Chicago Bound

127/365 Days of Marriage
Nate and I are heading to Chicago today! The above photo was taken on our last trip to Chicago in May 2011 and man, do we look different or what? We look like babies! And my hair! But anyway – yes, we’re headed back and I couldn’t be more excited! In 2011 we went just for fun, but this trip has a bit more of a purpose. Nate is running in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. He has been training like crazy and I’m looking forward to being on the sidelines to cheer him on! His Mom is actually coming up tomorrow so we will have some girl time and I wont have to navigate Chicago all by my lonesome while Nate is running. I still get lost in downtown Lexington, you know … where I live. So uh.. that wouldn’t have gone well. ;]

Nate is going to be focused on eating all of the carbs and resting, but we’re going to work in some time for sight seeing and walking around a bit too. We’re staying downtown so we’ll be close to most every thing we have an interest in seeing (THE BEAN). Once his Mom gets in she and I will be able to walk around a bit more and shop a little bit while he hangs out at the hotel. But honestly, as much as I’m looking forward to the sights and the fun of being back in Chicago – I’m also looking forward to rolling around in a plushy hotel bed, eating lots of delicious food, and forgetting about all of the house chores for a few days. Ohhhh yeah. I don’t care where I am as long as I’m in a hotel bed forgetting about cleaning.

It’s supposed to be a little on the chilly side while we’re there so I’ve got all of the warm layers with me! I’m hoping to hit up a few sales at some of my favorite stores on Michigan Avenue because honestly, my fall/winter wardrobe is pretty bare. My poor little wardrobe has been lacking for a long time! I’ve been the queen of remixing for the last few years, but it’s starting to feel a little stale. I’m ready for some changes – slowly and on a budget, of course!

Let me know if there are any shops, attractions, restaurants, etc. that you absolutely recommend that we visit!

Secrets and Surprises: A Whirlwind Trip to Florida

Surprise Florida Trip September 2014

I’ve found that it is particularly hard to blog whenever I have secret. Every single time I sit down to write, the only topic that will even begin to come to mind is the one thing I can’t blog about. It’s maddening for a blogger to have something up their sleeve that they can’t share with the world, I tell ya! My trip home to Florida to surprise my Mom left me feeling that way. I wanted to share my plans to surprise her SO badly, but guess who reads my blog? Hi Mom! So, naturally, things were a little quiet around here while I sat on that giant surprise!

I decided I would buy a plane ticket to go down for my Mom’s birthday back in August. I found an unbelievably cheap ticket through Allegiant Air that got in pretty late the night before her birthday. My cousin, Ellen, made the whole thing possible by agreeing to make the obnoxious 4 hour total drive to Orlando and back that evening. She let me crash at her place and it was nice to spend a little bit of time with her before we both passed out at 2:15AM. The next morning my Step-Dad came to pick me up. He told my Mom that he was going to make a Starbucks run. Once we got back to the house I quietly snuck into the living room behind Sam. I walked into the hallway and when my Mom laid eyes on me I thought she might pass out! I hugged her, told her happy birthday, and asked her to please not have a heart attack! Haha! We talked for a bit while she got ready – they already had plans to go to Orlando that day (so back to Orlando I went).

We had a lot of fun hanging out in Winter Park (we went to Rifle Paper Co.!), visiting with the animals at the ranch they volunteer at (I have now petted a zebra and taken a selfie with a llama), and just enjoying time at home. There was even a surprise birthday dinner for my Mom Saturday evening that included lots of family and delicious food (thanks Jennifer and Uncle Gary)! It sort of felt like it was my birthday because I got to eat all of my favorite foods from Florida – Publix fried chicken, Sweet Tomatoes, and Oishii Burger! My parents always take good care of me when I’m down, that’s for sure!

I’m glad I was able to make my Mom’s birthday weekend a memorable one! It worked out perfectly and I’m so thankful everything fell into place the way that it did! It was a bit of a whirlwind trip and it was over in a snap. I’m definitely looking forward to them visiting Kentucky soon!

**These are just a few photos snapped from my iPhone! Most of the photos I took with my camera were out at the ranch, so be on the lookout for those! I really want a pet llama now. ;]

Christmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell Groves

Christmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell Groves
I told y’all to stay tuned for part 2 of Christmas Eve in Florida and here it is! I was so excited to take Nate out to Maxwell Groves in Avon Park, Florida. (You may remember the last time I blogged about it here.) I talked his ear off about their homemade orange ice cream and fresh squeezed orange juice for months prior to our trip down. You’d have to ask him, but by the look on his face that day, I’d say both the ice cream and the orange juice lived up to the hype!
Christmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell GrovesChristmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell GrovesChristmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell GrovesChristmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell GrovesChristmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell Groves
I absolutely love places like this – tucked away like a perfectly kept secret, full of southern charm and hospitality. Their store is stocked with tons of amazing local items, too. I most definitely brought home a bottle of Orange Blossom Honey Wine, some local orange blossom honey, and Everglades seasoning! (Fun fact: Everglades seasoning is made right in my hometown of Sebring, Florida! And you can totally buy it on Amazon.com .. which is weird to me. Ha!)
Christmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell GrovesChristmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell GrovesChristmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell GrovesChristmas Eve in Florida: Maxwell Groves
If you’re ever in the Highlands County area, make sure to stop in to Maxwell Groves and buy yourself some Florida goodies!! This is no tourist trap, it’s the real deal!

Pieces of The Days: Nashville

Our quick trip to Nashville over the long weekend went by in a snap! We had such a great time hanging out with Sully and Phlecia, who were gracious enough to let us all crash at their place! We rarely get to see them and it was nice to have someone show us all of the cool spots to visit! We met up with them, Jackson and Kristie, and several other mutual friends late Friday night for a few drinks, delicious burgers, and some great live music at The Basement! At 3AM I finally fell asleep on the top bunk in their guest bedroom. We got back to their place a few hours earlier but we all ended up standing around in their kitchen talking about anything and everything until we couldn’t keep our eyes open in any longer.

The next day was filled with long lines for coffee at Fido’s, lunch at Kay Bob’s, the cutest dog ever, window shopping, popsicles from Las Paletas, lots of walking in the intense heat, and some downtime before the UK game. The UK game was … well… we lost. That’s all there is to say about that. ;] Nate and I headed home after the game and slept in late Sunday morning. Such a perfect whirlwind trip!



PS: Is this not the cutest dog ever? I really want a Shiba Inu puppy now!

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