Last Minute Gift Guide

We're at the 5 day countdown to Christmas and, if you're anything like me, there's still some holiday shopping to finish! Not to worry, I've rounded up some of my favorite things that can still be ordered online and delivered by Christmas! Read on for gift ideas and some treat-yo-self indulgences too - you've earned it after all this holiday prep!

2018 Refresh Weekly Planner Review

There's something about the chaos of the holidays and the quickly approaching new-year that really gets me motivated to systemize, streamline, and organize all the things. I'll spend hours wandering the retail aisles and scouring the internet to find the next calendar year's best and most innovative planners that promise to finally fix my unkempt life. Although I haven't found anything that can instantaneously implement that change through a simple credit card swipe, I have discovered the next best thing: The 2018 Refresh Weekly Planner by J.Lynn Designery
Make sure to check out this entire post for my planner review as well as info on how to get free domestic shipping on J.Lynn Designery orders AND a free pen set! Talk about the perfect opportunity to get a great deal, support a small business, and get some of that holiday shopping out of the way from the comfort of your own home! Thanks so much to Jenna of J.Lynn Designery for supplying her 2018 Refresh Weekly Planner to help me write this post today! All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Fall Looks by Roe Blvd

Fall is upon us and for Kansas City that means that the temperature can either be below freezing or downright muggy with absolutely no warning. With weather this fickle, it's essential to have wardrobe pieces that can transition quickly and fashionably from steamy summer to below freezing. Luckily, Midwest based online boutique Roe Blvd has a wide variety of pieces to choose from so you can build out your perfect transitional wardrobe! Thanks to Roe Blvd for providing the clothing in the post and make sure to read this post to the end for even more of my favorite pieces from this boutique. All the opinions in this post are my own.
One of my favorite parts of moving into the fall season is reintroducing rich, saturated hues back into my day to day. Although I do tend to stay in the light/bright/neutral color families with my wardrobe, having some beautiful jewel toned pieces to incorporate is a really fun way to mix things up!

Super Moblin Bros.

Taking a break from our normally scheduled "Austen Adventures" content to bring you a big Moblins for Matt announcement...
The Moblins are jumping into the Mushroom Kingdom on November 4th, starting at 10 a.m. CST to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation! You can watch it live on Twitch and on Youtube! If you aren't familiar with Moblins for Matt or what we do, check out my post here and learn more about Matt and the Moblins here and here.

This stream is shaping up to be our biggest yet, with even more prizes to win and games to play!

The games for the Super Moblin Brothers stream are...    

Stay tuned for the raffle details. We can't share all the awesomeness quite yet, but we can tell you that it's going to be epic!

Get more updates on Facebook and on Twitter!

Want to contribute to the mustachioed madness? Send us a Mario Maker level! It can be your own or your favorite! Submit them by clicking here and you might just see us play them! You can even pick which poor sap you want to play the level (yours truly is even on the list)!
We really hope you'll tune in and learn more about Moblins for Matt, why we game, and maybe even contribute to our cause! If nothing else you should watch for the absolute chaos that ensues when we all get together and play Mario for hours on end.

Omaha Bound - hutchfest

A weekend away in Omaha, NE may not sound exciting to some, but a trip to hutchFEST and Omaha's Zoo has us stoked!
hutchFEST is a curated makers fair featuring over 170 vendors from all around the Midwest! Corey and I will be attending on behalf of Emily Bordner while she works simultaneous shows in both Dallas and Kansas City. You all are well aware of my love for all things EB from her to minimalist jewelry and leather goods to her cheeky glassware and I'm so excited to continue to partner with her for this event!

Teaka's Story

There's something about writing things down that feels therapeutic and all too real at the same time.

I've been wanting to talk about the deaths of our beloved dog, Teaka, and cat, Cheese, but I think confronting the reality of losing them has been a struggle. I've stayed so incredibly busy with work, keeping the house clean, dealing with my annoyingly still broken foot, tending our other furry kids, and cheering Corey on in Mario Kart 7 that writing hasn't even felt like an option. But, I think now is the time to start processing, and sharing, everything that has been happening in our little family.

We'll start with Teaka.
I adopted Teaka 8 years ago in August of 2009 down in Springfield, Missouri. I remember the first time I saw her, she slowly walked up and laid her big ol' head in my lap, staring up at me with her beautify Cleopatra eyes. it was definitely a love at first sight situation. I'd always wanted a big dog, one you could really snuggle with, and she absolutely fit the bill. Although relatively thin when I first got her, she plumped up pretty quickly under my care.

July Recap

Sometimes life is hard and change comes quickly.

I went on an unanticipated, but apparently needed, hiatus after my last post and I wanted to fill everyone in on what's been going on. Here's the cliff notes version: 
  • I broke my foot 8 weeks ago
  • A tree from two houses over fell on our neighbor's house and our house on the second night of Boulevardia/a week after I broke my foot which tore down our gutters, broke a window, and left us without power for several days
  • Teaka, our older pup, was diagnosed with terminal cancer July 14 after a random bout of eye issues and passed away about four days after her diagnosis
  • A tree fell on my car two weeks ago (hey, at least I can't drive so it didn't put us out that much)

I guess there's really not a lot more to say than that. The Mother Nature stuff and broken foot has been more of an inconvenience than anything but losing Teaka was devastating. We were fortunate enough to have Tay come and take pictures of all of us the day before she passed and she was truly able to capture Teaka's spirit. Afterward Tay surprised us with the most beautiful canvas portrait of Teaka and we now have it hanging in our dining room so we can see our sweet girl every day. 

As always, our friends and family have been a constant source of support, kindness, and love. They've cleaned our house, shared their talents, and served as a shoulder to cry on. I couldn't be more appreciative of them.

I'll have more to say later but I just wanted to pop in, say hi, and let everyone following along know we're still here. Blogging is such a fantastic outlet for creativity and catharsis so I really want to start focusing on it again.

Be on the lookout for more posts, hopefully we'll get back to the weekly swing of things again soon. Thanks for stopping by ♥

Boulevardia Style!

I am so, so excited because Boulevardia this Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17th in The Stockyards District!
Dress by Mossimo from Target here, crossbody by EB Leatherworks and a Boulevardia exclusive
I'm less excited to be at Boulevardia with a freshly broken foot but that's another story.

World Milk Day!

Happy World Milk Day everyone! As a lifelong milk-drinker and dairy lover, I was so surprised that I didn't know there was a day (and an entire month) dedicated to milk and dairy! Luckily my friends over at the Midwest Dairy Association in the Kansas City Metro reached out to me and told me all about it. I also decided to make a special trip to one of my favorite places so I could celebrate World Milk Day with it's natural best friend - cookies.
The Midwest Dairy Association works on behalf of 7,400 dairy farmers and their families across 10 different Midwestern states to inspire consumer confidence in dairy products and practices. Because they're funded by farmers, they don't promote one specific brand or product but rather represent all diary foods equally!

The Strawberry Swing Spring Swing!

The Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair is basically Etsy in real life.
Not only is The Strawberry Swing one of the best craft fairs in the Midwest but it was also recognized by Buzzfeed as one of the top Indie Craft Fairs worldwide! There are "swings" during each season - spring, summer, fall, and winter. The Spring Swing was May 6th and 7th and it could not have been more perfect! From the weather to the vendors to the music, everything was splendid!

Springtime Stripes

Spring is upon us and I couldn't be happier!
Dress here, earrings here
Blush has completely taken over my wardrobe and I'm not complaining one bit. I first saw this ASOS sundress on Gal Meets Glam back in March and fell in love instantly! It's the absolute perfect dress for spring and summer and would be particularly perfect paired with a cute woven bag! The blush, powder blues, and natural fiber tones make it such a chic, lovely piece!

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

I've been on quite the carrot kick lately.
Seriously, carrots are just super good. Steamed, spiralized, baked into a cake, I'll eat them pretty much however! So what better timing than Easter to try a brand new carrot recipe?

Thursday Runway Event - KC Fashion Week

Dress found here on ASOS
Thursday's Runway Event for Kansas City Fashion Week was such a blast! I had the chance to meet so many designers, photographers, and bloggers and the fashion was amazing. I chose a blush off the shoulder floral maxi from ASOS for the event and it was incredibly comfortable. One other big plus is that the fabric DOES NOT wrinkle. At all. Seriously. When I got it in the mail, I didn't have to do a thing to it, it was totally ready to wear! Mark this one down as the perfect travel dress!

Read on for more details about the designers at Thursday's Runway Event!

Wednesday Runway Event - KC Fashion Week

This was my first year attending KC Fashion Week and after Wednesday's Runway Event,
I'm hooked.
Outfit details linked at the end of the post + on Instagram
In addition to challenging myself to put together looks that were outside of my normal repertoire, I got so many ideas for new fashion trends from the runway and the fashion of the attendees! It was also amazing to have the opportunity to connect with other fashionable Midwesterners and meet people I'd only known online in real life. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some collaborations!

Read on to learn more about the designers at Wednesday's Runway Event and to see some of my favorite looks! Also, my camera pooped out and phone died not very long into the event BUT the wonderful Bella Lightner was so kind and let me use some of her photos. I've credited the pics she shot below but make sure to check out her blog and Instagram. She's incredible!

Bubbly + Bowties

If you're looking for a party with the most stylish Kansas Citians, Bubbly + Bowties is it.
This year's KC Fashion week kickoff soiree took place at r24 studios, a lavishly furnished space where custom furniture, lighting, and artwork is created.

Très Chic Faux Fur Look

Well just when I mentioned it being unseasonably warm lately, it snowed.
 Not a big snow, more of a dusting, and honestly I couldn't complain. We haven't had very much snow at all over the past couple of years and I've missed it. There's something about a blanket of snow covering everything that feels so fresh and clean.
Corey and I spent our snowy day at one of our favorite places, at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art exploring the new Bloch Galleries (find my blog post about the new exhibit here)!
The other reason I wasn't all that upset about the snow is because it gave me an excuse to wear my favorite winter coat again! I know I name a lot of favorites on here but seriously, this piece is amazing. I found it on clearance at Forever 21 right before Christmas and Corey insisted I buy it. I actually ended up wearing it for Christmas with a fabulous sleeveless turtleneck midi bodycon dress from Target and felt incredibly classy. When you find a piece this perfect, you don't pass it up!

The Bloch Galleries

Do you ever find yourself forgetting about the amazing things that surround you? 
When you live in the middle of a city, it's even easier to be out of touch.
The first time I went to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art was on an elementary school field trip. I had learned about the Impressionists in school and fell in love with Claude Monet's work. When we got to the museum, I was beyond myself with excitement - I was about to see an actual painting by my favorite artist and couldn't get to one of his works quick enough. I remember how excited I was when I found that first painting - Monet himself had painted that exact work of art with his own hands. That piece had traveled through time, across continents, and now resided mere miles from where I lived. It was absolutely incredible.

Black + White + Plaid All Over

Lately, winter hasn't been very wintery.
Similar dress here + here
Not that I'm complaining at all, especially since it's lead to some outfit combos I've never worn before! For this look I started with one of my favorite dresses I bought last summer from H&M. It's so comfortable and lightweight which makes it a great piece to layer with in winter. The pattern on the dress is either feathers or ferns, I'm not completely sure!

Mardi Gras Lunch KC Style

The second I spied shrimp and grits on the menu, I knew we'd found the perfect Fat Tuesday spot.
Beignet is a little restaurant nestled into the northwest corner the KC River Market. It's specialty is Cajun and Creole food and it's one of the only places you can get a true taste of New Orleans in KC.

Frankly Fabulous Fish Tacos

It's Tuesday and that can only mean one thing.

Valentine's Day Outfit Inspo (x2)

I'm a little indecisive so when I was trying to figure out what to wear for our Valentine's Day shoot I did the rational thing. I picked two outfits.
Photos by Tay Daliese

Valentine's Day in Kansas City

What's better than one Valentine's Day date?
Photos by Tay Daliese
Since Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year and people might be celebrating after work or during the weekend, we decided to put together both daytime and nighttime date ideas!
We've got date ideas from two of our favorite areas in KC:
The Crossroads

Moblins (and Metroids) For Matt

On May 31, 2016 our world was shattered.
My sweet brother-in-law, my husband's best friend, had died due to complications from epilepsy.

Dog Park Bliss

You know the best place in the world to go on a bad day?

The dog park.
Seriously, this place might beat out Disneyland when it comes to being the happiest place on earth.

Layered Pattern Clash Look

Photos by Tay Daliese
It's easy to get stuck in a style rut. 
The same old outfits day in, day out. Wearing the same pieces together over and over.
To break out of my rut, I've tried a new trend - pattern clashing. You've probably seen it before - putting stripes with polka dots, leopard print with florals. 

Mixing unexpected patterns is one of the best ways to refresh and revive your wardrobe - you'll definitely end up with a look you've never worn before!

Fanny Farmer's Baking Powder Biscuits

I don't know about you, but I love warm biscuits on a Sunday morning.
Add homemade cherry jam and they become roughly five million times more irresistible.

Here we go!

Hi there!

I'm Annie Austen and I'm so excited to have you here! Things are still pretty new around these parts but I think you'll really like what you find once we get this new adventure started. I won't pretend like I know exactly where this journey is taking all of us but I can promise it's going to be a fun ride.
Also, a little disclaimer: Contrary to popular belief, I don't consume much caffeine but my brain does work a bit like a search engine without pop-up blocker enabled. You've been warned. 


Stay tuned! We have all kinds of exciting things to share!