Friday, February 25, 2011



Today is a day of celebration at our house, because this morning, I got GREAT news!  I matched at an incredible spot, and I am beyond thrilled!  An extra bonus is that the internship is about two hours outside of Chicago, which means Matt and I will be able to see each other every weekend!  Eeeek, I couldn't have asked for a better outcome!  After finding out the good news this morning, I hugged Matt, called my mom, and began texting and Facebooking friends.  Then my sweet friend Christie fixed a fabulous breakfast of baked cinnamon french toast, and the boys trekked to Starbucks for celebratory lattes.  This journey has been exhausting, and with this last step starting, it feels like I can finally see the light at the end of this Ph.D tunnel!

Thank you all for your fabulous happy wishes and words of encouragement.  Matt and I both took the day off work to celebrate and spend time enjoying our fabulous city.  Tonight we're dining at Frontera and staying at one of our favorite downtown hotels.  And if we have time, we'll squeeze in some celebratory shopping :)  Have a fabulous weekend, I'm sending virtual hugs to you all!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Waiting{we heart it}

"Waiting is one of the great arts."
Margery Allingham

If waiting is an art form, then I'm the world's most failed Picasso lol.  Tomorrow is the big day.  I find out about my internship placement for next year.  The question isn't necessarily "where" its also "if."  There are more applicants than ever this year, and hundreds will not match at all.  (Yikes, Lord, please don't let me be one of those people.) So I am impatiently waiting for tomorrow morning, so I can find out if (and hopefully where) I matched for next year.  (I know for sure that Mattie and I will be apart for a year, so there isn't the added pressure of hoping to be in Chicago.)  Up until Monday, I was doing fine with the whole patiently waiting thing, but this week, things took a turn for the worse and I've been an anxious mess.  So to help take my mind off waiting, I'm trying to cram as many little delights into today as possible.

On the list:
an early morning tall soy sugar free caramel latte...
whole wheat waffles...
a quick trip to the MAC counter...
a Britney and Beyonce playlist...
Chicago restaurant week at NAHA...
a glass (or two) of red wine...
a slumber party with dear friends...

Hopefully, with those little lovelies sprinkled in, the next 24 hours will fly by.  Because frankly, I hate waiting.  I'll pop in tomorrow morning with a quick update.  Thanks to all of you who have offered support along this crazy journey.  (And a crazy journey its been!)  Now back to waiting...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Celebration Dinner and a Giveaway Winner

Last week, I shared Matt and I's happy news with you, and I can't thank yall enough for all your kind words and sweet messages of encouragement!  Its strange how words and thoughts from people I've never actually "met" can mean so much to us both.  So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for sharing our excitement with us.  We are still pinching ourselves that Chicago is really going to be our long-term-stay here home.  Eeek!  And of course, with good news, comes a celebration dinner :)  Matt got the news late Monday afternoon, so rather than wait for the weekend or scramble to get our friends in the city together, we headed out, just the two of us, to our favorite nearby Asian dinner spot.

DSCN4484Cheers to Matt and his new, very grown up job :)

DSCN4483This is what the face of long awaited stability looks like lol.

DSCN4490You can't go wrong with pad Thai, particularly when its spicy, steaming, and in a heap the size of my head!

DSCN4491Happy and proud me,  raising a little toast to my main man :)

DSCN4493Dear banana wontons, if I would have known you were that good, I would have asked for an IV and an extra order.  I heart you and miss you already.

So there you have it, a few quick pics from our night of celebration.  Can't wait to see all the things we celebrate over the years in this fabulous city!  Oh and ps: apparently my mention of "babies" in that last post got some people a little crazy lol.  Within 24 hours of that post, I had several frantic phone calls, texts, and FB messages asking about my baby comment.  My mom even made it her facebook status lol.  At some point in the future, Matt and I would like to have a baby or two.  Some point (not now) being the key in that sentence lol.

And last but not least...the winners for the L0-Down book giveaway!  Originally I only planned to give away one copy of the book, but last week Matt surprised me with a Kindle (more on that later, I LOVE it!) so I will get Lo's book for my Kindle and pass on the copy I was going to read.  I used to find the winners...and they are...drumroll please...

Alyssa and Chris!

Congrats to you both!  Please email me your mailing address (  Thanks to everyone who entered, have a fabulous Wednesday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scenes from Dallas

I am back from my long weekend to trip to Dallas, and I think it can go in the books as one of my best trips "home."  I got to immerse myself in wedding world with my best friend and spend time with some of my most favorite people in the whole world, most of whom I've known for ever ten years.  I'm still sifting through pictures, but here are a few of my favorites.

DSCN4541After picking me up from the airport, my dear friend Melissa and I wasted no time before shopping it up.  I was on a mission for new sunglasses, and we must have spent an hour in front of that mirror, trying on a billion pairs each.  The nose security sensor is such a good look, don't you think? :)  We both left with new sunnies and a few other goodies.

DSCN4558Thursday I was so happy to be able to spend the day with my best friend Jordan and her mom as Jordan took her bridal portraits.  She is getting married next month, and I am so blessed to stand next to her on her wedding day as her maid of honor.  (Technically its "matron of honor" but that sounds so old lady I can't stand it.)  I took a few pics of us in her dress, but for top-secret-bride reasons, I can't post those until after March 19.  We celebrated the occasion with a round of Kir Royales and good hour of laughs and wedding talk.

DSCN4556The start of a slippery slope off of my diet...But goodness, that bacon flatbread was delicious!

DSCN4548Outfit of the day shot
Top: Ann Taylor {here}
Cropped pants: Ann Taylor {here}
Shoes: Gianni Bini
Jewelry: David Yurman, Ann Taylor

DSCN4560Dinner with my sister at La Hacienda (yum!).  Our sister story is a bit long and confusing, but I am so so lucky to have her in my life.  We are about as opposite as it gets, and its often humorous.  She's a tomboy, I'm a girlie girl.  She's laid back, I'm a bit high maintenance.  She sports flip flops, I wear heels.  But somehow, we've managed to find a common language and become really great friends.  I don't get to see her often enough, so dinner was a total treat.

DSCN4562Black bottom pecan pie, oh how I love you.  Your homemade ice cream and sizzlin Jack Daniels whiskey sauce is the cherry on my sundae (and the extra few pounds on my scale this morning!)

DSCN4564Friday night I got to see one of my sweet little friends Taylor play soccer.  Taylor is a long time family friend who was also in my wedding.  I love this girl so much and have been so lucky to see her grow up into such a lovely young lady.  I also became a full fledged grown up that night when I met her new boyfriend and gave him the "you better be good to this girl, because I love her and I'll hurt you if you're not" speech.  Yep, that's the official sign that I've crossed into grownup-land.  Shoot me.

DSCN1653Saturday, we had a girl's afternoon with manis and pedis, and I became Edward Scissorhands for a few hours lol.  
PS: I've finally crossed over to the no-chip/shellac manicure, and I am so happy and pleased with the results!

DSCN4571Saturday night was my bff's bachelorette party, and I haven't even begun to sort through the 947 pictures we took.  There were 18 girls total at the party, and we certainly showed Dallas how to celebrate an upcoming wedding.  Lots more pictures to come later in the week!

DSCN4614Sunday morning we recovered with brunch at Iron Cactus.  Nothing like Mexican food and mimosas to get you going :)

The weekend went by too quick, and I got entirely too comfortable in the sunny and 70 degree weather.  I landed in Chicago and was greeted by a wonderful husband and thirty degree temps.  Welcome back to Chicago :)  Matt and I are off to the opera tonight, so cross your fingers he isn't asleep ten minutes in lol.  And check back soon for the Lo Down giveaway winners.  (Yes, winners, plural.)  I decided to give away my copy too, more on that later.  Hope your Monday is wonderful, and thanks to all my Dallas friends who were so wonderful and fun this weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dallas Bound

Suitcase{we heart it}

Early tomorrow morning, I am heading to the airport, hoppin on a plane, and flying south to Dallas!  My best friend's bachelorette party is this weekend, so I'm flying in a few days early to take care of party prep and a few other last minute things.  Dallas is where I grew up, so even though my parents no longer live there, going to Dallas always feels like I'm heading home in a way.  Here are a few of the things I'm looking forward to during my quick trip "home."

Celebrating my bff's upcoming marriage in a girl's only setting...
A weeknight slumber party with my dear friend Melissa...
(She was my big sis on my high school drillteam, that's how long we've been friends!)
Taking my new Kindle on its first trip...
(Thank you sweet Matt for the surprise present!)
Sunny and 70 degree weather...
(Take that Chicago winter!)
Enjoying an Auntie Anne's pretzel at the airport...
Possibly getting to see my parents and brother in Dallas for one of his playoff games...
Being there as my best friend takes her bridal portraits...
(and praying I can keep my emotions under control!)
Mexican food and margaritas with my sister...
Getting to wear a dress without tights
(which won't happen in Chicago for a few months!)
A Saturday afternoon of manis and pedis...
Flying first class on my return flight home...
(thanks Mom and Dad!)
Squeezing in some time at Northpark aka the shopping mecca of Dallas...
Long talks with good friends...
Trying Dish, a new Dallas hotspot...
(Their signature cocktails look so yummy!)
Coming home and having Matt meet me at the airport...
(always a great part of any trip)

Have a fabulous rest of the week, I'm sure I'll check in a time or two while I'm gone.  Bon voyage lovelies!

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Circle

Circle{we heart it}

On Valentines Day, I (like most people), am thinking about a little L-O-V-E.  Today however, I'm not just thinking about my sweetie, I am thinking about a very special group of people I call "my circle."  My circle, the group of people in my life who keep me going, keep me grounded, and continually make my world so special.  These people surround me with love and support even in the toughest of times.  Its because of my circle that I not only feel loved, but that I know how to love.  Throughout my life, the people in my circle have shown me the true meaning of love and given me a real and tangible example of it.  My circle is made up of a lot of different people, from different times in my life.  Each has given me something unique and special, and today, on Valentines Day, I am thinking of them with a warm and overflowing heart.

My Matt, the man who makes life such an adventure, a daily joy, and a constant laugh attack.  Together, we're learning a ton about love and I feel so blessed to be on this journey with him...
My sweet parents, who have wrapped me in love from the beginning.  The notes in my lunch, the big bear hugs, and the endless support saying "you can do it; we believe in you..."
My little brother, the first person to ever mesmerize my heart.  He is brave, he is patient, and he is trusting...

My high school bff, Jordan, who across time and distance has understood me and offered up support and encouragement at just the right times...
My dear friend Kristin, who gives her undivided attention and heart to the people in her life.  Her love is authentic and unwavering...
My friend Miguel, who manages to make me with laugh without fail.  He is a loyal friend who subtly reminds you, "you've got this..."

My group of high school friends who know the real me and love me regardless.  I thought as I got older, these people would grow farther out of my circle, but nothing of the sort has happened; they've stayed nestled close to heart, even across all the miles...
My small group of Kappa friends, whose friendships have become deeper and more meaningful after our time at OU.  These girls have reminded me that love is built on a solid foundation...
My close graduate school friends, who remind me that love is about celebrating the exciting and supporting through the trying...

My sister, who is so opposite from me, its comical.  Yet, we've stayed connected and supportive.  A rare set of circumstances brought us together, and thank goodness they did...
My sweet friend Steven, who reminds me that love is fiercely loyal and strong...
My old boss, who has taught me that love listens and isn't always loud and overbearing...

My "second families" in Dallas, who have shown me that love is inclusive and there at a moments notice...
My three Kent and Pine Cove besties, who remind me that love shares special experiences and brings people together, even at a young age...
My aunt, uncle, and cousins, who have taught me that a small extended family can be a powerful one...

They're my circle, my people, and my loves.  They've shown how to love, how to support, and how to accept.  They've given me unwavering encouragement, and they inspire me to lead a full and thoughtful life.  I am so thankful for the role that my circle has played and continues to play in my life.  Today, on Valentines I am grateful for the fabulous people I am blessed to call "my circle."

I encourage you today, on this special day, to reach out to your circle and let them know how much you love them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Facelift and a Hillsworthy Giveaway

Hey yall, this little blog got a facelift!  (Nothing major, just a few nips and tucks.)  What do you think?  I'd been wanting to change things up, as my old blog was beginning to make me a feel a bit claustrophobic.  But being the computer idiot that I am, I avoided for months, afraid I'd cause my blog to disappear or blow up.  I finally got fed up enough yesterday and took the plunge.  Turns out a few nips and tucks aren't so painful after all.  I wanted something more open and airy, so hopefully this does the trick and makes my blog a better place to visit.

Anyway, I thought we'd celebrate my facelift with a little post-op giveaway!  Its nothing major, just a little something.  So, remember two weeks ago when I hinted at attending a celebutante's book signing in the Chicago area?  Well, apparently my hints weren't too difficult, because several of you smartypants guessed the starlet-turned-author.  Lo Bosworth!  I went days in advance to buy the book and pull a number, got all gussied up for signing, practiced the Kappa handshake to give to her (not kidding), and then wouldn't you know, she cancelled a few hours before the event.  She was feeling "under the weather."  Since she's my Kappa sister, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, but to say I was bummed was an understatement.  The biggest reason I was so bummed wasn't because I couldn't meet her, it was because I had purchased an extra copy of the book for her to sign for one of my lovely blog readers!  Boo for good intentions not working out as planned.  But, since I still have the book, I thought I'd go ahead and give away a copy of The Lo Down, sans Lo's signature.

Lo Bosworth{all images via Hillsfreak}

For this giveway the rules are simple: you must be a follower, and you must leave a comment.  That's it, easy peasy.  As long as you're a follower via Google connect and you leave me a comment, you're entered.  If you want to check out more about the book or Lo, you can visit her website, and if you're a Hills/City/Laguna addict and don't know about the blog Hillsfreak, head over there pronto; its addicting!

The giveaway will close on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm, and I'll announce the winner later that weekend.  Happy almost-weekend pretties!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Exciting News!

Chicago{we heart it}

Happy Monday, pretty friends! Today I am excited because I finally get to share Matt and I's exciting news with you. I've been holding onto this news since last Monday, in an attempt to talk to all our friends and family before I talked about it on the blog. I still have a few friends I haven't been able to get a hold of yet, but a week is entirely too long for me to keep quiet on good news :)

Over the past month or so, Matt has been interviewing for a full-time, long-term job in Chicago, and last Monday, my sweet husband got word that he got the job!  This means that we are staying in Chicago.  Eeeek!  Our excitement and happiness is literally overwhelming; its hard to put into words.  Chicago is going to be our permanent home.

When Matt and I started this whole Ph.D journey thing, I don't think either of us knew what we were getting ourselves into.  Though we met each other as well as some fabulous friends in graduate school, the five-going-on-six-year process has been filled with a lot of uncertainty and hoop jumping.  Its felt like an Olympic hurdle event, only forget the 100 meter hurdles, this has been the 100 mile hurdles!  In addition to small hurdles (prelims, dissertation proposals and defenses, final exams, yearly reviews...) there has been the looming hurdle of what will happen when we're "done."  What route will we go, will we get a postdoc, where will we end up, what will our focus be?  These questions exist for everyone in our program, and trying to do this process with two people, well, that's been a second Olympic event in itself.  We've wondered how we'll manage the search process with both of us looking, who will take the lead, who will have to sacrifice the most, how will be deal with compromising when we've both given so much of ourselves the past 5 years to get through this program?  We've tried our best to focus on the present and not get ahead of ourselves, but that's easier said than done (especially for the planner-crazed me.)

But with this news, so many of our questions and prayers our answered.  So many of our fears have subsided.  We have a place to call home, we have some stability in this process, we can finally think about timelines and plans.  We finally know where HOME is going to be!  I will still have to complete my internship next year, and we're certain we'll be apart for this, as I didn't apply anywhere in the Chicago area.  Several of my options are close enough for weekend drives or short flights home, so we'll get through that just fine.  And knowing after that one year, we know where we'll be and we'll be together, that is beyond exciting!

In June, we thought this move to Chicago was just for a year, and then we got here and fell completely in love with this city.  And now, we get to call it home for years and years to come.  How blessed are we?  I've had a hard time putting my excitement into words, but the quick email I sent to Matt last week says it best:

"It is starting to hit me today.  We are staying in Chicago.  We are starting a life here.  We get to go apple picking for five more years.  We get to host friends.  We get to enjoy picnics in the summer. We get to ride the train.  We get to have a baby or two here.  We get to start our careers here.  We get to grow our marriage here.  We get to do it all, together, in Chicago.  I am so happy."

I'm so proud of my incredibly smart and talented husband for snagging this job, and I'm so excited to see what the future holds for us in Chicago.  Thanks for stopping by today to share our news and happiness with us.  Chicago, we're here to stay!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowstorm Survival

As everyone knows by now, the Midwest has spent the last 48 hours enduring "the snowstorm of the century."  Chicago definitely took a hit, and Matt and I are proud to say we survived our first blizzard together.  (And I ain't talking about the Dairy Queen kind of blizzard.  Cause we all know I've had more than my fair share of those!)

Our snowstorm survival kit consisted of:

A stack of Netflix and Red Box movies... Magic blankets... (Magic blankets are the term my family used for the big, comfy blankets we snuggle with.  They're "magic" because you cuddle up with one and you're instantly asleep.  Like magic!) Bottomless morning coffee... Late night games of Skip-Bo... Chili in the crockpot... Sara Bareilles Pandora... Homemade chocolate shakes... Texting sweet friends in Texas who were braving the ice storm... Tall winter boots who make walking through the knee deep snow bearable...

Speaking of knee deep snow, Matt and I managed to walk around outside for a short bit today.  And of course, we snapped a few pictures!


The snow was literally knee deep; it was insane!  When I went to open our back door, it was completely blocked with snow.  But with some pushing and shoving, I managed to get it open and trudge through a mountain of snow to get to a more shallow spot.  (Yes, this is the more shallow spot!)

DSCN4515Hahaha, this may look like a snow angel, but it was actually the aftermath of a "flying squirrel move" by Matt.  He ran, jumped, and the snow was literally like a giant pillow!  It was so cool (and totally reminded me of those foam pits that they have at gymnastic places.  You know, the ones you always flipped into at lock ins and birthday sleepovers.  Please tell me yall know what I'm talking about.  Anyone, anyone?)

DSCN4511The only thing better than a snow day?  Snow day hair :)

DSCN4508In most places, the snow was up past my knees.  Walking through it was literally a workout (as was the crazy laughing that went on as we trudged through it!)  I'm pretty sure our neighbors thought we were crazy.

DSCN4506The aftermath lol.  Our apartment did a great job at plowing the central areas like the spot above.  When I went to bed at 2:00 am, they were already going to work on the main sidewalks, so it was nice and shallow in a few spots this morning.

DSCN4512I may or may not have hummed a few Christmas carols when I saw these trees :)

DSCN4513Though we experienced our first Chicago snowstorm last January when we visited, it wasn't near as intense as this week's storm.  And though we are both from warm weather states (Matt from Arizona, me from Texas) we did just fine the past two days.  I think that means we're acclimating, hooray! :)

Those of you who endured the storm, how'd you do?  Any crazy stories?  I'd love to hear!  PS: I have some really exciting news to share in the next few days.  And I mean, really exciting!  Eeek, I can't wait!  Stay warm lovelies!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brunch and a Baby

I am not much of a baby person.  Babies in general kind of freak me out.  I usually take the "zoo approach."  Look and smile from afar, but don't get too close.  Close is when screaming, spit up, and temper tantrums happen, and I sure as hell don't want to go there.  But ever since last April, there has been one special baby that I've been dying to meet up close and personal.  His name is Mason and he is my dear friend Kendall's sweet new baby boy.  ("New" as in was born right as Matt and I moved to Chicago so nine months later I still hadn't met the little guy.)  So during the Dallas stop of my interview tour, I knew I had to set aside time to meet little Mason, and in the true style of my friends, we decided the best way to reunite would be over Blue Mesa brunch and bottomless mimosas.  Blog friends, meet precious and perfect little Mason...

Mason lionEeeeek!  Isn't he cute?! Since this meet and greet was long overdue, I knew I couldn't show up empty handed.  What kind of aunt would Mason think I was?  So I snagged this cute little lion hat at a Chicago children's boutique and hoped Mason would forgive his Aunt Allison for the late meeting.  I particularly love the little lion tail in the back :) PS: How lucky is Mason to have a mom who takes such incredible pictures?  You can see more of Kendall's work on her photography site.  Her stuff is amazing!

DSCN4413Kendall and Jordan, two of my nearest and dearest friends!

DSCN4406In addition to seeing Mason and my sweet girlfriends, I also got to see Puneet, one of my oldest friends (we've been friends since sixth grade!)  When I told Puneet who was coming to brunch, he said, "oh great, me and the girls."  I quickly responded, "And Mason, DUH." PS: Have you ever seen one of your rough and tough guy friends be sweet with a baby and almost melted because of the cuteness?  Totally happened with Puneet and Mason.  Instant buddies, instant cuteness.

DSCN4408Between the hat, the stripes, the blue eyes, and the chubby cheeks, I can't get enough of this kid.  (And I'm not even a baby person!)

DSCN4414Judging by the look on Mason's face, he finds bottomless mimosas entirely more exciting than his aunts Allison and Jordan.

DSCN4418Mommy and Mason :) Seeing my dear friend as a mom was both crazy and natural.  Weird how much and how little can change as we grow older.

DSCN4417Giggles for everyone!

Mason and I's meet and greet was over way too fast (as was my time with my sweet friends.)  But as I grow older, I'm often reminded of how special lifelong friends are and how much they mean to me!