Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend Update

It's a bit later than I usually post these but today was my monthly intensive cleaning day (super fun, I know you're all jealous...) so, better late than never as I always say.

Friday - "Catch up on The Office and Parks & Rec Day" - was a success!
I also ate pizza that Dave ordered to "help him study" instead of making dinner. Fail or win?

Saturday was a great day. I went for a run, enjoyed the perfect weather (70+, sunny, no clouds), and met with a friend to discuss being mentored. We hung around her apartment talking and getting to know each other better for nearly two hours and it was lovely. I also left with a small library of books and devotionals to sort through. I have been praying about finding a mentor and what exactly I should be studying with them, but I'm not quite sure which (out of the three I've narrowed it down to) I will choose. I will keep you posted, though!

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note, she shared this photo with me and it's too adorably hilarious not to share with y'all
Pretend I said something funny...
Sunday was my first day training/working at Anthropologie and I don't think I can express how impressed, excited, amazed (and other adjectives) I am! There are several new hires including myself, three of which I got to meet yesterday and they all seem awesome. Also, everyone on staff was super friendly, and helpful. And I get a pretty sweet discount. (Definite win.) Beyond all the basic day-to-day stuff, they seem like a really great company to work for and I'm excited for the variety of task and jobs I'll be able to take part it!

Oh, and I loved my outfit
In case you can't tell, the pants have cute little polka dots on them!
(Also, I told Dave not to worry about getting all of my face in the photo, cause I might crop it out...)
(...I didn't have to worry about it since he avoided it altogether! haha)

In the evening we got to have dinner with one of Dave's oldest friends who was in town for business and despite the fact that I was feeling a little under the weather (and it was raining, so I literally was under the weather lol) we had a really nice time catching up. 

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is just a few weeks away and instead of procrastinating and crafting something out of popsicle sticks, I figured I'd share some gift ideas for the moms in your life!

 (1 | 2 | 3 | 4)

Now, if your mama is anything like mine she loves flowers, and gardens, and nature, well, you get it. So, if you're noticing a theme to my gifts here, it's because I was inspired by a nature/garden theme.

You might think the first item is just a card. But it is so much more. It actually has rannaculus seeds in it (one of my favorite flowers) so you can plant it after you've enjoyed it and it will grow flowers!
How stinkin' cool is that??
It's also made by my favorite card shop - and one of my biggest inspirations - so that's pretty cool, too.

Then you have a bundle of flowers.
Kids, guys, friends, sibling, aliens... never underestimate the impact a beautiful bunch of flowers can make! I'm not talking about the $75 dozen roses (that die the next day) but instead a thoughtful bunch or your mom's favorites. And yes, they can even be picked right from a garden! (Since it does have so much less of an environmental impact! But of course if it's her garden, you might want to ask first.)

The third item I chose is listed as wedding jewelry, but I think it is just stunning for any occasion.
Every woman needs a great statement piece, and is this timeless or what?
Also, the tangle-esque details reminded me of vines and the pearls of sweet little buds.
(Sticking with the theme here.)

Lastly, some darling herb labels. Minimal with a pop of color - you can't go wrong.

How are you celebrating your mom this year?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Runners Encouraging Runners

For as long as I can remember I have been I awe of the strength, kindness, and love that runners have & share all around the world. The way so many runners reacted to the Boston tragedy are just more great examples of this. 
However, when I'm out running (in what I consider to be the most friendly city) I can't help but wonder why as runners pass each other, they don't shout a word of encouragement, smile, wave, or even nod.

 I understand that running is a very much a mental battle. I really do. And I understand that most of the time I'm in my own little world, running to my music, and trying not to walk. (True story.)
But I can't help but think that I'd go that much further if I had a fellow runner cheer me on, or say "keep up the great work" or "woohoo!" or even smile, really. 

(And even though I'm usually in my own little world, I always notice when I pass a person - ya know - so I don't run into them haha)

I think that runners, as a whole group of people, present a great picture of community, but individually, we don't feel the same. Why is that?

I know I don't say anything to runners I pass, (probably because I don't want them to think I'm weird), but why should I feel embarrassed when trying to encourage others? I try to smile if we get a chance to make eye contact, but even then I feel a bit weird because they usually don't smile back. (Do I really look that terrifying when I run?? - The answer is a unanimous "no".)

I know that not everyone I pass while running is just an unfriendly grump - so I think I'm just going to go for it, and see what happens... 
I'm fairly certain I wouldn't look that crazy - but you get the point...

Do any of you have similar experiences?

I'd really love to hear from you

Friday, April 26, 2013

April Update!

I cannot believe May is just four days away!!
This month flew by (and so did some of my motivation! haha)
Hopefully the rest of Spring and all of Summer can slooooooow down and I can get back on track.
And soak in all the lovely sun, of course!

For my new friends who have no idea what I am talking about, on the last Friday of each month I link for the Resolution Revolution - so here's how I did:
 Blog: I have written 18 posts so far this month (compared to 10 last month) and I have actively been searching for new blog to follow and friends to "meet". I'm also co-hosting a link-up! (Here.) So, I think I've made some great progress this month!

Run a 10k: I am happy to report that I have been running quite a bit these past few weeks (thanks in part to the warm and beautiful weather!) and am looking forward to next Sunday (May 5th) when I get to run a relay in the Pittsburgh Marathon! Although I'm running the shortest leg, it will mark the longest distance I've ever run and help me get one step closer to my 10k in September!

Also, we're working with our church to raise money to build solar powered water filtration systems in Haiti! So, if you're feeling lead to donate any amount at all, please shoot me an email! 

Make & Follow a Cleaning Schedule: Made and half-followed? That counts for something, right?

Open Etsy Shop: Hm, the summer is quickly approaching, and I'm not sure I'm where I want to be with this one... I have a lot of ideas but not many final designs. I did attend a great workshop a few weeks ago which definitely sparked my creative spirit, so we'll see.

Pray More: I'm not sure if I've done better or worse compared to last month... So we'll say I stayed about the same. Which is okay, but not great. I want to start making prayer part of our dinner and sleep routine. Suggestions anyone?

Start Teaching: I have applied to literally every open teaching position (part & full time) within a 2 hours radius. I'm hopeful I'll hear back from someone for at least an interview, but who knows. There's only so much I can do and then it's out of my hands, ya know?

Read More: Epic fail. Basically this month I was like, "Books? What are those?"
I just lol'ed.
Work on our Scrapbook: Another fail. I say it's because I don't have a space to spread out and leave my materials besides our dining room table (which is true) but is that just an excuse? I'm not sure. What do you think

Study the Bible: I am feeling good about this one guys, praise God! I started a little plan on my iPhone with my YouVersion app that takes me through the major events/people of the bible. I am still a part of a wonderful women's study, and tomorrow I meet with a great, Godly woman who I recently asked to mentor me!

Explore Pittsburgh: Well, I haven't explored many new places, yet, but I am making great use of my Phipp membership! Once Dave is done with finals, we're planning to go explore more new places!

Volunteer: Still working with CPJ and loving it!

Start Composting: Check!

Get off the Couch: When I am not running, I can be walking around Phipps (as I mentioned before) or wandering around town. It's impossible for me to be lazy when it's so beautiful outside! Also, not sure if I shared this with y'all yet, but I got a part-time job at Anthropologie! So that'll keep me off the couch, too.

Did you make any "resolutions" (or as I like to say, "goals") for this year?
I'd love to connect with you guys and give/get some encouragement!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Let's Be Friends Bloglovin' Hop!

Hi Friends! I'm super excited to be co-hosting my first blog hop with some lovely ladies this week.
This blog hop has an emphasis on Bloglovin' (because we can all agree it's pretty awesome. Also, it's great for those of us with OCD since you can create groups for all the blogs you follow!) But of course, feel free to link up your blog for GFC also!
 Jamie from Bugs and Beans

Amanda from My Show

And me

Have fun hopping!

World Malaria Day, Poverty, & Compassion

Poverty is hopeless and depressing. And I’m an agent of poverty—in the preventable disease division. I’m effective, too.

Every 30 seconds a child dies from Malaria, and I get the assist. It’s enough to make a caring, God-fearing soul see red. But who cares?

Red is just a color, like the color of a blood cocktail with 50 thousand plasmodia swimming in a drop the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Fifty thousand is overkill when it only takes one determined to do what needs to be done...

This is supposed to be a prompt (given to me from Compassion) written from the perspective of a mosquito. But up until the third section, it could be written by anyone of us who does not take action to end this terrible, preventable & treatable disease.  

Similar to the lies we hear about how poverty is unavoidable, the idea that Malaria is inevitable is just another lie Evil tells to children and people in poverty around the world.
Poverty is not hopeless - we are the hope.

The Bible says a lot about poverty.
Here are just a couple verses to show you what I mean:

Proverbs 31:8-9 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." 

Proverbs 3:27-28 " Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow" — when you now have it with you."

And Leviticus 25:35 says, “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you."
Imagine if we truly lived like that.
There would be no more homelessness. No more hunger. No more Malaria.
No more poverty. 

Please take a minute today to share some facts about Malaria and its impact on the world, find a way to take action, and make sure you let those in poverty know that there's a way out.

Many thanks,

I teamed up with Compassion International to raise awareness about Malaria and it's devastating impact on more than half a million children around the world and you can to!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Appreciating Yesterdays

It seems as though we're all too obsessed with "today" and "living in the now."
I'm not saying we shouldn't appreciate all the things we've been blessed with, and take advantage of the breath that we currently have, but I am recommending that we slow down and appreciate them longer than we usually do.

For example, yesterday I had a wonderful day wandering around outside and enjoying God's creation.
Today, I'm at work. Stuck inside, with two energetic kids.

So, although I'm grateful for my job and these boys, I am also going to think about all of the wonderful moments I had yesterday, no matter how small, and really bask in them. (Especially when I'm losing patience and not enjoying certain moments of the day.)

We must dwell in the beauty and the blessings and the enormity of our God.
So much so that "...the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." (2 Cor. 4:11)
And not just look for the "next best thing".

Here are some bits of beauty from my yesterday.
 What are some of yours?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

First Things First

I found this link up through Wifessionals and wanted to join in on the fun!
1. First thing you would do/buy if you won the lottery?
After donating at least 10% to my favorite charities (Compassion Int., being one!) I would pay off my student loans, pay off my moms house, buy/build a beautiful house that Dave and I could raise a family in, take my whole family to Disney (because my aunt always joked that if she won the lotto, she'd take us all to Disney!) & probably save the rest, to be honest... I mean, Dave and I might do a little shopping & traveling but otherwise we're good savers.

2. First person you call when you get amazing news?
Dave and my mom. They both show excitement in different ways and they're the most important people to me. 

3. First thing you do when you've had a bad day?
Complain. (To Dave, my mom, myself, God, etc.) Unfortunately this is the truth. I am working on it though! Then I try and remember that I am blessed in so many ways and some days are just better than others.

Feel free to join in on the fun!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Where in the world?!

In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share with you some lovely places I dream of visiting.

I could post about how you should recycle (just about) everything! Or reuse and re-purpose misc. items... but I post about that stuff regularly! See here, here, here, here, & here.

Instead, I've decided to try and convince you to care for this magical place we live by enticing you with beautiful images of places that we can all visit if we take care of them and the environment
 around us  

(Try and guess where each image is from and check at the end of the post for their locations to see if you're correct!)
(1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8)

The Great Barrier Reef, Amazon Rainforest, Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Alaska, South Africa &  Netherlands are just a few breathtakingly beautiful places I wish to visit.
I hope that they'll all be going strong when I finally get to opportunity to!

Where in the world would you like to visit?

Weekend Update

Here's the break-down of how I spent my weekend.

Friday; I think I should just officially declare Friday "Office/Parks & Rec catch-up night"... That's basically all we do. Well, that and eat. And cuddle.
That said, I enjoyed Friday & always do.
I think just lounging around at home is a great way to wind down from the week.

Oh, and I also found out that I got the part-time job at Anthropologie! (As my friend Kate said, I'm going to look so hip!) Although I would still love a full-time teaching job, I'm excited for this opportunity to work for such an amazing company, as well as interact with people over the age of four. (I love the boys and all, but adult conversations are important, too.)

Saturday was fun & different. I did random errands and went for a run in the early afternoon, but in the evening we went to a "meet your neighbor" cocktail party that our church oversees, but individuals from our church host. I have said it before, but I'll say it again, the amount of community (and global) involvement our church has is impressive. It was such a great way to meet new people, venture to a new - but local - neighborhood, and share some hors d'oeuvres with new friends! 

I brought "caprese pops" (inspired by pinterest of course) and they were a big hit.
Plus, they looked adorable.
 They were simple to assemble, but the tricky part was crafting something to stand them in. Instead of searching/wasting money on styrofoam (which is probably the easiest option) I layered pieces of cardboard in these cute servers I had. It worked well, and was free. Bam.

All you need is:
Grape Tomatoes
Small or "pearl" mozzarella balls
Balsamic Reduction
Tooth Picks
(Make sure to drizzle the balsamic reduction on top right before you serve them)

Sunday was lovely, too! After church we caught-up with some friends, went out for pancakes, made fruit kabobs (apparently I like to eat my food on sticks...) and then had a bbq & bonfire at a friends house! It was so great to sit down for dinner with friends again. For the last few weeks everyone has been so busy with work/schoolwork/life that it's be hard to get together but I'm so glad we were finally able to make it happen.

It's days like these that get me really excited for summer.
What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Guilty Pleasures

We've all got 'em.
So I thought it'd be fun to share them. 
Kind of like a not-so-anonymous meeting. 
America's Next Top Model: 
I have been hooked since day one. I know Tyra is crazy, but I love her. And I love the photo shoots. And the awkwardly pretty girls. And the stupid cat fights. And the ridiculous things they make the girls wear/pour on them/put them in. Oh, and this cycle was one of my favorites.

Sleeping In... like waaaay in: I have literally slept through an entire day before. (I may have been sick, but I can't remember... Which might mean I was sick... anyway...) I love to sleep. I know it's kind of a waste and I can't really accomplish anything by overdoing it, but if I spend a little more time than the average person in my warm comfy bed, so be it!

Britney Spears:
 Although I didn't particularly love her crazy phase, (mainly because it made her look so crazy) I still won't turn off her music, or bash her. Because I love her. (But I do feel a bit guilty about it.)

Serving People Healthy Food. Without Telling Them:

Sometimes I think people are just a little too close minded when it comes to trying new things, especially food. I may swap out heavy cream with greek yogurt, rice with quinoa, or fake meat with real grass-fed meat. So, sue me. (But don't really... I have student loans.) I only do it with those I know very well and love. And it's only because I want you to be around for me to love you longer! But I probably won't tell you until after you eat it and love it

People Watching: I know it sounds mean, but I'm not mean, I promise! Picture Dave and I reenacting this clip from Date Night. People watching with a twist.

So, what are some of your guilty pleasures??
Don't be shy - comment with your secrets below!

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Herb Garden

One of my favorite places to sit is at our dining room table, right across from this lovely window which is home to our herb garden. The window faces East so there is plenty of warming, life-giving sun, and although it looks out to a weird hill/backyard/street (the perks of city living) it's still a great place to soak in the sun and enjoy the wonderful creation in which we were gifted.
Our fun little (money-saving!) herb garden all started with some left over scallions. 
I couldn't bring myself to throw away more than half a bunch, so I decided to do a little science experiment. I planted half in some potting soil I had, and set the other half in a cup with water and waited to see what happened. 

To my surprise (as well as Dave's) the little guys in the water were growing about 2x faster than those planted in dirt! I water them the same & they sit in the same sun, but for some reason the ones in water are taking off! It's pretty fun to watch how quickly they are growing, and of course use them whenever I need!

After a few weeks of strong growth (and feeling like a pro at growing things), I picked up some parsley and mint to join the family. Most local grocery stores sell small potted herbs - usually in the organic section - so I encourage you to pick up a few, too! They're rather inexpensive and easily pay for themselves after the first use.

Both the parsley and the mint are super easy to maintain (this coming from the girl who continues to kill succulents... like, really?!) And they produce a lot! (The more you prune, the more they grow!)

Living in an apartment definitely has it's challenges, but being able to bring some life into our home has had a great effect.

To green thumbs!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Update

I must say, I really do enjoy my weekends.

Friday was lovely.  After work(/school) Dave and I went for a run, lounged around, ate dinner, and caught up on The Office & Parks and Rec (my favorite sitcom!) Then we did our own thing - he did homework, I blogged - the usual. Oh, and I took a bubble bath. Aren't they just the best?

Anyway, Saturday was quite eventful. I finally found a place to get my eyebrows waxed (I know, breaking news!) and although she didn't do them quite the same, the left one looks wonderful! and I can pencil in the right one to make it even... so that's okay.

Then, I had an interview at Anthropologie which went really well. When I got home later that afternoon I had an email for a second interview. (Prayers are welcome! I'd really love to lock down this second part-time job!) So I'm super excited for that. I also went out with two lovely ladies and walked around town. It was nice to catch up with friends and be outside. I love being outside.

Later I played around with some watercolors. I think they're so relaxing. I was inspired while taking my bubble bath to experiment with soap and watercolors and I thought the effect was so neat!
I also doodled a bit - because who doesn't love doodling? 
I want to make the little cloud into a card or poster that says, "Happy Clouds Make Happy Rain"
I'm probably the only person who would buy the card, but I don't care. I think it's cute.

Sunday was pretty great, too. After church Dave and I went to a free lecture at an incredible local stationary store. They brought in a wonderful illustrator/graphic designer, Shelley Barnes who shared about the creative process and sketched up these fun images for us!
It was really helpful to hear her tips about the creative process & I will definitely be putting them into use for my future Etsy shop!
Then I went for a bike ride around our neighborhood (yes, I felt like I was 10 again!) And just enjoyed the rest of the evening in, while Dave finished up some schoolwork. (Getting your PhD sure is a lot of work!)

I'm so thankful for this Spring weather & another lovely weekend!
What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Money Can't Buy Happiness...

But it can buy cute things. And cute things make me happy.

That being said, even just looking at cute & pretty things can do the trick, so I have compiled a wish list of sorts - that in the event I win the lotto or something - I might splurge on.
(1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6)

In addition to the b-e-a-u-tiful ranunculus flowers - those vases melt my heart! They are, what I like to call, sneaky cute

What are some styles and items you're currently crushing on?

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I thought I was having a bad day today when I got my eyebrows waxed and only one looked awesome. I have been trying to find a good place since we moved here in August and have had little luck... I think I fixed it though, thoughts?
(Thank God for eyeliner!)

Anyway, then I remembered this video and felt bad for the seals that were unpleasantly surprised while sunbathing. Also, it made me laugh hysterically, so that helps. 
Click for video

Hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday, even eyebrows or not!

And remember, laughter if the best medicine!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

I work as a nanny for two awesome kiddos (age 4 & 2), and I'm often looking for/creating educational activities to keep them engaged.

Today I wanted to share a super easy activity that is great for kids just mastering their "ABC's" all the way up to those practicing spelling. (You can also check here for some other activities I did with the boys.)
Grab a sheet of paper, ask s/he to tell you all the letters in the alphabet and record them.
(This helps get them interested in what they're doing - up until then I told J that we were going to play a game.)

 Then, have the kiddo run around the house/room/yard etc. and collect things that start with each letter of the alphabet. What's so great about this activity is that you don't need any special supplies and it gets them moving! (J was running back and fourth with each new thing he found to match a letter.)
You may have to help by giving hints and such, but you might also be impressed by how your child thinks outside of the box. (We didn't have an "x-marks-the-spot" toy... but we did have a pirate.) 

Also, it was pretty great to hear J look at things and sound them out to see if they matched any other letters he needed. That being said, even if you're child isn't even working on writing or spelling, when they find an item, ask them to watch as you write it down and spell it out for them. 
 (You can never build too much of a foundation when it comes to learning!)

We had a lot of fun with the Alphabet Scavenger hunt and I hope you do, too!
I'd love to hear about what activities you have created/found/tried!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


As some of you know, I am signed up for my first 10k (which happens at the end of September) and I am pretty nervous about it. I am not much of a runner - yet - but it is something I'd like to become.

I ran a 5k a couple of years ago and I really wanted to challenge myself this year to do something more. I'd love to complete a half marathon in the future (no, I have no desire to complete a full marathon. Ever.) So, I figured this would be the logical next step.

The weather has finally gotten nice enough for me to go run so tonight Dave and I went out to start training!  

As I was running I was feeling pretty crappy. Not just my body, but my mind. Why can't I just go a little further? Why can't I breathe easier? Why couldn't I just run to the end of the block? 
Why, why, why!?!

After beating myself up, mentally, I got home and realized that I actually did pretty well - for me. I ran at a 10:31 pace and my goal for the race is a 10 minute pace, so overall, not so bad for my first "official" run of training.

Then, I remembered this wonderful image I posted a long time ago.

And it helped me, a lot. I'm usually the one sitting on the couch, so it's a really great reminder that just getting out there is an accomplishment in itself. 

Of course I will continue to work on becoming a better runner, but at least I am trying.
And if you take the first step in your journey (weight loss or not) then at least you're trying, too.

Here's to staying motivated and celebrating our successes (big and small)!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Weekend Update

Better late than never, right?

This weekend+Monday was filled with fun adventures since my Mommy (yes, I call her mommy) and Mark (her wonderful boyfriend) were visiting!
Aren't they just adorable?
The weather was perfect for exploring the beautiful city of Pittsburgh and I had them running around non-stop. (I'm paying for it now. But the 4 hour nap this afternoon did help a little, ha!)

We spent a day down on The Strip, went up The Incline, wandered through a beautiful conservatory (one of my favorite places), visited a museum, and still had time to cook dinner and play some games. We also indulged a bit with crepes on Sunday, ice cream on Monday, and incredible pastries this morning (to name a few!)

It was great getting to see them - as we don't get many opportunities since we live almost 500 miles away (why hasn't anyone invented a teleportation system yet?) - and I hope they can come back and visit soon.

It's so much fun living in a new city and discovering all of it's gems.
What are somethings you love about where you live?

Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Never Have I Ever...

In an effort to let my new readers get to know me better, I'm excited to be linking up for Never Have I Ever!

1. Dyed my hair
 I love the natural color of my hair, and despite the fact that I have a TON of greys, (and I'm 22), I still haven't given in. I'm afraid that I'll "lose" the natural color of my hair in the process and I'll go broke trying to keep up with how fast my hair grows.

2. Had an energy drink
I took one sip of Red Bull years ago and it tasted like so many candies melted together that I couldn't bring myself to ever try and drink one. 

3. Finished my Halloween candy within a year
No joke. Even as a kid, I just wasn't a candy person so it always stuck around the house until my friends eventually finished it, or we tossed it in the trash.

4. Traveled West of Pittsburgh
The place I live now (Pittsburgh) is as far west as I've ever been! Hopefully I can change this over the summer on our potential road trip! Look out for posts about our big plans sometime in the near future!

5. Ran more than 3.1 miles at once
It may not be surprising to many, but I am training for a 10k so that's going to have to change, soon!

6. Broken a bone
I'm pretty proud of this one. I mean, I'm not all that active now, but as a kid I climbed trees like it was my job. 

7. Had a cavity
Okay, well this one would have been true as of a month ago. (Maybe it had something to do with the lack of love for candy?) Apparently the dentist I went to last month says I have one but I'm going to get a second opinion haha

8. Been to a drive-in movie
There weren't any near me growing up (I don't know if that's normal), but I've always wanted to go to one! Luckily there's one not far from where we are now, so this summer it's on our date night list!

Feel free to join in on the fun!

I'd love to read some of yours,