bonus room progress

Happy snowy Sunday to all of you!

This week I wanted to share a short and sweet post about the progress I have been making in the second bedroom at my house. Since it’s just me and Luna in our townhouse the other bedroom is free to be a fun bonus room where I can have some space to do things like play piano, read, do yoga and much more!

Throughout the past year the second bedroom kind of became the “catch all” for things that I didn’t have a space for or things that I needed to re-organize. Thankfully a few weeks ago I was able to focus a whole weekend on sorting through everything, re-organizing the closet, and donating any items and clothing that I no longer use or wear.

Once the room was back down to it’s shell I was able to tackle some additional decorating and re-work the space which has been a ton of fun 🙂 I have a fun indoor/outdoor chair that isn’t quite set up yet that will become a part of the room also but below I’ll share photos of the different corners of the room up close and explain where I got all of the décor so you can seek it out yourself if you’re interested in any of it!


As you walk in the door – straight ahead and the wall on the right side is what is pictured above. I loved incorporating mainly a black and white canvas but with a BIG punch of color thrown in. Even though a lot of the pieces are black and white the differences in texture here are key. It adds interest even though the same color palette can be found throughout and keeps things interesting!

Tapestry – the wall tapestry is certainly the showstopper in this room. I hung it right away when I moved in but since I hadn’t been utilizing the room much it was sadly not being showcased as it should! I purchased this online about a year and half ago from a company called Natural Life. They carry lots of fun products and a lot of them are boho inspired.

Striped wallpaper – the strips of black and white patterned wallpaper that are on both the left and right side of the tapestry are from Target. The brand is called “devine” and you can find this style of removable wallpaper and many others in the same aisle as the canned paint and spray paint. This was my first attempt at removable wallpaper and I’ve always wanted to give it a try. It wasn’t extremely difficult to work with but it definitely takes some time and detail focus. The big downside to this was the cost…it’s $30 for one roll of the paper and it doesn’t get you far. But it is really fun to use as a small accent in a space. They lots of patterns and textures – – even paper that is meant to look like shiplap, white brick, subway tile, and much more!

Ottoman – the white faux fur ottoman is also from Target  – their Project 62 collection. I love the texture it adds to the room and the gold hairpin legs are very elegant and give a perfect pop of metallic accent.

Futon and pillows – the black futon with silver angled legs I purchased at Target when I first moved into my townhouse. It converts nicely to a really attractive looking couch and I love that the side can be folded up to look like arms of a couch. The large black and white patterned pillow I have had since I was a freshman in college and I can’t recall where I got it…but the two smaller accent pillows (gold sequined and metallic floral pattern) are both from Gordmans and were purchased a couple of years ago.

Hanging planter – one of my best friends, Lynsi, had this adorable white stone 2-tier hanging planter in her last apartment where she had lots of sunlight. When she moved to a new spot she didn’t have as much sunlight as she needed to keep the cacti and succulents alive so she asked if I’d be up for taking the planter and giving it a new home! I was super excited to get some new plant babies and I LOVE the way the planter looks in the corner.

Wall hangings – the fun crossword puzzle theme clock was a gift from my mom and I’m not sure where she got it! I love to do word puzzles so it was perfect for me. The gold glittered “bless your heart” canvas is from TJ Maxx and the “work hard and be nice to people” hanging is from Amazon. I saw a very similar poster hung in a house that Chip and Joanna did on Fixer Upper and I was drawn to it. What a sweet and simple mantra to remember 🙂


The other large wall in the room was completely blank before this weekend so I set out on a shopping mission to change that! My keyboard was previously in the corner more near the window but after I set up this new décor wall I thought it looked great set up right underneath it! Now the area under the window is open for me to be able to do yoga and I still have the sunlight pouring in when I play.

Keyboard and bench – My awesome parents got me my keyboard and piano bench while I was in college. I remarked to them that I missed being able to play piano in my college apartment and so they got this for me as a Christmas gift so I could still play and have something that took up way less room! I haven’t been playing much piano lately and I’m hoping with the new set up I will focus on getting back into practicing as it’s always been a stress reliever/relaxation technique for me.

Rug – the awesome multi-color woven circular rug is from Hobby Lobby and was less than $20 after I used my 40% off coupon!! I have been on the lookout for a rug like this on some different websites: Wayfair, Joss & Main, Overstock – but I haven’t been able to find one that is in the price range I am willing to pay. So it was a great surprise to find this one while shopping this weekend

North Dakota tapestry – this beautiful black and white tapestry was hand-drawn and I love the nod to my beautiful home state. I purchased it from a girl who works at a local boutique when she was moving and she is the artist!

Woven hanging, colored words, and canvas – All of the remaining items on the wall I also found at Hobby Lobby this weekend!! The color block words and the woven hanging were all in the new Spring collection and were 40% off making the words around $5 each and the hanging about $13. I love the texture of the woven piece and how the ends are dip-dyed in spring colors. The “no prob llama” canvas I laughed out loud at in the store and I was shopping with my neighbor Shyanne who convinced me that I definitely needed to buy it. I love how it looks with the rest of the items on the wall and it adds a fun element to the room 🙂

After that big project of hanging everything up and re-arranging Luna was pretty tired out…but she was a great helper as usual! I can always count on her to be observing and making sure that nothing goes wrong!


As always, thanks so much for reading. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that you were able to enjoy a snuggly Sunday snow day today. Winter had to get one last storm out of its system but I have a feeling spring will be here soon!


xoxo Jen



skin care products and trends

Happy Sunday, everyone! On this Sunday night I am gearing up for a couple of hours of skin care self care before I head to bed and get some good sleep in prep of a big week ahead. Since I am going to do some skin care routines tonight I thought it would be a short and sweet post to share some of my favorites with all of you 🙂

Face masks, skin care, and other trendy products have become very popular in the last year. I personally do a different kind of mask 2-3 nights a week and usually no more often than every 3 days. Sunday nights are usually a night I always use one in prep for an early bed time before a new week. It’s a nice way to relax and close your eyes to unwind for the last 15-20 minutes before bed.

Every other time I do a mask I use a charcoal-based one to clear up any breakouts or prevent them before they start. The charcoal mask is cream based and you apply with your fingers and then let dry on your face before washing off with warm water. I use the clearproof charcoal mask from Mary Kay and have really been happy with the results and how clean it makes my face feel.

On the off cycle when I’m not using the charcoal mask I use a sheet based mask. These masks I always buy from Target and I have tried many different varieties but I have found the miss spa brand to be my favorite. They are about 2-3 dollars a mask and are sold individually at Target. You can also order larger quantities on Amazon which is a little bit more cost effective if you find one(s) you really like! My two favorites from this brand that I buy a handful of at a time and use in a rotation with the charcoal mask are the “hydrate” version and the “24k gold” version.  Hydrate of course provides deep hydration and helps to prevent drying out of your skin. The 24k gold mask is really unique and provides this shimmer and radiance to your face. Both of the miss spa masks are “sheet masks” so you just place the sheet over your face and press it close against your skin. Then lay back and relax and when the 15-20 minutes are up you just have to peel them off and toss them. Very low maintenance and then you can let the remainder of the product soak into your skin.


One other type of “mask” that I use in my rotation is one specifically for the under eye area. I received these grace & stella energizing eye masks in one of my FabFitFun boxes and loved them so much that I have continued to order them when I run out. I usually use these about once a week and love the concentrated effort on the under eye area. It helps to reduce puffiness, restore an energetic look to your eyes and help you to look more well-rested. They are also touted for their anti-wrinkle prevention. Especially on weeks where I find myself feeling tired this can help to boost some energy in my face!


Last but not least….your face isn’t the only place you can use a mask — my parents got me an awesome gift this year for my birthday: paraffin wax and oil therapy boots from “glove treat” that you can warm up in the microwave and place on your feet to treat and soothe tired skin and keep them moisturized, especially during the winter months. Each pair of boots can be re-used 4 times. I often get callused and tired feet so using this treatment about once every other week is perfect for me. I warm the boots up in the microwave and then close my feet in the boots from about 20-25 minutes letting the oils and wax heal the skin. Then as soon as I take my feet off I put them in some thicket socks to keep the oil and moisture trapped in so they continue to treat. I know most people are freaked out by sleeping in socks but it truly doesn’t bother me so I usually keep the socks on all night and then in the morning my feet are extra soft!


I hope this post gave you some good ideas to invest in your own self care routine! If you have any questions about any of these products feel free to reach out to me. I also would love to hear if you have any “can’t miss” skin care products that I don’t have on this list because I’m always looking to try new things 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful week.


xoxo Jen

spa getaway in winnipeg

Happy Sunday, everyone 🙂 This weekend I took an exciting adventure up to Canada with my aunt and did something I have never done before; go to a day spa!! A few months ago I heard about this place from my cousins who took a trip up there themselves. After seeing the photos and hearing about their experience I knew I had to make plans to go myself sometime soon. That “sometime” finally arrived yesterday and it was such a magical day. The name of the spa is Thermea and it is a norweigan/Nordik spa. It is located only a few miles outside of downtown Winnipeg and was only about a 2 and half hour drive from where I live. It was a short drive and it felt like such a getaway.

The spa offers a number of things: massages, body treatments (facials, foot baths, etc), a bistro, relaxation chalets, saunas, and pools of all temperatures (cold, temperate, and hot). The main premise of the spa is to experience what they call a “thermal cycle”. While enjoying the spa you’re supposed to cycle through the spaces going from hot, to cold, to relaxation. This cycle of temperature changes supports release of toxins, feelings of adrenaline, and the release of endorphins. The Nordik culture believes that this cycle promotes healing and relaxation.

In order to complete a cycle you’re supposed to spend about 10-15 minutes in each step: in one of the three styles of saunas for “hot”, in the temperate or cold pool for the “cold”, and then in one of the rest areas or outdoor fire pit seating for the “relaxation” phase. If you go to the spa you can choose to just pay for the thermal cycle and then can spend as long as you want (a c ouple of hours or all day long!) going through the steps and enjoying the different amenities.

When my aunt and I arrived we had each booked a 60 minutes Swedish massage so after checking in and changing clothes we started our day with the massage. It was the perfect start to the day and when we were done we started off the remainder of the day feeling relaxed. We decided to eat lunch at the bistro restaurant following the massages before beginning the thermal cycle and experiencing the other parts of the spa. The food was fantastic and added to the unique atmosphere. My aunt enjoyed a cucumber, beet, and sprout sandwich with tomato basil soup while I enjoyed a lunch bowl filled with ham, cheese, peas, kale, radishes, tomatoes, jalapenos, a hardboiled egg, pepitas, and crème fraiche. And wine….of course!


After lunch we got started on completing the steps of the thermal cycle. We started in the Finnish dry sauna. While we were in there we got to take part in a ritual called the Aufguss. An employee placed ice infused with a variety of essential oils in the rocks of the sauna and then performed the ritual by dancing and moving the oils throughout the room. It was beautiful and interesting to watch. She used mint, patchouli, amber, and rosemary essential oils: all separately so that you could experience the smell and effects of each one.

After the sauna we took a quick run through the polerber ice cold waterfall (and ICE COLD is right…brrr) and then spent 10 or so minutes in the temperate pool to complete the cold part of the cycle. Then it was off to the relaxation chalet to spend time reading and resting. In the chalet they have both heated beds and heated lounge chairs. We settled in to the chairs and dug in to our books. We also read in a separate relaxation area and even dozed off for a short nap under the comfortable blankets that they provided.

Following our naps we felt like we deserved a treat and had worked up an appetite from all of that relaxing! We went out to one of the outdoor firepit areas and ordered hot chocolate and s’mores. We took in the dusk as the sun was setting while drinking the warm cocoa and roasting the marshmallows.


We weren’t quite ready to leave so we decided to take in some more “hot” time by soaking in the huge hot spring/hot tub and then spending some time in both the wet sauna infused with orange essential oil and then a barrel-shaped dry sauna. That was the perfect way to wrap up the day. My aunt and I talked multiple times throughout the day about how there is no way you can have a bad day when you spend the ENTIRE day in your bathrobe. The spa dress code only allows for a swim suit, sandals, and everyone must be wearing a bath robe: whether you bring your own or rent one from them. It allows you to continue to feel relaxed all day and taking a nap in my robe is now going to become one of the simple pleasures of life for me 🙂


Overall the experience at Thermea was excellent. Since we were there on a weekend it was quite busy but I can only imagine how much more relaxing it could feel during the week when things are quieter and there aren’t as many people. They do enforce a strict silence and whisper rule throughout the spa so even with so many people there it felt nice and quiet all day. One thing that may not have been clear in my description so far is that the entire spa pool and fire pit areas are located completely outside. So even though its winter you were out in the open winter air which was refreshing and unique especially with the steam coming off of the giant hot tub and seeing people don their winter hats while in the pool with their swimming suits.

The buildings themselves were beautifully crafted and looked similar to log cabins. The ambience with the evergreens that were lit with white lights as the sun went down added an extra element of magic. The firepits scattered throughout and the stacks of fire wood give it a homey feel and seeing the piles of snow are what reminds you that you’re outside! I am already looking forward to another visit and would be interested to go again during a different season of the year to experience it in a different temperature. The last thing about the spa that I want to comment on is its affordability. For the thermal experience and the massage it was less than $200 and we spent over 8 hours there. It is a great value for your money: especially if you ensure you have the whole day free to enjoy it. They are open 7 days per week from 9 AM to 10 PM every day. If you just want to go for the thermal experience there is no need to make a reservation but it is certainly busier during weekends/holidays. If you want a massage, facial, etc. you will need to book that appointment in advance.  To check out all of the details of the spa yourself follow this link to their website for rates, information, etc.


My aunt and I both really appreciate great food so we wanted to make one more stop after leaving the spa on the way to our hotel. I received some recommendations from a coworker for places to eat as she grew up in Winnipeg. We decided to check out one on her list called Baked Expectations because she said they have great desserts. We weren’t disappointed…we ordered a bacon cheeseburger to share with fries and the fries were SO delicious. Crispy and shoestring style: my favorite 🙂 Then we decided on a chocolate caramel sea salt layer cake to share for dessert as well. The piece of cake was MONSTROUS and even the two of us didn’t finish it.

It was a whirlwind weekend in Winnipeg (phew, what do you think of that alliteration, eh!?) but I’m so glad we made the trip. As I sit here writing for all of you tonight I feel relaxed and really enjoyed experiencing a weekend where all I did was take care of my self and my health. Ready to head in to a new week feeling refreshed and I’m looking forward to returning there again, maybe this summer. If after reading this post any of you are interested in going here yourself let me know and maybe we can make the trip together!

As always, thank you so much for reading. I appreciate each of you. Have a wonderful week!


xoxo Jen

recommended reading list

Happy Sunday, everyone! Here in North Dakota we’re all hunkering in for an eventful next 30 hours filled with a rain storm followed by a snow storm….right now the rain is pouring down and there is thunder and lightning shaking and lighting up the sky. This weather inspired my post for tonight. A few months back I made a reading list for all of you with some of my favorite books/recent reads at the time (you can check it out here!) and since we have a week of nasty weather ahead I thought I would share another 5 of my favorites with all of you in case you’re looking for something new to cozy up on the couch with 🙂

I am fortunate to be in a monthly book club with a group of women and I have read many books this year that I may not have picked up on my own thanks to them. Below are 5 reads for all of you to check out. I chose some books across categories so hopefully there is a little something for everyone. I included a few words about each book but didn’t want to give anything away!

Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult

This book is very different from other Jodi Picoult books that I’ve read. Even though there are undertones of love this book is mainly focused on humanity and ethics. The book explores a black woman working as a labor and delivery nurse and discusses the ethical dilemma she is encountered with and the aftermath of her choice. This book is told through the eyes of multiple characters and each chapter change brings a change of perspective. I read this book in one weekend and couldn’t put it down.


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The Boys in the Boat – Daniel James Brown

Since we are just coming off of the winter Olympics in South Korea this is a timely story. Boys in the Boat explores the training, relationships, and performance of the 1936 United States men’s Olympic rowing team. It is a great book detailing the perseverance and grit that this group of men endured as they were preparing for the contest of a lifetime: and one where they were in no way favored to win.


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Lean In for Graduates – Sheryl Sandberg

Many of you I’m sure have heard of the wildly popular book Lean In by Facebook female powerhouse Sheryl Sandberg. This version is geared specifically toward college graduates and I was given it as a gift from my parents for my college graduation from NDSU. Any readers who are within their first few years outside of college would find this to be an extremely helpful read. It divulges into some of the challenges found in the college to workplace transition and helps you to identify ways to lean in and make your seat at the table.


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The Girls of Atomic City – Denise Kiernan

This work by Denise Kiernan is fascinating and eye-opening. As you can see by the sub-title on the photo of the book below this is “the untold story of the women who helped win World War II”. As a female, I was completely taken aback by this story and loved learning some of the details behind how women played a HUGE part in the United States victory of World War II by doing their work back here at home. This book explores the “city” that was set up and dedicated to the creation of the most modern weapons and research of WWII and the United States forces. The story carries the plot line of a number of women to keep things personal but shows the historical accurateness of the impact women made back home on US soil.


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A Long Way Gone – Ishmael Beah

This book has such a powerful story; following the life of a young boy who is from the country of Sierra Leone. It follows him through his journey as he is forced to be a “boy soldier” such the civil and political unrest in his country. This is a heartbreaking story but one that is so important to read so that we can even try to begin to understand how the lives of children growing up in war-torn countries look.



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I hope that this list comes at a good time for those of you who may have been looking for some new books or recommendations to check out. Those of you reading in North Dakota I hope that you stay warm and safe during these next couple of days. As always, thanks so much for reading! I hope that a good book, your couch, a quilt, and a cup of hot chocolate are in your near future.


xoxo Jen