DIY Engagement Session...

My brother and his fiance have a really tight budget for their wedding and so for a little surprise I wanted to set up a little photo shoot for them to have some engagement pictures.  After a little brainstorming I think we have come up with an awesome concept and I am excited to share the end result with you!

Here are some of the pictures I shot last week to see what time of day was best for lighting purposes.  And here is a sneak peak at our inspiration...

P.S. Sorry so short on words today but a there was a royal wedding to watch!!!  Today a regular girl became a princess...sigh...


A birthday of sorts...

Seems like kind of a big number huh?  At least if does to me.  For the last two years I have been working away on this little blog and today I am writing my 150th post!  When I first started blogging I had just become engaged and I was just looking for a way to share all my DIY projects {like these cute nests} with friends and family.  Now blogging is a one of my favorite hobbies.  I honestly don't know what I would do with out it.

After living so many different places it can be hard for me at times to realize that I am here in Illinois to stay.  No more big cities and crazy adventures meeting new and inspiring people all the time.  I am not a typical girl around here and sometimes it can get a little lonely and I could get restless.  But blogging gives me a way to explore the world and meet new people everyday.  People who inspire me with their honest words, pictures, homes, and relationships.  It is a connection unlike any other community I have known.  And you know what?  I LOVE it!

I work every day on making 906 a better space to explore.  Thanks for tuning in!  I hope you enjoy this little corner of the world that means so much to me.  To celebrate this day and our wonderful friendship here are some links of what I am loving right now...

This new line of bridal gowns {I know I am married but I can't stop looking- plus I watch this line being built from the ground up on the designers blog- AMAZING!!!}If I hadn't already bought my dress when I found her blog I would have had her make my wedding dress.  They are so dreamy and romantic!

This Easter feast!  This foodie blogger makes my mouth water with her pictures.  Her touches with vintage utensils inspired me to start collecting my own.  I have already had some compliments on my budding collection.

I want to make one of these bowties!  Such a cute idea but this little tie also stole my heart.  First I need to actually have a little man to put them on but we will get there!  But I know some of you readers do!

I love to travel vicariously through this blogger!  She is a pro trip planner and has a ton more insight then I could ever hope to give you on being an ex-pat and traveling the world...

And finally here are two mama bloggers that I look up too and love their ideas and thoughts on raising a child.  Maybe if you can't tell I have babies on the brain!  Maybe it is because my maternity insurance went into effect as of the beginning of the month...no baby on board yet but you can never be too prepared.

Maybe these links will make your Thursday go by a little faster.  I am looking forward to my half day at work, getting some stuff done around the house, and maybe getting to a couple new projects {like the chandelier I just bought for the kitchen...}


Travel Tuesdays {Getting to Paris}...

So you have your ticket to Paris.  You are dreaming about croissants and men in berets but have you even thought about money?  I was twenty when I moved to Germany with 500 dollars in my pocket {at that age paying for my own plane ticket seems amazing, let alone saving up $500 while living on my own!}  Sadly that 500 dollars did not transfer over to Euros so pleasantly.  After the transfer I had about 350 Euros.  So check the currency exchange rates to help take away some of the guess work.  

Credit card companies are also another good place to check in with.  Any cards you plan on taking with you need to be contacted about your impending trip.  To make sure you card will work in France and that they do not turn it off because of suspicious transactions.  Look on the back of the card for words like Star or Cirrus.  These are usually internationally accepted but check with the card company just to be sure.  Credit and debit cards are the cheapest way to transfer money. 

Travelers checks may work for some but I have never needed them.  I have always used atm's to get cash with any American card {and I had a bank from a tiny farm town so if my card works-yours should too}   When we were in France we didn't even need cash that much.  We used our debit card automatically and because we bank online and we had our laptop, we could check our balance after every day's transactions to make sure we didn't let the transfer exchange mess up our account {which has happened to me before and can be easy to do}

Parlez-vous francais?  I wished I had tried to learn just a little bit of French before I went.  I was so consumed with the wedding and wrapping everything up that honestly I didn't have time but if I had I would have used Live Mocha.  It is totally free {unless you wanna take the $10.00 travel course}  I really love it and use it now to brush up on my German.

So let's see...We have our tickets, money, and we are learning some French, what are we missing?  Oh yeah, passports!  These are a must.  If you don't have yours, this is something that needs to be done in advance.  It can take up to three months to process the application and get it in the mail.  You can pay extra to have it rushed and it doesn't always take so long but it's better to plan ahead.  

Have you thought about what you are going to pack?  We had to do a little tweaking to Ryan's every day apparel.  His usually uniform of t-shirt, jeans, ball cap, and white tennis shoes is a dead giveaway of an American.  Not that this is a bad thing but it does make you stand out and gives pick pockets a good idea of who to target.  Wanna learn how to dress french?  Hip Paris is a great blog even if you aren't planning a trip to Paris anytime soon.  This blog is full of food, sites to see, and is current on what is new and happening in the city.  I still read it all the time.  Maybe I should add it to my sidebar...

Don't worry about the plane ride.  Ours was around 9 hours.  It is a long time but airplane food has come a long way and so have the movies.  We each had our own screen and a whole menu of movies to choose from.  Remember to bring some cash on the plane {dollars or euros} to pay for things like extra snacks and headphones.  I bring a book and some magazines too so I don't get too bored.  The one thing I will recommend is getting a good neck pillow.  It was so hard to sleep on the plane.  We landed in the morning and couldn't check into our hotel for 6 hours.  So it would have been nice if I had gotten some sleep on the plane.

Once you land in Paris there are three options to get you from the airport to the city.  A commuter train {are you really going to be that brave?!}, a shuttle, or an expensive taxi ride.  We choose option b- the shuttle.  I didn't even think about airport transportation until the day before we were leaving.  Please don't make that mistake!  I messed up all of our reservations and we ended up having our hotel book our return journey to avoid further mistakes.  Your hotel staff will most likely speak English, at least a little, if you email them they can probably do a better job of booking a shuttle then you can.  Or you can also find the shuttle counter at the airport and book one on the spot.  

The airport in Paris is one of the trickiest I have seen.  I found it very hard to get around.  It feels like a maze and you always feel like you are just going in circles.  Eventually you will wind around to the right part, just keep walking.  That's the best advice I can give you {and don't yell at your new husband cause you are grouchy and the time change is getting to you!}

So here we are.  Paris.  We are waiting for our shuttle to take us to the most magical city in the world.   And our story will continue next week!


Travel Tuesdays...

Travel Tuesday will be back tomorrow due to some unforseen problems and delays : )


This week on...

That's right.  I am being brave and I am showing you some raw footage today.  It is our old, boring, {with hints of white trash} yard.  Don't get me wrong our grass is always perfectly green {Ryan works for Scott's Lawn Service} and well maintained but it still manages to look like a sad and dreary place.

The back porch is actually one of our favorite places to hang out.  In the summer it's not unusual to have 10- 15 people over on a Friday or Saturday night.  I would really like to have a space we are proud of to entertain in. Especially since we have no room for even a small table for two inside our house!  So we have some major goals for this summer.

I don't have much of an attention span or a green thumb.  So I am trying to figure out a really basic plan to spruce this yard up.  I am going to be sharing my inspiration and projects with you all!  We may or may not be building our very own little beer garden.  I am thinking mismatch wooden tables that have been aged and an eclectic mix of chairs.  Maybe some mason jars hanging overhead with candles....I dunno people these are just the ideas I have floating around my head.

So I may as well just get the Before pics out of the way huh?  You know quit stalling with links like this,  with the idea of using a rain barrel to be more green.  Or like this, which shows you how to make the most yummy looking chocolate cake for Easter.  Or this sweet little home tour, I seriously want the curtains in her office.  Or I could share this e-course I dying to take about how to style your own home.

Ok, ok, ok,  I show you the stinkin' pictures but I am neither happy, nor proud to show you.  Please to do not judge me or think that I am one step away from redneck {if you can refrain from doing so, if not I understand, I would judge me too}

So there is some work to be done.  A lot of it is organizing and cleaning- who am I kidding, there is a lot more to do besides cleaning but let me have my dreams!  Things on my wish list are: something to hide the garbage cans, re-staining the porch, FLOWERS, maybe some kind of DIY outdoor kitchen area around the grill, and too many more things to list.  I have some brain storming to do!  This last picture is to show you all that I really live at 906 E. Reality!  It's not always so chic around here...


Travel Tuesday { Paris }

"America is my country and Paris is my hometown..."
Gertrude Stein

Paris just seemed to make sense for my first Travel Tuesday series.  Since I was just there less then a year ago it is still fresh in my mind.  I hope by the time this series is done all of you will have a tiny taste of Paris that leaves you itchin' to go there.  If this series does nothing else I hope it inspires you to travel to new places near or far away.

We are gonna start with booking our tickets.  Paris is one of those cities that is going to be amazing any time of the year but I will share with you a few of the best and worst times to go.  The best time is obviously May through July.  No need to explain why. It's summer and the weather will be gorgeous and cool.  This is what they call the high season.  In August Paris basically shuts down and everyone leaves the city for vacation.  Some stores do remain open but your options are going to be quite limited. 

We went in September and it was perfect.  The weather was cool but not cold.  The sun was shining everyday and we got a steal of a deal!  We only paid around $900 a person for airfare and hotel!  That is an incredible deal!  And I will tell you again where we booked it.  TRAVELZOO.COM  it is amazing.  Go there right now.  You will have a blast just planning pretend vacations {i do all the time}.

I always do a lot of research online when I am planning a trip.  I go to all the travel sites.  I compare prices.  It takes a lot of homework to get a good deal but it is possible to travel on a budget.  Just be smart and double check all your bookings.  I once booked a trip from Munich, North Dakota to Florida.  I didn't live in Munich North Dakota I lived in Munich GERMANY!  Those mistakes are easier to make then you think and they can be costly.

So for homework this week think of a place you would like to travel to and research for the best deal.  Just see what you come up with.  There are some amazing deals out there go find one!  You could be on your way to Paris just like this lucky guy!


Coming soon to a blog near you...

travel tuesdays

Next Tuesday there will be a new feature here at 906!  Every week I will be featuring a new destination and some of my travel savvy tips.  I hope you are as excited as I am!  Please feel free to email any travel questions your have or if there is a specific destination you would like to know more about {or just email me to say hi, it makes me happy when I have more then spam to read}.

Tomorrow I have a photo shoot to attend with a cousin and her sweet baby girl, followed by a cook out and then a going away party.  Can you say loooong day?  I am looking forward to Sunday and actually getting to see my hubby {he has been working 13 hour days gross huh?}  Happy weekend {and come back Tuesday!}


Where I get my beauty sleep...

I have been meaning to share our bedding with you for a while.  After waiting for a sunny day to take some pretty pictures I gave up and just thought I would edit them the best I could and share them with you!  

The bedding in our bedroom is a mixture from many stores.  Since neither of us like using a top sheet, we skip that step and use a duvet cover {over a down blanket}.  Now you American's may think I am crazy but over in Europe {at least Germany} this is standard.  The duvet covers are made from the same material as sheets and you wash them every week.  I love this because it makes making the bed soooo easy and you aren't getting all tangled up in a sheet and blanket during a restless night of sleeping.   Plus you can have a different look every other week.

We have three duvet covers.  Two are the same and one is a little bit different but they all go with our sheets {plain ol' basic white} and throw pillows.  All of our pillows are a clearance collection : )  I go to TJ Maxx regularly to see what is on sale.  The duvet cover below I got for only thirty dollars!!

I like to mix textures and soft colors for our master bedroom.  I want it to be a calm room with nothing to loud jumping out at you.  To complete our look I have long white curtains {right now from Walmart but hoping to upgrade soon}

Overall I am very happy with this room.  As you can see from the picture the bed takes up most of our space.  This isn't ideal but we have tried many different positions with the furniture and this is what seems to function best for us.  We don't do anything in our bedroom except for sleeping anyway {wink}.  I do not allow T.V.s in bedrooms {more on that to come}. 


A kitchen with cabinet doors...

We finally have the kitchen cabinets painted and all of the doors back on!  It was a tedious task and I am glad that it is over.  I am starting to really enjoy my kitchen.  It is light and bright and seems so much cleaner!  Here is how it started out a few months ago...

We are no where near finished but we are getting there!  We still need to to the tile back splash {more on that later!}, vent for the stove, and new flooring...not to mention I still haven't decided if I want to paint that wood cabinet the same color as the other cabinets. What do you think?

I still have a few other projects to do before this kitchen is farmhouse chic but is closer then ever before!  Special thanks goes to Ryan who did all chalkboard writing for this post!  It is a special man who will label your brown sugar with some style!


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