Thursday, August 17, 2017

Summer always seems to be a busy season for us. Typically the kind of busy that feels hard to explain, you know? This Summer has been a doozy and it's partially to blame for my lack of blog posts...the rest of the reason is sometimes I just prioritize watching The Dan Patrick Show. :) So let's catch up, shall we?

The end of June brought our 11 year wedding anniversary. Our celebration this year was super easy to pick, since our friends got married! It was so fun to watch another couple that we care about get married on our anniversary. I didn't think I would make such a difference, but it made me extra remember that it wasn't ALL that long ago that we were spending the day also declaring our love for each other in front of our family and friends. It was a beautiful wedding, and so fun to spend the weekend with friends we don't see often enough.

Quickly after we returned from the wedding weekend, we headed to Michigan to celebrate the Fourth of July! We ended up staying for about a week and it was filled with lots of family fun! We BBQ'd, swam, wined, went to the Cherry Fest carnival, and watched an amazing air show.

After getting back to Illinois, we celebrated Ruby's fourth birthday! She spent the day being spoiled with yummy people food treats, got to go on a nice long walk, and finished the day with a special pupcake! And, of course, her annual birthday photo. I just love this sweet girl so much. This is her "official" birthday photo, and a couple others from the day. :)

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A few days after that, Loren and I celebrated our birthday. It was an odd day since he was gone most of it but I took myself to the local beach, and Loren got home just in time for us to head out for a celebratory dinner. I'm so grateful that we got to spend some of the day together. I honestly don't know if we've spent a birthday apart since we started dating!

We're still plugging along on the kitchen. Yes, it might be the longest kitchen makeover ever but that's what happens when you do a lot of the work yourself. Loren's been busy with work and we've also just been trying to enjoy the nice weather while it's here. We do have counters and a sink now so that's been AMAZING! The back splash has been purchased, now we just need to install it.

There have been a few visitors that came to town as well which is always a good time. My friend from high school came for the weekend and we spent a girl's day in the city. So much fun! Loren also got us a one-day pass for Lollapalooza. My cousin and her friend were here for the festival and let us hang with them when we went. It was a cool experience but I'm not sure it's my cup of tea. :)

The rest of the month is full of more concerts, kitchen work, and a trip to California to visit my sister! It's going to busy but lots of fun. Since blogging is so sporadic during the Summer if you want to follow along with what we're up to the best way to do that is Instagram. Hope your Summer has been full of fun and you can enjoy what's left of the season!


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. :)

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