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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Travel Tuesday: 5 Places on My U.S. Travel Bucket List

I noticed recently I hadn't done a "Travel Tuesday" post in a while! I wanted to get back into the swing of things, and I had plenty of time over the weekend to write one, so here's another Travel Tuesday for y'all. This week's post is about places that I've never been to, but they are all on my Bucket List to visit.

I always say that living in Illinois, it's so cool when you get to experience a different part of the U.S. and see a different landscape every once in a while. Something other than flat lands and cornfields! So taking trips out West or seeing the East Coast are always really fun to get to experience.

That said, here are 5 places that are on my U.S. Travel Bucket List. I hope to get to experience them all someday.

1. The Grand Canyon
Image from here
Talk about a change of scenery! I wouldn't mind seeing a sunrise or sunset here, would you? It seems like such a "grand" place, it's no wonder they named it what they did. I've never been to Arizona, but someday hopefully I will get to see it and experience this magnificent sight.

2. Las Vegas
Image from here
I am happy to say that I am planning on going here this summer with my mom and sister! We are planning a "Girls trip" to Vegas in late August. I can't wait! Neither my sister nor I have ever been, so what better time to explore Vegas than now, right?

3. New York City
Image from here
I've been wanting to see New York City up close for a long time. We all see it on TV and in movies all the time. One day I hope to visit the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Times Square! Definitely one for the Bucket List.

4. Napa Valley
Image from here
One thing I have on my Bucket List is literally to "Drink wine in Napa Valley." It's kind of the wine capital of the country, right? And it looks so picturesque! Like a place you can just spend a whole week at, visiting different vineyards and wine tasting along the way.

5. Los Angeles
Image from here
I just want to visit L.A. and experience it all at least once! Shop on Rodeo Drive, see the Hollywood sign, all of the beautiful palm trees, and darnit, I want to put my hands in my favorite stars' hands, and not just at Planet Hollywood. :)

So what places are on your Bucket List? Do tell!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Recent Drawings

Happy Sunday all. It's been a low-key weekend for me, and I had some free time, so today I'm sharing a few of my recent drawings. One of my resolutions for this year was to draw more, so I finally got out my sketchbook, and sometimes, though not as often as I might like, I'll do a quick sketch or two. These are some recent ones.
Growing up, most of my inspiration came from magazines. I was inspired by fashion ads and magazines, mostly, and also drew a few houses or interiors here and there. 

Now it's Pinterest. Art that I like, fashion photography, prints. All things I've gathered on Pinterest and if you search for them, you can probably find the inspiration for all of the images I've drawn here.

Inspired by an Elizabeth Mayville painting
This summer, I'm going on a trip to Vegas with my mom and my sister. So I decided to draw the Vegas sign. :)

Most of these are really quick drawings in my sketchbook, 20 minutes maybe. They're definitely not perfect, but after not drawing for years, it's nice to be back at it again, and it's something I hope to continue.

Every once in a while, I'll see a photo or print that I like, and I make sure to save it for a future drawing idea.

I've drawn other things in recent days, too. From fancy cakes, to a bridge and skyline, a hot air balloon floating through the stars..but these are some of my favorites. 

It's kind of fun to put a pencil to paper again, even if it is just quick little sketches.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Weekend in Iowa City

Hello, and happy Saturday! Last weekend was Chelsea's wedding, a good family friend, and it was about an hour and a half away from us in Iowa City. (Just a short drive from the Quad Cities) We stayed there for the night and got to hang out there a little bit over the weekend. Haley and Dan came down from the Chicago area, and Mom and Dad made it out as well but didn't stay the night.

Our hotel was in Coralville, and the wedding and reception were just short drives from there which was nice.

The wedding and reception were both beautiful, and we had a great time. The reception was at Bella Sala. It was so nicely decorated! Chelsea has great taste. :)

The table decor was also super pretty. There was baby's breath at the center of all the tables, and the bridesmaids' bouquets were also baby's breath, and were stunning!

The next day, we decided to explore a few places in the Iowa City area. Haley and Dan went with us to Hurt's Donuts. We'd been wanting to go there, and had heard good things about their donuts. :)

They have donuts there with super creative and fun names, like the "Jesus" donut, and the "Bart Simpson." (That's the one in the back, far left corner in the above pic by the way. It's covered in Butterfinger pieces.) We had to sample some, so we got a 6 pack, and Trent got a Maple bacon donut, too.

It took us almost a full week to finish the donuts we got, but they were pretty good! Just a little too sugary to eat all in one setting. :)

Another place we decided to try was Zombie Burger & Shake Lab, downtown Iowa City. It's another fun restaurant, that's basically like an upscale fast food burger and shake place. You can kind of customize your burger - you choose which style of burger you want, then they have different options, all with zombie-themed names like "28 Days Later" and "Dawn of the Dead."

The food wasn't too bad, but we had to wait a long time to get it. This place is BUSY! The line was almost out the door, and there weren't any actual tables left when we were there, so we sat at a "bar" style table off to the side of the ordering area. It is a popular place, that's for sure.

Since I'm a vegetarian, I got the veggie burger and I just got their classic option, but got it in a Double. It was way too much for me. Haha. I only ate about half of it. I thought the veggie patty was just ok. But the fries were awesome!

We didn't try any shakes, but if we go next time, I'd probably just go to try a shake. They have some pretty cool looking ones that they make with different kinds of cereal.

And of course, when you're in the Iowa City/ Coralville area, you have to do a little shopping. 

We went to Coral Ridge Mall and killed a couple of hours, then went to the Von Maur at River Landing that just opened a few years back. I had never been to this one but had been wanting to go! I tried on some dresses there, since I'm in need of a dress for another wedding in a couple of months, but didn't have much luck. I did like a couple of tops though, that I ended up getting.

I didn't think the dresses I tried on were really "dressy" enough for a wedding, especially when Trent will be wearing a tux. :) I did get the two tops on the right, though. A sweater/cardigan, and a one-shoulder top that will be cute for summer!

So that was our little Iowa City weekend trip. It was fun exploring the area, and we did have pretty good weather when we were there, too, which was nice.

This weekend is more low-key. Trent's going out tonight with a couple of friends for a "guy night," watching some fight (WWE type thing?), Haha. I will most likely be watching movies on Netflix and hanging at home by myself. A little romantic comedy night for me I think. Who's with me?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Target Spring 2017 Decor

Have you all been to Target lately? I've been too busy with weddings and clothes shopping (in IA City this past weekend), as well as planning for vacations this summer. But I know I'll need to make it into Tar-jay this April for the new Victoria Beckham clothing line coming out on April 9! Who's with me?

In the mean time, there's always online "window shopping" for a good Target decor fix. I decided to check it out and see what decor they have out this spring.

Here's a roundup of some of my favorite online finds. (Links for all at the bottom) What do you think? Some fun items this spring, I'd say!


Happy Target shopping, everyone!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Time Spent Reading About an Inspirational Man

Today, I'm spending time at home reading, while Trent is out getting supplies for his aunt and uncle's new ceiling, and helping to put the finishing touches on it.

It might seem like another boring day at home, but I've been reading about a very inspirational man and colleague of mine, nicknamed Doc Holliday. He is a "retired" veterinarian in his early eighties who still does some consulting work for our company. He has written and put together this autobiographical book to pass along to his daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to treasure for years to come.

Doc is a great writer and loves doing it. My boss let me borrow a copy of the book to read, and it's so inspiring and well-written. Also, the way he writes about his lovely wife, Ruth is so cute! They first met as kids and have been together almost the entire time since.

Doc grew up during WWII and compared his childhood at times to the movie we all know and love - A Christmas Story. He listed to programming on his family's radio after school, and actually owned a Red Ryder BB gun. But instead of shooting his eye out, he shot his tooth and had to have it repaired.

He was in the army for a little while and lived in Washington, DC for a short time with his wife, before moving back to the Midwest to finish his Vet degree and practice as a Veterinarian.

I love all of the interesting stories he includes in this book, and I'm honored to know Doc and Ruth and spend time with them at work conferences. Maybe one day, I'll be able to write my life story, and I can only hope that it is half as interesting as Doc's!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Birthday Day-Off: Around The House

So I shared what I did for my birthday last weekend, but I also took some photos around the house on my actual birthday, Monday. I had the day off, and yes, I spent my birthday at home getting things done around the house. I did dishes, two loads of laundry, dusted and cleaned the house, and I found places for my new decor items I got shopping in Bishop Hill! It was actually a pretty nice and productive day.

Though it was cloudy most of the day, the sun even managed to peek out for a little while. Saleen was thrilled, as you can see.

I got to try out my new mug with some nice coffee on Monday morning - from my couch. :) 

And that is a selfie, from my last day being 28. So sad. It's the last year of my twenties. I'll go cry now..

I did spend my birthday getting the living room cleaned and de-cluttered. Can you say #adultlife?

Just me and Saleen hanging out. It was a grand old time.

And aren't my bee coasters and this cute candle holder perfect additions to the living room end table?

Then there's this cool glass box, which was a birthday present from my aunt. Mr. Turtle seems to like it pretty well.

All in all, my 29th birthday was a pretty good day spent. Though it did end with some scary excitement. We got severe weather in our area at about 11:00 -11:30 that night. There was actually a tornado pretty close to us, and we went down to the basement, Saleen and all! We were all ok in our area, though. No damage here, luckily - though a couple of surrounding towns got hit pretty badly. Let's hope we don't get more of that kind of weather for a while.

Happy weekend, TGIF! :)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Birthday Weekend

Hello all! Today is my 29th birthday. I took the day off work today, so I could sleep in and stay home, and get some things done around the house. So far today, I've watched a movie and got a visit from Trent this morning, who delivered my new shoes. :) I plan on doing the dishes and cleaning around the house.

I can't believe this is the last year of my twenties! I better live this year up, huh? Today I wanted to share with you a little about my weekend and how I celebrated my birthday.

Saturday, Trent and I took a little trip to Bishop Hill - a historic, little Swedish town with cute shops and restaurants. We did some eating and shopping - I had never really been there before, and it turned out to be a really cool place that's right in our backyard!

The first place we went to was the Bakery - a cute, old-timey restaurant and bake shop. 

They played some old style music, and as soon as you walked in, you felt like you just stepped back in time.

All of the old buildings here have the old style, country decor inside. Even the tables and chairs feel like they're from the 1800's.

The food was delicious and all tasted homemade. Since they're a bakery, their specialty is the bread, and it was amazing! It was so soft. We ended up taking home a loaf of the wheat bread.

The weather was gorgeous, too. So bright and sunny out, and about 65 degrees. We had a perfect day for shopping and exploring.

We also went to Sweet Annie's, an antique and gift shop.

My favorite thing there was the homemade soy candles. We spent at least 10 minutes just smelling them all. Haha.

There were so many different scents. I ended up getting the "Brown Sugar" scented one.

All of the buildings in this little town are so old and historic. There's an old hotel there, and a Colony Store, that we stopped in and bought a few things at. I picked out some things that Trent got me for my birthday, too, like some yummy Fudge and a few little decor items.

We didn't go into any of these buildings, but I thought they all looked cool, so got a few pictures:

All in all, it was a great afternoon and was nice to get away and go shopping for my birthday!

Here are all of my treasures that I ended up getting on the trip:

I love these Bee coasters - aren't they cute? There were a ton of different coasters that you could mix and match. I went with the "bee" theme for all of them. I love the little sayings!

We brought home some Cheesecake fudge, which was amazing. And I found some really cool old wood blocks at a place in Altona on the way back, with our initials. I want to display them somewhere - just need to find a place for them!

I also have a thing for coffee mugs these days, and thought this one was pretty cool!

We burned my new candle yesterday, and it made the house smell amazing! It has kind of a buttery smell. I kind of just want to eat it. Haha.

Yesterday, my parents took us out to eat for my birthday at a new place in Moline called The Steel Plow. They are becoming famous around the Q.C. for their burgers and crazy delicious shakes!

Don't they look awesome? They taste just as good as they look. And the rest of the food was good, too. It was a nice, early Sunday dinner at a cool new place.

When I got home, Saleen wished me a Happy Birthday, too! Isn't she adorable in this picture?

Well, I am going to start cleaning around the house and enjoy spending my birthday at home today! And just for "kicks," - Here are my new shoes that just got delivered. :)

They're my birthday present to myself! (From DSW - get them here). Happy Monday everyone!

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