Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicago Marathon

A few weekends ago my aunt, cousin and priest friend came into town for the Chicago marathon!!!

The weekend started off somewhat like this: 

This was a great idea so that our runners could find us in the massive crowd of spectators.  
Okay so we were a little disappointed that we weren't the only brilliant people to think of this idea.  There were several other balloons (with mustaches too!)  Geesh, so much for being original =)
Bright and early in downtown Chicago ~ Marathon runners ready to begin!

Yay Auntie El and Father ~ lookin' the 2 mile mark =)

The best part of seeing them at the 2 mile marker was when Father came up to me and gave me those eyes of "OH HALLELUJAH!!!!" as he saw my cup of coffee sitting on the ledge.  Of course I immediately told him to go ahead and drink it.  He took one close look at my cup and said, "eeewww there's lipstick on there!"  to which I quickly responded "yes but it's all we've got, so just go ahead and drink it Father!"  Desperate for coffee, he took a sip and responded with the voice of a whiny baby, "eeewwww it's cold!!!!" Poor Father, I could only laugh as this came out of his mouth.  I said "sorry Father, it's all I've got, we've only been waiting here for you for over an hour and I couldn't keep it hot any longer."

Needless to say, we spent the rest of the marathon with a hot cup of coffee in hand, trying to catch up to them!  We saw them in the passing several times, but were never able to hand off that hot cup of coffee.  

There was such excitement in the air as the bystanders cheered everyone on!
I think I seriously got high off the endorphins of the runners =)

YAY!!!!  They made it all the way!!!

A beautiful picture as the sisters embrace each other. 

Tired but very hungry, we all enjoyed a celebratory meal together.

What an amazing weekend together!  I was so proud of all their hard work and endurance.  The pain, the sweat, the tears..... I can't even imagine.  

All three of these people were and are an inspiration to me.  Kinda makes me want to run a marathon, okay NOT really.  But maybe a half?!?!  Seriously thinking and talking about it.

Have you ever run a marathon or a half marathon? 
Do you have a love/hate relationship with running like me?

Buy One Nice Thing

My father always taught me to buy one nice thing rather than a bunch of things you don't really like or need.   Many times I find that all those random things that you thought you maybe sort of liked, but actually hated and never ended up wearing end up costing more than that one nice thing you could have bought.
I've always appreciated this advice from my dad and try to follow it as a general rule.
Soooo.... this past weekend I bought one okay a few nice things!  Instead of having a bunch of stuff or things I don't really like, I'd rather save up for things I'll love and use every day.

This weekend involved finding boots, slippers and running shoes!!!  All three were on my list of things I actually needed, triple score, right?!? =) 

Check out what I found:

Jessica Simpson "Esteem" Boot
I know it's nice when a girl compliments another girl on her outfit, but I have to say it's even better when a guy does.  I wore these boots to the running shoe store the other day and the guy said "wow, nice boots, I really like them!  What kind are they?" and he wasn't that type of girly guy in case you're wondering.  =)  Just a normal Joe!

Nike Lunar Eclipse
I'm also a huge fan of the local thrift stores and goodwill.  I find that I can substitute some great articles of clothes from there and save myself bundles of money!

This also helps for when you want to spend more on other articles of clothing or simply save the money all together. =)

What are your thoughts on how to spend money wisely?
Do you like to splurge on comfy shoes?
What are your favorite things to splurge money on?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Harvest Moon

This past weekend was filled to the brim with Fall festivities! 

It was my first time "visiting" a corn maze and I say "visit" because we never actually made it into the corn maze itself.  We spent three hours watching cute little pigs race, sipping hot cider, going on hay rides and standing by every fire we could find trying to stay warm.

It was simply way too cold to get lost in a corn maze for hours on end not knowing when we would find heat to warm our toes again!  It was still a beautiful and fun Fall evening under the most beautiful Harvest Moon. =)

The next evening was spent carving pumpkins with friends and enjoying a few lots of Fall goodies.

 Ta Da, our artistic creations!

 That's the cutest ghost I've ever seen!!!

So I think I have a special love for owls.

Katie and I heart J.Crew sweaters and salted pumpkin seeds =)

What a wonderful way to spend a Fall weekend with people I care about.  

What Autumn festivities have you been enjoying lately???

Monday, October 29, 2012

Assistive Tech Conference

Since I'm thinking of going back to school to be an OT and because I work with disabled children every day, I thought that "Closing the Gap" would be a great Assistive Tech Conference to attend.

Closing the Gap takes place every year in Minnesota and as a first timer, I was able to receive a one time scholarship to attend the $500 conference completely FREE!!!  What a phenomenal opportunity and incredible learning experience.

So okay, I did feel a little out of place seeing as pretty much everyone else there were either therapists, AT district coordinators or teachers.  
Umm can I just say that my mom and I were a little brain dead by the end of the evening on the first day second day.  

But how convenient that the hotel where the conference was held should have a cute little bar!
This was my mom: "It's so nice to have you with me this year, because I wouldn't have come in for a beer by myself last year!" =)  

So glad we took a little "break" together where we sat a talked and talked and talked about everything we had just learned.  Because there were SOOO many wonderful classes all day, the two of us split up for different classes during the same hour so we could attend as many as possible.    In the end we came together and shared what we learned.
Here's a pic of my conference evaluation.  The few empty spaces on Wednesday were from when I took a nap in the car because I wasn't feeling so great!  But after a little sleep and some food, I was absorbing sooooo much awesome information!

If you're a therapist or a teacher I would highly recommend this conference.  I learned so much about assistive technology in just three days and don't forget that you're first time going is free with the scholarship.  

At the end of another long but wonderful day, I went out to McCoy's to hang out with my cousin, her husband and all her friends for her second birthday party celebration!!!  
I just love all her friends =)  Such fun people.
And.....I just had to share a fun pre-conference outing!  Nadia's Cupcakes in Maple Grove, MN were  a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!
After one of our days at the conference, we meet up with my aunt at this little Italian pizza place!

Have you ever attended anything like this?  Please share if you have any good recommendations!

Hope you had an amazing Fall weekend!  Pictures of my Fall weekend will be here soon =)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Things

Here are five things that make me smile:

I am especially happy that my mom was able to catch up with an old friend during our time in Minnesota!  Girl time is always a good thing, especially for even for busy moms =) 

We were served this incredibly delicious and unbelievably yummy triple chocolate mousse cake upon our arrival in Minnesota.  We were so spoiled by this sweet family!! Note to self:  Do. not. forget. to ask for this recipe.  I'm totally making this one, sooner rather than later!  

Great thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time and stick it in the freezer for when you need it.  Another one of the million pluses about this cake is that it is also gluten free!

 Some things that make me happy =)
 Missing this girl already!  I can't wait for her to come visit over New Years.  I didn't give her a choice about straightening her curly hair one morning.  I really like how it turned out, despite what she might say, hee, hee!     
 This is the perfect little cheese board for two!  Can't wait to enjoy a wine and cheese evening sometime soon.  

I hope you are all enjoying your Fall!  Have a great weekend.

What favorite things have you been up to over these past two weeks?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

iLife lately

Life lately according to my iPhone:

So sorry that the posts have been postponed these past two weeks.  I just got back in town from Minnesota and came home hitting the ground running. It's finally catch up time on life!  

A bit of organizing and cleaning have been happening lately, but of course I don't want to miss out on the beauty of Fall and enjoying these last gorgeous days of Indian Summer.  

Time to head outside and play in the leaves!

A whole bunch of posts will be coming soon, I promise =)  

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Running Music!

Here are a few of my most recent running tunes....well they would be if I was running. Hee, hee!  I still have to get on that.  It's definitely time to buy running shoes when I get back in town next week!  I've been missing my old ones ever since they retired after a trip in the muddy jungles of Hawaii =)

  I guess it is a rather random mix of music and as I tell my brother, "yeah, I like this song, but in a really weird way, because it is an annoying song, but I still like it!" I do have to admit that some of these songs are just great pump it up music.

Do you have any favorite songs that you enjoy running to?  I would love to hear what you run to because I'm always looking for new music!

Have a great day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back on the blogging ship!

For starters, I really do apologize for the long Blogging hiatus.  The reason has been a good one, I assure you.  The best reason of all for taking a little break from blogging is in order to spend more time with people.  I love sharing the fact that we just had company in town for the Chicago Marathon this past weekend!!!  I have a whole post coming on this one.   

Here is to catching up =) and sharing a few pictures with you!

The following are some lovely randoms from over the past week or so. 

Okay so maybe my feet weren't looking so lovely and they needed a little help.  This was just one of those spur-of-the-moment "let's go get a pedicure!" days.   My older sister and I spent a much needed morning together doing this..... 

and this.....

Jen and I had a great morning together, laughing, sipping coffee and checking out the fall views around town.  The morning ended with a double score when the lady at the salon gave me a voucher for a free pedicure!!!  I love free things =)

I also love spending time at friends houses, especially when you smell amazing food like this before entering their front door.  It was perfect chilly weather comfort food. 

Thank Heavens for good coffee and good milk for keeping me happy and going throughout the week!

Have you ever tried Argo Tea's Coconut Bubble Tea???  It's amazing, seriously, you have to try it sometime.  I bought an extra large one for on the train home from the city.

There's just something neat lookin' about shaved butter (which ended up in a quadruple batch of blueberry scones for our marathon guests this past weekend =)

In a few hours I'll be heading north to Minnesota in order to attend an iPad tech conference called Closing the Gap.  I know I'll be learning sooooo much this upcoming week that my head will probably be spinning!!  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited for the chance to learn about new programs and apps on the iPad =)

While each attendee is given an iPad to use throughout the conference, I'm still so happy to be taking my iPhone as I'm sure it will come in handy for taking notes and downloading new apps!

I can't wait for this conference and for spending time with family and friends in the Minnesota area.

Have a great weekend =)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This past Sunday afternoon involved a very first trip to Sprinkles!!!

Last weekend I made the happy discovery that a Sprinkles was hidden away down a side street right off of the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago.  
 (I know, it took me so long to actually make it down there, right?!? ha, ha)

Well, needless to say, one week later..... Katie and I had a wonderful girls day in the city!


Yes, that's right, a Cupcake ATM =) Good thing I don't live close to one of these, right!?!  I'd have to be running the Magnificent Mile to earn my cupcake cupcakes.

 Such a brilliant concept!

It was soooo hard to decide which ones to order and which ones to leave behind.

Anddd we sat at a table just outside of J.Crew (of course) and enjoyed our oh so yummy cupcakes!!

All the cupcakes were really seriously delicious.  Logically I knew I had to try their red velvet cupcake as it is one of their most popular.  The German chocolate was going out of season that day, so that was naturally a must.  You can't resist Lemon and hence it was also quickly added to the box!  Carrots, well Carrots are just good for you, so of course I couldn't say no. =)

Guess Sprinkles will simply be a regular stop from now on!