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!



03.04.2015 § 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.


02.25.2015 § 1 Comment

Last week we vacationed in Miami for a long weekend (more on that on the blog soon!). We knew leaving the midwest in the middle of February for a beach would wonderful, but I think what we forgot was that we had to come back. Which meant that when we made our descent over Lake Michigan to see ice covering most of it, we were reminded that we still have a lot of winter to get through. *Sigh*

A very frozen Lake Michigan in the winter by Chicago

Well. At least we had a good six days in swim trunks while sipping caipirinhas by the pool! Now if we only could have brought beach-weather back with us instead of the -2 degrees that was waiting.

Why do we live here again?

See more pics from Miami on Instagam (@ npk412).


02.20.2015 § Leave a comment

This year for Valentine’s Day, my boy and I took a vacation to Miami. Since we used the trip as our celebration, I decided these photo strips would be a lovely way for us to remember some of our favorite moments from the past year.

The strips were made through the app Print Studio. And they turned out perfectly!


02.09.2015 § Leave a comment

Quoted from the intro to Madonna’s “Living For Love” performance at the Grammy’s.

Let's start a revolution. Living for Love. Madonna. Quote.

Let’s start a revolution. A revolution of love.


12.07.2014 § Leave a comment

This year we said goodbye to Grandpa Jones. He was my sister’s and my last grandparent, so the holidays have felt a little different this time around.

So while over the past couple of seasons I’ve DIY’ed a new Christmas tree theme, this year we went with the theme of “Classic Christmas.” Instead of paper birds that have been stapled, folded and glued to perfection the tree this year is adorned with ornaments that have been touched, hung and admired for so many years.

It’s a different, purer type of perfection. A classic perfection.

A Classic Christmas.


10.23.2014 § Leave a comment

What happens when it’s DIY caramel apple day at work?
Caramel apple topping, fall snacks
Extra caramel. Extra toppings. And definitely the need for extra miles to be tacked on for the evening’s run!

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