Monday, November 30, 2015

Giving Thanks!

This past week was marvelous and SO good for the soul!

John and I spent the week with my parents in Minnesota, and it was such a treat to be with family over the holidays. We don't live near any family, and it can be difficult to find time to get together since everyone is so busy (and, in fact, it had been almost a year since we had last seen my parents!), so our time together was certainly not taken for granted!

We arrived in Minneapolis last Sunday, and although it was cold, there wasn't any snow - but you best believe we were still excited to break out our not-often-worn cold weather gear. My parents have a condo downtown, so we spent the day walking around shops in the North Loop (Filson was a must-stop for John...).

Monday morning my mom and I headed up to Fergus Falls with my Aunt Kathy to see my grandma and grandpa. It was wonderful catching up with them, and we enjoyed a tasty dinner at Mabel Murphy's. We stayed up late playing cards, drinking wine, and watching Steven Colbert prank the Butterball hotline.

Both my dad and mom grew up in Fergus Falls, so it was fun being shown around town and clued in to all of the old spots. In fact (!), the booth below (from Mabel Murphy's) is the same booth that my mom and dad had their first date in - how fun is that?! I couldn't help but take a picture of it. :)

Getting to see my grandma and grandpa was so special and really the icing on a pretty perfect trip! I have a lot of good memories from visiting them when I was younger (one of them being walking to a local gas station to get candy that is now out of business - boo!), and it was nice to be able to go back to visit... I miss them already!

When my mom and I were in Fergus Falls, John and my dad stayed back for work. John's firm has an office in Minneapolis, and it just so happens to be right next to the building that my dad works in, so they walked to and from work together every day!

And although they had to work all week, they were able to sneak in a happy hour and a Timberwolves basketball game. I'm not going to lie, I was a little jealous that I wasn't able to join!

One thing you need to know about my mom is that she is a phenomenal cook - like seriously, I think the reason I am so bad at making dinners is because growing up she did all the cooking... and any attempt I made at cooking would pale in comparison - so I left the work to the professionals! She made soup, salads, steak, dumplings, etc.

But, I do love desserts!! And I made a tasty homemade creme brulee (with her supervision, of course)... I even used my dad's blow torch to melt the sugar!

And they were pretty tasty, if I do say so myself! 

Wednesday morning my mom and I got our hair blow dried, and it was amazing! If there is one thing I love, it's a good blow dry. My hair is pretty long, and I normally let it air dry and then curl it with a wand since blowing it out takes forever. So having someone else do all the hard work for me was totally welcomed!

After our blow outs we had a tasty lunch at Agriculture and did some shopping while waiting for my dad and John to get off of work - a pretty perfect day, if you ask me!

Once my dad and John got off of work, we met them downtown for a happy hour at The Oceanaire. One of the great things about my parents living downtown is their access to so many awesome restaurants and happy hours... many within walking distance! 

Our food was delicious, and our dessert basically could have served an army... it was huge! Death by chocolate is certainly an accurate name for that dessert (and I loved every single bite of it!).

My parents make me really excited to grow old with John... they have such a beautiful marriage, and I am so blessed to call them my parents!

We woke up Thursday morning, Thanksgiving, and sure enough it was snowing! My parents have a great view from their condo, and the snow made the cold weather and scenery all the more festive.

John and I were so excited it was snowing, and we even decided to brave the weather with my dad for a walk around the Mississippi river... complete with snow ball throwing contests. I would love to say I had the most accurate throw, but my dad definitely wins that one.

Although it was chilly, a walk before our massive Thanksgiving meal was a good decision. 

Thanksgiving was spent at my uncle Nick and aunt Kathy's home. Similar to my mom, my Aunt Kathy is an incredible cook - and the food was delicious! If you ask me, John even went a bit overboard (I think he may have had 4ths at dinner and then finished them evening with 3 slices of pie... I was a little alarmed, but he assured me it was acceptable).

We followed up dinner with card games... and spoons. If you have ever played spoons before, you know that it can get pretty violent with competitive people (which we indeed are...). My cousin Hannah took home the "W", and although I didn't win, the game ended with zero casualties, which is basically a win in my book (you gotta end well so people are willing to play again!).

Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving if it didn't end with puppy cuddles; and although it wasn't my pup, my parents' dog Molly is the next best thing!

On Friday morning my mom and I made a quick stop to see my aunt Janine and cousins, and then headed to Stillwater for the day with my aunt Kathy. Stillwater is a super charming town on the St. Croix River, which divides Wisconsin and Minnesota. I couldn't help but be a little giddy seeing the Christmas decorations everywhere!

We had lunch and cocktails at a super fun place called Lolos. Although I later regretted eating my massive burger topped with pork belly and an extra order of homemade potato chips (hello Thanksgiving, round 2), the food was absolutely delicious.

Along with the delicious food, they had an awesome cocktail menu with super unique and quite frankly, unusual choices. Take for example the "Coffee & Cigarettes... a Joe Goulet Story" which had bourbon, coffee, donuts, ciggarettes, and bacon - what?!! Crazy, I know! Another cocktail incorporated popcorn (which I can totally get behind, by the way).

On the way home from Stillwater, we stopped to pick out a Christmas tree for my parents' condo. Since John and I have a fake tree this year, it was extra fun to still get to participate in picking out a live one (even if it wasn't coming home with me!).

While we were in Stillwater, John, my uncle Nick, and cousin Noah went pheasant hunting. They have the sweetest English Setting named Millie, and boy, this dog is a cutie... I pretty much cuddled her all Thanksgiving, ha!

Since John normally hunts alone (I will tag along but not actually shoot anything), he had a blast getting to go with people who actually hunt... and not to mention, they brought home a ton of birds!

Friday night my parents bought tickets to go to a dinner theatre to see Sister Act - and it was so fun! I love musicals, and it was fun to be able to have dinner and dessert while watching the show.

We had awesome seats, and to be honest, perhaps too awesome - we had a couple close calls with audience participation (thank you, Jesus, for avoiding that...). We really aren't audience participation kind of people, so I was thankful that we were able to avoid that (loosening up is one of my New Year's resolutions, but I will start working on that in 2016, ha!).

My parents are certainly the hostess with the mostess... truly, they showed us such a good time, and this trip really meant a lot to both John and me. We are so thankful that we were able to go, and cannot wait to see both my dad and mom again soon. And thankfully, we will see them again soon because they are planning a trip to Texas at the end of December - whoop whoop!

Saturday morning (3:15AM, to be exact...), John left for the airport to head home, and believe it or not, he just about missed his 5AM flight because the airport was absolutely slammed! John and I booked our flights separately, and my flight didn't get in until 1AM... and although the airport wasn't as busy, absolutely everything was closed. Literally, not even the magazine store were open, and I was starving (I guess that's what happens when you stretch your stomach all week!).

After landing in San Antonio, all I could muster up in a text message to John was to "please bring pizza" - haha, and in sure enough form, he did. If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that God made that man for me!

Our Sunday was spent recuperating after a late flight, cleaning up our home, and lovin' on our much missed pup! AND, it was the first Sunday of Advent. My mom and I are doing the She Reads Truth Advent (anyone else doing this Advent too?!), and my dad and John are doing the He Reads Truth version... and I am so excited to celebrate and prepare our hearts for the most beautiful time of the year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Q&A!

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

John and I are in Minnesota and have been busy enjoying time with family this week... there is so much to be thankful for, and I cannot wait to celebrate tomorrow! 

Last Christmas Bailley posted a Christmas Q&A, and I loved the idea so much that I thought I would put something similar together for Thanksgiving. A Q&A is an easy way to trigger memories and share favorite stories... a perfect way to get to know your loved ones a bit more around the Thanksgiving table! :)

Any questions you would add?! I want to grow a list of questions for next year!

Monday, November 23, 2015


Happy Monday! 

And this Monday really is a happy one as I am on vacation all week... and even better, John and I are spending the week in Minneapolis visiting my parents. I am so looking forward to some holiday family time, and if we're "lucky," even a little snow (it's easy for me to say that since I get to go home to Texas...)!

Here's a quick look of what John and I have been up to lately - and warning: if you are anti-Christmas before Thanksgiving, then this post may bother you... so just keep on scrollin'. ;)

Let me tell you... All. Things. Holiday.
Cannot get enough! And let me tell you, as soon as I get home from Minnesota, I will be unleashing the beast and buying a bunch of fresh winter greenery!

I mentioned this on Friday, but our tree is up and lit! This is our first year buying an artificial Christmas tree, and y'all, Hobby Lobby is where it's at. The trees there were way better (in my opinion) than the ones at Target and Home Depot.  If you're in the market for an artificial tree, I highly recommend checking out Hobby Lobby!

This past weekend there was finally a gap in the rain (it's been raining a lot!), so we decided to pack up the pup, hit the road, and do a little hunting!

Scout and John did awesome! They found about 7 quail, and while we were walking back to the car, the birds all started coming out of no where! They about doubled their tally within the last 30 minutes of being out. Scout is a little out of shape, but hey, so is her mom. ;)

John's dad was recently in town for business, and we went to dinner at The Granary which is located at The Pearl in San Antonio. The food was delicious, and it was so nice catching up on the latest.

AND! I was so excited this past weekend when the community that we live in put up all of their Christmas decorations! I'm not going to lie, I may have let out a little squeal when I saw the beautiful big wreaths - and I am sure we will be welcomed home by much more when we head back!

And my sweet Christmas kitty... just because she doesn't get enough bloggin' love!

Anyone? I just saw this on Instagram, and couldn't agree more. #ibelieve

Friday night John and I had a little dessert date night at Bahama Bucks... shaved ice and chess - our ideal date night. :)

We left for Minnesota yesterday morning, and poor Scout did not want us to leave. She can tell when we are packing up to head out, and just can't stand the thought of not coming along! She will patiently wait in front of our garage door (just so we don't dare forget her!).

By Sunday afternoon we arrived in chilly Minneapolis! We are so happy to be here and are looking forward to rest, relaxation, family and food... lots of food! Unfortunately, John has to work this week, but it works out because his firm has an office in Minneapolis... and funny enough, it is right next door to where my dad works! So it actually works out quite well.

I can't believe we are only 3 days away from Thanksgiving... get your bellies ready!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Five on Friday Round Up!

It has been so long since linking up for a five on Friday, and I decided that there was no better time than now to pick it back up - Linking up with April!

John and I leave this weekend to stay with my parents for the week in Minneapolis; to say that I am excited would be an understatement! I’m looking forward to family time and slightly more holiday weather while celebrating Christmas!

ONE | Cutting Board

You know those awesome state-shaped cutting boards?! Well I am a proud new owner! My sweet friend Elizabeth surprised me with Texas cutting board as a house warming gift… and the best part? It’s from Etsy! I absolutely love it.

Go check out AHeirloom and see their awesome stuff!

TWO | Boot Season

Now that it is officially boot season, I’m doing my best to keep my boots in the best shape possible. I used to keep wine bottles in my boots to help them stay standing and maintain their shape, but they get quite heavy after a while, and I’m always concerned about the bottles breaking.

I saw these make-shift boot trees using pool noodles on Pinteret that I am pretty excited to try it! Hopefully the noodles will be strong enough to hold up the boots, and if they do, I will consider it a total win!

THREE | Mastering the All-White Room

I saw this article via One Kings Lane, and just had to share. I’m loving all things white right now, and this is the perfect guide to pulling it all together and making it work. It's love... Am I right?


Okay, okay, okay, I know that it is actually Thanksgiving next week, but I couldn’t help but pull out my Christmas décor just a tad early. Since John and I won’t be home for Thanksgiving, I wanted to make sure that when we arrived home that the house would be perfectly Christmas-ed for our return home. When are you taking out your Christmas décor?!

This is our first year getting a fake tree, and y’all, I kind of love it. It was so easy set up, and I am SO looking forward to not having to climb under the dang thing and water it every day – woof!

FIVE | Cane Chairs

So I love a good deal, and I happened to be on Craig’s List looking for a lawn mower when I stumbled upon the two most amazing cane chairs for only $60! You best believe I snagged those bad boys up. They definitely are in need of a new cushion and upholstery, but they are quite sturdy chairs!

I am thinking I reupholster them into something like the below barrel chairs from One Kings Lane. Any advice from people who have upcycled furniture before?!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Christmas at Target...

It will get you every time...
be still my heart!

Seriously though, Target has been on point this year, and I have to use some serious holiday restraint every time I walk into that store. John and I had a mini date night on Friday which consisted of Mellow Mushroom pizza and a trip to Target. Of course we headed in to get toothpaste, but left with several rolls of Christmas wrapping paper and other beautiful, wonderful Christmas goodies!

Thank goodness John was there, because had I been alone, I may have done some serious damage... Here's a quick peek of some of what I've got my eyes on!

Target Must-Haves

And don't forget to enter the Erin Condren 2016 Class Life Planner giveaway! Ends tonight!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Six Easy Thanksgiving Table Settings Ideas

Thanksgiving. Two weeks from tomorrow. What?!!

Although I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year, I can't help but be excited over a pretty tablescape.

I love placemats, pretty napkins, napkin rings, flowers, and seasonal table décor. Investing in seasonal or holiday table linens can be expensive, but it really doesn't have to be... just add a new piece or two every year, and you will soon have a beautiful collection.  While you're building your seasonal collection, there are many inexpensive and DIY options that look just as great!

Here is some Thanksgiving table inspiration that I can’t get enough of... functional, not over the top, and fairly easy to execute.

1.   Place Cards
I'm a fan of place cards... I feel like they show that you thought about the people attending before they arrived.  Use clothespins or pine cones to make seasonal seating cards that, although inexpensive, still have impact.

2.  Incorporate Pumpkins
Pumpkins and gourds can create easy and beautiful centerpieces that are simple to throw together - and they last a long time, so buying them in advance is not an issue.  Or, use smaller pumpkins for seat assignments!

3.  Use Burlap
Burlap is quite in expensive and a great way to make an impact on your table without breaking the bank.  Incorporate as a table runner, place mats, or tie around some pillar candles.

4.  Make Napkin Rings
Napkin rings can be expensive to buy - I'm talking like $8 a piece at Pottery Barn, and who wants to spend over $100 on a matching set?!  But you can make festive napkin rings quite easily! Use twine, a cinnamon stick and some greens, or make a cute printable on brown paper!

5.  Dress-up Candles
I don't know if I could pull off green beans and asparagus around my candles (too risky for a Pinterest-fail), but they look quite beautiful in the picture below.  Tie with satin ribbon or twine... easy-peasy!

6.  Incorporate Cranberries
Who doesn't love the beautiful color of cranberries?!  They bring a perfect pop of color to the Thanksgiving table.  Simply throw them in a vase with flowers or candles, and you've got yourself a beautiful arrangement.  For an even fancier effect, put the cranberries and a floating candle in a vase with water... they will float to the top and their color will be extra bright!

How do you decorate your Thanksgiving table?!

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