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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

La Crosse Trip 2017

Hi all! I just wanted to pop in and share a little about my weekend! I know I haven't updated in a little while. I attended another work conference this weekend in La Crosse, WI. This was my third year attending this particular conference. I also went in 2015 and 2016. The ride up and back from La Crosse isn't too bad (about 4 hours). And the Wisconsin part is particularly scenic, as it gets really hilly with some pretty views of the countryside.

On the way up there, we ate in Fennimore, Wisconsin at a cute little place called Friederick's Family Restaurant. It had kind of a homey, diner feel, and the food wasn't too bad. I just had a grilled cheese and a side salad. I think they serve some fruit pies there that sounded good too, but we didn't try that - maybe next time!

We had great weather for driving there and back - though when we were there, it snowed on us quite a bit. It's funny because the week before, we were enjoying 60-70 degree weather almost all week! It totally felt like spring in February.

Seriously - that was the weekend before the conference. Nearly 70 degrees and sunny outside. Then, in La Crosse, this happened -

The snow started..and lasted all night and most of the day! I woke up to snow outside the window of my hotel room. This was the first snow I had seen in weeks. Not cool.

Despite the snow though, we were lucky that we didn't have too far to go from our hotel to the La Crosse Center. It was just down the street. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was really nice.

And I got up at 5:30 am every morning to work our booth at the trade show! It makes for some pretty long days, but it's worth the experiences, and I always learn something new each time.

The food is always really good, too. On Friday night, we decided to eat a couple of blocks away at a restaurant called The Charmant, which was actually both a hotel and restaurant. I have to say the walk to and from the restaurant was kind of brutal! It had gotten pretty cold and windy, and the snow was still coming down. It blew in our face, and it felt like we were trekking through a blizzard.

It was an interesting restaurant, though. It's in a super old building with a lot of character. As always, I loved the light fixtures. There was also live music and a bar surrounding a kind of open kitchen with chefs cooking the food. It was a very unique but nice place.

The food was kind of French-style, and I got a citrus salad which was pretty interesting, along with fries which had a pretty garlicy sauce. For an appetizer, we had toast with a honey-cheese spread, and the honey was straight from the comb! It was actually really good. And for dessert I tried some of the creme brûlée, which was delicious.

Needless to say though, I was glad to be back in the hotel after dinner that night. It was warm and toasty in there, unlike outside!

The ride back home after the conference was super pretty with all of the snow we got, though I didn't take any pictures - oops! I actually saw three different herds of deer grazing in the snow on the way back. It was pretty cool to see. 

I'm still a little tired from the long weekend. It's always a different experience every time we go to trade shows, even if it is the same show each time. Different people, different restaurants, and different sights to see! Sometimes you even get snowed on. :)

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!

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