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!! 

New Zealand - Auckland in Three Days

After the wedding, Nate & I spent a day in Wellington & then flew up to spend a few more days in Auckland & quickly fell in love. We spent most of our time coffee shops & restaurants, it's hard for us to travel without trying all the best local spots. First up was The Flight Coffee Hangar, which was up there with one of the best shop experiences. We ordered the tasting flight & got to try three different beans. Not to get toooo nerdy, but tasting three back to back beans that are so unique was so amazing. They all tasted so different from each other, I loved it. There's nothing like the coffee culture in New Zealand. The second shop we went to that day was called Coffee Supreme & their shop was so tiny, but had donuts! Customs by Coffee Supreme [we eat coffee for breakfast cups, hello, yes.] We had dinner at one of our favourite foreign japanese food chains, Wagamama on Queens Wharf.

The next morning we got up early & hopped on a quick flight north back up to Auckland. It's a beautiful mid-sized city, but the best part about it is it's location. It's on a bay, so wherever you are in the city, you're within a few miles of water. I loved that so much! Our first day in Auckland we checked into our hotel using our favourite app Hotel Tonight, and then walked around the city. Our absolute favourite place on the whole trip was definitely The Botonist. It is a cafe & a flower shop, which was my actual dream come true & also the reason why there's a million photos of it. 

We then spent one full day out at Piha. It was a beautiful drive out there & an insane beach. On our way we stopped at Kitekite Falls for a short hike & sat at the bottom of the falls for quite a while. We then continued down to the beach.
To be honest, it was breezy & COLD, but I knew the sun was on my skin. I ended up with a little sunburn, but spent most of the day with my towel draped around my shoulders. We walked for hours up & down the beach, stopped & had a bit of a picnic lunch on the rocks & then hiked to the top of Lion Rock. It was an insane view. 

We had one last day in Auckland & it was pretty rainy, so we went to a coffee shop around the corner from our hotel & got breakfast. We walked to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa where we slowly walked around & looked at all the exhibits. It was beautiful. We then made a quick trip over to Devonport for an amazing view of the city across the bay, from the top of Mount Victoria.