Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 and some landmark to-dos

I have really gone back and forth about making resolutions for myself in 2015, but after some thought, I realized that I really like setting goals for myself. It is cliche to set these big goals for New Year's, but it just makes sense! I wouldn't be me without having a few things in mind that I would like to accomplish in the next year.

Below you will find my goals, concisely bolded for those that may not enjoy my rambling prose (is rambling prose an oxymoron? Ha.) Rambling is therapeutic for me. Don't judge.

Exercise consistently throughout the year. Consistently being the key word. For the past two years, I worked out very consistently 3-4 times per week from January to approximately October, then, after October, it all fell apart. In 2013, I was in my first year of teaching and from August to October, I was always training for something (Capital Pursuit 10 miler and then a half marathon in October). After the training was over, I let the stress of teaching take over. November is a stressful month in my building and then December brings about its own unique challenges personally and professionally.  I think everyone is just trying to get to winter break in one piece. I found that 2014 was no different. I worked out consistently until October and then, I just stopped. Last year I had a wedding dress to fit into and I knew I would be looked at by 200+ people, so that really motivated me to get in shape. In 2015, we hope to get pregnant, and honestly, for me personally, that might be more of a reason to drop some extra pounds and get into shape. I am terrified of putting on weight from being pregnant, and I know that if I am not in shape when I get pregnant, not only will it be hard to exercise throughout pregnancy, but it will be hard to lose the extra weight.

So, um, that naturally leads to another goal of 2015. Get pregnant. I am hesitant to talk too much about this goal of ours because my heart aches for those that struggle with infertility. I am not assuming this will be easy for us, and I realize that this goal is not controllable. Obviously, we do what we can to control it, but at the end of the day, there is a plan that I am not privy to knowing. I trust that plan. What I will do, all I can do, is take care of my body and be kind to myself.

My next goal is a financial goal. I have really, very willingly, given the financial reins to Bill in the terms of managing our finances, but we both agree that we need to be a team. We need to hold each other accountable to our spending and we need to continue building up our savings. Money stress is the worst kind of stress for me. It takes over my thoughts and turns me into a different person. I can feel my chest tightening up just writing about the stress over money. I hate it. When we have money saved for emergencies, I feel much better. I would love to take Bill Ramsey's course Financial Peace University this year so we can work on becoming better at taking care of our marriage and avoiding fights over money.

In the second year of teaching we are required to complete a portfolio. It is due before spring break and is a list of 10 standards, with several sub-standards underneath that. Each standard requires an artifact that demonstrates how you have met that standard. Overall it is about 43 artifacts, with captions. My goal was to finish my portfolio by the new year, but that is clearly not happening. My new goal is to complete my professional portfolio by the end of January. I. Can. Do. This.

In 2014 I read a measly 35 books. Much different from the 57 books in 2011 and 71 books in 2012, however, 2014 was BUSY. We planned a wedding where we did everything ourselves (except the cake. I thought about making a cake, but then realized, I don't bake well). We bought a house and combined two lives (and stuff. Lost of stuff). We were busy. I was busy. Reading for pleasure was a luxury that my scattered brain had a hard time focusing on. In 2015, I want to protect my reading time and will aim to read an average of one book week and read 52 books for the year. 

That's it.

What is one big thing you would like to cross off your to-do list in 2015?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Miles, Looks, Music, Movies & Books - November

I have not done a MLMMB post (inspired by Lisa) since September. Not because I did not want to, but rather because I forgot. The past few months whizzed by and I cannot believe I have one trimester of my second year of teaching done. I have learned so much and made so many changes to the way I go about my job, but that is a post for another day!

Also, did you notice? I added a new category. Movies!

Zero miles. Yep. Zilch. However, if I had kept track of the number of miles I have done of Zumba, I am positive it would be high! During the month of November I took at least 3-4 classes each week, and with Zumba burning 500-700 calories per class, it is just as good of a workout as running is. I do miss running though and plan to begin again soon.

For the month of November I had a goal for myself to repurpose some of my summer clothes and turn them into winter looks. I only made two outfits, but I got so many compliments on both of them! For some reason, I can only find one photo... I must have accidentally deleted the other!

Also this month I won a free pair of Zumba compression capris and I have been wearing the heck out of them!

I will definitely continue this challenge of Summer-to-Winter outfits into December.

Nothing really new here ... I'm still loving Taylor Swift's Shake It Off (I admit it) and really wish that her new album was on Spotify. I just can't see myself buying an actual cd... Other than that, I'm gravitating towards more upbeat tunes that I can dance to.

We did not see any movies in the theater, but we did watch The Giver at home and we both enjoyed it! There were many differences from the book version, but I think they did a decent job. However, I still strongly encourage everyone to read the FIRST.

November was a little crazy between state testing, report cards and parent/teacher conferences so my reading was a little on the slow side. I finished four books, which honestly, is very good.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (it was okay, but was easy to put down)
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (awesome! Hard to put down)
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (just okay. Easy to put down)
Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella (ehhhh. Very easy to put down)

How was your November? Stay tuned for a recap on my November goals!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


A loving and supporting husband.
A loving and supporting family and new family.
Health and fitness.
A desire for health and fitness.
Close friends.
Knowledge and opportunities.
Twenty-eight healthy, happy children in my classroom five days a week.
A warm bed.
Two furry friends that love us more than life.
A love to read.
Brick and mortar bookstores.
A wedding we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Not being in debt due to a wedding. 
A sturdy and warm home that we own.
Blogging and the people that come with it.
The Internet.
Transportation options.
Clean water.
A career and position I love.
A city that I love.

There is always so much to be thankful for. Of course I try hard to be thankful all year, but it is nice to create a list in this moment of what I am truly grateful for.

What tops your list this year? 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Love that I am off work for five days.
Hate that these five days are going to fly by.

Love that I have today off.
Hate that to get this day off, I had to exhaust myself last week with several double-digit hour work days to prepare and conduct parent/teacher conferences.

Love that I got my new Plum Paper planner in the mail yesterday.
Hate that I have to wait until January to use it.

Love how pretty the snow is during this time of year and am grateful to live somewhere with four distinct seasons.
Hate the ice and slippery conditions that almost 100% of the time come with the pretty snow.

Love that Christmas is coming up and I am beginning to think about gifts for loved ones.
Hate that such a special and significant religious holiday has been taken over by consumerism.

Love that I have so much reading material to dive into over the next several days.
Hate that my attention span is about the size of a gnat these days.

Love that I discovered through a mutual friend (and not on a social networking site) that a dear friend of mine is expecting. Yay, babies!
Hate that so much tends to be communicated through social networking these days. Phone conversations are so refreshing when they do happen.

Love that I got all my Christmas cards from Walgreens for less than $30.
Hate that I now have to address them and send them out (along with all of our wedding thank you notes).

Love that my husband is so frugal.
Hate that my husband is so frugal.

Love that there are so many plates of yummy food everywhere this time of year.
Hate that that yummy food loves to settle in on my waistline (and bum and thighs ...)

What are your loves and hates today?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Club Friday


It has been awhile since I linked up with Heather and participated in Book Club Friday! No better time either, because I just finished a book for my book club last weekend and I ADORED it.

In just a little over 24 hours, I devoured The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. This book was such a charming, sweet novel and it is one that I am definitely sad is over.

The main character, AJ Fikry is a bookstore owner and recent widow. He lives on the fictional Alice Island off the east coast (I believe) and lives and breathes Island Books. He is the worst kind of book snob though ... so much so, that his snobbishness really turned me off at first. However, his quirks become lovable and it did not take long for me to wish I had an AJ in my own community and a bookstore just like Island Books.

Some of my favorite parts of this book were the book references. Everything from The Book Thief to Mark Twain to my absolute favorite book, American Wife was mentioned and I just loved that! It's always a thrill to read a book about books that mentions books you have already read, no? Maybe it's just me ...

If you're looking for something quick and easy to read, but still with a good level of substance, do not pass up this charming novel. I promise you will not regret it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wedding Wednesday

I have the best friends in the world that created the sweetest scrapbook for me documenting our wedding day!

This lovely tradition of scrapbooking started in my group of friends over 10 years ago for birthdays. We were all in undergrad and probably poor, so we began putting together scrapbooks for birthday presents! We do not do it for every birthday, but we do tend to put them together for special occasions. Such as weddings (totally just typed weedings).

Take a look at what they came up with for me! I love it!

Sorry for the glare!

This was my first "Wedding Wednesday" post. I'm not sure if I will post more, but we'll see!

Do you like to scrapbook? I'm not a huge fan of it, but I do really enjoyed the finished product!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mailbox Monday

Earlier in the month I made a goal for myself to purchase less than 5 books during the month of November, and the books I do purchase, they must be used.

I'm doing great with the used portion of my goal, but the only 5 books portion? Not so much.

Between Friday and Sunday I visited Half Price Books twice due to their big 40-50% off coupons that were out. Here's what I purchased ...

First, let me tell you a story...

Friday night Tracey Garvis Graves was going to be at Beaverdale Books for a signing (she's from Ankeny) and I was really excited to meet her! I loved On the Island and it's sequel (a novella) called Unchartered. I didn't love Covet, but it wasn't terrible by any means!

So, I planned to go and get my book signed. Then, I realized that I didn't read OTI as a physical book. I owned the ebook. Can't really get an ebook signed!! So, I hopped over to Half Price Books in hope that they would have a cheap copy instead of dropping $14 on a book at Beaverdale Books that I had already read.

$4.50 later, I'm happy with a physical copy of OTI and headed to the signing with my mom in tow. We get up to Tracey's table and she opens my book to sign it and .... dun, dun, dun ... it's already signed.

Talk about embarrassing. I quickly made a joke about needing a copy of her book because my copy is an electronic copy and could she just sign my iPad instead? I don't think she was too amused. :(

I have been to a lot of signings, and that is only one that I wanted to crawl under the table and just die. Most embarrassing moment in A LONG TIME. 

As you can see, now my book is signed TWICE. Oops. 
Great book ... definitely worth checking out if you want a quick, easy beach read.

They were giving away these amazing cookies!
Yum. I would like another one Right. Now.

What about the second trip to HPB, you ask? Just hold your horses. I'll get there.

Friday I got a notice from the library that Shopaholic to the Stars was available for me to pick up. When I  got to the library, I had two more holds also waiting for me. Will I get to these before they're due? Probably not. However, I am sure I'll read the Shopaholic book. I can't remember the last book in that series that I actually liked, but I can't help it. I love me some Becky Bloomwood and just keep hoping ...

Maybe I can squeeze in The Vacationers over Thanksgiving break. I have heard it's good!
 My second trip to HPB was to find a copy of The Indian in the Cupboard for our next read aloud in my classroom. We are getting close to wrapping up Wonder by RJ Palacio (sob!) and the kids have LOVED it so much. I know I need something amazing to follow it up. They are loving the realistic fiction, but I know I need to mix up some genres, so a fantasy book it is!

The Indian in the Cupboard was huge when I was a kid, but I'm not going to tell the kids that ... I'll let them think it's new. As soon as they catch wind that it is an "old" book, it's like all appeal is GONE. Poof. Just like that.

Makes me crazy.

I also picked up a copy of The Devil's Arithmetic (never read it) and Tatiana  De Rosnay's newest (used my 50% off coupon on that one). I adored Sarah's Key, so I am hopeful that her newest is just as good.

This weekend I also read an entire book (which I will be talking about on Friday). What an amazing, bookish weekend! Perfect for the weekend where we got our first significant snow.

What books have you picked up recently?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day in the life ...

Who doesn't love a good "Day in the Life" post?! Thank you, Kelly for the post idea today. :)

Teachers are crazy. Crazy busy. Everyone has their own kind of busy, but considering teaching has not been my only profession, I'd like to think I know. I have something else to compare this to, and I can safely say, I have never been so crazy busy like this before. I may get some backlash for this, but, it is much worse for elementary teachers. Much, much worse. At least secondary teachers get a padded planning time. When I subbed in secondary there were some days that teachers had 2 hours of planning. TWO. HOURS. That is unheard of in elementary. I am ecstatic for Fridays when my kids have Art and I get a full uninterrupted hour, instead of my normal hour broken up into two 30 minute specials where I have to go get the kids and take them to their next special (therefore, interrupting whatever train of thought, or project I have going on at the time).

Anyway. I'll stop. Everyone chooses their own field, and I love what I do. LOVE. I am exactly where I belong.

This is a really busy time of year for our building. We have Iowa Assessments and report cards to write and parent/teacher conferences to conduct. Life is busy. Here is how my Monday went, and typically most Mondays.

4:50 am - alarm goes off and I finally roll out of bed at 5am. Make coffee, brush my teeth, throw on work out clothes, grab my gym bag (with  my workout clothes in them) and head to Body Pump. My friend Alana and I go to BP every Monday morning. Monday because we just need to get it done.

5:30-6:30 - Body Pump

6:30 - get ready for work at the gym. I do not shower at the gym, I haven't gone that far yet. To be honest, I'm a little afraid of it. I shower the night before and then take a hobo shower in the locker room. I mean, it's BP, it's not like I'm dripping sweat (don't judge me).

7:00 am - leave the gym for work. Stop somewhere for breakfast. Lately it has been for McDonald's oatmeal. If I was more organized, I would have it already made at home because I don't think it's that hard. Maybe someday. For now, I'll spend the $2.11 once a week to eat breakfast out.

7:20-7:30ish - get to work and lug in all the stuff I brought home with me over the weekend. This particularly weekend it was my overstuffed work bag and a box full of math journals that I graded. It took two trips.

7:30 - 8:55 - Get some word work packets ready for my co-teacher, work on a report card (I have a conference later), get supplies ready for a math lesson on the metric system. Make an anchor chart about converting units in the metric system. Preview a Scholastic Study Jam video (and love it), then get it ready to throw into my lesson for the day. Check email, pass back graded papers, review report cards again. Look over my lessons for the week and make sure I have everything ready to go.

8:55 - first bell rings. Kids begin streaming in. The whirlwind begins.

9:05 -second and final bell rings. Kids should be in their seats. We say the pledge. Kids get started on their math assignment. I turn in attendance, check in homework, send lunch count.

9:15 - 10:15 - teach math. The lesson on the metric system goes very well. Kids are still confused about the decimal jumping when we go from meters, to decimeters to centimeters to millimeters. Good thing we're working on it again tomorrow.

10:15 - Kids have Spanish. Spanish teachers uses my classroom, which  means I have to find somewhere else to work. I choose the back of the classroom, where I am working on prep for our first Mystery Powders lab experiment. Kids are so excited when they see I am getting powders ready for experiments. I give them the Look which tells them to be respectful to their Espanol maestra. They listen (they rock).

10:45 - Kids have PE. I walk them to PE and give them a reward for walking through the hall without talking, which is a tally. Tallies are good. Tallies earn the kids classroom parties.

11:15 - Kids come back from PE and work on more math until lunch time at 11:40.

11:40 - We leave for lunch. I get them through the lunch line.

11:45 - I have lunch (school lunch because I forgot the lunch I packed in the refrigerator at home. Luckily school lunch was chicken patty on a bun. It wasn't bad). I eat in the teacher's lounge to make a short appearance.

12pm - Head back to my room. Freshen up. Brush teeth. Head to the special ed room to coordinate a meeting with the two special ed teachers.

12:20 - kids come back from recess. We spend a few minutes reading and chilling out from recess. I take attendance.

12:30 - Usually we have writing at this time, but this week we have Iowa Assessments (formerly ITBS for all you locals) so we are doing test prep. We do two practice tests.

1-3pm - Usually this is my literacy block, but due to Iowa Assessments, we are testing. I get my kids started on their first of three tests today. Today they are tested on Vocabulary, Computation and Reading. While they are testing, I am recording what time they finish and also grading math journals. Every few minutes I get up to walk around and make sure that everyone is bubbling their answers in the correct space (they are).

3pm - Finally. We have our Mystery Powders lab. I put the fear of God in them and remind all kids that if they taste or snort the powders up their nose (one of the questions asks them to smell the powders) they will not participate in any more labs and will instead watch all labs. Luckily, this class is so good, they look at me in horror at the thought of something going up their nose.

3:30 - We clean up our lab materials, set aside all substances to use tomorrow for a similar lab experiment. We fill out our planners and work on our homework. Most students get their homework done (math homework, measuring to the nearest 1/2 centimeter and converting it to meters).

3:55 - Dismissal.

4:00 - I get a few things ready for my 4:30 conference, tidy up the classroom. Wash my hands (I always feel grimy at this time of day). Check the office for anything in my mailbox. Get my take home bag ready because I have to jet out of school right after my conference for a grad class.

4:30 - Parent conference.

4:45- Leave school and head to my school's district offices to a professional development class that earns me graduate credit (which moves me up on the pay scale. Woo hoo!)

5pm-7pm - Sit through a class about Microsoft Office 2013. It was actually pretty interesting! If I wasn't so tired, I think I would have paid more attention.

7:30pm - get home and Bill has cooked dinner (isn't he the best?).

8:00pm - begin typing this post (after reading Kelly's and therefore getting inspired!)

9:00pm - predicting I will be in bed reading.

That's it for me! Besides the standardized tests this week, that is pretty much my day. Go, go, go. All day. No time to really breathe because kids are always in front of you and you always have to be on. Between Iowa Assessments and Parent/Teacher conferences, November is insane and I am definitely not a fan. I cannot wait for Thanksgiving break. It has definitely been earned.

What is the busiest time of year for you at your job?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November goals

Wow, November. Already? Time is flying, which, every time I say those three words I just feel old! Before I know it, I know Christmas is going to be here and gone.

I have some pretty big goals for the rest of the year, so I thought it might be a good idea to set some goals for myself. Here goes.

  1. Finish writing all of my thank yous for the wedding. I ended up having to order over 160 thank yous (wowza) and I have been slowly writing thank you notes every night. Breaking a project like this into chunks not only works for me, but also results in more personable thank you notes. I ordered photos that have a message from both of us on them, and I know technically I could get away with just sending that without personalization on it. However, I just don't want to do that. I am actually enjoying hand writing notes to everyone. 
  2. Participate in MOVEmber and move every day in November. Even if it is just a walk. The past two weeks have been very hit or miss for me in the working out department and I would like to get a solid routine going again. 
  3. Get at least half of my professional portfolio done. In Iowa, you have to complete a professional portfolio that proves you have met all the teaching standards. There are several standards, with many sub-standards below that. Each one requires artifacts, which amount to over 40 artifacts. Luckily, I am the first to create an electronic portfolio (I get to be a guinea pig!) and I think that will make the process much smoother. It is not due until spring, but I want it DONE. 
  4. Plan a party. Bill and I have been wanting to have a party all year now to show friends and family our new home. We would like to have a couple more home projects done though. Right now we're tossing around different ideas for when ... this time of year is always so HARD to plan stuff. 
  5. Spending FREEZE. NO shopping for unnecessary items. Especially clothes. I would say books too, but I bought two books yesterday, so I would have already failed that goal. I am going to limit myself to 5 books this month and they must be used books. Anything else I buy must be gifts for others. No gifts for myself.
  6. Going along with my spending freeze, I am making a goal for myself to repurpose some items in my closet. Example: yesterday I paired a floral summer dress with black leggings, cardigan and scarf with boots and it was adorable (IMO). It also felt very "new" to me. I am hoping to do that several times this month and then show off all my "new" outfits in a blog post. Hopefully this doesn't turn into too much of a train wreck. 
  7. Finish 4 books. Right now I am reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult and am only half interested. I don't think it's the book. I think it's me. My attention span is ridiculous these days and my head is just too full of mumbo jumbo to focus. 
  8. Blog 8 times. That is twice per week. I. Can. Do. This. 
  9. Put myself on a Facebook diet. Well, all social media diet, to be honest. Facebook is the biggest robber of my time though. My new phone tells me the amount of time I spend on all my apps and it is SICK how much time is spent staring at my FB feed. Sick, I tell you. It's time for an intervention. I am not taking a full break though, because that is just not realistic. To start off, I am allowed to check Facebook 3 times per day. Just three. No more. Once I hit three, I am thinking I might delete the app from my phone. I cannot be trusted.
Well, that's a lot ... but, I think it's all totally do-able What are your November goals? 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Workout Wednesday

Happy hump day! This week is flying for me and I feel like I am on roller skates, so that means what better of a time to sit down and take some me time?!

I have twenty minutes until I have to pick my kids up from music and of course I have a million things I could be doing (none are obviously TOO urgent). Teaching is the type of job where the work is never really done. Which, has been hard for me to handle because I love completing everything on a to do list. Now, to remedy that, I just don't put EVERYTHING I would like to get done on my lists...

Anyway, moving on, before I get too off topic.

Workout Wednesday. I am totally ripping off Lisa's idea for a post today (sorry, Lisa!) and blogging my workouts from the previous week. When I blogged my workouts before the wedding I definitely felt like I had more accountability since others are going to read about it. So, here I go again!

Monday - Zumba
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - Zumba
Friday - Zumba happy hour
Saturday - Zumba
Sunday - Zumba

Our group that was at the Friday night happy hour class. Such a fun mix of people!

Umm.. ya think I have a Zumba problem?! I have also been twice so far this week. This morning I made it to a Body Pump class, so I am trying to mix it up. However, why not keep doing what I love? I burn between 550-700 calories in a 60-75 minute class and the time flies for me.

 My burn from the Friday night happy hour class. These special events are my favorite!

Also, I should mention, I have never been a dancer. Ever.

There is definitely no need to have dance skills in your past to enjoy Zumba. Of course you need some coordination, but it really is not that difficult! I urge anyone that is even remotely interested in Zumba to check it out for a few classes. I say a few classes, because the first class is of course going to be the most frustrating. Nobody can come in and immediately know an instructor's choreography. It takes a little time.

If you could only choose one exercise activity for the rest of your life (not including day to day activities) what would you choose? I think my answer is obvious ... ;) 

Note: I started this post at 10:55 and it is now 11:10. I spent 15 minutes on this and I refuse to feel guilty. Teachers do so much work on their own time. Also, I miss blogging. I need to figure out a way to squeeze it back into my daily routine. Also! I have not proofed my writing. Do not judge my typos ...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The *final* Sunday Social :(

Good morning! How has your weekend been? Mine has been great! I am currently sitting on Lisa's couch, we are both blogging, the patio door is open and the sun is shining! 

Today I'm participating in the last ever Sunday Social. I am curious to find out what it will be replaced with, but am sad to see it go. 

I am also blogging from the iPad for the first time. I am not enjoying it much so if you are a avid iPad user and blogger - please send me your tips!!!

How did you come up with your blog name? My blog name is a throw back to my hometown - Des Moines (pronounced duh-moyn), the capital of Iowa. Dsm is actually a decent sized city with about 600,000 calling it home when you combine all the suburbs but I think it's hilarious (however sometimes annoying) when others think it is all cornfields and overalls. Although, my blog name does not help that misconception!! :)

What is your favorite thing about blogging? For sure the people! I am so thankful that I have met so many wonderful people via blogging. I miss the way blogging used to be though. Kerri did a great job writing about the other day here

What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now cant live without? I am pretty sure I discovered Goodreads from blogging and I adore that site! Oh, and Erin Condren planners!

Facebook or Twitter? and why? Lately, Facebook. However, it is disgusting how much time I spend on the FB and I think I need it cut back. 

If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be? Definitely an author... Maybe Jodi Picoult or JK Rowling. 

What is something you want people to know about your blog? I don't really live on a farm. You must like books because I talk about them a lot. I blog sporadically. My blog is in a mid life crisis and isn't sure what it wants to be. But, that's okay. :)

What do you blog on? Desktop, laptop or iPad? What have you discovered because I'd blogging?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite magazine to read? I love People! However, now that I have discovered the Next app for iPad, I have access to TONS of magazines each week. I always read People and Us as soon as it's available! :)

2. What is the best thing you’ve seen online lately? All of the wedding photos! There have been SOMANYWEDDINGS lately, and I just love looking through people's photos. Even the people I don't know. I'm such a weirdo.

3. Who is your favorite celebrity to follow on Instagram or Twitter?
I don't really follow a ton of celebrities! I know I have a few on there, but none are coming to my mind as being "favorites."

4. Is there one article of clothing no matter what the season you can’t help but love?
Simple black flats! They can really be worn year round - however, I rarely wear them when there is snow on the ground.

5. Do you prefer email or snail mail?
That depends on what the mail actually is. However, I think I am like most people and love getting snail mail!

What is the last thing you got in the mail that wasn't a bill or junk mail? The last piece of exciting mail for me was my new social security card. It's really, really official now! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Social!

Good morning, friends! Have you read my wedding recap post yet? I posted it at an odd time (on a Saturday!) and I am worried people will miss it, so I'm going to link to it in my next few posts, mmmmkay?

Today I am participating in Neely's Sunday Social again. I really like doing this weekly link up because I feel like it kick starts my week of blogging (or not blogging) and even if I do not end up blogging again that week, I am probably thinking about blogging, which is better than nothing!

Sunday Social  

1. What is your favorite part of Fall?
My favorite part of fall is definitely the clothes. I love bulking up a little bit to warm up from the chill in the air, but not having to pile it on because it's SOCOLD outside. Fall weather is just perfect. Gimme boots, chunky cardigans, army jackets (which I am currently on the hunt for), scarves and hoodies and I'm a happy girl!

2. Do you have anything special planned for Fall?
We have one more wedding to attend in October, which Bill is also in. I have a cute three quarter sleeve black dress that I am wearing with pretty statement jewelry that I am looking forward to. The dress is from Lauren Conrad for Kohl's which is one of my all time favorite lines.

I am also looking forward to a non-dress up Halloween party that my friends and I are currently in the very beginning stages of planning. It feels like forever since I have seen them, since we are always gone on the weekends. 

A Zumbathon in November and a book festival in Minneapolis in October.

3. What is Fall like in your area?
Well, it is the midwest and the midwest is anything but consistent. It is usually sticky warm in September, and temps dip into the chilly 50s beginning in October, maybe climbing to the 60s during the day. Basically, perfect keep your windows open and heating/cooling units off! I always play the "How Long Can We Go Without Turning On the Heater" game. I made it to December once!

4. What is your favorite Football team to cheer for(college or professional)?
My favorite college team is the Iowa State Cyclones and my favorite NFL team is the Chiefs and the Packers. However, I am not a diehard or anything.

5. Do you decorate for Fall?
Right now, no. Our house is still pretty much a mess. Our kitchen floor is tore up, waiting for new tile, our living is filled with said tile.  Maybe I can decorate next year!

What is your area like in the fall? What's your fall style like? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Our Big Day!

Warning: Lots of photos ahead ... Who am I kidding?! Photos are what you all want, right?! There are a ton in this post (you're welcome) and I'm sure I will post more as time goes by ... My photographer was amazing and gave me the thumb drive with the ENTIRE SHOOT. Amazing. I am not going to take that for granted.

Anyway, on with the story. 

How fitting that Friday was our 2 month anniversary? Are you shaking your head? I am! However, how do you recap the best day of your life? Should be easy, right? No! It isn't! At least, it wasn't for me anyway!

I will try though ... so, here goes!

The day before the Big Day ...

I absolutely hate to start with a mishap, but ... it IS how the weekend started! I am laughing now, so it is okay! On Friday morning, Bill went to pick up the white benches that we rented from the fairgrounds for the ceremony. We were just going to use simple folding chairs that we were borrowing from the local YMCA (seriously, small towns are AWESOME), but I noticed these benches in the Varied Industries Building at the fairgrounds in June when we were there for Bill's high school reunion. I commented on how perfect they would be, and then, what do ya know? Bill pulls some strings, connects his sister-in-law with someone she knows and we got an amazing, dirt cheap deal on some gorgeous white benches that would be awesome for a rustic, chic, country wedding. I was so excited! Then ... the day before the big day, Bill goes to pick up our benches that were already loaded on a trailer waiting for us. Except .... they are not white. They are a patriotic red, white, and blue.

Cue, tears. 

 The infamous red, white and blue benches ...

Overall though, I knew  I would laugh about it later, and ... I am! Several people didn't even notice! To send the benches back would have taken an additional 2-3 hours out of the day, and that was 2-3 hours we just did not have left!

On Friday, my girlfriends got to town around noon and we headed out to lunch. Our original plan was to go to my favorite restaurant in town, Gary's on the River, which was a beautiful, former church. Sadly, the restaurant was closed because of a music festival they were hosting that evening. We quickly switched plans and ended up a sports bar in town (there isn't much for options!)

After lunch, we headed to the mall to get our nails and toes done! I had my toes done already at the Aveda Institute back home, so I just needed a manicure. I went with a very light pink by Essie called Not Just A Pretty Face. It turned out gorgeous and I am glad I went with a simple, neutral color.

When our nails were all done, we headed out to the wedding site so everyone could see it. The site was about 30 minutes out in the country and away from Spencer, the town my husband is from and where most of us were staying.

When I say "out in the country" I literally mean, off several dirt roads and way, waaay out there! The first time my mom went out there, she was almost immediately on the phone with our city dwelling family to warn them that it was "out there." Haha!

After we did a few things out at the site, the group headed back into town to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. We didn't have a rehearsal the day before, and instead opted to do it an hour before the wedding. I had several mini panic attacks over this, but it ended up working out beautifully. Most of the people in the wedding had been in a wedding before ... so, having a long rehearsal was just not necessary!

Our "rehearsal dinner" was a bbq at Bill's brother's house in Spencer and it was perfect! We had hamburgers and hot dogs, enjoyed a few drinks and just got to know one another the day before! Several of my family members were unable to come at the last minute due to being exhausted from driving all the way from Kansas City, but that just meant more food and drink for us! :)

That night, I stayed with several of my bridesmaids at one of my best friend's mother in law's house which was also in Spencer. It was so nice of her to host us, and I am so grateful! I think I fell asleep around midnight and, shockingly, got about 6 hours of sleep. I was so worried I would not be able to sleep and would therefore be super tired the next day and not able to make it until late into the reception. Spoiler: I made it just fine!

The morning of the Big Day ...

The next morning, all seven of the bridesmaids met at the same house I stayed at and this is where we got our hair done. Another friend of mine runs a salon in town and she brought one of her employees with her to doll us up.

It was so nice and relaxing to sit somewhere comfy, drink coffee and just prepare for what was soon to come!! :)

After we got our hair curled and styled just right, our makeup applied perfectly, fake lashes and all, we headed out to the wedding site ... but, not before another "mishap" ....

As I was downstairs putting the finishing touches on my makeup, one of my bridesmaids came running down the stairs, obviously in a panic, and threw herself on the couch mumbling something about "passing out" and "blood" while clutching her head. She had gone to get something out of the trunk of my car. There was a (very heavy) bike rack on the trunk that made my trunk just SLAM really hard. She wasn't expecting it, and it almost knocked her out!

After that was all taken care of and we nursed our dear friend back to health (ice, ice, ice!) we all got together for one last picture while getting ready ...

Then we headed out to the wedding site to start getting dressed and get ready for wedding party pictures. At this point, I was beginning to get really nervous. I knew that once we got our dresses on and we started to get ready for the "First Look" I would begin to get really nervous, and I was right! I think this was the moment that I asked one of my bridesmaids for a drink! I knew that I didn't want my wedding party drunk before the ceremony, but I also knew that the alcohol would be flowing! Luckily, everyone handled themselves just fine! I had a drink while we did some pictures and definitely felt a little better! Once I saw Bill for the first time, I felt EVEN BETTER!

After the "First Look" we took a ton of wedding party photos and it was so much fun!!! These are definitely among some of my favorite pictures ever!

Our wedding party pictures were down the road at Sutherland Farms. The owner of the farm is a really good friend of Bill's and I was so excited to have our photos taken there because it is a BEAUTIFUL farm! I really wanted water photos, and luckily there is a gorgeous man-made lake on the property. He even took us out on the pontoon and we cracked open a bottle of champagne! It was perfect. :) 



After the wedding party pictures we headed back over to the wedding site. We still had family pictures to take, and our rehearsal.

If I could go back and change anything I would have our rehearsal the night before, but with our wedding site being about 30 minutes out of town, that really changed our timeline quite a bit due to the added driving. Overall, it was fine, but I think that if I we hadn't waited until the day of for the rehearsal, I wouldn't have had so many jitters! Several of the wedding party had been in weddings before, so there really wasn't much to worry about, everyone know what they were supposed to do!

Once we finished all of the formal photos, I jetted back up to my room to touch up. Plus, guests were beginning to arrive and I just wanted to get AWAY. I wanted to gather my thoughts, have a few moments alone and touch up my makeup.

One cool thing was the view from the room I was getting ready in ... I could watch all of the guests arrive, but they could not see me! I loved this!

Before I knew it, it was time to head down to the ceremony. ::deep breath:: I went down, found my dad, who at the time wanted to reminisce! I know this is totally normal though, I told him we had to go, hugged him and we headed to the clearing where everyone was waiting!

During the ceremony, Bill and I tied a literal knot with rope to signify both families joining together. The knot also signifies our bond that will not break, due to the strength of the fisherman's knot we tied. We now have the rope displayed in our home and I absolutely love this! 

The Reception

After the ceremony, we walked up to the building, on the same property, and ate, drank and danced. Oh my, we danced! I was so worried before the big day that it would not turn into a big "party" but come to find out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about! The party went well into the night and everyone had such a great time!!

 The end! Happily ever after!

Thank you so much for reading! Stay tuned, I am sure I will write more! Our day was perfect, so beautiful and I am so thankful for all of those that could come celebrate and/or help make our day what it was!

More Photos ... 
If you are interested in seeing more photos, feel free to request me on Facebook. I'm not shy about accepting friend requests and there are literally hundreds of pictures on there!



Thank you!