Christmas Inspiration

So lately I have been on a huge greeting card kick (what with passing out Christmas cards and what-not), and I have been ooh-ing and ahh-ing over beautiful cards everywhere! In the grocery store, in magazines, and online, beautiful type and design has been catching my eye like crazy!

It really makes me think even more seriously that I would love to get into the design field. Whether that includes going back to school or not, I'm not sure at the moment. But it definitely seems to be what pulls at me, and I would love to try my hand at print making, and design!

While on one of my card browsing sessions, I stumbled across this contest from minted. If you don't know, they are this amazing website full of greeting cards, party invitations, and the like! All submitted by designers from all over, and voted on by the minted community. Let me tell you, if I had more money, all of my friends and family would have been getting cards from this site!

Side note: As it were, I settled on designing my own card, and passing those out instead. I was pretty happy with how it turned out :)



Anyways, back to that contest. When I found out they were having a contest based on creating a holiday inspiration board, I was all over that! It's like putting all of my pinterest-ing to good use! So, using one of their Christmas cards that I loved, and some other photos that I've been loving this season, I created this board. I love it, whether or not I win anything, and just looking at it puts me in the Christmas mood!

Cozy Christmas by Amy, see more photo Christmas cards
Cozy Christmas board by Amy. See more photo Christmas cards



As you can tell, I'm really feeling the chalkboard look this year. That mistletoe sign is what I put on my own chalkboard! And I just cannot get enough of all things twinkly and sparkly. I've got some major twinkle light fever going on!

So what has been inspiring you this holiday season? Maybe go check out some more of these inspirations boards, and get dreaming!




On Finding My Niche


Recently, I've been brushing up on a lot of blogging articles. How to grow my blog, design aspects, content advice, and other such things! One thing really jumped out at me from one article, and it was something that had already crossed my mind a time or two. What is my blog really about? What is my niche? What do I love to write about and share with you all, and what it the essence of my blog? 

I feel like I still haven't really taken the time to define what exactly I want this blog to be. I love crafty things, and tutorials, but I'm not very consistent in coming up with projects to share. I love to write, but I find myself blocked on what to write about all too often. I enjoy baking and cooking, but probably not enough to devote a whole blog to it!

I suppose that's why these are called "lifestyle" blogs. It reflects my lifestyle, with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. And maybe that's ok. Either way, I don't think I have quite enough to draw on from this little blog of mine, to decide exactly what I want it to be yet. I just think that it's time I started heading that direction, and shifting my focus onto the things that really inspire me! I feel like that's the way I will start creating the best content I can, both for me to enjoy, and you, my readers!

During this little reflection period, I came across a link to this awesome website, called Wordle. Basically, you use this sight to create word clouds! I was able to import the link to my blog, and it took every word that I have published here, and made a word cloud based on that. The more a word appears in my blog, the bigger the word is. I hoped that this might help me see if I had a main theme running through all of my writing.

What I saw was that I use the word "just" way, way, way too often!


And "little," "think," and "though." Ha! So, while it didn't give me that essence I was hoping for, I suppose it will help me try to change my word usage up a bit!

After seeing the reality of what my blog contains, I decided to do a little brainstorming. I'm working on a new About Me page, and I wanted to see what word cloud that might come up with (even though it's only a rough draft). I went ahead and added a few words of the things that I really love and that I would like to incorporate more of in my blog. This word cloud is more of an inspiration piece, and I think it will help me on my way to creating my own little niche in this whole blogland!


Inspiration!

I think that Wordle is such a great and fun tool, and you could use it for so many things!

I highly suggest you check it out, whether you were using it for research, or just as inspiration! There are so many layouts, colors, fonts, and orientations to choose from, so you can make it completely unique and yours. And once you create it, it's yours to save and do whatever you want with!

(FYI, this post wasn't sponsored in any way, shape, or form by Wordle. It's just a fun tool that I wanted to share with you all!)

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you find motivation and inspiration for whatever project you might be working on today :) Happy Monday!






I Wish This Was a Tutorial.....

But it most definitely is not!

I did want to share a fun little project with you all though, because even though I'm not talented enough to tell you how to do it, I think anyone else could stumble through it just as well as I did! (And I'll share some tutorials from people who actually did know what they were doing.)

A couple of weeks ago, I had a brilliant idea!

The end of this month marks five years since Dane and I have been married. (Awww!) So I wanted to do something a little extra special, while still staying on a budget. I thought that I would try to make some sort of special night in for us.

Then I realized that I do a lot of "nights in" for us. It has become my standard anniversary/Valentine's deal. I light a bunch of candles, create a playlist, and make a fancy dinner. But how many times can I do that same old thing?

And for those of you wondering why he won't just take me out to dinner, well, we do that a lot too. When you don't have kids, you have the freedom to do date nights a lot! When everything you do is just the two of you, and there's nobody to need to get a break from, any sort of outing becomes a date night, and then even that can become less special. So a romantic night in is sometimes more fun!

This time though, I felt like I needed to up my game a little bit, and come up with something that would really wow him! Then it came to me. I would make an a-frame tent outside, and we would have a romantic camp-out in the backyard!

So I give you: Romantic Backyard Glam-ping!




I knew Dane would love something like this, because he's such an outdoorsy guy, and even if it was just camping in our backyard, he would really enjoy it! Plus, who doesn't love a good sheet/blanket fort?

I was so excited that I got started right away! I went to the store and bought all of my wood and supplies. I think I spent about twenty bucks on all of the stuff for the frame, which consisted of several lengths of 1x2 and 2x2 wood, some bolts, and a couple packages of rope. Everything else, like the lights and coverings, I already had. Most of my information came from a couple of tutorials, here and here.

Now, you can go as fancy or as simple as you want, and I went with very simple. My coverings just bed sheets, and they weren't really attached very well to my frame, just to each other (although that would have been helpful when the wind was blowing!). And I didn't use a dowel rod on the top like that first tutorial did, but in hind sight I think that was the way to go. Instead, I just used screws to attach one of my boards, and I ended up snapping one! It never fell down on us though, so I guess it worked just fine. Like I said, this is no tutorial. I am not a good enough craftsman for that! So, just refer to those links up there :)




For dinner I wanted to go with something light and easy, and I'm glad that I did! Setting up the tent took a lot time and energy, so when it came to the food, I didn't want to have to put a ton of work into it. I still wanted it to tasted good though, so I made some bruschetta with fresh tomatoes from the garden, basil, and fresh mozzarella! I also set out some pita chips and hummus, prosciutto, and a bag of assorted dark chocolates (because those are Dane's favorite!).








 So, besides the fact that I basically spilled the beans (twice! Both on the what and the when) Dane never knew exactly what I had up my sleeve, and he was very impressed with all that I did! We pretty much just hung out and did our usual thing, talking and watching netflix (because what's glam-ping without internet access?) but it was all the more special, because everything is better with twinkle lights!






So there you have it! A fun and magical night in, that doesn't break the bank! The best part, is that these ideas are all so versatile. You could build a fort inside, if the weather wasn't cooperating, or just string up some lights where ever you wanted a little mood lighting. Or, instead of using this for an anniversary, you could do like the tutorials above and make one for your kids to enjoy. Forts make the best reading nooks and hang out spots!

If you do decide to make one, I wish you the best of luck! (Although if I can do it, anyone can.) Now, I'm off to work on something else that Dane enjoys. Clean laundry! Have a great rest of your Tuesday, and thanks for stopping by!

Slow Moving Monday

Top o' the Monday morning to ya!

It is slow going around here this morning. I'm on cup of coffee number two, and have done absolutely nothing productive whatsoever. But that's just how I roll. I like to ease into my Mondays nice and slow!

So, my Pinterest feed has been on fall mode for the better part of the last month, and you would think that since it's finally September, fall would finally be on it's way in! We started getting a taste of cooler weather, and I thought that in just a short amount of time we would be in full fledged autumn.

Wrong!

Tomorrow is supposed to be almost 100 degrees! Blegh....

I suppose it comes down to just being happy and content, no matter what the season (or how long it may drag out), but my boots and scarves are begging to be worn and my fireplace mantel is screaming for some fall decor!

I guess it's good news for those of you who love summer though, and I know several people who aren't quite ready to let go of this warm season just yet. I'll have to keep my shorts out for a while longer I suppose, and just try to have a little more patience...

On another note, I have a new little furry friend to introduce to you! (For those of you who are friends with me on fb, you already know, so sorry for the repeat!)

We adopted a sweet little corgi/terrier mix (I'm guessing), named Emily last week :)


She is just the absolute sweetest little dog ever! She has been uprooted a couple times recently, both from great homes that she loved because her owner moved and couldn't take her. Most recently it was my younger brother-in-law, so that's how she ended up with us.

Her standard belly scratching pose

It was originally going to to be a foster type situation, just until we could find her a good home, but we love having her around! She's older, and chubby, and did I mention sweet? To eat, sleep, and get her belly scratched is all she wants in life, and I'm more than willing to do that. Plus, it's nice not to be so outnumbered anymore, since all our other pets are boys!



She also makes a great little friend for Handsome, which I've wanted for a while now. And she is just the type of dog that Dane loves. A mellow one!

So, Emily makes four, and I think we'd better stop adding to our circus now, or things might start to get out of control ;)

Will you please stop taking these ridiculous pictures and pet me already??


Well, on that cute note, I think it's time I finish my coffee and take these puppies of mine on a walk! Have a great Monday everybody!

Tuesday Musings

As I type the title of this, I feel like it may be a little bit misleading. This post is more rambling than musing, I think, but that's ok. We all need a little rambling once in a while, right?

I'm currently browsing my pinterest and starving! Ok, maybe not starving, but I'm hungry and I'm at that point where anything sounds good. However, I can't think of anything to make for dinner! Does pinterest do that to anyone else, or is it just me? It's like an inspiration over-load!

I also currently have a pile of laundry sitting next to me, just begging to be folded! I just realized that this post makes me sound very lazy, but I promise, I did do several chores before I sat down to browse the internet! We've been working on a kitchen remodel, and I finished the touch ups on our cabinets this afternoon. Things are moving along, slowly but surely! I'll be sure to post before and after pics when it's all done.

Well, I'm beginning to think that maybe I had less rambling thoughts to share than I originally thought. Except that I'm also looking out my window, and it is downright gorgeous outside! It's the the kind of weather that makes me want to go on a walk, but the only problem is that I hate walking by myself. Some people find it relaxing, I just find it boring. But these sunny and (somewhat) cooler days are just calling to me, so I may go ahead and do it!

On a final random note, this song just popped up on my spotify station, so I thought I would share the video with you! Then I remembered I already had. So, sorry if you already saw it, but if not, then enjoy!

Well, I'm off to scrounge up some junk food, so peace!


P.S.- You know what tomorrow is, right? HUUUMP DAAAY! So have a fabulous rest of your week :)



My Fall Staple (From the Kitchen)


There seems to be a hint of fall in the air around here lately, and there are just no words to describe how excited that makes me! I'm starting to feel so refreshed and inspired!

I have a recipe to share today that has been one of my all time favorites, but now with a (healthy) twist! It's also a bit of a fall-ish recipe. So even though I meant to post it months ago, it just seems more fitting to do it now that things are cooling down.

I recently re-vamped my mom's apple cake recipe and made it a little more guilt-free! Now I know, cake is cake, but this is one you can feel a little better about. (Especially that second piece!) This was the cake I always requested on my birthday, and then several more times each year. So I thought, if I can eat it a little more often, and still feel good about what I'm putting in my body, then I would be one happy camper!




Bake| 350
Servings| 12

Ingredients

4 c peeled, chopped apples
1 c agave syrup or honey
2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 c oil (any baking oil will do)
2 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped pecans (optional)






Peel and chop your apples. In a large mixing bowl, combine your apples and your agave. Add the rest of your dry ingredients, and stir well! 

In a separate bowl, beat your eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir the egg mixture into your apple mixture, blending until thoroughly moistened. Stir in the pecans.

Grease a 9x13 inch pan, and pour batter in. It will be thick, and you will probably need to spread it out a little with a spatula. Bake it for 40-50 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. 




And there you have it! I love using whole wheat pastry flour, because you still get the same benefits of whole wheat, but with a lighter texture, and I think we can all get on board with that! Plus, you could play around with your sweetener and oil if you want to try to make it even healthier. I've made it with coconut oil, and that turned out great!

I love this stuff any time of day. Go ahead, have a piece for breakfast, I won't judge! ;) It goes great with coffee, or ice cream, or caramel sauce, or just about anything you want it to go with. 

Happy baking! 

Friday, Friday! (And a Baby Shower)

My week has been totally off, and I woke up this morning barely realizing that it was Friday! It was a very pleasant surprise to say the least.

I realize that I haven't been very present around here this summer, but what can I say? I've been a very busy girl! We took some vacations, I threw a baby shower, and was just enjoying my summer in general. This little space got away from me pretty quickly, but I also realized pretty quickly that I missed it!

I've had several posts that I intended to write over this summer, and I still plan to, and I'm excited to start getting back to my writing. I guess since it's still pretty fresh in my mind, I'll share that baby shower I just mentioned!

Most of you know of my best friend Kayla. (I think I've mentioned her around here a time or two!) Well, she is going to have a little one soon, and I got to travel to Idaho to help throw her a baby shower. With the exception of my running late (which most of you are also aware of. I'm the worst with time management!) everything turned out great!









Since Kayla and her husband aren't finding out the sex of the baby, we went with a yellow and grey neutral theme. Those also happen to be the colors they are using for everything, including the nursery, so by using those colors for the shower, most everything they got fit into that color scheme! Whoop!

We also used pendants and birds for the decor. A little over-done maybe, but for good reason. They're stinking cute!




I decided to make sure I had a whole lot on my plate, and I went ahead and made the cake and cupcakes myself. This was a very d-i-y shower, which is definitely the best way to go when you're on a budget, but it doesn't make it any less stressful, that's for sure.


The beautiful baby mama, and myself!


Everything turned out great though, and we all had such a good time! I didn't get pictures of them, but I also did a popcorn bar, with different flavorings and the most adorable chicken wire baskets to hold the popcorn. I got my inspiration for that here.

Also, now that the shower is over, I'm making the Pinterest board I created for it public, so if you need any great shower inspiration, you can check that out here!

Besides the fact that things could have ran a little smoother, (and there's no one to blame for that but me!) I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and most importantly, so was Kayla!

Throwing parties has got to be one of my most favorite things to do. I think my dream job would be to become an event planner! I would get to throw great parties, and be paid to do it! Maybe that's something I should pursue a little bit, hmm?

I hope you all have a fantastic rest of your Friday, and an even better weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Currently: Volume 21

Good morning all! How was your Fourth of July weekend?

We had a great time, and my best friend Kayla came over to see me! We went swimming, bought giant sparklers, and spent a day at the coast. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend our weekend!













|Currently|


Reading  I bought an Us magazine, which I never do, and that has been the most enthralling reading I've done all week! There was a time in my life when I never thought that I would become that girl who only reads magazines (and loves celeb gossip a little too much). I'm not sure exactly when that happened, but I suppose I'm not in too much of a hurry to change it at the moment.
Writing  Obviously I didn't write much last week! Life just gets busy, and I was so silly to think that it would slow down this summer. But with our friends here, I've been getting some material for future posts!
Listening  I've had All the Little Lights by Passenger on repeat all week. I always do that. I find something I love, and I just listen to it until I can't hardly stand it anymore! I am absolutely loving this album though. I think I have something for those Brit singers! (ie, Mumford & Sons, Ed Sheeran, and Passenger types, not One Direction types, ha!)
Thinking  About how stinking tired I am this morning! We have been staying up way too late this weekend, and my dog has woken us up early with his barking every. Single. Morning. Usually it's around seven or so, but he really out did himself today, and started in at six.
Smelling  Outside. Probably one of my favorite things of summer is having the house opened up at night, and that amazing fresh smell that comes in in the mornings.
Wishing  For our friends to have a safe drive home today!
Hoping  To eat perfectly today. I am so sluggish and bloated after these last few days, and I could really use a clean eating day.
Loving  Side braids. I've had my hair in one so many times this week! I think I've finally perfected it (for me) and it's been a great way to do my dirty hair when it's driving me nuts.
Wanting  My coffee. Like right now! I'm going to meet my best friend for coffee this morning before she leaves town, but man, I could use some of that right at this moment I think.
Feeling  Bittersweet. We had such a fun weekend, but my best friend is leaving and that always makes me a little sad. I will be seeing her again in about a month though, so I can't be too sad I suppose!
Clicking  Not much at all. I've been browsing a lot of facebook and pinterest, and that is about it.

As usual, I'm linking up with Lauren :)

Pool Days and Photographs

Hot, hot, hot!

That's what it's been like around here lately. Most likely, it's hot where ever you are too, so I hope you're finding a way to stay out of the heat! I don't have ac in my car, so that's pretty much the worst, but as long as I spend most of the day in my house, then I'm good. This week, though, I'm extra good. Because I have access to this:


Oh yes, I'm definitely a spoiled girl! Usually, for a couple weeks out of every summer, my in-laws' neighbors are gone during the day, so we get use of the pool! It's pretty much the best pool ever, and my father-in-law actually put it in. The house is actually the one my husband grew up in, and they've kept on really good terms with the new owners. I guess it pays to be nice to your neighbors!

So, obviously the heat isn't affecting me as much as some, and I must say that my tan is looking fabulous!

Another thing I've been up to lately has been messing around with my camera. I finally started tinkering with the programmable settings, and while I still don't really have a clue what I'm doing, I've been able to get some neat looking pictures. 

So, since I should be cleaning right now, instead of blogging, I'll just leave you with some of my favorites! Happy middle of the week, and I hope you all find ways to keep cool. Maybe go use your neighbors pool!

House flowers


Samson


Patio flowers




The neighbors' cat




Sunday Currently: Volume 20


Summer weekends really are the best sometimes. 

The heat really rolled in around here (as with most places, I'm sure) so while it has made for some sweaty, muggy days, it also makes for the perfect opportunity to go to the river!

Yesterday I got to spend the day hanging out with a really good friend (who I don't see often enough!) and just relax by the river. It was so nice and relaxing, even though we got pushed out of our first spot by a couple who seemed to think that bare and au natural was the way to be! Ha! Thankfully, it was only the woman who wanted to skinny dip, and the guy kept his shorts on!

After we found a better, more private spot, things were better. You just can't beat getting too much sun your tan on, swimming, and chatting with one of your best friends! 




These pictures are actually from a few weeks ago, when I went with my sisters, but it was the exact same spot, so I figured I could use them! (Because I'm a bad blogger who took 0 pictures yesterday)


|Currently|


Reading  I still haven't started reading anything different. I need to go find something new, but I kid you not, it is impossible for me to check something out from the library and not have it be two months over due! So, maybe for now I'll stick to magazines and internet articles.
Writing  Not a whole lot. I've got a couple of ideas for posts this week, and last week I did a ton of brainstorming! I've got some good prompt ideas, so now I just need to choose the ones I like best and go for it.
Listening  I've been listening to a lot of Spotify lately, and even though they didn't have it, I was able to search (or buy, in a couple cases) for songs and make a playlist of a movie soundtrack I loved. It's from The Romantics, starring Katy Holmes, Josh Duhamel, and Anna Paquin. I liked the movie, but it got terrible reviews, so I'm not sure that I would recommend it for that reason. The soundtrack, however, was awesome! So I would try to look it up if I were you.
Thinking  About doing my first ever hair tutorial! Not that I really have to best equipment or anything, but I just discovered an amazing way to do my hair and I would love to share it with you guys! It's so great (and easy), I think it's probably going to be my new summer hair-do!
Smelling  Nothing, but that reminds me that I need to go make my coffee!
Wishing  For some extra motivation this week to get some serious deep cleaning done around my house. It needs it so badly, and I'm trying to prepare for a yard sale in a few weeks. We have way, way too much stuff, and a good chunk of it is going sayonara!
Hoping  For another fun afternoon with friends today. I'm not sure if I could handle another river day, because I got a bit sun burnt yesterday, but volleyball or disc golf sound like good items for the agenda today!
Loving  Well, summer mostly. I have a hard time being happy in whatever season I'm in (except when it's fall) so I'm trying to really enjoy it. Especially since we're only technically a week in, and it would do me no good to be wishing for fall to be here already!
Wanting  To go make my coffee. I need to get my breakfast done and over with, so I can take my little spaz Handsome on his walk!
Feeling  Happy, and sore. I've changed up my workout routine lately, and now I'm lifting weights! It seems to be working, because after one week I already feel stronger, and I have been so sore that it hurts to move, ha! No pain, no gain I guess.
Clicking  Nothing is really coming much to mind. I've been searching for a lot of lifting tips, and I've been on Pinterest a lot! But that's all that' really coming to mind. I haven't been keeping up with other blogs very well lately, and I should try to do that more this week.

As usual, I'm linking up with Lauren :)

The Best (Fake) Tweet


As those of you closest to me know, I love me a little celebrity news! I mean, really, don't most of us?

Even though I don't regularly watch the show, I do enjoy reading about all things Kardashian, and Baby Kimye was no exception. When her name was announced to the world, I was just as excited to hear as every other loser anybody.

But, I also love me a good witty tweet, and with a name like North West, there were some good ones!

My favorite one happens to be fake, but that doesn't make it any less funny, or share worthy!




Apparently, this picture surfaced on a tumblr page, and was never actually posted to Taylor Swift's twitter, but I bet she wished it was! (I know I do)

Just in case you need a reminder, here's the infamous situation in all of it's glory! Enjoy!


Vacationing Part Three: The Hotel


For this last post about our trip, I wanted to share a few photos of our hotel. Technically, we had three different hotels over the course of the whole trip, but the one we spent the most time at was The Embassy Suites in Milpitas. Luckily for us, it also happened to be the nicest!

Now, don't get me wrong, our other hotels were nice. There was nothing wrong with them at all, and we had good experiences. This one just happens to be probably the nicest hotel that we've ever stayed in!


Lobby area/Breakfast area


This place offered so many amenities, it was unreal! A lot of places will offer a complimentary breakfast, but this place really took things up a notch. Pretty much any breakfast option you could think of, they had. You could order eggs any style, or omelets loaded with tons of fillings! An oatmeal bar, cooked to order pancakes, waffles, french toast, and bacon or sausage as well! Pastries, coffee, and juices were also included, all for no charge. Needless to say, we were very impressed!


Glass elevators/Courtyard


In the evenings, they also offered a manager's reception in the courtyard area. This included free snacks, sodas, and/or cocktails (if you were so inclined)! This lasted for two hours, every evening, and it was a great way for me to catch up with Dane after he finished work, before we grabbed dinner. You can't beat sitting by a water fall, sipping on a drink, and relaxing with your honey!


Fountain near entrance/Swimming pool/Hallway balcony


To top things off, we had access to a pool, hot tub, and fitness room, so there were plenty of things to keep me occupied while Dane was working. I know, I know. I was a little spoiled! 

And now I don't know how I'll ever go back to dumpy, little dive motels! ;)

That pretty much wraps it up! We had so much fun, and I'm so glad we got to start off our summer in such an exciting way! 

What about you? Do you have any fun vacations planned for the summer? Let me know! I'd love to hear about them!


Sunday Currently: Volume 19

|Currently|


Reading  I haven't started anything new, but I did finish The Lost Wife last week. It was a really good book, but I almost didn't enjoy it, because it was so sad! It's a holocaust story, so obviously I wasn't expecting a happy story, but there is just so much grief permeating the whole book, that it was almost too much. Or at least too much for me to have read it as fast as I did! Still, though, I would recommend it, because it was a very good and touching story.
Writing  I wrote a couple of posts about our vacation, here and here, with a third to come! I've also been doing some brainstorming, so there should be some more new stuff in the works here soon.
Listening  She & Him, Volume 3. I love this album so much! It has such a summer feel, and maybe it's just because that retro sound always sounds summery to me! Either way, it's great and I've been listening to it a lot lately.
Thinking  About our plans today. We're doing a group belated birthday/Father's Day barbecue with Dane's family today. One problem I discovered with celebrating Father's Day late, is that if you didn't buy your card on time, you can't buy one at all! They are all gone! Drat.
Smelling  That wonderful, amazing, morning smell. I think you all know what I'm referring to. Yep, coffee!
Wishing  That I had been able to go to sleep earlier last night. I'm tired, and running behind this morning (surprise, surprise). I hope I can get my sleep habits under control, because since I don't have a summer job, I'm going to have to give myself some structure to my days. I don't have the will power to get out of bed at a decent time, if I consistently fall asleep after eleven!
Hoping  To create a new housekeeping schedule this week. I used to have one, and it worked really well! There was a period of time that housework was never an issue as long as I mostly followed the schedule, but that went by the wayside a long time ago, and it's been a struggle ever since. So, once I get things running more smoothly on a day to day basis, I can get to some much needed deep cleaning and organizing!
Loving  That I'm (mostly) getting back to my better eating habits. Our trip really took a toll on me, but after just one day of being home, and not eating out, I noticed a difference in how much better I was feeling. Now, hopefully I'll be able to drop those vacation pounds soon!
Wanting  To get a mani/pedi. My finger nails have been neglected a lot lately, and my toe nail polish is chipping. I should get gel polish, because that stuff lasts forever!
Feeling  Happy to be back in my own home, even though I had a blast on vacation! There's always a certain relief in coming home and getting back into the usual routines.
Clicking  Not a whole lot. I read some of the funny tweets about baby North West,  even though, for the record, I don't mind the name! It's just unfortunate that it was paired with west, ha! And I have been doing a lot of reading a research on weight lifting. This weeks starts my lifting program, and I found so much good information from the blog Girls Gone Strong. If you are interested in using some heavier weights, I totally recommend checking out their site!

Now, currently I should be in the shower, so off I go!
Linking up with Lauren :)

Vacationing Part Two: Santa Cruz and Milpitas


Today is kind of bittersweet. I'm happy to say that we made it home safe and sound, and being in my own bed was nice, but reality hits hard when you've been gone for a week having fun! Coming home to a depleted bank account, and a scale that went up (five pounds!) are not the best things in the world! 

It was all worth it though (except for the five pounds), and we had a lot of fun while we were gone. So, here's a bit more about how our trip went!


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Sorry Seaside, but I think I have a new favorite coast destination!

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon in Santa Cruz, and it was everything I hoped it would be! Sunny, sandy, and warm! My only regret is not spending both days of the weekend there.

We got into town, and headed to their downtown area. Parking was reasonable, and there were so many neat shops and restaurants, plus some great chains like Forever 21 and H&M. Definitely a great place for shopping, even though we didn't do much of that. We did find a bookstore though, so of course we didn't get out of there empty handed!

I loved the feel of the area, because it's a college town and a tourist town, so the vibe was definitely a good one. Classy, but not so upscale that you couldn't afford anything, and also very fun and "young." It's the kind of place that I imagine would make for a fantastic girls trip, because, come on, we all know our husbands/boyfriends don't like to shop as much as we do!

From downtown, the city has a trolly (bus?) system that runs the mile long route to the boardwalk and back. It's only 25 cents, and the information booth will give you tickets to ride it for free (which of course we took, ha!)

The boardwalk was very busy, but I don't see how it wouldn't have been. The weather was great, and where else could you want to be on a Sunday afternoon than at the beach? We walked around, and took in the sights, then went over to the rides. 

We bought just enough tickets to ride on the Giant Dipper! It's one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the country, and it was built in 1924. So, besides the fact that we were hoping we wouldn't be the ride it decided to break on (and Dane hoping he wouldn't lose his lunch), we were excited for it! 

Obviously it didn't break while were were on it, and if Dane had puked, you bet I would have told you before now! 


Downtown Santa Cruz/Boardwalk


Roller coaster fun


After we had our fill of beach fun (and our parking time ran out) we headed on up to Milpitas. This was the part of the trip where Dane's vacation ended, ha! While he was working, I entertained myself for a few days. It wasn't too hard though, because we were staying in probably the nicest hotels we had ever been in! 

I'll share more about that later, and some more pictures from the day that I decided to go to the beach on my own (which I'm very proud of myself for doing. I'm kind of a chicken at times!).

But, here's a little of what our room view looked like in Milpitas!


Room with a view


Now, I'm off to spend the day with my sisters before they go home tomorrow!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Oh, and happy first official day of summer :) Go and do something fun!


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