Baby Girl Nursery

Baby Girl Nursery
Baby Girl Nursery

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Summer Bucket List

Drugstore Beauty

Drugstore Beauty
Drugstore Beauty

A Frankenmuth Wedding

Good morning!

How was everyone's weekend?  We checked wedding #5 out of 7 off the list, and it was another fabulous one!  We had a blast celebrating one of my sorority sisters and her new husband in Frankenmuth, Michigan.  Frankenmuth is the cutest little town, also known as 'Michigan's Little Bavaria" and serves up plenty of great food, beer, shopping and sightseeing - I mean, any town that has a Cheese Haus is my kind of town ;)  

The only damper of the weekend was the weather, although it wasn't too horrible.  It rained for pretty much our entire 2.5 hour drive across the state, but let up a bit when we arrived to the church for the ceremony and then held off for their pictures afterwards, thank goodness.

The ceremony was beautiful and so sweet, and after we headed downtown to check into our hotel and grab a snack + beverages since we had a couple of hours to kill before cocktail hour began.  The Frankenmuth Brewery was right across from our hotel so we stopped there and had THE BEST beer cheese soup.  So delicious on a cool, damp day and I can't wait to try and recreate it this fall - anyone have a good recipe?

Around 5, we headed to Zehnders for the reception.  The rain started up again right during our half mile walk to the restaurant (of course), all but killing the hair situation I had going on.  We were super excited to be at Zehnders though because we couldn't wait to try their 'famous chicken' - which is basically just fried chicken with a special seasoning that sort of tastes like the ramen noodle seasoning packets.  Weird, but surprisingly really good and people come from alllll over the place to eat there.

This was the first wedding I've ever been to that had open seating and it actually totally worked out, not to mention saved the bride a boatload of stress!  We got lucky and sat with a family that kept us very entertained the entire night.  The food was just as good as we hoped it would be, the photo booth was fun and it was just all around a good night. 

So happy for my friend!

The next morning, we slept in and then grabbed a late breakfast before doing a little shopping, during which I bought my first ever Alex and Ani bracelet!  I went with the pineapple because it was adorable and reminded me of our anniversary trip to Charleston last year :)

I'm sad that the last weekend of summer is behind us, but we have so much to look forward to this week: Brady's 1st birthday (how did that happen already?!), the end of our summer volleyball season, celebrating 1 year in our house, my step sister is moving to town for her freshman year of college, and we're going to our first college football game of the season - bring. it. on!


Weekend + Links

Happy Friday!  

Why are the weeks going by so fast?!  This is the last Friday of August (tear).  I may be a little MIA today as I'm helping with sorority move in on campus, and then this weekend we're off to another wedding! 
+ A 'Bombshell Blowout Thermal Brush' that results in shiny, sleek, no frizz hair - without using your blow dryer. Sounds amazing, right?  Check out Kate's full review, and hopefully I'll have my own coming soon - I have some leftover Sephora giftcards that I will be putting to use on this bad boy.

+ April shares how you can send a letter or drawing to an Army veteran in Hospice.  Mr. Strong lives in North Carolina and has no remaining family.  He's feeling really alone in his last few days so let's all cheer him up with a quick hello :)

+ My newest Etsy shop obsession: ShopSprouts.  THE cutest jewelry!

+ We made this recipe on Tuesday night and it was delicious and SO easy.  The Cookie Rookie recipes never disappoint.

+ ICYMI: the best piece of blogging advice I've ever received. 

+ I want this scarf in every color, but especially the burgundy.  It's perfect for fall.

What are you guys up to this weekend?!
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The Best Blogging Advice I've Ever Gotten

One of my favorite parts about blogging is also the part I struggle with the most: comments.  I love them, I live for them, and appreciate every single one of them.  But, I'm SO terrible at letting the email notifications of them pile up in my inbox and getting beyond overwhelming.  Until one day, I came across a random blogging article somewhere on Pinterest (I can't even find it anymore, it was so long ago) that changed everything for me.  So here it is:

Touch it once.

This phrase can have a whole lot of different meanings behind it, but for me it means touching every email only one time.  What I was doing in the past was opening up an email, reading it, closing it, organizing it into the proper folder 'comments' or 'sponsors', and then marking it as unread so I would remember to come back to it later.

So. Dumb.  

That was such a waste of time!  All that I really needed to be doing was touching each email once, and then acting on it.  So as soon as I open the email, I'm going to respond to it.  And if I don't have the time to respond to it that second, I don't open it and leave it for when I do. 
It's really hard for me to not be distracted by the emails rolling in while I'm doing other blog related things, so it's helpful to just keep my email closed while I'm researching, writing posts, or editing pictures.  I'm so much more productive that way, and things get accomplished MUCH quicker.  Now I will only keep my email open when I have time to act on the messages coming in.

Nothing seriously groundbreaking here, but you wouldn't believe how much it has helped me.  Gone are the days of an inbox filled with 200+ emails to respond to (traumatizing for a slightly OCD person like myself, ha), so I just had to share in case any of you are in the same boat!  

What's the best piece of blogging advice you've ever gotten?

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These Are My Confessions

First of all, I wouldn't mind if these flowers magically showed up at my house.  Bodega roses - so gorgeous.

Today is good ol' confessional Wednesday!  Does anyone still host this link up?  Confession posts are some of my favorite to read and write, and it would be a shame if the blogging world lost these gems.  I know Kathy from Vodka & Soda retired from hosting and of course with Leslie being gone, so I've been tossing around the idea of hosting a weekly/monthly edition?  Let me know what you guys think.

I confess that I knew buying brownie batter Oreos was a terrible idea, but did it anyway.  I can't stop eating these things - they are dangerously delish.  Do yourself and your waistline a favor and just don't buy any ;)

I confess that I desperately need new makeup brushes.  I couldn't tell you the last time I bought one - maybe three years ago?  And let's not even get into how I don't take care of them by never, ever washing them.  But anyway, it's so overwhelming trying to know which ones to buy.  I've really only ever owned Real Technique and Bobbi Brown ones - what are your favorites?

I confess that I am super excited that BEN H. is the new Bachelor!  They really did scare me with that Nick stunt, but thankfully ABC is smarter than that because n-o o-n-e would watch.  I think Ben is going to be great, he seems so sweet!  I confess that I'm also surprised that Kaitlyn and Shawn are still together.

I confess that I hate olives.  Despite yesterdays pasta salad being full of them, I really only add them in for my husband!

I confess that this bracelet that I had been wanting something fierce from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is finally back in stock.  Ladies with small wrists - this one is for you.  I love the tan color for fall, it'll go with everything.

I confess that the word 'fall' makes me shudder (summer, never leave me), but I did stock up on my fall soaps from Bath & Body Works this week.  They were on sale so you can bet I bought one of pumpkin everything!  I refuse to do anything else fall related until Tuesday, September 8th though.  And then it's on :)

Happy hump day!

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Make It Now: Zesty Veggie Pasta Salad

I totally made up the name of this pasta salad, don't mind me.  But it really is zesty and full of veggies and best of all, it's so good.  We've been eating it all. summer. long - usually with grilled meat and watermelon, yum - so I can't believe it's taken me this long to share.  Something about a cold salad when it's hot outside is just right.  

1 box Farfalle noodles
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
10 oz. can of sliced olives, drained
1 cup Kraft's Zesty Italian dressing
1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
Cracked pepper to taste
Optional: pepperoni 

Cook the noodles al dente.  In the mean time, chop up all veggies and drain olives.  Add to bowl.  

Once noodles are finished cooking, drain and rinse with cool water.  Combine in bowl with veggies.  Add dressing, parmesan cheese, and pepper (more is always better, in my opinion).  Mix well.  

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  And enjoy!

**Make sure to share your favorite version below - I'm always looking to try new ones, and we all know it's going to be hot out for at least another month (or longer for you Southern ladies!)


It's Monday

Good morning, friends!

We had a great weekend at home.  The weather was beautiful, and we managed to do every cliche summer thing we could think of:  the beach, dining al fresco, campfires, ice cream... oh, and overloading your Snapchats with clips of Brady at the dog park ;)  Sorry about that!  It was a really rejuvenating weekend, and we're ready to take on the next month of friends wedding festivities and everything that comes with the beginning of fall!  

Fried chicken with maple syrup glaze... y-u-m
He was literally terrified of that dock in the background.  We spent FOREVER trying to get him to jump off,
but all we got was a bunch of barking, whimpering and frantic pacing!
Sunday snugs - I swear my goal in life is to wear that boy out.

Hope you all had a great weekend, too!  Make sure to stop by tomorrow - I'll be sharing my favorite pasta salad that you'll definitely want to whip up before summer ends :)

Adopted Grandparents, Books and Colorado (!!)

Hallelujah, it's Friday!  This week actually went super quickly.  I spent the first couple of days recovering from last weekends wedding festivities, and after that we were pretty busy.  But I am seriously so excited for this particular Friday because we are staying H-O-M-E, all weekend long!  I really savor these weekends with how busy we are this summer.  On the books: the beach, ice cream, sleeping in, grilling.  Gah, I can't wait.

Oh, and are those not the most amazing shoes above?   They literally have 'sexy thing' in their name, and I couldn't agree more.

Here's what we were up to this week...

+ My 'adopted' grandma, Carol, was in Michigan this week, and we were able to grab lunch on Tuesday.  We met Carol and her husband Dwight about 12 years ago, when we used to camp up north all summer.  We've stayed in close touch with them and make sure to get together whenever they're visiting from Arizona!

Fun side story: we actually met them because as kids, we were obsessed with their dog, Brandi who was a Golden Retriever.  We would walk her and play with her all day long, and that's when I fell in love with this breed.  I knew a Golden was the only type of dog I wanted when we started talking about getting one!  Best decision ever :)

+ I'm working my way through my summer reading list.  I just finished All the Light We Cannot See and LOVED it, probably more than any book I've read in a really long time.  It was so well written and despite having zero in common with the characters, I truly connected with them all.  I was so sad when I finished the book because I just didn't want the story to end.  I've already started onto What Alice Forgot and it's a much lighter, different read but I'm enjoying it as well.

+ This has nothing to do with what I did this week, but I want these shoes.  So cute.  And for that price, I'd like them in both colors.

+ We officially booked our Colorado skiing trip for winter 2016!  We're heading to Breckenridge and Denver for 5 days - give me all of your recommendations!

+ I went to my first Junior League prospective member event this week... and I think I'm going to join.  I know SO many of you are JL members, have you had good experiences?  I'm kind of excited about what I've heard so far!

Aaaand that's a wrap.  Have a fabulous weekend - see you here on Monday!

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A Makeup Trio I'm Loving

I've finally found the perfect summer makeup combo... just in time for summer to be over.  

That's how it always goes, right?

ONE | Jouer Luminizing Tinted Moisturizer
My face is always different shades of tan in the summer, so I always struggle to find a perfectly matching makeup shade.  Enter in Jouer's Luminizing Tinted Moisturizer.  It's everything you need in a hot weather product: it's lightweight and breathable, contains SPF 20, is oil free, and best of all, sheer enough to match whatever shade of tan you're working with that day.  It provides that easy, carefree look we're all trying to achieve in the summer: you know the one, I woke up like this ;)  It can be a bit dewy but we'll solve that problem in a second.  

I apply with my beauty blender - which is truly worth the money, if you ask me - but you can just as easily use your fingers.

TWO | Bare Minerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener
Next up, concealer.  I prefer to apply it after my foundation because I find that you actually "need" less of it.  I love this particular one for a few reasons:  it's lightweight, easily blendable, doesn't settle into creases, and you can also use for contouring since it's more of a brightener than heavy concealer.   It also doesn't seem to melt off in the heat, as long as you set it with powder.
THREE | Ben Nye Banana Powder
And speaking of powder... don't let this stuff scare you!  It's yellow, but I promise it doesn't appear yellow upon application.  And yes, it really does match every single shade of skin out there!  Celebs and famous makeup artists swear by Ben Nye and for good reason.  It holds your makeup in place all. stinkin. day.  Seriously, you won't need touch ups at all when using this.  It also looks really natural and not like you have powder caked on, which is one thing I really can't stand.  You can buy the smallest size for only $12 (what I have) and it lasts FOREVER.  Try it!
Soon the weather will cool off (sad face), and I'll probably go back to my trusty Bare Minerals foundation, but for now, I'm really loving this combo.

**See more of my summer beauty favorites here and here.

Crushing On: Julie Vos

Good morning and happy Wednesday!  We're halfway through the week already!

I have a new obsession.  Julie Vos.  Apparently I've been living under a rock because I just discovered her jewelry line and I'd like one of everything, please and thank you.  It all started when I came across this super popular coin necklace... I then proceeded to her website where I was drooling over everything from rings to bracelets to earrings.  I've always considered myself more of a silver person but these gorgeous 24K gold pieces are totally changing my mind.  I love.  

Check out all of the goodness for yourself-

Coin Pendant // Chloe Link Bracelet // Soho Stack Rings
Botticelli Open Bracelet // Parker Earring // Chloe Ring
Pegasus Petite Stone Stud // Tinsley Bangle // Petite Quatrefoil Necklace 

And just thought I'd throw it out there, but Julie Vos doesn't know me from Adam.  This isn't a sponsored post, I'm just a big (new) fan!  What's your favorite piece?  I think mine is the Quatrefoil necklace - it's a great every day piece and under $100, just how I like it.  

Happy browsing!

Cincinnati Wedding Weekend

Where to even begin with this past weekend?!  It was perfection, in every way.  We celebrated one of my best friends wedding in Cincinnati and I wish we could re-do it all over again this weekend because it was

Erica and I met in 2007 when we joined the same sorority, Alpha Chi Omega.  We hit it off right away and were roommates for the next four years of college.  About the same time that I met and started dating Nick, she met and started dating Tim (who was in Nick's fraternity, Sigma Chi) so we've all been together since the very beginning!  We couldn't wait for them to make things official this weekend.

The festivities started on Friday evening with a rehearsal and then an open cocktail/appetizer reception at the Moerlein Lager House.  It was really casual and informal and I loved it.  It was great to catch up with all of our college friends and kick off the wedding weekend!

The bride-to-be!

So much love for these people

We all spent the night together in Erica's suite, where we also got ready the next morning.  Everything went super smoothly and put us ahead of schedule for the entire day!  And how cute are these robes she got for us?

The party bus picked us up after lunch for pictures all over downtown Cincinnati.  It was the most gorgeous day - sunny and pretty warm, but there was a really nice breeze so it didn't feel too bad out.

Before we knew it, it was time to walk down the aisle!  The ceremony and the reception were held at Drees Pavilion and look at THIS VIEW.  It made for the prettiest ceremony ever.  I wish I had more pictures to share but sometimes I feel weird sharing ones of other people since this isn't their blog and who knows if they want to be broadcast out on the internet, anyone else?

Anyway, the ceremony went off without a hitch and we had been running so ahead of schedule that we were done with pictures and the bridal party was actually able to enjoy the cocktail hour which was awesome.

We moved inside for the reception and the room was breathtaking.  Also, this was my first ever Jewish wedding and so so so fun!

Just like at my wedding, we were able to get a picture of all of the Western Michigan University alum.  Pretty much everyone in this picture is either an Alpha Chi Omega or Sigma Chi so it was fun to have a "WMU Fraternity Village Drive" reunion.

And just like that, the weekend we'd been waiting for for a year and a half was over.  We drank, we danced, and then we drank and danced some more.  There are also a million inappropriate photobooth pictures that I can't wait to see.  THE perfect day and we couldn't be happier for Tim and Erica.  Everything was flawless and the fact that we were all dying on Sunday was proof of how much fun we all had.

4 weddings down, 3 more to go :)  Let the fun continue!  Hope you all had fabulous weekends as well!

Links on a Thursday

I wish I were staying at The Ritz this weekend, but the Hilton will have to do ;)

Bright and early tomorrow morning, we'll be heading to Cincinnati for my best friends wedding and I am SO so so excited.  Beyond ready to get the party started and get the two love birds m-a-r-r-i-e-d!  

Today is officially my Friday so before I go, a few of my favorite links from around the web this week...

+ If you follow me on Snapchat (@kavanderploeg), you saw my serious cookie fail on Monday.  Don't bother trying this recipe - I followed it exactly and ended up with flat, burnt cookies.  No bueno.

+ Tory Burch is having their private sale - all you need to do is sign on their email list to gain access (and get a 10% off coupon).  My favorites include these classic flats and this beautiful embellished bag.

+ Speaking of shopping, the oh so coveted J Crew herringbone vest is back!  Get it quickly because if history repeats itself, it won't be in stock for long.

+ I don't want to think about the f word yet (fall, come on now), but this is a great article on
11 different ways to prep your blog for fall this summer.  

Happy Thursday Friday!
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All About That Hair

It's been a hot minute since I shared any hair favorites on the ol' blog, but no worries ;) - today is the day!

John Freida Brilliant Brunette Multi-Tone Revealing Shampoo:  I still love my Kerastase, but I think it's good to mix up the shampoo every few washes.  I have no idea if this is a real thing but I swear it makes for better hair days so I do it.  I'm loving this John Freida shampoo lately because it makes my hair feel seriously clean.  I hate it when a shampoo leaves behind a feeling of residue or coating on your hair, but you won't have that problem with this line.  Add to that shiny and more vibrant color?  Yes, please.
*Don't worry blonde babes!  Find your products here.

Oribe Conditioner for Beautiful Color:  This stuff is pricey but it really does work.  I was skeptical at first... until I went almost double the amount of time I normally do between highlights.  Well it's a lot out of pocket, just think of how much you're NOT spending at the salon.  Girl math.

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Mousse:  My hair is pretty fine so I need all the help I can get in the volume department.  This mousse is super lightweight and makes my flat hair appear much thicker, but best of all - is not sticky or crunchy!!  Crunchy hair is the worst.  So, that alone makes it a winner.  Smells pretty great, too.

R+Co Blow Out Balm:  I was just introduced to the R+Co brand (same developers as Bumble & Bumble actually) by my hairstylist and I'm already obsessed with it.  First of all, the packaging.  Adorable.  And second of all, every product works so well!   I apply this blow out balm before blow drying and it not only keeps my hair sleeker and less frizzy, but also cuts down on the amount of time it takes.

L'Oreal Boost It High Lift Spray:  If you've followed the blog for a while, you know this isn't the first (or second, or third...) time I've mentioned this stuff.  I use it before I curl my hair as a texturizing spray and it helps keep the curls in place - so well that I don't even use hairspray.  You can't beat the drugstore price either!

Hot Tools 1 1/4 Inch Flipperless Curling Iron:  Is it weird to anyone else that they consider the clip on the curling iron a 'flipper'?  Anyway, my friend brought this curling iron to Nashville and after using it all weekend, I went out and bought my own as soon as I got home.  I love that it's clipless, I mean flipperless, and doesn't leave any dents or creases in your hair.  It makes for great curls and despite the fact that I own way too many curling irons (as my husband pointed out), I always reach for this one now.

What are you guys loving lately?  Tell me!

10 Minute Meal: Bruschetta

Gahh, I love this stuff so much.  Tasty, quick to make and pretty healthy (as long as you don't put as much feta cheese on as I do.  Actually do, because feta makes everything better), this bruschetta is the bomb.   We've been having it almost every Monday this summer because I can prepare it before our volleyball game and then we can dig in as soon as we get home.  Because when you're sweaty and hungry, ain't nobody got the time or patience to prepare a gourmet meal.  

Naan bread
Cherry tomatoes
Red onion
Feta cheese
Olive oil

1.  Prepare naan bread according to package (ours was 400 degrees for 3 minutes).
2. While the oven is preheating and bread cooking, halve cherry tomatoes, chop red onion and chiffonade basil.
3.  Throw everything into one big bowl and toss with olive oil.
4.  Top baked naan bread with tomato/onion mixture and as much feta cheese as you want.

Ridiculously easy!  Enjoy!
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