Your Weekly Pins

Weekly Pins are back! My apologies if this week's is a little wedding-heavy.... what can I say, I tried not to pin anything until I was engaged and when the trigger was pulled I went hog wild.... I actually may keep many of my wedding pins private; as the closer the day comes the more I'll want it to be a surprise for everyone. But as for now, here's what caught my eye on Pinterest this week!

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[How amazing is this fireplace? That swirl reminds me of "Starry Night." Simply awesome.]

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[I absolutely love everything in this space - the rug is adorable, the vase of flowers is pretty and that green chair is so cute. But that DIY dresser is to die for.]

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[This kitchen is so full of character, from the wall color to the chalkboard hung with burlap to the funky, vintage yellow chair. the cabinets, open shelving and that hanging pole above the sink just set the bar on this room even higher. Love it.]

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[Oh, to have an apron sink. I absolutely love these big, deep sinks reminiscent of old farmhouses. I particularly like it with the addition of that beautiful butcher-block counter... if I can squeeze out a kitchen reno something in the near future, these would be my top two must haves!]

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[This is another one of those outfits that I've pinned only to realize I pretty much already have all these pieces in my closet... But it's so cute! That floral dress is adorable.... and I like how the leather boots kind of rough everything up a bit.]

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[You can't even see the bottom part of this outfit but already I'm absolutely obsessed with it. that sea-foam ruffled shirt, the cardigan, that awesome chunky necklace... Seriously, Lauren Conrad rarely misses a step.] 

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[How fantastic is this aqua dress? It kind of reminds me of a brighter version of the dress Kate Middleton wore after her engagement to Prince William was announced. The gathering at the waist would make this dress flattering on anyone.]

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[ I don't even need to see the front of this dress to be completely wowed. The back is simply stunning.]

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[I've really been drawn to lace dresses, especially those with little cap sleeves. This dress fits the bill, and that veil is beautiful, too.] 

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[I pinned this fantastic dress about two seconds after I saw it. And then I kept going back and looking at it. It is gorgeous... so simple and classic... I really can't stop thinking about it.] 

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[And just to prove to you that I can like something that's not covered in lace, this dress with a ruffled bottom is completely gorgeous.] 

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[On to reception decorations! I love hanging decor, and these brightly-colored lanterns would be a really fun addition.] 

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[For a more muted variation, I also like these twine balls for hanging from the ceiling, as well. I could easily make these myself, too.] 

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[I'm a long ways away from choosing wedding colors, but I'm liking this bride's idea of just using a bunch of different colors - the bridesmaids all lined up in a rainbow of colors definitely make a statement!] 

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[I really like a variation on the idea above - using chalkboard paint on mason jars and using those are the place cards/seating numbers.... and then everyone drinks out of their mason jar all night!] 

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[I don't know if we'll have a traditional cake or not, but this tree-trunk one it so totally awesome... it reminds me of one of my favorite books growing up, The Giving Tree. A very cool idea.]

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[When i first envisioned a head table for a wedding, this is almost exactly what popped into my head. It's very simple, but completely my style.] 

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[I'm flower clueless. I know nothing about flowers. But what I do know is this bouquet is fantastic - I love all the colors, the mix of flowers and succulents, and of course I'm a sucker for billy balls... so this one wins me over.]

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[This next bouquet is a bit more muted, but equally beautiful. Simply billy balls and succulents... I love it!] 

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[Obviously I'll ask my bridesmaids' opinions on what kind of dress they would like, but this one is so cute and classic... I think I'd be jealous of my bridesmaids seeing them wear this cute dress without me!] 

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[Could there be a sweeter little dog than the puggle? that squished nose, those floppy ears... this little guy just stole my heart.]

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[Awww... ol' floppy. I wonder how often he trips over those things?!]

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[I swear there is nothing cuter on Earth than a puppy with radar ears... Corgis are slowly inching toward the top of my favorite dogs list.]

There's plenty more where these came from! To see my pins all week long, follow me on Pinterest.


A look back and a peek ahead

At the end of last year, I shared 10 things I’d like to do in 2011… I’d list them all here, but I’ll spare you because I basically did none of them…. Or maybe, like two or three. I’m no math major, but that isn’t a high percentage.

In my defense (scraping for excuses here, people), I had a few distractions. There were a handful of things that popped up in 2011 I wasn’t prepared for… but as the year went on, it continually got better.

For instance, and this is something only a very, very small handful of people were ever aware of, throughout the month of January I went through a series of tests and biopsies to determine if I had breast cancer. A lump was discovered, and it was a big one. It was an incredibly scary, emotional experience and I’m so glad that, at the end of it, I was lucky enough to hear the words “You don’t have cancer.” Not everyone gets such happy news at the end of these tests, and I can’t imagine the run of emotions they must feel. I have a whole new perspective on anyone who is diagnosed with any kind of cancer and hope I can go through life without another scare like mine again.

Shortly after my good news, Eric and I found a house listed for sale online that we absolutely loved. We decided not to look further into buying that house, but it did spark our interest into buying a home. And on May 12th, we closed on our cute little house you’ve seen so much on this blog.

The next few months were essentially spent focusing on house projects – giving the kitchen a facelift, going rummaging and thrifting for quirky decorations and going through not one, but two dining room tables. Hold on to your hats, folks, because there’s plenty more going into our home in the coming year.

In October, I went to a whirlwind of baseball games as my Milwaukee Brewers entered the MLB postseason as the National League Central Division champs. Sadly, they didn't make it to the World Series, but it was quite a ride watching them fight their way through!

And finally, the icing on top of a cake that just got sweeter as it went on, the greatest dude I know asked me to be his dudette for life.

Let’s just say 2011 came in like a horrible beast-lion and went out like the happiest little lamb there ever was.

So, let’s just hope 2012 keeps up the awesome streak – I’m not sure how 2011 could be topped, but here are a few ways the next year could continue to be awesome:

  •           For the love of God, finally get that 1:55 half marathon! I missed a PR at my last half by seven seconds, something that was pretty hard to swallow… but it was only three minutes longer than my 1:55 goal, and I’d only been running for nine weeks after a three-plus month hiatus from running at all. So this year, I’m ready to get serious about training and knock my goal out of the water.
  •           Seriously, get a least one article published in a magazine (I said this last year...). I need to start brainstorming article ideas soon and start sending out queries. I’ve got to use that Journalism degree sometime!
  •           New updates to the kitchen. Hello new backsplash and (double hooray!) a dishwasher!!!
  •          Begin plans for finishing the basement. This is going to be a long, drawn out process, but Eric and I are so excited to get started on it.
  •           Plan the coolest wedding there ever was. This is no easy task, but I can’t wait to get seriously planning with the wedding – ideas are floating around in my head and I can’t wait to see them in action.
  •           Get married? Eric and I aren’t sure if the wedding will take place in 2012 or if it will need to be pushed back to 2013. So there’s a big question mark here that will, hopefully, be erased sometime within the next couple of weeks.

So, you know, nothing too big planned for the next year….. But seriously, if only the last two things on my list get accomplished next year, I’ll still be one totally happy lady. If I conquer everything above? Just call me Wonder Woman.

What are your goals/resolutions for 2012? Or are you just forgoing any life changes because the whole world’ going to end anyway?


The *Real* Christmas Surprise

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had at least half as wonderful of a Christmas that I did.

Last week, I shared our Chocolate Christmas Surprise with you all. Dont' get me wrong, this stuff always ends up tasty, but little did I know when I was making this candy mash up that I'd be getting a surprise for Christmas that is WWWWAAAAAAYYYY better than Cheerios covered in chocolate.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or even on Pinterest you may already know the news, but in case you're not as obsessed with the Internet as I am, here it is....

Eric and I are engaged!!!! 

You know how the song goes, first comes house, then comes marriage..... or something like that.

But, yes, it was the most incredible, spectacular, wonderful surprise I've ever had in my life. I absolutely had no idea this was coming, and even when it came I still wasn't sure what was going on!

So, here's how it happened: Last Friday morning we were headed up to Eric's hometown to spend Christmas with his family. We woke up early to get the car packed, and also to exchange our presents before hitting the road. Now, Eric had had my gifts wrapped and under the tree for a week, and for the life of me I could not figure out what was in these four odd-sized boxes. We traded turns opening presents, and Eric brought mine over to me, one by one. Two cute prints to put up somewhere in the house and an avocado cuber I'd added on Pinterest. I truly liked these things, and when he brought over the last present, I was curious to see what was in it.

Now, to help you understand the background on my last present: Do you remember when I shared about these two cute S'mores ornaments we bought for the tree this year? Mine had popcorn on it and Eric's was a baseball player. We loved our new, sweet little ornaments!

Well, my last Christmas gift I opened from Eric was this new S'mores ornament.

I was really confused, because this was definitely not our first Christmas together, but then it finally clicked that the characters were a bride and a groom, and, you know, the whole fact that at this point Eric had gotten down on one knee and was asking me to marry him.... after all that, it finally registered with me.

He had told absolutely no one of his plan. He wanted it to be a surprise not only to me, but to everyone else we knew. On top of that, he had no help on choosing the ring, either. I'm definitely not the kind of girl to drop hints about what kind of ring I would like (and I purposely never pinned any rings because I never wanted him to feel pressured), so the fact that he chose such a beautiful ring that's totally unique makes it even more special.

A beautiful round cut encircled with sapphires, and a diamond-lined band.

I don't know anyone else with a ring that looks like mine... I love how different it is! And hey, I already have my "something blue!"

We don't have a date set yet, but we've been doing some thinking and some researching over the weekend. Even though I've been busy looking at all things wedding all over the web, I still feel like it's not real! And although we've been together over three years, I just can't believe we're actually engaged. Eric is my best friend in the whole world and the fact that he kinda likes me back and wants me to be his wife makes me feel so incredibly lucky.

I'm going to do my best not to make this blog turn completely wedding-centric. I can't promise I'll keep ideas and inspirations off the blog completely, but I know some of you may not even be interested in the upcoming nuptials. All I know is I'm ready to plan one of the most fun, personal weddings imaginable.... And then have the most fun, awesome marriage there ever was. 

Let the fun begin! :)


The 12 Pancakes of Christmas

[No Weekly Pins this week, friends. Believe it or not, I've been too busy to pin this week!]

At this point, you're well aware of the Christmas spirit that lies within both Eric and myself. We are 100% Christmas nerds and not ashamed about it. Well, apparently this runs in the family, because yesterday I caught Mr. Pancakes red-pawed tearing into his Christmas present early. The little snooper's nose sniffed out his toy from all the presents under the tree!

Mr. Pancakes just can't wait until Christmas is here. As this is his third Christmas ever, he's learned what to expect when the holidays roll around in our house. He's also learned to expect the camera pointed at his face at any moment so we can capture all his holiday spunk (or lack thereof). 

So, in honor of our festive little guy (and to punish him with embarrassment after his little snooping incident), today I bring you....

The 12 Pancakes of Christmas
On the first day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "What in the heck is this leg thing doing in the window anyway?"

On the second day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "Seriously, that cat looks nothing like me, you guys."

On the third day of Christmas, My Pancakes said to me, "That Scrooge guy really had the right mentality about all this Christmas stuff."

On the fourth day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "...Buuutttt, I mean, these ornaments are kind of fun...."

On the fifth day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "I never realized how beautifully my fur glows in these holiday lights...."

On the sixth day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "Oh hey... Christmas means.... BOXES!"

On the seventh day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "I love boxes...."

On the eighth day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "OK, those boxes make me do naptimes now."

On this ninth day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "If you just let me sleep, I'll let you buy me a new Christmas outfit."

On the 10th day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "This was not the Christmas outfit I had in mind...."

On the 11th day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "Is not even the right size, humans...."

On the 12th day of Christmas, my Pancakes said to me, "I really hope that's not another sweater for me..."

Don't let Mr. Pancakes fool you, he really does love Christmas. And to prove it, he even made a Christmas card for all of you. So, as a bonus, I'll share it with you all.

Have a merry Christmas, everyone! I'll see you next week! :)


Chocolate Christmas Surprise

Today's post isn't so much of a recipe as a "What we do every year with our leftover melted chocolate" sharing. Eric and I used 36 ounces of chocolate chips while making our Buckeyes and Martha Washingtons last weekend, and had just enough melted chocolate left over to carry on what has become one of our favorite holiday traditions: Chocolate Christmas Surprise.

Chocolate Christmas Surprise really lends itself to the maker's creativity. It also lends itself to whatever happens to be in your pantry at the time. There are no mistakes when making Chocolate Christmas Surprise.... only, well, surprises.

First, scour your pantry. What do you have? Pretzels? Potato chips? Nuts? Cereal? Marshmallows? Bacon?

Throw it all in your chocolate!
I highly suggest adding something salty in the mix. Ever since I just wrote the word "bacon" a minute ago, I'm really sad that we didn't think to add bacon to the mix. But we didn't have any on hand... so that would be cheating.

OK, so once you have all your ingredients thoroughly mixed in the chocolate (ours included pretzels, Tasteeos, chopped peanuts, coconut and M&Ms), dump it all out on some wax paper.

Make sure it's obnoxiously festive by adding plenty of Christmas sprinkles.

And then boost it up even further by adding some more Christmas-colored M&Ms.

Let it cool, break it up in chunks, and enjoy.

I promise, there is literally almost no way to screw this up. Unless you add something fancy to the mix. Please keep this as low-brow as possible, folks. 

You wouldn't be the only ones...



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