Author: Jill

Minneapolis living with my guy and my canine gal. Lover of nature, dogs, home design, food, and new adventures. Finding little joys in everyday life.


This year we went to Ogunquit with Z’s whole family. We had a great time and the weather was perfect! Here’s my photo-drop:

Our rental house! I LOVED it.

Lobster dinners being delivered!  

Beautiful day on “little” beach at low tide.

The view from where we are getting married! 🙂

Shuffleboard with Z and Max.

Grocery games.

Perkins Cove.  

STRONG punch at Barnacle Billy’s!

The walk from our house down the street towards the ocean and the little light house.

We are here!

Morning coffee runs to Breaking New Grounds (with a view).

Reception site!

I kind of obsess over the rocky parts of the beach.

Peter the master sandcastle builder.

Taking the box apart at the lobster boil at Fosters.

Candle-pin bowling and old-school arcade fun in York.

The Bittermans’ house.

Drip castle king and queen.

Some of the crew at candle-pin bowling.

Another Breaking New Grounds coffee morning.

Perkins Cove.


Giant bat-kites on the main beach.

Another lobster night!  

I got a kick out of this old home’s “turn-style”, meant for cows (apparently).  



Pelican lake 2015

I wish I could have stayed longer! Loved playing with the girls.  Here are the photos I took!









Last few months

What have I been up to since my April Miami trip? Here goes…

I really enjoyed spring. Thanks for taking it easy on us this year, Minnesota! Hooray for no April or May snow.    

I admired my new jewelry :-). 

I said goodbye to Target…



Really enjoyed the Billy Joel Concert.



Had an engagement party! (Yes, sadly this is the ONLY photo I took. Dropped the ball). 


Supported a good friend at an AIPAC event (a pro Israel group). Go Lauren! 


Took P to a little photoshoot for lucy & co :).


Spent a lot of time at the dog park during my time off of work. 


Finally got to meet Emily’s sweet girl Eleanor (Ellie).   

Learned what P does during the week days. A lot of this:


Attended a charity event for ALS at this pretty new stadium in St Paul, home of the St Paul Saints.  


Bought new fish children. 


Celebrated accepting a new job!


Took a quick trip up to the cabin with Dad and Don to get the fixed up boat. After some drama on the high seas, we finally got it working great. Loved seeing the guest cabin progress, the new cool modern house on the lot down the street, and enjoying the gorgeous weather. We even discovered a large rock bass nesting under the dock. It wouldn’t leave, even after being caught twice!



Went to an awesome event for the Mpls Institute of Arts that had Chromeo as entertainment.  


Celebrated freedom. 


Walked through the rose garden by lake Harriet, one of my favorite places.  



Spent the day of the 4th of July at the Rappaports, playing and snuggling with baby Jack. 



Cooed over baby bunnies in our yard then (a few hours later), watched in horror as Penelope murdered one of them.  


Flew solo at a beautiful wedding on the lake for Anna and Chris.





Not pictured: the wedding planning trip we took to Maine in May. I left my phone at home accidentally and somehow survived. Z took all the pics :). More to come this summer!

That’s all she wrote! Now: diving into my new job, soaking up summer, wedding planning, and getting excited for the family cabin time and our vacation in Maine.

Miami sun and wedding fun

Whew what a weekend! We spent 4 days and 3 nights in SoBe for our friend’s wedding. We stayed at The Redbury, which was a cute boutique hotel right on Collins. The weather was gorgeous, which was perfect since every wedding event was outdoors. 


We stopped by CRAVE in Coral Gables on the way into town. 


 Our hotel room came with a little record player :).


 Little man shorts and lady butt. Typical Miami sighting. 



 Day time pool party with the wedding group at Hyde Beach at the SLS hotel. Complete with Dave Chappelle sighting!




 Beach time!



 Our little hotel rooftop and ready to head out for dinner and the rehearsal party. 


 Dinner with friends at Joe’s Stone Crab… SOOO delicious!




  Rehearsal speeches on the sand, the boys (Leo, David, Danny, Jamie, Z), and Z on a sheep lol. 


The only pic I got of us on wedding night and it’s all foggy. Below is a pic I took at home of my outfit. 







Wedding venue, dancing, pool jumping, and aftermath. (No, I didn’t partake in the swimming :)). 





The last day we walked around a lot and crashed at our hotel before our flight :). 

entry ideas

Now that we’ve been living in our house for about 3 1/2 months, we are feeling pretty settled.  And now is the time I start getting ideas of what I want to change and update.  Non-renovation, decor updates are what I’m going to be making myself, without the help of a professional.  I think if I concentrate on one room at a time, I can make sure everything gets done.  It’s sometimes hard to shop with Z for home decor when he jumps all over the place, “This would be great in the living room”, “Where can we put this?”, “Can this go in the basement?”.  My mind doesn’t work well that way, and we end up walking out of the store with nothing.

First up, the entry way.  I thought the best place to start is the place that every guest sees first.  It also happens to be the place Z and I walk in and out of every day.  We don’t have a door into our home directly from our garage, so the front door gets used a lot.entry before 1

As you can tell from this picture, our entry leads into MANY areas, so this “room” definitely needs to be able to transition well into all parts of the main floor.  I plan to keep the floor tiles, front door, and light fixture.  The door and fixture have been recently updated and the tiles run down the hallway into the half bath, and it’s just not a project we plan to attack right now.  The terracotta-looking tiles weren’t my favorite at first, but they have been growing on me over time.  From this angle you can tell that we need a bigger rug.  Especially now that winter is coming, I want something that fills that entry space.  A 4×6 fits perfectly without overlapping into other doorways, so I’m on the hunt for one that has a subtle pattern and hides dirt stains.  Oh, I’d also love to find a wooden screen door to put up next summer.  The front of the house doesn’t have great air circulation, so it would be great to be able to have the door open, and the pupster would love looking out too.

entry before 6

I am also on the hunt for a rectangular mirror to put on the empty wall next to the door.  It’s always nice to have a mirror by the entry to give yourself a once-over before heading out.  In case you haven’t been over, the little doorway here leads into the office.

entry before 2

Here are our closet doors, which I’m considering painting.  There is a lot of wood in our house that makes it feel really dark, so I’m trying to figure out a game plan for all of it.  Some wood (like the wood in our kitchen), is pretty and high-quality, but most is boring 80’s trim.  These doors sort of land in the middle.  I need to sand one of the doors on the top because it sticks, so I might just go for the paint job.  I’d also love to paint the trim around the front door and the doorways to the other rooms, but it’s hard to figure out what to paint right now if I’m not painting the other rooms at this time.  What do you think?  I’d be painting them a soft white.

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Here’s the hallway that leads to the half bath and kitchen, which I’m not touching for now.  Also, the stair railings include railings that go all the way across the upper level, so those are a project for another day as well.

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Looking out from the front door, I’d love to add some art or photos to the empty wall by the stairs to add some more visual interest.  {Please excuse our rumpled sofa cushions, thanks to the pup}.

What are your thoughts on trim painting in a transition area?  I don’t want it to look partially done, but some lightness would make it feel fresh.  I’ll send out an “after” post when I’ve made progress, but don’t hold your breath on timing. 😉

Happy Wednesday 🙂

My Ultimate Travel Bucket List

What’s on your travel bucket list?  Everyone has places they would like to visit someday, and I’m no different.  Today I decided I finally needed to write them down.  Now the fun will be in crossing them off the list!  Here is my list of must-visit places (in random order):


1. LA – Celebrity sightings on Rodeo Drive, Pretty-Woman style.

2. NYC – I’d especially love to visit around Christmas time or in the fall.

Note: The fact that I have NEVER been to either of the largest cities in the USA (NY & LA) is shocking, I know. I can’t believe it either.

3. Portland, and other parts of Oregon, like this:

4. Yellowstone National Park – geysers and mountains and wildlife, oh my!

5. Charleston, SC – The ocean, the food, those beautiful homes.

6. Duluth & Grand Marais, MN (My own state!) It’s about time I venture even further up north.

7. Northern CA – Redwood Forests. I love the forest, and this is the most ultimate magical forest of them all.

California's Redwood Forest.  Growing up we would vacation in Redwood forests in California. Great memories.

8. Austin, TX – I hear it’s a music-filled, fun, Southern city, that doesn’t feel like the South.

9. Martha’s Vinyard/Cape Cod/Hamptons – Charm x 100! I adore these little towns.

10. Maui, HI – lush, tropical heaven.

11. New Mexico – I feel like this state is under-visited, and has coolness to offer.

12. The Grand Canyon – A wonder of the world, a short plane ride away.

13. New Orleans, LA – who can say no to beignets and jambalaya?

14. Lake Tahoe, a winter and summer desination.

15. Savannah, GA – hello, gorgeous!

16. Washington, DC – fun and educational. I’d love to visit during the spring bloom.

17. Alaska – so much beauty in one state cannot be missed!


Outside the USA

1. Paris, France – The Tower & the Arc, yes. But it’s the little details like these that make me squeal with delight.

La Maison Rose in Montmartre, Paris France. © Brian Jannsen Photography

2. Southern coast of France – Where fields of lavender meet the sea.

3. Vancouver, BC – Ever since the Olympics I’ve wanted to visit, it just looks so beautiful with the mountains & the ocean.

4. Montreal, Quebec – France of the north.

Cobblestone Street, Montreal, Canada

5. Italy – Rome, Tuscany, Cinque Terre – History, wine and rolling hills, and adorable, colorful towns.


6. Switzerland – Insane scenery… and chocolate.

7. Barcelona – Gaudi and the Sea.

8. Costa Rica – Yes to rainforests ❤

9. Ireland – Rolling green pastures, mossy cobblestone, quaint towns, and pints.

10. London, England – long live the Queen!

11. South America – I know this is vague, I need to research before I decide, I just know I want to visit! (Pic of Machu Picchu, Peru)

12. Virgin Islands – Hard to choose just one island when they all look like this…

13. New Zealand – Strangely enough, I had a hard time coming up with a reason why other than “it’s beautiful”.

14. Belize – I’d be a bit scared but also thrilled to see the big blue hole. Also, it’s a snorkelers dream without the long flight to Australia.

15. Monaco – A tiny, luxurious country.  Hopping off the yacht to the casino. 😉

16. Norway – because, well, LOOK at this place.

17. Croatia – famous for those beautiful red roofs.

18. Thailand – Elephants and natural beauty.

You’ll see some themes with my list: many places are situated next to an ocean or sea. I tend to gravitate towards water since I live in an inland state. Also, you won’t see many places in Asia. When I travel, I like to explore cities as well as the rural areas, but being in cities as jam packed as Honk Kong, Tokyo, or Mumbai give me anxiety.  Too many people!  I’m sure there are MANY less-populated areas in these Asian countries, I just don’t know much about them.  Know a good spot?  Tell me about it!

What’s on your list?? I want to know what places I cannot miss, so I can add them to my list! Now, what trip to plan first?  Hmmm… off to daydream.


*All photos found on or

as the path turns

One of the things I love most about our new house, is the backyard.  The previous owners spent oodles on fancy landscaping, and we are doing our best to keep it looking beautiful.

One of the best views is from the path.  There is a path that goes in between our home and the neighbor’s, curves up through the woods, and ends up at the grocery store/starbucks/brueggers/hardware store.  It’s a 3 minute walk, and uber convenient.  To have all of those businesses so close is a major luxury in the suburbs!

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Starting the week off with a rainy day, but otherwise the forecast looks beautiful.  Have a great one!

Chi-town / D-town

The last couple of weekends have been filled with friends, fun, and family.  Two weeks ago, I went to Chicago to celebrate a soon-to-be bride, Carly, who is the fiance of one of Z’s life-long friends.  I sometimes forget how easy it is to fly to Chicago.  By the time we’re up in the air, we are practically making our descent!

There were some scenic views from my window seat this time.

Chicago June 2014 -5

Chicago June 2014 -6We split up into 2 groups and stayed at two apartments near downtown.  I stayed with a gal I’d never met before, Saleigh, who was one of those people I felt immediately comfortable around.  Don’t you love meeting those kind of people? We hung out for a little bit, then got ready for a late dinner at Dawson.

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We bar hopped around after dinner, then headed back for some shut-eye.

(Some of the group)

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The next day we woke up to a beautiful day, so we hung out by the pool all day.  Both girls live in high-rise buildings, which I’m not sure I would enjoy.  I’m not very afraid of heights, but I don’t know how I’d feel about spending every day 20 floors above the ground (eek!).  The views are pretty spectacular, though.

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That night before dinner and dancing, we met up at the other apartment and played some fun games, and especially had fun with this guy…

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Yup, that’s a cardboard cut-out of AJ from the Backstreet Boys.  I’m just going to leave it at that. 😉

It was a great weekend hanging with the bride and meeting some new friends!

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Over the 4th of July, Z was out of town, so I road tripped it down to Des Moines to see my parents and hang with my niece, Addy.  My sister  and her husband had a wedding to attend, so my parents and I had toddler duty.  She is growing so fast!  The life of a 2 year old is a bit crazy, but really fun.  She says my name all the time now and I’m eating it up with a spoon!

My road trip buddy & navigator.

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June 2014 9We saw the 4th of July parade this year!  It was the most gorgeous day.

Nothing says American Midwest like John Deere.

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Parade-ing, bath time fun, and shopping with Addy!  It was good to be home.

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baby & bundles

We made it!  We moved into our new home and have been living there for about 10 days.  The move was exhausting, but exciting.  We quickly unpacked (most) boxes within a couple of days, but still have a lot of organizing and finding-homes-for to do.  It luckily didn’t rain much during the move, I tend to be famous for rainy moves.

We moved out of our old home on Thursday, then stayed overnight at Z’s parent’s house that night while we were homeless.  The next day, we didn’t close until 2pm, so I had the morning to relax and refuel for moving part 2.  I took P for a walk that morning and had a run-in with a coyote!  It was 9:30am and very sunny, so it was strange to see one so out in the open.  I was walking in the street when it walked down someone’s yard, across the street right in front of us, then into the woods on the other side.  It didn’t pause or even seem to notice us, so it didn’t seem scary at all!  Miss P seemed very alert, but didn’t move much.  Maybe she knew it wasn’t a dog?  The creature sightings continued when we moved in, two HUGE turkeys were walking across our backyard.  Those things are like 4 feet tall!  Then recently, I spotted a garter snake in my front yard,  I haven’t seen one of those since childhood.  Weird how these nature sightings come in groups.

Anywho, we moved in to our new home on Friday, and it seemed to take less than half the time than moving out.  Funny how that happens.  We spent that whole day putting away, organizing, putting together, etc.  We took little breaks to relish in our new home.  Do we actually live here?? I’ve been telling friends that it feels like we are kids living in our parent’s house.  We are officially old!

On Saturday I got to take a break from unpacking, actually take a shower, and attend a baby shower of one of my best friends from college, Emily.  She grew up around here but lives in Chicago, so it was great to see her and her adorable bump!

Me, Emily, and Amy (another college friend)

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Emily is having a girl in the next few months, and I’m so excited to meet her!  She’s going to be a lucky little girl with the most fun, sweet mom!

This last weekend was filled with rain.  In fact, there has been entirely WAY too much rain in our lives lately.  So much so that there is flooding, and event Lake Minnetonka put a “no wake” clause on the entire lake because of high levels. So if you want to go boating, you’re gonna have to go reeeeal slow.  On Saturday we had some high winds with our rain storm, and we lost one big branch and about a million tiny branches/sticks from our trees.

(Not a great shot of the big branch, my phone kept focusing on the screen).  Luckily, it landed on the walking path, and didn’t hit the house or any pretty plants.

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Z had a work event all weekend, so his dad was kind enough to come over on Sunday and help me bundle the sticks and cut up the big branch.  We bundled and bundled for way too long!  I was happy when that project was over.

june 2014 4I capped off that day of hard work with a trip to our peony bush, my favorite flower ever.  My old home had a tiny plant with white blooms, and this home has a much larger plant, but with dark magenta blooms.


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There is a lot more upkeep with this house, especially with the yard.  I am finding that I don’t really mind doing the work.  I want it to stay beautiful!  Z even picked up a dozen little gold fish for our pond, to try and keep away the algae that grows.  Turns out they keep hiding behind the rocks and I’ve only seen them once!  He might spring for larger fish this week.

Well, back to work.  Or as I should call it, listening-to-World-Cup-yells-and-screams-while-I-sit-at-a-desk.  Here’s hoping I can get some work done over the next month.  Goooooooooooaaaaaaalllllllllllllll!

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