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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekend on the Town

Last weekend, we were out and about on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we went to the Cities so we could stop at Men's Warehouse, and Trent could get fitted for a tux for his cousin's wedding this spring. We also did quite a bit of shopping while we were there, too.

This year we just decided to each pick out a couple of things to get each other for Valentine's Day. So we went to DSW and Charming Charlie's, and I picked out some shoes, a handbag, and a couple of necklaces that Trent bought for me. Trent picked out a pair of shoes from DSW, then later got a shirt at Target. And those were our gifts to each other this year!

While we were out, we also checked out a fairly new restaurant/bar in Davenport called The J Bar.

We had been wanting to try this place for a while. It's connected to a Holiday Inn, and I was blown away by the decor. We were just there during the day, but it was still a really cool looking place.

I was obsessed with the light fixtures. They reminded me of Chihuly Glass sculptures.

They also seemed to have a good selection of drinks and beers on tap, which Trent always appreciates. 

I decided to go the non-alcoholic route though, and got a drink from the "espresso bar" selection, a vanilla latte. It was pretty yummy! The food was great, too. All around a very nice and kind of up-scale restaurant.

And speaking of lattes, we went to Target afterwards, and when we walked in the door, we were greeted with free samples of Starbucks Butterscotch Frappuccinos - which were also quite yummy. And really tiny and cute, too! I love miniature things, don't you?

Sunday I was pretty tired from all of the shopping on Saturday, but we had to go to town again, this time to get drywall and a few more supplies at Lowe's. We just went to Galesburg, so we didn't have to drive all the way to the cities this time. I blogged about this mini shopping trip last weekend when I talked about the hall closet progress.

I didn't share this photo, though. This is the Arby's sign on one of the main roads in Galesburg. 

They just renovated this Arby's and decided to keep the old sign. I was so glad - it has a lot of character and looks totally old school, especially in black and white. Am I right?? I had to get a picture. That sign is just a classic.

So that was last weekend in town, both in the Quad Cities and Galesburg! This weekend was a little more low-key. I just went out for a little while yesterday with my parents. Trent has been working on things around the house, including mudding the drywall in the closet. I will probably share a closet update sometime this week! Happy Sunday everyone!

Valentine's Day 2017

So, I'm finally getting around to posting about our Valentine's Day this year! A few days late, I know. This year, instead of surprising each other with our gifts, we went shopping the weekend before and each picked out some things we wanted. I'll post about that a little later!

We both worked on Tuesday, but when I got home, Trent did surprise me with a beautiful bouquet of roses. That was really sweet!

Every Valentine's Day, Trent also cooks dinner and we eat it at the kitchen table. It's one of the very few days every year that we actually eat at the table! He always makes us a nice dinner. This year, he made pasta with vodka sauce, which is our favorite.

We had a nice meal complete with candles and my Valentine's Day roses for a centerpiece!

This is our ninth year together, and it's our second Valentine's Day since we got married in 2015. I decided to add a plate to our centerpiece as a nod to the centerpieces at our wedding.

After we ate dinner, we watched This Is Us together on the couch, and went to bed! And that was our Valentine's Day this year. Simple but sweet.

I love our little tradition of Trent cooking us dinner every year. Actually, I love it whenever he cooks dinner! Haha. Stay tuned for a second post today - what we did last weekend! Spoiler alert: It consists of a lot of shopping and eating.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hall Closet Work Continues

Happy Sunday, folks! This morning, after a pretty busy Saturday (which I'll blog about soon), we went into town to pick up a few more things for our hall closet project at Lowe's. 

One thing we needed was a transition piece for the doorway of the closet, where the closet flooring meets with the hallway floor. Both floors are wood, and pretty similar colors, so we knew we wanted a wooden transition piece, but it wasn't easy choosing the right one!

There were so many different styles, and our space is kind of tricky, because the floors are unlevel, so we think it will be a little difficult fitting the transition piece into the space. We chose one we think will work well, though.

While we were at Lowe's, we also picked up the last sheet of drywall we needed to finish the walls of the closet. We used a thinner drywall for the closet walls - 3/8 inch, to get the most room we could out of the small space. 

Trent worked on finishing the walls this afternoon, and we now have all of the drywall up and are ready to start mudding!

It took not quite 2 sheets of drywall to finish the walls. Now the next step is mudding over all of the screws and the cracks where the pieces of drywall meet. Then sanding it all to perfection!

We'll also try to fit that transition piece we got into the doorway where the 2 floors meet. You can see from the photos that it's pretty unlevel, so we'll see how that goes! And then we'll need some small trim for the inside of the closet just to create a seamless transition between the floor and walls.

Another thing we've done is changed the door hinges out. Before, they were the gold hinges that came with the door, and Trent switched them to white ones to blend in more with the door and trim.

It's just a little detail, but I feel like these hinges are a little more "low profile." They don't stick out like sore thumbs anymore!  

So, that's where we're at with the hall closet now that we were finally able to pick up some more supplies. Hoping to share a little about what else we did over the weekend, as well as how we're spending our Valentine's Day soon! Have a great night y'all!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Himalayan Salt Lamp

So, it seems that the new, trendy thing in health and decor these days is Himalayan Salt Lamps. Have you heard of them? I've been seeing them all over lately, both in the stores and online. 

We first saw them last summer in Colorado. Some of the gift shops had them. I had never really seen them before then and didn't pay too much attention to them at the time. But lately I've been hearing so much about them and all of the amazing things they're supposed to do! So, I had to see for myself.

I actually ended up buying one from The Vitamin Shoppe. I saw a lot of good things online about the WBM brand lamps, and the reviews were really great for this one. It's 100% natural and hand-carved Himalayan salt, so each one is unique.

I've had my lamp for a little over a week now, and I really love it. From what I've read about Himalayan salt lamps, when you turn the lamp on, the light activates the salt, which acts as a natural air purifier, and cleanses the air by releasing negative ions. These ions "cancel out" toxins in the air, and the effect is something similar to the pure air at the top of a waterfall.

The main reason I decided to get one was for the reported health benefits, and to see if it would improve my allergies. I mainly just get them during allergy season, so I haven't had an issue with them yet this year. But I can say that the air does feel "cleaner" to me now, and I love the warm glow that it gives off. It's kind of calming in a way.

I replaced my alarm clock that I never used in the bedroom and have it on my nightstand. This lamp has a dimmer, so I've been sleeping with the light on dim. It's a much better energy now than with my alarm clock there, and I feel like it's less dusty, too!

So all in all, I'm definitely loving my new lamp so far. I'd say that they're worth all of the hype just for the warm and pretty glow they give off! And I wouldn't mind getting another one to enjoy when I'm not sleeping, too. Maybe I'll give an update in 6 months or so and share what I have or haven't seen in terms of health benefits over time. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Travel Tuesday: 10 Fun Things to Do in Colorado

Hello my blog readers. This Tuesday, I'm taking you all to Colorado for my third Travel Tuesday post! So far, for my Travel Tuesdays, I've shared 10 Fun Things to Do in Chicago, and 10 Fun Things to Do in the Quad Cities (where I'm from). Today, I thought I would share our favorite places and things we experiences on our Colorado trip last summer. We had such an awesome time, and it was one of our favorite vacations so far!

So, without further ado, here are 10 Fun Things to Do in Colorado:

1. Rocky Mountain National Park
To me, one of the best things about Colorado is the scenery and the natural beauty that surrounds you when you're there. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular National Parks in the U.S., and for good reason. I don't think there's any place like it. We had a lot of fun exploring in the mountains and taking in all of the breathtaking views this park has to offer. This is definitely a must-see if you visit Colorado.

2. Garden of the Gods Park
Another really cool place we visited is Garden of the Gods Park. The rock formations here are some of the most awe-inspiring things we've ever seen. With the contrast of these sharp, red rocks touching the blue of the sky, it's easy to see how it gets its name. It's a very inspiring place to visit, and we really enjoyed our time here.

3. Shopping in Estes Park
Estes Park is a neat little city with tons to explore. It's home to Rocky Mountain National Park, but there's more than just the park here. There are also so many cool little shops and restaurants to experience. We liked the Taffy shops, and there are also souvenir shops galore. So don't forget to do a little shopping while you're here.

4. Ride to the Top of Pike's Peak
Some people choose to drive up to the top of Pike's Peak, also known as "America's Mountain." That's one option - we chose to take the Cog Railway train up to the top! It was a really great experience, and seemed to us like it would take the stress out of driving up and down the tall mountain. Either way you choose, it's a scenic ride up, and there's nothing like being at the very top looking down upon nature's beauty.

5. See a Game at Coors Field
If you're a baseball fan, Coors Field has so much to offer that you might not get to experience in other ballparks. We liked the really open outdoor area around the park. There are outdoor bars around the ball field with a ton of seating so you can have a different game-viewing experience than just sitting in your normal seats. You can also get a view of the game from the Mile high seats, and see the Rocky Mountains in the distance while you're at it.

6. Seven Falls
If you have some extra time while you're in the Colorado Springs area taking in Pike's Peak or Garden of the Gods, I highly suggest visiting The Broadmoor Seven Falls park. It's a nice little trek to get to the falls, but once you make it there, the sights are breath-taking. Seven cascading falls trickle down among these huge rock formations, and you can even climb the treacherous stairway to the top if you choose. We did, and the view along the way was totally worth it. A cool experience all around!

7. Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
We drove the Peak to Peak Byway while we made our way north from the Colorado Springs area to Estes Park. It technically runs just outside of Golden, CO up to the town of Estes Park (or vice-versa). It was definitely one of the most scenic drives we've ever experienced. Being from the plains of Illinois, a nice change of scenery like this was definitely neat to see. This road takes you up through mountains, and you get to see real-life "babbling brooks" climbing the rocky paths alongside of you.

8. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
It was surreal for us, seeing this park and amphitheatre in person. We had seen it in photos and on TV, watching our favorite bands play here in concert. And to actually be here in the park and climbing the amphitheatre steps was so cool. You feel so tiny next to the giant red rocks in this park, and looking out into the huge landscape in front of you is really awe-inspiring.

9. Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
This was another must-do on our list, that was worth going just a little bit out of our way for. It's one of the highest suspension bridges in the country, and it is not for people who are deathly afraid of heights! Walking across this bridge, you feel a hint of awe, and a whole lot of terrifying. But just look at the view! Totally worth it.

10. Manitou Cave Dwellings
Last but not least, if you're in Manitou Springs and have a couple of hours to kill, there's a really cool place within the rocks called the Manitou Cave Dwellings. These were actual homes for Native Americans settling in this area. You can walk through them and see what it was like for them living in these cave dwellings carved into the red rocks of Colorado. It was a pretty cool experience!

Of course we couldn't do everything in a week, so these places are still on my Colorado Bucket List:
I hope you enjoyed reading this list as much as I did making it! If you're planning to visit Colorado in the future, maybe this will give you some ideas. And feel free to pick my brain in the comments below if you have any questions!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Four-Year Blogiversary

Today marks FOUR YEARS since I started blogging regularly on this little space on the web. In January of 2013, I decided to regularly document our progress with our century-old home, and from there, it turned into so much more than just a home renovation blog.
I've not just documented home improvement projects on here, but I've been able to document our lives. This blog has allowed me to share my thoughts on decor, along with some fun, inspirational and photo-filled posts, too. From travel posts to recipes, and even wedding planning - this is like my little creative exploration space, and I thank each and every person who has stopped by and checked this blog out or featured it on their own site.

I've had fun writing and putting posts together, but I think it's been the most fun being able to capture moments from our lives that we can now look back on and remember like they were yesterday.

I hope I can continue documenting our home and our lives for years to come! And maybe provide inspiration for someone else's next home project, craft, or future travel plans! So thanks everyone for reading and for your continued support. It's been a great four years. :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hall Closet: Getting a Floor and Walls

Yesterday, we started working on our hall closet again. We're hoping to get it finished soon! It only had a subfloor and some framework when we started yesterday afternoon, and then Trent laid the wooden floor:

It's a floating floor, so no nails required. The wood panels "lock" together. We got a set from the Habitat ReStore a few years ago and finally got to put them in! It didn't take too long for Trent to get the floor down, since the space is super small.

Then he started on cutting the drywall and screwing it into the studs. He got the walls about halfway up before he stopped for the night.

I think he did a pretty good job so far. It feels like some good progress for just one day!

It's cool to see this little hall closet coming together. And after taking a break from working on the house for a while, it's also pretty satisfying to start another reno project and see the space taking shape.

So what's next? Well, after the walls are all up, then the cracks and nails will need mudded and sanded. We'll also need floor trim and a threshold put down in the doorway. Then we'll prime and paint the walls and ceiling, and install some shelves.

I can't wait to store my towels, vacuum, and cleaning supplies in an efficient manner for once! Progress is nice. :)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hall Closet Work in Progress: The "Before"

A little over 5 years ago, in 2011, we put a new hall closet. It's a tiny closet, but we wanted to utilize this wasted space to store our vacuum, brooms and mops, and maybe some towels and cleaning supplies. Since we first put it in, it's been unfinished, but we've still been housing some of these things in it nonetheless. Here's that space as it looks now:

We decided to start working on finishing the closet this month. So today, I cleared it out, and Trent has been starting the floor.

I took some "Before" photos, and we hope to make significant progress in the next couple of weeks. I'm glad it's starting to move along today, and I can't wait to see our finished closet! I have some Pinterest-like dreams in my head for it.

Here's the full closet, top to bottom. I had to stand on the steps to take these photos and actually get the whole closet in view. :)

Here's the subfloor - We're now putting in a floating wood floor with some flooring we got super cheap at our local Habitat ReStore a few years back.

We picked up a sheet of drywall at Lowe's yesterday; I don't think it will take much to finish these walls. The space is so small.

I'm hoping to share some in-progess pictures soon, and will keep you updated on the closet reno!
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