EASY PICKINS

Which books are you must grabs for the summer reading list? What are the five best ways to style a scarf? Where are my spots for pimento cheese in the South? Find my favorite quick tips at Easy Pickins!

Holiday Gift Ideas at National

December is upon us! How did it happen? I feel like I put away our Halloween costumes last night. Well…perhaps I did, because, as a new mom, organization is not at the top of my priority list. I prefer to spend all the free time I can muster with my 6 month old baby girl and do my best to simplify the rest of life.

Here at National, our team has worked diligently to do the same for you by compiling some of our favorite products into an easy-to-navigate Holiday Gift Guide! A few of my favorites are listed below. Simply click on the image to see more information. Peruse our entire gift guide here, and take the hustle and bustle out of your holiday season!

Happy gifting,

Parker

 


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Thanksgiving Traditions | Georgie Biscuits

The most wonderful time of the year…family gathering from far and wide, savory aromas filling the air, and the crisp air cooling off the last of fall. It’s Thanksgiving week in the Carolinas, and my husband and I have packed up our tiny family to make the trek to Blowing Rock – an annual tradition.

In our food bag, of course, are the ingredients for a Swann staple – Georgie biscuits. The most important component – White Lily Flour…the only brand he’d use for his famous biscuits.

For more than 30 years, my grandfather made these very biscuits every Monday morning for all National employees. (In full transparency, I may have eaten them every Saturday with his famous grits and eggs, too!) He also made them for all family Thanksgivings, and taught my sister and me his craft to pass on to our children.

Enjoy this recipe, and let me know your twists on the classic southern buttermilk biscuit!

Have a beautiful holiday, friends.

 

Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 2 cups White Lily Enriched Bleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening (never skip the Crisco).
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (make sure it’s the real thing).
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (added for flavor and texture)

Steps to the best biscuits

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender (or a fork as we were taught) until crumbs are the size of peas. Mix in just enough buttermilk until the dough has left the sides of the bowl.
  3. Place dough onto lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Roll out the dough until it is about a 1/2 inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to get the size that you want (we always used a water glass for the perfect shape). Place on baking sheet, about 1-inch apart.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and brush with butter if you like!

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Swooning over Socks

This past weekend brought our first 32 degree night and with it, sock feet by the fireplace. With Thanksgiving week upon us, I am eagerly awaiting late nights in the living room with our families – curled up with hot tea and fuzzy blankets….and my favorite socks.

I always look forward to the holidays, because ShopNational releases a line of novelty socks and selections from World’s Softest – one of our brand partners! In addition to our staple items like our Suprima Sock and Cotton Plus Comfort Sock, we carry a number of styles idyllic for extra warmth while lounging at home or sleeping at night. Shop my favorites for the holidays by clicking on the images below!

Stay snuggly,

Parker


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Shopping for the Grandbabies

Last week, I received a phone call from my mother.

“What does my grand baby need for Christmas?”

‘Tis the season to plan family gatherings and begin Christmas shopping. And this year – we’ve added a couple to the mix! My sister is expecting her second babe any day now, and our daughter will be 6 months old next week. In just one year, my parents have gone from one tiny grand baby to three! With each child in a very different season, I have developed a go-to list of favorite things for our little ones!

Newborns – This is the season of so many diapers, 5,249 bottles, and – let’s face it – minimal sleep. Gifts we love include date nights, gift certificates to Honest.com (our favorite site for all things baby), and teething toys! Some of Hatton’s favorite toys include the winkle and her Skip Hop stroller buddy. And the contraption that has afforded me showers, the ability to cook dinner, and eat with two hands: the Baby Bjorn bouncer.

Infants – This stage is such fun. We’ve seen an explosion of development from Hatton. She is reaching for toys, engaging with anything that makes noise, and rolling all around the floor (she is never still!) Stackable toys make fantastic learning gifts and easily grow with your little babe. Another hit around this house is our Skip Hop activity table, which transitions to an arts and crafts table down the road!

Toddlers – babies on the move! My niece is in constant motion. At 20 months old, she loves to frequent kids museums and outdoor parks, or try her hand at sports in the driveway. Consider purchasing a membership to a local kids museum or a few music classes from Kindermusik, if one is local to your family. Opt for zoo passes or a day at the aquarium. Your grandchild is sure to recount all he or she learned on such a memorable day!

While all of these trinkets are fun (and helpful to parents spending money on loads of diapers and wipes!), the greatest gift we can receive is quality time with our families. As we do every year, we will celebrate Thanksgiving in Blowing Rock and introduce our daughter to holiday traditions with her grandparents. Between the Blowing Rock Christmas parade and choosing her first tree, the photos we will capture of moments with her grandparents will forever remain our most treasured gift.

How do you spend the holidays with family? Do you have traditions with your grandchildren? Share your favorites in the comment section below!

Happy Fall,

Parker


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Prepping for Cold Season

Photo Credit – GoodBelly.com

The irony of today’s blog…I decided I would cover this topic a few weeks ago upon seeing numerous reminders to “wash your hands” and “flu shots available.”  And guess what? I’m coming to you today from behind a box of kleenex, a mug of honey and lemon, and a load of garlic. Cold season found me, so I want to help you either avoid cold season altogether or shorten the span of the symptoms! Below are some of my go-tos. Click on the links for a bit more information on each!

At the first sign of sniffles, ramp up your intake of Vitamin C and D. Get into the sun and sip on some orange juice for easy sources of the good stuff.

Put a drop or two of peppermint and eucalyptus in your shower and keep the temperature warm enough to generate a bit of steam. Spend an extra 5 minutes in the shower – it’s worth it!

At night, consider sleeping with a humidifier – especially in dryer climates or when you’ve started to run heat through your home.

Rely on the Neti Pot! While a bit uncomfortable, sinus rinsing is incredibly effective and supports faster healing times (in my experience!)

Add garlic to your diet. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and supports overall immune health. Coupled with ginger, lemon and honey tea – you’re sure to feel some relief from these powerful natural tools.

What are your remedies for solving colds? Share any and all with in the comment section below – because I’m sure this will not be my last one!

Stay well,
Parker

Note that all advice comes from personal experience and has not been evaluated by a medical professional. So – take with a grain of salt (and a glass of orange juice!)


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Cooking and the Inner Project Manager

Photo Credit: SixtyandMe.com

After completing graduate school, I accepted a position as a project manager for a large retailer. While my previous experience in marketing certainly pulled from my creative side, it was project management that furthered my development in organization, time management, and leadership. I realized I needed more opportunities to grow my abilities in management, because – by nature – I am a big picture, creative thinker.

I received this article from Sixty and Me in my inbox recently, and every part of it resonated with me! I relish time in the kitchen – I have space to both exercise creativity and also follow clear instructions to get to a (hopefully) positive end result.

Do you consider yourself analytical and methodical or whimsical? How do you find room for both in your life? Share insights with me in the comment section below!

Cheers,

Parker


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4 Picks for Homemade Halloween Treats

Halloween. Without a doubt, it’s a top three favorite holiday in the Swann and Wilson home! My husband started pulling the decorations from our attic the last week of September. On Sunday, October 1st – all of our decorations were complete!

As our first Halloween with our daughter approaches, I’ve started scouring the internet for kid friendly treat inspiration. While she’s too small to enjoy chocolate candies and lollipops just yet, I want to make sure I’m fully stocked for all the kids on our street (and there are MANY!)

Click on the images below to view the recipes I will be trying out this year. What are some of your favorite Halloween preparations? Share your traditions with me in the comment section below!

Halloween Cake Balls

 

Ghost Pizza Bagels

 

Jack-o-Lantern Quesadillas

 

Black Cat Cookies

Happy baking,

Parker


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5 Stunning Ways to Decorate Your Mantel This Fall

Last Friday, we celebrated the first day of fall. And boy, it could not come fast enough for me. I love the crisp fall air and the warm fall colors. I love the hustle and bustle as the local agriculture fair sets up for another year here in our small town. Above all of this though, I love the fall decorations.

I’m always looking for new spots around my home to add a sprig of fall leaves or another pumpkin themed item but it’s nice to have a focal point that ties all of the décor together. And that’s where the mantel plays such an important role.

Here are a few of my favorite fall mantel designs from CountryLiving:

Country Chic

 

Chalkboard Centered

 

Pop of Green

 

Orange Accents

 

Mood Lighting


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5 Healthy Snack Ideas

I am a big fan of snacking. And evidently I am not alone. According to the USDA, 90% of adults snack between meals. Snacking often has a negative connotation because of what we normally think of as “snack food,” low-nutrient, high-calorie processed food like chips, candy and cookies. Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to snack. Snacking on the right kind of healthy food can actually help you keep weight off. The trick to snacking smart is to plan nutrient-rich snacks, whether you’re at home or the office. Think of snacks not as treats, but as mini-meals.

According to nutritionist Keri Glassman in the article “Snack Your Way to Better Health” in Family Circle, in order to snack smart and prevent overeating, it’s important to make sure you are really hungry and not eating due to emotions. Be sure to note the time when you feel hungry between meals. You’ll likely notice that you get hungry at the same time every day. Glassman also recommends always having something to drink, like a glass of water or a cup of tea, with your snack and to plate your food, rather than eating out of a bag or box. She also suggests that you choose snacks wisely for the greatest nutritional benefit. For example, try combining fruits and nuts, which is good for brain health as an antioxidant and inflammation-fighting one-two punch.

Here are a few of my favorite healthy snack ideas from Cooking Light.

Hummus with Carrot: Hummus is made from chickpeas, a great source of soluble fiber

Edamame: Folate-rich foods like edamame may help to even out your mood.

Bagel with Peanut Butter: If you crave carbs, be sure to pick quality carbs like whole grains with fiber.

Yogurt with Fruit: Eating a snack with protein can help curb hunger, so you consume less daily calories.

Popcorn: It has a lot of bulk for its calories so it helps fill you up. 3 ½ cups counts as one serving of the 3 recommended daily servings of whole grains.

Have a favorite healthy snack? Share it with us! 

 

 


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Summer Fruits & Vegetables: 7 Recipes to Try Right Now

If you are like me, as hard as you try, you probably don’t eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables. However, it’s a lot easier to get your 5-7 servings a day in the late summer when there is an abundance of fresh produce in season, like corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, blueberries, blackberries, okra, squash, zucchini, and peaches. When it’s too hot outside for a heavy meal, there’s nothing that tastes like summer more than a light and healthy meal of fresh corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes with cold watermelon for desert. Whether you grow your food yourself or buy your produce from the farmer’s market or grocer, August is the perfect time try out new recipes using seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Here a 7 easy recipes from Southern Living using fruits and vegetables that are in season right now.

Grilled Peach Cobbler

Smashed Fried Okra

Blueberry-Cornmeal Cake

Avocado Pico

Shaved Cucumber Salad with Pickled Blackberries

Stuffed Tomatoes with Pesto Rice

Zucchini-Squash Corn Casserole


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parker

I am Parker. My mom, Lynda, is the owner and President of National Wholesale. We are a woman’s apparel company that I’m hoping you know about but if not, you’ll be inspired to learn. We’ve been around since 1952. And the business was started by my entrepreneurial grandfather, “Georgie” with the support of my grandmother, GaGa. I’ve been surrounded by clothing and hosiery since the day I was born. I've also been surrounded by the drive to stay in business, which means connecting with our customers.

So, this is my story.

And in a way, yours too. Welcome.

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