2013 Flashback Friday




With all of the Christmas decorations put away, and a snoozy puppy on my arms, I'm taking a moment to reflect on 2013. While not my favorite year, I'm working hard this last week to remember the good times and to be appreciative of all that 2014 has in store for me and the ones I love. 

NYE 2013

February 2013--Pack the House in Pink
Phi Mu/ZTA at GSU 

Valentine's Day 2013
(aka the Day I Thought We Were Getting Engaged)

March 2013
Spring Break Cruise to the Bahamas 

March 2013
Spring Break Cruise to the Bahamas 

April 28, 2013
The Day We Got Engaged 

May 2013
Last Phi Mu Semi Formal 

May 11, 2013
Graduation 

May 11, 2013
Graduation 

June 22, 2013
Welcome Home, Layla Claire!

It made me a little sad to see the lack of pictures from July--on. Yes, I've got a ton of things on Instagram, but very few of me and my relationships. What a wake up call! 2014 for me is going to be the year of relationships, and doing things that truly make me happy and add value to my life. What are you looking forward to in 2014?

Christmas Goodies




Last weekend, I spent all Saturday and Sunday at my grandmother's making some of my favorite Christmas goodies for the teachers and administrators at school {and of course, myself!}. Peanut Butter Balls have always been a holiday staple in my family, made for years by my great-grandmother Ma Jones before she passed. I made almost 200 PBBs, tons of Grinch Cookies, and pans of white chocolate covered pretzels--the ones that are Christmas shapes of course! Below, are the recipes for some of the best Christmas goodies around {I promise, you'll have people raving!}:

Ma Jones' Peanut Butter Balls
  • 1 Jar Creamy Peanut Butter {I prefer Peter Pan}
  • 2-3 cups of Confectioners Sugar 
  • 1/4 cup of salted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla {or vanilla extract}
  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bar of candy wax
Melt peanut butter and salted butter in a microwave safe bowl. Once creamy and melted, stir well. Add vanilla, and confectioners sugar a cup at a time until the mixture becomes rollable. Roll small balls and place on a cookie sheet, lined with wax paper. Place balls on pan in freezer.

Melt bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 bar of candy wax. Stir well. Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate. Return to freezer until hardened. Dip peanut butter balls a second time in chocolate, add sprinkles, and return to freezer. Once they're hardened, they're done! 
I prefer to keep them in the fridge all the time, but they will be fine at room temperature as well! 


Grinch Cookies 
  • 1 Box of Ritz Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1 package Almond Bark 
  • 1 handful of Green Candy Melts
  • Sprinkles
Make peanut butter cracker sandwiches using the Ritz Crackers. You can use as much or as little peanut butter as you'd like, which is the beauty of this. Melt almond bark and green candy melts together until you reach the desired green color. Dip peanut butter sandwiches in the green mixture, covering completely. Place on wax paper, and top with sprinkles. Once they're firm, you're done! 


I hope you enjoy my favorite Christmas goodies as much as I do! 

Stocking Stuffers




I absolutely love going through my stocking on Christmas morning! We always go through them after the presents are done, sometimes even after breakfast, and it's a great way to round out the morning's festivities. Some of the goodies in the stocking have even been wrapped like little mini presents, which adds to the fun! These are a few stocking stuffers I've seen while out and about this year, and hope to find in my own:

Make Up Gift Sets--in my opinion, you cannot go wrong with this.
I love e.l.f. (most things are only $1!), and they have great gift sets
around Christmas. Check out Target for the best selection--this 14
piece nail polish set is only $10!
{They have brush sets, eyeshadow sets, and of course LIP GLOSS sets!}


Raspberry Sticks...yum. These have been in my stocking for as long as
I can remember. And I am obsessed. Must be careful or I'll eat the whole box!


I am really not a big fan of the Beibs, but I am of his "Girlfriend" perfume!
It's really sweet and warm, so a little definitely goes a long way. It
reminds me of Vera Wang "Princess," but I like this price a little better.
Justin Beiber "Girlfriend" Eau de Parfum, 1 oz.

My mother is not a Katy Perry fan, and I'm not normally one either
{so this may shock her} but I absolutely love this album!
So many great songs! She is really very talented, and I have to have this one!
Katy Perry "Prism", Deluxe Edition 

I have been a lip gloss junkie my entire life. In 4th grade, I collected so many,
they covered the entire top of my dresser. So when I stumbled upon this most
perfect gloss in the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette last year, I had to find out more.
This gloss tingles, and plumps and comes in amazing non-sticky colors! This color,
Wallflower, is a great creamy nude-pink for every day. Not available at Ulta,
so order here: Lip Junkie Lip Gloss.  

Mementos




I was born late in October, so I suppose that prompted people to buy a lot of "Baby's first Christmas" ornaments that first year. I'm not sure that's where the Christmas obsession started {thank you, Mother} but ever since them, my collection of ornaments has grown exponentially year-to-year. At some point, my family established the tradition of exchanging ornaments between the siblings, and children to parents. It's a really great thing for us because we've all always had trees in our bedrooms, and it also provides my parents and grandparents with Christmas lists that they can split between fewer people. Below are a few of my most favorite ones right now {it changes each year as I get new ones!}: 

In love with this acrylic monogram my future sister-in-law gave me last year!
You'll notice that I use hot pink balls and different colored
snowflakes as my filler ornaments. 

I had some mirrored picture ornaments sitting on my dresser before
I figured out what to do with them. They're perfect for pictures
from the day I got engaged!

I've looked high and low for a "Layla" ornament. This will have to do:
I've decided it's Layla's mom!

Look at that wrapping paper--so in love with it!
But I also love the magnolia clip-on ornament I found at the Dollar Tree.
You can also see a vintage pink shiny bright, and my beloved
Barbie ice skating ornament. 

Georgia....Southern! Isn't this one cool?!




There's No Place like Home for the Holidays




The accidental vintage vibe that has become of my Christmas decor inside is absolutely delightful! I love snowflakes, silver, pink and blue, and those three things were the basis behind the overall look. I was really excited to find some really cute "Let it Snow" items in the Target dollar section over the past few weeks to carry the theme throughout the house.

Don't you just love the silver glitter wrapping paper?! $4 from Walmart!

Pack of three silver brush trees from Home Depot, $10

Thank you, Nana, for the beautiful vintage ceramic tree!



If only somewhere sold chalk--after three stores I gave up,
and have no idea how many days until Christmas!

Glittered pine cones may become my new favorite thing. 

Mini pink tree that was in a college care package has
brought Christmas to my bathroom. 


Not actually a Christmas item, this heart photo tree was something
I won at a gift swap last year--another family's name is even
engraved in the top heart!

Snowflake garland to keep the cheer alive even after the tree comes down!








Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful




I've been looking forward to Christmas, basically since I moved into my apartment. Even though I've always had a big tree in my room, I was looking forward to decorating the rest of my space, and I'm so pleased with how it turned out! Here are a few pictures of my outside decor, most of which I made:

This is just made out of folded deco mesh that I ran a string through,
and then wrapped white lights around. Super easy!



The wreath is homemade, but my fabulous trees were a $15 Black Friday find!

Grapevine wreath, spray painted white, with a bow and pearl fillers. And a pearl "D" from
The Paris Market in Savannah, Ga. 

Garland at night. 

My outside decor! 






Preparing My Heart




The past eight months have been a whirlwind of change in my life. Getting engaged, graduating college, and entering into the big girl world have been a little more than crazy! 2014 signals the start of the planning season for my 2015 wedding {18 months, eek!}. I'm more than thankful to not be rushed, and would definitely encourage others to take their time and enjoy their relationships--no matter what stage you're in! I've been able to enjoy all of these significant firsts, with my significant other, but without the additional stress of planning and executing a wedding at the same time. Hopefully, planning a wedding over a year away will also aid in lowering my stress level too!

     With my "fancee" in pharmacy school, and the personal stress and distractions of my own life throughout the past few months, we've not had a lot of time to focus on each other and our relationship. With Christmas approaching, the importance of relationships has been re-emphasized in my life. Throughout December, I am making it a point to reconnect with those most important to me. I realized that even if I talk with some one every day, I sometimes don't feel totally connected to them, and that is something that is so important to me. I want to take time to be a better friend, daughter, sister, and "fancee" and to fill those relationships with love, joy, and fun!

     All this being said, I want to be prepared for the new year, and a new position in life {Type A: Must have a Plan}. The fancee and I have decided to work through the book "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman. We both have different love languages, and it's really helping us to read more about how each love language is different and to realize how it affects each other differently.


     I've also started reading "Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married" on my Kindle app on the iPad and it's a great piece to follow up and go alongside the love languages book. 

     The other night on Pinterest, I saw a Bible study from a blogger that she did the 12 days before she was married as a way to prepare her heart for marriage and to discover more about the Bible's truths about a couple's relationships. I decided to work through these passages from now until Christmas {a little more than 12 days, but still!} in hopes to prepare my heart to better love those around me. 


      I'm definitely planning on doing this Bible study and reading these books over and over again until the wedding to help keep me focused away from the stress of detail and on the "heart" of the event at hand! 

How did {and do...as it's a never ending process!} you prepare your heart for marriage? Do you have any advice for "soon-to-be's" or newlyweds?

In Everything, Give Thanks




With such a busy world we live in, it can become difficult to remember to be grateful and the spirit of thanksgiving. So much is continually being thrown our way, cluttering our minds and hearts of what is most important.  

This year, I didn't participate in the traditional Facebook thanksgiving posts throughout the month of November. It's been a difficult year, one that has made
me look forward to December 31 in a way I don't ever remember before, and I am honestly sometimes struggle identifying what I'm thankful for each day. I'm not up for posting about the warm fuzzies I have for my family because I'm just not there this year. Stress of work and the coming busy season sometimes clouds my appreciation for a job. And the physical distance between myself and others that play a crucial role in my life sometimes creates an emotional distance as well that I'm definitely not thankful for. 

So today, I reflect. I give thanks. I'm not thankful for the hard times, the stress, or the distance, but I am thankful for the lessons learned and that are being learned through it all. I pray every day that this season will pass, but I am thankful for the One who hears my prayers. And I am thankful for the support of the special people who have held me up when I could not do so myself over the past few months. 

In everything, give thanks. 

JFK: The 50 Year Obsession




I've been reading, and watching, and obsessing about the Kennedys for as long as I can remember. I've read almost every single biography my local library has on the subject, watched every special that comes on TV, and have listened to the hours of Jackie Kennedy's interviews after the assassination on my way back and forth between Statesboro and home during college. Today, to remember the Kennedy family, and all that was, and is, and will remain of Camelot, I'm sharing a few of my favorite pictures in honor of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination on this day in 1963.











Disclaimer: I do not claim these pictures as my own; original sources unknown. 

"Now, I think that I should have known that he was magic all along. I did know it — but I should have guessed that it would be too much to ask to grow old with and see our children grow up together. So now, he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man." --Jackie Kennedy, 1964







Elton John Date Night




For Christopher's birthday, I wanted to get him something fun and different. But I had to be sneaky. So I decided to do gifts-inside-a-gift, my favorite method of gift giving only reviled by the tower-of-gifts I so love. So I got him a Marley Lilly overnight bag for his travels to see me {with his new monogram--he's changing his last name to his grandfather's, which will be finalized within the next month}. After looking in the bag to find homemade pumpkin muffins, and a new shirt, he found two tickets to see Elton John in Atlanta on Nov. 16! Woohoo! 


     Friday night we had Mexican Cornbread Casserole, and and Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. Yum--this is so good, especially if you love ice cream and cake! Best of both worlds. We went to Atlanta Saturday afternoon and ate at Ted's Montana Grill which neither of us had ever been to. It was amazing! I wish bison was more readily available because it was delicious.
    We then wandered over to Phillips Arena for the concert, and although we didn't have the greatest seats, you could see the sequins from a mile away! The concert was wonderful, music was great, and it was so neat to learn that two of the band members have been with EJ since he started. 2Cellos opened for the band, and played with them throughout the night, which was a great surprise. I had no idea they were going to be there and Christopher loves them!
video
     It was a really great night, and it was so nice to do something different like this. I'm not usually a big concert person, but EJ was a great performer, and we both truly enjoyed the evening. Check it out!