Friday, April 18, 2014

The Buddy Louie

One of my favorite things ever is when you meet a friend of a friend, and you hit it off so well that eventually, that person just becomes your friend and you can hang out whether or not the mutual connection is there. The one and only Shannon Wyatt has turned into one of those people for me. We met through our friend Rachel, and for awhile, we didn't hang out a whole lot. But lately? We're texting about what knobs she should add to her new dresser, going to Christian music concerts with my kid sister, making plans with the hubs to build a prop for her photography business, grocery shopping together and sharing pizzas (and cheese curds, of course). For someone like me that's never really had a ton of girlfriends, I really treasure the ones I have. Shannon has turned into a really great friend over the last few months, and I'm really grateful for her friendship!

Now on top of being a great friend, Shannon is also BANANAS talented in the photography department. She runs her business out of her studio and mainly focuses on newborn and children as her subjects. I told Dan we need to start saving up now because when we have kids Shannon will obviously be taking their photos on a regular basis. But a few weeks ago, Shannon said she was planning to start offering dog photography and asked if she could use the Buddy Louie as a test subject for her portfolio! I of course freaked out with excitement and insisted that Dan and I take him for a bath the morning of his photo shoot, and I'm so glad we did cause he looks all perfect and fluffy and bright white in his pictures. Shannon loaded Louie up with treats and got some really incredible shots, and I absolutely love how his little personality comes through in them!

Shannon posted a few favorites yesterday to announce the new part of her business for her 3rd anniversary, and thankfully, she said I can share them here as well! 

First up is my absolute number one new favorite photo of all time. I LOVE this picture and have already told Shannon that I HAVE to order a giant print of this for the new house -

Look at his little front teeth! I love that the buddy is totally smiling in this picture. And I adore when his ears perk up like this -

We brought one of the hubby's ties for a few photos, which I got a huge kick out of. Doesn't Louie look so dapper? -

If you have a dog and want to capture little moments like this, I couldn't recommend Shannon enough. You can reach out to her here on her website! And be sure to like her page on facebook and check out her blog and for some absolutely adorable family and newborn shots as well.

Happy Good Friday, friends! Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Well friends, a lot has happened since I posted my little daydream about our new kitchen. Most importantly, we had our inspections done on the house and they were terrifying, to say the least. There were some pretty major issues that came up that we weren't prepared for, and it was enough to really stop all of us - the hubs and I, our parents, our realtors and the inspectors - and make us rethink if this house is really the best move for us right now. We are working on getting further information, but we have some pretty big decisions to make in the next few days. 

A big part of me wants to say "Psh. No big deal! It's going to take more than a scary inspection report to scare me away!" After all, the report on our first home was 26 pages long and we still went with it and loved our little house dearly for almost 6 years. What's the fun of homeownership without a few unexpected hiccups, right? But, I also know there's a whole lot more to it than that - namely finding the funds to deal with said hiccups. I am so incredibly in love with this house, but definitely do not want us to get in over our heads.

The good news? Our realtors are fantastic and 110% looking out for our best interest. We're settled in at my gramma's for the time being. I get to go to New York for work next month. And, I've been working on some really exciting freelance projects in the midst of all the madness. I finished up a reception invitation last week and am working on another invitation suite, and am about to start on some wedding vows art that I think is going to be a really fun project! 

Keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for us this week if you think of it. We need all the good vibes we can get while we figure all of this out!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kitchen Planning

Alright, I can't help it. I wasn't going to post pictures of the new house yet but I just. Can't. Help. It. I am SO insanely excited about it and I want to start organizing all of the plans I have in my head... so blogging it is!

First up is the kitchen, which I am obsessed with, to say the least. The number of cabinets alone makes me giddy. Then you add in the perfect spot for a breakfast nook, a wall just begging for open shelves, a center island WITH A BUILT IN SHELF FOR A KITCHENAID MIXER, and drawers and slide-out shelves galore... and I am pretty much in kitchen planning heaven.


The lovely hubs has agreed to tackle painting the cabinets white before we even unpack our kitchen things, and with a fresh coat of barely-gray on the walls as well, the space will already look a million times better. I, of course, have more plans than just paint though.

Love the idea of granite counters with butcher block on the island to mix up the finishes a bit...

...and also love the idea of painting the island a dark color to contrast with white cabinets.

I will have to measure, but if there's space to have an overhang on the island, I would love to have stools on one side. At first glance though, I don't think this would work.

I'm ok with the lack of stools... since I have BIG plans to build in a little breakfast nook on the far wall (seen in the last photo of the kitchen above). We left the wood from our pallet couch on the front porch for the new owners, but took the practically-brand-new cushions with us, so I'm planning to repurpose those for the nook! Target has Carlisle dining chairs that would work great here and bring in a nice pop of color. 

The open wall seen in photo 2 above is begging for big long shelves. Part of me likes the idea of wood to compliment the butcher block island, but I'm obviously also drawn to white.

As far as accessories, I'd love to get a big huge print of our rice krispie treats wedding cake to hang on the wall over the breakfast nook, and am also entertaining the idea of a bold wallpaper or stencil on the wall behind the open shelves. I cannot wait to see how this space evolves over time!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Home is wherever I'm with you

Well friends, today is the day. Our precious, magical, amazing 9-oh-6 will no longer be ours in a few short hours. I am surprisingly LESS emotional than I thought I would be, but that definitely doesn't mean I haven't cried. I did ok until we were leaving yesterday when I broke down a little bit, and then I decided to stop back over there this morning to take some more photos and say my final goodbyes and THAT was tough. Probably not my smartest move ever considering I had to head straight to work from there, but I think in the long run I'll be grateful I did it.

We quite literally put our blood, sweat and tears into this house over the last 5 and a half years. We got engaged in this house. And then planned and crafted our entire wedding in it. We got buddy Louie in this house. We threw a million parties that resulted in a million pictures that will never see the light of day ;). We hosted guests whenever possible. Manda stayed over so often that everyone knew the guest room was actually her room, and referred to it as such. We created so many incredible stories from our house with dinners and campfires and parties and sleepovers and pancake breakfasts and craft nights and everything in between... and I am so SO thankful for it all. Our first house has blessed us with more memories than I could have ever imagined, and I will miss it immensely.

My mom keeps reminding me that we are on to bigger and better things. As usual, I know she's right, but it's tough to take it to heart when I'm hurting. I sort of feel like I just got dumped and even though I know it was for the best I'm still second guessing it all. I know today will be tough (thankfully, I don't have to go to the closing), but I also know that we will take all of the memories with us and make even more new ones at our new house.

Oh, and speaking of that... we DID find a new house! And it is FANTASTIC. I will post pictures here once things are a bit more final, because right now there's still a lot that needs to happen for it to all go through. We will hopefully be doing our inspections this week, and if all goes as planned we are scheduled to close May 6th.

Lots and lots happening around here folks. And thanks to a new fixer-upper I'm sure I'll have lots and lots to blog about, too!

Monday, March 17, 2014


Friends, I clearly haven't done a fantastic job of keeping up with this blog. Truth be told, I've been feeling super uninspired and generally at a total loss for what to even write about. If you've been reading along over the last couple of months you know that we sold our house... but unfortunately we haven't found a new one yet, which is making it extra hard for me to be excited about what's next. If I'm being totally honest, I've spent a lot of time in the last month wishing something would randomly happen that would make all of this just... go away... and we could keep our adorable little house and pretend that none of this ever happened. I've thrown myself into packing - since I need to do that whether I like it or not - in an attempt to take my mind off of the fact that in just 2 weeks, my house won't be my house anymore, and we really and truly have no idea what's to come.

What I do know is that I get to go through all of this with Dan, who is an absolute Godsend. I know that my mom is doing our closing which means that all the legal complicated contract stuff hasn't been the least bit stressful for me, which is so insanely appreciated I can't even begin to explain it. I know that we get to go and live with my Gramma after we close in exactly 2 weeks, and she has been working tirelessly to get a bedroom with an empty dresser AND closet ready for us, which is again, incredibly appreciated and such a huge weight off my shoulders. I know that we are working with realtors who have quickly become awesome friends and will show us house after house after house without a single complaint until we find the ONE. And I know that whether I believe it completely right at this minute or not... we have great things ahead.

Monday, February 17, 2014

In My Dreams

People. Selling a house, looking for a new one and, you know, still having to go on with day to day life and responsibilities... it's kicking my butt. Poor Dan has had to deal with me through meltdown after meltdown, and unfortunately I'm not sure there's a clear end in sight. To keep myself sane for at least a few minutes, I thought it'd be fun to look at some recent pins of perfect, amazing, beautiful rooms that I will most definitely use as inspiration in our new home (whenever we manage to actually find one!)

Behold -

built-ins, books and window seats = heaven

farmhouse table for the win

a bananas half bath

a bold accent wall for the fireplace

mixed colors, patterns and surfaces done perfectly

tuxedo kitchen + open shelving

breakfast nooks make me think of summers in Wisconsin

oriental rugs and bentwood chairs pretty much always make me swoon

Friday, February 14, 2014

They call it Love.

image by the uber talented Caili Helsper

Today marks 7 and a half years of officially dating the one and only Dan Lawler. And, of course, it's also Valentine's Day. I'm spending the evening with my favorite guy, and we have no plans the remainder of the weekend - I don't think it gets much better than that. I'm thinking I'll schedule a few blog posts, do some reading, and maybe start thinking about a packing plan since we're moving in, um, 6 weeks.

Happy Valentine's Day friends! Hope it's lovely.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


The buildings. The people. The music. The food. The feeling overall. Everything about New Orleans makes me happy. And today, we're heading back!

I fell head over heels for Dan on a service trip just outside of New Orleans after the hurricanes. We went back 2 years later for more service work and the memories of both trips are some of my most treasured.

The last time Dan and I were there, he woke up early one morning and snuck out to a little jewelry shop to buy my engagement ring. I still remember him coming back into our hotel room WAY too energetic for that time of morning and bringing me a banana and gatorade to remedy my hangover. I had no idea he had just purchased the ring that I would ultimately wear for the rest of my life, but I am so grateful I have that memory because even without my knowing, it was an incredibly important moment in our relationship!

This time, we're traveling with some of our best friends and I couldn't be more excited. I cannot wait to soak it all up again (along with soaking up a bit of the sun we are severely lacking here in Chicago).

There's showings and inspections and all kinds of good stuff going on at the house while we're gone, so the timing worked out pretty perfectly. I'm heading back to my very favorite place with some of my very favorite people. It's going to be a great few days!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let Go

I'm super grateful for my friend Rachel, and the other day she pinned this image that I immediately connected with. I'm sure it's no surprise that I've been a little stressed out lately with the house being on the market, but I'm realizing this week that I need to really and truly just let go... and trust that God is guiding Dan and I in the right direction.

We officially have an offer on the house (!!!), and we've begun the potentially super stressful negotiating process. Honestly, it got to me a bit this morning, and I sent Dan an email listing all the things that were driving me crazy and making me anxious. Aaaaand then I realized later how big of a waste of time and energy that was. To his credit, my awesome hubby got online as soon as he saw my message so he could check in with me and see if I needed to talk (I know, he's the best), but really, what I needed was to take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and calm myself. It will all work out. Maybe not exactly how I had it planned in my head. But definitely exactly how it should.

I'm a visual person, so I'll be printing this image to put up at my desk in hopes of it sticking in my head!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Target Strikes Again

Our house has been on the market for a whopping 10 days, and we've had a bunch of activity, an open house, and even a second showing for a potential buyer! Needless to say, I'm a bit stressed about it all - mostly because the thought of packing up EVERYTHING we own is incredibly daunting. Just the thought of wrapping every. single. dish. and every. single. glass. makes me anxious. But, the excitement over what's to come combats any other feeling, and I truly can't wait to see what's next for Dan and I (and the Buddy Louie!)

When I need to just zone out and focus on something besides the house being on the market, I let myself daydream about what our new house might be like... and of course, how I might like to decorate it. I absolutely love how versatile and classic Target's home decor line has become, and one of my favorite things is to go through and see how different pieces might mix together to create a room. Here's some recent favorites that would pair well with our existing couch for a living room or family room setting!

rug  //  bench  //  mirror  //  pillow 1 & 2