This winter John and I went on a little adventure for our "Valentine's Day celebration" just down the road to The Kentucky Castle! From our house in Lexington, it took about 10 minutes to get there-- but it felt like we were in another country! It was one of the best experiences!
I've said it before, but seriously where has the time gone? I graduated high school in 2008... almost TEN YEARS ago and I swear I just looked up and it's 2018.
It is crazy to me... but I really wouldn't change anything. I grew so much in 2017 and I am so thankful for where I am today. I can't wait to get started in 2018!! Lots of BIG THINGS are happening!!
So without further ado, here are my Top 5 Goals for 2018. (I'm trying to call them goals and not resolutions... because who ever sticks to their resolutions? Not me.)
1. Be intentional with my time.
(I.E. don't sit on my phone for hours, be present in the moment, plan each day and stick to it, spend more time outdoors and with the ones I love!)
2. Actually work out and find something I enjoy.
(This has always been tough especially after being an athlete my whole life... I HATE working out, so I really need to find something that interests me! If you have any ideas PLEASE HELP!)
3. Grow in my spiritual relationship.
(I'm in an awesome Bible Study group, but would love to find more connections within my church and definitely start reading the Bible more!)
4. Travel as much as possible (duh).
(John and I have a few things in the works, but it always gets hard with weddings, teaching, and painting! We are planning a couple big trips this year and I cannot wait!)
5. Organize my life and business.
(I really plan to get organized and intentional with how I set up my business. Things like taxes and figuring out finances make me panic, so I really need to work on this. I tend to get distracted by things that are more fun, but this year I plan to set up a better system to keep me organized. In the long run it will help so much!)
There you have it, nothing crazy, but a few things I would like to improve on in 2018! I keep seeing a pattern within these and I think my word for this year needs to be INTENTIONAL. Intentional with my time; intentional in my relationships; and intentional with all aspects of life and business! Thanks for reading and I wish you THE VERY BEST in 2018!
My absolute favorite time of year is here... and so is Springhouse's Live Wreath Making Workshops! For me, this really kick starts the beginning of the Holiday Season.
There's nothing quite like the atmosphere and good times had while making a live wreath in the old stripping room in the tobacco barn. The wood burning stove is warming the room, Christmas music is playing in the background, the smell of live greenery in the air.... all while sipping on your favorite beverage-- mine being some hot apple cider and bourbon. Ahhhh.... it just doesn't get better!
My parents have done a great job of creating an inviting space combined with an informative and easy DIY that results in the prettiest wreath! The wreath always lasts all winter-- which is a huge bonus! I usually take the Christmas bow off and leave the wreath up well into January! All of the greenery is also locally grown and sourced from Springhouse!
Here are some pictures of the process and The Barn! Almost all of these photos were taken by my sweet friend, and AMAZING photographer, Brooke Bailey of On A Whim Photography. You can stalk her incredible photos HERE!
The rest were taken during our fun Lexington Blogger Workshop! Love having a network of beautiful and talented ladies to share these experiences with!
So... what are you waiting for?! Grab a friend or two and head over to SpringhouseGardens.com to save your spot this season!! There are preset dates and times, but if you have a group of 7 or more you can sign up for a private party. It is an experience that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit! Merry Christmas!
THREE WEEKS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
I have been procrastinating on writing this, because I'm not exactly sure where to begin-- much like how I felt when first starting to plan this trip (ahem, two weeks before we left).
Therefore, I'm going to keep it simple; give our basic itinerary, things to know, and of course LOTS OF PICTURES! :) That's all anyone wants anyways-- right?!
Going about planning a trip like this is never easy, so hopefully this guide will give you a starting point if you want to go to this part of the world-- which I highly recommend.
We narrowed down to 3 countries in 3 weeks (Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam). We spent the majority of our time in Thailand, but in retrospect we wish we would have toured Vietnam a little bit more. Three weeks was a good amount of time, but if you can do more-- always do more!
It took a FULL 2 days to get there-- so prepare for that! We drove to Chicago (my family lives there) and stayed there before flying out at 1:00pm on a Wednesday. Flying out of ORD saved us about $1000!!! HOLLA! Round trip (for 19 hours in the air both ways) costed us $650 each. Not too shabby.
We flew American Airlines to Tokyo, Japan (12 hours over Alaska) and then to Bangkok, Thailand (another 6 hours). It wasn't the worst thing ever-- I actually kind of enjoy long flights-- lots of time to journal (see my most recent post and HOW TO here) watch movies, drink some wine, and sleep. John hates them because he's so tall and he can't sleep, but I just curl up and I am OUT. We arrived in Bangkok on FRIDAY at 11:00pm because of the 12 hour time difference.
We spent 2 days here and 3 nights (the perfect amount of time). I'm not going to lie-- it wasn't my favorite place, but there are still a lot of cool things to see! After getting in late from our flight, we went right to bed and woke up like normal. We weren't jet lagged at all, so we hit the ground running-- especially knowing we only had 48 hours there! We stayed at the Chillax Resort in the Khao San area-- awesome infinity pool and very nice rooms! ($50 per night)
Top Things to Do & See:
- The Grand Palace (we were unsure about whether to pay and go in-- definitely worth it)
- Ride in a tuk tuk (be sure to negotiate-- we were very bad at this and paid way too much at first!!)
- Drinks on a rooftop (Amorosa Bar) overlooking Wat Arun
- Chatuchak Weekend Market (only open on the weekend, but super cool!)
- Lumphini Park
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (we didn't make it here-- its about an hour outside of the city and supposed to be awesome!)
- EAT EVERYTHING!!!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
We took a 2 hour flight on Thai Lion Air ($61 total for both of us) from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and stayed at the Wing Bed Hotel. Also very nice and around $35 per night. We were here for 2.5 days and 3 nights... this was an okay amount of time, but I could have stayed in this quant little town forever! 3 full days would have been ideal!
Top Things to Do & See:
- Elephant Jungle Sanctuary (play, swim, and feed the elephants-- HIGHLIGHT of the trip and a MUST DO!!)
- Wat Pra Sing (beautiful!)
- The Night Market (goes on and on forever!)
- Wat Chedi Luang
- Wachirathan Waterfall and hiking in the National Park
- Get a Thai Massage (or maybe don't... we are still not sure how we felt about it! LOL)
We took a 2 hour flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket on Thai Smile (LITERALLY THE BEST BUDGET AIRLINE EVER-- John said he wanted to just stay on the plane forever LOL) for $104 total for both of us. We took a bus with lots of people to Karon beach (the worst 2 hour ride of our life-- skip the crowded bus and take a personal taxi-- definitely would have been worth it).
We stayed at the Karon Sea Sands Resort and Spa and really liked it! Great pool and huge rooms! The Karon area had great beaches and was great for relaxing. The Patong area would have probably been better-- more things to do, but Karon was great!
We stayed here for 4 days and 4 nights-- perfect amount of time, unless you want to beach bum-it a little longer.
Top Things to Do & See:
- Koh Phi Phi Island (if we go back I would stay on this island!! So beautiful!!)
- Lay on the beach with a fresh coconut or a Singha beer!
- Take a tour of James Bond Island (cool, but EXTREMELY touristy-- basically just an island full of tourists.)
- Eat some banana pancakes and rolled ice cream!
- Take a long-tail boat ride on Koh Phi Phi
- Snorkel/, kayak, etc!
- Wear a lot of sunscreen... I failed at this one. YIKES.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
We flew (go figure) from Phuket to Siem Reap on Air Asia (took about 2 hours and costed $67 total). We stayed at the Rithy Rine Angkor Residence (really nice, perfect location and a great pool!) for 4 days and 4 nights. This was a good amount of time, could have been shorter, but we enjoyed laying by the pool one whole day.
Top Things to Do & See:
- Angkor Wat (seeing the sunrise over the temple was incredible! Take a tour!)
- The Night Market (amazing cheap things to buy-- shoes, polos, anything you can think of!!)
- Floating villages and bike riding
- Eat a Sticky Rice in a bamboo stick (they literally sell these off the side of the road!)
- People watching on Pub Street
- Shop at the Old Market
We took a 2 hour flight from Siem Reap to Hanoi for $118 total and flew on Vietjet Airlines. Our hotel, the Charm Boutique Hotel & Spa, was right in the middle of everything and was very nice!! It was $40 per night-- can't beat that!!
We stayed in Hanoi for 3 days and 3 nights, and that was the perfect amount of time! We loved this place SO much! The streets and traffic are INSANE-- it is exactly like the game Frogger trying to cross the street. Many locals told us the secret to getting across is to walk at a steady speed, don't stop or speed up because the motorbikes will go around you! It's so crazy, but you just kind of wade out into the traffic and it works!
Top Things to Do & See:
- The Night Market
- Beer Corner or Ta Hien Street
- Hoa Lo Prison
- Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
- Temple of Literature and National University
- Lots of great rooftop bars!
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Getting to Halong Bay is the easiest from Hanoi because all of the Cruise companies arrange transportation for you from your hotel. It is a 3-4 hour bus ride (with a 30-45 minute stop in the middle of it) so it is not a bad ride. Our company came right to our hotel in Hanoi and scooped us up.
I had read that waiting to book a cruise once we got to Hanoi would make it cheaper, but that was not the case for us. We waited until the day before and talked with our hotel staff to help us find a cruise. It just so happened to be a very busy weekend and EVERYTHING was booked. I frantically found a cruise on Booking.com and booked it without checking around at all. After arriving on the boat we found out that we were overcharged by $200. Don't even get me started on how much I hate Booking.com. :(((((
Anyways, we cruised with Cristina Diamond Cruises. Since we paid $600 for 3 days and 2 nights (everyone else only paid $400) I expected a SUPER plush, fancy, over the top boat.... and that again was not the case. It was nice for Vietnam standards, but again we got ripped off by a website, not the cruise company. I thoroughly enjoyed this Cruise and the staff and highly recommend them! Victor was our tour guide and was HILARIOUS! So long story short, book Cristina Diamond, but go through Agoda.com or through the Cristina Diamond website! Don't give your money to Booking.com.
Anyways, I'll get off my soapbox now. You MUST MUST do a 3 day 2 night cruise... they offer a 2 day 1 night, but you just don't get the full effect and it is super rushed. I think my opinion would be drastically different if we had only been there one night. With the 2 night package we were able to relax and meet some awesome people on our cruise-- shout out to our friends from Hong Kong! :)
The food on the cruise was AMAZING!! The dishes literally just kept coming out-- and it was all traditional Vietnamese food. The only downfall was that drinks were not included, so we had to pay for any alcohol and water. It was very reasonably priced though, so we did not mind.
TOP things to do & See:
- Lounging on the deck
- Sunset Party and drinks
- Taking a bamboo boat around the floating fishing village
- Jumping off the boat and swimming
- Cooking class
- Cave Exploring
THINGS TO KNOW:
Thailand: No Visa needed, unless over 90 days.
Cambodia: Apply online or get a Visa on arrival.
Vietnam: Apply online (must be done ahead of time) and get a Visa on arrival.
We went to Passport Health before leaving and got a Hep A vaccination. They recommended Typhoid, but we didn't get one of those and took our chances. There are a lot of health concerns in this part of the world, so I am glad we learned about all the bad things that could happen to prepare for them (there's a pretty long list-- yikes!!).
Mosquitos are definitely an issue (Zika, Dengue Fever, Malaria, and Japanese Encephalitis- just to name a few), so we used this travel sized bug repellant from amazon here. We also sprayed our clothes before going with this stuff here.
We also took plenty of these Travelan pills, here. They prevent you from getting sick if you eat something questionable. We didn't have any trouble our entire trip!
Overall, the people in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are so so nice, accommodating, and very helpful! There were a handful of times that people ripped us off or tried, but it wasn't a huge deal because we are talking about a couple of dollars. Just be sure to know the exchange rate and haggle! They expect you to and will often quote you extremely high at first!! Our experience was still very positive and some of the scams ended up turning into great stories, but thats a WHOLLLEEE other blog post! (see picture of John in his "fitted" suit above!! LOL!)
WHAT TO PACK:
In the summer when we went (June and July) it was SO incredibly hot. Its almost always hot in SouthEast Asia, but it is definitely worse in June and July because it is the rainy season. The humidity is out of this world, and we were instantly drenched after being outside for 5 minutes-- cute, right???
I mainly packed long maxi skirts and dresses, and light weight clothing (tanks, cotton t-shirts, breezy dresses, etc). I brought light weight jogger pants from Old Navy, or you could wait and buy them there. There are tons of cheap places to buy "elephant pants," but I was happy I had a dressier pair. I didn't bring any jeans and only one light weight cardigan.
To get in to the temples you have to have your clothing covering your knees, no low cut tops, and your shoulders must be covered--- and they are not joking about this! John had regular khaki shorts on and they wouldn't let us in. He had to go buy elephant pants at a small shop (see below, LOL!!!). My outfit of choice was almost always a maxi skirt and t-shirt for these occasions!
For shoes I went with trusty rainbows, old navy sandals, and chacos!
With the humidity the way it is-- I didn't worry about my hair at all and didn't bring a blow dryer, curling iron or any kind of heat hair tool. I just let it air dry and mostly had to wear it up because it is so long and sticks to me (gross.).
For plugs and adapters-- they aren't needed! We brought a converter which helped, because our GoPro battery got fried in their outlets... but other than that you can plug things directly into the wall!
Our favorite country was Vietnam because we loved feeling like a local sitting and eating on the street. We also had the best time on our cruise through Halong Bay. The sights were incredible, the food was amazing and the people we met were so fun-- which made this a huge highlight. Chiang Mai was another top city and playing with the elephants was another highlight. There was really so much we loved and we had such a great experience.
I hope this guide helps! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions! Happy traveling!!
Happy Hump Day! I am beyond thrilled to FINALLY share our Springhouse Blogger Brunch pictures and to include a little styling guide on how to achieve a Pinterest Perfect Pallet Table! Say that five times fast-- haha! And if you're spell checking me, palette is what google told me is what an artist uses and 'pallet' is the wooden thing you stack stuff on... I was shocked too! ;)
As you may know, my family owns The Barn at Springhouse and we coordinate events and weddings there! It all started as a Garden Center (Springhouse Gardens) 22 years ago, and just recently (2 years ago) after my wedding became an event venue also!
We host all kinds of parties and events, but one of my favorites (duh) was a couple weeks ago when we hosted the Lexington Bloggers!
I wanted everything to be very chic & bohemian, so I went to Pinterest for some inspiration! I had seen pallets used as tables before, so I started searching, "pallet picnic" and found some great ideas. From here, I scavenged my own house and my mom's house (Thanks Mom!) and came up with the basic layout and style for the table.
I have come up with a list of necessities to help you style your own pallet table, or even your dining room or outdoor picnic table!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Candlesticks (gold vintage ones are my favorite)
- Greenery (we cut from our Katsura tree- but Eucalyptus is ideal)
- Mason or Ball Jars
- Flowers (wild or bought- Trader Joe's has great cheap ones)
- 2 Candelabras
- Lace Doilies
- Tiny vintage plates & extras
- Place settings - (placemats, plates, gold silverware, napkins)
- Neutral Pillows and blankets (Thanks Miss Molly Vintage)
Styling the Perfect "Pinterest" Pallet Table:
To make the table high enough, but still Moroccan style, we stacked (who I am kidding-- John and my Dad stacked) 3 pallets on top of each other and in a row to make one long table. We used 15 pallets. I made sure to put the prettiest and best quality pallets on top, aka I annoyed John until he put the correct one where I wanted it. LOL.
From here I began arranging the placemats in a random order around the table. Since there were 21 of us, I had to mix and match neutral placemats from my Mom's collection and my own, but it worked due to the bohemian feel of the table.
Next, was the greenery that my Dad cut from the Katsura tree. We laid it sparsely across the table in both directions to act as the runner.
In the meantime, my Dad was also cutting random flowers from the garden and my Mom was arranging these flowers in our Ball Mason Jars! Trader Joe's flowers would also work if you don't have an abundance of gardens around and a really cool Dad & Mom who are basically florists! LOL!
We put the candelabras and candlesticks on next, placing them evenly throughout the length of the table, and then scattered the doilies around these, to add a little extra texture. As my Mom finished each flower arrangement, we put these on the table in between the candlesticks.
The finishing touches for the table were the votives and extra tiny vintage dishes that we placed around randomly. The key is to balance everything, but not to overthink it, especially because we were going for the bohemian look.
Once the table was complete, I began putting the place settings together. We brought white plates and gold silverware. Half the silverware was John's Grandmother's and the other half was from Miss Molly Vintage!
Finding 21 cloth napkins was a struggle, so we mixed and matched some neutral and patterned ones. As an extra touch for the place settings, I painted a picture of The Barn a week before and had prints made to go on top of the plates. This was part of each person's place setting which I set on top of the napkin and then placed their name card on top of that.
NAME CARDS AND PLACE SETTINGS:
The final touch was the name place cards that I made the night before. I grabbed a pack of these white tags here from Michael's and used this beginners calligraphy pen here (also from Michael's). I had all the names written out (I just wrote in cursive with that pen- nothing fancy) and found some thin lace ribbon from Michael's, similar here.
I cut lavender, sage, and rosemary out of my garden (about 25 sprigs of each). When I got to The Barn, I began cutting the lace ribbon into about 8inch long strips. I used the lace to tie a sprig of lavender, sage, and rosemary onto each name card. I placed one of each of these on top of my barn print, on top of a folded napkin, on top of the plate to create our place settings!
I hope this post helps you create your perfect Pinterest table! Feel free to leave a comment or a question about where I got something or anything you want to know! I find mostly everything from flea markets or are hand-me-downs from my Mom! It definitely helps to have a Martha Stewart Mom who has the best style and keeps all kinds of decorative things around! It also, helps to have an incredible venue and gorgeous gardens around to cut flowers from! Thanks again Mom & Dad (Debbie and Richard Weber), for all your hard work to make this blogger brunch happen! You all are the REAL MVPS!!!! Also BIG shout out to my husband, John, for being the muscle behind the operation! :)
For a brunch -- I mean -- bunch more (LOL) on our #SpringhouseBloggerBrunch check out this list of AMAZING Blogger's that attended and their individual posts about our brunch!
Taylor Camacho | The Stylish Tales of Tay
Kelsey Bauer | KabKitchen
Emily Ho | Authentically Emmie
Sarah Caton | Space, Place & Southern Grace
Courtney Hastings | Kentucky Girl Ramblings
Tif Fannin | Bright on a Budget
Katie Mullen & Anna Towle | Hartley Social
Francis Lee Baker | Lee's Lookbook
Whitney Scheibel | Fabulous in Fayette
Ella Rutledge | Girl Meets Lex
Bronwyn Butler | Basically Bronwyn
Stephanie Hargis | This Lexington Life
Leela Foley | Lex Eats
Emily Riddle | Miss Molly Vintage
Lisa Coe | Candor and Rose
Amanda Zopp | Salt & Life Blog
Special thanks to all the vendors who contributed to our special goodie bags: Shop Local KY, Miss Molly Vintage, AJ Apothecary, Shop Twenty, Morton James, Springhouse Gardens, Whole Foods Lexington, and Kentucky Yarnbirds. Our brunch was held at The Barn at Springhouse in Nicholasville, Kentucky. All photos taken by Kirstie Dunston Photography unless noted otherwise.
Happy Wednesday! Long time no post (I feel like I start every blog with that lol)... but, L I F E.
Anyways, I recieved a lot of questions and comments on my travel journal from our past adventure, so I wanted to share my process with you all and how I go about making one of these CRAZY things!
If you are planning an upcoming trip abroad, or about to hit the beach for a week, or even if you just want to document life, I will tell you everything you need to know! I used to keep a collaged journal for each year of high school, college, and then my first couple years teaching... but I've since stopped because it just got too hectic. Now I keep them on mine and John's excursions that we take every summer. So here goes nothing!
What You Will Need:
- A sturdy journal
- Elmer's extreme glue sticks
- Small kid scissors . . . . (I'm such an elementary art teacher)
Picking the Right Journal
When I go about searching for "the one" I keep a couple things in mind. I want it to fit in my purse/backpack easily, but I don't want it to be too small that I can't fit all of my post cards, maps, etc. I have had great luck with journals at TJ Maxx, Wal Mart, Marshall's, etc. I am honestly always on the lookout for a good one throughout the year, and I may or may not have a stash in a box, just waiting to be used. Finding the perfect one is the fun part for me!
In my opinion, the perfect size is 7 inches by 9.5 inches or 6 inches x 8.5 inches. If you are only going somewhere for a week, you can get a smaller one, but for each of our trips ranging from 2.5 weeks to a month those sizes have been perfect! I always try to find one that has at least 175-200 pages. The black journal is the one I took for our past 3 week Southeast Asia trip linked here and it was the perfect size and amount of pages. I actually used every page exactly without one to spare. And BONUS-- it's only $7!
When I studied in Florence for a semester I got the same brand of journal from Wal Mart (Shown above-- the pink one) and wrote all 100 days I was there. I didn't have as much collage material because I couldn't afford to eat out/do activities every day, but it ended up being the perfect size for the 3.5 months! It's dimensions were 7inches by 9.5 inches. IT IS A MONSTER.
I prefer leather journals like the ones above, but for our month long trip to Europe I used the first tan and pink one with the spiral and it worked great. Just make sure it is substantial and won't fall apart if you are lugging it around everywhere! For the month long trip I actually ran out of room and had to start writing on top of receipts and other memorabilia like shown below-- definitely should have gotten a bigger one for that trip!
What to Collect
This is the fun part! As you are traveling or just living life, save everything! John and I both go into MAJOR HOARDER STATUS while traveling and literally take and save everything. Any brochures I find in restaurants, pamphlets, tickets, receipts, boarding passes, beer labels, wine labels, business cards, post cards, sugar packets (weird I know-- obviously empty them), but basically anything that is flat that we use/run across. The more you save the more interesting your journal will be! If you are in a different country it is so awesome to keep anything with the language on it or anything that will spark memories from being there.
Seriously, save it all. People will look at you...they WILL stare... especially when you are aggressively trying to get that wine label off the bottle-- but don't let that deter you! LOL it happens to us A LOT.
How to Collage Your Pages
This part comes easily to me (duh-- I collage with kids for a living), but I will try to break it down as much as possible! The first few pages are always a little rough because we haven't gotten there yet and don't have much to collage. I always start with boarding passes and stupid stuff from the plane/any receipts from the airport (you know I gotta hit up the Burger King before we leave lol).
I start by laying out everything I have (this gets tricky on the plane, but is still doable) and arrange it on the page to make it look aesthetically pleasing. I almost always go in order (or try) of what we did, so that for the most part the things on the page correspond with what I am writing about-- doesn't always happen, but I have gotten pretty good at getting close enough.
I usually try to keep it interesting (not all white receipts on the same page) but still keep the colors all in the same family as much as possible-- it just looks better this way and as a perfectionist it bugs me if they don't somewhat match. When you like how it looks, start gluing! I use the Elmer's Xtreme because they last a long time and keep everything glued well. For SE Asia (3 weeks) I took 2 big ones and had just a little bit left.
Brochures are great to snag if you do an activity or go to a museum. We always get 2 of them so that we don't have to choose between pictures on the front or back and can cut out everything that we want to put in the journal. This is where the scissors come in handy. I'm not proud of it, but I usually try to sneak the kid scissors on the plane and sometimes (actually a lot of the time) I get away with it! They are dull, so not dangerous or anything-- but then the other half of the time they get thrown away. When you are flying between every country and city like we were in Asia, this gets really annoying to keep having to find scissors and buy them. We finally just started asking our hotel staff if we could borrow a pair, which worked out much better.
Here are some pictures of brochures that I have cut and collaged, but still kept the pages interesting by adding receipts, beer labels and other items.
Keeping Up With the Journal
This part is NOT EASY. There were many days I was so exhausted from going all day, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and collage everything, try and remember the details, and then actually write in story-form. There were days I wouldn't work on it at all and therefore would get really behind.
Luckily, John has an elephant brain, so I always have him jot down in my phone each day and date and little bullets of what we did, funny things that happened, where we ate, what we ate, etc. Having this outline helps SO MUCH when having to go back and remember in sequence what you did. I highly recommend doing this at the end of each day, so that you don't forget important details.
It's definitely a struggle, but it's nice to have something to do in the evenings when we get back to the room. I always tried to at least get everything collaged in the journal before traveling to the next place, that way all of the stuff isn't falling out everywhere and I can at least start writing on the plane/train/bus/etc.
I hope this helps and inspires you all to keep your own! They are definitely not easy, but so rewarding to have down the road! I am constantly going back and looking at ours. I put a lot of detail into them, and its amazing the things you forget if you don't write them down! Drop me a comment if you have any questions or enjoyed this post!! I would LOVE to see your version of travel journaling or if you make one because of this! Thanks for reading! Happy journaling!
Hi friends!! Sorry for the long absence of a blog, but I have been way busier than anticipated!! So, don't mind me as I blow the dust off of this section of my website and oil up my rusty writing to share with you all how excited and inspired I have been feeling lately......
Ahhhhh, I know, I know.... an artist and her inspiration.... so cliche. But don't you guys have those moments when you are scrolling through Pinterest and you just get so pumped up to go create something? ...That feeling of endless possibilities and inspiring plans that you can't wait to try?!
I have been feeling like this a lot, so I thought I would share with you all what has inspired me this week and how it is impacting life in general!
So naturally I have been getting super excited for all things Spring (duh.) It is such a beautiful season of new beginnings, rebirth, and freshness! The little bit of warm weather that we had last week made me feel like a totally new person... and made me want to run and frolic through flowery trees......
Springtime really is one of my favorite times of year, and a time that I think just about everyone wants to redo their decor, clean out their closets, and get a fresh start with everything!
This is the time of year I actually start working out (thanks hot yoga!) and want to get rid of all my possessions in order to have a fresh and uncluttered house.
Anywho, I wanted to share some of my favorite pins with you all and my recent inspiration board in my studio. I perused Pinterest for a while and that is when I realized there was a definite pattern here. Every single pin that I was saving was springy & blush colored. Looking at these made me giddy and got me excited for the warm weather, decluttering my house and for all my paintings that are in the works!
(ps... how cute are those floral sandals?! They are only $16 at Shein.com.... you're welcome.)
After looking through all these, I decided I needed to create a physical version of this in my studio (ahem, my upstairs bedroom) to look at and get that creative spark while I was painting.
I had always thought this process was overrated, but after completing it and staring at it for a few days, I realized how much it helps! As much as I love a good Pinterest board, there is nothing better than touching and visualizing all of your ideas with a physical board in front of you. I hope to be able to share these more often to show you all my creative process!
....Because I am usually so busy I never saw the importance of getting prepared for a project, but it totally helps! Who knew! Even if you are redecorating your house or trying to complete a room, printing things out, pulling pictures out of magazines, using paint chips, fabric swatches and making a mood board is a great way to bring your ideas together. I highly recommend it! Plus, it looks really cool and can get you in the mindset to create!
It also gives you a reason to continue hoarding random notes, pictures, cards, etc! ;) (The rest of my boards came from Home Depot in the paint swab section! These are great for mixing and matching colors together and really seeing what works before diving in to a painting or before decorating a new room....)
If only I had known how helpful these were a long time ago! Here are some of the paintings I have been whipping out because I have been so inspired! I am actually heading to Michael's here in a bit to purchase said blush paint because I am all out. (This is becoming a problem.)
Not only have these boards impacted my artwork, but they have impacted my decor and wardrobe! I have found myself dressing in all blush and putting blush flowers all over my house (sorry John)
.... so as you can see I am somewhat obsessed! This below is in our bedroom... I wasn't feeling the painting I had there so I repainted over it and threw some flowers in this room! It feels like a brand new space!
Enough about me....! What inspires you all?! Do you have any good tips for getting ideas and thoughts together? Do you have a good pinterest board that I should follow!! Please let me know!!
....Well, happy decorating, painting, and living!! Have a great end of your week and a wonderful weekend, friends!
Can you all believe there is only 2 days until Christmas?!
If you're like me, you have finally (BARELY) gotten everything wrapped and ready for Christmas. There is always so much stress going into the holidays, so this year I tried to get things done early.....
.... but it never fails-- its Christmas Eve Eve and I'm still putting the finishing touches on everything.
Decorating for the holidays is one of my favorite things to do, and this year we went all out. Poor John was out on a ladder with my Dad (the actual Clark Griswold) hanging hundreds of lights on our big trees out front. Everything turned out so pretty and there were no casualties.... I'm gonna call it a win for the Nords.
This year we installed new gas logs in our fireplace, so you better believe I'm gonna have those things lit all day, every day. John purposely didn't show me how to light them (he pays the bills), but I think I can figure it out without his help!
Here is a quick little tour of our house... almost everything is from Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or are hand-me-downs from my Mom. There's just something so magical and cozy about a house full of white lights and a gold Christmas tree. I actually go into a small depression when we have to take it all down... so don't be surprised if it's mid January and I'm still rockin' my Christmas decorations... sorry John.
I hope our little home inspires you. Thanks for reading & merry Christmas!!!
Hey everyone! The holidays are just a few short days away, so I wanted to let you in on one of my favorite gifts I received this year, a JORD Wooden Watch! Now, I not only like it because it sounds like my husband's name (John Nord-- ha!), but it literally goes with everything and is so unique!!
I feel like everyone needs a good classy watch, and JORD's selection and customer service is amazing! When I first saw the Frankie35 Zebrawood & Champagne, I instantly fell in love. You can find mine HERE. There is also a bigger version which I love, but it was a little too big for my wrist-- so make sure if you want the smaller faced watch you order the 35 series! You can view the entire Woman's Collection HERE and the Men's Collection HERE.... Even though John and I aren't giving each other Christmas presents this year-- I really want to get him one of these! My Dad also loved them... so it's safe to say a JORD watch would make a great gift for anyone on your Christmas list! Every time I wear mine, I get so many compliments and I am super excited to share it with you all.
Speaking of sharing, I want to give you all a chance to win a gift card to go towards one of these amazing watches! If you are looking for a FREEBIE, follow this LINK! Just by entering your email you will receive a $25 e-card instantly and you will also be entered into a drawing to win a $75 e-card! It's that easy! Just follow the link to get $25 off! If you order by today you will get your JORD watch in time for Christmas! The last day to enter the giveaway is 1/31/17 at 11:59pm, so even if you don't want it for Christmas-- ( you can get one for yourself later ;) !!!)
Here are a few pics I took out in the freezing cold (sorry John... he's a trooper)... and don't mind my dry hands.... (art teacher/artist here).
This is a sponsored post, but all of my opinions are my own! :)
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Happy Monday! Not something I can usually say, but this week is short and sweet for us teachers, so basically today is a Thursday!
Anyways, it's finally the holiday season and I couldn't be more excited. I love any excuse to decorate my house, spend a small fortune at TJ MAX & Michaels, and have people over to celebrate.
Yesterday we had our first annual Friendsgiving at our house and it was a huge success! I think mine and John's absolute favorite thing to do is have our friends and family over for food and drinks. John absolutely loves to smoke or cook any kind of meat. He and our neighbor, Austin, are the "meat men" on the street and are always cooking something. It gets a little ridiculous, because all they do is stand out on our driveway and stare at the smoke coming out of the smoker. They tell me its a delicate process that needs to be watched, but I've caught on that they do this to get out of going anywhere with their wives & cleaning the house.
I'll take it though because that means I don't have to cook. :)
So while John "smokes the meat" I am usually inside decorating and cleaning, which is fine by me! I use any excuse to decorate, and having people over is the best one. I, of course, got some inspiration from Pinterest and combined a couple of my favorite looks to create my mantel and my table! Here are a few pictures of our Friendsgiving! We had the BEST time and all of the food was incredible.
I get all of my old books from Habitat for Humanity and they are always super cheap there! I have also found good ones at GoodWill also! The window and gates over the fireplace were found at CowGirl's attic in Lexington.... the pumpkins, flowers and pitcher are from Michael's and I made the banner out of card stock!
Bulleit's favorite spot while waiting for our guests to arrive. Too bad he's too crazy to be around that many people, so he had to go in the garage for the evening! Mostly all of my Thanksgiving decor was bought at Michael's (wood slices, candles, cardstock for "I am Thankful For" place settings, gold chargers, etc.) & I got the eucalyptus and pumpkins at Trader Joe's! The gold silverware is from John's Grandma, Memo, but I'm not sure where its from... Target has a beautiful set of gold silverware right now though! Chandelier is a custom design by Kim Schwab. Table & furniture from Universal Furniture, upholstery is from Rowe Furniture, dining room chairs are from Overstock.com!
The table could easily be switched around to be used for Christmas too (minus the pumpkins obviously)!
Happy Hump Day! It's been a pretty easy week for me, so I don't know if I can really call it "hump day," but we'll go with it.
I just celebrated my 27th birthday on Sunday, and I don't know about you all, but when my birthday rolls around I take full advantage of it. I have grown up with over the top birthday parties (thanks Mom and Dad!) and my husband John doesn't quite understand why I love birthdays so much. That being said, he complains that my birthday lasts all month long. John exaggerates a lot, but hey....it only comes once a year, might as well make it last!
This year, I was really weirded out about turning 27. It feels strange moving toward the end of my twenties, when I still feel like I should be in high school. At the same time, I also feel somewhat like a grandma. My idea of a great weekend is staying at my house, spending time with my favorite people (aka my neighbors and family), painting, and cleaning my house... Like seriously, that's an excellent weekend-- cleaning. my. house.
So, since it was my birthday I got it in my head that we HAD to go somewhere on some extravagant trip to celebrate. I was thinking Disney World, a cruise... ya know the possibilities were endless. But unfortunately, we couldn't figure out exactly where we wanted to go and we waited too long to decide. So instead, we settled for a nice weekend at home around Lexington... which is exactly what I needed.
If you all know me I love exploring our own town, going out for food and drinks and doing some hiking here and there... so that is exactly what we did. Saturday we woke up and went to a small town called Midway down the road from Lexington. It is the cutest little town, and what I like best is the drive out there. One of my favorite things to do is drive around listening to music, windows down, along the beautiful country roads. The drive was so pretty and we pulled over a few times to pet the ponies! Kentucky is so beautiful around this time of year, and we often take it for granted!
We walked around Midway, ((we got stopped every 2 seconds from people wanting to pet Bulleit)) and explored the cute antique stores and boutiques. We grabbed an appetizer and a drink at Mezzo's Italian Cafe and sat outside on their patio. The weather was so perfect (almost border-line hot), but I wasn't complaining!
On our way home, we found a spot to spread out a blanket for a picnic to enjoy the weather a little longer. We let Bulleit off his leash to run around, while we had a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers. It was so perfect, but didn't last long because we decided last minute to go tailgating and meet my family downtown for the UK game! We ended the night at Hopcat in downtown with friends to watch the game.
On Sunday, we decided to make the trip to the Red River Gorge with my parents and (of course) Bulleit. My Dad is the hiking guru and found us three short and sweet hikes with incredible views. If you haven't been to the Gorge, it is well worth a trip, especially at this time of year! One of the trails we went on had an awesome waterfall and Bulleit had an absolute blast running up and down the hills and jumping into the water... its really sad how much joy I get from watching him run around. I'm such a proud dog mom.
We finished off the day with Miguel's pizza, and I pretended we had hiked enough to deserve it. I let John pick the toppings and he chose a very strange combination, but luckily no matter what Miguel's is always good! My birthday celebration was definitely a success and I am so glad we stuck around Lexington. Turning 27 isn't as bad as I thought it would be... I wonder how much longer I can stretch the celebration out for..... ;)
Hope you all had a fantastic week.... we've almost made it to the weekend! I don't know about you, but I have had a pretty rough week due to my hectic weekend. Between the Market 301, the UK football game and spending a day at Keeneland with our out of town friends, we didn't stop once! I absolutely love weekends like these, but always feel like I need another weekend to catch up from the weekend. Do you all feel crazy if you don't have a calm, relaxing Sunday to get all of your ducks in a row? I have looked and felt RIDICULOUS all week... I think I am starting to get sick too. YIKES. And my house is a disaster.
Anyways, if you all aren't from Lexington, or have never made a trip to Keeneland then you are missing out! I love the Fall meet the most because the weather is usually perfect and the scenery is beautiful. Who doesn't love getting dressed up and enjoying a lovely Kentucky day?! We usually go on a Sunday because John hates crowds-- actually he hates Keeneland in general, but thats a WHOLLEE other blog post!
Sundays are great because they are calm and you can actually walk through the paddock without having to link arms and create a chain to keep your group in tact. You can also get some great views of the horses and jockeys that are about to race.
I have never been good at betting... I usually just pick the horse that has the prettiest color and the number that stands out to me. Needless to say, winning doesn't happen often for me.
My favorite part of Keeneland is walking around and people watching. I love seeing everyone's adorable outfits; even the guys put on their best!
The guys cleaned up well...
And they're off!
Checking our tickets to see if we won!
The slow realization that yet again, you have lost all of your money... Luckily we stick with the $2 bets, so we can still afford our house payment this month.
Thankfully, you can always bet on the Keeneland breeze's to be refreshing and delicious!
A day at Keeneland is always a good day! We had such a great time enjoying the beautiful weather with good friends! Thanks for reading and I hope you all can make it to a Kentucky Keeneland meet at some point!
Hello everyone! So this website and blog has been a LONG time coming. I have finally figured out exactly how to juggle my time between teaching, painting, being a part-time wedding and event coordinator, spending time with family and friends, and now this whole business side of being an artist! I am so excited to be able to share some of my ideas, tips and tricks, travel adventures, and my creative process with all of you. This post will be short and sweet, but I wanted to first introduce myself to anyone who has never met me!
My name is Kayla Weber Nord, and I live in Lexington, Kentucky. Ever since I was a little girl my mom gave me crayons and a coloring book and I have never stopped creating! I took art classes all throughout middle school and high school, developing a love for painting. Going into college I knew I wanted to be an elementary teacher and began my journey at Transylvania in the education department. My junior year of college, I realized (with the help of a very smart advisor) that I should switch to Art Education, rather than just elementary education. By doing this, I was able to study abroad in Florence, Italy, and further developed my art skills. Traveling had always been a big part of my life, due to my extended family's reunion trips all over the country (thanks Gramma Joan!!), but my travel bug was solidified after my four months living in Italy.
After graduating from Transy, I got a job that summer at Southern Elementary as the Art Teacher. Not long after, I started dating the P.E. teacher who taught across the hall from me! After about a year and a half of dating, we set off on a summer European backpacking adventure through Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, and Italy! It was an amazing trip and to top it all off, John proposed in Florence, overlooking the city. I was on top of the world (literally!).
Coming back, I started planning for the wedding and trying to find a venue. My parents own a garden center and landscape business on an old tobacco farm. On the property there is a 1930 white tobacco barn, which I have always loved. Ever since we bought the property when I was 6 years old, I always knew I wanted to get married there. Now that I was actually engaged, I brought up the idea to my parents, who quickly shut my idea down. I kept working on them both and eventually convinced them to start cleaning up the barn, add a floor and some chandeliers and get it ready to host my wedding reception.
I come from a perfectionist family, and with that being said, we all put 110% into making the barn the perfect venue. After 6 months of hard work, lots of antique shopping, and bouncing ideas off of each other, we turned it into an incredible event venue. We planned every detail of the wedding and reception (I went completely overboard on all of the minor details and artsy pieces), but had an absolute blast leading up to it. John and I were married on July 18th, 2015 and it was a perfect day (minus the 97 degree heat!).
Everything turned out perfectly and the day couldn't have gone better! It has been such an amazing journey and now my family and I are sharing this venue with other brides. As soon as John and I got back from our honeymoon we had so many inquiries for future weddings, and we jumped right into being an event venue. I absolutely loved planning, styling, and doing the details of mine, so now this is another business venture that we have set out on! So far, we have had 7 big events at the barn and they have been amazing!
If I'm not teaching, painting, traveling or coordinating events, you can find me hanging out in my little Cape Cod style house with our golden retriever, Bulleit! John and I have been blessed with amazing neighbors, family, and friends that are always ready for a backyard barbecue or for watching football on the weekends. We host a lot of small get-togethers and truly enjoy just kicking back with good friends!
God has blessed us so much and we are thankful for this chapter of our life together. Stay tuned for more updates about our little life in Lexington and for more inspiration, adventures, and art!! Thank you all for reading!!