Iowa Nice

This weekend I had a couple of very good friends in town.  One of whom, also blogs and this weekend we shared a truly bloggable moment.

Every time that Austin and I are in our home town at the same time we have a couple of traditions.  First, we have lunch at our favorite noodle place Z'mariks Noodle Cafe, and then have dessert at Whitey's Ice Cream (this is literally the best ice cream place ever). No matter how cold it is we do both of these things.  This has been a tradition since we were in high school and I am proud to say that we have carried it on through military deployments, college, and living in completely different parts of the country.

After turning 18, we added another part to this tradition and that is going to The Red Poppy and smoking hookah.  Sometimes we end up going with a huge group of friends and other times (like this time) it's just a couple of us.  This time, since it's the middle of the arctic vortex here in the midwest we decided to simply go and have a super chill night of catching up and trying new flavor combinations.  Austin, my friend Misha and I were all having a wonderful time chatting about god knows what when these two people walked into the back room where we were sitting and asked if anyone had room for 2 more.

Since turning 21 we've added wine to the mix (The Red Poppy lets you bring your own!)


Being the welcoming person that I believe myself to be, I invited them to join us.  We quickly learned that their names were Logan and Eve and had no idea what The Red Poppy was before they walked in, and also had no idea what hookah was.  We explained the logistics of how a hookah works, what hookah is, and then proceeded to try our best to blow smoke rings (disclaimer, I am incapable and did not try this time).  Logan and Eve are amazing people.  They were extremely nice and within about 2 minutes of having them at our table, we had found out 2 people that we knew in common and that we had gone to the same camp growing up.

Nights like this past Saturday make me really happy that I'm from Iowa.  There's a certain difference in the people here and the way that we treat each other.  It's beyond polite and more than southern charm.  There's nothing to call it but "Iowa Nice" and I'm proud to be from this place.  Thanks to Austin, Misha, Logan and Eve for reminding me of that!

Austin, Me, Misha, Logan, and Eve

XOXO
Kae

Austin's blog!

Saturday Sounds

Happy Saturday Joyflakes!

I'm happy to introduce you all to an internet trend that I am a HUGE fan of.  Saturday Sounds is a post that I will be writing every Saturday to showcase a new song or artist.  I have a strong connection to music and have always felt that the right song comes into your life just when you need it.  Music helps you smile and laugh and dance around in your underpants when you're feeling down or relaxes you when you're stressed out or helps mend a broken heart.

This week I'm showcasing an artist that I just found a few months ago.  I found Sam Tsui on YouTube and immediately followed his channel and bought his music on iTunes.  He is an amazing singer and his music is currently my favorite to belt in the shower and while I'm driving.

Enjoy y'all!



XOXO ~ Kae

Dream Big

Hello Joyflakes!

With all of the huge changes that have been happening in my family these last few weeks, I've been thinking a lot about hopes and dreams.  If you know me, you know that I often change my mind about about who I want to be and what I want to do so it shouldn't be surprising that my hopes and dreams change regularly.

When I was little I wanted to be a scientist.  I wanted to be a marine biologist to be exact, because I wanted to discover something new and completely untouched.  The ocean has zillions of places to discover and and it's vastness is as astounding as space yet it is to me, much more tangible.

Science is meant to be touched apparently

Seashore baby

When I was in junior high I wanted to be an artist.  I wanted to move to somewhere fabulous and do nothing but drink coffee or tea, paint and take pictures of my fantastic friends.

Making beautiful artwork

In high school, my loves of science and photography became a love of digital microscopy.  I wanted nothing more than to stare through the lens of a microscope at all of the things that are too tiny to be seen and photograph them in startling colors.  I wanted to show the beauty of a world that's around us all the time and is never seen.

Bubbles are amazing...

I also became very involved in music and dance.  I was convinced that if my life as a fabulous microorganism photographer didn't work, I would make it as a dancer or singer.

In college I wanted to be lots of things.  I wanted to be an artist until I had to deal with art professors (they're all psycho), a science teacher until I had to sit through bio lectures and pass chemistry, a writer, a singer, and a historian.

All of these things were fantastic options for careers and I got close to actually doing some of them.  But for some reason, I just couldn't find anything that I really loved enough to let go of everything else.  I think that's the thing about being a dreamer.  There's always something else on the horizon and it's hard to stop dreaming.

Now that I'm not is school anymore and working full time in a job that a actually love, I've caught myself wondering if my days as a bohemian dreamer are over.  I could easily see myself spending the next decades of my life doing just what I'm doing now.  I can see myself meeting someone and raising a family in the same amazing town that I grew up in.  That's something I have never thought I would say but as unexpected as it its, there's a great deal of comfort in it.  Enrolling my children in dance classes or watching them kick butt at sports in the same places I danced and watched my friends play sports has a charm to it that I never thought I would find.

Those thoughts are almost always immediately followed by sheer panic.  That life sounds wonderful and comfortable but what about all of the things I've wanted to do throughout my life?!  If I'm settled with kids, when will I have time to hike through the mountains of Scotland, ski in the Swiss Alps, drink wine in France, gaze at byzantine mosaics, eat pasta in Italy, drink a guinness in Ireland, go shopping in London or walk through the halls and gardens of an English castle?!

Shades on and obvi so ready for tea with the queen.

For the time being, I'm incredibly happy with my life and I'm sure that I will be for some time.  All that being said, my bucket list is long and always growing and that is never going to change so here is my hope for all of you.  I hope you dream big and NEVER get too comfortable.

XOXO
Kae

Settling In

Hello Joyflakes!

All of the changes that my family has been going through have finally happened!  I cannot believe that the time has come for us all to settle into our new lives; to be honest, I thought this day would never come.  My brother and his wife get back from their honeymoon either today or tomorrow, my sister lives in New York City and I am the once again, living on my own!  Since it's time to settle into my new life, I've been thinking a lot about how the next chapter of my life is going to pan out.  What I've come up with is a list of all of the things that I am truly blessed with.

1. FAMILY

I know that I talk about my family a lot but y'all have no idea how amazing they are.  They're supportive of (almost) all my crazy whiplash inducing life plans and goals and for that, I feel like the luckiest lady on the planet.

2. A B-E-A-UTIFUL condo to call my home

Moving into my sisters place started off a little rocky.  I was really scared that I wouldn't feel like I actually had a place to all my own and that I would feel more like a house sitter.  The thing that I didn't realize, is that my sister did an amazing job of picking a perfectly cozy condo that is far enough away from the people and places I grew up with that I don't feel stuck or trapped but also close enough that I can work at an amazing local business.

3. My Job

From what my friends and family and the world have told me, it is incredibly rare to find a job that you enjoy.  Having that at my age without a college degree makes me feel incredibly lucky.  I have bosses who not only push me to learn at an amazing rate, but make me feel comfortable enough to ask questions and learn from my mistakes.  Feeling respected by your boss is something that I know doesn't come easy and it makes me want to work even harder to make sure that I never lose that respect.

4. My health

In July I got the worst news of my life.  My cousin, Kyle suffered a brain injury that has forever changed not only his life, but our whole families.  Kyle and I are about 5 years apart and although we didn't get to see each other very often, some of my best memories of going to our cabin include him.  He is an amazingly intelligent guy with the biggest heart in the world.  His injury means that I will probably never feel one of his famous bear hugs again and I can't help but think of how lucky I am to know someone like him in my lifetime.

6. My amazing friends

Living on your own can get lonely sometimes but every time I've started to feel bored and lonely lately one of my amazing friends has come to the rescue.   Although only 2 of them actually live in the same place as me, it doesn't seem to matter.  My friends are spread all over the country but we not a day goes by that I don't talk to most of them.  It is truly astounding to me that two of my best friends live well over 10 hours away from me and they manage to make me smile daily.  It's so easy to lose touch with people when everyone is moving on with their lives and I'm amazed every day by my friends commitment to each other to stay close no matter where we all live.

There are many many more blessings that I'll continue to count but since it's almost 3 am, I'm heading to bed.

Sleep tight y'all!

XOXO

Kae

P.S. I promise I'll post pictures from the most beautiful wedding ever but until then, check out the photographers blog!  KJ & Rob did an AMAZING job. 

That One Relationship

Good afternoon Joyflakes!

I have been putting off writing about this topic for quite some time but today I can't shake the thoughts off so I feel like that means it's time.

Everyone in my opinion has a person in their lives that they love with their whole heart.  It may be a friend, or old flame, but they are a person that no matter what, you would do absolutely anything for.  You would go anywhere for them, and never question them.  These people imprint themselves on your lives in a way unlike any other.  They show up in your dreams when you least expect them to and disappear when you feel like they should be right there by your side.

I firmly believe that these people are put in your life to help you grow and change but it is sometimes hard when while that change or growth is taking place.  They come to you, support you, make you feel like super woman, and then without notice, when the time comes, they disappear again.  It's that disappearing part that pulls at your thoughts more than anything.  Quite frankly, it hurts.  They are meant to be there forever but may not be the person you are meant to have with you all the time forever.

It's during that last part thought, the part that hurts and nags at your mind until you think you're going to go crazy, that you have to make a decision.  You can be angry, hurt, and defiant enough to give up on them, or you can thank them.  Let them know you're going to miss them and that they've changed you for the better, and send them on their way.  The second option is by far and away one of the hardest ways to deal with loss, but with this person, I promise you that it's easier.  It also makes it easier for them to come back to you when you're both ready.

So to my person…Thanks! I wouldn't be where I am right now without you.

Until next time,

XOXO ~ Kae

Wedding Day!

Oh my gosh Joyflakes, I cannot believe that today is actually here! We have been waiting forever for my older brother to marry Ali and I feel like I've been living in a dream world for the last week.

My brother Martin is 7 and half years older than me and I have always looked up to him more than anyone else in the world.  When we were growing up he was a father figure, always making sure that I was taken care of.  When he was in high school, he let me sit with him in the student section of basketball or football games even though I was just a little kid.  I have never laughed harder than with him and his friends (who he still lets me hang out with) and I have never felt safer than when he's there with me.  This past summer living in New York with he and Ali I got to get to know grown up karting and he is still one of the coolest people on he planet in my eyes.

Our trip in Vail has been so full of family and friends both new and old that I feel really blessed to be a part of all of it.  I'm about to head out for breakfast and getting ready with the bride and I already know that today is going to be so filled with laughs and happy tears.  I can't wait to celebrate my amazing brother and his beautiful future wife!

XOXO,
Kae

I Almost DIED

Hello from Vail, CO Joyflakes!


Slow going up in the snow and wind



I am unbelievably happy to be writing to you all today because there was a point Wednesday night that I wasn't sure I would make it.  For Ali's bachelorette trip instead of going out to the bars or to Vegas, we went on a hut trip.  If you've never been on one before, I hadn't until Wednesday, the basic idea is that you hike to a remote hut/cabin in the mountains of Colorado and drink for the night.  This idea sounded amazing to me and I was unbelievably excited to try something new.

Ali all ready to start up to to hut! (There's a mountain behind her but it cannot be seen through the snow)
Wednesday around 11 o'clock, we all gathered at Ali's parents house and loaded up the cars for our trip.  Michelanne, Ali's sister and MOH went up early with Brian* to get all of the food and sleeping bags and whatnot to our hut on the snowmobile so that we would have less to carry.  It was snowing and Vail pass was a traffic disaster so by 3:15 we were finally all on our way up the mountain on snowshoes.  If you've never snowshoed before I highly recommend it; it's an amazing workout and great way to stay active in the winter.  We were probably 100 ft from the trailhead when things started to get interesting.  The trail, which was marked by thin blue poles, hadn't been packed out so the we were not only gaining altitude, but blazing trail through 2ft of fresh powder.  Being from Iowa, New York, and Minnesota, this meant that we took a lot of breaks to catch our breath and rest and under normal circumstances, this would have been fine.  The problem was that going that slow meant that by the time the sun was setting, we were nowhere near the hut.  About half of the way up, Michelanne and Grace (who had literally come straight from the airport) caught up with us which is one thing that helped to save us.  Michelanne knew where she was going much better than the rest of us and took the lead.

Looking up the "path"

Monica at the trailhead 
Around 3/4 of the way there, we couldn't see where the next blue pole was and only had one head lamp so the going got even slower and our beautiful snowy overcast night just kept getting darker. In the middle of the dark, on a freezing cold mountain, with only one lamp, we were exhausted and falling into hole after hole after hole.  This was the point in time when I literally thought "If I fall one more time, I'm just going to curl up and freeze to death I seriously don't think I'm gong to make it.  Thankfully, Michelanne called her friend Suzanne, who had been waiting for us at the hut to hike down to us so that the trail would be easier to follow.  When we finally saw the light from Suzanne's flashlight, I was both extremely excited and terrified.  She looked so far away!!
Michelanne in waist deep powder

My ski pole stuck in the snow just off of our path

Finally having a destination in view, we trudged along all trying our best to stay outwardly positive while our internal monologues were filled with very strong language.  The next giant issue came when suzanne's light suddenly disappeared.  Not knowing where the trail was, Suzanne had just walked down the mountain in the direction she thought was closest to the trail and fallen into a sink hole.  Yup, a real live sink hole. Buried to her mouth, she had nothing to do but stand there, holding up her flashlight and waiting for us to come and dig her out.

Three hours and fifteen minutes after we had started up the mountain, we finally made it our hut.  I have never been so happy to see a wood stove with a pot of boiling snow on it in my life.

shrine inn


Looking from the real trail to the trail we packed/the sink holes
mountain
A beautiful morning!
rocky mountain
Panoramic view form the porch of Jay's cabin
All 10 survivors Thursday morning!


The next day dawned bright an clear and after breakfast quesadilla's, the hike down took about half the time it had taken us to make it up, and was twice as fun.

Monica, Grace and I on the way down




Needless to say, I won't be doing another hut trip for quite some time but I am considering one this summer!  Tonight is the rehearsal dinner and then the wedding tomorrow.  This week has flown by and it has been an amazingly incredible trip and I can't wait to share more with you soon!

XOXO,
Kae

*Brian is literally a super hero.  We never would have made it without him!