Tag Archives: iowa

Halloweenie Pinterest Challenge

30 Oct

UPDATE: I’m officially dubbing this a “Pinterest Challenge” project. Wanna know why? Because I totally pinned the inspiration pictures…and then I did it! That’s all it takes, right? Yes. I would like to believe that Katie and Sherry would support my decision here.  So… here it is! My first Pinterest Challenge! Now I challenge myself to participate in every. single. one. from this point forward.

Ok, all creativity has left my body. Seriously. I’ve tried to write about a bazillion posts in the last few weeks and WordPress always eats them. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong, but I have to get this figured out so I don’t keep spending hours on end writing a post that inevitably just vanishes into thin air.  Then, pile on top of that the fact that we closed on our first house last week (IKNOWRIGHT?) and have been over there ferociously trying to get it ready for a painting party this weekend to brighten everything up. I PROMISE, I’ll come back with more details on that…sometime.

Let’s just skip to Halloween, shall we? We’re Halloween people in my house. Love it. Like. Generally start planning costumes in July. K and I go to the same Halloween party every year, hosted by two of our very good friends, and it is ALWAYS a blasty blast. The competition for best costumes is fierce, and at least one of us has walked away with a prize for the last 3 of the 4 years we’ve been going together. Ya know, cuz we’re awesome.

This year, with all the house-buying and whatnot, we kinda let the costume planning get away from us, so we settled on skeletons – which are awesome when executed well – literally 2 days before the party. You tell me how we did…

Here’s his – based off Tate Langdon from American Horror Story (if you don’t watch this, set your DVR. Now) oh, and that’s our friend Josh, who flew all the way to Iowa from Washington (state) just to come to this party. He’s pretty hardcore.


And mine – loosely based off this


Annd just for funsies, here’s the two of us together…We walked into the drug store to buy adult beverages and pretty much terrified the poor cashier. I tried to smile, but I think it just got creepier.


Hysterically enough, the award I walked away with was “Sexiest Costume”… probably because that zipper was unzipped more than I had intended. Haha.

Oh! And little miss Love Bug has an adora-scary costume, which I’ll share after she gets her Trick-or-Treat on.

What’s everyone else doing (or done) for Halloween this year? Do you go scary or cute? Or maybe a little slutty? It’s ok. I won’t judge.

Also, head over to Pinterest Challenge Headquarters 1, 2, 3, & 4 and see what everyone else has been up to! I can’t wait to sift through all that Pinterest-y goodness!





When a Stranger Changes Your Life [& a blog crush]

27 Jun

I’m an avid blog follower. I’ve been reading other people’s blogs for about a year (yeah, I know I jumped on that bandwagon WAY too late in the game… I just didn’t know what I was missing) and every single day I look forward to seeing what is new with my favorite bloggers. I’ve got about 50 subscriptions in my Google Reader… I’m not sure if that’s high, low, or average… but it definitely keeps me busy!  I love it so much that sometimes I get caught up and completely forget what I’m supposed to be doing.  I wish I could be a professional blog reader – there’s got to be a job like that out there somewhere right? Working for a magazine or HGTV or something and just seeking out the next “big” blog success? It. Would. Be. Awesome.

Anyways, since that job simply doesn’t exist in the world I live in, I decided to start my own blog.  I’m still trying to figure out my little “niche” in the blogosphere, but after only a handful of posts, I think that’s still completely acceptable.

What I love about blogs in general is that they allow people from all over the world to connect on a very personal level over a shared passion or interest. I love that there is so much inspiration and encouragement and beauty; and that sometimes you feel like you’ve met your new best friend before you even realize you haven’t actually spoken to this person before.

Most of you probably know that this past weekend was the Haven Conference in Atlanta.  I honestly don’t know much about blog conferences, but I would have TOTALLY gone if it weren’t so gosh darn expensive to fly, stay in a hotel, and buy tickets to the conference itself.  Anyway, I have been thoroughly enjoying recap after recap from all my favorites, and it is the Keynote speech (presented by John & Sherry Petersik of YoungHouseLove) that has not so much CHANGED my perspective on my own blog, but has most definitely refined it.

YHL is the first blog I ever really, truly followed. As in: “woke up, came to work, and opened Google Reader in its own tab just waiting to see the (1) unread item, followed” (aka “stalked”).  I honestly don’t even remember what it was that led me to their page, but I am eternally grateful that it happened because those first few days were like pure magic.  Since that time, I have obviously discovered numerous other blogs covering topics from DIY to Design to general life randomness. I love them all, but I will always love YHL most (don’t be jelly).

When I found out John & Sherry were the keynote speakers at Haven, I cursed the cosmos (while drowning my sorrows in some cosmos) for my inability to attend. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Miss Kitty for a great Keynote summary (YHL’s 11 Biggest “Decisions”) that, even though I was unable to attend, made me feel as if I had been in the room soaking up these gems of wisdom from some seriously seasoned – and successful – idols/bloggers.

The bullet point that stuck with me the most was item #6 – Unleashing Some Personality.  Miss Kitty’s summary says that when Sherry began writing posts for the blog, they had an almost business-like feel due to her professional copywriter background.  When people who knew her in real life noted that she is way funnier in person, she decided to tone down the formalities and just write as if she were talking aloud – letting her “freak flag fly”.

This revelation truly struck a chord deep inside me. I have always tried so hard to be what I admire in others – witty, thought-provoking, exciting – but that’s really an awful lot of pressure… and it’s not always the best representation of who I am, both as a person and as a writer.  I want to know that when people react to my blog – in any way – that they are reacting to me and not to who I am portraying. This community is not about being perfect, it’s about having an outlet to be exactly who you are and being accepted (and sometimes even adored) for allowing yourself to be so vulnerable.

So, here it is: I’m a girl who lives in Iowa, works in a job that she likes but wishes she could love, has a two year old daughter and a wedding only a year away, does really really stupid and clumsy things on pretty much an hourly basis, is obsessed with bad television & movies, sings at the top of her lungs in the car, is really bad at telling stories, makes jokes that tend to get lost on her audience, swears way too much, and wants to meet as many interesting people and have as many new experiences as possible in this short life. I can’t be what I think others want me to be – I can only be who I want me to be, or who I already am. This is me in all my glory:

One time we went tailgating and I tripped and spilled my beer a little… but it looked like I peed… so I laughed. A lot. And almost spilled more.

With that said – I’m warning you now.  Shit’s about to get real. And probably a little more profane… just because that’s who I am. Love me or leave me. {Which, coincidentally is also a song title by the band Rooney… check it out.}

For anyone interested in blog recommendations, here’s the short list of my favorite craft, DIY, and design blogs:

The Hunted Interior, Lucite + Lavender, Designlovefest, A Little Glass Box, Kara Paslay Designs, Centsational Girl, & IHeart Organizing

I can’t forget about the hysterical Katie Bower over at Bower Power, who further inspires me to be myself on my blog. She shamelessly uses phrases like “after I stopped humping my bag…” and “cuter than a room full of baby buttcheeks” (both extracted from her most recent update about Haven & visiting with the aforementioned Petersik family), which make me literally laugh [loudly] out loud regardless of my location when I read her post.

And then there’s Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, who gets her own category of pure awesomeness (profanity warning – in the best possible way). I’m an official member of the Unicorn Success Club  and chalk full of Lawsbian Pride.

Also, I feel compelled to give a shout-out to fellow Iowa homegirl, Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats. Her blog is FULL of inspiration and Ama-ha-hazing recipes. Girl is a genius. We’re kind of kindred spirits. Even though I’m not a cook. And we’ve never really talked. It doesn’t even feel creepy. 🙂

Seriously… how amazing does that meal look? Just click the photo for the recipe!

How about you? Anybody have some awesome under-the-radar blog action that I should know about? Anybody hate me for what I just said (or rambled about)? I can take it. Promise.

It’s the Little Things…

8 Jun

Yesterday was a bad day.

Like, a terribly horrible and exhausting day.

Nothing earth-shattering happened… In fact, looking back on it, nothing BAD happened at all.  Everything that happened was either frustrating or annoying and it just ate at me – all day long.  The printer at work wasn’t feeding paper from the multi-purpose tray the right way, and I had to re-print the same document about 12 times to get it to come out on company letterhead.  My supervisor had meetings all day and wasn’t around to approve the reports and invoices that I needed to get to our client by close-of-business yesterday (they finally got there at 9:00 this morning…). Overall, it was just one of those days where the hits just keep coming and it really wears you out.

I was still really run-down when I got in this morning and just not looking forward to spending an entire day writing meeting minutes for the three 2-hour meetings we had this week, so I opened up my Google Reader and started reading my favorite blogs.  Just reading the words written by some of my role models – people who do not know me and probably never will – made some of the weight on my shoulders dissipate nearly instantaneously.  I kept cycling through, reading post after post and I finally got to this one.  If you’ve never read DESIGNLOVEFEST, you really should start. These girls are so inspiring – creative, beautiful, adventurous. Bri’s post today about things that make her happy really made me re-evaluate my mood today and realize that it really is the little things that make me happy.

So, in copycat fashion, here is my list of little things that make me [HAPPY]~

1} Clean, dry, beautifully-organized laundry.  This one is hard for me – it doesn’t happen very often with my hectic schedule, and it truly stresses me out to have piles and piles of laundry on the floor, never able to find what I’m looking for. When I nail it, it’s SO relieving that I’m usually giddy for days.

2} Really, really bad television (and some not-so-bad) – I don’t know what it is, but these super corny, super dramatic shows are like crack.  To me, there’s nothing that can erase a bad week like curling up on the couch on Saturday morning and burning through all of the DVR’d shows from the week – The Bachelorette, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Hart of Dixie, The Lying Game, Glee, Glee Project… and that’s only a partial list. 🙂

3} Brilliant Ideas – when I see something inspiring and figure out the perfect application of the idea in my own life, I feel empowered. Like I can keep bettering myself and someday I’ll be exactly who I dream of being.

4} Typography – When I see something that is beautifully typeset, it literally takes my breath away. I never realized it until I started reading blogs – and even more so when I started planning my wedding – I’m obsessed with typography. I need to learn more about it so I can make things beautiful on my own.

5} Drawing – This is something I don’t do nearly as much as I would like to… pretty much never, lately. I used to be a rather skilled artist, and watching a drawing come alive on the page brought me so much  happiness. This is something I’d really like to get back into, once I get my life organized a little better.

6} Pictures of Puppies – who doesn’t cheer up when they see one of these li’l fellas?


7} My Friends – I don’t have a lot of friends – partly because I’m a lot to handle, partly because I’m really picky after  being burned once or twice by people who did not have my best interests at heart – but the people I do consider friends pretty much kick major ass. They would do nearly anything for me on any given day and I’m so thankful for that.

8} Relaxing nights with my family – When we’re both home, life is so good. We work together on nearly everything – dinner, chores, parenting, choosing tv shows/ movies… Now that Kyle is about to start a corporate job [YAY], I’m seriously looking forward to more time like this. No more retail work hours – until 9:00 or later sometimes – no more weekends, only Monday-Friday; 9-5. It will be heaven.

9} Evelynne – The only reason she’s not first on this list is because it’s a given that she makes me happier than anything in the entire world. There’s not much else to say about that. The love that a mother has for her daughter simply can’t be put into words.

Look at that face!!

10} The little things – The fact that all of these things I have listed are the only things I need to be truly happy – it’s perfection.

Now it’s your turn – what makes you happy? What do you do to bring yourself back after a bad day or week?

Look for a new post this weekend – hopefully I’ll actually get around to one of my tutuorials!


Hopelessly Devoted to You

Bride-chilla, not Bride-zilla! [wedding]

2 Feb

Get it? Like a chinchilla – cute and fluffy. Or I suppose you could also go the “chill” route, as in calm & collected. Either way, this is what I strive to be. Bride-chilla.

If you’ve ever been a bridesmaid, I’m sure you were told by a completely oblivious bride that the bubblegum pink poof-ball she had selected for your trip down the aisle was “just so pretty!” and that “you could totally wear it again!”.  You wouldn’t dare correct her, for fear of losing your head – Queen of Hearts style.  If you haven’t, count your blessings.  I’m one of the lucky few that hasn’t personally experienced this phenomenon, but I was told a first-hand recounting of such a situation that gave me nightmares for weeks.

I am determined. DETERMINED to never be that bride.  I want my wedding to be fun for everyone involved – especially the people we are closest to and have asked to  be a PART of the event.  Now, this does not, in any way, mean that I’m willing to let go of my personal preferences for my wedding in hopes of pleasing everyone; it is still my wedding, after all.  I simply want to give my lovely bridesmaids a bit of control over what they get out of the $150 or so they will fork out for dresses.  That’s why, when I had a stroke of genius, I pounced…like a chinchilla…and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

CUSTOM.Bridesmaid.Dresses. = BRILLIANT. Like a brand new light bulb in my brain.

None of those all-look-the-same, shiny-satin, ill-fitting dresses for those special women in my life. NO sir, because I have a friend. A friend named Lindsey.

Lindsey is the brilliant (and genuinely awesome) owner  of an Etsy shop called Skimpily Clawd. You can also check out her Facebook page here.  She has designed gorgeous retro and pinup-style dresses that make me drool on pretty much a daily basis. I’ve wanted a custom dress by Lindsey since the day she opened that shop, I just never had the money or a legitimate reason to wear such a special dress.  I figured maybe my bridesmaids would be in the same boat, so I got a hold of her to start working out details of commissioning 6 bridesmaid dresses (and a rehearsal dinner dress for myself…cuz I finally can) in a matter of 18 months.

The plan is for me and Lindsey to band together to select 4 or 5 different dress patterns from places like Simplicity or Vogue Patterns to lighten her work load – not having to do the basic design of the dress’s structure will be incredibly time-saving.  Elements from multiple different dress patterns can likely be combined to make exactly what the girls want – as long as the girl is willing to pay for the extra labor it takes to mix n’ match.  Doing things this way will ensure that each girl goes home with a dress that she finds flattering to her figure and that she will WANT to wear again and again.

The only thing my girls won’t have control over will be the fabric. Fabric choices will be left up to me and Lindsey (me to coordinate with the rest of my wedding aesthetics, and Lindsey for ease of construction).  I’m thinking about finding a great print that falls into my color story & wedding theme.  I’ve been scouring Spoonflower for prints, and have found a number that I REALLY love. Unfortunately, I was informed by the very courteous, aforementioned designer that the price of these fabrics would push the cost of each dress to the $200+ category. I just can’t do that to girls who work so hard for what money they do have.  So, the hunt for the perfect print at the perfect price continues…

Just for funsies, here’s a few of the dress patterns I’m a huge fan of. My dresses need to be light and breezy since I’m getting married outside in JULY.

Hopefully you can see the cohesive elements – flowy ruffles and breezy fabrics with a fun, bold print… that’s where we’re headed.  I tried to pick out silhouettes that can flatter a variety of body types and personal styles.  How do you think I did?  Has anybody else gone the custom route with their bridesmaid dresses? Any tips? I’d love to hear from you!! I’ll be sure to update as soon as we’ve got some more details worked out!



Venue Selection [wedding]

28 Jan

I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but Iowa isn’t exactly a hub for gorgeous event venues.  Of course we’ve got a couple nice hotels nearby – two Marriott’s and a Hyatt. There’s also a few stand-alone venues that specialize in the all-inclusive wedding or two.  However, these options simply don’t appeal to me.  Whether due to price or lack of character in the space, there’s no way I can get married in any of these places. Thus, the hunt began early for the perfect wedding venue (ceremony to be held outdoors, reception nearby under cover of some sort)…

Before we dive right in, let’s back up a little.

Shortly after I turned 21, my parents and I visited the Fireside Winery in Marengo, IA. It’s about 35 minutes from home and it was absolutely breathtaking. I knew then and there that I wanted to marry the love of my life in that space…some day. So, when my main man popped the question (finally) on 11/11/11, I immediately went to the winery’s website, downloaded their rental agreement, and contacted the events manager to schedule a visit.

It wasn’t until later that evening, while reading through the rental agreement, that I really started to re-think my decision.  I saw so many restrictions and downfalls – no sparklers, no hard liquor, no rice throwing, maximum capacity of 120 people, and to top it all off the manager called back to inform me that they would not be holding weddings on Saturdays any longer.  I was crushed.

I’m sure we could have worked around all of the restrictions the way most people would, but I have a certain vision for my wedding. This is something I’m only planning to do once in my life and I want to make sure that there are no regrets when it’s all said and done. SO, the search continued.

The more time I spent on Pinterest, the more I realized EXACTLY what kind of wedding I want to have – something vintage, with plenty of romanticism and elegance – a vintage barn wedding… which is apparently all the rage these days.  Here’s a couple examples of the direction we’re headed here:

Martha Stewart Weddings

Martha Stewart Weddings

Barn Wedding


These are obviously only two of hundreds of inspiration photos I have pinned so far, but they speak the most to the luxe aesthetic I’m aiming for.

My mother and I contacted the manager of the barn to set up a time to visit and put down a deposit, if we chose. Well, to make an incredibly long story short: we visited, I gushed, I signed, mom paid, and I HAVE A WEDDING DATE! haha. I’m not excited at all, can you tell?

Here’s a few pictures of the barn’s great bones that I pulled from their sharepoint:


Facing toward Stage area (the village mural isn’t normally there)

Facing towards the main entrance

Since I’m in a photo-happy mood, here are a couple I found in my Google image search – so you can imagine it with decorations:

Festhalle Barn Wedding

Style Me Pretty

Sb Photography

What do you think? Those decorations could turn out to be way too far out of our budget, but luckily I read DIY blogs like my life depends on it – so, in the words of Tim Gunn, I’ll have to make it work!

I’d love to hear any feedback on barn weddings, wedding planning, Iowa weddings… life… you know, whatever! I’m so new at all of this I’ll take all the pointers I can get!



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