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!

The All Natural Cold Remedy

Photo credit: Simple Green Smoothies (click on the image for more information on the company!)

Around this time of year, I find myself waking up with a stuffy nose and sore throat. And now with a new little one in the house, we seem to be fighting off something almost weekly. For the last two years, my husband has kept this natural “concoction” in our fridge and it serves us well in cold and flu season!

For more all natural (and delicious) healing beverages, visit Simple Green Smoothies. Do you have any go-to recipes for this time of year? Share your favorites!

Your grocery list:

2 lemons (thoroughly cleaned)
2 small pieces of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cup raw honey (more or less depending on the size jar you use)
12 oz mason jar



Slice lemons and ginger into think strips.
Place the lemon and ginger slices in the mason jar, alternating layers of each.
Slowly, pour honey over the lemon and ginger. Allow the honey to sink down and around the lemon and ginger slices. Fill jar to the top with honey and seal tightly.
Store in the refrigerator. Over time, the mixture will start to turn into a loose jelly.
When you are in need of some soothing tea, scoop 2-3 tablespoons into a mug full of hot water—be sure to scoop whole pieces of ginger and lemon. Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes and sip away.

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Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup

Turkey and dumpling soup is a time honored tradition in my husband’s family, so this year we decided to tackle a recipe all on our own! Because our daughter has some food allergies, I spent time researching recipes online that could yield a delicious soup without dairy or soy. After developing his own broth in the crockpot (per this amazing recipe). my husband put the finishing touches on our first ever leftover turkey noodle soup.

And may I just say…..he nailed it.

Click here for the full recipe! Do you have a family recipe that keeps the aromas of the holidays in your home? Share some of your favorites in the comment section below.

Stay warm,


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The One Thing | Jumping into 2018

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

This is the premise of my favorite personal development book, The One Thing. It goes beyond your run-of-the-mill goal setting and provides an in depth review of the facets of your life and how to enjoy each to the fullest. The main idea? Set up your dominoes!

So often, we attack life – chasing after one piece at a time, and ending up exhausted by the end of the week. As a new mom, a wife and an employee who simply can’t shut off, this has never been more true. In 2018, I am putting resolutions aside and focusing on my one thing, summed up in one word: flourish. The idea of “setting up dominoes” eases the self-imposed strain of chasing one big task and, instead, creates inspired daily opportunities…all the while getting you closer to that big big goal!

In 2018, I long to see our roots grow in our new city. I want to be a person who sees those around me flourish in their lives. To create this possibility, I spent most of yesterday and today sifting through the amazing resources made available (for free!) here – all tied to the guidelines of The One Thing. 

When I take time to sit with the information in front of me, I can more easily digest what’s ahead. What used to be daunting New Years Resolutions now appear as inspiring and achievable goals. Some are quite simple: practicing new cooking techniques on a from-scratch meal at least once a week. Others require more intentionality and thought, like hosting a community dinner in our home once a month.

At the end of the day, all of my goals build on one another and make for an exciting 2018! What are some of your hopes for the New Year? How do you go about identifying these goals and then setting them? Share your tips with me in the comment section below.

Happy New Year!

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The Splurge on Stocking Stuffers

Every Christmas morning, after seeing what Santa dropped off the night before, my sister and I galavanted up the road to my grandparents’ house for Christmas breakfast and presents! Of course, my sister and I eagerly anticipated opening up our perfectly wrapped gifts from Gaga and Georgie, but more than anything, we looked forward to our stockings.

My grandmother spent so much time on those stockings – filing them to the brim with oranges, chocolate bars, two comic books, a bottle of perfume, and sparkly trinkets. She was so diligent and methodical in what she chose, so opening that stocking felt like a little glimpse into how she loved us..carefully selecting things she thought would make us smile. Stockings were never the afterthought for her – they were the best part of Christmas.

Below are a few options you can choose to create your own magical stocking. What else will you include this year? Tell me more in the comment section below!

Happy gifting,


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A Christmas Meal Inspired by Parker’s Favorite Reads

Every year, I receive a few magazines as a gift from my family. Mixed in with my monthly delivery of Fast Company and Forbes is a smattering of Garden and Gun, Southern Living, and the like. In preparing for dinner with a few friends, I thought it might be a delightful challenge to create a meal pulling recipes from each publication I love! Inspired by the crisp and festive pages of Southern Living, I decided to peruse various sites to find both new and time honored classics to create an idyllic southern holiday gathering.

Click on the images to review the full recipe! What would you include in a perfect evening with friends? Share your festive favorites with me in the comment section below, and let me know what you think of my personal selections!

Toasting you from the Carolinas,


Starting with a sip…of Grinch Punch!

Moving onto appetizers…a cranberry-cheddar cheeseball.

Adding in greens with a Christmas Salad.

A side of the best Macaroni and Cheese from Raleigh, NC.

Complementing the meal with sweet tea brined ham!

And ending with my grandfather’s favorite…Coconut Cake!


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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,



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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,


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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,


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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,

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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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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