it's an ugly christmas sweater party!

i love my friends, my second family! this year, we threw an ugly christmas sweater party... and after going through these photos, it's official - i am THAT friend! haha. no shame. good people, good food, good times! <3 merry christmas and happy new year!

a heinritz-starr wedding!

what an eventful holiday weekend! first and foremost, big congratulations to n&j on their holy matrimony and letting me celebrate this very special occasion with you and your families. the welch center on the stlawrence campus is a stunning venue boasting some incredible views of appleton and the wolf river that runs through it... overall, it was a beautiful winter wedding and i had so much fun! 

as if that weren't enough, this christmas was also definitely one to remember! i must've been a very good girl because i was spoiled rotten, surrounded by so much love! i've been fortunate enough to meet many great people in this last year... and hearts have been opened that i'm so grateful to be welcomed in. so from the bottom of my heart, thank you and know i am truly appreciative for the crossing of our paths. seasons greetings and happy holidays to you and yours... and always remember to count your blessings!

that said, and in light of the new year quickly approaching, remember that the wrapping up of this year is not an ending nor new year's day a beginning... but a going on to making new advances with the wisdom we've acquired regardless of mistakes! let's continue to "be the change we wish to see in the world" and "write it on our hearts that every day is the best day in the year!" cheers!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: existential love

while enjoying my morning tea, i got to thinking... if soul mates are the physical and spiritual halves that complement and complete us, do you think there is only one person who can fill that role? or, do you believe we can each have numerous opportunities to love and be loved because love itself is governed by free will - while we are able to impart our own magic as well..? and that the real beauty and magnificence of love lies within each of us, in our power to choose and make the experience of love our own?


beautiful bridal showers for j!

here are some pictures from both of j's bridal showers earlier this month. the first was in appleton with a fabulous mix of smart eclectic women, and the second in stevens point with another group of wonderful ladies! fun was had by all at both affairs and i am so excited about the christmas wedding that'll be here before we know it!

happy hallow's eve!

for halloween, i rounded up my sisters and suggested a grayscale/film noir/silverscreen starlets theme and they jumped right on board at the idea! what an awesome concept; needless to say, it turned out fabulous!

at first, people were a little confused as to who/what we were supposed to be... but as soon as a picture was snapped to illustrate the concept, the living photoshop made complete sense and we were the photo ops for the night!

...and if you're wondering why my face is covered in all the photos it's because i accidentally wiped my nose and forgot to bring touch-up paint! so for the remainder of our night out on the town my nose was colored, womp, womp, womp! >;( only to me does this happen, lols. but all in all, it was still a great time with my sisters and the boyfriend. oh, and yes, he is an elephant. and that is his trunk..! ;D what a goof, smh, hahah.

what did you dress up as this year!?

autumn in wisconsin!

if autumn were in july, we wouldn't need fireworks :) it's october and the leaves are just starting to turn! my hikes up granite peak and views from the water are even more stunning now more than ever with mother nature's new wardrobe change... and before any of us knows it, we will be smothered with a blanket of white.

i'm excited, while enjoying each day's progression toward the next! in the meantime, do something your future self will love you for!

wisconsin river gangsters!

being out on the water is one of my favorite places to be. the serenity, the beauty - and the excitement when boating a toothy creature! :) this is one thing i admire most about the boyfriend - his sense of appreciation for simplicity... wait, who am i kidding? homeboy just wants to fish! LOL, jk.

a retreat up north... home away from home.

what a wonderful weekend "cabinning" up north to celebrate the birthdays of my soul sisters! there's absolutely nothing better than a weekend filled with laughter, great food, lots of libations and taking in the natural beauty wisconsin's northern-most point has to offer :) happy birthday L, G and S! <3

vilas county, north country!

if fishing were easy, it'd be called your mom!

when i met my boyfriend back in the beginning of january, little did i know how big of a musky hunter he was and the influence it'd have on me! it's quite the understatement to say he's obsessed, lols, but i guess you can't deny passion! hah.

although i've always enjoyed fishing myself, i was moreso out rippin' lips, jigging for walleyes, or just bobbing for panfish. honestly, all i knew about the elusive muskellunge was that they were the top freshwater predator! nothing more. and that quickly all changed!

this past valentines day, he gifted me a few of his favorite and hottest lures to "start me off..." (in retrospect, this was the beginning to something very dangerous! smh, haha.) march came around and the big musky expo was in town. there, we got me my first musky setup; a heavy action rod and baitcaster reel spooled with 100lb line. and by the end of april, he'd invited me to fish a summer league with him. despite my reservations in that i'd never hunted muskies in my life before, the adventurer in me was definitely up for the new challenge!

being the lifelong learner that i am, i'd taken it upon myself to read steve heiting and jim saric's "the complete guide to musky hunting," all the "in-fisherman" magazines i could get my hands on, watched numerous musky dvd's, as well as read any and every online publication on this toothy critter to get an idea on how they behave and what this sport was all about! and in short, i basically learned they were the most finicky creature out there, dubbed the fish of 10,000 casts! and for me to be prepared to go months on end without even seeing one! how encouraging, haha. and another new interest was born!

before the season even began, i also found myself joining a local musky club... and now, league! and one of the first things i noticed about the esox hunters community was how compassionate they are about restocking efforts and ensuring muskies for future generations to come! very, very cool and much respect!

fast forward to the southern zone season opening, it was exactly what i had expected! days upon days on the river... and nothing! i had already mentally prepared  myself not to get my hopes up... until i saw my first musky as he came up to hit my bait, and missed! he may have missed, but i was hooked at the mere sight of big beautiful fish!

the next week, i got another glimpse of one, clear as day, after the boyfriend raised it boatside on a figure 8! this was now more than enough to keep me motivated! i really wanted to catch one..!

continuous casting and throwing out these big musky baits hours on end and not seeing a thing can easily get exhausting. but it's all about patience and persistence. roughly a month into the opening and going into week 2 or 3 of league... i caught my first musky! as if that weren't exciting enough, i also doubled up! and if that weren't awesome enough, these 2 catches were with back to back casts!!! ;D this was all the motivation i needed! they may be small, but they are 'skis - and it's a start!

a typical date with the bestie.

in the midst of our busy lives and relationships, my best friend and i try to get together at least once a week... whether it's to cook up our favorite foods to appease the day's cravings, run errands together, or just to do absolutely nothing but lounge around - it's always good for the soul and an even healthier outlet for our kindred spirits!

today, our day off was synced and since the boyfriend let me sleep in, i woke up refreshed and motivated. ambitious as i was, i decided to bring out the infamous picnic basket that's been hibernating since last fall and surprise her with a lunch date before our planned museum trip to check out the origami exhibit on this beautiful spring day!

mission; accomplished! we enjoyed it at my favorite spot that boasts one of the most incredible views in our quaint city... and it was definitely the perfect beginning to what would be a very good and productive day and evening! friends truly are the shelter from life's rainy days.

fishing the pipe..!

after a productive day, instead of hauling the boat out this evening we grabbed a late lunch and did some lowkey panfishing at the pipe. i love that he loves bank fires, too, once the sun begins to set. <3 life is good... it may not be perfect, but live the best version of yourself and it'll inspire others to do the same. i promise.

canoeing down the plover river...

the ice has finally began melting. in an attempt to take advantage of one of the first warm days of spring, N and i dusted off his canoe and opted into enjoying an afternoon adventure down the local plover river.

...somewhere between capturing a few shots of mother nature's oh'mazingness and deftly maneuvering through the [unanticipated] hazards on the water from winter, i managed to tip over the canoe - yes, all 17 feet of it - which also eventually sent the bf and i straight into the river as well! not to mention my poor canon t2i dslr and favorite lens..! womp, womp, womp. and his brand new smartphone (sorry) smh! everything else non-electronics was drenched, but okay - yet, it sure quickly became a very expensive day on the river, haha. river gods, 1... us, 0. but, it was still fun! :)

here are the last shots i was able to capture before i so clumsily fell overboard... i still shed a tear every time i think about it :'( we shared some great memories together, you and i, rip.

on a more positive note, it was 4 months ago today that i decided to explore a new interest :) and i am definitely looking forward to the adventures in store for the days ahead. ahem.