Daily Happenings, Dog, Holiday, Travel, Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Hi friends!! I’m so sorry to have disappeared the past few days. I was soaking up family time and blogging took a back seat. Unfortunately I got some sort of stomach bug on Monday so my plan to have a recap up on Tuesday got thrown out the window. I’m back now so let’s dive right into the weekend. Have a great day 🙂

Friday

Alex, Bailey and I were up bright and early on Friday to finish the rest of our drive. We ended up deciding to break up the drive to my parent’s house and were staying about halfway there in Poland, Ohio. We found a pet friendly hotel on bringfido.com which made it much easier to do since we knew Bailey would be welcomed.

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Once we were dressed and ready, we headed to a Dunkin Donuts for some breakfast before hitting the road. We made pretty good time and ended up arriving around lunch time. It was just my little brother, Brendan, and my dad that were home so after they met Bailey and we chatted for a bit we headed out to lunch. We went to Pazzi di Pizza, a local Italian restaurant in my hometown of Elmhurst that has a great lunch menu. I got the chicken vesuvio panini which came with a salad too and it hit the spot.

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We drove around downtown Elmhurst because Alex is actually working on a potential deal there for work. Small world right?! When we got home, we hung out with Bailey outside. My parents don’t have a fenced in yard so we brought our 30 foot leash with us and tied it to a tree in their backyard. It was fantastic! Bailey could run around without someone being attached to her at all times and we didn’t have to worry about her running away. After being in the car for the morning, she had lots of energy to run out.

My mom got home from work so we all caught up on life before Alex left to go meet a client. Mom and I headed to do a little shopping and I grabbed a new workout tank and capris thanks to a Dick’s gift card that I had. Let’s be real, who doesn’t loving buying something and feeling like you don’t have to spend money because of a gift card.

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We headed home and my older brother Brian had arrived from Michigan. Alex finished up with his meeting and when we got back, Dad had started dinner. He grilled brussel sprouts, romaine lettuce and steak to enjoy. All of it was so tasty!

Alex and I ended up taking a “Bruber” (Brendan Uber) to go meet my friends in a nearby town for the night. It was so much fun to meet up with them and catch up. We started at a bar with a country cover band who was fun before heading to a semi outdoor bar. Our Bruber picked us up and we both collapsed into bed once we got back to my parents.

Saturday

I had every intention of going for a run when I woke up on Saturday but that didn’t happen. Instead I read a bit outside with Bailey before heading for a mani/pedi with my mom. It was nice to be able to sit and relax while talking to her after spending the past two days in the car. Luckily my mom called ahead for appointments because they place was packed! We joked that it was everyone who had stayed in town for the long weekend. After our nails were done, we went to a few local stores to shop around.

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The rest of the day was spent hanging out with the family. My dad went to a meat warehouse and brought Bailey back a bone to chew on. Man did she LOVE that bone. We could have left her for hours and she would not have even noticed she was alone. I mean look at how she’s looking at the bone…that is true love.

For lunch, we picked up some Mexican food from a place that has quickly become my family’s go to for catering. Seriously this stuff is legit and so tasty. This is probably bad but I don’t really remember what we did the rest of the afternoon. I think I napped for a bit though.

For dinner, my dad fired up the grill again. This time he made a beef tenderloin, corn and something else. The rest of the evening was spent hanging out with my family.

Sunday

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Sunday started off on a great note with a big breakfast. Growing up, my dad would pick a few Sundays and make a big breakfast with bacon, eggs and hash browns. Since most of the kids were home (my sister is studying abroad in Australia so she was the only one missing) he decided to make one for us. Scrambled eggs, two kinds of bacon and hash browns were perfect to start the day.

My mom and I last minute decided to go see Life of the Party. We both give it two thumbs up! It was funny but not crude and every funny part wasn’t in the trailer which I appreciated. If you’re looking for a good movie, you should check this one out.

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When we got home, it was time to get ready for the party. I had two cousins graduate from high school last week and one of them was having a party during the afternoon. It was actually most of the reason we went to visit Chicago. After saying hello to everyone I grabbed a new to me beer to try. Goose Island is a Chicago brewery and I was really intrigued to see. Goose Summer Hours lager was similar to Summer Shandy but not as light. If you see it, you should pick it up.

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My aunt and uncle had the party catered and went with Portillo’s and got Italian beef. I packed my bun with it and filled my plate with fruit salad and Caesar salad to round out the meal. Man do I miss Italian beef here in New Jersey. If you are ever in Chicago you must try this sandwich out!

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After eating, I went outside to sit outside and talk with the rest of the family. Once the mosquitoes started to bite, I headed back inside to help my aunt bring the dessert out. Oh man…it all looked so good! The sunflower cookies were delicious and I definitely brought one home with me. Once we got back to my parents, we packed up as much as we could before heading to bed.

Monday

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We got up nice and early to head out on the road. I’m not sure who was more upset to leave because Dad and Bailey had a great bond going. The running joke is he’s going to show up at home now with a puppy.

We were making great time and had every intention of making it all the way back to New Jersey. Then that got thrown out the window. Somehow I caught a stomach bug and we had to stop in Pittsburgh for the night so I could rest a bit. Once again Bring Fido came in handy so we could find a pet friendly hotel to stop at for the night. After checking in I crawled into bed and slept on and off for a few hours before attempting to eat a bit and slept the night away.

Tuesday

Luckily both my boss and Alex’s bosses were incredibly understanding when we both had to call out. After a late start we ended up making it back to New Jersey with no issues. I still had some stomach pain (actually I still do) but we didn’t have to make any emergency stops which was a good sign. Alex did a few work calls on the road (thank you Bluetooh!) and I fell asleep a few times on the ride. When we got back, we unloaded to car and just collapsed on the couch happy to be back.

Question of the day: What was the highlight from your weekend?e

Travel

Allison’s Bacherlorette Party Weekend Recap

Hello friends! As I said yesterday, I’m checking in today with a recap of the bachelorette party I was at this past weekend. Allison is Alex’s brother’s fiance and it was so sweet of her to include me in the weekend.

Friday

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I went to work per my usual routine on Friday. Well usual minus the bowl of frosting and 2 dozen cupcakes that ended up coming with me to sit in the office fridge all day lol. Once 4 pm rolled around, I grabbed my cupcakes, double checked the address and headed out. Her maid of honor found a house on Airbnb for the weekend that would fit everyone. It’s actually the house the groom, groomsmen and their dates are staying at the night before the wedding in Stockton, New Jersey. The drive was super easy and there was no traffic so I arrived right around 5 pm. A few other girls were there so we hung up some decorations and chatted while everyone arrived.

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Since people were all coming at different times and from different places, the agenda for the night was pretty low key. Honestly I was not upset about that at all. We ended up ordering pizza in and hanging out while having some adult beverages, snacks, desserts and chatting. I was absolutely exhausted and ended up heading to bed around 11. Well I went up to bed but tossed and turned until about 2:30 am.

Saturday

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My original plan was to wake up and run but honestly I didn’t sleep well the night before so I just hung out in bed for a while before heading downstairs. The first activity for the day once we were all up and had breakfast was a hike. We went to Baldpate Mountain to hike. The weather was a tad chilly but we all warmed up pretty quick on the hike. I started my watch a little late but ended up hiking around 3 miles. The view at the highest point we made it to was gorgeous.

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Since there was so much food we opted to head back to the house to munch of leftover pizza and appetizers while hanging out. I had a few pieces of pepperoni, cheese and crackers before deciding to get my run in. The house was in a pretty rural area which was nice since I didn’t have to worry about cars at all. My schedule called for 4-6 recovery miles and I told myself I just had to get out for at least 15 minutes. Between the hike, not eating my normal foods and low water intake I wasn’t sure what to expect. Minus the fact that it was a pretty hilly area I felt great. When I say hilly, I’m pretty sure I would’ve walked up one part faster than I was running. I had to stop twice on the steepest hill because I actually thought I might die.

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After my run, I stretched and foam rolled before hopping in the shower. Once out, I got ready for the night out. With 14 girls, it takes a while to get everyone moving haha. While we were waiting for everyone, we sipped on cocktails and had fun in the little photobooth set up that was there. Once everyone was ready, we piled into cars and headed out.

We had a dinner reservation in New Hope, Pennsylvania at a restaurant called Havana. There was a band playing. One of the girls told security when they came around to tables to wristband everyone who was 21+ that we were celebrating a bachelorette party. The band kept calling Allison’s name to make sure she was dancing and getting everyone else in the place to cheer for her. For dinner, I got black beans, rice and chicken. Honestly it wasn’t that good and I thought it could’ve used a lot more spice to it.

The rest of the night was spent sipping on drinks and dancing the night away. At midnight, the band ended and a dj started playing music. That’s when I realized I’m the least hip 22 year old around because I didn’t even know the songs playing. This one rap kept playing and I may or may not have texted my 17 year old brother about it. While that was happening there was also a middle aged women twerking so the atmosphere between a band and dj is SO different.

Around 1 we headed back to the house. I was tired so I got ready for bed. I think some people stayed up but I can’t be positive since I fell asleep within minutes of crawling under the covers.

Sunday

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I set my alarm early for 6:30 and then a few starting at 7. Mostly because I wanted to be able to shower before everyone else got up and needed to use the bathrooms. It was a great idea because I was able to take my time getting ready before packing up my car and cleaning the house. Allison’s sister made everyone shirts that we all wore to brunch which was cute. We got brunch at Cock N’ Bull in Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania which was such a cute restaurant. The food was amazing too. Honestly I would go back to the brunch for the crumb cake alone.

Once brunch was over, we took a group picture in our shirts before all departing. I was so happy to be home on Sunday to be able to just lounge around and do nothing. It was a great weekend with lots of fun and laughs. Thank you Allison for including me! If the weekend is any indication of how the wedding will go, with all of the fun the girls had it will be a great time.

Holiday, Travel

Christmas 2017 Recap

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend and very merry Christmas if you celebrate! Have a great day 🙂

Christmas Eve

A tradition that my family has on Christmas Eve is we start the day by going to the movies. It started when my siblings and I were little. My dad would take us so my mom could clean, wrap presents, get ready for guests or just have some quiet before the craziness began. This year we went and saw “Darkest Hour” which is about when Winston Churchill first became the British Prime Minister. Everyone loved the movie and I highly recommend going to see it!

After the movie ended, we had a little downtime at my parents before we needed to go to church. Alex and I packed some stuff up for my aunts house and watched some “Stranger Things”. Once it was time to go, we gathered around the Christmas tree for pictures and to open one gift. For as long as I can remember, we have always gotten a pair of pjs for Christmas. I’m convinced that all of the winter pjs I own are from years past. It’s a fun tradition and a lot of times we’ll wear them to bed on Christmas Eve too.

The 7 of us headed to church and then my aunt’s house. Even though it had been snowing all day and the highways and roads weren’t plowed very well, we got to my aunts house fairly easily. When we got there the party began. Majority of my mom’s side of the family was there and it’s always a good time when we get together!

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While at my aunt’s, Santa comes to visit. The adults all get a joke gift from him over something that happened during the past year. Mine was a Christmas card with two giant pictures of me in my cap and gown from graduation in May. 2 years ago, all of my siblings graduated from a school so the Christmas card had them in their cap and gowns. It was extremely obvious that I was the odd man out so I said in 2017 the card better just be me. That didn’t actually happen but it was a good gift.

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Both our sweaters were from Target!

The rest of the night was spent hanging out in our ugly Christmas sweaters, eating dinner and open the grab bag gifts. When it was way too late, we headed back to my parents house.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day started super early for us. Alex and I were dressed and ready to go by 7 am. The family woke up then so we could open gifts and have a yummy breakfast. I didn’t take many pictures since I was trying to enjoy the last little bit of time with everyone at my parents. Breakfast was a mimosa, monkey bread and a potato casserole. It was the perfect fuel before packing everything into our bags and heading to the airport.

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When booking our travel, we wanted to be as fair as possible since each family would have to deal with some of Christmas without their child. We booked a flight that was scheduled to leave Chicago at 12:40 pm but didn’t leave until 2… It was delightful. When we landed at Newark, we then had to wait for our one checked bag before getting the car and driving to Alex’s parents house. I felt so bad since we didn’t get there until about 6:15/6:30. They put the last things for dinner in the oven and then we exchanged gifts. Dinner was delicious and I don’t know what it was except for some sort of beef, potatoes, asparagus and salad.

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After dinner, Alex’s older brother and his fiance got to the house for dessert and the last of the gifts from us to them and vice versa. It was a nice way to end the day before we headed back to our apartment. Alex decided to bring a furry friend home with us for the night. His parents dog Grace had a sleepover with us which made his Christmas and was fun to see how the apartment would feel with a dog in it.

Question of the day: What was the highlight of your Christmas? 

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Daily Happenings, Holiday, Running, Travel

Christmas In Chicago

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you all have a wonderful day 🙂

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Saturday started out like normal with a long run. I decided to try again on the treadmill and turned on Netflix to watch. I got 6 miles under my belt which felt so good. The treadmill won’t become part of my normal routine but it was good to get a full workout in. 3 mile moderate pace for a warm up, 2 miles alternating 1 minute hard and 3 minutes easy then a mile cool down.

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After that, I quickly showered and got ready. My mom sister and I headed out fairly quickly to get breakfast. There’s a local cafe called Prairie Cafe my parents eat at a lot and it’s so good. The owners are so sweet as well which is awesome. I got a bacon omelette with cheddar cheese and it came with hash browns and toast.

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Once we were full from breakfast, the three of us headed to the nail salon. Last week I texted them to see if either would want to go with me. Both did so my sister made appointments right when they opened which was so smart. The salon got absolutely packed. I got OPI number 322, which may or may not be helpful. I have no idea if the numbering is the same at every salon. It’s a navy-ish grey color with some glitter.

When we got home, Alex was up and feeling better. We decided to spend the afternoon in Chicago. Since we had about an hour until we needed to leave for the train station, we just hung around my parents house. For lunch, my dad made ham and potato soup (one of my favorites).

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Then it was time to go. The train was fairly crowded which was to be expected on the Saturday before Christmas. There was a little boy who must have just watched “The Polar Express” since he kept calling it that while waiting to board. So cute. Our first stop in Chicago was the Christkindlmarket. It’s a German market that is a tradition in the city. Unfortunately it was absolutely packed since it was the second to last day which made walking around kind of hard. I wanted to get a Chicago ornament so we headed to the ornament house which is all important from Germany. They were all gorgeous and I wish I could afford to decorate my tree with them alone.

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Next we headed to Rudy’s bar and grille to grab a drink. We still had a few hours to meet my family and we figured we should eat something before more walking around. We got buffalo chicken spring rolls and fried pickles. Obviously fried pickles 😉

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After eating, we walked to Millennium Park to see Christmas decorations. They had a tree up so naturally we took a picture. I love Chicago because everyone is so willing to trade picture taking and it’s always easy to find someone in the area you want them to take it.

We walked along Michigan Ave. for a while and stopped in a few stores to browse and warm up. While walking, it was fun to take in the Christmas decorations that different buildings and stores had. Eventually it was time to meet my family for dinner so we called an Uber. Our driver was awesome. Kevin was really talkative and didn’t make it awkward at all. Kind of random but sometimes Uber drivers are awkward to me idk haha.

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Earlier in December, my parents texted my whole family asking to keep the night of the 23rd open for dinner and a surprise. Dinner was at a restaurant called The Fireplace Inn. The food was so good I forgot to take my phone out for a picture. I had prime rib and it was delicious. Afterwards the 7 of us headed to The Second City for a comedy show. Second City is a famous comedy place in Chicago that so many comedians get their start at. The show we saw was really funny and it’ll be interesting to see if any of the people we saw make it big!

We got home and I was exhausted. Alex and I chilled on the couch with my dad and brother’s before heading to bed.

Question of the day: Are you ready for Santa to come tomorrow??

Books, Daily Happenings, Travel

The Never Ending Work Trip

Happy Friday friends! I don’t know about you guys but I am beyond ready for the weekend. I was on a work trip this week that involved following trucks through the night (Monday – Tuesday I was up for 34 hours…). I hope you had a great week filled with normal sleep and have a wonderful day 🙂

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Like the past few days, my alarm woke me up at 3 am Thursday morning. The only good thing was that it was the last 3 am wake up call I see in my future for a longggg time. I got up, showered and finished packing before meeting my coworker in the hotel lobby. The truck driver texted him to say that the roads were icy and he was going to be late. This gave us some time to grab a quick hotel breakfast (thank you desk manager for setting it up earlier unintentionally!) before we headed out. It was FREEZING y’all. I was drastically under prepared for the cold Colorado mornings.

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The purpose of my trip was to follow the truck from Fort Worth, Texas to Colorado Springs, Colorado (a lovely 13 hour drive overnight) and then the smaller routes to drop repair parts off at dealerships. Once the truck we were following was ready, we followed it to 4 dealers. One good thing about being in Colorado and up very early is the sunrise through the mountains! Even thought I was exhausted, I was really appreciative to see such a beautiful view 3 days in a row.

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My colleague and I realized we would miss our flights if we followed the truck to the final two dealers so we said goodbye and headed to the airport. In the rental car shuttle to the terminal, I snacked on half of a Quest bar. Thank goodness I travel as though I have a young child so I always have multiple snacks on me. It hit the spot after a small breakfast of a muffin and some sausage.

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I got on the airports wifi and checked my email for about the second time this week. I caught up on some things and flagged a bunch of stuff for when I gt back in the office. I started to get hungry and got Chick-fil-A for lunch. Is that the healthiest option? No but I figured I was up since 3 am and I never eat it so go ahead and grab it. Plus I knew that my layover didn’t have one so it was just an incentive to go for it.

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For whatever reason, going from Denver to New Jersey means a layover. My first flight of the day got delayed, so I caught up on work from the week while waiting. Shout out to the Denver airport for free wifi, otherwise I would’ve needed to find a bookstore or two. Once we got on the flight, I pulled out a new book to read. Last time I was at the library, I picked up “Death at the Door” by Carolyn Hart. It’s not the best book ever but I read so much that I’m just going to finish.

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Since my first flight was delayed, I missed my connection in Chicago 😦 The only plus to that was my mom came up and met me for dinner near the airport! We kinda had to rush but it was really nice to see her. I had a burger and fries for dinner. When we paid, I headed back to the airport and onto my final flight of the day. By the time I got home it was 1:30 am and I collapsed into bed.

Question of the day: What book are you currently reading?