Fall Recipes to Try

Monday, October 24, 2016

November is coming up quickly and it's the month where I'll be trying a new recipe every week! So I've been pinning up a storm of fall (okay pumpkin) and cozy slow cooker meals to try out. Here are some of my favorites:
I need to use our crock pot more and this looks SO GOOD.

Another crock pot recipe to try. How much you want to bet this never will come out looking like that though?๐Ÿ˜‚

Wishing I had a warm piece of this goodness right now! #drooling

Last I checked I didn't actually like chili, but I feel like I need to give it another shot. Mark will be psyched ;) 

This looks like simultaneously the cutest and most delicious thing I've ever seen!

I've been making this recipe for years and they're hands down the best. Thinking I need to make them ASAP!

Wish me luck with this whole new-recipe-every-week thing because I really dislike cooking :)

xo Catherine

Louie Turns One!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Wednesday was Louie's "birthday" and he turned one! I say "birthday" because he's a rescue pup so we don't actually know when it is. We got him on March 19th and they thought he was about five months old, so we decided October 19th would be his birthday. He's still a little sour patch kid, but we adore him and he really makes us feel like a little family. We've loved getting to see his personality come out pretty much from the second we brought him home. This post may seem over the top to some of you, but we're kind of obsessed with him, so I thought it was only fitting to write him a little love letter of sorts for his birthday.

Nicknames: Lou, Loubert, Loulou, munchkin, munch, munchers, bud, buddy, budders, little buddy, little bean, pup, puppers, Louboo, goofy goober, Mr. Steal Your Socks.

Favorite things: snuggling (he's half laying across my laptop as I write this), barking, laying in the sun, peanut butter, fetch, not bringing the ball back during fetch, tennis balls, oversized bones, belly rubs, ice cubes, chewing on his name tag, playing chase, stealing socks, trying to dig through the mattress, shoving his ball under the couch and then whining when he can't reach it.

Least favorite things: kisses from us๐Ÿ˜ฉ (he has a weird thing about having our faces close to his), random noises, walks, wearing his harness, anything citrus scented or flavored, forced snuggles, bedtime.

Our favorite thing about him: his unconditional love and how excited he gets when we come home. Even when we're in bad moods he can always make us feel better.

Our least favorite thing about him: the barking! He started this thing a couple months ago where he barks every night when we put him in his kennel. He was a little angel for like the first four months and then randomly started doing this. We can't figure out why he started doing it or why he hasn't figured out that it's not going to get him into bed with us.

Worst thing he's ever done: this has to be a tie between pulling Mark's towel off the rack and peeing on it or peeing on the mattress. He really has only had a handful of accidents since the first month we got him but they happened to be in very inconvenient places i.e. the mattress ๐Ÿ˜’

Best thing he's done: definitely this picture:

We were working on crate training during dinner and it's like he was trying to entertain us๐Ÿ˜‚

Sometimes I still can't believe that we have a dog and that he's still alive. Kidding! Well maybe there is a hint of truth to that - it's so much responsibility to be in charge of his little life. He's definitely brought us a lot of joy despite how much we may get annoyed with him.

I was looking through photos and realized I have a ton of pretty great snapchat screenshots of him from Mark, so I thought I'd end with some of my favorites:

And with that I'll wish you a happy weekend, friends!
xo Catherine 

The Most Perfect Green Lace Dress

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Dress: Eliza J via Nordstrom. Shoes: BCBG (similar). Purse: Forever 21 (similar). Necklace: J. Crew Factory (similar). 
How gorgeous is this dress? It's got just about all of the things I love wrapped into one: lace, fit and flare, sleeves, and it's green! I bought it with the intention of wearing it for our engagement pictures in a few weeks but I couldn't wait to share it here. Would love to know if you have any tips for engagement pictures because I feel like I have so many questions!

Not much to report this week, today is Louie's (made up) birthday so there will be a little celebration tonight complete with a birthday bandanna and peanut butter puppy cake. I know, I am ridiculous :)

Thank you for reading!
xo Catherine 

Rainy Fall Days + Fall Decorations

Monday, October 17, 2016

Happy Monday friends! Today's post is kind of a random one but I wanted to share some simple fall home decor ideas and my essentials for the perfect cozy, rainy day. I'm still just as excited about our fireplace/mantel as I was when we moved in. I've been patiently waiting for the holidays so I could decorate it accordingly! 

We already had the bronze candle holders up on the mantel and I wanted to decorate around them since I think they go well with fall colors. I picked up a couple small pumpkins or gourdes or whatever they are and then just some fall foliage from Michael's and did a little arranging. I'm really happy with how it turned out!

It rained all weekend here in the Bay, which was ah-mazing. We spent most of the weekend cozied up inside with fires, hence the urge to get some fall decorations up. I'm craving all things cozy right now so I rounded up some of my favorite things for the perfect rainy day at home. Just add a good book/TV show and a hot beverage!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
xo Catherine 

Travel Diary: Washington DC

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's taken me a whole week to get my sh*t together and write a blog post. Whoops. Not sure why but I had a really hard time adjusting to being back after our five days in DC. I was exhausted and going to bed by 9PM :) that three hour time difference is noticeable! Hopefully I can get back on track after this weekend. Anyways, on to the trip! It was so much fun and I'm really glad we were finally able to make it out. I'm actually pretty glad that I went for the first time as an adult because I felt like I could really appreciate it. It's a lot of information and I don't think I would have cared much when I was younger. 

Overall I was impressed with the city and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It's much smaller than I was expecting though, which is actually kind of nice. There's a ton to do, a lot of great restaurants, but it's all nice and compact! The level of cleanliness was also๐Ÿ‘Œ compared to a lot of other big cities I've been to. We had four full days in the city and while I was ready to go home at the end of it we didn't see everything we wanted to. 

What we did:
The first thing we did on our first full day was head over to the Capitol because my sister was itching for a tour. We got lucky because they had been repairing the dome and the scaffolding came down just before we got into town. Perfect for this photo-happy gal ;)

They have free tours that you can do where they show you a video, take you into the dome, and show you some of the older rooms and chambers that aren't used anymore. I think the best part was our guide. He clearly knew his stuff and loved his job, which makes all the difference.

Then it was on to the Library of Congress, which is just a stunning building. Can't say I was enthralled with anything in there (other than some places where National Treasure was filmed, lol) but it was still cool to see. 

After the LOC we headed down the street to the Supreme Court. They weren't in session that day, much to my sister's dismay, but we were able to sit in the court while we heard some fun facts. There were a lot of RBG references made๐Ÿ‘Š

Our last adventure of the day was getting on one of those hop-on, hop-off tour buses. I know a lot of people hate them but I really like sitting and seeing everything. So lazy! Honestly I like seeing everything in relation to each other, especially when you're taking the subway and are underground for most commutes. This particular bus tour was pretty terrible though. The first bus we hopped on was an automated guide. Womp womp. The next two we took (more as transportation than anything) had live guides that were a little better but you could tell it's just a college job or something. I think I learned that I still like bus tours, but just continuous ones instead of ones that are constantly stop and go. 

We knew that it was going to rain on Saturday so we wanted to get in a lot of outdoor activities on Friday. We spent the morning at Arlington, which I don't have any pictures of. I enjoyed it (can you say that about a cemetery?) more than I thought I would. The changing of the guards was pretty special, as well as seeing where the Kennedy family is buried. So much history!

After Arlington we headed to The Mall to check out The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, The Korean War Memorial, The World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. 

We ended Friday at The Holocaust Museum. It was really overwhelming, both emotionally and just the sheer amount of information. You basically walk through it and see the Holocaust from start to finish. I'm really sad to say that some of the things we read feel similar to current world events. 

Saturday's rain prophecy was fulfilled so we decided to make it our museum day. We started at the Newseum, where I didn't take any pictures. Probably my favorite part of the whole trip was the section of this museum where they have every Pulitzer Prize winning photograph on display and a lot of backstory on them. It was incredibly powerful and humbling. There was also a section devoted to journalists' perspectives from 9/11 which was also very emotional. 

Sunday was our last day and so we had to prioritize what we still really wanted to see. We started the day with a quick trip to the Air and Space Museum. We had tried to go on Saturday but because of the rain everyone else wanted to go too and so the lines outside to get in were insane. #nothanks

Even though it was nuts there I'm glad we stopped by because I have such a soft spot for space exploration. You can read a little bit more about that in my Orlando Travel Diary

After the morning museum trip we ventured to see Georgetown (the above two photos). It was such a cute town! So quaint and picturesque. The actual campus had a very European feel, which would have been so cool to spend four years there. 

The Kennedy Center isn't too far from Georgetown and they have free performances every night so we went to check that out. The building itself is gorgeous (see above chandelier game) and has a terrace (pictured below) that wraps around the entire top level. So beautiful! The music was sub-par, but I'm really glad we saw the building.

Where we stayed: 
We stayed at a Residence Inn in Dupont Circle, which I would recommend! The area is adorable and there are sooo many cute restaurants. Many of which we dined at.

Where we ate:
Birch and Barley: this was an adorable little spot recommended by a friend and the food was pretty great. If you're into beer it's a must!

Boqueria: I met a friend from college here for dinner and it was hoppin'! Definitely the place to be for happy hour. I had sangria and lamb meatballs, so I was a happy girl.

Firefly: this restaurant was built around a huge tree, which is fun and unique. It was very dim and could be a fun place for date night. 

The Front Page: this place wasn't really anything to write home about, although their brussel sprouts were top notch.

Orange Anchor: we had lunch here on Sunday when we were by Georgetown and it was apparently the place for the students to go for brunch. The food was fine but I really wasn't in the mood for drunk college kids.  

Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe: I had the best potpie of my life here. Salivating just thinking about it. It was crazy loud in there though, but the potpie made up for it!

Phew, are you still with me? That was a lot of stuff, but we honestly packed so much in. Glad I can finally say I've been to my nation's capital. I was inspired to learn more about American history so I started the podcast Presidential by The Washington Post. Each week they profile a different president. It's been really good so far!

Thanks for reading,
xo Catherine 

Picking a Wedding Venue

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hooray! We finally picked a venue and nailed down a date for our wedding! Side note: I'm going to say "I" a lot in this post instead of "we" because I am more opinionated and well, frankly, particular than Mark is :) Anyway, we've only been engaged for a month, but this has been stressing me out because I knew I wanted to get married in the fall and I was worried all of the venues would already be booked. It's nuts how far out they're reserved. I alluded to it last week but didn't want to say where we decided on because we didn't have the contract signed yet. We will be getting married at The Depot in Minneapolis next October! Phew, I feel so much better now that that's all squared away. 

I hope you find this semi interesting or maybe even helpful if you're a fellow MN bride!

The things on our wishlist were: plenty of space because of our guest list, location in Minneapolis or St. Paul, the ability to bring in our own vendors for certain elements like the cake and linens, an attached hotel, and we wanted it to have a traditional vibe. 
Our first appointment was at Windows on Minnesota, which is a ballroom on the 50th floor of the IDS in downtown Minneapolis. I loved the idea of having the reception up high with beautiful views because we got engaged in a similar setting. The views were stunning but I couldn't get over the ballroom carpet and we would have had to have the dance floor in a separate room from dinner because of our number of guests. That seemed really awkward to us so ultimately we passed.

We then looked at the St. Paul Hotel which I wanted to love because the area is beautiful for pictures and the hotel itself is so gorgeous, but I just didn't love the ballroom. There were a lot of colors in the carpet and on the walls that I didn't want to have to work around when decorating. Also, yes, the carpet played a part in the decision. That may seem ridiculous but I was so hung up on the carpet at all of these places! I know that I said we wanted traditional, but it was a little too traditional and ornamental. 

Our last stop was the St. Paul Athletic Club and this was definitely our runner up. I love love loved the hotel lobby which we could have used for cocktail hour but we had similar issues with the ballroom that the other two locations had. The carpet was pretty terrible and there was a lot of green marble and green in the carpeting that I didn't want to have to worry about when coming up with a design theme. 

Now on to the winner! I had a feeling it was going to be my favorite because I had always loved the space and was really hoping that I'd love it even more now that I was looking at it as en engaged woman ;) It's an old train depot that was converted into a hotel and event space with a large beautiful ballroom (pictured above). I loved that it had marble floors (no terrible ballroom carpet!), that it was big enough where we could have everything all in one space, it has two hotels attached to the event space, it's downtown, and it had a neutral palette to work with. I cannot wait to see our vision come together in this beautiful space!

I feel like I can relax a little bit now, but if I know myself I know it won't last long!

xo Catherine 
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