Personal

Date Ideas in Peoria

Do you ever feel in a rut with nothing to do when you’re trying to think of something fun? I know I do! I sat down and really thought about some of the fun things you can do around Peoria during certain seasons and all-year-round. Besides dinner and a movie, ya know? I’m sure I missed some, so please comment with your suggestions!

SPRING

Peoria Zoo – The zoo is often overlooked, but a fun way to spend a mild spring day! The animals are much more active when it’s not hot, so this would be a good fall activity, too. The Africa exhibit is the heart and joy of the zoo. It was completely redone some years back and looks amazing. I can spend hours here, mainly taking photographs of the animals.

Wildlife Prairie Park – Another activity for animal and nature lovers! Wildlife Prairie Park focuses on the native species to the Peoria-area. Again, the animals are more active when it’s not too hot or too cold so go in the Spring or Fall. You can walk a ton and see bison, bears, bobcats, farm animals, and more.

Dog Park – Do you have a pup? Head to one of the dog parks in the area and relax and let your dog have some fun. I love the Pekin dog park. There always seems to be an abundance of wiener dogs whenever I go, so of course I love it.

SUMMER

Riverfront – The Riverfront is great Spring through Fall and has many activities going on! Check their website for music, art shows, festivals, and more!

Taste of Peoria – Typically in August, the Taste of Peoria is a great way to get outdoors and try lots of food from local restaurants!

HOI Fair – Catch some rides, eat some carnival food, and see some bands! It’s a fun way to spend an evening in Peoria when it comes around in the summer.

4th of July Fireworks – Go Downtown 4th of July and see the fireworks. There are usually some activities going on during the day, as well, but the big show starts after dark.

Peoria Chiefs – Go see a minor league baseball game! They have Thirsty Thursday specials and promotions that go on throughout the season.

Luthy Botanical Gardens – Gorgeous greenery! There is both a greenhouse and an outdoor area with beautiful flowers and plants.

Wineries – The Peoria-area has several wineries to choose from. You can do tastings all the time and they frequently host events throughout the year.

FALL

Fine Art Festival – The Fine Art Festival is held downtown on the Riverfront. I love seeing all the different artworks from both local, regional, and national artists. You can buy items there, so bring money!

Grandview Drive – Drive along the “World’s Most Beautiful Drive” and admire the view and the houses as the leaves change color. There are public areas with benches and tables, so why not bring some snacks and have a little picnic!

Tanners Apple Orchard – I love this place! This is a great, all ages activity to spend a few hours outside in the amazing Autumn weather. I like to hit up their market and buy some food and apple cider. Oh, and obviously the apple cider donuts are where it’s at. Seriously, get a half dozen and pig out. You can also pick apples and pumpkins. My boyfriend and I have started a tradition of coming here to pick out our pumpkins to carve. They also have some barn animals that you can pet and feed, like goats, bunnies, ponies, and more!

Haunted Houses – There are many haunted houses that happen every year around Halloween time. I love haunted houses. Try to go before it gets too cold or dress in lots of layers if you can’t avoid it. Most haunted houses in the area are outdoors.

WINTER

WinterFest – Head down to WinterFest and skate on the outdoor ice rink! Last year there was an ice slide and a little shop with coffee and hot chocolate. I will warn you that the ice was pretty choppy, so just be aware of that. Otherwise, it’s a fun thing to do that puts you in the winter spirits!

Festival of Lights – Hit up the parade (but please dress very warmly) or go through the driving-through attraction (my preference). It’s something unique to the Peoria-area and screams Holidays.

Fired Up – Again, Fired Up is great all year, but I particularly love doing it when it’s too cold to be outside. It’s great for marking special occasions or for creating a one-of-a-kind gift for a loved one! And you can bring your own booze to drink while you paint! Can’t beat that!

Peoria Rivermen – The Rivermen are Peoria’s minor league hockey team! They play at the Civic Center and frequently have promotions going on for discount tickets or ticket/meal deals.

ALL YEAR

See a show – Check out the local music venues and see if you recognize any names. There’s the CivicCenter, The Limelight Eventplex, The Rail II, Crusens on Farm, Pizza Works, and many others!

Jukebox Comedy Club – Get your laugh on with your honey.

UFS Wine and Beer Tastings – They frequently have tastings at UFS! Some have an entry fee, but they always go towards a purchase.

Peoria Riverfront Museum – With permanent and traveling exhibits, the Riverfront Museum is a nice way to have fun and learn in the process.

I’ll add to this if I think of anymore, but I’d still love to hear your suggestions! Comment below!

Tips for First Time Homebuyers

So, I’ve officially been in my house about a year now! Looking back, the whole home buying process is pretty overwhelming, but I can definitely romanticize it now that it’s in the past. During, however, it is tedious and annoying, but once you find THE house, it doesn’t seem so bad.

Set a budget and stick to it. Your bank will give you a max and I recommend looking at houses slightly under that, because extra things will come up. It’s important to make sure you can handle the monthly expenses for the house itself and your utilities. It sucks, but you don’t want to fall in love with a house that is out of your budget.

Come up with your top 5 things a house HAS to have. Mine were attached garage (I didn’t want to , brick (tends to hold value longer), basement (extra space, woo!), at least 3 bedrooms (bedroom, spare bedroom, and office) , and a ranch (no stairs for my pups). Things that were nice but we’d do ourselves if necessary were a fenced in yard and hardwood floors throughout.

Make sure the house is in a good area. You don’t want to be in the sketch part of town. You want to feel safe at home. Make sure the school zone you’re in is good, too. This might not seem important when you don’t have kids at the moment or don’t plan to while in that house, but it’s very important for reselling. I had SO many cute houses that I had to pass on because they weren’t in a good school zone. It sucks, but keep looking!

Get a great Realtor. I lucked out because I come from a family of Realtors. My grandma, dad, and aunt are/were all Re/Max Realtors. My grandma and dad were both tremendous in helping me and being honest with the houses. My dad wanted me to buy a home that I would make money one when I resold it. We planned to redo quite a bit of the inside and/or outside of whichever house I got to increase the value and make it nicer. Realtors do this all the time and can help you throughout the process. They can tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about the house you’re looking at. Trust me, especially for the first time, get a Realtor you can rely on for buying a home. Realtors get a lot of their customers from word-of-mouth referrals, so ask around and see if any names get repeated. If you’re in the Peoria-area and need a Realtor, seriously call my dad, Ric Krupps, at 309-208-8579. He continually goes above and beyond and he rarely stops working. Sometimes it’s annoying as a family member, but I still appreciate his dedication to his work.

Check for grants for first time home buyers. If you have a Realtor, they’ll do this for you. A lot of places have grants in place to encourage buying homes. Mine had the requirements that it was in a Peoria zip code and was vacant at the time of purchase. I also have to live in the house a few years and have it in my name for five. So if I find a different house after the 3 years, I’m just going to rent it out in the mean time.

Be patient. I started the search for my house in May 2014 and closed on Halloween of that year. Long time! I perused the different home buying apps all the time searching for new listings. It truly is a waiting game. Checking frequently will ensure you can act quickly if you do spot a home that fits your criteria.

Don’t feel like it needs to be completely decorated as soon as you move in.
If it’s your first house, you will probably be buying a lot of furniture for it, or at least some. It bothered me so much to have a half-decorated house, but doing it slowly is the way to go. You can find better pieces at better prices if you hold out for things you love. It takes time to fully decorate.

Now what’s funny, is I got such a great deal on my house that I actually broke my top 5 things. It was half of what the bank told me my max was, so I wavered a bit there. My house is not brick and there is no basement, sadly. But I got a steal on this house, so it’s okay. My next house will for sure have a basement, though. And the closing, I swear I’ve never written my name so many times in my life. You’ll sign your signature about 1,389 times… or at least it feels that way. Anyways, I hope this was helpful! Please comment if you have any questions and I’d love to hear YOUR tips for purchasing a house for the first time!

I Let My Boyfriend Dress Me For A Week

I’ve seen this challenge online and always thought it looked fun, so I figured I’d give it a go! My boyfriend, Tyler, was on board so we picked a week and let the experiment unfold. He was thoughtful and would double check the weather for the day and ask if particular clothes were warm or if certain shoes were comfortable. I was impressed! I was nearby as he picked out the outfits in case he has questions where things were. I got a laugh when he paused after starting the first night and said, “wait, do I have to pick out your bra and underwear, too?” I told him I’d handle the undergarments, so he didn’t need to worry. There was definitely a look of relief as he smiled at me and continued going through my closet.
I think he did pretty damn well, if you ask me! But see for yourself…

Day One

  

  


The first day was Monday and I was back to work. He put together Monday’s and Tuesday’s outfits on Sunday night before we went to bed. He spotted this flannel first thing and decided to start from there. He exclaimed, “I’m going to dress you like me for the first day!” Next he found the “dibs on the drummer” shirt and chuckled as he selected it. Then he went with black jeans and some fancy knee high socks for added warmth. Tyler noticed my bin of shoes that I’ve yet to find a place for and rummaged through that until he found the wedge, spiked sneakers that he settled on. He was admiring his work hung up together and then said he wanted a scarf and asked where those were. I pointed to their location and he went through several before deciding on a black scarf with white cameras on it. I thought we were done with this outfit, but he went out to the hallway closet and got my tried-and-true (p)leather jacket and told me this was for tomorrow, too, because he knows how cold I get, but didn’t want me to wear my Northface jacket.

 

Day Two


  


The starting peice for this outfit was the cross cardigan. He pulled that out immediately and started going through shirts to go under it. I expected just a tee, but he actually pulled out a red and grey flannel. Then he said he wanted this one to be a little more dressy for work, so he asked where my work pants were and I pointed to the drawer. He pulled out the first pair and I let him know that those were capris, so he went for the next one and settled on those – black, skinny pants from Forever 21. Lastly, he needed some shoes and went through a few and visited several locations of the house to look at the selection before bringing back some ballet flats that I bought when I worked at Macy’s at the cosmetic department. He asked if they were comfortable and I told them they were. And then he asked what kind of socks do I usually wear with these shoes and I chuckled and told him that I didn’t. He expressed that my feet would be cold, though, without socks! I reassured him that as long as there’s not snow on the ground, these shoes were fine without socks. He said okay and put that outfit in it’s location so I could put it on in the morning.

Day Three

For Wednesday’s outfit, Tyler saw that it’d be colder out and decided a beanie was a must. After going through my hats, he chose a purple one. Next, he went straight for a galaxy print scarf that he got me. He wondered about pants and I reminded him that jeans were allowed at my job. He dug through the dresser and found some black and grey skinny jeans. Then Tyler grabbed the short combat boots he had almost picked on Monday for that outfit. Last was a shirt. He pondered our loud what color would go and settled on a long sleeved grey shirt. He spotted a purple cami and threw that on the pile, as well. So far, this is my favorite, but that could be because it’s got a lot of purple.


  
   

 Day Four

I was completely absent when Tyler picked out Thursday’s outfit. He had told me there was a STL Blues game on that night, but I didn’t connect the dots until I got home and saw what he had laid out. I just went “ohhhh,” because I should’ve seen it coming. I liked his choices and that it was still stylish while being sporty. Can’t beat that! Oh, and my hair is red now. :D


  

Day Five

On Friday, Tyler and I drove up to Chicago for our little weekend away, so Tyler made sure my daytime look could easily transition to our plans of seeing a concert for the night. I just had a regular black tank top on and buttoned the flannel up for work. We were going to the Bottom Lounge to see I the Mighty and Hands Like Houses perform, so I told him to try to make me look show-worthy. He had started with the purple flannel, then some jeans, and combat boots. He took his time looking through my tops and pulled out several before deciding on this one. I think Tyler did well! I love this simple, black crop top and the flannel kept me warm for the walk there and back. I took it off at the venue and tied it around my waist. Overall, 10/10 for this look, I think!

   
   
Day Six

We spent all of Saturday walking around Chicago. We did the Sky Deck on the Willis Tower, stopped by the bean, and just explored the city. It was fun and consisted of lots of walking. He picked out a comfy sweater and jeans, but I had my coat on the entire day, so I figured I’d take a photo of the “going out” look he put together. After walking about 8 miles throughout the course of the day, we headed for the hotel and arrived about 8pm. We relaxed for a bit and leisurely got ready. We found out that Tyler doesn’t know much about skirts, which I would expect. He asked what were considered more dressy skirts, so I showed him what I considered dressy or what was flexible and could be dressed up or down. He settled on this maroon and black high-waisted skirt. He then picked out a plain black, 3/4 sleeved dress that I said I could layer that skirt over if he wanted. He liked this option for the added warmth option. Then he said the fleece-lined, black tights would be good, too. While we were out shopping that day, he helped me pick out a necklace and earrings at Forever 21 to spruce it up a bit. Loved this one!

   
   
Tyler did pick out Sunday’s outfit, too, but in our IKEA shopping adventure, I forgot to photograph it. It was a easy and comfortable jean + thermal top combo. Nothing too fancy, which was fine after a week of picking out my wardrobe for him and a jam-packed weekend in Chicago for me. Comfy and easy sounded fantastic. I thought this whole challenge was fun and Tyler got a kick out of it, too. I think if we did it again, I’d maybe encourage him to choose something he thought was “fashionable” or some sort of objective for the day instead of just whatever he wanted. I mentioned doing the makeup challenge at some point in the future and he said he’d try, but I don’t think we’ll have as amazing results as we did this time… Until next time!

Halloween ’15

This year, I finally hosted a Halloween party! Big shoutout to Kayla for cooking and helping out, as well! Couldn’t have done it without you two! I decided in June, I believe, to be Poison Ivy for Halloween. I like to make my costumes as much as possible, so I bought a corset, hot pants, green fishnets, boots, leaves, wig, etc. and put together the costume myself! It’s more fun that way and guarantees that nobody else will have your costume exactly! It was tons of fun and there were some great costumes! Can’t wait until next year, but what to be?

 

My Tattoos

I love tattoos and cannot wait to get more, but in the meantime I thought I’d post about my current five. All of my tattoos were done at Freedom Ink in Peoria, Illinois. In order in which they were received:

5070_235008720144_2282674_n

1. Fleur De LisΒ Tattoo

I got my first tattoo the summer after graduating high school. This one didn’t hurt too bad, except when the needle went over a couple veins on the top of my foot. It’s a pretty fluer de lis, which is a symbol my family has adopted. All four of us have a fleur de lis tattooed on us, which I think is pretty cool. My mom got a matching one of this one. Tim Beck designed this tattoo and Kyle Berg tattooed it.

384474_10151140137495145_1076848097_n

2. Feather Tattoo

I took a bit of a break and got this in the spring of 2011. I went for the very painful placement of ribs. I got a feather simply because I liked the aesthetic and because my great grandma had just passed away and her favorite animal was a chicken. I thought it’d be a cute way to incorporate that. Tim Beck did this one and he did it fast, which was greatly appreciated.

544974_10151565691450145_2139566103_n

3. Moon Tattoo

This was a spur of the moment thing in 2012. I liked it. Plain and simple. I grew up with Harry Potter and wanted a slight nod to that and my favorite cartoon when I was younger was Sailor Moon, so I guess it represents my youth. But mainly, I just really like moons.

533622_10152435044145145_1733798128_n

4. Pawprint Tattoo

I got this tattoo on my left ankle in 2012, too. I actually took over a deposit my brother put down for his girlfriend at the time but then she broke up with them. I’d been saying that I wanted a paw print of my pup, Lola, for a long time and the opportunity presented itself! I love this tattoo and Tim Beck did a fantastic job.

10734201_10154851591565145_6830170162866978067_n

5. Krupp Tattoo

When I took western civilization at Bradley, I noticed mention of the Krupp family in Germany from the WWII era. They did bad stuff, though… but Krupps is a quite unique name and is an Americanized version of Krupp. Well, they owned a steel company and this was their logo. I got it for the simplicity and to represent family.

10364054_10155766212665145_5131177767992650943_n

6. Live Love Laugh Handwriting Tattoo

My Grandma Frenchie (my dad’s mom) passed away this past fall. She wore a necklace that said “live love laugh” on it for as long as I can remember. I decided to take her handwriting from an old card I still have from her for the “love” and have my other grandma and mom do the “live” and “laugh.” It turned out so well and I really love it.

11700827_10155884040720145_8280472985058885921_n

7. Wild Flower

July 1st, I went back to Freedom Ink and had a wild flower tattoo done by Tim Beck on my hip and thigh area. I showed Tim the style I was drawn to and he drew me up this that just fit perfectly on my body. It took about an hour to do and it hurt really bad on the edges. Very much worth it though, it’s so pretty!

I’m Officially a Home Owner Part II

After months of renovating and moving in, this place is starting to look like my home! I’m not completely finished, mainly in the office and bedroom. For the most part, though, everything’s looking great! Still need to get some curtains for a couple of the rooms and other decor to make it feel more home-y. I can’t wait until it’s warmer so we can do the outside stuff, though! I want a fire pit, that’s for sure.

See what we started with here.