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Top 5 Weekly DIY Pinterest Pins

31 July 2013

Are your home decor taste buds being tantalized? Mine certainly are! I'm having one of those weeks where I am sick to death of being a renter and I want my own house!! As such, I've picked out some pretty neat pinterest pins that will either ad to what you have going on or ideas that will springboard your creativity. You can find these and others on my Home Improvement Board.


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Fancy Cocktails for Everyone! YES, Everyone in the entire Family!

30 July 2013



Have you ever planned a family BBQ or baby shower and had to worry about leaving people out from enjoying fun summer cocktails? What about if you are on a diet and you don't want to waste calories on sugary cocktails? Well, I am here to share my new favorite drink recipe with you for special occasions or just every day sophistication.

Simply take club soda and add fresh fruit. Strawberries, cucumbers, berries, citrus, mint, basil or juice. Make a mock mimosa with 100 % natural orange juice. Get creative! Keep the ratio between 3/4 club soda and the rest juice or fruit. 

Not only are these drinks delicious, they are full of natural sugar instead of the artificial stuff. And they just look plain fun!


How I Plan a Vacation & Free Things to Do in St. Augustine

29 July 2013



Did you play pretend when you were a kid? Store, school, house, library, tattoo parlor, tackle shop, etc. My favorite pretend game when I was a kid was travel agent. And I think that is why I am overcome with glee when it comes to planning vacations! As doctoral candidates, Mr. Collier and I don't get much time to ourselves especially to go out of town. But, it has been nearly two years since we've traveled for ourselves. You know what I mean? Not traveling for weddings, funerals, family reunions, visits, or having anyone come to visit us. Just escaping town on our own! Hooray! 

So how do I get 'er done? Well, I am about to share with you my secret for planning a fantastic and cost effective family vacation [at least for two]. It all starts with a dream. I always begin by thinking of the type of vacation experience that we want to have. Do we want to relax on the beach without distractions? Do we want to explore a brand new city on foot? Is there an attraction that we are dying to see? If the answer to any of those questions is a specific place, then you are kinda locked in. Using this particular trip as an example, I wanted to be on the Atlantic at the beach. Period. So that left a bunch of cities open for the planning. We entertained Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Charleston, and the Florida Keys to begin with.


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How I picked St. Augustine, you might ask? Well, I compared the cost of flying round trip for two and renting a car at the places I mentioned above in a spreadsheet so that I could make direct comparisons. I found them all quite expensive and often challenging to reach! Then I took to the map. Simply looking down the coast, I selected St. Augustine because it was on the coast and within a hour to an airport that Southwest Airlines flies into. 



TripAdvisor is my best friend when it comes to reviews on hotels and things to do. I'd recommend comparing hotel rates with VRBO which can often be cheaper for extended stays. It was $400 for the condo we rented in St. Augustine for 5 days and 4 nights. Can't beat that! And our condo had a kitchenette so that we could save money by cooking our own food which helped cut our budget! For food, the one and only website to find local places to eat is yelp.com. Search by price, rating, neighborhood, or cuisine. I always check yelp when I am looking for a good place to eat.

To find additional things to do, I checked for kitschy roadside Americana attractions and discounted activities on Groupon and LivingSocial. One afternoon, we spent roaming through an audio-guided tour of the Villa Zorayda Castle Museum that  set us back $10 on Groupon. Think outside of the box. And always have a backup plan! Don't forget to check the local events calendar on their tourism website for free things to do in your destination city!

In St. Augustine, Florida there are several free attractions that I would highly recommend. 





1. Fort Matanzas- There are a lot of historical things to see and do in St. Augustine. They pride themselves in being the old city. But, out of all the historical activities, Fort Matanzas takes the cake! And it is free! You can take the walking trails or ferry across the river to the fort to get a first-hand experience.




2. San Sebastian Winery-Although you don't see the vineyard or anything, San Sebastian boasts to be award winning in Florida wines. What the winery does have are free tours and a fantastic rooftop party on Friday and Saturday nights. There is a live band and a great night to be had! 







3. Castillo de San Marcos- To tour the inside, you have to pay money. But to walk to perimeter is FREE! You can get some great shots of the fort, downtown St. Augustine and antique cannons. 






4. Crescent Beach- Crescent beach is a wonderful beach south of St. Augustine. Parking is free and there are miles of beach to enjoy! 


What are some steps that you go through when you plan a trip? I'm always looking for good ideas! 

A Week Ago Today, I was Headed for Vacation...

26 July 2013

...and it makes me super sad that I am not still there! Mr. Collier and I had never ventured to St. Augustine and it was frankly a vacation destination that I picked on a whim. We had gone back and forth [at least a dozen times] on where we should go for a long weekend. Myrtle Beach? The Keys? Hilton Head? Orlando? I realize Orlando sticks out like a sore thumb, but we have family there. When it came to the final decision, money talks! Tickets to Orlando would have been $800.00 round trip and our other options quickly dropped off the radar.

All I knew was that I wanted to be on the ocean, not spend too much of our savings and get a little sun. St. Augustine did just that! I selected St. Augustine because it was one of the first cities [no pun intended] on Florida's Atlantic coast on a map that was also within driving distance from a Southwest-friendly airport. And the prices were great! For $800.00, we were able to secure round trip flights, a condo on the beach with VRBO.com and a rental car! I know!!




We awoke each day without an alarm. Simply glorious! We body surfed in the ocean each morning after breakfast. Each day we would spot dolphins from our patio following behing fishing boats. I read a wonderful book, Annie's Ghosts. Afternoons were spent exploring the city of St. Augustine. From an architectural and historical standpoint it was unmatched! Parking was a slight obstacle but once you sucked it up and paid the $10 you were free to roam for the day! 

There were shops and restaurants up and down the brick-laid streets interspersed with historical tourist traps such as the old pharmacy, the fountain of youth, the old jail, etc that could be visited for $7-12 per person. I loved our visit to the San Sebastian winery one evening to spend the evening under the stars on the rooftop patio. 

Evenings were spent walking on the beach and watching the moon rise. Our condo had a little travelers' log where previous occupants could leave messages beyond the vacation. Each couple noted the sunrise. Mr. Collier and I decided to be distinctive and wait for the moon rise instead! 




On our last morning, after checkout, we went to Fort Matanzas, a fort built by the Spanish as an intercoastal barrier to protect the city of St. Augustine from the south. They didn't so such a stellar job because the cannons were only fired 8 times of which, no successful targets were struck. We took a small ferry to the fort, climbed around and soaked in the history of the people that were stationed there. It was by far the coolest tour we had gone on. 

We had a wonderful and adventurous trip! I'd highly recommend making St. Augustine a destination spot for you some day. There is plenty to see and do without spending a dime! And you better watch out if you do. There are pirates lurking EVERYWHERE. Yes. Even ones with polos and Vera Bradley purses! 



Why I Stopped Dating Other Men and Decided to Date Mr. Collier

25 July 2013

It all starts with a breakup. That's right. The story begins when I was actually engaged to someone else. When I met Mr. Collier for the first time, we were both involved in relationships. Breaking up with my ex-fiance was a long, drawn out process of which, Mr. Collier was not even aware. After Mr. Collier and I met at the beginning of 2008, we stayed in touch with phone calls every few weeks and we always had Facebook. But our communication had ceased because I spoke of how uncertain and uncomfortable my ex felt about me talking to someone [Mr. Collier] that I had only know for a day. [turns out Kyle knew a lot more than I did at the time!] Relationship broken. Wedding cancelled. It's Thanksgiving 2008. Mr. Collier and I went out on a first date a month later to Mammoth Cave and continued visiting each other ever since.




The story doesn't end there. In fact, Mr. Collier will say that he was "hook, line and sinker" but I wasn't so sure. I mean this guy, Mr. Collier, he was special. I knew from the first 24 hours I spent with him our interview weekend that we were supposed to be best friends. I had just gotten out of a serious relationship and wasn't entirely sure that I was ready for another one [knowing full well that any relationship with Mr. Collier would definitely be a serious committed relationship]. I liked him. So I wasn't going to ruin it by dating him too soon and it turning to dust before my eyes. So I went on dates while talking to Mr. Collier. Guys that I met on Match, while out with my girlfriends in social settings and others.

One date changed everything. Matt was a good looking guy with a job. We had grabbed coffee and he invited me out for dinner. It wasn't just any dinner at Panera or Chik-a-Filet, it was a fine Italian restaurant with indoor seating that made you feel as if you were on a Tuscan balcony. Our pre-arranged table was set up under this tree with twinkle lights. [It was romantic]. Matt ordered table service for a bottle of wine and we selected beautiful items from the menu to eat. [Fancy, right?]. And then the conversation started....

I inquired about his hobbies and interests. His family, friends, job--What were they like? And then we arrived at one of my favorite topics, bucket lists. [HAHA! It's true!!]. I asked him what he hoped to accomplish in his life and places he'd like to travel. After a few moments with no answer he inquired about my bucket list and I told him. As far back as I can remember, I had wanted to see inside of a cadaver [in a purely biological, not serial killer type of way!!!!] and I had the opportunity to accomplish this in my senior year of high school at a gross anatomy lab field trip at the end of the year [it was awesome!!!]. His response was nothing short of ideal,"Uhhh, what's a cadaver?" 

The illustrious date began to unravel like a sweater from Old Navy! After our meal I suggested that we travel to the adjacent bookstore, one of my very favorite places in town, to walk around and admire the books. Through our walking and talking it became apparent that he wasn't really interested in books or reading.[super bummer, right?]. And then the straw that broke the camel's back for me was in the local book section on the second floor. There it was. Eye-level on the shelf was a book about Mammoth Caves. I immediately grabbed it with my hand and started flipping through it. I pointed out all of the structures I had seen on my first date with Mr. Collier a few weeks earlier! I was elated! And I knew. 

Matt drove me back to my car. I thanked him for the date, got into my car, and picked up the phone. I had to talk to Mr. Collier. He picked up. I described my date in detail. I told him that I went out with this guy Matt who took me to a fancy and romantic dinner. Then we went to the bookstore and spent a hour walking around. And then I said,"But all it made me think about was YOU. And I think you are it for me."  


  

Top 5 Weekly Pinterest Home Pins w/ Jordan @ All the Small Things

24 July 2013




Hi everyone! I’m Jordan, and I blog over at all the small things…, writing about nerve-wracking adventures, embarrassing medical moments, time management tips, and pretty much anything else that strikes my fancy. I’m in my late twenties but still kind of trying to figure out my life, so in the iconic words of Ludacris, grab yourself a seat and a whiskey double, and come join me on this crazy ride!


I am SO excited at this opportunity to guest post for Mrs. Collier! I am completely obsessed have a totally normal and entirely healthy interest in Pinterest, so I’m even more jazzed to get to share my Top 5 Pinterest finds from this week with all of you!

I don’t have a house yet, but I definitely have a list of projects just ready to go for when I finally do! Here are some of my favorite projects that I’ve added to my list recently.

Ok, I don't have all 62 of these ideas on my list, but I do like a lot of them!!
This is seriously one of the coolest things ever. And I get to drink wine to get the materials. WIN.
I think this is the cutest way to remember birthdays that I have ever seen. 
This will definitely be happening when I have a home office. I love the look of it, plus there's a chalkboard on the side!
I of course plan to have a walk-in pantry in my dream home, so a giant lazy Susan seems like the best idea ever. 

Jalapeno & Bacon Cream Cheese Bites

23 July 2013


Hey there! I'm Lauren, and I blog over at Simply FreeI'm a southern newlywed trying to live out this life as simply & creatively as I can while serving Christ, loving others, and finding an abundance of joy & laughter along the way! I write about life & love, as well as recipes & other crafts I've really enjoyed creating. I am so excited to guest post over here with the lovely miss Sarah while she enjoys some time with the Mr. & wanted to share with y'all one of my favorite easy recipes.


Being from the south, the husband and I love sporting events (War Eagle!) in this family & love to host parties! I generally make dips & he will grill or fry something when we get together at our place, but it's always great to have some "small bite" options aside from dips to feed a hungry crowd.  And as fall and football season are slowly creeping up (school supplies are out y'all!) I wanted to share with y'all one of my favorite hors d'oeuvres. Here is a tasty (& very easy!) recipe for game days or other gatherings. Enjoy!

Jalapeno & Bacon Cream Cheese Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 Oz. Size) Crescent Rolls 
  • 1/2  of a block (8 Oz. Size) cream cheese (we use the 1/3 fat version)
  • 2  medium jalapeno peppers  (sliced into rounds, then quartered)
  • 8-10 slices cooked bacon (chopped into similar size as the peppers)
  • Ranch Dressing (for dipping) - we used Spicy Ranch
Directions:

  • Break crescent rolls into pre-cut triangles, then cut each triangle in half (forming 2 smaller triangles)
  • Place about 1 teaspoon cream cheese on each triangle
  • Place 2-4 jalapeno pepper slices on top of cream cheese
  • Place 4-6 small pieces of bacon on top of that
  • Wrap crescent roll around all, pressing edges together to seal (it's ok if it's not all the way sealed)
  • Bake according to crescent roll package instructions until lightly browned
  • Serve warm, with ranch dressing for dipping

 *note: the first time we made these, we made the jalapeno and bacon slices larger and we both agreed the rolls would benefit from more of each ingredient and making the pieces smaller as well so the pictures show larger pieces. Either will work & be just as tasty :)


I would love to connect with you so come on over to my blog & say hello, follow via GFC, or connect via the other buttons below  :)
Simply Free
  

Marriage Talk w/ Amberly @ Life with Amberly and Joe!

22 July 2013

Hello friends! I am Amberly and I blog over at Life with Amberly and Joe.


Like Sarah, I love to write about married life and being a wife! Joe (referred to as husband on the blog) and I have been married for just a little over two years now, and it has been one fun, wild ride! We have a quirky, fun love story and life with him is never dull. As much as I love the guy, there are a few things he does that have taken a little bit of time for me to learn to live with, but I'm slowly figuring them out and some I've even learned to love!

1- How he uses his charisma to get out of trouble.
My husband has a talent for charming his way out of any corner that he backs himself into. When we were first married, this irritated me more than anything! If I was upset at him about something, I just wanted to be angry gosh dang it!!! But he'd smile his sweet, innocent, handsome smile and bat his long, perfect eyelashes (my children better get those) and say funny things until I couldn't help but laugh. After two years, this is something that I really love. He can turn any bad day around in just a few minutes!

2- His obsession with saving money and budgets. 
This is something that has turned out to be a really good thing in our marriage because I can be kind of a big spender. Money tends to be an exciting topic in our relationship instead of one that causes a lot of contention and fights. Because of his excitement for all things money, all of our cars are paid for, I will never have to take out student loans, we're never tempted to use a credit card, and I have more self control when it comes to spending. Recently we started using our own version of Dave Ramsey's envelope system, and it has been good for the crazy spender in me who would like to buy up everything in sight!

3- He likes simple meals, without strong tasting ingredients.
I love to cook, and try new recipes so I was excited to have a husband to be my guinea pig. I really love to cook with onions and garlic and I love anything that contains pesto, but the husband avoids those things like the plague. My meals are also a little "too fancy" for him, usually if they contain more than five or six ingredients. So I'm learning to tone it down and stick to the basics while still having fun and trying new things.




The biggest thing I've come to realize after two years of marriage is that it's never going to be easy. There will always be things you disagree on and one of you is bound to be annoyed with the way things are done at some point in time. With time and patience, you can learn to accept the way your partner is and that you can't change how they do things. Who knows, you may even learn to love those little quirks!

Pretending To Be Perfect

19 July 2013

TGIF!!!! Can you believe that it is here?! I can't! I am even more excited because Mr. Collier are, as we speak, on a plane heading to the beach for vacation. That's right. While you are sitting here reading, I am eating peanuts for breakfast on a Southwest plane headed to Florida! As such, I've asked some of my favorite blogger to keep you company while I'm gone. They are the best of the best. And I know you won't be disappointed [because I've already read all their posts and you'll love them!].



Hi friends! 
Gotta begin by thanking Mrs. Collier for allowing me to guest post here today. Isn't she just the best?! I love her blog, as I'm sure you do too because, well, you're here. :)

Anyways...my name is Emily and I blog over at Newlywed Moments about everything from romance to recipes to real life. 

Some random facts about me: I got married June 2012 to my best friend and high school sweetheart. I love Jesus. I hate coffee but I’m still addicted to Starbucks. I’m from the northeast but secretly wish I lived in the south. 

But let's get real. Sometimes it can be fun pretending to be perfect. But the truth is, I'm not. I've learned a lot of things lately, and had a lot of "whoops" moments.

Thought I'd share my top five with ya whoops moments of the week with ya!

1. "I'll have dinner ready by 5" doesn't mean start at 4:55. Whoops.

2. I should really buy some stock in a paper towel company. Bought a roll of paper towels Friday and it was gone by Monday. Whoops.

3. Creative DIYs are not my thing. I tried to be thrifty and do handmade curtains, but ended up in a crying mess over it. Whoops.

4. A "clove" of garlic is one little piece inside the thing of garlic you buy at the grocery store. When a recipe calls for nine cloves of garlic, it doesn't mean you buy nine huge things. Whoops.

5. To the sketchy guy who pounded on my door at 6:30 PM when my husband's not home. Sorry, not going to answer. Oh wait, you were delivering a package for me and now I have to walk to the leasing office to get it? 

Whoops.
What were some of your "whoops" moments this week?


Whoop! Whoop! Daisy & June Sponsor Spotlight

18 July 2013



Allow me to introduce my lovely sponsor for the month, MJ at Daisy and June. I only provide one big-time sponsor spot per month which allows all my attention to focus on you, your blog and promoting the wonderful things you say and do! Interested? Visit my sponsor page or just click here

Kathy a.k.a. MJ (stands for Modern June) is such an awesome lady. She blogs about her family, crafting, and daily adventures. Some of her favorite things include a cool breeze on her face when she's driving, the feeling when her favorite song of the moment comes on the radio, the way her husband smells when he is grilling [man smell is just delicious, right ladies?], the sound of her kids giggling and a cold adult beverage after a long day. And she has plenty of those with two businesses Daisy & June and The Savvy Craft as well as keeping up with a fun family of four! On top of that she is going to start homeschooling this fall! [Talk about a full plate! Like Old Country Buffet full! I will never complain about not having free time again!!!] I told you MJ was amazing!

She started her blog back in February of this year and has been chugging away ever since! My favorite posts of hers includes her Ten Things that Make Her Really Happy Post, her Light Weight Infinity Scarf Tutorial which really makes me want to learn to sew, and her posts on Teaching Her Daughter to Love Herself. I love her confidence and you can really tell that MJ is comfortable in her own skin. You go girl!! 

Although she calls herself a "baby blogger" she doesn't put too much pressure on herself. She blogs for fun about things that she is interested in. Her mantra is "There is always room for growth, one day at a time." Her biggest blogging achievement did come through a series she wrote on breastfeeding babies called "boobiegate." For this series, she interviewed fellow mommy friends and compiled beautiful pictures of moms feeding their babies. It is a powerful series. She says," It was an amazingly beautiful experience to have so many women trust me with their stories. I received quite a few touching emails from women thanking me for speaking out about all kinds of feeding and not just promoting one. To know that people came, saw and connected with what I had done meant the world to me."

MJ also shared her five go-to bloggers that she visits coffee in hand each morning. 
[I'd also recommend that you check them out!]

I obviously love To Be Mrs Collier - I was so nervous to apply to sponsor - I can neither confirm or deny I did a happy dance when I was approved ;) We have a so much in common and I love a woman who talks about her marriage in a positive way <3 That really speaks to me. I sometimes feel like I am all alone in this world of traditional marriage and reading Sarah's post on her marriage just hit home with me.

The Naptown Organizer - Jayne is amazing, she is a dear friend of mine and my kind of mom. She is that friend who always has something positive to say and who doesn't need that kind of bright spot in their life? As you may know from reading my blog I am kind of an accidental hippie and Jayne is often my go to hippie, crunchy guru.


The Pleated Poppy - I love everything about Lindsey's blog. Her fashion, her home school adventures, her creativity is always inspiring. And dang it if she isn't always smiling and just spilling over with happiness!


Confessions of a Pioneer Woman - This woman(Ree) is one of my idols. You know that game -  who would you invite to dinner?? Yeah she's on my list. I get to actually share air with her in a few weeks at Blog Her! She made me fall in love with cooking - not throw something in the pan and call it a day but get in there and get your hands dirty cooking. She is also a spitfire and that is something I can really appreciate it.


Walking In Memphis in High Heels  - Laura is another one of my favorite blogs to read while I sip my morning coffee. She is so sunny and southern sweet. She has a killer sense of fashion that I live vicariously through as most of my clothes current have some form of baby spit up on them.

Make sure you stop by Daisy & June and say hello to MJ as well as follow her on 

Facebook, Bloglovin', Instagram and Pinterest