At Home Date Night Ideas

As any new parent can attest, getting out of the house -without the kids- for a date with your significant other can be hard! Not only can it be difficult logistically, what with securing child care, etc... but it can be very difficult emotionally as well.

Since James has been born, Ben and I have gone out on a few date days. We have done date days rather than nights because we like to be home for James' bed time routine. Although my mom is learning the bedtime routine so we'll be able to get out for a date night here soon! We're fortunate to live by family now that we live in Washington again, so we always have someone to watch James for us. But honestly, what we've found to be a more realistic and, in some ways, more enjoyable option as far as a date goes is at home date nights!

At home date nights are dates that can be enjoyed right from the comfort of your own home after your little ones have gone to bed. Ben and I have these AAAALLL the time! It's such a great way to get in quality time together sans children and to be able to reconnect and have fun just the two of you.

I love being able to spend time really focusing on Ben and having conversations and doing fun things, all while knowing that our baby boy is safe upstairs. Don't get me wrong, going OUT for a date is FUN and I really really enjoy Ben's and my dates! But I also like the option of being able to do a date spur of the moment, all while being close by James if he needs us.

Here are a few fun at home date night ideas:

  • Cook dinner together.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Sit by the fire and chat.
  • Play board games.
  • Read together.
  • Do a puzzle.
  • Plan a trip together.
  • Have your own beer (or wine, or whiskey) tasting - try all different kinds.
  • Make a fun, new appetizer.
  • Listen to new music.
  • Dance - around the kitchen, by the fire, wherever.
  • Light candles.
  • Make a blanket fort.
  • Watch the sunset together.
  • Do at-home yoga together.
  • Paint together.
  • Have an ice cream night.
  • Karaoke - pull up songs on YouTube and take turns singing (not TOO loudly, if you have sleeping kids ;))
  • Give each other massages.
  • Lay out a blanket and watch the stars.
  • Take a bath together.
  • Shop for houses online together.

What are some of your favorite at home date ideas?? I'd love to hear! We're always looking for new ideas. :)

Romantic Braid Tutorial

Top: ILY Couture //

This is one of my very favorite hairstyles these days! It's very easy to do, once you get the hang of it. Plus, it keeps my hair out of my face when I'm playing with James! It is just really really feminine and pretty and I always get compliments when I wear my hair like this. I think it is PERFECT for Valentine's Day or a date night!

1. Part your hair on one side, and swoop all of your hair over the opposite shoulder.

2. Start french braiding your hair up at the top by your part. Continue the french braid until you're at your ear.

3. Start adding in hair from the opposite side by grabbing sections and bringing them around into the french braid. You can play around with how big of sections you use for different looks.

4. Tie off your braid with an elastic, and then gently pull the braid apart to give that big, messy look. Again, you can play around with this. Go crazy for a chunky, bed-head look, or leave tighter for a sleek and tidy braid.

There you have it! Be sure to tag me in your pictures if you try this braid - I'd love to see how it turns out!

Valentine's Day Outfit Guide

Top: Nordstrom (Not available online), but I also love this, this which is on SALE!!, and this // Watch: Lord Timepieces // Jeans: 7 For All Mankind // Shoes: Target - I got them last year, but these are similar!

It's almost here!! One of my FAVORITE days of the year...Valentine's Day!

I can't quite explain why I love this day SO much. Maybe it's all the frilly pink and red and lace, maybe it's the chocolate, the candles, and the romance, or maybe it's just the perfect excuse to celebrate the love you share with a special someone - whether that's a lover or a friend. I love love.

I'm not sure what Ben and I are going to be doing to celebrate Valentine's Day this year. More than likely we'll go out to dinner the weekend before Valentine's Day since the actual holiday is on a work day. We might go away somewhere (with James, of course!) for our Valentine's Day Weekend Getaway that we used to do and go hiking etc... We'll see! I'll keep you guys in the loop! ;)

I've put together some great outfit options for whatever your plans may be. Whether you're going out on a hot date, or staying cozy at home with the kids...I've got you covered!

Click each photo below for more information!

What are you planning to wear for Valentine's Day??

Our Love Story

Today marks eight incredible years of marriage to my handsome, kind, wonderful husband! If I'm being honest, it feels like longer than that...not in a bad way...in a good way. As in, I can't remember life without him in it.

Being married to him just feels like what life is and what life should be.

I thought today would be the perfect day to share a brief summary of our love story! I've had a few requests for this, so now seems like an appropriate time to get it written down. I think it's a pretty romantic, fairy-tale-like story, but then again, I may be biased. :)

Love At First Sight

Ben and I met on the 4th of July in 2007. We were both 18 years old and he was one of my best friend's older brother's best friends... did you follow that? Ok, good.

My parents live on a lake and have a boat, so I invited a few of my girlfriends over to celebrate the 4th and play in the water. My friend brought her older brother along and a few of his friends (one of them being Ben). Ben was in the Marine Corps based out of Camp Pendleton in California and was just up for a visit. Ben and I flirted and we all had a great time hanging out at the lake.

A few days later, I got a text message from a number I didn't recognize and it turned out to be Ben. He had gotten my number through his friend who got it through my friend. He was back in California at that point, so we began a relationship over the phone. We would talk for hours and hours every day, getting to know one another. He was set to deploy to Iraq in a few months. After a couple of weeks of chatting on the phone, Ben flew up to be with me for a weekend and we officially became boyfriend and girlfriend on July 26, 2007. We fell hard and fast.

After that it was a whirlwind. Ben came up most weekends to see me. I flew down to California for a visit too. I started at Seattle Pacific University at the end of September, right before Ben was set to deploy. It was an exciting, crazy time.

One night while Ben was up visiting, he asked me to marry him. We were both 19 at that point and had been dating for about two months. We were unofficially engaged when Ben headed off to Iraq.

The deployment was really really hard. Being a part from one another and not getting to talk very often was rough. Not to mention that I was worried sick about Ben the entire time, all while taking on my freshman year of university. It was a long, hard, emotional time. I wrote Ben a letter every single day that he was deployed, which is maybe a little crazy. But he saved every single letter. They are currently in a garbage bag in our garage. haha

When Ben got back from Iraq in May of 2008, I flew down to California and was waiting for him when he got off the bus. I was so nervous about how things would be, seeing as we had only been dating a couple of months before he left. But my nerves were put at ease instantly when he grabbed me in his arms and held me and asked me to marry him again. *swoon*

I had to go back up to Seattle to finish out the school year at SPU. Ben and I continued to talk for hours on the phone and he flew up to visit frequently. We hated not being able to be together all the time.

On the 4th of July, 2008, exactly one year after we met, Ben proposed again, this time with a ring. We had had enough. We knew that we didn't want to be a part any more. So we made the decision to have me move down to California.

Elopement

I packed my things and headed south. I think I shocked my family and friends when I did this. But me moving to be with Ben was nothing compared to the shock of what we did next. A few days after I arrived in California, Ben and I eloped. We drove to a courthouse in Santa Ana and said our vows and got married on July 17, 2008. We were both 19 years old.

I know the fact that Ben and I eloped was very hard on our families because they weren't there, and I regret how that must have made them feel. And I know everyone at the time thought we were crazy. But while I feel bad about not telling our families and about them being so caught off guard and worried, I honestly love the fact that we eloped. It was so special, having our wedding day be just me and Ben.

2009 Marine Corps Ball

Married Life

Married life was amazing right from the beginning. We had such an incredible community of friends from the Marine Corps. Ben and I went on adventures and got our puppy, Gunner, and enjoyed every minute we could together.

He deployed again in January of 2009. This time, he was on a MEU based out of Okinawa. We were able to talk a lot more than we were on his first deployment. Gunner and I moved home and lived with my parents while he was gone.

In December of that year, Ben's four years in the Marine Corps were up. We moved back to Washington, and began our life outside of the military. It was bittersweet and we missed our friends from the Marine Corps terribly...still do.

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Vow Renewal

In 2010, after two years of marriage, we had a vow renewal ceremony so that we could share our marriage and an actual wedding with our friends and family. It was so special to be able to do this! It was such a perfect, beautiful day. My dad got to walk me down the aisle, my grandpa performed the ceremony, and Ben and I got to get wedding pictures taken.

Happily Ever After

Life being married to Ben has been a dream come true. I know that sounds cheesy, but it really is the best way to describe it. I still get butterflies around him. He makes me feel like the most loved, precious, beautiful, cared for person. He teaches me something new every day and we go on the most amazing adventures together.

I know that no marriage is perfect, but honestly, to me ours is. I feel so blessed and thankful to have met my soul mate at such a young age and to have been able to grow and achieve amazing things together. I wouldn't change a thing, and I am so grateful for this adventure-filled life with my very best friend! 

Our Next Adventure

Our first baby is due in about a week, and we are so excited for this next big adventure together! I can't wait for our son to arrive and to see the little human that Ben and I created!

Our babymoon in Paris, January 2016

It is so wonderful knowing that whatever life has in store, I will have Ben by my side. I can't wait for the rest of our lives together and for the future. But I'm also just loving every minute of the present. Life with Ben just keeps getting better and better and I know how blessed I am and I thank God daily for this beautiful life with such an incredible man!

Thanks for reading and for letting me share a little brief bit of our love story! I'd love to hear yours - share in the comments below! I'm a sucker for romance. :)

xo, Anna

 

 

What To Wear For Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is one of my absolute FAVORITE days! I love all of the romance and cheesiness. I am EXACTLY the type of person that Hallmark is catering to. I dig it all: the lace, the flowers, the sparkles, the chocolates… Valentine’s Day is the best! Any opportunity to celebrate love, and I am IN.

This year, Ben and I are planning on cooking a candlelit dinner together at home. We just got back from a week in Paris, which was the most romantic, fun place to celebrate our love. So for Valentine’s Day, we are keeping it simple. We love cozy nights in! 

Whether you are going out with a love interest or just with your girlfriends, or if you are just planning on staying in like we are, here are a few of my favorite Valentine’s Day outfit ideas and accessories! Click on each picture for more info.!

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Valentine's Day, and that you feel beautiful and loved, whatever your plans may be!

xo, Anna