Apr 19, 2019

J'adore 4.19.19

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.

1.  Notre Dame de Paris.  Of course you saw the news this week about the massive fire that destroyed parts of the infamous cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris.  As I watched the footage and feared the loss of this beautiful, historic structure, I thought about what this church has meant to so many people.  I've visited Notre Dame many times and even attended Christmas Mass there in 2008.  Regardless of your religious belief, when you step inside the cathedral, you feel something -- the faith, the history, the architecture, the art, the literature.  I'm so relieved that the main structure was saved, that so many more people will be able to visit, and that the sense of purpose one feels while inside will live on.  By the way, did you ever notice that the graphic I created for this J'adore series is a picture I took of Notre Dame in the springtime?

2.  The Tracy Crosswhite Series by Robert Dugoni.  It's no secret that I love to read a good murder mystery.  I started this series of novels about detective, Tracy Crosswhite, several years ago and am always happy when I come across a new book in the series.  I just finished the fifth novel, Close to Home, and recommend these books to anyone who likes a suspenseful story featuring a tough-as-nails detective with a tragic past.

3.  Coconut Skincare Products.  It may be spring, but most days it doesn't feel like it around these parts.  But the brief glimpses we have had of the sun make me fully ready for the warmer months and the fun that come along with them!  For the time being, though, a few coconut-scented skincare products are helping me to channel summer.  I've been using the Acure Brightening Coconut Cleansing Towelettes for the nights that I'm too lazy to wash my face and the Georgette Klinger Coconut Cleansing Milk when I do wash my face.  Both smell like the perfect day at the beach!

Apr 17, 2019

April Encore

I've mentioned a few times that the budget is pretty tight around here lately.  Not only are Justin and I learning to combine finances, we're planning a wedding and saving for a honeymoon.  My single-girl pocketbook spent lots of money on new clothes, but that just isn't the priority right now.

I started this blog as motivation to remix the clothing that was already hanging in my closet but somewhere down the road, I kind of lost sight of that goal.

But now I'm getting back to my roots!  This is the first post in a monthly series I'm starting called Encore, which means "again" in French.  This month, I looked through my posts of past Aprils and chose a piece of clothing from one of the posts to remix!  I will continue this each month.  I'm excited to look at older items in my closet with a fresh perspective!

This month, I chose to feature a floral blouse, because who isn't in the mood for floral this time of year?  This top is also fun to remix because the print is so vibrant, there are so many ways to pull-out the different colors with different items of clothing and accessories.


I also chose to create an office-appropriate look with pants this year since last year I posted a casual and a skirt outfit with this blouse.  Which of the three looks is your favorite?

What I'm Wearing
Blouse: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Cardigan: Target (similar)
Pants: LOFT (similar)
Flats: Land's End (similar)

Apr 15, 2019

My Top Five Michigan Races

Over the last couple of years, I've mentioned running more and more on the blog.  It's a hobby that I now feel passionate about but didn't at all see coming.  Two years ago I couldn't even run a mile, now I'm training for a half marathon!

In the time that I've grown to enjoy running, I've participated in a bunch of Michigan races.  It's a weekend activity that Justin and I like to do together (and by together, I mean he runs way ahead of me and then celebrates at the finish line with me).  I've run so many enjoyable races that I had a hard time narrowing this list down to my top five.  But if you live in Michigan (or are visiting), these are the races I most recommend running in the mitten state!

1.  Bayshore Marathon/Half Marathon/10k: Okay, so the fact that Justin proposed on this race course definitely helps it jump to my number one spot!  But aside from engagement rings and fiancés, much of this race stretches along the coastline of the Old Mission Peninsula with beautiful views of the bay.  The race is held on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend so the weather is usually mild and there is a celebratory feeling in the air. 

2.  MSU Federal Credit Union Dino Dash: In my opinion, Michigan State's campus is one of the most beautiful places to be -- especially during the fall!  So running 3.1 miles through campus on a crisp October morning is a true pleasure! 

3.  Bier Distillery 5k: If you like scenic nature runs or delicious cocktails (or perhaps both), this is a fantastic race!  The route takes you along the White Pine Trail (one of my favorite places to train) and you get a cocktail made with in-house spirits when you finish.  This race is coming-up in a few weeks.  See you there?

4.  Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run: This race really showcases downtown Grand Rapids!  You run right through the heart of the city and get to cross a few of the big bridges.  The race takes place during September, so the weather is great for running!

5.  Reeds Lake Trail Blazer: What better way to kick-off your 4th of July celebration than with a 5k?  Justin and I ran this race together during our first summer together and decided that we want to create the tradition of running it every year.  Running through beautifully manicured East Grand Rapids surrounded by families celebrating the holiday is lots of fun!

If you're a runner, tell me about your favorite races!

Apr 12, 2019

J'adore 4.12.19

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.

1.  Hard Seltzer Water.  Now that the weather's warming-up, I'm craving lighter and crisper drinks when it's time to enjoy an adult beverage.  I've been seeing lots of advertisements for hard seltzer water and now seemed like a perfect moment to try them!  I purchased a multipack of Henry's Hard Sparkling Water to sample first.  So far I've tried the pineapple and the peach mango flavors.  Both are delicious (although pineapple is my favorite) and refreshing.  Here's a fun article I found about the top 7 hard seltzers so you can choose one to try for yourself!

2.  Woven Accessories.  Whether you call it raffia, wicker or woven, these shoes and bags are having a moment!  My clothing and accessory budget is rather tight at the moment but I thought a pair of woven shoes would be a perfect and easy way to update my spring wardrobe.  This pair came in the mail today and I'm so excited to wear them.  Not only are they cute, they're comfy and fit true to size!  They also check the box for the mule category -- another huge trend this season.

3.  Lilac NailsIt may be cheesy, but I love when my nail polish matches the season.  For my latest manicure, I chose the lightest purple I could find (similar to this color).  It's my favorite manicure lately and I think I will continue the pastel nail trend throughout the spring and into the summer.

Apr 8, 2019

Wedding Planning: The Flowers

Does the start of spring have you thinking about sunshine and blooming flowers?  I've been thinking a lot about flowers lately but not in the sense of "April showers and May flowers."  The most recent big task on the wedding planning checklist was choosing a florist!

After researching lots of options in the Grand Rapids area, we've chosen to work with Gail Vander Laan Floral.  We met with Gail at her home studio and were impressed with her ability to see our vision and work with our budget.  Of course we will all have to to wait until December to see the vision come together, but here are a few of the inspiration photos we showed Gail.

For the bouquets, we are sticking within our color pallet of navy, cranberry, blush and gold.  Gail will incorporate several different kinds of flowers in cranberry and blush with pops of blue berries and some greenery.  The shape of the bouquets will be somewhere in between an overgrown, wild look and a perfectly semetrical ball of flowers.

I'm super excited about the centerpieces!  We are going to be doing a combination of round tables and rectangular tables and no two centerpieces will be exactly alike.  For the rectangular tables, we'll have a garland of evergreen down the center of the table with flowers in our color pallet tucked into the greenery.  The round tables will feature centerpieces with the same elements.  Each table will have a collection of mercury glass candle holders as well.

I absolutely can't wait to see what our flowers will look like on our big day!

Apr 5, 2019

J'adore 4.5.19

Welcome to J'adore, my weekly space for sharing what makes me happy lately.

1.  Michigan State Basketball.  Oh my gosh, did you watch the MSU vs. Duke basketball game last weekend?!  Talk about a nail biter!  If you've followed my blog for awhile, you probably know that I'm a huge MSU fan.  I come from a family of alumni and we bleed green.  I mean, my cat's name is Izzo (named after the Spartan basketball coach, Tom Izzo) for pete's sake.  I'm pumped that my team has made it to the Final Four and I'm looking forward to an exciting game on Saturday.  Go GREEN!

2.  Budget Bytes.  I don't blog much about food, but when I do, it's usually to talk about a recipe from my favorite food blog, Budget Bytes.  All of Beth's recipes are easy, budget-friendly and so so delicious!  A couple recent favorites are Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry Bowls and the Loaded Mashed Potato BowlsThis recipe may or may not be in the oven as I type!

3.  Schitt's Creek.  Admittedly, Justin and I watch a lot of drama television.  But every once in awhile you need to watch something funny!  And Schitt's Creek is just the thing.  This half-an-hour sitcom features a wealthy family who have lost everything and have to move to a town that the father purchased as a joke many years ago called Schitt's Creek.  The first few episodes were a bit slow for us but we've really gotten into it!

Apr 3, 2019

Currently: April 2019

experiencing: increasingly long training runs.  I'm really in the thick of training for my first 1/2 marathon.  That means that I'm running farther than I ever thought I was capable.  Preparing for this race has been harder than I expected - I've just really had trouble getting into the running groove and improvement has been a challenge every step of the way.  But last weekend I ran eight miles.  That feels pretty darn good!

appreciating: intentional outings.  Justin and I have really tightened-up our budget lately (it turns out that wedding and honeymoon planning can be expensive, who know?).  Instead of being bummed by fewer evenings out, it's given me a deeper appreciation for the dates we do have planned.  I find myself looking forward to and savoring them more.  I'm really looking forward to trying the restaurant, New Hotel Mertens, with a group of friends this month.

wishlisting: lots and lots of stuff for the house.  This past weekend, Justin and I purchased new dressers and nightstands (we had been using mismatched pieces from our single days).  While we recoup funds, I'm anxious to purchase a new bed (we're considering something like this) to complete the furniture update.  And we've registered for new bedding that will refresh the entire room!

posting: wardrobe remixes.  That tight budget I mentioned earlier means that I don't get to buy as much clothes as I would like lately.  But you know what, I started this blog to hold myself accountable to wardrobe remixing and I think I need to get back to my roots.  Expect to see some new outfits featuring older pieces around here soon.

considering: bridal shower dress choices.  My wedding shower isn't until July, but that doesn't mean I can't start thinking about which dress to wear!  I know I want to wear a white sundress so I have been scouring all of my favorite retailers as spring dresses start popping-up!

Apr 1, 2019

Spring Bucket List 2019

Hey there, friends!  I don't know about you, but I'm so glad that spring is in the air.  Winter is my favorite season, but this one really wreaked havoc on so many of us.  But the rising temperatures, the sound of the birds in the morning and the sunshine are giving me a new pep in my step!

This re-found energy has me ready to tackle another seasonal bucket list!  But before we get to my spring list, let's take a look at what I accomplished this fall (because I never got around to writing or completing a winter list this year).

1.  Go wedding dress shopping.  I did!  And I bought a wedding dress!  For my first wedding gown try-on, my mom and I went to BHLDN in Chicago.  It was the perfect first experience.  My consultant made me feel like a princess, the private try-on suite was beautiful, the rosé was delicious and I loved trying-on so many beautiful dresses.  Ultimately, though, I didn't find the one.  In January I went shopping with my mom and my best friend, Nicole.  We had a marathon dress day spanning three different stores in two different cities.  But I found it!  The dress of my dreams!  I can't wait to show it to you...but not until the wedding.

2.  Send-in some clothes to ThredUp.  Nope, I flat-out didn't do this and only out of laziness.  I still have an empty ThredUp bag to fill!

3.  Go for one outdoor run (I usually run at the gym).  Check!  Justin and I trained for our Turkey Trot 8k (photographic evidence above) at our local White Pine Trail.  I've been loving this spot more and more this spring as I can start training outside again.

4.  Watch all of the Halloween movie franchise in preparation for the new movie coming-out.  Yes!  This was actually kind of hard to accomplish.  Taking time out of weekday evenings to squeeze eight-or-so movies into one month had us scrambling.  But we did it and we enjoyed the new movie at the theater!

5.  Purchase some gear to wear to a local high school's football game.  Just call me a Northview Wildcat!  Is it weird that I'm already looking forward to football season again?  I love a good hometown game as well as my Spartans!

6.  Do 30 days of at-home yoga.  Want to know how many days of at-home yoga I did?  One.  Yep, only one.  Major fail!

7.  Attend Art Prize (a big-time art festival in Grand Rapids).  Justin and I had a really fun date night at Art Prize and a new-to-us Grand Rapids restaurant.  It's always exciting to see what these creative artists come-up with every year.  The piece above features clothing pinned to lines, each item has a snippet of conversation the artist has overheard.  Really interesting!

8.  Make something pumpkin flavored.  Another nope.  But I did cook a lot this fall so I'm not too upset about it.

9.  Try a new top ten Grand Rapids restaurant each month (a continuation).  Justin and I completed our top ten Grand Rapids restaurant list in 2018.  You can read about our experience here.

10.  Taste each of Sweetland's (a local coffee joint) special fall drinks.  You know, I don't think I completed this.  But I did try all of the ones I was interested in.  So I think I'm going to count this as a win.

7ish outta 10 ain't bad!  And here's what I plan to do this season:

1.  Pick a wedding rehearsal dinner venue.
2.  Run (and I mean run -- no walking) my first 1/2 marathon.
3.  Continue trying one new Michigan breakfast place each month.
4.  Clear-out our house clutter with a garage sale.
5.  Use only gift cards and store credit for spring clothes shopping.
6.  Frame a few engagement photos to hang.
7.  Take an inaugural 2019 bike ride.
8.  Stock-up on produce at the Rockford Farmer's Market.
9.  Buy fresh flowers for the house.
10.  Have an old-school rental movie night complete with candy and pizza.

What exciting things do you have on the docket for the next few months?  And thanks, Leslie, for hosting this seasonal link-up, even though I'm late to the party.