Masthead header

This time last year, our poor yard was so covered in sawdust and our contractor’s bevvy of tools that we never really stopped to realize that our front lawn (more of a dirt patch at that point) was almost entirely shaded by 3 mature trees. Why does this matter now you ask? After a few brisk days, those three trees were tricked into thinking that autumn was already here, and it started dropping leaves like it was going out of style.

This is only the second time in our lives that we’ve had a “real” yard to take care of (and a first in Chicago!), so managing the oncoming mountain of leaves is a little bit outside of our wheelhouse. After realizing that we’d quickly be fighting a losing battle if we didn’t get ahead of the leaves early, we partnered with our pals over at Ace Hardware to involve some heavy artillery. Toro Electric Blower/Vac to the rescue!


On no less than three occasions, Kim has been absolutely convinced that we’ve found a way to murder our newly planted lawn. (I’m not saying she’s overly dramatic, but I’m not saying she isn’t…) Each time we’ve raked it, walked on it, or that one time we held a yard sale (literally, in our yard), she was sure we’d wasted time and energy planting it in the first place. A blower/vac was the perfect solution to remove and pulverize the leaves without harming the grass. Yeah!


After a few minutes easily blowing the leaf litter out of our grass and small mulch bed, I switched over to vac mode and sucked everything up into the included bag. The upside to city living? It took no more than fifteen minutes, and our lawn was leaf free! Nice. Side note: The photo below was taken before I had finished blowing the leaves, hence the, um, super leaf-y yard. I may have been excited to give the vacuum a test run!


And because you all know Ace is all about sharing the love and helping you check off your to-dos, together with the Ace crew, we’ll be giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! The giveaway runs through Tuesday, September 30th at 5pm CST; simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The winner will be announced within this post by Tuesday evening. Good luck and happy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided us with the tools necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own.

  • Lisa Brown - September 25, 2014 - 6:43 AM

    For a newbie, lawn trimming is great way to keep a lawn looking neat, not my favorite thing to do, i do like to blow the leaves.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa B. - September 25, 2014 - 6:54 AM

    A good set of Hedge Trimmers are great to have!ReplyCancel

  • Roxanna Morgan - September 25, 2014 - 7:04 AM

    I have two sweet gum ball trees in my back yard. What were folks thinking when they planted those. Always a huge fall clean up but blowers make it easier. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Amber @ Amber Otto Interiors - September 25, 2014 - 7:04 AM

    Believe it or not, I have never gardened before (I suffer from a bit of a black thumb). This fall I’ve been itching to rip out our overgrown flower beds in the front yard, which are 10% flowers and 90% weeds, and start fresh with some bright and cheerful hardy mums. I’d be starting from scratch so would love to get a full set of gardening shovels, gloves, and bags of mulch. Hopefully since they’re “hardy” I will have a harder time killing the mums…ReplyCancel

  • Kris - September 25, 2014 - 7:52 AM

    A rototiller! I need a tiller!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - September 25, 2014 - 8:08 AM

    I don’t know that I can give any advice- I am a newbie also!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline Calcote - September 25, 2014 - 8:11 AM

    I really want a mitre saw!ReplyCancel

  • Nate - September 25, 2014 - 8:21 AM

    A wet tile saw for my DIY bathroom!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Grover - September 25, 2014 - 8:39 AM

    I would love to have some sort of saw! We need some DIY tables and that would make me complete that project quick!ReplyCancel

  • Jen Thompson - September 25, 2014 - 8:55 AM

    So many things!ReplyCancel

  • Sheila - September 25, 2014 - 8:56 AM

    Here in SoCal, some trees drop leaves a little at a time all year rather than all at once in the fall. I had all my lawn removed and replaced with low-water plants but I would still love a blower to deal with that constant leaf litter!ReplyCancel

  • Emily P - September 25, 2014 - 8:57 AM

    I would love to purchase a compound miter saw to do some woodworking!ReplyCancel

  • Kim Ford - September 25, 2014 - 9:02 AM

    Love to get out in the fall and rake up the leaves and clean up the yard…great excuse to get new tools to help!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - September 25, 2014 - 9:11 AM

    We could really use a come-along, to get some pesky stumps out of our yard….Although I’ve always thought that margaritas are the best yard tool – they make everything a bit easier!ReplyCancel

  • Alison - September 25, 2014 - 9:14 AM

    Thanks for a chance to win a gift card.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - September 25, 2014 - 9:17 AM

    Weed wacker and edger for that clean look!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa H - September 25, 2014 - 9:20 AM

    Rototiller!!! Dig up that dirt to plant new things.ReplyCancel

  • Thom - September 25, 2014 - 9:23 AM

    Something to edge our lawn. We have a push mower. Not sure the options for a portable option for cutting the edges. Shears?ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Anderson - September 25, 2014 - 9:25 AM

    We love Ace, but just lost the one in Bridgeport. I guess we’re on the hunt for a new one!ReplyCancel

  • Trilby C - September 25, 2014 - 9:26 AM

    Oh my heavens – our new house has such a large yard (we were formerly city dwellers too!) that we’re struggling to keep up. A gift card to Ace (the ONLY store in our tiny town!) would be just the thing to help us get our ducks in a row before winter sets in. Many thanks for the great giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - September 25, 2014 - 9:26 AM

    We have 3 big red maple trees in our yard and this blower/vac would make getting rid of allll those leaves much easier!ReplyCancel

  • Missy G. - September 25, 2014 - 9:34 AM

    Before today, I would have answered with(besides a quality mower) a pressure washer. But now I’m thinking that I need that Toro! I’ve never seen a leaf blower with a vac feature.ReplyCancel

  • Ana S. - September 25, 2014 - 9:41 AM

    Umm any tools would be great! I think we only have a hammer and a screwdriver… we do any building at my in-laws house!ReplyCancel

  • katie - September 25, 2014 - 9:41 AM

    That is an awesome way to clear leavesReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - September 25, 2014 - 10:06 AM

    Oh man, whatever tools will help us clear the overgrown landscaping in the back yard. Weeds, vines, and extra growth everywhere!ReplyCancel

  • lesley - September 25, 2014 - 10:12 AM

    would love a blower, and a saw, and a tiller….the list could go on a while!ReplyCancel

  • AnnMarie - September 25, 2014 - 10:17 AM

    The best thing about renting is not having to do yard work. ^_^ReplyCancel

  • Megan Sybrant - September 25, 2014 - 10:25 AM

    I am dying to redo our landscaping! just ripping out some weeds and treating the soil and adding some nice rocks :)ReplyCancel

  • Jen Renda - September 25, 2014 - 10:35 AM

    I would love $100 to get going on my kitchen and bath painting projects!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - September 25, 2014 - 10:40 AM

    We bought a house less than a year ago, and my husband was just talking about getting one of these leaf blower/sucker things.. this would be perfect! We have a ton of trees and will have a ton of leaves!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany Wellman - September 25, 2014 - 10:40 AM

    Since becoming homeowners, we’ve slowly been building up our tool collection. I still would love some sort of table saw though!ReplyCancel

  • Nathan - September 25, 2014 - 10:42 AM

    A gift card would be great! My wife and I need another leaf blower so we, both, can use one at the same time. Living in an established neighborhood with hundreds of trees means thousands and thousands of leaves that fall. We love the change of seasons, but not the leaves that fall…ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - September 25, 2014 - 10:43 AM

    We’ve lived in our house for three years now and I still have yet to figure out our drip irrigation system. Between the timer sometimes just not working at all and wildlife digging up the drip lines, I have to check on every plant every single day.ReplyCancel

  • gillian - September 25, 2014 - 11:03 AM

    Thanks for the opportunity to fund some home improvement projects! I want to rejuvenate my balcony garden.ReplyCancel

  • Sherri Howell - September 25, 2014 - 11:10 AM

    This is a great time of year to get a jump on the lawn (with the cooler weather). I need to do major landscape overhaul.ReplyCancel

  • Jan - September 25, 2014 - 11:24 AM

    I could use an edger to get my yard in shape!ReplyCancel

  • Nina M - September 25, 2014 - 11:54 AM

    Just found your site recently. Enjoying reading through your old posts!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - September 25, 2014 - 12:15 PM

    I grew up with a Mom who did the yardwork … and still does at 61! I want to be just like her.ReplyCancel

  • JessicaE - September 25, 2014 - 12:25 PM

    Tools = Always a good thing!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime Lopez - September 25, 2014 - 12:51 PM

    Our house has 1 mature tree but our neighbors have quite a few and all of their leaves somehow end up in our yard. We spend countless hours raking leaves and while they are beautiful, I sometimes wish their was an easier way to collect them all. Your house is coming together beautifully, thank you for sharing it with us along the way.

    - JaimeReplyCancel

  • Mandi C - September 25, 2014 - 1:30 PM

    I’ve been wanting to put shelves in our girls room but haven’t worked with lumber before!ReplyCancel

  • alex - September 25, 2014 - 1:38 PM

    We are in the thick of home reno’s too! Would love to put this towards finishing our office.ReplyCancel

  • Cair - September 25, 2014 - 1:40 PM

    A chain saw would be really cool to have. Lots of branch debris in my partially wooded yard that needs to be cut into refuse approved sizes.ReplyCancel

  • Staci - September 25, 2014 - 1:41 PM

    Oh man! I do not miss the days of raking leaves on our giant yard in Kansas. Our lot was so big that it would have fit three small bungalows (that is, if they all had the same square footage as the one we were living in). The “back 40″ we didn’t even try to maintain but the front lawn was an exercise in raking and bagging. Phew! Makes me tired just thinking about it. Glad we live in a condo now and someone else maintains the grounds :PReplyCancel

  • Jody - September 25, 2014 - 1:43 PM

    Living in a condo, I don’t have yard maintenance. Yay! But I would like to try my hand at refinishing my kitchen cabinets, so I need to invest in a sander.ReplyCancel

  • Maria S - September 25, 2014 - 1:46 PM

    Lawn care is completely new to us, too! And we need everything, from the lawn mower to the hedge trimmers!ReplyCancel

  • Laura H. - September 25, 2014 - 2:04 PM

    35+ bags of leaves every year. This would certainly help the process. :)ReplyCancel

  • Chance - September 25, 2014 - 2:32 PM

    We are about to close on our first house and I just realized that we will be needing a lot of yard tools! It’s unbelievable how much it’s actually going to cost just for the basics, ha.ReplyCancel

  • Jen N. - September 25, 2014 - 4:05 PM

    We’ve surprisingly gotten a lot of use out of a little tiller.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly D - September 25, 2014 - 4:28 PM

    We use the lawnmower and weedwacker the most to upkeep our yard.ReplyCancel

  • livivua - September 25, 2014 - 4:41 PM

    a wee enter and just any you find on saleReplyCancel

  • Amy Teal - September 25, 2014 - 4:45 PM

    I need several tools for the yard but as far as a diy project in the yard I need a post hole digger to add some fencing for my pups.ReplyCancel

  • ashley e - September 25, 2014 - 5:06 PM

    I’ve been wanting to make my own acrylic art frames, and I need a power screwdriver (#diynewbie), which would also be helpful for other projects (instead of always calling the men in my life) :)ReplyCancel

  • Haley - September 25, 2014 - 6:21 PM

    A flamethrower? I kid, I kid. We don’t have much of a yard now and a mow now and then does it for us. I really want to get a small shed for the seasonal equipment. Snow blowers and mowers take up a ton of space.ReplyCancel

  • Megan C. - September 25, 2014 - 10:00 PM

    About five thousand rooms in our house need to be painted. But paint is expensive. I would totally buy paint.ReplyCancel

  • Kara - September 25, 2014 - 10:03 PM

    A finish nail gun and/or a floor stapler for installing hardwood floors… can you tell what DIY is on the to do list for me?ReplyCancel

  • Moxie - September 25, 2014 - 11:41 PM

    Perfect timing. We’re trying to get our lawn in shape. Plus I”m sure tis would be great for messing with my cats…ReplyCancel

  • Trude - September 26, 2014 - 9:51 AM

    Looks like fun! This would come in handy even for our little cement patio. Stuff gets blown through the fence from the landscapers and off the roof, and this would be a lot easier than sweeping! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jean - September 26, 2014 - 10:05 AM

    Oh wow, that leaf blower looks amazing. We have been doing the old rake thing for years now, and when I say we, I really mean me. And since we’re expecting our first baby in a month, I don’t know that either of us will have time or energy for the rake this year! (Sorry neighbors.)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey @blushandbacon - September 26, 2014 - 10:27 AM

    We’ve been looking into buying a leaf blower since our neighbor thinks it’s okay to blow all of his leaves into our yard :)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley C - September 26, 2014 - 12:50 PM

    We’re buying our first house and it has a large yard, so we’re going to need a riding lawn mower for the first time!


  • Jannike - September 26, 2014 - 1:00 PM

    Sorry in advance for the negative comment, but don’t you think a blow/vac for your size yard is overkill. I have a HUGE yard at our country house and I rake the old fashioned way. This is the first time that a sponsor post has bothered me. sorry :(ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 26, 2014 - 1:12 PM

      No worries, thank you for chiming in! It was definitely nice to have, as the first time we raked our yard (before we got the blower/vac), a LOT of our new grass came up with it. I was so sad and thought for SURE we killed it all! (Luckily, it has since recovered!) For now, it’s great for our baby grass, but perhaps in the coming seasons, a rake will come in handy if we do quick upkeep.ReplyCancel

  • David - September 26, 2014 - 3:00 PM

    We just recently relocated to the Midwest, and we bought a new home here. The house looks fine from the street, with the exception of the roof. The roof is only 10 years old, but it has discoloration from algae(I presume). Up close, the brick and siding from our home is dingy, and the walkways all have moss stains. I tried power washing everything(except for the roof), and had decent results. For the roof I researched and found a product called Wet and Forget that is made for roofs, but also works on all of the other outdoor things I need to clean. The store locator on their site lists Ace Hardware as the only retailer in my area that sells it.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - September 26, 2014 - 6:10 PM

    I could use a gas powered blower! Our present configuration with extension cord is such a pain.ReplyCancel

  • Laura Igram - September 26, 2014 - 6:49 PM

    We REALLY need an edger for our lawn!ReplyCancel

  • Kate J - September 26, 2014 - 8:57 PM

    A gas powered edger…or a rear-time rototiller are the two things that would make our lawn care much easier. Love your updates!!ReplyCancel

  • Pauline G - September 27, 2014 - 1:31 AM

    i could use a leaf blower for sure! fall is right around the corner!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth G. - September 27, 2014 - 7:10 AM

    I could use an orbital sander.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - September 27, 2014 - 11:36 AM

    Painting is not new to me but figuring out how to texture the patches left from having the ceramic towel bar removed is a new experience. Think I’m going to see how well “orange peel in a can” works. Then repainting the bathroom so we can sell the house.ReplyCancel

  • Surani - September 27, 2014 - 12:51 PM

    The blower/vac combo is a great idea! Never saw the point in just the blower. Our HOA maintenance people “clean” by blowing all the leaves into people’s patios every Monday!ReplyCancel

  • Kaleigh - September 27, 2014 - 8:00 PM

    I love fall… love it! We just moved to an acreage from a small one bedroom apartment, and we have a HUGE tree in our backyard… I love that tree, but it has lost every single leaf in the last week and we have had to resort to just mowing over them.. why you ask? Well let’s just say that we didn’t have many outdoor tools/equipment having moved from a one bedroom condo…slowly but surely!ReplyCancel

  • Hailey - September 28, 2014 - 6:58 PM

    We don’t have any actual trees in our yard but both neighbors trees go over into our yard. Ready for leaves!ReplyCancel

  • Jamie L - September 28, 2014 - 7:27 PM

    Enjoy your blog. Thanks for the Ace giveaway opportunityReplyCancel

  • Mary - September 28, 2014 - 8:38 PM

    We just moved this summer, so we need all kinds of yard stuff!ReplyCancel

  • carey - September 28, 2014 - 9:50 PM

    i would love to learn how to hang window treatments from the ceiling on my own. i can sew and i know where to buy the fabric, but i have not taken the time to learn how to install ceiling-hung curtains!ReplyCancel

  • julia mcintosh - September 29, 2014 - 7:56 AM

    I want a weed-eater so bad, I could do so much with one.ReplyCancel

  • tammigirl - September 29, 2014 - 9:04 AM

    We built out house two and a half years ago. When we were building I had a very optimistic list of things I was going to do in the first year. Ha! I’m still working at the tip top of the list – there is so much left to do, and it’s not happening as fast as I had hoped. Both money and ability are holding me back – also laziness.

    I could use some good tools, to be certain. I feel like all of our money goes into tools, paint, repairing things (usually tools or machines like the lawn mower) and house stuff in general.

    I would love to have some pruners. We borrowed our neighbors, and they were sweet about it, but it would be great. I would also like to have a tiller. Wouldn’t that be swell??ReplyCancel

  • Mary Frances - September 29, 2014 - 11:21 AM

    We would love to have some gardening tools. The former owners of our home clearly loved to landscape (maybe to an extreme) and there are 20+ varieties of plant in our yard. We need to remove / move / restructure so that it doesn’t look quite so disorganized.ReplyCancel

  • Terrie - September 29, 2014 - 11:23 AM

    I need a powered tree trimmer – one with a long extension.ReplyCancel

  • amelia - September 29, 2014 - 2:33 PM

    that looks awesome! it would prevent so many arguments between me and my husband about raking leaves :)ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Flasche - September 29, 2014 - 7:59 PM

    Love how easy it is to enter your contest, and love Ace Hardware. Thank YouReplyCancel

  • Michelle J. - September 30, 2014 - 10:49 AM

    We don’t even have a shovel or a hose. I’d start out with those.ReplyCancel

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Despite the on and off gray skies, our time in San Francisco felt – for the most part – magical. I say for the most part because, well, there may have been a moment of sheer sadness when, upon our plane’s landing, I pulled my camera from my bag and saw the dead battery. And for the first time in my life? I packed light, having left my charger at home. There also may have been countless hours spent fretting and calling shop after shop (but mostly a lot of fretting), and many more hours getting lost near the Golden Gate Bridge during a drive to said shops. Luckily, there was the time we found the seemingly only store in the city that carried a charger for my very-old-turned-very-happy camera.

Camera woes aside, it felt refreshing to be in a city that is so vibrant! Everything is the color of candy. Can we have pink houses here? Can we have blue ones and yellow ones and green ones, too? We’ve both been to San Francisco before (together and separate), and every time we’re reminded of how relaxed it is. Cars stopping at the crosswalk? Coffee served with a smile? Chicago, take note! (I kid! Sort of!)

We were so, so lucky to be in town for our friends’ wedding (big kisses to Rex and Cat!), and we were even luckier that Scott was asked to take part of the celebration. We got teary (okay, we downright cried) during the ceremony, and after all those camera efforts, I grabbed nothing more than a teeny, tiny bridge and groom head – but don’t their faces say it all?

After a full week away, it’s good to be home again. Chicago, we do love you – so much! – but how would you feel if we started a paint all the houses! trend here? How do you feel about fuschia?

PS! If there’s anything you’d like to see in The Print Shop, please let me know! I’m happy to grow our little collection and create new listings as you wish.

PPS! We made a terrarium and it has survived! Months later! That’s huge. You can read all about it (and the dinos we added, of course) at the Bali Blinds blog.

  • Traci - September 24, 2014 - 7:58 AM

    The one photo you got of the bride and groom is really special! You should be glad you enjoyed the rest of the ceremony without distraction.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 24, 2014 - 9:17 AM

      Thanks! Yea, the ceremony was really emotional and beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - September 24, 2014 - 10:34 AM

    My husband and I felt the same way about Reykjavik. Can we have red and blue roofs? Green houses? Pleeeease!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - September 25, 2014 - 7:24 AM

    Sounds like an all-around great trip!! I’m obsessed with photos 1 & 2, by the way! Wouldn’t mind seeing those pop up in your shop sometime ;)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - September 25, 2014 - 9:02 AM

    So glad you got a charger, because your photos (and those from your Portland post too) are absolutely amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Alison - September 25, 2014 - 9:18 AM

    I would like to see you add some butterflies to the print shop.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 26, 2014 - 9:22 AM

      I’ll have to keep an eye out, for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Kara - September 25, 2014 - 10:12 PM

    Welcome back to Chicago – I live in MN and will be headed to Chicago in a little less than a month. We go about once a year, so we’ve done lots of the regular tourist picks. Any recommendations for great local restaurants? The Chicago Diner, Sweet Mandy B’s, and Ann Sathers are some of our favorites. We’re also hoping to catch a few of the buildings that will be open as a part of the architecture tour, Open House. Not expected, given all that you guys are up to, but any recommendations for good buildings to see or great restaurants to eat at would be greatly appreciated. If you’re ever looking for blog ideas, a Chicago visitors guide for great home design shops, restaurants, etc. would be fun!

    • Kim - September 26, 2014 - 9:21 AM

      Thanks, Kara! We discussed a few of our favorite Chicago spots in this post:

      If you’re looking for fun and vintage home decor, I’d definitely recommend going up to Andersonville (along Clark St, starting just north of Foster) or popping into Salvage One and the other relcaimed stores around Grand Ave.

      As for a Chicago visitors guide, we’ve been meaning to do this for a WHILE! Our several attempts earlier this year got derailed, and it’ll likely be put on the back burner until after the holidays, but YES. Definitely. Thanks again!ReplyCancel

      • Kara - September 26, 2014 - 10:56 PM

        Thanks so much for the ideas – I am now certain I asked the right people! We love Chicago Diner, Glazed and Infused, and walking through Andersonville, but have never been to Salvage One or the other reclaimed stores around Grand Ave., so thanks much for the inside scoop. Salvage One looks like just the kind of place we’d love to check out. I’m also excited to add some new restaurants to our list of places to try thanks to your earlier post… thanks again for the great recommendations!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - September 27, 2014 - 10:24 AM

          Glad to help! Heads up that Salvage One is HUGE inside, but it’s sort of nondescript from the outside, so you could easily walk right by! And then on Grand Ave (essentially right behind Salvage One) is Urban Remains and a handful of other reclaimed stores. And if you’re feel adventurous, Rebuilding Exchange, while a 5-10 minute drive from the Grand Ave shops, is full of cool stuff – old doors, old lumber, old dismantled kitchens and lighting and just… everything!ReplyCancel

  • Paroma - September 26, 2014 - 3:54 PM

    Kim, I loved the pictures of my city! I am so glad that you loved the whimsy and chaos that define San Francisco. To me its home and my most favorite city in the world. Its super dog friendly too!ReplyCancel


PET SHOP UPDATE: The response to our birthday celebration has been outstanding! So much so, that we’ve hit our earliest holiday sell-out to date for custom portraits (aka, the maximum number of paintings I can physically do before December 25th)! We have only a couple of openings left, after which, custom listings will become deactivated. To the moon and back, thank you for the continued support.


As is our travel tradition, Scott and I spent the last week celebrating our wedding anniversary. Okay, so, technically our anniversary is in November,  but when a wedding had us booking tickets to San Francisco, we turned a could-have-been-a-weekend-trip into our once-annual-big-trip, and so we also split the west coast visit with our Portland friends! (Hi, Julie! Hi, Brian!)

We’ve been to Portland once before, but this time, we ventured outside of the city. We took a road trip to play along the beaches, taste wine in the Gorge and fill up on cheese plates and chocolate at various vineyards. While the marine layer had already seeped in by the time we made it to Cannon Beach (despite our best efforts to leave the house on time; I blame the excellent brunch we consumed beforehand!), we couldn’t contain our excitement as we danced, kissed and kicked up sand – all while snapping an insane amount of photos. Our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard, our bodies relaxed as we unplugged, and it wouldn’t be too far fetched to say that our bellies may have expanded, too.

For the sake of keeping this short (wait, me?), I’ll share our photos from San Francisco tomorrow, and then we’ll dive back into the swings of things around this home! We’re feeling awfully refreshed, so we couldn’t be more excited for the to-dos on our plate. Yeah, I said it.

  • Molly - September 23, 2014 - 9:46 AM

    Your photos are insanely good! Do you edit them a certain way? I just love the look! And I’ve never been to Portland but it looks great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 23, 2014 - 10:04 AM

      Thanks, Molly! I do love to play around with different actions in Photoshop without going too over the top. And you’d love Portland! We haven’t met a person who has gone and said otherwise.ReplyCancel

  • Harper - September 23, 2014 - 11:07 AM

    You’ve never looked more beautiful than you do in these pictures. I think that’s a sign of happiness and relaxation at their best. Glad you had a great trip but happy to have you back working on your to-dos. They always motivate me. And I need that…especially with winter inching closer each day!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 23, 2014 - 11:20 AM

      Oh, man. You are so nice. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - September 23, 2014 - 12:24 PM

    Your photography is beautiful!

    Warm Regards,

  • Leyla - September 23, 2014 - 5:16 PM

    What wonderful photos and I agree with Harper above – you do look particularly beautiful and so happy in these pics! Glad you had a wonderful well deserved break – but equally glad to have you back – I was (ever so selfishly) missing your updates in my inbox!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 23, 2014 - 5:55 PM

      YOU ALL. Stop! Thank you! Seriously, so sweet.ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - September 23, 2014 - 6:12 PM

    Thanks for sharing, your photos are amazing. I can only wish for travel photos as good as those!ReplyCancel

  • Marita - September 23, 2014 - 7:26 PM

    It looks like you had a lovely evening for the swifts! Glad you were able to experience the bounty of Portland, the coast and the Gorge. Happy (early) anniversary!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 23, 2014 - 7:36 PM

      Oh, yeah! It took them a while to make their way into the chimney, but what a neat thing to see!ReplyCancel

  • Nina - September 23, 2014 - 8:48 PM

    Fantastic photos Kim. You definitely squeezed lots of fun and relaxation out of your annual trip. I couldn’t believe how amazing the Oregon coast was when we went this Spring. I can’t wait to check out the wineries in Oregon. Any favorites?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 24, 2014 - 9:19 AM

      Eeks… am I terrible for not remembering the names of the wineries? Or is that a sign of a really good time?!ReplyCancel

      • Nina - September 26, 2014 - 7:27 AM

        lol! No worries. Yeah, it’s definitely a sign of really good times.ReplyCancel

  • Aileen - September 23, 2014 - 11:11 PM

    Looks like you had an amazing time! We went to Portland last year for our 2 year wedding anniversary and fell absolutely in love. We’re trying to move there in 2015. Your photos are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - September 24, 2014 - 9:40 AM

    Looks like so much fun! I’ve always wanted to get there. That first shot is especially fan-freaking-tastic.ReplyCancel