Life Updates & Some Favorites

I have been horrible at keeping this blog up to date, so I figured I’d break the silence by writing a few lines on what we’ve been up to lately.

Cody and I are killing it this semester! We are halfway through, which is crazy since I’ll be graduating in December. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve been to three different universities, had a kid, and still managed to graduate a semester early. I really couldn’t have done it without my crazy supportive family. They’ve always been there for me, and it has definitely helped me stay focused on my goals.

Cale is killing it too. He still doesn’t talk much for a baby his age, but he understands everything. It’s a little creepy sometimes just how high his level of comprehension is. It definitely makes Cody and I feel like we should watch what we talk about in front of him!

We’ve been savoring every bit of this amazing weather! Cale loved going to the Sweet Corn Festival with his grandparents.



A few current favorites:

Favorite Blog:

Favorite Song: “Like Real People Do” by Hozier

Favorite Lipstick: NYX Liquid Suede in Soft Spoken

Favorite Book: Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography by David S. Reynolds

Let me know some of your current favorites in the comments!


NYC Honeymoon On A Budget (or the story of how my husband and I accidentally stayed in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York)

As many of you know, Cody and I got married this month! I am so excited to write a series of posts about the wedding and its many details, but I want to kick things off with the story of our wonderful honeymoon. We decided to go to the Big Apple for our honeymoon because neither of us had ever been there before, and because we knew that we would be able to explore the city without breaking the bank. It was important to us to save money without feeling like we were missing out on anything, and I think that we more than succeeded.


I cannot stress enough the beauty that is AirBNB. Without AirBNB, our trip would not have been possible. We rented out a small one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn with a full kitchen and great bathroom for only $50 a night! From the minimal research that I’ve done, the average cost of a hotel in the city is around $200 a night. AirBNB alone saved us about $1,000. If you are traveling anywhere, check AirBNB to see what is available. The only downside to our AirBNB rental was that we didn’t do a lot of research about the neighborhood it was in before we booked it. When we arrived and saw it in person, it seemed a little rough around the edges but for the most part okay. It wasn’t until Cody did a little more research that we discovered that the part of Brooklyn we were staying in is known for having a fairly high murder rate. After that we decided to avoid walking around at night, and we were just fine. I would go so far as to say that I would stay at that exact location again.

Our second money saver on our trip was buying two New York Passes. The New York Pass is a little card that for a one-time fee gets you entry into over 80 attractions around the city. We bought two five day passes for $240 each, and we ended up saving about $100 (basically we got to go to two attractions for free). The best part about the passes is how easy they are to use. You just show up at the attraction, show them your pass, and they give you a ticket. If you’re going to go to New York City and have a desire to do the traditional tourist attractions, you need to buy the New York Pass.

I think that our honeymoon was my favorite part of getting married. It was finally the time for us to just breathe and enjoy each other, and even though NYC isn’t exactly a relaxing city, the excitement of it was the perfect way to top off the excitement of getting married. We saw dozens of historic places and learned a lot about the city itself. Although we were glad to get back to Iowa (and Cale!) we are looking forward to taking another trip to New York someday.

The Things I Disliked About UCCS

Hello, all! It’s been way too long since my last post, but I am officially done with finals and getting Cody ready to go to Montana for his field class, so I will be back to the blogging-grind. This is the fourth post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series, if you missed the first entries, check out 5 Things I Loved About Going to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs5 Things I Love About Being a Hawkeye, and The Things I Disliked About Saint Louis University. Coming soon, I’ll talk about what I dislike about Iowa, and Cody will eventually write up a few guest posts about the Air Force Academy.

dislike UCCS

When I moved to UCCS, I lived in the apartments on campus. I had three fantastic roommates and a gorgeous walk to class every day. And the best part: I got to see Cody every single weekend and some weekdays! I was very happy with UCCS, and it’s been tough for me to think of very many things that I didn’t enjoy about it, but if I had to critique the school, I think that I would critique two things: (1) the fact that it is overshadowed by UC Boulder, and (2) the difficulty level of most of my classes.

1.) I don’t know very much about UC Boulder other than the fact that during my time at UCCS, I met several people who transferred to Boulder. The general consensus was that Boulder was the larger school of the two, and that it was overall a better school. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I do know that UCCS didn’t do a lot to try to combat this opinion. I think that it is a difficult issue because the two are technically sister schools, but there could have been ways for UCCS to make sure that its students knew that it was the better school. This is of course completely speculation, so I’ll get to my next point.

2.) The classes I took at UCCS were easy as pie. For some people, this would be in the pros section, and I will say that I enjoyed the GPA bump that I received from UCCS, but I do wish that the classes would have been just a tiny bit more difficult. I am a big believer in the power of a name, and when it comes to what college is on your resume, I do think that it will tip things in your favor if your school was known for being rigorous and turning out great scholars. UCCS just wasn’t a rigorous school. Compared to both SLU and Iowa, UCCS was much easier.

Again, I really enjoyed my time at UCCS. The only reason that I transferred away was because Cody and I wanted to be closer to family once Cale was born. If it hadn’t been for that, I would have gladly received my diploma from UCCS, so I would recommend it to anyone who wants to move to Colorado Springs or who already lives there and wants to go to school close to home.


The Things I Disliked About Saint Louis University

This is the fourth post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series. Check out what I loved about SLUUCCS, and Iowa. I will also be covering what I disliked about the University of Colorado Colorado Springs as well as the University of Iowa, and Cody will be writing about his experience at the Air Force Academy, so check back soon for those!

SLU dislikes

I have a lot of really great things to say about SLU, and I want to remind you that a huge reason why I transferred away from SLU had nothing to do with the school and everything to do with the fact that Cody was 1,000 miles away. However, if I had been happier in my time at SLU, I might have felt more compelled to stay there.

A lot of my issues at SLU stemmed from the difficulty that I had with making friends, and although that isn’t directly a problem with SLU, it is a problem that SLU caused indirectly. I found that nearly everyone there was from an upper middle class family, and a huge portion of my classmates went to private schools growing up. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! In fact, a personal goal of mine is to make enough money to be able to send my children to private schools if they’re better than the public schools in our area. The problem though is that it made it tough for me to relate to a lot of my peers. The majority of the people that I met there didn’t have to think about student loans, part-time jobs, or money in general, which was great for them; it allowed them to focus solely on being a college student, but I just wasn’t under the same circumstances. Toward the end of my semester at SLU, I did begin to make some truly great friends, and for them, I am so grateful. I wish that I had met them sooner.

One of my biggest problems with SLU itself is that it projects a false sense of diversity to people interested in attending. I went to a rural high school in the Midwest growing up, so I really wanted to be surrounded with people of all backgrounds in college. I thought that SLU would provide that, but it didn’t. I don’t know the actual statistics when it comes to the diversity of the student population at SLU, but I know that the number of people I met who were not white was smaller than my high school graduating class (which was 27). Maybe this is my own fault, after all, I didn’t join the Black Student Alliance or any of the cultural clubs, but I would expect that a truly diverse campus would have a rainbow of students in every class.

As I said in my previous post about SLU, it was one of my dream schools. And Saint Louis is my most favorite city. I would live there again in a heart beat. If you have an interest in attending SLU, I do urge you to check it out. It definitely has its flaws, but it has a lot of heart too, and I’m truly glad that I spent my first semester of college there.

6 Blog Posts That Will Help You Become a Better Person Today

I am all about self-improvement. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching yourself grow into the best person you can be. I’m always on the lookout for a great post that will help me create better habits for myself, and I collect them on my Pinterest board, Better Life Habits. These are the best posts that I’ve found so far.



1.) 5 Resources That Will Improve Your Productivity (and ASSASSINATE procrastination)

This list is a roundup of 5 great apps and products that will help you focus more and procrastinate less. I am the queen of procrastination, so tools like these are really helpful for me.

2.) 5 Steps To An Insanely Productive Morning

When I have a great morning, the rest of my day is great too. Getting a solid morning routine down is the key to setting yourself up for a productive day, and this list has some great ways to spice up your morning routine.

3.) 21 Ways to Become an Early Morning Exerciser

Waking up early to exercise is one thing that I always want to do but find myself struggling to follow through with. This article is packed with great tips for people who are horrible at making themselves exercise in the morning.

4.) 5 Things You Should Do Everyday–Even When Life is Stressful

This is my favorite blog post right now. Too often, I notice myself going into “survival mode” where I just focus on assignments that are due and things that need to be done immediately. This post is a great reminder of the little things that should be done every day so that they don’t pile up and make you feel overwhelmed.

5.) 15 Ways to Feel More Powerful in 15 Minutes

On those days when I wake up and don’t feel confident, I notice that it quickly spirals into a Netflix day. Although I’m a huge advocate for having a good Netflix day every once in awhile, watching Netflix all day when you have important things that need to be done is a massive waste of time. Instead of curling up in a ball, try these ideas to help you get your confidence back.

6.) 23 Ways to Treat Yo’self Without Buying or Eating Anything

When you’ve had a really productive day, there’s nothing better than rewarding yourself for your efforts. But often, when that reward involved eating junk food or spending a lot of money, you end up regretting it. This list is great for the days when you just deserve a treat but you don’t want to feel guilty about it later.

If you’re interested in more posts about self-improvement, check out my Better Life Habits board on Pinterest. I’m always updating it with new posts.

5 Things I Love About Being a Hawkeye

This is the third post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series! Check out 5 things I loved about UCCS and what I loved about SLU. Coming up, I will feature what Cody loved about the Air Force Academy, as well as a list of dislikes for each school. But for now, let’s focus on how great it is to be a hawkeye!


When we had Cale, we had two choices: Cody would have to legally give up his paternity so that he could continue going to the Air Force Academy (more on that later) or we could transfer to the University of Iowa where Cody could join their Air Force ROTC program (and we would live only an hour and half away from both of our families). The choice for Cody to leave the Academy was tough, but the choice to come to Iowa was easy, and we are so happy about our decision! We arrived here in January 2015, and we will both be graduating next school year! I have truly loved living here in Iowa City, and the university has offered me a lot of opportunities that I have been very grateful for.

1.) The University of Iowa is huge! I know that some people aren’t into huge schools; I really enjoy it for several reasons, but I’ll just tell you my top two: (1) A huge student population equals a huge alumni network. There are Iowa grads in every state, and it creates an instant connection when you meet someone with the same alma mater. (2) The possibilities are endless when it comes to student activities. There is every club you could possibly imagine, and if you do manage to think up a different one, you can create it!

2.) The professors actually connect with the students. This was honestly true for SLU and UCCS as well, but I’m especially impressed by it here because it is such a huge school. Most professors are dealing with hundreds of students every day, yet every professor that I’ve had has managed to learn my name by the end of the semester. As a person who is shy and not typically outgoing, it really touches me when someone reaches out to me and makes me feel seen. It makes me feel like my presence in class truly matters, and that’s a great feeling to have.

3.) The sporting events are fun, even for a person who doesn’t like sports. I do not like football at all, but even I have fun at the football games here. It’s so much fun to see an entire state come together to root for your school! Neither SLU nor UCCS had football teams, so this is my first experience with college football, and it’s been pretty cool. They also have other teams that are great, and it’s fun to be able to see the slightly more obscure sports like gymnastics and wrestling.

4.) Iowa City is the third UNESCO City of Literature in the world. I love to read and write, and this is the city of readers and writers, which is really great. The public library is gigantic, and the local bookstores are perfect. The best part of all of this is that successful authors are constantly coming to Iowa City to speak about their books and even do readings of their latest work.

5.) Iowa is my home. I loved living in Saint Louis and Colorado Springs, and I plan to spend the majority of my life moving around and traveling, but Iowa will always be where my heart is. In my experience, most people in the world are kind-hearted when you get to know them, but it’s the Iowans who wear their kindness on their sleeves. Cody, Cale, and I were in a minor car accident in the fall, and the kindness of the strangers around us was astounding. Immediately after impact, a man behind us jumped out of his car and ran up to make sure we were okay and to inform us that he was calling 911 for us. Our car had to be towed, but because we had Cale and his carseat, neither the police car nor the tow truck would be able to safely transport us. A couple who were about to head home from the gym asked us if we needed a ride home, and then gave us their phone numbers in case we might need transportation later on. Of course, this could have happened anywhere, but this is just the type of thing that Iowans do for one another, and that’s pretty amazing.

The University of Iowa isn’t where I originally intended to get my degree from, but it has quickly become my home, and I am so happy to be here. Comment below if there are any questions that you have about Iowa, SLU, or UCCS, and don’t forget to check back for the rest of the series!

5 Things I Loved About Going to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs

This is the second post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series. My first post featured the things I loved about SLU. Check back for the rest of the posts in the series. I will be covering the University of Iowa as well as the Air Force Academy in upcoming posts, and I will write about what I didn’t like about all four universities as well.


I transferred to UCCS in January 2014 so that I could live closer to Cody as he was attending the Air Force Academy. It was a pretty scary move; I went from living three hours away from my family in Saint Louis to living about fourteen hours away in Colorado Springs. Despite the fact that I missed my family a ton, I had a blast at UCCS, and I loved living in Colorado Springs. Narrowing this list down to just 5 was tough!

1.) Colorado Springs is one of the coolest cities in the U.S. Seriously, where else can you get such a vibrant mix of conservative military-oriented people along with super progressive hippies? And it isn’t only the people who feature wonderful differences; the city itself is the perfect mix of a modern urban city-scape and old-fashioned wilderness. In just fifteen minutes, you can either be at the heart of the city or exploring the base of the mountain range.

2.) The Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs are right down the road. The Garden of the Gods is a beautiful rock formation filled with easy to walk pathways and sidewalks. It is gorgeous, and you won’t be satisfied just exploring it once. Manitou Springs is the quirky little sister to Colorado Springs. It’s a small town filled with touristy shops and street art. It is so much fun to go spend an afternoon in Manitou.

3.) The class sizes are small. I’ve tried to avoid writing about facts that the schools themselves already advertise, but UCCS did a remarkable job of keeping their class sizes small. My largest class was a lecture with about 70 people in it, and even that had a lab section that met separately and had less than 20 students. Every other class I was a part of was small enough to enjoy class discussions and get to know everyone’s names. As an English major, classroom discussion is what helps me truly learn the most, so I really appreciated being a part of classes that were small enough to have discussions.

4.) The University itself sits on its own hill overlooking Colorado Springs. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen was the sun rising and setting over the mountain range as I walked to or from class. The views that UCCS provides are absolutely incredible. I took pictures almost every day my entire first month there.

5.) The whole city has a strong military community, and a genuine sense of patriotism. Colorado Springs always had parades for important holidays such as Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, and it was nice to see the community turn out to support our troops as well as take pride in our country. As someone who is going to be a military spouse, this may have been more important to me than it would be to most people, but hey, who doesn’t like parades?

My experience in Colorado Springs was something I’ll never forget. Let me know if there’s anything that I forgot to mention, and don’t forget to check back for the rest of the posts in this series!

5 Things I Loved About Going to Saint Louis University

This is the first post in my Colleges: Pros and Cons series! In the near future, I will write about the Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and the University of Iowa. These are all schools that either I or my fiance have attended, so we will be able to provide personal reviews of them for those who might be interested in attending.

One of SLU's many gorgeous fountains--I took this picture on my first day.

In the fall of 2013, I entered my freshman year at SLU. It was my second choice university (I didn’t get in to my top choice, but that was okay, because I still ended up in Saint Louis, which was my goal all along). I applied to SLU in the early fall of my senior year of high school and got my acceptance letter sometime in October or November.

1.) The school follows the Jesuit mission. Something that students at SLU hear constantly is “service before self,” and that’s a phrase that I continue to try to live by. SLU prides itself on the fact that the vast majority of its students do volunteer work, and many classes at SLU require students to volunteer.

2.) The campus is gorgeous. SLU’s campus is filled with beautiful architecture and landscaping. Because it was founded in 1818, many of the buildings on campus are quite old, and they provide a lovely contrast to the newer buildings. SLU is full of wonderful fountains, and it is a joy in the spring time to see the fountains running and the flowers blooming.

3.) The dorms aren’t horrible. Some friends of mine attend Western Illinois University, and I was very surprised when I visited them once to discover that their dorm rooms were filled with rickety old furniture that seemed like it would fall apart any time. Although SLU’s dorms aren’t amazing, they do have decent furniture and they aren’t really that bad to live in. My bed was actually the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on!

4.) The location is amazing! I worked at New City School while I attended SLU, and I was able to bike to work every day through a few really neat residential neighborhoods as well as one street filled with hipster-y restaurants and businesses. To top it off, there was a metro station just a short walk away from campus, so it’s possible to get nearly anywhere in the city without a car.

5.) It was private and slightly separated from the surrounding community. Now, I’m not trying to imply that the surrounding community was somehow bad or that I didn’t want to be a part of it, but it was nice knowing that I could walk safely from the library to my dorm at midnight and the only other people that I would encounter would be fellow students. I’m currently attending the University of Iowa, and although I quite enjoy the atmosphere here as well, I do sometimes miss the way that SLU is its own small community within the larger community.

Don’t miss the next post in this series, and let me know of any questions that you would like me to address either about SLU or any of the other universities mentioned above!