July : : Free Printables & Downloadable Wallpaper! : : Summertime!

JULY IS HERE! How is that possible already?

It seems like summer just started and now I’m worried that it’s almost over! All of you in Central Illinois know that this summer has so far felt just like Spring…or a rain forest…or maybe the last 2+ years in Northern California made be “weather spoiled.”

Definition of weather spoiled: One who has lived in perfect and predictable Northern California climate for the duration of at least one cycle of the four season, therefore making them a big, whiny, baby when normal or unpredictable weather strikes.

I just hope I get over it by winter! And yes…I really just mentioned winter…incredibly inappropriate. So sorry!

I’ve created some downloadable goodies for you to get into the summertime/July 4th mood (and just in time since Independence Day is tomorrow!)

Calendar – Please click the below image to open a PDF of the calendar, “Save As” to your computer and print on 8.5 x 11 paper (cardstock is best.) Enjoy!

Please click to open a PDF of the calendar. “Save As” to your computer and print on 8.5 x 11 cardstock. Enjoy!

Smart Phone Wallpaper – Save to your phone and set as wallpaper!

July 2013 iPhone

Printable – Print on letter size 8.5 x 11 paper (preferably cardstock) and put in a frame or on the fridge.

July 2013 Printable 8.5 x 11
Please click to open a PDF of the calendar. “Save As” to your computer and print on 8.5 x 11 cardstock. Enjoy!

Enjoy your celebrations, paradesfriends , family and fireworks tomorrow!

Come back soon!

Please leave me a comment, it would certainly make me very happy!

-Carissa

2,458 miles…

Good afternoon readers!

My husband & I recently moved from Walnut Creek, California back to Central Illinois! We took a 6-day road trip on the way back and saw some beautiful things along the way! Click here to see our exact (2,458 mile) route!

We had a fun, little goal to not stay in a “chain hotel” on any night and we even tried to keep the cost under $50.00 per night! Yelp is terrific.

Here is a little tid-bit about each unique (and even wacky) hotel/motel where we stayed…

  • Scott Shady Court, Winnemucca, NV – Nate and I suspect that this property used to be some sort of military housing. It seemed to be straight from the 60’s and we loved it! $45 per night plus a fun experience! IMG_3906
  • Gas Lite Motel, Laramie, WY – This place had the most ridiculous décor! Horse/bison/bear statues, cowboy figures and paraphernalia, etc. Go ahead and check out the link to see more of the craziness… $50 per night.IMG_3939
  • Armstrong Hotel, Fort Collins, CO – This was our “splurge day” in Fort Collins. We spent an entire day (not driving) and seeing all of the breweries and fun sights we could! The Armstrong was a great recommendation from a couple we knew in California. IMG_3971
  • Big Sky Lodge, Rapid City, SD – We were one of two patrons at this lodge the night we stayed. (South Dakota’s “busy season” starts Memorial Day, and we were there just a few weeks before) The view at this place was gorgeous…South Dakota in general is gorgeous…we even saw Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse while we were here!!! $35 per night.IMG_4024

On the last night, we drove ALLLLL the way from Rapid City, SD to Eureka, IL (892 miles) to avoid a snow storm…..guess what? We drove through a snow storm….in the middle of the night….when the truck drivers weren’t even crazy enough to be out! One of the most stressful 4 hours of my life. (Yes…4 hours. I am surprised I didn’t have a heart attack)

The good news is that we made it all the way home in one piece! Our moms were thrilled!

AND NOW…COMES A PICTURE EXPLOSION OF OUR 2,458 MILE ROAD TRIP! Enjoy and please try not to fall asleep before you get to the end of the page… 😀

NEVADA

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UTAH

(The alien-like salt flats and the beautiful Salt Lake)

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↓ Salt flats….not snow! ↓

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WYOMING

(Lots of fields, beautiful scenery & a crazy motel)

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COLORADO

(Fort Collins – New Belgium Brewery, Bike ride around the city, beer, beer & more beer!)

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SOUTH DAKOTA

(Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug)

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These bizarre pictures were all taken in Wall Drug. A crazy, bizarre, cluttered, yet hilarious tourist trap…

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My very attractive husband riding a jackalope…

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Want to see my descriptions for some of these pictures? View them on Instagram by clicking the following link!

Instagram

Please MAKE ME SO HAPPY and leave me a wonderful comment below! I will be so excited to see your feedback!

Love,

Carissa

Blogging Hiatus

Hi Friends!

Did I disappear for awhile? Sorry about that…it has been a CRAZY few months! Here is a recap of a few exciting things that happened…

  • Nate and I moved (and took a great road trip) from Walnut Creek, California to Central Illinois. Read more about our road trip HERE.

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  • My baby brother graduated from high school! Congratulations Jacob!!!IMG_6643e
  • My husband and I have been spending many hours with three adorable kiddos. My mom and step-dad foster a 3-yr old, 2-yr old and (almost) 7 month old. They are tons of fun and so sweet! Here are a few pictures that I took of the three musketeers last week…

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  • I have also been keeping myself occupied with wedding crafts for friends as well as another venture I’ve been working on. More (exciting) news to come soon so stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by and come back now y’all!

Please MAKE ME SO HAPPY and leave me a wonderful comment below! I will be so excited to see your feedback!

Love,

Carissa

Guess Who’s Moving?!?!

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That’s right…we have decided to embark on our next life journey…and that is moving to IL!!!!

We are very excited! Although, it will definitely be very different not sharing the sidewalk with homeless people everyday….and the lack of mountains in the landscape! (Among many more glamorous things that California has to offer of course!)

Wish us luck!

-Carissa

: : 8 Months of Marriage : : & My “Love is” Doodle!

I can’t believe that it’s already been 8 months since I married my handsome husband! On one hand, it feels like we’ve been married for decades…and on the other, it feels like we just got back from our honeymoon last week!

Nate + Carissa Wedding | Deidre Lynn Photography | www.deidrelynnphotography.com |

I am blessed to have found someone who is my best friend and love of my life. Plus, it’s great to be able to giggle over silly things, hang out on the couch together, rock out to our favorite music, talk about our mutual (and not so mutual) life goals, daydream about our future kids and just have a good time with each other! All the while being completely trusting and comfortable with one another and totally ourselves.

(Don’t get me wrong, not every day has been a walk in the park. We’ve had a few rough days where we’d prefer to be on different planets (different galaxies even)…but those days help us to keep it real and appreciate the good days even that much more.)

Anyway, 8 months ago today, I stood in the sweltering heat, saying my vows to a handsome man and listening to my grandparents read a few bible verses. One of those verses came from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13. Today, I wanted to not only remember our wedding day but also the message in the verse. Here’s the verse:

1 Corinthians 13

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

And here is my doodle with a few of my favorite parts of the verse….

LOVE IS...

Thanks for looking and stop by again soon!

Carissa

St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans…

For St. Patty’s day this year, we didn’t drink green beer or pinch anyone who wasn’t sporting green, BUT we did have a good time at our friend, Lynne’s house, eating corned beef & cabbage, drinking sparkling wine/drink of choice, playing board games and just goofing around!

Our goofy fun including making a “photo booth” with cheesy St. Patty’s day photo props! If YOU would like to print out some fun photo props for St. Patty’s Day next year…or just for fun next weekend…click HERE!

The “Lucky” banner in the background can be printed here.

Have a good day!!!

-Carissa

 

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St Pattys Day Collage

April : : Free Printables & Downloadable Wallpapers! : : Put a Bird On It…

Happy April Fools Day!I hope you got to play a few tricks on family members, co-workers or unsuspecting strangers today! I’m not into the whole “tricking” thing…I feel like Karma will come back and get me if I try anything at all! Plus I’m married to a if-you-get-me-I’ll-get-you-worse kind of guy…and I surely don’t want to start a prank war with the hubbie! Who knows what he would do to my make-up or hair products (and we certainly don’t want him messing with those!)

Anyway, I wanted to share a fun site with you all! It’s called Pic Monkey! [www.picmonkey.com] I just discovered this site recently and it’s so fun! Chalkboard designs are all the craze now and sometimes you just don’t have the time or patience to sit down and physically draw on a chalkboard. Well…this site has lots of great fonts and all you have to do is download this chalkboard background, upload it to Pic Monkey and design away!

Chalkboard-background

Or if you aren’t interested in designing your own chalkboard design, I have created a few for you to download! Free of charge, my gift to you…don’t mention it 🙂

Oh, one more thing, I know that my hubbie gives me a hard time about a) being terrified of birds and b) buying notebooks, candle holders, clothes, home decor and making crafts all with birds on them. When I made the second design, I knew the hubbie would get a good laugh especially when he remembers the Portlandia skit “Put a Bird On It.” The skit is hysterical…it’s 2 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back…but it will certainly give you a chuckle. Click HERE to watch it! You’ll thank me later…

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Not only do I have those beautiful chalkboard designs for you but I also have the April 2013 Printable Calendar and Downloadable iPhone Wallpaper for you! These make me so happy…there is just something so fun about polka dots and floral! (Oh, and there is a white version for those of you who don’t enjoy polka dots as much as I do…shame on you!) Enjoy!

Calendar – Print on letter size paper (cardstock if you have it!)

April 2013 Calendar - BlueDot April 2013 Calendar - White

iPhone Wallpaper – Save to your phone and set as wallpaper!

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I hope your Easter weekend was full of love, joy and good food!

Come back soon!

-Carissa

Traveling to beautiful, rustic Big Sur, California!

Are you prepared to see the most amazingly, beautiful place in California? And a very picture-heavy blog post? Well lucky you (!) because you are about to experience both…

Earlier this year, I surprised my hubbie by taking him for a weekend to Big Sur for his birthday, and we had an amazing time! Big Sur is one of those places that feels almost like you stepped back in time; no cell reception, most restaraunts are lit by candlelight, beautiful, rustic inns and the food is out of this world! Here’s a little snippit of our weekend…

FRIDAY

First, we drove down to Big Sur on Highway 1 and were treated to two hours of amazing, amazing views of the Pacific Ocean! Exhibit one below…

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We drove over the infamous Bixby Bridge on our way down too! Honestly…we expected it to be a bit longer but considering it opened in 1932, it was pretty darn impressive for that time! Here’s a snapshot as we were driving away…

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We got to Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, where we were staying for the weekend, after a two and a half hour drive. I can’t even BEGIN to explain Deetjen’s to you…you must see it for yourself someday, but I will do my best to give you an idea of this whimsical place. Here is one of the seven buildings you can stay in. Each building was built over a thirty year period, take a look at their website (linked above) it gives you a great history of the property.

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Has your jaw dropped yet? Well there’s more!

Top left -One of the rooms in the building where we stayed, this one even had a small balcony! Top right – Each room had several journals for each set of guests to write a note or draw a picture and keep in the room for many years to come!  Bottom left – The restaraunt/check-in area. We ate here twice and oh my word…the food was a-maz-ing! Bottom right – Another bit of the top left room, what a fun wood burning stove!

See what I mean about rustic? When we woke up the next morning, we could hear nature…which is amazing considering what we normally hear when we wake up (dumpsters slamming, honking horns, footsteps from the floor above, yelling people, sirens, etc.)

Deetjen's Collage

SATURDAY

My very exciting idea for Saturday morning didn’t go as planned, but it was definitely an experience! I started the morning off by giving the hubbie this note…can you guess what we were going to do???

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Whale watching of course! We drove a little north, up to the Monterey Bay, to (make an attempt) at whale watching…the problem was that the ocean was really choppy that day…I’m talking 15 foot swells…the boat rocking all sorts of directions, and I was very thankful for Dramamine! Here’s what we could have seen if the ocean would have cooperated that day…(a happy beautiful, killer whale breaching the Pacific Ocean)

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But what did we see? Well…lots of sea otters, all sorts of birds and maybe a few sea lions…and lots & LOTS of choppy water!

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Once we were done getting bumped and sloshed around the boat, we decided to head back to our inn. On our way, we took a detour, a road called Old Coast Road that was used back before the Bixby Bridge was used in the 1930’s. It’s a one lane, dirt road that is approximately 13 miles long. Because of the terrain, (hills, cliffs and forest) this 13 mile road took us 2 HOURS! It was ridiculous but very pretty! We saw redwood trees, cliffs, bridges, praries and beautiful views of the ocean before it took us back to Highway 1! Our good ole Subaru got us through it! Here’s a few pictures of our drive…

OldCoastRoad Collage

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We went back to our inn for a short nap and then finished our night off at a great restaurant called Nepenthe. Nepenthe has great views, delicious food and amazing sparkling wine! We indulged in all three! 🙂 If you ever want to eat a delicious burger, I would recommend their Ambrosia burger! (They even have the recipe on their website!)

SUNDAY

Sunday, we woke up and we were ambitious….possibly a bit too ambitious! We wanted to go for a hike…in the mountains…of Big Sur. It was pretty challenging but so worth it! The trail was called Timber Top Trail, the entrance was very inconspicuous…this gate and old broken down livestock herder were the only indicators a trail even existed.

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Our destination….are those trees as the very top of this summit. They look like bushes in this picture, but I will show you in a little bit that they are, in fact, full-size trees!

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The total hike took us about 2 and a half hours round trip. During the hike we encountered the following:

  • Many noises that we were convinced were moutain lions stalking us
  • Beautiful views of the ocean and rolling hills
  • Hunts for our perfect walking sticks (we succeeded as you can see in a few pictures below)
  • Chilly winds once we got to the top of the trail (we ended up wrapping our scarves around our faces!)
  • Eating trail mix at the top of the summit (best trail mix I’ve ever tasted)
  • Some weird bird (a California Condor we think…) was stalking us from the sky as we were going back down. I don’t know if we looked tasty or we were near its nest, but honestly I was afraid for my life. Seriously…click the link or Google them…they are terrifying!
  • Finally, we made it back to our car and looked back up at the group of trees and felt so accomplished that we were just up there!

Without further adieu…here are a few pictures of our hike:

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Just a quarter of the way up…

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Getting closer to the top!

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Here are those trees I was telling you about! We made it to the top!
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Our goofy selves all wrapped up in our scarves! You would never believe how windy it was up there!
One view from the top of the summit
One view from the top of the summit
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Another GORGEOUS view on our way back down…

Well, hopefully I’ve inspired you to take a trip to Big Sur at some point in your life…I promise you won’t regret it! I hope everyone has a great weekend filled with traveling, sparkling wine and good food! (Or just your favorite of the three!)

Thanks for stopping by and please come back!!!

Happy Spring! I feel like doodling…

Happy 1st day of Spring everyone!

I know that everyone (all over the country) is ready for summer, swim suits, picnics, sun bathing, flip flops, barbecues and boating (are you drooling yet?) BUT we are stuck with Spring for now.

I know Spring doesn’t hold a candle to summer (in my eyes) but it is still so beautiful and much needed!

Today on my morning commute, I was able to sit down and I felt the need to doodle. (Who am I kidding though…I get this urge a lot) As I was looking outside at the gloomy sky, I actually felt appreciative of the gray clouds and looming rain. Here’s why…rainy, cloudy days like today really help us to appreciate the beautifully sunny ones. So here’s my inspirational doodle to love Spring and all it includes! (Rain, flowers, cute umbrellas, Easter, clouds, patterned rain boots, bright colors and the sun)

Happy Spring everyone!!!

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