Sep 12, 2017

Screen Time Struggle

Do you ever have those evenings (or full days) where you realize you've done barely anything but sit on the couch with Netflix on and scroll through your phone? That a lot of your time is spent browsing Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and so on? Lately I've found myself wasting so much time because of social media. And at the end of the day I feel sluggish, unaccomplished, and actually, brain dead. The time spent looking at those apps just bring me zero joy, yet I spend so much time on them.

A while back I downloaded the app Moment and it was a huge eye opener. It runs in the background (so it can cause faster battery drain) and tracks how much time you spend on your phone. There were some days where I was spending four hours on my phone! Which is CRAZY! Granted, I do use my phone for work so that makes a bit of a difference but you can even track how much time was spent on each app and it does a great job of showing you all the time you've been wasting. So, it's time for me to set my phone down and be productive with my days! I don't think I even realize all the things I can get done after work if I'm not glued to my phone. Here are just a few things I could spend my time doing after I set my phone down.

1) Enjoy being outside
Now that Kirk and I adopted a dog I've been going on 1.5 mile walks everyday. But sometimes I bring my phone with me and don't even enjoy the fresh air. If I leave my phone at home I'll be much more relaxed, aware of my surroundings (probably not the safest to be so focused into my phone), and it will give me time to just unwind after a busy day at work.

2) Work Out
No excuses for not getting some sort of a work out in! If I spend even 20 minutes doing yoga it will be better than sitting on the couch.

3) Blogging!
It's so funny because I always say I want to blog more but I never do! I'm always brainstorming ideas but never actually do anything with them. I could spend an hour a couple nights a week and be so much more consistent with my posting.

4) Craft
With the changing of the seasons there are so many crafts I want to make! Less screen time means more crafting time. But you will still find me on Pinterest looking up ideas.

5) Read
I just passed only the halfway point of my 2017 reading challenge and the year is already 3/4 of the way done! I need to step it up if I plan on reaching my goal of completing sixteen books this year! If I set my phone down and start reading earlier than just twenty minutes before I go to bed then the next seven books should be no problem!

Do you spend way too much time on your phone? What do you want to accomplish once you cut down on your screen time?

Aug 20, 2017

Currently... August 2017

I know this is said every time around this part of the year but I cannot believe how fast this summer has flown by! We're already so close to Labor Day weekend and the crisp fall weather! Between my job's busy season being the summer, settling into a new house, and adopting a pup, life has been a whirlwind! So, I've taken some down time to share with you what I've currently been loving this month.

I've recently been buying Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Journal magazine and find it so inspiring! It has the best gift guides, recipes, and home decor along with great stories. I also love that its only a quarterly magazine because it gives me plenty of time to browse through it before receiving another. I think it's time for me to finally subscribe to it!

For the longest time I could never find a hot coffee I enjoyed that I could brew at home. I always preferred caramel lattes from a coffee shop and it was never something I could successfully recreate at home. But just last week the boyfriend and I discovered Cameron's Chocolate Caramel Brownie coffee! It sounds really sweet but it's like a typical brewed coffee with a hint of brownie flavor. And I'm in love with it!

This is the time of the year in Minnesota where the weather has crazy swings in temps which makes me desire fall way before summer is even close to ending. I'm so ready for 60 degree weather, no humidity, fall recipes, and bonfires. It can't come soon enough!

Ever since we bought the house I have been trying so many new recipes! I think one of my favorites is chicken gyros with fresh tzatziki sauce and warm naan bread. Here's the recipe I've been loving!

I'm a sucker for an over-sized cozy sweatshirt and this one is one of my favorites. The color is adorable, it's super long, and so comfortable! Check it out here.

I just discovered Bre on Instagram and I am obsessed with her style and wardrobe! It's the perfect combo of girly, sporty, and everyday practical. I'll definitely be using her photos as inspiration as I search for pieces for my fall wardrobe.

Kirk and I adopted a dog! He's a four year old pit bull terrier mix and we are so in love. He's the sweetest dog ever and definitely has a personality! He's afraid of thunderstorm, fireworks, and the dark (literally). Doesn't like the wet grass in the morning or being outside alone. He is allergic to chicken and peanuts so his food is hard to shop for but he makes up for it all with his cuddles, kisses, and playfulness. We really got so lucky with this guy.

Speaking of! This year I am very serious about having more of a capsule wardrobe than ever before! I want to find quality, classic pieces that are versatile and comfortable. I am all about comfort so if my clothes are anything but I will never wear them!

Now that we have our own house I am so excited to decorate! First up is an autumn themed wreath for our front door!

How has your summer been going? Are you getting as excited for autumn as I am?

Aug 12, 2017

5 Great Solo Activities

Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my friends, family, and boyfriend, but the introvert in me just needs some time to myself. I love when I get a full day or even just a few hours to do whatever my heart desires and at my very own pace without having to worry about anyone else's schedule. Here's five great solo activities you can do to enjoy a day to yourself!

1) Visit your local farmer's market and get the ingredients you need for a meal you've been dying to try! Cooking is one of my favorite things to do but sometimes it's not as enjoyable if you're only doing it after a long day of work for dinner. Plan a fun Saturday dinner and spend the day prepping, cooking, and enjoying! I highly suggest this one pot pasta recipe!
2) Take your workout outside! In my city you can always find an outdoor yoga class that is happening right next to a gorgeous lake view. This is great if you don't have an entire day for your alone time but if you go by yourself you can really focus on your workout, breath in some fresh air, and relax after a long and busy day.

3) This one is for the creative person! Grab your camera and go on a photo adventure! Try to find cool murals in your city or the best view. Travel by bike to get some exercise and go places you might not normally go if you usually just drive through. If you're really feeling up for it, print some of your photos and make a little photo book of your day. I love exploring St. Paul and finding cool brick buildings!
4) Explore a cute downtown shopping area or new city close by that you haven't visited. You can go in and out of whatever stores look interesting, get inspiration for you home or closet, and grab lunch at a little cafe. I suggest keeping a book on hand when you're having lunch to just take the time to relax.

3) Get lost in a bookstore! I could spend an entire day browsing the aisles of a book store and I'm sure I'm not the only one. After you're done scanning the shelves choose a book or magazine and head to a local park! Pack a blanket or a hammock and enjoy the fresh air while getting lost in your new thriller!

What is your favorite way to spend a day to yourself?

Jul 3, 2017

Summer Reading List

I just finished reading The Luckiest Girl Alive so now I am gathering the books I want to read throughout the rest of this summer! I've put together a selection of books that are at the top of my list to share with you!

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers - Louise Candlish
Christy and Joe Davenport just moved into the perfect house on the perfect street. But for some reason, the house was on the market for a very low price, even though it was completely renovated a year ago, and none of the neighbors will talk to them. Christy is curious and finds herself drawn into the mystery of the house's former owners and the secret that tore the street apart.

The Wednesday Group - Sylvia True
This is the story of five women who are in a group for wives of sex addicts. All of the women have completely different stories but the one thing they have in common is that their marriages are in trouble and they are lacking self confidence because of it. The women start sharing their darkest secrets and soon they each have to face their painful truths.

It's Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) - Nora McInerny Purmort
This is the heartbreaking and very true story about Nora and Aaron's life together and how it all ended. She talks about finding out about his cancer, their marriage, and their first child together. Then about the loss of her father, husband, and second child all in a few weeks. Have a box of Kleenexes by your side when you're reading this one.

A Study In Charlotte - Brittany Cavallaro
This is more of a YA book but sometimes that's exactly what you need for a beach read. This is the story of the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. They end up at the same boarding school in Connecticut and Charlotte Holmes wants nothing to do with Jamie Watson until a classmate of theirs dies under suspicious circumstances.

Everything We Keep - Kerry Lonsdale
Aimee had her entire life planned. Marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parent's restaurant. But then her fiancé disappears in a boating accident and she ends up at his funeral instead of their wedding. Aimee starts diving deeper into his disappearance an she discovers secrets that make her question their entire life together.

What do you plan on reading this summer? Are there any new thrillers that you think I should bump to the top of my list?

Jun 9, 2017

Blueberry Rum Lemonade

Summer is officially here which means it is time for refreshing fruity beverages! This blueberry rum lemonade is easy to make and full of flavor.

12 Blueberries
1/4 Cup Rum
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tbsp sugar
Ice Cubes

In a shaker muddle together the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Add the rum and two ice cubes, shake and pour into a short glass with a few ice cubes. Top with Sprite and you're all set to enjoy! Garnish with some frozen blueberries and a lemon slice if you want to make it pretty!

If you're more of a whiskey fan check out my blackberry bourbon lemonade!

Jun 4, 2017

The Ultimate Portland Tour Guide

For Christmas this past year Kirk and I decided to buy plane tickets for a vacation instead of buying each other presents and it was the best idea ever! We scheduled a trip to Portland, Oregon for Memorial weekend which was so much fun. Portland was a city that we had been wanting to visit together since we started dating four years ago and it did not disappoint. We were lucky enough to have gorgeous weather and not a drop of rain for our entire trip. We stayed Thursday - Monday and on Saturday one of my best friends and her husband traveled down from Seattle so it was so fun to see them as well.

I've put together this Ultimate Portland Tour Guide so if you ever decide to visit Portland you'll know some of the amazing places to check out. If you've been there before and I missed something let me know!

- Alberta Art District
This neighborhood is the first place we stopped at on our trip to Portland on recommendation from someone on our flight actually!
Great Notion Brewery
2204 NE Alberta St #101, Portland, OR 97211
We headed to Great Notion Brewery for lunch and it was a great first stop! They have an amazing outdoor patio, a large beer selection, and delicious food. I highly recommend it.

McMenamins Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211
This neighborhood also has a lot of restaurants that are open for the dinner rush. For our last evening in Portland we went to McMenamins in the Kennedy School which is an old elementary school that was converted into a hotel and restaurant.

Salt & Straw Ice Cream Shop
2035 NE Alberta St. Porland, OR 97211
This is one of Portland's most popular ice cream shops! They have three locations (and a few in other states) and they're always busy and this one had the longest line I've ever seen for a restaurant! They have so many unique and handmade flavors that you should definitely check out.

Various Shops and Restaurants
This area is a great place to spend an afternoon walking up and down Alberta Street because of all the cute and unique stores. You'll also get the chance to see some fun murals!

Downtown Portland (Multiple TriMet Stops) 
Powell's City of Books
1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
If you like books then you have to go to this store! Even if you don't like books it's still a fun store to walk around! It's the largest new and used bookstore in the world with multiple color coded rooms, a cafe, and a huge selection of books, magazines, and souvenirs.

Nike Flagship Store
638 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97201
This is a quick stop but it's fun to see! It's almost like part store part museum and even features the evolution of Air Jordan's throughout the years they've been on the market.

Seven Bridges
There's 7 main bridges throughout Portland and all of them are unique in their own way. Be sure to keep an eye out for them when you're exploring the city.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park
If you're looking for a more relaxing section of the city make sure to check out the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. It's runs along the river and it's a great opportunity to see the bridges!

Washington Park (TriMet Red & Blue Line Access)
Washington Park has so many places to visit that you could spend an entire day there so keep that in mind when you're planning your trip!

Oregon Zoo
4001 Southwest Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221
The Oregon Zoo is 64 acres and located so close to the center of Portland! It is so much fun to walk through because of all the tall trees and great exhibits. It's definitely one of my favorite zoos I've been to.

Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205
There is a shuttle service that drops you off at the different attractions throughout Washington Park so after the zoo make sure you stop at the Japanese Garden! It is beautiful and so calming to walk through. This was one of my favorite places in Oregon. 

- Rose Garden
400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205
     Across the street from the Japanese Garden is the Rose Garden. If you go at a good time of the year you'll see them in full bloom! Unfortunately for us, there was no flowers yet.

If you're looking for some lunch or dinner near by you can take a walk through the park (or take an Uber) to Nob Hill where there are a lot of cute shops and restaurants.

Skidmore Fountain (TriMet Red & Blue Line Access)
Portland Saturday Market
2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204
This arts and craft market is so much fun to visit and walk through. It's filled with vendors that are all selling such unique pieces. It's open Saturdays from 10:00am - 5:00pm and Sundays 11:00am - 4:30pm. 

Voodoo Doughnut
22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
When you're at the Saturday Market be sure to walk a block down and stop in to Voodoo Donuts! There will more than likely be a long line but it moves fast and the donuts are worth it.

Keep Portland Weird Mural
350 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
Across the street from Voodoo Donuts is the Keep Portland Weird Mural that's painted on the back of Dante's.

Portland Oregon Old Town Sign
31 NW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97209
When you're walking through the Saturday Market be sure to look up and you can see the Portland Oregon Old Town Sign!

Destinations to Drive to
Multnomah Falls
Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah County, Oregon
The falls are about 30-40 minute drive from downtown Portland. I highly suggest getting there early (we arrived around 7:30am) because it gets really busy in the early afternoon! Be sure to walk all the way to the top of the falls. The walk and incline is a little brutal but it's so worth it. And up there you'll have access to the Larch Mountain Trail #441 which leads to even more gorgeous waterfalls.

The Screen Door Restaurant
2337 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214
This was one of my favorite restaurants we went to on our trip. We stopped for breakfast before heading to the airport. We got there 20 minutes after they opened and it was already packed! Once we left there was people waiting outside for a table. They offer southern style food including chicken and waffles and the most delicious biscuits and gravy!

Por Que No Restaurant
3524 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
This restaurant might look a little sketchy when you first see it but when you see the long line out the door you know it's going to be delicious. It looks like the owners converted their house's garage into a restaurant and it's built into a hill so it's very unique. We ended up waiting in line for about 25 minutes but I'm happy we did. The tacos, guacamole, and salsa were so good and some of the best food I've had.

That's my round up of Portland, Oregon! I hope you enjoyed! If you've ever been there let me know what you're favorite place was! Now I'm off to day dream about my next vacation.