Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cubs Game and Birthday Fun

This weekend Matt and I were lucky to score 4 tickets to the Chicago Cubs game. We had been wanting to go to a Cubs game for a while, but with the season ending and ticket prices soaring, we thought we were out of luck. However, one of Matt's coworkers has season tickets and wasn't able to go, so she generously passed her tickets to Matt and I (thanks Megan!) My dear friend Christie was able to join us and we had so much fun!

DSCN3791.JPGOn our way to the game, we stopped into Goose Island for a pregame beverage.  Goose Island is a local brewery in Chicago, and with endless beer options, its a popular hotspot.  Unfortunately, I don't like beer (gamedays always make me wish I did) but I discovered a gem of a drink when we were househunting in Chicago in March.  Cream soda and rum.  Simple, sweet, and oh my gosh, SO good!  I haven't recreated it at home for fear that I'd be mixing them everyday (which would be a problem lol.)  Don't Matt and I look festive in our Cubbies blue? :)

DSCN3793.JPGWrigley Field!

DSCN3795.JPGWe had GREAT seats!  Its crazy, because the ballpark is so small that there isn't really a bad seat in the place.

DSCN3798.JPGOur cheering section :)

DSCN3796.JPGMatt's Chicago dog.  Think they added enough coloring that relish, lol?

DSCN3799.JPGMe, (creeper Christie), and my beloved Kettle Corn.  I LOVE kettle corn (its genetic, thanks Dad!)  The minute I saw the Kettle Corn guy, I about ripped Matt's arm off I was so excited.  It doesn't take much to make me happy at the ballpark :)

DSCN3792.JPGThe only thing better than watching a Cubs game on a sunny Saturday afternoon is watching them WIN!  Hooray for the home team!

DSCN3804.JPGAfter the game, we walked around a bit and then headed to grab some cupcakes at Swirlz for Matty B's birthday party that night.  (Note: Both Christie and I's husbands are named Matt, so it can get a little confusing.  I refer to her Matt as Matty B, and she refers to my Matt and Dr. Matt, a nickname that stuck when we visited back in January.)

DSCN3807.JPGWe couldn't leave Swirlz without sampling a little something.  We opted for the Key Lime Pie cupcake, yum.  And if you're wondering, we did leave happier :)

DSCN3811.JPGThat night, we celebrated Matty B's birthday with a delightful homemade meal.  Christie is such a fabulous little chef, though sometimes I wish she weren't because my Matt gets used to her cooking, and well, lets just say mine is a sad, sad comparison lol.  Her treat for the night?  Beef bourguignon.  Soooo yummy (thanks Christie!)

DSCN3819.JPGMe and the birthday boy, Matty B.  PS: I have known this guy since middle school, and he is literally one the funniest people I know!

DSCN3830.JPGChristie and me (who I have known since THIRD grade, crazy!)  Saturday was such a blast, and thanks to a mad Celine Dion and B. Spears sing off between Matty B and myself, I woke up Sunday morning with a bit of a sore throat.  But I dominated his version of "Lucky" so it was well worth it :)

Hooray for fabulous weekends, Cubs wins, great weather, happy birthdays, and incredible friends!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Family Photos: Sneak Peek

Last weekend, during my Texas trip, my family decided to take advantage of the fact that we were all together to take some family pictures.  We used to take family pictures every single year, but the past few years, with my parents overseas, we got a little behind in the tradition.  So now that they're back in Houston, we were thrilled to be able to have the oh so fabulous Rachel Robinson shoot some pictures of our family.  Rachel is a long time friend, and when we reconnected a few years ago via Facebook, I noticed she had some serious photography skills.  So Matt and I snagged her for our wedding, and she blew us away with our photos.  (You can see a few of her pictures of us here and here.) Though Rachel is still working on editing the pictures, she emailed me a few to hold me over!  I LOVE them and can't wait to see the rest!  (PS: These are the first family pictures with Matt as a part of our family, which makes me a little giddy.)

family field walking.jpg

ryan senior.jpgRyan also took his senior pictures while we were with Rachel.  How handsome is my little brother? :)

family brick.jpg

Thanks Rachel for the FABULOUS pictures, I can't wait to see the rest!  If you are anywhere in or near Texas and in need of pictures, you should give Rachel a shout.  She is amazing (and affordable!)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall is Here and an OOTD

Fall is officially here in Chicago and I could not be more excited!  Its a little surprising how quick its gotten chilly, and I am praying that my Texas roots aren't frozen by November 1.  I'm trying to make it to December until I really start whining about the winter weather :)

A few weeks ago I wrote about my fall leopard lust and now I'm so excited that I finally get to start wearing it with my fall favorites!  Here is a recent outfit I wore to celebrate the cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes, and the burning of my favorite fall candles.  (I looooove fall candles, its a bit of a sickness really.)



Tunic sweater: Ann Taylor
Leggings: the Gap
Tee: the Gap
Boots: Vince Camuto, Nordstrom
Belt: Ann Taylor
Scarf: snagged at a London market
Cuff: Ann Taylor
Earrings: cannot for the life of me remember


PS: Remember my post last week about stretching your closet via a full laundry hamper?  This outfit was a product of an overflowing hamper, and I must say, I really love it!  I'll definitely be wearing this look again.  That is, if I ever get around to doing any laundry :)

Have a fabulous week yall!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Texas Trip Recap

Hey there dear friends!  Happy weekend!  I finally found some time last night around 1:30 am to do some picture editing.  And after about 30 minutes tinkering around with iPhoto, I came to the conclusion that my camera had the flu during my Texas trip.  Something about the pictures are just "off."  But nonetheless, it was a fabulous trip, so I'm posting them and smiling all the way through it because my trip was so fun and so fabulous!  Something about being with family and good friends is just refreshing to the soul :)

DSCN3675.JPGI flew out of Chicago bright and early Sunday morning.  I'd spent most of the night before freaking out and cramming for my proposal, which left me a tad stressed the morning of my flight.  But imagine my surprise when I stepped off the plane to see my dad waiting at my gate for me!  Not in baggage claim, but right at the gate, like the good old days before security crack downs were necessary.  Turns out my dad had a flight to DC that was leaving a few minutes after I landed, so he ran to surprise me and say hi.  We hugged, took a pic, and then said goodbye at his gate.  It was quick, but it was great to see my dad right after touchdown!

DSCN3678.JPGFirst on my craving list...MEXICAN FOOD!  No offense to Chicagoans, but that stuff yall call Mexican...its just not cutting it for me.  So Monday, after a long day of thrifting with my mom, we waited for my bro to get home from school, and headed to a little hole in the wall spot near the house.  So so yummy.  (PS: Guess what I found during my thrifting adventures?  3 pairs of never been worn Frye boots.  For 24 dollars! They were a full size too small, but you better believe I stood there for a good ten minutes trying to cram my foot in there.  I considered a toe amputation for a few seconds before tearfully putting them back on the shelf.  I hope they found a happy home!

DSCN3679.JPGMy little bro and me :)

DSCN3680.JPGAfter dinner, we headed to Connie's for some of the best frozen custard on the planet (second only to Rusty's in Norman, Oklahoma.)  My go to treat?  Chocolate custard mixed with chocolate shavings and strawberries.  Yum and totally healthy with the strawberry addition ;)

DSCN3684.JPGThe next day and a half are a total blur because I was an anxious wreck about proposing my dissertation.  But...this picture was taken almost two hours after my proposal, at one of the bars across from campus.  If the smiles and drinks don't give it away, all went well and I got the green light to move ahead.  Woo hoo!  And an extra woo hoo for my sweet friends Norma and Edgar who treated me to an impromptu celebration :)

DSCN3687.JPGBack in Houston, my family celebrated at our usual celebration spot, Saltgrass.  If you haven't eaten here, you are seriously missing out.  It is SO good, I'm drooling as we speak.

DSCN3690.JPGNothing like a Texas sized steak, french fried onions, and a glass of wine to say, "Hell yeah I passed my dissertation proposal!"

DSCN3692.JPGI spent most of Thursday shopping and lunching with my mom and was so happy to treat her to a mini-shopping spree at "the store" as an early birthday present.  Friday morning, with Matt now in Texas, we headed back to our old graduate school stomping grounds.  First thing on my agenda?  A coffee date with my old supervisee, Krystavel.  She's all grown up and graduated now, but sitting with her at Starbucks felt just like old times!  Also a quick sidenote, last week I received a pretty harsh comment from an anonymous poster (surprise, surprise) who called it "annoying, disappointing, and offensive" that I did not reveal the name of my university on my blog.  I assume this person thinks I'm not proud of the institution I attend, when in fact, it has nothing to do with that.  I just choose not to reveal some details on my blog, both for safety and for privacy.  Though some context clues might reveal the same information, I just make a choice not to explicitly reveal certain things.  I mean, Anonymous, don't you watch Criminal Minds?  They are some craaazy people out there, so I choose to keep a few things to myself, for my own piece of mind.  And if you don't like it, too bad.  This is my blog, not yours :)

DSCN3694.jpgThen it was off to my old job to see some of my old students and coworkers.  I miss them SO much!  I especially miss this pretty lady who is my old boss and a very dear friend.

DSCN3703.JPGWorking with college students is one of best jobs in the whole world, and I miss it like crazy.  These are a few of my favorites (with a few of Matt's favorites in the background.)  Crazy crazy kids who taught me more about life than I ever expected.

DSCN3700.jpgImagine one of the most genuine, encouraging, and mature college students you can think of.  This is her.  She is too wonderful for words (and is also celebrating a birthday this week.  Happy birthday Susan!)

DSCN3707.JPGNext on the to-do list...getting Matt's college ring!  Getting a ring is big deal at the place we're going to school.  I'm not getting a ring (I can't fathom spending that much on a ring unless its got substantial bling on it) but Matt's parents gifted him one for graduation, and he has certainly worked hard for it.  (Two bachelors, two masters, and a Ph.D  Sheesh!)  Nerd much? :)

DSCN3708.JPGThey asked Matt, "who is with you today?"  When he said my wife, they smiled and gave me the ring to present to him.  I didn't quite know the ring giving protocol, so I smiled, squeaked, and said "Congratulations!"  It was really neat :)

DSCN3710.JPGAnd to make it even better, our best friend Miguel was there for all of it!

DSCN3714.JPGMatt's new man bling.  After editing these pictures, I've decided I'll treat myself to a nice piece of bling when I finish this degree.  What better to say, "Hooray you survived 6 years of graduate school hell" than a new David Yurman? :)

DSCN3719.jpgHappy Matt, proud me :)

DSCN3717.jpgOut of all the pictures these BFFs have together, this might be the cutest lol.

DSCN3720.JPGOn our way out, I ran into one of my old students who was also getting her ring.  Congrats Jill!

DSCN3726.JPGAfter a million more ring pics, a quick trip to Sonic (why don't they have more of those treasure joints in Illinois?), and an outfit change, we met up with our old crew and headed to dinner.  And we couldn't pass up a quick backseat photo op :)

DSCN3728.JPGMatt and me at one of our favorite local dinner spots (though the service was so terrible that night, it became comical.)

DSCN3739.JPGBack at the ring celebration, our group of seven huddled for a quick picture.  I love and miss these people so much and am certain I would not have survived graduate school without them!

DSCN3751.JPGMe and Normie :)

DSCN3768.JPGSaturday we headed back to Houston for a "congrats on getting accepted to OU" party for my little brother.  BOOMER!

DSCN3770.JPGThe newest Sooner addition :)

DSCN3780.JPGA Crimson wearing family!  Congrats Ryan on getting accepted to the best university around!  I can't wait to come visit you :)

DSCN3789.JPGSunday afternoon we packed our suitcases and said goodbye to Texas.  At the airport, Matt and I said celebrated our wonderful Texas trip with a quick bite to eat and drink.  Whoever said airport food is yucky has clearly not eaten at this little hotspot.  Terminal C, I hope we meet again soon!

So, there you have it...a wonderful week at home filled with family, friends, and celebrations.  I am surrounded by such incredible people, and I am so grateful for all of the blessings God has given to me!  Till next time Texas...

Monday, September 20, 2010

How to Stretch Your Closet: The Laundry Edition

Hey there, fab friends! Sorry I've been MIA the past week, but Texas was so busy and fun that I decided to take a break from blogging and enjoy the people around me. I'll do a full recap later in the week after I wade through the 345 pictures I took on the trip. So for today, I wanted to do the third installment of the "How to Stretch Your Closet" series. (You can see the first two installments here and here.) I actually wrote this piece last winter, before I had the bright little idea to do a whole series on stretching your closet. But since I probably had 7 followers at the time, lol, I'm going to repost it, because it is still one of the main ways I come up with outfits I'd never usually think of. So if you were one of my 7 followers last year, you can skip this post (though a refresher lesson can't hurt), but if not, read on and find one of the easiest and most cost effective ways I've found to get the most out of what you have hanging in your closet...

Don’t do laundry. Yep, you read that right. Do not under any circumstances do laundry for at least a few weeks (except the circumstance of your delicates. Please wash those.) I know this might sound crazy, but it works! Three times in the past week, I’ve gone to my closet, thought, what in the world am I going to wear, and then walked out with a “new” outfit that I never would have thought to put together before. Here is my theory: when I go to a full closet with all of my favorite staples, I know exactly what works together. This cardigan with this flowy tank, with these layered necklaces. It’s a sure thing, I know it works, I know it looks good, so I wear it, no hesitation. Even if I try to take risks, having my staples and safe outfits keeps me from taking the plunge. (Sorry for the dramatic word choice. You’d think I’m talking about serious life decisions here.) But when I go to my closet and my staples aren’t there, I’m pushed outside my comfort zone, and I have to make something work. I mean, I can’t go to work naked (well I could, but I’m pretty sure I’d get fired) so I stretch my fashion self, pair things together that I’m not entirely sure of, then tweak it with accessories when I’m done. Sometimes it doesn’t work so well, and I have try several more times to get it right, but sometimes it works really well, and I’m standing at the mirror thinking, “Why didn’t I ever think of this?!”

Here is an example from last Friday. It was freezing here in Texas and I really wanted to wear boots. My black riding boots were in the trunk of my car (I have a terrible habit of living out of my car) and my Uggs weren’t appropriate for work, so those two were out, which left with my black, tall, scrunchy, heeled boots that I bought a few years ago in Austin and L.O.V.E. So I decided on the boots. Now to choose the bottoms. My skinny jeans are too tight at the moment (dang winter weight) and my favorite black pencil skirt was wadded up on my floor. Hmm, ok, what about a dress? I went to my closet, knowing I wanted black, and looked through several cocktail type dresses that were way too dressy for what I wanted. But then I was distracted to my grouping of black jersey dresses that I practically live in during the summer. Hmm, would this work, I don’t know, the top is way to summery, but maybe with a jacket? Though I still wasn’t sure, I tried it, and after about ten minutes I had an ensemble I was so pleased with, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before then. Black tights, black tall boots, black jersey dress, tan Gap bomber jacket, a big black scarf, big gold earrings, and 3 cocktail rings. Pretty rad if I do say so myself! I think I would have been pretty pleased leaving it at that, but that day, I got lots of compliments on my outfit, which reinforced my risk taking. My risk taking that was forced on me by a full laundry hamper and an almost bare closet.

The moral of the story? If you want to stretch your closet, save your bank account some grief, and still indulge a season induced shopping itch, find a way to temporarily put some of your go-to pieces off limits. If you’ve got a lot of willpower, then just telling yourself those pieces are off limits may work, but if you’re anything like me, you need to make those pieces unavailable. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with and just how creative your fashion brain can be when you’ve got fewer choices.

So start the laundry pile up and let the closet stretching begin!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm in Texas!

Hey there friends! Today I am so thrilled because I am blogging from TEXAS! Hooray! I am home for the next week and couldn't be more excited. I'm home for two reasons: (1) Wednesday afternoon I am proposing my dissertation (yikes!) and (2) Friday Matt is getting his college ring, a tradition that is insanely huge the place where we are getting our Ph.D. And since I was buying a ticket, I decided to stretch the trip out a little longer to spend time with my family. This is the first time I've been home since Matt and I moved to Chicago, and I must say, there is just something about being home that feels so warm and fuzzy.

Here are a few of things I'm looking forward to over the next week:

Proposing my dissertation and getting over this intense anxiety I'm feeling at the moment...

Spending time with my lovely little family...

Eating real Mexican food...

Thrifting with my mom...

Spending Friday night with my grad school BFFs who I've missed like crazy...

Learning how to use my mac courtesy of my 18 year old bro...

Celebrating Matt's Ph.D with the purchase of some new man-bling...

Petting my sweet puppy while snuggling up on the couch...

Watching countless DVRed episodes of Criminal Minds (oh cable how I've missed you!)...

Hugging my old boss and plopping down in her office like old times...

Laughing till I cry with my partner in crime...

Making a trip to Saltgrass for a Texas sized steak, french fried onions, and honey butter...

Gifting my mom with a shopping trip at the store as an early birthday present...

Watching the OU football game with my favorite new Sooner...

Treating myself to a mani/pedi...

Soaking up all the heat, sunshine, and southern hospitality I can...

I'll be blogging here and there, but for the most part, I'm going to enjoy being in Texas, my home sweet home :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Random Sprinkles and an OOTD

tumblr_l7fn0yh2U41qcjuy6o1_500_large{we heart it} 

Hey there peeps.  It’s just past midnight here, and I have no idea why, but I am exhausted as shiz.  Ok, I lie , I have an idea why I’m crazy-spent-depleted, but that’s for another day.  For now, I’m just straight tired.  And when I’m this tired, I am random and all over the place.  So I apologize in advance, but tonight’s post is completely the same, random and all over the place.  (And I know you might be thinking, “Umm Allison, if you’re so tired, why are you blogging and not sleeping?”  And my answer?  I have my priorities in line, duuuuuh.)

Ok onto my randomness…

1.  I turned on my heater tonight.  Yes, you read that right, my HEATER.  Heater as in the thing that produces hot air when you’re freezing.  Yeah, that thing.  And its September.  What in the world?!  I know fall comes early in Chicago, but a heater in early September?  Insane.  (And for my fellow Chicagoans, it was only my car heater, but still, it was cranking 85 and I was shivering.  Insane I tell you.)

2.  Today was my first day to open the store as a manager.  No other manager, just little old me and a sales associate.  In charge of the store.  A big store, with nice things, buttons I’m not really sure what they do, and forms I’m not entirely certain how to fill out.  And though I had nightmares someone would come in first thing after I opened the door demanding to speak to a manager for a return-price adjustment-online price match-damaged item-parking complaint-where is the closest restroom-do you sell scratch off lottery tickets-I have a gift card-I lost my receipt type of transaction, no one did.  Ok, well a few peeps did.  But not all those things at once.  Thankfully, I handled it without a panicked phone call to another manager.  Two hips and hooray for me!

3.  This time in three days I will be in Texas.  Hells yeah.

4.  This time next week I will have just finished my dissertation proposal presentation.  Whoa.  This probably means I should actually start putting together my presentation.  Eeesh.

5.  THIS is the best news I’ve heard all day.  No wait, all week!  And yes, if scroll down to the comments section of the post, you will see the first comment is made by yours truly.  I have a Lauren Conrad problem, its fine, I’m aware.

6.  Ok, I lied on #5.  The best news I’ve heard all day, all week, and all month is that my little brother has officially been accepted to The University of Oklahoma.  Keeping the Sooner spirit in the fam.  BOOMER!  And to all my Longhorn friends and family who attempted to convert him…GAME OVER.  You lose.  I win.  Nice try :)

7.  I think Starbucks needs to start serving sprinkle donuts.  They serve egg sandwiches, oatmeal, apple fritters, pumpkin bread and apparently now hummus and cheese trays.  But no sprinkle donuts?  Get with it Starbucks.

8.  Thanks to the craziness that is Whale Wars, I rocked Smashing Pumpkins on repeat this morning.  I can’t get that song out of my head.  Though after a few plays, I returned to my default Glee and B. Spears.  I’m certain I might be the only person to have Britney and Smashing Pumpkins on the same playlist lol.

9.  My outfit today might be one of my favorite outfits ever.  I don’t know if it was the Smashing Pumpkins, the leather jacket, or the black boots, but I felt like a total bad ass lol.  On my lunch break, I caught a glimpse of myself in a window and thought, dang, don’t mess with that girl.  Ha. 

I got this tunic on crazy sale at Macy’s when we were in Arizona (courtesy of my mother in law) and right away, knew I couldn’t wait to pair it with black leggings and black boots for a fall/winteresque day in our new city.  And considering it was 54 degrees when I left the house this morning, I jumped to make it happen today.  As I was walking out the door, I saw my new leather jacket wadded up neatly laying on the floor, and threw it on over the get up.  Insta-love.  I’m wondering if my coworkers would notice if I wore the same thing the rest of the weekend? :)



Leather jacket: Ann Taylor
Tunic: Macy’s INC
Leggings: Ann Taylor
Boots: Nordstrom
Watch: stolen from Matt :)
Necklace: from my trip to Spain
Rings: Forever 21, David Yurman
Earrings: wedding present from Matt

So, if you made it through all my random thoughts, bless you.  You are a fabulous and faithful reader.  And to make me feel like less of a rambling loser, share a little something random of your own with me.  Pretty please :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


tumblr_l5gw2nuBgi1qbjlmmo1_400_large{we heart it}

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

This move to Chicago has taken me off path a bit.  And I mean that in a good way.  I was in a place where I thought I had everything all figured out and planned to perfection.  But the move has stirred things up a bit and thrown a mini-wrench in my plan.  That wrench has turned out to be the biggest blessing, as it has forced me to see things differently, take risks, and break out of the box.  A lot of what I’m doing wasn’t in my plan, but it has opened new doors, new possibilities, and new dreams.  It makes me wonder why I wasn’t dreaming these things before and why I was so set on my silly little plan.  So today, I’m tipping my hat to dreams, and promising myself that no matter how old I get, I won’t ever stop dreaming.