Sunday, August 28, 2011


my bff tara and i planned a last minute trip to new orleans the other week and i'm so glad we did! yes it was 105 degrees with the heat index but it was so worth it! our hotel had a rooftop pool to help with the heat and give us lots of time to lay back and relax. tara is my favorite activity coordinator and she definitely kept us busy! the first day after a little bit of shopping around and some pool lounging we had a fantastic dinner at NOLA. the service down there is truly shocking but the food was worth the wait. i had a filet mignon with blue cheese, yummie potatoes, pecans and bacon. YUM! the manager liked us so much he also brought us some complimentary dessert. afterwards we took a stab at bourbon street which is just as filthy and crazy as we expected. we got our palms read, mine was a joke but tara's was pretty awesome! we walked around a bit and ended in a nice, clean jazz club to hear some fantastic jazz and enjoy some drinks. the next day we walked to the french market and got beignets! changed our lives! then we walked around the french market, bought some souvenirs and then ventured off to some side streets to find a voodoo doll and we ended up getting some awesome gourmet Popsicles which we think we should bring over to chicago. they were so refreshing. we shopped around a lot longer and then spent some more time at the pool and then got ready for dinner at mike's on the ave. another restaurant with absurdly horrible service but absolutely delicious food. after our million hour long dinner we ventured back to bourbon street to meet with a friend of a friend who was part of a bachelor party. they were a very mellow bachelor party but we had a great time and got to see the true madness of bourbon street. after a late night we had to wake up the next morning to volunteer at an animal shelter event that i asked tara to do with me. it was wayyyyy out of the way but i'm so glad we went. those people don't know how to run an event and those animals needed go getters like me and tara! we snagged a ride back into the city from a nice volunteer who gave us an impromptu tour of the city. we got dropped off and went to lunch at green goddess. it was one of my favorite meals down there. the place was a total dump but the food was just absolutely fabulous. it reminded me of chicago cuisine with a southern twist. we shared 2 awesome plates and split a praline sundae with caramel and bacon. MIND BLOWN! so good. then we took the bus down to market street for some cooler shops and then came back to the hotel for a nice nap. we woke up late and decided to do a quickie dinner at the famous spot, Mother's. I got a giant poboy and tara got gumbo. then we walked through "dirty linen night" which was an art fest and made our way over to frenchman street for jazz. it was so cool! it was much less touristy and it just had one jazz club after another. we discovered poets on the street and hired them to write poems for folks back home. i had one written for rob and it was pretty freaking awesome i must say. an older gent commissioned one of the poets to write a love poem for tara and then later took it back, probably to use on some other girl later! we watched some jazz, met an interesting drunk nurse and then made our way back to the hotel for some sweet air conditioning. the last day we slept in and walked along the river and sort of broke into the aquarium. we were debating whether it was worth the admission fee and stepped inside for a brochure and ended up inside without paying. whoops! we strolled through and it actually wasn't that great so i'm glad we were criminals and didn't waste the $18. we made our way over to cafe du monde for more beignets, had to do it, and then i made tara go to the casino with me. we won nothing but it was fun! then we walked over to this hotspot deli we kept hearing about and got awesome sandwiches and mac & cheese. so delicious! then we decided to get last minute manicures before our flight. there was only one nail technician and she was brand new and sucked pretty bad so it was taking forever so we thought for sure we were going to be late to the airport but we got there with plenty of time. i rode home on a pretty empty flight and enjoyed my booked and came home feeling a little bit fatter from all the amazing food but very calm and relaxed. such a great weekend! i can't believe everything we crammed in.

tara's one of my all time favorite travel buddies and i can't wait to do another trip soon!

Monday, August 8, 2011

trying new things.

this summer has been chock full of trying new activities! i'm so glad i have such fun friends and a great fiance that are willing to try out new things with me. some activities are more extreme than others but all have been way fun.

first, i did a beer & cheese tasting with rob in the early summer. i've always done wine tasting classes and this was way more up my alley. then we did a kayaking trip down the chicago river. this was a lot harder than we expected and it rained a little to make it even more intense but we had an awesome time and i'm so glad we did it.

i would have to list wedding gown shopping under trying something new. it was definitely a new and exciting experience this summer! didn't manage to find the right dress on the first try so i get to do it all over again in a few weeks!

then i've had some fun adventures with ryann and tara this weekend. we did a byob painting class on friday. i was more interested in the byob part to be honest but we had a really good time creating our very own masterpieces! sunday was the biggest adventure i've had all summer - flying trapeze class! it's definitely the scariest thing i've done since skydiving. it was really hard work too! our muscles were shaking and sore after only a few times up there. it was really fun though even though it was so tough! my favorite part was doing a catch at the end!

can't wait to see what the next adventure will be!

Friday, August 5, 2011

hunky dory vacation!

i spent all of last week with rob's family at their family vacation spot called hunky dory in wisconsin. yes, it's actually called that! i've been going with them for 4 years now and this had to be one of the best! last year all sorts of things went wrong and this year went off without a hitch (for the most part). we had a very rainy drive on the way there but the rest of the week it was truly gorgeous weather. we had one cloudy day so we went to the movies instead of our normal routine of laying out and swimming. i got to go on morning walks a few times and even squeezed in a run. we ate like there was no tomorrow - hunky dory has the best food ever! my favorite this year was the swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes. this year was especially fun because we got to spend so much time with our nephew luke who is now 15 months and super fun! i also learned how to play backgammon and pickle ball. we played several rousing games of "celebrity" which is my favorite charades-esqe game. saw a ton of shooting stars and did lots of catching up with family and friends. i also got a pretty good tan. the only true mishap was getting a fishing lure stuck in my head and having to go to the ER to get it removed. it was fairly traumatizing but really not that big of a deal. no stiches and i could still enjoy the rest of the trip! just won't be fishing for a long time! it's been really hard being back in real life after spending the majority of the day laying out or eating. i've been so exhausted just doing normal every day things - not to mention starving because of the normal diet i'm back on rather than the good hunky dory diet. i don't have to worry about this real life thing for too long because next week me and my friend tara are heading down to new orleans!!! we booked it totally last minute and we have nothing planned except the many restaurants we want to try. i really can't wait for some quality time with tara and to experience the big easy!