Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Thoughts

I came across this article about happy thoughts that a friend posted on Facebook and decided to do one of the things it suggested - to write down 3 good things that happened everyday and to consider why those good things went well. I'm going to try it out on 9/15 and record them here for 4 weeks.

9/15

1. My husband made me coffee to go in the morning because he is so nice. 2. I called Connie on her birthday and we said I love you! 3. All my bingo boys won and I even won which never happens. I love when they win.

9/16

1. I got an unbelievable note in response to a note I had sent from my Grandmother's cousin. Filled with adorableness. I love old people. 2. I got to have a lunch picnic and read chick lit. I'm glad I stepped out of the office to enjoy some sunlight and quiet time away from my desk 3. I got a free dinner at my board meeting. Grateful that they fed us. The meeting went well too. It's finally getting on track.

9/17

1. A train came right as I walked up to the platform and I got a seat! 2. There was a giant sale at Banana Republic and I got to use my bday gift cards and stock up on new items. 3. I had a good day at work. Great annual review and awesome alumni event. yay!

9/18

1. It's beautiful weather today - mid 60s. 2. My husband made coffee for me again this morning because I'm spoiled. 3. I received another wonderful card in response to one I sent from a family friend.

9/19

1. The sun is up and it's Friday. I got to sit outside and soak up the sun for a few moments after a meeting. YES! 2. we booked our January trip to San Francisco and Tahoe for Rob's 30th. YES! 3. We had a lovely date night at a restaurant we frequent in our hood. YES!

9/20

1. We got to spend tons of quality time with our families and friends. Lots of love and lots of hugs. 2. I picked up my gorgeous Munich/Merano photo album. Turned out so nicely and I'm so happy with it. It's been on the back burner for ever and it's great to have something that important to me done 3. The girls made me laugh a lot on Saturday night. Needed it.

9/21

1. Connie time at the arcade. She never fails to make me smile. 2. Healthy dinner and happy/feel-good movie night. 3. Ass kicking workout that I needed.

9/22

1. I didn't wake up feeling exhausted for once - on a Monday especially. yay! 2. I heard the most amazing Motown acapella group at the Lake Red Line Stop. They even had dance moves! It was impossible not to smile. 3. I put myself to bed early and read a lot of my chick lit book.

9/23

1. Our alumni chaplain, Father Bill came by for a visit and he's just so cheery! 2. My friend Jamie and her daughter Allie came to visit and spend the night. 3. I got to check out some spots around the hood that I hadn't yet.

9/24

1. I had to take a sick day which I hate but I got a lot of sleep which I needed. 2. I also got to finish my book and have some quiet time. 3. I ended up keeping my afternoon meetings and I got to duck into the Cultural Center in between them to view some cool art.

9/25

1. My friend Ryann is doing a damn good job cheering me up on this difficult week with videos and pics of cute animals! 2. I splurged and ordered Jimmy John's for lunch and it made me unreasonably happy. 3. Shalva hosted us for Rosh Hashanah on our monthly wine night and it was a beautiful meal and I was surrounded by my best friends. So grateful.

9/26

1. I took the time to attend the St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day Prayer Breakfast. I love participating in activities like this for Vinnie refreshers. 2. I forced Rob to go square dancing with me at Old Town School of Folk. It was pretty amusing. 3. I emailed and reached out to a ton of family members and loved getting the responses.

9/27

1. I got to sleep in and wake up without an alarm. 2. We spent the day in Michigan and it was the best day I've had in awhile. Petting zoo, swinging on the bluff, farmers market, our favorite pizza, apple picking. Seriously great. 3. We enjoyed a healthy dinner on our porch and I crafted cards for my best buds the rest of the night.

9/28

1. I ended up getting to join my friend Tara at Chicago Gourmet downtown last minute. Soaking up the sun and stuffing face. 2. We celebrated my brother's birthday and enjoyed playing a new game. It was good family time. 3. I don't remember why we were laughing so much but right before bed Rob and I were laughing and joking and I went to bed smiling.

9/29

1. PICNIC LUNCH in 78 degree weather. HELL YES. 2. a check in email from my friend Ryann was incredibly comforting. She's the best. 3. John was SO cute when he won at bingo tonight I teared up. 4. I read my chick lit book quietly on the couch for an hour. It was glorious. Yes this day had 4 good things.

9/30

1. This just wasn't a great day but Rob did make me coffee. 2. I got to see a handful of my nicest volunteers and event. 3. I made nachos when I got home and they ruled.

10/1

1. My brother's birthday! Had a nice quick chat with him and my dad. 2. We hosted two nice events. The attendees were very grateful and happy to participate which is always nice. 3. I took the time to have a lunch picnic, soak up the sun and read my book.

10/2

1. A bunch of the cards I made hit mailboxes and everyone's responses are making me happy. 2. I got to have dinner with my best friend at one of my favorite places. 3. Rob made me my lunch so that I could go to sleep early after a long, tough day.

10/3

1. My best friends are so supportive and kind during this hard time. 2. Dunkin Donuts coffee. Yes. 3. We got to celebrate our friends Jenni & Aaron's rehearsal dinner.

10/4

1. We enjoyed brunch at my cousin Kate's before departing for the wedding. It was so nice to spend time together. 2. When I'm at weddings I'm always reminded of how much I love Rob and how lucky I am to have him as my husband. He's the best date and the best husband. 3. We got to send off our friends with hugs and love as they start their new life in DC.

10/5

1. My mom helped me at my pumpkin patch event and it was a sunny, beautiful day. She was the best helper. 2. I had a killer, killer workout. Felt great! 3. Great Connie time painting pumpkins. I especially loved when she told me how sometimes she likes a mess.

10/6

1. Our anniversary! We got so many well wishes from friends and family. It truly warmed my heart. 2. We celebrated with a decadent meal at BOKA. Delic! 3. I finally got to share the anniversary plans with Rob for our weekend getaway to Michigan. We're both so excited.

10/7

1. We had my uncle's funeral mass. It was pretty awesome to meet all the people he touched throughout his life. We got to see a side of him that I would have never known. 2. I got to share my favorite photos of Bill with his wife, Joan. It made me really happy to see her enjoy them. 3. I made it to a hard fitness class at the end of the night and felt so much better after the difficult day.

10/8

1. We had my uncle's burial. It was a bright and sunny day and I think he was shining his light down on us to make the day a little easier. 2. I got to hear the story of how Bill and Joan met and I loved it. They were set up and met at a mutual friend's wedding. After the wedding they took a walk around the block and made plans for another date. The rest is history. 3. I got to do kickbox with my friend Mary. I didn't realize how much I needed to see a friend until I saw her smiling face!

10/9

1. I started a craft for my mom and it's making me really happy to collect everything for it. 2. I caught a glimpse of fireworks after an event at Navy Pier. They're usually on Wednesdays so it was definitely a surprise. 3. I got to see my brother in law's super fun band play and also spend time with my best friend, Ry and her super fan boyfriend.

10/10

1. We departed for our Michigan getaway after work! 2. When we arrived we got to visit Greenbush Brewery and have fantastic food and beers. 3. We spent true quality time together with no stresses or distractions.

10/11

1. We had a delicious breakfast at the b&b and we were happy to sit by ourselves - we always hate chit chatting with other guests. 2. We tried kayaking, biking and hiking. It was really fun to be so active and it was a gorgeous day. 3. We took 2 naps!

10/12

1. Another gorgeous day and delicious breakfast at the b&b. 2. We discovered this cool park that had a boardwalk by a marsh and then a canopy walkway overlooking the Galien River. We enjoyed hiking around. 3. Enjoyed 2 of our favorite, way too suspenseful Sunday night shows - The Walking Dead and Homeland - before going to bed early. 4. I got a fantastic email from Rob's aunt in response to one I had recently sent. Put a big smile on my face.

10/13

1. There was no traffic because it's Columbus Day! 2. I wore the necklace Lee gave me to bingo and it made him so happy. 3. I put myself to bed at 10 p.m. and it was glorious.

10/14

1. I took a lot of time to work on Paris planning. It feels good to have a better sense of what we're doing while we're there. 2. I chatted with Connie before a super hard spin class. She is so hilarious. She always puts a huge smile on my face. 3. My oldest, dearest friend and her family came over to share that pizza and ask us the most amazing question! If we'd be the Godparents for their next baby! We are so honored and thrilled! I love Meg, Ry, Bella & Emi so much and I can't wait to meet baby #3! Bella saying "I love you" on the way out the door made my heart burst. Emi saying "Mommy I'm having fun." at the dinner table was equally heart bursting. 4. I received very thoughtful sympathy cards from my best friend Tara and family friends the Holmans. Everyone has been so kind!

10/15

This is the last day of my challenge! 1. my colleague brought in munster donuts. YUM! 2. I had a crazy hard workout with Mary. Felt great though! 3. Rob and I made a superb dinner of rice, tomatoes, chickpeas, spinach, parmesan and roasted delicata squash. So good.

These little things don't seem that groundbreaking but they are the little things that make my day. I think taking the time to think about the nice or happy moments in my day really make me more serene, grateful and happy. Sometimes it was hard to pick out something specific that made me happy or that was good that day, especially during some difficult times with the loss of my uncle. However, picking out these little bright spots and then going back and reading them definitely made me smile. It's funny to see the trends - coffee clearly has a big impact on my happy moments, spending time away from my desk or enjoying outside during the work day, my best friends, Connie & my bingo boys, quality time with Rob and my fam, early bed times all seem to make me quite happy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Anniversary Trip to Union Pier, MI

My gift to Rob was a weekend getaway to Union Pier, MI and it was so fun! We stayed at the Goldberry Woods B&B and arrived on Friday night. We loved our room that had a beautiful handcrafted wood bed frame and a fireplace. It shared a hallway with one other room and it was set far away from the kitchen so it was pretty quiet. We went right to Greenbush Brewing in Sawyer for dinner and drinks and were met with a long wait. Luckily they have this cool annex across the street where you can get beers on tap and meats & cheeses so we enjoyed that while we waited for our table. We both liked our beers but my first one was a tad strong for me so I made Rob finish it. Rob got a turkey & bacon melt and I got a succatash that was super tasty. We also got pretzels and cheese as Bo & Ry instructed us after their visit. They were right, super tasty! Rob has been wanting to go there for ages so I'm glad we finally got to enjoy it! The next day after a very yummie breakfast of quiche, oatmeal, melon and pumpkin spice muffins we set out to kayak on the Galien River. The B&B has free kayaks and canoes available but their section of the river is covered in downed trees so we weren't able to kayak for long. I didn't like dripping water on my pants over and over again anyway. It was fun and very scenic while it lasted though. Then we went on a short walk on their river path before grabbing bikes to cruise around the neighborhood. We started out by biking through a neighborhood to a nearby beach entry. It was SO pretty! I hadn't planned on visiting a beach but I'm so glad we did. Then we biked around a bit more before taking a quick rest. We were starved when we woke up and drove to New Buffalo to go to The Stray Dog. It's a super popular place that we've never tried so we decided it was a good time to go. Well so did everyone else in town! Another really long wait! Rob was happy with his pumpkin beer while we waited and then our food came out super fast. It was just ok. We're glad we tried it and can cross it off our list. I think we came back to the b&b and rested even more before dinner at Tosi's in Stevensville. Tosi's is a classic, fine-dining Italian spot that I've only eaten at once. My parents used to go on date night when we stayed at the Chalets in Stevensville. We arrived to our 3rd long wait! We just had to laugh. Everyone in town had the same ideas we did this weekend. When we finally sat down we got delicious bread with fresh shaved parm and delicious olive oil. Rob was good and ordered off their "lighter side" menu and got a penne and soup. I got ravioli and salad. We somehow found room to split dessert - a chocolate pecan pie. SO GOOD! When we got back we wrote in our memory book and watched some scary movies on tv. The next day we enjoyed another tasty breakfast of yogurt parfait, local sausage and butternut pancakes. Everything was very good. Afterwards we packed up our stuff and then did the 2 small hiking paths on the property we hadn't checked out yet. After we checked out we went to the Galien River Park where they have a boardwalk by the marsh and river and a canopy walkway that's 300ft in the air! It was so pretty and had great views and photo ops. Then we went to the farmers market nearby and got some produce for the week and then went to the chili cookoff. Overall it was a super relaxing and fun filled weekend in our favorite area of Michigan!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Summer 2014

Everyone in Chicago feels like that we didn't get a real summer because it wasn't very hot. I LOVED it! It was just up my alley with mild temps. Even though the calendar says it's not officially fall yet, it definitely feels like it so I'm ready to recap my summer!

* We moved into an apartment we LOVE! YAY! Finally.

* We celebrated 2 weddings this summer! First we attended Matt & Leah's wedding which was a blast! Later in the summer we had Nessa & Tobi's Chicago wedding celebration which was just perfect. So happy to celebrate these amazing couples!

* We went to Montreal at the beginning of June which was a blast and super relaxing. We went to Hunky Dory for the annual family trip in July and loved every second. We also had a few day trips up to Michigan to enjoy our favorite beach in St. Joe's and visit our usual haunts like Redamak's and try some new ones like Silver Beach Pizza. Even checked out potential lakehouses!

* I went to a lot of fests like any good Chicagoan will do in the summer. I started out at my favorite one, Maifest with my bud Ry. I also went to Ribfest with Tara, Taste of Greek Town with Caitlin, Pitchfork with Rob & Friends, the Hideout Block Party with Rob, Riot Fest with Rob, German American Fest with Rob, Ryann & Bo, Retro on Roscoe with Tara & Friends, and super briefly visited East Lakeview Arts Festival.

* I played Veggie Bingo with Darc and Rob AND won!

* I hit up one Cubs game with Rob and we just ate and ate and the Cubbies actually won!

* I spent time with the fam for numerous bbqs and pizza nights. Lots of talk of playing bags and bocce and then never doing it.

* Rob and I did a ghost tour and it was hilarious.

* I turned THIRTY! and celebrated with all of my most favorite people at Bang Bang Pie Shop. I also got to party with my folks and see Gillian Welch with Rob.

* I had a lot of fun with my DePaul bffs - on an electric boat ride, bowling for Tara's bday, picnicking for Nicole's bday, went to a cool story-telling event, saw a great play at Steppenwolf with Tara, enjoyed a day off on Nicole's amazing rooftop, saw Lydia perform in the Fly Honey Show, yoga-ed on Cait's rooftop, volunteered with Shalva at Sunlight of the Spirit Food Pantry and with Tara at Breakthrough Urban Ministries and hosted several of them at our new apartment for dinners. * I saw 3 movies in the park this year! I did Moonrise Kingdom with Shalva, Gravity with Shalva and Tara and The Goonies with Rob. So fun!

* I volunteered a lot! I had a ton of fun with my Best Buddy, Connie! We had a picnic together, we visited a nature center and a couple preserves, we enjoyed a DePaul alumni party at her house and we ate lots of ice cream. I volunteered at Bingo ofcourse, at the Sunlight of the Spirit and St. Mary's and the Greater Chicago Food Depository with DePaul alumni, with Tara at Breakthrough and a few times with Rob and helped at Disney Magnet School's Library with Chicago Cares.

It was a great summer but I'm pumped for Fall!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Connie-isms

My Best Buddy Connie is truly hilarious. Even when she isn't trying, she makes me smile and laugh. She fills my heart with happiness and I'm so, so grateful to have her in my life. She has had many memorable one-liners since I started spending time with her about a year and a half ago. Some of my favorites are below.

* When she sang "Rob is the most handsome man I know"

* When she sang "Go shorty, it's your birthday"

* When she said "Now that's what I call nature" when we were walking in a park

* When I asked if she was sad that summer was ending and she said, "I'm not worried about it."

* When she shouted at Rob "Don't fall in" on his way to the bathroom in Bakers Square

* When she said "I'm wearing my spanx, that's why I feel so stuffed."

* When she burped after a big lunch and said "I feel 100% better."

* When Rob asked her what she has learned after 50 years and she said "Not to sass others"

* And my personal favorite, when she stated that "Without Rob, you'd be nothing."

I love her so much. Not only is she funny and goofy, she's creative and artistic, she's a little sneaky, has a hearty appetite and she does whatever she wants. I'm so lucky to have a Best Buddy like Connie!