Easter Easter Bo Beaster, Banana Fana Fo Feaster

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Easter Is Here! 

Easter brings up nostalgia for me. Church with my Mom, Grandma, and Grandpa, Easter eggs hunts with my Dad at the park or in the house, candy for days, big huge dinners, and all these cute little bunnies everywhere I looked! One of my favorite photos from childhood is one where I’m standing on the front porch of my Grandparents house, hugging this gigantic, blue, blow-up bunny who’s chomping on a carrot, dressed in this adorable little blue dress, white those white ruffle socks we all used to wear! (I wish I knew where the photo was because obviously, I would share it, but I don’t, unfortunately.)

This year for Easter is a little different because Mitch and I are moving!! So excited!!! But, that also means all my pots, pans, and spices are packed in a box, and our refrigerator is dwindling down to nothing. For anyone else out there who cooks all the time, I hope you feel my anxiety with this issue. Not having all my kitchen supplies is making me a crazy person! 

 

Instead of sharing an entire menu and recipes with you for Easter Dinner like I normally would, I have picked out my favorite recipe from last years Easter, and decided to post it for you guys. For me, Easter is not complete without Deviled Eggs! Last year I had this idea to dye the actual hard white egg instead of the shell, and it turned out so awesome that I couldn’t imagine not sharing it with you guys! To go along with the Deviled Eggs post, I have included some photos and videos from last years dinner 🙂

Make sure to share with me and tag #ColdBeerMeatSweats with all your fun Easter posts! 

Color Your Own, Deviled Eggs  

These are going to be the easiest eggs you’ve ever made, and the most fun! 

  • Boil 8 Eggs (at least 10 minutes)
  • Cool on stove for 15 minutes, then strain water out, run the eggs under cold water for a couple of minutes, then chill them in the fridge for 1 hour or 1 day
  • Using 4 clear and short glasses, place a couple drops of food coloring in each one, then add water. Don’t forget to leave room in the glass for when you drop the egg in there
  • For pastel colors, you can mix and match the colors, and use the back of a food coloring box for more options

*Note*  The longer you keep the egg in the food coloring water, the darker the egg will be. If you want light pastel colors, don’t keep the eggs in there very long, and keep a close eye because they can change colors pretty fast!

*Note*  When making my eggs, I referred to this website and this recipe 🙂 Pastel Egg Food Coloring Options

  • Once they’ve cooled, peel off all the shells and discard
  •  Slice the eggs in half, and place the yolks into a medium sized mixing bowl
  • Place all the white halves onto a cutting board
  • Make the filling first then place in the fridge while you’re dying the eggs
  • Into the medium bowl with the yolks, mix in the following:

– 1/2 Cup Lite Mayo

– Dash of Salt and Pepper (to taste)

– 1 T Dijon Mustard

– 1 t each: Ground Mustard, Parsley Flakes, Smoked Paprika, & Northwoods Seasoning

– 2 T Minced Cornichons (or pickle relish)

  • Mix well, taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, then refrigerate 
  • Dye each half of the eggs carefully, and set on a paper towel lined plate when finished 
  • Once all eggs are colored, remove the filling mixture from the fridge and put a heaping spoonful into the center of each empty egg
  • Place them onto a serving dish or Deviled Egg plate, sprinkle with Paprika, and enjoy!! 

Easter Dinner Menu Ideas

Main Entree:

Roasted Lamb rack in Vino & Veggies, w/ Yogurt Mint Sauce  

Sides:

Sauteed Green Beans w/ Fresh Garlic and Thyme

Seasoned Red Potatoes w/ Roasted Carrots, Baby Bell Peppers, and Onions

Mixed Greens Salad

Dinner Rolls & Cinnamon Butter

Last year was my first attempt at making a Lamb Rack, and the few pieces of advice I would give to you are; temp it properly and check on it frequently, give it some time as the outside pieces will cook faster than the inside pieces, spoon wine mixture over the lamb a few times throughout the cooking process, and don’t be intimidated!

 

Sides are my favorite part of any family meal! Usually sides become staples and items that family members remember the most and crave often! Sometimes the most simple of recipes, can be the fondest ones. I had to work last Easter and didn’t get home until 5pm. I threw together some green beans and these potatoes, and they ended up being the recipes that I use very frequently now! My favorite lesson in the kitchen is to go with what you feel and know, and use the ingredients you already have on hand. Swapping one ingredient for another is one of my favorite ways to get creative in the kitchen 🙂 

Green Beans w/ Garlic and Thyme, and Potatoes w/ Carrots, Peppers, and Onions 

Next time I make a post, it will be from my new kitchen, in our new apartment! I’m so excited to share our journey with you guys, and keep your eyes out for a new post! Happy Easter, everyone!! 

 

Don’t forget to share those Easter posts with me this year!! 

Since we’re moving and I cannot cook Easter Dinner, I’m looking forward to seeing those #ColdBeerMeatSweats tags! No matter what you guys make, share and tag it 🙂 

I love food, family, and seeing how you guys spend your Holidays! Happy Egg Hunting! 

Taken on Easter last year, 2017

Valentines, Schmalentines

To Feel The Love  

Forward: When I sat down yesterday to write this post I wasn’t sure what to say, or how to say it. I didn’t know my ending goal or have a point to my story, I just felt like writing about what love meant to me. Here is what unfolded after I sat down.


I don’t know how to start this post and I’m not really in the mood to write it. Tomorrow is Valentines Day and I will be celebrating with the one I love.

I love, love. I am a hopeless romantic. I am a super huge fan of movies that make me cry. My favorite part of any TV series and Movie is always the love story. I.E., Rachel and Ross, Noah and Allie, Jim and Pam, Olivia and Fitz, just to name a few. I am secretly sappy. Love is hard to explain, and the word is thrown around so much that it’s not always believable anymore. The reason I am even doing this post is because not everyone is surrounded by love, and when you are someone who happens to be lucky enough to have and be loved, then you should embrace it.

My heart has been broken to the point I felt as if there was no return. But, I come from a family who showered me with so much love that it was impossible to give up in life. Love isn’t just about flowers, heart candies -although delicious, cute, and wonderful-, and teddy bears. To me, love is a blessing. I am not bragging, I am not gloating, I am just simply recognizing that my parents and grandparents, along with close and distant family members were the first people in my life to show me what true love was supposed to be, and how it was supposed to feel, and I am forever grateful.

My Grandparents were married for 50 years. My Parents divorced when I was 1. Not a day in my childhood from birth to 18 went by without the support of both my mother and father. They might not have loved each other, but they loved me so much that it taught me how to truly care about someone. After I left for college, obviously, I didn’t always try to talk to my parents everyday because I was too busy trying to “discover myself”, but I never forgot how I grew up. When someone would try to take me down, mentally, or by breaking my heart, I would remember how much I love the world, how much I love to laugh, and how much I love the idea of creating the perfect life for myself, and I would get up and move on. Love is hard. It’s hard to find, it’s hard to maintain, it’s said to be easy with the right people but that doesn’t mean it is effortless. It’s only easy because love is the common denominator, and when that is understood, you can overcome anything.

The older I get, the more the definition of love changes. I mean, I have always loved pizza, cats, cheese, and ice cream but, saying you love someone, and committing to that in reality changes as you become older. When I moved to North Carolina 5 years ago, love showed up. My Mom and my Dad, whom don’t speak to each other, drove separately to Pittsburgh from Columbus, helped me pack up a van, a station wagon, and a car, and we all followed each other on this 8 hour adventure. 3 cars, all of us seperate yet, all of us doing this together. I was moving from Pitt to Raleigh because of a boy. Even though I kept telling myself it was for a “change in career”, and to be somewhere warmer, I knew it was because of a boy, and so did my parents. My divorced parents drove me from PGH to NC so I could be with the one I love. I don’t know much more of a love story than that. They moved me into a random house, with random roommates, and “the boy” was there to help. Afterwards, they kissed me on the cheek and separately drove back to Columbus, OH, as Mitch and I waved goodbye. That is why I love, love.

Mitch and I met in middle school, went to high school together, then didn’t see each other for about 8 years, or talk for that matter. On my 26th birthday I came to Raleigh, NC because my best friend was here on business and heaven forbid if we weren’t together to celebrate the big 26! Mitch happened to have a place in Raleigh for us to crash that April, and then, well, that following August I moved here. I’m now 31 and we will be celebrating 6 years together this spring. We both came from terrible heart aches, and helped each other back into trusting someone. He is my rock, my best friend, and he makes me feel like I must have done something right in this world, to have been so lucky to land someone like him. I love you, babe, Happy Valentines, Schmalentines Day.


I’ve decided to share some of my favorite photos with you guys! Scroll through to see the fun times we’ve had over the years, the awesome Pizza my Dad sends us on Valentines Day, the pancakes I made one year that spell out “I Love You”, and my favorite way to show him I care, the art of the sandwich. 

Snowmageddon 2017.

Edible, I Love You’s.

42nd St Oyster Bar.      -Raleigh-

When You Love Someone, Make Them A Sandwich.      -2015-

“Smile” ( He said he could pose better than me.)     -Just A Wedding-

That One Time My Dad Sent Us Heart Shaped Pizzas From Lou’s For Valentines Day!

A Foodies Way of Saying, I Love You, Honey.      -La Farm Bakery-

One Rad Wedding, 2017.     -Colorado-

One of My Favorite New Staples in Raleigh.     -Lucette Grace-

Brewery Hopping.     -Bond Brothers-

Happy 5 Years.     -2017-

Cheers To Year Number 6!     -Chocolate Chip & Bacon Pancakes-

Pittsburgh, My Love

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Steel Town, USA!

 

My first love is Ohio. I was born and raised a Buckeye in the beautiful city of Columbus. I went to school in good ol’ London, Ohio but spent a fair amount of time in the city where my Dad, Granny, and Grandpa lived. At 18 years old, and a few months after graduating LHS, I packed my bags and headed off to Pennsylvania. 

 

 

The third college visit I ever went on was to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and from the very first time I ever drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, I was in love. This is such a beautiful, magnificent, strong, proud, and hard working city, and I’m lucky to have spent eight years of my life here. I lived in the city, outside the city, moving every single year I was there, and it was exhilarating. Not having a college campus allowed for me to use the city as my playground, and I took advantage of that to a full extent. 

 

 

 

Dear Primanti Bros, I Love You.  

 

Again, I am obsessed with sandwiches… here is more proof. Unfortunately, the old saying, you never know what you have until it’s gone, is very true in this case. There are no Primanti Bros here in Raleigh, or in North Carolina, and I never thought I would miss them as much as I do! I was a regular to the location in Market Square, where I walked through every day, but the 24 hour location in the Strip District saved my life a few times 🙂 

 

 

I was 18 when I moved to the 412 and 26 when I left. When I look back I feel like I was such a child when I arrived; as any 18 year old feels when they move off to college, I thought I knew it all. Those 8 years changed my life. My family changed, friends, outlook on life, and my dreams and goals morphed into something I could have never imagined for myself when I was in high school. I made friends that turned into family. I fell in love, then out of love. I cried on Mt. Washington looking down and out at the city, more times than I can recall. It was always so soothing and peaceful to see the city lights reflecting in the Three Rivers. I also laughed, drank, and hung out on that mountain too many times to count. I am a better, stronger, more amazing person because of the time I spent in Pittsburgh, PA. 

 

 

Life can be hard. No one really talks about what happens when you graduate college; except for the getting a job, house, kids, marriage, etc., part. From the time I turned 22 until 26 when I left for Raleigh, was the most confusing time in my life. Not knowing what’s next, or where I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do, was an emotional roller coaster. The only advice I have is to be strong, and stay strong. Carefully select people to be in your corner that will help you recover every time you fall. I’m very lucky to have such strong minded people in my life, and if it weren’t for them and their pep talks, I don’t know how I would have survived. 

 

Reflections  

 

I often caught myself staring into the Three Rivers, gazing in amazement at how beautiful life was in this city. When the sun would rise behind the concrete jungle it was hard to look away, and when it faded on the water it was even harder to ignore. I was in film school so everything seemed like art to me at the time. The sun behind Mt. Washington, or the city lights reflecting in the water, it was all too surreal sometimes. 

 

 

Two days after we, The Steelers, won the 2006 Super Bowl is a day I will never forget. I had left my apartment in Allegheny Center, behind PNC Park, with multiple layers on because per usual, it was about 4 degrees, and when I got to the the 6th St. Bridge, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I knew there was going to be a parade I just didn’t understand or realize that THE ENTIRE CITY was going to be there. I did understand that “The Last Bus Stop”, was a really big deal, like huge, but I didn’t know classes were going to be cancelled because you literally couldn’t walk through, or drive, the streets that day. It was all very awesome. I bought a t-shirt from some guy on the side of the road, threw it on over my long, big black winter coat, looking like a ridiculous crazy person, and got as close to the action as I could down on 5th Ave. There were people in the trees, the parking garages were so full it looked like fans were going to start climbing up the side of them like mountain climbers, just to get a good view. You could see, and almost hear the people on Mt. Washington screaming from above. It was so loud, and I’d never experienced anything like it in my life. I have goosebumps right now as I write this, just remembering how loud it really was when 50,000 + people were all screaming, “Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go” all at the same time. And then we got to do it again in 2009, but this time it was for the Steelers, and the Pens. I picked the right time to live in Pittsburgh. 

 

Bridges  

 

I walked everywhere when I lived here. I walked over and through, across and under, so many bridges that I could probably do it blindfolded and still not run into anything. 

 

 

 

Sometimes when you love something, you still have to leave it. I am in love, and will forever love this city but, I had to go. This blog entry is important to me to pay homage to this city that I feel, helped raise me. It was rough, nitty and gritty, unforgiving, and beautiful all at the same time. It taught me to trust others, but not to be in denial of the truth. The streets and people walking them taught me that if the Steelers or Pens lost, it was going to be a rough and grumpy day. The traffic was the worst part. Understanding that it was going to take you an hour to get somewhere that was 15 minutes away, never set well with me. The food taught me to appreciate everything at hand, and that good food takes time. The food scene here also taught me that something cheap is just as good as something expensive, especially when you’re a struggling college student. Late nights in the South Side meant you stood in line at 2AM for french fries and gravy. (I never knew that was a thing until I became a Yinzer.) 

 

 

When you’re a cheese addict, and donut lover, Pittsburgh is definitely the place for you. Look at this cheese log! 

 

 

Also, if you’re trying “clean eating”, Delucas might not be for you. Their serving for 1 could feed a family of 4! I love this little diner, it’s been there forever, and everyone goes here, literally.  (Cash only, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

 

 

Before I end this post I am going to leave you with a couple more photos, and a video. Market Square was where I walked through everyday to get to college, then where I worked those 4 years after college. I stared and photographed the glass castle obsessively, and took more pics with the Heinz Dino than I’m proud of. Rather it be Light Up Night, the 4th of July Fireworks, Steelers Game Day, or any ordinary night in this beautiful city, I still look back in amazement and joy that I was able to spend some of my life here, and call this place home. I love you PGH, I really, really do. 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Cold Beer & Meat Sweats

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How Did I Get Here?

For a while now I have been wanting to start a blog. Not a blog where I write down all of my problems and spoon feed them to the world; just a simple blog where I can share my love of cooking to others who have the same passion. Cooking, over the years has become a passion for me. When I was in my twenties, I lost a lot of sleep over the fact that I didn’t have a passion, and that I didn’t know what truly made me happy in life. Does anyone really have those answers in their twenties? Probably not, but every twenty year old something out there believes that they should… joke’s on us, it’s ok if you don’t.

I was fortunate enough to have earned a career right out of college. I had the opportunity to work for an affiliate of a major TV network in Pittsburgh, PA. It was, at the time, amazing. Roof top parties, fancy get togethers, working on 5th Ave., in the middle of a bustling, thriving, growing city. It was everything I had ever wanted. (I thank “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” for this dream I had of living and working in a downtown environment.) It was here, where I realized that I wasn’t sure what the heck I was going to do with the rest of my life. Was I really going to be in this satellite control room forever? I was in a fancy building, where famous people would come and do voice-overs while they were filming movies in the area. It was sometimes like a dream world. Where I worked in particular, there was this large window, and when people would walk by they could see all the little workers at their stations. The more I sat with my headphones on and watched these tours go by, the more I felt like a monkey in a zoo, on display for the amusement of others. Sure, maybe that’s a little drastic but, when you’re 24, everything is drastic.

 

 

During my time at the production company, I ended up meeting someone. I didn’t know at the time that she was going to be a lifetime friend, I just knew I really enjoyed her company, and the company of those she surrounded herself by. We ended up catering on the weekends just for sh**s and giggles. One of her best friends was a head chef at a catering company and he always needed bodies. It started out as something that was fun and distracting from other things I had going on in my life, almost like an escape. I had no intentions of liking it…. I was just there, because. Funny how life works out like that. My dear friend Amanda, I believe, is one of the main reasons I am on a new path. She took it from catering on the weekends to inviting me over for dinner a couple of nights a week. Her and her husband would take hours to create these meals, and we would end up eating dinner around 10pm, no matter what day of the week it was, it was usually a midnight supper club type of deal. I absolutely fell head over heels in love. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to know how to hold the knife properly, I wanted to know how to shop for the right ingredients, and I had questions for everything. I didn’t just want to make them, I wanted to do everything from finding inspiration for the meal, to the grocery store, to finding it in the aisles or the markets, to the kitchen, to the table. ALL OF IT.

I ended up working at this company for 4 years to the day. There were moments of love and hate. Looking back now, I was learning important life lessons about how to exist in a professional environment, and yet, I had no idea that I was learning anything at all. Everyday I was awake in my twenties I was writing something down. It didn’t matter if I were in a good or bad mood, whatever I was feeling was going down on paper. Usually when I was at work trying to look busy, I would be writing; How do I get out of here? How do I change my life? How do I remove these walls and explore the world with $2 to my name? Is it possible to say F*** IT and walk out with my hands in the air, and not burn a bridge, my career, and ruin my life? (NO, it’s not.) Amanda & her husband Matt, helped me in ways they might not be aware of. They made me look at myself, re-evaluate, dig deep, and figure out what I enjoyed doing. It turns out that I really love to cook.

 

 

Fast forward to this moment in my life. I do not live in Pittsburgh, PA anymore but, I am still very close with my two dear friends whom I left behind. I purchased my very first Apple laptop computer, bought a domain name, found a glorious man to share my life with, and I’m venturing out into the food blogging world. I have zero ideas where this adventure is going to take me but, I also don’t care and it doesn’t scare me. I am excited, nervous, and ready. I love to cook, I love to write, and I love to take pictures of food. Join me on this journey, won’t you?

 

 

 

This journey wouldn’t be possible without you, Mitch, and I thank you so much for sticking by my side through thick and thin, I love you.

 

 

Granny Rose

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Grandma Rose & Her Gravy Legacy 

This recipe is my favorite for many reasons, but mainly because the first food I ever remember learning to cook, was my Grandmothers Sausage Gravy. It was particularly my favorite because we always had it on Christmas morning. Our family is huge on stocking stuffers, and my Grandpa would wake us up around 6AM every year, and we would all gather around and watch each other open up our stockings! Afterwards we break for coffee and breakfast. Granny and Mom would prepare everything, and my job was always to set the table. It wasn’t until after breakfast when we got to open up our presents, and it was the greatest thing ever growing up! The anticipation always felt like it was going to kill me! Eating my delicious biscuits & gravy, and wondering what was still under the tree was all so exciting. Looking back,  I don’t ever remember her making biscuits, but that gravy, I could just drink it.

 

 

Fast forward to now. My Granny passed away in July of 2016, (Grandpa passed away when I was in 8th grade,) and when I decided to create my own food blog, I promised myself that my first recipe would be her gravy, in her honor. My Granny taught my Mom, and my Mom taught me, and I am so lucky to have been raised by such wonderful women, and men. Once I moved to North Carolina and noticed the plethora of biscuits in the South, I knew it was a sign that it was time to find the perfect biscuit recipe to pair with our gravy. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago when I found the perfect biscuit. I was with friends in Asheville NC, and we went to the tiniest diner called “Biscuit Head”. This place had a line out the door and down the street. I was so excited to try these biscuits that I would have waited 2 hours…. Luckily we only had to wait about 30 minutes. From someone who loves biscuits, loves breakfast food, and loves a jam bar, this place could be my heaven! Yes, I said JAM BAR!!!! (They now have about 4 locations and if you haven’t been yet, stop what you’re doing, Yelp the nearest location, and GO!) Click Here for Biscuit Locations

 

 

After my meal, I officially knew that this biscuit was going to be, the one! From now on when I made my Biscuits & Gravy, these were the biscuits I were going to use! There was only one problem; how do I get this recipe?!? I was screwed. I figured it was some top secret, Great, Great, Great Grandmothers, Sisters, Best Friends, Daughters recipe, and that no one would EVER share something so sacred and beautiful. Well, I WRONG! Amazon, in all it’s glory, helped me to discover that Biscuit Head now has a cookbook!! Once I found it, I think I cried a little from excitement. I documented the whole process, as you can see below, the day the book arrived.

 

 

I will never forget the first time I made these biscuits, it was a DISASTER. I failed, miserably. They were hard on the outside and raw on the inside, just how all perfect biscuits should be… Not!! I refused to eat my dinner that night. It was awful.

 

 

Finally, I can confidently share this recipe with you and say, best of luck! If something goes wrong, don’t give up, just try again 🙂

What I’ve had to learn to accept throughout this blog, and cooking journey is that, not all recipes are going to be perfect the first time. You might waste money, ingredients, and time, but that doesn’t mean you give up. I have failed plenty, but the successes outweigh those losses every time.

 

 

This recipe is for you, Grandma Rose. I love you and miss you every single day of my life. You taught me how to be a lady, how to love those around me, and to treat others the way I wish to be treated. You were one of the greatest loves of my life. RIP.

 

Let’s Go Fishing!

Wrightsville, NC Deep Sea Fishing! 

My Dad is one of my best friends. I got emotional when I decided to write this particular blog entry because, he’s one of the few people in the world who has loved me unconditionally, and has never ever broken my heart. He is kind, gives everything he has to his family, job, and neighbors, and is a diehard Buckeye. 

Talk Foodie To Me: 

Bridge Tender is one of my favorite foodie stops! I absolutely love this place and it’s always our first pit stop on our way to the shore.

This Cheesy Crab Dip though…. I order it every time, and it gets me every time. I think I might be at the point in my life where I have to admit that Crab Dip is a weakness of mine. It’s a “Sharing” plate but let’s be honest, who wants to actually share their crab dip?! Not me 🙂

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the beach and not ordered crab cakes at some point. They’re delicious, they fill you up, and don’t make you feel bad knowing you’re going to be in a bathing suit all week! The asparagus on the side also makes it easier to slip on that suit!

This quaint little side street in an adorable neighborhood, is easy to miss when you get into town, so be sure not to pass it up! It’s only one bridge away from the edge of the ocean, and it’s worth the stop, I promise.

With these views, I can’t imagine I’d have a lot of convincing to do when I tell you to make a pit stop before you actually get to put your toes in the sand.

Putting your toes in the sand! My usual routine is to park at the public beach access by the pier for the quickest route to getting in the ocean. Usually I can find an easy parking spot, and The Johnnie Mercer Pier has always been my go to spot.

This is the view from the end of the Johnnie Mercer Pier and as you can see, it’s mesmerizing.

When you hold your camera over the railing, you can get some pretty amazing shots!

Once we were done frolicking in the sand and dancing on the pier, we got down to business!

Waking up as early as possible and getting to the docks to board the boat, is my favorite part! There is nothing like riding in a boat in the early morning, and watching the sunrise, it’s truly incredible.

Another favorite part of mine is how quiet it is. The only sounds are the boat, and the waves crashing on the boat, it’s so beautiful and peaceful.

My Dad and I have gone fishing a lot over the years but this was our first time Deep Sea Fishing, and it was fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We caught a lot of Spanish Mackerel and Carolina Blue Fish that day, and I can’t wait to do it again! I also got to take my first lesson in gutting and slicing a fish! Not such a pro the first time around 🙂

 

All in all we had a great trip! I’m lucky to have a Father like mine who has been there for me everyday of my life. I cherish the vacations we’ve had, the laughs, the lessons, the tears, the movie nights, all of it. He’s the best Dad a girl could ask for.

Here is what we made when we got home to Raleigh!