Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday + Links


Friday, Friday, Friday.  Usually AKA my traveling day this summer.  But this weekend, I don't have to leave until Saturday morning so y-a-y for that!  Is it sad that I'm excited to sleep in in my own bed in the morning?  You know you're old when...

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be heading to Chicago for the night to celebrate a friends bachelorette which I'm sure will be a wild day/night.  Wish me luck!

+ I loved Ashley's post on her top wedding registry picks - pretty sure I need one of these dutch ovens now.
+ Bauble Bar does it again... a build your own stackable arm party (5 total) with the Cape Town Bracelets.  Such a fun idea!
+ This three cheese prosciutto peach pizza we made this week.  All the heart eyes.
+ A great round up of neutral rugs from Emily Henderson.
+ These privacy tips for your online life should be required reading for all bloggers.  Seriously.
+ After talking about printing pictures yesterday, I came across Chatbooks and can't wait to make my Instagram into a little book!
+ In honor of my weekend trip to the windy city, my guide on how to do Chicago in 3 days.

Also!  This Sunday, August 2nd, is the last day to save on tons of new fall items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  Sick of hearing about it yet?  I know, but it's almost over and I just have to share a few more of my favorite finds with you guys...

+ This gorgeous Kate Spade pave disc necklace.
+ For my northern friends, the perfect winter jacket - the North Face Ruka Parka (in black).
+ The comfiest booties - Ivanka Trump Taren Suede Bootie (in black).
+ Literally obsessed with these Arcona toner pads, they might be my favorite purchase from the sale.
+ A super soft go-to plaid shirt.
+ I was willing to try out these flare jeans since they were so cheap - verdict: they're awesome. 

Did you do any damage at the sale?  Happy weekend!

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015 Progress Report

I don't know if it's the fact that this weekend is AUGUST (what?) or the loss of Leslie - probably a combination of the two - but I've been thinking a lot about myself and my life this week.  Where I'm going, what I'm doing, how I feel about things.  Just taking stock, I guess.  

One big thing that keeps crossing my mind are the 'goals' I set for myself for 2015.  To be honest, without looking up the list, I could have told you only one of them: to read more.  Other than that, I barely even remember what I wanted to accomplish this year which is so sad.  I think today - a little more than halfway through the year - is a great day to get back on track.  Because although 7 months are behind us, we still have 5 months to go so it's not too late!
 
 
ONE | House Crackdown
Oh you guys.  Yikes.  We haven't done ANYTHING on our house this entire summer.  We did do a bunch of things in the winter/spring but honestly, we were getting a bit burnt out and needed a break.  So that's what we've been doing and it has felt good.  We've decided that we're going to get back to business at the end of September when wedding season is over and I'm actually really excited about that.  Hopefully I'll have some rooms to finally feature - only one year later :)

TWO | Give Back
Fail #2.  So so so bad about this.  I need to set up a auto-payment like I had at our old church in Chicago or otherwise I forget.  Adding that to next weeks to do list!

THREE | Blogging
Other than this summer... I've been pretty happy with how blog things are going.  I still love being here every day so I'm considering this a win!

FOUR | Visit Europe
I'd buy a ticket tomorrow if it were up to me but unfortunately, I also need someone else's permission ;)  Nick is a work in progress but I'm hoping to get him there!  Probably not in 2015 but good chance for 2016.  Fingers crossed.  In the mean time, if anyone else wants to go to Europe with me, just let me know, ha!

FIVE | Print Pictures
I actually did this last week!  Yay!  I printed some of Brady but I have a lot more to go.  Where do people buy photo albums these days?

SIX | Be A Better Friend
This is one that I've really been making an effort at.  So many of my friends have huge life events happening this summer - from weddings to law graduation to babies - and I've tried my absolute best to be there in every way that I can.  

SEVEN | Bye Bye Student Loans
Haha.  That is all.

EIGHT | Read More
I've been doing a TON of reading this summer!  Right now I'm in the middle of All the Light We Cannot See and loving it.

Definitely an eye opener to realize I'm majorly slacking on like 75% of my goals for this year!  So glad that it's not too late to get back on track. What about you guys?  How are you doing on your 2015 goals/resolutions/whatever you want to call thems? 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Randomness

Greetings from blogger slacker-land... anyone else?  Something about the middle of the summer seems to through me off my blogging game but I have a feeling I'm not the only one.  And that's okay - we should be out soaking up our summer!  Sleeping in, eating ice cream for lunch, only taking our swimsuits off to wash them - that's the good stuff and I want to enjoy it for the month we have left (so sad).

Anyway, today I've just got some randomness to throw your way...

Yesterday was our two year anniversary!  I'm so thankful for every day that I get to spend with my best friend, partner in crime and better half and I can't wait to see what the next 50 years have in store for us.  To celebrate, we did dinner and stuck with the traditional gifts - cotton for two years - but I'll have a separate post coming on that soon :)

Wedding recap posts

How gorgeous is this pearl blossom statement necklace (on sale right now!) from The Happiness Boutique?  It just came in and I have a feeling it's one I'm going to wear nonstop- it'll go with everything from cocktail dresses to even dressing up a flannel shirt this fall.  Make sure to check out The Happiness Boutique in general because they offer super reasonable prices, free shipping and even have a customer reward program.  Doesn't get much better than that. 


Speaking of shopping, this gorgeous Michael Kors trench coat is on it's way to me right now - thanks to Kate for the recommendation!  I had to order it online in the petite size since I'm a shorty at 5'3" but it's so well made and I love the classic khaki color.


This past Saturday, my beautiful friend Alex got married :) It was such a great night celebrating her and Mark and we all couldn't be happier for the two of them as they start their life together.  You know it was an amazing night when you realize the next morning that we didn't even get one decent picture of all of us!

My stand-in date while Nick was at his best friends bachelor party!

On Sunday, I headed back to Holland for a BBQ and to see the Marshall Tucker Band with my family.  Despite only knowing like two of the MTB songs, it was still a fun concert and the weather couldn't have been more perfect for the outdoor seating.  


This pup.  Thank goodness he doesn't mind car rides cause we've been carting him all over the entire state of Michigan this summer.  My car on the other hand... the all black interior can't quite handle all of the blonde fur EVERYWHERE!


My blogging duties are done for the day - back to the ice cream ;) Happy Tuesday!!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday's Five

Another Friday, another crazy weekend ahead!  This time I'm heading to a friends wedding in Detroit while Nick is off to his best friends bachelor party weekend at the lake.  We'll be meeting up on Sunday night in Holland to see the Marshall Tucker Band in concert with my family and then Monday is our anniversary (!!) so don't be surprised if I don't show back up here until Tuesday! :)  

Here's what we've been up to this week...  

+ Gardening
Nothing like waiting til the end of July to plant our gardens, right?  Procrastination at it's finest but at least we finally did (some of) it.  I'm literally clueless about this stuff - all I want to do is plant a bunch of hydrangea bushes but I hear they're bad for dogs and we all know our dog can't control himself from eating anything and everything sooo there's that.


+ Lemon Blueberry Bread
We had a bunch of leftover blueberries so I found this recipe thanks to trusty Pinterest and whipped it up.  And then it was gone 48 hours later because it's that delicious.  I think the lemon icing glaze really makes it!


+ The Bachelorette
SO excited for the season finale!  I think she's going to pick Sean.. what do you guys think?  I like him but I wish he hadn't been such a big baby all season about Nick.  And Ben H better be the next bachelor.  Actually I'd take Ben Z, too ;)

+ Birthday Gifts
I finally redeemed my birthday gift from Nick on Thursday - a facial and 90 minute massage.  This was my first ever massage and it was pretty amazing.  I was so relaxed afterwards and may have even taken a quick nap when I got home!


+ Holy City Chic
I always love to share when I find a new blog crush and this week it's Holy City Chic!  She's super cute, lives in Charleston (sold right there) and I like how her blog reads like you're just having a convo with a friend.  

Now I'm off to coral my dog, his crate and like 15 packed bags into the car and head out of town (again).  Happy weekend!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Better Eyelashes with Strong Lash


You guys know how much I love good eyelashes.  I don't really wear eyeshadow or too much eyeliner so I really count on my eyelashes to make the statement.  I swear by this great primer and mascara but was looking to take things up a notch... possibly by trying extensions.  I was just about to make an appointment when a Strong Lash representative reached out and offered to let me try the product.  I had to think about that offer for a whole 2 seconds... umm, yes!  

I've used Strong Lash for a little over 30 days now, both at night after I take off my makeup and in the mornings before applying it, and I am hooked.  It's super easy thanks to the applicator, it's just like applying liquid eyeliner except you don't have to worry about how straight your line is!  I already have pretty long lashes so I didn't notice a lot of length growth but I did notice quite an increase in the thickness/fullness of my lashes which made me happy.

So awkward, so sorry!

I consider myself to have pretty sensitive eyes (I can't even use coconut oil on them without irritation!) and Strong Lash gave me zero problems.  The price is also the best you'll find when comparing with other similar products and you don't need a prescription for this one.  It's as easy as placing your order on their website - and make sure to check out all of the wonderful ladies that have recommended this product, even Emily Maynard!

So if you're looking for stronger, fuller lashes, definitely check out Strong Lash.  Use the code katie30 for the next two weeks to get 30% off your first order (with free shipping)!   One tube will last for up to 3 months so this is a great buy.  I'm a huge fan and hope you'll love it, too!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Simple Ways to Improve Your Every Day


Maybe it's the beautiful weather, the fact that I (finally) have a few close friends here in town now or how busy we've been staying this summer, but I've come a LONG way in the 'happy' department since this post back in April.  

I've made a genuine effort to focus on doing little things that help improve my day - or better yet, improve someone else's day - on the reg and it's made a world of difference.  Whether or not you're struggling with where you're at in life right now or not (we've all been there), here are ten ways I've found to make each day a little bit happier.  Give one of them a try today!

Get outside - go for a walk, garden or even just relax on the porch. 
Buy fresh flowers.
Play fun music while getting ready for the day.
Compliment a stranger.
Make your bed first thing in the morning.
Put away the phone for 30 minutes.
Get a manicure.  
Make a to-do list.
Stretch or meditate.
Read a daily devotional - I love She Reads Truth.
Tidy up your house before going to bed.
Drink a green juice.
Send a piece of snail mail to a friend.

What's your favorite pick me up?  Enjoy today!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Three Bags

... these are the three bags that are getting me through the summer.

We're smack dab in the middle of what is probably the busiest summer of our life and I've officially got packing down like a science now.  I've found it's easiest to keep things separated into three different bags:  one for my clothes/beauty supplies, one for the beach and one for Brady.  Nick is on his own ;)


The weekend bag from Tuckernuck is one of my favorite purchases of the year!   It's perfect for up to 3 days away, has a comfortable strap that doesn't dig into your shoulder and fits neatly in an overhead compartment of an airplane, because no one's paying to check bags anymore.  Bonus: the monogram is included in the price and you can always find Tuckernuck coupon codes online.

This woven straw beach bag is a Target find that I can't get enough of.  It's nice and roomy and fits everything you could need in it for the beach.  Plus it's adorable - everyone has been asking me where it's from all summer.  My only complaint would be that it doesn't zip shut but for the price, I can't complain.

Olivia & Joy makes some of my favorite bags and this Zip Zoom tote doubles as my gym bag and also Brady's bag - mostly because I don't care that gross water dishes and slobbery bones are thrown in there.  It's super easy to clean out and I love all of the different compartments to store things.  Best of all, I've found it at 6pm for almost half of the original price!

What's your favorite go-to bag?  And let me know if you have any genius packing tips, I'll take any that I can get!  
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Beach Weekends are the Best Weekends


So I know I've been starting every weekend recap this summer with 'this has been the best weekend!' but this one really takes the cake.  It was seriously my favorite weekend ever - good company, good weather, good food, so many good times.  

Ps: prepare yourself for an overload of dog pictures ahead.

Nick, Brady and I spent the weekend in my hometown of Holland, Michigan.  My family lives right around the corner from Lake Michigan so we always take advantage of spending as much time as possible at the beach - aka my happy place - when we're home. The other best part about the weekend was that two of our good friends from Chicago were in Holland with their family so we were able to spend a lot of time with them, too!

We got into town around 5pm on Friday and grabbed hot dogs with my family for dinner and took Brady for a walk to burn off some energy.  We finally heard from our friends, Dave and Kerry, that they were back from the beach so we met up with them outside of the General Store to grab some ice cream (so much ice cream this weekend) and they could see Brady since they hadn't seen him since December!  


After ice cream for everyone, we dropped the pup back off at home and headed to an outdoor arcade with Kerry's family where we raced go-karts, did the batting cages and played half a round of miniature golf before the insane mosquitoes forced us off the course.  It was SO hot and humid that night so pictures were pretty non-existent but we did manage to take a lot of ridiculous snaps if you follow me on Snapchat (@kavanderploeg)!

The next morning, Nick and Dave were off early to golf and when I finally rolled out of bed at 9:15, I had plans to take Brady for a nice long walk but the weather said otherwise.  A crazy storm rolled in off of the lake and put everyone's plans on hold.  In the meantime, we did a dog photo shoot with our 13 year old Yorkshire Terrier, Winston, and let Brady eat straight out of the peanut butter jar - so spoiled.


The rain finally let up at 10:30am and the sun came out and it was a beautiful morning!  My family and I took Brady on a 4.5 mile walk and the guy was so hot and tired out at the end that we had to stop so he could dip in the water.  Aaaand roll in the mud.


He loved being in the water again and it made me so excited to take him to the dog beach the next day!   After the guys got back from golfing, we headed out to spend the rest of the day at the beach with friends - swimming, playing catch and taking naps in the sun.  By far, my favorite way to spend a Saturday.


That night, we walked to meet Dave and Kerry for dinner where we feasted on pina colada's and all things fried - cauliflower, lake perch, truffle fries.  #yum  

Like we hadn't ate enough this weekend, we went to Captain Sundae to get ice cream after dinner.  I worked at Captain Sundae all through high school and part of college so it's always a must visit while we're in town!  Afterwards, we said goodbye to our friends and pretty much rolled home and passed out by 10pm that night.  Sun, food and drinks will really wear ya out.


Sunday morning at the dog beach was the highlight of the weekend for all of us.  We got there bright and early since it was our first time and we didn't know what to expect.  Welp, it was awesome.  It was an off leash beach so the dogs could run free and Brady had the BEST time.


At first he was a little freaked out by the waves but it wasn't long before he got the hang of it and we couldn't keep him out of the water.  There were so many other dogs there (lots of Goldens!) and everyone was so friendly.  I honestly don't know who had more fun - us or the dog.  We made lots of new friends and Brady was in heaven chasing after his tennis balls!


We spent a good two hours there before we finally packed up and hiked back to the car.  After a late lunch and stopping for blueberries, we headed back home - sunburned, tired and happy.  

Now I'm just over here counting down the days til the next weekend... 4 to go ;)  Happy Monday!

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Links + Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Pt. II


Happy Friday!  

I have been anxiously awaiting this weekend for a while.  Nick, Brady and I are headed to my hometown of Holland, Michigan and the next couple of days are going to go something like this:  swimming, sand dune hiking, ice cream, sleeping, volleyball along with some major friend and family time.  YES YES YES.

Before the fun gets started, a few of my favorite links from around the web and some thoughts on my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchases!

+ I pinned so many great recipes this week but these shrimp tacos with spicy aioli sauce is the one I really can't wait to try.
+ Have any of you tried micellar water yet?  I'm really intrigued.  One of my favorite skin care lines, La Roche Posay, makes one that I think I need to check out.
+ A fellow Michigan blogger shares a round-up of home decor pieces that will help you achieve that "Fixer Upper" style that we all love so much.  My favorite piece is definitely this clock.
+ These clearance Kendra Scott earrings could show up on my doorstep and I wouldn't be disappointed.
+ Just another blog post making me want to book a trip to Texas, like yesterday.  Copy Cat Chic shares 36 hours in Austin.



Okay, now for the good stuff, right?!  The holy grail of sales - the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I've already shared my wishlist and mentioned some of the purchases I've made, but today I'm here to follow up with my thoughts on a few pieces and let you know what I'm keeping/returning/ordering next.

+ Hue Denim Leggings in 'Night Wash': KEEP.  These are awesome.  They look like jeans (with real buttons and pockets!) but are leggings.  Where have they been all of my life?!
+ Zella Leggings in 'Black': KEEP.  These are the best of the best and I wear them all.winter.long.
+ Vigoss Distressed Denim in 'Baywash': RETURN.  These are going back for two reasons - the wash is sooo much lighter than in the online picture which I'm not a fan of, and they run pretty big.
+ Arcona Triad Toner Pads: KEEP.  Oh my gosh.  Yes to these.  They make me feel like I've just had a facial after every use.  They were sold out but they've just been restocked so get them quick!
+ Hanky Panky Regular Rise Thong: RETURN.  They are one size fits all which had me a bit nervous and for a good reason.  They are just a bit too big on me so the fabric bunches in the front which isn't cute.  I really wanted to love these.
+ Gorjana Taner Bar Necklace: KEEP.  This little necklace goes with everything and I've worn it almost everyday since it arrived!
+ Volupsa Masion Blanc Candles: KEEP.  They smell like what I assume heaven smells like.  Yum.
I mentioned before that I typically stick to accessories/shoes/bags during this sale but this year the clothes got me.  I just placed another order a couple of days ago (thank goodness for birthday money!) for these goodies...


+ Vigoss Flap Pocket Skinny Jeans in 'Black': So I just talked about how I was returning a pair of Vigoss' above but let me tell you one great thing about those jeans:  they were SO SOFT.  Easily the comfiest pair of jeans I've ever tried on.  I've been in desperate need for a black pair so when I saw this Vigoss pair, I jumped on them (in a smaller size, of course).
+ Leith Floppy Felt Hat in 'Black': $17 for the cutest felt hat around.  Sold.
Halogen Embellished Plaid Shirt in 'Red': Last year I was kicking myself for not getting the Halogen denim shirt with embellishments so when I noticed they were offering a plaid version this year, I jumped on it.
+ Topshop Striped Sweater Dress:  After seeing this on lots of bloggers wishlists, I had to get it.  I love that I can wear it with sandals now and tights and booties when the weather cools down.
+ Street Level Vegan Bucket Bag in 'Black': I had to get this!  It's adorable and for the price - how could you not?!
+ Woven Heart Plaid Blanket Poncho in 'Black':  I'm so excited about trying the poncho trend this year and I love that this one has a clip so you don't have to hold it up 24/7.
+ BLANKNYC Moto Utility Pants:  The perfect camo green utility pant - I've got my fingers crossed that these babies fit because they may be my favorite purchase of all.

I'll probably end up returning half of that because that's how clothes shopping goes but I can't wait for my haul to get here!  What have you bought so far?!

Enjoy your weekends! :)
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Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Swimming Dog


Despite his grumpy face in these pictures (which totally crack me up), yesterday was probably the best day of Brady's life so far... he got to go swimming for the first time!  Let's just say he was a B-I-G fan.  


I brought him to visit my friends at their cottage and figured that a smaller lake, on a week day was the perfect, quiet time for him to test out the waters. He wasn't so sure about it the first time we threw his tennis ball out there - he actually sank and went under water for a good 15 seconds before he figured out how to swim!  After that, he was nonstop.  I probably threw that tennis ball out about 100 times and he loved chasing the minnows in the water.  The guy swam for 5 hours straight and I all but had to drag him out of the water when it was time to leave.  We had one very tired puppy on our hands last night!


I wish I had gotten better pictures but I have a feeling there is going to be a lot more swimming in our future.  Such a great day and made me so excited for our beach weekend ahead in my hometown!

Also, I'm guest posting over on the lovely Amanda's blog today - make sure to stop by and check it out!  Especially if you enjoy a good cocktail :) 

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