Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Birthday Fun

This week Justin and I are both on Vacation. I am finally finished with summer school so I can have a quick summer break before school starts back and Justin has this whole week off! We have been busy going to the beach, eating our fair share of crab cakes and shrimp, sleeping in and celebrating my 26th birthday and Henson's second birthday! We decided to have a staycation at my moms house in Holden Beach which is just a short 30 minutes from our house. I'm ready to get back to vacay mode so I'm going to jump right in! 

Henson turned a big two years old last Friday! His birthday falls just 3 days before my birthday so we decided to have Justin's parents over for dinner to celebrate. I was itching to try out Christina from North Carolina Charm's layered Funfetti birthday cake with whipped butter cream frosting (recipe here). It turned out excellent! I will be saving this recipe for future birthdays! I also made Henson some doggy edible pupcakes for his big day. They had peanut butter frosting so needless to say he LOVED them. 

Happy second birthday Henson! .. and here is to year 26 for me! 


Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer Reading List

One thing I have been trying to more of this summer is reading! I absolutely love reading but sometimes it gets pushed to the back burner to make time for other things. This summer I've made a conscious effort to turn off the TV and pick up a book. Whenever I'm looking for a new book to read I always look to other blogs and friends for suggestions. So let's get to it.. here are a few suggestions if you are looking for a new book this summer! 

1. The Husbands Secret- This one had me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out WHAT the husband characters secret actually was. Once I figured that out it got a little slow but then picked back up at the end with a  HUGE twist. The ending of this book had me speechless thinking about so much. Overall I really liked this book and would definitely recommend it! 

2. Dear Carolina- I first picked up this book because the author Kristen Woodson Harvey is from NC, attended UNC and ECU and this first book is set in Kinston, not far from my college town (ECU)! I just had too many connections to her to not pick up this book and I am SO glad I did. This book is southern fiction, which I love. The characters were so relatable I was sad to say bye to them at the end! This book gets 5 starts in my opinion! 

3. Lies and Other Acts of Love- Since I LOVED Dear Carolina so much I immediately picked up Harvey's second book- Lies and Other Acts of Love. Once again, I couldn't put it down. I absolutely love this new author and can't wait to see what she comes out with next! 

4. Me Before You- I was recommended this book by a friend and wanted to make sure to read it before going to see the movie. As in most cases I think this book is much better than the movie. I felt like I really got to see first hand the emotions all of the characters went through that could be easily missed in the movie. This book was a little predictable but still really good. 

5. Hissy Fit- I love anything by Mary Kay Andrews and this one had been on my "to read list"  for a while now. It is a light summer read for sure that was cute, funny and kept me turning the pages. I loved getting to know the main character Keeley who fittingly threw a major hissy fit in the first few chapters. I would read this book again! It also included a recipe for a grits and greens casserole that I am now itching to make! 

6. Where'd you go Bernadette- I can't really review this one yet because I just started it. So far so good so I will let you know once I finish! 

What are you reading or have read that you love? I am always looking for books to add to my to read list!! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wedding Registry: Must Haves

As our one year wedding anniversary approaches (August 8th!!!!) and my sisters wedding gets closer I can't help but think back to all of the fun pre wedding activities. Wedding planning, showers, parties and of course- completing our wedding registry! I put a lot of thought into our registry, making sure to register for things I knew would get a lot of use for our lifestyle and make sure I covered all the bases. Now that I have put all of our gifts to use for a (almost) full year I wanted to share some of my favorite items that have made life easier and cooking more fun! I didn't list things like place settings, linens and towels because those are oh so important but a given. Here are a few of my favorite items that you may or may not have thought about. 

1. A good vacuum- This is one of those things where you think your parents old hammy down vacuum is doing just fine UNTIL one day when you get a new one and realize just what you were missing out on. I LOVE our Shark vacuum that has a clear canister. I am able to empty it after each use and am always AMAZED at all that it picked up. It's instant gratification! 

2. A knife set- This was one of the more pricey items on our list but it is something that gets daily use. If you cook a lot you will be amazed in the difference a good knife makes. If well taken care of they should also last a lifetime! 

3. Steamer- I had no idea how nice a steamer was going to be until we received ours. It heats up quickly and can be used on anything, from delicate shirts to shower curtains. I've even steamed my bed skirt before. This small handheld steamer we have is so easy to use. This is one of those things that once you get it, you wonder how you ever lived without. 

4. Kitchen Aid- This is an item I debated on because of the price tag but ended up getting with gift cards and am SO glad I did. If you cook/bake a decent amount then I think you will be surprised how handy this piece of equipment can be! We chose a dark grey and love the way it looks on our counter. It's nice not to have to dig out a handheld mixer from the cabinets every time. This one is always on our counter ready to go. One last thing about the Kitchen Aid is it's something that you might not ever purchase yourself so during your wedding is the opportune time to go ahead and splurge. You may have a family member looking for an extra nice gift to give or be able to purchase yourself with gift cards after the wedding- most places offer discounts on remaining registry items after the big day. 

5. Pyrex baking dish WITH lids- the small addition of having lids that fit your Pyrex dishes makes a HUGE difference. No more fighting with saran wrap and aluminum foil. These lids fit perfect and snap right on. They sell Pyrex now that comes with the lids and are so inexpensive. This seriously has been one the nicest things to have!  You can shop them here.

6. Mattress Pad- another item you didn't know you couldn't live without until you get one. A simple item that can make a huge difference in a good nights sleep! We also invested in nice pillows which has made night time that much sweeter. 

7. A Dutch oven- I'll be honest and tell you this is the one item I did not get but is on my wish list. I have huge regret not adding this to my registry! I think a dutch oven makes a huge impact with soups/stews and braised meats! 

8. A Salad Spinner- One last simple, inexpensive item that makes ALL the difference if you buy a lot of lettuce. Being able to wash and then spin your lettuce to get rid of the extra moisture will make your lettuce last much longer. It is also a great way to store your lettuce. Just wash, spin, dump the water (you will be amazed how much water comes off your lettuce!) and then store the container in the fridge! Easy and will save you money by not wasting unused lettuce! 

What is your favorite wedding gift you received or registered for?

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Final Hoorah: Ginny's Bachelorette

Let me back up and say if you didn't see this post (you can read here) my little sister is engaged! She is getting married in November but one of her best friends and bridesmaids leaves for graduate school in Mississippi next weekend so we decided to do the Bachelorette party early to make sure she could attend! We celebrated my little sister, Ginny, this weekend in Holden Beach. She wanted a low key, beach filled, relaxing but fun time with 5 of her closest friends and that is exactly what she got! 

of course I had to make favors for the girls! Each girl received a sand bucket with a personalized coozie with their monogram, a pineapple cup, lei, mini wine and midnight snack chocolate chip cookies. 

A few of us were able to get down there Thursday night just in time to have a glass of wine and catch up on whats new. Friday morning we started the day with pedicures and met the other girls for lunch at our favorite Holden Beach restaurant- Provision. They have the BEST crab cakes, shrimp burgers and I can't forget Rum Dums- rum, pineapple juice, blue curacao, and soaked pineapple chunks-.. so yummy! We took it easy the rest of the day until it was time for Friday night celebrations. We set up a homemade pizza bar and made margaritas for dinner. We also threw Ginny a lingerie shower and had some fun games like jeopardy set up. We spent the whole night laughing and having the best time! 

Saturday we had breakfast and headed out to the beach. We had games set up to play so there was never a dull moment. That night we headed out to dinner and then decided to call it an early night. The weekend was an absolute blast! Now on to counting down to the big day when Ginny becomes Mrs Collins! 

me and my sissy aka bride! 


Monday, June 20, 2016

Girls Weekend Catch Up

Has it really been a month since I posted? The last month has just flown by! I finished up year number four teaching first grade. (yay!) It was a great school year but I was also thrilled to see summer break come! I have about a week and a half break between the end of the school year and the start of teaching summer reading camp so I have been soaking up every minute of this little mini vacation). My past month involved visiting moms Holden Beach house, a girls weekend, a family reunion and celebrating Fathers day!

Even though we had girls weekend several weekends ago, it was so much fun I have to make sure to recap it! I spent the weekend at Holden beach with my mom and sister, best friend Ashley and moms best friend and daughter. Us six girls have been through it all together so it's always fun to have a little get away together! Friday night everyone arrived and we relaxed on the porch, opened some good wine and played a new game called The Game of Things (it was SO much fun!). Saturday we enjoyed a nice breakfast outside before heading to the beach for the day. 

Mom had no idea that we had a little surprise up our sleeve for Saturday night! She had just celebrated her birthday so we rented out a private pontoon boat to have  a sunset cruise. It was definitely the highlight of the weekend. We had absolutely perfect weather, a beautiful view, and plenty of delicious food and champagne. 

Of course the weekend wouldn't have been complete without some personalized cups and wine glasses! I'm already counting down the days until we can all get together again. Weekends like that are good for the soul! 

Monday, May 23, 2016


I'll go ahead and warn you I took my fair share of pictures this weekend! When you have a gorgeous view that is just what you do!! Justin and I had such a nice and low key weekend. Friday when we got off work we were both ready for some mental relaxation. Justin LOVES doing yard work.. crazy right?! So he headed outdoors and I spent the evening trying out some calligraphy. I have always wanted to learn and even bought a book last year but was so busy wedding planning I never had the time to dig in. I pulled the book and tools out that have been sitting in the corner of our bedroom and got to work. It was so relaxing! I am going to continue practicing and trying to learn this new skill! Saturday I had a to babysit all morning and early afternoon. As soon as I finished up we headed to the Holden house for the night. We had another couple over Saturday night to grill out burgers and take in the view. We were so busy catching up I never got a picture after they arrived.

Sunday was spent relaxing in the morning- coffee, the news, cloudy skies and a nap before we finally ventured out of the house at noon. We tried out a {new to us} restaurant and took a walk at the far end of Holden beach. I have been to Holden beach many times but have never walked to the far east end. We walked as far as we could to the very end where at low tide you can see and almost walk right to Oak Island. It was breathtakingly beautiful yesterday. We had the BEST time taking in the view, snapping pictures and watching the boats. We even stumbled on this mailbox hidden in the dunes. It is called the Holden Golden Memories mailbox and inside are notebooks and a pen where people that pass by can jot down a thought, note, letter or whatever they please. I know there is a similar mailbox like this on Ocean Isle Beach but had no idea Holden had one. It was such a fun surprise! Justin and I both left a little note inside! Right after that the poor hubby had an accident cutting his foot on an oyster shell so we ended the walk to head home and doctor him up. We managed to still sneak in an ice-cream break before ending the day. Weekends truly are the best! I was super sad to see this one end. I don't want to wish time away but I'm already counting down to next weekend! 

isn't this how every 5:00 should be spent?!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Five

Hello, Friday! It has been quite the week at work. We have the countdown on for the end of the school year. (ONLY 12 more school days!!!) It is taking every bit of energy I have to keep my little ones engaged. This weekend we don't have anything too crazy planned, just some rest, babysitting, house cleaning, and grilling out with friends. Bring it on 4:00 pm!

One. Happy Mail. I LOVE when I get my new Our State and Southern Living magazines in the mail each month. Just seeing the always gorgeous seasonal covers makes me so excited! I'm planning on making my own Southern Sip this evening and digging in to the newest editions! 

Two. Speaking of Southern Sips, or maybe just refreshing sips I have a new favorite cocktail. I don't drink a lot of mixed drinks (I prefer wine/beer) but I'll be making an exception for this drink. Alexandra at Alexandra Bee Blog gave me the idea. I couldn't find coconut La Croix that she suggested so I used grapefruit with citrus vodka and a lime. It is SO refreshing and perfect if you don't care for sugary/juice mixers. It is going to be my go to drink during the hot summer that will soon be here! 

Three. It is no secret that I ADORE my dog, Henson. He has been cracking me up all week with his teddy bear. He can rip through a stuffed animal in a matter of seconds but every now and then he takes to one and actually takes care of it. His newest friend is this teddy bear. He has been carrying him around the house with him everywhere he goes and snuggling up with him when he sleeps. It is just so darn cute!  

Four. I really want to jump on the one piece band wagon this year.  I honestly think a nice one piece can be more flattering than a two piece some times! I'm on the hunt for one that is still "young" and doesn't cost a fortune. I really don't want to spend $100+ dollars on one bathing suit and so many of them are in that price range! Any suggestions on where to look?

Five. It's no secret that I love the little things in life- like this dish towel! I found this adorable flamingo dish towel at World Market for only $5! They had a TON of really cute options. It is the perfect accessory to our kitchen this summer! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


This past weekend was the perfect balance of relaxing and productive. The hubs I were so excited to head over to moms new house after work on Friday. We got there just in time to eat a sub, watch the sun set and poor a drink. My favorite part of the night was watching Henson check the place out. He absolutely LOVES it there. He did almost give himself a slight concussion running full speed into the sliding glass door and is going to have to get used to the floating dock that moves up and down with the tide. Ha, he is the funniest dog to watch. (; On Saturday I had no problem waking up early because I headed straight for the rocking chairs on the porch to sip my coffee and watch the sun come up. I want to spend as many mornings as I can like that. There is something so peaceful about water! Saturday was spent exploring Holden Beach, catching some sun and cocktails on the dock. Saturday evening we packed up meet family for dinner to celebrate Justin's cousin's birthday at our favorite restaurant. If you vacation near N Myrtle Beach I highly suggest doing dinner at Boardwalk Billy's one night. They have a huge outdoor patio, corn hole, good food and live music just about every night. We had a huge crowd at Carlee's birthday dinner. Isn't that the best though?! Thankful for a large family that keeps expanding! 

the shrimp burgers at Holden Beach are the BEST. They actually patty the shrimp together here

Sunday was low key and productive. Just what I needed before heading back to work on Monday.  I babysat most of the day on Sunday. When I got home I was able to cross some dreaded task off the todo list: clean the ceiling fans and move couches to retrieve lost dog bones and clean the floor. I was sad to see the weekend come to an end but I'm also ready to get the work week started. We are in the final countdown at school (16 more days!!)