Fourth of July Weekend Wrap Up {2015}

It was a great weekend in Nashville, except that it RAINED on the night of the 4th, so we didn’t get to watch fireworks from our secret spot like we had planned. MAJOR BUMMER.

But I spent the 3rd with these two little ladies (and also I had to catch a glimpse of my flag dress from Red Dress Boutique)…

IMG_7926And that night, me and the hubs gave a shout out to my hometown, with each of us wearing our Wisconsin shirts:

IMG_7958The hubs had to work during the day, so I headed to a family cookout (with his fam!), and had a great time catching up with everyone: IMG_7961Me and the lovely ladies had to get a photo – two cousins-in-law and a sister-in law:IMG_7965And I just have to show off the adorable back of the OTHER dress I bought from Red Dress Boutique:IMG_7971

And finally, my adorable nephew Jack, because he is the most photogenic kid I know:IMG_7972

It’s almost the 4th of July!!

This is PRETTY MUCH my favorite holiday. I mean, it’s obviously tied with Christmas, because nothing can beat Christmas, but THE FOURTH OF JULY. OH man…how I love it. Please take a few minutes to browse through my past 4ths, and you may understand why…

It’s always a little bittersweet when I can’t get back to my hometown for this classic American holiday, but this year, I’m heading to Nashville to be with my hubster and his family and our friends there, like these guys, who joined us in Wisconsin last year!

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This will probably be a relatively low key weekend, but I will be sure to take some photos to share with you next week. Safe travels wherever you may go!!

My Summer Reality {TV}

I always say I don’t really watch reality TV, but then I realized that’s a complete lie. In the summer, that is ALL I watch. All of the dramas and comedies I watch all year go off the air, and suddenly I’m left with reality “reality” television. But hey, it’s great background while I work on summer projects and write blog posts.

So a few of my favorites…some because they are actually really intriguing and inspiring, and some because…they are just trainwrecks.

1. The Briefcase

SUCH an interesting concept. The bummer is you can only do it for one season because there is a big ol’ twist. Now that it’s aired, I don’t think they can do it again. The basic premise is that two families in need each receive a briefcase with $100,000 and have to decide if they want to keep it all, keep some of it, or give some of it away to another family in equal or more need. They find out little bits about the other family over the course of 72 hours, but they DO NOT KNOW that the other family is deciding about them, too. Then they have to meet each other and share what they have decided to give. WAY more fascinating than I thought it would be. Check it out!

2. Extreme Weight Loss

I have always loved this show. What makes it special to me is seeing one person’s journey over the course of two hours. Each episode shows us the whole year of weightloss for that person, and it fascinates me to see the emotional and physical struggles that a person has to go through to really truly change their lives. It’s inspiring, challenging, and I feel like it’s an important message to all of us to take care of ourselves!

3. Food Network Star

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I love a good food competition, but this is my favorite – whoever wins gets their own show on Food Network. This year, I’m rooting for the guy from Nashville, Arnold, because I’ve been to his restaurants AND THEY ARE AWESOME. He’s the chef or owner or something at PM, Cha Cha, and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum. He also does drag, which just makes him super entertaining. Go Arnold! Go Nashville!

4. The Bachelorette / Bachelor Pad

THIS IS THE ONLY ONE I’M KIND OF ASHAMED OF. Especially this season, where Kaitlynn is just a huge hot mess. No wonder they keep advertising the movie “Trainwreck” during the show. But whatever…this is the LEAST “real” of the reality shows I watch, by far.

At least I don’t watch the housewife shows??

Second Wedding Anniversary

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Today is the day! Two years since THE BIG DAY. What a day it was, with friends gathered and hashtagging away, and families celebrating their new link to each other. While the last year didn’t bring as much change as the first, I have a feeling that yet again, we have a lot of change on the horizon. Seems like “lots of changes” may end up being an every-other-year theme for us… My “gifts of cotton” were not as creative as last year’s “gifts of paper,” (think: nice clothes from Banana Republic), but hey, we can’t all be awesome year over year, right?

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Everyone says that marriage is hard. But here’s the thing you guys…I don’t think it’s so much that marriage is hard as it is that LIFE is hard. LIFE is really nutty sometimes! It’s stressful, it’s nerve wracking. People get sick and pass away. Relationships of all kinds ebb and flow. Jobs change. Money sucks. NO TWO PEOPLE see things exactly the same way, whether it’s parent and child, roommate and roommate, or husband and wife.

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Sometimes you’re all like, “OMG YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING HUMAN I’VE EVER KNOWN.”

And sometimes, you’re all like, “bye felicia.”

But isn’t that true of EVERY relationship? Marriage is special, though, because it’s a choice. I’ve chosen to go through all of that stuff WITH YOU. And because of that, no matter how much the years go up and down, neither of us are going anywhere.

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So happy anniversary to the one I love! Two years looks good on you.

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A Father’s Day Package

I don’t know about your dad, but my dad is a LEEEEETTLE difficult to buy gifts for. He has everything he needs, and when he needs something else, he goes and buys it. And like most dads, he doesn’t want me spending my money on him. But I still want to find something fun and thoughtful to send to him in WI!

And so, here is what I came up with this year…a fun box of little doodads that I know are right up his alley.
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I made him cookies, and bought him beer socks, a very handy utensil, and a squirt gun. I also bought a plain white mug which I decorated with sharpie and then baked (twice) so he can wash it. There’s a message on the back just for him :)

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Do you and your dad have any fun traditions or things you like to buy each other? Dad has always sent me socks…through college and since. It’s his “thing” because he knows “you always need socks.” It used to be tube socks, but then I redirected him towards athletic ankle socks…and now I really do use them whenever he sends me some! I felt like sending him socks of his own was appropriate.

We also used to have squirt gun fights, which were usually initiated by him getting on the roof of the house and squirting at us from above. This little squirt gun may not have that kind of power, but it’s still a nice reminder.

And the tool? My dad is a fan of handy gadgets. I just thought he would like it!

Happy Father’s Day to all you papas out there…and especially to my own!!

"Mwahhaha I ATE ALL THE CHEEZEBURGERS, DAD!!!"

“Mwahhaha I ATE ALL THE CHEEZEBURGERS, DAD!!!”

Last night got weird, y’all.

So last night, our power went out around 8:00…And my first thought of course was MY FOOD.

Priorities, you guys. Priorities.

According to the AEP website, it wasn’t coming back on until noon today. WHAT.

But it’s summer, and it was still light out, so I found all of the flashlights in the house, NONE OF WHICH WORKED, even after changing batteries. But then I found my Halo backup charger, which doubles as a flashlight, and works just fine. Also pulled out a few candles and put them by my bed.

I took the dog on an extra walk, because she was going nuts following me around the house as I looked for batteries. Plus it was light out until like, 9:30. Everyone in the neighborhood was outside, but it was so hot and sticky and buggy and gross…Also everyone is younger than me and they all hang on their porches drinking beer while I’m working, so I don’t feel like we have a ton in common. Yep, I’m the old almost-30-lady hanging out in her dark house alone with her dog. LALALA DON’T CARE!

ANYway, I got back from the walk, twiddled my thumbs, and then remembered my many electronics that ARE charged. I gave my Kindle a boost from my Halo, and did a little reading that way…

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The biggest struggle of the night was that without the TV on or any other ambient noise, the dog heard EVERYTHING, including everyone talking outside, and kept barking. UGH. So I opened my mostly-charged laptop, and broke out the old iTunes that is really a time capsule to my college/just after college days. I mean, before spotify…iTunes. It houses the playlists of the shows I was in, of my friends, my moods, my boyfriends, my breakups…you name it. My favorite playlist is “Ingrid and Sara” aka every Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles song I have on one playlist. I fell asleep with this playing to keep the dog distracted…

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So reading by candle/kindle light, listening to memories, the dark and quiet of the house…all of it made for a weird but really pleasant night. It’s for the best that I missed the Bachelorette. Brain cells die when I watch it anyway.

OH AND THE POWER CAME BACK ON AT LIKE, 1 in the morning! Yay! My food is fine, don’t worry. Sorry I held you in such suspense throughout this whole post…

Best Hangers Ever + Closet Clean Up

I LOOOOOVE cleaning out my closet. Seriously, I’m a freaky nerd like that. I get the itch to reorganize and toss items every few months or so. A few years back, my mom introduced me to these lovely velvet hangers, purchased from Costco. My goal was always to not need more of them…instead, whenever I bought new clothes, I vowed to get rid if items.

WELLLL I’m getting to that point where I don’t have too much to get rid of: my closet is finally full of things I really DO wear, and items I’d consider high quality (for the most part). So I recently needed a few more hangers, and got these from Costco:

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Now I’m sure that Sam’s has something similar. In fact, Amazon does too. What makes them so wonderful? Well, your clothes stick to them, so you don’t have things falling off all over the place. They also don’t leave any hanger shoulder marks on your clothes, which is amazing. And finally, they are pretty space efficient. Look how many I can fit into my tiny hands at one time!

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I know, it’s a super nerdy thing, but I KNOW I’m not the only one out there who feels a deep sense of satisfaction when their closet is all tidy and organized. See how nice and tight they are? In a perfect world, I would have more space between each item of clothing, I know. But I’m living in a 1920s house with closets the size of a shower stall.

IMG_7732Have you already done your spring cleaning? Any helpful items you just couldn’t live without??