new year, new crock pot

Well, here goes the most condensed update of my life post-Italy: I got back mid-December and jumped into the Christmas season with flying red and green colors. 4 weeks, 3 Christmas celebrations, 2 car crashes, and 1 move later, I’ve landed in Iowa City. I live in an apartment with a great new friend + numerous unseen neighbors. I hear them, but never really see them. Maybe they’re all ghosts. I recently (today) accepted a job at a boutique downtown, have joined an “adult” connection group through Veritas Church, and even have a crock pot in my kitchen now. I’m adjusting to post-college life gradually, but hopefully gracefully.

I was more than a little nervous to move to Iowa City – it’s still sad sometimes knowing I’m done with Iowa State and the wonderful haven called Ames. “Iowa sh#$^y” wasn’t exactly my ideal choice after college, but ten days in, I’ve seen once again that God knows what I need far more than I do. He’s provided a home, a job, a church, and new friends that are great. I also am living in the same city as Isaac for the first time since March! Apparently couples across the world have been living in the same city for years. They’re really on to something, you know.

As I said, I JUST accepted a job. Which means, I’ve been unemployed since being back. I’ve had a whole lot of time on my hands to hang out with friends, watch Parks and Rec, catch up on some reading, sleep in until ten. The luxuries. I’ve also had the chance to cozy up my room a bit. My apartment sports the white and cream color scheme like it’s really goin outta style. WHICH IT’S NOT. This beautiful color duo will never go out of style. However. My room needed a few touches to convey less solitary confinement; more clean, cozy, cute – the triple threat.

The room is pretty small, so the idea was to stay simple and understated. Few items and few colors going on. The neon green/hot pink striped walls will have to wait for my next home.

Here are a few pictures with my dresser/bed and the plain walls. Aka: before the target and thrift store trips.



I visited Target and found some brown curtains and a side table/ceramic pieces that were so on sale, I basically stole them.





Gray/White small plate: $3.00

Yellow bowl: $4.00

Gold side table: $22.00

Brown curtains x2: $10.00

After that, I went to Crowded Closet in Iowa City. It’s a thrift store that all crafters should know about. The shoes/clothing were a little lacking there, but the amount of fabric, thread, craft supplies, and random knick knacks made up for it. There was a hand-carved wooden wall hanging that spelled “BUGZ.” Yeah, I know. I left it there for one of you lucky dogs. While I had to leave that gem, I picked up the following::


Cream thread: 35 cents.

Brown twine: 55 cents.

Ace spray paint: $3.00

Bag of lace scraps: $1.00

Crochet circles. (not sure what they are?): 50 cents.

Silver hanging wall vase: $2.00

I picked up a few pieces from my house as well. A shelf, picture frames, candles, a mirror. After some spray painting, nailing, leveling, knotting, and getting some help from Isaac and his tool bag, my walls feel just a tad cozier. There’s no way crochet bunting would be allowed in solitary confinement.

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They’re small and simple changes, but let’s just say that I’ve watched less netflix in the living room, and more in my bedroom. So yeah, I think they were worth it.

If you are in Iowa City, I’d love to have you over. If you are not, I’d love to have you visit.


Bridal Shower.

People say you can’t have more than one “best friend” because only one person can be the best. These people don’t know Kathryn and Tiffany. I have been blessed with not one, but TWO best friends, and we have been inseparable ever since pre-school. Today, one of these girls is engaged and marrying her new best friend in one month! Tiffany and I are so excited for Kathryn and got to throw her a bridal shower a few weeks ago to say “hey. we love you and are excited that you are getting married. okay?”


Tiffany is the greatest to plan anything with. She is a go-getta at heart and has a mother with a secret stash of ONE MILLION mason jars.

see? mason. jars. everywhere.

see? mason. jars. everywhere.

We are newbies at this party-planning thang, but we adored every step of it. The menu planning, the baking, the setting up, everything.

The menu had the theme of Kathryn. We wanted some of her favorite things + a way to use up all those mason jars.

We had peach tea and lemonade for drinks. The striped straws were from a local craft store.



We had chicken salad, bruschetta, a “chip bar”, and DESSERT. You can’t gather 20+ women in one area and not offer multiple dessert options. We didn’t need to be party planners to know this.


Chicken salad.

Strawberry Nutella Tarts. (recipe below)

Strawberry Nutella Tarts. (recipe below)

Sugar cookies + homemade frosting.

Sugar cookies + homemade frosting.

Strawberry Shortcake Shooters.

Strawberry Shortcake Shooters.


Table set up at Moore Memorial park.

Everyone pinned date ideas for Kath as they left and picked up their “favor.” Attached was a prayer card. I saw this idea at a bridal shower I attended a few months ago, and I thought it was the most beautiful way to encourage a couple long after their wedding day.



Cookie sandwiches + prayer card.

Kathryn has been such a blessing in my life. 20 years of friendship with this girl is something I’m very thankful for. She will be a great wife, and it was so fun celebrating her new marriage with these beautiful women.


*strawberry nutella tarts recipe here

*pictures were taken by Andrew Rizer. No way I could ever make those straws look so artsy.

how king’s kaleidoscope out-hymns all of us

King’s Kaleidoscope has become one of my favorites. I love this video of their live performance of “Come Thou Fount.” I appreciate what they’ve done for music today, and believe they have brought hymns to life in an amazingly creative way. Their creative confidence is in good shape I’d say.

the early bird gets the worm, but the lazy bird gets the sweet youtube video.



I meant to do a short recap of my first trip to New York/the YMA experience, but then….I didn’t. My pictures were subpar, and I found it a little hard to explain why I was there to people who asked. I think I was there to have the opportunity to meet people who care about the fashion industry and hear about ways they are giving back to education. But it also could have been to eat the waldorf salad. Either way…can I do it again?

New York was great. I became acutely aware that there ain’t no sunshine when the buildings are so very tall. And for that reason alone, I probably couldn’t make it as a New Yorkite? New Yorkian? New Yorkie? New Yorker…that’s the one. Besides missing the sunshine, the city showed me a good time. I was a complete tourist, but…like…a cool one….not like those OTHER tourists. The YMA gala was one of the beautiful events I’ve attended. Alber Elbaz gave a humble yet inspiring speech on his journey in the fashion industry. His humility was surprising in the best way. I am still very grateful for the opportunity I had to go and see all that I did. Iowa State, you’ve done it again. You’ve been the best.

I met another student there who recently shared the following video. Which is the whole reason this came to my mind again, and I was reminded I never got around to saying much about New York. Watch if you want; enjoy the Biebs singing to you, if nothing else.

Also:: I fully intend to visit NYC again, when I have more of a flexible schedule. Suggestions??

Potato Stamp!

Here is the cutest way to use a potato. EVER. Thanks to Rae Alexis for this entire tutorial! Check it out!

I have a crafty lil thang up my sleeve for this weekend, and am planning on trying this out! I will let you know how it turns out.

My personal twist on this idea: buy 2 extra potatoes. Boil. Mash. Mix with butter and salt. Eat. Be all like, “mmmmmmm.”

PotatoStamp_Supplies Rae Alexis > Potato Stamp How-to-1 Rae Alexis > Potato Stamp How-To-2

Sistahh, Sistahhh



Let’s all take a moment to communally wonder how this week is so long. And how there is so much to do. And then jump around on whatever table is closest to us because the weekend is so close!!

Tonight I’m SO excited to announce the coming of Hannah Marie. She will be here in just two days! It’s like a birth announcement. But less nasty and with far less responsibility. The Varn sistas will be tearin up the town in less than 48 hours. Aaaallll ten miles of it, mmhmm.

P.S. Isn’t she a babe?

Yeah, I know.


You go, girl.

Here’s to YOU, Sophie Duran. Your Undiscovered Wonders of the World collection is absolutely beautiful. When I look through the collection, I feel that the art actually has some soul or personality. As if one print may be asking another one out for drinks tomorrow night. I wish there were more for my eyes to see!

I regretfully have one bone to pick, however. Your tumblr is called “Colour me Sophie.” Really? I mean, sure, Sophie is one adorable name. But do you really want to be ADORABLE? You are no puppy. No cutsie toddler with smushed blueberries all over your face. You are an artist. A conceptual artist. And a woman, for goodness sake. Now, I know I just sprung this on you, so here are some ideas I’m cooking up::

1. “Colour me Vivienne” — Who cares if that’s not your name. No one will know until they look at your bio, which buys you a solid 2-7 minutes. Even then, they will assume Vivienne is a dead grandmother or some evocative woman that they don’t even KNOW about, because, heck, they just aren’t as cool as Sophie Duran!

2. “Colour me Badd” –You get to put a British spin on the guys who wanna sex “you” up, but you can still skedaddle out the lawsuit door, because your tumbie name has a “u” in it. Best of both worlds, you sneaky Netherland person, you.

3. “Colour me Gouda” –Gouda is your hometown, but most people will initially think of cheese. Again, they will probably assume the name is one of layers, symbolizing an intricate web of design ventures and personal influences that they are too inept to understand. But it doesn’t! And it won’t make any sense at all and it will be funny. (For me, and maybe for you too.)

Open to other suggestions, Sophie. We’ll figure it out.




But really I’m over it, because I love these prints like woah.