Thanksgiving + Black Friday Weekend

After attending a few meetings, I left work around lunchtime on Wednesday since it was so quiet in the design studio!

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I had some time to kill before an appointment later that afternoon, so I headed to The Galleria to knock out some Christmas shopping and to browse through Barnes & Noble for a bit. I picked up a few things for Andy’s gift and then put my feet up with an iced Americano with a pump of gingerbread syrup at the bookstore. An afternoon at B&N was just what I needed before the holiday weekend and I’m so glad that I made it a priority. I whizzed through this book (would highly recommend it!) and then started this one but plan to head back to the store in the next couple weeks to read more of it as we get closer to baby time!

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Upon arriving home later that evening, I did some of our Thanksgiving prep to make the morning a little smoother. I quickly whipped up a batch of homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and freshly squeezed orange juice), and prepped a pomegranate so that it would be ready for the salad I was making the next day. This was my first time dealing with a pomegranate (I usually buy them pre-seeded), and let’s just say it was a labor of love. I did the whole “peel it in a bowl of water” trick but it was still very time consuming and messy to say the least!

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The next day, we successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving with his side of the family. Andy and I made turkey, ham, lemon-garlic green beans with almonds, cornbread, and a fall salad while his siblings brought a few other sides and dessert to complete the meal.

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Side note — we recently picked up one of these tools and it is seriously the best thing ever! It saves so much time and makes your life a million times easier — would highly recommend picking one up if you don’t already have one in your kitchen drawer.

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I threw together this autumn-inspired salad and really liked how it turned out! It had spinach, fresh cranberries, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, and apples. I tossed it with a homemade dressing that contained pure maple syrup, olive oil, fresh lemon + lime + orange juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt and cinnamon. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all throughout the weekend and it’s definitely one that I plan to make again!

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Andy’s sister and brother-in-law brought pies and I swear, there’s nothing like pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of coffee! It definitely hit the spot!

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After the family left, Andy and I settled in on the couch to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It was the perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day.

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The next day, we headed out for a little Black Friday shopping later in the day (mainly to avoid the crowds). We wound up purchasing this little gadget and a new Christmas tree since the one in the photo above is way too tiny for our new living room! I took a nap upon arriving home and then we spent the evening watching Home Alone 2 (we typically watch a holiday movie or two every weekend leading up to Christmas).

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On Saturday morning, my sister and I ran an errand, grabbed coffees, and walked around the indoor track while catching up. We both agreed that this is something that we should do more often since it’s way more fun to walk with someone than by yourself. :) Another nap happened when I got home that afternoon (seriously, story of my life these days), and it felt SO good!

Sunday was spent washing all of our baby’s clothing while Andy painted the dresser for the nursery. I’m hoping to get all of his clothes organized by size this week so that we can start putting his room together in anticipation of his arrival. I also finished all of the thank you cards from our baby shower and worked on a scarf that I’m knitting — it was such a relaxing day!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving?
Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

Holiday Day Date

On Saturday, Andy and I headed out to do a few holiday-themed activities amidst running errands for the week.

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It was freezing out so we bundled up and I was so excited when it started snowing on our way home later that day! I keep checking the forecast hoping for our first blizzard of the year but so far it’s just been flurries and light dustings. I look like I have no hair in the photo above, but hey, at least I was toasty warm in my hat, scarf, jacket, and gloves!

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After swinging by the library to drop off / pick up books on hold, we headed to Caribou Coffee to check out my contributions to their 2018 holiday collection. We were delighted to find that all of the drinkware I designed + illustrated was on the shelves!

The four mugs above are part of the “value mugs” collection — meant to be purchased and given as gifts. These four are my favorites since they really showcase my illustration skills and they were such a joy to create!

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I also really enjoyed illustrating and handlettering this little winter scene for their kids tumbler and cold cup!

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The two mugs above feature a removable faux leather sleeve that contains a tiny flask on the side — perfect for gifting!

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I typically do the copywriting on the drinkware that I design, but my creative director gave me the idea for this catchy Minnesotan phrase and I thought it was too perfect to pass up!

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I also designed these little coin purses / gift card holders!

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Speaking of gift cards, some of the elements used in my designs made it onto gift cards this year as well!

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This little dude did really well in terms of sales last year, so this year I added an additional sku with him sporting an ugly sweater!

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This stainless steel tumbler features a wintery cabin-inspired pattern.

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A few of my designs made their way onto adorable little ornaments as well!

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After purchasing a handful of mugs from Caribou, we decided to grab some lunch.

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We hadn’t been to Cafe Zupas in what felt like forever, and a warm bowl of soup sounded really inviting on a chilly day!

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After lunch, we headed to a few different stores to check out their Christmas decorations.

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We didn’t end up buying anything but it was fun to look around! I always love looking at stickers when we’re out and about — I’d love to one day have a job designing sheets of them! I thought these ones with the little gingerbread men were the cutest!

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When I was younger, one of our neighbors used to transform her formal living room into a Christmas village filled with tons of these little buildings, people, and accessories to create the cutest little holiday scenes. It was fun to see that they still make these cute little shops and houses!

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Originally, we had planned to see the new Grinch movie and get Starbucks holiday drinks but by the time we got to the theatre, the movie was sold out so we decided to save those two activities for this coming weekend. We wound up at a furniture store to take a look at recliners for the nursery and it ended up being a great choice because they had free cookies and massage chairs. Seriously, a pregnant woman’s dream come true!

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Our last stop of the day was our weekly Costco run — they had so many good samples yesterday with these being my favorite!

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We filled our cart and then headed home! I’m toying with the idea of trying out this recipe this holiday season, hence the massive container of cinnamon.

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Our new Christmas planter rode in the front seat with me to prevent it from tipping over — it’s been so fun to be able to pick out things like this for our new house! We’ve never really lived in a place where we’ve been able to full-on decorate for the holidays / seasons so this has been a treat!

Have you started decorating for the holidays?
What coffee shop is your favorite?

Celebrating Andy's Birthday

I haven't been blogging much because we've been having some issues with our Thunderbolt display for our Mac. I'm currently blogging from my old laptop at our kitchen island and Andy ordered a new display which should be here tomorrow, which means I'll be back in business very soon!

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This past weekend we headed out to celebrate Andy's birthday! It's crazy to think how much has changed since his last birthday! 

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We started out on Saturday with a long walk through our new neighborhood -- we ended up walking over five miles and it was fun to explore around the area! As we arrived home, a few of our neighbors were out -- including a few that we hadn't met yet, so we introduced ourselves and chatted for a bit. It just makes my heart so happy to be living in this neighborhood full of people around our age and in a similar stage of life. We're having a neighborhood block party in a couple weeks and I'm seriously so excited for it! 

After showers and getting ready, we headed out to do some shopping before grabbing dinner. Our first stop was IKEA and we both agreed that we're kind of over that store after browsing around and realizing that we're past the stage where items from there work for our lifestyle. 

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So naturally, we headed to Crate & Barrel afterwards, which is definitely more up our alley.

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We browsed around for a bit and came across this gorgeous couch, but didn't end up purchasing anything.

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We also walked through Restoration Hardware, which is a store that we both love! Now that we have a house of our own, I really want to step up my interior design game and bring my design background into it.

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Afterwards, we went out for dinner in The Galleria -- I said "this is so good" around six times while eating this vegetarian kung pao stir fry. It seriously hit the spot! I want to find a good kung pao sauce recipe so I can recreate this spicy dish at home.

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Afterwards, we drove around to a few Caribou Coffee shops so that we could see my additions to their fall collection on the shelves and purchase a few to take home with us.

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I headed out for a run on Sunday morning and it felt so good to breeze through the neighborhoods and local trails while listening to my workout playlist.

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Once I got home, I immediately went to work making a pumpkin soup -- I saw a photo of it online, and decided to take a stab at creating my own version of it. It was a mix of pumpkin, carrots, onion, apples, spices, vegetable broth, and coconut milk all simmered together and then blended up to create a rich and velvety soup. It turned out so well and I'm looking forward to enjoying it throughout the week! 

I spent the rest of the day doing some meal prep, laundry, and reading a library book -- it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

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Andy brought home a few paint samples and paint color books while he was out during the afternoon and these made me so excited! Our walls are gray, but we'd like to switch them to a different shade of gray (#designerproblems) -- hopefully within the next month or so! Our neighbors that we met on Saturday invited us inside their house to see their recent remodel and it had us both itching to make some changes to our home so that it feels a little more like "ours."

Later that evening, I made homemade enchiladas for dinner and then gave myself a manicure while watching TV before taking a hot bath and calling it a night. I love our low-key Sundays -- they're the perfect way to recharge before starting a new work week.

I need your advice -- what's a great neutral gray paint color (no warm or cool undertones)?
Favorite kind of soup?
Black bean or tomato are my favorites! 

A Weekend At My Sister's

I spent this past weekend dog-sitting at my sister's house and it was seriously just what I needed! She and her little family had plans to go camping with her in-laws and I jumped at the chance to stay at her house and take care of Hurley. Her dog is super low-key so all I had to do was let him out a few times and feed him -- piece of cake! 

I headed over to her place on Friday evening with a big bag of groceries and got to work cutting up some veggies and doing a little meal prep for the week and for dinner that evening. I also whipped up a batch of my favorite pumpkin bread and popped that in the oven just as Andy arrived.

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Andy wanted pizza and I was hungry for a veggie stir fry, so after the pumpkin bread was done, I put the pizza in the oven and then tossed all of the cut up veggies into a large pan and later added some sauce and peanuts. I love my stir fry veggies to be a little crisp and this meal did not disappoint! This one contained red onion, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, red pepper, and zoodles.

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After dinner, we made some homemade popcorn and settled in on the couch for a movie. We ended up watching this one and we both enjoyed it so much! 

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The next morning, I enjoyed a piece of the pumpkin bread and relaxed for a bit before heading outside for a long walk.

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I walked over to the neighborhood where we had originally put an offer in on a house and it was so fun to walk through this area even though we didn't end up choosing this house in the end. It was also sunny and unseasonably cool as I headed out for a walk and it felt SO good! September can't come soon enough for this fall-loving girl! 

Are you ready for fall or are you savoring summer?
Favorite stir fry ingredients?

Girls' Day with My Mom

Another beautiful spring weekend is in the books! 

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After work on Friday, Andy and I met at the mall to run a few errands before heading home.

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We were both starving by the time we arrived, so we grabbed a pretzel to eat while we shopped -- not sure if it was this particular place or what, but I remember these tasting better when I was a kid.

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Afterwards, we did our weekly Costco haul -- we were out of a lot of items, so our cart was a lot more full that usual! 

Since we were with Andy's side for Mother's Day, my mom and I spent the day together this past Saturday. We celebrated Mother's Day and her birthday since it always falls during the same week! 

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We started out by going to the arboretum -- it was surprisingly really cool on this particular morning but once we started walking around, we warmed up a bit! 

Afterwards, we headed to Wayzata so that I could go to my eye doctor appointment. My eyes have been SO dry this year and after not having success with wearing glasses and using eye drops, my doctor suggested punctal plugs, which are little stoppers that go into your tear ducts to help your eyes retain more moisture. I got fitted for them and then he put temporary ones in until my semi-permanent ones come in.

Since we arrived in Wayzata a little early, we headed to my favorite little French bakery / restaurant to grab a macaron! The ones at Bellecour are seriously the best! 

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After my appointment, we headed down the street to Crisp & Green for lunch! I'd been wanting to try this fresh salad spot for awhile now, and this day felt like the perfect opportunity! I went with the "Yacht Club" salad with black beans in place of shrimp and it hit the spot! It had a jalapeno-lime vinaigrette and it was so tasty! My mom ordered the fiesta grain bowl and it looked equally as delicious! I'll definitely be stopping by here again! 

Afterwards, we did a little more shopping and then went our separate ways. I ended up taking a nap when I got home and then finished my recent library book before watching some tv with Andy.

What are your favorite girls' day activities?
Favorite spot for salads?