Making Mornings Less Stressful

I like to think that I'm a well-organized planner. I'm great at remembering dates, my house is clean and tidy (most of the time), and my planner is color-coded. However, when it comes to mornings, I am a hot mess. I spend the whole time running around trying to get ready, tending to Bosco, packing our lunches, tidying up... it is a whirlwind of chaos and there's a 75% chance that I'm leaving 5 minutes late. 

A bad, stressed out mood is the worst way to start a day. I feel that my mornings sort of set up the vibe for my entire day. After getting to work today (and being crabby to my poor mother on the phone - sorry mom!) I had to stop and take a couple deep breaths. I decided to write down in my planner several things I can do to make my mornings less stressful, and to set myself up for a productive and positive day.. 

ONE // Pack lunches the night before. Although we meal prep (so most of our lunch is already easy to grab), finding a bags to put our tupperware in, grabbing extras (breakfast, snacks, water, etc.), and putting it all together ends up still being time consuming. My goal is to put everything into their designated bags the night before, so it's as simple as grabbing it out of the fridge and heading out the door.

TWO // Laying out my outfit the night before. I used to do this religiously in high school. Every single night I would pick out my outfit, and lay it nicely by my closet door. This way I wasn't spending 10+ minutes trying on different combinations.

THREE // Getting up 15 minutes earlier. I've learned over and over again how much of a difference this can make. Even if it just gives me 5 minutes to sit down and have a quick conversation with Andy. I am so guilty of pressing the snooze button 1-2 times every morning. So tonight I'll be setting my alarm for 5:20 and only snoozing ONCE. 

FOUR // Taking more time to do things that make me feel good. Whether this be using my clarisonic more often, whitening my teeth, applying my lipstick before I leave versus when I get to work, and making sure I'm drinking enough water. These things are so important, and I want to go to work feeling the best I can!

What do you do to make mornings less stressful? Any tips on how to be a morning person?



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Life Lately

It's been pretty slow and uneventful around here lately.. so nothing too exciting to report! We've been enjoying lots of outside time in the evenings before it gets too chilly. We recently found an awesome off-leash dog park near our house which has made our nights (and Bosco's) super fun! Plus it has helped his outrageous puppy energy levels.






I also spent some time with my family last weekend, and had fun making some M&M cookies and catching up with my grandma.




I'm back on the HaloTop train after enjoying another pint of their salted caramel - honestly, why do I even buy other desserts? It's so satisfying and guilt-free. Also Target has a deal this week, all their pints at $4!! So of course I scooped up their Cinnamon Roll flavor last night.. I have high hopes for it!


I've already got a few things going on my Christmas wish list.. too early?? Of course not. I'm taking the easy route this year, and all I really want is some new winter boots and a few cute pairs of pajamas/lounge clothes.

Speaking of Christmas, one thing Andy and I have talked about it how we really want to focus on traditions this year. We've put some thought into it and have a few ideas up our sleeves. Our favorite one right now is purchasing each other a pair of wintery/holiday themed pajamas in the beginning of December, and gifting them to each other one morning to wear while we make breakfast and watch a Christmas movie. We also really want to start chopping down our own, real tree. It's hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner!

We head out on our little getaway to Denver on Friday, and we are so excited to do some hiking and exploring. Fingers crossed that the weather stays nice for us, as we usually don't have the best luck on vacations with that.
                                                                                                                                                       
Happy Tuesday!
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Thankful.

It's just never ending around here.. long story short, Andy and I got into a car accident last night on our way to bring Bosco to his training classes. We were going southbound in the right lane on a street in St Paul, and in the left southbound lane there was a small hold up of cars that were waiting for the nourthbound coming traffic to clear so that they could turn left. Well one of the drivers didn't want to turn left or wait for those cars to continue down the road, so he jetted out into our lane without seeing us (not even sure if he actually looked or not) and side swiped us pretty badly. We bounced over to the curb, and the car that hit us bounced over and hit another car.

As you can imagine, there was a whole frenzy of cops and EMTs accessing the situation and asking us questions and exchanging insurance information. Thankfully my car drives just fine still and there are no extreme damages that impact it's ability to drive, but my drivers side fender is smacked up pretty bad.

Now.. the driver of this car is trying to say that he was bumped by someone else (no explanation as to who this was because there was no one behind him and no damage on his car that wasn't from the impact of hitting my car or the other car) and he does not want to admit fault. Seriously... some people. It's been a mess last night and this morning trying to figure out insurance stuff and making claims and everything. I have my fingers crossed that the insurance companies are able to understand and utilize all of the evidence, and realize the truth of what happened.

However, despite all of the emotions and anger that arose from this - I can't help but be extremely thankful that we are okay. Thankful our car didn't slam into the tree nearby. Thankful that the other car that was hit didn't go an inch further into the oncoming traffic. Thankful for the police officers and EMTs that were so respectful, explained everything, and made sure we were okay.

So we will see what comes of this situation.. but until then we are counting our blessings. Guys, always, always, ALWAYS wear your seatbelts - heck, even get a buckle for pets because the impact would have surely sent Bosco flying into the front seat or onto the ground if he didn't have his.



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Fav Products + Maple Holistics Review

Today I'm talking allll about hair + face products, which are definitely my favorite thing to sample and impulse buy.

But before I get into all staples I've used on a daily basis for the past couple years, I'm going to review an amazing shampoo that I was so lucky to receive for free in a collaboration with Maple Holistics. This company is an American based company that sells all sorts of natural, organic, and cruelty-free products including ones for hair care, skin care, and essential oils.




I was sent the Tea Tree Special Formula Shampoo, which is made with many great ingredients like tea tree, lavender, and rosemary that work to therapeutically benefit your scalp and hair. The tea tree works to clear dandruff and dead skin, while the rosemary leaves your hair feeling refreshed, revitalized, and smooth. Lavender adds a special touch too by increasing circulation to hair follicles and clearing out blemishes and healing the scalp. Plus a hot nighttime shower + the scent of lavender leaves me feeling so cozy and relaxed for a restful nights sleep.

Not going to lie, I definitely opened the bottle as soon as I got it from my mailbox just so I could smell it (is that weird?? Definitely not weird..). My first impression was just how amazing this shampoo smells. It smells clean and fresh, with a slight minty tingle.

What I absolutely loved about this shampoo is that it lathers super well and works into a nice foam, which is not what I was expecting. The directions recommend leaving it in for 2-3 minutes, which I happily did while I relaxed in the hot water. I followed with a warm rinse and some conditioner.




My hair was extremely easy to comb out afterwards and I had that cool tingling feeling which made me feel like I just left the spa. So far today, my hair has felt incredibly soft, clean, and non-greasy - which makes it a great hair day! We will see how it holds up after my workout today, but I have high hopes for this awesome product. I even suggested that Andy try it out, and I'll update you with his thoughts too! I definitely think this product has a permanent spot in my shower, and I am excited to try all of Maple Holistics other products.

If you're interested in checking out their awesome products, Maple Holistics has a free sample program (!!!). Just follow this link to sign up & get your free product! I'm sure you will not be disappointed!



Moving on.. some of my other favorite products!




Botanics Rosewater Organic Spritz - Organic and refreshing! Perfect for after a workout.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water - inexpensive, works amazingly, and lasts forever. Plus no harsh chemicals!

Witch Hazel - This stuff is magic. Helps everything from makeup removal, to tightening, to reducing redness and inflammation. Go buy some. now. It's super cheap and you can find it at any Target/drug store/etc. It's also awesome at soothing and preventing razor burn.

Rodan & Fields Eye Cream - one of my more expensive products. But again, lasts a long time and has significantly reduced puffy and tired morning eyes.

Essential Oils - peppermint for any tension headaches or that awful bloating feeling, and frankincense to mix with the witch hazel to clean your face + neck.

Clarisonic - One of the best Christmas gifts I've received! This works wonders on my face and I have to say, the cleanser it comes with works great too!



Disclosure: Some products were sent to me in exchange for a review. All options expressed are my own.
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Fall Weekend Review

We had a pretty jam packed weekend filled with plenty of fall activities. I was alone Friday night so I ordered a delicious pizza, took Bosco on a walk, and watched four episodes of Friday Night Lights before heading upstairs to turn in for the night/cuddle with Bosco on the bed while we waited for Andy to get home.

Saturday came early and we drove over to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast. We spent the afternoon with our friends Megan and Hunter at an Oktoberfest event at a local brewery. It was a ton of fun and in true German fashion we drank some yummy beers and ate brats with extra sauerkraut.





After recuperating with a nap that evening, we got ready to go to Dead End Hayride with Chelsea, Michael, and Emily. First we grabbed dinner at Fiesta Cancun - which got amazing reviews but when we got there we realized that it was one of those restaurants connected to a gas station... the food ended up being excellent but the service was unfortunately just completely awful. Too bad because I definitely would have went back otherwise!

Dead End Hayride was every bit of scary you could imagine. We had a great time and it was definitely worth the money! 

Sunday we spent the morning cooking up a big breakfast and going to the apple orchard with our friends Brian and Alex, and their puppy Bo! Bosco was obviously thrilled to spend some time with his best buddy. We stocked up on apple cider donuts, apple butter, and a fresh apple pie. Oh, and some apple wine ;) gimme all the apples!








We spent the rest of Sunday grocery shopping, cleaning, and doing laundry. We Andy put our new dining chairs together while I watched and we caught up on all of our fall shows that have finally come back on!



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A Second to Vent

Alright, lemme just use this space for a little bit of venting today. I know today would normally be a Five on Friday day but holy wow I could not focus on anything today let alone write a happy cheerful blog post. Today has been hard.

It all started yesterday afternoon when my coworker noticed that my tire was really low, like really dangerous low. Of course, I didn't think too much of it and drove home carefully on it knowing I would have to get it filled soon. Well while I'm driving home, I noticed that my oil pressure light comes on which is always bad news and can wreck havoc on your engine. Still - I get it home and in the drive way. I check my oil, and it's completely dry so the worst thoughts come to my mind wondering if I ruined my car. I had been hearing a strange rattling for the past week or so but was just trying to push off investigating it until I was able to bring it back to my parents house.. I mean, it was just a little noise and seemed pretty harmless.

When Andy got home, he put some oil in it and we just let it sit. Thankfully, it was working just fine this morning and I was able to get to work so we're assuming we saved my engine in the nic of time.

But as I'm driving to work I start thinking of leaving home and wonder if I actually shut the garage door or not. Do you ever have those things that are just so manual for you that sometimes you forget if you actually did them or not? Anyway, after being on the highway for 10 minutes, I turn around to go back home just to find out yes, I did shut the garage door. It's just one of those things I would have sat and worried about all day if I didn't check. So I get back in route to work and have to race against traffic to get there on time. Once I rush through the doors and get into my office at the exact time I should be clocking in, I find my computer has decided to reboot/update which leaves me sitting there for 20 minutes before I can finally clock in for the day.

Once that has all been squared away and I have emailed my boss to correct my time card, I get ready to call AAA roadside assistance to fill my low tire and realize that I forgot my purse at home. YEAH. Thankfully my mom was able to get me the information I needed to call.

Oh, and right about now I realize that I brought soup to lunch but no spoon.

So later the AAA man comes out to fill up my tire, and he tells me as soon as he arrives, "Hmm.. hopefully I have enough air left to fill your tire".. UM EXCUSE ME? That is the whole reason you came out here in the first place!!! That is why I told person on the phone you needed to come! Lo and behold, he doesn't have enough so he instructs me to drive it to a shop where they can fill it, which completely defeats the purpose of even having AAA. So I call them back and tell them to send someone who actually is equipped to add air to my tires.

I'm exhausted. I have a headache. And I just can't wait to head home, order a pizza, take a hot shower, and relax. Thankfully, it's the tough days that make us appreciate the good days but man - I'm ready for this one to be over!

So thank God it's FRIDAY. Have a good one everyone :)
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Day in the Life | 9.26.2017

Okay these posts are hands down my favorite ones to read/blog about. What is it about peaking into someone else's life that is sooo interesting?

Anyway, here is an entire day in my life documented on 9/26/2017...


5:30 - Alarm goes off and I press snooze ASAP to avoid waking up the puppy and to get in an extra 10 minutes

5:40 - Alarm goes off again and I press snooze again.. have I ever mentioned that I am completely and entirely not a morning person?? I've always tried to be, but I've finally accepted that it's just not going to happen.

5:50 - Okay, now I actually wake up and let Bosco out and feed him



6:00 - In the bathroom doing my hair and makeup. I braided my hair the night before to reduce the time it takes to do it in the morning. My makeup routine is simple, and consists of my Rodan & Fields SPF Face lotion, BB Cream, Foundation, powder, blush, bronzer, some Naked eyeshadow combination, eyeliner, and mascara. 

6:33 - I'm out the door, coffee and lunch in hand. I call my mom everyday on my way to work and today was no different :)

7:00 - At work and ready to get down to business look at social media and catch up on blog reading. I use about 20 minutes after I get to work to just settle in and relax before I start everything. I sip my coffee and have my breakfast - an English muffin with peanut butter. I have this every morning for breakfast and am convinced that I will never, ever get sick of it.

8:00 - Remember that I'm doing Day in the Life post today and take a quick picture of my outfit in the mirror. My favorite sweater from Loft, work pants from.. Costco (?? seriously - they are awesome!) and some nude heels.


7:20 - 11:20 - In the words of Rihanna, "werk werk werk werk werk werk"

11:30 - Lunch time! As of lately, I've been loving my "adult lunchables" which consists of turkey deli meat, cheese triangles, triscuits, cut veggies, hummus, & granola with a La Croix on the side.

12:30 - Back to work until 3:30! Hair is already pulled up for the day.


1:30 - Sneak in a little break to check out my planner for the month and enjoy a cupcake :)


3:30 - Done for the day and headed to my nail appointment! I'm trying a new nail place that's literally across the highway from home.


5:00 - Leaving the nail place pleasantly surprised. I walked into the salon and there wasn't one customer there. Turns out they did a wonderful job and I adored the lady who did mine! So much that I got her name and will be going back to her every time.

5:10 - Home just in time for a quick outfit change and then off to Bosco's puppy class.


5:40 - Being the person I am, we show up 10 minutes late.. whoops! But we work on lots of new things, like "puppy zen", and "come!". Bosco gets some playtime in with his friends too!







7:00 - We drop a sleepy puppy off at home and head out to the movies! I have been begging Andy to see It for the past 2 weeks, and we finally made some time to see it!




7:10 - Excitingly walking into the movies! Buttttttt, find out the 7:15 showing is sold out.. So we drive to another theater.

*** Now let me tell you this, I was so darn determined to see this movie and the 20 minute drive from one theater to the other had me super nervous that this show would be sold out by the time we got there too. So I did what any other crazy would do and went online to the theaters website, reserved two tickets (you're allowed to reserve online without payment for 7 minutes until it times out because you don't actually purchase them), and then when my 7 minutes would time out I'd start the process over. The reason I didn't actually just purchase them online is because Tuesday is $5 movie day, but only if you buy them at the box office. But thankfully we got in to the 7:45 one with an extra large popcorn, peanut M&Ms, and a hot dog (I never ate dinner)!

10:00 - End of movie and it was super good! Definitely lived up to the hype.

11:00 - Nightly routine of washing my makeup off, cleansing with some witch hazel, brushing my teeth, and applying my eye cream. Bosco is back in his kennel watching us until the lights are off, and after one little "woof" to let us know that he doesn't want to go to sleep - he's fast asleep and so are we!





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Pumpkin Chili

I've always said that I'm not a huge pumpkin fan, but I think this year I'm starting to realize that there are a whole lot of things you can do with pumpkin aside from pumpkin pie or anything of the sort (which I'll always despise - sorry!). We've been incorporating pumpkin into more of our dinners lately and as a savory flavor, I love it! So I've got an easy recipe today that you should definitely make, like tonight. It's hearty, warm, and practically screams fall!



Pumpkin Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion chopped
2 cans hot chili beans
1 bottle chili sauce (12 oz)
1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
Red pepper flakes (optional - season to your heat preference)


Brown beef and onion in a dutch oven until no longer pink. Add rest of ingredients and water until you reach desired thickness. Simmer on low for at least one hour.



Just a "behind-the-scenes" look at what is at my heels for every picture :)

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Five on Friday | 9.22.2017

I am SO GLAD that the weekend is finally (almost) here.

ONE // Andy and I are going on a little getaway to Denver three weeks from today and we are so, so excited. We are both in need of a weekend for just us, and you can bet I've been working on a itinerary filled with fun things to do! I did leave a whole day open to Andy to plan whatever he wants to do because Sunday we're planning on driving to the Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park for some hiking and exploring. My goal is to have a schedule that allows us to see what we want, but doesn't have us running around the entire time trying to fit everything in. I want a little relaxation too!


TWO // Speaking of vacations, we were planning on booking a cruise in the Carribbean for this winter, but after all the destruction these hurricanes have caused we are left wondering if it's still a good idea?? We know we want to go to a warm, relaxing destination and have a budget we would like to stick with. Not sure of any other places to go to.. but any and all recommendations would be more than welcome!


THREE // Bosco is finally back to his normal self - we got him back on his original puppy food and he - and us - are back to sleeping the entire night and not having to go outside every hour! Thank god because waking up two to three times a night on a work night was not ideal and made us both a little cranky. On another note, our yard is completely filled with sticks. Every time we go for a walk, Bosco finds a large one he likes to drag all the way home..




FOUR //  Today is the first day of FALL which is my favorite season, ever. Now if only the weather would cooperate. But you can bet that I'll be getting Starbucks' new Maple Pecan Latte this weekend.




FIVE // We are working on putting the final touches on our fall decor outside.. we are still in need of a few pumpkins and another mum. I'm going to be searching on instagram for some ideas today on how to make it look more complete. I did do a little DIY house number pumpkin this week - which turned out better than I expected! It is looking so cute on our haybails outside and I love the fact that it doesn't rot and I can reuse it next year.




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Honey Soy Glazed Salmon

I was never a big salmon person (or a salmon person at all) until Andy cooked it for me. I think it all goes back to being scarred one time when I was forced to eat it at a friends house growing up - me coming from a family that never had fish. I didn't even try shrimp until I was in high school! My family ate more "farmer's meals", mostly eating chicken and pork and good ole Minnesota hot dishes. But then Andy made us Oven Roasted Chili Lime Salmon, I did a complete 180 and decided that I loved salmon. Only downside is that it's not super economical, but that doesn't mean we don't still treat ourselves every now and then.




Honey Soy Glazed Salmon

1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup light soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
2-3 tsp. chili-garlic sauce
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 skin-on salmon fillet
2 package shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 large bunch green onions, diced
Instant microwave Jasmine rice

Heat over to 475 degrees F. Mix 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, chili-garlic sauce, and mustard. Place samlon, skin side down, on a large parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with two tablespoons soy mixture. Bake salmon at 475 degrees for 8 minutes. toss mushrooms, pepper, and green onions in sauce mixture. Scatter vegetables around fish and brush fish again with mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until desired degree of doneness and vegetables are tender.

Prepare rice according to package and mix with 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in bowl, season with salt and pepper.

Serve fish and vegetables with rice. We also mixed a little sesame oil and soy sauce for dipping.


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Life + Sick Puppy

I was *planning* on doing a Day in the Life post today documenting yesterdays day, but man - it seems like as soon as I woke up the day was a recipe for disaster. Bosco didn't sleep pretty much all of Monday night and woke us up several times throughout the night (which he NEVER has done, ever. Even his first night home). We changed his food this past weekend and apparently it did not agree with him. We were taking him out to potty 10+ times within 12+ hours and on top of that, he threw up yesterday morning.

I had plans to get a workout in after work, take Bosco to his puppy class, and then Andy and I were finally going to have a date night and go see a movie - but none of that actually ended up happening. To say the least, I was a little stressed out and cranky. Do you ever have those days where you know you're just being grumpy, and you know it isn't right, but you just can't stop yourself? Yeah.

But we made the most of it.. I came home after work, Andy made a delicious salmon dinner, and we took Bosco for a refreshing walk in the park. Speaking of Andy - he is such a rock star. He had the day off, and I came home to a freshly cleaned house, a completely re-organized front closet complete with a new shoe rack and hooks (something that has been on our to-do list since we moved in), and new fall coffee thermoses to fill with apple cider for our walk. Not to mention, our dinner was absolutely incredible and I told Andy that I would be happy eating that meal for the rest of my life.



I'm not really sure what to classify this post as or ever what to title it, but this is real life here.

Speaking of that incredible salmon recipe, I'll be back tomorrow to share it. Until then - happy hump day!!
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Kali and Justin's Minneapolis Visit

We got to play hosts to one of our favorite couples this weekend, Andy's sister and her boyfriend Justin! We jam-packed the weekend with lots of Minneapolis-specific activities. I even went a little extra and made an itinerary for our weekend, complete with tons of our favorite activities and restaurants.



Guest room finally set up just in time!




We started off the weekend with drinks (our Bourbon Cider Sours, and apple cider champagne - recipe to come!) and Andy's amazing pork carnitas for dinner, complete with our favorite homemade salsa recipe. I made this pie - which was ahhhh-maazing.




We spent the night catching up and playing a couple dozen competitive rounds of Left Right Center.

Saturday morning we slowly woke up with some fancy coffee drinks before heading over to Glam Doll Doughnuts, one of my favorite places in Minneapolis to get doughnuts.





We took them to Sociable Cider Werks for some cider flights, and some Cards Against Humanity.




Next stop was The Norseman, a newer distillery that completely lived up to the hype with their awesome cocktails and decor.










At this point we were getting hungry for some actually substantial food, so we took them to Washington Square for an early dinner. They have the cutest outdoor patio and the rain thankfully held out for us.

After some rest at home (and a surprise visit from some friends), we took them over to Can Can Wonderland - an amazing mini-golf/restaurant/arcade. Unfortunately, their mini golf was sold out for the night but that didn't stop us from enjoying their unique drinks.






Sunday we enjoyed breakfast at The Original Pancake House before Kali and Justin headed back to Milwaukee. The goodbyes were sad but we had such a fun weekend and were so glad to share our home with them!



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