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!