Falling In Love With Denim Skirts Again

When I first heard denim skirts were coming back big time this Fall, I was like “nope, not happening”. I was persistent on not bring back this early 2000’s trend. Remember the time in middle and high school when you weren’t cool fashion wise if you didn’t own some kind of denim mini skirt. Even cooler if you wore it with a popped collar shirt or with leggings. Yea those were the days (insert rolling eye emoji now). But they are back, in a little more sophisticated way, and I gave in to the trend.

The reason I gave in to the trend was because I had previously just seen short, butt cheeking hanging out, short denim skirts. But I finally came across a longer version, with a high low hem, side slits and distressing in actual good spots. It was the grown up version and I wasn’t mad at it. Clearly I still have some work to do on styling because I wasn’t exactly sure how to, because the only way I know how is for my 14 year old self. And that’s not good.

I just added layers and more layers and threw on some over the knee boots. I was also hesitant on these as well but kind of love them. I’m wondering if tights and booties paired with sweaters would look to unchic for this? I’m wondering if bell sleeves and mules would be too many trendy things at once? But it’s all trial and error so there’s that. I will keep playing with this and let you know what I think.

Happy Monday friends! Did you know the holiday posts started last week? I posted what to expect here and how to have a carefree holiday season here. Stay tuned for later this week because the holiday fun continues with the perfect appetizer for any holiday function!

Love Letters

Love Letters

I went in to the post office earlier this week to mail out a birthday card, Valentine’s Day card and a letter to someone I met through social media. While I was in line I noticed hardly no one was mailing cards or letters. Everything was large boxes and packages (mind you I have no clue what was in those boxes). However I noticed a small business owner inside mailing a package of stuff, that he packaged there, and there was no included note or anything. I’ve shopped with plenty of businesses and some of them don’t even take the time to hand write anything, just a business card. Why is this art dying? We don’t even write down our own to do lists on paper any more, a lot of people don’t even keep a physical calendar because our phones and tablets can keep our notes, lists and schedule for us. So for Valentine’s Day (since you still have time to get something in the mail in a timely fashion) I urge you to write a letter to someone. A thank you note to someone. A card (be crazy and go for a card that is blank inside) to someone. Write someone to tell them you are thinking about them. Better yet write a love letter. Send it through snail mail.

Love letters have been a part of our history. Napoleon to Josephine. Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor. Jonny Cash to June Carter. Beethoven to his Immortal Love. Abigail Adams to John Adams. Soldiers to their loved ones. Why would we want to stop this?

Handwritten words draw much more emotion than something we see on a screen. It shows hard and soft lines. It shows shakiness in letters and words. It shows what may have been hard to write and what may have come easy. To see this in a love letter is unlike any other. You can feel the emotion grabbing you off the page. And that my friends is not something you will get through a Facebook post, text message or email.

For this Valentine’s Day, how about we all try to write our loved ones a hand written letter. It could be to anyone you love.

If you stumble for words you can always use 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

Or take the words straight from Juliette Drouet:

“I love you because I love you, because it would be impossible for me not to love you. I love you without question, without calculation, without reason good or bad, faithfully, with all my heart and soul, and every faculty. Believe it, for it is true. If you cannot believe, I being at your side, I will make a drastic effort to force you to do so.”

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away which means you only have today and tomorrow to enter 30 Shades of Stephanie’s Valentine’s Day Giveaway. You can enter to win two tickets to the Biltmore and a box of chocolates from French Broad Chocolate Lounge!

Unique Valentine’s Dates + Closed Giveaway


{Photo by Hugo Gutierrez}

Valentine’s Day is quickly creeping up on us. And sometime’s the romantic dinner gets a little boring, I know some of you will screech at that but it’s extremely cliche and Valentine’s Day is on a Friday this year, so it will be crowded and crowds tend to loose that intimate feeling. So I’ve come up with some ideas that aren’t your typical flowers and dinner that are sure to be fun.


  Rumor has it Spring is coming early and right now is the best time to go hiking. From the looks of the weather forecast it will be chilly but nicer (but that could change at any given second). It’s the perfect time to go hiking because the crowds aren’t as bad. Yay for finding parking at the spot. Also there are less tourists during this month anywhere so you can actually enjoy it. Also you aren’t going to worry about complaining about getting hot. Pack a picnic and enjoy nature together.6-81

2. Visit Biltmore

Not only is there the house to see but the property is huge and you can spend the Sunday walking the grounds. There are little coffee shops you can grab a cup of joe and enjoy conversation with each other. You can sample wine at the Winery, where you can pick your favorite to take home and enjoy over dinner. There are restaurants that offer less crowded and more affordable options for lunch. There are plenty of extra activities that you can also partake in like horseback riding, special tours, a spa and even the Range Rover course. The options are endless at Biltmore, and what isn’t romantic about roaming around a huge property with gorgeous views?9-62

3. Farmer’s Market

It may not seem fun at all, but shopping for meals together can actually be fun. You are spending time together with the one you love, plus you are both picking out what you will later be eating. Make it even more fun by actually going to a farm. Then cook a meal with fresh ingredients. 7-11

4. Take a brewery tour

Beer! What more is there to say!


5. Go To an Art Museum

Get your creative juices flowing by heading out to a local Art Museum. Find artist you may have never heard of before. Talk about what you think about the art and see how you both view things differently.


6. Dessert Date

If you don’t want to have to deal with crazy wait times, getting reservations or sitting shoulder to shoulder in a restaurant, try a dessert date. Pick a few places to hit up and enjoy before dinner or buy them to enjoy at home after dinner.


7. Take a Class Together

Try a cooking class to recreate your favorite meal together. Take an art class to create a masterpiece together. Take a decorating class to make a room in your home more special. Learn something new. You never know, you might actually find something you guys like to do together that you didn’t before.

8. Skiing

The slopes will be closing up soon, so for Valentine’s Day it will be the perfect day to hit the slopes and have one more wintry fun date together.


So I have given you a few ideas for a non-traditional Valentine’s Date, so I’m going to give away two of those! One lucky reader will win two tickets to The Biltmore Estate and a 12 piece collection of the Aphrodisiac Collection from French Broad Chocolates.

To enter all you have to do is comment below on what your favorite Valentine’s Day memory has been and “LIKE” 30 Shades of Stephanie on Facebook.

The giveaway will go until February 11th at 11:59 PM. A winner will be selected at random on Friday by 8AM and the winner will be notified.

To enter you must be 18 years of age and be a U.S. resident.  You must comment below and like 30 Shades of Stephanie on Facebook to qualify.

Snow Days

Snow DaysSnow DaysSnow DaysSnow Days

* I have a new respect for people who climb mountains with wind and snow.

Snow DaysSnow Days

Well if you haven’t been on any weather websites or the news, the east coast got hit with a huge snow storm this past weekend. It began Thursday night here in Asheville and went pretty much nonstop through Saturday. The weather was crazy and in Asheville I must say we weren’t quite prepared for it. But it was great! I stayed inside for the most part watching a lot of Netflix and getting a lot of kitty cuddles. But on Saturday, I ventured out of the house and stopped by the Biltmore House. If you have never seen the Biltmore with snow on the ground, I would say it is a must see. It makes it even more magical. The wind was crazy on Saturday, at times I felt like it was going to knock me over and made walking that much more difficult, also at times I felt like I didn’t have a face, so the time in the snow was short lived, but what I saw was amazing. I’m so glad I invested in this winter vest from Old Navy (they have a few on sale still) because it was my life saver for this snowy weekend. And yes I even had a Gilmore Girls moment walking around the neighborhood when the snow first fell. How was your snow day? Are you still trapped inside?

36 Hours in Asheville with a Local

Summer is coming up and though some of you may not have week long tropical vacations planned, it’s always great to get away from your town for a bit. I think Asheville is a great place to visit because there are plenty of things you can get done in Asheville in a short amount of time!

Friday Night:

Life As Of LatelyLife As Of Lately

Have a lovely dinner with great views at The Omni Grove Park Inn. The food is delicious and the views are breathtaking!

Dessert FirstDessert First

Venture in to downtown (very short drive from the GPI) and enjoy dessert at The French Broad Chocolate Lounge. They have the most amazing ice cream and truffles! Check out the street performers as you are there!


Asheville Is For Lovers

For breakfast head over to the 5 Points Diner for some delicious breakfast food!

Asheville Is For Lovers

Then head out for a hike! You generally have to travel less than an hour outside of Asheville but you can catch some amazing views this way. Or just drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to get some amazing views. Pack a lunch for a mid-hike or road side lunch. If hiking isn’t your thing I highly suggest taking a brewery tour at Highland Brewing Company or Sierra Neveda.

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Then make sure you head out to Asheville Outlets for some awesome shopping!

Asheville Is For Lovers

Papas and Beer is a great Asheville place to hit up for great Mexican food and giant margaritas!


After dinner enjoy a drink or two at any of the local bars or breweries! My favorite brewery is Highland Brewing Company and my favorite bar (because of the view) is The Sky Bar!



Before heading home you may want to wake up early and explore the Biltmore House. The major things to see are the house and the gardens and it doesn’t take too long to tour them if you are just visiting the gardens and house! You can also grab a killer cup of coffee from one of their cafes! Ill be posting more about Biltmore next week so stay tuned.

Are you ready to visit Asheville for the weekend now?




As of Lately

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It’s felt like Spring with what I’ve been eating lately. Lots of berries for breakfast and the first cook out of the year was had a week ago. Also Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack is so delicious and had it delivered one night when the schedule was extremely hectic. P.S. Rocky’s mac and cheese poppers and sweet potato casserole is pretty much heaven in a bite.

As of Lately

I’ve been working on a lot of art here lately! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram because I have sales on art through Pay With Penny!

As of Lately

The weather in Asheville has been rainy, but I’ve tried to make it out to Biltmore as much as possibly to see the Biltmore Blooms this Spring.

As Of Lately

I introduced a four legged friend into my home, Maeve seems to be adjusting pretty well.

As Of Lately

I got to take a hard hat tour of the Asheville Outlets that are due to open on May 1st. It was pretty neat to see the transformation from the old mall.

As Of Lately

Cove Lake Labradoodles had a new litter of puppies on 4-15-15. They are so tiny and adorable right now.

As of Lately

I hate to admit but I will, I’m addicted to Sons of Anarchy. I can’t stop watching it. And with Netflix releasing the final season this month, it’s been about the only thing I actually sit down and watch.

Make sure you are following me on Instagram to see what I’m up to on a daily basis!.

Flower Child

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If you haven’t visited Biltmore this Spring I highly suggest you get over there and see the wonderful flowers! Everything is so colorful in the gardens and the tulips are breath taking. I want to scoop them all up and bring them home. They even have a tulip called Hocus Pocus!.

Feelings of Spring

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It finally is starting to feel like Spring in Asheville. The windows are open all day to let the cool air in, shades of grey and brown are turning into pastels, birds are chirping, I woke up to the smell of fresh cut grass this morning and flowers are starting to pop up. I know I love fall, but when everything comes to life it’s such a great mood booster and eye opener. Who is ready for some picnics and hikes and flower crowns?

Photos courtesy of Andrew Plyler Design at the Biltmore Estate


“Sprinter” Blooms with Biltmore

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This past Friday I headed over to the Biltmore Estate to check out the spring blooms they have; they are supposed to have a great flower display. Hardly any of the tulips were bloomed but the flowers that were in place were showing signs of Spring. We unfortunately went when a cold front came through the mountains (it actually snowed later in the day) so it was pretty frigid. I plan to visit again within the next two weeks in hopes of seeing the tulips in full bloom. If you visit Biltmore during the Spring make sure you use hashtag #BiltmoreBlooms so I can look at all your pictures! I hope all of you had a great weekend even though it was Sprinter (Spring and Winter combined)..

Biltmore in the Snow

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The Biltmore Estate is a magical place at any give time, but with snow, it seems much more magical. I was able to get over to the Biltmore very early on one of Asheville’s snow days to capture some snowy shots. It’s pretty breathtaking, and when you go really early or when it’s cold, there are hardly any people there but the staff. It’s like you have the whole house and the grounds to yourself! Trust me, if you live in Asheville, investing in season passes are very worth it..