Dec 12, 2017

Tis The Season of Engagements!

As we approach Christmas and are deep into the winter months I keep seeing more and more engagement announcements popping up on my social media timelines. This time of the year just feels so romantic (how can it not with fairy lights everywhere) so I'm not surprised a lot of people are popping the question.

This is also the time of the year when money might be tight but it's still fun to congratulate a good friend if they just got engaged. I've put together a list of great gifts that are relatively cheap and simple to throw together to show someone how excited you are for their big news.

My gift included:
- bridal magazine - I chose The Knot
- nail polish - this one is even called Newlyweds!
- picture frame - for an engagement photo
- wedding planner - I made my own notebook that says "little notes for the big day"

Then I stacked all the gifts together and wrapped them with a cute ribbon and it was good to go!

Other gifts you could include are:
- bottle of champagne
- champagne glasses
- ring dish
- Mr. & Mrs. can koozies
- this adorable "totes engaged" tote bag
- a jewelry / ring cleaner
- this cute "does this ring make me look engaged" coffee cup

Oct 3, 2017

Fall Bourbon Cocktails

It's officially October which means I am in full autumnal mood! I've decorated my house with ghosts. pumpkins, and lights, I've taken all of my sweaters out from the back of my closet, and I've started making a lot more comfort food! And on top of bringing fall flavors into my food I've started using them in my cocktails as well.

Today I'm sharing with you two bourbon cocktails that are sure to help you embrace the changing weather and the falling leaves.

Bourbon Cider
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
2 oz Apple Cider
Ginger Ale

In a shaker, add two ice cubes, the bourbon, and the apple cider and shake well. Pour into a tall glass with ice and fill with ginger ale. I added chopped apples to enhance the flavor!

Orange Apple Bourbon
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz Apple Brandy
2.5 oz Orange Juice
0.5 oz Simple Syrup

Add all items to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Pour into a short glass with ice and garnish with an orange wedge and sprig of thyme.

Are there any cocktails that you love to drink once the cooler weather hits? I need to start experimenting with winter cocktails next! You never know when the snow will start to fall in Minnesota.

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?