the week in photos: special edition.

we’ve been back home for four days. and they’ve flown by. filled with unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, 100’s of emails, and settling back into our ‘routine’. as much as I loved our escape, it’s nice to be home. plus there are so many fun things on the horizon, to keep us busy & not sitting still.

[J] & I both have birthdays at the end of the month. a day apart actually. [I’m the 27th & he’s the 28th]. that’s always fun. two jam-packed days of celebration.

my favorite time of year is quickly approaching: autumn FOOTBALL SEASON. you can guarantee I’m already planning a couple trips back to our college town to relive our glory days tailgate! we did, after all, receive the “award” of {#1 party school this year}. but don’t judge us, because des moines, IA was ranked {#1 best place for business & careers}. this practically says: iowans know how to work hard, play hard.

and ..

J & I are engaged //

which is incredibly exciting. and means, we have a wedding to begin planning!

on that note, let’s do the week in photos: special proposal edition.

it all happened on DAY ONE of our trip.

we set up our campsite. and headed to mount rushmore, for the nightly lighting ceremony.

engagement edition //

the sun set. the moon came out. and the ceremony began.

engagement edition //

a lady spoke, they played a 20 minute video, and everyone in attendance stood to sing the national anthem ..

engagement edition //

then the spotlights came on.

and simultaneously, [J] got down on one knee ..

I immediately began crying. the happiest cry I’ve ever cried. I was speechless. [excluding a couple “are you serious?”]. after a really long hug, a kiss, & a crazy amount of tears ..

I said “yes”!!

and the family sitting next to us insisted they take our picture, to capture the moment. so generous. and sadly, such poor photography skills ..

engagement edition //

it’s the thought that counts.

another girl offered to take our picture later. and by later, I mean, after about 15 minutes of more tears. my eyes were so red, blotchy, & puffy ..

engagement edition //

engagement edition //

the next morning, we had breakfast at our campsite. [breakfast burritos over the fire, and french press iced coffee].

engagement edition //

and we went back to mount rushmore. to re-capture the moment. 

engagement edition //

engagement edition //

engagement edition //

engagement edition //

and then we took off to our next destination ..

as an engaged couple.

woo hoo!


I’m not in college anymore.

in other words – this weekend kicked my butt.

I slept twelve hours last night – & feel like I could sleep twelve more AND STILL not be recovered. my voice has the rasp of a man’s. & my eyes are so puffy [aka: deprived of water], I can barely see out of them. true.

but it was worth it – I had the best time. we spent thursday & most of friday in my hometown, visiting family.

[grandma trying out my new kicks].
[we all ate lunch at carlos o’ kellys – home of my brother & I’s high school jobs].

and friday evening, we were off to Iowa City.. land of the hawkeyes. we celebrated our friend’s birthday with hibatchi & dancing at the towniest of towny bars [& loved it].

[the birthday girl].
[delicious sushi. & of course, sake bombs!!].

then came very little rest. and our tailgate marathon. the game started @ 7PM, we arrived to PARTY @ 10AM yes – a marathon, to say the least. jello shots, rumchata, & beeeers, OH MY!

[back in our element – Iowa City, IA].
[ANF: america needs farmers].
[jello shots].

it’s a miracle we made it to the game, standing. we had great seats [thank you parents]. and regardless of the hawkeyes terribly poor performance ..we had the best time!

[the black & gold game].
[post-game. can you tell? at Old Chicago].

sunday morning we met my grandparents in my favorite little iowa town – the amana colonies. we ate. we shopped. we wine tasted. and we drank every micro-brew the town had to offer.

[how CUTE & FESTIVE was the dessert lady at the Ox Yoke Inn?].
[the family].
[who wouldn’t want a giant pink elephant in their yard?].
[Millstream Brewery].
[drinks with the family, on the patio].

then [J] & I made our long trip back to chicagoland. and I went straight to bed.

[visit two coins photography for more of the weekend’s photos].

until tomorrow friends… :)

current obsessions.

two things…

iowa girl eats.



ok, I’ve been ‘obsessed‘ with iowa girl eats for awhile now. she has the BEST recipes, hands down! the pictures + the ingredients lure me in ..& the scrumptious-ness of the food keeps me coming back. I’ve made so, so many of her recipes, and they’ve all been “keepers”. [bonus: she’s from iowa!].

then there’s quinoa.

the health benefits are never-ending. the versatility is insane. & it gets a thumbs up on taste.

so when I saw this picture + these nutritional facts on Iowa Girl Eats’ blog

I knew I had to try mini ham & cheese quinoa cups, that very day.

the ingredients are simple. and so is the recipe. you put everything together in a mixing bowl. stir.

place in a mini muffin tin. [makes approx. 32 minis].

bake @ 350° until golden brown [15-20 mins].

and viola, fall in love with Iowa Girl Eats’ amazing creations!

I only have one thing on my mind this week, and it’s [J] & I’s weekend trip to my hometown + a visit to Iowa City for some hawkeye football [& TAILGATING].
and since [J] & I are on a healthy lifestyle track & know how tempting tailgating treats are ..we’re bringing healthy, tasty options! and you can bet these mini ham & cheese quinoa cups will be present. so if you’re in Iowa City this weekend, you can stop by our tailgate & sample!

only TWO more days of waiting. [we’re heading out on thursday]. woo hoo!

stop by tomorrow for a “midweek chuckle” :)