Hoot & Co. Collaboration

I am all about finding fun, small businesses that offer unique, quality products. I stumbled across Hoot & Co. on instagram and fell in love with their handmade pet bandanas and bowties. They offer so many different options and come in various sizes, so no matter how big or small your fur baby is, there’s something perfect just for them!

Hoot & Co. is just a few years old (2014) and is operated out of Denver, Colorado by a sweet girl named Kaylynne, who is the same age as me (how cool is that?!) and currently working on her bachelors degree in Business Administration in hopes that it will help her continue to grow her business.

I’m head over heels for this bandana and absolutely love that it’s reversible. The quality is incredible and it is washable, which is another big plus.

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Working with Kaylynne, owner of Hoot & Co. has been an absolute pleasure! This bandana was gifted to me to share about with my readers.

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Key Lime Cookie Cups

Okay, first of all… does this picture not look like it came straight out of a magazine?! These little key lime cookie cups are just as delicious as they are beautiful. My cousin, Heather, made these for my baby shower last weekend, and they were one of my favorite things (out of a whole shmorgazboard of other delicious finger foods).

There’s something about key lime this time of year that just feels so fresh and light, but add in sugar cookies and fresh fruit… and you really can’t go wrong. I can’t wait to make this recipe myself when things calm down a bit (hello… I’m having a baby next week!).

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package (16 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 5.3 oz. Key Lime Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons key lime juice (may subsitute regular lime)
  • 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • Fresh berries for topping

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Cut cookie dough into 12 even slices and press into the bottom and about 2/3 up the sides of prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are barely golden. Let cool 5 minutes then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (about 20 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat cream cheese, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon key lime juice until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Stir in key lime zest. Taste and add additional tablespoon lime juice if desired.
  • When cookie cups are cool, evenly spoon cheesecake filling into cups and refrigerate 1-2 hours to set. If you don’t want to wait, they are still delicious right away, the filling will just be softer.
  • Garnish with berries.

*Heather found this recipe here and adapted it. You can see in the photo that the top two tiers hold key lime cookie cups made with sugar cookie dough while the bottom layer is made with pastry puffs. Heather found that the sugar cookies crumble easily, which is why some are made with the pastry puffs. Both ways, it’s delicious, but I did prefer the taste of the ones made with sugar cookies better.

Baby Shower #6: Adventure Theme

Six showers! Six! We are blown away, to say the least. Both of our families, both of our jobs, our church, and my monthly girl’s Bible Study group have all showered us with love as we prepare to bring our baby boy into this world. The way Jesus loves on us through our family and friends is the sweetest.

When my cousin, Heather, asked if she could host our baby shower, I was so excited. She and I like all the same things and she gets as excited as I do about throwing a party. She’s such a graceful hostess and always thinks of everything. Every detail was beautiful and so special.

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Thank you SO much to everyone who came to our shower, some from just around the corner and some from hours away! We so appreciate Heather hosting and planning and Liz, Rhonda, Gretchen, and Katie for helping! Our Landon is already so loved and it’s the sweetest, most overwhelming blessing!

 

Friday Favorites

This week has been sweet for a few different reasons and I’m so, so glad it’s Friday! I hope you all have had a wonderful week, too!

1 | Baby Birds

On Saturday, we discovered these sweet little birdies made their nest in our fern! How perfect is this? The timing couldn’t be sweeter, right as we prepare to bring our own little baby home to the nest.

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2 | My First Mother’s Day Gift

On Sunday morning, Grayson woke me up with a First Mother’s Day gift, something I was not expecting at all (since our little man hasn’t exactly arrived yet). I’ve been wanting a watercolor journaling Bible for a long time, and this one is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen. He even got me the special pens and paints to make it my own!

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3 | Hospital Tour

So far, Grayson and I have completed the Infant CPR and First Aid class and the Hospital Tour, with only the Breastfeeding class left to go. The classes have been so helpful and informative, and I’m so glad we’ve done them. We especially enjoyed the Hospital Tour, which we did this Tuesday. I’m so excited to deliver Landon at the same hospital where I was born and it is just so nice, we were both very impressed. Actually seeing the delivery and recovery rooms and walking through the Maternity Center really helped put my mind at ease and a lot of my questions were answered. If you’re expecting, I would definitely recommend doing a tour of your hospital! Look at the beautiful view of the Charlotte skyline from the Maternity Center! Isn’t it just gorgeous?

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4 | Our Last Ultrasound

On Thursday, we got to see our baby for the last time (probably) until he’s in our arms! He already weighs about 7 pounds, has big cheeks that I can hardly wait to squeeze, and is measuring right at 37 weeks! The ultrasound tech surprised me by switching it to 3D  at the end, something I didn’t even think they could do at my office. I just busted out crying because it was so real, seeing him like this. Carrying this little life is the greatest gift God has ever given me and I can’t wait to look into his eyes for the first time!

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5 | My Last Day of Work and the Sweetest Delivery

Today is my last day of work, so that I have a little while to rest and elevate my feet (that are still really swollen) before Landon decides to come! I was so surprised this morning when Grayson had these beauties delivered to me at work. My favorite: pink tulips and deep purple irises! He’s the sweetest, and his pursuit of my heart is relentless. I’m so thankful for the way he loves me.

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A Little House With a Story

One of my favorite things about our little home is the stories behind almost every single thing inside of it. I think about when we first moved in and my cousins came over to help us paint in the August heat. I can still see my cousin Tony, who passed away tragically from cancer not even a year later, painting our living room with sweat just dripping down his sweet face. He was always there when you needed him, and with the happiest heart.

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Every single time I wash a load of clothes, I thank God for our friends who gave us a perfectly good washer and dryer, saving us from a huge expense, meeting a very real need in our lives when we purchased our home. It’s the same kind of story with our vacuum cleaner, which was given to us by a cousin who never asked for anything in return, but simply met a need he saw with a happy, willing heart. The way Grayson has worked so hard on our yard, transforming it from having literally almost no grass at all, to having pretty green grass that he’s so proud of.

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Instead of being frustrated that we’ve been married for almost a year and a half and still don’t have a couch, I love that our two mismatched love seats came from sweet friends who gave them to us out of the goodness of their hearts, never expecting a penny in return. The end tables in the living room we spontaneously bought on sale at an antique mall and crammed into my little Toyota Camry along with us and two dogs (still not sure how we managed that, but we did). The coffee table that my friend gave us, that she drove down to Myrtle Beach to pick up a few years before from friends who were moving, even though she didn’t need it for herself, just in case she heard of someone who needed it one day (and it just so happened to be Grayson and me). The beautiful white mirror hanging in our living room that we got from the old homeplace of a precious lady at our church who passed away, whose husband wanted her things to go to younger women in the church who loved her (since they didn’t have any daughters) before a single thing was donated to strangers. The pretty things all over our walls that were either wedding gifts, or things I picked up along the way, all the while with the desire to make our home a place of peace and comfort and belonging.

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The stories behind the things are what matter to me, far more than the things themselves. And my prayer for Landon’s nursery all along has been that it be no different – I wanted it to reflect the same love that I can feel surrounding us in the rest of our home. His nursery is not finished yet, but it already has so many sweet stories to tell. I think about Grayson’s sister and Momma coming and spending an entire Saturday painting while I was at the beach so that his room would be one step closer to being ready. The white wicker furniture and crib that were in the nursery my Momma brought me home to almost 24 years ago, that will soon be holding my own little boy. The drawers full of beautiful clothes that have come from showers, hand-me-downs, and some are even Grayson’s that his Momma saved for his babies one day, that my Momma has spent countless hours helping me sort through. The antique pedestal table that I had been searching for, and finally put a request for ideas where to find one on Facebook, only to have a dear friend text me within minutes, saying she had one I could have and she’d bring it over, again refusing to take a penny in return for it. The pillow that my sweet friend made us. The comfy chair where I will snuggle and feed our little boy that we were able to get for a fraction of the price, even finding money that we received as a wedding gift just in time to spend it on something so special.

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It’s my heart’s desire that this little home of ours continues to be a house with a story, and that these walls hold more laughter, more sweet memories, and more of Jesus’ presence.

Easy Cucumber Sandwiches

If you’re looking for a cute, easy appetizer that takes very few ingredients… this is for you. These are best when refrigerated overnight, and would be even cuter if cut out with cookie cutters into simple shapes like hearts or circles.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 container of chive and onion cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5-6 small cucumbers
  • white bread
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • First, peel and chop cucumbers finely.
  • Then, in a bowl, use a hand mixer to combine chopped cucumbers, cream cheese, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  • Spread mixture onto bread, making as many sandwiches as mixture allows (mine made eight).
  • Cut off crusts and cut into shapes (I simply cut into fours).

Baby Shower #4: Surprise! Theme

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If I told you that walking into a Bible Study group full of a bunch of girls who already know each other and are all friends wasn’t just a little intimidating, I would be lying. But last December, that’s exactly what I did. Since then, our time together has encouraged my heart, strengthened my desire to learn more about Jesus, and challenged me to live more authentically. Each and every girl in this picture has something about them that makes them special, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to know them and grow in my walk with the Lord alongside them. I’m so grateful for that cold, Monday night in December when I found myself at The Well for the first time, a little more nervous about meeting so many new people for the first time than I should have been, having no idea the sweet friendships Jesus was blessing me with because of it.


Monday was such a hard day for me. Being as uncomfortable as I am physically as I near the end of my pregnancy, stress at work, and a terrible headache had me deciding not to go to Bible Study that night, but at the last minute I changed my mind and BOY, AM I GLAD I DID! These precious girls surprised me with Baby Shower #4 and even invited my Momma! They prayed over me, my delivery, and Landon. They poured words of encouragement over me, spoke life into me, and showered me with gifts for our little boy. They refueled my spirit in a way that only sisters in Christ can. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making that night so special, girls! I’m so blessed by you all.

Myrtle Beach Weekend Trip

Momma and I were so thankful for the opportunity to make our way down to Myrtle Beach for the weekend to rest and spend quality time together, just the two of us, before Landon makes his arrival. We were a little worried that it would rain the whole time but we were blessed with great weather, and it didn’t even start to sprinkle until we were on the way home (thank You, Jesus!).

We headed right out onto the beach, first thing, when we got there on Friday. There’s something that’s just so rejuvenating about the soft crashing of the waves and warm sun on your skin.

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We had stayed at the Hampton Inn when I was little and loved it. The hotel has so much character and special little touches that make it homey. They put out warm cookies at 4pm, have a wonderful complimentary breakfast, and the rooms are really nice.

We were amazed, especially, at the way the hotel had crosses placed in the lobby and almost every room and even has a church called “Church in the Hamptons” that meets there every Sunday and for small group studies throughout the week. I’m so thankful that we live in a country where a business has the freedom to be bold like that. Those freedoms seem to be diminishing so quickly under our country’s current leadership, so I’m extra proud of the fact that this hotel is taking a stand for Jesus.

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We ate so well all weekend. We went to the Sea Captain’s House both Friday and Saturday night (because it’s just that good). On Friday night, we both got the appetizer portion of their shrimp and grits and not only was it delicious, but it was just enough paired with a small house salad and (way) more affordable than the entree version. So, if you go there and don’t want to spend a fortune, that’s a great option.

On Saturday night, Momma got the pecan crusted grouper and I got their crab cakes with lemon butter sauce (which were honestly the best I’ve ever had… the picture doesn’t do them justice).

If you are near Myrtle Beach and don’t go to the Sea Captain’s house, you’re really cheating yourself out of a wonderful experience. It is almost 100 years old (it was built in 1930) and has so much character. The inside is literally decorated like an old sea captain’s house complete with fireplaces and old windows and has a beautiful view of the beach, as it sits right on the water. If you’re a nerd (like me) and like knowing about stuff like this, you can read more about the history here.

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On Sunday, we drove down to Garden City before starting home. I love the Hudson’s Flea Market in Surfside Beach, so we stopped there on the way and got a few special things for Landon from Treasure Cove, a business owned by the sweetest little man and woman who have been selling their children’s clothes there since I was a little girl.

We ended our beach trip with the best lunch at Sam’s Corner, a place that brings back so many happy memories from my childhood. Foot long hot dogs, foot long corn dogs, and pure happiness. YUM!

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I wouldn’t trade this weekend with my Momma for anything in the world. She’s my best friend and I am so fortunate to have a Mom who loves the Lord like she does. It’s my life’s greatest treasure. I know our traditions and trips will be changing now, as I’m bringing my own baby into the world, but I know the sweetest days are yet to come, and for that promise, I’m so thankful.

Baby Shower #3: Seersucker Theme

About a year and a half ago, our church family surrounded us with love and support as we prepared to become husband and wife, and on April 24th, they did it all over again as we prepare to bring a sweet little baby boy into the world. There really aren’t enough “thank you’s,” not enough hugs, not enough happy tears or words to ever even begin to describe the gratitude Grayson and I feel for our Calvary family. Our little Landon is already so loved and we are so thankful to each and every person who made our shower so special.

Every little detail was planned perfectly, there were so many sweet ladies filling the room that my heart felt like it could just explode, and we got more gifts than one car could hold. It was overwhelming and beautiful and truly felt like a hug from Jesus. The presence of the Holy Spirit in that place was undeniable, all because my Father used our church family to love on us.

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Just look at this room full of precious ladies!

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My dear friend, Iris, made this sailboat quilt and it’s already so precious to me. I know it will only become more precious over the years. She’s so talented and puts her heart and soul into ever stitch!

My precious friend, Leslie, so graciously gave me the gift of helping capture this sweet, memorable day by using her talent behind the camera. I didn’t even ask her to do it, and she was just there, snapping away! I will cherish these pictures forever! The following images are hers // Threshing Floor Photography

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My friend Katy has a business called The Turquoise Apron and she made this darling bow tie cake and cupcakes!

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My friend Holly has a monogram business called Cami Kate Monograms and she did this blanket, as well as the basket for cards and so many other special touches for the shower.

There was so much delicious food at the shower, in typical Baptist lady style! The ladies of Calvary know how to cook, that’s for sure. Thank you so much to Iris for making the chicken salad sandwiches, Lynn for making the beautiful punch and egg salad, Melissa and Cheryl for bringing the pineapple and cream cheese, Carol and Lee for doing the pretty flowers and biscuits and fixins, Theresa for making the pasta salad, Joy for bringing the fruit and nuts, Tonya and Kelley for bringing the veggies and little smokies, Katy for making the cake and cupcakes, and Vikki for making the bunting decorations and blanket out of the monogrammed table covering.

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My friend Corey has a business called Natty Swank Diaper Cakes and she made this beautiful diaper cake, which also served as a beautiful centerpiece.

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This is Corey, the talented beauty behind Natty Swank Cakes and The Joy Womb Project. Her heart is pure gold.

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Corey also made my corsage! Isn’t it the cutest?!

The ladies of my church are more than just my friends, they’re family. Many of them have been an instrumental part of my life since before I was even born, and they have stood by and supported me through so many different seasons of life. Leslie captured their beauty so sweetly!

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This beauty spent the entire three hours writing down gifts for me, which I know from experience is a very hard job. Love her!

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And a huge thanks to my dear friend Lee, who helped plan, organize, and delegate everything so gracefully. She is so good at recognizing people’s talents and giving them the opportunity to use those talents. She’s the ultimate hostess and party planner and I hope I’m just like her one day.

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So much love and talent went into making this day one I’ll never forget and I am so very thankful for each and every woman who played a role in making it special. My cup runneth over.

Pretty in Pink (Blush)

Ever find a dress that’s just easy? That’s this one. You can dress it up or down, pair it with heels or no shoes at all, and be totally and completely comfortable in it. At eight months pregnant, it can be really hard to find something that you truly feel pretty in, so if an article of clothing is both flattering and comfortable, it’s a keeper.

What I love most about this dress is the thick, crocheted lace and bell sleeves. All of PinkBlush’s maternity dresses are so fun to wear. In fact, every dress I’ve worn for all of my baby showers (and we’ve been so blessed to have had three so far) have been from PinkBlush, and I love the fact that I’ll still be able to wear them after my little man has made his arrival!

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Hat: Cracker Barrel (similar here)

 

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Necklace: Plunder

This dress was gifted to me by my favorite online boutique, PinkBlush. They have my permission to use any and all of the above photos for promotional use.