The new bookshelf

Everyone, I have an announcement  My husband is the man. He created that eye-candy piece of a gem up there in our home the other day, and can I just tell you that I absolutely love it? I do. I absolutely love it. I mean, just look at it! It's beautiful! And it honestly makes out little space feel so much more finished and refined. I couldn't be more pleased with it's arrival.

The idea started when Ty saw a similar shelf in a Restoration Hardware catalog, and I remembered seeing an episode on HGTV where one of the designers built one. A little bit of google research, measuring and calculations later, we had ourselves some plans. The project sat on the back burner for a few months, always mulling in our minds. And then one day a couple weeks ago Ty announced he was going to build the shelf. To the store he went; the supplies he bought. And the rest is history. Sweet sweet, great-shelf-in-my-house history. Here's a little breakdown of how we did it if you wanna bring this bad boy to your house too.


We used 1/2-inch galvanized pipe from Lowes. It also comes in 3/4-inch and 1-inch options, but I thought the thinner pipe looked more sleek and classy. Also important to note, we used all pre-fab sized pipe. You can, however, have pipe cut and threaded to your specific dimensions if you wanna wanna. But we opted for the pre-sized stuff cause it seemed to fit our wants nicely and it saved us a few pennies in the process. Here are the rundown of pieces you need for a shelf unit just like ours:

3 x 30" pipe sections
9 x 18" pipe sections
12 x 10" pipe sections
15 x wall mounts (the priciest pieces at $7 a piece)
9 x T-coupling pieces
3 x elbow pieces
3 cans of Rustoleum spray paint in matte black

NOTE: It's important to consider what shelf depth and wood you would like to use on your shelf before you begin buying materials. Less expensive woods (like pine) can be purchased in pre-fab depths of 8", 10" and 12" (our shelf is 10" deep). But other, harder woods like walnut or oak come standard in 5" and 8" depths and can also be found in 12" depths if you are up to do a bit of looking. You can always have boards cut down, but if you don't have a saw already it will be an added cost to have them cut at the hardware store.

Construction method:

1. Wash the dickens out of those pipes (they have this gross film on the outside that definitely needs to take a hike before you start painting). Clean off all the stickers; we used goo gone to be sure all the sticky goop was gone. Then allow the pipes to dry thoroughly.

2. Paint the pipes. I set up a large-newspapered area in my garage, including a newspapered section on the wall so I could lean the pipes upright and turn them as needed between coats to get full coverage. I did three light, even coats, and did a few touch ups as necessary. When painting, it's best to keep the layers thin to avoid dripping and pooling. Plus, that way, everything will dry faster. After painting, we let the pipes sit for about 48 hours to be sure they were good and curated before assembling.

3. Assemble the pieces as shown in the first photo of the post. From the ground up, the three front sections go like this:

wall mount>30">T coupler>18">T coupler>18">T coupler>18">elbow>10">wall mount

Once those are assembled, screw the remaining 10" pipe pieces into the open T coupler holes on the front sections (these 10" pipe pieces are what the shelves rest on). Then attach the remaining wall mounts to open ends of the 10" pipe sections you just attached to the front sections.

4. You will now have three completed upright pipe units that you will screw into the studs in your wall, making your completed, sturdy shelf base. Then just slide those boards into place and voila! The amazing book shelf has materialized! Our top shelf is currently just floating there, so feel free to add bottom shelf securing devices if that worries you.

The bin dreams are made of

You guys. This may just look like a a typical white trash bin to you, but this is the bin of my dreams. The bin I have been searching for. LONGING FOR. Scouring the interwebs for. I have been desiring in my heart of hearts for quite a while now to have a container to keep Hank's food in that isn't the large, plastic-y bag that it comes in. But there have been no great-looking containers to be had! Even after lot and lots of scouring! But, lo and behold, there I was minding my own business while shopping yesterday, and you know who delivered one out of the blue? Ikea! That's right! The store that we love, Ikea!

I had gone there to grab us a down comforter, but there it was...the perfect container...sitting in the container section just for me with the low price tag of $24.99. It took me all of .5 seconds to decide to take it home, and I couldn't be happier. It holds the entire 30-pound bag of food, guys. Heaven. Oh the little things in life, how they make me so happy. La la la, pretty Hank-food storage container in our house, la la la.

On buying a tree

Ty and I headed out Monday night to get ourselves the perfect Christmas tree for our little condo. I don't know if you understand the implications of what I just said up there, but let me just clarify that in this family Christmas tree selection is no small matter. Ty, being from tree-populated Oregon, accepts no substitutes for perfection in this category.

Ty measured our tree-to-be spot before we headed out and we took the truck for easy transport. And we visited 3 (only 3!) lots before we really did find the ideal tree for our space this year -- a six and a half foot noble fir (they really are the prettiest, don't you think?). For any of you in the Provo-Orem area, McGreens just west the Target in Orem (on the same side of the street) has THE PRETTIEST trees and their prices are not so bad, not so bad at all. "I'm really glad we got this tree" has come out of Ty's mouth at least once since we got it home and decorated. We followed the same protocol for decorating this year as we did last, only no stools were needed. And after decorating was finished, Ty and I had a little celebratory festive dance in front of our tree.


I know I am running a bit behind holiday schedule, but here is my Thanksgiving recap for all those who don't mind my tardiness. I didn't take a whole lotta pics during our trip back to Colorado for the holiday (I think I  pulled out my camera for a total of 30 seconds), but that little gem up there was taken by my sister, Tracey. Oh my adorable, you guys. That is my husband up there. With my sweet little niece, Alice. Makes my heart melt.

But, back to the recap. Thanksgiving was a rip roarin' good time if I do say so myself. The five of us (Ty, Hank and me + my niece Megan and her man Daniel) piled into the car and made the pleasant 7-hour drive to the homeland of Colorado. The 3.5-day trip was full of delicious food, lots of shopping, puzzles, card playing and my sweet momma taught me how to make her family-famous orange rolls (hello delicious!). Hank thoroughly enjoyed having my parents backyard to run around in (note to self -- we REALLY need a yard for Hank someday soon), and I again realized how much I love taking road trips with my husband; we listen to great podcasts, I do an excellent job on snack-supplying duty, I have oodles of time to do things like knit and chat with my fellow passengers, and I don't have to drive even one-minute of the trip (which is great because Ty is a supremely great driver and me? not so much). THE BEST. It really was such a fun time with my family. I really do love me those Schmidts and the time we get to spend with them. It's just a time of lots and lots of smiling and laughing -- how can you not love that? Excellent holiday achieved!

Halloween recap

I hope you all had a great evening last night. I used to think Halloween was some kind of bunk holiday, but I have changed my mind the last couple years. I mean, when you and all your friends dress to the costume nines and get together just to have fun, it's just like your favorite times + a super fun "everyone looks awesome" element! I really think you can't go wrong with something like that.

We attended a little mid-century party last week to celebrate the holiday (that would be a loofa in my hair up there, by the way), and last night I actually ended up just washing the car and handing out candy while Ty went shooting (wha-wha on the holiday scale). But, the great news is we got a ton more trick-or-treaters than usual. We usually get a whopping 1 or 2, but this year we got at least 25! I know it doesn't sound all that impressive, but believe me, it totally was. And the night got slightly more Halloweeny when Ty got home and we cozied up to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas (Ty had never seen it before, can you believe it?). P.S. that movie is WAY creepier than I remember from when I was a tween.

Zara online

Oh my gosh. I have just realized I can shop Zara online. ZARA ONLINE, people. My life just got about a million better.

Cook the baby

Roughly 5 years ago, my brother and I were standing in his Seattle kitchen, his newly born daughter in his arms. I don't remember the specifics, but we needed all our arms and hands to do something while we were standing there, so my brother plopped his little girl into the pot on the stove for safe keeping while we quickly performed our task. Before he removed her, I snapped the first photo above, and we loving joked about cooking the baby for a while afterwards.

Fast forward 5 years -- Ty and I are hanging out at home one evening last week, and I come across the cook-the-baby photo as I am randomly browsing through photos on my computer (I honestly get lost in time just browsing through photos from the past that are stored on the nether drives of my computer). For kicks I send my brother the photo, and I quickly get a response email with the second photo above and the explanation "same kid, same pot, different stove... nearly 5 years later." Priceless. Cook the child.

One Year Anniversary

This past weekend, Ty and I packed our bags and headed out for a little mini trip to celebrate our one year anniversary (aka, the best decision ever made). We headed to Midway, UT for a stay at Johnson Mill Bed and Breakfast. It was charming, it was cozy, and it was the perfect way to celebrate with my sweetheart. And you wanna know the most random, wonderful thing about Johnson Mill? All of their linens are scrumptiously luxurious. All of them. I am positive our sheets were at least 1600 thread count egyptian cotton, and even the breakfast napkins were so soft and buttery it felt like you were wiping your mouth with a cloud. No joke. As a linen lover, I was in heaven. Not to mention, the stuffed french toast they served us for breakfast was insane, the fall-dewed grounds surrounding the property were a total delight to explore (and can I tell you, that swing was SO fun), and we slept with the fireplace on all night. I know, right? Getting married in the fall is totally the way to go.

We actually met this sweet older couple as we were checking out who were celebrating their anniversary too. It was so exciting! Finding anniversary twins seriously feels like meeting someone with your same birthday. "Are you two the honeymoon couple?" the woman asked me referring to another couple staying there as well. "Oh no, we're celebrating our 1-year anniversary," I responded, "What about you?" The woman smiled as she told me they were there to celebrate their 57th anniversary. 57th! How great is that?! Still all cute and celebrating their anniversary at a bed and breakfast with 57 years under their belt -- now that's what I call love. I'm excited to be like that with Ty one day -- all old and seasoned and even more in love than we are today. I can only imagine how close you are after a lifetime together. I love Ty more today than I did the day we were married; times that by 57 and I'm pretty sure at that age I will be exploding from how much I love this man.

We finished the weekend off with some golfing up at the Wasatch Mountain course, a sweet drive through the back mountains to Park City, and a little shopping at the outlets. Great anniversary weekend? Check.

Dance moves

How sweet would it be to be able to dance like this guy? Pretty dang sweet.


The first thing you need to do when taking a trip to Iceland is to get yourself down to the local thrift store and purchase a pair of very comfy, very functional boots for $7, even if they are ugly. You will be completely delighted with yourself for doing this when you get to Iceland and they are literally THE ONLY pair of shoes you wear the entire time.

Second, make sure you piece together detailed instructions to every natural hot pot you can get to during your trip. Period.

Third, don't try the cured shark, but do try the famous hot dogs (from the hot dog stand Bill Clinton ate at nonetheless), the whale and the puffin (I know, kinda sad). And, eat at Narfeyrarstofa in Stykkisholmur (get used to these types of words too -- they are everywhere) and get some sort of fish. Also make your way down the cobble-lined streets of downtown Reykjavik to Bernhoftsbakari -- the oldest bakery in Iceland; do not, however, order everything that looks tasty to you because you will not have enough room in your stomach, and you will be sad.

Fourth, splurge on a lopapeysa for both you and your husband because 1. they are the warmest sweaters on earth and 2. they are hand-knit by sweet little Icelandic women. But, don't buy them in a store in the heart of downtown or at a tourist attraction (and certainly not at Geysir) or you will surely get ripped off. Try instead at the Kolaportio flea market (which provided our golden finds) or somewhere else that sells them for less than 15,000 krona.

Fifth, hike to Smoke Valley and Seljavellir; you won't regret it. By far they will be two of your most favorite outdoor swimming places, and they will both provide you with magical experiences while tucked away in the canyons of Iceland. Also, the Blue Lagoon; it goes without saying, and even though it's a bit pricey, the water color and free face silica will quickly make you realize it was worth it.

Sixth, joke incessantly about how 500 krona sounds like a load of money even though it is only $4 US.

Seventh, you will soon realize that Iceland -- at least at the end of September -- is the land of waterfalls and rainbows. Prepare yourself to see at least one rainbow and five waterfalls each day without even trying. But, on purpose, you must travel to see Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Make sure you climb on precarious rock perches and up steep muddy embankments while you are at it -- it will make your experiences compoundingly more memorable.

Eighth, plan to travel south to Vik to visit the black sand beach there and see the basalt columns and basalt cave in this Jonsi video (note to people I may have misinformed, I was once told basalt columns are quite rare in the world, but it turns out they are all over the place). You will also want to relish on this beach for a little while because you will find it entirely too enchanting to want to leave quickly, despite chilly winds and low temperatures.

Ninth, be sure you thoroughly acquaint yourself with the speed limits at all times on Iceland roads because speeding tickets in Iceland can cost upwards of $1,000. However, you may be lucky and squeak away with only paying $375 after the nice officer gives you a $150 discount for paying on the spot.

And tenth, book at least 10 days for your trip because 5 and a half days simply isn't enough. Also, don't watch the Icelandic film Volcano on the plane home because you will cry THE ENTIRE MOVIE since it happens to be the saddest movie ever to be fimled.

Back from Iceland

We got home safe and sound last night (although, our bags didn't have the same luck. They should be back home tonight after they catch the 6:05 p.m. flight from Denver). Sadly, I forgot my camera in Denver as well, so pictures from the trip will have to wait until after Tuesday when it is scheduled to arrive by FedEx. Until then, here is a photo near one of my favorite places we visited. I was scrolling through A Well Traveled Woman today (catching up on all the blogs I have missed over the last week) and realized I was at this beach only 4 days ago! It was fabulous. Pictures to come.

To Iceland

I just came across this blogpost and am literally lost for words with excitement. I am going to this wonderland on Friday. THIS Friday. Oh my goodness.

The spelling bee

Last week Ty and I were a part of a fund raiser to support adult literacy in Utah County. And get this, it was a team Spelling Bee! How absolutely perfect is that? Way to go on that one, party planners. It was such a fun event; we were on a team of 8 (made up of a bunch of our friends), we were given a delicious lunch, listened to a great speaker, got to dress in nerd costumes (just our team did that one), and tried our hand at some pretty tricky words. Be to honest, we were not great spellers. Not at all. But I would venture to say that our team had the most fun of all the groups. And we were the loudest. Most fun and the loudest -- now that's my kind of team. I hope we get to go again next year.


Broccoli parmesan fritters

So Ty and I sat lounging around this afternoon -- both hungry, both not feeling too hot, but still both hungry. So I pulled up pinterest (oh trusty pinterest and self of my past, I love you both so much) to search out a recipe that we had the ingredients for and didn't seem like too much work. After a little scrolling and ingredient reading, broccoli parmesan fritters from the talented lady over at Smitten Kitchen won out. And let me tell you you guys, TOTAL WINNER. So easy, so delicious, and so totally based on a vegetable.

The recipe called for fresh broccoli, but we only had frozen on tap so frozen won out. And she suggests serving with a lemon yogurt sauce among other things, but we went with simple sour cream and homemade pico de gallo (already made and gifted to me by a sweet friend).  Still totally delicious even with the substitutes. Do it, friends. Make these fritters and feel good about yourself for eating a nice dose of broccoli in such a scrumptious package. You won't regret it.

Angela gets married

After 360 days of engagement, my favorite Angela married the love of her life, Dane, last Saturday. Kates and I (and Ty) decided to make it a girls weekend, so leaving Ty and Hank behind, I flew out to Seattle for a weekend of wedded bliss. The wedding details, sealing and reception were all incredible. Angela and Dane looked so great and so so happy, and she confirmed in her wedding speech that that was indeed the happiest day of her life. Ang (pronounced an-j) made each of us, her special girlfriends, fantastic chunky beaded necklaces to wear for the day. We stayed in a hotel room the night before and stayed up giggling and having pillow fights (okay, I kid, we did make a late-night trip to Target for M&Ms and last-minute wedding gifts though). The sealing was perfect and a beautiful reminder of the things I promised to my own sweet husband nearly 11 months ago (almost been married a year already! holy crap, huh?!). And the reception was seriously an explosion of cuteness. Ang left no stone unturned which could be used for cuteness and wedding details; I tell you what...that girl is one beautiful party thrower. And Katy and I got to take a myriad of without-saying awesome photobooth pictures. Really, just a great great event all around; such a delight to be a part of.

After the wedding festivities ended, Kates and I stuck around for an extra day of touring around (and getting a stupid parking ticket in) Seattle. A little bit of Pike's Place market (which, I've decided, may be a bit overrated -- but the cheese place there is definitely NOT overrated, definitely not), some Snoqualmie falls, a quick trip to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens for a little bridge yoga, and we called it a successful weekend.