Saturday, June 30, 2012

And the Winner Is...

The one and only, Bedazzles After Dark!

Thank you to everyone who entered!! Nik, I will get these beauties out to you asap!

Stay tuned for more fun giveaways in the all know me, I love to give gifts :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Girls Night Out: Mini Apps & Dessert Recipes

There was quite an interest in the tasty treats that mom & I stirred up for our Girls Night Out a few weeks back so I decided to share them with you all. These are perfect small bites for a casual gathering or for your large summer parties. Many of them can be prepped ahead of time which I find to always be a plus!

Veggie Baguettes (makes as many as you prefer):


  • baguettes
  • carrot sticks
  • celery sticks
  • veggie dip (or any dip you prefer)        
  1. Cut baguettes into pieces at a diagonal
  2. Remove the middle breading (but be sure to leave the bottom so the dip won't seep through)
  3. Spoon (veggie) dip into bread
  4. Place veggie sticks inside

**To make things easy, I just used store bought dip, but you can certainly whip up your own homemade should you prefer.     

Chicken Almond Bites (makes 40 bites):


  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast (or tenders), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, marmalade, curry, lemon pepper, salt, & pepper until smooth
  2. Stir in chicken, apricots, & celery
  3. Shape into balls (1 in) and roll in almonds
  4. Chill at least 1 hour before serving

**Feel free to add green onions into the mix when you add the chicken, apricots, and celery. I don't care for them so I omitted.
***These can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen up to 1 month ahead! If you choose to freeze them, don't roll into the almonds until you plan to serve (letting them thaw).

Shrimp Tartlets (makes 30 pieces):


  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese (calls for Swiss but any kind will do)
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 can (4oz) tiny shrimp, drained
  • 2 packages (15 count) frozen mini phyllo dough shells

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine cheeses, mayo, and sauces
  3. Fold in shrimp
  4. Divid mixture evenly in mini shells
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes

**IF you can't find the phyllo shells (which I couldn't), simply use refrigerated biscuits or rolls and separate them. Then press the dough into muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. Proceed as directed.

***You can garnish the tartlets, once baked, with a small frozen *cooked* shrimp if you prefer.

Banana Cream Delight (makes 12 minis):


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large box vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups milk, skim is fine
  • 5 to 6 banana, sliced
  • 1 container whipped topping

  1. Mix cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar
  2. Divide the mixture equally into 12 dessert dishes and press firmly into bottom
  3. Put 5 to 6 slices of banana in bottom of each dish
  4. Make pudding as directed on box
  5. Cover bananas with pudding
  6. Chill until set (approx 1 hour)
  7. Top with whipped cream

Summer Fruit Cake (makes 12 minis):


  • 12 small 1-inch square pieces of angel food cake
  • 15 to 20 strawberries sliced
  • 4 bananas sliced
  • 1 can (10oz) crushed pineapple, drained but save juice
  • 1/2 can mandarin oranges, drained and sliced
  • 1/2 box of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 container whipped topping

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix pineapple, 1/2 pineapple juice, oranges, and vanilla pudding
  2. Add half the whipped topping & fold together
  3. Place small square of cake in bottom of dessert dishes
  4. Drizzle with pineapple juice
  5. Top with spoonful of pudding mixture
  6. Add 3 to 4 slices of bananas and strawberries on top of pudding mixture
  7. Cover with another layer of pudding mixture
  8. Garnish with a dollop of whipped topping and slices strawberry

Chocolate Mousse (makes 12 minis):


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 container whipped topping
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 4 oz baking chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon milk or water

  1. Melt butter and add cracker crumbs & sugar; mix well
  2. Place teaspoon of mixture in bottom of dessert dishes and press firmly into bottom
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and vanilla until fluffy
  4. In another bowl, melt milk/water and chocolate until melted & creamy
  5. Add chocolate to cream cheese mixture and mix well
  6. Fold in whipped topping
  7. Fill each dessert dish to the top with chocolate mousse
  8. Garnish with a dollop of whipped topping and chocolate chips or shaving

Happy Cooking/Baking!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Double Trouble from the Collins Girls

To say that everyone I know has baby fever would be an understatement. It seems like each day I login to FB comes with a new post about someone expecting. I find myself stalking baby registries (as opposed to wedding ones ;) ) and my eyes scan the area for newborns whever I go.

With this being said, I am so excited to announce that Baby T is not going to be the youngest cousin for long...Kendahl is preggo with her 3rd little minion and due January 1st!!! Mom/Sammy/Mimi goes from being a grandma of 2 to 4 in a matter of minutes :)

Can you believe that these little ones...

...are all grown up with little ones of their own?

8 weeks and 27 weeks (taken while in KY in May) 

little DeZarn minions

little Thompson bundle

I am beyond thrilled to be getting another niece or nephew. Funny enough, we will know the sex of Baby DeZarn before we know the sex of Baby T most likely. And we're cheering for the same gender so they can be best friends forever :)

Now I must note that these unborn children seem to have a conspiracy against our travel plans though. Our sweet child made our trip to the London Olympic Games basically impossible while the newest DeZarn is making it difficult to do our 2nd annual post-Christmas Naples vaca.

All of that set aside, we're all ready to meet the newest members of the Collins Clan!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Sneak Peek: Maternity Photo Session

A few weeks ago, Ryan & I did some maternity photos. We wanted to capture "the bump" on camera to have for our house and to show Baby T when he/she is born..err grows up. After months of trying to coordinate with our dear friend Shana (who shot our engagement session and wedding weekend), we couldn't find a weekend that worked for all of us. We had already booked Roy for the newborn session in September, pending our sweet bundle's arrival date, so we decided to book our maternity photos with him. **At first I felt so guilty like we were cheating on Shana but then he let us in on his Roger Federer photo shoot secret which subsided any hesitations I previously had :)

We spent a few hours with him on a Thursday morning before Ryan headed to work. The weather majorly cooperated making for some great outside shots that got to include baby Beau. Our little family of 3, almost 4 enjoyed the shoot and the scenery. Roy is great and we highly recommend him!

To see the full gallery, click here and email me for the password.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Weekend Treats: In The City & Out to the Country Edition

We kicked off the weekend on Thursday with a date night in the city. We've basically been trying to plan one of those in New York for about 5 months. Either I was too tired, Ryan was working too late, or the weather was icky. It just hadn't worked in our favor until now.

Way back in February, my theme for our V-day was romance to sort of spice up our love life. Getting married, moving, conceiving, buying a house, long work hours for hubby, and all that comes with those minor life changes can really put a damper on your *sex* life. So I was trying to think of ways to make our first married Valentine's Day hot-hot-hot. There was a Groupon for the Museum of Sex in New York. Bingo! I bought tickets for 2.

Fast forward to Thursday June 21st and we finally got around to using them :) I hopped on the train and headed into Grand Central. While Ryan wrapped up a few work things, I happily shopped at J Crew (finding the most precious 4th of July outfit for our party!) before we walked the 15 blocks in the sweltering heat to the corner of 27th & 5th Avenue. Glittered in pink with full frontal windows, we arrived at our destination. We took the 3 floor tour examining exhibits from sex in the cinemas to mammal intercourse to modern day exploration. We laughed like school children at times. We read intently at times. But mainly we just had a good time as husband and wife...and Ryan blushed a lot :)

Having worked up an appetite, we decided to dine at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse. It is centrally located in Grand Central with a gorgeous view of the architectural beauty that the building exonerates. We had a romantic corner table filled with wonderful people watching. The "23" burger was amazing as were the sweet potato fries and finished off with a delightful piece of good ole' New York cheesecake made for the perfect date night meal.

Friday Beau-man and I headed on a little walk around Croton Point Park in the am before the heat index hit 95. *Warning* preggo outside in heat does not make for a fancy sight. 

After our exercise, we spent the day inside prepping for the big camping trip. Thanks to our friends Christie & Wes who seem to camp a lot, I grabbed some great tips off of her Pinterest board and put them to good use.

prepping for Sat dinner

prepping for Sun breakfast

all sorts of goodies in Ziploc baggies

stuffing for the campurritos

campurritos ready for Sun breakfast

Friday night we prepped for our big getaway on Saturday morning. We headed up to Fahenstock Park in Putnam County, a mere 30 minute drive, for some outdoor adventure. Enjoying an easy hike around the Pelton Pond followed by some row boating on the lake. And of course, a whole lot of campfire time including a picnic, steak dinner, and s'mores!

you'd think we are going for days...

Beau in paradise

yummy steak dinner

captain Ry


roasting mellows

yummy s'mores

breakfast campurritos were a hit


setting up camp

loungin' pup

setting up for our picnic lunch

easy  breezy hike

Beau, Baby, & Me

Dad & Beau

get those arms moving...


water dog

little swimmer

toes in the water

amazing wedding gifts: camp couch and table stop (REI)

pooped after the hike and water


evening fun
I also took the liberty to make a small comparison chart between the two coasts and their camping (+)s and (-)s...

East Coast vs. West Coast Camping

East                                                                                         West
(+) Civilized meaning no animals except skeeters                                                    (-) Home of bears, raccoons, et al
(+) Thanks to above, bathrooms & trashcans galore                                               (-) Nature is your bathroom                  
(-) Due to above, any Tom/Dick/Harry now camps                                                (+) Must be built Ford tough to camp
(-) Loud drunks up until all hours thanks to Tom/Dick/Harry                                 (+) Due to above, peaceful & serene

All in all, we had a great time living it up in the great outdoors before Baby T comes. If we can, we might try to squeeze in one last camping trip this summer. Fingers crossed!

Sunday we headed home to do some house maintenance and run errands before dining with Liz & Win. You might remember Win, one of Ryan's bfs/groomsmen/handy man, from past posts. Well his bride was visiting in NY so we took the opportunity to feast on some homemade BBQ at Memphis Mae's in Croton. A little hole in the wall place with dynamite entrees. And since Win refuses to come see us without making a stop at The Blue Pig, we enjoyed dessert outside to wrap up the weekend.

lagunitas for the fellas

What did you do that was "city-like" or "country-esque" this weekend?!