Thursday, August 17, 2017

Living Room Transformation & our Amish Country Adventure!

Parker and I went to Amish Country this last weekend with some friends and I left feeling all sorts of inspired so this week I decided that it was finally time to decorate our apartment. We've lived in our current apartment for just over a year now and I hadn't hung anything on the walls except for one little picture. If you've been a reader of my blog for a while now, you may remember my plea for help to find some pillows to go on our patterned couches and something to put on the wall above the couch back in September of 2016. Well, I finally bought some pillows and put some stuff on the walls and I'm quite pleased with the result. Is it magazine worthy? No. But it's homey and I think it reflects our my personal style pretty dang well if I do say so myself. Also, I know nothing about photographing home decor (or anything for that matter) so please forgive my lack of professional photography lol.


Let's talk more about Amish Country, shall we? Parker and his cousin Cody were kayaking together so Cody's wife, Kaitlyn, and I decided to go check out the shops in Amish Country. As we were driving along, we drove past a store that had a large banner with Joanna Gaines' face on it and said Magnolia Homes. I about jumped out of the moving car and I think I scared Kaitlyn a little bit with my enthusiasm. She didn't know who Joanna Gaines' was (don't worry, I told her she had to watch Fixer Upper ASAP) so I excitedly explained that she was only the best interior designer to ever walk the planet and that her style was my dream! Kaitlyn flipped the car around as soon as she safely could and I couldn't get into the store fast enough. It was called "The Peddler" and if I could live there, I would. It was the cutest home decor store I have ever seen and I really did want to move in right then and there. I fell in love with everything and I'm just itching to go back! Kaitlyn and I both bought some stuff there and it was so fun to just wander throughout the store!

We also went to the Christmas store (I didn't catch whether or not it had a name other than that...) where they sell Christmas stuff all year round. It's MASSIVE and was super fun to check out. I'll hopefully be going back closer to the holidays. Or maybe I shouldn't..... it might be dangerous to our bank account lol.

We met the men at the cheese factory, Heini's Cheese Chalet, which was hands down Parker's favorite place in Amish country. Maybe in all of Ohio, actually. You get to sample all sorts of different kinds of cheese including different flavors of cream cheese and cream cheese fudge. My favorites were the smoked gouda cheese, the peach cream cheese, and the mint chocolate cream cheese fudge. We also had the best root beer we've ever had there. We'll be back, cheese factory! We'll be back!

Parker and I wandered around the town of Berlin a little bit longer while Cody and Kaitlyn headed back home. We were totally enthralled with this cute little place, the shops, the horses and buggies, the food, and we really hope to go back soon! If you ever come visit us, we've got an itinerary planned out and you bet your bottom dollar Amish country is high up on the list!

xoxo, Chelan

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Our Love Story: Part 12

"Here's the thing about this love story of ours. It's long. And drawn out. And mushy-gushy. And even a bit cheesy. But it's true. And I've decided to take my time writing it, capturing all the special details of those moments I never want to forget. So if mushy-gushy, cheesy love stories aren't your thing, I totally get that. Just know that I'm writing this as a gift - to my family, and my children, and their future children - and also, for [Parker] and me - so that on those days when the kids are screaming, the laundry is overflowing and the bills are rolling in...on those days when it all just seems so hard, we'll have this to remind us of those first moments when we fell in love. And if sappy, detail ridden love stories are your thing, well then you've come to the right place." -Ashley Stock


To read the beginning of Our Love Story, click here
***
***

April 2015 - July 2015

***
Parker and I didn't get to talk to each other while I was on my cruise so we went from seeing each other every day all day/texting when we weren't together, to no communication whatsoever. So Parker was absolutely adorable and wrote me long messages on Facebook for when I got back from my cruise. He even had songs I should listen to while I read each message included at the beginning of each one. It was so cute and I loved coming home to that! I thought that Facebook had swallowed up all those old messages but I just went back and found them and I'm dying over them! They are such treasures!!!

The beginning of the first message. 

And this is how he signed the first one. *swoon*

Believe it or not, once upon a time Parker had a bit of an accent and it was the cutest thing ever. It was part of why I fell for him in the first place. It was kind of Southern-ish? That's the best way I know how to describe it. 

Anyway, after I got home from my cruise we had about 3 months until he was to go on his mission so we just texted, Facebook messaged, and Skyped as much as possible. We never stopped talking to each other and learned so much about each other during those 3 months. It was a really fun time in our relationship but I definitely and obviously prefer actually being together over long distance. However, in hindsight, I think it was good for us to have had so much time to just get to know each other before his mission. So many conversations (most of which were really trivial and the stuff I said was always cringe worth. Why was I so weird????!!!) and time spent chatting.

One thing I noticed about Parker early on is that I was always left wanting more! Whether that be conversation, just being in his presence, or kisses ;). With other guys I had liked, I got bored easily and lost interest after a short while. But with Parker, I never got tired of him. Ever. And I'm still not tired of him. He's my best friend and there is no one I would rather be with.

***

The "Messages Parker Sends to Chelan While She is Off Experiencing Major Cruisage" Series Soundtrack:

First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes

Oh, It is Love - Hellogoodbye

Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer

18th Floor Balcony - Blue October

What Sarah Said - Death Cab For Cutie

As Long As You Love Me - Backstreet Boys LOL

Collide - Howie Day

Endlessly - Green River Ordinance (I first heard this song while Parker and I were on a date and I listened to it on repeat while he was on his mission. It's my favorite).

And let me just end with this. He is the cutest and best thing ever. Can you tell I'm feeling nostalgic and love my husband?


Thanks for following along while I document our love story! It means so much to me! <3

***
Part 11

Friday, August 11, 2017

Me Time

Tonight I find myself with some unclaimed time which is super rare. Parker isn't home right now, the house is pretty much clean, I have finished work for the day and I don't have any other commitments or things to check off my to do list. So I'm just wondering what YOU would do if you had a few hours of time to yourself. What is your favorite way to spend your extra time?
Image via Pinterest

Here are a few of my favorite things to do when I have down time to myself:

+ Have a bath. There is something so soothing about relaxing in a hot bubble bath. Unfortunately, our tub right now is rather small and I don't like it when I can't fit my whole self under the water at once lol. Someday I'll have a giant tub that I can completely relax in!

+ Read. I love reading and I feel like there is never enough time to just read for hours on end. And sadly, reading is never a priority.

+ Scrapbook. I love getting my creativity on and scrapbooking but this is often one of the last things I do because it does take quite a bit of prep and I don't usually have hours upon hours to get all my photos printed and pages done.

+ Paint my nails. I've become pretty fond of painting my nails over the years. I have an LED light and I love that I can give myself a dang good gel manicure right from the comfort of my own home.

+ Blog. I actually really enjoy writing. I started to like writing my senior year of high school and I thoroughly loved the English classes I took at BYU which surprised me because, until then, I don't recall liking it much.

+ Watch TV or a movie. I haven't been much into TV these days. I have been working on my Personal Progress with the YW and we have a month long integrity experience that we are all doing. So many shows on Netflix right now are inappropriate so I'm trying really hard to be better at 'practicing what I preach'. If you have any shows that you like that aren't nasty, let me know! I could use a new one!

+ Sleep. If it wasn't so late, I would have a nap because I love sleeping. But I'm not tired enough to go to bed yet.....

+ Pin. I freaking love Pinterest. We should be Pinterest friends. You can find me on Pinterest HERE.

So tell me, if you were me and had a few hours of time to kill, what would you do with it? Go!

Image via Pinterest
Some flowers for your Friday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

xoxo, Chelan

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sunday Best in my Birthday Dress

I turned 25 on Friday and this was the first birthday in my life that I wasn't super excited for. Usually, I'm like a little kid and can't sleep the night before because I'm so excited about it but this year I'm just over the whole getting older thing. I'd be fine to stay 24 forever... But this year turned out to be such a fun birthday (as it does every year) and Parker took such good care of me that I've ended the weekend feeling so loved. He's the best!

Parker spoiled me again this year. He's such a good gift giver. I, on the other hand, SUCK at gifting. Poor Parker. Every Christmas and birthday I tell myself that I'm gonna do better for him and somehow I always drop the ball. But not Parker. He's a total champ and consults with my Pinterest boards for gift ideas. He gave me a Fitbit Alta with a bunch of different bands so I can match it to my outfit every day. Woot woot! He also got me a nice UV lens protector for my camera and a fancy schmancy tripod which I tested out for the first time with the photos below. He took me out to eat at Crave in Akron and I had some of the best fries I've ever had in my life. My mouth waters just thinking about them! Potatoes are my favorite food, in all the different forms, so I was pretty tickled pink to have such yummy fries. He got me a delicious cheesecake that we have been eating all weekend long and we still have lots left for this coming week. AND he sent me shopping on Saturday. SPOILED! I'm so spoiled! Thanks for making my 25th birthday one for the books, Parker David! I love you so much!

My parents sent me this beautiful dress from ASOS along with some shopping money because they know that I don't shop very often. I am really weird about spending money... I bought this really pretty purse from Charming Charlie and I'm so pumped about it! I love the structure because my last purse had none and I could never find anything in it! This one keeps my stuff super organized and it has a pocket for everything. It was love at first sight!

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, you guys! I really, really appreciate it and they made my day! I hope you had as fabulous a weekend as I did!


Dress: ASOS
Purse: Charming Charlie
Fitbit band
Shoes: old. Also love these.
Earrings: Kate Spade

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you had a lovely Sunday :).

xoxo, Chelan

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lululemon Obsessed

Let's chat Lululemon, shall we? I wouldn't say that I'm much of a brand snob. You know those people who have to have the brand name clothing/products and they won't buy anything else? I'm not that way... except with Lululemon. I am most definitely a Lulu snob. In high school, Lululemon became all the rage. I got my first pair in grade 10 and I've really never looked back. I still have that pair, by the way, and they are in perfect condition even after all these years! Let me tell you why I love Lululemon Athletica so much.

+ Comfort. Lululemon Athletica has some of the most comfortable clothing I have ever worn. Their leggings are the best ever. Hands down. Period. The end. The Align Pants are my absolute favorite and I want them in every color! The Aligns are made with their nulu fabric which is meant to give you basically a naked feeling and it does the job. You feel like you're wearing nothing and it's the best.

+ Style. Lululemon has so many different styles to choose from and they are all so chic. It definitely makes it hard to decide what to get. But just take comfort in the fact that whatever you choose, you will not be disappointed. I obviously recommend the Align Pants but I have also tried a few other styles, all of which are awesome. You really can't go wrong.

+ Their customer service is top notch! I just spoke with a representative this morning about my size not being available in the color I want for my next pair of Align Pants and she was so nice and helpful! Having worked in customer service for a while now myself, this is always super important to me. I love companies that take care of their customers!

+ You'll look good. Let's face it. Lululemon Athletica makes you look good. The Align Pants (can you tell I love them? haha) hug you in all the right places. They are high waisted so they don't cut into my muffin top. The seams are small and don't cut into my skin (does anyone else have this problem??). They smooth everything out and make you look toned. It's magical! They just make you look good, plain and simple. Boys, get your gals some Lululemon and it'll be a win win for everyone! ;)

+ The longevity. Lulus last forever. Like I said at the beginning of this post. I got my first pair 9 years ago and I've worn them roughly 468 times (at least once a week for 9 years but I know that when I first got them and in college I work them more like twice a week if not more often lol). They still look great. They hold their shape. They make my booty look fabulous. What more could a girl ask for?!

+ Cost. The only 'downside' for a lot of people would be the price. But having something last so long and look so good after so much activity, it only makes sense that such a high-quality product would cost as much as they do. The Align Pants are $98 and are well worth every penny!

+ Confidence. Being a dance teacher and a dancer, it's really important for me to feel comfortable and confident in my dancewear. Lululemon does that for me! I feel cute, confident, and strong when I'm wearing my Lulus and I know that they'll give me the support I need either at the gym, chasing kiddos around a studio, doing ballet, travelling, headed to the grocery store, on a run, or whatever I may have on the schedule on any given day.

So go get some Lululemon Athletica because you deserve to look amazing whether you're hitting the gym or hanging out on the couch!


xoxo, Chelan

Friday, July 21, 2017

Why you should watch Big Brother

This may be the stupidest post ever but I love Big Brother so much and I feel like no one else watches it. So consider this a public service announcement to tell my fellow tv lovers why you need to watch Big Brother hahah!

First, do you hate getting caught up on a show and you have to wait a whole week until the next episode? Ya. Me too. Well, Big Brother comes on 3 times a week. Sometimes even 4 times and it's the best! It's on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, so none of that waiting 7 days to watch the next episode nonsense. I really wish it was on 5 days of the week at least if I'm being honest. It's that good.

Second, the people are hilarious. The editing is awesome and these characters in the Big Brother house are nuts (Cody from this season, anyone?!). But I feel like I really get to know these people and they become my summer friends.. is that weird?

Third, the drama. I live for dramatic tv. I think it is so entertaining and I love listening to the contestant's strategies and to see how the twists of the game affect them and their alliances.

Fourth, it keeps you on your freaking toes. I honestly never know who is going home from one week to the next. The people who seem to be controlling the house one week could easily be on the bottom the next week and then have the power again the following week. It's insanity and such. good. tv.

Fifth, the challenges! They are so fun and creative and look like a blast! They are super entertaining to watch and it's very similar to Survivor if you like that show (another one of our favorites).

My family randomly draws names each summer so each of us have two contestants that are 'ours' to root for. We don't gamble but if we did, we would each put $5 or $10 in and whoever has the winning contestant would win the money. Matlin's won last year so she won the bragging rights. This draw adds a new twist because even if you hate the person you have because they are an idiot in the house, you still don't want them to go home! Can you tell I love it? hahah

So ya. You should watch Big Brother because it's the best of the best of summer tv! And if you do watch it, who are your favorites? I could talk about this all day so hit me up!

And a selfie bc I have no BB photos :P.


Happy Friday! xoxo, Chelan

Thursday, July 20, 2017

5 things to do each morning for a productive day


I'll be honest and say that I am not the most efficient person and I do tend to get distracted easily so my productive days where I just go, go, go the whole day don't happen as often as I'd like. So that's a goal of mine right now! To be more productive!

Parker is one of the most productive people I've ever met. He hates being lazy and loves that feeling at the end of the day where he knows he did everything he needed to that day. I love that feeling, too, so why is it so hard for me to be productive every day? Idk! To help me reach my goal of being more productive, I've compiled a list of things to do when I first wake up to ensure that I'll have a more productive day!



1. Wake up early (or semi-early). I am not a morning person. It is sooooo hard for me to pull myself out of bed. So when I say wake up early I mean 8 am is perfect. Not too early, but not too late. I can go to bed at midnight and wake up at 8 and feel well rested. I need about 8-9 hours of sleep to feel good. When I wake up at a decent hour, there's so much more time for me to do things while Parker is at school so we can spend time together when he comes home!

2. Pray. Starting my day off with prayer makes the biggest difference! Through prayer, I'm able to reflect on everything that I am grateful for and to really think about what my goals are and what I need to do. Acknowledging God's hand in my life at the beginning of the day just sets me up for a good day where I'm noticing His hand all day long.

3. Stay off your phone. Don't even look at it. I use my phone for my alarm so sometimes this is kind of hard but it's so worth it! I'm such a hypocrite for saying this since I stayed on my phone for an hour after I woke up this morning. Those dang notifications lol! But when I don't look at my phone right away I will get out of bed and be productive right from the get go. If I stay on my phone for an hour, then I feel just plain blah for that wasted hour of my life that I will never get back. There's never really anything super important on social media that won't be there later anyway, right?

4. Make the bed. I used to not do this.... ever. I didn't see the point of making the bed when I was just going to get back into it 14 hours later (or earlier if I were to have a nap lol). But I started making my bed first thing in the morning and it has made such a difference in my productivity! I'm more likely to keep cleaning and tidying if the bed is made. It gets me actually out of bed and KEEPS me out of bed so I'm not waking up, getting breakfast, and then climbing right back into bed for a few more minutes hours.

5. Do something active. Whether that is making the bed, cleaning, going for a walk, 10 jumping jacks, or something else, getting the blood flowing is a great way to make you feel ready to tackle the day! Working out is a struggle for me and if it doesn't happen in the morning, it most likely won't happen at all that day because suddenly it will be 10 PM and I won't feel like running....
Image via Happy Thought Shop.

So there you have it, folks! My list of things to do in the morning to ensure that I'll have a productive day! What do you do in the morning to start your day off right?

Thanks for reading!
xoxo, Chelan

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Currently Reading: Lies & Letters by Ashtyn Newbold

It's been a while since I shared a currently reading post and that's mostly because I haven't read in a long time! I kind of got stuck in a rut with a book I didn't love in January-April (that's how long it took me to get through it because I just didn't like it) and have recently got back into reading and I'm loving it! I have so many books I want to read and I've recently read quite a bit which has been awesome!

I come to you today with one of my favorite new authors (a cousin of family friends of ours) named Ashtyn Newbold. She writes beautiful, compelling, captivating, heartwarming novels in the Regency era which is one of my favorites! The characters in her books are always so endearing and I end up loving all of them. Every last one!

Her latest book, called Lies & Letters is about a girl named Charlotte who is thoroughly obnoxious at first. I've never read a novel with a main character who I disliked so much from the beginning. As the story unfolds and Charlotte is faced with trial after trial, it was so fun to see this character grow through these experiences. The author is witty, clever, and creates stories that I will read over and over again. If you love romance novels or the Regency era or both, give this one a try! Her other novel, Mischief & Manors, may be my favorite out of the two but they are both truly fabulous books!

*I received both books free from the author and this did not affect my opinion in any way.*

Image via Pinterest.

What are YOU currently reading? I'm in need of some more books for this summer!

xoxo, Chelan

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jumbled.

Well hey there! Parker and I just got home from 3 weeks of visiting family and it's bittersweet to be here. There is just something so nice about having a car and your own bed to come home to at night. However, I wouldn't trade the time we spent with our families for anything! It was even better than I could have dreamed and I'm feeling so grateful. So tonight, I come to you with some jumbled thoughts that I needed to get out of my head.

First, thank you to our families for having us these last 21 days. We had the time of our lives and we are so sad that it's over. I have gotten pretty good at goodbyes over the last 7 years of having to leave family over and over but something about this time just pulled at my heart strings a little bit more. I was a blubbering mess for two days and kept getting choked up along the way afterward. We went through Banff on our way to Calgary to fly home and as we were leaving the mountains, I couldn't help but get a little teary. I'm not very outdoorsy but those Rockies sure feel like home to me.

Second, Parker starts his 3rd year of medical school tomorrow. Can you believe that?!!! It's going so fast! I go back to work after having 3 weeks off and it feels like the perfect fresh start. We got home at a decent hour so I cleaned and unpacked (on the same day as arriving home, what what?!) and I feel ready to take on this new year. Even though the summer is far from over and I am not the one going to school tomorrow, tonight does feel somewhat like the night before the first day of school for me, too. The anticipation and dread but also excitement are real.

Third, I'm feeling grateful. I'm such a baby lately and have tears as I write this but life is so great and I can't help but feel so much gratitude right now. Family time was amazing. Being in the sun almost every day for 3 weeks straight was just what I needed. We spent a lot of time outdoors (which I usually don't love) but I couldn't help but notice God's hand in my life as I was surrounded by His awe-inspiring creations. I'm feeling refreshed, inspired, and hopeful for what this new year will bring. We are so blessed and God is good.


Thanks for reading! More details, photos, and a video of our trip(s) to come!

Happy Sunday y'all!
xoxo, Chelan

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sunday with the McMurrays

Parker and I arrived in Canada Saturday night so we got to go to church with my family in the morning. Camrie and her friends performed the most beautiful musical number during sacrament meeting and it was such a treat! They are sooooo talented! It's rare that we are all together and all dressed up so we took some photos after church before everyone changed into their standard Sunday afternoon sweats so I thought I'd share a few of the photos (ok maybe a few more than a few hehe I couldn't choose)!

Happy Summer, everyone!

xoxo, Chelan