Friday, January 29, 2016

The Ultimate Big Game Day Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HomeBowlParty #CollectiveBias

I am a huge football fan y'all! From cheerleading all through high school and being at every game, to coaching cheerleading as an adult, having season tickets to college games, and enjoying the pros....football = fall! And I am in love with all of it.

So of course getting ready for the Big Game is a must in this house! And what is more fun than getting craftastic and creating your ultimate home bowl party!


So let's get prepped to put together an awesome party! The number one place on my list to head to when organizing any party, is Target. I am such a huge fan of Target (I mean who isn't, right?). It truly is a one stop shop where I can get absolutely everything I am looking for to create the coolest party. 

While I was at Target I was able to grab my food ingredients, plates, napkins, decor crafty items....basically, you name it, I found it! Which made life super easy for me since I am constantly on the go with my busy family. I love that, while perusing the food isles, I found this end cap of Coca-Cola 6 packs and the cutest little REESE'S Cups tiny footballs. I mean if REESE'S weren't already my favorite candy, making them into tiny footballs was that much more awesome! Perfection for the party!


So let's talk decor! I love working around fun themes and my Ultimate Big Game Day was such a great theme to create a party with. I am a classic decor style decorator, so already in my home I had items such as a wood crate, a metal tub, and multiple chalkboards. I rounded them all up and placed them around this side table to create the ultimate concession stand. 

The top of the table is literally just some fun stripped wrapping paper I had around that I thought worked perfect with this theme. The green banner, bags, and washi tape I found at Target (again my amazing one stop shop!). Add in those adorable REESE'S Cups and a tub full of Coca-Cola and your concession stand is ready to go!





Next I moved on to creating the perfect football themed drinking glasses for the party. I found these Kerr Mason Jars at Target in the kitchenware section of the store. They have these and the Ball Jars, but for this particular DIY, I prefer the Kerr since they don't have any markings on the sides or the back of the jars. It made this DIY so much easier to create.

So the first thing I did was to cut up strips of tape. Originally I was going to buy washi tape for my project but I found this awesome dry erase tape in the craft section of Target and thought how perfect. Now if my guests want to write their name somewhere on the strips they can, and drinks won't get confused with one another. 

So I went with the dry erase tape and cut it into five strips. One long strip for the middle and four shorter strips to create football laces. 


After I centered the middle strip on the back of the jar, I went through and carefully placed each of the four remaining strips across the middle one to make perfect football laces.


I absolutely love how this project came out and it was so super perfect to serve my guests delicious Coca-Cola out of during the party. I actually repeated this idea with some brown paper bags that I found at Target and filled them up with the adorable REESE'S Cups footballs for all my guests to enjoy!



The next thing I wanted to do was but together a creative food recipe that would pair perfectly with the Coca-Cola drink jars. We are huge Mexican food fans in this house so I couldn't think of a better pairing! I decided on making a football stadium dipping tray of all my favorite Mexican fixings.

I began this process by making my famous (well, at least in our house) guacamole that I learned how to make while I was living in Uganda this past year. Trust me, it's delicious!

Ingredients Needed:
7-8 Avocados
1 Small Red Onion
2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Pepper
1/2 a Lime

Start by cutting up the avocados. If you have never done this before, you want to start by slicing around the entire length of the avocado (making sure you go around all sides). Next you are going to twist the two halves in opposite directions so that you can pull them apart. Then you are going to want to remove the pit. The easiest way I've found to do this is by placing your knife in the center of the pit and then twisting it. It usually comes out quite easily. I then make slices in the avocado with my knife and, using a spoon, scoop out all of the pieces. 


Tip: Since avocados are not really in season, they may not be that ripe when you buy them. If you want them to ripen quickly and in time for your party, simply place them in a paper bag over night with an apple in it. This fun trick will ripen those little suckers right up!


Using a fork, you are going to want to smash up the chunks of avocado. Depending on preference, it is up to you whether you want them to be more smooth or more chunky. Next you are going to cut up one small red onion and add it into your avocado mix. Stir these well together.

To finish this off, you are going to add the garlic powder, salt, and pepper into your mixture and mix those well. Finally cut your half of a lime into two quarters and squeeze them over the top of the bowl, stirring the juice in as well. Your guacamole recipe is complete! And you are now ready to begin the football stadium!


By using a large, disposable pan, I spread the guacamole across the center creating my football field. Make sure that when you are doing this, you leave a decent amount of room on the edges of the tray for the end zones. Using salsa, I then filled in the end zone spaces. For a little added design, and even more Mexican goodness, I sprinkled a Mexican cheese blend on the very edges of the end zones. 


Next I created a piping bag and filled it with sour cream for the field lines. Don't have a piping bag you say?? No problems! Simply grab a plastic sandwich bag out of your cupboard and snip a tiny piece of the bottom corner off. Instant piping bag! Use this to draw a few lines down the center of your guac to complete your football field.


This delicious tray became the centerpiece of the party! I then cut up a ton of my favorite veggies and placed them around the field to complete my stadium. This was seriously such a delicious way to kick off my home bowl!



The refreshing football glasses of Coca-Cola paired perfectly with the veggies and dip. And for a great sweet treat, the REESE'S added the perfect amount of deliciousness. Everything was not only fun to eat and enjoy, but I had a blast creating and putting it all together as well. 







My hubby couldn't wait to dig in to the yummy stadium once everything was out on the table!

I truly hope that this has inspired you to create your own #HomeBowlParty for the big game! It's such a great way to show your creative side, spoil your guests, and celebrate something we all love...Football!! If you decide to recreate any of these ideas or come up with some great ones of your own, I would love to see them! Use the hashtag #HomeBowlParty and I will be following along to see all of your awesome creations!

And if you are excited to put together your very own Home Bowl Party, I would love to help you out! Here are some great Cartwheel App deals just for you. Click Here to get a great savings on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, & Sprite 6-pack 500ml Bottles. But hurry up because the offer expires on Feb 13, 2016. And Click Here for a 15% savings on those adorable REESE'S Cups Footballs I've been raving about. You don't want to miss them because this offer expires on Feb 13 as well. 

Don't know what the Cartwheel App is?? It's only the greatest way to save at Target! And I'm not talking tiny savings. I love this app and use it regularly. Last time I was at Target it saved me over $10 on my entire purchase through all of the great discounts. I am seriously in love. You have to get it on your phone. Seriously....go download it now lol.

I love you all lots and can not wait to see all of your Home Bowl Party creations!


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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Your Dream Kitchen Renovation

I am a huge fan of HGTV and just about anything reno out there. I love seeing people fix up their homes to reflect their personal style, taste, and beauty. You can tell so much about a person by the items they have around their home and how they personalize their space.

I've heard several times over the years, the home being compared to a body. And the way it usually goes is, if your home is a body then the kitchen is the heart. I could not agree more. It's truly where families gather to share laughter, memories, and of course delicious food.

While away in Florida for the holidays this year, I had the shear pleasure of photographing a dear family friend's brand new, renovated kitchen. Ya'll, I am seriously in love with every corner of this kitchen. It's gorgeous!! She gave me permission to share her space with all of you and I couldn't be more excited! Hopefully this helps some of your creative juices start to flow in your own remodeling experiences. Enjoy!!

















Like I said earlier, I love every area in this kitchen. White cabinets are my favorite and the way the colors swirl throughout the granite helps me to feel as if I'm on an endless vacation at a luxurious resort. Each piece fits perfectly with the next. This will surely be the heart of their home for so many years to come!


What does your dream kitchen renovation look like??

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Monday, January 25, 2016

My 2016 Travel Wish List

I had amazing time writing this post last year that I just had to do it again for 2016! Traveling is one of my favorite things to do...just about ever. I love making a wish list for the year and then trying my best to make it possible throughout that time period. Last year I was able to make it to three out of my five wish list locations, Uganda, Orlando, and Italy! All were a blast and I was so thankful that God made it possible to have so many incredible adventures!


So this post is going to be just the same. All of my favorite, hope that I visit, spots for 2016!


Uganda

Of course there is always a place in heart that hopes I will be headed to Uganda. It is my home away from home and the one place a year that I always wish to visit. I have created some amazing friendships over the years there. I truly pray that this location is on God's agenda for my life yet again!

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The Caribbean 

There is nothing like warm Caribbean weather (especially looking out at the piles of snow on the ground at the moment). I headed down to Punta Cana years ago with some friends and it was one of my absolute favorite trips ever. The scenery is gorgeous and the water is a crystal blue. I would completely love to travel back on down to those warm waters this year at some point for some needed rest and relaxation!

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Virginia Beach

This area of Virginia is an incredibly beautiful location. I've been down there multiple times now and always have a blast. There is tons to do (even in the winter) and one of my favorite churches is located down there, Wave Church. They hold several conferences throughout the year and I am praying to get down to one this year as well as enjoy the beauty of the area!

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Georgia

I must say that I have never been to Georgia but it is a bucket list location for sure. I always watch movies where the gorgeous old Georgia trees are swaying in the wind while the folks down their sip sweet tea under her branches. It's extremely picturesque and serene to me. So getting down to this beautiful area in the south would be ideal for me to enjoy some time away!


Disney World

Now I know like Uganda, Disney World was on my list last year but I seriously can not help myself. I am just in love with Disney! I mean really, who isn't? My parents only live a few hours south of this favored destination so if I can make a trip out of it, I will. There is always tons to see and do and I truly hope I get to experience the magic yet again!

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Ocean City, Maryland

If you live in the Northeast at all, then you know that this is a hot spot for so many tourists in the summer. It is a fun beach town with shopping, rides, tons of food, and so much more. It is a great place to head down and relax while enjoying the waves. There are also some great kayaking locations just north of Ocean City that my family likes to hit up once and a while. All in all this is a great family vacation spot!


Now it's your turn! I would love to hear your wish list for 2016!! Where do you want to head? Any fun vacations planned yet?? Let me know in the comments!!

And if you want to follow along with my crazy adventures, then head to my Instagram and let's be photo friends!! 
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Friday, January 22, 2016

What Are You Waiting For?

I have dreams. I mean big dreams. I mean gigantically huge dreams. 

And sometimes the overwhelming weight of those monstrous dreams can get to me. They can affect my willingness to push forward. The idea that I may chase after a dream and fail can, at times, be all too much to handle.

I always recognized my fear of failure. I always knew that if I put my all into a dream and fell flat on my face, it was going to knock me off my base. But I realized something so important about myself last year as I was reading through Lara Casey's book Make it Happen. I was not only afraid to fail, I was even more afraid to succeed.


This honestly had never occurred to me before. Who could possibly be afraid of success? But as I dove deeper into the book, I allowed my heart to listen to the questions she was asking. 

Are you afraid of succeeding because of all the added pressure that will be put on your shoulders? Does it scare you to do well and then have to continue to build that success through the years??

Well....kinda...yeah.

Pressure can get to all of us sometimes and it can weigh as down just as much as the fear of failure. What if I follow a call that God has placed on my life and succeed? Does that mean He is going to place something even larger on my life? Is He going to ask me to do even more scary things that I just don't know if I can handle them?

Well....yeah. He probably will.

God is forever trying to build me. To mold me. To make me the strong person I was created to be from the beginning of time. And it's ok if I can't handle what He is asking of me because if I could then I wouldn't need God in my life.

God puts the scary right in front of us so that we can face it head on with Him by our side.

I'm reminded of this every time I read Matthew 14. The disciples, sleep deprived and scared from the raging seas, look out and notice what they think is a ghost headed toward them. So they are like shaking in their sandals....scared to death of what is in front of them.

Jesus however calls out to them. Now by this point, after walking with the man for quite a while, they knew the masters voice. They knew he was calling to them. But they still doubted. Peter says to Jesus,

"Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water"

And Jesus is all like, "Get your butt over here!" (this is the new slang version). So Peter gets out of the boat and walks on water!!

Can you imagine seeing your bestie just taking a stroll with Jesus on wind tossed water?? What a sight that would have been from the boat! Can you imagine being Peter?? Taking that leap of faith and getting out of the boat?? Just to see yourself standing on the seas!

And still even as Peter is out of the boat, with his feet safely resting above the waves, he begins to doubt again. He is succeeding at what God had asked him to do and he is in panic mode. He is now completely out of the boat. No more safety net, that he can see, to catch him if he sinks. And he begins to do just that....sink!

Peter really does show the human side of us all. We take that leap, we follow that God call and then we panic out in the open water and we begin to sink. But Peter, being the beautiful believer of Jesus that he was shows us what to do. He calls out to his Lord, save me!!!

The Word of God says that Jesus immediately stretched out His hand to Peter to take hold of him. So all of this miracle stuff is going on around Peter and he still shows us that, all too common human side in his fear. Jesus looks at him and says,

"You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Jesus is telling Peter to wake up and look around....there are miracles to be seen and he's a part of that moment.

There is a piece of me that wants to play it safe. Doesn't want to try at all because of the consequences either way. But there is an even bigger part of me that wants to activate my dreams. A part of me that wants to see miracles happen so that I can stand on that mountain and shout out how God got me there.

Peter didn't have to get out of the boat, but he chose to follow God over fear (at least for a few seconds). It's time for us all to know our father's voice and step out of the boat and into the bigger life He is calling us towards.


What are your big dreams right now? Let's come up with one action step that forces you to step out of that boat and into your destiny. What are you waiting for??
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Monday, January 18, 2016

My 2016 Promise

I have been reading tons of posts recently on people's Word of the Year. These have been some of my favorite posts to read in the beginning of this year. They always inspire me. 

This year I definitely have a word, but I think even more importantly I have realized that I have a promise for the year as well. Something that God is constantly whispering over my life, day in and day out, as I proceed through my daily tasks.


God speaks to us all in different ways because we are all different beings. People feel and connect to life in multiple ways and God, being the creator of all things, knows exactly how each of His children connect to the world. God truly uses these connections to speak to His loves.

For me, that connection really comes from music. I have intimate dialogue with my father through the sound and feels of music. I become instantly aware of what it is He is speaking into my life in that moment.

Through music, God has communicated to me my 2016 promise. If I'm being completely honest, the end of 2015 was really difficult for me. My heart was truly struggling with my direction, my relationships, and my sense of self worth.

And then this promise was whispered into my ears over and over...God truly is my good good father.

Now that may not seem like a crazy promise but to me it is a reminder of everything I've needed to hear. When I struggle with where my purpose is in life, I am reminded that He is a good good father and that the stress of that situation is off of me.

The Word of God says,

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, 
and to him who knocks it will be opened. 
For what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, 
will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, 
he will not give him a snake, will he? 
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, 
how much more will your Father who is in heaven 
give what is good to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7:8-11

I fully understood this verse as soon as I read it. My daddy here on earth is such an incredible man and someone I have spent my entire life looking up to. He has taught me what real generosity looks like and that has brought me closer to God in our relationship. It as helped me to understand God's love even more!

So if my daddy here can be incredible and loving, then how much more is my father in heaven a good and beautiful father to me. The creator of the universe has my life in His hands and is conducting my steps, giving me the desires He has placed in my heart along the way.

So this year as I dream a little bigger, reach a little further, and grasp for the things in my heart, I know that I have my good good father holding me tightly. And I know that I can accomplish all things with him next to me, directing my path.


I also wanted to share some of my favorite "Word of the Year" posts with ya'll so you can be as inspired as I've been!







Do you have a word or promise for the year? I would love to hear it!!
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Favorite Spaces & Home Renovation Ideas

I just love redesigning and re-imagining different spaces in my home (and if I'm being honest, other people's homes as well). I also love finding great inspiration to do so!

Are you looking to renovate a room in your home this year? The very first thing you'll need to do is figure out your personal style. What are your favorite colors, textures, shapes? All of these help in creating that perfect design for your home renovation. 


Here are some of my absolute favs when it comes to interior design inspiration!































Each of these rooms have a comfortable feel with a breath of fresh air attached to them. They make you want to cozy on up but still give you a lightness in the paint colors, fabric textures, and overall designs. I absolutely love the comfortable feel of each of these spaces!

Now I truly want to know...what are some of your favorite colors for design? Do you enjoy warm tones or cool ones? What are some of your favorite fabrics and textures? Let me know in the comments below!!


And if you want to keep up with some of my comfortable home designs, don't forget to follow me on Instagram for even more inspiration!


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