Monday, April 20, 2015

A nesting weekend, and finding the path.

Happy Monday, friends!

This is the first Monday in weeks that I woke up feeling energized and ready to tackle the week. I am slowly working toward a lot of MAJOR goals for myself and I can't wait to see how everything unfolds. After a couple rough weeks, this is refreshing.

I have been wanting to pick up freelance writing side hustles for awhile now to help supplement our wedding/student loan payments, but for the most part, all I was doing was planning. Now I have an actual goal in mind and things are starting to happen!

Speaking of planning...we spent this weekend doing some shopping for our puppy! We're just about set. We picked up some bowls, a collar and leash, a puppy bed and a brush. Only three more weeks!

We also spent this weekend doing a little apartment prep, mostly gathering supplies we will need and checking to see what we have already.

I'm so excited to decorate our new place. I haven't had the chance to do much decorating outside my room, so I have no clue if I'm any good at it. Tom has good taste, so that helps.

Yesterday I made my favorite homemade laundry detergent, this turmeric chai tea (perfect for the rainy day we had), greek pasta salad for lunches this week and these amazing strawberry muffins.

Mmm....definitely having those for breakfast this morning.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

TWO exciting announcements!!

So it's been a whole month since I posted here. *Womp* I have been out enjoying the sunny weather, doing some side work and just living life.

(Random blurry Easter brunch photo to prove I am still alive.)

But I have two very exciting announcements to make up for it!

So the first thing...

We are getting a PUPPY!!

In May, we will be puppy parents to this little Boxer girl, and we are SO excited. We have been researching dog breeds and puppy training for about two years now, so we were finally ready to contact breeders. We went back and forth on breeder dogs and shelter dogs, but because she will be our first dog together, we wanted to know the dog's whole history and exact breed.

We thought we would wait much longer to get a dog. At least a year, until after our honeymoon. But because we live at home with Tom's parents (and his friend Jake) there will be lots of people coming and going to help socialize her and let her out when we are at work.

So now we are working on picking up everything she needs, choosing a name, etc. And it is so much fun!

Back to that timing I said, it's convenient because we live with Tom's parents. But as of the beginning of July, after living in their basement for two years, we will have our own place!

We will be about a minute from Tom's job, so he can let the puppy out at work. They are very dog-friendly apartments, and the lady who showed us around told us the people who live below her have two boxers of their own. 

Anyway, that is my quick update for today. Lots of exciting things! And plenty of lists to be made, errands to run, payments to make, etc. Oh, and then there is that wedding thing we are doing.

Happy Thursday!

Monday, March 16, 2015


What a beautiful weekend! The weather was incredible, I got to spend time with so many friends, had a super productive Sunday...

...and today I feel nauseated and just generally upset about having to get out of bed. That weekend of greasy, sugary and delicious food did not treat me well. The good news is today will be crazy gorgeous for March in Illinois! 77 degrees and sunny? I'll take it.

Last week we sent out our save-the-dates! That was so much fun and made everything feel a little more real. 

We spent months gathering addresses (p.s. I used the Weddingwire guest list program and it is AWESOME) and thinking about what we wanted save-the-dates to look like and when to send them.

We opted for magnets because they're practical. Seriously, that's why. If they're going to sit on someone's fridge anyway they might as well be useful, right?

The only problem with magnets is they are a weird shape, and we didn't do much searching for smaller, specialty envelopes. We went for the smallest we could find and added a sheet of vellum inside to fill the envelope a little better without weighing it down too much.

I also freaked out and insisted we had to have a pumpkin stamp on the back of the envelopes. I don't know why that was such a big deal, but I had to run out to Hobby Lobby and get one. So I did. And I felt better.

But because I am really not great at any sort of crafting or DIY activities, I stamped the envelopes with the pumpkin, stacked them up and got orange ink all over the front of half the envelopes. Here's a tip: Ink needs to dry! I stared at them, upset at my own incompetence, and finally said "Whatever, it adds character." I don't know if that's true, but at the moment, it was what needed to be said.

My work space. 

So this picture is great because it really shows off the state of my life right now. That is the basement where we currently live, I only like to work on the floor (anyone else?), you can see my ever-present mug of hot tea and I put items from my recent trip home to Chicago all over the table. Also, Girl Scout cookies. 

A random picture from the friends and I went out to an Irish bar Saturday night! My face was frozen at this point because we had to keep taking the picture over and over. Yes, we made sure St. Patrick made it into the photo with us.

 Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

An exhausting/happy weekend

Happy Wednesday!

I know we're mid-week already, but how was your weekend? We were lucky enough to have some warmer weather. And by "warmer" I mean like 37 degrees. So. That's balmy in Illinois in March.

This weekend I went home to the Chicago 'burbs to see friends and family and have another dress fitting!

I left straight from work Friday and met a couple of my friends at my grandma's house for pizza and a sleepover (my grandparents are awesome.)

The next morning we headed out to the dress fitting. I got us lost for awhile and we were half an hour luckily I have friends who don't mind my total lack of direction?

(P.S. I've got my dress on in this picture! Good work, friends, at blocking the dress.)

After that, I met my mom at her salon to get my hair colored. My mom is an AMAZING hair stylist. She's been doing it for decades. So I'm pretty spoiled. But I still only get my hair colored about once a year because I am lazy. I also like to chop my hair once a year, but my mom squashed that idea because of the wedding. I am definitely going to be a post-wedding hair chop kind of person...

Then we went to Long Grove for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, the Long Grove Cafe. We used to go there yearly for our birthdays (a week apart) but since I've moved away, that's been harder. We took advantage of the nice weather and went this weekend!

Long Grove is also known their chocolate-covered strawberries (which I forgot to get a picture of...) but here is the inside of the candy shop!

I spent the whole weekend eating. Seriously. Saturday night we went out for Mexican food and I couldn't even look at the food. 

Sunday morning we had brunch at my family's house and then I drove home. It's about a 2 hour, 45 minute drive. I usually get books on tape to pass the time if I'm driving alone. This time around I've been listening to The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs.

I got home and immediately took a nap. So much food, so much socialization...I'm the kind of person who needs some serious alone time after seeing a lot of people. That was definitely true of this weekend.

I'm gearing up for another crazy weekend, and I can't wait!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Office Zen

Happy Monday!

To celebrate a fresh new week (if "celebrate" is the right word for that...), I wanted to talk a little bit about my very first work office.

I started a new job a few weeks ago, and the original plan was that I would just have a desk by the front door. I was fine with that, as so far I have only had cubicles and desks and my jobs. But just before starting, I learned I would be moved into my very own office, and I was thrilled!

I'm an introvert, so I find it easiest to work if I have my own space. I got to work on my first day and set out a couple things: a mug to hold my pens, an owl picture holder and a couple cute note pads, to name a few.

I am also deeply affected by whatever environment I'm in (aren't we all?) so I have picked up a few things lately to help get me in a clear-headed working mindset. My walls are still totally barren and I don't have a window, so these things have brightened up the place. Here's how I have made my office a little more zen and cozy the past few weeks:

1. Plants - So I got a cute little succulent for $5 last week, but I have since learned the one I got needs sunlight. I kill every single plant I have, and I'm trying to change my ways. So I researched plants that need little to no sunlight, and I found a few. This is the one I want to bring in. It's a golden pothos. This is a great option to help clean the air, which is important when you're in an enclosed office all day.

2. Space clearing spray - I got an Amazon gift card for my birthday, and since then I have been all about spring cleaning-type things. This stuff is awesome. I bought it specifically to leave at the office, and after I spray it my space feels renewed.

3. Lavender Lemonade soy candle - The scent of this candle is fresh and bright, and I usually light it in the afternoon as a pick-me-up. Lighting candles also relaxes me and puts me in a writing mood, which I do a lot of at my new job.

4. Salt lamp - I also got this guy at Amazon. It helps purify the air, reduces allergies, improves your mood and gives off a pretty glow.

5. Green tea - My current favorite is Numi's Gunpowder Green tea. I drink a lot of herbal tea and warm water with lemon, but green tea gives a little caffeine boost. Which is critical on a Monday morning.

Also important: Spa music and a pretty desktop wallpaper, currently of a small cottage town in Ireland.

How do you make your space more relaxing? 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Valentine's Day and other fun

Happy Tuesday!

Sort of. Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week. Monday never bothers me much because it's a shiny new week! So many possibilities! I will accomplish everything!

Then Tuesday comes, reality hits and it's not even midweek yet.

My roommate once had a conversation with me - in her sleep - about how much she hates Tuesdays. That's how bad they are.

On that uplifting note, here is what we've been up to lately:

Valentine's Day fun! Tom and I started the morning by making some waffles. Which we failed at enormously the first time, but we had it down by waffle number three!

Then we saw the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I didn't read the book and some parts of that movie were downright laughable, but it wasn't actually as bad as I was expected. I thought it was going to be a full-on hate watch session, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't. I still don't know if I'll ever read the books.

I made some pretty addictive cherry almond cupcakes (adapted from recipe here.)

Then we made dinner together!

Meatloaf, asparagus, steamed red potatoes and garlic bread. Meatloaf is Tom's favorite dinner, so he was excited to learn how to make it. We actually enjoyed that dinner so much that Tom and I replicated it this past weekend. Except this time we added homemade chocolate lava cake...holy crap that was amazing. (Recipe here.)

Friday night I went with Tom and a couple of his friends to play pool at what we assumed would be the sketchiest, creepiest bar. It totally looks the part from the outside. But inside it was actually pretty spacious and nice, so we will be back. Also, I tend to be horrible at anything involving any sort of coordination, but I wasn't too bad at pool!

Enjoy your Tuesday, friends! It only gets better from here!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wedding Cake Tasting!

The original plan was to taste cakes at a handful of different bakeries, because why not? When else will we have such an opportunity?

I booked one to start with. It wasn't with one of the bigger bakeries in town. It was actually with this lady Tom's aunt knows, and her bakery is in her house. So we went on Friday evening before dinner.

We got there and were handed this delicious plate of goodness:


We tried all the cakes, decided on a few flavors (white wedding, vanilla with raspberry filling and double chocolate) and then sat down to talk designs.

We are going for something like this:

After talking to her, I could tell she knew her stuff. She also knew all our vendors, which was a major plus. 

We've chosen an amazing team of vendors. My favorites are the ones who you can tell speak "cake" or "flowers" or "wedding timelines." You can tell it's their passion. And this lady loved cake.

At the end of the tasting, she found out it was my birthday and said she had something she wanted to give me. I was thinking it would be a little extra cupcake or something?

But no. She walks out with this thing:

An ENTIRE chocolate cake. She was like "oh, I keep a few extra for my family." 

So that's when we said we were just going to book her right then and there.

Cake is done! I feel good about that. I think all we have left is selecting the invites and getting the guys' tuxes figured out. Still 8 months to go!

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