Thursday, June 30, 2011


Without a doubt, summer is my favorite season...even with the 115+ degree temps. There's nothing quite like the feeling of leaving a freezing cold grocery store into the blistering heat or the feeling of your sandals melting on the pavement as you walk or the constant smell of chlorine paired with green tinted hair from swimming every single day. Those are definitely the first things that come to mind when I think of summer, but I also think of all the memorable summer trips I have taken with family, friends and Mike. A summer is not complete without a trip to the midwest or California. Those are truly some of the best memories I have throughout the years. This year is no exception, we just booked a week-long trip to the midwest with the entire family! We will be in Manitowoc, WI visiting my aunt and uncle on their dairy farm, then heading to a family reunion to celebrate our grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary and then ending the trip with a few days in Chicago. As much as I love traveling to and exploring new places, these trips never get old to me.

Visiting a beach in California with my family and going up "Herman the German" in New Ulm, MN.

Visiting a beach in California. And yes that is tweety bird on my suit. Everyone thought I looked like tweety bird at this age, so my grandma got me a tweety bird suit set.

Obviously Disneyland! :)

This was the summer my brother and I went to New Ulm, MN by ourselves for two weeks to visit our grandparents. Seriously one of the best two weeks of my childhood.

Ok, this one is a bit embarrassing for a few of us, but I just had to post it! Every five years my mom's side of the family gets together for a reunion, this was the year it was in Bemidji, MN. The girl cousins were on our way to see The Princess Diaries in the pic. When we got back there was a tornado warning, so scary for an Arizona girl like me!

The summer my brother started dating Brooke we went to New York as a family (Brooke and Leila didn't come though, they weren't "that" serious yet). Please ignore the very not cool sunglasses. Despite the heat and humidity, we had a ton of fun!

Five summers after the Bemidji trip we all went to Oregon and stayed in houses on the coast. It was amazingly gorgeous and so cool. I vote we go back in five years. :)

Then there was the summer after I graduated when I went to Europe on a study abroad trip. I was in Barcelona, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. It was the trip of a lifetime. I'm looking forward to going back to Paris and a few new places in Europe next summer with my husband!

That same summer I was in Europe my family and I went to Minnesota for a wedding in Rochester. Of course we had to take Brooke and Leila to New Ulm for the first time. We visited Herman, Schell's Brewery and of course the Kaiserhoff! (Sigh...that was my skinny time...)

More San Diego trips! This was my first trip with Mike.

And then two years ago we took Mike on his first midwest trip. My cousin Laura got married that summer in Minnesota, we celebrated my grandpa's 80th birthday at my aunt's house in Fairibault and we went to visit New Ulm after. We dropped off my parents and Leila at the airport and we continued on with a stop in Manitowoc to visit my aunt and uncle and then a few days in Chicago. This was one of our best trips ever!

This was last summer, we went to San Diego with Mike's entire family. So fun other than I got completely sunburnt to where it hurt to sit down. You think I would have learned by now?

And also last summer my mom, Leila and I took a trip to visit my grandparents in New Ulm. Such a great girls' trip!

I am so looking forward to the memories we will be making this summer! This will be Preston's first time in the midwest (and on a plane) and Brooke's first time to the dairy farm and Chicago. I know they are going to love it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

anthro obsessed

Yesterday we went on a big shopping trip as part of my birthday gift. It was so much fun, but by the end I could tell Mike was really suffering. He couldn't understand how I could still be shopping after a few hours. :)

I had some good finds yesterday though and let me tell you, Monday is the time to shop! It was so dead, but there were so many amazing deals out there. I ended up finding four shirts at Banana Republic which were already on sale and had an extra 40% off. I'm pretty sure the entire store was on sale, it was great. JCrew also had the same type of sale and I ended up finding a super comfy summer dress there – something I was definitely searching for. Loft was also having the extra 40% off sale this weekend and I had found a few things there this past weekend. I'm pretty sure every single store we went into had some sort of sale, this is definitely the time to stock up on summer items!

One of the last stores we went into was Anthropologie. Now I love this store, but always find it to be way too expensive. Since this was birthday money, I decided to spend a bit more on something I really loved. I ended up finding a beautiful blouse and a cute pair of denim cutoffs. They were both on sale, but still more than I normally spend (I am super cheap...normally I scour the clearance racks at Old Navy). And now after buying these two items, I'm convinced I need to bite the bullet and spend a bit more for things I really love. I'm pretty much obsessed with so many of the tops at Anthropologie, take a look:

I really seem to love the blousy tops that can be worn with literally anything because A) they are comfy and B) I have a very hard time finding dresses, jeans, shorts, pants, really anything that involves my lower half. So this is why I have a tendency to buy all tops...which ends up being a problem when putting together an outfit. But I'm going to watch and see if any of these go on sale, because really, my favorite one is over $200 and who is really going to pay that much for a blousy top?

If you've never been to Anthro and aren't convinced that everything in their store is cute, go check it out. I seriously loved nearly everything and the store itself is so unique, its definitely worth walking through. I always love their window displays. This is the top I bought and when I tried it on, I loved it...which is why I bought it. But when I got home and looked at it online, I couldn't believe how different it looked. Contrary to what the picture shows, the fit is perfect, gives a great shape and the details are adorable. I think it may have something to do with the mannequins in the picture. Here is the dress I bought at JCrew. Seriously, the neckline is nothing like what the picture shows, I wouldn't have bought that dress online!

Anyways, enough blabbing about clothes. I'm all out of shopping money for the month anyways. BUT July is almost here and my shopping budget gets refilled soon!

Links to all the pics:
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

birthday week

This past week has been great (despite being on a big deadline at work for what seemed to be the never-ending issue). Somehow, my birthday seems to always turn into a birthday 'week'. I think its because Mike works most nights, and we like to celebrate our birthdays by ourselves and also with our this equals multiple nights of celebrations. Nothing wrong with that, right? :)

Birthday week started off on Wednesday with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Pizzeria Bianco.

Since it was about 114 degrees that day, the wait was short...only about an hour. Yes, this sounds crazy, but we have waited up to three hours before! Bianco's simply has the best pizza in the country. I'm typically not a big fan of pizza, but I love theirs. Plus they have an old house next door for people to wait in that serves delicious wines, cheeses, appetizers and olives – my favorites! The hour wait was the perfect amount of time to spend at the bar while we snacked on olives, cheeses and drank a beer and wine. I had a rose wine which I'm usually not a fan of, but really loved. The pizza was incredible. Mike had the wiseguy and I had the rosa. Seriously, the rosa is the best pizza I've ever had in my life. Thin crust cooked in a wood-fired oven and the rosa is topped with pistachios, carmelized onions and rosemary – amazing.

Thursday was my actual birthday and I woke up to flowers on the dining room table with a birthday gift. I couldn't believe he snuck flowers in without me noticing, I was completely surprised! He is so sweet and for my gift gave me money to go shopping with on Monday (I have the day off work for my birthday). But to make things even better, he is coming with me and promises to take part in the playing games on his phone or anything. I'm SO excited!

So Thursday evening my mom took me to dinner and we went shopping...and I already used some of my shopping money on a new purse, yay! It's similar to this one:

Image Source

We also shopped at Aaron Brothers for some frames because they were having their one cent sale. We are hoping to do a collage kind of like this behind the sofa and down the hallways.

Image Source

We're still trying to figure out if the frames should all be the same, coordinating or completely different. We're thinking of using wedding pictures in the living room and filling the hallways with pictures and items from our travels together (maybe he'll let me throw in a few things from India in there?).

Friday night was so fun. We had both of our families over at my parents house for dinner and dessert. Our nieces and nephew were there and they had so much fun playing together! Sophia didn't want to leave Leila's side, it was so sweet. Preston is so active now, its hard to get him to be still in any can see him running out of the picture below!

For dinner we had beer brats, sauerkraut, potato salad and homemade salsa. My mom made cherry cheesecake and lemon cheesecake for dessert. Everything was so delicious! You can see Mary Lou loved the dessert. ;)

Everyone was so generous and brought gifts, so we had a gift opening. They all must know me really well because I got a couple bottles of red wine, a gap giftcard, kitchen utensils (Martha Stewart!), silverware from our registry, birthday cashola and....

...pot holders! Yes, pot holders. My mom couldn't believe how excited I was over these Williams-Sonoma pot holders. I think I'm the only 26-year-old who gets excited over pot holders for her birthday. But we have been using really old gross ones for a long time and have desperately been needing these and I use them nearly every day. Why we didn't go out and buy some? I have no idea, but they sure did make a great birthday gift.

We are so blessed to both have our entire immediate families live so close so we are able to get together for every birthday. This sure has been a great birthday and I'm so glad we got to spend it with our families! Hopefully we'll have some great finds on our shopping trip tomorrow...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today I turn 26! While its a little weird to think that I am entering into my late 20's, I can't help but think how amazing the last year has been. I thought it would be nice to review my 25 at 25 list. I know I didn't complete everything, but the best thing in my life happened to me, which would lead us to number one...

1. Marry my best friend
This obviously happened and I couldn't be happier! I know its really cliche to say this, but he truly is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He motivates me to be a better person and makes every day feel like the best day of our lives.

I started listing all the other ones out, but realized how few I actually completed. Plus, number one was the most important anyways.

This year I decided to not give myself a list to complete in a year, but more of a bucket list I guess you could call it. After getting married, we often think about our future and things we'd like to do or places we'd like to go. These can all be included on this ongoing list.

This weekend we have plans to do different things in celebration of my birthday. I will write one post about all those events with pictures (if I remember to take them).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy father's day

Happy father's day to two of the greatest dads we know, Dan and Dan! Both of you have been such great role models throughout our lives, we are so blessed to have you as our father and father-in-law. Thank you for everything you have provided us with and taught us in life. We love you both very much!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

life dreams

Last year I posted my 25 at 25 list...and I have pretty much failed on almost half of them. But thats ok, its good to have goals and things to work towards. This time though, I'm going to make a list of big picture goals and ideas without giving myself a time restriction. I figure I'm more likely to complete them this way? Let's hope so.

Learn French.
I've taken about 6 years or so of Spanish, but never seemed to learn how to actually speak the language... just colors, numbers, food and the common table prayer. Spanish would be a more logical language to learn living in Arizona and all, but there's something about the way the French language sounds and how it looks written and typed out (yup, thats the nerdy designer in me). So beautiful and fluid, I love it.

Own a business with a storefront.
And yes, I want it to be adorable and cute just like this one (minus the not so cute logo on the window). But to be honest, this dream scares me and it makes me nervous posting about it and putting it out there. I have lots of ideas on what I want to do and where I want to go with my concept, but the hardest part is getting there. I am definitely struggling with this.

Own a gorgeous piano.
Maybe this is more of Mike's dream than mine (I really want those beautiful wood floors and a room with seven windows, wow!), but I love the idea of having a beautiful piano in our home someday because I know it will get good use and be taken care of. We want to be sure our kids have access to many forms of music and art growing up, so maybe we'll start with a smaller piano, but eventually we want one like this...and I want it to be in a room like this.

Become a better photographer.
Actually, I'm not a photographer at all and I don't necessarily plan on becoming one (that once was my dream), but I just want to take great pictures. I love photography and have a good eye for it (that is part of what I do at work), but struggle with the technical parts. First step is getting a real camera.

This is overwhelming, I think that is all I can handle right now. More later!

Image Sources: (1) (2) (3) (4)

mirror, mirror on the wall...

...why yes you are the prettiest of them all! We have been searching for the perfect mirror for the ginormous wall in our living room above the buffet and we think we have finally found it! Of course, Pottery Barn had exactly what we were looking for and lucky us had just about enough gift cards from the wedding to get it. We can't wait to hang it up and actually start getting things on the walls in this house so it feels more like a home. Still debating if it should be horizontal or vertical. Must test both ways.

birthday wish list

My birthday is exactly one week from today. My mom has always made fun of me for celebrating my 'birthday week', so...hello birthday week! This year I am turning 26 and I will officially be in my late-20's. Fortunately, Mike will always be older than me, which always makes me feel young. Thanks hun!

Mike has asked me a couple times to send him a wish list of things I would like. I've been struggling to think of something, anything. Truth is, we had such an incredible year with so many blessings, I can't think of anything else I'd want! I got to marry my best friend, see a ton of out of state family and go on a tropical vacation. We'll be going on another trip in August to see family and have a big trip planned for next summer that we are saving for, so really, what more is there? Kitchen stuff my mother would say. :) Of course, I always love kitchen items, but we were so blessed and got nearly everything on our registries for the wedding and shower. (Yes mom, there are still a few necessities left on there!)

So here is my birthday wish list:
1. Another year full of happiness
2. Stronger and new friendships
3. Spending quality time with family
4. A nice dinner out with Mike to my favorite restaurant (hint, hint)

Image Source

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ead post: getting ready

Today on the EAD blog, my first wedding recap was posted and it takes you through the day while we were getting ready. Be sure to check it out here and leave me some love. :)

Image by Davis Photographers

Sunday, June 12, 2011

sunday is my favorite

Today was a great day and Sundays are quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. We woke up late (oops) and went to lunch at Oregano's which is quickly becoming our regular Sunday lunch restaurant. We peeked in at some model homes across the street just to get some decorating and home ideas but accidentally started lusting after a new home. But, that's what those model homes are set up to do, right? Then we went to a movie of my choice (he got his pick last week with Xmen) and we saw Midnight in Paris. It was fun and light-hearded, my kind of movie! I have to admit though, my favorite part wasn't the plot of the movie, it was all the beautiful scenes of Paris. Towards the end of the movie, they showed the Eiffel Tower lighting up and sparkling. Mike asked if it really does that...oh yes, it does and it is beautiful. Definitely looking forward to laying in the park with a bottle of wine and watching the tower sparkle at night.

P.S. My family was out of town this weekend and I realized how difficult it must be to live in a different state than your family when you have such a close relationship with them. We miss our niece and nephew, its been two weeks since we've seen them! :(

Image Source

Friday, June 10, 2011

europe trip 2012

If you didn't know, I love planning things and get a tad stressed when jumping into big things without doing a bit of research and advance planning. My mom says after the wedding I just "have to be planning something"...maybe she is right, but I find joy in it.

Anyways, ever since we decided not to go to Europe for our honeymoon, we have been planning on going right around our one year anniversary (give or take a few months). This is one of those things on our must-do list before we expand our family. So, we have started saving and planning our Europe trip for the summer of 2012! We have general ideas on where we absolutely have to go, but the more I research, the more amazing side trips I find. Mike is an artist and his favorite style of artwork is from the Renaissance era, so this trip is somewhat based on that. We really wanted to fit Barcelona in there (I love Barthelona!), but that will probably just have to wait for later in life.

Right now, the general plan is to fly into Paris. I've been here before, so I have a basic idea of the city and sights we definitely need to see. We will definitely be going to the Louvre and Musee D'Orsay. Possibly Versailles, but I could do without it on this trip. My favorite part about Paris (other than hanging out in the Champ de Mars) is sitting at a street-side cafe and people watching.

After Paris, I'm thinking we would take an inexpensive one-way flight (Ryan Air?) to Pisa. I originally thought we'd fly into Florence, but the airline I'm looking at goes into Pisa and not Florence. Here is where I need to do a lot more research. We have never been to Italy and there is SO much to see, we want to be sure we can fit in all the things we really would like to see and do. In Pisa, we would be sure to see....duh, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But I'm not really sure if the town offers much more beyond that. Pisa may just act as a transportation hub for this leg of the trip.

From Pisa, I've found that you can take a boat or train to the area Cinque Terre. This area consists of five beautiful towns and I hear you can easily hike through all of them in a few hours. The towns are located right on the coastline and look absolutely stunning! I'm hoping this could be a day trip and we'd be able to get back to Pisa...or even on to Florence that same day. But would we want to? Starting to look into places to stay in Cinque Terre...mostly bed and breakfast places.

Next stop would be Florence, the art capital of Italy. Mike's favorite piece of artwork is David by Michelangelo, so this stop is a must! I need to research what else is a must-do in Florence. We will definitely want to see Botticelli's artwork as well.

My thought is to travel from Florence to Rome by train and I would love to be able to see the countryside of Tuscany on the way. I have read that some of the trains go through quite a few tunnels which makes it difficult to see a whole lot. We definitely need to research more on this because I would love to see the countryside for a few hours.

The last stop would be Rome. This is probably the most intimidating city to me. I have heard that there is so much to do and hard to fit everything into one trip. I also don't know a ton about Rome, but we definitely need to visit the Sistine Chapel and the ancient Rome ruins. Much more research will need to be done about this city.

So have you visited any or all of these places? We'd love to hear your thoughts and advice on places to see and transporation/hotel advice! We are definitely looking to stay at hotels, not hostels regardless of the price difference and will have suitcases, not backpacks. Maybe I'm a bit of a high-maintenance traveler? My past trips have definitely spoiled me. Seeing all these amazing pictures makes me wish I was a better photographer and had a better camera. But the experiences will be amazing and completely unforgettable. I can't wait!

Images: Paris / Pisa / Cinque Terre / Florence / Tuscany / Rome

Thursday, June 9, 2011

our signature drink (recipe included!)

At the wedding, we decided to only serve beer and wine, but for cocktail hour, we wanted there to be a special signature drink. I also made cute little drink flags to go in the signature drinks...which turned into the longest lasting project of the entire wedding. I think my mom is still haunted at the thought of making those drink flags.

A few months before the wedding Mike and I would browse restaurant drink menus and try different things to get some ideas. We always came back to flavored margaritas and the Wallaby Darned at Outback. Plus, we had peaches in our table centerpieces. So, we decided to mix those ideas and make a peach margarita! The result was phenomenal. We weren't actually at the cocktail hour, but we are STILL hearing people rave about the margaritas.

See, I told you people loved them! Our incredible coordinator, Tracy at Superstition Mountain even had two of them waiting for us at our sweetheart table.

Ok, I know you all just want me to stop talking and give you the recipe, so here it is:

Mike & Jana's Signature Peach Margaritas
3 parts Tequila
1 part Triple Sec
6 parts peach puree
Garnish with an orange slice

So simple and delicious. Let us know if any of you out there try this at home!

clean eating: week 1

As of last Tuesday I have been eating clean as much as I possibly could. I did pretty well with it the first week and stuck to it for the most part. I tried a few new recipes – most were great and some were horrible. Good news is I lost 3 pounds in the first week with only doing yoga once a week! Time to start stepping it up with my Jillian Michaels videos again.

One of my biggest cravings is for chips. I asked Mike to stop buying chips because they are too tempting and he said he'll just buy the ones I don't like....problem is I like any kind and I usually eat them at the worst time of the day (night) while watching tv. I found a recipe for making your own tortilla chips and it wasn't too bad! Defintely got the job done, so I'll keep making those. The key is buying the right corn tortillas though. I bought the ones at Trader Joe's that have only three ingredients, they are so good! Another type of chips I tried are kale chips.

I was pretty skeptical of these since I've tried raw kale and it is absolutely disgusting. Turns out, baking them with olive oil, salt and a bit of vinegar makes them amazing and addicting! Seriously, give them a chance. They are so good and SO good for you! Just be sure they bake all the way through and are crispy. This is the recipe I used (used white wine vinegar instead).

I also just wanted to mention that I hate designing for myself. If you haven't noticed, I've changed our blog header probably three times in the past two months. I can't decide on anything I like and am feeling very uncreative about it. I just changed it to something simple and light where I can mix up the color every once in a while. It'll do for now...

Image Source

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

wedding recaps

This week, our wedding is going to be featured on Elizabeth Anne Designs, the blog I have been writing for throughout our planning process. I am also posting recap features over there that you can follow here, but I am also going to start writing more detailed recap posts here. We have so many beautiful pictures, memories, emotions, projects, details and fun stories that we want to share from that day. I am going to try to do a few posts a week. Stay tuned!

Photo by Davis Photographers