Spring 2023 Favorites

As I mentioned in this post, I am recapping my favorite things from the first parts of 2023 in seasonal posts instead of monthly posts. Today’s post is my Spring 2023 Favorites, which covers the second half of March, April, and most of May 2023. Keep reading for my favorite purchases, experiences, and simple joys from this period.

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Spring 2023 Favorite Purchases

Molly American Girl Doll

In early spring 2023 I added Molly McIntire to my American Girl doll collection. My Molly is from American Girl’s 2022 re-release of the classic Molly collection. This wasn’t a purchase I had been planning for awhile, but it wasn’t impulsive either.  I found myself perusing the American Girl website and admiring how cute Molly’s clothes and accessories are, and wanted to get some of them for my American Girl of Today doll. But the more I looked at them and thought about it, the more I became drawn to the Molly doll herself. Plus some of the accessories, such as the “Molly” embroidered handkerchief, don’t really make sense without having a Molly doll. In addition, seeing Molly’s relaunched original collection on the American Girl website brought back such nostalgia for me. Although I never had a Molly doll as a kid, I remembered seeing her collection while flipping through the Pleasant Company catalog. I also read all the Molly books as a kid, and still have a boxed set of them!

And to go further back, I actually originally wanted Molly when I was picking out my first American Girl doll as a kid, because I really liked some of her outfits and accessories. However, my mom steered me towards Samantha since she has brown eyes like me. And I loved my Samantha, and in retrospect Samantha is more “on brand” for me because she’s super girly! But I still always liked Molly too! I’m glad to have her in my collection, and I have her displayed on a shelf with my 35th Anniversary Felicity and Samantha dolls. Now I have two of the original three American Girls, and three of the original five. My 8-year-old self is screaming right now!

Molly McIntire American Girl Doll 2022 Release

Kendra Scott Turquoise Opal Cross Necklace

During Kendra Scott’s Black Friday Sale back in 2021, I got the white opal cross necklace. I liked it so much that I decided to use my March 2023 50% off Kendra Scott birthday discount to get the same cross necklace in turquoise opal. Unfortunately, the turquoise opal is no longer available on the Kendra Scott website, so I’m glad I got it when I did. If you’re looking for something similar, I definitely recommend grabbing the white opal cross necklace.

Kendra Scott Turquoise Opal Cross Necklace Kendra Scott Turquoise Opal Cross Necklace

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag

This past spring I finally got my hands on a Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag after some of the initial hype from the end of last year died down. (Towards the end of 2022 it seemed as if they were never in stock online for more than five minutes at a time.) Although I have Jansport fanny pack and a Hunter x Target fanny pack that I’ve had for years, they don’t sit across my chest as nicely as the Lululemon belt bag does. I also wanted a color that would literally match everything. Lululemon’s “Silver Drop” color is perfect for that!

This belt bag easily holds all the essentials (ID, credit card, keys, phone, lipstick, hand sanitizer). It’s great for when you don’t want to carry a large bag. Also, I like how the Lululemon belt bag sits just above your hip, as opposed to a crossbody bag that hits on or below your hip. This makes the belt bag more conducive to activities like ice skating or mini golf where you don’t want a bag in your way, but don’t want to constantly have to set it down or leave it unattended.

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag

Lilly Loves North Carolina Popover

In April 2023, Lilly Pulitzer had a 30% off flash sale on select items. The state print popovers were included. Ever since getting the Lilly Loves Disney popover at the very beginning of the year, I wanted to get another popover. I had been admiring the Lilly Loves North Carolina print for awhile, so took advantage of the sale to get the popover! There is Carolina blue in the print, making it a good gameday outfit option for UNC games.

Lilly Pulitzer Popover in Lilly Loves North Carolina Print

All She Wrote Notes Will Read for Pizza Button

As soon as I saw these adorable buttons by All She Wrote Notes with a nod to the 90’s nostalgia of Book-It, I had to get one! Book-It was a huge part of my elementary school years, and I have fond memories of spending hours “reading for pizza.”

(For more 90’s Book-It nostalgia, check out the American Girl Pizza Hut Book-It accessory set from my Winter 2023 Favorites.)

All She Wrote Notes Will Read for Pizza Button

American Girl Jeni’s Ice Cream Set

I really have a thing for doll-sized pretend food sets, and ice cream is my favorite food. So naturally, I grabbed this American Girl x Jeni’s Ice Cream tote set from the collaboration between these two brands. My favorite thing about this set is that the ice cream is scented! Also, the ice cream is removable from the pints. One end is flat so that it looks like a just-opened pint, and the other end has scoops. The price point for this set is great, making it a wonderful gift for both kids and adult collectors.

American Girl x Jeni's Ice Cream Set

American Girl Love Shack Fancy Dress

Although I’m not into Love Shack Fancy clothing for myself, I think that the American Girl x Love Shack Fancy collaboration from 2022 is really pretty. This particular dress was in the sale section of the website, so I snagged it for my American Girl of Today doll. It’s not necessary 90’s, but it’s a good classic floral print dress. It’s actually still available on sale via American Girl.

American Girl x Love Shack Fancy 18-inch Doll Dress

American Girl Molly’s School Collection

Molly’s Plaid School Jumper is one of my favorite outfits in her collection. I loved it as a kid in the 90’s, and I’m glad American Girl brought it back in her relaunched classic collection. Thanks to some American Girl bonus points and reward certificates, I got the plaid school jumper and the school accessories. In addition, I found Molly’s school lunch for a reasonable price on eBay. As a kid, I always thought Molly’s lunch looked the most delicious of all the American Girls’ school lunches!

American Girl Molly Learns a Lesson School collection with plaid jumper and accessories

Molly’s Birthday Collection

Molly’s Birthday Dress has also always been one of my favorite outfits in her collection, and I’m glad American Girl included it in her 2022 relaunch. It’s so classic and preppy, and honestly something I would wear myself! I also got her birthday accessories. As a kid, I always thought Molly’s chocolate frosted cake looked so yummy. Even though Samantha’s petit fours are so sophisticated, Molly’s birthday cake is the birthday treat of the original American Girls that I would most enjoy eating.

Molly McIntire American Girl Birthday Dress and Accessories

Stoney Clover Lane x Coca-Cola Large Pouch and Patch

In May 2023, Stoney Clover Lane released a limited edition collaboration with Coca-Cola. I love the classic Americana vibes of this collection, and got the Stoney Clover Lane x Coca-Cola Large Pouch. My favorite part about this pouch is the special printed interior lining. Stoney Clover Lane large pouches can be used for travel, but they’re also great for organizing stuff in your closet! Good news- Stoney Clover Lane restocked their Coca-Cola collaboration in October, and this large pouch is still in stock. In addition, I got a fun Stoney Clover Lane x Coca-Cola patch to add to my patch collection.

Stoney Clover Lane x Coca-Cola Large Pouch in Coke Red Stoney Clover Lane x Coca-Cola Large Pouch Lining Stoney Clover Lane x Coca-Cola Large Pouch lining

Stoney Clover Lane x Coca-Cola Patch

Disney 100 Coffee Table Book

It’s hard for me to resist a good coffee table book, especially a Disney one! In honor of the Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary in 2023, Disney released The Story of Disney: 100 Years of Wonder. This is a great addition to my coffee table book collection, and any Disney fan would love it!

Disney 100 Years of Wonder Coffee Table Book

IRIS USA 3-Tier Wooden Bookshelf from Target 

In an effort to maximize storage space in my apartment, I determined that I was not fully utilizing some available vertical space. There is a spot on the wall between my kitchen and bathroom entrance that is the perfect size for this IRIS USA 3-Tier Wooden Bookshelf. I ordered mine from Target. It is not too expensive, looks nice, and is easy to assemble!

IRIS USA 3-Tier Bookshelf from Target

Drunk Elephant Scrubbi Bamboes Body Wash

During the Spring 2023 Sephora VIB Sale, I tried Drunk Elephant Scrubbi Bamboes Body Cleanser, their new exfoliating body wash. I really like it, and use it in the shower a few times a week. It has a natural vanilla scent-smells a lot like a waffle cone in my opinion! Drunk Elephant never adds any type of fragrance to their products, so any scent is a natural result of the ingredients in a particular product.

Drunk Elephant Scrubbi Bamboes Exfoliating Body Wash

Childhood Pleasant Company Samantha Restoration

I bought a 35th Anniversary Samantha doll from American Girl back in 2021, because I knew my childhood Samantha’s hair had seen better days. At the time, I didn’t realize there were options for restoring old American Girl dolls. Although you can send any American Girl doll to the Doll Hospital, no matter how old, I learned from the American Girl Instagram Community (#agig) not to send any Pleasant Company dolls (any American Girl dolls manufactured 1986-1998) to the Doll Hospital. The reason is that they might replacement your Pleasant Company doll parts with non-Pleasant Company parts. This is especially important if the area of concern is your doll’s head or hair. The faces of newer American Girl dolls have some noticeable differences from Pleasant Company American Girl dolls. Replacing a Pleasant Company doll’s head with a newer model would undermine the sentimentality and familiarity of a beloved childhood doll.

However, if your Pleasant Company American Girl Doll is in rough shape, you can have her look amazing again without risking non-Pleasant Company parts replacement. I found out about AG Doll Cleaning from the American Girl Instagram Community. She is reputable Etsy shop who cleans and repairs American Girl dolls, and has experience working with Pleasant Company dolls. So this spring I sent my childhood Pleasant Company Samantha off to AG Doll Cleaning for a full spa treatment. This included limb cleaning and tightening, along with hair restoration.

Stefanie (AG Doll Cleaning) worked wonder’s on Samantha’s hair! Although there are lots of blog posts out there with DIY instructions for restoring American Girl doll hair, I didn’t have the time or energy to do it myself. Nor did I want to risk damaging my Samantha in the process! It was definitely worth sending her to AG Doll Cleaning, and if you have any American Girl doll in need of some TLC, I highly recommend sending her to AG Doll Cleaning! Stefanie only has a limited number of spa packages available for purchase in her Etsy shop at one time in order to avoid a backlog. The whole process took less than three weeks from the time I shipped Samantha off to when I received her back.


1992 Pleasant Company Samantha Doll before restoration 1992 Pleasant Company Samantha Doll before restoration


1992 Pleasant Company Samantha after restoration by AG Doll Cleaning Etsy Shop 1992 Pleasant Company Samantha after restoration by AG Doll Cleaning

Spring 2023 Favorite Experiences

Furman March Madness

March Madness” is a huge understatement to describe this year’s tournament! Despite being preseason number 1 and expected to have a shot at the title after coming up just short last year, my Tar Heels failed to make the tournament at all! And then my alma mater, Furman, made their first NCAA Tournament in 43 years! I never thought I would live to see the day when Furman made the tournament but UNC didn’t! While simply making the tournament was a huge deal by itself, the fact that Furman Basketball had a thrilling upset win over UVA in the first round thanks to a last second shot was the icing on the cake!

Also, this year’s tournament was a reminder that while life brings us disappointments when expectations aren’t met (as in UNC’s basketball season), life is also full of sweet unexpected surprises that we couldn’t have imagined beforehand (Furman’s tournament bid and thrilling upset.) And the Lord is faithful through it all!

A lot has changed since my time at  Furman & I’m a very different person than I was 16-20 years ago. Over the past decade, I found myself not feeling connected to Furman the way I did as a student and more recent grad. But the excitement of Furman’s NCAA tournament appearance rekindled my connection with Furman, and reminded me that despite all that has changed through the years, that beautiful campus on the northern outskirts of Greenville, SC that I literally called home for four years will always have a piece of my heart and will always be a symbolic home I can return to.

Furman 2023 March Madness Win

Birthday Celebrations

Although I always have mixed feelings about getting a year older and still wrestling with the same unfulfilled dreams, my March birthday is always a highlight of every spring. For my family birthday celebration I had grilled pizza, cake & ice cream, and watched March Madness (this has been the tradition for the past few years or so).

birthday celebration 2023 with Publix birthday cake grilled pizza

Then on my actual birthday, I had dinner with a few of my good friends at Picnic, a local Durham restaurant I had been wanting to try (see more later in post). After dinner we went back to my place for cake and ice cream. The night ended with two of my closest friends praying over me, which was so sweet! Then my best friend stayed for the whole weekend.

Birthday celebration at Picnic Durham

Picnic Durham

As I mentioned above, I tried Picnic Barbecue in Durham on my birthday, and it was delicious. I dressed up a little bit because it was my birthday and I wanted to. But you could definitely wear something more casual here. For my meal I got pulled pork barbecue with macaroni & cheese, green beans, and hushpuppies. For appetizers the table shared fried pickle spears with ranch, and pimiento cheese with fried saltines. I also got a specialty margarita to drink. Picnic is definitely one of my new Durham favorites, and I will be back! One thing nice about Picnic is that it’s not downtown. I like having a list of good local places that aren’t downtown, because sometimes I simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of downtown parking!

Picnic Durham barbecue, green beans, macaronic and cheese, and hushpuppies Picnic Durham Appetizers: pickle fries and pimiento cheese with fried saltines Margarita at Picnic Durham

Ripken the Bat Dog

Another highlight of spring 2023 (and honestly the entire year so far) was getting to meet the famous Ripken the Bat Dog at the Durham Bulls game! There was a home Durham Bulls game the weekend of my birthday when my best friend was in town, so this was a nice bonus to the festivities.

You can meet Ripken at Saturday Durham Bulls home games during the season. He usually only retrieves the first few innings, and is happy to stop and take pics with his adoring fans on his way to chill in his suite! Positioning yourself near the end of a row towards the third base dugout at the end of the 3rd inning is the best way to catch him! You also might be able to catch him before the game while he’s hanging out at the front of Section 107 near third base dugout. (Might be different during 2024 season depending on which dugout the Bulls are in.) My friend and I were actually able to see him before the game! Be sure to ask Ripken for a baseball card with his “pawtograph” too!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I’m not much of a dog person at all, and strongly prefer cats! However, labs are the exception! I love labs, and black labs are my favorite! Ripken is so handsome and so sweet! In addition to being the bat dog for the Durham Bulls, he is the tee retriever for NC State football (one of the only things I like about the Wolfpuppies 😂). Ripken also got to do the ceremonial puck drop at the Carolina Hurricanes outdoor stadium series came back in February. His popularity has exploded, and he is quite the local celebrity now!

Ripken the Bat Dog at Durham Bulls Game Ripken the Bat Dog Baseball Card

Happy Hour at The Refectory

While my best friend was visiting, we had happy hour at The Refectory in Durham after the baseball game. This wasn’t my first time at The Refectory, but it was my first time in over 18 months. It was also my first time trying one of their cocktails. I can’t remember the exact name of this, but it had Prosecco and watermelon flavor with a sugar rim on the glass. The weather was beautiful (although a bit windy) that day, and my bestie and I also enjoyed the cheese plate with the absolutely scrumptious whipped feta spread that we enjoyed during our previous visit.

Happy Hour at Refectory Cafe Durham NC Cheese plate with whipped feta dip at The Refectory Durham, NC

Strawberry Picking 2023

Wearing my Lilly Pulitzer strawberry shorts to go strawberry picking at Waller Family Farm is one of my favorite spring traditions. I’ve had these shorts since 2010. They were one of my earliest Lilly purchases and one probably only the second pair of Lilly shorts I bought. Farmer Mark, the owner of the strawberry patch, always gets a kick out of me wearing them. 2023 was actually the 10-year anniversary of this tradition (minus a year off in 2020 when things were crazy).

Sidenote: My new Lululemon belt bag featured earlier in this post was perfect to wear while strawberry picking.

strawberry picking at Waller Family Farm in Durham, NC strawberry picking at Waller Family Farm in Durham, NC

Carolina Ballet The Sleeping Beauty

One of the items on my 2023 bucket list was to see a Carolina Ballet production, and I was able to check that off when I saw their performance of The Sleeping Beauty in May! I love The Nutcracker and have seen a production almost every Christmas season for years now. But I otherwise hadn’t really seen any other true classical ballet productions. Carolina Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is also the first true professional ballet production I’ve seen, and it was everything I hoped it would be! I loved it so much that I got a season ticket package for Carolina Ballet’s 2023-2024 season. Can’t believe I’ve lived in the Raleigh/Durham area for over nine years and hadn’t taken advantage of having a professional ballet company in the area until just recently! I’ve also now seen two of the three Tchaikovsky ballets. Hopefully I can see a production of Swan Lake in the not too distant future!

Carolina Ballet production of The Sleeping Beauty

Spring 2023 Favorite Simple Joys

Two Roosters Monthly Guest Flavors

I originally shared about my first visit to local ice cream place Two Roosters in this post. In late March 2023 I went back to Two Roosters with some friends from my Bible study. This was great timing, because I wanted to try two of the monthly guest flavors before March ended. Here are the two delicious guest flavors I tried:

Matilda’s Chocolate Cake: chocolate base with homemade chocolate chocolate cake pieces and chocolate frosting Lumiere’s Grey Stuff: blended Oreo base with ripples of Oreo frosting

Two Roosters Lumiere's Grey Stuff and Matilda's Chocolate Cake monthly guest flavors

Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Sandwich Crackers

Discovering a fun new snack is one of my favorite simple joys, and in Spring 2023 I tried a new Trader Joe’s product: Mini (Almost) Everything Bagel Sandwich Crackers. As the name suggests, these are mini snack crackers with Everything Bagel seasoning, with cream cheese filling in the middle. This is a permanent addition to the Trader Joe’s line-up (as far as I know), so definitely pick up a box on your next Trader Joe’s run!

Trader Joe's Mini (Almost) Everything Bagel Sandwich Crackers

Thanks for reading my very belated Spring 2023 Favorites post! Stay tuned for my Summer 2023 Favorites coming soon!

Ps. To keep in touch, you can follow me on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter. In addition, I’m on Pinterest and would love for you to follow me there. I’d also love to add some extra happiness to your inbox with my e-newsletter, and you can sign up here.

Hey Y'all!

I'm Liz- and I'm here to inspire you to embrace the simple joys in life and encourage you to be your authentic self!

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