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! 

Birthday Celebrations

Yesterday was my 30th birthday, and it was one that I'll treasure for many years to come. I woke up to a vase of flowers and a few gift from Andy, including these pretties!

I headed into work for a bit so that I could wrap up a few concepts for a presentation and then do a conference call with our client.

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Just before I left for a lunch date with my mom, my creative team gave me a birthday card and a box filled with new bottles to add to my Essie collection! They also gifted me with this top coat, and I'm so excited to try it out -- the name of it is just so fun and clever!

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Upon leaving work, I headed to the Mall of America to meet my mom at FireLake, one of my favorite restaurants. We both ordered the puffed wild rice salad (this is my favorite!), and a cup of their veggie soup. Both were so delicious and we especially enjoyed the soup -- it surprisingly had fresh ginger in it, which sounds a little out there, but it seriously made the soup! Would highly recommend it!

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After lunch, walked around the mall for a bit before grabbing a coffee from Starbucks -- I had a birthday reward to redeem and went with my usual order while my mom went with a chai tea latte. 

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We shopped around for a bit and I saw these adorable pajama pants at Nordstrom -- I may go back and get them because they were so cute, my favorite color, and my favorite print. Also, I got to wear my new shirt and I'm obsessed with it for spring! 

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Just as we were about to leave the mall, we made a quick pitstop for some gelato -- we split a small cup of the key lime pie and wedding cake flavors and it hit the spot! 

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I haven't seen my mom since my cousin's birthday party last month, so it was fun to catch up. Before we parted ways, I swung by her car to open a few birthday gifts -- she got me an adorable little succulent plant, a bottle of my favorite wine, and some candy. 

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She also made me a batch of her famous homemade granola and I'm SO excited for this! This special treat was always a favorite in our house.

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Upon arriving home, I worked on this blog post for a bit before Andy arrived home from work and we headed out for dinner.

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I had been looking forward to this salmon dinner all day and it did not disappoint! 

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We ended the evening with some Bailey's chocolate cake -- such a sweet finish to a great birthday! 

Do you usually take the day off on your birthday?
Favorite flavor of cake?

Thirty

Today marks a new decade for me as I enter into my 30s! I'm heading into the studio for a bit and then taking the afternoon off to grab lunch and do some shopping with my mom before meeting up with Andy for dinner later this evening. 

I feel like I've been talking about this day with my aunt for SO long -- 20s are crazy, you guys! You're trying to figure out your career, where (and how!) you want to live, and most importantly -- who YOU are. I'm so excited to start this new season and to partake in all that it brings.

 ^ 20 year old me

^ 20 year old me

Looking back on my 20s, some of my favorite memories that come to mind are:

  •  Meeting Andy (when I was newly 20!)
  • Traveling to Rome + Florence
  • Graduating with my design degree
  • Developing my illustration style
  • Running a half marathon
  • Developing a friendship with my Auntie, who has become such a mentor to me
  • Working with the awesome creative team at Duffy
  • Traveling with Andy: Maui, Lutsen, Sedona, etc.
  • Visiting (twice!) my best friend while she lived on Oahu (and swimming with dolphins!)
  • Watching my sister become a mom to my little nieces that I love so much
  • Movie nights with Andy even if I fall asleep on the couch almost every time
  • Learning more about myself and embracing who I am
  • Becoming friends with my sister
  • Committing to weekly date nights with Andy
  • Watching my best friend get married
  • Developing friendships with my creative team at work -- they make me laugh so hard every day
  • So many girls' nights -- chatting late into the night over snacks and wine

I'm sure I'll have some more reflections on thirty real soon, but for now, I'm heading out to grab my birthday Starbucks drink! :)

How old are you?
Do you have any birthday traditions?

Sister Birthday Date

My sister and I are three years and two days apart, so we always try to have some sort of "sister birthday date" each year! This year, my sister suggested going out for brunch and I happily agreed! 

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Andrea arrived at our house on Saturday morning and we exchanged gifts before heading out the door. She gave me a glass water bottle (definitely checking this off of my March goals), a pretty rose gold bracelet, and my favorite Easter candy! 

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We headed to Birch's on the Lake and it had the prettiest views out the back windows! I'd definitely like to go back for a date night with Andy sometime! 

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I saw that the pancakes came with fresh blueberries and whipped lemon ricotta and I was instantly sold. I hadn't had pancakes in forever and they hit the spot! It was so fun to catch up with my sister over brunch -- I need more brunch dates in my life! 

After brunch, we headed over to walk around downtown Wayzata -- it was a balmy 45 degrees and it felt so good to get some fresh air after being cooped up all winter. As I was writing this post, I remembered that Andy and I spent part of my birthday in Wayzata last year as well! 

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Next up was some shopping -- we headed to a local outdoor mall to check out DSW, J.Crew Mercantile, and TJ Maxx. We also made a stop for froyo halfway through -- Yogurtlab never disappoints! I almost always get the same concoction: coconut or marshmallow froyo + oreos + sprinkles + coconut + whipped cream + one frosted animal cookie.

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We didn't really find anything, but I did love these Kate Spade shoes -- they're so pretty and perfect for spring! 

After shopping, I came home and ended up taking a two-hour nap -- Daylight Savings time really took me for a loop this year and I feel like I've been dragging all week! I’m hoping this next week is a little easier on the adjustment front!

How do you feel about Daylight Savings? 

Favorite thing to order for brunch? 

Parade of Homes

On Friday night, we headed out for a walk around the lake to take advantage of the gorgeous evening outside!

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It was cool, sunny, and a little breezy -- which is perfect weather for walking outside! 

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While walking around the lake, we spotted this huge eagle just perched on the corner of a building nearby -- it was so funny to see how many people stopped in their tracks to take pictures of it.

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We also grabbed a quick ice cream cone while we were out and about because sometimes a McDonald's cone just hits the spot.

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After making our way around the lake, we headed to Costco to grab a few groceries before heading home to eat a late dinner. We ended up tossing this organic chopped vegetable and barley soup in the cart on a whim (I usually buy this soup each week) and it ended up being the best decision! We had some for dinner once we got home that evening and have eaten some for almost every lunch and dinner this weekend as well. It's so good -- especially when paired with some fresh sourdough bread! 

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The next day, I was up bright and early for my small group! We took a break over the summer and as of this past Saturday, we are officially back in session. I picked up donuts on the way over to my friend Jen's house and it was so nice to catch up while sipping coffee! We'll dive into our new book the next time that we meet and I'm really looking forward to the discussions that arise from our reading! 

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Later that afternoon, we headed out for some Parade of Homes! We've been attending Parade of Homes for so many years and always feel like the fall POH is the best, so we were super excited for it to begin this past weekend! 

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It's always so fun taking a peek inside of these gorgeous homes! 

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This house was our favorite of the day -- we love the black-trimmed windows on white houses look! 

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We always love homes with a light and airy feel to them, and this one did not disappoint! 

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Andy and I both really like architecture, so it's always fun to check that out -- along with scoping out interior design ideas for when we purchase our first home! 

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This basement in this home was so well-designed -- it didn't have a basement feel to it at all and just felt like another living room! The large windows brought in so much extra light and really made the space work! 

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I was obsessed with this hallway! I love the floor and lighted built-in's -- what a fun way to jazz up an ordinary hallway! 

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Also, it was super fun to zip around in our new car as we drove from house to house! We are loving this new ride so much! 

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After Parade of Homes, we had to run a few errands and also swung by a little festival that was going on in the area -- I was super excited about it, but then realized it was a beer festival, so I soon lost interest. I've never been a fan of beer and am much more of a wine person.

Sunday was the usual shenanigans -- went for a walk, did a bunch of laundry, and relaxed at home. I met up with my aunt later that evening for a coffee date and then spent the rest of the evening watching a movie before calling it a night.

P.S. I'm linking up with Biana today.

Favorite place to grab an ice cream cone? We love Sebastian Joe's! 
Ever been to Parade of Homes?