06.26.2015 § Leave a comment

In a previous blog post, I talked about that while there is still a lot of progress to be made when it comes to gay rights and acceptance, it is in fact being made. Just a little more than two years after writing that article, Marriage Equality is now a reality.

#LoveWins, Marriage Equality on Instagram

See. We’re getting there. #LoveWins   

Excerpt from Today, Ten Years After Coming Out.

Now today, on the eve of my twenty-ninth birthday, I still do not for one second take what I have or who I am for granted. I’ve grown to proudly live my life with honesty, kindness and integrity. But most importantly, I am able to live a life where I am just who I am.

I am blessed that I can do so at work. That I can do so with friends. That I can do so with family. And while we live in a world where there is still much progress to be made, it is being made. Progress that hopefully one day gets us to a place where to “come out” will be a thing of the past. Where children can grow to become who they are, never having to think about how they may be “different” or thinking that they have to hide from who they are. Where it doesn’t matter who you grow to love, but that you love. Where acceptance is inherent.

We’ll get there.

Until then, I will continue to appreciate and learn from the history and struggles of those who bravely stood up and battled for me to be able to live as openly as I do today. I will stand up for myself and others to continue the push forward.

Photo from @npk412‘s Instagram. 


06.21.2015 § Leave a comment

Last year we were doing some shopping at West Elm and came across a little stump table we kind of had to have. But, knowing my parents had a few trees they’d just cut down and that I have a dad that is very handy in his shop, I figured that instead of buying the table I could enlist my dad to make something that would have a little more value. Family value.

So this winter we picked out a few stumps we wanted to try and then waited for the bark to dry (so it would eventually fall off). Dad then did some light sanding, filled in the cracks and coated the log with something. (Do you like my technical language? Again, he’s the one handy in a shop–not me.)

DIY Stump Table

And now, we have a great little bedside table made by dad and that’s worth a lot more than the original we saw at the store.

BTW, no offense West Elm. We still have plenty that we shop you for!!


04.16.2015 § Leave a comment

This past weekend I went from being thirty to being IN my thirties. And what better way to end a French birthday brunch than with a birthday crème brûlée.

Crème brûlée for my birthday!

Well, actually two crème brûlées would have been nice, but I guess that’s what thirty-two can be for. A crème brûlée for every year over thirty I will be. :-O

Find more pics from my birthday on Instagram (@ npk412)


03.16.2015 § Leave a comment

I don’t tend to change up my hairstyle all too often. BUT when you do get a slight change in season (i.e., first chance for it to hit 70 degrees this year) you do get the itch for a slight change in hair.

Notice the higher fade and the more pronounced swoop across?

New haircut for spring! Men's beard & fade.

OK ok. Maybe you won’t really notice the difference. But it’s there.

I did say slight changes, after all. Let’s not get crazy.


03.11.2015 § Leave a comment

Are you following me on Instagram yet?! If not, you should be. Just look at all this gorgeousness.

Nate Koch on Instagram, @npk412.


I’m kidding.

But no, really. Just look at it!


03.10.2015 § Leave a comment

Seriously, we could be having the worst of days and this little guy’s eyes would turn that right around.

Bennington, our rescue dog.

For more of Bennington, follow @npk412, @justinliesener or @benningtonthegreat on Instagram.


03.04.2015 § 5 Comments

In the middle of February when there was a high temperature of -2 degrees, we found it quite appealing to head to anywhere where it would be 80 degrees warmer than that. On this particular trip, that search took us to Miami.

I hadn’t been to Miami before so we started our research on where to stay that had everything we were looking for: Quick access to the beach. Easy walk to restaurants and shopping. Oh, and of course suave enough for the two of us to want to call it home for a few nights, but not so expensive so that we could still afford to get home once we were all beached-out.

What we found? The Hotel Victor in South Beach right on Ocean Drive.

From the moment we walked in to find that we’d just stepped into a Restoration Hardware catalogue, we knew we were going to enjoy our stay. Actually, I take that back. When we were dropped off by our Uber to find our hotel sandwiched between a gay bar (with a sidewalk drag show going on) and a Pink Berry, THAT is when we fell in love.

If you haven’t been to Miami before, here’s a simple list (a guide, if you will) of what we did. If you have been before, let us know what we should do the next time we go back!

  1. Grab a big drink at the Sugar Factory. All the drinks here have a fun theme, but the one we chose came in a bowl with two huge lollipops jammed in. If you want something a little more ocean-inspired, try the blue drink complete with “swimming” gummi sharks. Before you order too many, though, remember they’re full of sugar and the prices aren’t on the menu. Makes for a little bit of a surprise when you get your first check.
  2. Try a caipirinha (fyi, my new favorite drink). We had our first one (several) by our pool, but then ordered two to go and headed to the beach (right across Ocean Drive from the Hotel Victor).
  3. Explore Espanola Way—a car-free street lined with restaurants. We found the cutest little tapas spot, Tapas y Tintos, and got the seafood paella. Delicious!
  4. Croissants. The hotel served the best croissants (like the best we’ve ever had anywhere, including Paris) and coffee that made for the perfect breakfast snack to walk along the beach with.
  5. Have lunch at the Versace Mansion. The prices are reasonable and the food is great. We both got the burger and it did not disappoint.
  6. Have dinner at Yuca (Cuban restaurant) on Lincoln Avenue and sit in the middle of the ‘boulevard’—a great people-watching spot, and a nice area to do some shopping once you’re done eating.
  7. Walk the beach and hunt for seashells.
  8. Lay on the beach.
  9. Rent bikes and ride along the beach.
  10. Go back and lay on the beach some more.
  11. Pout when you have to go back to 2-degree weather, while enjoying the 4-degree warm up!

For more pics, follow @npk412 or @justinliesener on Instagram.


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