Spend a week in Puerto Rico & See the Whole Island

Nate & I spent a week in Puerto Rico with his family. We stayed in two separate parts of the island & drove & saw a lot more. Highlight number one was the El Yunque National Park Rainforest. Highlight number two was the ocean. Low-light was the amount of sweat that came off of my body. #sohot
Photo memory commence now:

We arrive in PR SUPER early, 4.30 am early. We sat in the airport [read: nate watched a movie & I slept on my backpack] until around 7am & then took a taxi into town to get coffee. We live #onmission for coffee. & we were so happy with this place. We chatted with the barista & he gave us some tips on other shops around the island. I think my favorite thing about traveling to other cities is seeing the pace at which they live life. Life in PR is SLOW. Which is great, but also can be a struggle. Anyways.. Cafe Con Ce is 10/10.

Our first few days we stayed at the El Conquistador, which I enjoyed. Like I mentioned above, slower pace of life was definitely evident here, but it was a good stay. We took the ferry over to the island to go to the beach one day, and it was so lovely. We got on early which I was thankful for, we got great spots on the beach & stayed basically the whole day. I love floating in the ocean more than almost anything else. I was so happy. Nate & I also hiked up to the top of the hill on the island & it was magical up there. also incredibly hot. 

Ok! Like I said, the Rainforest was one of the best things we did. We hiked [for what felt like forever, but really wasn't that long] down until we got to this waterfall. Nate & I jumped in the back-side, to try and avoid all these people. It was chilly, but so worth it! La Mina Falls was the one we stopped at & then hiked back up the other side. & that cool building up there ^^ that's the visitors center. *heart eyes*

The next day we had planned on taking the ferry over to Vieques for two days, but long story short, we got #touristed & didn't make it on the ferry. Or any of the ferries for that matter, which was incredibly frustrating, but we learned that locals know the secrets & we do not. MOVING ON. We ended up driving to Ponce, which was about two hours on the Western side of the Island. We stopped at the Faro de Punta Tuna [say that three times out loud. ha!] Lighthouse & it was stunning. They also had a bathroom *travel tips*

Nothing but pretty streets & photos from Ponce. moving on!

The next day we stayed up closer to San Juan. I knew San Juan was going to be the best part, but it really surprised me. It was incredibly beautiful. Nate & I started the day at a coffee shop in downtown San Juan, called Baraka. It was suggested to us by the barista at Cafe Con Ce & it was located in a cute little shared space called Santruce Pop. I bought a ring from one of the other vendors in the space & I was just so happy.
The owner of Baraka sent us to our next destination, El Patio De SolΓ©, which we LOVED. It was so mom & pop & the sweet lady wanted to take a photo of Nate & I, and truthfully, she crushed it. Considering I had probably sweat my body weight walking around, we don't look dead. *praise report*. We made our way into Old San Juan & just walked around looking at all the beautiful buildings. It is very commercialized as that's where the cruise ships drop off tourists, but it's still kept that old charm. I loved it.

After walking around for a while we met the rest of Nate's family at Castillo de San CristΓ³bal which was absolutely stunning & had great views of the city. 

We walked over to the other fort for sunset & it was so nice to just sit & enjoy the view. 
By the end of the trip I had decided that I loved Puerto Rico, but it was just a tropical, Spanish speaking extension of the US. Which was great & convenient, but really hard for me to fully wrap my head around. Also it was so hot. all the time.
I left incredibly thankful to see it there & spend a week with Nate's whole family. I am so glad I married into a family with a sense of adventure. 

Iowa Roadtrip - 24 hours in Des Moines

Kansas City is pretty close in proximity to a lot of major cities. We're 8 hours from places like Denver, Chicago, Nashville, Minneapolis, & Dallas. It's pretty amazing [& something I wish we took advantage of more!]. Besides that, we have smaller cities within our reach & when our friends invited us to their wedding just outside of Des Moines, I was super excited to stop for an afternoon in the city & see what it has to offer! We traveled with our good friend Lance & he took some photos of Nate & I in an alleyway on our way to get coffee. 

First stop. Horizon Line Coffee. We found this shop on instagram & after chatting to them for a bit we found out they had only opened a few days before. That is a coffee shop finding miracle. We loved getting to know them & LOVED their coffee. They made a drink for us that was a shot of espresso in sparkling water & I've been thinking about it ever since. Go see them.

Next up, St. Kilda. I cannot say enough good things about this place. Just go. Australians know how to do cafes & this one is no different. We ordered our coffee first & drank it outside while we waited for a table. Eat all the food & drink all the coffee & say hi to the owner, Alex.

The rest of our time there was walking around, taking photos, enjoying the nice weather.
*photos of Nate & I taken by Lance*

Summer Rooftop Dinner, Downtown Kansas City

This past weekend I invited a few of my closest girl friends over for a rooftop dinner at my place! It was partially a late birthday celebration & partially an excuse to have my friends over for a fancy dinner. Not everyone was able to make it, but it worked out & became the perfectly sized intimate dinner around our table! 
My friend Lauren helped me with the decor & the prep & my incredible husband made us a full 3 course meal for 8 of us!! He is THE BEST!!

For appetizers we started with a watermelon, avocado & cucumber salad, which I could have eaten the whole tray of. We also had peach caprese salad with prosciutto, which was probably my favourite part of the night. Summer is peaches. Peaches are summer. That's all.
We drank Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc & FrosΓ© [we used this recipe!].

Over the years I've made many friends, spread out in all the different places I've lived & stages of life, but really & truly, I've made some of my best friends here in Kansas City. These girls hold such a special place in my life & I've truly seen the ups & downs with all of them. Friendships take time to grow deep, but it's so worth it to put in the hours of life together. 

For the main course, Nate made us a rice & quinoa pilaf, arugula & beet salad with a simple balsamic dressing & a lemon chicken. I wanted to hug my plate & am so thankful I have an amazing husband who crushed this dinner. He is truly one of the best cooks I know & I loveeeee everything he creates!!

One of my favourite parts of the night was everyone going around sharing their first memory of me. We've been really lucky to all do life together [to some extent] through our local Church & so everyone was able to participate & share. There were some hilarious moments & some serious memories. I also shared some goals for my 27th year of life & that opened up convo for everyone to share their year. I had one of those moments where I looked around & couldn't believe these girls were a part of my life. Deep & wide, these girls are not afraid of being authentic & sharing their heart.
Brooke took some photos too, so that there was proof I was actually there.
*cue all the photos with me in them*
*authentic laughter bc friendship*

Having this dinner was something I had wanted to do for a long time. I'm so inspired by Megan Gilger at The Fresh Exchange & their Simple Evenings. I would love to do these more regularly. There's something so special about gathering over food & authentic conversation & being present in your relationships. 
& finally, not pictured was the Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with a fresh coconut cream that we all demolished.

*shout out to insanely grainy black & white photos. they're actually my fave.*
Have you ever wanted to host a dinner party? I would encourage you to gather even a few of your friends & enjoy the summer weather before it ends!!