Friday, October 29, 2010



"To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other's hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time." Clara Ortega

I love this picture, this quote, the "little" guy standing next to me, and the joys that being a big sister have given me.  Thank you sweet Rachel for capturing this photo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quartino and an OOTD

A few weeks ago, one of my old friends from high school was in town for work, and we made it a point to arrange a little dinner date in the city.  Laura and I were on the drill team together (sequins, fringe, and cowboy boots have a way of uniting people) and though it had been years since I'd seen her, she was still the same super smart, super driven, and super funny girl.

DSCN3971.JPGWe had dinner at Quartino, an Italian restaurant/wine bar downtown.  My friend Christie had recommended the spot to me, and I'm so glad she did.  It was the perfect spot for a drill team reunion/dinner date.  We were able to snag a corner table outside on the patio, and it was so fun to be outside amidst all the hustle and bustle that is Chicago.

DSCN3969.JPGI wasn't able to snap very good pics of our food, but the polenta fries were too good not to get a shout out.  I love fries and adore polenta, so how could we go wrong?

DSCN3970.JPGThe menus is made up of shared plates, which I always like.  I think it adds a more festive dinner vibe.  (Sharing is caring, right?)  Though the food was delicious, what I was most impressed by was the price.  This was one of those nights where we just ordered what sounded good, and didn't pay too much attention to price or what we were ordering.  And when the bill came, both of us exclaimed, "That's it?"  So if you're looking for a fun, hip spot in Chicago to meet friends for dinner and drinks without breaking the bank, I'd give Quartino a try.

DSCN3975.JPGAfter ending our meal with a caramelized banana, vanilla gelato, biscotti, whipped cream, and chocolate dessert (yes, it was as good as it sounds) Laura and I hugged our goodbye and snapped a quick picture.  It was so good to see her and share my fun city with her.  Hopefully she (and Shana) will be back in the spring to spend more time in the Windy City.  Hooray for drill team, dinner dates, and friends having business trips in Chicago!

And here is a knees up picture of my OOTD from the night...


Dress: Nordstrom
Jacket: Ann Taylor
Scarf: Ann Taylor
Belt: Anthropologie
TIghts: Hue
Boots: Vince Camuto (not shown but seen here)
Rings: David Yurman, Forever 21
Bracelet: Ann Taylor
Earrings: my wedding day gift from Matt

DSCN4015.JPGI snagged this dress from the juniors department at Nordstrom a few weeks ago for $7 dollars.  Score!  Since junior dresses are typically too short for my 5'10'' self, I don't usually bother looking at them.  But when I saw this summer dress marked down, I thought it would look perfect with tights and a little jacket.  And with tights I actually prefer the shorter length which puts this frock somewhere between dress and tunic.  I have also been really into pattern mixing lately, and though I wouldn't usually pair leopard and floral together, I think it works here.  Oh, and please excuse my Single Ladies pose here, I was trying to show off my new favorite bracelet.  A little bit rocker, a little bit Texas rhinestone.  Love it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Lately List

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Remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned that I was going to start making Happy Lately Lists a regular feature on this blog?  Well I am sticking to that resolution, and am so excited to share my first reader Happy Lately List.  Enjoy!  (And for details on how to have your list featured here, see the end of the post.)

Whitney's Happy Lately List

Taking long walks and feeling the energy of New York

Planning a nice, warm New Years in San Diego with my BFF, Andrea

These ruffled Anthropologie boots (dutifully added to my Christmas wish list)

Misty morning hikes in Brooklyn's Prospect Park

Finding a bottle of Veuve champagne on my desk, left as a "thank you" from a colleague

All of my wonderful friends who have visited NYC this fall

My company's new "jeans-can-be-worn-all-the-time" policy (score!!)

Pumpkin <fill in the blank with your choice of delicious baked good>

Getting to wear my cropped TopShop bomber jacket from last year on a regular basis

Tights, tights, tights. Need I say more?

Deciding to go as Lindsay Lohan for Halloween again this year (this is my fifth time channeling LiLo - I'm hoping to go as "Prison Lindsay" this Halloween.)

Making my mom's homemade chicken pot pie and shepherd's pie

And of course, my first giveaway! The lovely folks at CSN have offered me the opportunity to give away a $35 gift certificate to one of my lucky readers. Entering the giveaway is easy - all you have to do is: 1. Follow me - it's easy! - 2. Once you follow me, leave me a comment about what's made you happy lately.  (For a second entry in the giveaway, give Allison here a follow and leave me a second comment that you are following her.) Ta-da! And you're done. The giveaway will be open until next Tuesday, November 2 at noon. A winner will be chosen at random.

Thanks Whitney for sharing your Happy Lately List and be sure to stop by A Toast to hear about more of Whitney's little celebrations.  (And just to clarify, the giveaway is Whitney's not mine, so leave your giveaway entry comments over at her fabulous blog.)

If you want your Happy Lately List featured, just send me an email ( with TEN things that are making you happy lately.  I've already got several fabulous lists from readers in my inbox that I can't wait to share with you.  These Happy Lately Lists are reminding me just how contagious happiness is!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Things I've Googled Lately

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Emma Watson's new haircut
Though I could never pull this off, she looks adorable.  (But I'm pretty certain she would be adorable in a paper bag.)

When Does It Snow in Chicago?
I am preparing for the day I will begin my winter hibernation.  I'm not sure I'm ready for a Chicago winter.  Eeesh.

How to Start a Fire
Haha, no I haven't joined the Boyscouts, and no, I don't have conduct disorder, but Matt and I ready to enjoy our lovely little fireplace and are having some trouble getting some lasting flames going.  I tried to tell Matt we should get the easy start logs, but he insisted "he knew what he was doing."  How many times have I heard that :)

Friday Night Lights Netflix
I started watching this a few weeks ago and am seriously addicted.  I'm already done with seasons 1 and 2 and halfway into season 3.  Love me some FNL.

Easy Crockpot Recipes
After a disaster in the kitchen two weeks ago (I nearly poisoned Matt with a crockpot Broccoli and Cheese soup) I'm giving it another go and trying to find some easy, delicious crockpot dinners.  Any suggestions?

I've got a gift card burning a hole in my pocket which has led to me obsessively checking their website for the perfect little lovely to spend it on.  This sweater is definitely in the running.

Coat Racks
In Texas, having a coat rack is about as useful as having a third big toe.  Absolutely no point.  But in Chicago, its a total necessity.  Matt and I are trying to get up to speed on winter essentials, and since our coat closet is teeny tiny, this is something we desperately need (though we can't find one we really like.)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
After my boss brought in a yummy loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, I thought I'd try my hand at the combination.  After mixing all the ingredients together, I couldn't figure out why the mix was so soupy.  Then Matt curiously asked why I used powdered sugar, before falling to the floor in laughter when I replied "Wait, that's not flour?!"  Oh yall, I really am hopeless in the kitchen :(

New Harry Potter Movie
Less than a month to go...a woo hoo!  I'm trying to finish the last half of the books before then.

Lauren Conrad Style Book
I flipped through this at Target the other day and liked what I saw.  I think I'm going to add this to my Christmas list.

Why don't men realize you have to rinse plates caked with food before putting them in the dishwasher?
Ok, I didn't really Google this, but I am seriously puzzled as to what is so hard about this issue.  Anyone?

What have you Googled lately?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Low Key Visit from my BFF

This past weekend I was so lucky to get a visit from my best friend Jordan.  She and her fiance were in town for his high school reunion (he is from Chicago; Jordan and I grew up in Dallas together) so they extended their trip a few days so we could get in some BFF bonding time.  With most of our visitors, we are pretty busy seeing the sights and the city, but their visit was low key, which was a nice change.  Though I didn't take a ton of pics (shocking, I know) we enjoyed ourselves and spent most of our time eating, drinking, laughing, and just hanging out.

DSCN3976.JPGSaturday morning, we enjoyed brunch at one of Matt and I's favorite brunch spots.  Jordan's plate was the star of the brunch...banana cinnamon roll french toast.  So yummy!

DSCN3979.JPGMatt, me, and that random piece of hair no one bothered to tell me about lol.

DSCN3982.JPGThe soon to be married couple!  They are getting married in Dallas in March and Matt and I are so excited to be a part of their big day.

DSCN3997.JPGWe of course made time for some shopping :)

DSCN3986.JPGLater in the day, we headed to one of our favorite game watching spots to cheer on the Texas Rangers, the little team that could.

DSCN3990.JPGJordan and I got a little restless, so we headed down the street to an old fashioned candy store.  Annnd, this is what we brought back :)

DSCN3994.JPGJust in case you're wondering the type of pictures you get when you ask your husband to take a quick picture...

DSCN3998.JPGSunday we had lunch at Portillo's.  After seeing a constant, crazy line of cars at this place, Matt and I finally got to experience Portillo's.  They're known for their hot dogs and hamburgers, and since I'm not a big fan of Chicago dogs (I know, sue me) I opted for a hamburger.  And it did not disappoint.  Deelish!

DSCN4006.jpgAfter lunch, we headed to Top Golf, which is a kind of mini-golf meets driving range meets video game.  Super hard to explain, but if you have one near you, its totally worth going.  I know nothing about golf, and still had a blast (and of course wiffed the ball about 95 times, oopsie!)

DSCN4000.JPGThe guys, who took this whole thing a little more serious than Jordan and I :)

DSCN4005.jpgHaha, we are probably the only two people who would golf in leopard :)  And that is what best friends are for, right?  Such a fun visit, and I'm so happy I got to spend time with one of my favorite people in the whole world.  Love you, JJ, can't wait to see you in January!



Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Stretch Your Closet: The Question That Will Change Your Life

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Its been a few weeks since I blogged about getting the most out of what you have hanging in your closet, and with fall fashions upon us, I'm needing my own reminder now more than ever. I find myself lingering in front of store windows longer and swearing I need every single article of clothing that passes through "the store's" doors. And while I'm all about stretching, I have to be honest...its impossible for me NOT buy anything for fall. No matter how much Matt protests "you don't need anything," I'm a girl with fashion cravings that has to indulge every once in a while. But those indulgances can't be often, as funds are limited, and I don't want my American Express to burst into flames while trying to buy groceries. (Because while I don't need that fabulous scarf, I do need that milk and bread.)  So when I do shop, when I do decide what few pieces I am going to add to my closet, I have to be smart, and I have to be picky.

Stretching your closet is mostly about making the most of what you already have hanging in your closet, but a portion of it is also about making the most of the money you am spend when you do decide to shop. I guess its more like "stretching your fashion dollar." And lucky for me (and my bank account) I have discovered an incredibly short, yet amazingly powerful question to ask myself when I'm shopping. This one little question has literally transformed my shopping, buying, and wearing habits.

"Do I LOVE this?"

Ok, good.  Say it again.

"Do I love this?"

Nice, job.  But say it one more time, this time slowing down and exaggerating the movement of your mouth as you say the L-word.

"Do I loooooove this?"

Alright, now that you've indulged me, and repeated this so many times your roommate, spouse, cat, or neighbor are giving you strange looks, let's take a second to recognize questions we're not asking.

"Do I really, really, really like this?"
"Do I think this is super cute?"
"Do I almost totally love this?"

None of those questions are the same as, "Do I love this?"  So what's up with the emphasis on love?  Well, my mom started asking me this question years ago when we used to shop.  You know, when I still thought money grew on trees and Mastercard was another word for free-so-you-never-have-to-pay card.  In those days, I used to roll my eyes when she asked me that, before stomping back to the dressing room after an exasperated, "No, I guess not."  But when I began to buy my own stuff, and I realized you actually had to pay off that credit card bill, that question suddenly became my best friend.

"Do I love this?" doesn't just mean, at first glance, does it make my heart go pitter patter?  "Do I love this?" means when I put it on, and I'm standing in front of the fitting room mirror, do I love it?  Do I love the way it looks, do I love the way it fits, do I love the color on me, do I love the way it makes my body look, do I love the feel of the fabric?  Notice its not about I like the way it looks, fits, feels, and hangs.  Like is not enough.

You see, in my opinion, there are lots of cute clothes out there, lots of things I like.  But I'm not a bazillionaire, and I don't have a yacht sized closet, so I can't buy everything I like.  I have to stick with things that I love, things that are perfect.  Still not so sure?  Lets do a little experiment.  Think about the last time you had a closet purge.  (You know, when you pick through your closet to get rid of things that you no longer wear, like, or fit into.)  Ok, so think back to the last time you did that.  Think about the things you got rid of, the things you decided you didn't want anymore.  I'm going to guess that for 90% of that stuff, you had some sort of doubt, hesitation, or wish when buying it.  Examples: "I like this, but I wish it were a little longer....This is cute, but the color is a little off...This isn't quite what I've been looking for, but its cheap, so I'll get it...Its a little short, but with tights I'm sure it'll be fine."  Am I right?  I see you shaking your head, and no, I'm not psychic, I've just been there before.  I started asking myself that a few years ago, and I was ashamed at my answer.  Sure, there were one or two things that had worn out or been ruined in the wash, but for the most part, the things I purged were things I simply "liked" when I bought them, not loved.

So I'm challenging you to give my love question a shot.  If the fit isn't perfect, if the color isn't the exact shade you want, say no.  If the fabric doesn't feel right, and you don't like the cut of the skirt, put it back.  If you like something but can't exactly figure out why you don't love it, don't fret, just walk away.  I swear by this question yall.  Because its a heck of a lot easier to stretch your closet when its filled with things you love, rather than things you like.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Love You More Than...


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When I was little, my mom and I used to tell each other how much we loved each other by taking turns saying, "I love you more than..." and we'd fill in the blank with the biggest, most, and greatest things we could think of. My mom would say things like, "I love you more than all the blades of grass in the world" or "I love you more than all the drops of water in the swimming pool." I on the other hand, wasn't quite as good at capturing magnitude and would say something like, "I love you more than all the blankies" before breaking into endless giggles. So today, on my mom's birthday, I thought I'd let her know just how very much I love her...


I love you more than all the clouds in the sky...I love you more than all the hours you've spent in the car, shuttling me from place to place...I love you more than all my tears you've wiped away...I love you more than all the giggles we've shared...

I love you more than all the sleepovers you hosted...I love you more than all the times I heard you say "Kill 'em with kindness..."I love you more than all the glitter I managed to glue and grind into our living room carpet...I love you more than all the secrets we share...

I love you more than all the nights you stayed up late to help me finish projects...I love you more than all the recitals, competitions, and performances you sat through...I love you more than all times you made me feel special...I love you more than all the times I whined that things weren't fair...

I love you more than all the green food coloring we used over the years for our special St. Patty's Day dinner...I love you more than all the times you let me lick the brownie batter spoon...I love you more than all the hugs and kisses you've given me...I love you more than all the times you've said, "I'm here..."

Mom, today on your birthday...I hope you hear in your heart...that I love you more'll ever know.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


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"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage."

Maya Angelou

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Birthday Visit Recap and an OOTD

This weekend Matt and I were so excited because our best friend Miguel flew to Chicago for a quick weekend visit. Miguel, Matt, and I all met in graduate school, and Miguel was one of the best men in our wedding last June. I think its rare to find a couple who shares such a good friend, and Matt and I are so lucky as a couple and as individuals to have such a great friend in Miguel. Oh did I mention Saturday was his birthday? We were so happy we could celebrate with our pal in person :)

DSCN3901.JPGAfter picking up Miguel from the airport, we headed to Nookies, one of our favorite brunch spots in the city.  Nookies is great because its a diner that manages to balance casual, affordable, just the right amount greasy, and tasty yumminess.  They almost always have a wait, which is often a good sign as lots of people love it!

DSCN3902.JPGThe guys talk as we wait outside.  And judging by how far away I'm standing, I'm going to guess that they were talking about statistics.  Snooze fest.

DSCN3905.JPGWe managed to snag the best seat in the whole place!  Right up front in the little window booth, perfect for people watching!

DSCN3906.JPGWe all stuffed our bellies pretty full, and I'd certainly like another bite right about now.  (My morning Lucky Charms were no match for this goodness.)  I got the dish on the right off their seasonal menu.  An open faced omelet with spinach, red peppers, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, leeks, and lots of lots of cheese.  So yummy!

DSCN3907.JPGAfter breakfast, we headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  The weather was insanely gorgeous and a record October high for Chicago.  We took advantage of the sunny skies and wandered around the zoo for quite a while.

DSCN3917.JPGMiguel was Mr. Popular fielding his 900 birthday texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages, so while he wandered off for a sec, Matt and I snapped a quick pic.  Have I ever told you how much I love my husband.  He makes me the happiest girl in the whole wide world :)

DSCN3916.JPGFall is in full swing in Chicago, and to tell, just look up. The leaves are beautiful!

DSCN3911.JPGSelf pics are an art form.  I'm still working on them lol.

DSCN3918.JPGAfter an afternoon of wandering, we were in total need of an Icee.  (Miguel and I both have a thing for delicious frozen treats.)  Luckily, there was a 7-11 a couple blocks from the zoo.  And since it was Miguel's birthday, I celebrated with a super size :)

DSCN3921.jpgThat night, we celebrated Miguel's birthday at a steak spot by our house that we'd been dying to try.  When they brought out my meal, we couldn't help but laugh at the tiny roll they brought with my dinner.  And being the bread-and-butter loving Texan that I am, I politely but purposefully asked the waitress, "Umm, is this a roll?" pointing to the tiny ball of dough on my plate.  She wasn't amused.  Neither was I, as tiny dinner rolls are no laughing matter.  She eventually brought me another one that I happily smothered in butter before enjoying :)

DSCN3924.jpgSunday we had a lazy morning and then a day of shopping.  I snapped this quick pic in the dressing room.  The sudden burst of warm weather threw me off a bit, so I went for an easy outfit: a maxi dress, a tissue cardigan, and for a touch of a fall, a leopard belt.  I got a few goodies, which I'll hopefully get a chance to share later this week.

DSCN3928.JPGAfter a Sunday of shopping, Matt decided to whip up a quick apple pie.  Yes, you read that right, my husband just threw together an apple pie from scratch.  (We had a ton of apples from last weekend's trip to the orchard.)  And guess what?  It was delicious!  I love having a husband who is handy in the kitchen!

DSCN3934.JPGMonday was Miguel's last day in town, so we headed downtown for a little sightseeing.  Miguel was here in June when he helped us move, so we did some of the basic city stuff then, but we didn't have time to do the John Hancock.  So we jumped in the elevator and headed up to the 94th floor to enjoy the view.  This was my third time to do the Hancock, so I didn't take a ton of pics, but if you want to see more, you can check out this post from when my little brother was in town.

DSCN3940.JPGThe guys taking in the view, the audiotour, and the open air skywalk.  If you come to Chicago and do this site, be sure to take off your headphones for a bit at this spot.  I love hearing the city from this high up.  Its busy and peaceful at the same time.

DSCN3942.JPGCan you tell my husband loves taking pictures?  Ha.

DSCN3944.JPGIn case the Ph.D thing doesn't work out for these two, they now have a backup job...window washing!

DSCN3946.JPGAnd like every out of towner visit, we had to make a stop at Garrett's.  Miguel has been talking about this cheesy popcorn since he was here last, so we couldn't let him go home empty handed.

DSCN3949.JPGAfter our popcorn pit stop, we decided to walk off a couple kernals and head towards The Bean.  I LOVE this spot and make it a point to take every visitor here.  I have decided that whenever we move from Chicago, I am going to do some sort of art collage with all the pictures of us, our visitors, and The Bean.  So now I have to drag all of our guests there lol.  Can you spot us?  Hint: look for Miguel's orange t shirt.

DSCN3952.JPGThere we are!

DSCN3957.JPGThese pictures never get old to me.

DSCN3959.jpgI'd pretty much lost the guys at this point, but that didn't stop me :)

DSCN3965.JPGSadly, Miguel's flight was approaching, and we had to head toward the airport.  (I begged him to stay, but he said he had to get back so he could keep his job.  Pssh, how lame is that?)  So we ended the trip snacking on our Garrett's in Millennium Park (which seems to be a recurrent theme with our guests.)  It was SO great to have Miguel in town, and we're already plotting for the next long weekend visit.  Oh, and because we were out and about, I managed to get a few OOTD pics of Monday's out and about look...

DSCN3950.JPGAll this boot weather lately got me thinking, why not break out my most prized boots of cowboy boots!  And though I am a city girl through and through, my mom insisted that as a native Texan, I own a pair of real cowboy boots.  So when I moved back to Texas for graduate school, my mom treated me to a fabulous pair of Lucchese's.  And though they've spent alot of time tucked neatly away, I have been sporting them everywhere lately.  I've found that the trick is pairing them with things that look anything but country.  That way it doesn't look too matchy match or like I'm trying to be a cowgirl, which I clearly am not.  I've worn them to work several times in the past week and a half and need to hurry and post the pics so you can see the other pieces I'm pairing them with.  Another bonus?  They are so comfortable!

DSCN3951.JPGTop: H&M
Jeans: J. Crew skinnies
Boots: Lucchese
Bag: Ann Taylor
Necklaces: vintage; vintage; Target
Rings: vintage; vintage
Shades: Juicy Couture

DSCN3963.JPGRemember in my last happy lately list when I mentioned the lovely little thrift shop down the street from the store?  On my first visit in, I spotted this little animal necklace and had to have it.  Both my husband and my coworkers looked at me like I'd lost my mind, but I have a soft spot for kinda weird/kinda cool animal jewelry.  (See my cute/crazy owl necklace here.)  A girl loves what she loves :)

So that was my weekend?  Anyone else loving their cowboy boots or crazy animal jewelry?  (  Ok fine then, just tell me about your weekend :)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Happy Lately List (and How to Have YOUR Happy Lately List Featured on Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles!)

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Several weeks ago, I posted a happy lately list.  Two great things happened from that list: 1) I felt even happier after thinking and writing about all those things, and 2) You guys seemed to enjoy the post and left lots of sweet comments about what makes you happy.  Sooo...I have decided to make happy lately lists a regular feature on my blog.  But to spread the happiness, I want to get you all in on the happy lately posts.  So if you're interested in sharing YOUR happy lately list on this little blog, look for details at the end of this post.

So here's my happy lately list...

Our Chicago visitor calendar for the next month is pretty full; we're getting visits from our best friend Miguel, my high school BFF Jordan and her fiance, and Matt's sister and her family.  Hooray for visitors!

Glee.  I know I talk about this show all the time, but I can't believe I wasn't watching it all along.  I totally live for this show now.

Evening walks with Matt.

My nightly apple cider treat.  After the orchard this past weekend, I'm drinking the freshest of the fresh, and boy is it yummy!

Boots and jeans, boots and leggings, boots and dresses...I am loving me some boots right now.

Our newly decorated fall mantel (cute and affordable, woo hoo!)

This video (found through Rockstar Diaries.)  Its like Stomp, Riverdance, and the "clap, clap Bumblebee" game all in one.  (Please tell me you used to play that game.)

Flannel shirts.  Call me Paul Bunyan, but I love wearing flannel shirts, skinny jeans, and messy hair.

The tiny thrift shop I discovered a block away from "the store."  They have the best hidden treasures.

Fall, fall, fall!  I've never experienced a "real" fall, and I just can't get enough of it!

Hooray for happiness!  I swear, just writing down the things you're happy for really does make you happier.  And to spread all of the happiness to you, I'm giving yall, my lovely readers, a chance to share your happy lately list on Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles.  All you have to do is email me ( a list of TEN things that are making you happy lately.  No matter how big or small, share them all!  (Did you catch that little rhyme there?  I'm a natural Seuss wannabe.)  I'm planning to post a list every now and then, so send it whenever you feel inspired to do so, whether its today or in two weeks.  And if this is a bigger hit than I'm anticipating, I may have to find a way to combine a few lists, but we'll cross that bridge if and when we get there.  (Oh wow, I sound like my mom.)  So email away girlies!  Whats making YOU happy lately?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Johnny Appleseed Me

Hey there, happy Tuesday!  Fall is officially in full swing here in Chicago.  Matt woke me up before he left this morning to let me know it was 35 degrees outside, eeek!  It warms up once the suns comes out, but the chill is certainly in the air.  We need to get our firewood and ice scrapers this weekend, before I'm stuck scraping my car with another foam pedicure flip flop :)  And speaking of fall, Matt and I had the ultimate fall weekend this past weekend.  You already read about our hockey experience and football win, but the best fall treat was Sunday when we travelled to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch!  A real apple orchard and a real pumpkin patch!  Now, to many of you, this may not seem that cool, but for this city girl from Texas, it was uncharted territory and absolutely amazing!


DSCN3866.JPGSunday morning, we woke up early and headed west of Chicago to Malta, IL to the Jonamac Orchard.  (Thanks for the recommendation, The Pursuit of LLT!)  The drive alone was gorgeous, but when we got out of the car, I squealed with excitement!  (Its true, I literally squeal when I get excited, its an automatic response, I can't help it.)  It was so pretty, so picturesque, and so FALL!  After buying an empty peck, we were off to the orchard to pick our own apples!

DSCN3879.JPGIt was so nice to get there early, because it was fairly empty.  It felt like it was just us and the apples :)

DSCN3859.JPGI mean how cool is this?! I know for some people, this is normal, but I had never seen anything like this!  It was like something out of a storybook for me.  Each row of apple trees was labeled with their variety (i.e. Gala, Jonathon, Fuji, etc.) and those that were ready to be harvested were marked with a blue ribbon.  Anything with blue ribbon was fair game for picking.

DSCN3868.JPGA lot of the lower apples had been picked by kids, but the higher apples remained pretty and untouched.  Luckily, I got my dad's height and giraffe limbs lol.

DSCN3860.JPGPulling the apple off the tree never got old.  I just couldn't (and still can't) get over how legit this whole thing was.  I mean, I read about Johnny Appleseed in elementary school, but I never thought I'd have the opportunity to actually be him for a day!

DSCN3869.JPGMatt taking a peek at the varieties ahead.  And is that not the most beautiful sky you've ever seen?  I couldn't stop commenting on it all day!

DSCN3878.JPGPssh, and I thought Whole Foods was fresh!  This was fresh from the tree, and so so delicious!

DSCN3861.JPGPicking our peck.

DSCN3876.JPGI think Matt was a little skeptical about this whole thing when we started.  He couldn't get past the fact that you had to pay more to pick your own, as opposed to buying them already picked.  I reminded him you were paying for the experience lol.  He went with it, and in the end, really enjoyed it.

DSCN3875.JPGThough there were more apples to be picked, our peck was full.  So we said goodbye to the lovely little orchard and headed towards the pumpkin patch.

DSCN3881.JPGIt was only about a quarter of a mile walk to the pumpkin patch, but I wanted the full experience so we took the tractor out there.  So fun!

DSCN3882.JPGWould you look at that pumpkin patch?!  Its a real pumpkin patch!  I was silly enough to think that the pumpkin patches in surburban Dallas were real patches.  You know the ones where the pumpkins are nicely laid out on bales of hay with cardboard cut out photo ops every three feet.  Ha, silly me.  I couldn't help but let out another squeal when the tractor stopped here :)

DSCN3884.JPGWe walked around for a bit before deciding on our three pumpkins.  There were pumpkins of every shape, size and color, and some of the pumpkins were still attached to the vine!

DSCN3885.JPGOur fall family picture :)

DSCN3857.JPGAfter leaving the patch and loading the pumpkins in our car, we headed to the apple store to see what kind of tasty treats they had.

DSCN3887.JPGNo surprise, the apple pie was AMAZING!  So were the apple donuts, the apple cider, and the carmel apples.  Not that we tried them all or anything :)

DSCN3890.JPGJonamac Orchard also has a totally legit corn maze.  And by totally legit, I mean, yes, you can get lost in there for hours.  This was at the beginning of the maze, when I was all smiles.  Twenty minutes into it, I was on the verge of a panic attack, because we weren't making a lot of forward progress.  I thought they'd have friendly little guides throughout the maze to direct you when you were lost.  No, not so much.  Corn mazes have now been added to my phobia list.  In case you were wondering, this phobia list only includes two other things: frogs and swallowing my gum.

DSCN3888.JPGHalfway through the maze, I wondered if there was an app on the iPhone to help us out.  (Just saying, it would have been a good idea.)  Thankfully, Matt has a better sense of direction that I give him credit for, and he got us out safe and sound!

DSCN3872.JPGAnd of course, I couldn't go without a quick OOTD photo.  I wore this jacket last weekend to the Cubs game and several of you asked about it.  I didn't have a casual weekend jacket, you know, a good in between piece.  So when I saw this one at Ann Taylor Loft, I thought it was perfect.  Its not available online anymore, but when I was in the store a few weeks ago, I saw a couple left on the sale rack.  (Of course it goes on sale after I buy it.)  I have a feeling you'll be seeing a lot of it this fall!

Jacket: Ann Taylor Loft
Long sleeved tee: Ann Taylor Loft
Jeans: Ann Taylor
Scarf: The Limited, gift from my mother in law (thanks Jamie!)
Boots: Clarks
Purse: thrifted in Houston (thanks Mom!)
Apple: Jonamac Orchards

DSCN3877.JPGCan we take a moment and pause over my new boots?  I love them!  Now, I know what you're thinking..."Isn't the Clarks store an old lady store? Yep, exactly what I thought too (sorry Mom!)  I've never even thought twice about looking in that store.  But the other day after a long shift at the store, my feet were hurting so bad, that I thought, I can't take a fall and winter at the store in this much pain.  My boss bossed me to go get myself a pair of Clarks and swore my feet would thank me.  The Clarks store gives our associates a discount because so many of our associates shop there.  (I never imagined how bad retail hurts your feet.)  So when I got off work, I headed over.  I told myself before walking in, that I didn't care how comfortable they were; if I wouldn't buy them under normal circumstances, I wouldn't buy them now.  Then I saw these beauties.  I had to have them.  I saw a similar pair earlier last month at Nordstrom, but with a $490 price tag, they were outside my comfort zone.  So when these presented themselves, I had to have them.  Cute, comfortable, and with a discount?  Yes, please.  They aren't available online yet, but the store near me had a few pairs in already.  I love love love them!

DSCN3883.JPGSo there you have it, our fabulous fall day in paradise (and one more picture, because I'm still in awe.)  If you ever have a chance to visit an apple orchard, you should definitely go for it!  We had so much fun and are already thinking of all the fun apple recipes we can come up with this week.  HOORAY FOR FALL!