Friday, October 31, 2008

A Halloween Wish...

I love Halloween - but in a cute way, not the scary way. I've got a bowl full of candy to hand out at work today and my Old Navy jack-o-lantern t-shirt on. The weather is gorgeous today so it'll be perfect for all the sweet little trick-or-treaters. Our traditional Halloween dinner is lasagna and we'll be watching Van Helsing - that's about as spooky as I get!

Wishing you a Spooktacular and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chicago: Days 4 & 5

The theme of Tuesday and Wednesday (October 7 & 8) was SHOPPING!! Tuesday we had a majorly lazy morning and didn't leave the hotel until lunchtime. I was hoping to find a Forever 21 store so that I could pick up a pair of these super cute shoes that I saw on Kelly's blog.

Aren't they adorable?! I love ballet flats and I love purple so they are a must have in my opinion. Unfortunately the Forever 21 we went to didn't have them, but they did have these...

They only had one pair and they were my size and only $8.50 - how could I resist?! (And I ordered the purple shoes from so I have those too!)

It ended up pouring on Tuesday afternoon so it was a good day to spend at the mall. We had dinner at Red Lobster that night (YUM!) and then spent the rest of the evening at my aunt and uncle's house. I took a couple of pictures of my aunt's house all dressed up for fall - she does such a good job with decor!

Wednesday we started the day in Wheaton at my aunt's favorite home decor store, JB Winterberry. It's one of those stores that closes for several days each season to completely redecorate for the upcoming season. The whole stores was decked out for fall and Halloween - talk about an inspiration station! I bought this cute metal pumpkin and have it sitting on our hearth. Since it's metal I could also put it outside in the garden if I wanted to. I love it!

After Wheaton we drove to Glenview which is where my grandparents lived. We stopped at the church where their ashes are buried and also drove by their old house.

Wednesday night was our last with my aunt and uncle so we had a yummy Italian dinner at their house.

Thursday morning we moved to the wedding hotel in Carol Stream and met up with the other side of my family for the rehearsal and wedding - but that's the next post!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicago: Day 3

Monday, October 6 was beautiful and ideal for a trip into downtown Chicago. My aunt and uncle picked us up from our hotel and we were on our way. Upon our arrival we drove up and down Lake Shore Drive to get an overview of the city and see the skyline and Lake Michigan. This was my second time in Chicago and it didn't disappoint!

Donald Trump's new building being built along Milwaukee Avenue.

We enjoyed a cafe lunch in Millennium Park and had fun taking pictures of The Crown Fountain and "Cloud Gate".

Our view at lunch!

After lunch we toured the Art Institute of Chicago. I went to the Art Institute about 10 years ago and was thrilled to see some of my favorites again this time.

"The Croquet Game" by Winslow Homer

"The Child's Bath" by Mary Cassatt

"Cliff Walk at Pourville" by Claude Monet

Ballet Dancer by Edgar Degas

On our way out of town we stopped at a cute Italian grocery store and picked up this wonderful fresh, homemade pumpkin ravioli and primavera sauce to have for dinner back at my aunt and uncle's house. Delicious!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chicago: Days 1 & 2

On Saturday, October 4, A drove me to DIA where I met up with my mom and dad for our trip to Chicago. We weren't sure how much airport traffic there would be on a Saturday so we planned plenty of time. Of course when you have plenty of time everything zips by without any delays. There was no line to check our bags, barely any line at security and we were at our gate almost a full 2 hours before the plane was due to depart. They ended up boarding our plane early and we were on our way before we knew it! The flight was smooth and I got to watch HGTV the whole way there.

Upon landing in Chicago we got our bags (which thankfully all arrived - I'm always quite the prayer warrior while waiting to see if all the luggage made it okay) and then picked up our rental car. We started heading toward our hotel in Oakbrook Terrace. On the way my dad called my aunt and uncle and we all decided to meet up for dinner first. We went to a restaurant called Portillo's which has really good Chicago-style hot dogs and lots of other yummy sandwiches.

After filling our bellies we went to my aunt and uncles house (in Glen Ellyn) for dessert - my aunt had made my Nana's make-from-scratch brownie recipe and boy oh boy were they GOOD! We made plans for Sunday and then Mom, Dad, and I said goodnight to go get settled into our hotel. It felt great to have my head finally hit the pillow that night!

Sunday, October 5 we slept in a bit (this is a theme for the trip so just know that about each morning) and then met up with my aunt and uncle at their house. We loaded into their car and drove over to Wheaton to go to Cantigny. We drove though lots of cute neighborhoods and Wheaton's very quaint and picturesque downtown on the way there. Cantigny was the home of Robert M. McCormick who was an editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune for 44 years. When he died his home and 500-acre property was turned into a public park with beautiful gardens and two amazing museums. It was cloudy and rained off and on while we were there so I didn't get a good picture of the mansion (which is now a museum), but here is one that I found on the web. The mansion has 35 rooms - all of which are gorgeous!

Robert McCormick was also a Colonel in World War I so there is a Military Museum on the property too. My mom and aunt and I were kind of tired by that point in the afternoon so we went back to the Visitors Center to get some refreshments while my dad and my uncle went to the war museum. The museum has life-size dioramas of some scenes from WWI, WWII, and Vietnam which I would have liked to have seen, but I'll just have to do that next time I guess. A would LOVE that museum so we'll definitely have to go back there sometime.

We left Cantigny about 2:30pm and searched out some lunch. We ended up at a shopping center right near a movie theater and had lunch at a restuarant called Max and Erma's. After lunch we went to the movie "Flash of Genius" which was good, but a little slow at times. After the movie it was back to my aunt and uncle's house for dessert. We skipped dinner since we'd had such a late lunch, but of course we couldn't skip dessert! We hung out, talked, laughed and had a good evening together before heading back to our hotel to retire for the night.

Next Chicago post: Day 3 - the city!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Hello, hello! I am home safe and sound from Chicago and am embarrassed to say that I have been for over a week. Somehow this last week just took off on me and never slowed down for me to catch up. I feel like I'm still running behind!

I do want to post some recaps of my trip and will be doing that in the days to come. For now I just have time to pop in and wish you all a wonderful Monday!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Leavin' on a jet plane

My bags are packed, the house is clean, the kitchen is stocked and a week's worth of meals have been prepared. My three bazillion errands are done and I've picked up everything from foundation to new shoes to snacks for the flight. I think I am officially ready for the trip!

I won't be blogging from Chicago but I am going to try and be very intentional about taking photos so that I have lots to post after I get back. I'll miss reading blogs while I'm away but I'm already looking forward to getting caught up with everyone after I get back.

"See" you in a week!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bridal shower invitation

In November, I am helping to throw a bridal shower for my brother-in-law's fiancee (which would make her my soon-to-be-sister-in-law, I guess - how's that for a lengthy title?). The shower is being held at my in-law's church, which is also where the happy couple currently attends, so most of the guests will be invited through an announcement in the church bulletin. However, there are a few friends and family members being invited who don't attend the same church and we needed a few invitations to mail to them. The wedding colors are red, white, and black which was the inspiration for the invitations, plus a wedding theme of course. I kept the design simple since I didn't have a lot of time to put into them. Here's what I came up with...

(you can click on the photo for a larger view)

The cake and flowers are from PaperTrey Ink. I love the simplicity of the images and yet to me they look so classy and elegant. Once I got going on all the invitations (I made 10) they really only took me about an hour to make - perfect!

I bought red envelopes to mail them in so the whole thing will look coordinated. Being coordinated is pretty much my life's theme, I think!

We're doing more shower planning after I get back from my trip. This is the first shower I've ever thrown and planning it has been so much fun - I'm always up for a party!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Welcome October

I have finally gotten some fall decorating done around here. I'll post more photos after my trip, but here are a few of the fall touches I've put up. First up, I made a new bow for my flower pot wreath. I love the polka dots!

(The colors of the bow didn't show up too well in this photo, but the ribbons are orange and a sheer brown.)

Here's the fall decor in our entryway...

There's cinnamon scented potpourri around the base of the hurricanes and it smells SO good. I love walking through our front door now - nothing like cinnamon and fall decor to say "welcome home."