Wine and Junk Run | October 24th, 2015

October 24th marked my friend Sara’s first Wine and Junk Run hosted by her shop SW Iowa Primitives, Antiques and Furniture.

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What exactly is a Wine and Junk run you ask?  Similar to a Poker Run where you pay an entry fee, receive a flyer of participating stops where you either draw a card or receive a stamp to mark your attendance and slowly make your way back to Stop 1 where there is typically food, drink and prizes.   They are a great way to fund-raise money typically for a great cause and always a guaranteed good times with friends and new friends you make along the way.   This particular run consisted of vehicles and stops at various Primitive and Antique shops/boutiques and a few wineries.

Jessica and I made our way down from Omaha at 10am to catch the 11am signup and were well on our way by 11:30am.  Oh what a day we had.

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Stop #1 Wabash Wine Co. Shenandoah

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This location has been open for 10 years and now includes a restaurant.   We stayed for wine sampling of 5 different wines, all of which were either sweet red or whites.   No dry for me!  Jess bought a bottle of sweet red, we signed the guest book and made our way out to Stop #2!

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Stop #2 Ray ‘s Shabby Cottage, Shenandoah, IA

A lot of neat furniture pieces and many other goodies can be found at Ray’s.  Definitely check out their facebook page (linked above) or stop in if you are near Shenandoah!

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Stop #2.5 Emerald Isle and a random school house.

Because we wanted a beer and a bite to eat.   As for the school house stop, don’t ask.  Does there need to be a reason other then we are just a bunch of kids at heart with random ideas for entertainment?

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Plus, Hunter is Jessica’s niece. We thought it was fitting.

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Legit study sesh

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Stop #3 Sugar Clay Winery & Vineyards, Thurman, IA

We definitely had the most fun at Sugar Clay Winery in Thurman, IA.   Beautiful location, friendly and accommodating owners, fairy-tale like setting.  The perfect package for an afternoon with girlfriends.

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Because who doesn’t love a good tree huggin’?

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We sat around an imaginary camp fire and enjoyed everyone’s company, despite the looks of pure un-enthusiasm from this crew. 😉  They were having a great time, I promise.

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Ms. Sara, Jess and I.

Janice, Erin and Ardie (Three Generations)

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We spent a solid amount of time here, proof in the off the wall photos.

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And then it was time to move on to Stop #4.

but not before we paused briefly for some senior photos. 

Again, don’t ask.  We do what we do and that’s reason enough for us.

Perhaps wine had something to do with it as well…

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Stop #4 Mitzi Mo’s Boutique, Glenwood, IA

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She has TONS of cute stuff in her store.  From chalk paint, to jewelry, to baked goodies and a little of everything in between.  Definitely worth your time to swing into this quaint little store off the town square in Glenwood, IA


Stop #5 Vine Street Cellars, Glenwood, IA

Vine Street Cellars in Glenwood is located right on the town square and is a very clean, fresh and sophisticated winery.  We liked our visit, as did Janice, Erin and Ardie. 🙂

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Stop #6 SW Iowa Primitives. Emerson, IA

The last stop took everyone back to Emerson for some delicious food cooked by Troy and Sara as well as prizes and fun for all involved.   Jessica and I were unfortunately unable to make the stop due to a Halloween party and costume change I had on my agenda, however, the entire day was a success!

Rumor has it Sara is making next years run even bigger and better with more stops at shops and wineries.   Make sure to join in on the fun next year!

Cheers!

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The Great Trip West – My Grandpa’s Story

I was fortunate enough to grow up with both sets of grandparents AND great-parents on each side of the family and I have to tell you…

I straight up won the grandparent lottery.

Whether here, or passed on, I have learned something unique from each one.   From how to make (and not to make) candied sugar cookies from Great Grandma Leora, to my work ethic and drive from my Grandpa Cliff Goecker and my black and white outlook on life from Grandma Bev Evans (we might as well go ahead and add shopping and our devotion to the color black in that lineup.  And the enjoyment of an occasional margarita.)   😉

My Grandpa Evans passed away 14 years ago today.  From him I learned to not take things so seriously, how to take a step back and look at the big picture, how to work hard and make sacrifices where they count and where they are needed.   Only after reading through a journal from his teenage years did I realize that perhaps a small portion of my sense for adventure came from him as well.

It was the summer of 1954, a mere 3 months post High School graduation, when my grandpa and five of his buddies embarked on a two week adventure from Iowa to Los Angeles.   To my amazement, they managed to journal a large portion of the trip.  Surprising for a bunch of 18 year old boys!

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The Great Trip West

August 14th-30th, 1954

Dick Evans, aka “Bird”

Jim Millhone, aka “Snork”

Dan Nelson, aka “Pork”

John Cundiff, aka “Johnnie” or “Flunkie”

Bill Nelson, aka “Bill Boy”

Ken Bussard, aka “Beak”

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 The boys worked throughout the summer leading up to the trip in an effort to safe enough cash to fund the entire journey.   They purchased a trailer, Coleman gas burning stove, sleeping bags, suitcases.   Borrowed tools, tarps, tents, ice chests and maps.   Their vehicle came from my grandpa’s dad, who owned a Chevy dealership at the time.  Apparently is was affectionately named Skunk for reasons both relating to aesthetics and you can guess what else.

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The boys were so organized they had even planned out the exact locations they would stop for camping and other activities including points of interest they had only heard or read about.   According to their journal entries they also managed to schedule stops at friends and families.    It was those stops that allowed them a warm shower and hot food.   What a trip it must have been to have 6 young men walking through your door.

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Saturday, August 14th, 1954 the boys departed Evans Motor Company at 10:30pm with each of their parents there to see them off.   I am sure to the parents it was a practice run for when they would see the boys off to college upon their return.

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The journal details the multiple adventures from camping, nights out, close calls and everything in between.   I had to laugh at some of the nights they spent out and about, getting back to their campsite at 4:30am to catch a few hours of sleep only to get up, get on the road and do it all over again.

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One of my favorite notes was the night of their fourth day on the road when they decided to write postcards home.   No cells, no technology, completely removed from the world except for the adventure they were on.  Can you imagine?   This made me smile.  Good job, boys.  Making sure your mama’s knew you were safe, sound and having the time of your lives.

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Their entries in California were heart warming.   These 6 boys set out on a mission to make it to California and here they were.  Seeing and experiencing the ocean together for the first time.   Experiencing the life that is the West Coast.   Forging a brotherly bond already strong into something indescribable.

What an incredible experience for them all.

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The journal detailing their story is lengthy and contains so much of what they experienced.   My intent was to share many of the stories, however, something has held me back every time I sat down to write.

I think it has to do, in part, of it being sacred.  This story was for the boys to share and experience.   This story is part of the families now that Grandpa is gone.   By telling the entire story was taking a moment in time and history and opening it up for the world.  Perhaps, it wasn’t meant for the world.   Those were the simple days of getting to live your life without everyone else knowing what you were doing and where you were going and who you were with.

How unimaginable is that?

7,000 miles, 15 days and 6 boys with stories and inside jokes that they would share for years to come.   I can’t even begin to tell their story and give it any justice.   So, with that, my good friends, I will leave you with the lessons I took from this incredible journey.

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Live your life.   Get out there and explore.   Don’t sit back and wait for things to happen.   Make them happen.   Grab your S/O, your friends, your family… whoever you choose and GO!  Get out there.  Make some plans and live in the present moment.

And, write about it. 

We live in a world so technologically fueled that our future generations won’t have anything to look back on.   Take pictures, print them off, write about your adventures and leave things behind that your kids, grand-kids and their grand-kids can enjoy in the years yet to come.

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You just never know who will appreciate it 61 years down the road.

Thanks for that, Grandpa! 

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Weekend in Review | October 16-18th

Cedar Rapids, Hawkeyes, puppy time and PBR sums up the weekend nicely.

The End.

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Ok… a little more elaboration.

Thursday and Friday I was in Des Moines for a workshop so while the meetings were long, informative and stressful, it was almost like my weekend started super early.   Especially since I was done with Round 1 of meetings by 4pm on Thursday and was in my hotel room by 4:30pm.

I didn’t know what the heck to do with myself. 

I teach a fitness class everyday of the week after work.

No class to teach.

I don’t normally turn a TV on until after 7pm.

TV on, 4:30pm.

So confusing!

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Jordan Creek Mall was less than a mile away… hmm.  Yep.   Shop, of course!

Purchase?  1 pair of shoes.

What I wanted to purchase?  3 pairs of shoes.

Good job, Jordan.  Good job.

Friday

Meetings and then I picked up the hubs from the MegaBus stop.

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Yep, you read that correctly.   We had made plans to be in Cedar Rapids this weekend, long before my meetings were scheduled.  The LAST thing I wanted to do Friday afternoon was drive all the way BACK to Omaha, pick him up and then back track to Des Moines and on to Cedar Rapids the same day.  Uh, no.

Lucky for me riding the Megabus was a bucket list item of my very weird husband.   He was more excited then a kid on Christmas morning!

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We grabbed a late lunch at Buzzard Billy’s downtown Des Moines (so good, check it out) and then made our trek to the Sullivan’s for the weekend!

Never-mind the Iowa City reference.   I am fully aware we were slightly North.   Spare me.

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Saturday

Time for the Sully’s annual Hawkeye party!   Food, beer, friends, games, bikes, shenanigans.

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Molly’s begging level: Expert.

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Once the game was over (Oh hey 7-0 season, Hawks) the boys needed entertaining, so out came the toys.

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Neighborhood rats.

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Saturday night ended at a neighborhood watering hole where we listened to tunes, questioned a few of the regulars and snapped Kyle, who was back home in Omaha, that we needed some grand-dog time.  😉

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Sunday

Thanks to my ever nervous belly (at an all time high the last month – woah) I failed to sleep a whole lot, so at 4:30am I talked myself into waiting until a more acceptable hour for the majority of the human race (5:20am) to wake my husband up and ask him if he wanted to sleep in the Jeep.

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Asking that kind of question at that hour gifts a weird look in return.

This bed is comfy, thanks.  😉

But, my ever-so-awesome-never-complains-or-questions-my-decisions husband got up, packed his crap and out the door we semi-quietly went at 5:35am, locking the door behind us.

And then, the text to get back IN the house happened.   Who leaves their cell phone on the floor?

Not me, folks.  Not me.

Clint says sorry, guys.

Back in Omaha by 9:30am!  WINNING!!!

…which meant a little time with Kyle

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And his pup Buddy Randall

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Who so desperately wanted to play with Sasha and she was having none of that, naturally.

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These Boys. ❤

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I finished my Sunday with a fresh wash and wax for Black Beauty and then some much needed down time and relaxation.

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Cheers!

Music Monday 6 | Playing With Fire | Thomas Rhett

Playing With Fire

Thomas Rhett

Oh, T. Rhett.   Totally crushin’ on that cutie over here.  My first introduction to a Thomas Rhett concert was in 2014 when he opened up for Brantley Gilbert.   I was smitten.  So much so I entered to win tickets to his next show AND WON!   And then had to TURN THEM DOWN due to a conflict.   So sad.  So very sad.

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Thomas Rhett is cute as a button, a wonderful musician, incredibly entertaining, connects to the crowd effortlessly and loves his wife unconditionally.  Seriously, follow him on IG and see for yourself how much the love between the two is magnetic.

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So, when this new song Playing With Fire was released as a collaboration with Jordin Sparks, I loved him even more.   What a killer duo!  The only downfall is there isn’t an official music video out for it yet due to it’s very recent release.

What a power house these two are together.  The video above doesn’t do the song justice.   Do yourself a favor and download it today here.

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Official Website: Thomas Rhett

Tour Dates: Thomas Rhett Tour

Other Songs Worth A Listen (YouTube links):

“Playing With Fire”
(feat. Jordin Sparks)
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I know I should let it go
Take a different road
When I’m driving home
But I don’t want to
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Delete your number from my phone
Instead of calling
Asking if you’re all alone
But I don’t want to
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Stay away
From your side of town
But it’s too late
I’m in your drive right now
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{Chorus}
I don’t know, why I don’t
Put it out baby
We kiss and the flames
Just get higher
But yeah I know
When I hold onto you baby
I’m all tangled up in barbed wire
I get burned, I don’t learn
I’ll be back, give it time
Yeah, I know it sounds crazy
But guess I like playing with fire
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I could find a spot to
Go hang out on Friday night
Where you ain’t gonna be
But I don’t want to, no
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Yeah, I could let it end
Call it quits, call off
All this on and off again
But I just don’t want to
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Yeah that key
Is right under the mat
Come on in, baby
Let’s strike that match
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{Chorus}

So let’s fire it up one more time
(Fire it up one more time)
Baby just put your lips on mine
(Lips on mine)
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{Chorus}

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(Playing with fire)
Playing with fire
(Playing with fire)

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In Case You Missed It:

Gabriel is 24!

And now I am going to post some incredibly embarrassing photos of us growing up.   Cuz that’s what sisters do.  And, hey, I am throwing myself under the bus too!

HAPPY 24th GABE!

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Could he be ANY CUTER?!

We were IA State fans for a semester, until I transferred to NWMSU.

Regardless, I’ve never seen a cuter Cyclone.

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Gabe during his “preppy” days, of which were short lived.

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Thank goodness, because his style now is spot on.

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To my “baby” brother, it’s been fun watching you grow from the adorable rugrat who wouldn’t leave my friends and I alone…

to a teen trying to find his way…

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to the young man who is putting it all together in true Gabe fashion.

Your own way.

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Love you.

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Cheers to Year 24!