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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Trent's Outdoor Bar Progress

Trent has been continuing to work on the outdoor bar he started building back in April. Little by little, he's putting together his own bar space in the backyard out of reclaimed wood and some metal sheets he picked up recently at Lowe's.

He got a little more finished over the weekend, including the metal in the front of the bar, and one of the sides started.

He still doesn't have a plan on paper. He always says it's in his head. :)

He did get ideas from looking at different outdoor bars online, though. There are a few out there that are similar, like these:

From here
From here
From here

Trent's is going to be a little larger than those, though. The frame of it is the doorframe he made for our wedding ceremony, and he's attaching posts to the back and going to make sides and a roof for it, too. It's really starting to take shape!

I'm glad he's making something that he really wants, even if it is just a side project and not the big projects we really need to get done. We're hoping that after we get back from vacation, we can focus on the "big stuff" we don't want to do, but really need to!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Travel Tuesday: 10 U.S. Cities and Fun Things to Do There

I haven't done a Travel Tuesday post in a while, and I've had some time to blog this weekend, so decided to post a new one today. These are ten cities that Trent and I have visited and think they're pretty cool places to hang out at.

I thought I'd recommend a few things to do in each one, all tried and true by yours truly. And I've linked to my past posts about some of the cities listed. (Just click on the city name to visit a past post about them). Also, my hometown of the Quad Cities is on this list, too. :) Enjoy!

1. Chicago, IL

  • Go to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
  • Shop on Michigan Avenue
  • Ride to the top of the Hancock Building or the Willis Tower
  • Ride the ferris wheel and do some shopping at Navy Pier
  • Visit some of the museums here, like The Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry

2. Cincinnati, OH

  • Walk across the city's multiple bridges
  • Hang out at a rooftop bar
  • See a concert at the Riverbend Music Center
  • Take in the views from the tops of the city's many hills

3. Denver, CO

  • See a game at Coors Field
  • Shop and eat at the 16th Street Mall
  • Visit Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

4. Colorado Springs, CO

  • Take a trip to the top of Pike's Peak
  • Visit Seven falls to see the pretty waterfalls
  • Take in the majestic views at Garden of the Gods park

5. St. Louis, MO

  • Visit the Anheiser-Busch brewery and take the brewery tour
  • See a game at Busch stadium
  • Ride to the top of The Arch

6. Milwaukee, WI

  • See all of your favorite bands at Summerfest
  • Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum
  • Pretend like you're in a tropical oasis at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (a.k.a. The Domes)

7. San Antonio, TX

  • Hang out at the River Walk where you can take a boat ride, eat yummy Mexican food, or shop at the River Walk Mall
  • Visit The Alamo
  • Go up in the Tower of Americas

8. Myrtle Beach, SC

  • Take in all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the Boardwalk
  • Lay out on the beach (the main attraction!)
  • Ride the Sky wheel
  • Hang out at Broadway at the Beach
  • Ride in a helicopter and take in some aerial views of the city

9. Quad Cities (IA/IL)

  • See a minor league baseball game at Modern Woodmen Park
  • Take in one of the many summertime festivals, like the Bix and Blues Fests, or Gumbo Ya Ya
  • Visit the Putnam or Figge museums
  • Visit one of the local brew pubs, like Bent River or Front Street Brewery
  • Take a walk by the river at sunset

10. Washington, D.C.

  • Spend a day or a weekend at the National mall
  • See famous buildings and monuments like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the White House in person
  • Visit all of the free Smithsonian Museums

And that's all for now! Hope you enjoyed this little round-up of some fun cities and things to do there!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekend Fun in Iowa City and Davenport

Hello all and happy Monday! Popping in again today, this time sharing a few fun places we've gone in the last couple of weeks.

Father's Day was last weekend, and we spent the day in Iowa City with my family. We went to a pizza place we had never been to before, called Wig and Pen.

My mom and I split a small Chicago-style cheese pizza, and it was really good! Close to Giordano's good. I definitely recommend it!

The atmosphere is pretty cool inside, but even the outside is cool looking. It's kind of like a British pub, complete with a bright red phone booth outside.

We then headed to a pretty popular place in the Iowa City area, Scratch Cupcakery in Coralville. So many pretty and yummy cupcakes!

Trent and I got a box of 4 to go. They were all delicious, but VERY filling. You've been warned! 

Of course when in Coralville, we stopped at the mall for a little shopping. We didn't have enough time to do some really serious shopping though, so Trent and I went up to Davenport this past Saturday and did a little more shopping before our Michigan vacation next week!

We got way too much stuff, but hey, we needed new clothes and shoes for our vacation and a couple of other trips we'll be going on this year!

I totally took a selfie in my new sunnies, too. I didn't get them on Saturday (I actually got them online from lulu's), but it was my first time wearing them. I think I'm in love, and there will probably be more of these on our upcoming Michigan vaca.

Saturday night we ate at Rudy's in the East Village in Davenport. It's been remodeled in the last year or so, and it's so much nicer now. You can even go up to the rooftop and eat, but it was closed for a private party when we went.

But Margaritas and Mexican food... Yes please!

We also had a celebrity sighting while walking out from Rudy's in the Village. The band Rooney was in town for a show there, and we totally saw them walk across the street and right in front of our car. They looked a little out of place so we knew they were someone famous. Like hipsters visiting Iowa for the first time. Haha. One of them was taking video of the East Village from his phone! Anyway, that was pretty exciting. 

Yes, our past couple of weekends have been fun, but I'm looking forward to spending the week of the Fourth in Michigan by the lake! Hoping for nice weather. :)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Container Vegetables

Second post today. Couldn't help myself! Since planting our garden this summer, we've gotten a few other vegetable plants from Trent's family: An eggplant from Mark and Sandy, and a few peppers from his dad.

They've been sitting in the kitchen window for a week or two, so we figured it was about time we planted them. :) Since our garden is pretty full right now, and we had some spare pots in the garage we didn't use, we decided to plant them in the pots instead.

We've never really planted vegetables in containers before, so this is kind of a first. We'll see what happens! It's a little late for planting, but maybe we'll have some veggies by the end of summer or early September.

Here's what we have in the pots:

We have some extra wire caging, so may put some around them just to help keep the pests and any animals away.

We'll see how this container gardening thing goes!

The Garden Is Growing!

It's a beautiful Sunday morning, and we finally have a day to spend at home around the house after a couple of busy weekends in a row. 

Today I'm sharing a few pics of some of our growing plants outside. We haven't gotten too much rain so far this summer, but we've had enough I guess, for some pretty good growth with our flowers and garden vegetables. 

Just look at some of my flower pots in the backyard: 

I've got lots of pretty pink petunias taking off in my pots right now!

The garden has also been growing, much better than last year's. These pictures were actually from a week ago, and since then, I think they've even grown more.

This first row is all tomatoes, and they've pretty much outgrown their cages at this point!

We also have a row of corn growing, as well as some butternut squash and cucumbers. I think it will probably be another month or so at least before we actually get to harvest some vegetables, though.

Last weekend was pretty hot (which is kind of my jam), so I was able to hang out in the yard a little and watch the garden grow. :)

This weekend feels more spring-like, only lower 70s for a high, so we're spending time around the house with the windows open and a nice breeze flowing through the house.

Cheers to a nice Sunday all!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Short But Fun Weekend in Chicago

Hello everyone! It's time for our Chicago trip recap, as promised. We went up to Chicago on Saturday and came back Sunday afternoon. It's just a few hours drive for us, but we don't get up there too much, so it was nice to get away for a couple of days.

We actually went to see the Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds concert on Saturday night. They played at the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. It's a pretty cool venue, but I'll get to that in a moment!

First, let's talk about our hotel. We stayed at the Congress, which is close to Millennium Park and Lake Michigan, and best of all, was within walking distance of the concert venue which was super convenient.

This was our room..Isn't it cute? I loved the bed pillows and airy curtains.

The room was comfortable and charming, and you could tell the building was pretty old (and huge!), but also historic at the same time. Apparently a lot of U.S. Presidents have stayed here in its day, though I'm sure they stayed in nice suites, not a simple room like ours. :)

We will be back here again for a concert next month and will be staying at the same hotel, so it was nice to get a feel for it now, so we know what to expect when we're here again in July.

After we checked into the hotel on Saturday, we headed out and walked around town, looking for a good place to eat. Well, the place we wanted to eat at, called Cindy's (it looked pretty awesome inside and has rooftop seating), was super crowded with a long wait, so we decided to just walk to the lake and see what we found along the way.

It was a nice day, pretty hot but with a nice breeze! The lake made for a nice view, though. We walked through a couple of parks first, and we just ended up eating at a little food vendor by the lake that had hotdogs and nachos and some other refreshments. As long as we had food in our stomachs before the concert and plenty of water, we were satisfied!

It felt good to be back in Chicago again. It had been a while since we actually had some time to walk around and explore a little of the city.

We watched the geese swimming for a little while, then made our way down to Northerly Island, which is where the concert venue is. It's actually a little peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan, near the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. Here's a map for your reference:

It was our first time seeing a concert here, and our first time seeing just a Dave and Tim show, and we were actually really impressed. Not only was the area around it really pretty and nice (can't beat both lake and skyline views), but we had a great time overall.

We sat near the back floor sections, so weren't super close, but we had a good view of Dave and Tim on the screen. And once it cooled down at night, it was much more comfortable! I think it was in the lower nineties all day, so we were pretty hot at first.

Can't beat good music and good views, though! Seriously, I'm pretty sure this is close to what heaven is like: The sun setting over the Chicago skyline, Dave Matthews playing in front of you, and a cold drink in your hand.

Here's a wider shot of our concert view:

This was our 9th Dave show together, and the acoustic set with Tim was amazing. We can't wait to see Third Eye Blind here next month. I'm sooo excited for that one!

The next day, we headed home, but not before stopping in Geneva and eating brunch at Buttermilk. Our second time there. I'm still thinking about those pancakes...highly recommend!

And of course, we also stopped at my sister Haley and brother in law, Dan's house there to pay them a visit!

Overall a good weekend in Chicago, although as always, too short. Back to reality for us this week.. Until next time!

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