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I run to you.

30 September 2012

155/365 Run by martinak15 on "Flickr" cc

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.– Proverbs 18:10 (NIV)

I had the radio on yesterday throughout the house while I was cleaning. The popular song "Run To You" by Lady Antebellum cycled through once within the two hours or so that I was listening. As I was singing the lyrics really echoed what is talked about in Proverbs 18:10. In our time of need while we are running from fear or filled with anxiety we naturally turn to the Lord. Why? Because like a consoling parent He is there to help us and is always willing to relieve pressure from our burdensome hearts. 

It was amazing to me how quickly such a popular song like "Run to You" could be transformed into a prayer just by swapping out some endearing terms could be substituted by "Lord." Try it out next time you would like to sing His praises or are running to him in your time of need.   

Commemorating our first married Christmas

29 September 2012

I was doing a little cleaning and stumbled upon this empty glass ornament that I inherited from a friend. I remembered that I pinned a craft project on Pinterest which commemorates your first Christmas as a married couple. It is very easy! It literally took 5 minutes for me make. 

Paper wedding or shower invitation, engagement announcement, program, etc.
Glass ornament

Cut the paper into strips, curly strands etc. Feed the paper into the ornament being sure to allow some of the printed side to show through. 

Put the top back on and you are ready to go! 

Pinterest Busters

27 September 2012

Think Myth Busters but for all of those hundreds of Pinterest pins I've posted to virtual boards. I am going to begin incorporating one weekly Pinbuster post which tests and rates ideas on Pinterest here on this blog. I'm so excited to share all of these fantastic ideas with you! Stay tuned!

Wedding Inspiration Board: Beige and Powder Blue

Fabric. Nesting doll cookie favor. Shoes. Cupcakes. Suitcases. Ribbon Wand.
 River Rock Centerpiece. St. Basil's Cathedral. Table Numbers. Cupcake Lace.   
A complex pattern of beige and powder blue is emphasized by the Russian heritage theme. Nesting dolls and suitcases add a personal flare and is a creative accent that I've never seen before at a wedding.

The Choppy Bob

I've been dreaming of getting my hair cut recently and for some reason the choppy bob really appeals to me. Not only is it fun and flirty but it would be a drastic change from my current hairstyle. What are you thoughts for going into fall with a choppy bob?


Katharine McPhee

Reese Witherspoon
Nicole Richie  

Meal Planning: Italian Turkey Meatballs Courtesy of

26 September 2012

Mr. Collier and I are starting to meal plan as the next step beyond couponing for saving for our family. This week in Nashville, Kroger has 1lb ground turkey for $2.50 (2/$5). We happened to have a store coupon to bring that down to $2.00. I did a little research before we left for the store of some recipes utilizing the ground turkey and stumbled across a delicious Italian meatball crockpot recipe from SkinnyTaste. I am here to report how fantastic this recipe is!

I had to make a few adjustments because of my garlic intolerance (dropped the garlic step) and we did have to purchase ingredients such as bay leaf outside of our normal pantry stock (~$2.33). The recipe was super easy and yielded around 13 meatballs of decent size for dinner and at least one meatball sandwich for tomorrow. The thing that I love the most about SkinnyTaste is at the bottom of each recipe she lists the calories, Weight Watchers points and basic nutritional information making calorie counting easy!

I started off (at 6:30 a.m. this morning) by placing one can of Kroger tomato sauce and one can of diced tomatoes into the crockpot with a little brown sugar, Italian seasoning, pepper and chili powder. Then I added the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, turkey meat, egg, regular salt and pepper, and some Italian seasoning together in a bowl. I took off my rings and dug my hands right in. I formed golf ball sized meatballs and placed them delicately into the sauce mixture. I washed my hands and on went the cover. The meatballs cooked on low for approximately ten hours and when I came home they were ready to go! I made a quick salad with cottage cheese and picked out the four most handsome meatballs I could find. A little sauce on top was all it needed. They were savory, filling and flavorful. Everything a $4.50 purchase could offer! Collier meal planning is starting off on the right foot!

365 Days to a Better Me: Week 2

25 September 2012

My new running shoes!
This weekend became a breaking point for me. I decided that a strict diet must be implemented because I felt my health status was spiraling out of control. A week ago I described my progress from week one. New habits are hard to form and many of the things I had aimed to do like taking a multivitamin and working out habitually went right out the window last week. This won't be an entirely depressing post, I promise. I actually went to Yoga at the beginning of the week but somehow neglected to remember a barre workout I had signed up for on Saturday. Further, I participated in a lot of activities that included alcohol, sugary drinks and baked goods. You can guess how that ended. 153 lbs on the scale.

So here I am back on the wagon. I vowed to give up sugary drinks, baked goods and alcohol because none of those things are necessary. Not one bit. And I'm an emotional eater. It has been two days and I'm already down to 146.6 lbs as of this morning. My secret? Well, yesterday Mr. Collier and I ditched our car and walked to and from work (3 miles round trip). Also I didn't purchase an afternoon cookie or latte and stuck to my calorie counting religiously. Snacks after 8 p.m. just didn't happen.

Today I'm heading to yoga after work and then walking the rest of the way (1.5 miles). And I can't wait to get in a run over the next few days to try out my new running shoes!

Taking Couponing Savings a Step Further

I recently posted on my couponing strategy for saving the Colliers more money. Now I'm taking couponing a step further with menu or meal planning. That is, taking what is on sale and having recipes in hand ahead of time so that food no longer goes to waste. 

We've all been there. We've spent an afternoon at the grocery store, wasted gas driving around and filled our empty fridges up to the brim with food. We've also thrown a significant amount of that food away. According to an article found in the New York Times from 2010, a study was conducted by the University of Arizona in 1992 which found that 25% of the food that we bring into our homes gets thrown away. Further, another study in 2009 found that number to increase 1.6 fold to 40% of food that is wasted. It means of the $200 (or so) on average that we spend at the grocery store(s) per month, $80 gets tossed directly into the trash. That may not seem like a lot but that is $960 per year!! 

That $960 a year could get invested towards the purchase of our first home, a family vacation or just a rainy day. 

..for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you...

21 September 2012


I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:9-10 (NIV)

How wonderful and reassuring is this? I have been struggling in my walk with the Lord lately. I have reached that point where I've realized that although my life is filled with "stuff" that "stuff" is doing nothing to glorify God. I haven't be intentional about maintaining my prayer life or bible study. Overall I believe that my negative attitude, exhaustion and lack of fervor is the result. But while reading the blogs that I follow, a blessing arose. Butler, Party of Two by Danielle Rainey spoke to me yet again this week. First was her post on anonymous encouragement but today's post on Unrealistic Expectations and what to do with that struck a chord with me. 

Similarly, I feel overwhelmed with trying to perform in all areas of my life: wife, friend, employee, student, daughter, church member, volunteer, etc that at the end of the day I'm not sure why. Despite the confusion the Lord promises strength and to lift us up because we are His. The hard part is remembering that during all the mess life throws at us. 

Collier Couponing 101: Preparing for the Weekend!

I'm a couponer. Did you know that? Mr. Collier and I have been actively couponing over the last year and have found that is frees up significant savings in our budget. Yes, we've hit some great deals where we get 13 packages of razors for just the tax and typically cut our grocery bill by half.

The most common question is,"Does it take time?" Sure. But a little work on the front end is worth the savings to us. I am going to bare it all and give you the run down to my couponing.

1. Have a running "needs" list in the kitchen. When things run out, write them down! That way you don't forget something important that you need and you don't purchase doubles. My parents are the worst at that. Each time I go to my parents' house I can't help but notice all the open jars of different kinds of salsa in the fridge or duplicates in their pantry not because they are stocking up on particular items but because they don't know what food they have! Not only does this waste food but it wastes your money!

Our actual "needs list" in our kitchen
2. Get a Sunday paper with coupons inside. That is right. Each Sunday we make a point to pick up a Sunday paper at the Walgreens down the street from our home. Although it is a $2.00 investment, we gain that much, at least, in savings. The most important thing is that you actually see the coupon inserts inside the paper. Not just the store circulars. You want the paper for the coupons. If there are no coupons do not buy the paper. 

3. Examine the circulars. Between Wednesday and Friday, I begin to shop the store circulars. These advertisements indicate specials for the week at each particular store. I usually sit down with five or six store tabs open on my desktop (see below). My standard five are: Kroger, Publix, Target, CVS, and Walgreens with Harris Teeter being the most useful on double/triple coupon events.

My Weekly Screen
4. Systematically write down anything that you might purchase directly from those circulars for each circular on one sheet of paper. Make sure you are also keeping in mind the items on your "needs" list. The advantage to having the prices all on one page is two-fold. First, you get to directly compare price for price at each store. Second, when you are one of these stores and you find a price for the same item that is below the sale price at another store you have the "green light" to purchase for cheaper! **Don't forget the Walmart now has a circular matching policy so if you decide to shop there, bring your circulars and your cheat sheet!**

The List
5. Organize your coupons. Having coupons and planning to use them result in no savings whatsoever. There are many strategies to coupon organization. My preferred method is a binder of baseball card collecting inserts. I have the coupons organized by section (snacks/cereal, dairy, oral health, baking, etc.) so that when I'm in the store with my binder, yep it goes with me too, I can flip a few pages and find the coupons that I'm looking for. Staying current and organized is the hardest part of the entire couponing process.

My Coupon Binder
6. Cross reference your list with the excellent database on Faithful Provisions and print off any online coupons on, Target and Publix. Online coupons can typically be printed twice per IP address so duplicate your page and have your recycled paper and printer(s) ready! 

    What do you do when you fall off the wagon?

    17 September 2012
    What happens when you set a goal for yourself and you find that soon after you deviate? Get back on track, of course! That is exactly what I will be doing today. It is amazing how a diet or health focus can go right out the window at a football tailgate. Although I did get a lot of walking in this weekend, I far exceeded that in calories.

    Today I'm focusing on hydration and overall diet management. Lower bread carbohydrates and higher vegetables and fruit. Add some lean protein and Greek yogurt to the mix and you have a healthy and balanced day of meals! Sign me up! Maybe I'll swing by the gym after work for a quick 30 minutes on the treadmill to get my body in shape for the Zoo Run Run in January.   

    Wedding Inspiration Board: Va-Va-Voom Violet and Periwinkle

    Calla Lillies. Cake. Baby Eggplant. Leaf Escort. Cake Pops. Jewels. Branches. Vase. Guest Book. Lavender Martini

    Wedding Inspiration Board: Lovin' on some Green and Gold

    14 September 2012

    Fan. Artichoke. Succulents. LanternsRock Candy. Cake. Monogram. Succulent Pattern
    This inspiration board brings greens and gold to an earthy level. Warm golds tug upwards with tall floating paper lantern centerpieces which modestly contrast the steamy succulent and artichoke pieces around the tables. The succulent pattern is echoed in the cake and invitations. Quirky rock candy and Jones Sodas provide a more personalized yet colorful touch to favors.  

    A one-week update on 365 goal

    13 September 2012

    Hello friends. It has been one week since I posted about my goal to be a better me in 365 days. Well I can happily report that I've taken my daily multivitamin all week, worked out more than once and dressed up for work the majority of the week! Go me!

    I feel that in times of new beginnings it is important to praise yourself for your accomplishments. I've even lost the two pounds that I have vowed to shed per week! Thanks to the barre method I've grown a little bit stronger. I noticed in my class last night I felt stronger and was more confident to try the movements that have plagued me with muscle quivers in the past. I followed along the three full sets of 8-count planks. Special thanks to Lori, the instructor for counting slow even though during the class I want to yell at her to move faster because in all honesty, it kills when it is happening. She instructs with some tough love but really pushes me to be my best and give a "few more inches higher/lower" or contract for another 8-count hold. My groupon is now officially over so I broke down and purchased another five classes to sustain myself!

    I cannot accurately expression how excited that I am to report back next week! This week I aim to continue working out (there are a series of dance classes on Sunday at the student recreation center that I am going to participate in) and do a bit of a better job monitoring my sugar intake.       

    Let them eat Pie!

    12 September 2012

    This summer has been full of weddings and I must say that one theme keeps emerging. PIE! Brides and Grooms are shying away from the traditional wedding cake and opting for the more spherical and crusty treat to sink their first married bite into. There of course are many advantages to pie relative to cake. For example, you can play with more flavor variety and even pay homage to your respective heritages. Perhaps you have a mom or aunt that has an award winning pie recipe? Use that for a more personal experience. Consider a pie tasting contest during your reception! Unique, right? You could even send guests home with a slice of pie and a recipe card so that they can re-live your reception through sensory perception for years to come. Some might think that pies appear dull compared to cakes but pies can be equally decorated and reflect who you are as a couple.

    Tyler Core Shoots People

    Wedding Inspiration Board: Gray and Brown

    I've been working on inspiration boards lately integrating unlikely color pairs. This particular one is a synergy of warm fall tones of brown with gray textures like burlap and smooth cotton. 

    Bucket List Update

    11 September 2012

  1. Explore the inside of a human body Spring 2004 Anatomy Field trip to a gross anatomy lab
  2. Participate as a witness to a court wedding for a stranger.
  3. Be an extra in a music video  "Heartbreak Yellow" by Andy Davis shot at Burger Up in Nashville
  4. Travel with a band for a summer on tour
  5. Be an extra for a full feature film
  6. Be an extra for a T.V. show
  7. Feed a giraffe Indianapolis Zoo 2008
  8. Ride an elephant
  9. Visit all 50 states
  10. Attend a baseball game at all major league parks
  11. Have an authentic Nashville Taylor Swift "encounter"
  12. Sell a piece of art
  13. Ride a train across the U.S.
  14. Sift a piece of gold out of a river
  15. Author a book
  16. Be interviewed in a magazine
  17. Start a fashion trend
  18. Purchase a Hampton Inn Mattress for my home
  19. Get recognized in public by a stranger @Corsair Distillery recognized for being a Yelp Elite 2012 
  20. Sing karaoke in front of a crowded bar 
  21. Zoo Run Run

    09 September 2012

    In efforts to continue pushing towards my goal of all around better health, Mr. Collier and I decided to begin training for the Nashville Zoo "Zoo Run Run" in January. This is a true 5K and so I am going to model my workouts after the couch to 5K program where small increments of walking and jogging allow you to build endurance over time. The run takes place at nearly the end of January so I'll be training for approximately for 4 months. I will keep you updated on my progress along the way, of course! As a complement to my running, I am also going to be incorporating yoga and dance classes as my cross training activities.

    I must be honest, I am not a runner. In fact, running is the last thing on the planet that I would want to be doing. But I am passionate about my health and taking care of my body. And who doesn't love a challenge or opportunity to push myself. Now, all I need to do is lace up my shoes and load my MP3 player with some tunes!

    365 Days to a better Me.

    08 September 2012

    As I have mentioned in previous posts I've been working on areas of self improvement. One of these areas has been productivity by re-evaluating where my time goes. My next goal is evaluating my health and working on that area of particular interest is the subject of weight management. I began asking whether my stats are considered healthy. I used a BMI calculator to assess the basics. By inputting my weight and height, a number is revealed to be on the "healthy" scale but am breaching on the higher end of the healthy spectra. These data, from a scientific perspective, further support my need to address these issues.

    So how many calories should I be consuming? According to an article on, a sedentary lifestyle requires 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day. But using this calorie calculator takes into account my height, current weight, exercise frequency, age and gender. A daily value for maintenance, weight loss and extreme fat loss are generated. Therefore I am going to gauge my daily caloric intake to 1500 calories.

    Over the last few weeks I have been using the My Fitness Pal app on my smartphone to track my calories. What I like about this app is the fact that I can search the database for food or utilize the bar code scanning feature. Also, seeing the calorie breakdown and daily weight loss tracker keeps me in perspective about my consumption. Since I began using this app, a "red flag" for me is sugar. Apparently, without knowing I typically consume 2 fold higher sugar daily than I need to. Identifying these items is only possible by complete honesty with myself. I actually have to record the crystal light in my drink, the cookie and latte that I get around 3 p.m. as well as the fruit and vegetables.

    Next, I am working towards a healthier me by dedicating time to work out. See upcoming posts on my journey!  

    Gourmet Pancake Dinner

    06 September 2012

    Pancakes for dinner is always a favorite for us here in the Collier house.They are easy to prepare/clean up and make a great vehicle for our organic Vermont maple syrup. But as I sit here watching Chopped, always inspiring, I wonder how I can tweak pancakes to make them that much more appealing? Using a generic pancake complete mix, I've generated several unique and absolutely delicious versions of the standard pancake. Each recipe contains 2 scoops of complete pancake mix, special flavor-specific ingredients and water mixed together to your preferred consistency. We used our Emeril Griddle to cook these bad boys up and found that warming in a low temp (170 degrees) before serving to be optimal. Enjoy!

    1. Chocolate Pancakes- The dessert pancake. I realize you end a meal with dessert and so for our pancake dinner feast I mixed up a chocolate pancake mix. I combined Kroger ice cream fudge topping with chocolate sprinkles to taste. They came out savory and not too sweet (which was a surprise!).

    2. Maple Bacon Pancakes-For the cowgirls. For me, the flavors of carbohydrates, bacon and maple syrup blend in a harmonious way on my palate. The bacon was cooked in small pieces to ensure a crispy texture was achieved. Ribbons of maple syrup were also added to the mixture bringing out a great flavor in combination with the bacon. Recommended both hot and cold.

    3. Bacon Ranch Pancakes-Wait a sec?! That is right. I took a packet of ranch salad dressing mix and incorporated that with a handful or so of bacon into the batter. It sounds gross but I even added some pre-made ranch dressing to amp up the ranch flavor. I would not recommend adding maple syrup to these babies. The consensus of diners indulging in my creation actually was favorable. You couldn't eat too many but the flavors were excellent.

    4. Cheddar Jalapeno Pancakes-Artery clogger! This was by far the most difficult pancake mix to cook but without a doubt the most addicting to eat. Not only was there an abundance of liquid you can imagine the Velveeta re-melting once the mix hit the griddle. You may have to add more pancake mix or flour as we did. Diced jalapenos and of course the juice were mixed in as well. They provided excellent "pops" of flavor. I would also not recommend mixing maple syrup into this mixture.

    5. Fresh berry pancakes-A standard "safe" choice. I made a quick fruit compote of blueberries and strawberries (added a bit of granulated sugar and heated in the microwave). I made sure to also pressure when stirring to break open the berries. These pancakes were most appealing to the eye as they turned blue from the fruit! Fantastic with syrup.

    Working on my Bucket List...

    01 September 2012

    • Explore the inside of a human body Spring 2004 Anatomy Field trip to a gross anatomy lab
    • Participate as a witness to a court wedding for a stranger.
    • Be an extra in a music video  "Heartbreak Yellow" by Andy Davis shot at Burger Up in Nashville
    • Travel with a band for a summer on tour
    • Be an extra for a full feature film
    • Feed a giraffe Indianapolis Zoo 2008
    • Ride an elephant
    • Visit all 50 states
    • Attend a baseball game at all major league parks
    • Have an authentic Taylor Swift "encounter"
    • Sell a piece of art
    • Ride a train across the U.S.
    • Sift a piece of gold out of a river
    • Change the lives of 5 people
    • Author a book