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 πŸ™‚

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 sawΒ “Darkest Hour”Β 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?Β 

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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 πŸ™‚

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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?

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 πŸ™‚ 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 onΒ “The Nightingale”Β 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 😦 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.Β 

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 πŸ™‚

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 jalapeΓ±os. 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?Β 

Daily Happenings, Travel

Knoxville Day 1

Hi friends! How are you doing today? It’s a bit of a rainy day here in Tennessee but we’re going to make the best of it. Have a wonderful day πŸ™‚

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Friday started off early for me, early as in 4:37 am. I woke up then ready to take on the day for some reason. Maybe it was from my second Charlie horse of the night or maybe it was from my excitement to finally take out trip. Whatever the reason, I figured it wasn’t worth trying to fall back asleep. When the alarm went off at 5:15, Alex and I showered, packed the last little things we needed and headed out the door. We grabbed breakfast sandwiches before heading to the airport. Alex got a sausage, egg and cheese while I got a bacon, egg and cheese. So good and it filled us up before a day of travel.

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Our flight was pretty empty but we ended up getting the whole row to ourselves so we didn’t complain at all. That coupled with an early departure made us pretty happy. When we were boarding, Alex whispered that John Stossel, from Fox, was sitting in first class. Since the flight was pretty empty, getting off was a breeze. We grabbed out rental car and headed to find lunch. While waiting to board, I told Alex how I was mad I forgot to get a pack of gum. When we got in the rental car, I looked down and saw an unopened pack of gum on the floor!

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Alex managed to set up business meetings so while we drove to the first one we came across a Subway. Yes we realized how weird it was to get something on vacation that we could have at home but we weren’t sure what else we would find and it’s healthy right? I got a turkey sandwich with pepperjack cheese, spinach, cucumbers, pickles, lettuce, chipotle southwest sauce and mustard. It hit the spot.

While Alex had his meetings, I read my book on a bench in a little town center. It was an absolutely beautiful day so I had no problem getting in some more reading. Although I will say that when I booked these tickets back in July, I didn’t plan on having him set up meetings. Someone had some other plans when he found out his present…

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After his meetings, we met his friend Boomer and girlfriend Dana atΒ Bearden Beer Market. It’s a bit of a whole in the wall beer market and garden. We grabbed a few beers and sat outside to talk for a couple hours. I had a few different craft beers that were all delicious. I don’t remember the names of them or the breweries unfortunately 😦

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We drove to downtown Knoxville to grab dinner. We put our names on a list for dinner and then headed to another cool bar. It was in an old church converted into a small concert hall and restaurant. The views were so cool and overlooked Market Square which is a pedestrian mall with a lot of restaurants and shops. While at this bar, we met up with one of Boomer’s friends and his girlfriend.

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Our table was ready at Stock & BarrelΒ so the 6 of us headed over to be seated. We started off with fried pickles (because last time Alex and I had those ended really well…) before ordering our food. I got the steakhouse burger which had cheddar cheese, crunchy string onions and steak sauce on it. It was so good and was a good way to end our first night in town.

When dinner was done, we said goodbye to Boomer’s friend and girlfriend before heading to Boomer’s lake house. His parents were so gracious and offered up their lake house for the weekend. The four of us were exhausted and after getting the lay of the land, headed to bed.

Question of the day: What are you doing today? I hope the weather is better by you!