Friday, August 30, 2013

five on friday

One. Holiday Weekend
Who doesn't love a 3 day weekend?  Once again we’re off on another bike trip, probably will be our last overnight-er for a while.  I can’t wait to do some new exploring & visit some of our favorite places again.  What’s everyone else doing for Labor Day weekend?

last year's Labor Day set up.

I got Joe a membership to the Dollar Shave Club for Christmas last year.  He shaves his head on a weekly basis (when he’s not being lazy) so I thought he would be the perfect person to give this to.  These razors are seriously amazing.  There are three different ones you can pick from, one is $1, one is $4 and the other is $9.  I went with the $9 one since it has the aloe strip and the most blades for the closest shave.  I had been using disposable Soleil razors and they made my legs so unbelievably dry, that I decided to try Joe’s razor & I’m never going back. 

Three. Korean Beef
Every once in a while you come across a recipe that is so unbelievably simple you can hardly wait to test out the simplicity of it.  I found one recently on Pinterest for Korean Beef & let me tell you, only a few ingredients and only a few minutes of your time. 

1 pound ground beef
1 tbsp. sesame oil
Couple cloves of garlic
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. minced ginger
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt & Pepper (I omitted the salt since the Soy Sauce is salty enough)
Green Onion

1.         Brown the hamburger meat in the sesame oil, add the garlic towards the end of cooking & cook a few minutes more, drain the fat.
2.       Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt, pepper, & red pepper flakes (I used Pampered Chef Asian Seasoning instead).  Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.  Serve over steamed rice & top with green onion.  Voila!

Four. National Dog Day
Monday was National Dog Day & we all love our furry little friends very much so this is my shout out to my little sweet potato Frankie.  We rescued him from a shelter in November of 2009.  We talked about getting a pug puppy, but we wanted to check the shelters first because there is no better feeling than rescuing a dog & giving them a loving home.  Although he came with a whole slew of health problems (worms, blind in one eye, bad teeth, etc.) we got him healthy, & I’m so glad that we found him.  He is the most stubborn little stinker, but is also such a little lover, and 100% mama’s boy. 

Five.  The Next Step    
So next week I go to the doc for my yearly exam & hopefully will be able to be referred to the fertility specialist.  As disappointed as I am that we will probably have to go down this path, I am so thankful that this path can be traveled.   Modern medicine is an amazing thing.  I think that we are as ready as we can be to start our journey down this path.  It truly is hard to have much faith, or the mindset that “it will happen when it’s meant to happen” after so many letdowns, but these last few months I have felt less stressed, less pressured, & more accepting of the entire situation.  Fingers crossed!

love this quote! ready for my arrow tattoo next month!

Happy Holiday weekend everyone!  Be safe & enjoy!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

camping essentials

Joe and I both love to camp.  We love tent camping & we have a popup so we spend a lot of time down at our property doing both.  Since our property is just an empty lot right now we set up down there pretty often, sometimes for the entire weekend, sometimes just for one night.  But it is definitely something that we really enjoy doing.  A couple times a year we actually bring all of our tent camping gear on the bike & camp in a town called Savanna at a biker bar called Poopy’s.  Our bike has lot of space for storing things, but we’ve even packed our bike that we wrecked on that only had 2 leather saddle bags & were able to take pretty much everything we wanted.  It’s amazing what a couple bungee cords can do.  But you’re definitely more limited on space so here is my list of essentials, all of which we pack on our bike!

1. Coleman Rosewood 4-Person Tent: We wanted to be able to bring a tent with us while traveling on the bike, but we wanted something that was a little more spacious, (bigger than a 2-person) so we would have room for our bags, and anything else that we leave at the campsite while we ride.  This thing is awesome, it fits in a rectangular bag & I can assemble it by myself, which was a big must.  Easy assembly is key!

2. Coleman Queen Mattress:  Coleman sure does know what they’re doing.  This mattress actually comes in a bag that’s probably 8x10x6, and the bag is sewn to the mattress so you can’t lose it!  We didn’t always use the mattress, but because of how compact it is, we usually bring it with us now.

3. Coleman 4D Quickpump:  No question here.  For $9.99 at Walmart, plus 4 D batteries, and 10 minutes of your time your mattress is blown up.  I don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes setting up camp and I don’t want to work real hard at setting it up, let’s be real, I want it to all be magically set up for me while I watch with a beer in my hand, (like I do with our battery powered pop-up), but if I have to do some work, it needs to be as quick and painless as possible.

4. Coleman Calgary Sleeping Bag Let’s face it, there’s quite the array of sleeping bags out there.  We ended up with two different Coleman sleeping bags which we registered for when we got married.  (We got the majority of our other camping gear via wedding registry as well).  I’m not a huge fan of sleeping bags, I prefer blankets, but for the bike, sleeping bags are great since they roll up & save more space than lugging around blankets.

5. Thirty One Thermals:  I’ve got three different thermal bags from Thirty One and they’re all amazing.  One is the large Picnic Thermal which I used pretty often, whether we’re tent camping or in the pop-up.  Our pop-up only has a small fridge so we use coolers & this tote quite a bit.  You can fill it up with ice and put your beer or even bottles of wine in it, or you can pack all kinds of different meats, hot dogs, eggs, bacon, condiments, etc. in it, it’s big enough to carry a picnic full of stuff.  I also use the Lunch Break tote and the Thermal Zipper Pouch which I use when traveling for my straightener and curling iron.

6. Telescoping Hot Dog Forks: We got these at Rural King a couple weeks ago & they’re perfect.  Since they’re telescoping they’re easy to stow anywhere, and a package of hotdogs doesn’t take up much space either.  For $3.99 it’s easy to get their money’s worth out of them.

7. Camping Attire: What better way to camp than with the “Happy Camper” slogan across your chest!  I actually love this Summer Camp Hoodie.  They’re a bit pricey, & maybe not a camping necessity, but it’s fun to be the mascot at your camping event!

8. Camping Accessories There are a few other things that I would not consider necessities, some of which we do bring & some of which we don’t’ when on the bike.  Fun cozies, like my new Leinenkugel cow boy boot, easy to stow.  Hillbilly Golf or Bags, not easy to bring on the bike, but games I could almost consider a necessity at campouts.  Card games like Spot It, also easy to tuck into an overnight bag.  Beer Can Darts (not for the lightweight drinker, & definitely not for the bike).  These are the types of things that we use at our property when we host a campout. 

So there you have it, it still amazes me that we are able to get all of this stuff loaded onto our bike, plus an overnight bag & come home with lots of goodies from the different places we stop. 

Oh they places we’ll go.

Monday, August 26, 2013

our adventures

Another amazing weekend for the books!  It kind of happened out of nowhere since Joe has been working most Saturday's lately and only worked Thursday & Friday this week, we weren't planning on him having the day off, but he did.  Friday night he didn't get home from work until after 9, but told me he would have Saturday off.  We had talked with Jodie and Jon about a month or so ago about coming to see them for the LaFayette Jazz Fest so we decided last minute to make the trip.

We packed up the bike again & hit the road about 1 in the afternoon.  It was a perfect day for a ride.  We got to LaFayette about 5, got ready, and headed downtown about 7.  Mike Milligan & Steam Shovel who plays at Starved Rock every year was going to be playing so we were pretty pumped to be able to see them. They're actually from Kokomo Indiana & we've been wanting to see them play in their home state for quite a while now.  It was a blast.  Downtown LaFayette is really nice, it's clean, & friendly.  Not too big or too crowded.  We sampled some local brew & watched a few different sets.  It was a good time.  Very relaxing & fun.  We got home a little after 10 & had a bon fire.  The kids both fell asleep in their chairs outside so we decided to call it a night.  

Sunday morning we hung out, drank coffee, watched TV and chit chatted a bit before hittin the dusty trail. We left Indy around 11.  Our plan was to stop in Bloomington on the way home & visit with Joe's little sister Delaney who just moved there to attend my alma mater, ISU.  I love Bloomington.  It's a fun town with lots of great bars, restaurants, stores, & more.  We had been having bike problems all morning so we ended up stopping at the Harley store to see if we could get a part we thought we needed.  We got the part, but it ended up not fixing the problem.  It was aggravating because the problem was causing us to have to ride at a slower speed, on the shoulder, in the 95 degree heat.  By this point it was after 1, we were starving, hungry, and irritated so we stopped at Destihl, a local brewery and restaurant with some pretty amazing food.  Seriously, jalapeno infused bacon, deep fried, & drizzled with a maple glaze?!  Yes it's as phenomenal as it sounds.  We had a couple cups of the beer cheese soup, some pretzels, & of course some beer samples.  We ended up meeting Delaney for Coldstone & then went to see her apartment.  We finally got back on the road around 3.  We continued having problems with the bike so we got off the interstate & took the highway home instead.  

Joe contemplating which beer to taste first

seriously, jalapeno infused, deep fried bacon with maple glaze, beer cheese soup & pretzels! heaven!

birthday cake remix!

little SIL enjoying her icecream!

I can't believe this is the last week of August.  This summer has seriously flown by.  This heat that we have forcasted is definitely kind of disappointing since now I'm in gear for fall after the cool weather that we've had earlier this month.  We've got one more bike trip planned for this weekend.  One that we both really look forward to because we bring all of our camping gear with us & we're planning to hit a couple of our favorite places like Galena, but also checking out some new places as well.  Fingers crossed that Joe can get the bike fixed!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Five on Friday

One. My handcrafted wine rack
If you follow me on Instagram (@lenaridley) or you’re friends with me or Joe on Facebook, then you’ve probably already seen the awesome wine rack that Joe made for me when he was off on Tuesday.  He brought the pallet home several months ago & told me he would make something for me, so I’ve been bugging him for it for a while now.  I’ve had a lot of stuff going on at work & being the thoughtful man that he is I got a sweet text from him along with a picture of the finished product & he totally cheered me up.  I can’t believe how awesome it turned out.  We are well aware that the horseshoe is upside down & “loosing its luck”, but for both of us, it’s more about aesthetics than superstition.  I love the rustic look of it.  Props to my talented & creative husband for his creation.

seriously, how awesome is this?!  happy to report the horseshoe is right side up now!

Two. Turbans
I’m always on the lookout for different types of headpieces to wear on the bike, whether it’s a headband, bandana, beanie, or my latest Etsy find, these turbans.  I did a search for “turbans” and came across Rum Raisin who happened to have a Grab Bag special, 3 turbans for 11.95, which is cheaper than buying just one of their regular priced pieces.  They will pick the colors for you, but seriously, they are all adorable.  What I like about them is they’re wider so my ears will be covered if I want them to be.  Can’t wait to try them out next weekend for our camping trip.

Three. Peaches & Blueberries
Hyvee has had some truly awesome fruit lately, they had white peaches on sale last week & blueberries on sale for a $1.48, I’ve been mixing them together at work lately for my breakfast & I love the taste of them together.  It’s sweet enough to satisfy my sugar craving, but healthy enough at the same time that I’m not kicking myself in the end.

Four. Our Anniversary
Tomorrow we will be one month shy of our 2 YEAR anniversary.  I cannot believe that our wedding was almost 2 years ago.  It kind of makes me sad actually.  I remember like it was yesterday, sometimes I wish I could relive it, it was everything I wanted it to be if not more.  Last year we renewed our vows at an awesome biker bar & spent the weekend in Galena, you can read about it here (some of the pics are missing?!).  We don’t have any plans to go out of town this year (as far as I know), but I have started brainstorming a few things.  I’m pretty set on his big gift, but I’ve also already picked up some minor touches for what I’ve got planned that I know he will love.

love this pic of Joe checkin' out my dress <3

Five. VEGAS baby!
One of Joe’s lifelong friends Matt & his finance Kassi decided to tie the knot in Vegas this November & we are so excited to tag along & help them celebrate!  I’ve never been to Vegas & Joe hasn’t been there since he was 17 so he really didn’t get to enjoy it much.  We just booked our flight this week & I’m already thinking about what I should pack.  After talking with Kassi about her plans, it sounds like they’re going to get married (by Elivs???) & we’re just going to party it up & celebrate the entire weekend.  Can’t wait!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

free fall printable

Follow the link below & enjoy this 8x10 fall printable for free!  I made it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

wedding weekend recap

What an amazing weekend we had!  After the week I had at work & everything that had been going on, I needed to get out of town.  Joe felt the same way after a looonnng work week.  We were ready to take the bike & hit the road.

Friday evening started with meeting my mom at August Hill for a couple glasses of wine & some catching up.  We ended up at Starved Rock where we had a couple more drinks and some dinner.  I headed home about 8:30 since we we're planning to leave early the next day for the wedding in Minnesota.

After a quick fill up & a slice of breakfast pizza, we hit the road about 7AM on Saturday.  The drive was around six hours, but we stop about every 100 miles for gas & to stretch our legs.  The ride was gorgeous.  The weather was perfect, chilly in the AM, nothing chaps and a leather jacket can't fix, and nice enough in the afternoon I could go without the chaps.  The scenery in Wisconsin and Minnesota is breathtaking.  I am determined to spend more time up that way, especially on the bike.  We found some great places & already started making plans for a winter weekend getaway that we can hopefully get all of our friends involved in.  

seriously, how gorgeous is that sky?!

We ended up in Black River Falls Wisconsin (I just LOVE the name of the town) for lunch.  Any place with a name like Black River Falls is bound to have a good bar with good food & good beer, which was exactly what we were looking for.  We ended up at Traveller's Tale.  It has only been open for 3 weeks, but the food was great, the beer was local, the owner is from England, he met a girl from Wisconsin & moved here & opened this gem.  Joe had a killer burger, the Black River Beast, I had a soft pretzel, & we sampled a few of the local brews.  

the Black River Beast!

The wedding was at 3 but we didn't quite make it.  The reception started at 5:30 so we had plenty of time to relax for a bit after the long trip, get ready, & head down to the bar for some appetizers.  The reception was a blast.  It was small, but so much fun.  We were so glad we decided to make the trip.  Jeena and Matt are so perfect for each other, it was awesome to see them finally be married!

table #7 was definitely the drunkest!

the beautiful bride and groom! plus me and Jessica!

husband, groom, Mike, & Jeena

Joe and I

Jessica & Mike (a couple!) won the garter & bouquet toss! they're next :)

dancin til we dropped!  had a blast.

Sunday morning we woke up about 7, ate breakfast, & began our journey home.  The plan was to hit the New Glarus brewery, but it was going to take us about 2 hours out of our way so we changed our minds & decided we'd just stop back in Black River Falls.  We got about an hour down the road & remembered that Leininkugels was not too far out of our way, only actually took us about 15 minutes back north which was not bad at all.  We love craft beer & brewery tours so we figured we're here, we might as well stop.  So glad we did.  We didn't end up doing a tour, but we bought some cute stuff & you could sample five beers for $1!  How awesome is that?!

love this pic!

We did end up back in Black River Falls, Mike and Jessica caught up with us & we went and had some lunch & got back on the road about 3.  We still had at least 4 hours of driving time ahead of us not including stops & one minor breakdown on the side of the road.  It wouldn't be a bike trip without one though!  We ended up home about 8 last night.  My face was sun & wind burnt to a crisp, I had a splitting headache, I was tired, & hungry, but it was well worth it.  We went about 900 miles in 2 days & we hit the 50,000 mile mark on the bike.  We bought the bike a year and a half ago with 42,129 miles so in that short amount of time we've put over 8,000 miles on it.  I love that we do so much of our traveling on it, it's a great way to see different places.  It's so relaxing & fun.   More adventures await!  Up next is our annual camping trip on the bike to Poopy's! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Five on Friday

One.  Paper Straws
I found some really great paper straws on Etsy at HeathersBlankets & immediately ordered them to put in my freshly painted mason jars.  I picked particularly festive fall prints & I’m so glad I did.  They look adorable.  Can’t wait to buy red and green for Christmas!

love the birch & the grey stripped.  oh, and the hammered copper spray paint!

Two.  Fall TV
I mentioned in my previous post about being excited for SOA and Walking Dead, and then the next day after watching my new addiction on FX, The Bridge, I saw a preview for American Horror Story Coven, the 3rd season.  What I love about this show is that the story changes each season.  Season one was about a haunted house, season two was about an insane asylum.  The Bridge is also totally worth checking out.  We are totally obsessed with FX shows.  Currently on the DVR, The Bridge & Wilfred, but we also love Justified, SOA, Archer & the League (slated to start September 4th!).

looks creepy!

Three.  Cheesy Grilled Pizza Sandwich via Our Best Bites
This sandwich is hands down one of the best sandwiches I've had in awhile & it's perfect fall food.  So easy to make, the husband loved them, I think he had three of them.  I ended up making them in the oven at 375 for 10 minutes then broiled each side for about 3 minutes.  I don't have a panini maker so I thought the oven would be best.  I used olive oil rather than butter to brush on the bread first too.  Totally obsessed with this recipe!

pure heaven

Four.  Wedding Weekend
This weekend we are traveling on the bike to Bloomington Minnesota for a wedding.  Really looking forward to the bike trip, the wedding, & possible brewery detour on the way home in New Glarus. Hooray for weddings & hooray for bike trips!

One of my friends and co-worker told me about this site a couple of months ago.  On Wednesday at work I was looking at my tan, slouchy boots, & they looked pitiful. All of the tan vinyl was peeling off, seriously, I don't think a bum would pick them out of the garbage at this point.  So I remembered & found a great new pair of tan boots for a totally reasonable price, $46!  The site itself is pretty overwhelming, there is a serious multitude of boots, but if you're looking for something specific, it's got all kinds of filters so you can narrow down your search.  Here's what I picked!
can't wait to rock these babies!

Have a great weekend lovelies!

Monday, August 12, 2013

feelin a little fall

Between the cooler temps, a trip to hobby lobby, & the stockpile of long sleeve shirts and sweaters I bought recently, I'm definitely feelin like fall.  I haven't quite brought myself to put any fall decor out, but I can feel it will be soon.  Here are couple other things I've been obsessing over that are putting my in the mood for fall:

Seasonal Movies
Including my FAVORITE time of year AMC Fear Fest 
saw this on Facebook today!  This doesn't even need an explanation

Seasonal Beverages
Including Pumpkin Spice creamer, Octoberfest beer & Galena Cellars Octoberfest wine
officially already had a six pack of Sam Adams Octoberfest last weekend
Seasonal  Comfort Food
Including this recipe currently in my crock pot
ps.  you can make a much healthier "cream of chicken"
2 tbsp butter/2 tbsp flour & 1 cup of milk (chicken bullion for flavor)=1 can

Seasonal Colors
Currently obsessed with this spray paint.  Everything in my house will be copper!
I took an ugly old tray with a goose on it & painted it, a Ball jar & the "R" which I got from Hobby Lobby for like $3, it's currently hanging in my kitchen.

Seasonal TV
They've been teasing both of these shows for the last two weeks now & they are two favorites  set to start this fall, SOA starts September & Walking Dead starts October!

Before we know it we'll be celebrating our two year anniversary (September 24th!) and picking out Halloween costumes!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Five on Friday

One. Aztec Print
Aztec print, it's seriously everywhere! I got a couple adorable tops from Apricot Lane with this great fall print & I noticed it's popping up everywhere!

Two. O.P.I  Matte Nail Envy
Hands down just loving this stuff for strengthening my nails.  Between prenatal vitamins and this miracle-worker, my nails are super strong and thick now.  I used to bite my nails until college, & even still today, I can't help but pick at them.  Seriously, I keep a nail clipper like everywhere.  What I like most about matte finish is it's more natural looking & not shiny.  

Three. Our Best Bites
I just came across Our Best Bites on another blog that I follow Hello! Happiness.  Wow, what a gem. There are so many awesome recipes, many of them seem very easy & with ingredients that can be reused an not wasted after one use (like that Ricotta cheese that went bad in my fridge... YUCK).  Totally worth checking out.  I totally stalked their page all night Thursday night & I'm totally inspired by these two.  I absolutely love cooking & I'm always scouring the interweb for new recipes.  I'm really lucky that my husband literally like everything that I make.  It's nice to be able to cook anything I want & get a nice compliment about how great it is practically every day.  (Thanks Joe <3) 

seriously how good do these Saucy Hot Dogs look!?

Four.  Metallic Finish
I am super pumped for this 16x20 metallic finish print I had my wonderful friend Heather @ HK Photography order for me.  This is probably my #1 favorite photo of Joe and I (besides the hundreds of wedding photos we have & the countless other pics that HK has taken for us.)  One of my favorite things about it is that it's taken down at our property where we are planning to build in the near future.  This picture just doesn't do it justice, but I highly recommend the metallic finish, I also go my blog header photo in a 5x7 in the metallic finish & I think I'll end up getting it bigger one day.  

seriously this picture doesn't even come close to how beautiful it is in person

Five. FURminator
If any of you have pets, especially ones that shed A LOT like my pug Frank does, than this is the tool for you.  This thing has been so amazing.  The FURminator is made for both dogs & cats, long & short hair.  It's a little pricey (I paid $35 for mine for short haired, #20 dogs), but it is well worth the money.  The amount of hair this thing picks up is unreal.  There is even a vacuum attachment you can buy so when you brush, the hair gets sucked up into the vacuum.  Too bad Frankie literally bites the vacuum, I don't think he would be a big fan of that attachment.

I've totally been slacking on the blog, but we've had quite the lull lately, which we've totally been loving.  This last weekend we brought our pop up to the property & camped, this weekend we're planning to see a blues band at Starved Rock, looking forward to another quiet weekend. 

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