Eat Drink & Be Mary: July 2014


To Laugh Without Fear of the Future

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to a one-of-a-kind gem.  Nina @ Wear Flowers in Your Hair.  And when I say gem I'm not using the term lightly.  She is a brave girl with a pure heart, and a strong determination to stick up for what and who she believes in.  Just read what she has written below, for her story of an innocent girl and many, many girls that have been in a similar situation.

Let me confess something. I have put off writing this guest post. Some of my reasons are easily understood: I began a new job, caught some horrible summer flu, and moved. The biggest reason is a rawness in my gut that is harder to explain, an increasing need to speak up over something that I didn't, necessarily, want to be known for. But I kept hearing stories, you see. More and more stories and so my heart was growing heavier and I was putting off writing down my own story, let alone a guest post. 

 This is a funny time to introduce you to my blog. Or maybe it is the best time. The more emails I receive from women with stories like mine, the more I could care less if I am known for this because now I am, and forever will be, a warrior. So while, when I usually write guest posts, I try to be witty and funny, try to lure you in with my cleverness and pretty, pretty pictures, that is not what this. It cannot be. I do not have the energy for it and this is not about me anymore. You see, I saved up all my beautiful, meaningful words for the women who have been courageously writing to me and I have nothing left. 

 All I can ask you, with the most sincerest of hearts, is to read these three posts and to share them. 

 Dear Nina in a Prom Dress. 
 About Yesterday. 
 You are not alone. 

 This is what I have learned in telling my story: the power of sharing our stories. We all have one about something that is worth reading. I want to encourage you to share your stories, whatever they may be about, even the hard stories. There is a power in words. When we hold them inside, they have power over us. When we say them aloud, tell a friend, write it down in a notebook, or even blog about it, they lose their killing grip on us and become something wholly more powerful. 

 I've kept this short so you are more likely to read those posts. Not for me. Not anymore. But for all the rest. There are too many.

  Flowers in my Hair Blog | Bloglovin' | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest 

To keep some normalcy, here is a discount code for 20% off all sponsorships on my blog. The code is: LOVER.

I am in total awe of Nina's strength and courage to share the posts above these past couple days.  She is a warrior indeed.  One verse comes to mind, and that's what I'll leave you with today as it is my prayer for Nina and any woman who has dealt with something similar, before you go check out her posts:

Proverbs 31:25 "She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future."

Say Hello to this month's darling sponsor, Tela!  photo 600x100_zpsa3741db1.jpg


DDT Recipe Link Up

Welcome to a new week of Delicious Dish Tuesday, where we share our recipes and ask you to share YOUR awesome recipes with us!  Last week we had some delicious looking recipes shared, I love finding all these new recipes to add to my "to-do" list.  This past week my favorite recipe was shared by Ashliegh @ The Darling Daily

Soft Toffee Cookies

I'm not much of a cookie girl.  Shocker right.  But I love to bake.  When I found these soft cookie recipe I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat and I almost peed a little with joy.  So of course I had to make them for my family, and believe me you will want to make them for yours too.  

I made these toffee cookies, and within 2 hours they were all gone.   Unbelieveable, I made another batch two days later with a little twist to make them even better.  Boom!  All gone within that day as well.  This recipe is a winner ladies and gentlemen (but really just ladies because what dude is checkin' in to see what my baking-self it is rambling about in this corner of the web).

These cookies were whipped up within 10 minutes, cooked in about 10 more, and disappeared almost as quickly.  Three cheers for pinterest for another successful recipe.

Soft Toffee Cookie Recipe
yields approx. 16 cookies

what you'll need: 
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 C + 1tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 salt
1/3 C toffee chips
1/3 C butterscotch chips

**optional: switch out butterscotch chips for peanut butter or chocolate chips, imagine the endless possibilities you can add to these soft, gooey yummy cookies.

**I would suggest doubling the batch considering how fast our cookies disappeared.  Plus the original recipe only makes about 16 cookies, and you know you'll want more of this yummy goodness.

what to do:

+ mix together the softened butter and brown sugar until creamy.
+ add the vanilla and egg, mix well.
+ add in flour, baking powder and salt and combine.  
+ fold in toffee & butterscotch chips.   
+ chill batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour or the freezer for 30 minutes. 
+ using a spring mold (or spoon) scoop out batter into balls (approx. 1 tbsp) set onto a cookie sheet.
+ bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  centers will be soft, but they will be baked through.
+ enjoy these delicious cookies that stay soft.  yum-o!

Seriously, I am so delighted to find another Pinterest success.  What is your favorite cookie recipe?  Are you a toffee lover?  What is your favorite pinterest success story?

Oh and since everyone deserves a "just because" gift everyone in a while, enter to win yourself a Weekender Bag from the Preppy Pair today!  Happy Tuesday.



Look + Feel Good on the Run without Breaking the Bank

Another Monday at the beach y'all.  Life is rough. #whatisreality Luckily I have Erica @ Erica Finds here to share some ways to get your run on without breaking the bank.  You may remember her from 10 Tips & Tricks to Stay Fit and Healthy on Vacation.  If you missed it, read it.  Seriously those are some great tips.  So you can see why I've asked her to come back and share some more of her genius knowledge with us.  Take it away Erica...

Summer is here! It’s time to dust off your running gear and hit the roads/trails. What better way to get started than to pick up a few new pieces of cheap running gear or new shoes? How about getting some great deals so you can look and feel great without breaking the bank? Here’s how. Tips for Running on the Cheap

Summer is here! It’s time to dust off your running gear and hit the roads/trails. What better way to get started than to pick up a few new pieces of cheap running gear or new shoes? How about getting some great deals so you can look and feel great without breaking the bank? Here’s how.

Tips for Running on the Cheap

Kick it old school... maybe not THIS old school!
Kick it old school... maybe not THIS old school!

1. Try last year’s model. If you are just starting out and are not sure of the “right” shoes or gear, go to your local specialty running store. Once they help you to identify the best fit shoe for your needs, ask if they have “last year’s model.” Just like cars and bicycles, last year’s models get marked down when new ones come in. If you like your shoes, also try marathon expos for great deals on close-out shoes. You don’t have to be entered in the race to shop.

2. Be a KindRunner. Another great option is innovative online retailer, KindRunner. They offer product videos and telephone or online consultations via chat. For every pair of shoes you buy, they send a shipping label for a local charity. If you send (any) pair of used shoes to the charity, they give you $10 Kindness Cash to be used on any future purchase. The cash never expires so you can save up for a pair of shoes. They also have free shipping for you, the charity and free returns. Lots of win-wins there!

  brands Collage

3. Be a savvy shopper. If you know your shoes or sizes in brands you like, online shopping can be the perfect option for savvy shoppers. Here are some tips:
  • Search on Amazon to see prices across a variety of retailers.
  • Check out Active Junky which offers cash back (+ coupons) for online shopping for major active retailers like REI and Moosejaw. It is like ebates for active folks! Check ebates, too!
  • Check discount online running shops like Holabird Sports, Running Warehouse and Kelly's Running Warehouse.
  • Try curated fitness sale sites like The Clymb and Leftlane Sports. They offer 72 hour sales on great active brands. You have to act fast – they sell-out!
  • Use an alert system like “TrackIF” or PoachIt - TrackIF lets you set alerts on a variety of websites to tell you when specific items, like your running shoe brand, model and size, go below a certain price that you set. PoachIt lets you click a button to see if there are any online coupons available before you buy.
  • Try daily deal sites like Groupon Goods and Zozi for great gear choices.
  • Get great deals on last season’s items and closeouts from sites like Sierra Trading Post. Sign up for their email list and create an account. They frequently offer last season or overstock items discounted and then coupons for an additional savings. They also have great deals on clothes for fitness and travel and a very good return policy.
  • No matter what, before you buy, do a google search for promotions or deals to be sure that you are getting the best deals.

4. Go local and hit the sale rack! Try local running stores and big box sporting good stores (and even department stores). Don't be shy, hit the sale rack first. I always do! Use this advice and you can be ready to look good on the run this summer – and you’ll have some extra cash for the post run celebrations! 

 Come by to my blog on Fridays where I post lots of great deals in my Friday Finds or follow my Facebook page. You can also check out my post on Becoming an Online Shopping Ninja for more tips and sites! Please note: This post contains some affiliate/referral links and Erica will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on her affiliate links. 

Erica lives and runs in Chicago now and is training for her fifteenth New York City Marathon (38th marathon!) on November 2nd in her quest to get 15 (NYC Marathon finishes) by 2016 to be guaranteed entry for life. Erica blogs at Erica Finds. She is more of a blogging runner than running blogger, but writes on health, fitness, running, travel, deals and ideas. Basically anything that she finds that could be of interest!

Do any of you have any more last minute Summer vacations planned this year?  Do you have any tricks to save while staying fit?  

Linking up: Funday MondayMonday Morning GossipManic MondayMingle Monday Its Emma Elise
Fitness Friday, & Fitness Friday Linkup

Say Hello to this month's darling sponsor, Tela!   photo 600x100_zpsa3741db1.jpg


Oh Hey Friday! I thought you'd never come

It's Friday girlies.  We made it to the weekend.  Hallelujah!!  And what better than to celebrate with some useless oh so important things that I don't want you to miss out on that have been going on with me this week.  Life lately has been filled with much to celebrate so lets get to it...

It's Friday.  I'm pretty sure that's reason enough to celebrate.  And while you're at it, celebrate with this Sangria recipe in your hand why don't ya?  You won't regret it!

...and if Friday alone isn't enough reason to celebrate here's my five reasons I'm celebrating:

One | In two days I'll be beach bound with Thomas to spend a week with my three favorite people.

Two | Thomas' birthday was yesterday.  As if my hunky, ginger of a boyfriend wasn't cute enough, 24 has never looked so good.
Three | I've reached some bloggy milestones that I never thought would happen.  500+ readers on Bloglovin' and followers on Twitter.  #eek See what all the buzz is about & follow me :)

Four | The "monogram madness" giveaway has come and gone.  It has been my favorite giveaway to date (but don't tell the others ;)) and if you're name is below then you'll be celebrating shortly too!  Congrats!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five | If you didn't win the above giveaway, there's still reason for you to celebrate this fine Friday too.  The Preppy Pair is giving away a weekender bag just for one of my readers.

Obsessed is an understatement.  I've been dying for a weekender bag myself, but add the words "chevron" and "monogrammed" and I'm totally wishing it was legal for me to enter these giveaways!

But since it's not legal, think of it as a "thank you" for visiting this little bloggy from me & a introduction to the cutest shop there is.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can't wait until the giveaway results are in?  Check out my other favorite items from The Preppy Pair:

Geometric Tote \ Camera Strap (on sale & FREE shipping) \ Cooler Tote \ Hampton Ring
[all of course come monogrammed #leduh]

Life is too short to not celebrate, even the little things in life.  What's one reason you're celebrating today?  Are you dying for a weekender bag yourself?

Oh Hey, Friday!  H54FThat Friday Blog HopFriday Favorites,  Five things Friday
Check out this smiling, sweet girl, Nina!  photo 600x100_zpsa3741db1.jpg


Live Radiantly

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Life is too short to do anything but live radiantly.  

Take the vacation.  Buy the shoes.  Make a meal for a friend.  Make a"clean eating" recipe.  Take the extra time to write a letter to a friend.  Visit a family member.  Go on a picnic.  Road Trip to Colorado.  Build a Sand Castle.  Answer the "phone call" when a toddler hands you their toy phone.  Bake the cookies.  And lick the bowl too.  Call in Sick and have a "Me" day.  Compliment the man in your life.  And give him an extra kiss, too.  Visit Yellowstone National Park, and go hiking in the Grand Tetons.  Watch the sports show your dad likes, just to spend some extra time with him.  Take a hike or five.  Go for a run.  Make memories.  Take lots of pictures.  Have a beautiful, white smile to be proud of in those pictures.  Live in the present.  Live Radiantly.
Live in the Present Typography Print, Abstract Photography, Fine Art Photograph, Inspirational Quote Thoreau, Dorm Decor, Purple Sunse
Buy Print Here.

I intend to finish up my summer living radiantly by checking off each of those things above.  I guess you could consider this my summer bucket list.  Starting with getting a whiter smile.  

Drinking coffee is a must.  I believe that anything can be possible, after I've had my cup of coffee for the day.  But that coffee comes with a price, and it's obvious in my smile.  Exhibit A.

But I'm tired of not having a white smile due to my love of my morning coffee.  Better yet, my smile doesn't have to suffer anymore.  Thank goodness for Arm & Hammer's Truly Radiant for making the whitening process extra easy.
 photo 8459fa08-2d0c-4267-9059-1023f2c23b39_zps7c4cddb2.jpg
What do you get when you take Arm and Hammer Truly Radiant Spinbrush, tooth paste, whitening booster, and a week?  These results.  

Lost my tan and still my teeth (and gums!) are whiter.  #cheesin'

I only needed three items & a week.  Only a week, that's just crazy!  Now that's something I can manage. And believe me you can too!

And as if the picture isn't enough for you let me lay out the facts:
+ the Arm and Hammer Truly Radiant products not only clean and whiten but they also strengthen for a more radiant smile.
+ a spinbrush removes more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and really who wants to do more work?  Not this girl.  I'll take the Spinbrush over the manual any day; I'm not sure if I could go back now.

+ Arm and Hammer Truly Raidant spinbrush removes 100% more plaque & the toothpaste removes 100% more stains than ordinary toothpaste and toothbrushes, hello Coffee drinkers!

+ it only takes a week to get results (probably because the whitening booster contains 3x more whitening agent than the leading whitening strips), the proof is in the pudding pictures.
+ more tips to bring out your inner radiance.
I mean seriously, I'm less tan and my teeth look even whiter.  Isn't it usually the other way around, the tanner you are the whiter you're teeth look due to a wonderful illusion thanks to a nice dose of Vitamin D.  Well these results are no illusion.  #winning
Now that I've got whiten my teeth of my "live radiantly" summer bucket list, I'm off to check off some more.  Starting with my third beach trip this summer.  #eek  How do you live radiantly?  What's on your summer bucket list?  
a printable for you: 5x7

Visit Sponsor's Site

Check out this smiling, sweet girl, Nina!  photo 600x100_zpsa3741db1.jpg


Yee-Haw y'all!

Before too much time had passed I wanted to post a little recap of Part 2 of our road trip.  From Colorado to Wyoming, the cowboy state. #yeehaw  10 more hours in a car & all the exploring my heart could desire.  It's was an amazing experience to see all of Gods beautiful creation at Yellowstone and in the Grand a Tetons.  [See part 1 of our road trip here.]

Warning: this post contains quite the photo dump, but this was a once in a lifetime trip that I don't wanna forget. 

they look liked roasted marshmallows

arch made out of Elks' antlers ; Thomas would LOVE it!

Highlight of day two? 6 mile hike in the Grand Tetons.


Have you ever been to Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons?  Have you been on a road trip lately?  Where in the US would you want to road trip to?

Check out this smiling, sweet girl, Nina!  photo 600x100_zpsa3741db1.jpg


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