Whimsical September

What's Living in Kansas if You Don't Make a Trip to the Farm?

Monday, July 27, 2015

A couple weeks ago I got an email from a fellow blogger here in Kansas extending an invitation to come out to her family's farm and pick an unlimited amount of sweet corn. It took me all of three seconds to decide that we were definitely going to accept!

One of the most fun parts of this crazy military lifestyle is getting to soak up all of the different cultures we have the chance to live in, so I was really pumped to bring Hadley along to visit a real farm and see how things are done. 

When in Kansas, right? :) 

We made the two hour trek down to McPherson, Kansas where we stopped at Baldwin Farms. We were greeted with some fun swag bags full of goodies from Kansas Farm Bureau, Common Ground, Kansas Wheat and the Soybean Checkoff, and then we headed over to check out some farming equipment. Who knew tractors could be so fancy and high tech? Holy moly!

I was definitely the most naive blogger there when it comes to farming equipment and farming in general, so I had plenty of questions that everyone was very sweet to answer. Everyone was also incredible with Hadley!


Around noon we traveled the dirt roads over to the main event - corn picking! My new friend Kim who blogs over at Alive and Well in Kansas was prepared with lots of bags and tagged along with Hadley and me so that I could get some good pictures and lots of sweet corn!


Note to self: Always ask what the dress code is if you're not sure! A sundress and sandals was probably not the smartest idea. ;)


We seriously had a blast plowing our way through the fields and grabbing ear after ear of corn. We ended up with 41 ears of corn to take home! Talk about major generosity!


The temperature was sitting right around 100 and the air was as still as could be, so we got hot fast. Poor Hadley was sweating so much but didn't let it bother her a bit! She was cracking everybody up with how proud she was to carry her ear of corn. 


You can't see her little bite marks on the corn, but she was the first one to dig in! I didn't try any until I sat down for dinner that night with Jamie, but it was worth the wait! I've never tasted grocery store corn that tasted as sweet and delicious as this fresh corn did. Jamie may or may not have eaten three ears in a row.




Before we loaded up to head to lunch, I noticed Kim's husband and son out in the field and I thought it was the most picturesque moment. I can see how people fall in love with the farm life. Though I'm sure the work is back-breaking at times, it's so peaceful and beautiful out there.



We were treated to lunch courtesy of Monsanto at a cute little family restaurant over in the town of Inman. Because I like to keep things real, my daughter may or may not have lost her stomach the very second we walked over to our table and I may or may not have wanted to the floor to suck me under at that moment. Super embarrassing, but poor baby was so over-heated and had so much water in her stomach from my efforts to make sure she was hydrated. Hashtag glamorous mom life.

Thankfully everybody was super helpful and we quickly got it cleaned up so that we could finally sit down to enjoy some yummy food and good conversation. 




Around 1:30 that afternoon we said our goodbyes and headed home to Manhattan. Hadley slept the whole way, and I spent almost the whole way chatting with friends and family on the phone (Hands free! Bluetooth all the way!) yakking about what a great day we had.

We definitely hope to return to the farm again soon! 

PS: If you want to see more super cute pictures of Hadley from our farm trip, check out Kim's blog here. She took some really good ones!

Thanks again to Monsanto for providing our lunch and covering a portion of our traveling expenses. We really appreciate it!

Stitch Fix #9

Friday, July 24, 2015

This fix almost didn't happen because I was thisclose to canceling it; I'd depleted my shopping budget on clothing for BlogHer and have plenty of clothes to get me through summer. I quickly pushed those crazy thoughts aside though because you all know that I love getting this little piece of happy mail every month and decided to go on with the show and just request pieces for fall. Here's what my stylist boxed up for me this month!

Pixley Abriella Waffle Knit Cardigan


Though I normally love cardigans, I'm not digging the waffle material or the color. I like the pockets though! Unfortunately, not a keeper.

Loveappella Howella Knit Top


I definitely like this shirt, but I don't love it. If I held on to it I'm sure I'd pull it out of my closet every now and then to wear, but I'm trying to only purchase pieces that I feel great in and that I love wearing. Ya know - just trying to eliminate that universal female issue where I try on five outfits before deciding on what to wear, only to come home to clothes sprawled all over my bed that I failed to hang up before I left the house. Does this happen to anyone else?
 
Rune Porter Legging


My stylist made a comment in her note that she sent this pair of leggings even though I probably already had a few pairs of leggings, but what she doesn't know is that I need a new pair of black leggings so bad! The last pair I bought was two years ago and they are so worn out (and may or may not have a hole in them). This pair is thick but still super comfortable. Keeping without a doubt!

PS - That pink shirt is from my June fix. I love it and wear it all the time!

41Hawthorn Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse


If money was no option and I was teaching, I would have kept this shirt in a heartbeat. I love the fit and love the color. I actually scanned my closet to see if I had any pieces this color, and I don't. Wish I could keep it but it's not a necessity.

Tart Zera Lace Bomber Jacket


Love this jacket but the price tag is sky high ($108). If this were more of an every day bomber jacket I might (for a second) consider it (like I have the money - ha!), but this one is pretty easy to let go of because of the price. 

[Note: You can set price limits in your online profile so that your stylist won't send you pieces out of your price range. I don't have limits set in my profile because I like to see what they send me so that I can consider all pieces.]

Purchased/Returned

Pixley Abriella Waffle Knit Cardigan - Returned
Loveappella Howella Knit Top - Returned
Rune Porter Legging - Kept
41Hawthorn Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse - Returned
Tart Zera Lace Bomber Jacket - Returned

What is Stitch Fix?

Stitch Fix is a stop-anytime apparel subscription service that sends customers five pieces of clothing and accessories once a month (or more or less depending on one's preferences) based on price points that one designates in her profile. Stitch Fix stylists hand-pick what to send each customer based on one's online profile created upon sign up. Customers are charged a $20 styling fee upfront per shipment, but the styling fee is later applied to any item(s) the customers chooses to keep.  If one chooses to send back all five items, Stitch Fix keeps the $20 fee. A customer's best bet is to keep at least one item since $20 has already been paid. Stitch Fix also includes a prepaid bad to send all unwanted items back. If a customer chooses to keep all five items, she gets a 25% discount off of the entire box. So awesome! I love this concept of shopping!

Additional note: Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity styles!

My Previous Stitch Fix Reviews


Ready to get started? I think it's so much fun!

I'd love and appreciate if you used my Stitch Fix referral link to check it out! I do receive a small commission for referrals I receive which allows me to keep up these posts! THANK YOU to those who've used it in the past! Truly appreciate it, friends. :)




Military Love Story: Tara & G

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Today I'm excited to share with you another unique military love story from Tara who blogs over at An Aiming High Wife. Thank you Tara for sharing your story!


My name is Tara, and though my husband and I have been married for the last three years, we've been together for the last six (ish). We have called five houses and three states home, and  we also have one beautiful daughter. 

Our love story is a story of how a single text message can change everything.

My husband (we'll refer to him as "G") and I meet in college. He was a junior in ROTC and I was a freshman. We hung out occasionally but were never close friends; We always seemed to be in different places. He knew where his life was headed and I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. 

After G graduated college he was off to training and then to Korea for his first assignment. In the meantime, I was still in college. We lost touch and didn’t speak for nearly three years.

A little over six years ago on the 4th of July I received a text message from a number I didn't recognize. At the time I was in Las Vegas with a few of my friends and we were in a taxi on the way to the airport. When I texted back asking who was texting me, G answered with just his first name. I actually had to ask him what his last name was! I was surprised hearing from him. 

We continued texting, and when I landed in Philadelphia for my layover he called me. We talked as if we were always the closest of friends.

After two months of texting and phone calls I was preparing to go on vacation with my family to the beach, and by family I mean with my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Since I was allowed to invite a friend every year I asked G if he wanted to go with me; He agreed! 

Since I had to work, my family left Friday and G and I drove down on Saturday. On my two hour drive to pick him up I remember thinking "What the heck am I thinking?" G and I had not seen each other in over four years. What if we can't stand each other? 

When I arrived at his apartment things were a little awkward, however during the eight hour drive to the beach we talked as if we had been friends forever. Thankfully there were no awkward silences! He took my poor navigational skills in stride and when we finally arrived at the beach house he welcomed my mother with a big hug. He fit right in with my family. 

After our eight hour drive home a few days later where we laughed and talked the whole way, I knew I wanted to spend more time around G.

We started meeting up on weekends here and there, which lead to dating, which lead to almost every weekend together. I never realized what the military meant for our relationship. Since we were together on weekends, I rarely saw him in uniform, so it never really sunk in. 

Things changed one weekend when I was visiting and his flight went to 12 hour shifts. He was gone from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. I considered going home but decided I wanted to stay. I realized seeing him for just a few hours was better than not seeing him at all. I think this is when I started understanding what dating someone in the military meant. It definitely would mean a lot of waiting.

After a few months of dating G got deployment orders, and we talked a lot about what that meant. We decided to stay together and give it a try because deployments are going to be a part of his life, and if I was going to be part of his life, deployments would be part of my life too. 

That first deployment was hard. We rarely talked, emailed once a week, and never wrote. When it was time for him to come home, I went down to his apartment, cleaned all the dust off everything, and went grocery shopping. I wanted to make sure there was a home-cooked meal and a cold beer waiting for him. 

When I was sitting in the base terminal for five hours just waiting for his plane to arrive I had a mix of emotions. I was excited to see him, but I was also terrified. What if everything had changed? What if we weren't a good fit anymore? The longer I sat the more and more worried I became. 

Suddenly one of his coworkers who was waiting with me informed me that his plane had landed. I had the biggest butterflies! As I stood waiting to see him walk though those doors I searched for his face among all the other men and women. 

Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, there was a familiar voice behind me. All he said was "Hi baby!" 

I swear it was that second, when we locked eyes, that I knew he was the one.

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We spent the next two weeks together and actually used one of those weeks to vacation together in Mexico. While on vacation we talked a lot about what the military lifestyle really meant, and that if we were going to be together there would be sacrifices I would need to make. I really knew nothing about being with someone in the military and felt as if I was learning day by day. The first couple of times I was on base with him I felt lost and confused. He had to explain everything to me! 

Those two weeks together after the deployment were the longest amount of time we had been together up until that point. It was during this time that I realized deployments and sacrifices were worth it. G was worth the wait.

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Once we were home G got orders to PCS (move), and he asked if I would go with him. I jumped right in, left my job, my friends, and my family to move with G, who was still my boyfriend at the time. Some people thought I was crazy, but others saw it as romantic. I saw it as both. 

About six months after moving G proposed in my hometown when we were out to breakfast with my extended family. He knew it took a lot for me to move away from my entire family, and he wanted the whole family to have that memory.

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Nine months later we were married, and since then G deployed for a second time. I went with him to schooling for two months where we lived in a hotel room with our two dogs. 

We PCSed again and I gave birth to our first child. 

I feel like our life has been a whirlwind. I knew nothing about being part of a military family before G, and now I know being part of military family is a lot of jumping in with both feet. It's all about trust and taking everything one day at a time. I trust that he is there for me even when he can't physically be there for me. I know we will face challenges and the only way to handle them is with a positive attitude and smile. We joke that a military life means a life of firsts. Every day is a new adventure and I couldn't imagine going on this adventure with anyone else. My life is forever changed all because of that one text message; I wouldn't have it any other way!

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If you want to learn more about my family and my adventures you can come visit me at An Aiming High Wife!

To read more military love stories or to submit your own military love story for possible publication, click here.


Final Day of BlogHer Recap

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BlogHer Conference Recaps: Travel Day | Day One | Day Two

I got a really good night's sleep on Friday night leading into Saturday; I needed it after such a wild Friday. I headed down to the conference about 9 a.m. to grab some breakfast (all meals were provided) and attended the morning keynote, which was excellent. 

After the morning keynote I attended a brief Amazon party on the 44th floor of the hotel (great view of the city!) to learn more about different areas of the company and their offerings. 


After that quick party I headed down to the expo for about an hour to follow up with a few of my favorite brands from the previous days. I also made sure to enter a few giveaways that I'd missed, such as this giveaway for a Shark vacuum (you know you're "old" when you get excited about the chance to win a vacuum!). I really enjoyed my time spent at the expo each day. I also really enjoyed wearing an outfit all day that felt like pajamas. Excellent call for day three!


At noon I headed to a private party for a company called Good Health Snacks. Lunch was provided and we were given the opportunity to do a Q&A with a leading nutritionist with an incredible resume. She looked just Kelly Ripa to me. So bizarre!

After the Good Health party I headed back to the Expo to volunteer over at the TODAY Parenting Team's booth to speak with other bloggers about my experience writing for TODAY. 


I was totally in my element in this role and felt similar happy feelings that I felt when I worked for Rachel's Challenge. I've been trying to put my finger on what the correlation between the two experiences is, and I think I'm just my happiest (career-wise) when I'm in a speaking role pouring into the lives of others. Though teaching gave me the opportunity to do this to some extent, these other opportunities were more "me". I loved meeting and speaking with the women who came by the booth, and I'm so thankful that TODAY invited me to join them to fulfill this volunteer opportunity. Thank you, Rebecca!

I skipped out on the closing keynote to rest a bit before the closing party. McDonalds sponsored and threw the whole shindig, and it was the best party I've ever been to in my life! We were charted to Pier 84 where we were served food and drinks (spiked McDonalds strawberry lemonade! Ha!) in the most beautiful setting. 





It was a gorgeous, breezy night, and I couldn't have been happier! Boys II Men performed four songs, and I sang at the top of my lungs like I was back in middle school!




I "met" my roommate Annie from Rocky Mountain Bliss on Twitter, and I seriously lucked out with scoring her as a new friend! She was such wonderful company on this trip.


Nick Cannon came on stage later to continue DJing the party. At 10 p.m. my roommate and I hopped back on a bus to head back to our room to pack!



By midnight I was out cold, but my 3:30 a.m. alarm rang loud and clear what felt like one second after I fell asleep. I caught a 6 a.m. flight back to Kansas and was in my husband's and daughter's arms by 2 p.m. Hearing Hadley say "mama!" and run to me made me tear up. After an overwhelming, incredible, exhausting four days away, I was so happy to be home. It's so good to go away for a refresh sometimes, but there's no place like home!

My husband even surprised me with some welcome home goodies (notice the B&J is a New York flavor - ha!). He's very good to me, and I can't thank him enough for making this trip happen financially while supporting me and my big crazy dreams every step of the way. 


If you've made it this far through my conference recaps, thanks for sticking around and letting me document four incredible days and share them with you. Bloggers, if you're considering investing in attending a blogging conference, I have a few pieces of advice to share with you next week. 

Home Improvement Updates: New Carpet, An Oven, and White Blinds

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I'm taking a break from conference recaps to bring you up to speed with our basement guest room overhaul. Whoop! I also have a couple other small updates that we've done around the house lately to show you!

If you're here from the Momfessionals's "Show Us Your House" link up and you want to go straight to my home tour, click here! Oh, and thanks for stopping by!

Now for those updates! In case you're new around here, our basement guest room used to look like this.  




We waited 10 months to rip up and replace that carpet, which is about nine months and 29 days longer than I wanted to wait. Because our more realistic priority list had about 95 projects in front of "replace blue carpet" I played the waiting game.

After painting the trim, window, closet shelving, and walls a few weeks ago (you can read more about that here), we finally had 34 square yards of carpet installed in the bedroom and closet last week! 

After a search high and wide for carpet that fit the bill, I ended up going with a find from Menards (sing it! Save big money at Menaaaaaards!). I ordered it as soon as I found it, and we picked it up ourselves when it came in a week later. I found an area of the store with a bunch of installer recommendations, and after calling around for estimates I found my guy!



I haven't purchased anything new for this room yet, but thankfully my wish list is full of just "wants".  
The curtain panel we put up used to hang in Hadley's original nursery, but when we moved and needed a second one Pottery Barn had discontinued carrying them (a similar pair can be found here though). 

I've been holding on to it hoping to use it somewhere, and I'm hoping it looks okay with the paisley comforter. I'm going to keep my eye out for a few lavender throw pillows and accessories for around the room to tie it all together. The bedding is from Pottery Barn and can be found here


Realistically it'll probably be a good while before I'm back with an update of the completed room. Darn those priorities. ;)

Here's a couple more updates of small changes we've made recently. Our living room looked like this few months ago, and we finally got around to taking down our old brown blinds, painting the window white (much bigger job than I anticipated), and putting up new white blinds.


This small difference brightened up the room so much, just as we hoped! I'm still on a hunt for the perfect piece to go over my couch and a rug that fits a specific set of criteria. I'm having fun letting the house evolve and really feel like it's doing so.


Last week we got a new oven installed and thankfully only had to pay about a third of the normal price thanks to our home warranty with American Home Shield. Here's the old black oven.


And here's the new stainless one! The rest of our appliances are stainless and were replaced not long ago by the previously owner, so we were crossing our fingers that our current oven would break and a new one would be covered by the warranty. We're happy! Now I just need to get rolling with refinishing these cabinets... ow.


Here's the updated home tour if you're interested! 

I'll be back tomorrow with a recap of the third and final day of BlogHer. Spoiler alert: McDonald's sponsored our closing party and it was kind of legit!

Have a good one! xoxo