Monday, August 31, 2015

Tips for Surviving a Long Commute

Hello, Monday!

As I've mentioned before, transitioning from an eight minute commute to nearly an hour long one has been a little rough. I'm pretty sure I've experienced every emotion possible during my time in the car...exhaustion, road rage, peacefulness, boredom...I've felt them all. It has definitely taken a while, but I think I'm finally getting used to the additional two hours added on to my work day.

Here are a few things I have found helpful during my long commute:

  • Podcasts
    • Prior to moving, I had never listened to a podcast. Ever. One day, when I was complaining about my commute, a friend recommended Serial to me. I was desperate for a distraction and decided to give it a go. Man, was I hooked! Since then I have found a handful of other podcasts that I enjoy listening to occasionally. I'll be sure to update you on my favorites a little later.
  • The Bobby Bones Show
    • If you have never started your morning off listening to Bobby Bones, then you are missing out. I have been hooked on his morning show for years. I love that it isn't a bunch of people talking in their "radio voices" and pretending to be broadcasting personalities. Instead, it's just a regular group of friends talking about all the things you would find yourself talking to your own friends about. It's great. I hope we can sit in on the show during our trip to Nashville this fall!
  • Audiobooks
    • Being quite a book worm, these have been a life saver for me. I have always wished I had more time to knock out all of the books that I want to read, and now I do! Only instead of reading them, I listen to them in the car. Talk about a great way to pass the time. It really helps make the commute fly by. Stay tuned for some of the recent books I've been listening to.
  • Water
    • On a different note, I've found that it is always helpful to have cold water with me during my drive. Something about being on the road (maybe it's boredom) makes me drink a lot of water. Since I sometimes slack on my water intake throughout the day, I always try to knock out at least one water bottle before I get to work.

One thing that I have yet to try, but have been contemplating for several months, is XM Radio. I don't know about you, but I get tired of hearing the same songs over and over on the radio. I feel like XM Radio would add a good variety to my music selection, but I haven't pulled the trigger on it yet. I did find out this past weekend that SiriusXM is having a free preview until September 8th, so I will be able to give it a test run before I decide whether or not to purchase.

Have a great week!


Emily Ann

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekly Bits:: 15

Listened:: One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
  • Earlier this year I read Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and really enjoyed it. I've been wanting to read One Plus One for a while now, but just haven't had the time, so I decided to give the audio book a shot during my daily commute. I'm really enjoying it so far! 

Dined:: Dewey's Pizza
  • To celebrate my friend Tom's birthday, we grabbed a pizza and a couple beers last night. It was my first time trying Dewey's Pizza and I wasn't disappointed! I'll definitely be back in the near future.

Started:: Walking at lunch
  • Since the weather has been so nice this week, I have made it a priority to go to the park and walk every day during my lunch hour. My goal is to keep up with this at least a few times a week as we transition into fall.

Attended:: Sales and Use Tax Seminar
  • Well first, let me tell you this was just as boring as it sounds! I did learn a lot though, and am eager to put it to good use at work. A few funny tax laws I learned: 
    • In Missouri, if you buy a bagel and get it sliced, you should be paying a higher tax rate than if you buy a bagel and don't get it sliced. Slicing it changes it from a grocery to a processed good which carries a higher tax rate.
    • A Twix is considered a cookie rather than candy since it contains flour. This makes it a grocery rather than a candy and therefore has a lower tax rate in Missouri than other candy bars.
    • If you buy illegal drugs in Missouri, you are supposed to be paying tax on your purchase. (I guarantee this never happens!) 
    • You do not pay sales tax on clothing in Pennsylvania unless it is considered "formal". Missouri should adopt this law!


Emily Ann

P.S. I have zero plans for Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and am really looking forward to spending some time at home since I've been on the go so much lately!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2014 Family Pictures

When I was working on my weekend recap earlier this week, I stumbled across the album of our family pictures from last summer. I forgot how great they turned out! All of the photos were taken at Mom and Dad's farm which makes them even more special.

I was talking with Mom not too long ago, and we are already planning on taking more family pictures next summer when we have a new addition to our little family (I'm going to be an Aunt again!). I can't wait to capture more special memories in our next family photo shoot.

Here are a few of my favorites:

My absolute favorite picture!
How cute are my Mom and Dad?!
Who knew the old shed would make such a perfect back drop?
My favorite little family
The perfect sunset
I love this little guy so much!
Such proud Grandparents
Just hanging out in the barn loft


Emily Ann

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy Wednesday

Enjoy today!


Emily Ann

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wish List:: Fall Style

Just a few of my current fall favorites:

Emily Ann

Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekend Recap:: Guess Who's Two?!

Loving on Gavin during our 2014 family pictures
I don't know how my nephew is already turning two today. Time sure does fly when you're having fun! There is nothing in the world that compares to being an Aunt. That little guy means the world to me, and I am so lucky to have him in my life. I cannot wait to meet his little brother or sister in February!

Here is a brief recap of how I spent my weekend:

Michael and I met up with some friends/family for dinner at Tucano's Brazilian Grill. Our dinner reservation wasn't until 8, so we grabbed some drinks at Bar Louie before. The food at Tucano's was decent (all the guys loved it), but I don't feel the need to go back any time soon. After dinner, Michael and I headed to the casino to test our luck. I won a whopping $10!

I headed home to spend time with the family and celebrate Gavin's 2nd birthday. Mom was invited to a wedding that morning and asked me to go with her. It was a lovely ceremony at Apple Creek Farm and I even ran into some old friends from high school. After the wedding, I went to my sister's house to help her set up for the party and, of course, hang out with the birthday boy.

Gavin had the best time at his party. He loved all the attention and was all smiles. His favorite present had to be the pedal tractor from Grandma and Grandpa. He couldn't quite reach the pedals but he made sure everyone at the party pushed him around on his new tractor. (Side note: the poor quality of these pictures makes me want a new phone immediately.)

Couldn't get him off of that tractor!

Blowing out his candle with Mom and Dad

Trying to get a picture with the birthday boy

Clearly he wasn't having it
Good enough :)
Once again, my Sunday was full of laundry and much needed relaxation. 


Emily Ann

Friday, August 21, 2015

Weekly Bits:: 14

Listened:: Mat Kearney
  • A few friends and I are attending the Mat Kearney/Parachute concert at the Pageant in October. I have had his music on repeat this week. 
Dined:: Amigos Cantina
  • To celebrate my girl friend's birthday, a few of us headed to Amigos Cantina in Kirkwood for dinner and a lot of chit chatting. It was a perfect way to spend a Wednesday night.
Enjoyed:: This beautiful weather!
  • The weather this week has been amazing (minus a couple storms). Highs in the 70-80's and lows in the 50-60's...bring on fall! I took advantage of the nice weather by heading to the park a few days after work to squeeze a run in.
Scheduled:: SUP Yoga
  • Jess and I bought a Groupon a while back for a stand up paddle board yoga class. We scheduled our class for next Saturday. I have zero sense of balance so I'm sure I will be terrible at it, but I am eager to try.

Emily Ann

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fall Preview

If you couldn't tell by my post from last week, I am so ready for fall! It is definitely my favorite season of the year. I can't wait for boots, scarves, and bonfires! Here is a peek at some of the fun activities I already have planned for this fall:

  • Boating adventure for my birthday
  • Family road trip to Georgia
  • Kacey Musgraves concert 


Emily Ann

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Thoughts

It's easy to get caught up in the aspiration to want more out of life. I often fall victim to this myself. And while I do believe it is important to aspire for things, I also believe that we often overlook the everyday blessings in our lives.

There are so many moments, both big and small that have brought us to this exact point in our lives. Sometimes it is good to just take a step back and appreciate those moments. It's then that we realize that maybe we don't need anything more than to simply be grateful for where we are, in this very moment and for the things we already have.

It's a comforting feeling to know that "I am exactly where I need to be, right now".


Emily Ann

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend Recap:: Girls' Lake Trip

This past weekend was spent soaking up the sun with a couple girlfriends at the Lake of the Ozarks. The weather was absolutely perfect and we had the best time. Here is a short recap of our adventure:

Perfect way to spend a summer weekend
Jess and I packed up the car early and headed to the Lake to meet Abbey. We made a pit stop at an adorable, new coffee shop in Troy, MO called Roasted Bean. Personally, I'm not a coffee person, but I can at least say that their donuts are delicious!

When we arrived at Abbey's condo, we threw on our swimsuits, cracked open a Mike's Hard Lemonade, and hopped on the boat (named Successful Journey IV). Our first stop was Coconuts. This is probably one of my favorite places at the Lake. I love the pool and swim up bars. After a couple of hours, we headed back to the boat and found a cove to float in for a while. Before we realized, it was dinner time so we took the boat to Franky and Louie's to grab some grub.

After dinner, we headed back to the condo and lounged by the pool for a while before calling it an early night. The long day on the Lake definitely got the best of us!

Boating supplies, check!

Our ride for the weekend = Successful Journey IV

We woke up and started the day by going on a hunt to get Jess some coffee from a local coffee shop. After driving around aimlessly for a while, we ended up at Starbucks - a failed attempt to support local businesses.

We then headed back to the condo and got ready to take the boat out again. Jess' cousin was also at the Lake, so we snatched her up and set out to enjoy the sunshine once again. For lunch, we stopped at Shady Gators before heading back out on the water for some more floating.

We made it back to the condo just before sunset and started getting ready for a night out. Trixie Delight was playing at H. Toad , and it was close to the condo so we decided to go check it out. There was an interesting crowd and it ended up being quite a random night. We almost witnessed a couple of fights, found out that the dance floor caved in at Shady Gators, and also ran into a couple familiar faces.

Enjoying the Lake with our floating flamingos!
Great weekend with great friends

Jess insisted on a picture with the giant toad!
We packed up early on Sunday and headed home. My day consisted of a lot of laundry and lounging around, which was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.

How was your weekend?


Emily Ann

P.S. Shop my look here:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weekly Bits:: 13

Watched:: Dark Places
  • I had been very curious to see how this movie turned out ever since I finished reading the book. I found the movie to be much better than the book. It just seemed to flow more smoothly and Charlize Theron did a great job portraying the disturbed character of Libby Day.
Made:: Wife Saver Breakfast
  • I had some peaches that I wanted to experiment with so I gave this recipe a whirl. It turned out great! It tasted like peach cobbler and I'll definitely be making it again in the future.
Committed:: 8 Week Beginner 10k Running Schedule
  • This plan seems easy enough, and I've been needing some additional motivation to commit to my workouts lately. I originally planned to run a half marathon in September, but due to other activities popping up, I'm going to have to skip that one. I'm still looking for a 10k to run this fall with some of my pals though, so hopefully there will be one around the St. Louis area in the October/November time frame.
Looking Forward To:: Girl's Trip to the Lake
  • I've been looking forward to this trip since the beginning of the summer! My friend Abbey and her family have a condo at the Lake, and I have been lucky enough to spend a weekend there every summer for the past three years. Jess and I are packing up the car this morning and heading to meet Abbey for three days of sunshine, boating, and relaxing!

Emily Ann

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fall Curb Appeal

My mom is great at landscaping.  Her yard always looks amazing, so when she came to visit last weekend, I asked her for advice on improving the curb appeal of our house. Obviously, Michael (being a man) didn't care too much for keeping up with the flowers or bushes at the house prior to me moving in. So now, we are left with a lot of dead plants and exactly zero curb appeal.

Luckily, Mom made a few recommendations to improve the aesthetics for the upcoming fall season. She also promised to come back up in the spring with some fun ideas that include monkey grass and vibrant flowers.

Here is my to-do list to add a little touch curb appeal this fall, along with a few pictures that I grabbed from Pinterest for more inspiration:
  1. Find a flag to put in the flagpole bracket
  2. Purchase two black chairs for the corners of the porch
  3. Find or paint a bench black to place between the two front doors
  4. Dig up the dead bushes
  5. Plant chrysanthemums in place of the dead bushes
  6. Add pumpkins and a decorative wreath for the final fall touches


Emily Ann

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

End of Summer Style

Can you believe we're already halfway through August?! Summer is winding down, and while I'm determined to make the most of these last few weeks of the season, I am still really looking forward to fall!

Here are a few looks that I am loving right now and hope to replicate as summer comes to an end:

    Lauren Elizabeth           Lilly Style            J's Everyday Fashion   The Glitter Guide    The Dainty Darling  


Emily Ann

Monday, August 10, 2015

Stitch Fix:: v.2

Remember when I mentioned that I'd be ordering another Stitch Fix box in the near future? Well it finally arrived! I decided to set my account up for quarterly deliveries, and have been eagerly awaiting this delivery for a couple of months now.

For those of you who don't know what Stitch Fix is, it's a personal styling service that shops for you and sends 5 items of clothing or accessories to your door, either monthly or on a date of your choosing. You can read a full review of my first Stitch Fix delivery here.

First, I just want to start by saying how much I loved every piece that was in this box! I am very impressed by how well the stylists were able to interpret my personal style. Alright, now let's take a peek inside my box (ignore my messy hair and the terrible lighting in the pictures):

RD Style - Shae Short / Market & Spruce - Adda Lace Detail Knit Top 

  • I was a huge fan of the RD Style shorts and Market & Spruce top. I adore that look, however, I decided it is too late in the summer season to splurge on a new pair of shorts, and the striped shirt wasn't really necessary. I hesitantly returned both items, but will keep this style in mind come next spring.

Olive & Oak - Lomita Button Down Top 

  • Plaid is one of my favorite styles, so it took me all of about two seconds to decide that I was keeping the Olive & Oak button down. Those colors are just too perfect to pass up.

Renee C - Rachael Printed Dress

  • How cute is that Renee C dress?! Unfortunately, it was too big for me so I had to return it. I seriously contemplated ordering it it a smaller size, but decided to just hold out and see what other goodies will be in my next Stitch Fix box.

Renee C - Tucker Mixed Print Split-Back Top

  • The Renee C top also had me from the start. The print is adorable and the fact that it has split back only makes it more perfect. I kept this one too.

I can't wait to see what comes in my next Stitch Fix delivery!


Emily Ann

Friday, August 7, 2015

Weekly Bits:: 12

Booked:: A trip to Mexico!!
  • It took a little negotiating, but I finally got Michael to agree to an all-inclusive trip to Mexico in April! 2016 is already looking like it's going to be a fantastic year!
Tried:: Pasta Pizza Casserole
  • I had a chance to make one of the recipes on my list this week. We definitely enjoyed this pasta and will be making it again in the future.
Watched:: Paper Towns
  • I've been itching to see this movie since I finished the book last week. While the movie wasn't as riveting as I wanted it to be, I did enjoy it slightly more than the book. The events in the movie didn't follow the book as closely as I was hoping, but overall the storyline was the the same, and I enjoyed Q's journey towards finding Margo.
Listened To:: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
  • Lately, I've been switching back and forth between podcasts and audio books during my commute to work. This is a totally cliche girly book, but I'm eager to hear how ends.
Attended:: Muscle Works Class
  • This class has been kicking my butt the last couple of weeks, and I am really loving it. This week I tried a new instructor, and man was she tough!

Emily Ann

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wish List:: Birthday!

You guys, my birthday is less than a month away! I have big plans to go boating with my friends and family to celebrate, and I can't wait! So, in true, "it's almost my birthday fashion", I decided to come up with a birthday wish list....hey, a girl can dream right?!
  • Loving these Puma running shoes.
  • I've been itching for a Kate Spade watch with a leather band like this one for a while now.
  • Remember when I mentioned I was tossing around the idea of getting XM Radio? That makes the list too!
  • Jess sent me these booties recently, and I've been brainstorming outfit ideas ever since I first laid eyes on them. 
  • I've been loving the look of graphic tanks lately. This one and this one are a couple of my current favorites...oh and this one too!

Emily Ann

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Spare Room Ideas

One part of my new home that still has me stumped is our tiny extra bedroom.  I keep changing my mind about what I want to do with it. Initially, my idea was to turn it into a closet room where I could hang all of my clothes and get ready, but now I'm leaning more towards opening it up a bit and adding a daybed. Below are a few looks that have caught my eye:


Emily Ann

Monday, August 3, 2015

Weekend Recap:: Hello, August

This past weekend was spent enjoying time with friends and family, and I wouldn't have changed a thing!

I finally knocked one of the movies off my summer line up. For date night, Michael and I went to see Southpaw. It was a great movie and Jake Gyllenhaal was fantastic. If you know me, you know I'm a crier when it comes to emotional movies. Even though I pretty much sobbed the whole way through this one, I still highly recommend seeing it.

I headed to my hometown to visit with my sister and nephew. We spent the morning shopping and playing outside. Joe Diffie was playing at the Cole County Fair Saturday night, so a couple of my friends and I headed to Jeff City to check it out. I was really looking forward to seeing him in concert since I love some of his songs....Pickup Man, John Deere Green, Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox...however, I'd say his performing days are nearing the end. We were pretty disappointed in the performance. Luckily, I had great company to chit chat with and we still had a really fun night!

Always a fun time with this girl! (shop my shirt here)

I lounged around the house with Dad all morning and then headed to my Grandma's house for a baby shower. My cousin's girlfriend is having a baby girl in September, so my family threw her an adorable lady bug themed shower. We ate delicious food, played games, and showered her with gifts! It was the perfect ending to a great weekend.

Chocolate bourbon cupcakes!
Lady bug tomatoes
My sister and me with the mommy to be!  (shop my shirt here)

How was your weekend?


Emily Ann

P. S. Remember when I mentioned that my Mom and Gavin created a gnome village? Well here is an update of the village! There is a river, a church, patio set, and multiple residents!

Mom and Gavin's gnome village!