Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Styling Decisions

When I style a photo shoot, I always hope my shoots don't end up on Catalog Living's site.  Today, I was working on a Christmas story (politically correct version: Holiday story).  It is a front porch scene.  We used fake snow to make it feel like Christmas.  It was also inside the photo studio (even though the photo will look like it's outside).  Here's a picture of the box of fake snow I used.  It smelled like a mix of dirt and laundry detergent.  Not every day is glamorous.  For instance, today I had to make an emergency visit to the nurse's office.  Turns out I'm allergic to dwarf pine trees.  This, I'm convinced, is proof I shouldn't go outside and cements the fact in my head that I'm NOT a tree lover. 

I'm pretty sure this box is from 1989.  It smells about that old.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Great Lakes

Josh and I flew to Buffalo, New York last Thursday to buy a car.  We decided to not purchase the car, but we did get to cross off a few things from my 30 before 30 list:  I got to see four of the five Great Lakes.  We did quite a lot on our five day trip (including visiting Rod and Michaun)...more on that later.

Lake Ontario | May 2012

Lake Huron | May 2012

Lake Erie | May 2012

Lake Michigan | May 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sophie Turns Four

Today is Sophie's birthday.  She turned four years old.  I used to not like all.  I don't like germs.  I don't like poop.  I don't like drool...or dog hair...or dog farts...really, the list goes on for a while.  Anyway, Sophie has totally changed that for me.  She makes me so happy and helps me to appreciate things in life I took for granted before - like greeting people when they arrive.  She makes me feel like the most special person in the world when I get home, and for that I am so appreciative.  She has also taught me to feel more compassionate.  I love how other people love Sophie - it makes me feel like I did a good job.  One day, when I have a human baby of my own, I hope I can show it as much love as I do Sophie. 

Sophie lying down

Sophie sitting pretty

Sophie sitting (and anxiously awaiting a treat)
Sophie's birthday treats - peanut butter treats, carob bones, and a birthday lollipop

Sophie really wanted her birthday lollipop.

The anticipation and the kill...

Fruits of My Garden

On Saturday, Michaun and I had a delightful lunch - caprese salad made with fresh basil from my garden.  It was amazing.  I can't wait for more of this to happen this summer, and hopefully with my own tomatoes! 

Caprese salad

In other gluten-free food news, I made banana ice cream on Sunday.  The process to make the ice cream was actually quite amazing.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, and was a little nervous to try it.  I've had some major fails with Pinterest recipes (apparently not all recipes are tested in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen like I assume any recipe I use has been).  Try making this.  You won't regret it.

The ingredients:  frozen bananas, dash of milk, cocoa powder and peanut butter

Chocolate peanut butter banana ice cream

Dani's Bridal Shower

Saturday was Dani's bridal shower.  In typical Kappa fashion, most of our pledge class attended.  Heather came from St. Louis, and Amy, Karissa and Michaun came from Chicago.  We also had the appearance of two sweet babies - Baby J and Baby T.  The bridal shower was at the Penoach Winery in Adel.  After that, we had pole dancing lessons at Kees Camp.  Then, we went to dinner at Aparre and out to Waukee for drinks.  I actually stayed out until the bars closed at 2.  It's a record.  Mark that one down, folks.  It won't happen again for a while.

Danie, the future bride-to-be

I made a great auntie!  Love you, Baby T!

Karissa, Katie, Amy, Lindsay and Michaun

Heather and Baby T

Jessica and Baby J
Baby T and Baby J playing together

Swapping spit!


The best karaoke song ever - Fresh Prince of Bel Aire

Black and Gold

As of August, Josh will be sporting black and gold instead of cardinal and gold.  Last week, we went to Iowa City and toured apartments for Josh.  We found lots of gross options, and a few great ones.  In the process, we also met a potential roommate, Alec, while eating lunch.  Josh's cousin, Brittany, met us for lunch, and then again before we left for drinks.  We also had a lovely dinner with Kai, Josh's BFF.  Brittany just finished her undergrad at Iowa in journalism and Spanish;  Kai just finished his PhD in math.  They're both pretty smart.  Anyway, we're happy with the progress we made, and it was really nice to spend a day in the town in which Josh will live for the next three to four years.

The sculpture of Jean de Fiennes by Auguste Rodin.

Josh in front of the Boyd Law Building.

Brittany and Josh - cousins at Iowa!

Kai and Josh

Josh and I in front of the old Iowa Capitol building.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bump, Set, Spike

Tonight's volleyball game was much better than last week's game.  Of the three games we played, we lost the first two and won the final.  I was so happy that we won, however I'm pretty laid back about the whole situation.  Sometimes, I get distracted by all the other courts playing their games.  Sometimes, I want to talk to my teammates.  Sometimes, I want to look at birds.  Whatever...I'm not in it to win it.  I'm in it to have a good time - and I am having a great time - so I'd say playing sand volleyball is everything I want it to be!

Tonight's team

I used to be really good at bumping...
Tomorrow, Josh and I are going over to Iowa City to look at apartments for him.  We're pretty much booked every half hour from 10:30 until 6:30.  Hopefully we'll find something.  Also, we're meeting another first year law student.  I hope he's cool.  He's not William Sherwin (I laugh every time I hear his name!), but I'm sure he'll be just as nice.  :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another Front Porch Makeover

After I get done with a photo shoot, I'm always inspired to do something to love my home even more.  After sprucing up my mom's front porch, I felt inclined to make my own front porch look better.  Every year, I plant flowers.  But this year, I decided to take it a little further.

In an effort to enjoy my outdoor space more, I bought some outdoor furniture.  Every year, Josh and I say we're going to buy furniture when it goes on sale.  And for the past five years, we've forgotten to buy the furniture when it goes on sale.  So, I convinced him to let me buy some reasonably priced furniture.  Tonight, I was working late at Lowe's, and stopped by the outdoor furniture department while on my way to the checkout counter when I spotted the perfect furniture set.  I was hoping Josh would also love it, so I set it up outside before I even walked in the house.  Josh agrees with me that it's pretty fabulous.

The flowers are beautiful.  The furniture is perfect.  Now, all I need is a footrest, a new rug for the front door, and maybe a keg full of Crispin.



After with flowers

I love a planter full of flowers!

Beautiful planters!

...And my first garden!
New outdoor furniture
Enjoying a cool beverage on a hot night.
Sophie also enjoys sitting on the front porch.
Also, I can now officially cross off one thing off my 30 Before 30 list!  I planted my first garden with some plants from the farmers market and a few from Lowe's.  It consists of two tomato plants, one basil, one strawberry, one cilantro, one mint, and four broccoli plants.  I also threw in two flower plants on the front corners for color.  I'll add the tomato cages in a couple of weeks.  I can't wait to watch them grow over the next few months and eat the fruits of my I sit in my chair and enjoy a little bit of nature.

Orange Blossom Tomato






Rose Tomato

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Front Door Makeover

Today, I spent the day at my mom's house making her front entryway look pretty.  Actually, the work started on Friday when I picked up Sophie and was suckered into power washing the front entryway.  Then, I decided I may as well spruce it up for Mother's Day.  I'd been planning on making it look better for a while, however this proved to be the perfect weekend - the stars must have been perfectly aligned.

Anyway, after church, I made the adorable g-free pineapple upside down cakes.  Then, Josh and I loaded up the car and grabbed Sophie to drive over to mom's for the day.  We ate chicken tacos and by 2:30, I was determined to paint the entryway and get it all done today.  So, I got out my handy paintbrush and went to town.  I even managed to get my nephew, Justyn, to help me for a little bit.  By 8 o'clock tonight, I left mom's house with a huge sense of accomplishment.  I painted the shutters, the front door, and the mailbox.  Then I spray painted the brass hardware on the storm door and the knocker from the front door a stainless look to match the new locks I installed.  And to finish it all, I put on new house numbers on the mailbox.  I'm so proud of it!  I typically rate any outdoor projects for work as super low on my priority list (I'd much rather design a bathroom, kitchen, or any other indoor room), however, after this experience, I think I might try to branch out and work on an outdoor story. 

Power washing on Friday.

The before.  Quite sad.

My nephew, Justyn, helping me paint the shutters.

Isn't he adorable?

Bright mailbox with bold numbers.

Used to be brass - now stainless look.

Used to be brass - now stainless look.
The After
Used to be brass - now stainless look.
I love the orange door!

Paint:  Valspar Seafoam Storm and Woodlawn Salsa ($16 each)
Spray paint:  Rustoleum Metallic Brilliant Metal Finish ($4)
Stickers:  Lowe's ($0.44 each)
Locks:  Lowe's (already had)

That's a pretty great bargain for a completely new look and less than eight hours of actual labor invested.  Plus, my mom loves it and it makes her feel special.  That's priceless.  I love you, mom!

My mom is the best mom!