30 By 30 Update, June 2017

Y’all I’m SO FIRED UP right now!! I have checked a bunch of stuff off my list lately, and I’m totally giddy. Something about crossing things off of a checklist gives me a boost of energy to go cross everything else off. Haha! Here’s what I’ve done since my last update in November:

#2 – Take an Alaskan cruise. I cannot appropriately explain how mind-blowingly awesome this trip was. We got to visit Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria. Plus, we got to take anniversary pictures in Juneau (SWOON) and hang out with friends on our last day in Seattle! Dreamy, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m still reeling from the beauty of it all.

#6 – Read 10 new books. I really feel like I’m on a roll with this one. I’ve finished a bunch since my last update, and I’m excited about the ones in my ‘queue’. So far, I’ve read Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown, and Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan. Our community group from church is reading The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, and I’m also working my way through Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers again (I’ve read it before, but MAN it’s so good).

#11 – Deliver meals to new parents. So far, we’ve taken food to the Whitley family to celebrate baby Abigail, and the Newton family to celebrate baby Éowyn! And there are lots more babies coming this year (including my first niece, Karis – she’s a doll!!), so I know we’ll get to do this again. :)

#18 – Take anniversary pictures with Daniel. Check check CHECK!! I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to top the experience of one of our wedding photographers, the amazing Catie Bartlett, taking our pictures at a glacial lake in Alaska.

#20 – Update my home décor. Technically this one was already on my last update, but I’ve added new things since! I got a gorgeous wooden ‘Oklahoma’ from my mom for Christmas, I updated our living room bookcases with new decorations, added a gallery wall in our master bedroom, and finally decorated the guest bathroom with an easy DIY craft project that I unfortunately did not take pictures of – bad Laura.

#21 – Make our backyard fun. There’s still lots to do, but adding some globe string lights and a planter of wildflowers definitely improved the back porch!

#26 – Visit 5 new states. Washington, Alaska, and Colorado are new additions – three down, two to go! We technically visited Utah…but we were only in the airport, so it doesn’t really count.

#30 – Take a road trip. The Simma clan family vacation to Colorado helped me knock this one out. Wayyy too many hours spent in the car, but lots of music, pretty views, snacks, and inside jokes with my siblings made it better.

Can’t wait to keep checking more off of this list – almost a third of the way through, and I still have 2½ years to finish the rest! To check out what else is on my list, go here.


Five Years.


Five years. We’ve been married for five whole years. Five is a “milestone” year, right? It feels like one. We aren’t in the glorious throes of parenthood or figuring out what it’s like to be middle-aged yet, but we’re not exactly newlyweds anymore either. We’ve laughed a lot. We’ve traveled a lot. We’ve stumbled, fallen, and helped each other up a lot. I earnestly hope that God allows us decades more of doing life together!

Daniel – I love you more and most. Thanks for embracing my crazy and not running away. :) Happy Anniversary!

Alaska: Part III

PART III // Ketchikan, Victoria, & Seattle

The last three days of our trip were spent wandering around Ketchikan (a tiny Alaska fishing town), Victoria (a gorgeous British-like Canadian city), and Seattle again! We had shorter port times in Ketchikan and Victoria, so we didn’t get to explore much, but we still enjoyed walking around town. And it was fun to be shown Seattle by friends who actually live there, rather than running around aimlessly on our own.


–Breakfast at Sweet Mermaids
–Creek Street

It rained on us in Ketchikan, so we didn’t spend too much time walking around. But we found a cute little coffee shop near the waterfront called Sweet Mermaids, and Daniel got the best cheese danish either of us had ever tasted. We also walked through the historic Creek Street area and stopped in a few of the shops along the way.


–Empress Hotel
–British Columbia Parliament Building

I was heartbroken that we didn’t have more time here – it was absolutely charming! The only place I knew I wanted to go was the the corner of Belleville and Government to see the Empress Hotel and the British Columbia Legislature, and both were stunning. I would have loved to have visit the Butchart Gardens or go whale watching, but I’m glad we didn’t book an excursion, because it took FOREVER to get off the ship and we would have missed it.


SEATTLE, Take 2:
–Pike Place Market
–Kerry Park / Gas Works Park
–Elliot Bay for lunch

I LOVED this day!! We got to visit some beautiful places AND hang out with some old friends from Oklahoma. I wasn’t sure what we were going to do between getting off the cruise ship at 8:00 am and our flight at 5:00 pm, and Stephen and Jimi Hightower totally saved the day. They picked us up at the cruise terminal, drove us and our suitcases around all day, and basically gave us a personalized tour of Seattle. We got to see Pike Place Market (a bucket list place for me), lots of parks, and their new apartment – isn’t their mug holder cute?? Jimi is ultra crafty, and you can check out some of her other projects here!

Thanks again, Stephen and Jimi, for showing us your city! :)


The only dark cloud on our entire trip was trying to go home. Our flight was supposed to leave at 5:00 pm, so the Hightowers dropped us off at the airport at 3:00. We went to a self-service kiosk to check in, and the screen told us that it was too late to check our bags. Confused, we went to the desk to check in there instead. When we handed the lady our tickets, she got a weird look on her face and started typing on her computer.

“What time is your flight?” she asked.

“5:00,” I said nervously.

More typing.

“Hmm….that flight was actually moved to 3:20.”

My heart raced. “Um…what???”

Immediately, Daniel asked, “Well, can we make it??”

Without a shred of sympathy, the lady said, “No, I’m sorry.”

I was speechless.

Daniel: “Okay…what time is the next available flight?”

Lady: “Let me check….(longest pause ever)….it looks like the next earliest flight is at 11:15 pm.”

Cue me dissolving into tears.

Long story short, we had to transfer from American to Alaska Airlines and sit in the airport for 8 extra hours. We checked and double-checked our emails, and neither of us had received any communication from American at all that day – not even a regular check-in email for our original flight time. We should have gotten home around midnight or 1:00 am, and instead, we pulled in our driveway around 7:00 am. NOT IDEAL. But besides that nightmare, we had a wonderful trip! And here is a picture of my Starbucks, because when you’re stuck in an airport for that long, what else is there to do than be a basic white girl?


In case you missed them, here’s Part I and Part II of this trip.

If you’re not ready for the vacation pictures to end, don’t worry – I’m going to Colorado with my family this month, and I’ll have lots of more gorgeous goodness to share soon!

Alaska: Part II


Juneau, Skagway, and Glacier Bay: the three loveliest days of our trip! I’m so glad I took pictures, but I’m also glad that I had the strength to put down the iPhone and just look around every once in awhile, and believe me – I drank in every detail. The strongest memory I have from the trip is how many times I felt so incredibly small, staring up at the towering mountains and trees around us and losing all my words. I’ve never been anywhere so beautiful in my life. It’s hard to believe that the locals actually get used to such breathtaking views and forget how wonderful their ‘backyard’ really is! I could ramble on for way too long about how gorgeous everything was – but I think I’ll just show you instead. ;)

–took anniversary pictures at a glacial lake
–went on an ice caves excursion
–ate the best seafood I’ve ever had

So many words, and yet so few at the same time. AMAZING day. Shout-out to Catie Bartlett for taking what I know will be the most incredible pictures (separate post to come later!), to our glacier adventure crew for taking us on the most baller excursion EVER, and to Tracy’s King Crab Shack for the most ridonkulous crab bisque – possibly the best soup, period, that I’ve ever had in my life. During our excursion, we paddled across the lake, explored the ice caves, and hiked up on top of the Mendenhall Glacier. Not for the faint of heart, but wayyyy worth the tired arms and legs!

–rode the White Pass Scenic Railway
–EXPLORED the idyllic downtown area
–LUNCH at skagway brewing company

Another amazing day! We booked the train ride because it was the #1-rated excursion for Skagway, and it did not disappoint – the views were unreal. We went all the way up into Canada and turned around on the track, so we got to see both sides of the track during the trip. I loved the guide’s narration about the railroad and the route hundreds of people traveled during the gold rush. Afterward, we walked around town (very picturesque!), got some fudge and truffles from a candy shop, and ate lunch at Skagway Brewing Company.

–perfect sightseeing spot on the boat
–Margerie Glacier and Lamplugh Glacier
–roughly one billion sea otters

Honestly? I don’t even know where to start with how pretty this place was. The glaciers were enormous. The Margerie Glacier is 250 feet high and over a mile long! We had a completely unobstructed view of the bay for the entire day, aside from an obnoxious 20 minutes when a huge group of very rude people stood directly in front of our chairs to take about 700 pictures together. Literally, they were maybe a foot in front of us. *eye roll* But besides that, we had a great day on the ship! We spent a lot of time watching the mountains and the water for signs of wildlife, and I’m not kidding – we probably saw at least 200 otters float by the ship within a 30-minute period. They were so cute!

One of my favorite things we did all week was watch the sunset from the back of the ship as we sailed back out of Glacier Bay. Funny enough, it was 10:00 pm when I took this picture! We were the only people on deck, and it was such a sweet, peaceful moment.

The third and final piece of the Alaska trip series is coming soon – stay tuned for photos from Ketchikan, Victoria, and our one-day tour of Seattle with the Hightowers!