Iceland

Iceland 3Blue LagoonPhoto 1 // Photo 2

Last Wednesday, Keith saw a tweet from The Points Guy announcing that WOW Air, an Islandic airline, would be initiating service from Boston to Reykjavik in 2015. They were offering some pretty attractive initial fares, and after missing out on a fare sale to Dublin a few weeks prior, we bought these quickly. It was totally impulsive but we are so excited to explore Iceland! Our friends went a few years back. Their pictures are absolutely gorgeous.

From our initial research, it seems we’ll have to rent a big SUV to get around. There are waterfalls, geysers, and geothermal spas. The island has wild horses too, which reminds me of Misty, a movie I watched with my sisters growing up. We’ll be doing lots of hiking. Keith and I have wanted to go on a more physical trip, and while this is hardly Kilimanjaro (to Keith’s dismay), it will be nice to spend most of the week outside exploring the beautiful terrain. Any other advice on Iceland is much appreciated!

Friday at O’Hare Airport

Airline screenI travel a lot. Not in a global road warrior type way, but over 40 trips per year. As with anyone, I have my travel pet peeves. Just this week I was complaining to Keith that passengers have started lining up across the terminal waiting to board their flight. This leaves no room for other travelers to walk to and from their gates. I am firmly in the “don’t recline your seat” camp. Granted, if you ask Keith, he might say I’m a bit of a neurotic traveler myself. I have my airport rituals and I like to stick to them.

The majority of my travel is tolerable at best. But on Friday, I saw the sweetest interaction that still makes me smile. I was seated next to a girl who looked to be of college age. She was traveling from Atlanta to Las Vegas via Chicago. She had a pillow, a blanket, and slept soundly the entire flight. I was a bit perplexed by her gold status on her boarding pass. It’s a lot of flights for someone so young. When we deplaned, her father was waiting for her, his bag in hand. They shared a happy embrace and started walking in the same direction as me towards their connecting flight. As they walked, the girl didn’t stop talking, about school, her friends, their plans for Vegas. And the father? Well he couldn’t stop beaming. He was so happy to see his daughter, his smile and laughter were contagious. There is nothing better than being reunited with loved ones, and all the surly business travelers rushing by couldn’t damper the excitement of these two.

I hope they had the best weekend together.

On Holidays

Wrapping paperI know it is very early to be thinking about the holidays, but our schedule is a little tricky this year. We will be in South Africa both the week of Thanksgiving and the first week in December, and by the time we get home, there will be less than three weeks until Christmas! My family also has four birthdays in the next two months, which adds to the fun. So I have resolved to start shopping for gifts this week. I know there is so much more to the holidays than buying presents, but if I get a good jump on this (admittedly somewhat stressful), then I can focus on fun things like baking, decorating, and spending time with family.

I love the holidays, It is such a fun time of year, and I’m sad we’ll be missing Thanksgiving. Keith and I try to buy a Christmas ornament on each of our trips, and we have accumulated a nice little collection with many great memories. I use Christmas as an excuse to bake dozens of cookies. Fortunately last year we had a little holiday party, so they were eaten. I take a bunch home to Cleveland to mix in with my mom’s cookies. I also love sending out holiday cards. There’s something special about receiving something other than junk mail. We’ve historically sent out regular cards, but this year, I think we might go for a photo card. Is that cheesy or cute?

The first gift I purchased was for myself. I splurged on a new lens for our camera in anticipation of our upcoming safari. It is so intimidating to me! Now I understand my dad when he said it might be too much lens for our camera.

Camera lens

Our Weekend

Orange yellow treeOur friends recently bought a house in the western suburbs, and they had a housewarming party Saturday. Keith and I decided to rent a car so we could go to the party and run a bunch of errands. Keith wanted to go to Ikea and I wanted to do a big box retailer run (paper towels, toilet paper, etc.). Throw in a fun lunch excursion, a detour to the Morton Arboretum, and a great evening seeing friends. We had such a nice time.

Misoya RamenI realized at the 11th hour that we could try one of the infamous suburban ramen shops while we were out. I choose Misoya since their noodles are rumored to be better, and it did not disappoint. Their ramen was likely the best I’d ever had – delicious broth, thick spongy noodles, and lots of interesting toppings (Keith loved the ground pork). The worst part is that it will be awhile before we can make it back.

EK ArboretumIt was our first time going to Morton’s Arboretum, and it was absolutely gorgeous. We would have loved to have had more time to walk the grounds – it’s on our list for next year. I know we don’t look too thrilled here. It was a bit cold, and we weren’t dressed for being outside.

Red tree OakHow beautiful is this oak tree?

Light fixture workPoorly lit “before” and “during” photos.

PendantsHere are a couple photos of our Ikea project. Keith had wanted to swap out some of our light fixtures, so we picked up some pendants and he installed them Sunday morning. I’ll admit, I was initially skeptical about the whole initiative, but I was happy with the pendants we found. (Please note that Keith painted the area above the pendant after I took these photos.) It’s always nice to have a little change around the house. Thanks Keith for working on this!

We finished the weekend firming up some details for our upcoming trip (me), watching football (Keith), and making a big pot of chili. It was a good one.

Lately

Fall vegetablesHello! I can’t believe it’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted here. To be honest, September was a challenging month for us. We faced some disappointments and uncertainty. Nothing too serious, but it didn’t feel right to post cheerful weekly updates about our escapades in Chicago, so I took a break. Keith and I were in Cleveland this past weekend visiting my family, and my sister (Hey Andrea!) asked me why I hadn’t been blogging. We’ve still had our fair share of fun over here, so here are some photos from the recent weeks.

Emma and AndreaI celebrated my birthday in the middle of September. I was traveling that week, but I was able to meet up with Andrea in New Jersey for a day. I finally got to see her apartment and neighborhood, and she baked me the cutest little cake! Keith and I celebrated that weekend in Chicago with dinner and one too many drinks.

Ravinia picnicKeith and I also went to Ravinia for the first time in early September. We have had tickets the past two summers, but have ended up bailing for weather reasons. This time wasn’t much better. It didn’t rain, but it was quite chilly. We packed a bunch of layers and a little picnic, and I am so glad we went. The park is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to go back earlier in the summer next year.

Pizza bar Pumpkin carving PumpkinIt was so fun spending this past weekend in Cleveland. Two of my sisters were coming home, so we decided to join them. We went to the local farmer’s market, made mini pizzas, and ate lots of pumpkin pie. Keith and Will also carved a pumpkin (it’s a storm trooper). We ate lots of fresh food from my mom’s garden and played catchphrase late into the night. It was such a nice relaxing weekend.

Have a great week everyone!