Love Life the Most

Small town Iowa girl living in big town Phoenix, AZ. Left my town of 5,000 for Arizona State University in 2005...and haven't looked back since! In 2010 I started dating the man of my dreams. He got down on one knee, I cried & said yes! Now we're navigating life as newlyweds with two puppies and a rabbit. I'm lucky to work in marketing for a wonderful non-profit, but the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent my employer’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Blogs I Follow

Watching #Botched and giving the pups’ toys some botched plastic surgery of my own.

floppyhump:

invocationwithin:

loosetoon:

Early 70’s behind the scenes of Sesame Street with the Muppets.

THIS IS THE BEST PHOTO SET I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED. 

Love!

(via think4yourself)

emphasisadded:

This weekend, my beautiful friend Jen, married her person, Mike.  

The wedding was incredibly beautiful.  
And also..SO MUCH FUN!

We may not actually be related, but this was a family wedding!

I have known Jen since our very first day in preschool…her home was my second home, we grew up side by side:  Montessori, Catholic grade school, Transferred to the public school in 6th Grade, HFHS &  Pi Phi’s at Northwestern.

Her wedding was a chance to see old friends from every stage in our life..and her extended family who feel like an extension of my own….plus, of course the 3 tables filled with my (blood) relatives who wouldn’t miss the opportunity to witness this milestone. 

Such happy reunions.  
Such a happy union.

In his father of the bride speech, Mr. H. shared heartwarming stories and his favorite pieces of marriage advice over his 35(?) years with Mrs. H.  

He was far more eloquent than this, but I wanted to document his sentiments, for they captured the spirit of this celebration!

  1. Sometimes it is more important to say “I appreciate you” than “I love you.”  Say both, often.
  2. Discover your partner’s passions…and support those passions wholeheartedly (although, don’t tag along unless invited) 
  3. Dine together once a week.  It is amazing what can be solved while sitting across from each other, in an environment other than your own.
  4. You don’t have to think alike, but you have to think together.
  5. Flip your expectations into hopes.  Expectations have inherent conditions that if not met leave you disappointed.  To move from “expecting” to “hoping”, your attitude also shifts to one of gratitude.

I didn’t know so much love could fit into one little weekend.

Congrats Jen & Mike!

Wonderful marriage advice!

Had a nice dinner party tonight with my parents and grandparents at our home!

Finally got the hammock stand I’ve wanted since returning from Costa Rica! The hammock is from a market in Nicaragua. I love love love it! Would it be weird to keep it in our living room? Lol!

Headed to the river!

1. Sometimes you’ll be like, “HEY EVERYONE LET’S DO SUSHI AND DRINKS AND FUN STUFF TOMORROW NIGHT!” but then tomorrow night comes and you regret everything as you try to weasel your way out of plans that you created. You resent 24-Hours-Ago-You for being so enthusiastic.

- 14 Struggles Of Being Happy and Social Or Sad and Standoffish With No In-between  (via housewifeswag)

So much truth.

(via peakcapitolism)

Ugh. On my way to my planned happy hour but my eyes are closing…

(via redwinerambles)

(via redwinerambles)

Anyone else get irrationally excited about trying new hair products?! I bought new shampoo, conditioner and 3 styling products and I can’t wait to try them! I almost want to take a shower now just so I can test the shampoo and conditioner out. But alas I shall wait until the morning!

Used the long weekend to organize! Finally found a good way to store purses, shoes and jewelry!

Happy Fourth of July!

I love the Fourth of July….mainly because of all the Stars and Stripes! Paul works all weekend and so many of my friends are out of town so I don’t have huge plans. But I am looking forward to putting together a red, white and blue outfit with star accessories!

My plans include…hanging out in our new pool, friends bday party, finishing putting my room together, reading some magazines/book and cleaning up the house. Oh and of course sleeping in! I’m getting old because this sounds like a glorious weekend to me!

Hope you have a fun but safe holiday weekend!!!

Fiesta for Sara’s bachelorette!

Relaxing poolside….so nice!

Headed to celebrate with our soon to be sister!

My brother is engaged to Sara and most of our extended family live in Omaha, NE so we wanted to throw a bridal shower for Sara there so she could meet Al’s family. My mom, sister and I started talking about planning when my mom stumbled upon the theme “All Roads Led to You” on pinterest and we decided it would be perfect! Since they are dating long distance it was a really appropriate theme.

*Pre-warning…the post is very long. I got caught up in writing down every…last…detail!

Invitations

We knew that the invitations would be the perfect way to set the tone for the shower. I was elected (and excited) to do the invitations. I don’t have design software on my computer so I searched online to figure out how I could design the invitations. None of the normal sites had invites that I like so I wanted to design my own. I decided to use PicMonkey to create the invites. PicMonkey is free and easy to use but the big downfall is that you cannot save a project…meaning you either need to finish it in one sitting or leave the window open on your computer.

For the design I found a map I liked (showing DC area where Sara lives and they met) and used that washed out as the background. Then I played around until I found a concept that I loved! For the back I made up a corny poem because we wanted guest to know that they were welcome to bring gifts but to please keep them small as Sara was travelling for the shower. I included a few photos of the couple on the back as well.

Invitations can be expensive but we were lucky and had Coke Rewards that we could use! We put the points towards invitations on Shutterfly so they ended up being free.

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Decorations

Mom, Shelley and I really put a lot of thought into the decorations. My sister and I went up to Mom’s house in Prescott for one weekend to put together all of our crafts. We had each found some items and then went to Hobby Lobby together to purchase a few more things. While we were there we found the PERFECT scrapbook paper that had a map/travel theme in the prettiest colors! We used that paper for many of our projects.

Bride-to-be Banner | For this we bought a single wood bunt banner piece and traced it on the paper. I used Sharpie to meticulously write each letter on the banner. We strung together with pink and white twine.

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Cinnamon Roll Stand | My mom found a plain black and white cupcake stand for us to DIY. My sister traced each level on the scrapbook paper and then rolled it on with mod podge. It took her awhile to do but it ended up looking very cute!

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Card Table | We purchased the luggage boxes from Micheal’s & Hobby Lobby to use for the shower. We placed two on the card table-one for cards and one for our party favor. I made the “Cards” banner using wood banner pieces that I stand and then wood letters that I painted (Both found at Micheal’s) and strung with brown twine.

Maps and Photos | We were really luck because one of my Aunts had lots of maps and a globe that we could use for extra decorations (including large poster size maps). We placed them on tables and throughout the room. I printed off photos of them including some of their engagements photos and hang them around the house. I also created a travel scrapbook to show more photos and gave that to Sara. Finally I used leftover pieces of scrapbook paper to make heart garland. I just cut out hearts and taped them onto the pink twine. They turned out better than I expected!

Food | Drinks

My Aunts were throwing the shower with us and offered to take care of the food. That was so wonderful because it really would have been difficult to figure out how to purchase and bake the food since we were travelling for the shower. They had great food! My Aunts made quiches, cinnamon rolls and had fruit and cake for everyone. Since it was a brunch we settled on mimosas for drinks. The food and drinks were a hit with everyone!

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Party Favors

Right away we knew we wanted to give luggage tags as party favors! I re-sized the top half of the invitation to be the front and then designed the back so they could write in their own contact information. We purchased clear name tag covers from Walmart and placed the artwork inside of them. Then we purchased some bungee string to tie on the tags so people could easily slip them on their luggage handles. We were all in love with the favors and everyone seemed to enjoy them!

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Games | Prizes

My Mom, Shelley and I all brainstormed some fun games to play at the shower! We played four different games and had a sheet of paper with the games on them for people to work on while they were talking/eating.

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Guess Sara’s Age | Sara’s mom sent us several photos of Sara growing up. I put them together in a scrapbook randomly and numbered each photo. Everyone wrote down their guesses for her age. We held the scrapbook up and told everyone her age. It was a fun way to see her throughout the years and we got to hear a few fun stories from her as a child. Two people who got the most right (excluding bride and bride’s mom) received travel theme prizes.

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Love Language | This was a really simple game but we felt it went well with our theme. One column had love written in different languages and the next column had the countries. There are several versions on Pinterest but we made our own so we could add some easier options on the list. We read the answers out and two people with the most correct picked out prizes. 

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How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You | We found this on Pinterest and just decided to throw it in even though it didn’t fit our travel theme. It was probably the most fun game we played! Each person tried to match a wedding phrase with the corresponding candy. As we read off the phrase, the first person with the correct answer received that candy. There were lots of people interacting with this one and the candy seemed to be a big hit!

imageWho Said That? | We wanted to play this game so that our family could get to know Sara and Al better. We came up with questions and sent them both to Sara and Al to answer separately. Then we reviewed their answer and came up with questions to ask everyone. The questions ranged from what they were like in high school (both nerds), what they thought of each other after their first date (they actually looked like their photo online), their pet peeve of their loved one (he leaves all drawers opened) to what they are most looking forward to in marriage (the normal every day life with each other). I really loved reading their answers and it made me feel more connected to them and their relationship. For the game we made these sticks that had Sara + the Eiffel tower on one side and Al + the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the other side. After we read the answer, each person held up either Al or Sara to guess who said it. The two people who got the most correct received prizes.

Game Prizes | We put together travel themed prizes for the games. They included neck pillow & eye mask, box with peanuts & a little shooter, notebook with travel quote on cover, luggage strap, make-up bag with travel toiletries and more. They were another fun way to continue out theme. 

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Gifts

From Mom | My Mom gave Sara a really meaningful gift! When my brother was a baby, he received a bonnet for his baptism. The bonnet came with a poem about giving the bonnet to his bride on their wedding day to use as a hanky and her ‘something old’. My Mom also found the tiny blue bow tie he wore and gave them both to her. As Sara read the poem and pulled out the bonnet, my Aunt began tearing up realizing that it was her who gave it to my brother when he was a baby. Sara loved the gift and it was amazing for everyone else to see it come full circle from the gift he received as a baby.

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From my sister | My brother and sister have a funny story about this bottle of wine they bought on a travel together. They didn’t drink it on they trip so they kept it for something special. Years later when they opened it, it tasted horrible and they have laughed about it for years. Shelley sent bottles of wine to Sara’s house and gave her fun tags at the shower to describe when she and Al should drink them. They range over big milestones in the marriage from wedding night, first fight, anniversaries to the first baby (Dad only). She told her too that even if the wine goes bad like it did for my sister and Al, they should always look forward to cheersing together over the big moments.

From Me | I really wanted to get something meaningful to my future sister-in-law. After brainstorming for awhile I finally decided on giving her a series of gifts that represent the things Al loves the most in life so she’s fully prepared before they get married.

  1. Books - bookmark
  2. Music - mixed CD of love songs
  3. Travelling - leather luggage tags and passport covers
  4. Nebraska Football - Cornhusker T-Shirt
  5. Being Right - Towels that said “Mr. Right…Mrs. Always Right”
  6. Tradition - her own turkey baster
  7. Laughing - Journal with quote about laughing
  8. Birthdays - apron with recipe for his birthday cake
  9. His last name - Stationary with new intial
  10. Her! Frame that I made with “All Roads Led to You” 

Welcome to the family! 

The bridal shower really turned out wonderful thanks to help from my Aunts and wonderful sister and Mom. I really had a great time putting together all the details to throw the shower for Sara. We are thrilled to have her join our family and this we the perfect way to jump start that process. The rest of the weekend was wonderful as well because we got to show her our old stomping grounds and important things in Al’s life. Including our last standing family restaurant Piccolo’s, the Old Market, Caniglia St., Woodman Tower and our old house. We saved several things for Al to show her in the future as they are really meaningful to him. I’m heading to another shower for Sara this weekend and I’m excited to continue to celebrate their love and welcome Sara with open arms!

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