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!

Our Weekend

BeetsWe enjoyed a gorgeous weekend in Chicago. After thunderstorms Friday night, the weather was perfect. Keith had to do some work Saturday morning, so I went to the farmer’s market. These pickled beets are delicious! We enjoyed lunch on the patio at Pierrot Gourmet, ran some errands, and walked around Old Town. There’s a spice store that we never go to, but the door was open Saturday so we checked it out. Keith was thrilled to find sumac. He ate it with every meal while we were in Turkey, and now the fun can begin again in Chicago. We also spent some time relaxing in Lincoln Park and playing fetch with the cutest little Cockapoo!

Sumac Lincoln Park Keith Michigan shirtKeith sporting his Michigan pride Saturday afternoon. It was a rough weekend for the Big 10.

By far the highlight of our weekend was dinner at Bavette’s Saturday night. It is one of our favorite restaurants, and we went to celebrate our anniversary. They sat us at the cutest little corner table, and we enjoyed cocktails, oysters, delicious food, and great conversation. It was so fun to get dressed up for a special night out. We were moving a little slower Sunday morning, but it was well worth it.

Today I am headed to New York for lunch with a client, but then it’s back to Chicago this evening for the rest of the week. Nothing like a Monday day trip to get the week started!

Our Weekend

Photo gridHappy Tuesday everyone! Keith and I spent our Labor Day weekend in Orlando celebrating Keith’s cousin’s wedding. The wedding was held at the newly opened Four Seasons, and the property was absolutely beautiful. We arrived Friday night just in time for a late dinner and drinks with the wedding party. Keith had told the hotel our anniversary fell during our stay, and we were greeted with the most amazing cake upon check-in. It was seriously delicious.

Anniversary cakeWe spent both Saturday and Sunday morning by the pool. The hotel is located within the Walt Disney World resort, and the grounds were sprawling. There’s a golf course, tennis courts, a huge lazy river, and two pools. The forecast called for rain, but the weather held out and was absolutely gorgeous (although very hot and humid). We read, swam, and ate our meals poolside.

Four seasons poolThe wedding was such a blast. The décor was gorgeous, the drinks were flowing, and the band was really good. They even had a cigar rolling station, which Keith loved. We flew back to Chicago Sunday night, so it was a short but sweet trip, but absolutely worth the trip!