Thursday, December 13, 2012

The CTA Holiday Train

If you follow me on Facebook then you already know that last week, I had a three year long Chicago dream come true.  I got to ride the CTA Holiday Train!  I have literally been wanting to ride this train since the minute we first visited Chicago, but after years of no official sitings and only mythical stories, I was beginning to think we'd never meet.  But then, last week, in a moment of pure fate, I got the chance to experience the CTA Holiday Train and all of it's goodness.  I was on my way home from work when the train driver came over the intercom and announced that the CTA Holiday Train was just five minutes behind us.  So you better believe I squealed with joy, jumped off the train, and eagerly awaited the arrival of the oh so magical Holiday Train.  I was literally jumping up and down with excitement, totally in disbelief of my holiday luck.  I'm so excited to show yall the pictures!

Dec 13 2012The face of pure excitement!  And look, here comes the CTA Holiday Train, eeek!

IMG 1188I was literally squealing like a third grader as the train approached!  Aren't those lights incredible?

IMG 1189And in true CTA Holiday Train fate, Santa's sleigh stopped right in front of me.  I literally reached out my arm and screamed, "Santa!"  It was a totally Will Ferrell "Elf" moment.  (For full effect, watch around the 30 second mark in this video.  Literally.  I was out of control.)

Dec 13 20121The inside is totally decked out with holiday lights, tinsel, red bows, and candy cane ribbon.  Even the seats are Santa themed!

Dec 13 20122See that little lady in the left of that picture?  She was an elf; the train had a crew of elves...passing out candy canes!  I mean, does it get any better?

IMG 1196To create space for Santa, they removed several cars, replacing them with flatbeds.  A perfect space for Santa and his crew :)

IMG 1195The CTA Holiday Train was every bit as magical as I'd hoped.  I literally ran to meet Matt, shrieking when I saw him, "I saw Santa, I rode the Holiday Train!"  I was a total Christmas crazy, with no shame at all :)

To view the CTA Holiday Train schedule, click here.  And if you're not in the Chicago area, take a few seconds to watch the video on their website.  Its pretty dang awesome.  So cheers to Chicago dreams coming true, Christmas fate, and the CTA Holiday Train!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Oklahoma Weekend

A few weeks ago, we were so blessed to be able to take a long weekend to head to Norman for OU Dad's Day.  It's no secret that Norman is an incredibly magical and special place for me, and I love any opportunity to go back and visit.  But when it's combined with football season and getting to see my family, it's an extra special treat.  I also love getting to see my sweet brother live life as a OU student, sharing some of the same Sooner connections as me, yet making his own path at the same time.  But let's be honest, in the eyes of this obsessive big sister, he does no wrong!

B101345Saturday started off with a trip to the Sig Ep house, which oddly enough is right across the street from my old KKG digs.  We stayed and hung out for a bit and then headed to the Union to support my brother as he chaired a big campus event.  He is making his overinvolved sister so very proud :)

B101346I am convinced that OU is the most beautiful campus on the planet.  And during the fall, well, it simply takes the cake.

B101348I love that Matt has become an honorary Sooner, embracing the traditions and spending time in Norman.  He tries to argue that he hasn't drank the Koolaid, but I can tell he's loving the Sooner spirit :)

B101357Yep, this happened, for the second year in a row.  Absolutely no shame at all.  Kappa love.

B101358Another highlight of the trip was getting to see and hug this pretty lady.  We don't get to see each nearly enough, so it was really great to see her.

OU dads day 2012Sunday morning we headed to brunch to support Ryan in another campus event.  It was also a great chance to relax after a crazy game day, before hugging my parents goodbye, as they drove back to Houston.

And of course, it wouldn't be a long weekend without Instagram...

Nov 20 2012*Did I mention we drove from Chicago to Oklahoma?  Someone (ok, ok, I'll confess; it was me) majorly misjudged the trip.  I thought it was a 10 hour drive.  Turns out it was just around 13 hours.  Oopsie.
*Ulta's Smoke Screen + OPI's Rainbow Connection mani.

Nov 20 20121*We left a cold and dreary Chicago for a sunny and 75 Oklahoma; the weather was perfect on gameday!
*Two of my most favorite people in the whole wide world :) 

Nov 20 20122*It's gameday in Norman ya'll!
*Going back to OU is always so special; it was such a growthful and happy time in my life.  I feel so grateful and full of joy when I get to visit. 

Nov 20 20123*It's always a joy to see this awesome guy when I go back.  Quy and I were both overachiever, overinvolved, OU nerds together, and he never fails to make me laugh :)
*700 College...rah rah for KKG!

Nov 20 20124*It's so fun to not only be an OU alum, but also to be a Sooner sister.  I really wanted Ryan to go where he wanted to go, and I can't lie, I'm glad he chose OU, because it's such a fun bond to share! 

Nov 20 20125*Sibling besties.
*Matt really wanted to visit the museum, so we popped over Sunday afternoon for a leisurely visit. 

Nov 20 20126*After we said goodbye to my family in Norman, we headed north for dinner and a slumber party with Kelsey and her husband Chris.  Kelsey is one of my most favorite people, and I always feel full of joy when I am with her!
*What's a roadtrip without weird, random candy superstores in the middle of Missouri?

All in all, the weekend was incredible and just what my soul needed.  When I went back to work on Tuesday, several coworkers asked about my trip, and I replied, "I didn't know how badly my soul needed nourishing until I was in Norman with my family."  The weekend was just what I needed, and it was the perfect hold me over until Christmas!  So cheers to football season, long weekends, and time with incredible friends and family!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thanksgiving Snaps

It's been a week and a half since Thanksgiving, and I'm just now getting around to posting pictures.  So I'm not the best blogger, ehh, I'm okay with that.  Matt and I traveled to Phoenix to spend a few days with his family, and we had a really lovely time.  Our trip started off with a bit of a snafu, but in the end, we made it, safe and sound.  Of course, Matt and I packed our fancy camera, and the whole time I kept thinking, "I should really break out the real camera," but then I remembered my new motto, and I decided to leave the camera be and focus on spending time together.  In the end, definitely worth it :)

Nov 25 2012*Since we were going straight from work to the airport, I tried to think of something that would be appropriate for work, yet still comfy for a late night flight.  I decided on leggings, an oversized flannel, a black blazer, a leopard scarf, cowboy boots, and big gold jewelry.
*O'Hare is really beautiful around the holidays.  Real world Home Alone :) 

Nov 25 20121*Shortly after we arrived, we found out our flight was delayed until 1:30 am.  Not quite what we were hoping for, but we made it work with a little Mickey D's.
*As we wandered around the airport, we noticed they were beginning to set up cots for stranded travelers.  We said a quick, "Oh no, that sucks for people."  Little did we know... 

Nov 25 20122*As our flight was delayed later and later, we started to get restless, so we wandered for a bit, adding several books to our "must read" lists.
*Remember those cots?  Once we got word that our flight wouldn't leave Chicago until close to 3:00 am, we ended up setting up shop on the cots.  But even as we were stranded in the airport, I couldn't help but be grateful for the awesome guy next to me, the family we were going to see, and the jobs that afforded us time off.  It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but we made it.

Nov 25 20123*We arrived in Arizona just before 6:00 am on Thanksgiving.  Tired and groggy, but really thrilled to be there!
*Anthony, Matt's brother's husband, did the whole Thanksgiving meal, and oh my goodness, it was incredible!  Thank you Anthony for an amazing meal! 

Nov 25 20124*Oh how I wish I could have this meal as we speak.  So so yummy.
*Matt and Jack were able to get in lots of snuggle time on this trip.  Aren't they cute? 

Nov 25 20125*We also got to meet this little cutie.  Sadie is a new addition to Matt's family, and she and I had some lovely bonding time!
*True to the Davis family, we did some fierce Black Friday shopping.  Matt's mom was so kind to treat me to some awesome lovelies.

Nov 25 20126*Thanksgiving was pretty much a three day food affair, and these ice cream Oreo sandwiches were just one of the many yummies from the week.
*The weekend had the most perfect ending when my Sooners had a crazy awesome Bedlam win.  The game was insane, Boomer!

We headed back to Chicago super early on Sunday morning, and then started the super exciting process of househunting!  Matt and I have been working really hard the past few months, getting serious about saving for a house.  And now our hard work is paying off; we're looking for our very first home!  A very awesome ending to a very awesome Thanksgiving trip.  I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and that you're enjoying a lovely start to the holiday season!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rebelling Against the Shoulds

Jackson{via pinterest}

It's been a while since I've blogged.  Three weeks to be exact.  And while I thought about saying, "Things have been busy," I decided against it.  Because, in all honesty, they haven't been that much busier than normal.  Sure, work has been a bit hectic, we've been traveling, and I'm back to working at Ann Taylor for the holiday season, but things haven't been too crazy.  The truth is, in the past few weeks, I've adopted a new mentality.  I've decided to rebel against the "shoulds" lately, letting go of all the things I think I "should" do, instead focusing on the things I want to do.  Instead of thinking, "I should blog tonight," I've decided to enjoy my evenings at home with Matt.  Instead of thinking, "I should curl my hair," I've embraced messy hair on the weekends.  Instead of thinking, "I should do laundry," I've been fine to reach into the back of my closet for less worn items.

The "shoulds" often get us into trouble.  They cause us to give priority to things that society or someone else value, rather than the things we value.  The "shoulds" serve as that nagging voice, trying to make me feel guilty for what I'm not doing well, rather the things I am doing well.  The "shoulds" cause me to live in the future, rather than existing in the present.  The "shoulds" drain joy from the moment, sacrificing spontaneity.  So as we enter this holiday season, I'm choosing to rebel against the "shoulds," putting aside what others want from me and focusing on what makes me happy.

Do the "shoulds" get you into trouble?  If so, will you rebel with me and embrace the life you truly dream of?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Sweaters{via pinterest}

I don't know what it is about fall, but it makes me want to oversize just about every top I wear.  The bigger the better.  Oversized knits, men's flannels, button ups, and heavy sweaters.  I can't get enough.  I can't help myself.  It just lends itself to feeling oh-so-cozy.  Paired with leggings and boots, its a no fail fall outfit.  I think I may need an oversized intervention.

Am I the only one out there who can't get enough of all things oversized?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pictures of Pictures

IMG 1043

It's been a bit quiet around SASWS this week, though that certainly isn't a reflection of life being calm or slow-paced.  It's taken me some time to get in the swing of things after saying goodbye to my grandmother last weekend.  I want to sincerely thank all of you who emailed, Facebooked, commented, and texted regarding my grandmother's passing.  I have spent the last two weeks thinking of how I wanted to honor her amazing life on this  blog, and after spending quite a bit of time thinking about it, I've realized it's okay for me keep things simple.  My Grammy was an incredible woman.  She was thoughtful, passionate, and kind.  She was intelligent, driven, and a little bit sassy.  She said what she meant, and she had an incredible ability to remember life's littlest moments.  She graduated with a college degree in the 1940s, setting a wonderful example for so many women.  She waited for my granpa as he served in World War II, eventually marrying him and honeymooning in Chicago.  She raised three boys, had five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  She was a big believer in snail mail and a passionate lover of purple.  She was an avid weather watcher and a collector of way too many things.  She played the piano and called me "Princess" in nearly every phone conversation.  She made happy birthday phone calls every year without fail and sent the most talked about camp care packages.  She was proud of me for being the first Ph.D in the family, constantly calling to ask about coursework and dissertation progress.  She loved my granpa with all her might, sharing 67 years of marriage with her longtime sweetheart.  She set a wonderful example of true and unfailing love, and she will be missed beyond belief.

As we gathered last weekend in Ohio, I was reminded just how many people knew and loved her.  It was so comforting to meet people in their small town, sharing their favorite stories of her.  The owner of the old-time five and dime, longtime friends of my dad and uncles, and friends of her and my granpa.  Even the news anchors recognized her passing on air.  At her funeral, we all wore purple as a way to pay tribute to her incredible life.  We cried and laughed, remembering special times and sharing treasured stories.  It was particularly fascinating to see pictures and hear stories from her younger days, a time when I of course did not know her.  In the last years of her life, when I became more aware of her age and health, I pushed myself to ask questions, hear stories, and soak up details about her and my granpa's early years together.  I'm particularly grateful for those memories now that she is gone.  She was a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I'm so grateful to be her granddaughter.  

Thank you again for your kind and thoughtful words of support; they mean so much to me and my family.  I couldn't help but share a few pictures of pictures, taken over the weekend in Ohio.  The first and last pictures might be my most favorite.  Have a wonderful week and hug those most dear to you.

Nov 2 2012

Nov 2 20121

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Purple{via we heart it}

This weekend, my family said goodbye to a very special person, my grandma.  After several months of health complications and challenges, my grandmother passed away on Saturday night.  My Grammy was a strong and intelligent woman who cared deeply about the people closest to her.  She had an unmatched ability to remember the details, celebrating the small moments with love and joy.  She will be missed beyond belief.

Friday my family will gather in Ohio to celebrate my Grammy and love on my granpa, as he mourns the loss of his longtime love.  I ask you to please keep my family in your prayers, as we remember a wonderful woman.  My grandma was a passionate lover of the color purple, so this week, I am noticing shades of purple in the most unexpected places, smiling at my most favorite memories.  I hope to be back later this week to share some of my most treasured moments with her, but until then, I encourage you to read this special tribute to a real life love story.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Brooke's Happy Lately List

It's been a while since I've done a Happy Lately List, which is so unfortanate, because Happy Lately Lists are one of my most favorite things on this blog!  This week, I am excited to share a Happy Lately List from Brooke over at Belts and Bangles!  Take it away, Brooke...

Hotchoc{via pinterest}

For those tough days and weeks when nothing seems to be going right, I like to take some advice from Julie Andrews and revisit "a few of my favorite things." Although raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens are nice, they tend to not make me nearly as happy as my guiltiest pleasures from a new pair of shoes to a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. To indulge in a few things that make every day better-- and get a few ideas for getting happier on your own-- check out my top six list of things that make me happy.

1. Claire's. When my bank account is low and my style standards are high, Claire's is always there with the latest fashion accessories at an affordable price. If I feel like revamping my wardrobe without suffering from the guilt and credit card debt later, I always turn to Claire's to give my next outfit that "wow" factor that ensures several feel-good compliments throughout the day.

2. New Underwear. Boyfriend or not, wearing a new set of cute and/or sexy underwear immediately makes me feel more confident about my body and my overall appearance. In line with the previous thought, underwear also tends to be on the cheaper side of the scale as far as clothing goes. So this indulgent purchase can make me look and feel good even when I'm broke.

3. Ice Cream and/or Hot CocoaDepending on the season, nothing feels better than curling up with a pint of ice cream or a cup of hot cocoa while reading, watching movies or just relaxing at home with friends. It even makes housework and homework better, which is a major victory for someone like me who needs that little extra motivation.

4. Sweaters From J. Crew. Alas, it's only in my dreams that I'll ever be able to afford the huge collection of J. Crew sweaters I want. However, for birthdays, Christmas and any other holiday I can think of, you better believe I'm mass e-mailing links of the entire sweater collection at J.Crew to all my friends and family as a helpful little hint for making the holiday extra happy.

5. Lucky Jeans. I recently became obsessed with Lucky brand jeans and have now made their store my go-to destination for a satisfying shopping trip. The styles and colors of these jeans are always gorgeous without going too over the top the way some upper-end denim suppliers can be.

6. Scarves. Can you tell I love fashion? For my final item, I've decided to expand upon my love for scarves, which I believe can truly make an outfit. The best part about scarves is that they're versatile for several different seasons and outfits. For example, you can wear a thick colorful scarf over a dark coat in the winter or tie a pretty silk scarf around the waist of a pretty white dress in the summer time for an extra unique look.

Indulging in a little "me time" is crucial for building the motivation and feel-good attitude I need to more efficiently complete all my unappealing daily chores. These are just 10 of the things that make me happy, but you can take advantage of any small activity or special item throughout the day that fills you with delight. Feel free to adopt a few of mine and share some of your own in the comments!

A big thanks to Brooke for sharing her Happy Lately List, and remember, if you want to have you list featured on Smart and Sassy with Sprinkles, just send me an email for more information!  Have a fabulous Tuesday yall!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Starved Rock

A few weekends ago, Matt and I spent a beautiful fall Sunday at Starved Rock State Park.  The 2,630 acre park is known for it's fascinating rock formations, beautiful woods, and breathtaking views of the Illinois River.  We made the hour and a half drive from Chicago mid morning and were on the trails by noon.  We packed a simple picnic and ate our lunch on a bench overlooking with river.  It was beautiful!  It was a bit chilly when we started, but once we got moving and got our heart rates going, we warmed up.  The fall colors were vibrant and bright, reminding me of just how much I adore all that is fall.  The pictures turned out pretty delightful, so I'll let them do the talking... 

















If you live in or near the Chicago area, I'd definitely recommend a weekend trip to Starved Rock.  Their website shows gorgeous pictures of the park in both the winter and spring seasons, so I have a feeling we'll go back sometime in the near future.  But for now, I can feel winter creeping in, and I know it will only be a matter of time till these sunny weekend hikes will be a thing of the past.  I hope you all are enjoying your weekends, soaking up every last little bit of fall possible.