Taking a Break

I’ve decided to take a little break from blogging. I know I don’t blog all that much anyway, and I definitely don’t need to make any sort of “official” announcement, but it makes me feel better to do so. Even though blogging is just a hobby for me, something that I do for fun, it’s become a sort of nagging obligation in the back of my mind. I want to lose that, and I think a break might help. I’d like to leave this space open for sharing pictures with my family (especially while traveling) and recounting big events, so I’m not going to call it quits for good. Maybe just for March? We shall see.

Plus now I’ll have more time to feed my new (yet late to the game) Breaking Bad addiction…

Our Next Big Trip

Our spring vacation is booked, and I couldn’t be more excited!! This year’s trip is BIG…we’re going to Paris and Switzerland!

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Traveling is one of our absolute favorite things, and we try to  make it a priority every year. We love to discover new places, new foods, try new things, and explore. And I think we travel really well together. I’m much more of a planner, and Kate can fly by the seat of her pants. It’s a pretty perfect combo.

In fact, Kate let me surprise her with this trip. Oh my, it was so fun. We picked the dates ahead of time, and I asked for some of the places on her “short list” that she’d like to visit as well as those that don’t really interest her. Everything else was a secret until after the flights were booked and the rooms were reserved. It was awesome!

So here’s the plan. We’ll be travelling for a little over a week in May. We have an overnight flight to Paris, where we’ll spend 3 days and 3 nights in an apartment in the Marais district (rented via Airbnb.) We’ll then take an all-day train trip to our next destination: Mürren, Switzerland. The train ride will be 4 hours through the French countryside and another 4 hours getting up into the Swiss Alps. Mürren is a car-less town up in the mountains of the Bernese Oberland region, so we’ll have to take various trains and cable cars to get to our (gorgeous) hotel. We’ll have 3 nights and 2 and half days in Mürren before heading down the mountain and over to Zürich. We’ll just have one afternoon/evening in Zürich before flying back home the next morning.

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This will be the first time either of us have visited France or Switzerland. I wanted to see at least a couple of places, and I love how this trip has both city time and nature time. A train trip is something Katie has wanted to do forever so I really hope this one doesn’t disappoint.

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We’re hoping to explore Paris for a few days with very little scheduled. (I think a picnic on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower is my only request.) In Switzerland we’re going to go hiking, canyoning, and (hopefully) paragliding! Zürich is an added little bonus. We wouldn’t have been able to make it to the airport in time for our flight if coming from our hotel in Mürren, so spending the night in Zürich just made sense logistically. But now that I’m looking into the city a bit more, I’m excited that we’ll have a few hours to experience it.

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Yay! We’re both pretty stoked. I know we won’t be able to take big trips like this every year, so I’m really grateful that it’s working out for us. Please let me know if you have recommendations for us!

Thrift Store Art

Have you ever found art at the thrift store for your home? I always look but haven’t uncovered much. Most of it seems like generic hotel decor or framed posters. But just this week I found 2 pieces that I deemed good enough to bring home. And for $6 total, I think I scored a deal.

For some reason I was really, really drawn to this painting. Love the mint + peach + pink + blue. It’s watercolor on some sort of paint board, and I thought it was pretty and original. There are a few places where drips of something have smudged the paint, but I still love it. I think I’ll hang it next to my vanity/accessories cabinet in our bedroom.

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The second piece is a framed print by an artist named Korber. (I’ve tried finding out more about it with no luck.) I like the colors and think it will look good in either the living room or the den.

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Both of these are in 19″ x 23″ frames. Most of the things we have hanging on our walls currently are pretty small (like on our gallery wall), so I’m happy to have some larger art to display.

Have you had luck finding art in thrift stores? Do I need to try estate sales instead? Anyone in Omaha know of good places to look?

Watched Lately

We LOVE the new couch we got for the basement. The first one I picked out didn’t fit so it had to be returned. And not that it didn’t fit in the basement, we couldn’t even get it into the house. (Darn 100-year-old houses with their tight corners and narrow doorways.) But I’d like to think it was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the chance to give this guy a second look. I loved it immediately at the store, but quickly ruled it out because it was too long. On the second go, I realized that each piece was sold individually. If I purchased just 4 of the 5 pieces and rearranged them a bit, I had a perfect fit. *Ahhhh!*

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It is so comfy for stretching out on. And since we also got a new TV for the basement, we’ve been watching a ton of movies lately. Some good, some great, and few meh. Here’s what’s been playing:

Top of the Lake

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This is a television miniseries of 7 hour-long episodes, which I binge-watched (via Netflix) over the course of 3 days. (And then Kate showed me up by finishing the entire series in one sitting while she was home sick one day.) It’s a mystery/drama about a 12-yr-old pregnant girl who tries to commit suicide and then disappears. Elisabeth Moss plays the main detective on the case, and you learn a lot about her past along the way. There are some good plot twists, as well as plenty of strangeness that keep it interesting. And the scenery is amazing - it’s set in (gorgeous, gorgeous) New Zealand. It ended with just enough questions left unanswered to make me mad yet keep me thinking about it. But I think the biggest takeaway for me was the look of the series. It was misty and cool and fresh. I want to go there.

Dart river valley.  Rees-Dart Track in Mount Aspring National Park, NZ

Blackfish

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I don’t remember who recommended this documentary to me, but it popped up on Katie’s list right about the same time. She watched it one day while I was at work, and then I saw it on the Netflix queue the next evening. I watched it while being saddened and horrified and made to feel ill. Great review, right? It’s a film that takes a look (finally) at the incidents with Killer Whales and their trainers at Sea World. It’s heart-breaking and infuriating, but I recommend it nonetheless.

The Intouchables

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(Not to be confused with the Kevin Costner/Sean Connery film, The Untouchables). Finally, a feel-good movie! This one was great. It’s about a French aristocrat who becomes paralyzed and hires an ex-con to be his personal aide. It’s based on a true story, and you grow to just love these guys. Funny and touching. Yep, still making me smile.

Nobody Else But You

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I liked this movie because the story was different from most things I watch. From IMDB: “A bestselling crime novelist who is desperately looking for a new story hones his focus on the apparent suicide of a small-town woman, an aspiring model who thought she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe.” It’s set in rural France in the winter, and is surprisingly light for being about a dark subject. You cheer for the writer as he fumbles through figuring out this woman’s story, as it seems the whole town is trying to get rid of him. And her apartment in an old bakery is adorable. That said, I don’t regret watching it, but I wouldn’t call it a great movie by any means.

The Vicious Kind

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Um…not really sure how I feel about this one. It was NOT what we were expecting. Like at all. Whatever trailer we watched really sugar-coated things! It’s a surprising family drama. But more than anything, it’s such a weird way to see Adam Scott.

Her

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This is another one I’m struggling to decide how I feel about. Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with his operating system, which is programmed to learn him and appeal to him. I’ve heard lots of people describe it as weird, but I really didn’t feel that way. In fact, I found it very, very believable. Then again, I find myself thanking Siri for sending text messages for me, so maybe I’m the weird one. This is still playing in theaters, and the big screen may have been a bit overwhelming for me. There seem to be lots of close-ups of Joaquin’s face. Like, I could now easily identify him by his upper lip. I told Katie afterwards that I didn’t know if it was our location in the theater, our seats (which reclined), or the camera angle, but I felt like I was looking up a lot of the time. And she pointed out that maybe it was supposed to be from the perspective of the operating system, so it was shot down lower (like from a computer on a desk), which I found really interesting. The lighting in the film is really pretty, like everything is tinged with pink or orange, as if during a sunset. But the pants are ridiculous (and now for sale for $195)!

And the 2 “meh” movies that we watched but don’t really recommend were Drinking Buddies and Frances Ha. I thought Drinking Buddies had promise, but it just fell flat. It seemed like many of the scenes were ad-libbed, and not in a good way. And I swear they were drinking beer in every scene…it was weirdly annoying. Frances Ha was just kinda blah. However, it was nice to see peeks into what seemed like realistic NYC apartments.

Have you watched anything great lately? I’d love some recommendations!

(all photos from IMDB)

Favorite Cream Blush

I’m not a huge makeup girl. Or more accurately, I’m not a morning person, which is when makeup-ing typically happens. I have a 1-minute routine for work mornings that consists of pressed powder over any shiny spots, eyebrow filler, and a quick coat of mascara. Done.

But recently I’ve decided to try to throw in one more step here and there. Maybe a swipe of eyeshadow or tinted lip balm. And I decided to give a little blush a try. I popped into Sephora (I like that you can test out the makeup there) and found this 3-in-1 stick by NARS. (The Multiple)

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It’s a cream makeup stick that can be used on your cheeks, eyes, and lips. I played around with the colors and found one that I love (Portofino, which is a shimmery coral, and not nearly as orange as it appears in the photo above.) I quickly fell in love with giving my cheeks a little color. I think it’s really cute and makes me look more awake. At $39 it’s not as cheap as something you might pick up at the drugstore, but the fact that I’m using it consistently and still loving it makes up for that, I think.

Any makeup products that you love? I’m up for trying more!

Drinking in a Winter Wonderland

We have a group of close friends that take turns hosting various parties throughout the year. Katie and I take on a holiday cocktail party, where we dress up, pretend to be fancy, and proceed to get schnockered. This year’s party was in January, and Kate came up with the perfect theme: Drinking in a Winter Wonderland.
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We chose 5 signature cocktails and gave them humorous wintery names (another one of Kate’s specialties.) We premixed pitchers and punch bowls of a few and then set out the ingredients and recipes for the rest. We also had the mini-fridge stocked with Holiday Cheer and a few bottles of wine set out.
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Anna made this awesome chalkboard menu for me. My handwriting is atrocious, and I’m always admiring the writing she does on her kitchen chalkboard. I think it looks so great, and everyone loved it. On the menu:

  • Polar Vortex – Pomegranate Gin Fizz
  • Subzero Shine – Homemade Apple Pie Moonshine
  • Alpine Avalanche – Citrus Champagne Punch
  • Night Blizzard – Dark & Stormy
  • Abominable Snow Dude – Vanilla Cinnamon White Russian

We also had lots of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and little nibbles.

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Before people started leaving we decided we should try to get a group photo. We were all good and silly by that point, so we had a bit of fun with the camera.

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And then I did something that turned out super fun. I set my camera out with a 10 second timer and propped a chair up in front of it. It became a little makeshift photo booth and our friends went crazy for it! They were snapping photos all night long. Like ALL night. I found over 400 pictures on my camera the next day(!!) And they were hi.la.ri.ous.

(This is the point where all of our friends are breaking out into cold sweats worrying about what kind of photos I’m going to post of them on my blog. Mwah ha ha!!)

(Don’t worry, I’ll be nice. :))

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SONY DSCSONY DSCThe camera got picked up and used throughout the night, too. It was so fun to look through these photos the next day!

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Thanks for the fun, friends!! Can’t wait to do it again next year!

A Doll for Amelia

I made a doll for our friend’s sassy little 18 month old Amelia this Christmas.

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I used the same pattern that I used for Emmie’s doll, but switched up the fabric. Once again I used all flannel and felt, so it’s nice and soft.

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I like how sweet the pattern is, and how easy it is to customize by using different colors for the hair & eyes, as well as the letter patch for each little one’s name.

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Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of Amelia opening her gift, but it was pretty adorable seeing her give it little hugs and kisses.

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Again, this doll is not perfect by any means, but at least the pattern is simple. For me the hardest part is figuring out where to pin all of the pieces and layers before stitching them together and turning them right-side-out. For some reason my brain has a hard time with that step! And adding the little curly-qs of hair is a teeny bit tricky since you have to leave a hole for them and then hand stitch them shut at the end.  But it all worked out, even if the arms are lopsided and the hair is a little wonky. :)

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