Learning to Letter

Whew! It’s been a busy weekend in these parts! I had lunch plans with a friend on Friday but she needed to reschedule for next week so Andy and I ended up meeting up for a quick lunch. Andy’s office recently moved downtown so we are just a few blocks from each other now, which is really convenient!

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This pic is actually from the last time we grabbed lunch because I completely forget to snag a pic on Friday! After our little lunch date, it was back to work where I spent the afternoon designing Christmas ornaments while listening to a new podcast. One of my coworkers and I are listening to a lot of the same podcasts so that we can discuss the episodes afterwards — it’s been fun!

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Since we ended up leaving around the same time at the end of the day, I walked down to his office so that we could ride home together. There was literally no traffic due to it being a sunny Friday afternoon in the summer; since we were ahead of schedule for arriving at home, we made a quick pitstop for froyo at our favorite place!

Upon arriving home, I quickly threw a bag together and hit the road for something I had been looking forward to for the past few weeks — a brush lettering class with Lauren Ibach! I came across Lauren on Instagram many months ago and loved her beautiful lettering style so when I saw that she was offering a class, I jumped on it!

The class was held at Appleberry’s Attic, a craft studio in Anoka, MN. It was fun to drive through Anoka because Andy lived there for the majority of our dating years — it brought back some good memories! Appleberry’s Attic is run by Jen, a gorgeous lady that loves crafting and connecting women so that they can have a break from their daily duties to recharge and relax! She’s one of those people that instantly makes you feel welcome, loved, and valued — aka the best kind of person! I’d highly recommend checking her studio out if you’re in the area — they offer all kinds of craft classes for people of all ages.

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Back to Lauren — her class blew me away! I have a background in handlettering, but it is all self-taught so there are definitely some gaps in my skillset! Her kind spirit, talent, and encouraging personality were so inviting! She answered a million questions for me and also taught me some tricks for lettering on my iPad! It was so fun getting to know her and and the other women at my table — I left feeling so motivated to practice this skill more regularly since it’s something that I love to incorporate into my design and illustration work.

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On Saturday morning, we woke up to the BEST thunderstorm — tons of heavy rain, booming thunder, and lightning. It was so cozy inside our house and fun to wake up to a raging storm outside. Once the rain let up a bit, I ran to Target to grab lunch for Fletcher’s godparents, who were coming over later that afternoon to spend some time with him while we snuck out for a date to see the new Lion King movie! I also grabbed this new flavor of kombucha (cherry, coconut + lemongrass) and it was SO good! I also picked up some candy to take to the theatre!

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Upon arriving home, I put together a quick little lunch spread for them before they arrived.

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We chatted with them for a bit and then said goodbye to Fletcher before we headed out to the theatre! We were a little early so we browsed through Barnes & Noble for a bit. Per usual, I took some pics of books to add to my library request list!

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I also came across the cutest little kids books so I snapped a few pics of those to save as inspiration for my illustrations!

Next, we headed to the theatre for the movie! We purchased our tickets ahead of time after experiencing a movie being totally sold out last fall, and it was so slick! All we had to do was scan Andy’s phone and we were on our way. In the lobby of the theatre was a display for the new Downton Abbey movie and it got me SO excited to see this movie with my bestie this September! I kind of want to rewatch the show before the movie since it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it!

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We LOVED The Lion King so much! The script and music were very aligned to the original cartoon movie (which I totally remember seeing in the theatre with my grandma and my sister when I was about 5 years old!). So, so cute and really well done — I’d highly recommend it!

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After the movie, we swung by Hallmark to grab a card for our nephew, snapped a few pics of some unique cards and things, then headed home to kiss our little baby! We played with Fletcher for a bit and then I ended up taking a nap because I was exhausted after battling more sinus stuff all week!

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On Sunday morning, Fletcher and I played for a bit while Andy caught up on sleep and then we headed out for a walk through the neighborhood.

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It was supposed to be cool outside but it ended up feeling pretty warm by the time we finished our walk. Fletcher was wearing his cute little swim trunks from his friend Colton! :)

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After our walk, I organized a few things in the garage while Fletcher watched me with all smiles! The rest of the day was spent cleaning, doing a Costco run, and getting ready for another busy work week!

What was a highlight from your weekend?
Last movie you saw in theatres?

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?

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We're coming off of another busy weekend and it was such a great one! I'm typing this post up on Sunday and I've got my essential oils diffusing, playing The Nutcracker soundtrack, and best of all -- our Christmas tree is illuminating the room! We always put our tree up crazy early and it brings me so much joy! 

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Backing up to Friday afternoon, I was chatting with my boss in the kitchen while making my shake and by the time I walked back upstairs to my desk, it looked like a snow globe outside! Big, fluffy flakes were falling steadily and it was so pretty! 

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Upon arriving home, we ate a quick dinner before heading out to the mall -- I wanted to pick up some warmer sweaters for work since I'm freezing all day!

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We headed to Nordstrom first, and I didn't really see anything that I loved -- except for this gorgeous bag! How pretty is this blush color?!

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However, upon arriving home, I remembered that I had tried on this sweater a month or so ago and then wished I had purchased it. I'm going to shop around online a bit more today (Sunday) but will probably be adding this one to my closet soon since it's 100% cashmere and so warm + cozy! 

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While at the mall, we also browsed through Athleta and Banana Republic without much luck. I loved the cute tie cuffs on this sweater but felt like it looked too big so I left empty-handed.

I also really liked this sweater (in heather gray) at BR, so I'm planning on placing an online order later this afternoon. I left the mall feeling a little discouraged -- a lot of stores don't carry my size so it can make shopping for clothes really tricky. A lot of times I'll try clothes on in stores to see if it's something I'd like, and then either have them ship the items to my house or I'll just place an online order.

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After sweater shopping, we browsed through the rest of the mall for a bit before heading out. I do a lot with hand lettering at work, so I always like to snap pictures of pretty lettering to be used as inspiration for my projects. 

After a quick jaunt through Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma (and a few Christmas gifts later), we headed out to swing by Trader Joe's and the grocery store to grab a few items for my Chex mix making afternoon with my sister and her girls the following afternoon.

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On Saturday morning, I headed over to my friend Jen's house for small group! We're still working through this book, and while it's been good -- it's not my favorite. I've found that I have a hard time relating to one of the girls so the chapters that she writes are hard to plow through.

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Afterwards, I drove over to my sister's house for an afternoon of making homemade Chex mix and muddy buddies! I had picked up the ingredients earlier in the week when I stopped at Target on the way into work. Speaking of which, shopping at Target at 8am on a weekday is the best thing ever -- the shelves are stocked and the store is totally empty! 

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We use the same recipe each year (the photo above is the mix pre-baking) and it's our favorite! 

  • 3 cups of Rice Chex
  • 3 cups of Corn Chex
  • 3 cups of Wheat Chex
  • 3 cups of Kix cereal
  • 3 cups of Cheerios
  • 3 cups of holiday-shaped pretzels
  • 2 cups of Trader Joe's Blister Peanuts
  • 12 TBSP butter, melted
  • 2 Chex brand seasoning packets (you can usually find these for free in the cereal / holiday area of your local grocery store)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees; mix all of the cereal / pretzel / peanut ingredients above in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter and stir in the seasoning packets. Slowly pour the mixture over all of the dry ingredients -- stirring to coat. Spread on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for an hour -- stirring every 15 minutes.

We made two huge batches and I'm so excited to snack on this throughout the week -- we always make this snack mix each year before Thanksgiving! 

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My sister had the brilliant idea to make muddy buddies with the remaining Chex cereal -- I hadn't had this is forever! Such a simple and delicious treat! While the Chex mix was baking, we listened to Christmas music, enjoyed a glass of red champagne, and played with the girls -- such a great afternoon! 

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 I hit the gym on the way home from Andrea's, and once I arrived home, we set up our Christmas tree! We had picked up a few Christmas gifts for our nieces the night before, so I wrapped those as well. I just love this time of year! Also, if you haven't tried this peppermint bark from Williams-Sonoma, you are missing out! It's the best!

The rest of the evening was spent watching Home Alone after we put up the tree, which is one of our favorite traditions! 

PS I'm linking up with Biana today.

When do you typically start decorating for the holidays?
Favorite holiday food?