Antiquing in Abilene

It’s official! Steven and I have caught the antiquing bug. Steven is always on the hunt for a good coin and I’m looking for cameras and photos. There’s a lot of fun and nostalgic things to be found in the in between of antique stores. We went to five different antique stores, and I must say, they were all a bit overpriced. We did find a few goodies to take home with us, and I thought I would share some items that I couldn’t help but snap a few photos of!

Steven said, “People who own antique stores are really just hoarders that are okay with selling some of their stuff,” as we tried to make our way through a tight fit in parts of a one store.

I love that there’s a window over the kitchen sink. If you look close enough you can see that it shows a man walking through a gate and a child running to greet him.

I would have loved to have made this beautiful camera mine! It’s a Kodak Retinette 1A Schneider Kreuznach that was made in Germany. They wanted $90 for it! Although it’s pretty, it’s not worth that much!

I like the antiques that surprise you with a laughing fit.

I’ve seen this Smokey the Bear doll in several antique stores. It’s always on the pricier side and never with a hat! He is really cute though, and a good reminder that “only you can prevent forest fires!”

I feel like I should know who this invisible man with a removable face is, but I don’t! Do you know who this guy is?

Three states in between us and home, but it is always finding us here.

The drive to and from Abilene was much quicker than we originally thought! We’re going to have to venture West more often!

I actually ended up with a total of four cameras, but the one not pictured is for a friend!

& of course a few more photos to add to my collection!

Discovering Kansas City, pt. 2

Over the past weekend, Steven and I ventured our way back into Kansas City. This time around was a bit different, we were there for a marriage retreat with Steven’s company, but we did get some time to ourselves as well!

We got to Kansas City a few hours earlier than we were able to check into the hotel. The Kansas City (actually, it’s in Mariam to be exact) IKEA had just opened up on the 10th, and since we haven’t been to IKEA since moving to Kansas, we just had to go!

This IKEA is set up a bit differently than the one I am used to back home (in Sacramento, California). This entire IKEA is above part of the parking garage, there’s a separate parking garage alongside it as well. I don’t know if it was because of the parking set up or what, but the place seemed larger and well, more confusing! Since it was so new, and it was a Friday, the place was packed! Steven and I do not do well with crowds, so we passed up the showrooms and only wandered around the shopping area. We only grabbed a few things – BUT we will return one day soon! Or… when the “newness” has worn off a little bit.

We fought through traffic to get to our hotel, which was across the street from the Kansas City stadiums WHERE everyone was headed. (Now I only insert this story mainly for my father if he reads this:) Walking up to the hotel by the entrance I see a woman wearing a “Posey” jersey. I couldn’t help myself and asked her if the Giants were in town (which is weird to me now, because I do not think the San Francisco Giants play the Royals – pretty sure they are different leagues BUT sometimes weird things do and can happen?!). She went to tell me no, but her husband cut in to say that she was confused (probably because the Detroit whoevers are also orange and black) – but I told him “No, she is right” because GO GIANTS! Laughter ensued.

Anyway, the rest of the night was taken up by the marriage retreat activities and hanging out at the hotel restaurant.

This is what 8 am us looks like on a Saturday. Confused on why we’re not still in our pajamas!

I’ll blame the beginning the day that lead to my What I Meant to Say… post on this #FMSphotoaday challenge prompt: Beginning. We started our day of with too many cups of coffee.

We were at the marriage retreat seminar/activities until noon. We ate lunch at the hotel and then ventured into the water park part of the hotel (CoCo Keys) until around four, all while Kansas City was fighting off a thunderstorm.

I did not take my phone or camera with me to the water park for obvious reasons. We did have a lot of fun though! I think this would be a fun place if you had smaller children especially. The lazy river was short and to the point (and extremely shallow for this long legged lady) but there were adult spas that were outside and indoors! Steven and I even went down the waterslide together at a very high speed in a very pitch black tunnel. Steven says I screamed a lot.

Saturday night’s marriage retreat session was Date Night. I had packed us semi-matchy outfits for the occasion. Also, notice the large cow image in the picture above – that’s randomly placed in the hotel.

Our plans fell through a little bit. We had wanted to go to the Country Club Plaza for dinner but due to the Plaza Art Fair and the thousands of people who showed up for it, we could not find any parking! I feel like Google Maps and the Yelp Apps have so many things MISSING from them. We finally gave up and ate dinner at a Red Robin. When we pulled out of the parking lot we saw a restaurant that we would have much rather eaten at, but was nowhere to be found on any app. Sometimes not knowing where you are or what is around you in Kansas City can be really frustrating.

The next day, we were released by 10 AM to check out of the hotel and do whatever we wanted to do in Kansas City. People were already piling in for the Royals’ game that afternoon so we wanted to get out of the area fast.

Said stadium from just outside our hotel’s parking lot.

I had wanted to go to the Kansas City Workhouse last time we were there, we just never got the chance. This time, it was our first stop! I need to go back here with my Canon DSLR because I did not even bother in most spots with my phone. It’s stunning, eerie, and enchanting all at the same time. It was once a jail though (late 1800s to early 1900s), so, there’s that.

Limestone makes me look and feel tiny.

To fill our bellies we went to Pigwich for lunch. As we were driving there I was sure we were in the wrong area, it’s in an area that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere! It’s alongside several train tracks and a pretty cool looking bar/hangout called Knuckleheads.

The best cheesesteak of life. I will never visit Kansas City again without stopping here. The sandwiches and special made chips are AMAZING!

We were not sure what else to do, and the Country Club Plaza Art Festival was still happening. We walked around, amongst SO many people, so much beautiful and interesting art pieces, heard some good live music, and ate even more good food!

My pictures do not do it justice. This place was pretty awesome.

We were beat! The day got a bit too hot for us to comfortably browse the art along the street so we got in the car and headed back home

Needless to say, Tayte cat was very happy to have us back home (or at least our legs).

Discovering Kansas City

Kansas City is larger than any other city I’ve ever been in. Granted, there’s Kansas City and then there’s the Kansas City area, not the same but they might as well be. Steven and I have gone many times, a mixture of his medical training and trips to my fertility doctor. The majority of those visits were for a few hours, and mainly making quick stops at stores we love but don’t have back in the part of Kansas we live in. Over Labor Day weekend, we went for a few days, to try to experience all we could in a short time. These are the events that followed:

We got to our hotel, checked in and unloaded the car. We stopped in Lawrence for lunch and got to the city a bit later than we had originally planned. However, we did have a few hours to find and wander around River City Market Antique Mall before it closed. The outside of the building is covered in a colorful Lewis & Clark mural and looks HUGE! It’s four stories, including the basement. As soon as we walked in I knew I was going to love the place.


Too many old photographs to go through!


This place is after my heart!

If you are going through Kansas City and love collections of awesome and random things, this store is a MUST. From clothes, furniture, toys, home goods, there is seriously everything you could think of at a relatively decent price! We were in there for two hours and it was not enough to see everything.

A few blocks away is a must see for book lovers:


Kansas City Public Library (the parking garage!)


even the steps are books!

The sun was starting to get lower, and our stomachs were starting to grumble. On the way back to the hotel we made a stop in the Shawnee area of Kansas City to see a hidden gem I’d seen many photos of online:


Sauer’s Castle, Built in 1871.

It’s currently abandoned but there is a caretaker who lives in a separate home on the property. It’s completely gated off, but the caretaker said that almost nightly – someone is trying to break in. I honestly cannot blame the people for their curiosity, the place just reeks of history and creepy vibes. The current owner lives in New York, and does not seem to be in any hurry to restore the property. I hope one day soon he’ll change his mind and open it to the public. I would most certainly pay for a tour!

For dinner, we went to a little place called Mi Ranchito. It honestly was not much to look at from the outside, being attached to an auto repair shop, but the outside patio was packed with people – so we thought we would give it a shot! Manhattan and the Fort Riley area do not really have the Mexican food we are used to, but this place has been the best Mexican food we’ve had since moving away from California! It was also a gorgeous night, the weather was behaving itself, and the patio was a great place to be.

We went back to our hotel, tried to recover from walking and standing in the hot tub, and then retired to our room to look over the photos I had got from River Market Antique Mall as well as figure out what we were going to do the next day. Of course, until this happened:

Around 11:30 PM our hotel was evacuated. 200 some folks standing in the parking lot for a half hour because someone decided to smoke in their room. Kudos to the hotel though for having a very efficient alarm. There was no way anyone could sleep through it and/or take their time getting out of the hotel; it was so loud it could have easily induced a headache in no time.

We got up, got ready, checked out and headed out for more adventures. We ate a quick breakfast and then Steven was nice enough to let me make my way into an ULTA. The first one did not have any of the Naked Basics 2 palette by Urban Decay that had just come out, so we jumped on the freeway for ten minutes to the next. Can I say how unfair it is that Kansas City has multiple ULTAs in less than a fifteen minute drive radius, and Manhattan has none?! Anyway, I got my hands on the new Naked Basics palette, and yes, I love it!

Next it was off to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This museum is COMPLETELY free to visit, minus the $8 to park in their parking garage.

There is art all around the museum, but they’re most known for the huge shuttlecocks that are in various locations.

The building itself is a piece of art:

Water Lilies by Claude Monet. I saw it and was immediately brought to tears. I’ve seen this series so many times in art history books and never thought it would be as big as it is. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

I also cried when I saw the few pieces they have by Vincent Van Gogh (Pictured Olive Orchard). To be in front of a canvas that he painted felt like such a huge honor. If only he could have known how much is artwork is known and loved today.


Modern & Contemporary Art Gallery (Can you spot the Andy Warhol?)

We spent somewhere around four hours in the museum, and by then our legs and feet were exhausted. We had originally wanted to go to Country Club Plaza after, but there was just no way.

We made a quick stop to Gates BBQ and had some of the best barbeque we’ve had since coming to Kansas (Oklahoma Joe’s who?). SO delicious!

On the way back home we stopped in Topeka to see the very famously offensive hate group, The Westboro Baptist Church. Their amount of arrogance, hatred, and downright disrespect for others is mind blowing. Across the street, however, is a wonderful sight to see. We took the above photo in front of The Equality House.

Turns out we should have left Kansas City earlier and completely skipped Topeka, though, because we got stuck in the middle of the worst storm we’ve had this summer. High winds, rain so heavy we were only going maybe 20 MPH in a 75 MPH zone and almost had to pull over, and not to mention the pretty but very scary light show:

I definitely fell in love with Kansas City that weekend. I’m ready to go back and explore more!

100 Happy Days ♥ Days 91 through 100!

It has been over a month since I completed the #100HAPPYdays challenge and my apologies for posting it so late. On 100HappyDays.com the creator claims that 71% of people who start the challenge will not complete it, claiming lack of time as the reason why. I am apart of the 29% who managed to complete it! I started this challenge in attempts to mentally recover from having a miscarriage after battling infertility for two years. Halfway through, on Day 50 strangely enough, I suffered from a second miscarriage. I originally posted on Instagram that I would restart the challenge a week or so later, but I quickly went back on that, and continued on. The challenge is about finding happiness in your day, no matter HOW bad your day may be. Did I have time to be happy every single day? Not necessarily. I MADE TIME.

100 Happy Days, Days 1 – 10 & 11 – 20 & 21 – 30 & 31 – 40 & 41 – 50 & 51 – 60 & 61 – 70 & 71 – 80 & 81 – 90

On 100HappyDays.com there are claims that people who had completed the challenge benefited from some positive effects including: being in a better mood every day, they started receiving more compliments from other people, they realized how lucky they are to have the life they have, they become more optimistic, and they fall in love during the challenge. I suppose to each their own, especially when things going on your life can hinder or improve happiness. I would not say I was in a better mood BECAUSE of the challenge, but had a better attitude about the day when looking back on the photos of what made me happy that day. I would not say I necessarily received more compliments, but was better at accepting the ones I did receive. I have never been one to take life for granted and every day I’m thankful for the opportunities my husband and I have been given. I would definitely not say I became more optimistic, however, that was because of my situation and what it means to me. As far as falling in love during the challenge, I fall in love with my husband every single day. I think the “falling in love” benefit the website lists is more of a falling in love with life and happiness, rather than a person.

Monday, June 30th 2014

The day before my parents arrived for a visit I finished a few projects I had around the house, cleaned up the place, and washed all the laundry. I felt accomplished!

Tuesday, July 1st 2014

My parents made it to our house just in time for dinner. I made buffalo cauliflower (I HIGHLY recommend! My favorite recipe is from PersnicketyPlates.com) and Steven made a homemade pizza!

Wednesday, July 2nd 2014

For the FMSphotoaday challenge, the prompt was something beginning with K, so I took a photo of my Kodak camera! It was a day of taking mental images as my parents and I caught up!

Thursday, July 3rd 2014

Steven got off early from work so we drove to Manhattan, Kansas, and showed my parents around our favorite spots! We discovered Chris Barr’s Cabin in the process. It was found inside a home when it was torn down, and is believed to have been apart of the Underground Railroad!

Friday, July 4th 2014

Since fireworks are not allowed on post, we took it easy for the Fourth of July this year. We ate a big dinner and took my parents on a nearby hike along the river! When we made it back on post, it was perfect timing to sit up on the hill and look down to a nearby town and watch all the fireworks go off.

Saturday, July 5th 2014

Steven and my dad went fishing and my mom and I went to my favorite thrift stores! I found this Steve Urkel doll and could not help but take a photo or two of it. The TGIF television line up holds a lot of fond memories for me!

Sunday, July 6th 2014

There was a huge heatwave and it prevented us from wanting to do much at all! Temperatures were in the high 90s to 100s and the humidity way too high for our blood. We drove around Milford Lake and came across the discovery center and fish hatchery there. This little piggy in a tree near there was too happy not to capture.

Monday, July 7th 2014

The weather was a bit cooler than it had been over the weekend, so the boys attempted to go fishing again. My mother and I went off post to some thrift stores, most of which were closed for the four day weekend. We did manage to find an open cupcake shop though!

Tuesday, July 8th 2014

My parents left that morning to travel a bit more before returning home to California. Kansas was back to being the state of Steven and Kristen.

Wednesday, July 9th 2014

I decided to leave the #100HappyDays photo challenge exactly the way I came into it: with a selfie! It’s up to me whether I choose to be happy or not. I have to be the one to fight for my happiness.

Was I happy for 100 days?! No.
Was I able to find something happy in every single day? Yes.
The #100HappyDays challenge showed me that happiness is a journey NOT a destination. You have to enjoy the journey, look for the good when you hit those bumps in the road. Looking over everyone who has taken part of the challenge, it also shows that the journey can be harder for some people. It’s easy to be thrown off course, and to be honest, I got back into a bad place after the 100 days was over. It’s really easy for people on the outside to throw out a “just be happy” or “choose happiness” when it’s not that easy.

I did it! I made it to 100 days! I recommend it. There’s so much good that can happen spiritually and emotionally from looking for the HAPPY in each and every day!

Can you find the happy for 100 days?

Photos featuring Fluffy White Clouds

With everything that has happened this past year, I feel as though I built a lot of barriers around myself and my feelings. It is bizarre to me that some people who have been through the same thing can be so unsympathetic. It is hurtful how ignorant people who have not been through it can be. I have been lucky enough to come in contact with MANY wonderful people who do understand, though, do not get me wrong. What I’m trying to say is, I feel like in many ways, I have lost my way with words.

I’m trying to get myself back together, back into the world, back into the old, but good habits. I’ll write more about my journey back to happiness next week.

These past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time behind the camera lens. These are the snaps from the past week!:

Last weekend was Steven’s birthday weekend. I thought for sure we would spend every day fishing at this particular spot. We only went last Saturday, but it was probably the most beautiful day to be there.

While Steven fished, I sat back at a picnic table brainstorming blog ideas. Not a bad view.

I use to ALWAYS take jump photos. The area was so green, I had to take the opportunity to shoot one for old time’s sake. I’m a little rusty.

I’m making a video for Steven’s family because they have yet to be out to visit us. Since we moved into a new house, I’ve video taped a tour, as well as the surrounding areas. We went to a few of our favorite places on post.

I like to caption this one with “Eat your heart out Led Zeppelin!”…. (Stairway to Heaven)

While we were at the top, the clouds got quite the sense of humor. I turned around to see what almost appeared to be a working chimney!

Thanks to my handy dandy tripod, I took a few photos of Steven and I! It was really hot and I wore out quickly running between Steven and my tripod! We got a few good ones, but the majority of them we looked too tired.

We’re still in counseling for our miscarriages, and when I told our counselor that I had taken maternity photos for a friend she grimaced and gave an empathetic nod. I told her I actually did really well with it. My friend pictured found out she was pregnant the same day as I did, the first pregnancy that I lost. Her due date is ten days after mine would have been. Not until I was home sifting through the photos did I realize that if I was still pregnant, I would have looked the same. Even then, I was able to quickly shake it off. Granted, I have high hopes that we will have our rainbow baby next year. I have been having more good than bad days lately.

One day at a time.

100 Happy Days ♥ Day 61 through 70

Yikes! I wanted to have this up yesterday BUT my body had other plans in mind! I’ve been fighting something not even the doctor is sure of, but hopefully I’ll be feeling back to normal soon!

100 Happy Days, Days 1 – 10 & 11 – 20 & 21 – 30 & 31 – 40 & 41 – 50 & 51 – 60

In case you are new to my blog, I have been taking part in the 100 Happy Days Challenge and I have been posting my daily happy onto my Instagram account @CameraKristen. This year started off emotionally draining and on April 1st I decided it was time to fight back! This project has helped me see the wonderful in every day – even if it is just something small. Halfway through, I was painfully reminded why I started this project but I didn’t give up. There is ALWAYS something to be happy about and thankful for, even when you are going through a tough time!

Saturday, May 31st 2014

My husband’s friends from his unit were almost all home from deployment! We invited one of his buddies over for some delicious barbeque and the fun and amazing stories ensued!

Sunday, June 1st 2014

The locals say “If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes and it will change.” This was one of those days! It started off as a lovely day! I met my friend Brittney in town for margaritas and a pedicure all while it was nice outside! As soon as I got home the weather turned! Kansas definitely has some pretty light shows though!

Monday, June 2nd 2014

It was a pretty quiet day. I did receive this lovely bracelet from my mother-in-law! Thank you!

Tuesday, June 3rd 2014

This was an uplifting day! My husband and I made our way to Kansas City to meet our new fertility doctor and discuss what may have gone wrong the second pregnancy and make realistic plans for the future. She was very positive thinking – and that was definitely something we needed! The weather behaved itself and it was a great touristy day! (See the angel wings in the clouds?)

Wednesday, June 4th 2014

Next to the check out line in the commissary they strategically place all the junk food I love. These were that day’s choice: Jordan Almonds!

Thursday, June 5th 2014

There was a HORRIBLE storm that morning. We had wind gusts of up to 80mph in some places and pieces of homes were strewn about my entire neighborhood. Once it passed though, you would have never known how ugly it had once been!

Friday, June 6th 2014

When we lived in town we used to live a few minutes from an Asian market. Not until that day did we adventure into it. I do not know if it was a good thing (we would’ve spent all our money there!) or a bad thing (it’s now over a half hour away!) that we just now discovered its’ greatness! We found so many delicious goodies that remind us of home and that are so hard to find here!

Saturday, June 7th 2014

We put a California state flag in our patio. We thought it was slightly comical that Monarch looks confused on why he’s in Kansas!

Sunday, June 8th 2014

We said, “let’s make homemade pho!” and it was delicious!

Monday, June 9th 2014

It had been exceptionally humid over the weekend and the the rain was a great break from it! I LOVE that it rains here during the summer!

100 Happy Days ♥ Days 31 through 40

Goodness gracious! In between allergies, a semi-busy schedule, slowly trying to put together the puzzle of our new home (I promise we’ve been done with unpacking – it’s just trying to really make sure everything is where we want it), and having been thrown out of the habit when we did not have internet for that short while – I fell off the blogging wagon! Through all that, I’ve been trying my best to stay on top of the #100HappyDays challenge!

100 Happy Days, Days 1 – 10 & 11 – 20 & 21 – 30

In case you are new to my blog, I have been taking part in the 100 Happy Days Challenge and I have been posting my daily happy onto my Instagram account @CameraKristen. This year started with a big slap in the face and I had a hard time coping. This challenge is definitely helping me to remember to look for all the HAPPY in each and every day.

Thursday, May 1st 2014

My absolute favorite thing about Kansas is the SKY here! Summer skies here are full of fluffy clouds and amazingly colorful sunrises and sunsets!

Friday, May 2nd 2014

Nothing feeds baby fever quite like spending a few hours with a cute lil guy who is not even old enough to crawl! Baby giggles and wonder and everything in between – oh my!

Saturday, May 3rd 2014

Some may see a field full of weeds – but I see a whole lot of wishes to be made!

Sunday, May 4th 2014

Wandering around Fort Riley, we’re starting to get our barrings. It’s not so bad once you have been back and forth from certain areas, but tell me a new place to go, and I will still definitely need my GPS!

Monday, May 5th 2014

I took this photo because the “Cinco de Yolo” I found pathetic (WHY must we keep saying this?! “Seize the day” “C’est La Vie” actually have class and make sense. You only live once sounds like it came from the Journal of Common Sense) BUT it was also taken during a good part of the day. We thought we had so much to do that day, but it turned out that we planned to do so much on the wrong day! So, we ate lunch at Carlos O’Kelly’s (these are not in California – and when we moved here I thought it was going to be a weird Irish and Mexican fusion restaurant- it’s not) and we people watched.

Tuesday, May 6th 2014

Since moving on post, we have made a good habit of visiting the gym inside our community office. We have also made a point to stop by the arcade on the way out!

Wednesday, May 7th 2014

The 7th was my birthday! 28 years old and not a day younger!

Thursday, May 8th 2014

My husband got me the Chocolate Bar eyeshadow palette by Too Faced for my birthday (it smells like chocolate!) and I could not wait to use it! I may even do a review? I’m in love!

Friday, May 9th 2014

The day prior I had changed our bedding, we put on our memory foam back onto the mattress, and Tayte slept the whole night through! It was the first night she had not woken us up at 3:30AM since the move! … We’re still working on getting her into a normal sleep schedule!

Saturday, May 10th 2014

This photo is a complete misrepresentation of that day – BUT it was a little piece of happy from that day. I tried to get my office put together and straighten up the house a bit before Steven’s friends came over for a BBQ! It was a beautiful day outside, the food was great, and we had excellent company!

Please excuse the once and again posting! I promise to get back in the habit from here on out! ♥