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My St. Louis Engagement!

This weekend, Aaron and I took a (seemingly spontaneous) trip down to St. Louis! I even took my own advice on what to pack for such an occasion!

The Trip

We had both been eagerly waiting for the new St. Louis Zoo penguin exhibit to open for quite some time since many of the penguins from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago were relocated to the St. Louis Zoo. During our first year of dating (7 years ago!), Aaron “adopted” one of the penguins in my name, so we knew visiting STL was in the cards for us at some point. When I asked Aaron what he wanted for his birthday, he suggested a weekend trip to St. Louis rather than a physical present. I happily agreed and off we went!

Rooster

We stopped for breakfast at Rooster which has some really amazing food! Though I’m not one for bloody mary’s, Aaron said his was phenomenal (though it didn’t come with the shorty chaser beer that we Illinois/Wisconsin folks are accustomed too).

The Proposal

After breakfast, we headed to the zoo and wandered around a bit. After arriving at the penguin exhibit, Aaron reminded me of the fact that male penguins will give a female penguin a pebble as way of choosing her as his mate for life. If the female penguin adds the pebble to her nest, the two become life-long partners. I nodded as I snapped a few shots of the swimming penguins with my camera. Then Aaron said that he thought he saw a penguin with a pebble. I start looking around I couldn’t see anything like that. Aaron kept insisting that I keep looking , and so I do for a minute. When I turn around to announce that I still couldn’t find anything, I realized he was down on one knee and proposing! I excitedly screamed yes (so excitedly, in fact, I interrupted his sweet words by screaming yes before he could finish—typical Kristy!) and starting jumping up and down :)

Since we were out of town, we opted to only tell our parents until we were home so that we could enjoy our weekend together without any distractions. The photo below was taken shortly after he proposed so we both look overly excited and dazed.

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The Celebration

Afterwards we celebrated in the most logical way—we headed to a brewery! We’ve been visiting breweries both near and far for several years now, and it’s definitely become one of our favorite must-do’s on every one of our trips. We stopped at Urban Chestnut Brewery and were happy to discover that they not only had delicious beer but also landjaeger! My Switzerland-born-and-raised grandma owned a school house in New Glarus, Wisconsin when I was get kid, and I remember getting landjaeger from there with my family. However, I rarely see it anywhere else, so it was a wonderful surprise.

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We continued our celebration over at Schafly Brewery and picked up tickets for their brewery tour. Since we had several hours to kill, we explored a few shops in St. Louis including a really cute record store where we bought Caribou’s newest record, aptly named “Our Love”. We then headed over to Firecracker Press to check out their beautiful space and collection of incredible prints.

Firecracker Press, I love you 💕

I made my purchases (two small prints, perhaps I’ll share photos once I get them framed), and it was back to Schafly!

On our way home, we stopped at a greasy spoon diner off the highway where we relished the remaining few hours of our incredible weekend together and talked about our adventures—past, present, and future. We laughed over the thought of our former selves being best friends while dating other people. We laughed at all of the silly stages of relationships that everyone goes through and the many memories that we already share with one another. And for the first time on the trip, I cried tears of joys. Salty tears of joy splashing into my greasy hashbrowns, and it was perfect.

After finishing our meal (and grabbing some slices of pie to-go, obviously), we jumped back in the car and listened to songs from a hilarious mix CD that Aaron had given me when we first met. We spent the remainder of the ride home dancing, laughing, singing and rapping.

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Weekender Wardrobe

WeekenderWardrobe_KristyBlack

It has been a whirlwind of month full of fun client projects and jam-packed weekends with bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and family get-togethers. As projects wind down and the weather warms up, I’m dreaming about a spontaneous weekend trip to…well, pretty much anywhere! Aaron seems to agree that a brief getaway is definitely order so hopefully one will be in the works soon!

In the meantime, I’ll be mentally packing all of my weekender adventure essentials. I’m not usually one for clothing/fashion posts because I am far from a fashion expert, but I’m feeling so antsy for spring I can’t even handle it. My style is definitely focused on 80% comfort, 20% sass, and this collection of pieces would all be warmly welcomed into my wardrobe.

My Essential Weekender Wardrobe includes:

  • A gingham top—Sure the gingham button-up has received some flack in the past, but it’s a springtime staple! It’s cute and comfy, and makes a perfect replacement for the buffalo check flannel I’ve been pretty much living in since October…oops!
  • Skinny jeans—Assuming you’re weekend adventure is not a pantless one, you should probably pack something to cover your booty. My weapon of choice: skinny jeans.
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  • Sunglasses—I recently bought a pair of sunglasses that look very similar to these Warby Parkers, and I’m absolutely obsessed with them. Big enough to be sassy but not so big that I look like bug :)
  • Sneakers—Sure flats and boots are cute, but when it comes to functionality when adventuring in a new place, I’ll opt for a pair of my favorite sneakers any day. Converse are a classic, but I love my Vans and Keds just as much. Picking which sneakers make the cut is honestly one of the harder decisions I make when packing.
  • The perfect striped t-shirt—Everyone needs a striped tshirt (or 100). There are so many varieties, they look great on just about everyone, and they make it look like you at least sort-of tried to pull yourself together when you got dressed in the morning (even if you didn’t!). I’m particularly loving this one with the neon trim!
  • Leather jacket—Whether you opt for the real deal or a nice faux leather jacket (depending on your values + budget), I think every woman can benefit from a sassy leather jacket. I know I couldn’t live without mine.
  • Flats—When the afternoon adventures subside, I sometimes like to swap out my sneakers for my favorite pair flats (or sandals if it’s warm enough) to class it up. While I don’t have a pair like this yet, I can’t stop drooling over these d’orsay flats…
  • Weekender bag—Unless you want to carry all of your weekend warrior gear in your arms (which seems incredibly impractical), it’s pretty important to have a durable weekend back. This one from Etsy definitely caught my eye, and it just might end up on my birthday wishlist :)

Of course there are tons of other essentials, and if you rummaged through a weekender bag of mine you’d also discover black t-shirts, bright + colorful cardigans, and hot pink or red lipstick. However, the items above are definitely some of my more cherished choices.

Have a great weekend everyone! Go out and have an adventure!

gingham top // skinny jeans // warby parker sunglasses // white chucks // striped top // leather jacket // d’orsay flats // weekender bag

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Wanderlust Revisited

Torchy's Tacos, Austin, TX

The weather this winter has been pretty mild so far, but it certainly has been dark and gloomy for a few days. With 5:00pm sunsets and 20 degree temperatures, it’s hard for me to keep from reminiscing about my time in sunny Austin just a few short months ago. I previously promised to share a few more photos from my Austin adventure so I thought I’d share those sunny times with you today in hopes of brightening up your day.

Uncommon Objects, Austin, TX
Gordough's Donuts, Austin, TX
Granny's Pie + Fat Elvis

I am quite literally start drool over here just remember how incredible those donuts from Gordough’s Donuts were. Where else can you get a donut with  caramel, pecans, graham crackers, and bananas? Seriously, if there is another place, I need to know about it ASAP!

Succulents, Austin, TX
Cacti, Austin, TX
Easy Tiger, Austin, TX

I’m definitely missing that warm sunny and the beauty of all of the cacti and succulents around town.

And as much as I loved Austin, there were definitely some fun times had in San Antonio for the day Aaron and I were there. I’m not sure if this is always the case, but when we went to Austin, we actually flew in and out of San Antonio for about $100 less (per ticket) than we would have if have flown directly to Austin. If you’re ever looking to fly to Austin and plan on rent a car, I definitely recommend researching this as an option!

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Blue Star—San Antonio, TX

Sigh. Texas, I miss you…or at the very least your sunny disposition. Even just shuffling through these photos and thrown me in a fit of wanderlust yet again. I don’t know where my travels will take me next, but I’m already excited for the new places I’ll discover!

For a few more photos of this little adventure of mine, check out my Flickr!

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Austin Adventures + Beautiful Design

Austin Adventures

ONE | blue bell cookie dough ice cream

TWO | beer, chips + queso from torchy’s

THREE | granny’s pie donut from gordough’s donuts

FOUR | austin beerworks pint from their brewery

Hi y'all! I’ve just returned from my incredible Austin adventures with Aaron! Words cannot express how much fun we had exploring all of the lovely shops, beautiful hiking destinations, and all of the insanely delicious food (duh). I took so many photos during my trip, and I’m excited to share those with you once I have time to go through them all. In the meantime, I’ve put together a little Instagram round up of some of our favorite moments.

Austin Adventures
Austin Adventures

ONE | easy tiger menu

TWO | misc. letterpress type from uncommon goods

THREE | obligatory cacti photo

FOUR | canoeing on lake lady bird

In addition to all of the fun activities, I felt so refreshed and inspired by all of the beautiful design hiding in every nook and cranny of Austin (Seriously, take a look at any of the links I provided for the images and you can immediately get a sense of what I’m talking about). This feeling very closely mirrored my experience in Denver last year (and so many of my trips prior to that too, actually). There were so many beautiful brands and printed materials that I had a hard time trying to not bring them all home with me in one way or another!

Traveling and exploring new-to-me territory has always proved to be my greatest source of inspiration rivaled only by invigorating design events with other fun creatives (like last week’s Design Like Mad event). I am so thankful for this fall because it has been provided such a wealth of inspiration already and it’s only October. Check back soon for a more detailed update about my trip with tons of photos!

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Streetlight Manifesto & The Blackhawks

Streetlight Manifesto

This weekend I went on a mini road trip to Bloomington, Illinois to see Streetlight Manifesto’s The End of the Beginning tour. The show itself was incredible, and while I had to resist my inner-teenage desire to hit the moshpits, I still loved every second  singing my heart out in the balcony. They played an excellent mix of new and old materials, and overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better night. Little did I know what Monday night had in store for us.

Blackhawks win!

My friend Dan convinced me to stay in Illinois Monday night to watch the Blackhawks with everyone, and I am so thankful I did! There is nothing like celebrating a Stanley Cup victory like maniacally screaming and jumping up and down like savages with your friends. The above photo was taken prior to the win - trust me, we looked far more ecstatic after the win but were too busy celebrating to snap photos.

With Blackhawks on the brain, I decided that I wanted to update the home and lock screens on the my iPhone4, so I designed the above illustration because I couldn’t find one I liked. The image is available as an iPhone4 wallpaper and Facebook cover photo, and you can download them here.

Overall, I had an incredible weekend with great folks, and I’m excited to see what the rest of the summer has in store for us!

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Until next time, Colorado

Until Next Time

I cannot believe how quickly my time in Colorado flew by or how madly I fell in love with that beautiful state! I’ve been to quite a few mountainous destinations in travels’ past, yet no matter how many times I encounter mountains, I am always awestruck by their powerful presence. Having grown up in the flatland Chicago suburbs, I have always marveled over the allure of the mountains. Hell, I still occasionally find myself giddy over the rolling hills of Wisconsin for goodness sake. So as you might have guessed, I had an incredible time exploring these new places, and I cannot wait to return.

Ace Eat Serve. Denver, Colorado.

On top of the amazing natural scenery, Denver was full of so much well-done design at every turn that I couldn’t help but smile (and snag a few pieces for myself to bring home!). Whether I was walking down the street looking at the logos of local stores or reading restaurant menus, I was always greeted with clean, thoughtful design. Talk about a refreshing vacation!

Beautiful designs from around Colorado

What’s not to love? I did my best to take quite a few photos on the this journey, so be on the look out for a follow up post within the next week with even more from this excursion!

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