North Carolina Recap

So today is our only day home before we take off for another trip. :) #firstworldproblems

My best friend Melissa and her bf Nico are flying into Arizona and we are meeting them and driving to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park for a few days. Also my brother and his fiancé, as well as two of our friends in Colorado are meeting us in Zion for some hiking and camping. So it’s going to be an awesome time and perfect way to unplug from the working world and unwind.

But before we take off I wanted to do a quick recap of the last few days. I will for sure do a more involved daily recap of our trip once we get back.

  • We went to Chapel Hill, North Carolina last week, to visit Dave’s best friend from childhood. We stayed with them Wednesday and Thursday night and then again on Sunday.
  • chapel hill Friday we headed over to Bald Head Island to celebrate our friend’s wedding weekend. It was the most perfect, beautiful weekend.
  • houseIt was our first time to North Carolina and I loved the Southern accents and hospitality that I’ve always heard so much about.
  • The only real disappointment I would say was that I didn’t find the perfect biscuit that I was hoping to. Guess that’s just another reason for me to go back and continue the search! I would love to hear any recommendations if you have any, whether in the South or in other parts of the US!

Astleigh Guest Post!

I found Astleigh’s blog through a link up a little while back and I love the look of her blog. She takes beautiful pictures and it’s so fun to follow along her first pregnancy. I’m so excited she is guest posting today!


Hi there! I’m Astleigh and you can catch me blogging over at Hill Collection where I share bits of my life as a married gal with our first baby on the way, DIY projects, home décor, recipes, etc. I’m a lover of the fall, coffee drinks, and a good read. I’d love to learn to knit, I prefer dark nail polishes to lighter ones, and I’m crazy for accent pillows, firmly believing you can never have too many, though husband might disagree. I’ve been saved by a mighty Savior and my life is built on Him as my cornerstone. The holidays make me giddy, desserts are my love language, and I get shy in front of a camera.


Creativity is my jam, and I’m always exploring new ways to express that. Most recently I’ve launched a design business, Hill Collection Designs. This new endeavor is my creative outlet, as well as such a fun way to interact and collaborate with others. Let me tell you more about it!


HC Designs is a card and stationary small business that offers anything from holiday greeting cards to shower invites and thank you notes. I pride myself on coming up with unique and classic pieces that will win not only your heart, but those that receive these sweet pieces of snail mail too! From pre-made to custom options, my cards are meant to inspire creativity and excitement. I can’t think of anything better than a mailbox full of Christmas cards. So why not spread that kind of cheer all year through?!


If you’re looking for holiday cards, may that be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year, or so on, an invitation to send out for a wedding or baby shower, or a sweet way to say ‘thank you’, HC Designs is your place! I’d love to work with you! Take a peak at what I offer and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to chat, just send me an email:


Thanks for sharing in one of my passions today. HC Designs gives my heart all the exciting flutters and I’m looking forward to seeing where this business goes! Likewise blogging has been incredible for me and I hope there are many more years of it to come. It continues to open up my world to so many wonderful people, and through that I get special opportunities to guest post and share more of my life with you! So a huge thanks to Julie for letting me pop by her space today and share a bit about some of the things I love!

Find me on Instagram and Facebook, I’d love to connect! xo


How gorgeous are her card designs? I know I love getting mail in this day and age of technology. Thanks again so much for sharing your new design business with everyone today Astleigh!


Megan Guest Post!

Megan and I just recently became blog friends and I’m so glad. She is a Midwest girl like me and she’s been super supportive and friendly. By far my favorite part of blogging has been the community that it offers. Being able to connect with other ladies in other states and countries is just so cool!

Hi everyone!   A big thanks to Julie for allowing me to guest post today.  I actually found her blog through the link up that she co-hosts with Mattie each month & have enjoyed reading about her travel adventures!

carselfieI blog over at Megan Marie where I mostly jibber jabber about life, fitness, & the occasional wedding plans (eek!).  I started my current blog a few years ago & consider it a hobby.  Before that, I always had some type of online “journal” going way back to 7th grade— shout out to anyone that has ever heard of Kiwibox!  I enjoy having a place where I can record & recap life events to look back on someday.  And also meeting some really amazing people along the way!

Julie has talked about some books recently so I thought I’d share one of my favorites!

girlswhowentawayI have read this book at least ten times (maybe more).  I’m usually a fan of fiction books but this one just never gets old.  The author discusses society from the 1940s-1970s & how these girls were basically “sent away” by their families when they got pregnant.  She talks a lot about the culture during that era & also includes stories of the women who went through it.  I really enjoy reading the stories from the women, as they are telling it years & years after their experience.  A lot of the women say that they didn’t have a choice & that they had to give the baby up for adoption.  So, that’s what they did– signed the papers & returned back home to their normal routine.  Some of the women never talked about the baby until they were interviewed for the book.  Overall, I find it really interesting to read about how society looked at women who had gotten pregnant outside of marriage.  I guess that’s kind of the psychology nerd in me too, haha.

Thanks again Julie for letting me take over today!  Have a great day everyone!

One of my favorite thing about blog-land is hearing people’s book recommendations. I’ve never heard of this one but will have to add it to my list. Thanks again so much Megan!

Kelley’s Guest Post!

Today’s guest blogger is Kelley, who has become a blogger friend of mine, and I’m so happy she’s taking over for me today. She lives across the pond in London with her family and I love following their adventures. I’ll let Kelley take it from here:
Allow me to introduce myself… 
Hello, I’m Kelley! I am a Colorado native currently living in London with my husband of almost 10(!) years, Davis, our daughter, Madeline (3), and our rescue doggie, Hyde. Prior to relocating to London in 2014, we called Los Angeles home. And prior to being a stay-at-home mommy to Madeline, I was an elementary school teacher.
I started my blog Madeline in the City last year just after we moved to London as a way to keep family and friends updated on our lives and to have a family journal of all of our adventures. I blog about our adventures in and around London and use it as a travel diary when we take a holiday. I also write about the every day boring stuff of just being a normal mom living in a new city.
I love blogging because…
Blogging helps me process and express my thoughts. In the first few months after moving, I had some really hard days missing everything from back in the states (like a normal trip to Target). I used my blog as a journal to write several posts to help me process this huge life change we had experienced- moving to another country. Of course, I never hit publish as they felt too personal to put out there for the world to read! I also thought my blog would be a great way for Madeline to see her life over here and I’ve loved looking back to see all that we’ve done in the last year and a half of living in London.
I also love blogging because it puts me in contact with people around the world that I would normally never be in contact with (and comments just make my day!). I met one of my good friends in London because of a California friend’s blog. I am so glad Erin followed Erin’s blog so that our paths crossed! 
My favorite vacation was…
Before Davis and I were going to start our family, we took what we thought to be our last trip before I got pregnant. (Africa actually turned out to be the second to last trip as we also squeezed in Panama before I could get pregnant due to needing to wait for the Malaria medication we had to take to fully exit my system.) We spent 3 weeks on the continent- began in Cape Town, did safaris in different parts of Tanzania seeing the Great Migration, spent some time on the island of Zanzibar and finished in Cairo, Egypt. It was the most incredible experience and I hope to one day be able to visit again once Madeline is old enough to truly experience a trip like that.
We loved Cape Town and one of the highlights was being at the top of Table Mountain. The other highlight was visiting Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held as a prisoner for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid. Oh and Davis went cage diving with great white sharks which was probably the worst experience of my life. It was so cold (it was winter in that part of the world), the water was SO turbulent and I was so very sea sick despite beginning my Dramamine regimen 24 hours before we even set foot on the boat. But hey, the things we do for love, right?
On the Safari part of our trip in Tanzania we flew or drove around the country spending time at the Ngorongoro CraterLake ManyaraTarangire National Park and the Serengeti. We went in August to see the Great Migration– the incredible amount of wildebeest (1.5 million!) and all of the animals that go along with them- is absolutely breathtaking. It’s hard to put into words the absolute beauty of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. You can just sit there for hours. Waiting. Watching. We had a few unbelievable experiences that I caught on video- one with an elephant and another with a mother rhino and her baby.
Our 3 weeks ended with a few days in Cairo, Egypt during the holy month of Ramadan. It was incredibly hot but visiting the pyramids, riding a camel and seeing the (smaller than you think it’d be) Sphinx was pretty amazing. If getting to Africa is on your bucket list, it’s not going to disappoint one bit!
The best part of our summer…
Madeline and I spent a month in the states (and Davis 2 weeks). It was so wonderful to spend an extended time with family and friends in Denver and Los Angeles doing things and visiting places we’ve missed living abroad. It was also especially nice as we did not have much of a summer in London so spending time in the states gave us some good hot weather.
Blogging has taught me…
It takes me a long time to write a post! And being a tiny bit of a perfectionist, it probably takes me longer than most. I am always so impressed by the bloggers (Julie!) who post multiple times weekly. If I get one done a week, I feel accomplished.
Also it takes commenting on other blogger’s blogs to develop a following and to get your blog out there. I am feeling more confident about my blog a little over a year into it and I am trying to link-up more and take the time to comment more on the blogs I read. I often read my favorite blogs on the train or while I’m waiting to pick up Madeline from nursery and then don’t get around to commenting. I need to get better at commenting since I love reading comments from others on my blog. 
A few bucket list items or life goals would be… 
(and in no particular order)
1. Add to our family with another baby and rescue another dog
2. Get certified to be a yoga instructor to teach children
3. Visit New Zealand/Australia and Iceland (and pretty much anywhere else in the world)
4. Have you seen this video? I would absolutely LOVE to have an experience with whales in the wild.
5. Own a horse so I guess that would mean someday living in the country.
Thanks for having me Julie! I hope you are having a nice trip to North Carolina!
And thanks for reading my post. Please stop by my blog Madeline in the City to say hello too!
How sweet is her family? Love all these pictures! A lion, the Sphinx, a safari, AND Cape Town? WOW!  Thank you again so much for sharing this and your family with us Kelley! Now you all know why I love her blog so much!

Emily’s Guest Post!

I found Emily’s blog through a link up a few months ago and we bonded over her upcoming trip to Chicago next month. We all know how much I love my hometown. :) But back to Emily! She is a really nice girl and it’s been really fun to become email pen pals and blogging friends now. I’m so glad you all get to meet her today through her guest post.

Hi everyone! I’m over the moon excited to to guest blogging for Julie today. Let me introduce myself- I’m Emily, the girl behind Comfortably Classic. I’m a newlywed, a 6th grade teacher, and a follower of Christ. I’m also an entrepreneur, a word I NEVER thought I would use to describe myself. 



About a year ago, I took a leap of faith and signed up for Teachers Pay Teachers, an open marketplace for teachers to share and sell educational resources. I had just finished my first year of teaching in a district that didn’t have approved curriculum yet. As I ventured into my second year, I reflected on how much I had learned and created for my students. I joined Teachers Pay Teachers on a whim.
Since then, I’ve built my store up to over 50 products, gained followers, created a blog, and met tons of wonderfully generous members of this incredible community. Oh, and I’ve made money! A year ago, I never would have thought that I could turn my passion for teaching into additional profit. I still have a long way to go and I’m learning every single day, but I’d love to share with you some of the things that I’ve learned over the past year!
  • Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it unapologetically. It can change your life if you let it.
free printable of this Abraham Lincoln quote. Love this!! #AbrahamLincoln #inspiringquote:
  • You can make money doing something you love. My husband and I are saving like crazy to buy our first house, and Teachers Pay Teachers has been such a blessing in helping us work toward our goal.
  • Your passion can be anything! Fashion, food, interior design, writing, photography, travel- there are tons of opportunities to turn your hobby into profit. One of my closest friends is a beautiful illustrator and created hand drawn programs for her wedding. She turned that talent into a business and now sells her personalized wedding programs!
  • People are your most valuable resource. Removing competition opens you up to amazing collaboration opportunities. Surrounding yourself with intelligent, hardworking people can make you feel less than perfect. Reject that insecurity and remember that we’re all works in progress.
  • “You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” This has been my mantra ever since opening my store. You are smarter and more powerful than you realize- be brave enough to start. I’m sure glad I was.
A huge thank you again to Julie for letting me share my story and my heart with you!
Be brave, friends!
XO Emily
I’m a sucker for quotes and love Emily’s inspirational post. We all need reminders every now and then to chase our passions and know that great things can happen if we seek them. Thanks again so much Emily!

Seattle Trip Part 2- Rattlesnake Ledge Hike!

After we found a rental, it was such a weight off our shoulders. I was pretty stressed out seeing all the houses. This will be our first time buying a house and it’s pretty crazy to think about the maintenance that is required and how much some places need fixing it. It can be pretty intimidating.

We were on our way to Fox Island to visit our friends and came across this nice park (whose name I did not catch) and got an awesome view of the city. Sometimes this skyline reminds me of the Chicago skyline.


We love Starbucks as much as everyone else does, but we also like to support local coffee shops. We went to this one a bunch of times.


I also posted a picture of her yesterday but I mean come on! She is so stinkin’ precious I can’t take it. Her onesie, her crocs, her hoodie with the ears. She is perfection I’m telling you! IMG_1631


Our friends have a gorgeous rental and they have stunning views and sunlight.


The next day we drove into town to sign our lease agreement and drove past the Seattle Library downtown. You all know how much I love to read and I can’t wait to get inside this beautiful library. We have a few architecture friends and they all rave about this library, it’s pretty easy to see why!



Afterwards Dave surprised me and took me to Gas Works Park in Ballard which was really pretty and peaceful. And it was beautiful and sunny out. Who says Seattle is always grey and rainy? IMG_1660






For dinner that night we met our friends Denny and Sarah in Ballard and ate at a restaurant called Roux. It was really good.


On our final day in town, after seeing our friends and house hunting we wanted to get in a hike before we took off for the airport.

So I’m going to be honest. I heard about this hike from Des and Chris from the Bachelorette. She posted pictures of their engagement photos and I knew instantly that I wanted to go here someday. I mentioned it to Dave and he had actually done it by himself one of the times he had a layover in Seattle, so it was really fun for us to do it together this time! It’s called Rattlesnake Ledge.



It’s a quick 2 mile trek to the top with this view.

trail marker

Seattle has a bad reputation for always being rainy and grey but I think the positive to that is the state is so green and lush!




Gotta add this one to our feet picture collection.


We talked to a nice guy up there who was from Michigan (I’m telling you people from the Midwest are so friendly!) and he took this picture for us.

Going on this hike made me very excited that we are moving up there at the end of this month. It’s really cool to see pictures of a place and then to actually be there is awesome. This hike is easy yet the views are so rewarding and breathtaking. I can’t recommend this hike enough. Dave and I said we already know that we are going to take all our visitors here. So get ready to see lots more pictures of us up there! :)

Growing up in the Midwest in Chicago where it’s super flat and full of tall buildings and absolutely no mountains, it’s really surreal and humbling to be surrounded by beautiful, majestic places like Rattlesnake Ledge.



One of the things we are most excited about in moving to Seattle is the outdoor lifestyle. We plan to be outside camping and hiking most weekends and couldn’t be more pumped about it! One of our favorites quotes is:



On that note, I wanted to let you all know that I will be heading out of town tomorrow once again, for our friend Kate and Hayes’ wedding in beautiful North Carolina. It our first time there and we are super excited to see what everyone is always raving about!

I want to thank all my blogging friends in advance for taking over for me and guest posting here. Shout out to Emily @ Comfortably Classic, Megan @ Twenty Ounces, Kelley @ Madeline I, Katelyn @ Simply Sunflour, and Ailee @ Snapshots and My Thoughts! Thanks girls, you’re the best!

Hope you all have a great rest of the week. If you want to follow along our trip I’ll be posting occasionally on Instagram.

Seattle House Hunting Trip Part 1

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week now, but I’ve been buried in boxes, tape, newspapers and bubblewrap for the last few days. Better late than never, right?

So Saturday September 19th-22nd we were in Seattle with the main intention of finding and possibly buying or renting a house. Dave and I had been using Redfin (thanks to our friend Kate who told me about it) for the past month or so browsing and favoriting places. The market in Seattle moves so fast and we kept getting emails that houses were pending every couple of days, which was pretty discouraging.

We’d been talking to our realtor for a while so we had a list of places we wanted to see. So as soon as we rented our car from the airport we drove to our friend’s house in West Seattle and carpooled to go to the open houses.

I know a lot of you girls are bachelor fans so you may know who this guy is! Jason Mesnick was the Bachelor a few years ago. One day I was watching Celebrity Wife Swap when Jason and Molly Mesnick switched homes with Sean and Catherine Lowe.

Jason mentioned that he was a real estate agent in Seattle so I looked up his website and decided to email him. He emailed me back the next day and we scheduled a phone call and chatted real estate with a side of Bachelor talk too. :) He’s very friendly and personable and is very open about his time on the show. If anyone is looking for real estate in Seattle, I’d highly recommend him!

I won’t bore you all with pictures of the places we looked at because we didn’t end up loving any of the places enough to buy them. It was also a lot of pressure to find a home in such a short time. So we ended up finding a 6 month house rental to give us time to find a place and not be rushed.

After our full day of house hunting, we met up with our friend Kate had dinner in Alaska Junction and stopped for a cupcake after at Cupcake Royale. It was really good and I’m pretty picky about frosting that is usually too thick and super sweet. But this place was great! I can’t get to get back here and try other ones.



Our good friends Jared and Marlee, have the cutest little Seahawks fan I’ve ever seen. She melts my heart. One of the things I’m most looking forward to is being closer to this little nugget.


On Sunday we went to the West Seattle farmer’s market which was so great. There were a lot of vegetables and it definitely felt like fall. I’m really looking forward to shopping here on the weekends!




The flowers they have there are beautiful!


Kate suggested we eat at Fiddlehead which was down the street from the farmer’s market. We waited for quite a while but it was really good.


I’ve recently become infatuated with biscuits and jam and theirs were great! IMG_1608

I will be back tomorrow to share part 2 of our Seattle trip. I’d love your recommendations for the Seattle area. I seriously have such a long list already of places I want to see and things I want to do, I am so excited! It felt great to be our new city and to walk around the neighborhoods and get a feel.

Linking up today with all of these bloggers: