Clear Lake Continues…

By: Nicole Mikluscak

If you’re not sick of CLC’s lake pictures, then I’m your girl! My family is the last of the four of us to get to visit the lake this summer. We don’t get to come every year, and we are so thankful everything worked out perfectly for us this August! We rented a small condo near city park. And while the view wasn’t the best, the location was prime! We loved being by all our favorite restaurants, stores, and city beach / park.

I know may of our readers understand how challenging a “vacation” with small children can be. I was already overwhelmed by the time we left Omaha, car packed to the brim. “ARE WE THERE YET?” asked 47 times before we even made it to Des Moines. But I was able to leave that all behind once we arrived. The best thing about our favorite little lake town is the “come as you are” lifestyle and mentality. We walked around in our swimsuits and sandy flip flop feet all week. We went from building sandcastles to boat rides with family, to feeding the ducks at PM Park.

Some studies have shown that vacations can actually prolong your life! I know that Clear Lake will always do that for me. I’m definitely not looking forward to packing the car and heading back to Omaha on Wednesday. Please check on me people. Vacation withdrawals will be in effect. This place never disappoints.

I now resign my position from the Clear Lake tourism board.



“Vacation, All I Ever Wanted”

By: Emma Faulkner

This past week Dylan and I got in the car with our favorite drinks from Blackberry Market (The best little spot in Glen Ellyn, IL) and headed out to Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is located at the tippy top of Wisconsin – it’s a peninsula right between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Dylan’s family has vacationed there for many, many years and it’s like a home away from home to them! They even have a condo there called the Rosio Condo which they rent on vrbo if you’re looking to experience this little slice of heaven yourself!

The first few days were full of views, sunsets and beach days. We stayed and spent most of our time in Sister Bay. Sister Bay has a little beach you can easily access and we did lots of swimming and kayaking. We also did some exploring of different towns, found some fun coffee spots, got yummy smoked fish, matching souvenirs and checked out the local pottery. Door County is known for its sailing and my favorite thing to see was all the sailboats on the water at sunset!

On Tuesday, we experienced a Door County treasure…the Fish Boil. The fish and potatoes are prepared in a cast-iron kettle and when the fish is fully cooked the oils rise up to the top, add a little kerosene and the flames create a boil over. It is a fun thing to watch and be apart of and it’s such a fun tradition in Door County. My favorite part is all the melted butter they serve with your fish and potatoes. YUM.

By Thursday everyone had made it to Door County, Dylan is one of five and four of the five siblings brought their “special friends” as Dylan’s dad calls us. In total there were thirteen of us and a little one on the way! Dylan’s sister is pregnant and it was so fun to spend time with the mama to be! We spent time on the boat together and enjoyed a big family dinner at Fred and Fuzzy’s – a fun little restaurant on the water which I highly recommend if you’re ever in the area. We drank cherry margaritas enjoyed delicious food and took lots of family photos.

An evening at the Northern Sky Theatre up in the woods surrounded by nature and theatre, I loved it!

We ended our vacation in Milwaukee at the Cubs game. This has become a new tradition on our last day of vacation. We spontaneously started it last year in Chicago and it just so happened that the cubs were playing the same day we were driving through Milwaukee, so how could we not? It was a hot sweaty and fun end to the trip. I am so grateful for Dylan and his family and the joy, love, laughter, and spontaneity they surround me with!

Weekend Recap: Blackouts, Delicious Food & Art Fair

By: Annie Wagner

Annie here – we had quite the weekend in Ann Arbor. Brian and I had date night plans on Friday to celebrate our five year anniversary since we have a new live in nanny – my sister, Emma ;). Our plans were foiled by crazy storms and a 20 hour power outage. Thankfully we have very sweet friends Hunter, Jillian and their daughter and Margot’s bestie, Maya, invited us over for a sleepover in their air conditioned house. Thank goodness for good friends (who also happened to have power). We made the best of the situation and woke up early Saturday morning and had a lovely breakfast on the patio before it got too hot to be outside.

While we waited for our power to come back on we enjoyed one of our favorite gourmet lunches, chicken bakes at Costco – YUM.

After lunch and some errands, we came home to our power back on and all took naps in the air conditioning. We ended our Saturday with dinner and water games outside back at our friends house. Jillian made a delicious meal – Shauna Niequist’s Lemon Dill Soup and Summer Salad from her cookbook Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are (recipes pictured below) – nothin like hot soup on the hottest day of the year! Call us crazy but it was SO good and refreshing. I’d eat that soup on the sun.

Sunday morning was a little cooler so we decided to head to the Ann Arbor Art Fair. This is one of our little towns biggest events of the year that brings artists from all over the world and over 400,000 visitors! We enjoyed all kinds of art as well as some delicious fair food.

After a very hot weekend, we decided to stay in Sunday evening and make tostadas and watch season 2 of Big Little Lies. If you don’t have HBO, now is the time to start your free trial and binge watch both seasons of BLL – we haven’t finished the second season so no spoilers please!!

Sending cooler weather your way!

xoxo Annie

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Shoes, Booties, Boots, Oh My!

By: Emma Faulkner

Emma here! Saving myself from the miserable heat by dangerously online shopping with all these crazy summer deals! If there is one thing I love to make an outfit pop – it’s shoes – and Nordstrom’s got me covered!

I find myself daydreaming about my sweaters and flannels waiting for fall. My favorite fall accessory is booties, I love me a classic bootie for literally every occasion. These Nina Waterproof Suede Booties come in four different colors and are so cute! I can just see them with a cute cuffed jean and a comfy sweater! I also love these Nestel Knee High Boots and Uchee Knee High Boots because tall boots and leggings are the perfect comfy combo for a cold day.

There are so many fun colors and patterns to spice up any outfit! But being a California girl in the Midwest I have learned the importance of waterproof shoes – I highly recommend stocking up now! I have a version of these Sperry Saltwater Rain boots and they are my everything when the rain and snow come.

I love a good supportive heel but I have very flat feet which makes flats my best friend. These Toby Flats can be dressed up for work or dressed down for any day wear. I also love a good deal on VANS they are my favorite sneaker and I love them for game days and concerts. These Old Skool Suede Low Top Sneaker are super cute for…you guessed it the fall!

Emma’s Faves:

Wild in WDM!

By: Emily Heaston

I got a head start on the weekend by kicking things off Wednesday with a pool day with my girlfriends & our little buddies! When I got home, the cutest early birthday surprise arrived in the mail from Nicole!

That night, I met my girls for dinner at Lucca & drinks at The Republic–a good excuse to wear a cute new dress & earrings!

Thursday, Clare got to have her girlfriend over for a playdate! Kids begged to go to Backyard Adventures & Rita’s!

After Tim got done with work, we took the kids to the ITAgroup Summer Celebration–the kids had a ball with inflatables, face painting, carnival games, pizza & popsicles! The big kids had fun too!!!

On Friday, Nicole, Lily & Maeve came from Omaha! We hit the pool for lunch & swimming, then had to take all 5 kids to HyVee. I think we’re both still recovering from all the kids wanting to push the little green grocery carts! HyVee, I’m begging you to make those disappear!

On Friday night, Clarebear had her dance team tryout! These cuties have been working hard and are so excited for the upcoming year of competition dance!

Friday night was also Tim’s favorite night of the year–when 80-35 kicks off in downtown Des Moines! This music festival is his first baby. He was on the board of directors for years and years as they founded the festival and we’ve had so much fun the past 12 years working on set-up, hospitality, tear-down, fundraising, and meeting incredible artists! We have so much hometown pride for this event which is hosted every summer by the Des Moines Music Coalition + over 500 community volunteers! Tim had a blast this year and took some highlight pictures from Friday night.

Saturday, Nicole and I were up bright and early to hit Yoga + Gallery Talk at the Des Moines Art Center with Good Vibes instructor Ben Spellman!

After yoga, it was time to load up the kids for swimming lessons and afterward we hit up LifeTime Poolapalooza for a little bit! Kids loved seeing the mermaids, playing with friends, and Clare even won a hula hoop contest!

After the pool, we all got cleaned up for a night out! I was getting dressed when the mailman came, and the kids ran up to me with a new outfit so I had to change!

Kids had big plans with Grandma and Grandpa while Tim and I attended a shower for our friends Nick & Amber! Their shower had the cutest golf theme and we got to catch up with so many dear friends!

Teddy snuck off at Grandma & Grandpa’s and ate all the granola bars!

After the shower, we met up with friends at the Iowa State Fairgrounds for the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation Corndog Kickoff! This was our first time at this event which features live entertainment, silent & live auction items, all your favorite Iowa State Fair foods & drinks, rides on the SkyGlider & fireworks! Tim & I couldn’t believe we’d been missing out on all this fun!

On Sunday, we got to sleep in a little until Teddy’s tball game! He is loving every second of it and its the cutest thing! This is his very first team and its so perfect that they’re the Giants–I had to get a picture of Teddy in Mollie’s favorite jersey.

After the game, we were all ready for some air conditioning and downtime! We watched some movies, played some Barbies & called it a wrap on a fun & busy summer weekend!

See you back here soon! xoxo, Emily

P.S. Just ordered this hairdryer for Prime Day! Only $39.28 at checkout and highly recommended by one of my favorite blogs, Somewhere Lately!

Amazon Prime Day, July 15-16!

By: Nicole Mikluscak

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is TODAY! The famous shopping event features deals on electronics, fashion and more. It runs for 48 hours making it the longest Prime Day in Amazon history. Expect savings on tech items like TV’s, headphones, wireless chargers, Echo and Fire products, possibly even smartphones. Other retailers tend to drop their prices to compete with Prime day as well. Remember, Prime deals are for Prime members only, so be sure to sign up for your free 30 day trial if you plan on making any purchases. Last year, I was able to get a jump-start on my holiday shopping during this event!





Finally, don’t forget Amazon’s Smile program is a free and easy way to donate a portion of your purchase to just about any charity. Start your shopping experience at instead of Get shopping!