Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up: The Memories

Christmas brings so many memories as it creeps closer and closer. And as it's almost here, all I can think about are Christmases past. I sort of feel like Ebenezer Scrooge when he's taken on a flight back in time, visiting the key Christmases of his life.

Most Christmas memories center around time spent with grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. The best part is being reunited with people you haven't seen in months, maybe even a year or more. And when you're back together, it's like you picked up where you left off last time you were together.

My cousins and I have always had a good time together, whether sledding or getting into mischief or riding around on scooters and playing hide and seek. Our imaginations always took us to more exciting places than closets or basements or bunkbeds, but they were all we needed to have a good time. Of course we all loved getting presents and new toys, but when it came down to it, the best part was being together. After all, 20-some years later, that's what I remember most.

Not that I don't remember presents, especially the years that my relatives "magically" knew just what to get me. American Girl dolls and stuffed animals were some of the things I loved the most. Then when I got older it turned into books, CDs and clothes. The anticipation of what sat behind the multicolored paper and silvery bows was almost more exciting than actually opening them. Almost.

When you're a kid, you sort of expect Christmas to always be the same, but really it's always changing. We have our traditions and things we swear will never change, but the truth is, every year is just a little bit different, and sometimes a lot. Last year was our first year without Grandpa with us, and yet it's still strange not having him here. His wispy laugh and jolly eyes and generous spirit seem especially missing this time of year. It's almost like having Christmas without Santa (if Santa was real, that's still out for debate). We make due and press on, but it will never be quite the same.

Looking back, Christmas really has been the most wonderful time of the year. And though times will always change, we'll look back on the fond memories we made.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and a very happy and blessed New Year.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up: Picture This

I'm trying something new with Storify and photo sharing in the form of a slideshow. Last year, if you remember, I did my "Thirty-One Days of Photos" challenge throughout December, and while it was stressful at times, I kind of miss documenting the events of the holidays.

But! Thanks to Instagram, documentation is easier and faster than ever. So while I can't promise 31 photos in a row, I think delivering at least one snapshot each day shouldn't be too hard.

The great thing about Storify is that, as I add photos, it will continue to update the embedded slideshow below. If however, you don't want to wait for that, come check out my Instagram profile on the app (username is EliseLoyola, surprising, eh?) or view my photos online.

That said, merry Christmas and thanks for checking out my Christmas wrap-up!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up: Traditions

Traditions. One of the best parts of the Christmas season. Whether new, or time-tested and long-lasting, traditions are what make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. They give us something to remember years past, a marker to set down with each passing Christmas.

Some of the best traditions are the most simple. Setting up and decorating the Christmas tree is one of my absolute favorites. I used to wait until the day after Thanksgiving, but since living on my own, I've been setting it up a little earlier. Call me crazy, but I like the idea of enjoying its beauty as long as I can. And when you travel around the holidays, you have less time to enjoy your tree. (Yeah, this is my reasoning.)

Our Christmas tree, filled with flowers and ornaments.
 Another tradition I love is hanging up and filling stockings. In my family, my brother and I each have a stocking that magically gets filled (by my mom) on Christmas Eve. It's the first thing we open in the morning, usually before breakfast. I'm excited to continue the tradition with Nick.

A new(ish) tradition that I hope to continue is participating in Operation Christmas Child. This year, Nick and I filled a shoebox with toys and other items for a little girl. Filled shoeboxes are collected by Samaritan's Purse and distributed to children around the world.

Jade with our shoebox.
These are just a few traditions that I love. What are yours? Is there something you do every year without fail?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up: Cookie (Recipe) Exchange

Who doesn't eat/make/love Christmas cookies?! It's practically an unwritten rule that as many Christmas cookies as can be made and consumed, should be made and consumed. But honestly, some of them take so much dang time, who really wants to spend countless hours making and decorating cookies?
Stock photo / q83
Therefore I will now share with you a relatively quick (to assemble and bake) recipe that is also thoroughly delicious, both in cooked and non-cooked form. Yes, I'm a self-proclaimed cookie-dough-aholic. And I'm taking this moment to digress onto that subject...

When I was a kid, a musician couple, the Covingtons, came to our church in Dallas to give a small performance. One of the songs they sang was "Cookie" which has a chorus proclaimed, "The cookie can't compete, cookie can't compete, no! The cookie can't compete with the dough." All of us kids loved that song the best and always sang it after that. And though I only heard that song the one time, that fateful chorus is always stuck in my head when I'm snacking on cookie dough. Because, let's face it, the cookie can never compete with the dough.

Drop Sugar Cookies

This recipe my mom gave me makes about 4.5 to 5 dozen yummy cookies. :)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cub vegetable oil
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  1. Mix sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in a mixing bowl with a mixer.
  2. Add oil and dry ingredients, mix well.
  3. Chill dough for one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Scoop out slightly rounded teaspoons and drop onto non-greased cookie sheet 1.5 inches apart.
  6. Press down on cookie with a glass dipped in granulated sugar. (I recommend green or red colored sugar!)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up: Current Events & Christmas

Christmas for a lot of people is a "feel good" holiday. It's all about warmth and cheer and families.

But, Christmas for a lot of other people is anything but a "feel good" holiday. It's a day to remember lost loved ones, hurts and brokenness. This is brought home even more in light of recent events. Everyone knows what happened, and the thought of innocent children being executed brings many to a state of desperation and uncertainty. Do we really live in so barbaric a world?

Yes. The answer is yes. And the truth is, it will never get better.

Maybe that sounds harsh and over-the-top, but the evil that exists in this world cannot be done away with by men and their laws. Banning guns may treat a symptom, but the virus will live on. We can never extricate evil on our own.

So what do we do? What's the answer to this problem? Is there even an answer or will we go on struggling with acts of terror and evil until this planet consumes itself?

The good news is, there is an answer. It is the truth I and so many others cling to in dark days like December 14.

This truth was very clearly expressed on Sunday by my dad at church, and I want to share his message with all of you. I think he conveys a message I could not, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything he said. If you have some time, please listen to this audio clip. It is truth and hope for the darkest, and the best, of days.

Click to listen: He is Christ the Lord / Luke 2:11 / Dec. 16, 2012 / Clinton E-Free Church

Please share your thoughts on this message. If you were in church on Sunday and already heard this sermon, what were your initial thoughts?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up: Holidaywear

This time of year, we're spending a lot of money. And while we all want something for ourselves (Like a brand new holiday outfit!), we're usually trying to figure out how much we can spend on gifts for our friends and family.

So a brand new party dress is probably the last item on your list of things to buy, but that doesn't mean you can't look amazing this Christmas.

After reading an article that listed a party dress as something to scratch from your shopping list, I subconsciously made it my goal to figure out how to get a new holiday look on a budget. It didn't start so well--I found a beautiful red lace dress at a department store in the mall a few days later, full price. After leaving it behind, I came up with a few things and eventually found what I was looking for, over $100 less.

Start in your closet

I love timeless pieces, those articles of clothing you can wear year after year. Basics like sweaters, button-downs and simple skirts can be resurrected time and time again. The same can go for dresses in classic shapes and basic colors. I have a black t-shirt dress that I've worn the past several years, adding scarves, belts and sweater tights to switch (and dress) it up.

A black t-shirt dress like this one by Mossimo is easily converted with accessories.
So before you head to the store, check your closet for something you can dress up with a sparkly belt or new jewelry. Repurposing something you already own will save your wallet, and make you feel proud of your fashion skills.

Shop the sale racks

I found my new holiday dress on a sale rack in the juniors department of Dillard's. The great thing is that it was probably a summer/fall dress, thus on the way out, but because of the color and fabric, totally convertible to winter.

When you're shopping the sale racks for winter dresses, look for darker solid colors or color-blocked dresses. Animal print is also very in, especially leopard, but avoid summery floral prints. You'll also want to look for heavier fabrics, or those that have the appearance of being heavy (usually with more shape and less flowy movement). Just remember that with the right pairings, you can make something intended for summer or fall ready for winter.
This emerald lace dress can be holiday party-worthy with a few additions.

The key to making any of the above options work is accessorizing. The right accessories can help your dress make the transition into the holiday scene. Think patent leather or sparkly belts, chunky jewelry and a coordinating clutch. Don't be afraid to go big on pieces you would normally keep small.
H&M rhinestone ring.

Patent leather belt from Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

Don't forget your hands and face

After you put your outfit together, top it all off with party-worthy makeup and nail polish. Don't be afraid to go darker with your shadow and create a smokey eye. (I really like Sephora's eyeshadow with micro glitter.) Finish everything off with a coat of gorgeous and totally in glitter nail polish.

Sephora Collection eyeshadow in Espresso Shot.

e.l.f. Essential Glitter Nail Polish in Golden Goddess, with a taupe base coat.

Find it Online Guide 
e.l.f. Essential Glitter Nail Polish

As a side note: I've been thinking about eliminating the "Style Editor" blog (not like I've really been updating it anyway), and putting my periodic fashion/beauty posts on this blog. My original intent was to not clog this blog up with those types of posts, for those who aren't interested. So I made a separate space where they could live and be discovered by those who are interested. BUT since I'm not blogging that much about style subjects, I was thinking it wouldn't hurt to bring them over here. Any thoughts on that? I suppose anyone who really hates these types of posts could just skip them to begin with.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The 2012 Christmas Wrap-Up

Christmas. The best holiday ever. (With Halloween being a close runner-up, and the Fourth of July after that.) And in keeping with my love for the day, I am going to do a special Christmas Wrap-Up here on my blog. Consider it a blogift (yes, that's a technical term) from me to you. :)

I will share stories, photos, recipes and more! And as always, I love to hear from my readers! Please share your favorite Christmas memory/photo/recipe/video or anything that makes you feel particularly in the Christmas spirit. (And if you don't celebrate Christmas, I'd like to hear what you do instead!)

To kick things off, here are some pics from last year.

Some of the decorations we set up at work in the newsroom.
We won the Christmas decorating contest. :)
Last year we spent Christmas at my Grandma's house, where we'll be again this year!
Michael and one of his favorite presents.

Me with my grandma and mom.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Food & Photos

It's here! You are now looking at my reading material for the rest of the month. (Well, I'm actually about half-way through it already because I skipped some parts. They said I could.)

I'm getting more excited for the Whole30, which as I wrote in this post, I'll be starting Jan. 2. I'm still looking for anyone who is interested in joining. It's not just about "dieting" and weight loss, but also about the lifestyle benefits. Not only is Whole30 designed to increase energy, it also helps with a whole list of other issues (like inflammation and diabetes). So if you want to give it a whirl with us (Nick is joining me, as well as several of my girl friends), you are cordially and officially invited. It lasts for 30 days, so come on, who can't try it?! :)

If you are skeptical and want to see how it goes for Nick and me, just keep checking my blog as I plan to post plenty of updates. (Especially when I'm struggling!) I'll try to get Nick to add some thoughts/guest posts too, so you can get a guy's perspective.

In other news, if you haven't seen them yet, my engagement pictures are here! I have posted some of our favorites to a rather "protected" Facebook album (to guard against those who have been a little too stalkery). If you can't see it, just shoot me a message and I'll add you to the viewers.

And speaking of photos, I think I found photography bliss. This is now on my "I kind of want this really bad" list. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Life Revelations, a Few Years Later

Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

Sometimes they get a LOT worse.

I somehow got sucked into looking at old Facebook posts tonight on my profile. Thanks to the wonder of the timeline, it's easy to go back a few years and look at the silly things you used to write. Mixed in with the silly is the occasional meaningful post, or the post with an underlying message that the average reader wouldn't catch. But you know what's there, you lived the raw emotions, the moments of desolation, the secret fears.

I covered a lot of ground in the past 3+ years. Emotional roller coaster after emotional roller coaster. There were the highest highs and the lowest lows, and looking back, I remember many moments where I felt utterly lost.

I felt the most lost when I lived in Colorado and when I first moved back to Iowa. I know because I remember. I was reminded of that tonight when I crossed a few posts that said things to the effect of, "I wish I could figure out my life."

Okay, we all wish we could figure out our lives, because who really has it all together? But sometimes we're more lost and confused than other times. And that was my season, Denver to Clinton, I was so lost. That was the lowest of the low, when I hit rock bottom. I remember constantly thinking, where am I going and what am I doing? Life felt like a wilderness and I was wandering across it, not even sure if I was headed in the right direction, parched and looking for shelter.

One of the biggest things I learned was that life can take the steepest of downhill plunges before it even begins to get better. Looking back on that wilderness now, it seems so far away. Now, on this side where things are starting to make so much more sense and I have less of the "what am I doing?" feeling. Now it's like I can see again. And with 20-20, I know the past was the way it was for a reason. There was desolation, but there was also life and growth. The sand of the wilderness shaped who I am, who I am becoming.

Now I know that life sometimes reaches the point where you think you've come to the end of all things. Sometimes it feels like you've sunk so low you'll drown beneath the weight of everything crushing above you. Sometimes it feels like the wilderness is endless.

But if there is one thing I've learned, it's that life does get better. Maybe it takes months or years, but eventually we come to the end of the wilderness. And if we've learned all we needed to, we'll come out refined, purged, wiser, and able to see the path before us.

Here's to finding that path and following it wholeheartedly. Here's to remembering that when the worst comes, sometimes what's better is just behind that distant horizon. Here's to remembering that the wilderness is not endless.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Non-New Year's Resolution Resolution

I do not make New Year's resolutions. Ever. I actually hate them. I hate them because there's a stigma associated with them: they are temporary, lots of people set them, and no one keeps them for more than a week.

So rather than join the crowd and set myself up to fail at my resolution and thus feel guilty, I never set resolutions.

That is why, even though this "resolution" will start in January, it is not a New Year's resolution. It's an "I'm going to start as soon as the holidays are over" resolution. And one that is not going to be dropped in a week because I have to do it for 30 days. And I will.

So what's this resolution?

In January, I and some other individuals will be kicking off the Whole30. You can click that link and find out all about it. I originally heard about it through my friend Cami, who recently completed her 30 days. Today I ordered the book, and I'm really excited about getting started.

The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is actually feeling healthy again. After moving back to Clinton, I've felt like I've been slowly dragged down into a pit of unhealthiness. And though I've tried to stay active, sitting at a desk all day and then feeling wiped out in the evening hasn't helped.

So that's my resolution, and now it's your turn. I'm inviting anyone else who wants to try the Whole30 to join me in this resolution. The best way to get through anything challenging is with friends by your side. So, let's do this together. So far Nick has agreed to join me, and my dear friend Jessica will also be starting Whole30 in January. (I'm also working on getting my mom to join.)

My plan is to start Jan. 2, 2013. I'll be blogging throughout the 30 days, both to share my experience and keep myself accountable. If you are going to join in, please leave a comment here or on my Facebook page. I'll be keeping up with all of you as well; hopefully we can share ideas, support, and encouragement.

Also, if you're joining, consider taking before pictures and/or measurements so we can compare those to the end result and celebrate our successes! If you have a blog, let me know and I will link to it so we can all share our thoughts and experiences.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Why I Love Halloween [Belated]

For those who couldn't tell by my three costumes this year, I love Halloween. It's been one of my favorite holidays since childhood.

Me as Katy Perry on Oct. 31, 2012.
After having conversations about why some people don't celebrate Halloween, I felt the need to evaluate why, as an adult, I still have an obsession with the day.

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to play dress-up, and not just on Halloween. I had a whole chest full of old clothes, hats and scarves that I would dig into on a near-daily basis. Looking back, that was probably the beginning of my clothing obsession.

Playing dress up in what also served as a Halloween costume. (Circa 1989)
Trick-or-treating in a re-purposed costume with my parents' god-daughter. (Circa 1995)
Halloween just compounded my love for creating outfits, stepping into character, and spending a day marauding around neighborhoods seeking treats. (I won't say when I stopped trick-or-treating, but in my defense, I took children door-to-door with me.) And let's face it, that love never really left. So besides "dressing up" in normal clothes every day, Halloween is the one day (or more often, week) a year I can go all-out.

Lord of the Rings night at youth group, and another re-purposed costume. (2003)
First Halloween in college. (2004)
So I had to face the fact that some things never change. And because of that, Halloween is also my dose of nostalgia. I like feeling like a kid again and I like the idea of feeling like a kid again, of doing something I have always loved.

I've also always chosen to focus on the lighthearted side of Halloween. It's a day for dressing up, carving pumpkins, asking for (or as an adult, handing out) candy, and spending time with the kids in your family.

Halloween 2008. Michael was Frodo and I was a fairy. Recognize the wings? :)
Halloween 2009 with my friend Liz.
Halloween 2010 with Margaret and Emily.
Halloween 2011 with my mom.
And as an adult, Halloween has also become more about the creative aspect. I love designing costumes, doing makeup and seeing the finished product come together. This year I got to put together three different outfits because of different events and parties. And, not only did I get to put together my costumes, I also got to help Michael and Nick with their costumes and makeup. So just know, if you ever need costume/makeup help, I'm your go-to girl! ;)

Nick and I as pirates on Oct. 27, 2012.
Michael as the Joker (did his makeup!) and me.
My vampire getup made an appearance at work for a costume contest on Oct. 26, 2012.
What are your thoughts on Halloween? Did you participate in Halloween festivities this year? Any costume ideas or pictures you'd like to share?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall Photo Shoot with the Horches

A couple weeks ago I ventured across the river to take some photos with the Horch family. We wandered around Heritage Canyon and sat on the banks of the Mississippi. The Horches are one of the happiest families I know, and the kids did a great job of saying "cheese" for me every two seconds. Below are some of my favorite shots from the day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Descent

Really good weekends are usually whirlwind-type weekends. Everything happens so swiftly, it's like you're caught up in a gust of wind, carried along for a ride, then deposited back where you started from. At least that's usually how I feel. This weekend was no exception.

The main part of the weekend consisted of traveling to Maryland--a place I had never been--for the wedding of a good college friend. There was some reminiscing, some down time, tons of running around, plenty of food, and celebrating, lots and lots of celebrating.

I realized, once we got there, how long it had been since I'd spent a decent amount of time with this college friend. And I was reminded how much good a few short days with a college friend can do for your heart. I was reminded of times surrounded by friends who honestly care about you, and knowing you. The kinds of friends who know what you mean to say, even when you say it the wrong way. The kinds of friends who accept you, in spite of shortcomings and failings. The friends who are comfortable enough to be themselves, and to let you be yourself too.

So not only was it a whirlwind-type weekend, but it was also one of those weekends when you ascend to a constant high of fond memories, happy feelings, and a good kind of forgetfulness where you stop worrying about yourself. I spent the weekend trying to help things run smoother, better for this college friend. That ended up consisting of things like folding pocket squares and fastening cufflinks, attempting to satiate crazy wedding planners, and encouraging everyone to dance, just to make the party more fun. And as much as I hoped I could have done for my friend, I came away feeling like I benefited so much more than he could have by my small acts.

And now comes the decent. Back to what I somewhat spitefully call the "real world," where friends are few and far between, days are mapped by hours at work, hours at home, hours of sleep. Memories of college days are confined to the back of the mind to make way for things like driving directions, appointments and mundane tasks. And decompression is to be found by staring into a computer screen, typing away on a blog post, clinging to the last few memories of what was literally just yesterday.

Exchanging vows.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Long Weekend to Follow Along

Tonight I am preparing to depart for new places and old, and of course the first step in preparing is to write a blog post!

In the search for new and exciting adventures, I will be traveling to Baltimore. As for the old, my trip will first begin with a stop in Chicago for engagement pictures.

Most of you know that the wardrobe for said pictures was causing some angst. I am happy to report that outfits (and accessories) have been selected. I also mapped out a walking route through some lovely parts of the city so there will be no need for taxis or driving. All that remains is to paint my nails, clean my ring and wake up fresh-faced tomorrow!

After Chicago we'll fly out to Baltimore for a wedding of a good friend of ours from college. Nick is the best man and I'm on self-appointed Instagram photo duty. It will be our first wedding to attend together, which I'm insanely excited about (even if I do get stuck by myself at a table in the corner). I plan to talk current events and newsy things with my table-mates, and dance lots with Nick.

Since I'm sure I'll have plenty of down time all weekend, I'll be entertaining myself by tweeting all sorts of random and useless information. If you're interested, you can follow along, either by following me @EliseLoyola, or through the feed below.

Happy early weekend all! :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Photos and 'Maids and Things

Right now my life consists of crazy-busy, yet crazy-fun work insanity, and wedding deets. It's like I can't convince my mind to think about anything else.

A week from today we're taking our engagement pics in Chicago with our wedding photographer, Tim Tabailloux. I met Tim during my freshman year at Moody, since we both started at the same time and had a lot of the same friends. Then during sophomore year we were on class council together. I always thought he was super talented, especially with photography and videography, and kept up with his work over the years.

When we started thinking about wedding photographers, obviously he was the first person who popped into my mind. Nick really liked his work too, so that sealed the deal (along with a contract and deposit, obviously). So I'm really excited to see how our photos turn out. And trying to relax about the whole thing. I have this weird obsessive thought that they have to be absolutely perfect. Then I have to keep reminding myself that it's about capturing this time in our lives, not about achieving perfection.

In other wedding news, I sent out little "invite" cards to my bridesmaids, asking them to be in the wedding. I wanted to do something a little more personal than just a call or a text, so I got some crafty card stock and made these little cards.

One side has a personalized message, then the other side pops the question. I designed different "fonts" for each question, then added a ribbon (which corresponded with the wedding colors) and a little floral decal. I liked that each was completely unique, but they all tied back to the style and feel of the wedding.

I also just recently put together a photo book using Shutterfly, and a code I got for a free 8x8 book. I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to put together something commemorating our engagement weekend in Chicago. And thanks to the awesomeness of embeddable codes, you can check it out here!

Click here to view this photo book larger • Start your own Shutterfly Photo Book today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Life Right Now...

What happens when you don't have to post a photo on your blog every single day? Apparently, for me, I stop posting all together. In my defense, life has been quite full lately (I'm avoiding using the "busy" word since I'm not really that busy).

Right now I'm trying to transition more into wedding planning. And really, for how much time I have before the big day, I already have a lot of things figured out. Like...

   •  Location for the wedding and the reception
   •  Bridal party/ushers/attendants
   •  My dress (Yup, I already got it, thanks to a very productive Chicago weekend!)
   •  Colors/theme (The theme is sort of in-progress, but it's quickly forming.)
   •  Part of my centerpieces (see below)
   •  Photographer (I am suuuuper excited about him!)
   •  Flowers (My amazing cousin at Floral Sense is doing the flowers!)
   •  Guest list

Okay... I don't know how it is for other brides, but the guest list is probably what is going to give me the most grief in the long-haul. I have a limited budget and therefore, can't invite everyone I know. And since I'm the "pastor's daughter," just about everyone knows I'm getting married. What I'm not looking forward to is explaining to people why everyone isn't invited. I've really had to go through and, sadly, pick the people Nick and I feel closest to. The good news is, I'm planning a post-wedding cake reception for everyone to attend. So, here's hoping I can keep the peace and help people feel included, even if they can't come to the big day.

I also feel bad that my guests are dominating the list, limited though it is. Poor Nick doesn't even get half the slots. But hopefully by the time the big day comes, he will feel closer to a lot of the people on the list.

This past weekend I did some "antiquing" at a couple of local places. Thanks to Google search and the wonderful world of Pinterest, I've had the idea of using antique, blue glass mason jars in my reception decorating. This weekend I found the best deal yet on the exact kind of jars I wanted so... I bought enough to furnish all the tables. My centerpieces are going to most likely start with them, and possibly baby's breath. This project is in progress, but I like where it's at now. :)

So besides wedding stuff, I am doing some home decorating and getting in the mood for fall. Last weekend, Nick and I made a trip to the Quad Cities so we could visit Michaels (and a few other places/stores we don't have in Clinton). They are in full fall mode, and even though I went to find sale items for the wedding, I had to look at everything for Halloween/fall. I ended up getting a few things (sweet Nick got me the best smelling fall potpourri mix and basket) and then went home to put out my fall decor. :)

What are your thoughts on my mason jar centerpieces? Are you getting into the fall spirit yet?

Friday, August 31, 2012

31 Days Captured: Day 31 / Bonus Photos

This is were I spent the evening, posting sports scores and getting things ready for tomorrow's paper. (Hence why this post is late. Priorities.)

I can't believe it's the last night of my photo challenge. I did most of my reminiscing in last night's post, so I'll spare you the repetition. However, I will expand on my statement that some days I got lots more photographs than I end up posting, by sharing some extra "bonus" pictures with you. Consider it a finale of photos.

Driving through Ohio, watching the last of the sunset.

More from Hot Dog Johnny's...

...including birch beer, which is NOT root beer. ;)
This is what happens when you accidentally call your cat "puppy" one too many times.
A different photo and edit of my brother playing guitar.
Vietnam memorial on the Clinton riverfront.
My mom feeding watermelon to Jade. :)
Some of my dad's paint brushes.
I have many such "cloud obsession" photos.
Waiting in O'Hare for Brandi's arrival.
Driving through Illinois on my way back from Effingham.
Crazy-eye cat.
Are you surprised?
A perfect reminder.
First photograph captured with Samsung Galaxy S, edits via PicMonkey. Bonus photographs captured with Samsung Galaxy S, edits via Instagram.
New Style Editor post.
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