Friday, December 30, 2016

what I got myself for Christmas

If you didn’t get everything you wanted for Christmas this year, there’s still plenty of time to get it for yourself. And I’m not even kidding about that one as I buy myself Christmas gifts every year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

the best gift ever!

Wanderlust Wednesday 
If you're following along on instagram then you already know that I'm in Europe right now. And I will forever be grateful to my parents, for giving me the best gift ever. The gift of travel is one of the greatest things you can give in my opinion. But even better than that is the gift of quality time because I’m travelling with my little sister.

My sister and I are more than a decade apart in age so I have been there from the day she was born. I remember changing her diapers and making her bottles and babysitting. I was there for bath-time and her first steps. And as she got older, I taught her to read and helped her practice writing her letters. I even took her trick or treating every year (no parents allowed) Ha!

But with me moving away for college + grad school and her getting older, it’s harder to maintain that closeness. There will always be a bond between us that I can’t quite explain. But this trip together will give us a chance to expand our relationship in a different way. With her being a little older now, I don't want to just be her big sister anymore, I hope to be a true friend.

And traveling with someone will forever change your relationship with them for the better. I promise you that. So, you can see now why this trip really is the best gift ever. We’re headed for 9 days split between Italy, France, and Spain. There will be lots of adventures, lots of exploring, lots of girl talk, and lots of gelato ;)

Monday, December 26, 2016

december lately

Call it a cliché. Or call me basic for saying this, but this really is the most wonderful time of the year. 
Between taking a Christmas trip to Mexico with the husband and heading off to Europe with my sister in just a few days, there has been a lot to appreciate lately. Add in getting to see all the family that we live apart from right now, plus enjoying the non-stop holiday festivities and nothing beats Christmastime. Our schedule has been so busy and jam-packed but we’re also loving every minute of it. So here’s a peak of December Lately.
Started this month off with a Christmas trip to Mexico.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

what we gave for christmas 2016

I know everyone will soon be sharing what they got for Christmas, but I prefer this version much more! Planning out and giving the perfect presents really is the best part of Christmas. And I'm just going to say it, we totally nailed Christmas this year. 
what we gave for christmas
Sometimes picking the right gift can be stressful, but this year Tom and I really focused on parring down our gift list and simplifying things. Everything centered around giving meaningful gifts vs. simply buying things for the sake of the holidays. And when you have people telling you that you're a great gift giver, you know that you picked the right present. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

feeling festive

Merry Christmas Eve! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

it's that time of year again

We got our Christmas cards out a lot later than I had hoped, but they should arrive just in time for Christmas. We were beyond busy with finishing up our semesters in grad school, so these totally got thrown together at the last minute. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

a year of travel through ornaments

If you can believe it, I almost didn't do a Christmas tree this year. Things are a bit complicated by the fact that Tom and I are in a long distance marriage again. For one, I wasn't feeling like decorating just for myself. And it so happens that our Christmas ornaments are at his place…well not all them.
Somehow, I ended up with the ornaments that we've picked up during our travels this past year. I did decide to do a tree, knowing that it would be a bit sparse, but it turns out that we accumulated enough ornaments this year to cover a 6 foot tree! Who knew? Especially since we only picked up ornaments at about half our travel destinations. Here's a peak at some of the ones from my tree this year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

merry in mexico

I will forever be in love with our holiday tradition of gifting each other an adventure for Christmas. We started doing this years ago right after we got married. While I love giving and receiving all the things at Christmastime, nothing beats creating memories and once in a lifetime experiences that we will have forever. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

snow, rain, and hail at Mt. Rainier

We encountered every weather condition you can have during our time in Mt Rainier. Well everything except sunshine. As we went up and down the mountain, we alternated between torrential downpours, wind, fog, hail, and snow. Even still, I would never trade in this amazing day. Yes, I would have appreciated a little sun (and warmth), but nothing could stunt the beauty of Mount Rainer National Park. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

buying all the sweaters: november budget

Sharing this clothing budget a little late thanks to being in Mexico over Thanksgiving. Also, thanks to putting in 60 hour weeks with grad school. Thankfully, things are winding down and back to a somewhat normal schedule now, which gives me a little more free time to share about important things, like clothes. With the cooler weather surfacing, I realized that I had a huge gap in my closet...sweaters. Aside from a few obnoxious holidays ones, I had almost none. So November was a month of buying all the sweaters.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving in Tulum

I'm pretty sure that Thanksgiving 2016 is one for the record books! Our Christmas gift to each other this year is a road trip through Mexico. But with December already being so booked up, the timing just worked out better to go over Thanksgiving.
In case you're wondering where Tulum is, it's along the Yucatan Peninsula, an hour and a half South of Cancun. It has the same gorgeous beaches and year round perfect weather that you'll find in places like Cancun or Playa del Carmen. But there are a whole lot less tourists and big resorts. It's definitely got more of a local feel, which is why we fell in love.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

a little bit of irony

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Zebra and Her Stripes

Lately, my life has involved a whole lot of transitions. Transitioning back to grad school after time away. Transitioning into once again being in a long distance marriage. It feels like I'm constantly transforming, adjusting, altering my stripes to fit the situation. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

DIY "no sew" tufted headboard

I haven't had a headboard in years. As a poor college student that grew up to be a poor graduate student, spending money on something like a headboard always seemed so frivolous. I meant to get one, but it never seemed like the right time to spend that kind of dough. Besides, me and my mattress were doing just fine with a simple bed frame thank you very much. But when I moved into my new grad school apartment, I decided it was time. Adults have headboards and I was finally ready to join the club. 
In my complete naiveness, I budgeted $200 for the endeavor, only to find that I hated everything in my price range. Metal and wooden headboards weren't even a consideration. No, I wanted one of those nice plush fabric ones instead. You know the $600+ ones. All I wanted was to be able to sit up in bed comfortably without having to drop half a grand or more in the process. Is that so much to ask? Well apparently it is. 
And I couldn't bring myself to settle for any of the $200 options unless I loved it because do you know what I could do with that kind of money? I could pull off a long weekend in Chicago, or go air ballooning in Napa, or camping in Vermont for $200, so there was no way I was spending that on some crappy headboard that I didn't like. It was starting to look like I was going to be without again. And then I realized that there was another option. Why not make one myself, it can't be that hard right? 
And you guys, it really isn't. I've never done anything like this before. I don't have a garage full of power tools or any sewing skills. But I built (with the help of husband of course) this free standing headboard and it's perfect! So here's a little tutorial on my easy no skill no sewing required headboard. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

grad school apartment

Grad school is such an odd place to be in life. Gone are the days of being perfectly content to share cheap furniture with 3 other roommates. You're older now and have a desire for nicer things and your own personal space. Right now, I'm trying to balance wanting all the nice things with the reality of living on a student budget. Thus, my place is furnished with thrift store finds, lots of IKEA, a dash of Target, and a whole lot of DIY projects.
I've been living in my grad school apartment for a few months now, so it's about time that I finally share an apartment tour. With our crazy travel schedule and all the work that grad school entails, it has been hard to find time to work on the apartment. So I kept wanting to wait to share until the place was "finished", but our homes are a reflection of our lives and  this place will always be transitioning and changing. Even though I still have a few big projects to do, I want to remember it as it is now, so here goes.....

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

the best national parks for fall foliage

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 33
Grad school is in full swing and I was in desperate need of a mental break the other day, so I did a little travel planning. But in particular, we were trying to decide which national parks we want to visit in the new year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oh Autumn!

Oh Autumn! You are flying right by and coming to an end. Your leaves were once the brightest hues of crimson and gold, but now they're withering away into dull muted tones. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lake Crescent

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 32
During our anniversary road trip through the PNW, the place I was looking forward to visiting most was Olympic National Park. In fact, our main motivation for flying across the country stemmed from this desire. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Knitted Sweater Dress

Friday, November 4, 2016

October in Review

Mentally, I haven't been able to let go of October just yet because it was such a beautiful dream. But if I'm honest, it was also a crazy hectic month too. And I'm looking forward to having a bit more routine and calmness with November.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

day trip diaries: the north cascades

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 31
After our time in Seattle, the next stop along our anniversary PNW Road Trip was North Cascades National Park. We originally excluded it from our itinerary, but at the last minute, we realized that we had to go. Because how could we be so close to a national park and not visit it? I knew we would regret it if we didn't stop by, so we ditched our last day in the city and took a day trip out to the north cascades instead. So glad that we did. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

epic halloween fail!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

october clothing budget

Last month was a very purposeful no-buy month for me because I knew my spending would be high this month. And it was. I went on an anniversary trip through the Pacific Northwest, so before our trip I bought all the cute Fall things to wear.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Nestled at the base of the Wenatchee Mountains in Washington State is the town of Leavenworth. This cute mountain town has completely taken on the persona of Bavaria, Germany. And it's inhabitants take themselves very seriously, which is why they're known for having one of the best oktoberfests around. We of course had to include this in our PNW road trip itinerary because um….Beer + Mountain Air! That's pretty much our ideal of paradise. 
We had the best/worst luck with the weather as a huge storm was passing through. It was good because the storm kept the crowds down, which meant more beer and schuhpatteler-ing (German folk dancing) for us. But bad because we were pretty much soaking wet the entire day. Only captured a few photos because camera + torrential downpours = disaster zone. But I did snap a few pics when the rain slowed down. And I have to show you how everything is designed in the style of Bavaria. I don't know if you've ever been to Germany, but they are totally pulling it off.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Southwest Road Trip Budget: Utah's Mighty 5

 Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 30
 This is the third year in a row that we've flown out west to spend a week road-tripping. And this trip was my favorite one yet. We have been dreaming of driving through Utah and hiking the Mighty 5 {utah's 5 national parks} for years, but we weren't sure if we could swing it. Once we knew we could fit everything we wanted into our one-week itinerary, the budget became our next priority. 
Going on a southwest road trip is something that every American should do at some point, but there can be many unknowns when it comes to cost. I felt so frustrated with trying to find info so I feel compelled to share our exact budget to show how doable a Mighty Five Road Trip can be.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Today was not the best day, actually this whole week is kind of a wash and it's only Tuesday. Early mornings followed by late nights and still everything won't get done. And somehow I managed to get through the whole day without realizing my shirt was on inside out. Thank goodness I had a white coat on top. So here's to reminiscing about that time just over a week ago when I was actually put together. 
Dress // Tights // Booties // Hat-Souvenir

Monday, October 24, 2016

Cascadian Farm Pumpkin Patch

I've never understood the lure of pumpkin patches. Not until we accidentally stumbled upon this one in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. We were driving back from a hike in the north cascades and I was half asleep. Then this beautiful scene came into view and I shrieked so loud that Tom almost crashed the car. Oops! Sometimes I behave like a small child so when I'm excited about something, I just can't help myself. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Seattle Japanese Garden

Tom and I just got back from a week long trip celebrating 3 years of marriage in the Pacific Northwest. While in Seattle, we had quite a few favorites, but nothing compared to this hidden gem right in the city. We stepped off the plane and into this gorgeous autumn garden. And for us east-coasters, it was like being in another world. 
seattle japanese garden autumn visit