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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 sawย “Darkest Hour”ย 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?ย 

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Daily Happenings, Holiday, Running, Travel

Christmas In Chicago

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you all have a wonderful day ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 calledย Prairie Cafeย 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 theย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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 calledย 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 toย The Second Cityย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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?

Books, Daily Happenings, Travel

Back To New Jersey

Hi friends! How are you doing today? How was your Monday? Today is going to feel like a Monday since I’m back to work after a long weekend. Have a fantastic day ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Halloween!

Alex and I figured since it was Monday we should wake up at our normal time of 5:15 am. It was a little hard to wake up but I’m going to chalk that up to not being in our own bed. Once we said goodbye to Boomer (thank you for giving us your bed for the night!!) we headed out.

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Please excuse my partially eaten plate. I was hungry and totally forgot!

We wanted something quick for breakfast before Alex had to go to a quick meeting. Unfortunately we couldn’t find something local and decided either a Waffle House or Cracker Barrel would work. We found the Cracker Barrel first and stopped there. I had the old timer’s breakfast which was two scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy plus grits. I don’t like grits so I didn’t eat those but everything else was pretty good.

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Alex managed to get a third meeting with a developed in Knoxville. Luckily it was at a Starbucks so I could sit there too. Although it did feel a little ridiculous since we walked in separately and pretended to not know each other while I sat across the place. I enjoyed a chai tea latte while reading more of my book. I’m still onย “The Nightingale”ย but so close to being done. I highly recommend this book!! I still don’t know how it will end.

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If you’ve been reading from the very beginning back in May, you may recall that I now buy ornaments when I travel places for the Christmas tree. This is something my mom did growing up and I love the idea so I do it too. After the meeting, we drove to downtown Knoxville to try and find an ornament but none of the stores were open before 10 am ๐Ÿ˜ฆ We decided to cut our losses and just head to the airport. I had my fingers crossed I would find something there. Alex saved the day when he found a magnet that I’ll tie a ribbon too. It’s funny this happened right before security but I’m not complaining since we actually have something to remember our trip with.

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Our flight was supposed to leave at 12:02 pm so Alex and I figured we should eat something before it since that was lunchtime. The Knoxville airport doesn’t have too many options so we ended up splitting a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon. Was it healthy? Definitely not. Was it good? Heck yes!

New Jersey was having some pretty strong winds so they were delaying flights because of it. We ended up having departing an hour late but it wasn’t too bad. The last 15 minutes or so of the flight were a little bumpy but nothing too bad.

Once we landed, we ended to our car and drove home. We knew that we would not want to leave the house after we got home so we went straight to the grocery store to pick up food. I took a picture of the list before we left for Knoxville so we could remember what we needed. When we got home from there, we unloaded the car, unpacked and did small tidying up around the apartment.

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Neither Alex or I were in the mood to cook plus all of our meat was frozen. The solution for dinner you ask? Chinese takeout. Again, maybe not the healthiest but who really wants to cook after vacation. I had some pork dumplings, chicken and broccoli, rice plus some of the crispy wonton things. I also tried some of Alex’s cold sesame noodles which have a peanut butter sauce on them. They weren’t that bad! I could only eat a small serving of those though.

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Once dinner was cleaned up and leftovers were put away, I prepped overnight oats. While I was doing that, Alex started a fire for us to enjoy. We opened a bottle of Merlot to share (Ya know because we didn’t drink enough over the weekend… (Read: we both drank way to much Saturday night)). We chatted on the couch and enjoyed the fire before heading to bed.

Question of the day: What’s you’re go to item when ordering Chinese? I need something with a little more flavor than chicken and broccoli.ย 

Daily Happenings, Sunday In Pictures, Travel, Weekend

Sunday In Pictures Vol. 3 – Knoxville Edition

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I didn’t mean to not post yesterday but Saturday was gross and rainy in Knoxville. We spent a lot of time lounging around the lake house watching college football and drinking way to much. It’s okay though because that’s what vacation is for right?? Have a great day ๐Ÿ™‚

Breakfast of champions is eggs and tea. Not our typical Sunday breakfast of pancakes or waffles.

Alex finished up some school work while I sat by the fire and watched “Gilmore Girls”.

Saying goodbye to the lake.


The restaurant we went to had a massive wall of tequila behind the bar.

For lunch, I had a quesadilla with chicken, black beans, roasted corn, cheese and jalapeรฑos. It was so good!

A liquor tasting at Knox Whiskey Works, a local distillery. Alex and I each got a flight (4 tastings) and the guy gave us their ninth liquor for free.

Boomer’s parents had a nice spread of food when we arrived at their home.


A burger and pan roasted veggies for dinner.

Question of the day: What did you do this weekend?ย