lake harriet

It's not Disneyland.
It's not a glamorous summer vacation or a long-distance road trip.
It's Lake Harriet and it's free and it's just a hop skip and a jump away from where we live.
It's simple picnic, a lazy afternoon, and dip in the lake.
It's cool summer breezes, sandy shoes, and strawberry stains.
It's a little boy who loves to splash and wants to drink the whole lake. Mmmm...
It's a break from the daily grind and a time to just be a little family.
Yet somehow, it's just as magical.


free minneapolis engagement photos!

For real. Hope no one minds a shameless self plug...Especially if it means getting their engagement photos taken for absolutely free! That's right, Jeff & I are giving away an entire stylized session, complete with some sweet vintage props + dreamy locations AND allow you to keep the disc of digital negatives. So inspired by things like this and this, it's time for us to pull out all of the stops and ante up the creativity. For more deets and to enter, please visit our photog blog! Even if you don't have wedding bells in your future, we'd be much obliged if you helped spread the word if you know any brides-to-be who could benefit from this fabulous opportunity!


county fair

Nothing screams dog days of summer like a trip to the county fair. Growing up in a small rural community, paying an annual visit to the county fair was the ultimate family outing. An evening at the fair meant breaking in your new pair of back-to-school jeans. It meant hanging out with your friends again after being away at camp or the lake all summer. It meant freebies, face painting and marginal Country music. It meant savoring the last few slices of summertime by the light of the ferris wheel. True story: I even spent a few summers at the farm helping my cousin get ready to show her pigs + rabbits at the fair, then serving up coffee + apple pie in the 4-H food stand during fair week. If that wasn't a character building experience in my life, I don't know what is. This summer, it was time to tote G through the mud, gravel, and cow pies to teach him what the fair is all about. The boy is such a city slicker--he has airplanes and sirens nailed, but is still a little weak in the barnyard sound department. We hoped the petting zoo would change that. He went nuts-o for all of the animals, bouncing from pen to pen barking and waving. Good times.

We even sprang for the slippery slide. Best 4 bucks we've burned all year. Why are carnival attractions so darn expensive? For $1, I bet they'd have 10x the kiddie customers. I'm no marketing whiz, just sayin'.
But of course the best part of any fair, anywhere is the food. The boys shared a raspberry milkshake with Grandma. The real deal of a milkshake. It makes my belly ache just thinking about it. I had my traditional bowl of Queen Apples: topped with homemade caramel, nuts, whipped cream, and candy cherries. Mmm...Hoping we will find time to make it to the Minnesota State Fair next week to have all this again and more...On a stick.


swap party

Last week my stylish friend Bryn hosted a swap party--an awesome excuse for all the girls to clean out their closets, get together for a shop-at-home party, and not spend a single cent! I'd attended a similar party before, but Bryn took it to the next level, turning it into a beautiful dinner party, complete with tissue paper pom-poms strung from the ceiling and decorated shopping bags for each lucky guest. Everyone did a good job of bringing really tasteful, useful things. I scored a cute new photo album, nightie, and lamp, just to name a few. See Bryn's blog for more deets and photos.


made my shade

Little Miss Indecisive finally spied the perfect fabric at Crafty Planet and set out to conquer the window treatments in her dining room. (Aside: everyone has been telling me to check that place out, and am so glad I finally did. My heart raced to find nearly all of the world's cutest fabrics under one roof!) Anyway, I fell for this fabric mostly for its color scheme--its funky flower graphics are just a bonus. I love how it marries my traditional reds, blues, and (blah) beiges with my girly pink linens and teal tea cups.

Believe it or not, I made my shade by gluing fabric to vinyl mini blinds using this tutorial from Little Green Notebook, one of my favorite design blogs. No sewing involved! Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the results: Ample sunshine by day and ample privacy by night. The price tag for two shades was around $50, and most of that was spent on the fabric. Hooray for DIYing.


minneapolis farmers' market

Last weekend was perfect for enjoying a little sunshine and summertime at the farmer's market. Shopping here on a Saturday am is slightly less convenient than a quick jaunt to the grocery store, but the rewards are incredible. Fresher food, locally grown, and often for better prices. There's just something so gratifying about handing 2 bucks to the grower himself in exchange for your heap of oh-so-orange carrots. It's all about the experience. A girl can only pack just so much of the fresh + fabulous spread into her canvas market bag. The rest of the punch she must pack into the camera slung 'round her neck and share beyond the realms of her own refrigerator. Here is a taste:Hot-diggity. We bellied up to the last booth for fresh lemonade and fully loaded brats, then topped it off with a visit to the clown and balloon for the boy.


i heart iris & light

If you're not familiar with Iris & Light, you're in for a treat. Sheesh. I just can't get enough of their work. They make my heart bleed with aspirations. They are hands down our biggest photog role models. I would be so starstruck to meet theses dudes. They do an amazing job of incorporating places + things that are meaningful to their clients, not to mention making normal people look like complete celebs, and leaving the rest of us with goosebumps and goofy grins. Their videos blow me away every time, but this one has got to be the cutest one yet. I love all of the still frames in the beginning (wow Sheena!). I double love this video because I have the same TOMS as Lauren, the starlet. I triple love this video for the song...

5 Years Time from IRIS AND LIGHT on Vimeo.

I have a crazy dream that Jeff & I would get a video made of us retracing some of our steps in San Francisco, home of our 2 year honeymoon. We would be eating cupcakes from Miette, wading in China Beach, buying flowers at the Ferry Building, picnicking in front of the Victorian flower conservatory in Golden Gate park, and perhaps even smooching in the back of a Muni (bus).

If you were lucky enough to hire Iris & Light, what would you do in your love video!?

polka-dots and plumbers

This week has been a bit upside down, so sorry for the lack of pictures and posts! We've been entertaining a few unwanted house guests here--including 2 plumbers and 1 mouse. A creepy-crawling mouse! I've learned that my fear of mice is immensely irrational. I've been wearing my shoes and insisting Jeff escort me to the bathroom at night.

Oh, and our basement flooded late Tuesday night. One shop vac and 32 gallons of water later, I am thanking heaven for my navy blue and pink polka-dotted wellies...I can proudly say that I survived the 6" puddle of sewage in style. Too bad we were so preoccupied in our filth to pause for a photo op. We were happy to invite the plumbers over to fix our plugged pipe catastrophe and to restore our life to some semblance of normalcy. Functional plumbing, it's a beautiful thing. Never, ever take it for granted.


the happiest day ever

happened exactly 4 years ago today...when this whole crazy adventure kicked off with one pretty party and two sweet promises. I don't know what happened to the last 4 years--it's like they were over in a blink--but they were way more wonderful than I ever could have imagined.

I'm feeling short on words today, but I can honestly say that marriage-wise this past year has probably been the most challenging yet. More challenges, more bills to pay, and more work to be done, all with less time and less time together. More of those "for worse" experiences have crept in and we've relied on God's grace & provision more than ever before. I am amazed how God refines us and brings us closer together day in and day out...Even when we are completely exhausted and spread so thin, juggling our jobs + the biz + our Graham, without daycare. True confession, in the past 365 days, we have only left the house and baby to go on one real date together {thanks Kayt!}. I hope in the coming year, we can change that.

I'd really be a mess without Jeff; he blesses me beyond words. He's really strong, selfless, and hardworking. He loves God so sincerely, and I love seeing his faith in action. He loves Graham and me to pieces, and not only tells us but shows us every day. God is so good for putting him in my life. And that's the biggest understatement I will ever make.


hunt & gather

The prettiest place I ever sipped a glass of raspberry lemonade was in my own backyard, on my sweet new retro patio set. I scored all 4 pieces for just $30 yesterday afternoon at Hunt & Gather, the hippest antique store imaginable in S. Minneapolis. The collections here will seriously knock your socks off. Every booth there seems to be extremely well-edited and inspiring.

I always saw myself as more of a rod iron, French-bistro style kinda girl. But lately I find myself gravitating toward these great retro, granny-style items. Watching your own tastes change over time is half the fun, don't you think?

I thought for sure Jeff would hate this quirky set and all its blue floral splendor...But instead he surprised me with an "awesome, thanks!" when I arrived home and we pulled the prize out of the trunk together. And that, my friends, is why I love him and I love sipping lemonade here with him, no matter what decade it is.



I've been digging around for some great prints for window treatments in our living room and have been crushing on thomaspaul's playful, modern line of fabrics. Every one of them is so lovely. The swatches make pretty tantalizing eye candy, but at $40-50/yard it's a little steep--especially for a girl whose never sewn a curtain in her life. Am hoping for yardage in some similar designs to show up in a bargain bin near me. Soon.

pineapple salsa

My mom made this pineapple salsa last weekend. I made it again yesterday. It's just that super delish on a hot summer day. Here's my spin on it:

2 c. fresh pineapple
1 c. cucumber
1/4 c. onion
handful of fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove
1 jalepeno

Mix together in a cute, summery bowl

zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
dash of salt
sprinkle of sugar

Using red onion for a quick color twist
Serve with nacho chips
Or perhaps on top of grilled chicken or fish
Either way, get the fam together, it disappears quick!


imagination vacation

August, already? My oh my. Not sure what's come over me, but I'm feeling a little blue about the fact that we have no vacation plans whatsoever this summer. (Err, not counting a quick weekend to visit granny & gramps.) It has nothing to do with the fact that we are flat broke--we haven't even gone car camping since G rocked our world. We just haven't managed to make time.
Thanks to etsy, my travel bug bites have been soothed. I had great fun picking out some items reminiscent of a vintage road trip in my first ever treasury. Yep, the imagination vacation is sufficient for now. Isn't the 1982 Disney passport positively dreamy!?

9 yellow balloons

I will never ever get tired of having a bouquet of balloons in photos. They make the whole world a more cheerful place, don't you think? I really love how some of our shots turned out from my cousin Ashley's wedding. I think everyone in our family would agree that Ashley is the jewel of our gene pool. Maybe it's the dimples? She should have been a model. But she still made a pretty drop-dead-gorgeous bride. I'm just lucky to claim her as my cousin. Josh is even luckier to claim her as his wife. They are a really, really cute couple! See more of their photos here.