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Oh, Hello!

Well, hello, everyone!  I can't believe it's been over three months since I have blogged.  When I wrote in September that my goal for the month was to prioritize self-care, I realized that one of the best ways for myself to do just that was to actually step away from my blog.  Blogging became utterly un-fun for me, and I found myself getting increasingly irritated with the whole blogging world in general.  Walking away unapologetically was such an important thing for me at the time.

In the past several months, I have spent so much time reading, making music, investing in my real-life friendships, spending time with my family, learning, and falling back in love with St. Paul.  There have been some challenges in my life these past few months, but I am working through them all and feeling so much better about things now.

I wasn't ever really planning to return to my blog, but I've also realized as time has gone on that I would like a place to write and document little bits of my life.  Things will look different around here, though.  I likely will share the occasional outfit and write about my personal style a little bit, but I am also really interested in sharing more on my thoughts about certain topics that I'm passionate about.  I want to talk about my life as well (including updating y'all on my 30 before 30 progress).  I'm not planning on any set blogging schedule and I'm not anticipating any big projects for my blog right now, but I'll just write when I feel like it and about whatever comes to my mind.

Here's to a new year and a new direction!


REMIX | Gray T-Shirt Dress

My apologies for the lack of blogging lately.  The first day of school was this past Tuesday, and anyone who works in a school knows how exhausting that first week back can be.  On top of it, I came down with a nasty cold on Wednesday (yep, the second day of school), which has totally tapped me out.  Kevin has the same cold as well, so we spent all weekend just laying on the couch, drinking water and watching copious amounts of Project Runway.  [Side note: I feel really lucky that I have a partner who doesn't mind - in fact, enjoys - watching Project Runway with me.  It leads to some very interesting discussions about the fashion industry, bodies, etc.  Any other Project Runway fans out there??]  I need to do another round of outfit photos so you can see what I wore during my first week of school, too!  For now, I've got a few more rounds of photos of what I wore this summer.  Today's post features my gray t-shirt dress and three different ways I wore it over the summer.

Dress: Old Navy | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Simonson's Jewelry
I really love how gray, purple, and black look together, so when I wanted an easy outfit for a day at home this summer, I decided to accessorize this dress with my purple pendant necklace and black sandals.  It's very simple, but I liked how I felt in this outfit.  It was great for a hot day!
Dress + Flats: Old Navy | Scarf: Gift from Mom
Typically, when I am looking through my outfit spreadsheets (which have evolved since I first posted back in 2013...), and notice that there's an item that has been neglected, I make it a point to plan a few potential outfits that include that item.  So, when I was doing my most recent closet inventory update, I realized I hadn't worn this scarf in ages, and decided to wear it in an outfit later that week.  Typically, when I wear a scarf with an outfit, I like it to add some contrast to the outfit.  This time, however, I tried out a different look in which the scarf kind of blended into the dress.  I didn't mind how it looked, actually :)
 Dress: Old Navy | Shoes: TOMS | Scarf: Gift from Mom
I wish I had taken a close-up of this scarf.  My mom gave it to me on a whim in the spring, and I absolutely adore it.  It fits in with so many things in my closet, and I love how lightweight it is.  I wore this outfit on a random weekday this summer, but I would feel 100% comfortable wearing it to work as well.

I know that so many bloggers have this dress (and in other colors as well), and there are probably so many other exciting ways to wear it, but I just like how much mix and match potential there is!  I've already showed how I've worn my coral version on the blog, and I'm going to do another remix with my black version soon as well.  Remixing for the winnnn!


Black Tee + Jeans: Three Ways

I'm a total sucker for a tee and jeans.  I'm also a fan of accessorizing basics to switch up that look.  Over the summer, I wore this combo several times, but each time with different accessories.
Tee + Sandals: Target | Jeans: Lauren Conrad | Necklace: Eclectic Wendy Designs

This is the most basic you'll see me, I think.  It's really nothing special, but it's easy to wear and makes me feel presentable for running errands, haha.

Tee: Target | Jeans: Lauren Conrad | Scarf: Gift | Flats: TOMS

I adore the way cuffed jeans and flats look together, so this outfit (and the next, for that matter) was one that I really liked all summer.  This scarf might be one of my all-time favorite scarves, because it goes with everything in my closet.  I love how it pops against a solid black tee!

Tee: Target | Jeans: Lauren Conrad | Scarf + Flats: Old Navy

Another scarf + flats outfit, but instead, I went all neutral with this one.  I wore this outfit when I went to a dueling piano bar with my coworkers this summer for 80s night.  I didn't want to go in costume, and I wanted to be casual but still look a little fun.  My leopard scarf is one of the most frequently worn items in my closet and has remained a solid staple for me for several years.  It's a great complement to a black tee.

So, while none of these outfits are earth-shattering, they're a pretty good representation of how I dress in the summers.  I like to be super comfortable but still presentable, and I like to switch up how I style my basics.


Currently | September

I just love these Currently posts with Anne and Jenna.  Be sure to check out the other bloggers who have linked up to see what they've been up to lately!

Reading | I've been reading the book Second Glance, by Jodi Picoult.  I've always enjoyed her books.  They're usually entertaining, and I like her writing style.  I've been reading this as an e-book on my phone, which I'm liking quite a bit.  I can read it on my phone when I'm going to bed or wherever I am out and about.  I haven't been reading as voraciously now that I'm back to work, but I'm making a little bit of progress every day!

Making | I've been making tons of schedule changes and appointments at work!  The first couple of weeks of the school year are always hectic for a school counselor, as we're trying to get everything squared away for our students.  I do love my job, though, and I'm very excited for the first day of school (Tuesday!) so that I can see my students again!

Pinning | You can see here my most recent pins - they really run the gamut from school counseling pins to recipes to book suggestions to exercise routines, and everything in between!  There are a few recipes on my Pinterest boards that I am eager to try - perhaps I'll try one out this month!

Anticipating | I cannot wait for cooler weather to return.  Last week, Minnesota experienced perfect fall weather in the 60s, but we're back up to the upper-80s this week.  I'm really needing it to cool down, since most of my clothes that are work-appropriate are designed for cooler weather.  I already feel like I'm running out of warm-weather work outfit ideas!  Dumb.

Loving | I'm going to be cheesy here for a minute, but whatever.  It's my blog, haha.  I've been loving spending time with Kevin lately.  Now that we've had a few weeks to spend some good quality time together in the evenings and on the weekends due to his new job, I'm just so dang happy about it.  We have so much fun together, whether we're having a serious discussion about social justice (standard dinner conversation around these parts...), working on projects around the house, doing mundane tasks like grocery shopping, or exploring St. Paul.


Monthly Goals | September

Recap | August Goals
1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night | I'm a little bit bummed, because I didn't get a solid 7 hours every single night this month, but I do have to say I made huge improvements in my sleeping this month!  I'd say I got at least 7 hours of sleep about 75-80% of the time, which is way better than my track record the rest of the month.  Now that I'm back to work, I've been trying hard to get in bed by 9:00, and it hasn't been too bad!

2. Blog at least twice each week | Hooray!  I blogged 8 times in August, which is approximately twice a week.  I feel good about this goal, and it felt good to post a bit more regularly.

3. Read 1,000 pages in August | I absolutely crushed this goal!  I read well over 1,500 pages in August, which shakes out to 6 complete books.  I'm also currently in the middle of two other books (one audiobook and one e-book).  Since I've been back to work, I haven't been as much of a reading machine - I can only get through a few pages before I fall asleep - but it feels good to continue reading.  And...I'm still planning on putting together a book post.  I just need to write it.

4. Finish painting the kitchen | Yes!  A couple of weekends ago, Kevin and I decided to tackle a bunch of our house projects.  Kevin worked a ton in the yard while I finished painting the kitchen.  It feels so great to finally be done with the awful minty green that covered our kitchen walls!  We are almost done putting our new house together!

5. Set a date for an open house | Nope, we didn't get this done either.  We have discussed our open house, but we haven't set a date yet.  To be completely honest, life has been incredibly busy and we just don't want to talk about planning a party quite yet, haha.  But rest's going to happen.

Not too shabby.  I'm going to give myself a 3.5/5 for accomplishing August's goals :)

September Goals
I only have one goal for this month: Prioritize self-care.  I'm back into the swing of things at work, and that means I need to be much more intentional about how I'm spending my time.  I've been struggling lately a lot with my mental health, as well.  I'm anxious, feeling a bit depressed, and am struggling with feelings of self-consciousness and shitty body image.  Quite frankly, it's been rough.  I need to do whatever I can to continue taking care of myself and improve my mental health.  I'm not 100% sure exactly what steps I'm going to take this month to take care of myself, but I certainly know it's something I deserve and need.

What are your goals for September?

I am also super excited that Nicole, one of my all-time favorite bloggers and the inspiration for my monthly goal posts


Budgeting Bloggers | August

Whoa, we're already to the end of another month!  And you know what that means...time for another installment of Budgeting Bloggers!

This month, I did a little thrifting and I did a little shopping at Target for some basics (and one bonus piece...).

  • Sleeveless chambray dress: Ralph Lauren, $5
  • Long-sleeved chambray dress: Old Navy, $5
  • Pink lace romper (pictured above): New York & Company, $14 (New with tags, originally $70!)
Total spent in August: $78

I purchased the long-sleeved tees because I needed something basic to wear to work and on the weekends, that I could dress up or down with scarves or necklaces, skirts or jeans, etc.  I took a risk by getting a color I don't typically reach for (a rusty orange), but I just couldn't help but love the color, and I really do think I'll be wearing it a lot this fall and winter.  The moto vest is something I've been drooling over at Target for months (seriously, I touched it every time I went to Target...), and I've already worn it twice in the two weeks I've had it.

The Goodwill items were definitely not planned, but I'm so excited about all of them.  I went to Goodwill to help Kevin pick up some shirts for his new job, and while I was waiting for him to try everything on, I saw these items hanging on the dress rack and knew I had to try them on.  The chambray dresses (totally necessary to have two chambray dresses, right??) are very different from each other, but they're both super comfortable.  In fact, I wore one for our family photos last weekend :)  As for the romper, I totally expected it to look horrible on me, like all the other rompers I've tried out.  However, I actually loved the way this romper looks on me.  It's such a fun, vibrant color, and I love that it's lace!  It's so much fun!  One of my coworkers is having a wedding reception this weekend (she got married in May in Arizona, so is having a reception for all her family and friends this weekend), and I'm thinking about wearing my romper to the wedding reception with some black wedges.  We'll see ;)

I'm linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers.


REMIX | Coral Dress

This coral t-shirt dress is one of the most comfortable things in my closet.  I just love how soft it is, and it seems to be endlessly versatile.  This summer, it's been on repeat (along with its gray and black companions...which you will be seeing more of in the next couple of weeks...).  I also love this dress because it's one I can easily wear to work (I go back to work today!!).  Here are two ways I've worn this dress this summer:
Dress: Old Navy | Scarf: Gift | Shoes: TOMS

I've been really into wearing lightweight scarves this summer, as they keep me a little warmer in the cold air conditioning, but they're not too heavy for being outdoors either.  This scarf doesn't actually have coral in it, but the black, gray, orange, and pink all complement the coral nicely.  For a little added dressiness, I wore my TOMS ballet flats, although I could have worn any pair of casual black sandals, too.

Dress: Old Navy | Vest: Maurices, thrifted | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Gift

What I love about coral is that it goes with basically every neutral tone...and since most of my closet is made up of neutrals, I feel like I can wear this dress with most everything else in my closet.  Take this denim vest, for example.  It's definitely a piece that can change up the look of an outfit, especially with the crocheted back (see below!).  While I've mostly worn this dress with black accessories in the past, I wanted to switch it up and go with gold and bronze tones this time around.  My gold necklace and headband along with the bronze sandals bring a different vibe to the dress and I love how it looks.

How else might you style a coral dress?


Weekend Recap and a Purple Tank

Tank: Gap, thrifted | Jeans: Kohls | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Eclectic Wendy Designs

It feels weird to be blogging this outfit right now as it's currently 57 degrees and cloudy...I'm currently wearing these same jeans but also with a college sweatshirt and my slippers.  I'm so not complaining, though - the chilly weather we have had in Minnesota the past two days has been delightful!  I am loving wearing my cardigans and long-sleeved shirts! :)

We had a super busy weekend.  On Friday evening, we took our annual family pictures with my mom's side of the family.  It's a fun tradition that has been going on for many years - and it's so cool to look back at all of our previous pictures and see how the families have grown.  This year, we added two new members: my cousin's son, Nolan, and my brother's new fiance, Rachel.  It's so exciting to have a growing, happy family!!  I'll probably share some of our photos on the blog in the next week or two.

On Saturday, Kevin and I spent most of the day doing projects in and around the house.  I finally painted our kitchen...something that we've put off for over two months now.  It feels so great to get the painter's tape off the walls and say goodbye to the horrid mint green kitchen!!  We also did a lot of work in our backyard.  The previous homeowners did almost no landscaping and/or yard maintenance, so we've had a ton of work to do to make it look more presentable.  We have plans to put in some vegetable gardens next spring/summer, so we're trying to clean things up to get ready for that project.  We still need to hang up our artwork (and order a couple of photo canvases to hang in our living room and dining room), but we're getting closer and closer to being done!  I cannot wait to finish it all and share our home with y'all!

On Sunday, we ventured to the Mall of America to find some work pants for Kevin's new job (he's working with an organization that helps low-income students get into and succeed in college!  This also means he's working days again, so we actually get to see each other now!!!).  We struck out, but we were able to enjoy some lunch at the mall anyway.  In the evening, we went to my parents' house for dinner and games with them and my brother and his fiance.  It has been so wonderful to live close to our families again - we can all hang out so much more, now!  We enjoyed great food and laughed a ton, and talked about wedding plans as well.  Such an exciting time in our family! :)

Anyway...about the outfit.  Really, there isn't a ton to say, other than I've really been enjoying wearing tank tops (now that I don't care about showing my arms) with jeans this summer.  I loved wearing outfits like this when I was nannying, because they were comfortable to move around in and play with the girls (we had lots of dance parties and musical singalongs this summer), but I also felt put together.  I especially love this tank top because the studs/sparkles add a built-in detail.

What did you do this weekend?  Tell me all about it :)


The Right to Bare Arms

Dress: Old Navy | Sandals: Target | Scarf: Gift

Well, looky here!  It's our deck!  I was able to finagle some kind of tripod so I could take outfit photos outside this past weekend, and I'd say it turned out alright!  I'm hoping I'll be able to take photos a bit more regularly now that I've figured out a way to take them outside, at least until it gets cold outside (I feel like I say this all the time...we'll see what actually happens...).

I've worn this exact outfit a couple of times this summer, because I like it so much.  I've mentioned before that I'm finally starting to get more comfortable with repeating outfits that I like and feel good in, and I've been doing it a lot more often this summer than I have in the past.  I'm also proud of myself for not being afraid of wearing sleeveless things anymore.  I used to think that bigger girls had to wear sleeves to cover their arms, but as I've grown older, I've realized I don't really care about the rules of what I "can" and "can't" wear.  I've been baring my arms all summer and it feels great to be confident enough to do just that.  After years of feeling like I need to cover up my body, limit what I wear, and feel shame about my size, I love that I'm slowly starting to embrace what makes me feel confident and pretty instead of hiding behind my clothes.  And that means that I'm going to bare my arms and legs.  I'm going to wear a two-piece swimsuit.  I'm going to wear leggings as pants.  I'm going to wear what I like.  And that's okay.


Catching Up

 Top: Target, thrifted | Pants: Kohls | Sandals: Target

One of my best friends from childhood, Emily (who writes a fantastically funny baking blog called Moist Bundt), moved to Los Angeles two years ago to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  She's so talented as a writer of plays and TV scripts, as well as a performer and improviser.  She's still established in Minneapolis as well, and returns to the area every year for the Fringe Festival (a fun performing arts festival in the Twin Cities).  This year, Emily wrote a play (called The Mrs., a dark comedy about a polygamist family and what occurs after the husband mysteriously disappears) and performed in an ensemble show (called Couple Fight, where several couples comically recreated real fights they've had), and I was thrilled to be able to see both of her shows.  Both were hilarious and smartly written, and had both Kevin and I howling with laughter!

Selfishly, I love when Emily comes home, because we make it a point to get together and catch up.  No matter how much time passes between our face-to-face visits, we always pick up right where we left off.  I wore this outfit when we grabbed lunch at one of my favorite Twin Cities pizza places, Punch Pizza.  It was so much fun to talk about our lives - to hear about her professional endeavors and the crazy situations she encounters in her life in LA, and to share with her about things that are going on in my life as well.  Plus, pizza.

I'm so happy that I picked up this blouse.  I haven't had much pattern (other than stripes) in my closet for quite awhile, and I like that this abstract pattern has visual interest and multiple neutral colors.  Given that the vast majority of my closet is neutrals ranging from whites/creams to grays to light browns to blacks, I'm confident that this blouse will get worn tons all year round.  I'm really excited to wear it with some ankle pants, flats, and a cardigan when I go back to work!  For now, though, I love wearing it relaxed with some rolled up ponte pants and my bronze fake Birks.  Casual and comfortable!



 Top: Old Navy | Skirt: Bettie Page | Sandals: Target
(nice butt, Rooney)

Oh my goodness, everyone.  I took outfit photos for the first time since the beginning of May the other day (MAY!!!!).  I'm trying to figure out the best way to take my pictures in our new house . I'd love to take them out on the deck, but I don't currently have a way to do it (I have a new phone and my old iPhone tripod doesn't work with my new phone), and I haven't had Kevin around to take pictures for me (dumb opposite schedules!).  So for now, you get some really good living room photos.  Whatever, at least I took the pictures, right?!

I wore this outfit a couple of weeks ago when my BFF came to play games with Kevin and me.  There's this really cool game center not too far from where we live - they design and manufacture games but they also have a game center where people can play any kind of game...card games, board games, nerd games, etc.  They also have food and adult beverages there, which always makes for a fun night, right?  We stayed at the game center for several hours playing this fantastic bluffing game called Coup.

Okay, but back to this outfit.  I hadn't worn this particular chambray shirt (it's one of four in my closet...and no, I don't think that's too excessive, hahaha) in forever, because the pocket flaps were always crinkled and flipped up, which is not cute.  And since I don't iron (ain't nobody got time for that), I just never wore the top, even though I absolutely love everything else about it.  A month or so ago, I brought it to my parents' house and had my mom stitch the pockets shut.  It was the best move ever, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I've worn it at least once a week since it has returned to my closet.  As for the skirt, I was debating whether I would keep it or not since I'm not a huge skirt wearer anymore.  However, I decided to give it a try with this decision ever.  I really love how the two look together - it's a put together outfit, but it also was comfortable.  I could easily wear this to work as well.


Currently | August

Haha, oops.  I'm an idiot and realized I forgot to hit "publish" on this post on Wednesday.  #bloggerfail.

Creating | Being back in the Twin Cities where most of our family and friends reside has been so fantastic.  Lately, I've been creating plans with many of said family and friends to hang out, reconnect, catch up, etc.  As one who has struggled with friendships for most of my life (and hasn't had many friends since leaving college...why is it so hard to make friends post-college?!), it feels really wonderful to reconnect with some very important people in my life.

Wishlisting | Honestly, I've been doing very little online window shopping lately.  I think I'm kind of "over" most of my previous go-to clothing stores (like Old Navy...aside from their workout gear and basic tanks, I'm pretty much uninterested in anything they're selling right now).  Instead of browsing online clothing stores, however, I've been wishlisting different food storage containers to pack lunches in when I head back to work (two more weeks of summer left!  AH!).  I really love the LunchBots line, and I think I want to get this container (pictured below).
Hoping | I'm hoping to get in some good niece snuggles in the next two weeks.  I know it will be harder to spend time with Elouise once the school year starts up again, and since my brother-in-law went back to work this week, I'm sure my sister-in-law would appreciate another set of hands to help out before I head back to school ;)  [Also, can you handle this adorable picture my brother-in-law snapped of Ella and me two weeks ago??}
Eating | I cannot get enough fresh fruit these days!  Whenever I go to the grocery store, I spend most of my time weaving in and out of the produce line and filling my cart with raspberries, blackberries, peaches, bananas, grapes, watermelon, apples, etc.  I just loooove fruit!

Watching | Kevin and I finally finished Orange is the New Black a couple of weeks ago, and we've been on a real Cutthroat Kitchen binge lately.  Alton Brown, the host of the show, is so evil and funny, and we love all of the sabotages.  As someone who isn't very adventurous or skilled in the kitchen, watching this show has made me eager to try some things out, though!

I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna for the monthly Currently link up :)


Monthly Goals | August

Recap | July Goals
1. Get 10,000 steps every day and drink 100 oz of water every day | Fail.  Fail, fail, fail.  I'm really disappointed in myself.  There's some kind of mental block I'm dealing with that is preventing me from getting into an exercise routine and/or being healthy in general.  I did much better at drinking water than I did at getting 10,000 steps in, but I'm trying hard to figure out why I cannot make choices for my health.  It's frustrating and discouraging.

2. Try a new recipe every week | Hahaha, guess how many times I cooked this month?  ZERO.  I mean, I made spaghetti once (with sauce from a jar - we go all out), and I made black bean tacos a couple of times, but these are regular staples for us.  We did absolutely no experimenting in the kitchen.  I did buy the ingredients to make a broccoli + cheese + rice casserole, but then Kevin ate the cheese and we forgot about the yeah.  I had kind of good intentions and zero follow through.

3. Play music | YES!  Finally, a goal I accomplished!  My dad told me about this fantastic app (Scribd), where you can have access to all kinds of audiobooks, ebooks, etc.  My favorite feature, however, is that you can get the musical score for all kinds of Broadway musicals!  My all-time favorite show is Spring Awakening (I previously sang for you one of my favorite songs from the show here), and I've been having a blast teaching myself the piano parts for some of my other favorite Spring Awakening shows.  I even recorded myself playing/singing one (Mama Who Bore Me).  Take a listen if you feel so inclined (keep in mind I've never played/sang at the same time before, and I have a crappy electronic keyboard, haha).
(Try this link if the embedded video doesn't work)

4. Organize the basement | Wooo!  Kevin mostly tackled this goal, but I'm super happy that we don't trip on broken down cardboard boxes at the bottom of the stairs now.  We also have a big open space that we set our workout equipment up in, and we set up some shelves to hold all of our extra towels, sheets, blankets, etc. near the washer and dryer.  We still would like to set up a few more sets of shelves and empy the rest of the boxes and bins downstairs, but we've made excellent headway.

5. Recreate a date with Kevin | Hooray!  Another goal done!  One of the first things Kevin and I did the summer our relationship began was get bubble tea at the Tea Garden.  It's one of the fondest memories I have of the summer we really got to know each other (2008 - how has it been seven years already?!).  We went back to the Tea Garden a couple of weeks ago and while Kevin was adventurous and tried a new flavor, I had the exact same thing I had seven summers ago: pineapple + pina colada tea with strawberry + mango + passion fruit jellies.  Deeelicious.

August Goals
1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night | I'm a total grandma/toddler, in that I require at least 8-9 hours of sleep to feel great.  I don't drink caffeinated beverages, so I really rely on getting adequate sleep to feel my best.  However, this summer, I've gotten 8+ hours of sleep only a handful of times.  According to my Fitbit (and considering how I feel), I've been averaging 5 hours of sleep a night.  NOT COOL.  I feel like a zombie (this could explain some of the weight gain and general lethargy I've been experiencing).  I'm going to make it a point to shoot for 7+ hours of sleep each night.  Once I head back to work (August 24!!), I'm going to need to wake up at 5:00 am, which means I'll need to be in bed at 9:00 on school nights.  Time to get into my new routine!

2. Blog at least twice each week | I'm getting my blogging groove back, y'all.  I have taken outfit photos twice in the past week, and I have plans to take a bunch more over the course of the next week.  I'm eager to show you what I've been wearing this summer (here's where tracking my daily outfits is a real benefit!).  I need to start slowly, considering the sheer lack of blogging that's been going on all summer, but I feel like at least two posts a week is realistic!

3. Read 1,000 pages in August | I have been a reading machine this summer!  So far in 2015, I've read 20 books, with 10 of them having been read in the last 2 months.  It's been such a blast to get back to my bookworm roots.  (Side note: would you be interested in a post with some of the books I've read lately?  I always love hearing book recommendations from others myself!)

4. Finish painting the kitchen | We ran out of paint while painting our kitchen when we moved in nearly two months ago.  It took me about 6 weeks to actually buy another can of paint...but not, I think it's high time we actually finish painting the kitchen.  Then we'll be all done with painting for now, we can finish hanging our artwork up, and I'll feel much more settled/happy :)

5. Set a date for an open house | Once the new house is all settled, Kevin and I are planning to host a little open house for our families and close friends to come check out the new digs.  It will feel so great to be able to share our home with those we love the most!

What are your goals for August?


Budgeting Bloggers | July

I finished up a year of no shopping at the end of May, and was glad to report that I did no shopping in June either.  However, I did do a bit of shopping this month...all of which I'm super excited about!
Goodwill purchases (1)
Goodwill purchases (2)
The Target sandals I bought are no longer available online, but this is what they look like.

  • Denim vest: Maurices, $5
  • Purple studded tank: Gap, $7
  • Chambray tunic: Old Navy, $5
  • Giraffe print top: Ann Taylor, $6
  • Cream waterfall cardigan: LOFT, $6
  • Gray/black lace cardigan: The Limited, $4
  • Blush short-sleeved sweater: Lou & Grey, $5
  • White/black studded blouse: Rock & Republic, $5
  • Gray/black striped sweater: Mossimo, $5
  • Gray/black leopard tunic: Fever, $2
  • Mint/black exercise top: Ryka, $9 (New with tags, originally $60!!)
  • White sheer tank: Cabi, $3
  • Black dress: Merona, $5
  • Brown maxi dress: Motherhood Maternity, $4 (New with tags, originally $40!)
  • Gray/black polka dot skirt: Elle, $3
  • Brown/black/cream patterned tank: Mossimo, $5
  • Bronze Birks: $17
  • Black Birks: $17
Total: $113

I have already blogged about my Goodwill shopping trip earlier this month and how thrilled I am with all of my new pieces.  However, I also found two pairs of wannabe Birkenstock sandals on clearance at Target this month.  I couldn't decide on a color so I bought both a black pair and a bronze pair.  THEY ARE AMAZING.

Honestly, I've worn at least one of these new items nearly every day throughout all of July.  Some of the items (giraffe print top, gray/black polka dot skirt, gray/black striped sweater, for instance) I haven't worn yet because either the weather is too warm or because they're a bit nice for my very casual summer routine, but I am eager to pull them out this fall for work and when it cools down!

From here, my goal is to hit up Goodwill every couple of months or so just to see if there's anything new I could add to my closet.  I don't feel like I really need a ton right now, but I also have heard rumblings that we're getting a new, strict dress code at my school.  If that's the case, I'm likely going to need to purchase a few new things to round out my work wardrobe.

I'm linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers.



So, I've been a little busy this week...becoming an AUNT!!  I'm thrilled that my gorgeous niece, Elouise, has arrived - 2.5 weeks early, but healthy, happy, and perfect in every way.  Kevin and I have been snuggling her as much as we can.
 I think the look on my face says it all.  LOVE.
 Is this not the most perfect face you've ever seen?  I can't stop gazing at her.
Happy uncle and auntie doting on Elouise.

I'm probably going to continue being in and out of my blog for the rest of the summer - between spending tons of time with our sweet niece, nannying, continuing to settle our house, and enjoying the remainder of my summer, I've not really been wearing anything too special (like here, I'm literally wearing a chambray tunic and yoga crops...#fashionista).  BUT!  I promise I will pop back in here and there :)

[PS. Yes, I still love and use hashtags.]


Recent Thrifting Finds

I've talked recently about the rut I'm in right now when it comes to getting dressed.  Many of you provided some excellent suggestions about how to combat that rut - thank you!!  I think a big reason why I've been in said rut is because I haven't added a ton of things into my closet over the past year (due to not really shopping all year).  However, as I've perused different store websites to see if anything being offered in stores right now speaks to me, I have been utterly uninspired.  I decided to head to my local Goodwill to see what was there - you can always find some random treasures at the thrift store!

I walked through every single rack (except for capris and blazers - I'm not looking for either of those items right now) and spent about 2 hours looking through all kinds of clothing items, filling my cart, and trying on said items.  I tried on well over 50 items, which took a lot of patience, but I really think it paid off in the end (I took home 16 items!).

Here are my super cute (hahaha) dressing room photos with reflections on the items I took home, and a few of the items I left behind:

I've been looking for a waterfall cardigan for a long time, but most of them are way too bulky for my body's already bulky shape.  This cream linen cardigan from LOFT is perfect!  It's lightweight and soft, and I like how it drapes on me.  I've also wanted a cardigan with a lace detail for quite awhile as well, and this gray + black cardigan from The Limited fits the bill.  I like how it has 3/4-length sleeves and is a v-neck shape.  It will be perfect for work!
I know I already have a few black dresses, but they're one of my favorite things to wear.  I loved the wrap top of this Merona dress, and it is SO soft!  I felt comfortable in it and I know it will get worn tons for both work and casual outfits.  The middle photo features a stretchy knit pencil skirt with polka dots.  I have gotten rid of most of my skirts, as they just aren't very flattering on me, but I absolutely loved how this one felt and looked on me.  I wore it with the tank both untucked and tucked, and I liked how it looked both ways.  The maxi dress on the right is a deep, chocolate brown.  I was a little hesitant to try it on because it happens to be a maternity dress, but I tried it on because it was a size smaller than I typically wear, it was super soft, and I have wanted to find a maxi dress forever.  I'm an apple shape so most of my weight is in my belly, so perhaps the small amount of extra fabric in the belly is perfect for me.  Regardless, you cannot tell it's a maternity dress and I loved how it felt and looked on me (this picture is awful haha), so I took it home.  Plus, it was new with tags, and let me just say, I got this for a steal!
After years of avoiding sleeveless tops (stupid society saying that bigger girls can't wear sleeveless shirts!!!  I curse you!!), I've been wearing tanks all summer.  They're just so comfortable in warm temperatures and I like how I can add a cardigan or jacket if I get chilly, so I've been looking for some more to add to my collection.  The purple Gap tank on the left is my all-time favorite shade of purple (my favorite color!), and the studs give it a nice detail.  The middle tank is actually a workout tank, but as I'm spending more and more time on my bike, I've been looking for comfortable, cute, flattering workout tops.  This one is Ryka brand, and was new with tags (originally $60!!).  I felt amazing in it and I can imagine myself cruising around St. Paul in this tank and some black workout capris.  The white CAbi tank on the right is sheer and breezy, and I'm obsessed.  I love the longer length - I can wear it with shorts this summer, but in the cooler months, I could wear it with leggings or skinny pants and a jacket or cardigan on top.  Perfection.
I almost didn't try on the leopard tunic (the brand is Fever) because it's a size small (and I'm normally a size L/XL and wear a size 16 on the bottom...sooo not a small...), but I absolutely loved the print and it looked pretty oversized.  I'm so happy I tried it on.  It's soft like buttah and is wicked comfortable (in fact, I'm wearing it with gray leggings as I write this post...).  It also is appropriate for work - with some black skinny pants and boots or flats, I could wear this number all year round :)  The middle Mossimo sweater is fairly plain, but as I currently own literally one sweater other than this one (and it's an ugly Christmas sweater), I figured this one could get plenty of wear.  It's a lighter weight, so I'll be able to wear it during the fall and spring as well.  The blouse on the right (the brand is Rock & Republic) is kind of edgy with studs on the collar.  I've been really drawn to edgier styles over the past couple of years, and I really love this top.  It's edgy but still appropriate to wear to work.  I can see myself wearing this top with skinny jeans or pants, or even with the polka dot skirt I bought on this trip as well (see above).
The Old Navy chambray tunic on the left is my 4th chambray shirt (I have a problem), but I like that it's a different style and wash than my other chambray shirts.  It's a size bigger than I normally wear, which means I'm going to wear the heck out of this with leggings on the weekends (baggy = the comfiest!).  The blush sweater on the right is Lou & Grey, which is a brand I've always drooled over on LOFT's website but just can't justify the cost of.  I was super excited when I saw this top on the racks, and was even more in love when I tried it on.  It's incredibly soft and I love how lightweight it is!  Like so many of the other things I bought on this shopping trip, I can wear this top all year round - on its own during the warmer months, or layered with a blazer/jacket/cardigan in the cooler months.  And I love blush so...#winning.
This giraffe print blouse from Ann Taylor was one that I realllly hoped would fit (it's a size smaller than I usually wear).  When I tried it on, it was perfect!  I really like animal print (surprise surprise) but I don't have anything in a giraffe print right now.  The front of this blouse is kind of a silky material, while the sleeves and back are a very soft knit.  My favorite detail of the blouse is actually in the back - there is a line of buttons in the back from the neck to about halfway down my back, and it's adorable.  The blouse on the right (Mossimo) is another perfect blouse to wear all year round and in both casual and dressier outfits.  It's all neutral colors, but it has cream, white, gray, tan, and black - all the neutral colors that can be found in my closet.  I'll definitely be getting a lot of wear out of this top! 
Another thing I've been searching for about 2 years now is a denim vest.  Because it's kind of a trendy item, I didn't want to spend very much money on it, so when I found this Maurices vest for just $5, the price was right.  I love the crocheted detail on the back as well - it's a little bit boho and a little bit rock and roll, and totally something I'm going to wear the heck out of.  In fact, I wore it the other night over my pajamas just because.  (Also, I'm sorry for my face in the photo on the right.  It's creepy and inexcusable, haha.)
These last two tops are two of the tops that were almost perfect, but that I didn't wind up taking home.  The taupe Ann Taylor tee on the left was cute, but the material was just a little bit too clingy.  I also thought that the color was nice, but might be tricky to mix and match.  The Forever 21 top on the right totally reminded me of something Nicole would wear (<3) and I loooved the print and the fit was nearly perfect but...those sleeves.  You can't really tell in this photo very much, but the sleeves fell in such a weird position and they made me look so much broader than I am.  I almost bought it anyway because I loved it otherwise, but I also reminded myself that if I wasn't 100% in love with it or if the fit wasn't perfect, it needed to stay behind.  Sigh.

So...there you have it!  16 new items for my closet - and I am smitten with all of them.  When I was shopping, I just grabbed anything that caught my eye without being too picky about color, style, etc. - I wanted to see what stood out to me when I wasn't trying too hard to buy something for the blog, to fit any particular style, etc.  I just wanted to find things that were interesting to my eye.  Apparently I'm still having a super love affair with neutrals, and I'm drawn to some edgier pieces (studs, black/gray, looser tops to wear with skinny bottoms, etc).  Perhaps this is the direction my closet will be taking??

Next up in my journey to get out of this dumb rut is to find some more accessories.  I'm hoping to find some Etsy shops and/or local stores and companies to look for some new jewelry and perhaps some more scarves (I know I have a ton of scarves already but they're my #1 accessory and I love them).


Dresses 4EVER

Dress + Leggings + Vest + Flats: Old Navy | Belt: The Limited

Like earlier this week, here's another little dress + leggings + flats number I wore a few months ago!  I do really love this dress (but right now I can't wear it because I've yet again gained some weight - how does this keep happening?!  I'm eating well and staying active!!!  UGH!), and ultimately, I still love my neutrals for the most part.

I wrote in my post earlier this week about how I'm not really feeling the whole getting dressed thing these days because nothing really feels like "me."  I do have to say, though, that most of the time when I'm wearing a dress, I feel pretty dang good.  In the summers, I like to just wear them on their own (perhaps with a necklace or a lightweight scarf), but in the cooler months, I love them with leggings and flats like I've done here, or with tights/leggings and boots when it gets even colder.  I wonder if I just need to start adding more dresses to my closet...I'm very picky about tops, so although I have some pants that are okay, I really dislike most of my tops (and when I browse online, I dislike most of what I see, too).  Therefore, I don't often feel excited about or good about any outfits that are bottoms + tops.  Hmmm, maybe I'm on to something??


Closet Inventory | One Year Later...

Last March, I wrote my first closet inventory post, where I outlined just how many clothes I had.  I was really shocked to discover that I had 400 total items in my closet at the time, and attempted to cut that number in half.  Three months later, I followed up with another post, where I was proud to announce that I was successful in purging 157 items from my wardrobe.  I wanted to follow up once again, a year later and let you know what is currently in my closet.

Note: I am not counting loungewear, swimwear, and undergarments in my totals, but I am including accessories.  I specify this because I know many of us can easily start to hoard accessories and in order to be fully transparent, I want to include them in my counts.

Camisoles: 16 - 18
Sleeveless/tank tops: 2 - 7
Short-sleeve: 11 - 9
3/4 or long-sleeve: 8 - 14
Button ups/popovers: 10 - 5
Pullover sweaters: 5 - 1
Total tops52 - 54 (down from 84 tops in March 2014)

Denim jeans (black/blue): 5 (same as in June 2014)
Colored/patterned jeans: 3 - 2
Pants: 10 - 8
Leggings: 5 (same as in June 2014)
Shorts: 3 - 6
Skirts: 8 - 3
Total bottoms: 34 - 29 (down from 51 bottoms in March 2014)

Sleeveless dresses: 6 (same as in June 2014)
Short-sleeved dresses: 6 - 7
3/4 or long-sleeved dresses: 5 - 6 
Total dresses: 17 - 19 (down from 27 dresses in March 2014)

Vests: 1 - 2
Cardigans: 12 - 14
Blazers: 4 - 3
Light jackets: 2 (same as in June 2014) 
Winter coats: 1 (same as in June 2014)
Total jackets/layers: 20 - 22 (down from 36 jackets/layers in March 2014)

Flats: 6 - 4
Wedges: 2 (same as in June 2014)
Flat sandals: 5 - 3
Sneakers/TOMS: 10 - 6 
Boots: 6 (same as in June 2014)
Total shoes: 29 - 21 (down from 42 shoes in March 2014)

Scarves: 17 - 15
Necklaces: 18 - 15
Headbands: 16 - 14
Earrings: (not including studs): 19 - 15
Bracelets: 2 - 1
Tights: 8 - 10
Belts: 11 - 9
Total accessories: 91 - 79 (down from 159 accessories in March 2014)

Total items: 243 - 224 (down from 400 items in March 2014)
Total items (excluding accessories): 151 - 145

While I have added certain items into my closet over the past year or so (including the fruits of a massive successful shopping trip to Goodwill that I'll share with you soon!), overall, I have slightly cleared out more items from my closet.  I definitely still have things in my closet currently that I am not 100% sold about, but I'm also trying to figure out the best way to eliminate the things that I'm not super jazzed about (see, if I got rid of things that I'm 100% in love with currently, I'd have about 40 things in my entire closet and I would only have like 1 pair of pants...).  That bit will take time.  All in all, though, I do feel great about the current state of my closet.  I'm eager to continue fine-tuning and exploring my sense of style and seeing where the journey takes me!


In a Rut

Dress + Leggings: Old Navy | Cardigan: TJ Maxx | Flats: TOMS | Belt: Target

Yes, this is yet another outfit from April.  I have no shame.  I did really love wearing this outfit, though.  I still can't get enough of the dress + leggings look, and I liked how the coral cardigan stood out and added a bit of color to the overall outfit.

I've been feeling really blahhh about my whole closet lately and trying to think about why that is.  I guess a big part of it is that I feel like I have no real sense of style.  Most of the things I'm wearing just don't feel like me...but the hard thing about it is that I don't really know what "me" does feel like.  I'm not sure if I need to look to Pinterest and find outfits that I'm drawn to, or if I need to go shopping (I haven't bought anything in a lonnnng time), or if I need to just get more creative?  Maybe what I need to do is stop thinking about it and just wear what makes me feel comfortable?  It's a strange feeling.  Perhaps it's because I don't like getting dressed for this time of year and have hardly anything that's summer-appropriate?  Who knows.  I'm going to do some stylistic soul-searching and see what happens.

What do you like to do when you're feeling like you have no sense of style or are in a style rut?


Weekend Recap + Another Old Outfit!

Tee + Cardigan: Old Navy | Pants: Kohls | Flats: Payless | Scarf: Gift

Oh look!  Another boring outfit from April!  I'm the worst and haven't taken any outfit photos since May, but I had a few leftover, unblogged outfits that I will just share with y'all until I finally take some new photos.  I've really been enjoying my summer of wearing the most unexciting outfits ever, haha.

But let's do a little weekend recap!  That's much more interesting!

Friday was Kevin's birthday, and we were able to spend the whole day together, which was so much fun!  We rode our bikes 8 miles to Seward Cafe, a fantastic restaurant with tons of vegetarian and vegan food.  Seward Cafe encourages its patrons to actually converse with those around them, so it  has a no cell phone rule.  The first time I went there, it was a strange feeling to not be able to check my phone, but as I've gone there more and more, it is actually very freeing.  When you look around you, the other patrons are talking with each other, playing games together (there is a wall of games you can bring to your table), or single diners are reading books or just enjoying their food.  It's a great place to check out if you're ever in the Twin Cities!

After our bike ride back home, we showered and watched an episode of Orange Is the New Black (we're slowly making our way through the third seasons - omg so good!) before going out for dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery and enjoying a fantastic comedy show at Brave New Workshop downtown with Kevin's best friend Mike.  The food was delicious (I had a margherita pizza), and the company was great.  The show we saw was called Mad Vax: Beyond Measledome, and it was hilaaarious (you can read a review of the show here)...tons of satire about the anti-vax movement, a great sketch about "evilution," and some great one-liners about how/where the apocalypse starts.  It also had plenty of references to the newest Mad Max movie (which, by the way, is SO GOOD) - it had Kevin, Mike, and I howling with laughter.  After the show, we went to a bonfire at one of Mike and Kevin's friends' houses for some beer, more laughter, and good discussion.  It was a totally Kevin-centric day, and it was awesome.

Saturday was the 4th of July.  I spent the afternoon at my mom and dad's house playing games with my parents, grandparents, brother, and a family friend.  It was so much fun to spend time with them all!  In the evening, I went to Kevin's parents' house with the dogs and we ate food, played games, and played our annual game of midnight badminton (there are holiday lights on the net and we use an LED-lit birdie so we can play in the dark).  So much fun!

Sunday was a very quiet day.  I basically stayed at home and did a little reading, a little cleaning, and a little napping (oops).  I did have a friend from college over to catch up.  Our new house is just about two miles from her house, which is so exciting!  She and I haven't seen each other in two years, so it was fantastic to have the opportunity to just sit on our deck and enjoy each other's company.  Such a blast!  Have I mentioned how much I love living back in the Twin Cities?!  I do.  I love it.

I hope y'all had a great weekend, too!  What were your highlights?


Monthly Goals | July

Every month, I comment about how crazy it is that it's a new month...I shouldn't be as shocked as I am each month, but I just can't get over how fast time is flying!  Anyway...with the start of a new month comes a recap of the previous month's goals and an outline of the new month's goals!

Recap | June Goals
1. Get the new house all settled | As I mentioned yesterday, our new house is almost completely settled, with the exception of just a little bit of artwork and finishing painting our kitchen (we ran out of paint and have been very lazy about getting to the store to buy another can...).  It's really starting to feel like our home now, which is so exciting!  I'm eager to continue exploring our new neighborhood!

2. Have friends over for games | Last weekend, we had my brother and his girlfriend over for dinner and games.  We actually had so much fun talking and laughing together that we didn't even get to the game portion of the night (and they stayed until nearly 2:00 am)!  It was such fun to spend time with them both!!  Another bonus of our house being in St. Paul?  We live only 10 minutes from my brother right now...the closest we've lived since he was a senior in high school, 11 years ago!  We even go to the same grocery store and Target, so we're eager to coincidentally run into each other from time to time now, haha.

3. Look for (and hopefully buy?) a swimsuit | I spent a ton of time this month looking for different swimsuits, but I haven't found anything that I'm ready to purchase yet.  When I looked at Target (where I've scored the previous several years in finding cute and somewhat flattering swimsuits), I found nothing, which was highly discouraging.  All of the two-pieces were either frumpy or skimpy (ew to both), and all of the one-pieces looked like grandma suits (ew again).  I am seriously considering getting a two-piece suit - high waisted black bottoms (I found a pair from JCPenney that I like) and then a cute vintagey-looking balconette top.  I'm not 100% sure I'll feel great in such a suit, but I'm really starting to get desperate.  I need a swimsuit!!  So...yes, I did look for a suit, but no, I did not buy one.

4. Make a dentist appointment | FAIL.  I need to do a little research to find a dentist in our new area.  I'm being a total weenie about it and so I'm avoiding it at all costs.  Ughhhh.

5. Buy a Fitbit | I bought my Fitbit early in June, and I've been having fun with it.  Admittedly, I haven't been good at getting in my 10,000 steps each day (I am so unmotivated...ugh), but it has helped me learn how to make better choices to get more steps in.  I also love how it helps track my sleep!  I go in spurts of being a great sleeper and an awful sleeper, and I'm trying to identify patterns that affect my sleep quality.

July Goals
1. Get 10,000 steps every day and drink 100 oz of water every day | I'm going to admit that I'm a stress-eater.  With the past couple of months being very stressful for Kevin and me, I hate to say this, but I've gained some weight (oh heyyyy, all-time high...UGH).  I really need to jumpstart my healthy choices again.  I know from previous successes that if I focus on something that pushes me a little bit (like making sure I get 10,000 steps a day) and drinking lots of water, I can actually lose weight.  I just need to make it a goal on my blog so that I have a bit more accountability!!

2. Try a new recipe every week | I...really don't like cooking.  I feel like I can never do it well, so I tend to get easily discouraged in the kitchen.  However, as with most things, I believe that I will get better at it as long as I keep practicing and trying new things.  I spent awhile this past weekend looking through some of our cookbooks and flagging different recipes that I want to try.  I actually got pretty excited about some of the things I found, so I'm eager to head to the grocery store and get some ingredients!

3. Play music | I have an entire room in our house dedicated to my hobbies.  I have been neglecting my musical instruments lately, but playing them brings me so much joy and contentment.  I'm really looking forward to playing them more often now that I have a whole room to practice in!

4. Organize the basement | Now that we have our very own basement (haha, priorities), we're excited that we can actually store things in it.  However, when we moved in, we wound up throwing a bunch of extra boxes and things that we only use some of the time downstairs, making it quite a mess right now.  I want to take a chunk of time this month to organize it a little bit so that it's less chaotic when we go downstairs to do laundry.

5. Recreate a date with Kevin | I think I've mentioned this before, but one of the reasons Kevin and I wanted to move to St. Paul is because we met in St. Paul - the first chunk of our relationship began in St. Paul and we did a lot of fun activities together in various parts of the city.  I'd love to recreate one of the first dates we ever went on - dinner at the Cafe on Grand, a bubble tea at the Tea Garden, and a walk around Lake Como.  How fun would that be?!

What are your goals for July?


Currently | July

Top + Leggings + Vest: Old Navy | Boots: Target

Ohhh my gosh.  It's already July?!  After a very busy and chaotic June, I'm ready to take on July head first!  Here's another glimpse into what I have currently been up to!  (Also, here's an outfit I wore back in April that I haven't blogged yet.  Leggings + tunic + vest + boots = the comfiest outfit!)

Craving | Fresh fruits!  The girls that I'm nannying love to eat all kinds of fruits, so when I'm at their house, we always are munching on peaches, raspberries, apples, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, cherries, etc.  I can't get enough fruit these days!

Grilling | Nothing...we haven't set up our grill at the new house yet, so we haven't been grilling.  However, I did buy a package of these to try out ASAP.  They. Look. Amazing.  (Side note: I've been a vegetarian for over a year now - crazy!!!)

Listening | Kevin and I went to see the musical Once with his parents last Thursday, and HOLY CRAP it was the best thing EVER.  I'm utterly obsessed with it, and I've been listening to the soundtrack on Spotify nonstop all week!  This video shows snippets of the 2013 tour - so wonderful!

Planning | What to do with my week and a half off of nannying!  My nanny girls are going on vacation until July 12 and so I get a nice, long stretch of time to just chill out :)  I can't wait to fill my time with lots of reading (I read two books yesterday...), walks with the dogs, friend and family time, etc.

Decorating | We're just finishing up the final touches on our new house - we just need to hang the last pieces of artwork on the walls.  I'm planning to paint some pieces for our bedroom and my "office" (aka hobby room, where I keep all of my music, painting, and language-learning stuff), but other than that, we're basically all settled!

I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna!


Howdy, Strangers!

Oh my goodness - I can't believe it's been well over two weeks since I've posted!  Life has been insane lately, and blogging has definitely taken a backseat.  However, things are starting to settle down again so I'm hoping to post a bit more regularly soon!

Here's what I've been up to over in June so far...
...I finished up my first year of school counseling on June 4!  It was a fantastic year, full of learning, growing, laughing, and stressing (ha!).  The last several weeks of the school year were pretty intense, as I worked hard to make sure my seniors were set to graduate.  However, the support of my colleagues, Kevin, and family, we made it through!!  I'm glad to have the summer off to rejuvenate :)
...Kevin and I closed on our new house (which you can see a tiny bit of behind us in this picture) on June 5!  We've been so busy packing and unpacking, fixing up the house, and settling into our new home (omg!).  We live in St. Paul now, which is where we met during college - so fun to be back near our old stompin' grounds!  Plus, we're so close to our families fact, my brother lives only 10 minutes away from us - the closest we've lived since we were in high school together 11 years ago!!  I'm hoping to get some pictures of the new house to share with you once we're settled in.  Kevin and I also celebrated our five year anniversary on June 18th.  It is crazy to think that we've already been married for five years - life has been pretty darn good for us throughout our marriage, and we're so excited to see what will happen in the next five years!
...We have been celebrating the upcoming birth of our first niece (due August 1!).  My mother-in-law (on the right) and I threw a baby shower for my sister-in-law Stephanie (in the coral - she's got the cutest baby bump right now!) last weekend and attended another shower for her the weekend before that.  It has been so much fun to start spoiling Baby B :)  I was even able to feel her kicking around and hiccuping in her mama's belly, which was the coolest thing EVER!  I can't wait to snuggle her for real when she arrives in just a month and a half!
...I went with my parents to see our favorite band, Barenaked Ladies, in concert along with Colin Hay from Men at Work and The Violent Femmes.  We had such a fun night rocking out to BNL, and might I add that the people-watching was fantastic!!  Haha!
...These gorgeous peonies came from our garden at the new house!  They smell so wonderful and have done a wonderful job of brightening up our yard and kitchen!
...I went to the Shout House (dueling pianos!!) with some of my coworkers this past week for 80s Night!  All of the songs they played were from the 80s, which was pretty entertaining.  We had a blast singing along to some of our favorite songs and enjoying each other's company.  I absolutely adore these women!
...I went to the Minnesota Twins game last night with my cousin Katie and her good friend Derek.  It was so much fun to catch up with both of them - and the Twins won, too!  I love that I'm back in the Twin Cities and near my family and friends now so I can do these kinds of things :)  Woo!

I also started nannying for the same girls I nannied last summer, which has been keeping me busy as well.  They've grown so much over the past school year, and it's so fun to be back with them, hanging out and talking about Harry Potter ;)

So, that's what I've been up to over the past several weeks.  Needless to say, it's been a bit of a whirlwind.  We're also still without internet at our new house, so I've been heading to our local library to do a little bit of blogging, emailing, Facebooking, Instagramming, Twittering, etc.  I'm enjoying living so close to the library so that I can spend a little time here in the meantime, but I'm really eager to get our internet set up...mostly so that I can watch the new season of Orange Is the New Black!! ;)

Thanks so much for reading and sticking with me in my accidental blogging hiatus!  More posts will be on their way soon!  Have a great weekend :)