Kansas City: City of Fountains and BBQ

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Over Memorial Day weekend, Loren and I took a trip to Kansas City. We normally travel over Memorial Day weekend but this year decided that we wanted to go somewhere within driving distance so we could take Ruby with us. After checking into Nashville, which was uber expensive, we landed on Kansas City. And as a super fun bonus, my sister and her boyfriend met us there! We did encounter an interesting stop along the way...the World's Largest Truck Stop!

In Kansas City, we stayed near in the plaza area and it was so awesome! I found a great deal at the Intercontinental at The Plaza. The hotel was beautiful! Our room was HUGE! Honestly, there was a walk-in closet that I swear was bigger than some of the hotel rooms we've had in the past. The pool was nice too even though all I did was dip my toes. If you're in the area and need a place to stay, definitely check it out. The Plaza area in general was pretty cool. Lots of cute shops and places to grab a bite to eat.

I'm pretty sure we ate BBQ everyday we were in Kansas City. Loren was in heaven. We ate at Q39, Jack Stack, and Gates BBQ. Q39 was by far the best BBQ we had. I had brisket there that was some of the best meat I've ever had...and I'm not even a huge brisket fan. Jack Stack was pretty good. I have BBQ grilled shrimp there and there were pretty tasty but I'm not sure they were worth the price. Loren tried the lamb ribs and while he wasn't overly impressed, I think he'd say they're worth giving a try. Gates BBQ was recommended to us and I didn't like anything about it. By the time in our trip we went to Gates I was over BBQ so I ordered sliced meat on a bun. It was smoked turkey on white bread. We went to Taco Bell on the way back to the hotel. :)

One of the things we had been looking forward to visiting was Boulevard Brewing Company. I'm not a beer drinker but I feel like breweries generally have a fun vibe to them. Boulevard was such a cool location. We sat outside on the balcony to enjoy the great weather and take in the city views. Loren really enjoyed the beers, as evidenced by the amount of beer we brought home! They also had the CUTEST photo booth! A little camper setup inside the building so you could cram in a bunch of people.

My favorite of the weekend was City Market. It was so fun to check out all the booths and the goodies people were selling. There was a lot of antiques and the usual food and plants for sale. We scored a bunch of cool stuff, my favorite item was a Life magazine from when the Space Needle opened for the World's Fair in Seattle.

On our last day in town, we headed to The National World War I Museum and Memorial. The building and grounds were beautiful. There's great views of the city when you go to the roof of the building to wait in line to go up the tower. I'm not sure if it's always the case, but while we were waiting in line, there were volunteers dressed up as World War I soldiers talking about how things would have been for them. They were very knowledgeable and kind to all the people asking questions and taking photos. I thought that was a really nice touch. The museum was set up nicely inside and had great displays. Loren loved it...and loved reading all the information plaques. :)

We had stayed an extra night to be able to catch a Kansas City Royals baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. The stadium was really nice! There's an area called Royals Hall of Fame that showcases some of the history of the team, but mostly the awards and HOF players for their team. There were fountains in the outfield! That was my favorite part.

Other areas of interest that checked out were Power & Light district, where we had lunch at Leinenkugel's, Union Station, and some of the cool wall murals around town. We didn't have time to go into The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art so we did a little drive-by. We walked around the grounds a bit to see the shuttlecocks and glass maze.

Overall, we were super impressed with Kansas City! It's a really cute city, and I'd be totally happy to visit again (maybe with a little less BBQ). Hope you enjoyed our trip recap, let me know if you have any questions in the comment section!


Kitchen Reno: Part 2

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hey there! I'm finally back for an update on the kitchen renovation. A lot of progress has been made since the initial update I gave a few weeks ago, you can check that out here for a refresher.

The flooring is completely installed. We had initially thought we'd keep the tile in the entryway but I'm so glad we decided to put wood there too. We haven't caulked along the baseboards and touched up the paint yet.

All of the cabinets have been installed! We ended up changing our minds on the original cabinet plan and layout. The fridge wall was originally going to have two sets of drawer cabinets but when we put the second set into place it was just too crowded. It had also been the plan to have open shelving in that area. Pretty much as soon as cabinet installation started I knew that open shelving wasn't going to be the right fit for us. So I went back to Lowe's and we ended up ordering an angled 12-inch base cabinet, a glass front upper cabinet, and an upper wine rack.

I love the way the updated cabinet design worked out! It finally gave me that "jumping for joy" feeling. :) I maybe clapped. And then ran to grab a bottle of wine to put in the rack!

We've also added all the appliances back into the room. It's been nice to have the microwave and fridge back in their spots. The old ugly fish eye lights have been replaced with LED can lights. I also finally decided on a countertop. Loren sort of left the counters up to me and I went full on crazy lady trying to make that choice. But! I did it, and the counters should be installed this week.

Still on the to-do list is picking and installing a backsplash and cabinet hardware. Also, picking out a faucet! Haha! :) The trim work still needs to be installed as well. Hopefully we're just a few weeks away from being finished. I joked and said hopefully we'd be done by our birthday (mid-July) but it's actually seeming like a real possibility! Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Have a good week friends!


Friday Five #2

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hey there! Happy Friday! I hope you're as excited about a three-day weekend as I am! Even though I'm not working outside of the home at the moment I still look forward to weekends when Loren's around more and we get to play.

Here's this week's Friday Five:

I love the scent of the Capri Blue Volcano candle that most people associate with the smell of Anthropologie. It's a bit on the pricey side so that keeps me from bringing it home. Well, Jennifer over at Dimples and Tangles shared an updated hallway nook and she found a dupe at Target! The brand is Bella and the scent is Island Moonlight. I picked up a candle at Target this week...the scent the candle gives off is so yummy! I love it! And the cheaper price let me to justify bringing home yet another t-shirt! :)

A couple new home design shows that I've been into recently are Home Town on HGTV as well as Nate and Jeremiah by Design on TLC. Home Town is a married couple, Ben & Erin, fixing up old homes in a small town in Mississippi. I love their work and that the homes they finish have a very cozy, lived in look to them. I read that they actually use some of the home owners belongs for the reveal of the home and I just love that! The season finale was this week but it's HGTV so I'm sure they'll have repeats on constantly! Nate and Jeremiah By Design shows Nate Burkus and his husband Jeremiah Brent swoop in to save people in renovation disasters. Most of the people featured have started their own renos and ran into big problems with the house, financial trouble, or whatever else you can think of. The emotional part of the show makes their gorgeous designs even more enjoyable to watch. I'm not sure how many episodes are left but I've been watching On Demand if that's easier.

Nate & Jeremiah pic from TLC & Home Town pic from HGTV
Loren and I did some work in the yard last weekend, mostly removing brush and branches since it was free neighborhood brush pick-up (our jumbo brush pile is below). Removing a bunch of dead, gross plants has taught me that I'm terrible at landscaping! What we removed was all here when we moved in but I have NO clue what we should replant in our yard. I need so much help it's crazy...if you have any landscaping advice, please leave it in the comments.

This high school senior had his senior pictures taken at Taco Bell. They're awesome! He's adorable and the pictures are super cool. Check it out, it's a fun quick read.

I came across this old blog post from A Beautiful Mess on creating the ultimate guest room and I thought it had a lot of really great ideas. Some of my favorite ideas were having a snack cart or basket and making sure to have "extra" personal items that your guests might need, especially embarrassing stuff! I made a little list of updates I'd like to make to our guest bedroom.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend! Let me know your plans in the comments!


A cute picture of Ruby just for fun. :)

How to Install LED Recessed Lights

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

While we've been working on our kitchen it became very obvious that our existing lighting was not going to cut it. We had these fish eye lights which are useful if you want to direct light in a specific direction but a bit unusual in the kitchen. Also...ours were filthy. An electrician was over to do some different work and mentioned that I could replace the fish eye lights with these LED recessed lights. I hadn't heard of such a thing but took a peek next time Loren and I were at Lowe's. Take a look (link here)...

The nice guy at Lowe's gave me a quick run down on how to swap out the lights and then Loren gave me some step by step instructions. BUT! I swapped them all out on my own! I feel pretty accomplished about it, but it truly is super easy.

First things first, turn the breaker off for the area you're working on. Then take out all the existing lightbulbs. Now you're ready to actually switch the light fixtures.

Next step is to remove the old light. For our lights I just had to get a grip on the trim of the existing fixture and then tug on it a bit. It can feel like you're pulling on the lights too hard but they're just held in place by some metal spring type things. Once you're done it should look like this.

Up next, take the portion of the new retrofit lights that looks like the bottom of a light bulb and then screw it into the socket.

Now all you have to do is tuck the socket and wires up into the opening in the ceiling. Once everything is in place, push the light into the housing. Again, there are friction clips that hold the light into place so just push it into place and make sure it's snug and not moving around.

That's it! Once you get all the lights in place, you can turn the breaker back on and admire your handy work.

I love how the lighting looks in the kitchen now. And since the new lights are LED we shouldn't have to change them while we're still living here. :) Being so close to the ceiling did make me realize that it probably needs to be painted sooner rather than later...that's thrilling news. If you're in the market for some updated recessed lights I'd encourage you to check these out, and let me know!

Hope you liked this little tutorial today! Enjoy the rest of the week friends!


Friday Five

Friday, May 19, 2017

I love to read Friday posts that have fun, random information to share so I thought I'd try a similar post myself. Here's a couple things I've been up to lately and some fun things I've been into.

This article from The New York Times about learning to say no. I've read several articles and even a book (it has colorful language but the point is spot on) about how important it is to say no. There are several reasons but what stuck with me the most is that by only saying yes when you want to, you'll do a better job, have more fun, be more pleasant to be around, etc. I have a hard time saying no to things that feel "expected" but then I'm grouchy about having to go. I try to have a good attitude but I wonder if it's sometimes obvious that I'd rather be home chilling out with Ruby. :)

I've been slowing getting into listening to podcasts and LOVE listening to The Popcast every Wednesday. They talk about all things pop culture and it's just so fun to listen to. Especially when Knox and Jamie disagree. You can subscribe to their newsletter (that's actually where I found the link above!) for even more fun in your week.

On Instagram I've been following Alison Faulkner for a few months now and she posts all sorts of fun stuff. BUT, for the month of May she's posting a dance move video daily with the hashtag #idancebecauseimawesome to support Mental Health Awareness month. The videos are fun and make me smile everyday. And I think it's a good reminder that dancing or being silly for a few minutes can do wonders to bring a little joy to your day. Check her out if you haven't!

Last week for me was mainly spent in Michigan celebrating my cousin's birthday and then Mother's Day with Mom. The birthday celebration was super fun! We had a great girls day and a delicious dinner to top it off. :)

For Mother's Day I went with my Mom, Grandma, and Aunt to Grandma's church for a banquet. All the ladies at the church bring food and they had my favorite...taco salad! :) 

I've been reading the Jones Design Company blog for awhile now but for some reason had never checked out the shop. I think I just assumed it would be really pricey so I didn't want to get lured into loving things outside of my budget. However, I took a peek this week and it's SO affordable! She has such cute accessories for your home! I have a few items in my cart...just searching for a couple more things so I can get free shipping. :) Please tell me I'm not the only person that buys more to avoid shipping fees!

That wraps it up! Hope you have a great weekend!


P.S. Next kitchen update coming soon!
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