A Great Adventure in Japan

The last few months have been nothing short of insane.  Let’s all flash back to January.  I was struggling with the major life changes I had made a few months before, adjusting to a new job, trying to get used to living alone and getting back to my normal life when someone special popped into my life.  This is B.  Isn’t he just the cutest?!


B is a family friend (more like distant acquaintance, we literally never talked growing up but you get the point) who contacted me out of the blue to see how I was doing.  This spurred many texts, lots of snapchats and eventually four hour long Skype dates.

B is in the US Marine Corps and he’s currently stationed out in Okinawa, Japan.  After only a week of chit chatting he popped the question…not that question, lord help me NOT THAT question.  He said “hey, you should come visit me here in Japan!” and I said “YES!”  So the planning began and along the way we became closer and closer until we became official on one cozy February morning, B is mine.

More planning and more planning until April 4th when I boarded a plane and jetted off to Tokyo and then hopped down to Naha, Okinawa to meet my man…for the first time.  That first hug was my favorite moment of the whole trip and just being in the same country, the same airport, the same time zone with him was so special.  But, we still had TWO WHOLE WEEKS together.  So our adventure began…




After a week of shenanigans in Okinawa we flew up to Tokyo for one more week of sightseeing, beer drinking, sushi, beer drinking and beer drinking.



How many people can say that their first date included a two week vacation in a foreign country?  Although it was so difficult to leave, I can’t wait until we can be together again.  For now, let the long distance begin!


A Love Letter to Milwaukee

Dear Milwaukee,

I just want to come out and say it…I love you.  You’re the best.  You’re my personal little, big city.  I adore that first view of you when you come up the hill on the freeway, heading toward the Marquette interchange, over that little crest and BOOM, there you are.  That cute little downtown with just a dozen or so big buildings.  You are large but intimate.

img_3300I have magical memories of just about every street corner of your downtown.  Nights out with past loves, nights out with the family, nights out with new friends and old besties.  Nights of delicious food and too many delicious drinks.  That night on New Year’s Eve when I raced through your streets to meet someone special.  The night Mom and I made it into The Safehouse with the secret password.   The night Elaine and I searched and searched for a well hidden speakeasy.  That birthday ghost tour at Shaker’s Cigar Bar.  That night I got sloshed on Dark & Stormy’s at Blue Jacket.  Numerous amazing concerts.  The shalaylees at Mo’s Irish Pub.  All those nights of single slice pizza on Old World Third Street and Bloody Marys’ on Broadway.  The oysters at the Milwaukee Public Market, cheap beer at Duke’s and gourmet dinners at Morel.  Even those hellish years up the freeway in nursing school, Milwaukee, you were always there.  Glittering at night and reflecting that beauty in Lake Michigan.

IMG_1874You’re so great and I appreciate all those good times and even those not so good times.  Milwaukee, I look forward to our future.  I’m sure we have many more nights of laughter, smiles, dancing, food, drinks, shenanigans and wonder ahead of us.  Stay golden, I’ll see you soon.

New Tracks

Oh my goodness gracious.  Things have changed.  
Two months ago I was struggling.  I was struggling hard with the track my life was steaming ahead on.  I had been struggling for much longer than that, but two months ago was the moment when it really came to the forefront of my mind.  I was chugging along on tracks that I did not agree with, that my heart didn’t want.  I pulled the brake lever and made a change.  A scary, terrifying change.

One month ago, the Journey of K and V came to an end.  It ended with tears and hurt feelings.  We have parted ways and now I am left with the #journeyofK.  This is perhaps the most exciting, horrifying, suspenseful, twisting, turning, looping, confusing, inspiring, risky journey I’ve ever been on.  A journey governed only by MY mind, MY heart, and MY desires.  One month in.  Many moths to go.  #journeyofK

It is important to continue to practice self-awareness and realize when the tracks that lay ahead of you are not your own, they belong to someone else. Know that you can always pull the brake and step off.  Only YOU can do that.  Many people will disagree, many people will not understand, many people will hate you, but THEY DO NOT MATTER.  They have their own tracks to travel along on.  They don’t understand you like you do.  Those people don’t know what makes your heart flutter and you eyes sparkle.  Only you know.

You are not selfish for doing this.  You are being true to you.

Always be true.

A Little Ditty about Numbers

I am 23 years old, I have 324 friends on Facebook, 115 followers on Instagram and 12 followers on Twitter.

Numbers.  Isn’t it strange how we focus on the numbers in our lives and, in some way, believe that it is a measurement of our success.

At 23 years old, I’m supposed to have all those big moments nailed down, dream husband, photogenic dog, successful blog and that big job…all in the bag right? Or at least, that’s what social media leads me to believe. Only 324 Facebook friends?  You must be a loner.  115 Instagram followers?  Your life is boring and your camera sucks. 12 twitter followers?  You must not be clever or funny or have anything worth tweeting.  But I am so much more than those numbers.

Don’t let the numbers run your life.  They’re just pixels on a screen, they’re not to be taken seriously.  You are more than this.  Those little numbers mean nothing, social media isn’t real life.  You are real life. I know it’s easy to say but hard to do.  Don’t let those numbers tell you how valuable your life is.   Meow.

Wedding Fever vol.3 (Bouquets)

I pin different bouquet ideas constantly.  I probably pin them more than the dress, is that weird?

Bouquets for the Maids:

2dab6a17e3cfec3ac0e2ec8596f09971 34424c5d3519ffaf1b9f40e108d7f5bb 51902aafb016929bd4de5f249f7798b0

I love the idea of the light, airy flowers like daisies and babies breath for my maids.

Bouquets for ME!

377c196a858038a3512b0ee3b06a020c 2047c5cd3244e64464fb3a341f317b04 a96655bba3874569ccf3101204b6191d c1d3c6ccea619f25b6089662a45e7e46

I can’t decide if I want pastel colors are more vibrant.  I love the idea of wild looking flowers instead of those perfectly round bouquets.  AND I’m so happy that the ribbon trend is coming back, it really adds to that romantic, vintage, hippy vibe that I like.  My Mom was quick to tell me that the ribbons were “a thing” back in her day.

Come watch me pin like a crazy person on Pinterest: @Okarleigh or click HERE

Crash ‘Em, Smash ‘Em

Labor day is always an exciting time for my family and especially for Vin, it’s demo derby day!  It’s the ultimate hillbilly entertainment.  Semi-controlled car crashes.  Good times.


Many years ago when Vin decided he was going to purposely smash up a perfectly good car for the first time, I had no idea how much WORK goes into it.  First you have to find a cheap car which is generally the easiest part of this process.  This poor little car came from Vin’s former boss.

After a suitable car is procured then the looooong process of pulling parts off, gutting the inside, moving the battery, moving the gas tank, reinforcing and more reinforcing.  There is a lot of grinding and welding.  Vin even gave me a little crash course in welding.  Pro-tip, don’t look in to the light.  You’ll totes go blind.

Finally, it’s paint time.  My brother is borderline artistic genius and I’m not even exaggerating.  Each car Vin has involves flames (my brother’s specialty) and skulls and stuff.  Very badass.


Finally, demo day arrives at the Walworth county fair!  We all journey to the fair grounds in 5,000 degree weather (seriously it was hot) and we watch Vin run into other cars for about 15 minutes until only one car is left standing.  Lucky 13 took a beating!

    If you ever have the chance to watch a demo derby, do it!  It’s thoroughly entertaining although it’s even more fun when you know someone driving.

Wedding Fever vol.2 (Centerpieces)

Centerpieces!  This is probably the thing I pin the most over on Pinterest.  This board is full and I just can’t decide what I want!  I am loving the photo below of the flowers in a paper bag.  That is so casual/cool/genius!  I also found an antique store in Milwaukee with oodles of old milk bottles and blue mason jars.  I know mason jars in weddings are a LITTLE over-done but they look so perfect with flowers.

0da32899ef9833e3a0ecc5726b94fad3 80beb060fd82adf6c5535f37106c469f 094e8ddd9dceae818e6391130c446550

Also, daisies!  I love them.  Aren’t daisies just the friendliest flower?

Follow me on my pinning journey! I’m OKarleigh or click HERE

Saying Goodbye

Well boys and girls, I have met the age where you begin to witness the demise of your sweet, lovely grandparents.  My sweet Papa Olson passed away last year in May (wow, has it been that long?) and today his house officially hit the market for sale.

I should correct myself, he wasn’t really all that sweet, especially not at the end…and really not at the beginning either.  He was a little cranky, a little too honest, a little too drunk and smoked a little too much.  But, he was my Papa!  He was cuddly.  He loved us grandkids to the moon and back.  He tried to smoke a bit less when we were around but managed to drink a bit more.  In his own special way he taught me to be honest, sometimes brutally honest, and never ever settle for less than I deserve.  Papa always inspired us to carry the ‘Olson’ name to greatness!  And now he’s off in the Great Beyond, drinking and smoking with Grandma and Tracy.    Have fun Papa, see you soon but not too soon.

I will never get tired of people telling me what a great peer, teacher and principal you were.  Miss you, miss you SO much! Miss your laugh.  Miss you tears whenever we gave you a framed picture of us.  Miss you smokey kisses.  I can’t believe it’s been over a year.  And now it’s goodbye to HIS house, Papa’s house.  That’s what we’ve continued to call it this year while the carpet gets changed, the walls painted, the floors cleaned.  Always Papa’s house.  Now it will be someone else’s house who doesn’t know the memories or the history held inside.  Bye bye Papa’s house.

Edit for truth: Losing a loved one is hard, no matter how long it has been.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you should “get over it” if you’ve lost someone close or far from you.  Grief is difficult, even a year later.  I understand what you are going through.  Things will get better.

B & Kes and The Exciting Weekend

We had the craziest weekend!  First thing’s first on Friday, our lovely friends B and Kes got hitched!  B and Kes are totally adorable, they’re high school sweethearts and they have the same anniversary as Vin and I minus 1 year.  Vin and B worked together back in high school and soon Kes and I were buds.  It’s so exciting to see them FINALLY together 4 eva!


Also, doesn’t Vin look lovely in a suit.



And seriously, isn’t Kes the most gorgeous bride!?  I don’t have a picture of it but the moment she walked through the doors her sweet groom was just a wreck.


The party was bumping, the food was delicious, the beer was a little too good.  Best wedding ever.


And later Vin’s brother caught the garter and his lovely girlfriend caught the bouquet!  FORESHADOWING.

IMG_2106IMG_2116That’s right folks!  Vin’s brother then popped the question the very next day in the middle of a river.  They’re canoeing freaks.  Of course, she said yes.

On Sunday Vin and I flew kites which is much less exciting than weddings and proposals.  Still the best weekend ever.  Now, back to work.