Let the countdown begin!

OK, let’s be honest for a second – the countdown started January 1, the day we set our wedding date :)

Since I haven’t blogged much I haven’t had a chance to share the news – Chris and I are engaged!! (Which you obviously figured out from my first statement but it’s so much fun to say!) He asked me to marry him a few days before Christmas which was perfect because we got to spend the next week celebrating with our families over the holidays.

Jess & Chris Selfie

Chris and I on our 4th Anniversary (5.31.14)

Of course I went right into planning mode :) This was mainly because we knew we wanted a very unique venue and places were already booking up into this year and next. We were able to put down a deposit and book our wedding date on the perfect venue just a couple of weeks after getting engaged. We had a bit of a lull in planning for a few months but things are picking up again and moving full steam ahead.

Over the past month we’ve crossed so big items off of our planning list and I am feeling SO much better about everything. I’ve definitely been stressed out lately with wedding planning, starting a new job and house hunting, so it’s a relief to feel like progress is being made. Here are a things we have taken care of so far for the wedding:

Ceremony & Reception Venue (Barnes’ Place)
Photographer
Wedding colors
Wedding party is set (still need to talk to out Flower girl and decide what to do for ushers)
Caterer (still need to set the menu but they are booked)
Wedding dress!! :)
Bridesmaids dresses

I was able to have my mom, Chris’ mom, Stacy and my bridesmaid/best friend, Kara, all in town to go dress shopping this last weekend. We were able to find the perfect gown for me as well as dresses for Stacy and Kara. I’ll do a separate post about that experience soon.

Chris' mom, my mom, Stacy, me and Kara

After I said “Yes” to my dress!

I know it may not look like much but things are definitely coming together. Next on my list: invitations, DJ and florist.

If you have any wedding planning tips, I’m all ears!

PS – 296 days until we say I DO!!

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Ahhh, it has been so long since I’ve blogged! I know I say that every time I blog but it’s always true :) So much has changed since my last update so we have a lot to catch up on. Let’s start with the latest news… I got a new job and we’re moving!

Chris and I made the decision to move to Sioux City. While we are very sad to leave the Des Moines area, we’re very excited to take this step in our lives. It’s going to be a great move for Chris’ business (Diesel Pictures) and I’ve got a great opportunity with a small agency (Team Creative Fire) in Sioux City that I think will give me a lot of room to grow and learn.

For now, I’m going to be traveling back and forth between Des Moines and Sioux City while we try to find a house to buy. It’s going to be a stressful time but we’ll get through it.

I started my job on Tuesday so I’ve officially completed my first week and I’m excited for everything to come. My goal is to keep this updated with the our moving progress, home buying experience, new job, etc. Wish me luck! – hopefully I can keep up :)

Where did summer go?!

Holy cow did this summer fly by! I feel like we have been on the go non-stop the past few months. Instead of trying to recap everything that I have missed I thought I would just post some of my favorite photos/events.

Family in front of IMS musem

At Indy!

Kayla & I at Bike Night is Sioux City

Kayla & I at Bike Night is Sioux City-sorry it’s so dark!

Chris & I after RAGBRAI

Chris & I after we finished RAGBRAI in July

Road from Sturgis to Hill City, SD

Sturgis/Hill City, SD Trip

Main Street Sturgis 2013

Sturgis!!

Jen & I at Alice's wedding

Jen & I at Alice’s wedding

Kiting the beautiful bride

Kiting the beautiful bride :)

SA Sand Volleyball Team

SA Sand Volleyball Team (most of us at least)

Chris & I at the Iowa State Fair 2013

Chris & I at the Iowa State Fair

And there you have it, our summer in a nut shell. I hope everyone had an awesome summer :)

 

It’s May and it’s snowing…

Mother nature is playing a sick game with us this spring! The weather has been so up and down, and I am sick of it. I was wearing flip-flops and a t-shirt on Saturday and today it’s full on winter again. I am so ready for beautiful, warm, sunny days. Since spring has been a bust, can it be summer now?

OK, enough of my complaining… I just saw this link on twitter (via @BuzzFeed) and I had to share - The 40 Greatest Dog GIFs Of All Time. I think this is one of my favorites:

Cat touching yawning dog's tongue (The 40 Greatest Dog GIFs Of All Time)

Found on Buzz Feed

I cannot stop laughing! At least there’s something to smile about on this snowy day. And it’s almost the weekend :)

MAR 2013

On Saturday, my mom, Chris and I went for our first organized bike ride of the year. The city of Des Moines hosts the Mayor’s Annual Ride for Trails every year and since Stacy is working for the city, we thought it would be a fun one to sign up for. The ride was a 25 mile loop that include some street riding and a lot of time on the trails through Des Moines. It was pretty cold on Saturday morning but we still had a lot of fun!

IMG_0427

I can’t wait for the weather to get nicer so we can go out riding a lot more (riding in the cold is not near;y as much fun). My goal this year is to ride every mile of RAGBRAI this year so I have a lot of training to do. :)

Looking forward…to the gym?

So I have to admit, I am completely LOVING working out again! I spent all day yesterday looking forward to my yoga class at 7:45. I’m really excited that I’m feeling this way and I am determined to keep at it. At the same time, I’m disappointed with myself that it took me this long to get moving again…Oh well, I’m just going to focus on moving forward and taking better care of myself.

Next step, a new “diet”! But I don’t want to call it a diet because I want to make some changes that I will stick to; that will become a part of my everyday routine. We’ll see how it goes!

because I want to get to the point where working out isn't just for fitness, it's my way of life

(Image found on Pinterest, originally from Reasons to be Fit)

Happy hump day!

Power Life Yoga

After I published my post on The Fault In Our Stars Wednesday, I realized that I hadn’t blogged since February. I’m such a failure, I’m sorry you guys! I am making some changes right now so that I can focus more on the things that I enjoy and that includes blogging more often. Now don’t worry, I’m not doing anything drastic, I just want to make a conscious effort to spend more time doing things that make me happy.

That also includes spending more time getting in better shape. It was one of my resolutions this year and I have totally and completely failed at it (along with the rest of my resolutions…maybe I should call them Spring resolutions instead of New Years resolutions). I wanted to try something new for my workouts – in addition to biking as the weather gets nicer. Yoga has always sounded interesting to me but I was never sure how to get into it. A couple of my coworkers told me about Power Life Yoga. They let new customers have an unlimited free week for the first week and I thought that would be a great way to decide if I liked it or not. Stacy, Chris and I have all gone to a couple of classes now and I am loving it!

The instructors keep the classes fun and super challenging. Being new to yoga, I was worried that I would be super intimidated by those people who have done it for  a while, but I realized that it’s not about how well I can do the poses compared to everyone else. It’s about focusing on what I can do now and what changes I need to make to improve. Everyone is there supporting each other and it’s awesome to see. I’m having tons of fun and I love the way that I feel when class is over.

"If is doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."

(Image found on Pinterset)

Have you ever tried yoga? What did you think? 

The Fault In Our Stars

The Peanut Butter Fingers book club choice in March was The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. It is the story of Hazel, a 16-year old living with a terminal form of cancer. It’s a story of struggle and tragedy but also strength and love. Hazel meets Augustus at a cancer support group and they develop a once in a lifetime kind of relationship that many people spend their whole life looking for.

Now I don’t want to ruin this book for anyone that may not have read it yet so I won’t say anything else about the plot but I will tell you that I really enjoyed it. I loved the way that Green took a young girl’s story that is so sad but added pieces of laughter and love. He made the characters seem real and tried to make the reader get a clear understanding of what life was like for them. I think there are pieces of this book that everyone can relate to especially if  someone close to you has battled/is battling cancer (or other serious illnesses).

The Fault in Our Stars book jacket

I’ve also been participating in a book club at my office and  through that I found out about a website to help me keep track of the books I want to read and books I’ve read GoodReads.com is a great place to make lists of books that interest you and read reviews from other people. The site will even make recommendations for you based on the type(s) of books you say you like to read and the reviews you give other books. I would highly recommend joining the site if you enjoy reading even a little bit. Feel free to connect with me (jlaake) as well – I’m always looking for new ideas on what to read and love seeing what other people enjoy.

Happy reading!

Relaxing Weekend

After a VERY stressful couple of weeks at work, I was so excited for the weekend. Even though I went to the office for a couple of hours yesterday I still feel like I got a lot out of the weekend…and I didn’t even do anything super exciting!

Friday, Chris and I went to a beer tasting at WineStyles and then grabbed a late dinner at Wok In Motion. If you know me very well, you know that Chris did most of the beer tasting and sushi eating but I had a great time just enjoying the evening together.

beer tasting at WineStyles

Chris at WineStyles

sushi at wok in motion

Our sushi at Wok In Motion

On Saturday, Stacy and I went to the mall and then headed back to her apartment so Chris could hang a few things up for her. While he did that, I played with Stacy’s kitten. Her apartment is so cute and it’s really coming together nicely.

kitten

Olive!

After we finished things up there, the three of us headed back to the house where Chris and Stacy proceeded to get me hooked on The Walking Dead. I never had a desire to watch this show – seriously, a show about zombies?! no thanks! – but now I can’t stop watching. We started with a few of the latest episode in season 3 because I didn’t want to start from the beginning but by the end of the night we were starting at episode 1 (and now I’m into season 2!). As you can imagine, that took up part of Sunday. With a couple of hours at the office and watching the Grammy Awards, I’d say it was a full weekend. Like I said, nothing super special but it was nice to relax a bit.

Here’s to a less stressful week this week – wish me luck! Happy Monday!

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The Time Keeper

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

“There is a reason God limits our days.”
“Why?”
“To make each one precious”
 

This was probably my favorite quote from The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. This book had a great message about how the world focuses so much on time these days that we don’t enjoy the time that we do have. We are always wishing for time to go faster, slow down, finding ways to get more done in the time that we have instead of just living in the moment we are in. It really makes you think about what is important and how you want to spend the days you have because they are limited and you never know how much time you’re going to have.

In regards to the book itself, it was not one of my favorites. The story was broken up between an old man at the end of his life, a teenage girl and Dor, the man who became father time. The story jumped around from story to story, person to person, and it didn’t really allow me as a reader to find a way to become attached to any of the characters. I think I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it would have been a little longer and allowed more time (ironically) to develop the characters.

Even though this isn’t one of my favorite books, if you’re looking for a book with a great message, I’d say pick up The Time Keeper for a quick read.