Happy Late Blogiversary + Whole Foods Giveaway!

If this blog were a real person, then I would so be in the doghouse right now.

Y’all, I completely forgot about the exact date of my blogiversary. Probably because it was on a Saturday (October 25th was the date of my first post) and let’s face it, anniversaries or birthdays that fall on the weekend normally get overlooked.

It seems crazy to me that I have been blogging for a whole year now. What’s even crazier is how much I have been able to experience in the span of this year. I’m so incredibly grateful that I started this blog at the time that I did. Now, I have a way to go back and relive some of those memories. Here’s just a few pictures from this past year because it’s my blog and I can get a little sentimental if I want to : )

The whole group with Ted

Short hair

IMG_3820

disney-marathon-2014-review

kitten-adoption

Meeting Daniel Radcliffe

ziplining

Also, I am so thankful that through this blog, I have been able to get to know such funny, smart, strong and empowering women! I cannot say enough what a blessing and encouragement y’all have been to me over the past year. It’s so ridiculously cool to me that through this technology of blogging, I’m able to have friends all around the country and world even!

So as a bit of a ‘thank you’ for being faithful readers and friends over the past year, I want to do a small little personal giveaway. It’s not much, but just something to let y’all know how much I do appreciate each of you sharing this journey with me.

So, enter below for your chance to win a $25 Whole Foods gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How long have you been blogging?

Are you a big fan of celebrating even the small things in life?

If you are dressing up for Halloween this year, what is your costume?

 

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Amish Peanut Butter Recipe

Hey again!

Hope you had a great weekend! Mine was pretty low key. I hung around the house, did some cleaning, watched some Netflix (started House of Cards – whattt), went to a “glow in the dark” yoga class (one of the coolest ideas ever), went to church, booked my plane ticket to NYC for Christmas (yesssss! It’s happening again!). What about you? Anything fun?

Today, I want to share with y’all one of my favorite childhood recipes: Amish Peanut Butter.

Remember how my Dad and I went up to Greenville last weekend for his birthday? Well, along the way to Greenville, we pass through this small town called Abbeville. Right outside of Abbeville is the cutest little Amish bakery in America (in my opinion anyway). Every time we drive to Greenville, we always have to stop and get some Amish goodies. Those Amish – they know how to make some bread and cakes!

I can’t remember quite how old I was when we first stopped at the Amish bakery. Maybe around 11?  I have a vague recollection of me in an Old Navy hoodie with terrible bangs and not a hair straightener in sight. But I do remember the first time we bought the Amish peanut butter. It was unlike any peanut butter my mouth had ever tasted. Who needed jelly when you had this stuff?

amish peanut butter recipe

For those of you who have never tried Amish peanut butter, it’s basically a really sweet and thick version of peanut butter. It can almost double as a dessert on its own. So, after years of wondering exactly what magical properties the Amish mixed into their peanut butter, I finally just googled it and discovered that I wasn’t alone in my Amish peanut butter love. Plus, it turns out that it’s incredibly easy to make. After some trial and error, I think I found a recipe that is the closest match to the consistency and sweetness of the peanut butter I get near Abbeville. Let me share…

amish peanut butter recipe

Super easy right?

Just how I like my food!

Amish peanut butter is so versitile too. I normally just put some on my bread. But you can also serve it as a dip for apples or graham crackers. Add it to some oatmeal or as an ice cream topping even.

Now, if I could only figure out a recipe for their caramel cake. Perhaps, it’s better that I have to drive an hour to get it…

Have you ever tried Amish Peanut Butter?

What foods stick out the most to you from your childhood?

Glow in the dark yoga. Cool or crazy?

House of Cards anyone?

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A Day in My Life

I love day in the life posts. I mean that in the most non-stalkerish way possible. There’s something interesting about seeing how other people go about their days. Sometimes, it leaves me in awe – like, how do some of y’all fit everything in one day? We got some Superwomen bloggers out there!

So, I’m finally jumping on the “day in the life” train. Here was how my Wednesday went down:

6:50 AM – My alarm clock is set for 7:00, but I am awakened by the sound of tiny feet sprinting across my house and jumping on walls. Thanks, cats…

7:00 – 7:30 AM – I stumble out of my room into the kitchen to fix breakfast (Shakeology) and read blogs while trying to wake up and remember which year it is. I tell ya, waking up is a hard process for me.

7:30 – 7:45 AM – Get ready for work: wash face, brush teeth, do hair, try to look alive and presentable, get dressed.

7:47 AM – Leave for work

8:04 AM – Get to work. After catching up with coworkers, it’s time to hit the e-mails and begin the day’s work – I mean, fun : )

11:45 AM – 12:10 PM – Make/eat lunch while answering e-mails. Since, I had some errands to run during my lunch break, I made my actual meal into a working lunch.

working lunch

1:00 – 2:00 PM - My lunch break. I had to run to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get a shower gift for my friend. During this trip, I realized that BB&B is my spirit store. It just gets me.

wine and chocolate

cat-lover

Do both of these signs just not completely sum up my life?

After BB&B, I walked next door to Petsmart to get Oliver and Luna some food and treats. I can’t go in there and not stop to visit with the kittens up for adoption. I saw this sweet girl who only has one eye like my Luna. It took every ounce of my self-control to not walk out of there with her.

cat-adoption

3:30 PM - Snack time! (apple)

5:00 PM - Get me outta here! Done with work for the day.

5:15 – 5:30 PM – Get home and feed my cats. I also give them a few new toys. Oliver proceeds to run around the house growling with his new toy in his mouth. Someone needs a lesson on sharing. I check my mail and see the Popsugar box from Erin at HerHeartlandSoul  has arrived. It was filled with goodies like this scarf:

pop sugar box review

5:30 – 6:05 PM – Do a few core workout videos on Youtube.

6:05 – 6:30 PM – Try to salvage whatever makeup I have left on and make my hair look not as dirty. Change into cuter clothes.

6:45 PM - Walk over to my friend/neighbor’s house so we can ride together to our friend’s bridal shower.

7:00 – 9:30 PM – Bridal shower for my friend, Robyn. Robyn is actually marrying one of my childhood best friends, Will. The shower was thrown by the girls in our small group at church. It was a dessert party, so my dinner consisted of pumpkin cheesecake cupcake and some chocolate/caramel/oatmeal gooey bar. No complaints here. I would have taken a picture, but I’m still kinda new to the small group and haven’t shown my weirdo blogger side yet. I did manage to take a picture of a cute craft idea we did.

homemade ornaments

Since this will be Robyn and Will’s first Christmas together as a married couple, we all made ornaments to help jump start them with their Christmas decoration collection. Even though my craft skills are severely lacking, I thought this was a really unique and thoughtful bridal shower idea.

9:45 – 10:00 PM – Get home, take a quick shower, play with the cats.

10:00 – 11:00 PM – Watch Nashville while working on this blog post.

11:15 PM – Brush teeth and time for bed!

Phew! That was a day. Normally, I like to be in bed closer to 10, but Wednesday nights I get a little crazy and stay up til 11 to watch Nashville. Party over here!

Do you like reading these ‘day in the life’ posts?

What’s the most unique game or thing you have done at a bridal shower?

Are you a  crafty person or do you just look at Pinterest in a mixed state of confusion and awe (like me)?

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The Voice of Truth

Happy Wednesday!

Is it November yet?? Kidding. But kinda sorta not really. I’m just ready for November to be here!

If you follow me on the ole Instagram, then you might have seen me post this photo last week.

Voice of Truth

These are lyrics from an old Casting Crown’s song. By old, I’m talking high schools days. Long, long ago in a faraway land…

I always loved this song and its message, but it’s one of those out of sight out of mind things. I hadn’t heard it in awhile. Therefore, I’d forgotten about it.

Last week, this song randomly played on the radio and I was reminded just how powerful the lyrics are:

But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again, “Boy, you’ll never win!”
“You’ll never win”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me 
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I heard the song again on the radio yesterday. I almost changed the station when I started thinking…What are the odds of hearing this song twice in less than a week? I mean, it’s not exactly a “popular” song anymore. But that’s the incredible thing about God and His timing, there are no chances or odds. Even small moments have purpose.

I needed to hear – not just hear – but truly understand the importance of listening to the voice of truth in my life. Not the voice of what Hollywood says my life should be. Not the voice of comparison. Not the voice of guilt. Not the voice of ‘what if’.

But, the voice of truth.

What voices do you need to tell to “shut up” in your life?

What is a song that you’ve heard lately that has really resonated or spoken to you?

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Weekend Recap: My Dad’s Birthday

Hey friends!

I took a bit of an unintentional break after my post on Wednesday. My Dad flew into town for his birthday weekend. His actual birthday was on Friday, so we drove up to Greenville, SC, to spend the evening with my aunt (my Dad’s baby sister).

downtown-greenville

I absolutely love downtown Greenville because it is so quaint and charming. I especially love all the lights in the trees which gives it a romantic vibe at night – until I realized I was out with my Dad and Aunt…not so romantic anymore.

We started the night at the West End Grille for dinner. If only the lighting hadn’t been so dark. I could have shared some more food pics. Oh. My. Word. It was so good! Like, thank God this restaurant is dark so no one can really see me stuffing my face with all the food, good.

dad's birthday

This cake? Shoved it in my mouth. Nom. Nom.

dad's-birthday

The birthday boy contemplating his birthday wish. It took all my patience not to dig into the cake while he was not looking. The tiny flame on top managed to deter me.

dad's birthday

After a ridiculously delicious meal, we decided to head to the sister restaurant of West End Grille, Nantucket, for an after dinner drink and photo shoot.

cheers-greenville

dad's bday weekend

Saturday morning, I was awoken at 7:30 AM sharp by the sound of donkeys. Yes, donkeys. My aunt and uncle live on a farm and their neighbors have donkeys who moonlight as alarm clocks.

south carolina farm

When one is woken up by donkeys on a Saturday morning, one must go to Cracker Barrel and eat all the food.

I also saw this in Cracker Barrel’s store:

Christmas in October

I know it’s not even Halloween. I know. But still…Christmas : )

We left Greenville to head back to Augusta around 1 because someone (my Dad) had to be home in time to watch the Georgia game. We did have time to make a brief pit stop for game day snacks though: boiled peanuts!

boiled peanuts

Sunday was another early wake-up call to take my Dad back to the airport. Why did no one want me to sleep in this weekend??

After dropping my Dad off, I went to the early service at church. It felt so weird to get out of church around 10:30. I then went home to do fun stuff like laundry, dishes and take 3 hour naps. #truth

I’m really hoping that nap will carry me over until next weekend. I don’t know what’s up with me, but I have been so tired lately! Even with a full 8 hours of sleep, I want to murder my alarm clock when it goes off in the mornings.

All in all – a great weekend for the books! I’m so grateful I was able to spend another birthday celebrating with my “old man”!

How was your weekend?

When is it acceptable to you for stores to start displaying Christmas stuff?

Anyone else feeling really tired lately? Is my body lacking some kind of nutrient or something?

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Workout Wednesday: Hotel Room Workout

Y’all know I love traveling. A lot. But the one bad thing about traveling so much is that it can be hard to stay consistent with your workout routine. Whenever I’m on vacation, I always try to stay fairly active by walking around sight-seeing. However, some of my trips this year have been work related which means: meetings with sitting – hour upon hours of sitting.

So, what’s a fitness loving girl to do when stuck in a hotel room for work travel, bad weather, etc.? Well, you just have to embrace your surroundings and get a little creative!

Let’s take a little tour around the average hotel room and see what we can find!

Did you know these water bottles are dual purposed…

hotel room workout

Hydration and light weights all in one! Because let’s face it, I’m not going to waste one bit of my allotted suitcase poundage on hand weights when it could go toward clothing instead. Priorities, people : )

hotel room workout

Every hotel room has got some of these hanging around…

hotel room workout

Which make for the perfect make-shift yoga mat. Because hotel floors are just gross – 20/20 told me so!

hotel room workout

You don’t have to stay somewhere fancy to have a chair in your room. Hello, chair squats and triceps dips!

hotel room workout

So, next time your stuck in a hotel room with limited time, don’t fret, I got your back! Here is my tried and true Hotel Room Workout that can literally be done almost anywhere.

hotel room workout

If you have any questions about any of the moves you see in this workout, feel free to ask me!

Do you have any go-to workouts when you stay in a hotel?

Do you ever pack workout equipment (beyond clothing and shoes) when you travel?

Hotel fitness centers: how do we feel about them?

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Time for a New Look

Happy Monday y’all! Notice anything different around here? ; )

I figured that with my blog turning a year old this month, it was time to finally get a more customized look. Something that was more “me.” I have to give a huge thank you to Jenny from Peanut Butter and Jenny for being the graphic design genius behind the new look. I asked for a clean and classic look and am in love with the results! I absolutely loved working with Jenny and would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a lil somethin’ somethin’ to make your blog stand out.

Now, on to my weekend!

I went to Atlanta with Leeanne this weekend to pick up my wedding dress, do a little shopping damage and pick up Leeanne’s sister-in-law from the airport.

ATL with Leeanne

I fell in love with this dress from Anthropologie until I realized that I had absolutely no where to wear it to nor did I have $252 to spare. Sad times.

anthropolgie ATL

Apparently, the store that my wedding dress shipped to was located in Terminus. Any Walking Dead fans out there will totally get the significance of this. Thankfully, I made it out alive and in one piece.

terminus atlanta

For dinner, we stopped at the most magical restaurant ever: Zinburger. A wine and burger bar?? Yes, please! I wish I had taken a photo of my burger, but I was too busy stuffing my face to mess with any distractions.

zinberger atlanta

Sunday was spent going to church, completely a 10 miler for my marathon training, napping with the cats and watching The Walking Dead season 5 premiere! Carrrlll!

Speaking of marathon training, I probably need to update y’all on that. I’ll work on something soon.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

What did you do this weekend?

Anyone watch TWD? How do we feel about last night’s episode?

P.S. I’m still in the process of trying to do a few updates to my blog, so any comments or suggestions are completely welcome : )

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#MyCosmoStyle Challenge

Hey y’all! Happy almost Friday : )

It’s probably no secret to you by now that I love all things fashion. In fact, I wish I just had an unlimited amount of money to spend on clothing. Sadly, that is not the case, nor will it ever be the case. So, when Jennifer from Vegas.com reached out to me  about participating in the #MyCosmoStyle challenge, I couldn’t say no. I mean, if you can’t actually go to Vegas, then the next best thing is imagining that you are!

I went to Vegas about 4 years ago and just loved the fact that I was able to step out of my box a bit fashion wise.

las vegas style

las-vegas-style

Please excuse my outdated looks. I promise I was pretty cool at the time.

So, with the challenge, I get to show you how I would transform my outfits from day to night while staying at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas.

During the day, my main goal is to be cute yet comfortable when I’m traveling. Especially when walking along the Strip and seeing all the gorgeous hotel properties. Buffets are also a big thing in Vegas (which is probably why I liked it so much), so you know I’m going to wear something with a little extra give for that second trip up to the buffet. Just keepin’ it real!

#mycosmostyle

I’m really into red pants at the moment. It’s great being able to have such a bold, statement piece and then work around that. During the day, you don’t want to overdo it too much even if you are in Vegas.

Jeans: Hudson Nico Skinny Jeans

Shirt: Athleta Strip Crop Top

Purse and Sunglasses: Kate Spade

Lipstick: YSL

Boots: Halogen “Glenna” Leather Ankle Bootie

Come nighttime in Vegas, anything goes! I try to stay pretty classy with my evening style, yet you always want to add in some edge.

This is an outfit that I wore in NYC that could easily be re-purposed to suit the Vegas night life scene. (Um hello, trashcan in the background – gotta love NYC!) To spice this look up for Vegas, I would switch out my black pumps for some silver heels and ditch the green statement jewelry in favor of some more bling. Of course make-up is also a girl’s best accessory, so I’d finish the look with a bold lip – probably a bright pink.

las vegas fashion

The Cosmopolitan has a ton of nighttime activities from restaurants to the casino. They even have Bruno Mars playing a few shows out there. I would totally jam out to some Bruno Mars in this outfit.

Now, I’m off to go dream about seeing Bruno Mars in Vegas…my birthday is coming up (hint hint, Mom!).

Quick note: my blog will be down for most of this weekend as some exciting changes are coming this way. Check back Monday to see the new and improved blog : )

Have you ever been to Vegas before?

Do you plan your outfits ahead of time when you go on trips?

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Let’s Give Back!

Oh hey there! Hope your week is going well so far! My travel hangover has finally subsided. Thanks for all the concern ; )

Remember how I mentioned that I had several exciting things lined up for y’all in October? Well…what I’m sharing today just so happens to be one of them!

I’m teaming up with my incredibly talented friend Leeanne from Leeanne Usry Fine Art & Photography for a fun floral crown and custom family print promotion!

floral-crown-promotion

Starting now through the end of November, 20% of each floral crown or custom family print sold through Leeannee’s Etsy shop will be donated directly to charity!

You’ve seen the floral crown around the blog before modeled by yours truly : )

crown1

Each floral crown is handmade by Leeanne and can be customized to fit your own unique style.

10563175_620323628086400_4562896318760703439_n

With Halloween, fall (perfect photo shoot season) and the holidays coming up, these crowns make the perfect gift!

Speaking of gifts, another absolutely perfect holiday gift would be these custom family prints:

custom family print

custom family print

Sorry to all my family members and friends who read this, you might have just gotten a peak at your Christmas gift. Whoops.

Now, I’d like to introduce you to the two charities we will be supporting through this promotion. First of all, let me introduce you to probably the most talented person I know, Leeanne! Below, Leeanne and her gorgeous daughter, Ava, are rocking the floral crowns in an impromptu Mommy/Daughter shoot.

Leeanne Usry Photography

Therapeutic Options, Inc.

Leeanne’s charity is Therapeutic Options, Inc. which is a local organization that provides funding to Augusta area families in need of physical, occupational or speech therapy for their children. This charity is especially close to Leeanne due to the fact that her daughter has a mild case of cerebral palsy. Leeanne knows first hand the emotional and financial strain that can be put on families who have children in need of specialized therapy (which insurance doesn’t always cover by the way). Leeanne firmly believes that no sweet, innocent child should ever be denied the help they need to succeed in life which is why Therapeutic Options, Inc. is the perfect charity for her to support!

Kitty Konnection

I’m proud to support another local charity that is also very close to my heart. Y’all know I that my heart is completed melted by animals. Kitty Konnection is a local foster/adoption group that specializes in kittens and cats, but never turns away any animal in need. I was fortunate to find my own sweet girl, Luna, from them back in March and have been a big supporter ever since. Kitty Konnection relies entirely on the kind hearts of the people in the Augusta area to foster their adoptable animals and provide the funding for basics like food, litter and shots. Occasionally, as in Luna’s case, an animal will come to Kitty Konnection in serious need of medical attention or surgery. Again, Kitty Konnection relies on the donations from the community to ensure these babies get the medical care they need to live a long and happy life.

Well, there you have it! Now, how can you say no to helping out children and animals?? I’m pretty sure you can’t : )

So, starting now – as in, this very second as you are reading, you can help make a difference in the lives of some local children and animals by purchasing your own floral crown or custom family print.

Click here to visit Leeanne’s Etsy shop and order today!

Thank you in advance for all your support! Leeanne and I are so excited to be able to help raise money for some of our favorite charities and give back to organizations that mean so much to both of us.

Do you like to give customized gifts around the holidays?

How early do you start Christmas shopping usually?

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Travel Hangover

Confession: I intended on putting this post up on Friday. But…after getting back in town later than expected (oh hey, flight delay) on Thursday, I was just exhausted. Does anyone else experience travel hangovers? When I’m traveling, I feel like I go, go, go all the time because I don’t want to miss anything. Then, I come home and just go into zombie mode. You know the saying “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation”? Yeah, I get it. Completely.

So, this weekend was pretty low key. I spent it hanging out with friends, seeing a movie (Gone Girl – liked it better than the book), and loving on my cats who were clearly so deprived of snuggles during my week long absence. Oliver spent a good 30 minutes stalking a lizard outside my window on Sunday. Riveting stuff.

oliver

Now, it’s on to my final recap from D.C. I promise!

Sunday night, my Mom and I caught a play at the historical Ford’s Theater.

ford theater

ford theater

After my conference on Monday, we took a tour of Arlington National Cemetery. I felt so incredibly small among the endless hills of white stones marking the final resting places of our nation’s heroes.

arlington cemetery

No trip to Arlington would be complete without witnessing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I don’t think I have ever heard such silence. I was so impressed by the absolute perfection of the ceremony.

changing of the guard

changing of the guard

Wednesday evening (my last night in D.C.), I met up with some friends who recently moved to the area. We had dinner in Alexandria which is hands down the cutest town in America. I mean, look at that Starbucks. Cute! The streets even had cobblestone. Stop being so precious, Alexandria!

cutest starbucks in America

And there you have it – my trip to D.C.! I’m definitely looking forward to going back sooner rather than later. I loved the feeling of being in a real life National Treasure movie. Where is Nicolas Cage??

How was your weekend?

What do you think: travel hangovers – real or just in my head?

Favorite Nicolas Cage movie (it’s so hard to pick!!)?

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