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Monday, April 27, 2015

Sore Wrists and Jello Arms

Howdy. These past couple of days have been so nice, I only wish I could be home all week to get some more work done outside! Yesterday we worked out in the yard all day....and I'm a bit sore today. My left hand is barely functioning due to my wrist being super sore from hauling around bags of mulch. And yesterday after we went inside and plopped down on the couch, both our arms and legs felt like Jello.

We weren't able to get much done on the walkway, since when we went into Menards on Saturday, they were completely sold out of the paver base we need to finish. So instead, we worked on the front porch and the flower beds.

I've been wanting to repaint the front porch floor for a while now. It hasn't been painted since right before I moved in, in 2010. Five years later, it's mostly chipped off and in need of another paint job. So I cleaned off the front porch floor and swept it. Then I scraped off all of the flaking paint I could with a paint scraper (It gave me flashbacks to our bedroom renovation). It's still not perfect, but I think it's the best it can be before paint.


Trent then went through with the power washer and washed the floor and siding in the front porch area. Then while I was working on other things, he filled in the crack with mortar between the porch and the house that was left when the foundation work was done.


While Trent was filling in the cracks with mortar, I was weeding and mulching. I pulled weeds and cleaned out all the leaves from the beds, then put down 10 fresh bags of mulch.  So, I'm a little stiff today, and my wrist is sore from lifting all of the mulch bags and carrying them around the yard! I suppose it was worth it, though. The flower beds look much cleaner. Although, the tree by the house is shedding some serious buds. And they all fall in the flower beds! Makes it kind of a pain to keep them nice-looking.

Super excited though that all of my flowers and plants are coming back again this year. Here's my hydrangea:


Maybe it will bloom this year?! There's still hope. My hostas are also coming in already:


And then there's our peony bush by the road! It looks like it will be blooming pretty soon...


There's also a second peony growing in the side yard:


I planted it a few years back, then we decided to move it away from the house because they attract quite a bit of insects. It never comes up very much but it is budding this year!

This week or next weekend I want to get the flowers all planted in the garden out back. Tonight it's a little chilly, but Trent's working out there raking up the dirt and getting it all level. Then we'll put down some weed fabric, and start planting my bulbs and seeds. Ready to see some flowers pop up this summer!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Trent's Birthday and Something New....

Hello all! We've been pretty busy around here lately. Yesterday was Trent's 31st birthday! Last year was the big 3-0, so this one didn't matter as much.... Just kidding! We celebrated yesterday after work by going to town and getting a couple of these bad boys:


Yep, we got our very own brand new kayaks! Trent's been wanting one for a long time, so he finally got one this year for his birthday present from me. He was beyond excited! And of course, I also had to get one for myself...


And it's purple! Or "mauve" as the store employee called it. Dunham's had them on sale this week, and they were actually really reasonably priced. Mine was on sale for $199, and Trent's was $299. Then we also picked up some paddles for $40 each.

I can't wait to take these guys out on the water this summer! It will be a nice, relaxing break from wedding planning. :) As the store clerks were helping us carry them out to the truck, one of the guys asked Trent where we're kayaking at. Trent said, "Anywhere and everywhere!" Yep, that pretty much describes it. I'm ready to try out all the different lakes in the area.

So I think Trent's birthday was pretty exciting. On top of all that, he took the highway home after work (which he never usually does), and ended up finding a stainless steel grill along the side of the road. So naturally, it's ours now! Just what we needed, another grill..It's nice though, and he's planning on fixing it up and getting a new battery in it to get it working again. Yep, it's not lighting. It's propane and also needs a tank. So we'll see if we can get it to work!

We ate at Chipotle after picking up the kayaks. Love those veggie bowls! A nice end to a good night.

In other news, this week has been pretty chilly and windy, so we haven't gotten much work done outside. Hoping next week is better. C'mon spring, let's get back to the nice weather. Thought we had a deal? :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Another Nice Spring Week

This past week has been absolute perfect spring weather! It's supposed to rain this afternoon and start getting chillier this week, but for the past several days, it's been nothing but clear skies, light breezes, and lots of greenery all around. 

I cleaned out my car, and we got the oil changed yesterday and ran a few errands in town. Trent's gotten a little further on the walkway, and is going out to work on it some more today. I had to stop him for a quick photo earlier this week. :)


I also snapped a few pics out the living room window, because the trees were blooming and it was starting to look a lot more colorful outside! You can see part of the walkway from here - the part where the steps are going to be. We're thinking about doing them a little simpler than concrete - maybe use some wood and stones. Trent put a few of the bricks we had on hand just to get an idea for now what it might be like. This is where the ground starts to go downhill, so we'll be kind of carving into that slope.


I can't wait to get most of the walkway done so I can put the new mulch down in our flowerbeds and get those cleaned up. We want to make sure it all looks nice for the yard sale in May.


Here's another view from the living room. Pretty blooming trees. :) And see our peonies coming back up in the yard? I love when those bloom..they're always super pretty. 

Well, here's hoping we get another dent in the walk path today. And let's hope the rain is few and far between!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Work in Progress

Just popping in to share what our front yard is looking like as of late:


Yep...it's a work in progress! I think this may take a while...And there are several more feet left to go! Don't enjoy my yard being dug up very much, but the end result will hopefully be worth it! 

More progress to come in the next weeks!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Front Porch Pots

Yesterday we were able to get some more yard work done! It was a gorgeous day, and we went into town and got some more materials for the walkway. I also picked up a few new pots and some plants. Dusty Miller, to be exact. My new love. :)

I just bought some seeds online (which I haven't gotten yet), and I found these plants at Menards on Saturday, and decided to plant them in my pots. I got these adorable chalkboard pots, also from Menards. I love them!


I'm hoping to use some of the Dusty miller for our wedding in August. I just love this plant. It's a great accent with colorful flowers, but it has a certain simplicity by itself, too I think. I just love the unique texture and color. 

These pots were so cute, that I had to grab a couple. I honestly didn't even look at the price. It was that kind of love at first sight. They have chalkboards on the front and even come with a little piece of chalk, so you can write whatever you want on them. I think they would work well for herbs or veggies - you could write "Basil" and "Thyme", etc. 

I chose to plant my Dusty miller in them though, and since I'm putting them right by the front door, I wrote "Welcome" on one...


And just for fun, "Grow" is on the other. I just thought it was cute. And it's also putting that energy out there and saying, "grow, little guys!" Haha.


I still had a couple of little pots hanging around so I planted the rest of the Dusty Miller in those. For my bigger pots, I'm planning on getting some more Celosia, Salvia, and Coleus. Those three plants did really well in my big planters last year - They were the perfect pops of color, and were basically all growing out of the pots! The salvia were the red kind (kind of tropical looking), and might even be perennials, I'm not sure. We'll have to get those pots out again and see.


In the mean time, though, I love the new greenery the front porch is sporting. :) 


It's finally starting to look like spring around here. This weekend is definitely getting me in the mood to work on the yard, and we've already gotten a little more done on the walkway, which I'll post about soon.

My mini Zinnias are starting to sprout, too! Very exciting to watch them grow more each day. 


Some of them got knocked over on the really windy day that we had a week or so ago. Since then I've been keeping a close eye on them, though they've only needed watering a couple of times a week, and we've been keeping them on the front porch all the time because it's been so nice out. It's looking like there won't be much chance of frost any longer, so pretty soon it will be time to actually plant the garden.


Trent's already tilled the garden out back, and people around town are even planting already. I think we'll be planting some flowers pretty soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Wedding Planning Update: The Accessories

So, this past Easter weekend was full of lots of good things, including shopping, family, and nice weather! Friday, Trent and I spent some time in Galesburg, and Saturday, my mom and I had a day full of wedding shopping. One of the fun things about planning a wedding is that you get to shop for pretty accessories, and get pampered a little bit.

I had my hair and makeup trial bright and early Saturday morning, at 8:00 am. I went to Pure Hair Studio in Davenport, and they were awesome. It wasn't too busy on a Saturday morning, and it was such a nice day. I had my hair trial first, and it was styled just the way it will be for the wedding, which was kind of exciting.

I don't want to give too much away - we got photos of everything when it was all done, the front, the sides, etc. but I'll just show you the back view for now:


I'll have a veil on the day of, along with my earrings, and I'm also planning on wearing a flower in my hair. I'll probably get a faux one, and I've been looking around on Etsy a lot for the perfect one. I'm not sure yet which one I'll choose, but here are just a few that I like:




After Ashley at Pure did my hair, I then got my make up done! Once we tweaked it a little, I really liked the end result. I got the airbrushing, which was quite a bit thicker than I was used to, but it may be worth it because it does stay on a long time. I didn't want to take it off that night, because it was still so perfect! When I tried everything on - the earrings, the veil, along with the hair and makeup, I definitely felt like a bride. I won't spoil it all and reveal the entire "look," but here's a little preview of the makeup, too:


My mom and I went to Chili's for lunch and then shopped afterwards for some of my accessories. I needed shoes and a clutch. I also looked a little for a garter set, but didn't see much, and I think I'm going to purchase them online.

These were my favorite shoes of those I looked at online, so we searched several stores for them (and any similar wedding shoes) including Dillard's, Younkers, David's Bridal, DSW, and Von Maur. I didn't find them in any of the stores, and I wanted flats, which I discovered are not the easiest wedding shoes to find! These are the Cake Flats from the Blue by Betsey Johnson line.

I loved these because they're feminine and pretty, and the bottoms are blue! It would be perfect for my Something blue.

Online, I also found similar shoes from the same Betsey Johnson line that I liked as well - The Encrusted Bow flat, and The Joy flats.



In the end, I ended up buying the Cake flats online from Zappos.com. They're supposed to get here soon, so I'm anxious to see what they look like in person, and on my feet. :) Hoping they work out and are officially my wedding shoes!

I also ended up getting this pretty pearl clutch from DSW:


I had seen this one while looking online, and ended up getting it Saturday in the store. I love it, and think it will be perfect for the big day!

I already have what I think will be my earrings, and I'm not planning to wear a necklace. My mom has a small bracelet that I might wear for my Something Borrowed. So that takes care of my jewelry. My next step is to buy the flower for my hair, and my garters. Then pretty much all of my accessories (and my whole "look") will be taken care of. One step closer!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Downtown Galesburg, Illinois

Hope everyone had a fantastic Easter weekend. We had a pretty busy (but good) one. Friday I had a nice, relaxing day off for Good Friday. Trent had to work, but after he got home, we went to Galesburg to run some errands and get groceries. We ended up eating downtown at a pizza place we'd never had before, called baked. It's on Seminary Street, and it was amazing! The pizza was probably the best pizza we've had in a long time. You can customize them however you want them. We got a 14 inch pizza with green olives, red peppers, mushrooms, and garlic oil. It's a really small place - just a few tables. And it got a little crowded as more people started ordering (It's also a takeout place), but the atmosphere is also pretty cool. All vintage looking inside, with mix and match tables. You can choose a record to play on the record player...you drink from mason jars and the water comes in a wine bottle. I think we'll definitely be back again!


Seminary street is one of my favorites downtown. It's really quaint and historic, still brick, and the lights are pretty cool, too. This area is home to the best Antique Mall in town, and lots of little shops that I'd still like to explore. The Landmark Cafe is also on this street, which we've had once before - they have some yummy crepes. And there's another nice restaurant called Chez Willy's that we still have yet to try - next on our list, for sure.


Cherry Street also has some great little shops and restaurants, and Cherry Street Pub is one of our favorites. It was a really nice night on Friday, and when we were headed to the other side of town, we got stopped at the train tracks. There was this mural, which I had never paid much attention to before but thought it was pretty cool:


Carl Sandburg was a famous poet from Galesburg. I liked this quote - "Nothing happens unless first a dream.." I like how the mural incorporates a lot of Galesburg history. Blick Art Supplies was founded in Galesburg, and that's where their headquarters still is today. The train and the amtrak is also a big part of the history of this city.


I snapped these two shots while we were stopped at the train tracks, too. Galesburg has a "Railroad Days" festival every summer, which is like a carnival in the streets downtown. Kids can climb inside a train, and learn about the history of the train station and how it was so important in making the city what it is today. Trent and I have been one or two times, and we've ridden the Amtrak up to Chicago and back. 

Speaking of nice restaurants, another one right by the train station called The Packinghouse, used to be an old meat packing place. We've been a few times, though it's been a while. It's always really good, though, and it's probably about time we go back soon!


There's a lot of history in this city, and it's crazy how much you can get from just driving a few blocks downtown. Everytime we come I think we discover something new, even if it's not downtown - a few weeks ago we found a new Mexican place by the bowling alley that had $1.99 margarita Thursdays! I guess it was pretty lucky we just happened to be there on a Thursday...

Until next time! :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

eBay Selling Update: Two Months In

Hello all and Happy Good Friday! I have the day off work today, so I will be headed to town this afternoon to run a couple of errands. For now, though, I'm back with another monthly update about selling things online (See my first one here). Warning - It's about to get a little technical and financial up in here, 'cause I'm sharing all the juicy details.


I started at the beginning of February, so have been selling my old, unwanted stuff online for about 2 whole months now. I posted my old, gently used clothes, wallets, shoes, etc. on both Threadflip and eBay. To date, I have not sold a single thing on Threadflip. On the other end of the spectrum, I am selling things almost daily on eBay, and it's been really successful for me so far.


During the months of February and March, I've netted about $360.00, but that doesn't mean I profited that much. There are also Selling fees that eBay charges and invoices you once a month - this could be .40 or so every time you list an item for sale. Then there are shipping fees and supply costs to factor in, too. I've paid about $30 in seller fees, and about $200 to ship my packages out. So with those expenses, I've estimated that in the past two months, I've profited about $120.00. Not too bad, right?

I'm definitely going to continue selling things on eBay as long as I have things I want to get rid of. It feels good to clean out my closet and get rid of clutter that's just sitting around taking up space. That $120.00 was just sitting in my closet! Here are just a few items I've been able to sell and make some cash on so far:


What's really helped is that I've been keeping a spreadsheet to keep track of expenses, and eBay also keeps track of sales for you, too. Here's what it says I've sold over the last 30 days:


I know it's only been a couple of months, and it was hard to get going at first just learning all this stuff, but during the month of March I really got into the swing of things. By now, I pretty much feel like a professional. ;) In February, just starting out, I sold about 10 items. In March, I sold 30 items. My goal is to continue selling this spring, then in early summer, have a yard sale with what's left. After that, we'll probably take most of it to Goodwill.

Selling my unwanted stuff not only clears up space, but it gives us a little extra cash for the honeymoon, and to do extra things, which is always nice. I've profited about $3 per item, where I would have made maybe .25-.50 per item at a yard sale. Plus...I got a gold star. :) Check it out:
That's due to my customer feedback ratings, which are 100% positive. And, I couldn't have done it without Trent, who's been taking every package to the post office to be shipped, since I'm not able to because of work. I'm trying to figure out a method where I can do it all online, but since I don't have my own scale, it would be almost impossible to figure out accurate shipping costs. I may have to invest in a scale if I want to do it longterm! I'm hoping I'll only be selling seriously for another month or so, though.

On the bright side, I'm helping out the local town post office, which I know the post master appreciates. I met her at the gas station the other day, and she thanked me for my business! Always good to support the local post office. :)

I'm sure I'll be back with another eBay update sooner or later....Have a great Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Summer Porch Inspiration: 2015 Edition

I know it's not summer yet, and barely even spring. But it's never too early to start thinking about your summer porch, right? The amazing weather we had yesterday for the first day of April has already put me into the summer mood!

Since my April 2013 Summer Porch Inspiration post was such a big hit (it's my #1 visited post and probably my most re-pinned pin on Pinterest), I'm back to share a few more inspiring front porch ideas - 2015 Edition. Get excited.

So here are a few for your viewing pleasure. Sources are below each photo.





I love all of the inspiration out there on Pinterest and all over the web and blogland. So inspiring! Hope you all are getting a chance to enjoy some nice weather, wherever you are! 

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