Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Over the weekend, we went to my nephew's superhero-themed 4th birthday party.  My brother and sister-in-law really outdid themselves.  Balloon arch, giant water slide, zip line, and even Batman made an appearance.  It was the coolest party.  And what made it even cooler was that adults could take a turn on the zip line.  If you follow me on Instagram (adventurelog), you probably saw my crazed expression as I glided (not so) gracefully through the air.

Aren't the decorations cool?  The details were what amazed me.  Then out of the smoke, Batman emerged...
I'll let you in on a little secret...Batman is really my brother in a deluxe, super high quality costume:)
Supergirl was even walking around
Who knew Batman and Superman were such good friends?
So stoic

I can't believe he's 4 already.  I remember when he was a baby and threw up (spit up) on me every single time I held him (every.single.time).  I think my brother needs to take this show on the road and make some extra cash doing kid parties all around town.  They are quite the superhero family.

The only downside was that it was so hot out.  After a pleasant summer, we're sure making up for it this past week.  I mean, look at their dog.  Poor little guy.  Could his tongue be hanging out any more?  And Batman's eye makeup?  Forget about it.  It was running down his chiseled mask.
All in all, it was a great day for a great little guy.  Can't wait to see what they come up with next year!

Monday, August 26, 2013


Outfit Details: Top/Cardigan: Old Navy.  Skirt: TJ Maxx.  Necklace: Target.  Headband: Yours Truly.

I've been oohing and ahhing over the beaded headbands at Anthropologie for the past few months.  I just couldn't bring myself to fork over the $32 for one, though.  Well, a few weeks ago, my mom and I were shopping and found something similar at Ann Taylor Loft.  There was a deal going on for jewelry where you buy one and get the second one 50% off.  So my mom got a bracelet, and I finally got a beaded headband!  Yay for end of summer deals and for moms. 

I love the way mine spices up even a boring t-shirt, so I decided I wanted to try to make one myself in another color.  I mean, how hard could it be?  Pretty darn hard, actually.  

I found a really cute headband online with yellow beads from Anthropologie that has been sold out for a while and thought the design might be something feasible for me to attempt.

Well, after 3 failed attempts and about 15 hours, I finally finished it.  It does not look like the tailored Anthropologie version, but if I squint really hard, there's some resemblance there.  It doesn't really matter that it doesn't look as great as the store bought version, though.  I felt a sense of accomplishment just for finishing it and putting my own spin on it.  Wearing it the next day made me feel like a million bucks.  I had poured my sweat and tears into it, so I wore it proudly.  I've got even bigger plans for the next one.

Below is the Anthropologie headband as well as the one I made.  Mine looks better from a distance.

never mind the piece of string in my hair

I learned a lot through the process, mostly about what not to do that will be helpful on my next attempt.  For example, it's helpful to cut the pattern before you bead the headband.  I tried beading and then cutting out the shape afterwards, only to find that I had snipped a string.  As 2 hours worth of beads started falling off, I just had myself a good cry fest.  Then I slapped on some hot glue and called it a day.  

I don't know why I was so fanatical about making one.  I think it was because my husband thought it would be too hard, and I wouldn't be able to do it.  Challenge accepted.  Do you ever get like that?  Crazy with a one-track mind about completing a certain project?

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I have a new niece!  My sister popped out another cute kiddo about a week ago.  Since we don't live that close, we'll be visiting them in a few weeks.  I wanted to send a little something now, though, since we're so excited to have a new addition to the family.  I found a cute outfit for the baby, but wanted a fun little something for her (now) big sister.  Isn't that the rule?  When you give one kid a present, you have to give the other one a present, too?  I found a cute necklace/bracelet set in her favorite color and bought some stickers to send, too.  Since I give stickers a lot (who doesn't love stickers?), I came up with a fun way to send surprise balloons!

I got the idea from Pinterest when I saw people putting money in balloons and then having the recipients pop them to get the goods.  Stickers+balloons= kid gold.  The steps are super simple, and you could replace the stickers with just about anything.

Step 1:  Cute out some stickers.  The smaller the sizes, the easier it will be to get them in the balloon.

Step 2:  Stack all the stickers together and squeeze through a 12 inch size balloon opening.  I had smaller balloons, but you really need to get a balloon that is at least 12 inches since the ends aren't that stretchy.

Step 3:  Once the stickers are inside, blow up the balloon normally and tie the end.  Then play with it for a while, because kids aren't the only ones who think balloons are fun.

Step 4:  Then hold the balloon up (away from your face), pop it with a pin, and watch all the goodies cascade down.  I created a gif of the pictures of me popping the balloon, because it's hilarious at how scared I got when the balloon popped.  It was louder than I expected, so not sure how great this will be for a little tyke to do.  (**After I realized how loud the pop was, I was rethinking the whole thing.  I included a note in the package warning of the loudness, so they can always just not blow up the balloon and cut the stickers out.  Popping the balloon might be more fun for an older kid.)

  Step 5:  Take your reward.

I added a little tag on the balloons and then included it with the rest of the items I was sending in the little fun package.
I'm so excited to meet this sweet little girl.  My sister and brother-in-law didn't find out what gender they were having before the baby came shooting out, so it was a fun surprise for everyone.  They already have a little girl, so most bets were on her having a boy.  When I heard that it was a girl, though, I was so excited.  Having a sister is such a treasure.  My sister has always been the best big sis, so knowing that these little ladies will have each other as sisters is just such a cool thing.  Oh, they'll be fights and tears, but there will also be a friendship that will last a lifetime no matter what.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Last week, Wade was out of town for a night visiting family.  I considered my options.  Stay in a house that had been recently infiltrated by bats or retreat to my (gloriously clean and bat free) parent’s house.  It wasn’t a hard decision in my book.  I don’t think I would have gotten a wink of sleep in my house alone...wondering if I was really alone.

There’s just something about going back home that immediately melts all my stress away.  I know the home I share with Wade is my home, and I love it so much.  My parent’s house, though, will always be my home, too.  Sometimes it’s just nice to feel like a kid again and have your mom take care of you.  And let me tell you, it was the best!  I don’t want to say it’s because I don’t do a very good job keeping our house clean (cough, cough), but it’s just another level of clean at my mom’s house.  Maybe it was more  in my mind, though, since I didn’t have to worry about there being transparent bat pee on my sheets. 

When I showed up at my parent’s house, my mom and I laughed so hard when we realized we were wearing practically the same outfit.  At least the colors were the same.  Peach, brown, and yellow purses.  I guess I’m turning into my mom, which I think is a-ok.  Maybe these cleaning skills will magically kick in, too, just like my affinity for certain colors.  Here’s hoping.

Ahhh…to be a kid again.  To be able to have not a care in the world except where you're going to ride your bike that day.  To have all the time in the world to sit around and day dream while you make up stories with your friend.  I know it wasn't all sunshine and puppies, but kids do have it pretty sweet.  I just want to pick up the next kid I see and shout at them to enjoy this time.  It'd be a win-win.  I'd feel that I had imparted some wisdom on the next generation, and they would have a story about some crazy lady in dirty clothes to tell their friends.  

If I could go back to any age, I'd pick 10.  I was old enough to do fun things, but the angsty teen years hadn't kicked in yet.  Do you ever wish you were a kid again?  What age?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

BROWSING BLOGLAND (and other fun websites, too)

One of the ways I find inspiration is by browsing through blogs and websites and seeing what other people are up to and what new and exciting product is out there that I absolutely cannot live without.  It's amazing how creative people are.  Seriously, what will they think of next?  I love being bombarded with colorful projects that I can dream about doing and unique items that I can put on my wish list.  It makes me want to create something new and beautiful, too, to add to blogland.  So here's the newest installment on the blog that I like to call....Browsing Blogland (and other fun websites, too).

1.  How cute are these fabric covered cork boards?  This is a project made just for me--easy and quick.  

2.  These are drawer/shelf liners if you can believe it.  I can't!  Why didn't they have these three years ago when I was moving into my house and only had old fashioned flower motif and plain white liners to choose from?  I'm trying to do the math in my head on how many drawers and shelves I could line with 6ft.  I'm terrible with picturing measurements in my mind.  They aren't the typical $2.99, but they sure would make my blah, brown kitchen pop when you opened a drawer.  And they're scented!  They're like a fun, colorful, delightful-smelling surprise!  

3.  I've thought about jazzing up plain old party hats before, but have never had the time before an event.  This is an even better idea--force people to make their own party hats and wear them around all night!  I love this party hat making station idea from Oh Happy Day.  
4.  Have you heard of poptails?  Apparently, I really missed the boat on this one.  I could have been enjoying these things all summer.  I am making it my mission to try making a frozen cocktail before the leaves change color.  Challenge accepted.
5.  Swoon.  I've been eyeing this peter pan collar for a few months now.

Found any DIY projects or cool things around the internet lately?  Share in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I'm a creature of habit, and I'm faced with a decision that will change my routine.  It's not a drastic change and is really an exciting opportunity.  My fear of change always stems from the unknown, though.  What if my decision makes me worse off than where I am today?

The thought in the picture above jumped in my head while I was coming to terms with a decision I've pretty much already made.  Every path is different, but I will always be where I'm supposed to be.  When opportunities present themselves, I need to take a leap of faith and jump.  I might fall, but if I never jump, I'll never fly either.

How do you make tough decisions?  Do you go with your gut or write out a pros and cons list?

Monday, August 12, 2013


So this weekend we went to the lake.  I was going to post about the trip, but something more pressing has perched itself on my mind.  No pictures in this post, and you'll be happy I opted not to include them.  Let me start from the beginning...

When we got home yesterday, we realized that our house alarm was beeping.  It wasn't going off in panic mode, though, and we hadn't received a call from the company, so we just turned the alarm off since no doors or windows were open.  The motion detector had been tripped, but we couldn't figure out what had set it off.  We both turned to look at the detector in the top corner of the room and saw something dark covering it.  Wade yelled, "Bat!", and we both ran out the back of the house.

It's just a mouse with wings, but the whole rabies thing is what really spooks me out about them.  Once you start showing signs of rabies, it's too late.  The vaccine only works if you take it before the virus hits your central nervous system.  I know it's a very small chance that you could get it, but it still scares me.

Anyways, we spent the rest of the evening calling my mom and dad to ask their advice, and my brother who is a doctor.  We finally got a hold of a pest control guy who came out and caught the thing after it flew all around the house, pooping and peeing.  Wade grew up on a farm, so is used to being around animals, but bats are one thing he will not deal with.  I don't blame him.  I wouldn't go anywhere near it.  I feel bad for guys sometimes, because we expect them to be able to handle all these icky situations that we wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.

It's not over yet, though.  After the pest guy left, it was about 11pm.  We disinfected the droppings and pee areas 5 times and were feeling a little better that this was just a fluke and only the one got in.  (We think it got in through the fireplace since there was a hole in the flue.)  Wade went to use the downstairs bathroom and found a second bat flailing around in the toilet!!  Gross!  Our conversation proceeded as follows:

Wade: "Should I just flush it?"
Me: "You can't flush it! It will clog up our sewer pipes and then we'll have to pay thousands of dollars to dislodge a bat from them."

I laughed so hard throughout this conversation, since the whole situation was just getting ridiculous.  We live in an old house, so our pipes are already kind of blocked.  We have people out every year to snake them and keep everything flowing, so the image of them coming over to find out what's plugging the pipes and then pulling out a bat was too funny.

We knew it was contained in the bathroom, so we just taped up the door frame to keep it in the room and called Animal Control this morning.  Both times we confirmed that they were going to let the bats go far away from our house.  Apparently, our areas just has a large bat population.  I'm fine seeing them fly around at dusk and appreciate them eating mosquitoes, just as long as they stay outside.

We are now (hopefully) bat free and will fix all the possible entry points.  I still fear one is going to pop out of my closet, though, or be flying around my head when I sleep.  I know that's not rational.  They don't want to hurt us and are fine as long as we don't mess with them.  But seriously, bats, we pay a lot of money to live in our house (alone), so stick to the rooftops and trees outside.  The outside has much prettier scenery anyway and all the bugs you can eat.

Ever come home to a bat or other rodent?  How did you deal with it?

Thursday, August 8, 2013


This past weekend, my very dear friend, Jessica, asked Wade and me to take her maternity photos.  We were thrilled, but also a bit uneasy since we hadn't done anything like this before.  We just got our camera a few months ago, so we are by no means experts.  In fact, I finally found a setting that works well and leave it mainly on that.  Here are some of the things I hadn't really thought too much about before but proved vital to getting a nice photograph.  I want to hear from you what advice you have, since I'll take every opportunity to learn more about this fancy contraption that steals my image.

>> Lighting:  Man, this is a tricky one to control.  We were lucky that it was overcast when we shot the majority of the photos.  There was still enough light, but it wasn't overly bright so that harsh shadows were created.  Towards the end, the sun starting peaking its way through more.  We could have started a little later, which probably would have helped the sun glare, but I wanted to make sure we got everything in.  In the future, I'll be more comfortable starting as the sun sets if there are no clouds in the sky.

>>Poses: Jessica was awesome and did her research so that she knew the exact poses she wanted.  She brought them on her phone so that we could look at them when we needed a new idea. Coming up with posing ideas is what I've always found to be the hardest.  Whenever I get in front of the camera, I just freeze and do my one pose.  I call it my blogger pose.  You know the one.  It's that go to pose every outfit blogger does--looking down at your shoes will messing with your hair with a half smile.  I need to do a better job of shouting things out to get everyone more comfortable.  Maybe I'll invest in a good joke book. 

>>Just Keep Shooting: We joked when we first started shooting that we would take a few hundred photos.  We all laughed because that seemed like a ridiculously high number.  What was the grand total of pictures?  A whopping 400!  With digital cameras you can just keep shooting and shooting.  That is the only way to capture those rare in between moments that really showcase the subject's personality.

>>Editing: You know, some of the photos turned out amazing on their own, while others I wanted to add a little something extra by playing with the colors, cropping, etc. through Photoshop.  I think both ways are beautiful.  I'm still trying to find my style.  It ranges between candy colored photos and soft, dreamy pictures.  We've enjoyed playing around with the different looks, so no need to limit yourself.  Sometimes pictures take on lives of their own.

Here are just a few of the photos of Jessica and her sweet family.  I mean, how cute are they?  It's easy taking pictures when your subjects are so lovely.

What are your photography tips and tricks?  We're leaving for the lake this weekend, so I'm excited to get some rest and relaxation in on the water.  Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 5, 2013


CJ, the lovely lady who blogs over at "Above the River", nominated me for the Liebster award.  It's my understanding that this is a way for bloggers with fewer than 200 followers to be recognized and spread the word about themselves.  I did find the below definition:
The real "gist" of the Liebster Award is that there is no real award. There are no judges, no special rules. No website with an official team to congratulate you and hold your hand. It's mostly what you want it to be. If you receive the award, you can 1) accept it and 2) pass it along. It's that easy.
I love this idea of getting to know fellow bloggers better and "tagging" the next people.  I feel bad, because the awesome Jenny over at "Diary of a Dreamer" nominated me a few weeks ago, but I did not understand what was going on.  So I just said a big thank you and moved on.  Well, I finally figured it out and am excited to play along.

I'll follow the format CJ had with listing out eleven random facts about myself, then answering eleven questions she came up with, and lastly nominating a few other bloggers to answer the questions I made up.

Random Facts About Me:
1. I never took the bus to classes in college, even though I had to walk about 30 minutes each way.  It wasn't because I necessarily wanted the exercise.  I just thought that taking the bus or riding my bike was too "uncertain".  What if the bus was late or I caught the wrong one or I couldn't find a place to lock my bike?  I preferred to play it safe and trudge with my heavy backpack to class everyday, which was up hill, both ways.

2. One of my pet peeves is when people say "supposably" instead of "supposedly".  Listen carefully, you'll start noticing a lot of people saying it with a "b".

3.  I was a little kid's baseball coach for 4 summers.  Having only played softball until sixth grade, I wouldn't say I was exactly qualified.  I always showed up, though, and was the pitcher since I could throw the ball without hitting the kids (most of the time).  

4.  When my husband and I were leaving for our honeymoon to Jamaica two days after our wedding, I ran into my high school ex-boyfriend who had broken up with me years before and his whole family at the airport!  It was so awkward.  He kept asking how I was doing.  I just got married dude and am going to Jamaica!  And you still live with your parents.  How do you think I'm doing?  I would say this was the best closure I could have ever hoped for.

5.  I love Diet Dr. Pepper, but only out of a can.  I won't drink it if it's from a fountain or in a 20oz. bottle.

6.  I miss Gilmore Girls. And Lost.  And The Office.  Is it weird to miss TV friends?

7.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be a paleontologist.  I wore the "uniform" to prove it.  

8.  I sang "Don't Stop Believin" in front of strangers in a bar and seriously thought that I had hit the high note.   (I didn't.)

9.  I like to collect old books.  

10. I played the flute in my high school marching band and marched in the Millennium Parade in London.

11. I was a (not very good) Resident Assistant for two years in college and would make up inspirational quotes to put on our required posters and just sign them anonymous.  "Life is a funny thing.."~Anonymous

Whew!  That was tough!  Now, I'm going to answer the questions CJ asked.

1.   Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Milk chocolate all the way.  I don't care if I don't get antioxidants while I gorge myself on chocolate. 

2.   What was your first job?
I babysat and mowed my grandpa’s lawn, but my first real job was working at the city pool in the summer when I was 14.  I wasn’t old enough to be a lifeguard, so I settled on working at the front desk and the concession stand.  No one burned more popcorn that summer than me.  

3.   Is there a book you return to again and again?
I just re-read “The Razor’s Edge” by Somerset Maugham for the third time.   I first read this book when I was  20, then again when I was 25, and now I’m 30.  Each time it speaks to me differently.  It’s a story of a young man throwing off the shackles of what society expects of him and going off to find out what the purpose of life is.  I’m always drawn to books with this theme—in search of the meaning of it all. 

4.   If you had an afternoon to yourself, what would you choose to do with it?
Put on a record and craft for a while.  Then lie on the couch and read. 

5.   Is there something you would like to learn to do?
Play the ukulele, write in calligraphy, sew.  The list goes on and on. 

6.   Do you have a favorite saying or quote?
This is a quote from the book “Romance: A Novel” by Joseph Conrad and Ford Maddox Ford that has stuck with me since the first time I read it.  It seemed to capture life so perfectly.  The yearning for tomorrow, the soft romantic glow we place on days past, and the knowledge that today is that moment we will look back on wistfully as “the good old days”.
If we could have remembrance now
     And see, as in the days to come
     We shall, what's venturous in these hours:
     The swift, intangible romance of fields at home,
     The gleams of sun, the showers,
     Our workaday contentments, or our powers
     To fare still forward through the uncharted haze
     Of present days. . . .
     For, looking back when years shall flow
     Upon this olden day that's now,
     We'll see, romantic in dimm'd hours,
     These memories of ours.

7.   Is there a naughty treat you love to eat?
Some might say that I am a bit obsessed with Cadbury Eggs.  Since they’re only offered during Easter time in the U.S., I’ve been buying up stock the day after Easter when they’re half price.  I'm embarrassed to say how much I spent last year on boxes of Cadbury Eggs to make sure I had enough for the whole year.  I keep my stash in the refrigerator and have found that they taste just as good 6 months later as they did when they were in the stores.  You'll know if I really like you if I offer you a Cadbury Egg when you come to my house.  

8.   Is there a great pub or restaurant near you that you would recommend?
Planet Sub for a delicious toasted sandwich and The Sandbar for a delicious drink to get you toasted.

9.   What country would you visit if you could go anywhere?

10.  Jeans or a skirt?
Skirts in the summer and jeans in the winter.  There’s nothing I hate more than sweating in my jeans in the summer. Skirts are much breezier.

11.  What is your favorite hobby?
Crafting, reading, running (well, it used to be until I hurt my knee)

Now here's my questions to the next players:
1. What is your biggest pet peeve?

2.  If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you bring?

3.  Who's your favorite band?

4.  If you had six months left to live, what would you do with the time you had left?

5.  What is the biggest lesson you've learned in the past year?

6.  If you could go back and redo anything, what would it be?

7.  What is your favorite book?

8.  Did you have a childhood nickname?  What was it?

9.  Ice cream or custard?

10. Beach or mountains?

11. Tell about a time you laughed so hard you almost peed your pants.

I'm going to nominate five blogs, because they're all so awesome and I want to hear their answers for the questions.

Seriously, check out the blogs above.  They are all so wonderful in their own unique ways, and I enjoy reading what these ladies have to say.  Thanks so much for nominating me, CJ, and for the interesting questions.  You came up with great ones.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013


A few weeks ago, we went to see Griffin House play at The Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas. It was in the middle of the week, and while I usually hate doing things on week nights, for this I made an exception.

While Lawrence may best be known for its role in the Civil War, for me it will always be the place I spent my formative college years at the University of Kansas (KU).  I have so many wonderful memories of this place, especially of Mass. street, the main street of town that harbors independent shops and bars in the old buildings from the 1800s.  There's just so much character and history.  I've tried to persuade Wade more than once to move here.  Maybe one day I'll convince him.
We got into town a few hours before the concert so that we could grab a few drinks at my absolutely most favorite bar in the whole entire world--The Sandbar.
I've always had an affinity for the ocean and an island styled life, but I'd say that this bar really made this love 100 times greater.  When you walk in there you immediately feel like you're at a little dive bar right by the ocean.  The music comes from a jukebox that only plays Jimmy Buffett and some good old classics.  It's totally based on the patron's selections, so the first thing we usually do when we go there is stick a few bucks in the jukebox and pick out our favorite tunes.  Over the past 10 years they haven't changed the music choices, and I like it that way.
As we wait for our songs to come on, we enjoy one of their many tropical drinks.  My favorite is the Shark Attack. It's a blue concoction that is served with a plastic shark with grenadine in it.  So when you pour the grenadine out of the shark's mouth into the drink it looks like blood trickling into the ocean water.  And the best part is that you get to keep the shark! I have quite a few around the house.  The other drinks come with similar "prizes".  Who doesn't love a toy with their drink?
We weren't there late enough to enjoy the "Hurricane", which is a reenactment of a hurricane using a bubble machine and lots of fans.  I have so many vivid memories of this place.  From my best friend Kate and I dressing up like mermaids and dancing on the bar to walking home with my purse stuffed with plastic sharks and beaded necklaces.  Evidence of a night well spent.  If you're ever in the area, this place is a must stop.  I managed to dig out this old picture of Kate and me on the bar.  I think it was her 21st birthday.  We had just gotten spray on tans and were feeling really good.  I laugh at this picture now, because I bought this skirt in the swimsuit cover-up section of Kohl's, so not sure how appropriate it was to wear as everyday attire.  Oh, well.  The things you get away with when you're young.  **Special note: When I say "dancing on the bar", I in no way mean Coyote Ugly type of dancing.  We definitely did not have the skills for that.  This was more G-rated interpretive dancing to songs like "Car Wash".  If you ever go there, you'll see how tame it is.

After reliving old memories, it was time to head over to the concert.  We had seen Griffin House play a few years before when he opened for the The Cranberries, and I immediately loved him.  He's got a folksy, soulful sound and all he needs is a guitar.
The concert was awesome, and we even got to meet Griffin after the show.  I bought a record from him and had him sign it for me: "Have a great summer, Kari. Never change."  Wade wondered why I chose that.  I thought it was funny since it sounded like what he would have written to me in my high school yearbook.

So HAGS everybody!