditioning and strength.

1 TBSP. coconut oil
1 TBSP. olive oil
1 TBSP. honey
3 TBSP. water

Stir ingredients in a small glass bowl.  Microwave for 13-15 seconds.  Apply to dry areas (I usually do mine on the ends of my hair). Pull hair back and let sit for 30 mins to 1 hour. Rinse out.  **I usually do this treatment at night and do not shampoo or add any other products to my hair. In the morning I wash and style my hair as normal.**

xoxo Gwen

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sorority File: Philanthropy

Girls on the Run

One of my sorority's philanthropies is Girls on the Run.  GotR inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using an experienced-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
ΑΣΑ Cheer Station during the 5K
ΑΣΑ loves GotR!

It was great to be out with my sorority sisters supporting GotR. Even though it was quite early on a Saturday morning we managed to have fun, laugh, and take pictures. Watching the girls run and push themselves to keep going was inspiring.

xoxo Gwen

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Liebster Award

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award from Miss Katie at Inkspot. For those who do not know what the Liebster Award is:

The Liebster Award

What It Is

The Liebster Award is an award given to new bloggers as a way to recognize them and to discover other new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere.

The Rules

1. Answer 11 questions posted by the person who nominated you. (My questions came from Miss Katie)
2. State 11 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate 11 bloggers (with less than 200 followers).  Let them know you nominated them!
4. Post 11 questions for them to answer.


1. Funniest and/or craziest thing that has ever happened to you – GO!

Recently.... I had a paper that I received a 75 on. I was absolutely freaked out and skipped out on Spring Break to meet with the teacher in her home on a Saturday for 2 hours to help me with the 2nd paper due the next day. When I got a 90 on it I was happy, but confused how I did not get a 100 since I spent so much time with the teacher one on one going over it. When I asked the teacher what I did wrong she said nothing. She said that she took off points because she helped me with it.

2. Favorite movie and why?

I have 2. The Talented Mr. Ripley - because I love jazz, the story is twisted and dramatic, great acting. Garden State - amazing soundtrack, heartfelt and funny story, great acting/directing.

3. Were you named after anyone?

I don't think so.

4. Favorite guilty pleasure (desert, movie, hobby, what-have-you)?

Reese Cups, Netflix marathons, ice cream or whipped cream in my coffee

5. Do you have a special – or unusual – talent? Tell us!

Multitasking while taking a bubble bath

6. We all need to practice more self-love. So, what do you love most about yourself? (Not physical!)

I'm very giving (of time and things)

7. What is one of your favorite memories?

Jamestown VA (June 6 2012) when my fiance proposed.

8. What was your last dream about?

Ohhhh I can never remember these when I need to.  I had some pretty bizarre ones last night.....

9. What is the biggest thing on your bucket list?

Travel to Japan

10. If you could go back in time, anywhere, and change one thing, any one thing at all, what would you chose?

I would go back to a time when I was in an unhealthy relationship and stand up for myself and/or end the relationship sooner!

11. If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?

I would ask myself what's the one thing I am not doing that I should be doing more of. (And then I would actually do it!)


1. I'm going to school for my degree in American Sign Language Interpreting.
2. I am once again attempting to go vegetarian.
3. I dislike buffet style restaurants.
4. I once sent in an audition tape to be on the show, Survivor.
5. I have no idea where my passport is.
6. My favorite color is green.
7. I'd love to live in a foreign country for one year.
8. I know how to say the alphabet in 3 languages.
9. I love monograms.
10. I love sleeping in, but I hardly get to do it anymore. I've resorted to naps!
11. I served in the U.S. Army for 3 years.

And the nomination(s) goes to...

1. Breckenridge Clare - Whim of the South
2. Asha S. - Curiosity & Chaos
3. Samantha Reid - Samantha Reads
5. Brittany Lee - Fabulously Unprepared
6. Miranda - Mermade Moments
7. Halie - Life in the Sunshine
8. Kassidi - Cummings Love Letters
10. Benz Dumol - Bambi Girl
11. Shamiya - Miya Loves

I'd like to know:

1. Describe yourself in 3 words.

2. What is your favorite way to unwind?

3. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?

4. If you could have lunch with anyone (alive or dead) who would be be and why?

5. What's on your summer bucket list?

6. What is your favorite song of the moment?

7. What is your favorite book and why?

8. What one piece in your wardrobe can you not live without?

9. What is your favorite snack?

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why

11. What is your favorite thing about blogging? The worst?


Don't forget to go check out Miss Katie and some of the other blogs I nominated for the Liebster Award. And lastly if you'd like to ask me any other questions you can ask in the comments below or tweet me @gb_shortcake.

xoxo Gwen

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

To my mom on Mother's Day,
You might not have brought me into this world, but you have made the world of difference in my life. You have taught me it's ok to be different, and it's ok to ask for help. You listen to my problems and allow me to make mistakes. I love you mom, now and always!

Reading on the back deck (August 2013)
xoxo Gwen

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Scatter Brain

This week has been a doozey! Finals week really got to me this year. I know I set my expectations for myself excessively high, but there's no changing it and I work hard to roll with the punches and power through the tough days. Yesterday was a complete disaster, and it all started with Tuesday classes, finals, ASL enrichment program, shopping for Mother's Day, going to rehearsal with Daniel, and getting home after 11:30 at night. Then the following day I worked bright and early, lost my favorite sunglasses, melted the coffee scoop, attempted to use lotion as nail polish remover (it does not work - in case you're wondering), and generally stressed out waiting to hear back from my math professor about yet another question I had on the take home portion of the final. I crashed hard last night.  This morning I had the in-class portion of my math final to complete and I know I made a couple of stupid mistakes. Of course, as always, I didn't think about them until it was too late to change the answers or rework them, but such is life I suppose.  Grades should be posted soon and I will be anxiously awaiting grades for the 4 classes I took this semester. It's been a tough road.

I decided to continue with my studies this summer, but I am only taking 2 classes. I do not plan to be nailed down in a classroom, in the library, at my computer, etc. the majority of this summer. I want to be able to actually enjoy my summer for a change. I have just 11 days until the summer semester starts and I work 3 of those days, so not a lot of time to do anything too exciting, but I do plan to relax and recharge the best I can.  At the end of my summer classes I think I get a full 2 weeks off. At least I hope that's how it works. I'd like to go home and see my parents. We'll see what happens.

via Pinterest

xoxo Gwen

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Spring Fever {Mary Kay Andrews}

Set in Passcoe, North Carolina the story follows Annajane Hudgens.  It begins with her attending her ex-husband's wedding to Celia, who everyone in town adores.  When the wedding is halted as the bride is walking down the aisle, doubt creeps into the minds of Annajane, "Pokey" and even Mason (the ex-husband).

Annajane is finally leaving her job at Quixie and moving away to be with her fiance, Shane, but when she finds out her position in Atlanta was sabotaged and her and Mason start spending time together she realizes that just maybe she still has feelings for him.

4/5 Stars

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian, as well as a film and fashion icon. She is probably best known for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) but has been in several other films including: Dutch in Seven Lessons (1948), Roman Holiday (1953), Sabrina (1954), Funny Face (1957), My Fair Lady (1964), Two for the Road (1967), Always (1989), and several others.
She was a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF traveling to Ethiopia in 1988. There she visited an orphanage.  In 1990 she traveled to Vietnam and worked with the government to support immunizations and clean water programs.

"As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others."
~Audrey Hepburn

Classic Style

"I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and....I believe in miracles."
~Audrey Hepburn

xoxo Gwen

Saturday, May 3, 2014

#CaraBox Hometown Exchange

If you've read my blog for any amount of time you have heard me talk about #carabox before.  It's a quarterly box swap among women that was initiated by Kaitlyn at Wifessionals, but has since grown and changed slightly.  Now an entire team is in charge of the exchange.
The swap is based on Instagram.  Instagram is the primary way to get to know both of your partners. This month I was paired up with two lovely ladies.  Merrissa who lived in South Carolina and Vanessa who lives in Pennsylvania. My job was to get to know both women and send a box to Merrissa featuring fun items from my area.  I sent taffy from the beach, a classic VA Beach bumper sticker, a nautical knot bracelet (exactly like the one I wear), a post card from my recent trip to the VA Zoo, some starfish, a tumbler, and a purple wooden rose.  I wish I had gotten to know her better because she seems like an awesome lady. She was very busy these last couple months. Vanessa got to know more about me and tailored my box perfectly.  It had so many goodies!
#Carabox Contents: an "old" book, postcard, Mojito Madness Essie nail polish, Amish made pot holder & spice holder, some Tastykakes, pretzels, some local chips, Wilber buds (chocolates) and mug, and some seriously delicious coffee.  She also included some literature about Amish made goods, Wilber's and a lovely letter explaining more about all the items.  She really outdid herself!  Thanks again Vanessa!

I've had success with this swap twice now, and I can't wait to sign up for the next one which begins at the beginning of June.  If you are interested in more information about the exchange you can head over to Wifessionals Blog, or check out the hashtag on Instagram (#carabox).  Carabox also has it's own Instagram handle @caraboxexchange.

xoxo Gwen