Tuesday, December 31, 2013

throwback christmas card

Every Thanksgiving, I help Grandma Bev put together her nativity arrangement in her dining room.  It's one of my favorite traditions.  This year, we needed something in the basement, when I stumbled upon a family photo from 1978.  One thing led to another, and I designed a fun throwback Christmas card for Grandma Bev.  She mailed out 100 cards, and received probably that many cards or phone calls about the card.  I'm so glad it was a hit.  She's already planning what she wants her card for 2014 to be.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 christmas card

I like to put a lot of time and effort into Christmas cards (see our 2012 card here).  It's oftentimes the only point of contact I have with friends and family who live far away.  This year, Sophie wrote another engaging letter (she's such a creative little pup), and we used some photos my sister took for us back in November.  Here's to a wonderful 2014!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

plaid and polka dots

Last weekend, my sister took our family pictures.  I am starting to work our Christmas card (so many design choices!), and the first step was a nice family photo.  Since I found Sophie's navy and pink sweater first (thank you, TJ Maxx), I built the wardrobe for me and Josh around that.  (Isn't that what everyone does?  Plans their wardrobe based on what their dog is wearing?  Ok, maybe not, but I do.)  I opted for plaid for Josh and polka dots for me.  I like how they work together.  I'll like it even more once Sophie writes her annual Christmas letter (see 2012's card here) and I finish designing the Christmas card...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

let your imagination run wild

I grew up in rural North Dakota (read more about that here).  I either was homeschooled, or I attended a tiny private school (in the k-12 school, the largest enrollment in my years there was 60 students) until I was a junior in high school (when my mom moved to Plymouth, Minnesota, and I attended Wayzata High School).  The point is, I grew up without cable TV; the 3-4 channels we had were dependent on the weather and our TV antenna was rotated in the most ideal direction (my antenna rotor and control box looked like this).  I intermittently had dial-up Internet.  I didn't have a cell phone until I was 16 and got my driver's license (because driving to "town" meant a 45-minute drive on low-traffic (because it was North Dakota) 2-lane highways).  I had a lot of alone time.  I talked to a tree in my backyard.  I read a lot of books.  I spent a lot of time in the garden, cooking in the kitchen, sewing, and crafting.  I had an imagination.  I used to think of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up (a teacher, a TV chef, an artist, a flight attendant).

In this age of googling to get an answer (rather than finding the answer by flipping pages in an awesome set of Encyclopedia Britannicas), I wonder how kids let their imaginations run wild (if they do at all).  [Disclaimer: I do not have kids.  I'm not around them a whole lot unless I'm hanging out with my nieces and nephews or my friends' little nuggets.]  Anyway, a friend posted a link to Dinovember on Facebook today, and I love it.


Essentially, the month is dedicated to encourage kids to use their creativity.  It's like Elf on the Shelf, but with dinosaurs in November.  I want to participate, and I don't even have kids.  It's just fun.  And we all need a little fun in our lives.  Want to participate?  Follow them on Facebook, post photos on Instagram (#dinovember), and enjoy the dino adventures.  Let your imagination run wild.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Sophie is a penguin this year for Halloween.  She loves her costume, obviously.  It took about 15 treats...and 20 minutes to get this shot.  And thanks to Red Stamp's awesome iPhone app, Sophie can send her well wishes to everyone.  Enjoy!
Halloween card courtesy of Red Stamp

Monday, October 28, 2013

fab finds: 2014 calendars

I'm a planner dork.  I live and breathe thanks to my calendar (likely because I try to pack as much as I possibly can into every day).  It tells me basically everything I need to know.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Over the years, I've been caught in the digital/hard copy struggle.  When I was in grad school, I HAD to have a hard copy.  Once I graduated and didn't have to keep up with crazy reading assignment/paper writing/presentations, I gave up on my hard copy.  My iPhone calendar worked just fine.  However, I've grown to miss the written word.  So, this year, I decided I'm back on the hard copy planner bandwagon.  Thanks to the new Sugar Paper line at Target, I'm living the dream.


One reason I love living in Ankeny (in addition to my awesome Caribou Coffee), is the Super Target.  I rushed over there last night to find this amazing endcap display.

Is this heaven?  No, it's Target.

I splurged on a wall calendar and a monthly planner for the office.  I can't wait for January!  Go get yours while supplies last.  Check your local Target store rather than looking online.  It's 110%more fun to touch them (hello, texture!) than stare at them on a screen.



The Whitney English Day Designer has officially been added to my Christmas list (read about it here).  I had a slight planning freakout last week and almost ordered it, but after a little breather (and a few minutes organizing with washi tape), I realized I can wait until Christmas for my January calendar.  I'm waiting on the 2014 free printable calendars from RedStamp (see 2013's here).  What a beautiful world I live in!

Below is a little roundup of my favorite 2014 calendar finds.  Enjoy!

2014 Calendars and Planners

Sunday, September 15, 2013

fab finds: day designer

I have the pleasure of advising my sorority at Iowa State.  One thing I love about advising is learning about new things.  I'm constantly amazed at how talented, smart, and stylish the women are.  For instance, a couple of weeks back, I was introduced to the most amazing planners I've ever seen.  I'm a huge planner geek.  I used to love it when Barnes & Noble would put out their calendars for the next year in July.  While I've strayed away from the paper planner for the efficiency of my iPhone, I still miss the tangible planner with its pages of promise (and room to scribble to-do lists).  So, when Allison showed me her amazing new Whitney English Day Designer, I knew I needed one, too.  Between the daily inspirational quote and the luxe weight ecru paper, I'm sold.  I've put it on my birthday/Christmas list and am keeping my fingers crossed!


Friday, July 26, 2013

fab finds: to: hello beautiful

Sometimes, Pinterest has some quite inspiring and beautiful images on it...like today, when I stumbled upon the image below.


And then, I stumbled upon To: Hello Beautiful.  It's a rather delightful online destination if you're in to looking at pretty jewelry and accessories.  And the best part: you can actually afford to purchase the jewelry and accessories.  They even have a lovely digital magazine that's quite impressive.  Check it out.  I love it and hope you will, too.






Friday, July 19, 2013

fab finds: letterpress prints and cards

I love all things letterpress.  The extra indentation on thick paper adds a special touch (literally).  It's hard to narrow down my favorites, but here are a few that I'm digging right now.  Also, if you want to know more about an absolutely adorable lady who makes her own letterpress cards right here in Iowa, check out this writeup on Meg Gleason, the mastermind behind Moglea.  She makes me want to move to a farm and start a letterpress company.  Who knows; perhaps one day I will do just that...

letterpress prints and cards

Monday, July 15, 2013

before and after: chevron laundry room

A while back, I decided I should paint my laundry room.  That was about six years ago when I moved into my townhouse.  Fast forward to 2013...and I finally painted it and crossed it off my to do list.  Inspired by an uneven chevron pattern that I've been seeing everywhere (like the shower curtain below from Serena and Lily), I decided to use supplies I had in the garage (white paint, green paint, FrogTape, and a level) to make this free project.


Overall, it took me about three hours (plus dry time) to complete.  I decided to go with an uneven chevron for sanity purposes.  In order to make the pattern 100% perfect, it would have taken me about 10 hours to make...and then I would criticize it every time I saw it...and I'd freak out if anything happened to the wall.  Intentionally imperfect lines helps with my OCD.  

laundry room: before and after

Now that it's painted, I realize no line is perfectly straight (and that's perfectly OK!).  I also didn't take the time to burnish the white (like this awesome video tutorial suggests).  I used FrogTape, but still had a little bit of bleeding.  And I didn't use a tape measure; instead, I used my 12" floor tiles as my guide and used a level to go up the wall.  When it came time to do the chevron, I eyeballed it working from chest level (first taping down to the floor, then got a ladder to tape up high).  Again, I didn't want anything to be perfect, so I didn't want to get out a tape measure.  

chevron taping in process (notice the uneven rows)

chevron taped wall ready for green paint

Once the tape was on the wall, painting the green took about an hour.  I painted over the tape lines using a paint brush first (to seal the tape to the white wall) and then rolled the whole wall (for an even paint job).  The brushing took the longest (about an hour); the rolling took about 5 minutes.

uneven chevron wall

One handy trick I used while painting (thanks to a tip I saw on Pinterest) was lining my paint tray with aluminum foil instead of using a paint tray.  It was a genius idea.  When I was done painting, I simply dumped out the unused paint back into the gallon bucket, and wrapped up the wet roller in the foil.  In the garbage they went without any mess at all!  If you have painting to do, line your tray with foil.  You won't regret it.

line your paint tray with aluminum foil

Overall, I'm thrilled with how it turned out.  I try to have a perfectly clean and tidy home that's photo ready 100% of the time...but let's be realistic.  I don't have a perfect laundry room.  Most of the time, the door is open and laundry is hanging to dry...or overflowing from the hamper.  Now, I have a lovely wall to look at when the door is open and the laundry is hanging to dry.

Once more, here's the before and the after shot of the laundry room.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  And really happy that it didn't cost a thing (other than my afternoon).

before: boring laundry room

after: awesome laundry room

royal baby watch

I am (im)patiently waiting the news of the Royal baby.  Apparently the fun folks over at USAToday had a little fun creating a royal name generator.  Here's a screenshot of my name.

I'm pumped for the Royal announcement.  If you haven't had a chance to check out the timeline the creative folks at people.com put together, check it out here to get all your facts straight about Kate's pregnancy and the babe.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

embracing being 28

Josh's ten year class reunion is this weekend, and I think I'm finally coming to grips with the fact that I also graduated from high school ten years ago.  And, that the girls who were freshmen at Kappa last year were born in the year I graduated from kindergarten.  I also had a moment last week, while meeting with the officer I advise at Kappa, where I was talking about things that were obviously before her time...and I realized it only when she gave me the nicest, blank look.  Shoot.  I wonder how long I'd lost her...

So, here's to being 28 and relating far too much with these buzzfeed posts: 30 Signs You're Almost 30 and Life in Your Early 20s v. Your Late 20s.

October 2003 - our first photo together

On the to do list: accomplish more on my 30 before 30 list...

fab finds: monograms

I'm obsessed with monograms.  If I could monogram everything, I would.  Here are some of my current favorite monogrammed things.





Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Minneapolis fun

My friend, Heidi, writes a wonderful blog called My Kids Eat Candy (remember her from this post?).  I love her blog.  And I adore her.  Anyway, she just wrote a wonderful post with a list of fun things to do in the Minneapolis area this summer.  This list makes me wish I lived in Plymouth again.  Maybe one day...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Good among all the bad

There has been a lot of bad news in the past few weeks.  From the Cleveland kidnapping victims being rescued (good and tragic all at the same time), the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, and yesterday's horrific tornado in Oklahoma, bad news is all around.  However, among all the bad, I feel like there is a constant good to counteract.

If you haven't seen the video of the woman finding her dog during her interview about how her home was destroyed and she lost everything, you should watch it.  It makes me want to hug Sophie and buy a strap-on carrier in the event we are ever in a tornado.  Might need to add that to my emergency kit...

watch the video here

And then there's the heartwarming story about Zach Sobiech from Stillwater, Minnesota, and his amazing story and legacy he left behind (he passed away yesterday).  I'm warning you, you're going to have misty eyes when you watch this.

Also, download his song Clouds.  It's beautiful.

So, my point is...no matter how much bad there is going on, there is still so much good.  And that gives me hope.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Time got away from me

I know they say time flies, but it really has these past few months. On top of all the craziness in my life, I threw in a little kitchen update to the mix that started this past Friday. Why not, right? I don't have the finishing details complete, but here is a photo sneak peek. I'll have the final photos this weekend.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I'm an Aunt Again!

Kalli had the baby today.  Dylan June is her name and I love her to pieces already.  (Fun fact:  June is a family name.  It was Grandma Bev's mother's name.)  We were able to spend about 30 minutes at the hospital this morning before Josh had to go to a study group.  I can't wait to hold sweet Dylan again!  Also, I can't wait to spoil her with lots of candy from Dylan's Candy Bar...which reminds me of the theme I set for her baby shower.  It's meant to be.  (Note: I'll post photos from the baby shower when I get around to it; March and April were a blur.)

I Built A Snowman on May 3

On May 3, the Des Moines area received 3.4 inches of snow.  What the heck?  I guess it was a good thing, though, because it allowed me time to cross off one more thing on my 30 before 30 list: make a snowman.

Sophie was confused.  They mowed the lawn three days ago.

Not my best shoe selection

Sophie is so helpful at snowman making

Frosty the Snowman