Saturday, October 8, 2016

Cranberry Country

Last weekend, I took a trip up to the Chicago area to meet up with my best friend Skye, so we could drive to Wisconsin the next morning for a cranberry festival. Because, why not, right? Standing in a cranberry bog( like they do on the Ocean Spray commercials ) was on my dearest friend's bucket list, and the more she talked about it, the more I wanted to do it too. So there we were, at 5:45am, starting our journey to cranberry country with Starbucks in hand, making our way to a town called Warrens in Wisconsin.

Driving through that area of Wisconsin was so beautiful. It was in full blown Fall mode, with the maroons, oranges, and dark greens everywhere in the heavy forested areas we were driving through to get to the farm. After we made our way down some very winding roads, we made it to the Wetherby cranberry farm and instantly started getting excited for our trip to see...the cranberries!

We paid five dollars to ride down in a school bus to where all the cranberry harvesting was going down. We giggled and squeaked in excitement as we soon came to the realization, that yes, we would be soon standing in a cranberry bog. 

Our tour guide, who was part of the third generation of cranberry farmers at the Wetherby cranberry company, explained to us how they harvested the cranberries and how they extract them from the vines they grow on. The above picture shows how they somewhat corral the berries once they are popped from their vines.  It was pretty impressive learning that the cranberry company had been around since 1903, and it was almost entirely still ran by the family.

Mandatory blogger shoe picture.


Finally, after standing in a long line which seemed like it took forever, we got our high welly boots on and traipsed on in! I mean, just look at the sheer JOY on our faces! We had so much fun taking pictures, snapchats, and just taking in the beautiful scenery around us. It was such a cool experience!

Where you at Ocean Spray? I'm ready for my close up.

After we piled back on to the school bus to make it back to the sorting facility, we got hot cranberry cider, and bought some fresh cranberries( which I'm totally gonna use for cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving ), and some cranberry wine as well. And I am happy to report that the wine is verrrry good, but WILL be mixed with something, because holy crap, tartness! They also had cranberry cakes and pies for sale in the facility, as well as cool cranberry cookbooks!

All in all, a wonderful trip to do a crazy activity with one of my bestest lady pals was just what I needed to clear my head and get me super excited for the Fall. The drive back was also very inspiring, what with all the rolling hills and beautiful colors. Wisconsin is pretty freaking epic, guys.

This trip was so fun, and just in time because the holidays are soon coming and I know it will get kinda crazy trying to figure out another visit with my friend amidst all the family activities. And I was super lucky to find someone last minute to watch Link, so that I could go have a little adventure and have much needed girl time. 

If you ever decide you want to go to the Wetherby farm to experience the cranberry overload, they only have the farm open to the public the first Saturday in October for a few hours for their harvest day. So, next year, go on up to Warrens Wisconsin, if you are as cranberry obsessed as we are.

And Happy Fall y'all! :)

~Grace Abigail

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Do What You Love, a mantra that should not be forgotten

I've always loved making art. Since I was really little. I don't know how it started, I probably saw my sister drawing something and I wanted to do everything that she did, so I drew something as well. Then I drew something everyday. I took art classes thanks to my Mom( I'm guessing that was the only thing I took interest in...I didn't have a lot of extra activities as a child lol ) and I went through patterns of drawing little girls in floofy dresses sat in their adorable rooms, complete with teddy bears and canopy beds. Also every Disney princess I saw, I drew her. 

So, when high school was officially coming to an end, I had no ideaaaaa what in the hell I wanted to do. Psychology entered my mind as well as Early Childhood Education, but nothing really made me that interested to learn more. As I entered my second year( I think, honestly school at Community College is all kind of a blur...) I thought to myself, " Why not try art classes? I have no idea if I could ever make a living from this, or even if I want to keep at it for the rest of my life, but it sounds fun! " So I took drawing classes, oil painting classes, and art history.....and for the first time in a long time, I felt interest in school. For the first time, I actually enjoyed learning about a subject, and I felt that I actually connected with the material, I wanted to be better, and I wanted to learn more and more. And to my surprise, since I actually stopped drawing all through high school since I was focused on theater for all of it...I was actually pretty good still. My confidence sky rocketed, with compliments from teachers and peers, and even much older classmates who had been painting for years longer than me, were telling me I was a natural. And I felt so happy. Like I belonged.

Then, I doubted myself. I entered into a relationship that enveloped all my attention, I'm sorry to say. I let my doubt of my love for art take over, and I let myself forget about how good making art made me feel, and I just focused on my boyfriend. I started to go to my classes less and less, because I thought, " What's the point? I should focus my attention and skill on something that will actually make me money. " I eventually dropped my classes, because being in such a rocky relationship made me unable to focus on art and my self confidence was broken down to nothing. Looking back on it now, it was so foolish, how one relationship that I actually thought would last, made me banish any happy thoughts of just making beautiful things that made me feel happy and complete.

It has now been about 7 years since I've actually gone to school for art, and I feel like I am finally back to realizing how much making art really effects me. How it truly makes me feel like I'm being my best self. It calms me, it connects me to my inner desires and love for beautiful things I want to capture and keep, and it gives me confidence. So much confidence. I hate that I have lost so much time of my young life, not perfecting the gift that literally God has given me since I can remember.

I do think it's important to be responsible and to work hard at a job that not necessarily is your favorite thing ever, but it helps you survive and make ends meat. Sometimes you can't just pack a suitcase and take your art supplies and go live in a studio apartment and obsessively make art all day everyday. I have bills to pay and a husband and baby to take care of. My dream of living off my art is not realistic right now, but that doesn't mean it's un-achievable. What is achievable is making a few pieces of art a week, a month, pushing myself to try new techniques, new styles....just getting as much experience as I can to make up for the 7 years I lost myself. 

I lost my passion in a sea of self-doubt and lack of clear sight of what I wanted. But I can get it back. I have a whole life to live to make beautiful things that make people feel something, and I can't and should not ignore that. 

And I actually have made money from my art. I started my Etsy shop in 2012, and since then I've made a few sales, and each one has boosted my confidence so much! 

It's possible to do what you love. I have to remind myself every time I feel defeated or stuck that I LOVE art and I should never stop. Never stop doing what you love.

~Grace Abigail

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Vacation to Lake Michigan

Two weeks ago, I went on my first vacation in a very long time! It was marvelous! I spent so much time with family, and it was overall, very good for my psych. Sadly, Kyle couldn't come, which made it a little more difficult( shout out to all single parents, OMG was it tough at times! ) But I had lots of fun regardless. I had a lot of family bonding time, which was very much needed. My sister and I never really get to spend a lot of extended time together since we don't live in the same town anymore, and we actually got to have long meaningful conversations! haha. 
Lincoln got to experience many new things. His first beach trip, first carousel ride, first time in Michigan. He can't speak yet, but I could tell that he had a really good time as well lol. He certainly liked all the attention and all the snacks that everyone graciously shared with him. He was definitely spoiled. It was also truly a blessing to experience all sorts of just fun activities with my family. We had not gone on a family vacation in well over twelve it was well overdue.

In a few weeks, I will be going back to full-time at my job, and I'm pretty excited about it. I love everyone I work with, and I am lucky to work at a company where they treat their employees so well. It couldn't have come at a better time too, because Kyle and I have experienced what seems like SOOOOO much stress in the past three weeks with our cars just generally being a pain in the butt. New tires and new axels and new brakes are pretty expensive all together, and I am looking forward to making more money to help with all that craziness.

Since my vacation, my creative juices have kind of erupted from the depths on my mind and I have been creating new art to sell in my Etsy shop. In a few days I will be adding two new paintings inspired by the beach by Lake Michigan, so watch out for those soon! I was experiencing a creative block, and being in nature for a week, not having to think of all the stresses of everyday life that keep me from letting loose and being able to create, really helped me :) I'm certainly happy to be feeling myself again. Little by little.

Alright, Link is waking up so I gotta go do Mommy duty. Have a great day everyone!

~Grace Abigail

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Happy Moments Captured

Hello friends! I know it has been a couple months since I've posted. Life happens I guess haha. Like usual when I take a blogging break it's mainly because I'm just not inspired enough...or honestly just because it's been kind of stressful as of late. I love taking my time here though, and documenting some of the happiest parts of my days. I think it is important to keep track of the good times, just so when things get stressful or crappy, you can look back and's not all bad. It's mostly good! But we get down in the dumps, don't we? I am more often then I like to admit, a victim of pessimism, but here I am, remembering to celebrate and revel in the happy! Stay positive kids. It's the only thing that can help you through the tough times sometimes. There are always good times ahead.

Aaaand now that I've lectured you a bit, let's get on to the cute photos of my cute family!

Lincoln at his 1st birthday party! It was such a special day! All of our family was there to celebrate this guy. He totally attacked that cupcake, haha! And in total MOM fashion, I cried like a little baby when Link got his first haircut the day before. It's not my fault all the emotions were coming at me all at once. WHERE DID MY BABY GO?!

A couple pictures of my little man and I exploring that my friend took. That picture of him smiling kills me!

I mean...

Lincoln and I watching fireworks on the Fourth of July! He doesn't quite look too excited in this picture, but he really liked the fireworks! I was actually kind of nervous about him watching them, since he's not really a big fan of loud noises most the time, but he sat up and clapped and oooh'd and ahhhh'd like a big guy. It was a great Holiday. 

Link and his Daddy. We are obsessed with Pokemon Go right now, and we've been going to our local park almost every night and catching them all! Lincoln is a big fan of all the doggies he sees on their walks, and smiling at all the cute girls. He's becoming so social nowadays. He gets so excited whenever he meets someone his own age. He just wants to tackle/hug them, which is cute but kind of embarassing a little bit, haha.

Speaking of socializing, Link will probably be starting daycare next month! Ahhh! Our current babysitter can no longer watch him, and I will have to be going full time at my job soon to cover the cost of daycare. I keep telling myself that this is a good thing, that it will be good for him. I can't help but be nervous about it. Our entire routine for the day is going to be changing, but I know we can do it. Gotta break that little bubble at some point. It will be good for him...I know it will. :)

Thanks for coming back and checking up on us, hopefully I will have more posts soon. Love you guys!

~Grace Abigail

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April Beauty Favorites 2016

Hello friends! I can't believe April is almost over now! In two short weeks, my baby boy will be one year old! Agghhh! I CAN'T! I am so excited for this summer though...lots of poolside fun and walks in the late, hot evening. Bring on the heat, Illinois! I'm ready for fun in the sun!

But I shall put those future plans to the side for now, and focus on what I have been loving in the beauty department this month!

First up, is the Laura Geller Baked Brulee Highlighter in Dulce De Leche. This is such a great highlighter! This shade is very golden, and blends out so smoothly. Not too glittery or clumpy. When you swipe it on your cheekbone, it just feels like it melts right into it. So buttery to touch, oh yeaaah. I will definitely be using this all summer to feel glowy and very sun goddess-esque. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find this highlighter anywhere, so it makes me think that it's discontinued...I shall cherish it!

Almay Smart Shade CC Cream in 100 Light. This product also applies very smoothly on my skin. It starts out as a white-ish cream color, then as you blend it into your skin, it kind of matches to your skin tone to create your own little perfect shade. I didn't think it would have as much coverage as it does, so I definitely reach for this when I need a little more than just concealer.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in 001 Transparent. This is a great pressed powder for when you're feeling like you need some blotting power, but not a lot of extra color on top of your foundation. This gives my skin a nice smooth finish, and keeps me from looking too shiny.

Simple Cleansing Micellar Water. I heard so much about the Bioderma makeup remover water stuff from every beauty YouTuber out there, I thought I would get my own version of it, but for cheaper, in my local CVS! This stuff does not irritate my eyes, when I wipe off even my thickest layers of mascara. And the best thing about it, is that you don't really have to rinse off afterwards. Yay for laziness!

Drybar Triple Sec. I love this texturizer.. Well, it's like a texturizer, dry shampoo, volumizer...thing. It's great! This is the second time I've gotten this, because I love the extra grit it gives my limp third day hair. Plus, it smells like vanilla! I can spray it in my hair in the morning and I will still smell vanilla at night! Talk about refreshing!

L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara. My lashes have been super blah as of late( a lot have fallen out for some reason ) So I've really been needing a plumping mascara, and this one has really been there for me. We're best friends, guys, it's happened. It's a super black mascara and I really love pairing it with Benefit Roller Lash or Covergirl Lash Blast to give my lashes a little bit more separation. If you really want to amp up the look of your lashes, or they're just a little thin like mine, I'd grab this one.

And finally, it's the lipstick I obsessed over in my last beauty post! L'Oreal Collection Exclusive The Perfect Nudes by Colour Riche, " Julianne's Nude. " If you want to read about my love for this perfect pink lipstick, head on over to that post. I get pretty poetic with it. I just love this shade. It makes me think of bright pink peonies in a garden. Perfect for springtime!

Those are my favorites for the month of April! Thanks for reading!

~Grace Abigail

Sunday, April 3, 2016

My Favorite Spring Pink Lip or A Lipstick Love Story

Hello lovely friends! It's finally spring! My favorite time of year. And with spring, comes a whole new revival of sweet and delicate spring inspired makeup looks. Spring has always been the season that I feel most excited about new makeup looks, whether they be pastel, nude, floral inspired, whatever may be! But today, I am coming at you with a love story. A lipstick love story, if you will...

I first saw this lipstick in Walgreens. I thought to myself, " Oooh, I've been searching for the perfect pink nude to wear. I wonder...if this is it. " I opened the cap hopefully, and I gasped. I mean, it's beautiful. I then second guessed myself, and I told my hopeful little heart, if you can't stop thinking about that lipstick, the next time you see it, you'll get it. I then, for the next couple weeks, every time I went into a CVS, Walgreens, Meijer, Walmart, wherever there was drugstore makeup basically, I would go and stare at this lipstick. I would contemplate our future together. Would it be as good as I was making it in my head? I finally took the plunge and chanced my fate. My pinky nude dreams were hanging in the balance as I swiped it across my lips for the first time. I nearly cried with knowing that I had finally, finally my friends, discovered my lipstick soulmate. We are very happy together, thank you for asking.

This is the L'oreal Collection Exclusive, ' The Perfect Nudes ' by Colour Riche Lipstick in #620 " Julianne's Nude. " There are a few different shades inspired by some lovely brand ambassadors. This lipstick is creamy and moisturizing, so it doesn't dry out my lips, like most lipsticks usually do for me. It is the perfect " nude " for my fair complexion, and I can't stop putting it on ma lips, y'all! The only teensy little negative there might be for this lipstick, is that it does not last very long. But that is okay by me, I never really like to wear lipstick all day anway, since I am usually smooching my son's cheeks all day, haha. If you have rosy fair skin like me, I betcha this would look great on you too! Definitely check out the other gorgeous nude shades here!

*** Angels sing! ***

I hope you all enjoyed! Have a wonderful day! I will just be over here, loving this lipstick, and whispering sweet nothings to it. Oh, you don't do that with your favorite lipstick? Hmmph, yeah sure. I know you do! When you've found the one, you never let it go!

~ Grace Abigail

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cooking: A Love Hate Relationship

I'm not gonna pretend that I make a nice home cooked dinner every night. I am no stranger to pizza night, chinese take-out night, and anything easy and from a box night. My relationship with cooking and baking usually is not very consistent, only when I've actually felt excited about making something new and delicious. I mostly just see cooking as a chore. BUT there are times when I do get excited about making my own meals( believe it or not), and recently it has been much more often. This is mainly because Link is starting to eat more foods, and I want to give him a wide variety of foods to try so he doesn't end up being the most picky eater in the entire world( my worst nightmare.)

So, here I am to document my efforts in the kitchen. And to hopefully get some validation that hey, you see I'm trying, and hey, what I've made looks pretty dang good! Success!

Oh yeah, you know I arranged these like this just for the picture...

This morning I had a search PAR-TAY on Pinterest for something different that I could whip up for Lincoln and me for breakfast. We had literally nothing easy to make, so I told myself, " Okay Grace, you gotta put on your big girl britches and COOK! " And boy howdy, I did! I saw an idea for cottage cheese pancakes, and I decided to go for it. I used this recipe, which was very easy and required few ingredients( yay for me ) and it turned out great. Cute little palm sized pancakes of adorable deliciousness. Link loved them too! He ate three! These little guys were mostly made of eggs and cottage cheese, so when fried, they tasted like a slightly fried eggy cheese-y goodness nugget, rather than a traditional fluffy pancake. Did you like that description? Yeah, there's a reason I don't do cooking blog posts...
This recipe calls for honey as well, but I didn't have any on hand, so I just used a bit of regular sugar. I'm sure if I had put it in, the cakes would have been a bit more sweet. Mine were sort of savor-y. Nothing a little maple syrup can't fix!

I mentioned in my last Links of Awesome post that I wanted to start making more homemade bread. I used the recipe that I linked to in that post to make that beautiful crusty bread you see below...


LOOK AT THE BEAUTY!!! I want to start a tradition of making more bread on Sundays. It's a day that I always have off, and I can usually get some time to mix up a bread mixture in the afternoon. I mean, who doesn't like bread laying around to nom on?!

I'm hoping that my recent curious streak with cooking holds up for a bit longer. I'm quite enjoying it right now! What are some dishes you love to make?

~Grace Abigail

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Links of Awesome #14

Heyo! I'm back with another Links of Awesome!!! I haven't done one of these in foreeeeever, so I thought I'd dust off the old searching clicky clickers(that's code word for typing fingers just in case you didn't know) and get going on the list! Hope you enjoy my findings!

Underwater Abstract, Alcohol Ink on 11 x 14 Yupo paper
First, I gotta start off by saying something about this Etsy shop. This is my husband's cousin's shop, and she sells the most beautiful Alcohol Ink paintings I have ever seen. I mean, LOOK AT THAT COLOR! She has so many gorgeous ones, you should definitely check them out! Source.

I've been loving all of the art for The Force Awakens! There are so many cool interpretations of the characters. source

I need these cat flats right meow! See what I did there? source.

You said it, Chris. 

Also, kind of obsessed with this rosey red hair color right now! If I ever get the balls to color my hair something other than dark blonde, this would be the color! 

- Two Words. Cat Scarf!

- Ummm, can we talk about how beautiful these pressed flower phone cases are?! This shop has the mostest!

- Kind of in love with this Anthropologie duvet cover. Not gonna lie.

- This DIY Coffee Cup Holder project is pretty cool! I need to make me one of these...

- Gah! This jewel embellished bikini top is so pretty!

- After watching the Netflix documentary series, Cooked, I have been on the hunt for a really good crusty bread recipe. They talked about making bread in one episode and it really inspired me to start making my own. Here's a really nice recipe that I cannot wait to try out myself.

- Just wanted to let everyone know, I ordered these ankle boots recently, and I love them! I normally have a lot of problems finding comfortable shoes for the colder months, but these are great!

- If you are expecting a little baby girl soon, and love all things floral and pink and ADORABLE, then I would check out this home office turned nursery makeover!

- Um, I'm pretty sure I need this thermal mug in my life.

That's it for now, loves! I hope you enjoyed my little list of all things cute and awesome, and I also hope everyone has a great rest of their week. Mwah!

~Grace Abigail

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Antique Finds

Last Saturday, I drove myself on down to Washington, IL to visit one of my oldest girl friends. It was a glorious weekend! Firstly, because it was my second weekend away from Link ever, which was a treat. Yay for waking up myself and getting a good night sleep! And secondly, I had not seen my friend in a very long time, so it was nice to get away and spend some nice quality girl time. The Sunday I was there we went to El Paso, IL, to this small antique mall off the side of the highway, and searched our little hearts out for hours. I made sure to snap a few pictures to show you all!

This is the china set of my dreams and I don't know why I passed it up. I'm truly regretting not getting it...

I got so excited when I saw this little bird puzzle! It was in our church nursery growing up, and I remember playing with this so often. I squealed when I saw it!

And then some things were just scary...

And confusing...

I definitely should have bought this record too, shouldn't I? Yeah.

We had these little toys at home too! I actually saw many toys that I had growing up in this place...I was surprised how much people were asking for things that we had just lying around the house. Made me kind of sad and a little frustrated that we just gave them away.

These are my purchases! A sweet stitched sign and a little oil painting. I just loved the colors of these two. The frame of the stitched sign is a little knicked in places, so I don't know if I will paint the frame of just find another one for it...

If any of you are near El Paso IL, you should definitely try and search around in this little gold mine while you're there. The prices were really good, and there is a good mixture of collectibles, furniture, cute knick knacks, vintage dish sets...basically all the cool stuff you'd want to search through. I mean, my friend even got a beautiful full china set for 70 dollars, and we looked it up on Etsy later and just two cups were being sold for $30 a piece. Great deal! I can't wait to go back some day. Cross your fingers that cute vintage china set is still there when I go!

Have a good day!

~Grace Abigail

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Peeks Into My Home

Curtains from TJ Maxx, USA art from Hobby Lobby, banner made by me!

Picture Frame from Target, Record Player from Urban Outfitters, little "H" from Hobby Lobby.

Guster sitting by my dining room windows.

Little man and Dad sitting at the dinner table. I just love Link's curious expression...

This tiny little home is perfect for right now. It's not too small where we feel like we are climbing on top of each other, and it's not too big, where I feel so overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning I have to do that I ALSO feel overwhelmed lol. As Goldilocks once said, " It's just right! " Sure sometimes the floor creeks too much while I'm trying to tip toe away from Link while he sleeps. And I guess the ceiling is really really low. And sure, our bathroom barely fits one person in it comfortably. But it's home. With all the flaws come a certain sense that hey, life is quirky sometimes. Sometimes you live in a silly little house first before you find the most perfect house for you and your family. Sometimes you have to go through the weird parts of life, that are a little messy, to really come into your own at the end. I'm so happy with where my family is right now. Kyle and I are paying off loans, making our long term plans reality finally, and really getting the hang of this whole parenting thing. And I guess it sort of makes sense that we live in this imperfect house right now...because we are a little flustered and falling apart sometimes, but at the end of the day, we have a home. We have a family. And we have love. And that's what life is all about, right? 

Btw, I am soooo into decorating right now it's not even funny. I am all over the Home Decor Pinterest boards....Maybe I'll share some of my inspirations on here later!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, and I hope that you have a comfy cozy place to curl up and call home as well. :)

~Grace Abigail