Well, that was the most beautiful weekend…ever. The weather was outrageously perfect and despite Andrew and I’s battle with allergies, every window in the house remained open the entire time.

I learned something important this weekend; I believe it is a lesson that I am continually learning in several aspects of my life….and that lesson is…

Keep It Simple.

Why is that such a difficult concept for me to hang on to? It seems I have learned it a thousand times and yet I still find myself trying to make everything much more complicated, detailed and intricate than it needs to be.

So, on Saturday, when Andrew and I were trying to decide how we should spend our evening I found myself anxiously trying to decide on something unique, different and most likely expensive. While I was searching Pinterest for inspiration (this happens more often than I would like to admit) Andrew stumbled across the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family and mentioned that he had never seen all of them. Obviously, I was not impressed….I own every single one.

That is when I decided that a big pile of blankets, windows wide open and a night of some of my favorite movies would be the perfect way to spend the evening.

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And so…I began gathering the blankets…

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And rearranging the living room to make a spot for our living room camp-out.

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Once I got the whole thing set up…it was feeling pretty comfy…

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Andrew and I found ourselves so comfortable and cozy with the breeze from the open windows that we curled up and slept down there the entire night. It felt like a sleepover. It was free, it was simple and I was in jammies, it was amazing.

In addition to our living room sleepover…we found time for tennis, golf and a simple dinner out.

weekend collage

It was fabulous!!

Have a wonderful week!

Happy Friday!!

Here are my favorite internet finds from the week.

1. Laughing Lottery Winner. I’m pretty sure that this lady is my soul mate, because if I won a million dollars all I would be able to do is laugh and smile. If you haven’t seen this yet…I dare you to watch it without giggling along. Seriously.

 

2. Favorite eCard of the week. So. Accurate. 😉

Funny ecard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Flula. He is the cure for any bad day; a German guy who tries to make sense of American idioms. In this particular video he is dissecting the saying, “party pooper.” You’ll love it, I promise.

 

4. Now that I am a newlywed…the obvious thing to do is to stalk The Nest, a byproduct of The Knot. I love it, lots of tips for surviving marriage 😉 This list, 41 Things To Do Before You Have A Baby is awesome and smart. I think I just might be able to keep Mr. Grade busy long enough for me to get on the baby train! A few of my favorite items on the list?

Go to Disneyland and act like kids.

Enjoy an all nighter (the voluntary kind, not the kind in which your baby cries all night!)

Take a cooking class together.

5. I saved the best for last….are you ready for this? An amazing website called, The Hunt. If you are an avid Pinterest user like me or you spotted a really great item on a website that might be sold out or you want it in a different color…this website helps you find it! Create an account, provide the url, upload the image or connect directly to Pinterest to begin “the hunt” for your item. Usually a hunt has already been created and the item found but if not, other members will see your post and provide any information they might have on the item. Have I mentioned lately how much I love the internet? I just used it to find a shirt I pinned on Pinterest. So great!

the hunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!!

 

I’m still getting familiar with this every day blog thing which means so are you. Some “categories” are going to appear every week, i.e. “Friday Fun”. While some may never be written again…it just depends on what is getting the worlds attention 😉

So, if you’re a bit confused…and you feel like I’m all over the place. It’s because I am. Stick with me!!

Yesterday I was so wordy…I mean I really went on, and on, and on. Let’s all take a moment of silence for Andrew William Grade whom will have to listen to me blab and blab and blab for the rest of our lives together.

So, today, I’m going to keep it short…as short as I can keep it.

Though my week has been ridiculously busy with an extra heavy work schedule, this blog idea I decided to launch and home improvements I have still found some time for three of my favorite activities!! Reading, listening to music and watching television 😉

Currently reading:

He's Gone Book CoverBlog, Inc. book cover

 

Because I’m me…and there is no such thing as focusing on only one thing at once I am currently reading TWO books. He’s Gone by Deb Caletti is one that I picked up on a whim without any sort of recommendation. Something about the covered captured my attention and when I read the synopsis I decided I had to have it. Basically, the main character wakes up to find her husband gone, without a trace…and the details unravel from there. Very interesting so far! In addition to my literary escape I am trying for a bit a productivity by reading Blog Inc. which has contributions from several people one of whom happens to be my favorite person to follow on Pinterest!! So far I have found it be helpful, insightful and ridiculously humbling. Hoping to learn a lot!

Currently watching:

Pretty Little LiarsAshley_Benson_birthdays

 

 

Pretty Little Liars. I cannot get enough!! I watched 3 seasons of this in about a week…I didn’t sleep a whole lot. It’s intriguing, exciting and I think I might be in love with Ashley Benson and her dimples. So, there’s that. Season 4 is currently is airing every Tuesday on ABC Family and now that I am all caught up I am finding the week long wait to be a bit much. I recommend it. 🙂

Currently Listening To:

Matt Nathanson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last of the Great Pretenders by Matt Nathanson. Mr. Nathanson is like an old friend to me now. I buy his albums without previewing them because they are always consistently good. He has actually been the soundtrack to all things blog related lately! I’ve got this album on a constant loop!

I love coffee. I mean I really love it. Coffee is nestled right up there with my family, friends and Andrew as a priority.

My relationship with coffee began in Florence, Italy at 18-years-old. I was overseas with my parents making several stops throughout Italy; one morning I braved the car ride into Florence from the bed and breakfast we had stopped at for one reason only…finding an internet source. I was in Italy and I was just dying to check my Facebook…18-year-olds…amiright? My dad, on the other hand, was craving a caffeine fix and so we stopped at a Cafe on the side of the street. It was the most beautiful little place and though I was not a coffee drinker I insisted that my dad get me something. We sat at a small table, he was reading his newspaper and I was choking down an extremely strong cappuccino but the whole experience was incredible! Something about the fancy mug, the saucer, the biscoff like stirring stick they included and the intricate details of the cafe…it was perfection. I fell in love with the experience before I fell in love with the drink. Since that day I have been a coffee nut! Coffee has become more than a habit for me…instead it has become a sort of refuge. Whenever life gets less than wonderful a steaming cup of coffee offers solace and comfort.

Since Italy I have found myself checking out coffee houses and cafes wherever and whenever possible; while I have found an incredible number of places with really good coffee I had yet to find the experience that I was after.

So, last week when I read about a new coffee house named Stories opening right down the street from my house I was excited to try it out and I am absolutely infatuated with the place!

Stories Coffee House is divine! It really is not the kind of place you expect to find in Omaha, NE. The atmosphere is created in dim lighting, re-purposed antique furniture, vintage finds and an aura of comfort and coziness! Seating is a mixture of tables and chairs, rockers and coffee tables, long tables and benches and each seating area provides privacy and yet the opportunity to interact with those around you. The place had my heart from the moment we walked in; there is literally the most wonderful details throughout the entire place, I could barely stop looking around long enough to place my order. We ordered Andrew a cordialatte, a special derived from the owner’s other endeavor The Cordial Cherry just a couple of doors down from Stories, and I ordered my classic vanilla latte. We ordered the breakfast special, a sausage and breakfast sandwich, on a whim. When the coffee arrived in the most adorable mugs accompanied with two small chocolate treats, I literally bounced up and down with excitement. This was it. This was the experience I was after. Andrew and I had such a lovely time and while I was thoroughly enjoying our experience together my mind was racing to all of the future visits to this place and I was just so happy!

 stories 1

 They surrounded the fireplace with DOORS; old, vintage, unique doors. How neat is that?? And I couldn’t stop looking at this light fixture, an upside down lantern?? I was literally swooning!

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Trust me…its as tasty as it looks!! Presentation is everything…and this place has it down!

stories 2

I mean, doesn’t it just look like it came right out of a movie?

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That’s just me…LOVING life.

I could go on for hours….but I won’t. The place is fabulous. Oh, and the breakfast sandwich we ordered was divine! They are open for lunch and dinner and I can only imagine that all of the food is spectacular…I will be finding out for myself this week!

If you give it a try make sure and let me know what you think!

 

Our blue door is the highlight of my year….I mean, other than marrying the love of my life, spending two weeks together in Maui and being a newlywed……but next to that, definitely the highlight of my year!! 🙂

We began our blue door adventure at a Benjamin Moore color store; I am aware that going there was not our most cost effective solution, but this was our first real painting project and we were so unclear on the color that we decided we wanted to avoid the insanity of a Home Depot on a Saturday. Our first of two stops at Benjamin Moore ended well! An extremely friendly young man helped us narrow down our color choice to 3 options. We hurried home with our color swatches and placed each on the door to get an idea of how that color would look with the color of the house.

Color Choices

Andrew wanted a more a “rustic” blue; a color that others might describe as “country”. His favorite is on the right. I wanted something bright, something that screams happiness from the sidewalk, my favorite is in the middle. The one on the left…combined the two. I think Mr. Benjamin Moore guy knew that when he sent us on our way with the color swatches.

And so…we picked our favorite! I asked Andrew to take a picture, this is what I got. Men.

Andrew being a nerd

But seriously, this….is our favorite!! It’s called “Deep Ocean”.

the winner

And so…we headed right back to Benjamin Moore to pick up a quart of Deep Ocean in Semi-Gloss and the perfect paint brush at the suggestion of Mr. Benjamin Moore. 🙂

After gathering up all of our supplies, we headed home to begin our prep work. The big question centered around whether or not we would take the door off of the hinges to do the painting. Benjamin Moore guy said we should, but one of my favorite blogs Young House Love, recently posted about their door painting adventure…and they left it on the hinges. If you don’t know this couple, you should, and if you do know this couple then you know why I decided to trust them and leave the door on the hinges.

prep collage

Since we left the door on the hinges and smack dab in the middle of our entryway we had to make sure to cover the floor completely with a tarp. In addition to the tarp, we had to tape up the hinges and remove the hardware on the door. I wiped down both sides of the door with a wet cloth to remove any dirt or residue. The paint we purchased is self-priming so we didn’t have to do much to prepare the surface for paint. After we shook up the quart of paint realllllly well and then stirred the crap out of it…we were ready to apply our first coat!

PicMonkey Collage

On the first coat we painted inside each panel and worked our way out, on the second coat we began on the edges and worked our way in. It was mostly instinct, we had absolutely nothing to encourage that reasoning but it worked out wonderfully! We were immediately thrilled with the color of blue we chose and a second coat only made it even more perfect. Phew!

Once the door was painted on both the inside and out….Andrew finally saw what I saw….we needed new hardware. A door that perfect must have a perfect door handle. And so, we went to Lowe’s and he bought me a new hardware set. If you would have asked me 3 years ago if that would be romantic…I would have laughed in your face, but as we left Lowe’s I felt like I just received a brand new diamond necklace. We headed home so we could install the new hardware…well, so Andrew could install, I made dinner. 😉

hardware collage

 And finally…once the hardware was installed and the paint completely dried I placed my happy little wreath back where it belonged and I had my blue door!!

Let’s remember how it looked before:

before

And after!!!!

finished door 1

 Amazing, right? Just to be clear I’m talking about the door….not my husband photo bombing the door 😉

Still not sold…just look at them next to each other!

before and after

I love it so much!! It truly was the perfect project to get us started. There was some bickering, some disagreements and I’m pretty sure that I was allergic to the paint….my eyes were red, watery and vampire like the entire process. But, when Andrew and I both stood outside on the sidewalk and admired how much a small project like that transformed our house we were ecstatic and so, so excited for all of our future projects together!

Hope you love it!

Happy Monday!!

That was a joke, I think Mondays suck for everyone even those that don’t have to stumble into work. The day just has a bad aura around it.

Lucky for me, my weekend was fabulous though it was extremely mild, tame and definitely reflective of increase in age.

Andrew was off of work but unfortunately, “on call”….meaning he spent most of the time being called into work or assisting employees on the phone so I kind of did my own thing and enjoyed him when I had him!

Here’s what my weekend looked like according to my iPhone…

weekendwrapup

 

I went for the most beautiful run on Saturday morning; the kind of run that makes you thankful you are alive, healthy and able! I had to snap the sunrise!! It was coming up over the trees right at my favorite point in the run (it’s the downhill portion :). Weekends are made for fresh flowers as far as I am concerned! Every week I empty last week’s tired flowers and arrange a brand new bouquet. It is therapeutic to say the least and makes every day of the week that much brighter!

stories coffee

 

After my morning run on Saturday I convinced Andrew to accompany me to try a brand new coffee place called Stories Coffeehouse that just opened down the street from our house. It. Was. Amazing. I will save the details for another post!

 

working on door

 

We spent most of the weekend working on our blue door!! I gave you a little sneak peak but you will be hearing MUCH MORE about this project. It turned out perfectly and I found myself heading outdoors to admire our happy looking door from the street! What is it about home projects that just make you want to crack open a beer? Don’t let the picture fool you, Andrew did much less of the painting than I did. 😉

 sunday dinna

Sunday dinner is probably my favorite part of the weekend! I love having Andrew home on Sunday nights and I LOVE cooking together. Usually I make Sunday dinner into this outrageous, complicated ordeal that I found on Pinterest…but this week….chicken and pineapple sounded really good. So, we marinated some chicken breast in a sweet, fruity blend and slapped them on a stick with pineapple. Delicious and refreshing! I cut up some of my favorite cheese to serve with crackers as an appetizer! I could fill up on that stuff alone!

It truly was the most relaxing weekend, rounded out with church, some yard work (I even surprised Andrew with a mowed lawn!) and falling asleep on the couch together last night. <3

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and I cannot WAIT to share the blue door details! 🙂

I spend an abnormal amount of time on the internet; sometimes I am being really productive and sometimes I am watching cat videos on YouTube. Fortunately, my perusing the internet always pays off and throughout the week I find some interesting, inspiring, hilarious and sometimes just weird things! And because I am usually hounding my mom, husband and friends with my random links, pictures, videos and quotes….I thought maybe I should just share them all here!

1. Favorite link of the week:
Huffpost Celebrity and it is entitled “Life Advice, As Dispensed by Amanda Bynes.”
It shouldn’t be funny, but it is.

2. Favorite new game:
Cards Against Humanity -think Apples to Apples, but better. In A2A some people take the opportunity to be a smart ass, in Cards Against Humanity…smart ass answers are encouraged. Basically, a black card is drawn every round that asks a question, the players all try to contribute with their funniest white card containing something totally random, as you can see below.  Sounds like a blast to play with my friends, I already ordered it! 🙂

cardsagainsthumanity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Favorite Recipe:
Reese’s Monster Cookies from the blog Something Swanky.
I made these for Andrew a couple of weeks ago and we split the leftovers (there were a lot) and each of us took them to work with us. Everyone. Loved.Them. They taste like a really good day and they look like heaven.
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4. Favorite Funny:
20 vs 30…I can literally see this in action with my friends and I. I’m okay with it.

20 vs 30 – watch more funny videos

 

 

5. Favorite Summer Cocktail:
Summer Fruit Sangria courtesy of Martha Stewart. This chick knows her sangria! I feel like sangria has become such a summer staple, but this recipe is just different enough to make it fun and a bit unique! And it just looks pretty!!
med105744_0710_sangria_vert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! I will be spending every minute I can outdoors with my husband, I just haven’t gotten enough time with him lately!

Andrew and I have lived on opposite schedules for the past two years; he worked 2:00pm-10:00pm, and I was home from work by 6:30 and ready for bed by 9:00 (I’m so old). The weekends were much the same as he usually had to work at least one day if not both of the two I was given off for the week. Unfortunately, this schedule significantly restricted our opportunity for household projects. When he was at home we wanted to be doing something fun and romantic…sweeping out the garage or painting the master bathroom is neither of those things.

The good news is…Andrew got a promotion at work just days before our wedding and as a result of that promotion he has every weekend off from work. It is divine; really, it is. And so far we have used those weekends to adjust to married life, car shop, celebrate with friends and just be in love…but now, it is time to begin project number of 1 of 2,384….our front door.

front door collage

I’m not sure at what age I came home from school to find that our front door had been painted blue….but I was ecstatic! I lived behind a blue door….it seemed downright magical! My love for this blue door did not wane with age; instead, it began to mean more, and as I found myself rounding the corner after a horrible night or a trip home from college I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at the sight of it. That blue door became home.

I think you can all guess where this is going. From the moment Andrew and I moved into our home I have regarded our front door with what can only be described as tolerance. As you can see, it’s tan…much like everything else in our house (we’re going to change that, I promise). It is not an offensive looking door…it’s just plain. I do my best to cover the majority of it with bright wreaths in fun colors but it doesn’t look like home quite yet. So, this weekend we will be painting our door some shade of blue.

In preparation for this day, I have spent a lot of time looking at front doors on Pinterest. And I actually have an entire board dedicated to the front door possibilities! It’s awesome, you can check out the entire thing here. Many of those doors are pure fantasy, but there are a few that have served as some very real inspiration.

door inspo

As you can see…I am all over the place as far as the color of blue is concerned, I am pretty sure every shade of blue has my heart!! Along with the painting I am definitely planning on updating the hardware; I think replacing the door knob with a door handle will add a bit of sophistication and charm. I absolutely adore the idea of a door knocker, but my extreme love for wreaths would most likely make that investment a waste. The house number painted on the door is such a unique addition; something I would definitely consider adding at a later date.

I am just bursting with excitement to complete our first home project together as a married couple and I couldn’t wait another second to share our plans! Now you just have to wait to see the finished project!!

Here’s the thing about me…I’m always looking for the next step, the next adventure…the next logical decision to make. For example…I met Andrew, and I had to have him…and once he was “mine”, I had to make him fall in love with me…and once he loved me I needed him to be my husband. And now, here we are…’til death do us part….I guess you could say I’m pretty good at what I do. 😉 This is pretty much the way all aspects of my life have progressed. So, the question is…what now? Andrew and I have the house, the careers, some pretty wonderful dreams & goals…and we have each other. I think that it is finally time for Andrew and I to just exist, with each other. After a few very whirlwind years, I am so excited to have some serious couch time, lots of date nights and nights out with friends.

So, you’re probably wondering….why the new blog, why the new blog name? I’ve got an answer for that, I’m not sure if its a good one. While my quest for finding the perfect partner in life may have finally come to a rest…my quest for the perfect job….has not. After months and months…..and months of Tweeting, Facebooking, emailing and all around stalking my favorite (and well known) lifestyle blogger she finally took a look at Young, Lovely & Mean, and…..she really liked it!! At least, that’s what she told me…and after I expressed my interest in making writing (of some sort) my career, she promised her input in helping me create a blog that would get me the sort of interest I need.

She explained that my greatest contribution to blogging and writing is my voice, not my actual voice-we’ve never actually spoken-but the “voice” that comes out in my prose, the voice that is so utterly me. I think a lot of that has to do with my honesty, not just my willingness to share my life, but also my desire to share my weaknesses, fears and my less than sane outlook on life 😉 So, I am supposed to keep “the voice”…but according to her, that voice, is in serious need of some photographs, a platform update and some consistency.

So, my first step was to pull my blog hosting from WordPress.com and self-host my blog using WordPress.org…two very different things and really not worth explaining. That was an adventure, it took a lot of trial and error and lots of late nights in front of the computer with a glass of La Crema and blood shot eyes. But here I am….with a functioning and somewhat attractive blog layout (I have a graphic designer working on the logo and other things…) I changed the blog name, not at the suggestion of my new mentor, but because I believed I had grown out of the old one. I considered the direction of the blog…which is essentially a day to day lifestyle blog (you won’t find fashion here…) and I wanted to find a title that sums up the majority of my days. Lots of love, lots of bliss and a shit load of coffee 😉 It makes sense.

I guess the next step is to…blog, frequently and consistently. Take pictures of my sometimes entertaining, often ridiculous but always beautiful life and put it all on here…and hope that people will want to read it and follow me. My last blog had approximately 600 hits on a day in which a new post was shared…according to my mystery mentor I need to be in the thousands if not hundreds of thousands before I will be presented with the kind of opportunities I am looking for.

Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? Eh. I could end up investing a lot of time, a little money and the remainder of my sanity into a project that turns into nothing…but, I love an adventure, I love real, heartfelt effort and I really don’t mind failing a few times.

Wedding planning is ridiculously ridiculous. Andrew and I should have grabbed our parents, siblings and…each other, boarded a plane for Mexico and gotten the whole shindig over in a 15 minute sea-side salty air experience. But, we didn’t do that…instead, we spent the past 18 months focused on and looking forward to one day, and while I don’t encourage anyone to follow that same path (elope ya’ll!) the memories, the lessons and the love we shared has made every tense, frustrating and exhaustion fueled fight worthwhile!

Everyone expects so many things from the process of putting together a wedding; I know I was expecting lots of romance, tears and bonding…and that’s what I got, but it was not in the moments I planned on. All of the big classic “wedding planning moments” were wonderful, but it was the inbetweeners (a cute little nickname I gave to unexpected wonderful aspects of wedding planning) that have left me feeling love, peace, passion and contentment. Finding THE dress, engagement pictures, choosing our wedding party, cake tasting, honeymoon planning…it’s all been so amazing, but…there was so much more that I can’t find words for…so I won’t try.

Instead, let me give you an example. This past Monday, the 13th, exactly 19 days away from our wedding…Andrew had the day off. Obviously, the responsible thing would have been to work on the RSVP list, get the programs finished (seriously, I need to do that, there’s a good chance we won’t have programs) or do any of the other many items on our to-do list…instead we ditched productivity and went to Old Chicago where we sat on the patio soaking in the warmth and each other. We laughed a lot, we drank even more and we ate wayyyy too much for two people who were planning on looking relatively attractive in 19 days…but we had fun. When we got home from our impromptu date night we sat sprawled out on the couch, both of us refusing to give in and turn on the air, sweaty, stinky and a little bit tipsy. That was when Andrew grabbed my barely used, extremely expensive Nikon digital camera from the coffee table…

I don’t know if any of you have noticed…but Andrew William Grade cannot keep his eyes open for a picture. 1 out of every 10 pictures you might actually get a glimpse of his eyes…but for the most part I look like I am consistently posing with a slightly stoned young man. It’s not great. This was the concern he expressed to me when he leaned down next to me and posed for the classic “selfie”…I was all about Pinterest at the moment but I played along and smiled…

2013-05-13 08.12.39“Ugh, how do you DO THAT?” Andrew asked me after inspecting the photo.
“What?”
“Keep your EYES OPEN? I can’t do it.”
“Yes you can…just focus!”

So we tried again….

2013-05-13 08.12.46“Wow…you really can’t, what is wrong with you, just OPEN them! We can’t have your eyes closed in our wedding photos..try again!”

2013-05-13 08.12.52Lol, not what I was looking for. And now I’m cracking up…

2013-05-13 08.13.00He seriously can’t do it people!

2013-05-13 08.13.17I thought I was going to pee my pants.

We decided to get serious about this…how to take a good picture together…scene 1!

2013-05-13 08.16.04LOL, nope.

Scene 2?

2013-05-13 08.20.15Gross.

Scene 3 fo sho…

2013-05-13 08.16.16Oh for the love of Pete…

Scene 4 for the win…

2013-05-13 08.20.22Yea, it’s just getting worse people…

So…this was our solution…

2013-05-13 08.15.51

The 15 minutes we spent on the couch…”practicing” being photogenic, taking hideous selfies and laughing our asses off is one of my favorite engaged inbetweeners. I guess I just find it amazing that the small sliver of time we spent giggling on that couch could feel so huge and significant, but…that is how those inbetweeners always seem to happen! I’m just glad this moment was captured (in an extremely unflattering way) for us to laugh about for years to come.

And just so you all know…there was one picture that made me laugh SO HARD that Andrew threatened to call off the wedding if I posted it….I’m not calling his bluff 😉