Thursday, July 18, 2013

Weekend Trip to Ohio

Several weeks ago, my brother and I took a little road trip to Ohio to see our grandparents.  It just so happened that our parents were visiting from Texas at the same time, so it was perfect timing.  And to top it off, our extended family ended up having a big get-together the same weekend, so it was a weekend full of much needed family time!

Jun 19 20131It's not possible to make a five hour roadtrip without stopping at Cracker Barrel.  It's just roadtrip etiquette, right?

IMG 2085Our extended family has a farm just outside of Columbus, and I can remember every visit I made there as a child.  I'm always amazed at how different it feels than where I grew up and where I live now, and yet, it's oddly comforting and peaceful.

Jun 19 20132Pretty blue skies and my hipster grandma rocking Ryan's RayBans :)

Jun 19 20133Outside of laughing and telling fun stories with family, the hit of my cousin's crawfish boil was certainly the "grown up gummy bears."  Yes please!

IMG 2110Love this kid.

Jun 19 20134Nothing says summer like a crisp, white dress and a plate full of desserts!

IMG 2113After a fabulous weekend together, all we have to show for it is an elevator selfie :)  Better than nothing though, right?

Family time is such a treat, and I am continually grateful for the awesome people in my life.  We are looking forward to several visits from family and friends over the next few weeks, and hopefully, we can get better pictures than an elevator selfie :)  Hope you're having a fabulous week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

4th of July and My "Summer is Here" Realization

Wait a minute; is it seriously mid-July already?  Where the heck has summer gone?  I have a sneaking suspicion that because most of May and June were completely taken over by all things "new house," I kind of lost track of time.  But now that the calendar has jolted me back to reality, we are working to infuse as much summer fun into our weeks as possible.  And that was certainly true on the Fourth of July, as I was determined to make the most of the patriotic holiday!  Here are a few snaps from our holiday...

IMG 2268Our day started off bright and early at a nearby hot air balloon festival.  The 4:30 am wake up call was a bit rough, but it was totally worth it to see all the balloons in their early morning glory.

IMG 2229Matt and I have been wanting to go this festival ever since we moved to Chicago three years ago, but something has always come up.  But this year, with the help of the previously mentioned calendar jolt, we made it happen.  And I'm so glad we did!

IMG 2267Even Ryan managed to get up for the occasion!  PS: have I mentioned how much I love my little brother living with us this summer?

IMG 2231Later that afternoon, after serious naps and a some light work around the house, we hosted friends for a cookout.  It was our first time to invite friends to our new home, and it was so incredibly fun.  There was a moment Matt and I were buzzing in and out of the kitchen and laughing with our friends on the patio when I thought, "This is what we've always dreamed of."  Having a home of our own, hosting dear friends, and celebrating life's special moments.  It was pretty surreal and a major moment of gratitude.

IMG 2249After a big meal on the grill and more than a few bottles of Prosecco (thanks Max and Christie!), we headed to the backyard for smores.  One of our favorite discoveries after moving in and getting situated in our house, was that we have a pretty awesome firepit/chiminea set up.  We use it at least a few times a week, and July 4th was a no-brainer.

So there you have it; our official "oh my gosh, summer is here" moment!  Is time flying by for anyone else, and if so, what are you doing to celebrate summer to its fullest?  

PS: I know I've promised "official" house pictures by the end of the month, but for those that are interested, you can definitely see some sneak peaks on Instagram.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Birthday Celebrations for Ryan

Last week we celebrated my little brother's 21st birthday.  It's absolutely crazy to me that my baby brother is all grown up, as it seems like yesterday that I was peering into his hospitable incubator in my pink puff paint, "I'm a big sister" shirt.  He'll probably never be a "real" grown-up in my eyes, but given that it was his 21st, we definitely had to celebrate.  And since he is living in Chicago this summer, it only felt right to spend the day patio hopping, enjoying the beautiful weather, and sipping some yummy grown-up beverages.

Jul 1 20131. Rocking his chambray and looking like a little grownup.  Where did time go?
2. Our first stop of the afternoon was Big Star.  Big Star has been a Chicago favorite for a long time, but I've never had the patience to face the wait.  But on a Monday afternoon, we gave it a go, and I am so glad we did.  Patio perfection!

IMG 22053. Happy birthday, little Ryan!

Jul 9 20134. For dinner, we continued the patio trend at Parson's Chicken and Fish, a new spot in Logan Square by the team behind Chicago's popular Longman & Eagle.
5. I heard about this spot from a coworker, and I'm so grateful.  Their chicken is out of this world delicious, along with their oysters and hush puppies.  And don't even get me started on their Texas Toast!

Jul 1 201316. Like any good Chicago patio, Parson's has an extensive cocktail list.  The shining star?  Definitely their Negroni slushies!
7. Ryan topped off the night with a whiskey + pickle shot, on the house.  Cheers to the birthday boy! 

Having Ryan in Chicago this summer has been so fun, and being able to share his big day with him was such a treat.  And for all my Chicago readers, if you haven't been to Parson's, definitely give it a try.  Between the chicken and slushies, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sweet Toby


Yesterday, my family said goodbye to our sweet and precious Toby.  He was in the hospital for most of last week, before his little body became too tired and gave out.  Thankfully, he was able to spend his last few days at home, lounging on his favorite pillows and getting plenty of snuggles from my parents.  I feel so grateful for the joy and love that Toby brought into our family and for the way he loved us unconditionally.  Its been incredibly painful to say goodbye, particularly from so far away, but I'm so grateful for my sweet parents who have wrapped him in love and done every thing possible for him in his last days.  Toby was such an important part of our family, and he is already missed beyond belief.

Little toby

Sweet Toby, you were such a delightful and loving companion, and from the moment I first held you in the palm of my hand (you were so tiny!), I knew we would take good care of each other.  Thank you for loving me unconditionally and for being the best couch snuggler a girl could ask for.  I know you're in a better place, chasing critters, barking to no end, and eating all the "people food" you can handle. You are missed, loved, and forever treasured.  Goodbye, little guy.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Apr 11 20133*Lunch at one of our favorite lunch spots.
*Green tunic + natural curls = a typical weekend outfit. 

Mar 10 20134*I walk through Union Station each and every morning, and I truly think the Great Hall is one of the most magnificent spaces in Chicago.
*Whole wheat waffles, bananas, and favorite Saturday breakfast. 

Mar 10 20131*Korean barbeque with my one of my dearest friends, Christie.
*Hard to believe that twenty years after our first year at summer camp together, we are still loving girls night sleepovers! 

Apr 11 20134*A Friday office lunch at Butterfly.
*Thrifted denim Gap dress + a thrifted necklace from my mom.

Dec 13 20124*An awesome quote from this incredible book.
*A fun Saturday braid at the salon to avoid having to blow dry my hair.

I hope you're having a fabulous week.  This week is a lighter one for me, and I'm grateful to enjoy a few days off with friends and family!