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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. 

The Heart of Blogging

07 December 2014

Recently, I've missed blogging. It was such a huge part of my life that I cannot believe that I ever let it go. Been there?

Well, I'm deeply considering returning to the blog. What the blog will be about it beyond me. After these past 8 months off, I've realized that whatever comes out of this return, I'm not about making a profit or getting free stuff. I'm not interested in participating in 100 link-ups a week or running contents to get viewership. I don't want a label on my little slice of stage.

I am going to write about what I know. About being real. 

#intentionallifeproject and some news for To Be Mrs. Collier

28 March 2014

Hello friends! It is time to wrap up the intentional life project for April. My world has literally turned upside-down with finishing my dissertation and starting my first full-time job. I am just overwhelmed with trying to "do it all" so I must admit, I am going to be taking a hiatus from blogging. It's not that I don't care or don't love interacting with all of you, rather, I haven't figured out the balance stuff yet. Hopefully, in the near future that will change. But until then, it is going to be a little thin around these parts.

I am happy to close my blogging (for now) with the #intentionallifeproject. This month my goal was to manage my spending particularly when it comes to working full time. Well, the one success that I had last month was the Starbucks gift card loading to control my spending!

I'd highly recommend following up with the Intentional Life Project for the remainder of the year...seriously you won't be disappointed!!!


Welcome to the third month of The Intentional Life Project. We are so excited you stumbled upon this new community - we can't wait to have you join us!
(If you participated in March's goal, note the deadline below for sharing your progress!)

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What is the Intentional Life Project?

The Intentional Life Project is a community where we can hold each other accountable for our personal goals – whether they are small or super life-changing. We want this to be an easy, feasible, way for each of you to tackle those goals that mean the most to you. Unlike most blog projects, this does not require link-ups, which means this is for every reader – not just bloggers! The project revolves around our printable Goal Tracker - which you use to track your own goal every month. The only requirement is that you share this goal tracker via Instagram on the last weekday of month - using the hashtag #IntentionalLifeProject! This qualifies you to win that month's prize.

THE HOSTS

The Hosts
Ginny // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Bre // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
 

OUR APRIL CO-HOST

If you would like to co-host for a complete month, please email Bre at: peacoatsnplaid{at}gmail{dot}com.
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Amy // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
 

How can I participate?

April's theme is Time Management. The prize for April is a $10 gift card towards the ListLab Shop on Etsy which offers awesome planner printable kits!
FIRST follow the hosts so you get updates and notifications about each month's theme and winner!
SECOND create your own personal goal under this month's theme. Try to pick a challenge - something that you want to develop long-term. This could be a daily, weekly, or long-term goal. You can repeat as many of your previous goals as you want, as well. Examples are:
  • To spend 30 minutes a day with in quality time with a family member
  • To begin each morning with 30 minutes scheduling your week
  • To read a certain number of time management books
  • To adopt a new planner or scheduler for the month
  • To track how many minutes you spend on each activity
THIRD print off the Goal Tracker and start tracking every day you work on this project.
OPTIONALLY link-up with us on the dates below. You can link up your goals, your tips and tricks, inspiration - or just how you are doing. Stop by any of these three hosts' blogs to see everyone's progress :).
LASTLY share a photo of your Goal Tracker on Instagram #IntentionalLifeProject on the last weekday of the month. You will be qualified to win this month's prize.

 

What are the deadlines?

MONDAY March 31 - Share your March goal tracker on Instagram #IntentionalLifeProject to win a $10 towards the Super Sweet Life Shop on Etsy which offers a budget planner printable kit! (This is an awesome Etsy shop full of budgeting brilliance - make sure you stop by!)
FRIDAY April 11 - If you have a blog, link up your April goal to share among the community!
FRIDAY April 25 - Join our second link-up and let us know about your progress!
WEDNESDAY April 30 - Share your April goal tracker on Instagram #IntentionalLifeProject to win a $10 gift card towards the ListLab Shop on Etsy which offers awesome planner printable kits! Make sure you stop by their Etsy shop for time management inspiration :).

DOWNLOAD YOUR GOAL TRACKER HERE

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#intentionalifeproject

22 March 2014

Hi friends. Budgeting is important and setting goals is too. Remember my goal? I know I'd have trouble remembering if I didn't write it down. Mine was to be mindful of my Starbucks addiction now that my new office building has one right downstairs. Easy access is never a good thing. 

How did I resolve to keep the budget on task? Well, I have a Starbucks gift card that I reload each week and only pay using it. Once I run out for my allotted coffee funds, it is over for the week. Bummer when that hits (and it certainly gets there) so I am stuck with the office stuff or whatever I bring from home. But these are just little ways that I am working on living intentionally. 


Just a little word about The Intentional Life Project.
This is not a secret, scary club! You don't have to start from the very beginning to participate - or even finish your monthly goal to participate. We want you to feel comfortable starting mid-month. Or starting on the last week! Or, combining our goal tracker with your own goal-setting plans! All we really want is to encourage you and reward you in setting goals. So, what are you waiting for? Let's start something 
together!
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It's time to link up our March goals and progress for the Intentional Life Project - under the theme "Improving the Budget"! If you are taking part in the Intentional Life Project, we'd love for you to share your goal, your inspiration - or your favorite tips. If you don't have a blog, we'd love for you to share a copy of your goal tracker on Instagram! Don't forget to hashtag #IntentionalLifeProject! We also have an exclusive Google Plus Community for The Intentional Life Project. This is a fabulous way to share your goals and encourage each other with your monthly progress. Please email Ginny and request to be invited. Information about the project and a downloadable goal tracker can be found here. If you want to get just Intentional Life Project posts by email - sign up here!  

THE HOSTS

The Hosts
Ginny // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Bre // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
 

OUR MARCH CO-HOST

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Sarah // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
 

THE INTENTIONAL LIFE PROJECT LINK-UP

  1. Follow your hosts and co-hosts and enjoy reading about their monthly goals!
  2. Read a few fellow link-ups and comment on their blogs. After all, the goal is to cheer your friends on!
  3. Please link up your goal status, inspiration, tips, or progress! If you want, include a photo of your goal tracker! Please link up your exact post url - not your blog's homepage, unrelated projects, or giveaways. They will be deleted.
  4. Share! Let your friends know that you want them to join in! Don't forget to hashtag #IntentionalLifeProject!
The Intentional Life Project

where are we going to go from here?

03 March 2014

Whew! It has been quite awhile since I sat down at my laptop to compose a blog post. Whether you are just joining or stumbling through, I've spent the past 6-8 weeks authoring my dissertation, defending it and obtaining my Ph.D. after six long years [happy dance!!!]. 

I sort of feel like I'm at a crossroads unsure of where to go next, hence the title of this post. Consider this some sort of blah-blah rambling post if you will but I have no other idea of how to begin! Maybe it's because I've had this career goal for six years and now I need to figure out a new goal for my life. 



#IntentionalLifeProject by improving the budget

26 February 2014

Welcome to the second month of The Intentional Life Project! We are finishing up our "Staying Healthy" month - and launching into a new theme! Make sure you share your February Goal Tracker from February on FRIDAY on Instagram! Share with the hashtag #IntentionalLifeProject to qualify to win the prize of a $10 Amazon gift card! To see all previous posts and themes, and to sign up for the project, please see this informational page!


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The Intentional Life Project is a way to create community while making life intentional - through each of us working on our personal goals. This month's project is brought to you by these fabulous women:
If you would like to co-host for a complete month, please email Bre at: peacoatsnplaid{at}gmail{dot}com.

THE HOSTS

The Hosts
Ginny // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Bre // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
 

OUR MARCH CO-HOST

IMG_7368
Sarah // Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
 

THE RULES

March's theme is Improving the Budget. The prize for March is $10 towards the Super Sweet Life Shop on Etsy which offers a budget planner printable kit for $10.

FIRST follow these women so you get updates and notifications about each month's theme and winner!

SECOND create your own personal goal under the theme Improving the Budget. Try to pick a challenge - something that you want to develop long-term. This could be a daily, weekly, or long-term goal. Examples are:
  • Balance checkbook every day
  • Limit spending to just groceries and gas all month
  • Download a new budget workbook and complete all month
  • Start budgeting with an online program all month (like Mint.com)
  • Read a few books by Dave Ramsey and use some of his budgeting resources
**If you did the project last month, you can repeat your previous goals as well - giving you MULTIPLE habit-forming goals!! There are enough lines on the goal tracker to do this for every month!**

THIRD print off the Goal Tracker and on MARCH 1 start tracking every day you work on this project!

OPTIONALLY link-up with us on March 7th and 21st! You can link up your goals, your tips and tricks, inspiration - or just how you are doing. Stop by any of these three hosts' blogs to see everyone's progress :).

LASTLY share a photo of your Goal Tracker on Instagram on MARCH 31 with the hashtag #IntentionalLifeProject. You will be qualified to win $10 towards the Super Sweet Life Shop on Etsy which offers a budget planner printable kit for $10!

Here is your goal tracker - so make sure you download it by March 1! There is also an example of how to fill it out. If you leave a comment with your goal - then we would love to encourage you this month! Have a great month!

DOWNLOAD YOUR GOAL TRACKER HERE

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tracker example

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It's v-day ya'll..Collier style

14 February 2014




Our marriage theme this week is understanding.





We're not super over-the-moon for celebrating Valentine's Day but I have been known to receive some killer gifts from Mr. Collier. For instance this little beauty.





He made me this framed photo art our first Valentine's Day and it proudly hangs just outside our bedroom. He took photos from our first three dates and made the collage. Receiving this gift sealed the deal and shortly thereafter I told him I loved him for the first time. This year, I've been working my tail off to complete my Ph.D. and Mr. Collier bought me something sparkly for Valentine's Day this year telling me how proud he is of me! Sweetness!!!



Here's a little 5 on Friday:

5- Two more weeks and my graduate career is through! HOORAY!!!! 



4- I'm having a shopping date with my friend Mel to buy some new black heels this weekend.  I've colored in the scuffed places as much as I could have with black sharpie and now it is time to upgrade! 

3-I bought a groupon for a manicure and pedicure to loosen up before my defense and I'm going to have cash in on that soon!

2- I got diamond earrings from Mr. Collier for Valentine's Day! 

1- I'm heading to San Francisco on Wednesday. Any "must-dos" that you recommend during my two day stay [particularly places to eat]??




Sweetheart Swap for Galentine's Day

13 February 2014


Sweetheart Swap


I had such a fun time getting to know Casey, my sweetheart swap partner. AND she sent me the most amazing assortment of treats from her home state of Oregon!  



Yes, bacon loaded caramels exist!...There were four before this picture was taken. 



And I love them too especially these dark chocolate ones!!! 





Slap Silly in Love

07 February 2014


Our theme this week is silly. Yup. Slap silly all up in here! 
[but at least we are stinking cute about it]



Happy Friday friends! 

5- I have 100 pages written of my dissertation and I am three weeks away from earning those three little letters for the second time in my life [get it? MRS. the first and now PhD].

4- I saw a mouse run through our kitchen two mornings ago. We caught him. But I can't get over thinking there are more waiting to appear....yuck!

3- I may or may not [but definitely am] getting loopy from all the work I have been doing. The "Tiny Toon Adventures" theme song may have come out of my mouth this morning! 

2- I need socks. Like bad. From regular old white socks to dress socks especially are void in my life. 

1- I am experiencing my first "lasts" at work. My last experiment, my last time putting gloves on, my last...etc.. you get it. AND IT IS GLORIOUS!


Marriage & Relationship Goals Link-up

03 February 2014


What is your position on Valentine's Day? Are you a lover or a hater? 

In all truthfulness, I'm luke warm. Whereas I find myself wanting to feel all gushy about my main squeeze a.k.a. Mr. Collier, I find myself becoming one of "those people" who don't need a holiday to feel it let alone express it. Get what I'm sayin'??

Now having gone through the Love Dare and 5 Love Languages study, I now appreciate that Mr. Collier is a quality time sort of guy. Paradoxically [can you tell that I've been writing my dissertation much???] I haven't had much spare time as I'm wrapping up my doctoral studies culminating in my defense on Feb 27th.

So my monthly marriage goal will be to focus at least 30 minutes of quality listening during our quality time. Not focusing on what I want to say next in response to his stories, antidotes about his day, etc but rather listening intently to forge that connection. 


What is your goal this month for your marriage?

Marriage & Relationship Goals

New to the Marriage & Relationship Goals Link-up? Goals help our relationships grow stronger and get better with time as well as help us move forward and avoid the "ruts" of life. This link-up was created in hopes of inspiring your relationship with your significant other no matter your chapter in life and love. We would love for you to join us in making the things we do in our relationships intentional.  If you would like more information, click here. If you would like to sign up for the newsletter, click here. If you are interested in cohosting, click here.