I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!

Caleb and Brittany are getting married on August 7, 2016 Yes, you read that right! I'm engaged! As of last Wednesday, April 6 :)

Caleb is the sweetest man on earth. I'm beyond blessed to spend the rest of my life with him. Not only are we best friends, but we're business partners and each other's biggest cheerleaders. I've loved watching us grow together these past few years–from Maplewood (our high school) social rules to figuring out college, to running a business and celebrating life's little moments, he's always been my partner in crime. I'm beyond excited to be his wife!!

Ok, enough mushy stuff, I bet you're all just dying for the story of how he asked, am I right? :)

On Wednesday, April 6, after my class got over at 12:30, I got dressed up because he told me that we were going out to Omaha. (Pause here for a moment. I had an idea that he was going to propose, because he was only here in Nebraska for a few days, and who goes to a big city in the middle of a week after lunch haha! BUT, I had no idea what he had planned or how he was going to ask.)

So we get in the car and head off for the city. We stopped to have a delicious picnic that he planned for us (it was soooooo good!) and then he took me to the zoo because he knows how much I love Australian animals. So here we are, me in heels and a dress and him in a dress shirt and church shoes, walking around the zoo, being stared at by moms pushing baby strollers in yoga leggings and tennis shoes. And it was fun! :) I loved seeing the penguins, monkeys, and the cute wallaby!

After the zoo, he took me to Modern Love, a top-rated vegan restaurant in Omaha. I had wanted to go here for Valentine's Day, but they were booked in advance, so I was excited to find out that he had reservations for us at 5:30pm!

After eating a ton of food, we went to the Old Market, the historic district in the city. We found a parking lot and Caleb went to go pay the $5. Turns out, the machine doesn't give out change. He only had a $10 bill, so it took all $10 and he never got his $5 back. So we said, "oh well!" and decided to move on. He asked me to look up directions to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, 3,000-foot footbridge across the Missouri River between Iowa and Nebraska.

Well, the bridge was actually a 30-minute walk from where we were, so we decided to give up our $10 parking and drive there :)

Caleb and Brittany are getting married on August 7

It's now about 7:00pm, and a bit chilly. As we walked onto the bridge, Caleb reminisced on the past four years we've spent together. He told me how, after one of the first days we hung out, he was on the sidewalk at our high school and prayed, "Dear Lord, please let her like me!"

As we get closer to the middle, he explains to me why he picked this bridge for a special occasion (cue tears!) In short, he said that no matters what happens in life, through the ups and downs, we will always make a bridge back to each other.

He stops, turns me around, gets down on one knee, and says those magical words, "Brittany May Houchins, will you marry me?"

At this point, both of us are crying! Of course I say yes, yes, yes!! We hug and kiss and then he remembers the ring and says, "Wait! Take this!" :) haha!

I don't remember any other people being on the bridge at the time, but it turns out that there were actually a bunch of people and their dogs who witnessed the whole thing! They congratulated us and then we went our separate ways.

From then on, I was on Cloud 9! I called my parents and sister to tell them the great news, and then went back to school to find our friends.

The next day, I booked my dream wedding venue for August 7, 2016, a.k.a the best day ever!!

I can't wait to marry my best friend! :)

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Fresh Thyme Farmers Market + Skin Care Giveaway

 

*I was compensated with free products from Fresh Thyme to use in this giveaway*

Fresh. Healthy. Natural. Organic.

Those words are big in today's society. It seems like everyone is jumping on the healthy bandwagon...and that's a great thing! I'm all about eating organic and incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets.

Last week I had the opportunity to check out a new store here in Lincoln called Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and just had to share my thoughts with you. At first I thought it was just another expensive health food store, but boy was I wrong!

Think Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

Now imagine they both met and had a baby.

That’s Fresh Thyme.

It's relatively cheap, with an extensive produce department with organic and local fruits and vegetables, a natural meat department, healthy deli foods, bakery goods, 400 bulk food bins, dairy and frozen, and health supplement products.

Even better, they carry "normal" foods as well, such as Pillsbury biscuits, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Campbell's Soup cans. What's not to love?

I visited the store twice in it's opening week, and both times the parking lot was so crowded I had to park across the street at Barnes and Noble and walk over. People love this place! Right now, Fresh Thyme is primarily in the Midwest, but it is rapidly opening new stores. I highly recommend checking out if there's a store near you!

Another thing I love about Fresh Thyme is that their body care section is full of natural products. From paraben-free lotions, natural makeup and facial care products, to fragrance-free shampoos and aluminum-free deodorant, all your skin essentials are on their shelves. This is definitely my new go-to grocery store.

And so, to celebrate healthy living and Fresh Thyme new stores, I have an amazing giveaway for all of you! :)

MyChelle Dermaceuticals skincare set AND a $25 gift card to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market!

The set includes:

  • Perfect C Serum, an ultra-nourishing serum that helps brighten and tighten your skin, improving overall skin tone.
  • Remarkable Retinal Serum to help fight fine wrinkles around your eyes! The skin around your eye is thinner, more sensitive, and has fewer oil and water glands, so it needs more moisturization. It's never too early to start anti-aging products. I'm 20 and I use an eye cream at night. Since we're constantly smiling (because we're happy), it causes the skin to crease repetitively, which eventually leads to wrinkles over time. So, the earlier you start using an eye serum or cream, the less fine lines you'll notice later down the road.
  • Sun Shield SPF 28, an environmentally safe, full spectrum, translucent daily UVA/UVB sun protection that contains soothing aloe to rehydrate your skin and calm sun-induced irritation. Perfect for all those trips to the beach!

The set also comes in a cute little MyChelle cosmetics bag. It's the perfect size for traveling!

MyChelle Dermaceuticals is just one of the many natural product lines Fresh Thyme carries. This specific skin care set is worth $110! And you just might win it! :)

Giveaway ends 2/23 at midnight (CST) and is only open to residents of the US and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you ever been to Fresh Thyme?

 

Emotions. Life, Death. Sadness, Joy.

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What a week.

If I were to put my feelings in emoticons, I would have felt every single one within the span of 7 days. Two major events occurred, one on each end of the spectrum: one very sad, one extremely happy. Let me give you a timeline:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I find out that my grandpa is in the hospital with pneumonia and sepsis.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Good news! My grandpa is doing much better and may get to go home if he gets enough strength back.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Caleb and I finish a project we've been working on for the past few months: a Titanium portable phone charger! We submit it to Kickstarter to be approved! Huge sigh of relief :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

8:00 am | I wake up and find out that my grandpa took a turn for the worse overnight. He was intubated and transferred to a hospital in Minneapolis.

9:00 am | I go to class and can't focus.

10:30 am | Dad calls and tells me that the whole family is at the hospital. Grandpa isn't doing good.

11:30 am | I go to another class.

12:40 pm | My phone rings. Dad tells me that grandpa has passed away peacefully. My heart breaks.

1:00 pm | I go to Caleb's and reminisce of my childhood with grandpa the rest of the day.

Arlo and Marjorie Houchins| August 17, 1957

Arlo and Marjorie Houchins| August 17, 1957

Friday, January 22, 2016

Caleb and I find out that Kickstarter accepted our project! :D

Saturday, January 23, 2016

We officially launch our T-Bolt Kickstarter around 5:45 pm! Within five minutes of launching, we get over $200 in pledges!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Our project gains momentum! As I'm typing this, we've got $3,321 pledged! We surpassed our $2,000 goal within 17 hours.

What a week.

Caleb and I will be going home on Wednesday for my grandpa's funeral, which is on Saturday. He was such a good man! I'm so proud to be his granddaughter :) Here's a bit from his obituary:

Arlo Houchins

Arlo L. Houchins, age 85, of Cambridge, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 21, 2016.

He worked for Northwest Bell for 37 Years in the Cambridge area. After retiring, Arlo worked at John Hirsch Cambridge motors, where he logged 770,000 miles shuttling cars around the state and country. He was a Korean War veteran and a lifetime American Legion member.

Arlo loved taking long walks, especially with his grandchildren to places like the park and Dairy Queen. He was an avid hunter, fisherman, as well as a card player.

He sure loved to walk. He'd take us to the Dairy Queen down the street and while we were walking, I'd find pennies along the side of the road. It wasn't until I was older that I realized that he would somehow fling them ahead of us as we walked without me knowing/hearing. Grandpa, I can't wait to see you again someday. We can take a walk and I'll be sure to find all the pennies you'd leave for me to find. ❤️


The other major event that occurred this week was our Kickstarter launch! Caleb and I are so grateful for all the support we've received.

The T-Bolt is amazingly strong and gives you up to 17 hours of extended battery life. If you're new to Kickstarter, think of it as pre-ordering. Once our campaign is over, we'll begin making the product and ship it out to you.

Even if you can't/don't want a titanium phone charger, we'd really appreciate if you'd share our project page (just click the image below!) I am so proud of Caleb and the work he put into this!

Fund the T-Bolt on Kickstarter! | Titanium phone charger

It comes in lots of other colors too, like light blue, pink, and gold! :) Let me know if you have any questions.


While I'm extremely sad about my grandpa's passing, I know that he'd want me to go on and make a difference in my life. He was a go-getter.

And while life is always full of ups and downs, I have hope that one day, when Jesus comes back, everything will be made perfect again. No more tears. No more sadness. Only joy.

What a week.

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Set Goals, Not Resolutions // My Word for 2016

Set goals, not resolutions It's time we lose the long list of resolutions.

You know, the ones that seem so appealing, promising yourself a better life at the end of 365 (or in this case, 366) days. The ones that the majority of people forget less than a quarter into the new year?

Or maybe you're one those who laugh at the thought of resolutions. Most of those so-called resolutions are silly, nebulous things anyways. “I’m going to give up carbohydrates.” “I’m going to exercise more.”

This year, instead of setting resolutions that you're likely to break, try daily and weekly goals to help keep you focused. The difference here is that one's a hope, and one's a plan.

And if goals are still too much for you, then at least do this one thing:

Choose a word for the year.

Just one word. Because a single word can create a longer lasting change than a dozen New Year's resolutions.

Last year I wrote about my word for 2015: Actualize. My aim for the year was to "make real or concrete; give reality or substance to" my dreams. I even simplified my goals down into six categories to make them easier to actualize.

  • Blog
  • Relationships
  • Faith
  • Creativity
  • Health
  • Business

Overall, 2015 was a pretty good year :) Did I achieve all my goals? No. Is that ok? Of course! Whether I achieve them all or not isn’t the point at all: all that matters is that I’m working towards what makes me happy.

My Word for 2016

But now that 2015 is over and we're already more than a week into 2016, it's time for me to come up with a new word. It wasn't easy.

For one thing, I needed a word that would encompass all that I wanted 2016 to be. I also needed it to create a spark in me that could carry throughout the entire year.

Then I encountered another problem! I began to have too many options :( Words began to flood my brain.

Pause. 

Ease.

Simplify.

Love.

Peace.

Mindfulness.

What was I going to do??? I took a little break to get a glass of water and that's when it hit me.

Serenity // the state or quality of being serene; calm; tranquil

Serenity. The perfect combination of all those other words I was considering before. (I also realized that it's one of Pantone's Color(s) of the Year for 2016. That's probably why it popped into my head!)

Calm. Peaceful. Untroubled.

This word is calling me to step away. Breathe. Focus. Take time to choose.

It calls for a life of balance; the perfect counterpoint to the fast-paced, fractured and hurried lives we live.

Because really. What's the rush?

I want to live with ease. With so many things calling for my attention, what and who really matters? Is the perfectionist inside me willing to simply let go, and just be?

This year, it's my intention to be an activator of life instead of a passive bystander. I want to live with serenity.

Now it's your turn. Choose a word. It's better than a New Year's Resolution.

P.S. If you need some ideas, check out MyOneWord.org.

What's your word for 2016? Share it in the comments below!

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The Perfect Last Minute Holiday Gift for the Ladies: JORD Wooden Watches

*I was compensated with a free product from woodwatches.com*

The perfect holiday gift for ladies! JORD WOOD WATCHES #JORDWATCH

I'm going to let you in on a secret.

Gift-giving is a real struggle for me.

It's not that I don't know what type of things they like, but rather, I just want to make sure that their gift is something that they truly love. Do you ever feel the same way?

Last month my beautiful friend Noemi lost the watch she wore every day. And when she told me, I knew immediately what the perfect gift for her would be: A wooden watch from JORD.

The perfect holiday gift for ladies! JORD WOOD WATCHES #JORDWATCH

You may remember how I gifted a JORD watch to my dad on Father's Day and was amazed at the wonderful craftsmanship. These watches are made from a variety of natural and sustainably sourced wood from all across the globe, are extremely lightweight, and have a crystal clear face. Absolutely beautiful!

The perfect holiday gift for ladies! JORD WOOD WATCHES #JORDWATCH

Gifting the watch to Noemi was so much fun–her face lite up like it was already Christmas morning! The Sidney Series in Maple and Rose Gold is absolutely gorgeous. She gets so many compliments on it. It even has a stopwatch built in! This is not your regular everyday watch; it’s a unique and stylish accessory.

The perfect holiday gift for ladies! JORD WOOD WATCHES #JORDWATCH

JORD prides themselves on their prompt delivery with their aim to get the watch to you within 1 – 3 days with free worldwide shipping. It comes in a gorgeous wooden keepsake box, and you can even have the watch sized beforehand so it can be worn immediately!

So if you're looking for the perfect last-minute holiday gift for a special lady (or man!) in your life, I highly recommend checking out JORD's collection. I gave my boyfriend the Dover Ebony and Copper watch and he loves it so much! That one is a self-winding automatic, meaning that there is no battery–just the fact that you wear it helps make the gears work (which you can see through the face of the watch too, btw).

The watch I have an eye on is the Frankie Zebrawood and Champagne watch. It is so luxurious and minimalistic!

I’ve also partnered with JORD to giveaway a limited quantity of e-gift cards worth $35 each for the holidays! So if you’ve had your eye on one of these lovely wood watches, be sure to enter to get in on the savings. Entering is easy; click the link below – it will ask you for your email and your favorite JORD watch (so many to choose from) once you hit enter, your code will be emailed directly to you!

Get your $35 e-gift card here!

Don't forget to share your pictures with the hashtag #JORDWATCH. Enjoy! ;)

Which JORD watch is your favorite? Share it with me in the comments below!

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Currently... // December 2015

Four Year Anniversary Wishing / for the new iPhone, JCrew giftcards, this amazing oversized watch in gold saddle, a random assortment of Rifle Paper Co. greeting cards to add to my collection, and this coffee table book.

Remembering / our four year anniversary last month! :) I can't believe it's been that long. It feels like it was just yesterday we were in high school.

Wrapping / some small stocking stuffer gifts I got for my family. I'd mention what they are, except my dad reads these posts haha

Baking / is on hold for now. While I LOVE baking, I just don't have the time right now. I did send my dad a "very subtle" hint for a Christmas gift though. It's this cookbook that I've had my eye on forever now!

Decorating / our dorm room for Christmas! We have some hanging snowflakes and things to decorate our door, but we need to purchase more Christmas lights because someone stole our last year :(

Working / on a project that I can’t wait to share with you all. Stay tuned! I'll probably announce it next week :)

Counting / down the days until Christmas break. Ever since coming back to school after Thanksgiving, I've had no motivation to do anything, which isn't all that good, since finals are in two weeks... But on a brighter note, there's only 23 days until Christmas itself!

Planning / on buying a small fiddle leaf fig tree! These trees are all over interior decorating magazines and Pinterest. I'm not very good at keeping plants alive, but hopefully this will be different. Oh, and I'm planning on naming him, Wilson. Good plant name, huh? :)

Needing / a haircut. I love having my hair long (it's down to my waist), but because I straighten it so much it's a little dead at the ends. I'm going in to get it trimmed soon, but I'm not taking too many inches off!

Writing / this post during Business Finance class. Blogging is more fun :)

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you wishing / wrapping this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

Currently... // November 2015

Currently... // November 2015 Cooking / the most wonderful, easy, quick and delicious pizza ever! We followed Gordon Ramsay's pan cooked method and it tasted amazing. It's cooked different than the traditional method because you pan fry the crust for 5 minutes and then put the toppings on and place the pan in the oven under the broiler for another 5 minutes. If you're looking for something fun to try and cook, try this!

Planning / lots of blog posts for you all! :) I know I was MIA in October, but my schedule is full for the next two months! I hope you enjoy them!

Smelling / the delicious pizza mentioned above. I'm still drooling.

Appreciating / good friends, as they are hard to come by these days. I'm blessed to have gone to school with some of my best friends since high school and make some new ones too.

Anticipating / Thanksgiving break. It may still be nearly three weeks away, but it's never too early to begin dreaming of home and all the food you can eat.

Using / the new emojis!! They're so much fun and they finally have a volleyball emoji! ?And a squirrel! ????<-- Wait, can you guys see these?

Listening / Adele's new single "Hello" on repeat. I was wondering when she'd come out with a new song and sure enough, it's a hit! I love how her style is undefined and can change at any moment within a song. That’s why I love "Hello", it’s passionate but soft and apologetic but bold.

Shopping / at Target for some nice winter sweaters. They are such a good price! I also snagged an amazing dark floral blouse that I've gotten so many compliments on!

Disliking / one of my college classes...

Wondering / when the weather will actually stay fall-like and I can finally put away my summer clothes. I was going to pack away my shorts and other summer outfits, but then the temperature got into the upper 70s.

Nerding / out by watching Big Bang Theory with Caleb. I only wish they had all the seasons available to watch on Hulu or Netflix :(

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you appreciating / anticipating this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

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Adult Coloring Books: Beautiful Fun at Any Age

adult coloring I've officially become part of the coloring craze. Just wanted to share that :)

Last month, a friend and I went to a free event at a local bookstore where they provided coloring pages and colored pencils to use to relax and have a good time. It was so much fun to sit down and get lost in the intricate designs and patterns.

Since then, I have had my eyes on Tropical World by Millie Marotta, and yesterday I gave in and finally purchased it. I found that I can listen to lectures much better when I'm coloring than if I'm distracted on my phone or computer.

Because adult coloring books are often marketed based on their therapeutic value, I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a simple, fun way to ease your mind and relax.

Not sure if you're ready to commit to a full on coloring book?  Try out the many free coloring pages online, giving you the freedom of not having to jump into purchasing a book. All you have to do is print them and color!

What do you think? Does coloring help you relax? Are you part of the coloring craze? Let me know in the comments below! :)

adult coloring

owl

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Currently... // October 2015

Goldenrod Pastries

(Photo credit goes to Angela, the owner of the bakery, from her Instagram account. I'd use a photo of the pumpkin cakes I ate but, well, I ate them too fast.)

Eating / delicious pastries from the vegan / gluten-free bakery across the street. My favorite thing to do is grab a mini pumpkin cake and share it with Caleb for dessert. I think opening up a bakery would be such a cool business to have. Just think, you could bake warm, homestyle bread as well as little cakes and other delicious treats.

Exploring / (online) where I'd like to travel someday. Right now at the top of my list are Greece, Iceland, and New Zealand. I feel like Iceland gets overlooked because of it's temperature, but just thinking about swimming in the Blue Lagoon is what changed my mind (as well as the beautiful landscape and northern lights).

Wearing / vests and boots! Granted, I only wore them for a few days last week when the temperature dropped into the lower 60s, but having the chance to wear boots again gets me excited for the rest of fall. Unfortunately, it's supposed to get back into the 80s this weekend, so my fall season is postponed at the moment.

Admiring / those who balance work, school, social life, relationships, meetings, and blogging. Tell me your secrets, please!

Collecting / some great cookbooks. Now that fall is finally arriving, I'm in the mood for soups and baked goods. I just recently bought Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking book and spent an hour just skimming through all the great recipes and tips that he shared.

Feeling / tired. Time is going by so fast! I'm actively looking for ways to slow down my very repetitive days, so any suggestions are welcome!

Missing / blogging :( Life has been so busy that I don't have the time to sit down and write posts very often, which makes me sad, because I love blogging so much! Hopefully with this upcoming break I can finish all the drafts I have sitting in my schedule.

Smelling / Burt's Bees Toasted Almond soy wax melts in this adorable fox candle warmer! It makes our dorm room smell AMAZING.

Looking / forward to this Friday, where there's no school for a fall break. It's much needed.

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you eating / collecting this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

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Date Idea: Apple Picking

Fun fall date idea: Apple picking DATE DETAILS

$11-25

printer day-date-icon

Materials Needed: Printable Invitation (optional)


This past weekend, Caleb and I had the chance to go to the AppleJack Festival in Nebraska City, NE. The AppleJack festival is one of the top 10 Fall Harvest Festivals by USA Today. This historic festival annually draws between 60,000 and 80,000 people to Nebraska City to celebrate the kickoff of the apple harvest.

What better weekend to take have an apple picking date!

It was a beautiful sunny day and the town itself was amazing. The buildings were historic and you could sense the small town feel. We didn't stay very long at the main festival downtown, but we did walk through the classic car show and a small craft fair.

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

We then headed out to Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard where they had different activities for kids such as pony rides and balloon animals. We stopped to see a blacksmith making small objects for little boys, an amazing wood carving booth, and bought some of the most delicious creamed cinnamon pecan honey. So good!

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

After walking around for a bit, we went into the orchard itself. This orchard was much bigger than the ones I'm used to back in Minnesota, so we did a lot of walking (they had a hay rack ride, but it was super crowded). We were planning on picking two bags worth, one for eating and one for baking, but most of the apples on the trees were rotten :( I don't know whether it's due to all the good ones being picked by all the people earlier that weekend or what, but eventually we found a tree with good apples on the inside. We ended up only getting a bag of Honeycrisp, but that's ok. Honeycrisp are the best anyways! :)

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

AppleJack Festival 2015

This date ended up costing us more than we hoped, but apple picking only happens once a year so it was definitely worth it! I recommend finding local family-owned orchards, as they tend to be some of the best. So get an apple cider donut or two and a warm cup of apple cider and enjoy the fall weather together!

Have you ever gone apple picking? What's your favorite type of apple?

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State Fair Snapshots

Minnesota State Fair Labor Day weekend was a blast! This was the year where I could finally take my Washington roommate to the Minnesota State Fair. Going to the fair is a must if you live in Minnesota, and many people make it an annual tradition. This was the first time I've gone in about 3-4 years, due to always being away at school.

On a serious note. The Minnesota State Fair is a fair like none other. Check out these facts from the official state fair fact sheet:

  • It's the largest 12-day event in North America, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually.
  • It's the third largest event in the country and the second largest State Fair in the country.
  • The Minnesota State Fairgrounds covers 320 acres.
  • Typically, the fair attracts nearly 1.8 million visitors each year.
  • The CHS Miracle of Birth Center is the birthplace of nearly 200 calves, lambs and piglets during the fairʼs 12-day run.
  • The International Bazaar is filled with fun and flavors from around the world.
  • Nearly 25 local radio and television stations broadcast live from the fairgrounds daily
  • The Eco Experience is an interactive environmentally-focused exhibit designed to educate visitors about sustainability, green living, organics and renewable energy.
  • Princess Kay and her court have their likeness carved into a 90-pound block of butter in the Dairy Building each day of the fair.

Minnesota State Fair

I did happen to rain while we were there. Thankfully, we found shelter underneath the awning of a concession stand right before it poured. It did clear up later in the day though.

With my recent obsession over goats, we HAD to stop at the barns to look at some. I saw one eating the fence and got a video of two others play-fighting. I really wanted to see baby goats run and bounce around, but I don't think they had any there :(

Minnesota State Fair

With more than 450 foods are available at 300 food concessions, deciding what to eat is pretty difficult. Our first stop was at the huge french fry place, where Naomi got to spin the wheel and see if she could win some free french fries.

Minnesota State Fair

And she did!!

Minnesota State Fair

Going to the fair is the last event for the summer, and I'm glad to have gotten to spend this weekend with some great friends. If you're ever in Minnesota the two weeks before Labor Day, stop by! You won't regret it!

Minnesota State Fair

Does your state have a state fair? What's your favorite fair food?

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Currently... // September 2015

Lincoln, Ne | Haymarket Reading / Cottage Hill Magazine. It is such a beautiful publication! The amazing photography, inspiring stories, and wonderful tips allow you to relax and get lost in the magazine. Their bio snippet sums up their mission and values in a nutshell: "Here, we value family, unconditional love and all of those old-fashioned traditions that honor the sacred wedding vows. We inspire forever marriages, celebrate elegant legacies and whole-heartedly believe in the promises of living a meaningful life."

Making / a hint box. My plan for it is to be used as a more for hinting at things we would love, but usually wouldn't ask for out loud, such as finding a handwritten note in a backpack or a certain meal for dinner. It can also be used for gift ideas for Christmas, birthdays, or any other time as well.

Pinning / entertaining ideas. I would love to have the chance to have friends over and make them food, decorate the place settings, and play great music while they mingle.

Anticipating / the weekend! I'm going home to go to the Minnesota State Fair with a bunch of my friends and can't be more excited about having a four-day weekend! Going to the State Fair is a tradition for most Minnesotans, and this is the first time in about three years that I'll be able to go again.

Loving / my Today & To-Do planner from Whitney English! I ordered it last May, but I'm finally getting around to using it consistently. It sure has helped me stay more focused and get things done. Definitely recommend it!

Wondering / how it's September already. Where did August go? I now understand why adults say that the years go by faster as you get older. They really do! I think making sure to take time to unwind and slow down from the day by going outside or switching up your daily routine can help make the days more meaningful and not blur together.

Collecting / vinyl records! Well, at least, I'm planning to start :) Caleb and I took a trip to Barnes & Noble last week and saw vinyls for sale. We've now decided that we're going to collect our favorite music on records so we can play them in a record player someday!

Praying / for many close friends in my life. They've shared with Caleb and I their struggles and wishes. I want them to be truly happy and seeing them long for that makes me hurt for them.

Writing / in my commonplace book. If you don't have one yet, you should definitely consider getting one. It's like paper Pinterest, but for thoughts, quotes, and inspirational tips.

Attempting / to remember the names of new people I meet. I'm really bad at this, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Planning / date time! :) Every Friday afternoon is Date...Day? Saying "date night" sounds strange when we're actually doing it during the daytime. I have plans to share our previous dates as ideas for you on the blog every Friday – complete with printables and suggestions for having even more fun!

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you making / anticipating this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

What are you currently attempting / loving this month?

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Currently... // August 2015

Desert plants // Currently... // August 2015 Creating / a Kickstarter with Caleb! :) We've been working really hard this summer and will continue to for the rest of the month so we can launch it near September! I'll let you in on a few things: One – it's a cell phone mount for your car. Two – it's not made from plastic (thank goodness, stuff like that breaks and isn't ever worth buying anyways!) And Three – it's automatic. ?

Wishlisting / Steve Madden booties and a signature perfume! Also everything else on this list.

Hoping / for a thunderstorm during the day. Why does it always have to thunderstorm at night? I want to be able to curl up on the couch and read while it's storming out. Is that too much to ask? :(

Eating / delicious strawberries. And blueberries. Summer never tasted so good!

Watching / goat videos. Seriously, they are HILARIOUS! Watch this one and this one if you don't believe me :)

Packing / my stuff up so I can head back to school. I have mixed feelings about this.

Looking / to grow my social media presence! Help a girl out and like my Facebook page, please? ☺️

Missing / my friends. I can't wait to see them again after a summer apart! Group text messages just don't cut it.

Delaying / getting a trim for my hair. It's long overdue, but I kind of want it to be longer for school pictures haha.

Patting / myself on the back for not having too many tabs open all the time! I've also been less dependent on my phone. Hopefully I can keep this up!

Painting / my nails with Julep nail polish! I signed up to receive a free box for my birthday, and it didn't disappoint. They sent me an oxygen-bonding base coat that acts like double-sided tape for your mani and a gorgeous light pink creme color. My manicure lasted 9 days without chipping! I wish I had a picture, but I had to delete photos off my phone, and that happened to be one of them :/ I'll be doing a beauty feature next week though, so you can see it then :) In the meantime, you can use my referral link here and get your first box free as well!

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you grilling / planning this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

What are you currently creating / hoping for this month?

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More Life, Less Rush

More life, less rush. #simplicity Today's post is a quickie but it's something I really wanted to share with you guys. This past Saturday was my birthday (yay!!!!) and I turned 20 :) One of the items on my 101 in 1001 list is to write a letter to myself to open when I turn 30. As I was contemplating what to write to 30-year-old Brittany, I realized a funny thing about birthdays.

Growing up, I was always wanting to be older. I couldn't wait to be 14, then 16, then 18, then 20. Now I find myself longing for the day I'm 22 and out of college. But looking back, I realize how fast my teenage years seemed to go by. Even now, I feel like I'm rushing through life, trying to get things done so I can move on to the next part. Where did enjoying the simple moments of life go? Do they only belong on Tumblr photos?

These thoughts caused me some lack of sleep last night because I long to live a simple and authentic life full of meaning, as do many of you. So what can we do to change this?

One, realize that you aren't required to hustle.

[Tweet "You are not required to hustle 24/7."]

While hustling can be a good thing (get that dream business started!), many times it can cause us to feel overwhelmed and overworked. Don't let hustling cause the quality of your work to decline or cause you to not be present in everyday moments.

Thriving and being successful isn't just tied to how hard we work, it's tied to our own definition of those words. Don't let others tell you what you need to do to be successful. You're doing just fine at your own pace. There's no need to rush through life.

Two, sometimes we get so focused on 'what could be', that we forget what is right in front of us.

We're constantly looking forward to what's next, always dreaming of the future. While I do believe that having big dreams is important and that we should work really hard to make them come true, sometimes we let those dreams cause us to believe that our current life is boring in comparison when it really isn't. The idea of the perfect life overshadows the beautiful life we're living right now.

So this is what I want to encourage you to do today, and every day to come:

Be content with where you are in this moment.

Whether you're still in school, moving across the country, getting married, starting a business, or welcoming a new baby, take 5 minutes each day to simply pause and thank God for the life He's blessed you with.

Life will always be messy. But it's your beautiful mess.

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Currently... // July 2015

#jordwatch Craving / ice cream, of course :)

Grilling / nothing at the moment, so that needs to change! I really want to try some grilled zucchini with lemon salt. Yum!

Listening / to the birds chirp outside in the morning. It's so peaceful and quiet in these moments when the sun just rose and everyone's waking up.

Planning / lots and lots of date nights! I'm so excited to get back into the routine of weekly dates! One on the top of my list is going for a gondola ride!

Decorating / my dream house on Pinterest. I'm really loving the mid-century modern look of furniture and decoration at the moment. I hope this trend sticks around for a while!!

Volunteering / to pick out invasive species of plants, such as wormwood and burdock, out of a park. While the volunteering was a requirement for my summer school class, it was still a lot of fun!

Looking / forward to this big business project Caleb and I have planned. I think you guys will love it! I'll be sharing the whole thing at the end of the month :) Hint: Kickstarter.

Going / to San Antonio, Texas next week! There's a big conference for the Seventh-Day Adventists, and there's a whole lot to see, hear, and do down there. Exciting!!

Finding / the most delicious, tiny sandwich shop using Siri. All I did was ask her where we should eat, and she recommended this amazing nearly five star sandwich joint! Best. Sandwiches. Ever!

Discovering / that even though I love being up early, waking up at 6am everyday is difficult only if you don't go to sleep early enough. :/ I think I need to change that...

Loving / these wooden watches! I gave one to my dad for Father's Day, and he absolutely loved it!

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you grilling / planning this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

 

Currently... // May 2015

Currently... // May 2015 Designing / websites and newsletters for final projects in my classes. It's been a lot of fun learning new tricks and tips!

Enjoying / sleep? I've been stressed this past week with finals and all, so I haven't had much time to relax :(

Ordering / my Today and To-Do from Whitney English! I actually received it a few weeks ago and it's amazing. Perfect for a person like me who has a list of things to remember and a very predictable day.

Celebrating / the fact that I'm finished with my sophomore year of college! Where has the time gone? Sadly, this joy is short lived. I start summer classes on Monday and don't finish all of them until July 24 :(

Tasting / these Toffee Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars. I need to make more of these ASAP. They are unlike anything I've ever tasted before. Literally PERFECT.

Loving / Lennon and Maisy! You have to watch their latest video, In the Waves. It's adorable! Especially the ending :) My favorite songs by them are That's What's Up and Love.

Needing / to catch up on my blog roll. I've been so busy these past few weeks that blogging has been put on the back burner. I currently have 418 posts to go through on Bloglovin', and I'll most likely have 30+ more after new ones get posted today.

Getting / back into the habit of making my to-do lists on Any.do. I love the fact that you can now categorize lists and share them with others. Caleb and I share so many lists; it's helps us stay organized.

Discovering / places all over Lincoln. Last Saturday we drove to the Glass Chapel and found our new favorite park. The Glass Chapel is absolutely gorgeous, especially on a sunny day.

Packing / my clothes for the summer so I can begin my capsule wardrobe! I'm so excited to embark on this journey.

Wanting / to travel to these lightbulbs placed all over Lincoln. There's one on the corner of campus, and I've spotted a few as I've been driving around.

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you enjoying / celebrating this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

How to Make a Birthday Box (Idea #1)

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box! Caleb turned 20 yesterday, and every year for his birthday, I make him a Birthday Box filled with gifts/surprises. This fun idea is something we both look forward to each year. Sometimes the box is huge, sometimes not, and it's different every year. Since I didn't get to document last year's Birthday Box, today I'm going to show you what I did this year so you can use to begin making Birthday Boxes for the special people in your life.

Last year I took a huge box (purchased from U-Haul) and filled the bottom with unwrapped gifts. I then went and purchased a bunch of balloons and taped them to the bottom of the inside of the box. When everything was ready, I stuffed all the balloons inside the box and used a small, single piece of tape to tape close the flaps. When he opened the box, balloons sprang up into his face! It was super amusing to watch :)

This year, I filled a box with smaller wrapped presents using the theme of 2.0 (because he turned 20. Get it? 2.0 .... 20. Haha!) It was a lot of fun to assemble and he really enjoyed opening it! Here's a breakdown on what I did:

Materials Needed

  • Square box (I purchased a 36x36 one from Walmart)
  • Various sized smaller boxes
  • Two different patterned wrapping paper
  • Ribbon/bows
  • Tissue paper
  • Balloons
  • Packing tape
  • Regular tape
  • Scissors
  • Gift tags (optional)

1. Assemble the larger box by using taping the bottom of the box together. Turn the box on it's side. Take one style of wrapping paper and wrap it all the way around the sides of the box, leaving a bit extra on the top and bottom. Tape in place. Cut the paper down the corners to fold the paper over the top flaps as well as the bottom.

2. Decide what box to put each of your gifts in. I used the theme of 2.0 (for example, 2.0 things to read: a non-fiction book and this Why You're So Awesome book) so each pair was put in a different box. Use tissue paper to help hide your gifts in the boxes. Wrap each smaller box with the second style of wrapping paper. Embellish with bows or ribbon or however else you like.

3. Put everything into the box and tie it close with ribbon (or you could tape it, but I didn't want him to ruin my amazing wrapping paper skills on that big box!). Tie a bunch of balloons on the top and volià!

One thing you could do that I didn't (because finals week is here) is to put the age the recipient is turning on the outside of the box. I want to do every year, but I always run out of time...

So there you have it! One easy way to give a memorable birthday present to someone you love :) Every year I'll share the Birthday Boxes I make for Caleb, and each year I hope it gets more creative!

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box!

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box!

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box!

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box!

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box!

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box!

An easy way to give someone special a memorable birthday gift: A Birthday Box!

 

Have you ever made a Birthday Box?

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A Birthday Boy Interview!

Caleb's 20th Birthday Interview Yesterday was Caleb's last day before he ventures into his 20s. That means that today is his birthday! :) I have a surprise for him later today that you'll see on the blog tomorrow. So in honor of him beginning a new decade, we had a little interview.

How do you feel about turning 20?

Well it definitely sounds better.

That's it?!

Yeah.

What do you mean?

19 sounds like a baby, and 20 sounds like a man.

Do you feel older?

Kind of. I feel like 20 years ago should be in the 80s sometime.

What year of life has been your favorite so far?

This one.

Why?

Every year gets better. We're making dreams come true a little bit at a time.

Well, what have been your top three favorite memories of your life so far?

  1. Finding the most beautiful woman in the world and somehow getting her to like me.
  2. Fixing the mill with Daddy
  3. Going on long walks with Mommy and getting lost in the woods when I was little.

What are three lessons you've learned that you'd like to tell others?

Don't be like everyone else. The average man never becomes great. So if you want to be great, you can't be a follower. Your value as a person goes up when theres less people that can do what you do. If you think like everyone else, when you approach a problem, you won't have a solution that other people didn't already think of.

Don't reinvent the wheel. You're life is short, you don't have hundreds of years to become good at different things. So whenever you can absorb other people's experience, it's a good thing. Always keep your eyes open for people that are succeeding in your field and try to figure out what it is that makes them great and then copy them.

Don't listen to people that tell you that you can't do something. When I was first starting New-Tech Tooling, I needed a part made for my mill so I went to some of my teachers at school and asked if they knew of a student that could make it for me and I could pay them. When I told them the part was for a mill, they would say things like, "Don't waste your money", "This would be a great thing to do in 15 years" and one of them just busted out laughing at me. Then he said in front of his whole class, "Hey everybody, this kid's going to have his own shop!" Anyway, none of them really knew what they were talking about, because none of them had ever done it before. If I had listened to them and become discouraged, I would have missed out on all the success we're having now.

What are the top three goals you have for the next decade?

That's a long time. (Pause as he takes a think) Have children, become the top die mold shop in Minnesota...well, that's really all I want to do. At the end of the decade, I would like to start stepping back from the business a bit and have less to do with the day to day operations.

Do you plan on having any pets?

Yes! I'm going to have an Amstaff named Colonel Jefferson III...

But, he's not the third!

I don't care. I love that name! I also want two labs, a boy and girl, named Diesel and Mia. I would also like a bloodhound named Otis. And a goat named Dude.

Well everyone looks like you'll be seeing some goat videos on here someday. Happy Birthday honey!

Currently... // April 2015

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset Wearing / a sweater, my Bean Boots, and a very heavy winter jacket.

 

Just kidding! April Fools! :) It's springtime now, so bye bye winter clothes, hello sunshine!

Sipping / some nice refreshing water. It's basically the only thing I drink.

Wishlisting / this print for my wall. I love the saying so much.

Writing / the next Flourish linkup post! I created the Flourish linkup as a way to help you discover how to be successful, prosper, and thrive – in your own way. I invite you to check it out and join in on the fun! You can read past linkups and get all of the details here. The next linkup goes live on Friday morning!

Surprising / Caleb by asking him to the Sadie's banquet! I drew a hand made map with landmarks around town – the Clocktower on campus, Holmes Lake, etc. – and had him go from place to place until he reached the X...which was me! I held up a large, red X with the word "Banquet?" written on it. The photo we took afterwards is the one up above.

Exploring / the Air and Space Museum! This was the location of the banquet. It was travel themed, so each table was a different country, and we had lots of international food. Caleb LOVED looking at the planes. We're planning on going back again sometime too!

Wishing / my roommate a very Happy Birthday! :)

Seeing / buds bloom on trees!

Remembering / how much I loved watching Storm Chasers with my dad every week when I was younger. It was my absolute favorite show. We even said that someday we'd chase tornados ;)

Sharing / this cute, funny video of "goat parkour" with everyone I know! I just think it's hilarious how it jumps on other goats and knocks them over! I hope it makes you smile :)

Reading / Darling magazine! I had to recreate a magazine cover for graphic design class, so I used that assignment as an excuse to order a copy. And I love it! No more Glamour magazines for me. I wholeheartedly believe in their mission that, as women, we must embody virtue, wit, modesty, wisdom, and love. I highly recommend getting a copy, even if its on sale from last year! You won't regret it.

What’s currently happening in your life? What are you writing / exploring this month? Come linkup with Jenna and Anne for the currently linkup each month! :)

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The Guy Behind the Blog // 03

The Guy Behind the Blog // 03 It's that time again! Caleb loves “addressing the blog-o-sphere!” As a part of Betsy Gettis’s linkup, it’s time to get to know some more about the man behind this blog! :)

Do you have a good luck charm or ritual? (like a lucky coin, or you always used to listen to a certain pump-up song when you played sports in high school or college?)

Well, sort of. When my dad and I work together we always listen to our bluegrass music. So when I’m working alone I turn it up nice and loud and it’s like he’s right there with me.

What is your favorite dish that your girlfriend makes for you?  Do you have any fun memories of a time when she tried to cook and it totally flopped or does she get it right every time?

My parents are here to visit, so the other day Brittany and my mom made these spinach fritters. They are my new favorite!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be an inventor. Ever since I can remember I’ve been building things. I loved any sort of machinery! Even when I was only three or four I was obsessed with the trains that would go by our house. I would run around screaming ‘TRAIN!’ when I heard them coming. Then, I’d count every last car. When I was a couple years older I started building remote controlled airplanes and small rockets. I loved experimenting with my own designs. As I got older I got into building robots and other more complex things, like welding and fabrication skills. Later, I got a job at a machine shop and loved every minute of it.  I read everything I can about how things work and how they are made.  Wow, this is turning into a book!

Which of the five senses is your strongest?

Well, it’s definitely not my ears. Brittany always gets perturbed when I don’t hear her. She’s cute when she’s mad.

Would you ever run for president?

You know all those aptitude tests they make you take in highschool and college? I always got ‘leader’ or ‘manager’. I’m nothing like that though! I don’t like being in the lead! I guess they figure if you’re not going to be a follower than you have to be a leader. What if you just want to do what you want? Why don’t those tests have a Loneranger option? So no, I wouldn’t want to be president. I would be a king though! King is totally different.

If you were a king what would your palace look like?

I am so glad you asked! It would have a moat full of alligators. On the tops of the walls would live a family of honey badgers! So even if you could climb the walls you’d be finished because honey badger don’t care! Oh, and definitely a helipad. Got to have a helipad.

He's a king to me :) Come link up with Betsy Gettis and let others know more about the man behind your blog!

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