birthday

It’s always the worst when blogging has to take a back seat, but these last few weeks have just been one busy pow wow and I’ve wanted to be 100% present in all of it. From work picking up with new opportunities, to best friends visiting, to planning wedding festivities – right up to birthday celebrations around town for my favorite human – it’s been crazy and wonderful.

That being said, I want to get back in the swing of things, and figured what better day than today – when I get to celebrate this handsome future husband of mine being born. Happy Birthday, love! This photo is one Feather & Twine took during our engagement session and it nearly kills me. Those looks and that smile – I’m a lucky lady!

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We declared this weekend one of birthday shenanigans and romped around Chi for new adventures, starting with brunch of course. Saturday morning Eric and I ventured to Pomp & Circumstance. I’d been wanting to check this place out forever and had heard their Bloody Mary was on point.

This trendy Old Town spot did not disappoint. Eric and I shared the chilaquiles and Pomp croissant breakfast sandwich. Oh, and the drinks were indeed delicious! We left perfectly happy and ventured into the streets right outside to check out the Old Town Art Fair.

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birthday

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Post-brunch and fair, we dropped by Macy’s to get Eric a much needed new pair of everyday shoes and then made our way to the Chicago Blues Fest. Fun fact – it’s the largest free blues festival in the world! It takes place in Grant park, so the city gets to serve as the most perfect backdrop.

Only challenge to navigate? It was somehow 93 degrees so we were making bee lines for a spot in the shade. That didn’t hold us back though, this fest was a ton of fun.

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birthday

birthday

Sunday brought another cool opportunity. Friends were going sailing on Lake Michigan to watch The America’s Cup, which was being held on fresh water for the first time right here in ChiTown! This weekend long event consisted of different sailing races among countries to determine qualifiers for the final event in Bermuda one year from now.

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It was so awesome to see the city from a whole new perspective – the beautiful blue waters we’re usually looking out to! The cup was really cool. I’m still not sure of all the technology  behind it, but those big racing sailboats for each country get enough wind underneath that it actually looks like they are flying just above the water.

Needless to say, we had a great weekend checking new things off our list and celebrating Eric! He is truly the best, kindest, most loving, brilliant, funny, and wonderful human, and deserves every bit of it and more.

E, I love you a whole bunch! I have loved celebrating the last four birthdays with you, and I hope this next year is the best yet. Cheers to you, love.

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Well, friends, hope it’s a fantastic week! Tonight we’re off to eat tapas and sangria with our Chicago pals to spoil this guy some more, and in a few days I make my way back to the Lonestar State. Wahoo!

Days By Day

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In mid-January, I checked another state off my list when the Chicago fam made our way to the little town of Charlevoix in northern Michigan. Becca’s dad owns a cabin up in some [currently] knee-high snowy hills, surrounded by big trees and next to her cousin’s vineyard. It sounds like quite the set-up, and trust me it is.

The cabin is not your average Lincoln log get up – it’s got huge ceilings,  five bedrooms, a clawfoot tub (ugh we didn’t get to use it, but like a CLAWFOOT TUB…dream bath), and loaded up with plenty of winter toys.

michigan getaway

michigan getaway

michigan getaway

We drove late on a Friday for about six hours and loaded up on groceries on the way in. There were thirteen of us, so after splitting the cost of all the goods and gas, we lucked out with a  weekend of fun at a steal of a price.

My advice for traveling with six boys? Have lots of food. When they ask for a snack the mean they will eat three frozen pizzas.

We stayed up late the first night, drinking wine and chatting until suddenly it was 4:00 am, and we were eyeing each other to see who would be the first to say they can’t stay up anymore. Saturday started with brunch and lots of ridiculous photos.

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michigan getaway

michigan getaway

A slightly embarrassing photo that shows our obsession with Drake.

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We had an intense snowball fight. I guess snowball fight mostly meant let’s gang up on each other and tackle someone. Um fun discovery though – Becca’s family has these little scissor looking things with cups at the end that make the literal perfect snowballs – I didn’t take a picture, but see what I’m talking about here. I’m not sure who won the fight in the end, but I did learn I need to work on my snowball throwing skills.

Sledding was another weekend activity! It was my very first time, along with one other gal pal, and that made everyone very excited. We piled on to the same “sled” – which did not look like the little wooden boards tied together I always imagined, but instead this long plastic tray of sorts – and were sent on our way. SO FUN. I’m not sure how many times we all continued to slide down and get our workout in by charging back up the hill,  but we were out there awhile.

michigan getaway

michigan getaway

Sunday a couple of the guys went skiing at a nearby resort. Some of us played around on the snow mobiles and ATV in the cabin garage. Snow mobiles I learned are very fun, but also dangerous. Not even because of the driver, but because the snow is blanketed over everything and you might not know if you’re about to get stuck on an actual giant broken tree branch – Eric and I’s real life experience. For five minutes, we thought we were going to have to run back and find Becca in the middle of the snowy forest, aka thought we were going to freeze to death. Thankfully a cool gang of snowmobilers helped Eric get it unstuck in two minutes and we were back on our way.

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Other fun activities included eating everything in sight, and visiting the little downtown of Charlevoix. Very worth it for the fudge and to see the left over snowmen from an earlier contest. Also, I was very tempted to buy these oven mitts – the person who came up with this idea for a Michigan oven mitt must’ve been cracking up when he/she realized how perfect it was. I did, but then again I do crack up at most things.

michigan getaway

michigan getaway

michigan getaway

michigan getaway

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The drive home with two boys mistaking themselves for a couple of rappers.

All and all, the weekend getaway was actually perfect. A real life winter wonderland experience! It was a great post-holiday reunion with all the friends. Since it was right after my birthday, they made me feel super special with a cake to wrap the whole trip up.

And when we walked back up to the apartment building Monday evening, Eric and I were mostly just amazed that in six-ish hours we drove through three states, and across all of Michigan. I think things like this will continue to be amazing – thank you, Texas.

Days By Day

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The past couple days have been jam packed with work. I am so happy to be loving what I’m doing though! Lots of exciting things are in the works for my team.

With a productive, yet tiring, couple of days, I have only had time for a couple errands and run by the lake! So for this post, I wanted to share that beautiful picture above and a list of ten things I would not have survived the summer without:

1. Pretzel Crisps – To start off, I called these “Pretzel Chips” until I got here and Cidnye corrected me. I didn’t believe her until she showed me their Instagram…which I now follow. Peanut butter, cheese slices, hummus – these babies go with everything for the ultimate snack.

2. Hummus – My favorite compliment to Pretzel Crisps. And lots of other food.

3. My old pair of Nike Frees – I can’t remember when I got these, but I do know I have run well over two hundred miles on them. I finally got a new pair, but those Nike Frees got me through a summer of some amazing adventures on the lake.

4. Jake Owen & Luke Bryan – I wouldn’t have really considered myself a country fan until this year, and even with that being said, I’m prety selective. But somehow in the past few weeks I stumbled upon these two gents and more often then I would’ve expected, find myself listening to them.

5. A Ventra Card – Public transportation is EVERYTHING. I think I forgot how to drive a car/don’t want to drive a car anymore. People here are dependent on it and it is so convenient. Ventra, I’ll miss you.

6. My gold necklace – I can get cheesy for a moment. This dainty necklace Eric surprised me with when he came to visit has been such a sweet reminder of his support and love during our time apart. Bonus feature – it’s the perfect accessory for every outfit.

7. Liquid eyeliner – Contrary to my belief before moving here, I have been wearing minimal make up. Even less then I would normally wear in Austin. I just throw some of that liquid jazz on, along with some moisturizer and mascara, and hello Chicago.

8. My Nikon – I am so happy I decided to undergo one more carry on for the plane and brought this with me. I have loved going around and snapping photos of the obvious, and not so obvious, beauty constantly around me in Chi-Town.

9. Scandal – I became addicted to this show in a matter of minutes and have been working my way through the three seasons on Netflix since week one. I think its the history and government lover in me. That and Olivia Pope is a boss.

10. Friends – I have met some pretty amazing people in my almost ten weeks in town. When I first arrived, I was unsure how that would all go, and it has worked out better than I could’ve ever imagined. There are some pretty fabulous ladies in my life here that are definitely going to make leaving hard.

Oh Chicago, you have been so good to me. And thankfully, it’s not over yet. Today at work, the interns kick off a pretty intense project due in the following 24 hours – exciting and nerve wracking – and after that, Lollapalooza weekend will be upon us!

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All around Chicago there are Divvy bike stations and I always see people riding them across town. It is an activity that had been on my list basically since I arrived and I knew Eric would be the perfect person to go for it with. Only $7 for a full 24 hours of riding, what a deal. It was perfect for taking my handsome guy all around Lake Michigan – we wanted nothing else but to be outside for the Fourth because the weather was so perfect!

We started our journey by checking out some human body statues in Millennium Park that people had adorned with American flags. They were interesting and a little creepy at the same time, and we probably looked ridiculous while we tried to mimic their poses. After checking out bikes, we headed on over to Buckingham Fountain. I go through this plaza every time I head out for a run and I can’t help but turn around and look at the view. One of the best I have seen I think. It was busy with lots of families and red, white, and blue of course.

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Eric and I continued on to the path by the lake and rode south towards another stop, The Field Museum. We both love natural history museums and I had heard this was a great attraction in Chicago. Turns out they have tons of cool (and extensive) exhibits, I’m really glad we went! When we left, we biked a little ways down the path again to stop by the Adler Planetarium. I wanted Eric to see the city view from there, because it is another one of my favorites. And it feels amazing with the breeze from the water.
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At this point we were getting pretty hungry and decided on biking to Greek Town – I was so excited to try another restaurant in the area! We ended up at Greek Islands…and it was the BEST Greek food either of us had EVER HAD. I think after every bite one of us commented on how we could not believe it was so good. Eric had a combination plate of gyro meat and sausage, while I just choose the gyro plate. The meat was incredibly tender and juicy and the pita bread could not have been more delicious. Sadly, I have no pictures to share because after several hours of biking, we decided eating immediately was more important than photos.

We left so stuffed. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to walk back to the Divvy station, let alone actually mount and ride a bike. It was a good thing though, all this walking and biking helped balance out our meals…well maybe not balance, but it helped us feel a little less guilty haha. Next stop – the famous Chicago Silver Bean! I knew this tourist attraction would be packed, but it was so close to my apartment and a must see for Eric.

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Post bean visit, we headed on back to my apartment to freshen up for fireworks at the lake and a night out in Lincoln Park with my roommates and their guests. I was so happy Eric was there and so thankful for a holiday full of sun, exploring, good food, and friends!

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One of my favorite things to do since being in Chicago is going for runs by Lake Michigan! I only have to walk a few blocks to reach a paved path right along the water and it is absolutely beautiful. Every time I get a mile out or so, I can’t help but stop and turn around to take in the scenery and breathe in the fresh air.

There are always so many people out – and lots of cute doggies – and on days when the weather is nice, it is pure bliss. I am definitely going to keep doing the best I can to take advantage of this treat that is literally right outside my door.

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With such a busy week, I haven’t had time for much more exploration in the evenings since I come home exhausted. When I start to get really tired around 10:00 pm, I laugh at myself because I feel like an old woman. I did make time for a rare activity of mine a couple nights ago though – real cooking all by myself! My parents are so skilled in the kitchen, I have been spoiled all these years and unfortunately did not come away with all their talent. So, as you can imagine, I was pretty proud of my small accomplishment…since it was a pretty big one for me!

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Yuuumm chicken & Hook ’em 🙂

I can’t believe Week 3 has come and gone, this is crazy. I’m working hard to make sure I soak up every moment in this beautiful city and am excited to check out some cool things around town this weekend with my roommates. Hope everyone has a happy Friday!

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