Wednesday, December 25, 2013



Sorry it's been so quiet over here.  I've been sick and working on getting better so I can join in all the holiday celebrations.  I'm also thinking of this as my winter vacation so I can be present with everything that's going on.  We're throwing Wade a big party on Saturday, so I'll be back soon with lots of fun photos and DIYs from that.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday and enjoying the season! 

Saturday, December 21, 2013


So I know Thanksgiving has long since passed and Christmas is less than a week away, but I had forgotten about these photos and wanted to share our trip back to the farm where Wade grew up.
It's a different place from where I grew up.  There, it takes about 30 minutes to get to the nearest McDonald's and a movie theater is even further.  When I asked what he would do as a kid, he said a lot of fishing and watching the stars while laying on the roof of his home during hot summer nights.  Sounds so idyllic.
Wade's great grandfather built this house. It's the prototypical farm house, and what I imagined it would look like even before I first visited.  Inside there have been changes, but the floor is the same and I can sense the history when walking over the well worn threshold.
While I love being close to everything in the city, it's nice there are still places that exist where you can just roam.

Roaming is nice, but jumping off a tractor is also fun!  Here's my beautiful and sweet niece showing me how it's done.
I definitely did not get as much air.
You know what struck me the most, though?  It was that I could actually see the sun setting into the horizon.  Usually it's blocked by houses and buildings, but I loved watching the sun dip down from view the same way I imagine it disappears into the ocean.  Not quite the same, but as close as I'm going to get in middle America.
It was nice getting away for a few days, out of our normal environment.  The corn had been harvested and everything was preparing for a cold winter.  And we're looking forward to what's next.  The coming spring and the endless possibilities of growth.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Still looking for a holiday gift for someone that is unique and cost effective?  Try making this painted bead necklace.  Then make another one to keep for yourself!

Supplies Needed:
--Package of natural colored wood beads (I found mine at Joanns, but any craft store should have them)
--Ribbon (I chose a gold chain link ribbon that almost looked like a real chain)
--Nail polish in the colors of your choice

Step 1:  Take a bead and put it on the toothpick.  This will let you paint your way around the bead without having to hold it with your fingers.  First, I painted the peach color around half of the bead.  Then I let it dry before I painted the gold color around the other half.  I was going for more of an imperfect lazy look, so the lines are definitely not straight.  It adds to the charm, right?

I've found that nail polish is awesome for painting beads.  It gives it a nice shine that regular acrylic paint doesn't and comes in lots of fun colors.  Who doesn't have a ton of nail polish lying around that needs a purpose?

Step 2:  Once your beads are all painted and dry, string them on to the ribbon.  Since the bead openings are kind of small, it's easier if you put a needle on the end of your ribbon to make it through the bead.
String all of them on, and you're done!

What other easy holiday gift ideas have you made?

Monday, December 16, 2013


Every year I stress out about what I'm going to get my husband and Dad that is both cool and useful.  They're both really hard to buy for, so that's why I put together this little gift guide.  The items above are geared more towards my husband since my dad still refuses to get a cell phone, but I've got a link to another gift guide below from that is sure to help me find something just for him.

1.  Records are back, people!  What better way to spend a night than spinning some old vinyl.  There are a lot of record players available in cool colors, but this would be a manly version.

2.  And guess what else is back?  Bow ties!  I've made Wade one using hot glue:)  I bet he would appreciate a well constructed one, though.

3.  There are headphones in every color now.  These are perfect for those nights when he's blaring the TV, and I keep yelling at him to turn it down.  He could just put on some headphones for a win for everyone.

4.  But what about those times when I do want to hear the TV or music he's playing?  Well, a headphone splitter is perfect for those occasions when you're on an airplane but want to watch the same movie.

5.  USBs in funny characters always make me smile.  This Star Trek one doubles up on the nerdy, and I bet Wade would love it.

6.  We've been on a few flights when we want to watch a movie on our iPhones, but have to hold them the whole time.  This phone stand would be nice to use instead.  And it's shaped like a banana peel.

7.  Last, but not least--a cocktail shaker shaped like a rocket ship!  Fun and useful.

Today, I'm partnering up with to share their gift guides with you for every member of the family.  I especially loved checking out the holiday gift guide for Dads, because let's face it, I get him movie tickets every year.  It would be nice to find something special for him.

Even better than providing gift guides, though, is the fact that is giving away virtual gift baskets filled with e-gift cards for every retailer featured in the gift guides.  You could win over $500 to spend with these retailers!  There will be a winner for each of the four gift guides, so be sure to check them all out.  Find out more about the Holiday Sweepstakes here.

But wait!  What's better than one giveaway?  That's, right!  Two giveaways!  Here's a chance to win a $200 Amazon e-gift card!  There are tons of ways to enter, so good luck!
**Note: This post is sponsored by, but the comments and opinions are all mine.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 13, 2013


First off, thank you everyone for your sweet birthday wishes.  You all made my day!

I've always wanted a fancy party hat, so this year I decided to make my own for my birthday.  This is another super easy tutorial.  It took about 20 minutes to complete, and I love the outcome.
Supplies needed:

--Pack of foil party hats (I got mine from Target for about $2)
--Strand of tinsel (I bought a gold strand at the dollar store)
--Glitter ribbon (found at any craft store)
--Gold ribbon
--And of course, a lot of hot glue!

Step 1:  The first thing I did was replace the elastic band that came with the party hats with a gold ribbon.  To do this, I just cut the elastic on the hat and used the same holes to tie two strands of ribbon.

Step 2:  Then I put a thin line of hot glue around the base of the hat and glued the tinsel garland.

Step 3:  Next, I started wrapping the glitter ribbon around the hat.  It didn't work to do this in one continuous strand, so I just cut sections and hot glued each on.  The back doesn't look perfect, but that's ok.

Step 4:  Then I took about a 3 inch section of the same tinsel I used on the base of the hat and put some hot glue in the middle and scrunched it into a ball.
Put some more hot glue onto the top of the hat and plant that fun little tinsel ball on top and you're done!

Yay, easy party hat!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I wish I had something really poetic to say, but everything I think of seems like a cliche.  Another year has passed.  I've grown, I've stumbled, I've yelled, I've laughed, and I've cried.  I've hugged people so hard in an attempt to memorize the way they feel in my arms, and I've fought against expectations to carve out my own space.  And you know what?  That to me means a year well lived.

Each birthday I always tell myself I'm going to make this the best year yet.  I'm going to take chances and live life to the fullest and not let time pass me by.  I have done that this past year in my own way.  Three birthdays ago, I wrote a letter to myself reflecting on all the reading I had done to find what the whole meaning of this life is.  That note, along with the following passage from one of my favorite books, still rings true to me today.

"And, looking back, we see Romance--that subtle things that is mirage--that is life.  It is the goodness of the years we have lived through, of the old time when we did this or that, when we dwelt here or there.  Looking back it seems a wonderful enough thing that I who am this, and she who is that, commencing so far away a life that, after such sufferings borne together and apart, ended so tranquilly there in a world so stable--that she and I should have passed through so much, good chance and evil chance, sad hours and joyful, all lived down and swept away into the little heap of dust that is life.  This, too, is Romance!"  --Romance by Joseph Conrad  
And that's where the name of my blog came from.  So today I'm putting on my party hat and ringing in another year of this wonderful existence.

**To see my birthday party from last year where I went DIY crazy, see here.  Please excuse the quality of the pictures.  This was in the infancy of my blog, and I wish I could go back in time and get better quality pictures from this time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


A shop right down the street from us carries Christmas trees.  There's limited quantity, so we stalk the area until we see the trees all nicely propped up and then go in the dark of night to pick the best one.  Instead of taking the time to tie it to the car, we Wade drags it home.  It almost looks like we just chopped this tree down in our neighborhood to take home with us.
Maybe next year it will snow, so we could pull it on a sled and not look so strange to cars passing by.
It's not a picturesque tree farm, but it's become one of my favorite traditions.

We got the tree before Thanksgiving and have been storing it in our garage until this week.  Here's Wade dragging the tree into the house.
And me pretending that I could help.
Now we just have to decorate it!

Monday, December 9, 2013


Only in the last few years have I started to care more and be more adventurous in the clothing department. If I had all the money in the world, I would buy everything from Anthropologie and J. Crew.  Just walk in there and grab everything off the mannequins instead of making a bee line to the sales section.   Alas, I haven't hit pay dirt at the boats yet.  You know what, though?   I have really started enjoying mixing and matching things in my closet and adding little bits of flair to give outfits a breath of fresh air.
It all started with these leggings.  Fleece-lined leggings to be exact.  I've been looking everywhere for these puppies.  I wanted something really comfortable and really warm to wear all winter.  Pretty much I was looking for socially acceptable pajama pants.  I even tried on a $50 pair of leggings last week, thinking that the more you pay, the better the leggings will be.  Boy was I wrong.  The crotch was so baggy and came down to my knees, while my calves were being squeezed like oranges.  My mom found these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $10!  They are the most comfortable leggings ever and are so warm.
I put on a $6 shirt I found on sale at Target over a white tunic I had in my closet, which I thought added a fun layer.  Then the necklace was found in the sale section of Charming Charlie for $6.  I don't know about you, but nothing makes me happier than putting together an outfit that makes me feel like a million bucks for way less than that.

I wasn't the only one liking their outfit that day.
We took these pictures on the Plaza, an outdoor shopping district that is a must see if you're ever in Kansas City.  I wish I would have gotten more pictures of the amazing architecture.  That's a good idea for a future post.
Have any great fashion finds recently?