Thursday, June 30, 2016


Is anyone else all about the stripes?  I sure am - it's a flattering pattern and something to have fun with no matter the color.  A classic look that will always work.  A little black/white striped cotton dress is one of my favorite go-to's for the hot summer days.  Here are a few other items recently that caught my eye...

Thanks for stopping by; have a great day! xx

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Top Five Travel Tips

Since we're enjoying a summer vacation this week, it seemed fitting to incorporate a little travel talk around here today.  Below are my top five travel tips from things I've learned along the way...

1. Use the dry cleaning bags for dirty clothes
Much like I like a clean bedroom at home without clothes thrown all over - I like a clean hotel room too.  If clothes are all over the room, it's a little overwhelming to me.  In most hotel closets are the bags you can put clothes in for them to wash and there's usually two so I like to take one for Derek and one for me to put our dirty clothes in so they are in one spot and out of the way.

2. Have the concierge make your reservations
Sometimes we wait until the last minute to make dinner reservations (we're trying to be better about that!) and it can be hard to get into some of the restaurants we want to go to.  We've learned that hotel concierges have a much better change at making reservations that doing it ourselves and usually just hand over where we want to eat with a timeframe and they do a great job.  Plus, it's less work for you!

3. Leave a "free" day open
Years ago I'd pack our days with activity after activity so we saw/did everything the destination had to offer.  Now we usually have something planned for the morning or afternoon and enjoy a pool or relaxing setting for the other half of the day.  If possible, I love trying to leave a completely free day later on in the trip to do something we saw once/gotten a recommendation from a local/etc. once we've arrived so there's time for that new thing.

4. Take notes
Similar to enjoying having this blog as a scrapbook, I love remembering all the details of our travels from where we ate to what we did and little things I'd otherwise forget in between.  I keep a note going in my phone to jot down details from each day so at the end of the trip I'm not trying to remember the little details of the first day.  We're big "repeat" destination people and once we find a place we like, we love going back and having all the details helps to easily plan another trip.

5. Pack in the order of your trip
Many times on a longer trip we'll either switch locations or at least hotels so I'd rather take the extra time when packing to plan out what I'll wear for each occasion and get it in a stack with the things for later in the trip on the bottom and the things for the start right on top so I can just grab what's next in the stack and stay more organized.  This also works well combined with #1 because if you're switching to a new hotel you can just put that dirty clothes bag right on top of the clean clothes and remove it when you get to the new place without having to really even unpack/repack your suitcase.

What are your best travel tips???

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Beach Bags + What's Inside Mine

'Tis the season for days with relaxing on the beach or rocking on the dock.  Packing up all the necessities you need for a day in the sun is key to enjoy your time and today I'm sharing my favorite things to have on hand...

Sun tan lotion - a given
Zip bag - for odds and ends 
Travel brush + ties - to keep your hair out of the way
Sun glasses - another given
Face wipes - for freshening up
Beach hat - to keep the sun out of your fave
Speaker - to enjoy your music 
A good book - for entertainment 
Beach towel - for lounging 
Tumbler - for hydrating (or enjoying a cocktail)
Beach dress or wrap - to cover up
Flip flops - of course

and some of my favorite beach bag options...

Happy Beaching! xx 

Monday, June 27, 2016

On West Coast Time

Happy Monday, everyone!

Over the weekend Derek and I headed back to... California!  We'll be spending this week enjoying the palm trees and sights that southern California has to offer.  This is our third summer doing our visit out west and it's always one of our favorite parts of the summer.  I'm looking forward to some time away & relaxation...

I have posts scheduled through the week but if you want to keep up with our trip, make sure to follow along here.

Have a great week and a very nice holiday weekend! xx

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday's Five

Happy, Friday - is everyone looking forward to another summer weekend?? We've been enjoying some great weather this week for the first "full" week of the summer season including a nice night of Dining Under the Stars and celebrating a belated Father's Day celebration last night.

Just about everything I'm loving this week is great for the season...

Come Sail Away Floppy Hat
You can't beat the price point and the "come sail away" adds a little something extra.  It's a must have for days in the sun.

Fondue Set
Perfect for a date night at home and not too big so it's easy to store.  Believe it or not we've actually never done the fondue thing so I'd love to try.  This "oh la la" champagne glass would be great to sip out of while using this set too.  Other similar glasses with different sayings here.

Pineapple String Lights
You can always find a use for string lights, right?  These would be the perfect touch on any deck once the sun goes down (flamingo or popsicle lights would be great too).

Donut Beach Towel
Everyone loves a good donut item and if this towel is as comfy as it looks then it's great for a day in the sun.  Really hoping this accessory bag comes back into stock soon too.

Anchors Away Pearl Necklace
Anything with pearls always catches my eye but I love the anchor touch - perfect for the shore, the lake or summer in general.

Cheers to the weekend; enjoy!! xx

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fourth of July Planning

Fourth of July is right around the corner and with some traveling next week, I'm trying to narrow down our options and get a menu and such set.  Whether or not we're traveling on the holiday, we love hosting a BBQ every year either on or just before/after the holiday.

For the Looks:
I love me some patriotic apparel - mostly white and blue, but that works.   Also, with the Olympics coming up in August, any of these pieces would be sure to be used again.

For the Menu:
We like to keep it classic & simple with the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs on the fourth but there are so many creative & festive sides to add to the menu.  Also, a condiment bar like below is the perfect way to add something extra for the simple entree.

For the Treats:
I'm having hard time narrowing down the dessert because I pretty much want to make everything below - it all looks so good.

How will you be celebrating this year??

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Looks & Life Lately {22}

Taking in some sun on the dock with perfect, breezy lake weather.

The perfect summer treat to cool off.  (shirt)

Grilling a variety of things to taste test for dinner.

Girls night with wine, couch time and Stella (wine glasses)

Dinners on the deck before it gets too hot are a regular occurrence around here.

Enjoying lunch at my favorite lunch spot with my favorite lunch date.

Stella girl got her summer cut to stay cool for the season.  Even though the bow only lasts a day or so, I love when she comes home with it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Family Weekend at the Lake

This past weekend our entire family (all 29 of us) gathered at the lake house for a full final reunion since this is our last summer with the original house.  Growing up, we'd always have a week out of the summer - "family week" - that we'd all spend at the lake together.  It's been years since we've done it but after some scheduling we found a weekend that we'd all be able to be in attendance.

Dock time, booze cruises, baseball games like old times and lots of porch time all went on.  Between the families there are three houses on the upper/lower roads at the river so we were able to do a progressive dinner on Saturday night as the main event.

The classic lake appetizers - clam dip, deviled eggs, kielbasa at the main cottage for appetizers, salads at another house, a classic BBQ at the third house and back to the main cottage for desserts.  It all worked out really well and we all had the best time.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tyler at Twilight

Last Thursday we went to a fundraising event "Tyler at Twilight" to support the local arboretum.  My brother is on the board so we had a table full of family and friends to make for a great evening.  This was our second year attending and it's becoming one of our favorite events.

Everyone had a great time sipping cocktails, scouting the silent auction and tasting foods from various local venders - seafood, pasta, meatballs, barbecue items, pulled pork, cheese platter and more.  To finish things off there was a cupcake station - delicious.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Five on Friday

One of our friend's was visiting last week so we went with everyone's favorite for dinner - make your own soft tacos, but not before a leisurely cocktail hour on the deck with the best Mexican dips.  We heated the tortillas and the chicken on the grill and it worked great.

Fresh blooms are ever present on our countertop - Wegman's floral section is hard to pass up.

This romper is a new favorite - comfortable and blue/white.

Yesterday I shared about our new lower deck area and I've been loving rocking in the new chairs and enjoying the cooler air but also letting Stella play on her own outside a bit.

And lastly, here's what I'm loving this week...

Have a great weekend.  Cheers! xx

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lower Patio Area

I shared on Friday how we were in the process of fixing up our lower patio area.  This summer will mark two years since our house was built so the first summer our priority was obviously setting up the inside of the house and we did set up the balcony that year.  Last summer we made the main deck our priority so this year it was time to do something with the lower area.  

Our main deck area is great, it's definitely our favorite area to be but in the afternoon hours when the sun directly hits, it can be unbearably hot some days.  We debated adding a full deck below or adding brick but in the end since we won't be in this house forever, we decided to clean off the platform that was there, cover the dirt area with mulch to make a little garden and add some flowers out front.  The back of our house backs up to trees and such so it's a nice view and a private setting.  I wish I remembered to take a before photo but I most definitely forgot (a "during" photo - here).  

I've always loved the idea of rocking chairs so we decided quickly what sitting area to put out there (and the chairs came in two days!), threw some pillows that we used to use on the deck area (before the Lilly pillows came about), added a table for each of us and we were done - pretty simple! 

We got it all setup over the weekend so we've only enjoyed the area together once for cocktails and Stella and I spent some time out there last night too.  The breeze is wonderful with the shade and I'm really happy how nicely and simply it worked out!  Another plus is that we can hook Stella up on her tie and she can play outside without being confined to her leash.

pillows (old, pottery barn - these & these are this year's style and very similar)
napkins (old, pottery barn - these are similar)