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amazon order history reflection

10 January 2015

I did something daring this evening. I pulled my Amazon spending report for the past year. Ever done that?

Well, I suggest several meditative breaths pre-and-post. Perhaps you imagine some siren or flashing red pop-up with that summation of spending? No, no dear friend. A spreadsheet of all your purchases comes whizzing out of the browser. Gulp!

For the data inclined, a few quick tricks and the bottom line appears. How convicting that little number can be. Somehow I was stunned. How retailers like Amazon make it so easy to click, click, click. And those recommendations can be tempting as the devil himself. "So you bought coconut oil in massive quantities," it says. "Well others also bought flax seed and hemp powder. Care to give it a whirl? Does your Amazon account also have a British accent? 

Darn it for knowing me so well! OF COURSE I NEED that hemp powder to go along with my coconut oil. Tricked again. 

About a dog...

21 December 2014




We adopted a dog! And he has become our world.




We adopted Beaker from a dog rescue in Lexington, KY on Halloween after nearly a year of searching for our future companion. We were looking for a mid-sized, hypoallergenic dog and we hoped to rescue him/her rather than get a puppy from a breeder. Somehow we settled on a doodle. 

One day, I was searching on Petfinder and came across a doodle named Regan and put in an application. Regan was 6 months old and was cute as can be! The waiting game was ridiculous! I exhausted the Facebook group, email, and phone number on the website. After a week, I told Mr. Collier that maybe it wasn't the right time for a dog in our world. That morning, the owner of the rescue called and informed me Regan had been adopted but his 1 year old, practically identical, brother was available. On top of that, the owner of the rescue also operated a minimum-security prison dog training program where inmates are trained to be dog trainers. I was so impressed. Rehabilitating for all. 

So on Halloween we went up to Lexington and got our Beaker! Having "graduated" from the training program Beaker knew all of his basic commands: sit, kennel, walking on a leash, lay down, and stay. He is such a smart boy!

Beaker's favorite things:
  1. Earning his meals -- Dude is so weird when it comes to eating! He will eat his food out of his bowl but prefers to eat it out of his kong or iQ ball
  2. The dog park -- Beaker is very interested in other dogs. He loves to run and antagonize other dogs to chase him. 
  3. Grain free peanut butter treats -- Beaker does like to lick his feet but I would prefer that to not be on his "favorite things" list. Poodles often have grain allergies so we selected these grain-free peanut butter treats. He also goes crazy for the aged cheddar flavor.  
  4. His flirt pole -- Think cat toy for dogs. I learned about the flirt pole from a coworker with pit bulls. The flirt pole basically tires them out by having the dogs chase after their toy tied to a lunge whip or in our case a DIY clothesline/PVC contraption

If you have a pup, what are their weird quirks or favorite things?

a tennessee gallery wall

15 December 2014



Our gallery wall is finally up! We moved into our new home about 6 months ago [whew! I can hardly believe it!] and we are carefully styling each space. In our open living room, there is a slate gray accent wall that is easily the focal point of the space. The previous owners of our home had left it behind and without a doubt it was going to be the background for our Tennessee gallery wall. From concerts like Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors and Ellie Holcomb to tourist spots like Paris, TN and Hatch Show Print across middle Tennessee, it represents us. The things we love. The things we did. 

Hanging a gallery wall isn't as easy as it looks but I would highly recommend several iterations of the final product on the floor. I got a chuckle because we caught this episode of "This Old House" right as we were planning to start hanging! In this tip video, the contractor discusses considerations for hanging heavy items as well as other considerations. We picked up a ton of great tips! God bless my husband for putting up with me while putting up our wall! His patience is astounding. I need to get me some of that! 

For our wall, we selected dark or black frames for each piece to maintain continuity. We also considered color and size distribution. We didn't want to focus too much color in one spot nor did we want conventional straight lines. But we are very proud of the turnout! 

there is something about a simple meal

11 December 2014


Some days I feel like channeling the Pioneer Woman and actually get it together to make dinner. As you might imagine, recently, I was able to make that happen.

There is something to be said about a simple soup. Not only does it warm your belly giving you the fuzzies but it is the perfect/quick weeknight meal. Soup offers a comfort to me. The hard part is developing the flavor in such a short amount of time. And soup is super cheap and lasts for a few lunches if you can spare some leftovers.

For the picture, I combined two bags of frozen vegetables and a can of tomato sauce. I added 1.5 cans of water as well as the pasta to a large pot. The real secret is in the flavor. I combined 1 tsp of paprika, cumin, and chili powder with a dash of cayenne. Using olive oil as the base, I mulled it together in a bowl with a spoon until it made a paste. Then to top it off, I added 4-6 drops of tabasco sauce before combining with the pot.

Simple. Seasoned. One pot meal.

a touch of chaos and disarray

08 December 2014

Being overwhelmed is not the best feeling in the world. Can we agree? One moment you are trucking along and the next you feel like you can't make ends meet. For no rhyme or reason all of a sudden it hits you dead-on. WHAM! 

For me, I begin to feel unsettled and uncomfortable, like I am sleeping on a deflating air mattress with the worst pillows on the planet. Pretty terrible. Struggling to get off of the thing and yet paralyzed to make any progress. There I exist, flopping around. 

Eventually you determine the "pea in the mattress" [I'm writing this is the wee hours of the morning, can you tell I'm still thinking about sleep] and address the issue(s) which may or may not (but most likely are) blown out of some proportion. And you thank your spouse for pointing out your crazy. At least I do. 

Then you address the issue. I tend to keep my life organized as best as possible. But that can only be maintained for so long. Even in a perfect world. The intimate balance between marriage, work, dog, church, youth group, self-maintenance, entertainment and family will teeter and the beans will spill all over the place. Terrible example but you should see my eyebrows. It is getting pretty gnarly. 

So I'm in a season of repair and perhaps that is why I've started to write here again. To repair and come back to me. A journal of sorts and refocusing on things that I enjoy. Because I enjoy blogging. I enjoy sharing my experiences with the world. Again I'm a connector. The type of person where I have to spread the word and bring people together.