Tuesday, April 30, 2013


My adorable buddy is EIGHT today!! Eight? How did he get so big?
I love my nephew so much. There's nothing like the love you have for your nephew (or niece) is there? I wish so badly we lived in the same town. I would want to pick him up from school and I most definitely would never miss a single soccer game. It makes me sad that I don't get to watch his school plays or have his friends come to my house to play. My dream is that he goes to college at the UofA, takes summer classes and lives with Scott and I while he does that. I've always dreamed that and hopefully it will come true one day!
Landon is such a mess with a big personality. He's spending his whole summer in Arkansas and a whole week of that will be spent up here in NWA with just me. I can't wait. I was at Walmart the other day and saw these fun sprinkle straws that you can sip milk with and I was like "don't forget to get those when Landon comes."
I love this kiddo so much. He brings me so much joy and always says the darndest things!! Life before him wasn't nearly as fun and entertaining. He has blessed my life tremendously.

Happy 8th Birthday Landon!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cheers! To One Year Later....

A lot of people blog for different purposes. I love reading food blogs and fashion blogs but my favorite blogs are the ones where people open up their homes and let us get a glimpse of what their life is like. I don't know if that's because that's the kind of blog I have or if I'm just nosy! Ha! Well, not nosy--curious and interested!! I love blogging and I enjoy sharing about my life with everyone. However, I mostly blog for me. I go through my archives all the time if I'm trying to remember when something happened and I love that most of my life over the last 5 years has been documented on an almost daily basis. When I first started writing Kara's Stories I had no idea what I was doing. I had kept a weekly diary since I was 8 but got out of the habit of writing in it and needed an easier way to jot life memories down. I don't think I ever even told anyone I had a blog and it wasn't until about a year later that I realized people had been reading it.
I had no idea that I was going to be entered into this world of "blogging" when I started and I still don't feel like a true "blogger." I don't care about my stats or how many followers or comments I have. I've never tried to make money or get free goodies out of it. Don't get me wrong--that would be really cool--but I've never pursued it. I blog for my memory. Meeting new people through blogging and becoming friends with some of them has been an amazing bonus that I never imagined would happen when I started my "internet diary." I think it's so neat that so many people have taken an interest in my blog and one of my favorite things to hear is when someone tells me they read it. It always surprises me and on the inside I'm thinking "Really??!! You read my blog? That's so cool!" but on the outside I feel like I'm so awkward when someone tells me that. Ha!! I can't imagine not blogging but I do wonder if I still will be 5 or 10 years from now. Only time will tell I guess!
With all that said, this post is for me but I hope you enjoy it too!!

Scott and I moved into our house 1 year ago today!
This is the first home we've ever purchased and we love it so much. Little did we know we were moving into a neighborhood with the greatest neighbors anyone could ask for. We knew we were getting a pretty new house but had no idea we would gain so many new friends as well!!
I have enjoyed this last year so much and I'm so happy with where I am in my life right now and honestly a lot of it is thanks to our home. I have moments from unloading my dishwasher to watching the gorgeous sunset where I become overwhelmingly happy. I feel very blessed to live here.
This has been a really strange year because I have been so happy but a huge cloud has been over it with the loss of my precious Holly. I thank the Lord for the timing of her death often. He was truly looking out for me because we moved here and were distracted with the house just 2 weeks after we had to say goodbye to our favorite girl. Losing Holly and living life without her has been so sad and the grief has been quite heavy. I love and miss her so much!! On the other hand this year has also been filled with wonderful new, fun blessings--our house, Ivy and Madison to name a few.
This evening we had a cheese tray and wine for dinner while we sat on the patio, listened to music via our outdoor speakers (best investment ever) and drank wine. My patio is my happy place and it will be an even happier place when my landscaping gets put in tomorrow!!!
Cheers to one year later! A year ago I never imagined I could be this happy without my number one girl but I am happy. Very content and very happy. I will always have a piece of my heart missing but life does move on and it can become better than you ever thought it could be.
Here's hoping I didn't just jinx myself and something tragic happens soon.
My mind never fails to go to the dark places......

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bark For The Cure

This morning Scott and I participated in Bark For The Cure. We were so excited about taking Ivy and Madison because we knew they would just love it. We talked about it all night last night and how it would be one of the best days ever for them. Well.....we were wrong.
They did not like it. At all. The whole atmosphere terrified them and Ivy kept asking me to hold her. We totally had "those dogs." Scott and I were so bummed out. It's the exact opposite of how we thought they'd act.
They were very relieved when we finally got in the car and headed home. Oh well! Maybe next year. We may need to enroll them in some doggy daycare classes to get these two a little more socialized. They love going to other peoples homes who have dogs and get so excited when other dogs come to our house but I guess this was just a little too much for them.
We did end up having some super cool shirts to wear for the event. A group of Jodie's friends participated in Race For The Cure so we all got shirts to wear in support of her. I've mentioned before that Jodie has her pilot's license and most of her friends do too so that's why we did the plane theme.
Enjoy your Saturday folks!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Down Came The Rain

It is a very rainy Friday here in NWA today. We were supposed to get our backyard landscaping done today. The guys came out and down came the rain so they left and are coming back on Monday. I cannot wait to see it all come together!! They left some of the trees in our yard and Scott and I are so impressed with the maples. Scott actually went out and measured them because he couldn't get over how big they are! 20 feet tall if you're curious. We're excited! We're going to have to throw a patio party when it's all finished. Wanna come?
I shared this photo on Instagram yesterday but not everyone who reads my blog follows me on Instagram (@kara2lou) so I thought I'd share it here too. My Madison is such a mess. She hung out like this while looking out of my bedroom window for a long time yesterday. It made me laugh.
I went to a fabric store today to meet with some girls about having curtains made in my living and dining room. I've been meeting with them since last fall but can't seem to find any fabrics I like. I think I finally found some today though!! I want a dark gray fabric for my living room and a sheer, breezy curtain for my dining room. I think these will look really great in my house and flow really well with everything. Now I just have to wait on them to send me an email with the prices. Fingers crossed they don't come back with an obscene number. Custom curtains can get extremely pricy for some reason.
After selecting the fabric I worked up an appetite and decided I needed to get a yummy snack. I went healthy and got an apple. Ha! I haven't had any chocolate/sugary snacks in about a month and it instantly gave me a tummy ache. Totally worth it though.
Ivy has the cutest little nubbin!!!! We're growing out the girls mini tail hair and Ivy's is crazy cute. It puts a smile on my face every time I look at it. Plus, she's a tail wagger and that thing is always going. I'm glad my girl is so happy!

TGIF!!! Enjoy your weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pin It

Today was typical in Kara's life---Errands. It's impressive how many there are. Like, how are there so many? I don't know but there are.
Scott has put me to work......a little bit. I'm (kinda officially) in charge of picking out lighting in the homes Scott and his dad build. I also spend hours on Pinterest just to keep on trend. Kitchens, Bathrooms, Living Spaces, etc. I like it!
Speaking of Pinterest....I don't know how it happened but I stumbled upon Kara's Stories on Pinterest! Some of you have pinned my photos and it's made me feel like such a celebrity. I was like "OMG SCOTT COME HERE AND LOOK AT THIS!!!" Scott isn't super invested in my blog. He reads it daily and that's kinda it. But even he was like "that's cool."
Scott visited his old stomping grounds today and did some consulting for Sara Lee. I guess they're starting up their relay again and need some help. We don't mind it one bit but I hope it doesn't interfere with our summer plans. Scott made a pact with me that he will (when he's able) work just half a day every Friday and spend the other half hanging with me. Also known as "Hyde Park Pool Time." SO READY for the pool to open.

I was so sure it was 11:00 and time for bed but looked at my phone and it said 9:30. What? Luxurious bath with bubbles and bath salts (so into bath salts right now) are calling my name. Nighty!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kara's Kitchen // Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made THE BEST chicken tortilla soup tonight for dinner. I'm so proud of myself because I totally came up with the recipe all on my own! It was seriously the best (homemade) tortilla soup I've ever had so I had to share it all with you guys.

Kara's Chicken Tortilla Soup


--32 oz box of chicken broth (2)
--can of rotel
--1 package of boneless skinless chicken tenderloins
--1 box of mexican style Rice a Roni
--1/2 of a squash and zucchini (I cut them into 4's)
--1/4 of an onion, chopped
--1/2 cup of baby carrots, chopped


Bring broth to a boil then add chicken and cook for about 25 minutes. I added a little Natures Seasoning to help give it some flavor.
Remove chicken and shred into bite size pieces.
Add rice (and about 1/4 of the seasoning pack) rotel and vegetables to broth. Cook on high for about 10 minutes. Reduce to medium low, add chicken, cover and let simmer for another 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Layer bottom of the bowl with crumbled tortilla chips. Top soup with shredded cheese.

I cannot rave enough about how good this turned out to be!! There's plenty left over so I'll be eating on this for a few days. I think it could actually use another box of chicken broth so I'll probably do that next time.

I'm totally Pinteresting this recipe. I did good.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sliders and Salvia

Welcome back from the weekend! I hope everyone had a good one. I guess my weekend kicked off on Thursday night. My neighborhood had a ladies night and---as always---I had a great time. Everyone always brings an appetizer and this time I went with these.
Yum. Jaclyns mother in law makes them all the time so Scott and I call them Mrs Betty Sandwiches but they're actually ham and cheese sliders on hawaiian rolls. I wasn't 100% sure what everything in the recipe called for so I did this recipe that I found on Pinterest and everyone raved about how delicious they were. They were pretty phenom. You should definitely make them soon.
Scott went golfing with his Dad on Saturday so I was home alone all day long with nothing to do. I kept myself occupied by working on our front beds and planting a few bordering flowers. I went with Salvia this year. It looks really pretty and I hope it does well. I planted Impatiens last year and it was way too hot for them and the majority of them didn't last too long no matter how much I watered them.
I still need to get some fresh mulch but other than that we're all set with the front beds. It feels good to get it finished and my house has a bit more curb appeal now!
The rest of the weekend was super uneventful. I told Scott on Saturday night that we've got to get more interesting. We do the same thing every. single. night. and I just can't take it anymore. I don't know how we've gotten into a rut of staying in and watching TV/Movies every night but we need to change it stat or I may go crazy!!
I hope your Monday is a good one folks!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Apparently Books Taste Good

Well I slept in on Monday but I made up for it yesterday when I woke up at 5 am bright eyed and bushy tailed. After laying in bed for an hour I decided to get up and do some stuff around the house. Then I decided to be a great wife and make my husband some scrambled eggs with tomatoes and spinach. Yum. 
The girls got their hair cut yesterday and I don't think they've ever looked more adorable!! I think this is the perfect length for them. I kept telling Ivy how pretty she looked and if dogs could blush she would have every time I complimented her. I think she likes her new summer do as well. 
Ivy was so funny on Monday night. I was brushing the girls to make sure they didn't have any knots because the groomer got onto me last time and it scared me. Ivy is always pretty easy but Madison manages to get the worst knots in her hair so I decided to cut some of them out. I had Scott sit on the sofa with me and hold Madison. I started after her with the scissors then Ivy walked up and plopped right on top of Madison and looked at me like "Don't hurt my sister!!!!" It was SO FUNNY. I assured her I wasn't doing anything bad but she sat right beside me and carefully watched the whole time just to make sure. 
Today was uneventful except these two were bad. I bought all new coffee table books a few months ago because I thought we were done eating them. Well we weren't. I walked into the living room after I finished getting dressed and found 3 chewed books! Livid doesn't even begin to explain how I felt. Books are expensive!!! They knew right away that they did a very, very bad thing. Ivy kept walking up to me trying to apologize but I wouldn't accept her apology. I've said before that Madison HATES getting in trouble. She scurried out of the room and hid for 45 minutes. Once I calmed down and started looking for her I couldn't find her anywhere and calling her name didn't do anything. Ivy was frantically searching with me and freaking out that we couldn't find her.
I finally found her upstairs under a bed. She hid there the whole time! Once I convinced her to come out from under the bed (by promising her a treat) she was shaking all over. Poor baby! I must be really scary. All I do is give them mean looks and tell them how bad they are with a stern and slightly raised voice so I don't know why she gets so terrified of me but she does. Truth be told I know Madison had nothing to do with it and Ivy is 100% to blame. She's the bad one.
Now I've got to come up with something different to put on the bottom shelf of my coffee table. This book thing just isn't going to work. Thanks Ivy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Punching It Up

I was shocked when I woke up this morning and the clock said 8:45! My days almost always begin at 7 am. I had the worst case of insomnia last night though. Thank goodness for Friends on Nick at Night and my snuggle bugs to keep me company.

Once I woke up, fixed my cappuccino and watched my favorite morning show, Kelly and Michael, I threw on some clothes and hit the gym. Scott and I are on a big health kick right now and I'm hoping we can keep it up all summer for swimsuit season. I mean, I'd rather us keep it up year round and maybe we will (probably not) but for now the goal is through swimsuit season. We're both really motivated and doing it together makes all the difference! Scott and I are always really good about eating clean and working out but those two or three bad meals a week can really deplete everything good you do the rest of the time....Or for us anyway. For the first time in I don't know how long I've started lifting weights. I've always only done cardio and some ab workouts and called it a day but I'm getting older and soft y'all!!!! It's time to punch it up a notch. I honestly thought it would take me so much motivation to hit the weights after spinning but I am loving it and wondering why I haven't been doing it all along. I don't do dumbbells because I have never liked them. I don't like the way they smell or the way they feel in my hands. Gross. Luckily my gym has a lot of free motion machines that I can use. It's been so easy and already making such a difference after just 2 weeks!!
Today while I was on the big ball doing some crunches and listening to Coldplay (obsessed with Coldplay more than ever right now for some reason) a trainer came up to me and randomly decided to put me through an ab workout bootcamp. If I don't wakeup tomorrow with a 12 pack then something is wrong.
These two are getting their hair cut off tomorrow. I'm a little sad but it will be so much easier on me and I'm sure Madison and Ivy will appreciate not having to get brushed every day. Every gal needs a fun, shorter summer do right?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Baby Shower

Last night I, along with my best girls, hosted a baby shower for Jaclyn and Brad. We had a great time and they got a lot of fun goodies!! Now we'll just sit back and wait for that little sweetie to make her debut!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Holly // One Year Later

One year ago today I had to say goodbye to my sweet, precious Holly. It was without a doubt the worst day of my life. I love that baby so much and not a day goes by that I don't think about her. Today has been really sad and I've been replaying in my mind what this day was like last year over and over. I grieve for my Holly all the time and wish so desperately she was still here. My love for Holly is so deep. I think if people could see inside my heart they would be surprised to know exactly how much I love her. I love Holly like I've never loved anything else. It's like we shared the same soul or something. It breaks my heart that she's no longer with me but I truly believe I will see her again one day and I know it is going to be one sweet celebration for us.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just Like Cotton

It has been a very rainy and dreary day here in Northwest Arkansas. I love waking up to rain!! It makes my bedroom so nice and dark and peaceful. If I could wake up to rain every morning I would be happy. I wouldn't want it to last all day though of course. This morning Scott and I went to the gym together. I like going to the gym with Scott. We don't work out together but it's just nice to go together. Once we got home I made some yummy scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions and spinach then got ready for my day!
I had my weekly lunch date with Jaclyn at McAlisters today. After three and a half years we've gotten better about switching it up. Occasionally we opt for Flying Burrito but today we went with McAlisters. Yum. I love their tea so much. Poor Jaclyn has been missing out on it for a while now and it makes me feel bad to sip on it in front of her. I cannot imagine going 9 months without my half sweet//half unsweet with a tiny splash of lemonade beverage. I guess I'll have to some day though. What a bummer. It makes me sad just thinking about it.
After lunch I ran into Sephora to get some makeup. Makeup is tricky. I love it and enjoy trying out new colors and I think the whole concept of makeup is so fun but I do not like spending money on it. Anyone else agree?
After a few more errands I came home to these cuties.
I love these two! Their hair is so long right now and I love it but it gets so tangled. I have to brush them every day because they get knots and they don't like it. Ivy is tolerant but Madison hates it. If their hair didn't get matted I would always leave it longer but I'm tired of brushing them every day so next week they're going to get a summer buzz. One thing I do enjoy about brushing them is feeling the hair that gets collected in the brush afterwards. It literally feels like fresh picked cotton. It's so soft!!!!! People ask me all the time what I do to make their hair so soft. I don't do anything! They were just blessed with ridiculously soft hair! I also love that their hair doesn't shed. That's one of the many great perks of Shorkies!!
It's Wednesday night and my shows are starting now.
Until tomorrow....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Johnson Tropics

I mentioned in yesterdays post that I wanted to have a tropical theme for my outdoor space this year. I feel like it relaxes me but it also gives me cravings to go to the Caribbean!! I guess I'll settle for listening to Coldplay on my outdoor speakers while my cute husband grills. It really is almost just as good as the beach!!
This is my favorite plant this year. I'm not actually sure what it is but I love it! I love the pink leaves. It's different than anything I've ever done. Speaking of things I've never done....
I did a lemon tree this year! That little guy to the left will soon produce yellow citrus goodness!! I'm so excited about it. I've always wanted a lemon tree. It will stay good year round if I bring it in during the winter. My garage has windows so I'm going to take care of it all year long. Being on the verge of OCD this is slightly stressful for me. I mean, anything but a car (or organized shelf with garage-y stuff) being in my garage gives me slight anxiety but I'm going to go for it. I think it will be worth it because lemon trees are just so darn cute!!
I actually got quite a few plants that will last year after year if I'm willing to bring them into my garage and take care of them in the winter. I'm planning on doing this but we'll see. It's hard to remember to water when it's January and freezing.
I love my little coffee table center piece. I still need to get a fake/timer candle to go in my lantern. I think my little bird is so cute!
I absolutely love my three tiered plant holder. It always looks so beautiful. I can see it from inside my house and it always looks so lovely.
I love gardening! I love flowers! I become more knowledgeable about them every year which gets my thumb more green every summer!! The nursery's where I get my flowers frequently comment that most people my age don't have an interest in flowers/plants. I believe I do because my Mom always devoted so much time in creating a beautiful yard and I enjoyed it so much that it spilled into me. My brother even buys flowers and makes his back porch look really pretty! It brings me so much joy and happiness. Scott could take it or leave it. He enjoys it but wouldn't be sad if we didn't have it. I would be sad if we didn't have flowers. Sure it takes a little bit of time to take care of them but it's definitely worth it to me.
Madison and Ivy haven't really said a whole lot to me about it but I think they're enjoying the pretty new flowers outside as well!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Back Porch Decor

Hey everyone! Forgive my absence. I've had company and never seem to blog when I have company. Scott went to Hot Springs and had a guys weekend so my Mom and Grammy stayed with me because I don't stay home alone. It scares me. Unfortunately for Mom and Grammy I put them to work. I had a garage sale on Saturday that they totally helped me put together and since the nice weather is finally here to stay we also "decorated" my back porch with pretty flowers.
I'm so grateful for my Mom and Grammy. We've always been like the 3 Musketeers. Most girls Mom's are their best friend and mine totally is but my Grammy is equally my best friend too. I tell her things I don't tell anyone else!! It makes me so happy when the three of us hang out together. They helped me with my garage sale and getting my outdoor space beautified and I was so thankful for their help! All of that takes so much work but when there's three of you it helps so much!!
I definitely got my love of flowers from Mom and Grammy. I decided that I wanted to do a tropical theme outside this year. When I was in Jamaica I took so many photos of the gorgeous flowers and decided I wanted to try to bring it back to my house in NWA!! I love how it turned out! Here's a sneak peek of how it looks. I'll share more details tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I've mentioned before that Ivy is obsessed with water bottles. They are her favorite toy. I have this huge water bottle on my nightstand right now. I always like to have water beside me in case I wake up thirsty. I got tired of crawling in bed and getting really cozy then remembering I needed a glass of water so I decided to get a big water bottle and just leave it. Well it's plain driving Ivy crazy. She cries at it all day. I told her she can have it when I'm done but she's losing her patience. I walked into my room to this today.
She's like "HELLO!! I need the water bottle Mom. What else do I have to do to get your attention?" I only take a few sips a night so it'll be the weekend before I'm finished with it. I hope she can survive.

Scott called me yesterday to get some info out of me. He's filling out some kind of paperwork so he needed my social, drivers license number, height, weight, etc. He asked me what I wanted my weight to say and when I told him he said "Okay well........................it needs to be fairly close to accurate." What do you mean? I totally weigh 105 pounds. Rude.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter 2013

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! Mine didn't go according to plan but it was still a good weekend. My Mom drove up to NWA on Thursday. My Dad wanted to take a photography class Saturday afternoon in Little Rock so he was going to drive up here after that. He ended up getting really sick though so Mom went back home on Saturday to take care of him. That left Scott and I with our original plans of being alone on Easter. We did end up inviting his Dad over for lunch then his Mom came for dinner. It was a lot of cooking on our part but we had a good time.
I took this picture of Scott and I before we left for church. I'm sad we didn't get any real photos taken of us. My Dad always wants to have a photo sesh on Easter but Scott's family aren't really 'let's take photos' kind of people so this was all I got. Oh well. At least it's something.
I did manage to get a cute picture of my little Easter Bunnies. Grace stayed behind to hang for the week.
The Easter service at our church is always in and out. They add an additional 2 services so it usually only lasts about 45 minutes. It's always really wonderful though and a ton of people show up. Scott and I got there 10 minutes early yesterday but we had to stand because they ran out of chairs. I think that's a pretty good problem to have!!
I hope your Easter weekend was wonderful! Now it's time for me to polish off some of those Easter lunch and dinner leftovers. Until tomorrow.....