November 2014 archive

Butterflies

 

Butterflies have always been special to me. They’ve represented renewal, change, and rebirth. The lowly, ugly caterpillar confined to the ground eventually becomes this beautiful, unique creature that flies around freely wherever it chooses. It reminds me of Gungor’s song “Beautiful Things” where he speaks of how God makes “beautiful things out of the dust.”  He takes the ugly, the broken, the rejected, and He makes them beautiful, whole and abundantly loved.

butterfly bush 5

During my time at the beach, the monarch butterflies were migrating south. It was amazing to see so many butterflies at the ocean everyday. I don’t know about you but my vision of heaven includes sun, sand, saltwater and butterflies! It was so sweet to be able to experience this journey at the beach and be reminded of the precious transition from caterpillar to butterfly. God is continually making us more and more beautiful as we allow him to work in our lives.

butterfly bush 6

I challenge you to take time to think back on your life~where you’ve been to where you are now. Be grateful for and appreciate the journey that has brought you to your current state. Choose to see the blessings in your life and what has been transformed from old to new, ugly to beautiful, weak to strong, or broken to whole. Write it down, paint it or create a movement of gratefulness as an offering of thanks to the Lord. When we are in the middle of the mess, it’s hard to see the beauty, but fortunately, grace allows us to see the sliver of hope…the butterfly in the making.

coffeeshop butterfly

 

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

 

One of my favorite dishes to make and eat is the chicken enchilada casserole.  It’s super easy and doesn’t take very much prep or time.

You will need:

casserole ingredients

1 rotisserie chicken
1 double can black beans
1 can Rotel
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 jar of green chili enchilada sauce (or tomatillo sauce)
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup of sour cream
10-12 corn tortillas

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Drain the black beans and put them on a low boil while you prep the other ingredients until they get mushy. Stir every once and awhile to keep from burning.
3. Spread some green chili sauce or tomatillo sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish. Then layer 4 tortillas on the bottom.
4. Take the chicken off the bone and shred in a bowl. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese, 1 can Rotel and 1 can of red enchilada sauce. Mix it all up and layer it on top of the tortillas. Layer 3-4 more tortillas on top of that.

casserole chicken mix 5. Beat the black beans and 1/2 cup of sour cream until they reach desired consistency. (I usually leave them a little lumpy.) Put that mixture on top of the tortillas and then layer the remaining tortillas on top of that.

casserole beans:cheese 6. Put the rest of the green chili sauce or tomatillo sauce on the top with the remainder of the cheese.
7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
8. Take out and let cool before serving.

casserole finished

Enjoy the casserole with a nice margarita and a side of guacamole salad! And, as always, let me know how you like it!

 

 

 

30-A Sunrises and Sunsets

 

sea quote

I just love the sea! As I said before, there is something about it that makes me feel closer to God. The peace that washes over me as I watch a sunrise or sunset on the ocean is indescribable. It’s as if God is reminding me that He’s bigger than any problem, and He’s capable of beauty that is beyond my imagination.

Here are a few glimpses of paradise that I caught while on vacation.

watercolorsunrisefavorites

Watercolorsunrise

watercolors sunrise

rosemarysunsetseasideegret

Bud and Alleys sunsetseaside1stsunset sunset wheatgrass

familybeach pic

God’s glory filled the skies every morning and night. It was an incredible display of beauty that reminded me how amazing and faithful He truly is. I’m so thankful for times like that which I can look back on and feel a special peace deep within my soul.

30-A Favorites

 

30-A will always hold precious memories for my family. We have been vacationing in Seaside since I was 8 years old, and my parents eventually bought a house there my freshman year of high school. I worked a couple summers down there, participated in many July 4th parades, and in the summer of 2008, my sister and I had a double wedding at the chapel in Seaside. I will always love that area, and I’ve seen it grow tremendously since I first started visiting in 1990. I’m excited to share some of my favorite places on 30-A with you!

Favorite Coffee Shop: Amavida in Seaside & Rosemary Beach, FL

amavidastore

Amavida is a combination of the Spanish words “Amar” (to love) and “vida” (life) and you can tell that this company is all about loving life for their farmers, customers and employees! They use fair trade, organically grown, high-quality coffees and teas. I personally love their iced coffee with a little agave syrup and cream added. Patrick loves their vanilla latte. These photos were taken at their Seaside location where they also serve authentic Latin American food. I had their “La Reina” Arepa which is a corn cake stuffed with chicken and avocado, and it was incredible! I highly recommend it!

amavidainside

amavidacoffee

Favorite Brunch: Great Southern in Seaside, FL

greatsouthern

I love a good brunch with good drinks, good food, and good atmosphere. Great Southern has all that (and they even have bacon and pecan waffles!) It’s in the center of Seaside, so it’s fun to sit on the patio and watch everything going on.  Oh, don’t worry, we did have mimosas as well!

greatsouthernbreakfast

Favorite Dinner: Paradis in Rosemary Beach, FL

paradisstorefront

Paradis has an incredible menu and did an excellent job attending to my gluten free diet. We loved it so much we went twice! I had the same meal both times because it was just that good. I ordered the snapper with brussel sprouts, zucchini on potatoes in lieu of gnocchi, with a lobster yellow coconut curry cream sauce–yum!

paradismenu

Patrick had the Grouper, and it was excellent!

paradiswithpatrick

The drinks were also amazing!

paradiswithparents

And the dessert…magnifique (and gluten free!)

paradisdessert

Favorite Bookstore: Sundog Books in Seaside, FL

sundogme

Sundog Books is hands down my favorite bookstore ever! It’s this small, quirky yet quaint bibliotheque filled with books in every nook and cranny. I love looking through the favorites of each person who works there as well as checking out the unique gifts. It’s a great place to go and spend a couple hours if you want a break from the sun or during one of those afternoon rain showers.

sundoginside

Favorite Store: Mercantile in Seaside, FL

If you like unique, vintage, comfortable and earthy, you will love Mercantile! This store has a look that screams boho-chic. From the jewelry to the gifts, the clothing to the cowboy boots, this boutique has it all while oozing with southern charm and American pride. You can shop them online at http://www.shopmerc.com.

mercantilestorefront

mercantileinside

mercantileclothes

mercantileregister

My favorite item I bought while I was on vacation is this necklace from Suzanne Kallay Designs. Suzanne is a local designer who creates one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces from repurposed materials such as antlers, bullets and deerskin. Check her out on Insta at suzannekallaydesigns.

kallaynecklace

Another favorite Mercantile buy is this dress from designer Mamie Ruth–love the built in cape! It’s perfect with a pair of cowboy boots!

mamieruth

Favorite Dessert: La Crema in Rosemary Beach, FL

lacremaoutside

La Crema tapas and chocolate is a great place to go for appetizers and dessert. They have an excellent happy hour as well. Patrick and I wanted a light meal, so we headed there one night to eat and catch the sunset. We split the chèvre stuffed peppers and Baylor brussel sprouts. Yes, I did ask if they were named after my alma mater and sure enough, they are! The owner’s daughter is a current student at Baylor University! Sic ’em Bears!

lacremamenu

Patrick ordered a spicy chicken tapas next (not GF) while I had the eggplant–amazing!

lacremapatrickandme

And the dessert…OMG! Unfortunately, I couldn’t eat too many desserts there, but boy do I wish I could have!  They have several different fondues to choose from–dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter chocolate and Nutella, in addition to chocolate soup, molten cakes and espresso cookies just to name a few! I had the chocolate mousse, and it was very good!

lacremadessertFavorite Beach: Watercolor, FL

watercolor

Okay, honestly, all the beaches along 30-A are INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL! The reason I like Watercolor is for the fact that there is nothing to the west of it, so it’s like your own private beach. During the summer, Watercolor beach gets extremely crowded, but, you always have that stretch of open beach until you reach Grayton. I love to walk that direction and go for a dip in the ocean to remind myself how big and amazing God truly is. I don’t know what it is about that area, but I always feel a little closer to God.

watercolorbeach

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite photos I took at the beach one morning when I woke up before sunrise. I hope you can get down to 30-A sometime soon! Feel free to email me if you have any questions about that area! I’d love to know your 30-A favorites as well!

watercolorsunrisefavorites

 

Watercolor

 

So, I basically just spent the most amazing, relaxing two weeks of my life in Watercolor, FL.  I’m so thankful that my new job allows me to take off and do things like this and that my sweet parents rented this incredible house for us to stay in.  I’m so excited to give you a peek into this luxurious, blissful, seaside home.

watercolor front house

The front of the house on Park Row Lane, just a few steps from the beach!

watercolor bedroom 1

watercolor bathroom 1Bedroom and bathroom number 1 located on the first floor.

watercolor bedroom 2watercolor bathroom 2Bedroom and bathroom #2 located on the first floor. This was my chambre for 14 days!

watercolor kitchen 1The magnificent kitchen and breakfast bar with gas stove, 2 dishwashers, 2 sinks and a wine fridge on the second floor!

watercolor dining corner

This was the little dining nook behind the kitchen.

watercolor kitchen:diningA look at the dining area and kitchen from the family room.

watercolor den 1watercolor den 2A couple views of the family room. I spy Ellington’s bum on the balcony!

watercolor balcony 1watercolor porch swingThe adorable balcony/porch with swing. This was my favorite spot because…

watercolor balcony 2

Look at that view of the ocean just beyond the dunes!

watercolor powder bathI just couldn’t leave out the cute little powder bath on the second floor! I mean, it even has a little heart-shaped drain!

watercolor loftThis is the third floor loft area outside the master suite. It has a trundle bed so it’s ideal for the kiddos and it has a pretty sweet ocean view!

watercolor master 1 watercolor master 3watercolor master 2This is luxury…the third floor master has a large walk-in closet with washer and dryer and a huge bathroom with walk-in rain shower! Not pictured is a private balcony off the master suite with table and chairs.

All in all, you can see that this house was fabulous! We will definitely be staying here again. It was close to the beach, very comfortable, and the biggest plus–they accept dogs! It was a bit sad at first since this was our family’s first time to vacation there since selling our Seaside home, but this house was inviting and didn’t disappoint!

Stay tuned for a post on all my 30-A favorites!