Image Map

April Cara Box Reveal!

30 April 2013

Cara Box

cara (car-rah) noun   :   beloved friend

I've participated twice in this wonderful and encouraging exchange between bloggers! Simply, this is the ultimate pen-pal experience. Two bloggers are linked up either as a sender or recipient. The senders work super hard to plan a box of goodies and notes of encouragement centered around a theme. 

In the spirit of Earth Day, the theme was "GO GREEN." This month I've been paired up with Kelsey at Keeping Up with Kelsey and Carissa at T is for Townsend.

Let me introduce my sender, Carissa. 

Carissa and her hubby are born and raised Arizonians. She blogs about married life and her adorable pups, Gunther and Maycee. She just completed her Master's degree (WAHOO!!!!) and deserves a holler for that! Not only is she beautiful but she is a devoted Christian. She started her blog back in 2011 (just like me!!) as a way to document her life and share her funny antics with the world. But her favorite aspect of blogging is connecting with other bloggy friends. Her guilty pleasures are watching trashy reality T.V. , sweets and anything chocolate; however she really doesn't feel too guilty about the sweets and chocolate because they are soooo delicious!!

Carissa doesn't quite remember when she learned how to ride a bike but you better believe that it was pink, had plastic streamers and made her feel too cool for school! If Carissa was going to the moon she would most definitely have chapstick with her in addition to her dogs. And her favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate chip cookie dough.

My Cara Box from Carissa came on Friday of last week and I could not have been happier! We agreed in our original email that we never truly jumped on the "Go Green" movement but we do believe in nature and having good habits which may also influence the environment. 

Inside this magical box from Arizona, I found a reusable shopping bag, a lovely handwritten note and seeds to add some greenery to my garden! I also received a green notepad that I started using a work yesterday! 

She also set me up for a camping or outdoor event that I had spoke of. Mr. Collier and I aim to go camping for the first time this summer and the snack bars, hand sanitizer and bug spray will fit perfectly in my camping pack! Carissa has experience camping with her dad and I was fortunate enough to pick her brain as a first-timer. 

Carissa also included a spade shovel and mini-rake tool in addition to two small pots for some awesome gardening that I am going to tackle. Did I mention they were all green? Ugh! I am almost embarassed with how badly our small plot of dirt looks as it has been overcome by weeds. 

I highly encourage you to check Carissa and her fabulous blog out, that is, if you haven't already!! Don't forget to sign up to participate in the next Cara Box exchange

Facing my Fear of Failure

29 April 2013

Coffee & Conversation
It is Monday morning....ugh..slightly. Grab a cup of coffee and join the conversation!
What was the last book you read that really caused you to grow in your Faith?

I recently read “What Women Fear” by Angie Smith and I cannot begin to express how much I love this book! It reaches such a broad scope of women and their fears such as what if…, of God, of failure and the like. Her candid writing and truthfulness shine through bringing the point of each chapter home. The book is one where each chapter I’m saying to myself,” I totally have or do feel that way!” Each time I sit down to read, I just keep plowing through it. It has helped me to grow in my faith by relying on God to carry me through and realized that no matter what I face, God is always there for me. I might be squirming and writhing in uncertainty and self-doubt but God stands firm. Because we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. 

The following is an excerpt from a journal entry that I wrote while reading "What Women Fear". 

As I am reading the last chapter, which discusses the fear of failure, I find myself in a super frustrating situation at work. It is actually funny because I had a phone conversation with a lifelong friend and we concluded that as you get older, you learn how to manage your personal ticks and cues to work towards being a better person. I am a scientist and daily I work in a lab conducting experiments. Experiments can be very time demanding or in the “set it and forget it” variety. Yesterday, I finished an experiment that was very time demanding. At the beginning, I had to stay late and pull a twelve-hour day just to get it to a point where I could go home. From work, my kind, sweet husband ran to grab us dinner within walking distance because it was going to be a late night. But it was “ok.” I knew that this experiment was important to my work and so I cranked up the radio and got through it. Flash forward to yesterday. I analyzed the data from the experiment and noticed that after this very large,  important experiment and all of the time and resources wasted that it didn’t work. Arg!!!

Anger and disappointment were my first two responses. Aversion to my job, my career path and my life choices came next. I was so overcome with emotion that I just had to gather my things, turn off the light switch in the lab and make my way home. 
Now bringing it back to the conversation that I had with my lifelong friend and “What Women Fear.” I realized that I wasn’t going to overcome anything by running away despite how badly I wanted to walk into my boss’ office and quit. Since my natural reaction to this type of negative result is aversion and disappointment perhaps instead of being paralyzed by my fear of the lack of success I could lean into the storm and let it carry me. In other words, perhaps it isn’t me who is a failure. There are a number of points throughout the large experiment which could have gone wrong. I may have physically done something wrong but that doesn’t mean that I failed. The experiment did. By leaning into the problem I gain control. I steady myself to take the backlash. To paraphrase  Angie in her book, if you are on the path that God has provided for you, then you cannot fail because He won’t allow you to.

A Spring Bucket List

26 April 2013

Apparently, true spring lasts from March 20th through June 20 according to Google. Therefore I've created a spring bucket "To-Do" list of all the things I want to achieve before summer rolls through!

  1. Plant herbs in my garden.
  2. Go to Cheekwood to see the Tulips.
  3. Buy three new skirts to show off my slimming legs
  4. Fly a kite.
  5. Go fishing.
  6. Rollerblade three times.
  7. Ride my bike four times.
  8. Walk to get ice cream.
  9. Run a mile.
  10. Write three notes to random people in my address books.
  11. Go to the batting cages.
  12. Play sand volleyball.
  13. Hike at Radnor lake.
  14. Eliminate 25% of my clothes on ebay.
  15. Plan a picnic with Mr. Collier (straw hat optional).

What do you aim to do this spring? Check back to see my progress and stay tuned for the goals for summer!

I'm also linking up today with Glam Hungry Mom & ABpetite to meet some new bloggy friends!! You should just us too! 

My Five Favorite Movies that I am Never Sick of Watching

25 April 2013

On the home front...

I am in the mood to upgrade our current T.V. entertainment center (a basic cedar chest we acquired at a yard sale) and a book case to hold all of our DVDs! I'm thinking of a transformation to something that looks more like this:


Speaking of DVD's, here is my list of five movies that I am never ever sick of watching!! By the way this is a judgement free ZONE!!!!

I'd love to hear your top five!! So comment below!




Top 5 Weekly DIY Home Pinterest Pins

24 April 2013

We're here and it is Wednesday. Did you know that Wednesday was the most difficult day of the week to spell when I was a kid? I remember Collin McKillip in class sounding it out as a way to remember Wed-nes-day. To this day I still think that as I type/write. Weird. The things we remember. Speaking of remembering, let's do this weekly Pinterest pin thing I've been doing for awhile now (see past weeks here, here and here)! 

I'm super excited about this one. I've recently acquired a palate and I love
the idea of a wine rack! It is totally shabby chic!

Alpha Mom
It is spring and what better way to bird watch then hoard them over in
your backyard with this delicious snack?

Talk about the ultimate upcycling! Numbers, a couple of watch hands and an old door!

This is a fabric shower curtain stretched over a wooden frame as a headboard .
Creative and inexpensive!!

Lovely Little Snippets
I love this idea of mounting dollar store frames together to get a more dimensional look. 

A Lovely Day for a Bike Ride

23 April 2013

Last weekend it was so beautiful that Mr. Collier and I decided to dust off our bikes for the first time since the fall and go for a ride! I wouldn't consider myself a cyclist but I will say that my bike is super pretty. I got "her" for my birthday two years ago but have desperately neglected to ride it as often as I could. I work and live within about a 2 mile radius and could easily bike into work each day but she is almost too nice of a bike to chain up outside. Alas, I keep it for recreational days and weekends.

I have many goals for this second year of marriage one of which is biking more frequently. As a kid, I was always riding out on my bike in the summers. How else were we supposed to get anywhere? Roller blades were also another option! But those were hard to maneuver on the street for long distances. I still roller blade to this day, fyi. Girls got some skillz. Don't wanna mess. Not a day would go by that I wasn't on my mountain bike from morning until night. Flash forward about thirteen years!  

Like I said, it was a gorgeous day so I helmeted/suited-up and out we went riding until it got dark!! We biked all around a park nearby and all around the college campuses through neighborhoods. It was really fun just going rogue for a bit. No phones, just sheer power of our legs getting us where we needed to go. Mr. Collier is an avid cyclist so I really appreciate his "slowing down" just for me. Gotta love that man! Turns out we burned around 300 calories which isn't too shabby either! 

Friendship with my Dad Coffee and Conversation

22 April 2013

Coffee & Conversation

What is the most valuable friendship you have in your life and what makes it so great?

The most valuable friendship that I have in my life is with my dad. Growing up as an only child my dad was my playmate. He played Barbies, Hair Salon, Library, Store, House, Cinderella and more without batting an eyelash. We sang and wrote songs. We dressed up and played baseball. We went fishing. Sure, it wasn't always easy flying solo as a kid but I had something more precious than any childhood best friend could offer, I had my dad. Don't get me wrong, I had childhood best friends but none more important than my dad. My mom and dad worked opposite shifts and so I was constantly surrounded by family. My dad is a professional musician and would come home from playing in the bars all night to being ready to start the day for little me at 5 a.m. when I woke up! What a trooper! He was and is patient and compassionate and taught me hundreds of life lessons. One of my favorites is the "right tool for the right job" lesson; i.e. don't wear flip flops to move furniture. He instilled the importance of faith and Christ in my life. He showed me through his walk what it means to be a Christian and how to pray. Despite all of the self-inflicted challenges, he claims it was the best time of his entire life. Not just anyone will sacrifice themselves for you in that way.

As a scientist, it fascinates me how children inherit characteristics and qualities from their parents. Being that I am the only one, a very small sample size, I like to think that I've earned the best from both of my parents. I look like my mom and have her work ethic but my dad and I are kindred spirits. We have the same tactic of observation and humor. To this day, I share inside jokes and movie quotes with my dad such that anytime-day or night- I can call him and say the one liner and we are laughing and carrying out in seconds!!!

We have been on family vacations where we catch a conversation between people as we walk through a crowded hotel lobby (over 14 years ago) and still continue to laugh about it. My poor mom. She just shakes her head at us crazies. I believe my sense of ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit comes from my dad. Another thing both Mr. Collier and my mom shake their heads at. We build each other up and encourage our ideas. At least once a week we are having a conversation about the latest business plan we've been cooking up in our lives.

The thing that makes my friendship with my dad the best (as I start to tear up) is that I know that no one could replace him in my life. We have a deep and everlasting bond because we are very similar. He is one of my best friends and I cherish every moment that we spend together in person, on the phone or through email. He always has my back as I always have his. And nothing can break a friendship like that.

Our Colorful Garden

19 April 2013

On Sunday we had a wonderful day! Being that it was 75 F. degrees out, Mr. Collier and I decided it was time to spruce up our back patio garden. For the last two years, we've attempted container gardening for food but as it turns out, our patio does not get the proper sun to sustain any sort of vegetation such as tomatoes (our main effort). This year, we took a different route and went for some flowers to bring color to the otherwise drab palate of the unstained wood of the fencing and raised beds of weeds. [I'm praying that the landscapers come out and take care of these but renters can only hope, right?] I also have been nurturing some herb seeds as well as lettuce since we have them laying around from last season.

We went to Home Depot and picked out some of the prettiest flowers that I have ever seen. I chose the big pom Marigolds as well as the little white and red flowers that reminded me of Minnie Mouse or at least some flowers that she would put in her house. The pom Marigolds reminded me so much of the flowers in Alice in Wonderland. 

Mr. Collier decided on the clearance Marigolds and insisted that his were "the best" and would win the "competition" that we were apparently having. Do you and your spouse ever have "competitions" over nothing? We also purchased a shop-vac that I've been swooning over for some time. We usually sustain our heat during the winters with our wood fireplace and the Dyson just isn't built for sucking up ash like a shop vac. And it was on sale for $60--you can't beat that! After assembly, it worked beautifully.

Back to the flowers. We planted our flowers and sat out in the sun to enjoy the remainder of the day. Flash forward to now. My beautiful pom Marigolds have been destroyed nay decapitated. Severed poms were found near the crime scene and all this left are green shoots in the purple planter. I think the squirrels must have fallen in love the Marigolds as much as I have. Jerks. I hope it was worth it to them. With great anticipation, I long for the poms to bloom back!! Fingers crossed!!! 

Do you have any plans for your patio or garden? 

Greeting Card Scrapbook

18 April 2013

Greeting cards. I feel quite bipolar about them. On one hand, they are momentos from birthday's, Easter's, Christmas' and general love notes from someone thinking about you. On the other, they are pieces of paper that can easily collect in the house esepecially after getting married! But I didn't have the heart to throw our wedding cards away especially since several people who sent us a card have since passed away. I treasure their handwritten notes and blessings shared with us. 

Mr. Collier and I got married in Jan of 2012, it is now nearly 1.5 years later and I still have not done anything with the abudant card collection that I saved from that momentous occasion. I found an awesome way to store and save your cards (in a very organized fashion on Pinterest) and thought the project was easy enough to tackle in an hour or so. 


I started by taking all of my cards and three-hole punching them. Some cards are obviously bigger or small than others. I ended up starting the book from our first wedding shower through my bachelorette party and finally finishing up with our wedding cards. I took a ribbon that our dear friend Linea wrapped our wedding gift with and made that the binding which held the entire book together. I fed the ribbon through the holes from the front to the back to create a smooth surface on the "cover side" and fed each card onto the ribbon one by one. If you noticed in the picture above, they took a different approach where they used a ring binder in the top corner. 

I think the final project turned out very well. For a small budget (i.e. if you don't have a three-hole puncher or need a ribbon) you could create a book like this very easily within 30 minutes to an hour. Think of how cute this would be for a psuedo-baby book of cards from each birthday! You could even take a photo and place it in between each year as a year divider. There are hundreds of applications but the best part is that memories are cherished. 

Top 5 Weekly DIY Pinterest Pins

17 April 2013

Whew! It has been a seriously busy week already! I have no idea where the time has gone because we are already at Wednesday. Is your week moving fast or slow? Well, in tradition, I've picked out 5 Pins from Pinterest to tantalize the home improvement part of your brains. I hope you enjoy them! All of these pins and more can be found on the "Home Improvement" board. So follow me today!

Spray Paint Fabric
The Happier Homemaker

Re-Vamped Medicine Cabinet
Do It Darling

Hideaway Laudry Basket
Meg & The Martin Men

Spice turned Nail Polish Rack

Recycled Wind Turbine

Which pin do you like the best? Which could you see adding to your home?

Stay Hydrated!

16 April 2013

Why is it so important to stay hydrated? 


Water is essential for life. In all honesty, it is much more important than food. A human can survive only three days without water and yet up to three weeks without food! Our bodies are made up of greater than 60% water. We need water!! Our cells require water to function. Globally water allows us to absorb nutrients and rid our bodies of impurities. Most often, people who crave food are often times dehydrated which can lead to over consumption. Bob Harper, trainer on the Biggest Loser, recommends drinking a glass of water before every meal. Since our brain alone is more than 70% water, staying hydrated helps us perform not only physically but also mentally. And think of the effects on your skin! I think about my worn-out body after a BarreAmped work out. I'm always sooooo thirsty. After the strain I put my muscles through they absolutely deserve a cleansing bath of sorts. And the satisfaction of drinking a cold glass of water simply cannot be replaced. Nothing is more refreshing!  

Why do "they" tell you to drink 8 glass of water a day? 

Training in the sciences, I once has the opportunity to ask a kidney scientist this question. He was adamant about how during dieting it is just to fill up your stomach so you are less full. It makes sense but in light of the requirement for water for our daily life I began to wonder what it would be like to fulfill that 8 glass suggestion. I started with the fitness tracker app MyFitnessPal. You can get it on your phone or use the program on the computer but essentially it is an awesome way to track what you eat. And also drink! For the past four days I've been tracking my meals and water consumption. 

As you can see from this screen shot, my water consumption was way low that day but a tracker like this allows you to be brutally honest with yourself and your intake. You quickly verify or deny your previously assumed "healthy" lifestyle. My blogging friend Danielle @ Butler Party of Two drinks about a gallon of water a day. Her blog has encouraged me to start the day by drinking an entire glass of water with or without lemon in it to rehydrate and get my system going.

I've noticed that with more water, I want coffee and caffiene less. I feel more alert and alive! And I love the perks of helping my kidneys to flush out my body as well as improve my skin. I haven't really noticed if increasing my water consumption results in less calories eaten so I am unable to speak to that. My favorite aspect of water and weight tracking is to see the data at the end of the day. It is super fun, for me, to track my water especially at work on MyFitnessPal. There is something gratifying about advancing that little button after every glass! I highly recommend you try it!  
On a second note, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the friends and families met by the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday. Leave it up to Mr. Rogers to have some wisdom in times like these.

It is weird to think that the bad in the world allows us to see the "good." You cannot have the Yin without the Yang but it is unfortunate that bad things have to happen in order for the good in others to be seen by the world.  

Five Random Facts about Me

15 April 2013

Five Random Facts about Me

  • I collected turtle stuff when I was younger. Statues, snow globes, stickers, bookmarks and t-shirts you name it! 
  • I have a garlic intolerance...yup! No garlic for this girl :)
  • My favorite tree is a palm tree. They always appear to be happy. 
  • Lemon and vanilla are my favorite flavors of everything!
  • I have a crooked toe on my right foot. 

Ranch Turkey Burgers!

12 April 2013

Hey ya'll (Paula Dean Impression)! I'm sharing my super secret ranch turkey burger recipe with you today! It only requires two ingredients but by no means limit yourself to additions! You start with a pound of ground turkey and a packet of ranch salad dressing mix. Combine them in a bowl with your hands to ensure proper distribution of flavor.  

Roll the mixture into desired size. For this recipe, I went for 1/4 pounders but you could easily get 6-8 sliders out of one pound of meat. I placed them on a pre-heated George Foreman grill and let them sizzle (lid down) for about 6 minutes before checking them. After 6 minutes, I moved the bugers around on the grill as some spots are hotter than others. Using a meat thermometer, be sure to cook to approximately 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit. I ended up stabbing my burgers with the meat thermometer to allow for juices to escape. 

When they are all done they look and smell good enough to eat! You can also dose the amount of ranch that you incorporate into the meat as the flavor can be overpowering. Also take note of the salt content of the Ranch mix. Feel free to make your own ranch dressing mix as a healthier and more frugal alternative. 


I found this awesome pin on Pinterest where one could theoretically clean the George Foreman with ease. Have you ever tried to do that? They cook like a dream but when it comes to cleaning it is a total nightmare! As such, I thought that I would try out this "amazing" technique. 

Basically all you do is place a wet paper towel on the Foreman after cooking. The steam should loosen the food stuffs resulting in a simple wipe clean. Yeah...that didn't happen. What happened was the wet paper towel did steam but became too hot to the touch. And the fat and various meat remnants did not budge after this so called "steam cleaning." I determine that this pin is BUSTED!!! 

Join me at the Bloglovin' Collective Hop

11 April 2013

Bloglovin Blog Hop Link Up

Welcome to the weekly Bloglovin Collective party!
There are many out there in Blogland like it, but this is THE Bloglovin' hop you do not want to miss.

Bre @ Peacoats & Plaid


Jacklyn @ Jackie Jade
Ady @ When in Doubt Just Add Glitter
Sarah @ To Be Mrs. Collier
Yelle @ Tender Roots
 Bev @ Linkouture
Krystal @ The Unintentional SAHM
Sarah Jane @ Just the Two of Us

**Co-hosting slots are filled until May 16th**
Send me an email at peacoatsnplaid(at)gmail(dot)com if you want to get on the list