Lost + Found Diamond

Earlier this week, I headed downtown for a client meeting -- it was rainy and unfortunately a lot of the parking ramps in the area were full. I parked a few blocks away from my destination and set out on foot to head to the office. Just as I was about to walk through the revolving door of the building, I straightened my rings because I felt them slipping. I realized that my ring felt weird so I glanced down to find that one of the diamonds was completely gone! 

Luckily it wasn't the main stone, but it was one of the medium-sized diamonds on either side of my princess-cut center stone. Since I had a meeting to attend, there wasn't much time to panic; I texted Andy and my best friend and rushed up the elevator to my meeting. Once the meeting wrapped up, I flew out of there to hurry back to search my vehicle. I gave up on looking on the streets for it because I had covered multiple blocks while commuting on foot just an hour earlier.

There was no sign of the diamond in my vehicle, so I immediately took a detour on the way home and swung by my jeweler's shop. All I can say is, thank goodness for a lifetime warranty, because the missing stone was completely covered! I filled out some paperwork, dropped off my ring, and headed home for the evening. 

Later that night, I tried to relax by watching a show while eating dinner and then headed to bed. However, I was still feeling disappointed that I had lost my original diamond!

The next morning, when I went to go make the bed, I noticed something on my side of the bed. THERE WAS MY DIAMOND, RIGHT ON MY BED SHEET. I couldn't even believe it! I called my jeweler to see if they had started my ring repairs yet and since they hadn't, I dropped the diamond off at the repair shop later that evening.

I'm still in shock that I actually found the missing diamond! Seriously, what are the chances of that?!

Ever lost something important?
Did you ever find it again?

April Books

In case you missed it, you may check out my previous book reviews here and here. This past month, I discovered a new genre of books that has easily become my new obsession. The French culture is so fascinating to me and I'm looking forward to incorporating a lot of their mindsets into my life. Their ability to succeed in mastering the "art of living" was so inspiring to me! 

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Lessons from Madame Chic // Jennifer L. Scott
This book was such a light and easy read -- I breezed through it in just a few short days. The book is a recap of Jennifer's experience while studying abroad in Paris for six months -- covering all of the things she learned about the French lifestyle. This book lit a fire in me because it was so intriguing and most of all -- so simple! I was so surprised to hear that the French typically don't snack between meals, eat on the go, don't wear lounge clothes around the house, and walk to the local markets every few days to keep their groceries fresh. So, so fascinating and well worth reading if you think you'd be interested in this type of lifestyle.

On that note, the second book I read this month was:

Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic // Jennifer L. Scott
This book focused more on the art of living a classy, poised life and it was so fun to read -- mainly because it's so different than how most of us live. I flew through this book in less than 24 hours and noticed myself paying more attention to areas of my life that usually went unnoticed. Things such as posture, being a good guest, proper communication, and more were discussed in this quick little read.

Unstuffed // Ruth Soukup
The third book I read was such an eye-opener and I found myself breezing through this book in just a few short days as well. I came across this little gem at the most perfect time -- as I've been going through many of our closets and drawers lately since my sister is hosting a garage sale early next month. Ruth talks about how clutter literally weighs us down and causes unnecessary stress in our lives. The focus on living a simple life -- one that is free of both physical / mental clutter and unmade decisions was the main takeaway, and this is definitely a book that I plan to refer back to every so often! 

Living Well, Spending Less // Ruth Soukup
After finishing Unstuffed, I immediately picked up this other title by Ruth Soukup. While I felt like Unstuffed met me more where I am in life, this book was well worth reading. I felt that the first half of the book (living well) was more applicable than the second half (spending less), mainly because I feel that I'm already good at managing finances and saving money. I loved how this book talked about the importance of living an authentic, well-balanced life. Definitely something that we all need to be reminded of every now and then! 

The two other books that I read this month started off on a high note, but then I wasn't a huge fan of the rest of the book. These books were The Widow by Fiona Barton and Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. I wouldn't recommend them as they got a little dark by the middle of each book.

What have you read recently?

10 Things I've Learned in my 20s

My aunt once said to me "the twenties are hard," and I couldn't agree more. Fresh out of college, you think you have it all figured out, then you realize how little you know once you're out in the real world. What a humbling moment that is.

Once your mid-twenties hit, you go through so much change and transformation -- trying to figure out how you fit into the world. Learning how to balance working, finances, and figuring out how a 401k works.

As I've recently reached the last year of my 20s, I finally feel like I'm almost to the other side. The upper 20s are spent working to define your personal style, choosing your friends wisely, investing in yourself, and most importantly -- realizing what didn't work for you and how to adjust accordingly.

Below are 10 things that I've learned in my 20s that I wish I would have known 10 years ago! 

  1. Nothing is worth it if you aren't happy. This includes jobs, relationships, and large savings accounts.
  2. Not every minute of your day needs to be productive. I remember when my boss at my first design job told me this after I was getting so antsy after completing projects without having another one to start right away.
  3. Don't chase after people, their effort will reveal their level of interest in you. So much wasted time and effort! My best friend, Allie, and I have maintained our friendship since 8th grade despite living 3,500 miles apart for many of those years.
  4. You don't owe anyone an explanation behind your decisions. At the end of the day, you're the one that has to live with them.
  5. Boundaries are the key to healthy relationships. Set boundaries with yourself, your family, your friendships, and your work.
  6. Invest in quality over quantity. This includes choosing friends, your wardrobe, and the food you consume.
  7. The importance of dressing well. Not only will you feel more confident, but others will take you more seriously.
  8. Be your own advocate and stand up for yourself. You know yourself best and it's important to always have your own back.
  9. Stress affects the whole body. Learn stress-management techniques and make them part of your daily routine.
  10. Accept who you are and embrace it. This is where true confidence comes from.

What's something you've learned about yourself recently?
 

Easter Weekend

This past weekend flew by oh so quickly, but it was a good one! I kicked off the weekend by picking up donuts and heading over to my sister's house to play with the girls for a bit! 

I took the girls for a little walk around their neighborhood and then headed back to their house for lunch before heading out for the day.

I put the girls in these little toy boxes and then scooted them across the rug and they thought it was the best thing ever. So funny how the most random things make kids so happy! Also, can we please acknowledge Chloe's little chef's hat that we put on her head? Haha! Love it.

I worked for a bit that afternoon, and then we headed out for date night! We decided to head to Mall of America since it was raining outside and we wanted to walk around somewhere.

We grabbed dinner at Tucci and then browsed the mall for a bit. It was crazy busy on this particular night -- not sure if it's because of spring break or what the deal was! 

We swung by a few of our favorite stores including PaperSource, the Apple store, Barnes & Noble, and DAVIDsTEA (because I'm obsessed with their packaging!).

I loved playing around with the Apple Pencil in Adobe Sketch on the iPads at the Apple store! These make digital lettering so easy!  

Browsing through Barnes & Noble reminded me how long it's been since I've taken the time to look around there! I'm putting a B&N solo date on my calendar for next week! 

Insert all the heart-eye emotions here at DAVIDsTEA! I just love the gold foil, color combos, and patterns that they incorporate onto all of their packaging. So, so pretty.

Since we celebrated Easter last weekend, the rest of our weekend was pretty laid back! After church, we did some spring cleaning of the hall closets and then headed out for a walk down by the lake. It was a gorgeous Easter Sunday -- 65 degrees and sunny!

There's a little trolley car down by the pier that sells Sebastian Joe's ice cream, and we couldn't pass it up! I swear this Oreo ice cream was the best I've ever had -- so many cookie chunks throughout! In case you haven't picked up on the theme yet, my life can basically be summed up as: I go for a lot of walks and enjoy eating ice cream.

All-in-all, it was a great weekend! I'm really excited that it's Monday today because I'll be working on a design project that involves handlettering -- one of my favorite things! 

Best part of your Easter weekend?
Favorite kind of donut?

Friday Favorites #1

Happy Friday! I feel like this week flew by so quickly -- I can't believe this weekend is already Easter! Today I'd love to share some of my favorite things from the week! 

Spring manicures! It's been so fun using the spring / summer colors of my Essie collection after so many months of winter colors! 

This rock version of Ed Shereen's "Shape of You"

These boyfriend jeans are currently on heavy rotation -- I purchased these on a whim just before we left for our spring break vacation, thinking they'd be perfect for spring / summer. I typically view my denim purchases as investment pieces since I wear it so often -- I'd much rather have a couple pairs of high-quality denim that fit well than many pairs of lesser quality. A quick note -- these run big -- I went with my usual size but easily could have gone down one full size for a more snug fit.

I received these pink Hunter wellies from Andy for my birthday last month and they seriously go with everything! They're super comfy and add a little pop of color to any outfit! 

I love distressed denim, and it's been so fun pairing this light wash with all of my favorite spring tops. Speaking of spring tops, I am loving this mint hoodie (shown in the photo above) that my sister gave me for my birthday! It's so cozy and the perfect color for spring! The mint version is sold out but they have a pretty blue color that's still available online!

Spring temps! It's been a little rainy this week, but other than that, the spring weather has been so welcomed! I've enjoyed having our windows open and wearing my cute spring jackets rather than my puffy North Face winter jacket.

I booked a massage last week and it ended up being such a great idea. Okay, but really, when is a massage ever not a good idea? 

What's been your favorite thing this week?
Favorite manicure color?
Light pink is my favorite! 

Favorite Hair Products

A couple years back, I published a post about my favorite makeup products; while today I'll be sharing my favorite hair products! 

First off, here are a few key facts about my hair:

  1. It is very fine-textured
  2. It is very thick
  3. It doesn't like to do anything other than be in it's natural straight state.

So, in summary, I'm not able to skip a day of showering, it takes forever to dry, and it won't hold a curl. So fun! 

Due to the above factors, it wasn't until I started embracing the hair that I have that my hair started behaving the way I wanted it too. I remember my friend Carly telling me how to "train" my hair to go multiple days without washing it. I tried this for a couple weeks and eventually gave up because to me, there's nothing worse than feeling like my hair is greasy.

In order to get my hair to do what I want it to, I wash it each morning, blow dry it completely, and either style it straight, or use specific products to help it hold a curl.

Since my hair is naturally straight, I can typically push my haircuts out to once every 8-12 weeks. My friend Krista cuts my hair and she is my favorite stylist I've ever had! For the locals, Krista works at the Life Spa inside of the Crosstown Life Time Fitness. I have nothing but good things to say about her! 

I use the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day shampoo and conditioner duo and feel like it leaves my hair cleaner than other brands I've tried in the past. Once in awhile, I'll add in some Living Proof Perfect Hair Day dry shampoo if my hair needs a little more volume after drying and styling.

After showering, I blot my hair dry with a towel, comb out the tangles, and then apply Kerastase Nectar Thermique heat protectant cream since I always blow dry my hair. Krista recommended this product to me and it smells SO GOOD.

I let my hair air dry for a bit while I apply my makeup, then I blow dry it completely before adding one pump of Moroccan Oil throughout the ends and middle section of my hair.

After this, I either flat iron my hair using my favorite GHD Gold Professional flat iron, or curl it using a wand. I'm currently borrowing my sister's Bed Head Curlipops 1-inch wand and I love the wavy look that it provides. 

Once in awhile I'll use either my half-inch or 1.5 inch curling iron to achieve smaller or larger curls.

Once I'm finished flat ironing my hair, I rub a tiny bit of Aveda Brilliant Humectant Pomade between my palms and then run my hands through my hair -- starting at the ends, and then lightly touching the roots to remove any flyaways. I love this pomade because it gets rid of static and flyaways in the winter, and keeps the humidity from making my hair frizzy in the summer.

On days that I curl my hair, I spray it with hairspray (see below) before, during, and after curling it. For me, this is the key to getting my straight, fine hair to actually hold a curl through the workday.

I top it off with Bumble & Bumble's Spray de Mode finishing spray and then I'm on my way! 

What's your go-to hair product?
Favorite way to style your hair?

A Balanced Weekend

This past weekend was the perfect balance of both being out and about and having some much-needed downtime! 

I kicked off my weekend by meeting up with my friend and life mentor, Jayme, for a long walk!

Since we're both early birds, we met at 7am for a 90 minute walk and it was beautiful outside -- sunny with a crisp breeze in the air! It was so fun to catch up with her -- she's easily one of my favorite people ever! 

Shortly after I arrived home from walking with Jayme, my sister and her two little girls popped over for a walk downtown, playtime at the park, and a quick lunch! 

I just love these little girls so much! It's been so fun watching them grow up and develop little personalities! Becca is definitely the funny + spunky child, while Chloe is always happy / smiley + content.

Later that evening, Andy and I made a quick Easter candy run before watching the last two episodes of the first season of Quantico! I grabbed my two favorites -- Starburst Jelly Beans and Cadbury Mini Eggs! 

The next morning, we swung by my sister's house to drop off some items for her upcoming garage sale.

We enjoyed playing with the girls in the yard for a bit before heading out for the day.

After we left Andrea's, we headed to the lake for a walk before heading to Costco to stock up on a few items for the week. We ended up hitting Costco at the perfect time because they had a million samples to try -- aka the best thing about grocery shopping.

Later that evening, I gave myself a mani + pedi while watching How to Get Away with Murder, at the recommendation of my sister. Oh my goodness, you guys -- I am hooked! I don't know why I waited so long to start this show but it's definitely a new favorite.

The next morning, I was up bright and early so I went for a leisurely walk through our neighborhood before getting ready for the day -- it was such a perfect, sunny morning! 

Around lunchtime, we headed up to my in-law's house to celebrate Easter! We had lunch together, played with our little nephews, and also dug out Andy's old Clue game and enjoyed playing it with my brother and sister-in-law.

It was pouring rain on the drive home -- I kept hoping we would get the thunderstorm that the forecast had predicted, but all we got were some periods of heavy rain. I'm definitely one of those people that loves thunderstorms -- always have, always will!

I was starving on the way home, so we swung by Panera to grab a quick dinner -- I ordered my favorite black bean soup and it hit the spot! The rest of the evening was spent relaxing at home and it felt so good to just chill out with no plans on the agenda.

What are your plans for Easter?
Favorite board game?

Arboretum Adventures

Yesterday morning, I met my Auntie Mary, my sister Andrea, and my two little nieces at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for a walk! There wasn't much in bloom this early in the season, but it was still fun to stroll through the many gardens while catching up with one another.

My little niece, Becca, brings so much joy to my life! Right after I took this picture of her, she said "Lolo sit next to Becca?" She just melts my heart! She's just two years old but she has such a big personality for a little girl! 

She always loves visiting this little playhouse each time we go to the arboretum -- it's just her size! 

This smiling little cutie is Chloe, who will be seven months old next week! Chloe is always in a happy mood and we love her sweet little personality so much! She napped for part of the walk, but later woke up and enjoyed looking around as we walked through the gardens.

After walking throughout the grounds of the arboretum, Andrea and the little girls headed home for naps, while my aunt and I headed to the arboretum cafe to meet my uncle for lunch. They had roasted butternut squash soup on the menu today and I immediately knew that that was what I wanted to order. Nothing like a hot bowl of soup after a chilly walk outside! 

After lunch, my aunt and I headed down the road to the local Starbucks for a coffee date. We tried the new toasted coconut cold brew and I'd have to say it was just okay. I was looking forward to trying this since coconut is my favorite flavor ever, but it tasted a little too sweet for my liking. We chatted girl talk for a couple hours before going our separate ways for the evening.

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By the time I arrived back at home, it was after 5pm and I was starving! I grabbed a handful of Easter candy to munch on while quickly assembling a massive salad for dinner. What is it about seasonal candy that makes it so darn delicious?! 

I had high hopes for this salad and it ended up being just okay -- I ran out of dressing as I was pouring it on top, and what good is a salad without adequate dressing, right? 

It was such a pretty evening, so I ended up going for a quick walk down by the lake before heading back inside to tidy up a bit before relaxing and reading for the remainder of the evening. 

Favorite Easter candy?
Favorite salad topping?
Green olives are my favorite!

April Goals

Don't you just love the fresh start that the beginning of a new month brings? It just feels like a clean slate and I love the feeling of possibility that it brings.

For the month of April, these are the items that I'd love to accomplish:

1. Finish up my bestie's wedding invitations and design her wedding programs
My friend, Allie, is getting married in a few months and I couldn't be more excited! Allie and I have been friends since our middle school days and it has been so rewarding to have gone through so many different seasons of life together. I started her invitations last month and am so excited to apply the design to the wedding programs! 

2. Read five books
Last month, I easily breezed through four books, so I know I can whiz through five this month! The one I'm most excited about is Unstuffed, which I still need to pick up from the bookstore! 

3. Go on a sister birthday date with Andrea
My sister and I both celebrated our birthdays last month, but I had to work on my birthday and her little girls were sick on her birthday! We're planning on have a special sister date that will hopefully include a trip to the large outlet mall just north of the Twin Cities! 

4. Schedule an appointment to have my vehicle detailed
Our winters here are rather harsh and take a toll on our vehicles -- I'd like to have the interior of my car professionally detailed so that it's nice and clean for spring! 

5. Prioritize self care
This is so, so hard for me and I don't even know why! I'm such a do-er and it's so hard for me to slow down and take care of myself. I booked a massage yesterday, so that means I'm starting to get on the right track, right? 

What are two things you'd love to accomplish this month?
Favorite thing about the month of April?
I'm so excited for the spring flowers to start popping up! 

Laid Back Weekend

After a bit of a crazy week, a laid back weekend was just what I needed. Not much on the calendar, paired with some amazing spring weather was the perfect combination as we headed into the end of the week! 

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Friday started out bright and early -- I had the day off but needed to run an errand before the sun was even up! I walked to my neighborhood Starbucks once I was home and couldn't help but smile as I enjoyed the cool breeze, bright sunshine, and the sounds of chirping birds. There's just something about the changing of seasons that makes me so happy. 

I did a couple things around the house and then ended up taking an unplanned three hour nap! It felt so amazing, and I woke up feeling so refreshed -- it's funny how the body always knows what it needs! Afterwards, I showered and got ready for the night before Andy and I headed out for a casual date night.

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We walked downtown to grab ice cream and then headed out to walk on a regional trail that's located near our house. 

It was such a pretty evening and so many people were out on the regional trail enjoying the warm spring night! The thing I love most about this trail is that the scenery is constantly changing as it winds along a lake, through neighborhoods, downtown, and wooded areas.

We walked for about an hour before heading back home to make breakfast for dinner (aka what we usually make when we're running low on groceries!). We watched an episode of Quantico before calling it an early night! We just love this show so much! 

The next morning, I headed over to my friend Molly's house for my Saturday morning small group! I've probably mentioned this a million times before, but I LOVE my small group so, so much! This group of girls are my favorite and it has been so fun doing life with them these past 7ish months!

We're all in similar seasons of life and it is so encouraging to meet twice a month to chat about our book study and chat about life. We just started reading For Men Only, since we finished up For Women Only last month! 

Saturday afternoon, we headed to Costco to grab our weekly essentials, dropped them off at home, and then headed to the lake for a long walk.

The lake we went to is actually connected to a second lake via a little trail, so in the end, we walked close to nine miles! We were more than ready for some dinner by the time we got back home. 

Andy spent the evening watching the Final Four basketball game on TV while I cracked open my new library book -- Pretty Girls, by Karin Slaughter. I'm already hooked on this book and am anxious to see what happens next! 

Sunday was a pretty low-key day: more Quantico, reading, and a quick trip to the gym. I've been trying to finish Downton Abbey (Andy's not a fan so I watch this solo), so I watched a few episodes of that before hitting the hay.

What was the highlight of your weekend?
Favorite ice cream flavor?

March Books

It's hard to believe that March is already almost over! I do have to admit, I'm anxiously anticipating spring weather that should be starting to make an appearance next month! I read four books this month -- two were winners and the other two were just okay. To read up on the books that I read in February, click here.

1. What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan
I started reading this book on our spring break trip to Arizona last month. It definitely pulled me in from the beginning, but about 1/3 of the way through, things got a little slow. The story itself is good, I think it's just the writing style that's a little slow-paced for my liking.

2. The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark has always been a favorite author of mine due to her fast-paced thrillers that always keep me guessing! This book didn't disappoint, and I was totally surprised by the ending! I read this book from cover to cover in just a few short days because I was hooked from the start.

3. Play by Stuart Brown
This book was just okay -- it was recommended to me so I had high hopes for it. I didn't agree with some parts of the book, and I felt like a lot of the information didn't feel new to me. 

4. Traveling Light by Max Lucado
My sweet friend, Kary, loaned this book to me and I've really enjoyed reading a few chapters each night before bed. It's a light and easy read -- the concepts are so simple but serve as great reminders. 

What book have you read recently?
Do you have any thriller recommendations that I should read?

Current TV Shows

What is it about binge-watching your favorite show that makes it feel like the ultimate guilty pleasure? On a cold or rainy weekend, I love curling up with a hot drink, bowl of homemade popcorn, and a cozy blanket while watching one of my favorite shows.

The shows that I currently watch and love are:

1. Grey's Anatomy
Definitely one of my all-time favorite shows mainly due to the character development, this is a show I've been watching for years. I actually didn't jump on the Grey's train until many years after it first aired, but once I started, there was no going back! My all-time favorite character was / is Cristina Yang -- I love everything about her! 

2. American Housewife
Now, this is a new show that just aired this last fall, but it is definitely a new favorite! Andy and I typically watch this show together each week and we love the quick-witted humor that's woven throughout the show. My sister, Andrea, also watches this show, so it's fun to chat about the current episode via text! 

3. Pretty Little Liars
PLL most likely takes the cake for my favorite show ever. It's a teeniebopper drama / thriller series that always keeps me guessing. I've rewatched all of the seasons more times than I'd like to admit. 

4. Notorious
Another new show on ABC, Notorious is one that quickly grabbed my attention. I love the mini mysteries that are featured in each episode -- along with the ongoing mystery that links all of the episodes together. This show is currently on break for the spring season on ABC, but I'm really hoping that it picks back up again in the fall! 

5. Quantico
This is a show that I'm still watching on Netflix since I'm only halfway through the first season, but I love the behind the scenes view of how the FBI operates, along with the flip between the past and present day of the show.

6. Downton Abbey
I'm also currently watching Downton Abbey, even though its officially over. This show is one that has taken me a long time to finish because I've found that I need to be in the right mood to watch it (i.e. not doing other things while it's on), and I'm going to be sad once I've made it through all of the episodes! 

Other shows that I've really enjoyed in the past include: 24, Prison Break, Private Practice, and House! 

What's your favorite show?

Subscriptions + Memberships

There's a few companies that I have invested into via subscriptions and memberships; these are just little things that make my life 1. a little more fun 2. more streamlined. Without further ado, below are my favorite subscriptions and memberships that I'm a part of! 

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1. Costco!
This membership saves us SO much money due to their significant savings on bulk items. We switched from Sam's Club to Costco for two reasons: 1. closer in proximity to us, and 2. more organic options. The above photo is when my mentor friend, Jayme, and I, did a Costco run after hot yoga one morning last summer! 

Andy and I typically make a Costco run either every weekend or every other weekend, depending on what we need. I'll do another post on all of our favorite Costco staples, but here's a quick rundown of what we typically purchase each week:

  • Organic Eggs
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Chicken Breasts 
  • Citrus Fruits -- usually oranges or grapefruits
  • Fresh Veggies -- I switch it up, but it usually consists of broccoli, brussels sprouts, or peppers
  • LaCroix Sparkling Water

2. Calm Guided Meditation App!
I love this app so much -- it helps me start my day with more focus, fall asleep faster, and have a peaceful day at work. There are tons of different guided meditations to choose from and they literally have one for every situation you can think of. I used to think meditation was a little kooky, but after giving it a shot, I'm a believer!

Last summer, I was really good at committing to a twice daily practice, but lately it's been a little more stretched out. I'm planning to get back into my groove come April 1st--because I need to start goals on the first of a month otherwise they usually don't stick. 

3. Rocksbox! 
I randomly came across an Instagram post about Rocksbox almost a year and a half ago and was immediately intrigued. Since one of my goals on my vision board was to define my sense of personal style, I felt as though a Rocksbox subscription was the perfect way to test out different styles of jewelry. I signed up that evening and haven't looked back since! I'll do a separate post on how this subscription works, but in the meantime, if you'd like to try it out for one free month, use code: LAURABFF708 at checkout! 

4. Life Time Athletic! 
I've been a member of Life Time for many, many years and to me, it's honestly worth the investment. I may be a bit biased since I also work there, but I love the level of quality, cleanliness, and the resort-like atmosphere at all of their many locations. Life Time isn't just my gym, it's also where I get my hair done, pedicures, massages, personal training, and purchase all of my supplements from! I started out with a Platinum membership many years ago, but was upgraded to LT Athletic when my club was remodeled inside -- LT Athletic clubs are even more elite than the LT Fitness clubs and they're less busy, so it's definitely a win-win situation.

5. Apple Music! 
I used to be a huge Spotify fan, until a friend of mine signed up for Apple Music and convinced me how much better it is! I dropped my Spotify subsciption last summer and haven't looked back since! I love how my work laptop, home laptop, Apple TV, and iPhone are all connected seamlessly with my playlists! 

6. Young Living Essential Oils!
I fought this trend for the longest time, but eventually a few of my coworkers convinced me to jump on the bandwagon. I purchased the starter kit as well as a USB diffuser to use while at my desk in the office. Diffusing oils such as Lavender before bed, Stress Away during the work day, and Lemon while cleaning have definitely made a difference for me! 

7. Starbucks Gold Card!
I've been a Starbucks gold card holder for many years now because my Starbucks obsession is real! I remember one of the very first times that I visited a Starbucks coffee shop. My family and I met up with my auntie Mary for dinner and afterwards, we all went to Starbucks so that the adults could get coffees. I was probably 9 or 10 years old at the time, but I remember that my Aunt purchased a little tin of Starbucks mints for both my sister and I. As time went on, I remember going to Starbucks with my mom for Frappuccino's, and then as I got older, I branched out and started straying from the sugar-loaded drinks and usually stuck to a cafe latte or an iced Tazo Passion tea instead. 

My bestie, Allie, also shares an infatuation for Starbucks, so every time she's back in town, we head to Starbucks for drinks! It's our little tradition, and we've shared so many silly stories, heart to hearts, and countless memories at local Starbucks shops! 

Birthday Weekend Celebrations

This past Tuesday was my birthday, and I swear it snuck up so quickly! Since my birthday fell on a weekday this year, we celebrated last weekend! We kicked off the weekend by heading down to one of our favorite areas, 50th & France. Edina is one of our favorite cities and we frequent this area because of the amazing restaurants (some of my favorites include Red Cow, Good Earth, and MozzaMia--which unfortunately just closed!), the Galleria (an upscale shopping center), and the gorgeous Centennial Lakes area! 

We grabbed dinner at AgraCulture, which was recommended to us by a friend of mine at work. We loved the unique atmosphere and the farm fresh food! Afterwards, we headed to Southdale Center, the local mall, to see Beauty and the Beast. We loved this movie so much--the additions to the classic story, the revised soundtrack, and the beautiful scenes! It was so well done and I've enjoyed listening to the soundtrack all week while I'm designing at work! 

Flash forward to Sunday when I pretended it was spring by wearing one of my very favorite outfits. I later paired this ensemble with my navy J. Crew Excursion vest because it was a little chilly outside! 

Our first stop of the day was Yum! Kitchen and Bakery for a quick lunch! Side note, my favorite foods are salad, soup, and sandwiches (dessert is its own category), so I always love visiting cute little cafes! I ordered the veggie sandwich and it hit the spot! 

After lunch, we made a quick pit-stop at Starbucks for lattes and then headed out to explore some Parade of Homes! Side note, how cute are these spring cups at Starbucks?! 

Can we just talk about my #closetgoals for a second here? I mean, look at this closet! A huge window next to front an back mirrors, ample shelves and drawers, and plenty of open space! 

All of the homes were so gorgeous inside! Whenever I tour homes, I'm always checking out three things: 1. the kitchen, 2. the staircase (I'm obessed with grand staircases) and 3. the home office.

We drove all over Edina and Minneapolis touring all kinds of homes from modern to contemporary before making a quick stop for a snack.

This vanilla birthday cake cupcake's frosting to cake ratio was spot on! Also, sprinkles make everything taste better, wouldn't you agree? 

After our cupcakes, we headed over to a neighboring town to tour a few more homes before ending our day in downtown Wayzata.

We walked along the main street and checked out a few little shops--the sun had returned by this point in the day so it felt really good to be outside! Cute little promenade areas are my absolute favorite! 

We enjoyed dinner at District in downtown Wayzata and it did not disappoint! Such a fun atmosphere and the food was really good! We'll definitely be returning to this cute little restaurant this summer! 

After dinner, we walked along the lake before heading home--the sun was starting to set and it was such a pretty view! 

On my actual birthday, I worked from home and later finished up my day working from Starbucks just to switch things up a bit. Their birthday cake pop makes me so happy--even when it's not my birthday! Afterwards, I met up with a couple girlfriends for happy hour before going out for frozen yogurt with Andy! 

When's your birthday?
Have you seen the new Beauty and the Beast movie?

Spring Break in AZ: Day 6

Our final day in Arizona began at the Scottsdale Fashion Square! We had visited this area a few nights earlier when we went to Olive & Ivy for dinner and we wanted to check in out during the daytime! 

We arrived in the area mid-morning and walked along the promenade for a bit once the shops opened up. It was a beautiful and sunny day and it felt so good to soak up our last day of the fantastic weather in AZ! 

After walking around outside, we headed into the Scottsdale Fashion Mall to do some browsing. We loved walking through this mall because it reminded a us a lot of the Galleria back home! This mall was filled with lots of high-end stores such as Burberry, GUCCI, etc. and it was so fun to browse around! All of the natural light within the mall reminded me a lot of my trips to the Ala Moana Center while visiting my best friend, Allie! 

After our trip through the mall, we headed back to Modern Market for lunch since we loved it so much when we were there the other day! 

I ordered the same sandwich as last time because it was so, so good! Fresh mozzarella, arugula, tomato, and blueberry preserves on ciabatta! The blueberry preserves seriously MADE this sandwich! I definitely want to take a stab at recreating this at home!

After lunch, we walked down to the other end of the promenade and relaxed by the canal for a bit before heading to another park to hang out in the sun for a bit before returning our rental car.

It was just so crazy how it was low 80s and sunny in Scottsdale, and a chilly 28* in Minneapolis on this particular day! We've already started talking about how a warm weather getaway needs to occur each winter! 

After a couple hours in the sun, we dropped off our rental car and headed to the airport! We grabbed a quick dinner near our gate before boarding our evening flight to Minneapolis. We had such a great vacation and are already looking forward to heading back to AZ sometime for a trip to visit The Grand Canyon! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 5

Our last full day in Arizona started out bright and early as we set out on a mini roadtrip to Sedona! It was so pretty up in Sedona--blue skies and red rocks all around.

It took us around two hours to make the trek from our hotel in Phoenix all the way to Sedona, but it was well worth the drive! 

Our first stop was at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a beautiful church built right into the rocks of Sedona. Andy especially enjoyed this tourist spot due to its influence by Frank Lloyd Wright. Afterwards, we headed up to Cathedral Rock, which was just a few minutes away. We started climbing up Cathedral Rock, but when we realized it was a very similar hike to Camelback Mountain, which we had hiked just a few days before, we decided to take the alternative route around the mountain. One rock climb was enough for us for one week! 

Sedona was a little chillier than Phoenix, but a light jacket layered over my Nike fleece did the trick! Our hike around Cathedral Rock was filled with beautiful views and a variety of terrains such as hikes along a stream, rocky portions, and field-like areas.

Our hike out and back took about two hours--we were starving by the time were were done! We headed into downtown Sedona to grab a bite to eat before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the area.

Andy suggested an organic cafe off the main street and it did not disappoint! Once we were fueled up and ready to go, we headed out to Doe Mountain, a hike that my coworker, Greta, had recommended to me.

We quickly climbed Doe Mountain, which was a relatively easy hike except for a few rocky areas, in anticipation of arriving at the top. My friend, Greta, said that you could hike around the top and experience 360* views of Sedona, and we were anxious to check it out! 

The views on the way up were so pretty--we especially loved being able to see the snow-capped mountains off in the distance since Sedona is further north than where we had traveled earlier in the week.

We enjoyed exploring the the top of the mountain and checking out the views from each side--such a unique experience! 

It was breathtaking up there! 

We quickly hiked down the mountain so that we could squeeze in one last hike before sunset! We headed across the road to hike Bear Mountain--a more challenging hike that we were more than ready for.

Our hike up Bear Mountain was during my favorite time of day--the golden hour just before the sun sets! 

The hike was a bit rockier than Doe Mountain, but much easier than Camelback! We enjoyed the challenged as we headed up higher and higher.

We started heading back once dusk hit--for we didn't want to be hiking down in the pitch black night! We both agreed that this hike was one of our favorites--maybe because we knew it would be our last hike of the trip before we headed back to cold and snowy Minneapolis the next evening! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 4

We woke up early on Tuesday morning ready to hike and spend the day outside after the day before's rainstorm.

We grabbed donuts on the way to hike Pinnacle Peak and just before we got to the trail head, a quick thunderstorm blew through.

We waited it out by making a quick Target run for more snacks and then ended up swinging by a local restaurant for a quick lunch before take two of the hike. In less than an hour, the sun was shining again so we headed out! 

Pinnacle Peak was well worth the wait--it felt like such as "easy" hike after Sunday's crazy climb up Camelback Mountain!

The weather was absolutely perfect--blue skies, puffy clouds, and plenty of sunshine.

Pinnacle Peak overlooked a beautiful golf course and neighborhood with the mountains in the background--the views were so beautiful! 

After Pinnacle Peak, we headed to Cave Creek Regional Park for a sunset hike around the mountain. 

The views along this hike were so pretty--especially with the setting sun leaving a golden cast on all of the scenery. We got back to our car just as the sun went down--talk about perfect timing! 

We grabbed dinner at a local pizza restaurant on the way back to the hotel and it was located in the cutest little neighborhood! One of our favorite parts of our vacation was exploring new cities and trying out new (to us!) restaurants! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 3

Our third day in Arizona started out a little overcast with an afternoon rainstorm on the radar. Due to this, we decided to spend our morning outside at the Desert Botanical Gardens and then head down to Chandler, AZ for the afternoon.

We both enjoyed browsing through the different gardens to check out all of the unique desert plants--there was even a butterfly garden as well! 

The Desert Botanical Gardens reminded me a lot of the landscape arboretum in Minnesota--except with a desert twist! 

After we finished up at the gardens, we headed to Cafe Rio for lunch! Cafe Rio is a lot like Chipotle but with more options--we both really enjoyed it! 

After our late lunch, we headed down to Chandler to browse the Chandler Fashion Center for awhile to avoid the rainstorm. After the mall, we grabbed a quick bite to eat along with another trip to Yogurtland before heading back to the hotel to relax and watch a movie.

Spring Break in AZ: Day 2

Waking up to our second day in Arizona felt so good--probably because it didn't involve a 2:45am wakeup call in order to get to the airport on time! 

We started our morning by heading out to Camelback Mountain, a hike that my mentor, Jayme, had recommended to us! 

It was such a beautiful day and we were itching to get out and hike in the sunshine! 

Little did we know that this "hike" wasn't really more of a rock climb. The terrain was like this the entire way up--some areas even had metal railings to hold onto since it was so incredibly steep! 

I always thought that the Koko Head hike in Oahu was the most challenging hike I've ever done, but Camelback Mountain definitely took the cake on that! 

We persevered and eventually made it up to the top! The 360* views were so pretty! 

Andy and I joked that we thought that the climb up was hard, but it was actually the hike down that proved to be the most difficult! It was definitely a full-body workout that required a lot of upper body strength! 

After the hike, we grabbed some lunch at Modern Market, a new restaurant in Scottsdale, before picking up some froyo and heading out to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio! 

We made it in the nick of time to purchase tickets for the last tour of the day! Our tour guide walked us through the property, giving a thorough history of Frank Lloyd Wright, his career, and Taliesin West.

I ended up enjoying the tour even more than I thought I would! It was so fascinating to learn more about his history, technique, and personal quirks. I'd highly recommend touring Taliesin West if you ever find yourself in Scottsdale, Arizona! 

After the tour, we headed to Life Time Athletic to freshen up for dinner! It felt so good to clean up and change clothes before heading to the Scotssdale Waterfront for the evening. We made a dinner reservation for later that evening and decided to walk along the canal where an art festival was taking place.

The water and light themed art show was so unique and we loved walking around to check out the different installments! 

Our dinner reservations were at Olive & Ivy, a Mediterranean restaurant with a Californian flair. This ended up being our very favorite restaurant of our trip because of its unique atmosphere, delicious menu, and perfect location! They also had an amazing patio which they described as resembling restaurants in the south of France, which we would love to try out if we head back to Scottsdale in the future! 

Spring Break in AZ: Day 1

This year for spring break, we headed to Arizona for a week in the warm sunshine! We were at the airport by 5am and despite feeling super sleepy, we were excited and ready to kick off a week away! 

I started reading this book while waiting at our gate and really like it so far! Not as good as The Couple Next Door, but worth reading!

It was my first time flying Sun Country (I usually almost always fly Delta), which means we were in Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis airport! Terminal 2 was definitely a lot smaller (no Starbucks!), but also far less busy than the main terminal--which is always a plus! 

Upon arriving in Phoenix, we picked up our luggage and rental car before heading out to explore the area!

We started out in Tempe, AZ to grab lunch and walk around at a park to stretch our legs and soak up the sun! 

We hung around the park for awhile before heading to the Tempe Marketplace for a snack and a quick Target run to grab a few items such as water, snacks to take on our hikes, sunscreen, etc.

The weather was in the upper 60s with plenty of beautiful blue skies--absolute perfection! 

Tempe Marketplace was such a fun area! There were so many shops, restaurants, and outdoor seating areas! 

We grabbed an acai bowl at Nekter, a juice bar within the Tempe Marketplace and it was delicious! My bestie, Allie, introduced me to acai bowl during my first visit to Hawaii and I've been obsessed with them ever since! It's basically a smoothie bowl that is topped with fruit, granola, and honey--so good! 

After our Target run, we swung by the hotel to drop off our luggage, freshen up, and head out to dinner! We ended up crashing pretty early that evening after such an early morning at the airport! 

Are you going anywhere for Spring Break?
Ever been to Arizona?