House Hunting Adventures v. 3

Lesson Learned v. 3: Don’t Force Feelings

G and I are loving being homeowners. We are continually working to make our new house a home and have completed a number of projects thus far. These include demolishing the wall between the dining room and living room, repainting six rooms, reflooring five rooms, trimming rooms, and hanging blinds. We both have the week of Christmas off in order to gut our bathroom and remodel. It has been quite the adventure already!

It seems crazy that we’ve only lived in our house for a little over two months. Not even four months ago we were casually house-hunting. I’ve shared with you our first six house visits here and here, but I have one final story in that journey to tell. It took visiting three more houses for us to find our little lovely corner of Southwest Michigan. Here are those final three tales…

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5 Wine Touring Tips For Beginners

Yesterday I was invited into a collaboration with a fellow wine friend I met on Instagram, and I am SO EXCITED! I miss the wine industry, and any excuse I have to participate with it, I take. I’ll share more information in a week or two once the planning comes to a close, but until then you can be sure I will be educating myself even further on Southwest Michigan’s local wine scene.

One key component I will share about this collaboration is that it will involve wine tastings and tours. The question of how many and which wineries will be on the tour is still up in the air. However, as I continue to prepare for this new event, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share some of my wine knowledge with you. As someone who worked in the Michigan wine industry for over four years, I gained a few gems of information on the topic. Welcome to one of my passions: wine!

Southwest Michigan has become a focal point for any wine connoisseur. It is nearly impossible for visitors in the area not to pass a sign mentioning a local winery and allowing passers-by to, quite literally, taste the countryside. With the lake effect off Lake Michigan, Southwest Michigan has earned the privilege of having its own signature varietals, expressing the particularities of the local soil and climate. With a specific vocabulary and wide range of flavors to master, wine can be an intimidating subject. Do not let this daunt you though! If you’ve never been on a tasting tour, here are some basic tips to keep in mind as you sip your way along the lake shore.

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White Elephant Gift Exchange (With Printables!)

The holiday is quickly approaching and that means festivities are abound! One of my personal favorite parts of the holiday season is to attend and host Holiday/Christmas parties and be surrounded by family and friends. One fun way to increase the laughs and interaction from all those at your holiday shindig is to host a White Elephant Gift Exchange.

Not sure what that entails? In the case you have never participated in a White Elephant Gift Exchange, I have drawn a little list together of how to host one and even provided some graphics for easy planning! Here is how the exchange works:

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Friendsgiving 2018 Menu

Thanksgiving is a traditional meal — gotta have that green bean casserole, amirite?! But Friendsgiving has become a fun new tradition G and I began last year. This year had to be a much more intimate affair due to all those home improvements and limited amount of time to plan, but it was still a great time. We used the time for enjoying more delicious food and even better community.

Talking about food, I wanted to provide some praise for our menu this year in the form of a post. I could go into detail about how to plan your own Friendsgiving or games/activities to play at your own dinner, but I think those topics are too difficult to cover. I mean, you know what works best with your friends’ group and can Pinterest tons of ideas. Instead, I’m going to focus on the dinner table.

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Share Blog: Love What Matters

I am blessed to call some amazing women my closest friends. Playing off my last post on what and who is my Tribe, I felt it necessary to share this raw and inspiring story from one of my Pink Ladies, Katie, as it provides a beautiful testimony as to the characters of those in my Tribe.

Katie is one of those rare women who can take the worst situation and find the gem in its midst. Life happens to us all, and I know this girl has had a lot of lemons thrown her way lately. Yet having survived what some may say is the hardest battle of all — the battle for your own life — Katie persists with a smile on her face and overwhelming love in her heart. No matter what she is going through in her personal life, she makes time to check in on those she loves and be available for a chat or hug. For someone who could very easily choose to be selfish and focus on her own struggles, Katie will not allow anyone to feel sadness and pain alone. She is the very definition of a servant heart.

As I read through her inspiring testimony for the 65,245,897th time, I marvel at the determined, persistent, and optimistic woman I have in my Tribe. I could not be more humbled to have Katie call me her friend in return.

Please read her inspiring story here. (This story was originally submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Hess.

I love you, Katie, and all that you symbolize — you are more than my friend, you are a role model.

Savory Sundays: Goat Cheese Holiday Truffles

G and I had a great Thanksgiving break. We traveled down to Indy and spent the day with G’s family. Our brother and sister-in-law also came from Iowa with our four-month-old nephew, and we were both in heaven. We absolutely love that little turkey, and any text/Snapchat/minute we’re able to have with him is a treasure. There is quite a bit to be thankful for this year, but little Z is definitely at the top of our list.

Another big blessing this year is our new home. With all our in-progress improvements, we decided to host an intimate Friendsgiving and game night. I love hosting these kinds of parties, but could only handle a small gathering this year with everything else happening. So we asked four of our friends to join us in a night of great food and better fellowship — and our hopes were over-filled! I’ll share our full menu in a future post, but I have to share this new and awesome recipe with you, friends. It is the perfect holiday appetizer, and makes a great breakfast too — trust me, I’m munching on it right now as G and I enjoy our pre-church coffee. Mmmm…

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Defining My Tribe

A local winery owner I know launched a women’s group back in February called Women Among Women. I’ve attended a few of the monthly meet-ups and have loved participating every single time. The group is more than simply networking, and focuses on topics decided upon by the attendees. Sometimes there may be a guest speaker, but more often the attendees have an open discussion on the specific topic of the evening. Topics have included goal setting, switching careers, and getting over life’s missteps gracefully. The women who attend are students, entrepreneurs, managers, mothers, spouses, volunteers, and so much more. It is a warm and inviting environment where each woman can connect with one another, share their personal experiences, and learn.

I met an awesome hustler a few months ago through this group. This woman began a podcast last year which has become a weekly delight for me to listen to on Wednesdays while I go about my work. The podcast, Hustlin’ In Heels, gets “real about struggles and celebrations of being a modern-day badass babe.” Basically, it’s a podcast Uncorking Peonies can get behind (and I definitely encourage anyone reading to give it a listen!)

Last week’s installment was all about building your tribe. The co-hosts talked about how they define a tribe, who they invite into their tribe, and what being in a tribe means. Their discussion got me thinking about how my tribe is continuously growing and evolving, and how I got to be in the various tribes I now find myself. Thus, I figured I’d focus my “annual Thanksgiving post” on my blessing of friendship and tribe.

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Reblog: Six Questions That Will Radically Change Your Marriage

There is no greater joy than those nights when I get off work, go home, and spend time with my husband. I am relishing being a homebody. I love having empty nights to relax and simply work on making our house a home. I am completely happy having no set schedule to my life.

Saying those words out loud is odd. Given who I had been for so many years — that girl with every evening planned, every weekend booked, every second determined — I sometimes feel lost in the simplicity of my life these days. However, as I use some of my free time reading, I am more and more aware that this phase in my life, just as my phase before, will come and go sooner or later. Sometime in the future my schedule will begin to be flagged with children’s events, school outings, and motherly duties.

I’m extremely excited for that future, but also very reluctant to let go of my current phase.

G and I have discussed this concept of changing phases a lot lately. Our schedules may not be packed with external events, but our “Home Projects” list grows daily. It seems that no matter the season of Life, we are always busy. Even if that means my busyness is confined to the walls of my house. As G and I continue to prepare our marriage to be the best and happiest possible, we want to intentionally connecting to one another as well as to our Lord. However, that goal is a very difficult thing to measure. Luckily, we ran across this amazing post by Justin Davis of RefineUs on how he and his wife intentionally connect in the chaos of Life, and I didn’t feel I could define “intentional connection” better. Please enjoy what Justin and his wife, Trish, do weekly to better their marriage…
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DIY Faux Floating Shelves

As you know, G and I recently moved into our first home and are currently in the process of getting the house together. We are slowly going room to room. We have already demolished a wall between the dining room and living room to provide the house with an open concept floor plan, switched the old electrical fuse panel to a modern breaker box, and had the main cast iron water line replaced to PVC piping. This is all on top of painting our main rooms and doing some major cleaning as well.

The living room is our main focus now. Before we even moved in, I had stripped the room of wallpaper, painted the walls a simple gray, and pulled all the old trim work from the windows and baseboards. G and my dad finished flooring the living room last weekend, and so now comes the decorating and finishing touches — my favorite part! So to the delight of my inner interior decorater, I decided to hang some “floating” shelves in the living room. These shelves are do-it-yourself, and appear to be floating but are actually faux floating. They are the perfect inexpensive addition to our social space!

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