Hi there! I am a second grade teacher and absolutely love what I do. But I recently caught the travel bug after having the most amazing time on my honeymoon in Thailand. I plan to continue traveling in 2020 and I wanted to create a space where I could look back on my trips and share my adventures with others..so here we are. Feel free to follow along :)
On Sunday we had our baby shower to honor our baby boy that is due in November. It’s hard to believe that in just two short months we will have our baby. A BABY!! Wow has the time flown by. Seeing our close friends and family made everything feel much more real and much closer to our due date. Am I feeling all prepared and ready? Definitely not! But my husband and I greatly appreciate all the love and support we received on Sunday honoring our baby boy and we feel more ready as each day goes by.
We couldn’t have asked for a better party for Baby K! We decided to have a co-ed shower (since my husband Tommy is just as important) and planned the party during the Seahawks game since we thought it would be fun to watch with our favorite people. Tommy set up one of our TVs outside and made a couple of seating areas with tables and chairs under a large canopy tent on the patio. Somehow the weather held up throughout the day right up until the hawks went into overtime. Then came an intense downpour and we ended up loosing. But for a Seahawks loss, we sure had an amazing time.
All of our immediate family pitched in to to make the day very special. We had an abundance of sweets since Tommy and I both LOVE dessert. Cupcakes, chocolate chip blonde bars, espresso cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and the most delicious vanilla cake with chocolate filling that my mom ordered from a local bakery nearby. She also brought some sides and made endless pasta salad, her staple. My sister-in-law created and planned some fun games to play during half time (Guess Who: Mom or Dad, Baby Trivia and Who is the dad?). And my in-laws hosted everyone at their house on the patio and made some delicious pulled pork and food that was served.
We definitely felt the love from the amazing people in our lives and are feeling so very excited to meet our son soon!
I turned 31 two weeks ago and my husband threw me a surprise party! I’ve never had a surprise party before and I couldn’t believe it, he actually got me! This birthday was completely different from my 30th (check out my post Ain’t No Party Like a Disco Party! to read about that wild party). To be honest, this year I wasn’t really in the celebrating mood since I was 20 weeks pregnant and not feeling like myself. Also, our summer has already been so busy and then still everything going on with Covid. Luckily my husband knows me well and knows that typically I am ALLLLL about birthdays, so he went above and beyond (and so did my mom and friends!) to make me feel loved and special.
We started the day being tourists in Seattle walking along the pier. We saw a caricature artist on the side walk doing drawings and decided to go for it. I have always wanted to do this! Welp, in the picture I look like a crazy person while my husband looks like Mr. Incredible. 😂
Our first stop along the pier was the The Crab Pot which you should definitely check out if you are ever visiting Seattle. Crab, fish, salmon, muscles, clams..seafood galore. We went with the Crab Louie and Fish and Chips and split everything (One of the best things about having a partner is sharing food at restaurants so you always get to try two meals instead of one, agree?). We also got a side of melted butter to dip some of the crab from the salad in. Mmmmm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about this meal.
Our next stop was going to MoPOP, Museum of Pop and Culture (which I still call the EMP). This is a unique place if you have never been. My husband knows I love everything Disney and they were having a special Heroes & Villains exhibit showing many costumes from Disney movies and TV shows, so he decided to get tickets. The last time we were at the EMP was for a NYE party in 2017. Again, this year was a little different from the last time we were there 🙃. It was fun reminiscing on those memories (the photo below of me in the vampire coffin was from the NYE party in 2017!). After walking through all the exhibits at the EMP, we made our way to another classic tourist spot, the International Fountain and lounged around in the sunshine.
At this point I was feeling pretty tired and ready to head home, but what I didn’t know was that my husband was trying to kill time before heading back for the surprise party. He suggested we go to UVillageto get some maternity clothes. Shopping? Sure! Also, the past couple of weeks I had been feeling a little down about my clothes and what was/wasn’t fitting me (was using hair ties to keep my shorts buttoned) so I was excited to find some pieces that actually fit my changing body.
After shopping we made our way back to our house and at this point my husband was acting a little strange but I still didn’t know about the party. (Some strange things: Our Ring Doorbell was covered in tape so I couldn’t see the camera, he told me I should wear one of my new dresses out of the store home, he asked me to look at some marble tile on his phone as we were driving so I wouldn’t see all the cars parked on our street). When we walked inside, I noticed some balloons and decorations on our deck when I looked through the window. I turned the corner into our back room and everyone yelled SURPRISE! I was actually shocked. So excited and so so happy to see my friends, my mom and my favorite pups there to celebrate.
After all my questions of “How did you you guys pull this off? Wait, you made this?! Aww you guys! Tommy how long have you been planning this?” everyone brought out the food and snacks. Watermelon, 7-layer bean dip that one of my friends makes and is always BOMB!, and my absolute favorite – fried chicken and jojos. Mmm also my friend brought a dozen cookies from Crumbl Cookies and they were absolutely incredible. (Get the pink one always and their menu changes each week to mix and match the rest. I’m seriously about to order these right now just to have around the house because they are so delicious).
This birthday was much different than the last but in the best way possible. It was a surprise party that I won’t ever forget and the perfect celebration for this time in my life right now. My husband, my mom and my friends outdid themselves and I felt SO much love. Very memorable and a very special day turning 31!
The last time my husband and I updated our fireplace was last year when we were living in our townhome. We gave that fireplace a facelift with some fresh tile, paint and a new marble hearth. We were only able to enjoy it for a couple of months before renting to our tenants but I still love the way it came out! You can read about that DIY Project Here.
The fireplace in our current home is much different. It’s covered in brick, much larger and is used for real fires instead of gas. (One day randomly, a women who used to live in our home when she was 4 years old dropped by and told me the story about how her dad built the house and fireplace. She said the fireplace looked similar to how she remembered it over 60 years ago!) I know this meant it needed a bit of an upgrade. 😊 We wanted to keep this project as inexpensive as possible since we had (still have actually) many other projects to complete throughout the house.
A quick paint job, an updated mantel and some decor items was what I was envisioning. But there was a little more to this project than just that. We bought our house knowing there was a leak in the fireplace/chimney and had that fixed right away. But what we didn’t know was that the leak had been there for years and years causing moisture ants to take up residence behind the wall.
Luckily we discovered the ants because my husband wanted to add an outlet above the fireplace for our TV which meant removing the drywall and rewiring the electrical outlet close by. When he removed the drywall, we discovered the most disgusting amount of ants hidden behind the wall where the leak used to be (way more than in the photo even!). He used a shock vac to vacuum all the ants up and then we left the drywall off for a couple of days to ensure everything was completely dry and no longer leaking.
Yikes! After that mess my husband added an electrical outlet to the center of the wall, added new drywall, learned how to do knockdown texture and then painted everything. He is incredible! From there him and my father-in-law used pine boards to extend the mantel, taking inspiration from this blogto make it look a bit more modern. I found these Wood Sheets on Amazon which we used to cover the seams on the ends for a perfect match.
When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant, we immediately decided we would find out if we were having a boy or a girl. (There is absolutely no way the teacher/planner in me would be able to wait). And we love to have parties so we decided why not have a little gender reveal party!
At 14 weeks, we did the NIPT blood test which screened our baby for the most common defects, including Down Syndrome, trisomy 13, and trisomy 18. We added on the option to find out the sex and then had the results put in a sealed envelope which we got on May 23rd. That very night we gave the envelope to our friend Amber since it would be way too tempting to sneak a peak at the results. (We had our party on June 19th and waited 3 weeks after we received the results to accommodate our schedules). Waiting was hard but also fun because during that time we would go back and forth discussing if baby was a boy or girl and why.
We invited our immediate family and some of our close friends to keep things small and intimate. I made a Balloon Arch to use as a background and love how it turned out. I also got these Gender Reveal Buttonsfor friends and family to guess if they thought baby was a boy or girl. We had some charcuterie boards and snacks and did a pasta salad bar with a bunch of different cold pasta salads to eat. For dessert, funfetti cupcakes! And I had to somehow include our pup Edgar so I got him a Big Brother Bandana (totally unnecessary but I think was very cute).
For the actual reveal we used 10 Confetti Cannonswhich Amber ordered for us since she was the only person who knew the sex. Instead of releasing the cannons ourselves, we had our friends and family circle around us and count down while we watched under the balloon arch. This made for such a special and memorable moment. Honestly it was incredible watching the colors fly in the sky and a day we both won’t ever forget.
And we are having a baby boy!!! We had such an amazing time and this party made us even more excited for our little babe. Now to think of and decide on a name. Any suggestions? ☺️
If you’re looking to get away on a relaxing vacation, lounge by the pool, maybe do a little shopping and be in the hot sun, I know just the place….Palm Desert, CA! (Or Palm Springs). My husband and I traveled to Palm Desert in the middle of May with four of our close friends. This was our first trip flying somewhere new since our honeymoon to Thailand back in January 2020, 16 months ago. (Wow that is wild to think about!)
Palm Desert is full of restaurants, colorful shops, swimming pools and many luxury cars! Oh and golf, lots and lots of golf. My husband said the courses here were some of the nicest golf courses he has ever played on.
The six of us stayed at Embarc Palm Desert which was right in the center of everything and close to the main strip, El Paseo Shopping District. The community was right next to a couple of golf courses and had multiple pools to lounge by. This was great for the guys to head to golf in the morning and the girls to go for a swim.
We went out to eat almost every night which was new for us since we hadn’t dined at a restaurant in so long with covid restrictions. My three favorite restaurants from the trip were:
Guillermo’s Restaurante – Delicious Mexican food! The chips, salsa, guac, margs…all amazing. I had the chicken fajitas and would recommend.
Ristorante Mamma Gina – Incredible homemade pasta and Italian food. They even gave us a complimentary slice of cheesecake for desert!
Wilma & Frieda’s Cafe – Everything you can imagine for amazing brunch food and drinks. Short rib eggs benny, churro waffles, home-made buttery flakey giant biscuits with raspberry jam. Yum!
One memorable night was when we out to eat at the The Nest in Palm Springs. We sat out on the patio in 70 degree weather (my favorite temperature) and watched live music while eating dinner. As we were getting ready to leave, one of our friends recognized a woman at the bar from the show: The Real Housewife of Orange Country, Elizabeth Lyn Vargas. My sister-in-law and I went up to her and got a photo. Even though neither of us watch the show, we pretended like we did and pretended like we knew who she was 😀 (She was very friendly and we can now say we had a celebrity spotting).
On our second to last day my husband and I took an early morning drive to Joshua Tree National Park which is about an hour away from Palm Springs. The park is full of beautiful scenery, places to camp, rock climbing and lots of trails to explore. In mid May it was 100+ degrees outside so we didn’t do much hiking but enjoyed driving through the park and taking in all the sites.
About a 20 minute drive from Joshua Tree is a place called Pioneertown which was such a unique town to visit. This historic landmark is an Old Western Town built as a 1940s movie set that has all the Westworld feels. Surround by frontier stables, saloons, a jail, and a church along a dirt road; it truly felt like a step back in time into the wild wild west.
We were there for 6 nights and like any vacation the time always flies by! Most of our days were spent relaxing in the sunshine, eating out at a bunch of different restaurants and spending time with each other at the resort.
The best part about any vacation is who you spent it with and I had a great time vacationing with my favorite people!
Have you ever heard of the place called Poulsbo in Washington State? Poulsbo is a charming little town in the northern part of Kitsap County. A beautiful ferry ride from Seattle and then a quick drive to town makes this spot a great place for a weekend trip. And what better time to take a weekend trip than to celebrate one of your friends getting married?! (because we all know girls weekends are the best weekends)
The four of us stayed at the most beautiful modern farm house that was close to town to celebrate our bride. We decorated the house with all the classic bachelorette things, ate a ton of bomb food, played some games and danced and talked all day and night.
The weather was incredible! It was our first taste of Seattle summer and we couldn’t get enough of the sun. We started the morning by meditating together in the grass to get us awake and energized for the day. Blankets, pillows, sunshine, your girlfriends…what else do you need.
Later we surprised the bride with a virtual tarot card reading over Zoom. This was a first experience for me and I loved it! Each of us had very different readings with one main connection, that we are all on a journey to find joy and happiness in life. The woman told me my mantra is to Following the Callings, so this is something I will take away from the weekend. If you have never done a tarot card reading before, I highly recommend! It’s all about perception and reflection. To me, it’s where you think about what each card could mean or represent for your life in this moment and then determine how you want to move forward with those ideas. Check out RaDonna Reed if you are interested in using the same Tarot Reader.
After our tarot card reading we packed up a picnic and headed to the beach called Point No Point. I highly recommend checking out this beach if you are in the area. It’s HUGE with plenty of space to spread out away from others and so very beautiful.
Later in the evening we played some of the classic inappropriate bachelorette games, (won’t be sharing those photos here 😉) put on our cozy matching outfits, drank lots of wine and had a dance party. It was a perfect bachelorette weekend celebrating the bride-to-be with some of my favorite girlfriends!
When I told my husband I wanted to have a little Galentine’s Day celebration, he had no idea what this was. “What is Galentine’s Day? You get together with your girlfriends, dress in black and vent about men?” I couldn’t help but laugh. I think he was thinking more of an Anti-Valentine’s Day celebration which isn’t what Galentine’s Day is at all. It’s about celebrating the girlfriends in your life, getting together and showing your love for each other.
Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec explains it best, “What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my ladyfriends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas!”
And the best part about Galentine’s Day is you can make it whatever you want. Brunch + Mimosas, Wine Tasting, Movie Slumber Party, Pot Luck, Game Night. It’s a chance to recognize the impact that our friends have on our lives and celebrate!
We wore our PJ’s, drank some bubbly and wine, ate charcuterie and sweets, gave some toasts, played some games and just talked and hung out with each other. I also made pasta from a recipe I saw on TikTok (yes I caved and downloaded TikTok) and it was pretty tasty! You can find the Baked Feta Tomato Pastarecipe here.
Of course we can and should celebrate our gals anytime throughout the year. It’s just something about wearing your PJ’s while sipping on pink champagne with your besties that makes this holiday feel extra special. ❤️
And just like that..it’s 2021! Wow, what a year 2020 was. To me, this past year flew by because many of my memories blend together (staying home each day, teaching online, Zoom meetings, lots of Netflix shows, more Zoom meetings, walks with my pup, mixed in with a couple of weekend trips with my close friends). And although it was definitely challenging, I still have many positive moments and experiences from 2020 to reflect back on. One significant event that stands out is we bought a house in November!
My husband Tommy and I have lived in our current neighborhood the past 5 years. We have loved the location so much that we decided to buy a little fixer upper right down the street (I literally walked to the open house). Throughout those 5 years, we made small changes to our townhouse to make it feel more like us. We began to realize just how much we love DIY projects and decided we wanted to take on more! But before we could begin any new project in our new home, we had to get our townhouse ready to be rented out. This made for a couple of insane weeks. Packing, moving, painting, cleaning, townhouse tours, tenant screening…all while having just one week to get our new home painted and livable. I blinked and somehow we did it.
But anyway, with this blog post I wanted to put together a list of everything we did in our townhouse to look back and reflect on. Many of the DIY projects were very simple but I think made a big difference. A little paint goes a long way! If you are thinking about tackling your first DIY home project, maybe this list will give you some inspiration.
Painted kitchen cabinets, extended to ceiling with crown molding and added hardware
My husband and I decided to redo the fireplace when we were putting in our new floors. This was our first tile project and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
Tile: The first step was to remove the hearth and surrounding beige tile. My husband used a sawzall to do this and was pretty proud of himself when the hearth came out in one piece. (Don’t mind the huge red wine stain on the carpet – I knocked over a full glass a couple of days before this photo was taken and decided to just leave it there since we were tearing out the carpet anyway)
One easy thing we did once Tommy took off the old tile was clean the fireplace glass! I just used windex. It’s crazy how much better this alone makes it look.
Next it was time to cut, measure and nail on the cement board. Tommy found the best way to cut cement board is to score it, then snap it. He used a diamond bit to drill through and then installed with flat head nails so the tile could go over smoothly. After the cement board was up, we measured and created a template of the fireplace using tape on the floor so we would know exactly where to cut each piece.
Then it was time to cut the tile! We used a large wet saw rented from a nearby rental equipment store (also took a break for a bomb lunch).
I used a lot of adhesive to put the tile on (probably too much but again, first time doing this). The tape around the fireplace helped ensure no glue got on and made for an easy clean up.
After a couple days, we applied a grout sealer/cleaner, let it dry then started grouting (applying the sealer before helped ensure the grout didn’t stick to the tile and makes it easier to clean off after). We made sure to use unsanded grout, since the lines are narrow and we didn’t want to scratch the tile.
Then after it dried for about 20 minutes, we cleaned it off and used the same sealer from before to seal the grout lines. Next it was time to tackle the hearth and fireplace surroundings.
Hearth: We decided to do a large marble slab to match the herringbone tile for the fireplace hearth. We designed and cut the template ourselves to save money and had this custom piece made for our fireplace. We splurged on real marble but we love how it came out! Hearth Cost: $250
Materials: My husband built and painted the mantel surroundings using scrap trim pieces + paint we had on hand. We removed our top corner insert, gave it a fresh coat of paint and secured it back on.
A 10+ hour road trip from Washington to Montana and back in 3 1/2 days? That’s over 20 hours of driving. Normally I would try to extend a trip like this but since my husband and I only had a couple of days and had the urge to travel, we decided to go for it! Oh, and there was a special reason why we chose to road trip to Montana…our friends who live there were getting engaged!
We left Thursday and started the 10+ hour journey. Tommy made a little bed in the back of the car with an air mattress, pillow and blankets to trade off napping. Our first stop was Ellensburg for some lunch. We discover THE BEST little sandwich place. If you ever find yourself passing through Ellensburg, definitely stop at Daily Bread and Mercantile. We had the Very Veggie and the Mean Green Panini. So, so good.
We continued to drive until we reached St. Regis Travel Centerwhere apparently they have the best huckleberry milkshakes. **One thing to note, Tommy started filling up the gas tank and then we went inside to grab a bite to eat. We were so excited to get back to the car and eat our tater tots that we forgot to put the gas nozzle back. So Tommy drove off and the entire gas thing flew off dangling from the car!! 😂 Luckily it was able to go back on and reattach but this was definitely a first for us.
The next day, we explored Helena where our friends Kevin and Mary live before setting off to Livingston, Montana where Kevin was going to propose! (Livingston is a former railroad town in southwestern Montana along the banks of the Yellowstone River. It has this old western charm and a small town vibe. They stayed at Livingston’s famous historical hotel called The Murry, which is the place to stay if you are visiting the area).
The day of the proposal we went to this little restaurant called Faye’s Cafe in an old school building called The Shane Center. I cannot recommend this gem of a place enough! Customers pick out 2-3 words from the menu to describe the meal you would like. Then the waitress takes the words back to Faye (the cook) and she will whip something up just for you! The words I chose were potato, veggie and cheesy and this is what I had. Poached eggs, cheesy hash browns, green beans with balsamic, pesto and hummus on naan bread and citrus orange corn bread. Incredible. So rich and so flavorful. I’m still dreaming of this breakfast.
Next we set off for our hike to Pine Creek Fallswhere our friend Kevin was planning on proposing! Around 2.5 miles, this hike was short and sweet with beautiful views all around us. (But be careful if you go in late October. We were slipping all over the place since it was very icy. A couple of close calls on my end but no major falls).
We got to the falls and it couldn’t have been more perfect. There was this little bridge where Tommy and I stood to take photos. Kevin proposed and Mary said YES (She also had no idea and was so surprised)! Then we popped some champagne and enjoyed the moment before making our way back. The most special and memorable hike with great friends.
Next was the second part of Kevin’s proposal plan, to go to Chico Hot Springs! This resort was established over 120 years ago in 1900 and is located in the heart of Paradise Valley. It definitely didn’t feel like our typical cold Halloween day in Seattle. We felt like we were on a mini tropical vacation with the warm hot spring water and pool side drinks. So much fun!
We ended the day by going out to dinner in Livingston to celebrate the newly engaged couple! (I really enjoyed taking photos of all the neon signs that lit up the streets).
Then on Sunday Tommy and I started our long journey home back to Washington. I was so grateful for that extra hour we got with daylight savings. And the bed in the back of our car really came in handy for naps. Not to mention the scenic drive was absolutely beautiful.
This was one epic Halloween weekend to celebrate our friends’ engagement and an amazing quick little road trip to Montana!