Berry & Almond Summer salad

Thursday, May 31, 2012

This past weekend after a quintessential day at the beach, Chris and I hosted a Memorial day cookout at our house.  Having friends in town & welcoming summer back with open arms was excuse enough to celebrate, but in reality, hosting parties is something Chris and I love to do.  Opening up our home and providing way to much food is what the Stroud's are known for, and I kinda love it.   

This past weekend was no exception, on the menu:  burgers & hot dogs with all the fixen's {including chili...nothing quite like a chili dog}, watermelon, chips & dip, baked beans, pickles, summer berries, veggies & dip and a berry & almond summer salad.
I wanted to make something a little more exciting than the "normal ranch salad", and with strawberries & blueberries both being in season, I thought this was the perfect salad to accompany our burgers and dogs.
The recipe could also not be any easier!  {A little tip for when hosting a cookout, make things as easy as possible for yourself.  You want to enjoy your friends and relax with a beverage, not run around the kitchen like a mad woman missing out on all the fun....}

Romain lettuce
toasted almond slices
handful of blueberries
sliced strawberries
top with crumbled feta
Poppy seed dressing

I bought Newman's Own Poppy Seed dressing, you can make yours from scratch if that's your hearts desire, but I went for easypeasy.  And just toast the sliced almonds in a pan over medium heat for just a few minutes until the sweet but nutty aroma fills the air.  And trust me, don't skip this step, it honestly makes the salad that much better to have the almonds toasted.  You can also mix in a few spinach leaves if you want to up the anty in the healthy department.  Oh, you can make this salad a meal by adding some grilled chicken to the top! yummm.

Original recipe found here

What are some of your favorite summer salads?

memorial day weekend

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Tuesday after a long weekend is always a weird one.  Happy for the short week ahead, but still lagging behind feeling the after effects from oh so many glorious days spent doing "pretty much anything we wanted".  

From fresh watermelon, "the perfect beach day", sandy toes, and a little to much sun, to mallow roasting, laughing with friends, lots of patio sitting, and an all weekend bar station, it sure was the perfect way to welcome summer back.  If this weekend is a sign of what is to come, this summer might just be the best one yet....

And just because I can't shake off the laziness left from this weekend, a sweet review, in pictures....

And just in case you haven't had enough pictures yet....
An instagram photo dump from this memorial day weekend's festivities! 

How was your long weekend? 

What was your favorite thing you did? 


good morning summer

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hello sweet friends, I'm sitting here this morning with a hot cup of coffee, a happy and excited heart, and a to-do list that will just have to wait a little bit longer.  I love long weekends, tan lines, hot dogs on the grill, cold beer, sandy toes, having best friends visit, roasting marshmallows, and maybe most of all, I love good music.

To me this song says, "welcome Summer" and that is exactly what I to do this weekend, welcome Summer with open arms and a ice cold lemonade{or beer}.  I'm so glad she's back & so so ready to see what she has in store for us in our second summer here in the city by the beach.

But as we spend this precious time with our loved ones and celebrate this extra long weekend together,  let's remember "the ones who gave their lives so we don't have to sacrifice all the things we love...."

"I thank God for my life and for the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly,
Let it ring
Salute the ones who died
 the ones that gave their lives
 so we don't have to sacrifice all the things we love"
-Zac Brown Band 

Let's make fun, lasting memories this Summer! 
Shall we? 


take a peek

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Have I showed you the newest edition to my obnoxious awesome purse collection??  

Pretty darn fabulous huh??
I'm in love.  Yes, in love with a purse, silly, but true. 
Perfect for summer, with the nautical looking stripes it is big enough to hold a book, sunglasses,
suntan lotion, breakfast and so much more.....
You better believe your sweet cheeks I am toting this bag with me all the way to Mexico!
If you're interested I found mine here.


the hubs told me a random fact the other day.
 He heard on the radio that a woman's purse & all the contents inside,
 is on average worth over $500 dollars....

Take mine for example:
I'm not going to give exact figures, because I think that would be a bit tasteless,
 if you're a lady who carries around a purse and stocks it full of fabulous things...then you get the idea

Inside my purse I have:
Kate Spade sunglasses, fossil wallet {with no cash inside, just plastic baby} Burt's bee's lip balm*, Summer People by Elin Hilderbrand, a notebook, hair ties, alteration's receipt, & my iPhone....

With the purse itself being around $50 you get the drift.
so ladies, please tell me your purse kinda looks like this too???

.......And for all you boys who have been told, "don't ever go through a girls purse!"
Well, its really not all that exciting in there anyways.
But still, keep out.....

over and out kittens!

*this tented lip balm is the best ever! 
 I'm not much of a lipstick fan, and I usually just wear chapstick{shocker I know} but this tented lip balm is PERFECT
 Just the right amount of casual color but with the Burt's Bee's cooling chap stick sensation.
  I may never wear lipstick again!

on repeat

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oh yeah, its stuck in my head.  
As in, can't get enough, belting at the top of my lungs, turn up the volume, girly hand motions, on repeat, 
stuck in my head. 
 And if you must watch the video, I'm partial to the one with JB.  Duhhh.  
{glad the kid finally turned 18.....liking him was a bit sketch for a while there....}

Please tell me you kinda love this song too??
 and if you don't....don't judge....

weekend recap + happy things

Really Virginia Beach......really!?!

Alright {weather} you better be in tip top shape for this weekend.  I got big plans, big plans you hear, which will mostly be spent outdoors.  Get your act together by Saturday, and we won't have a problem...k?


Happy Monday, I hope your weekend was a little more fun and eventful than ours.  
 Friday I spent the entire day laying on the couch feeling like death{not even exaggerating one little bit} and then Saturday rolled in, and the hubbs was feeling equally as icky as I had felt the day before.   So, on a beautiful Saturday when everyone else was in shorts, lazzzing around the water, & grilling out....we were snuggled up on the couch, watching Harry Potter & Denis the Menis, and eating Chinese food, but at least our windows were open.  
Oh well. 
{Honestly, it was pretty nice, other than feeling like poo.}

Sunday, with both of us feeling better, our day was spent in the truck.  Driving 7 hours in one day, is not really my idea of a Sunday drive, but it had to be done.  We drove to NC, picked up a trailer filled with furniture from Chris' dad, had lunch and drove back to VA.  With all that time together, and not much else to do other than talk....Chris and I chatted about anything and everything.  From our high-school days, to our life now, and everything in between we covered a lot in seven hours, and it was so so nice to have that uninterrupted time to just be together.

So here we are at the start of another week, and I'm already looking forward to the weekend....
silly me.

But here's a look at what has been making me pretty happy lately....
NC sound views, book & magazine reading, growing tomatoes, new purse, 
and the loves of my life....

What is making you smile lately?
Have a wonderful Monday.
And I'm off to Podypump class!

a cautionary tale

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This past weekend while driving to Emerald Isle, North Carolina, from Raleigh we got into a small car accident.   No worries, everyone is ok, we were just a little shook up.  Thankful for insurance, and our God, who is always faithful in keeping his angels watching over us.  But I will remember this car accident for the rest of my life.  It has changed me into a different driver; a more cautious one, one that is always aware of my surroundings, and knows to be prepared for anything.

I wasn't on my phone when the accident happened, I had not been drinking, I wasn't fiddling with the radio or my ipod, I had both hands on the steering wheel, eyes focused forward, not even talking to my passenger{hubby was sleeping}, and I wasn't speeding.  But even though I was being a good, cautious driver, and doing all the right things, we still got into an accident.   What I am really trying to say is, put the phone away, don't scan through Pandora, don't drink and drive{duhhh}, don't text/tweet/facebook/instagram while driving; these are all incredibly silly distractions that can possibly cause you to have an accident.  I can't even imagine what would have happened if I had been doing any one of the wrong kinds of things...

So my sweet friends, please please be safe, defensive, & cautious drivers, its a crazy world out there.  

I actually pride myself in being a really good driver.  And that day, only hours earlier I was proclaiming how good of a driver I am.  Oh the irony.

Drive safe

print & pic found via

tut tut, looks like rain*

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Good morning little puddle jumpers.  I hope you have your rain-boots and umbrella handy, cause we are working on day three of clouds, thunderstorms, and rainrainrain.  See what I mean....

But not that I'm complaining, every day can't be sunny.  Without the rainy days we wouldn't be so thankful for the sunny ones.  And there really is something quite pretty about rain.  The way it makes everything around you that much greener.  The cloudy sky makes the lamp light inside glow, warming the soul and bringing a peaceful calm upon the entire house.  Wet paws and squishy flip flops are the attire and towels are draped in every corner of the house.  The birds sing sweet songs to the rain, and maybe best of all, our peppers and tomatoes are happily drinking up every drop of water they can, preparing them for future salads.

Rainy days can be quite nice after all.  But I sure am looking forward to the warm and sunny weekend ahead.

I hope you enjoy the day, however it may look like around you.


*please please tell me you knew that sweet saying is from Winnie the Pooh!

Oh! and good thoughts, positive vibes, prayers and any other positiveness sent my way 
this afternoon would be very much appreciated.   Vagueness intended, sorry kids.
  Thanks lovies!

happy mother's day....{late}

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Oh, Blogger.  How you annoy me.  I had this sweet Mother's day post "scheduled" for yesterday since I was going to be out of town and not carrying my computer with me all over the great state of NC.   I wrote it ahead of time{something I rarely do} and was excited for it to automatically post on Sunday for Mother's day.   I even told my mom, about it!  Well seeing as it is MONDAY, and momma's day was YESTERDAY, I feel a little silly posting this.  But I just have to.  So yes, if you are wondering...I do know that Mother's day was yesterday....blogger just didn't.  
Oh well. 


To my friend, my rock, my hero, my mother,
I love you.  So much of the good in me has come from you.  I certainly do not know what my life would look like without you.  Thank you for loving me, teaching me, correcting me, forgiving me, guiding me, protecting me, and ultimately helping to shape me into the woman I am today.

From the silly songs, snack baskets, costume making and pigtails, to the early morning hair curling, 
boy problem solving, and tea time, to wedding dress shopping, marriage advice,
 gardening 101 and simply everything else in between;
 you have been there for me each step of the way.

I am so thankful God made you my Mother.  I hope one day to be as great of a mom as you are.

I love you to the moon and back!

And here's wishing a sweet Mother's day to all you mommas, grandmas, mommies-to-be, future mothers, and of course dog mommies!  Enjoy the day!  You deserve it.


I certainly hope all you mother's had a wonderful day.  As for us, we are back in Virginia Beach safe and sound after a llllllllloooooonnnnnnggggggggg two days.  We're glad to be home.

Thankful for new days,  God's presence in all situations, and laughter, which is truly best medicine sometimes.

Have a good Monday.

afternoon view

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hey there kiddos!  Its Friday!!  Who just did a happy dance?  well, I sure did.  We are road trippin it down to NC this weekend; there is really no other place I would rather be to celebrate Mother's day.  We are very blessed to be only a short drive away from both our families.  I hope your weekend is spent doing something fun with those you love.  Those are my favorite kind of weekends.

But for now the rest of my Friday looks like this....
Patio sitting, book reading, blogging, and stick chewing{for Lucy} all under my favorite red umbrella with the best view around.... at least I think so.  Feeling very blessed & relaxed right about now.

Have a wonderful weekend!
And give your Momma some love! 

what have you been up to??

Thursday, May 10, 2012

why hello there!  I hope this week is treating you nicely.  
We're just a skip-hop & a jump away from Friday, and you know how I feel about Fridays....

Want to know what I have been up to recently?!?

Yep! you got that right. I have had my cute little nose stuck in this addictive novel for the past few days.  I took my time reading, savoring each page; because I know her next novel will not be published for over a year!  A very depressing fact indeed.  If you haven't read any of the Sookie Stackhouse series, I encourage you to pick one up {oh but I do suggest starting at the beginning} next time you hit up your favorite book store!  An easy read filled with fantasy, love, humor, horror, and a little lust{which is never a bad thing} all rolled up into one.  Its like twilight, but for grown-ups.......


Something else I have been up to recently.... dreaming about this delicious soup! 
 Its a mushroom & brie soup, that I had this past weekend at a favorite local eatery, and let me tell you, this stuff is aaammmmaaazzziiinnngggg. Like for real.  Its the best soup I have ever had; and I eat a lot of soup.  Mouth-watering creamy cheesy mushroomy goodness. yum.  

And this wouldn't be a Life as We know it  post with out a picture of my favorite model....
{some friends think I'm crazy for loving a dog so much...but its ok, they're right, I am crazy, crazy in love}

Isn't she just the sweetest thing.  My furry little companion, my best friend with four legs.  
She's taking a nap in the grass.  Its a dogs life....

Have a great Thursday,
until next time....

smelly trees & garden updates

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

That sickening sweet but sour smell has finally filled the air here in Virginia Beach.  Trees with white flowers, and needle like pins protruding out from every branch, are the reason for this funny smell that has graced VB with its presence.  I am not sure what their technical name is, but I have coined them "smelly trees" and we have one residing and stinking up our backyard.  Honestly, its really not that bad, I still lounge around out there as much as possible, or until I just can't take it any longer.   They also make my eyes water like crazy, ughh allergies.  

If you can get past the smell, they are actually quite pretty.  But don't get too close, hundreds and hundreds of bees are buzzing around swooping up as much pollen as they can carry.  Oh Spring.

My garden never ceases to amaze me.  More and more flowers are making themselves known each and everyday.

My vegetable & herb garden is growing up quite nicely.  As goofy as it may seem, going out to look at my garden to check the new veggies, is a very cool experience.  One I get silly excited for.  And as promised, I wanted to share with you how far my little plants have come! {very riveting stuff here people}

I have baby cherry tomatoes, bell & jalapeno peppers, and a roma tomato sprouting!  They're pretty cute, huh?

And the herb garden is growing like crazy.  I have been using the herbs in lots of recipes lately;  there is nothing quite like adding fresh herbs from your very own garden to your evening dinner.  
I am having lots of fun with this new garden experience and I sure am in love with my backyard oasis.

Sorry for the picture overload.  
Now I'm off to tend the garden....
{I'm getting old}


Monday, May 7, 2012

hello my fine friends.  I sure hope you had a fun weekend.  I always feel I should tell you about our weekend.  What we did, or didn't do, who we saw, what we ate {and drank} and about all the little things that make up our life as we know it.   But, I'm sorry kids, I am just not feeling it today.  Maybe its my watery eyes from these allergies that just won't let up, or the sad monster that jumped up and bit me in the butt making me miss my life in Wilmington like crazy today. Or maybe its the array of disheveled thoughts filling up my head and weighing me down, or maybe, just maybe its because I didn't have my coffee this morning....

But none the less, I am feeling what I am feeling, and writing seemed like a good thing to do.  I guess that is what blogging is about sometimes...

Do you ever feel like you have absolutely no idea what you're doing with your life? 
 or really 
What you're going to be when you grow up?  

Well, I feel that way a lot.  Honestly, I have felt that way for years.... God must have a plan for my life, I guess I am just wondering what that plan might be.  Maybe I need to just take "the bull by the horns", put my dreams into action,  adjust my sails; and all that, but it is so much easier to say than to do....

I miss my old job. 

 I worked at a children's specialty Toy store, and I loved it.  I loved the people, the friendships, the fun-childish atmosphere that you can only get from being around children and of course I miss the toys.  Not all things were good, don't get me wrong, it was work, after all.  But as silly as you may think it was, or unimportant, or not life-changing enough, I enjoyed it.  I was good at it.  It was my little career and it was going places.  And I miss it more than words can describe.  This has ultimately been the hardest aspect for me with our move to Virginia.


I am discouraged with my body, my blog, myself.  I know all those things are very self-centered & self consuming.  But I'm on a roll, and I am just being honest.  


Writing these words down helps, and I thank you for listening.  Please please don't think I am "fishing" for compliments of any kind.  That is not my purpose in saying these things.  After rereading this, I would love to go back and delete every single word.  But I think it would be more therapeutic to just click "Publish" and not look back....

sorry for the bluesyness of today's post
next time will be a little bit brighter
Have a sweet Monday....

image via

sweet Friday mornings

Friday, May 4, 2012

sore muscles, book devouring, hot coffee sipping, garden walking,
 bill paying, blogging, porch sitting, weekend planning, 
kind of morning....

and all of it is made even sweeter with my husband  sitting beside me....
yay for Friday, the weekend ahead, and days off from work.

here is my week in {Instagram} pictures

I hope your weekend is filled with sun, sweet friends, porch sitting, 
and at least one margarita!

Happy Friday & have a wonderful weekend!

a {Pinterest} promise

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This wonderful little thing called Pinterest is definitely making this world a more fashionable, crafty, and delicious place.  And I was thinking I better start doing my part. 
 So here is my promise to you:

Yes, a difficult promise to keep indeed, but someone has to do it.
So here are just a few corky ideas to get me started....

I better get poppin!! {haha, too much?!?}

Have a great Wednesday!

All pictures found via

it's a man's world

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

hello hello & a good morning to you and the month of May!  We are inching closer and closer to Summer, which makes me so happy I just can't stand it!  But really, where did April go?  It surely seems to have flown by.  But lots of sweet happenings to look forward to this May; almost every weekend is packed to the brim with plans, but that suits us just fine.  I am also taking another stab at the photoaday challenge. I tried in March, but failed miserably, didn't even attempt April, but May seems optimistic, so I'm gonna give it a go!

Join me why don't chaa!  
follow me on Instagram @katie_elizabeth

Now onto what this post is really about.....

Check this girl out.
And turn your volume way way up, the louder the better

I can't stop watching.  I get chills every time I hear her voice.  She is absolutely fantastic. I could listen to her all day everyday, she seriously has one of the best rock voices I have ever heard.  Chris and I have been watching her "the voice" performances on YouTube not stop since last night.  This chick has got it goin on. She is a true rock goddess.  I hope she wins.

And as the great James Brown once said,

"this is a man's world,
but it would be nothing nothing without a woman or a girl"

so true James, so so true.....

Have a rockin Tuesday friends!