Christmas in Chicago {2018}

We started our Christmas break with a lovely Christmas service at church on Friday night.

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Saturday morning came early and we hopped on a plane to head to Chicago!

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Michael and Rachel showed us around the city while the kids headed back to the house to bake cookies and see Arie.

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We stopped at Macy’s to get warm and check out the Christmas tree and beautiful decorations.

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Afterwards, we hopped on over to the Christkindlmarket which was packed the moment it opened. I got a cute mug full of warm goodness, then we headed out.

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Our next stops included Garrett Popcorn, Ballast Point to taste some beers, and Au Cheval for the best burger in the entire city.

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Finally, we met up with the kids at Forge Brewery!

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The next two days, we had a wonderful visit with family.

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We were hopeful for more snow, but she was thrilled to at least see this much.

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Christmas morning was full of coffee and opening presents before we packed our bags to hit the road.

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Our first stop was in Lafayette for a short, but sweet, visit with the cousins.

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After one more stop in Indy, we were on the road. 14 hours later, we arrived in warm Orlando to continue our Christmas break!

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We had such a wonderful time in Chicago and we already can’t wait to plan our next visit. To say that Michael and Rachel were amazing hosts would be an understatement. We had such a very, merry Christmas!

Chicago // October 2017

It’s been a whirlwind the last eleven days and I have a lot to catch up on! Two weekends ago, we headed up to Chicago for a long weekend away and for me to run the Chicago Marathon! We had an amazing, action-packed weekend filled with family, friends, and running.

From the moment we stepped on the plane, there was such amazing energy the whole weekend. Our flight attendants had all the runners stand up and there was about 20 runners on our plane alone. Jaime and I were on the same flight so we each enjoyed a complimentary Bloody Mary on the way. The kids were in heaven too.

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The weather was gloomy on Friday but it didn’t slow us down. My parents arrived at our hotel about the same time that we did, so we headed out for lunch and shopping.

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We headed to the American Girl store and the Lego store for the kids to pick out some early birthday presents. Julie came home with us and Kenley just loves her. Afterwards, Greg and I headed to Portillo’s for dinner then Bar Louie for drinks and baseball.

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Saturday morning, we were up early to head to the race expo. The expo was insane and I think I could have spent the entire day there. We picked up our race bibs, did some shopping, took a lot of pictures, got beers, and met Bart Yasso. All in all, it was a successful morning!

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After the expo, we headed to the Taco Joint for tacos and beer before heading back to the hotel to shower. About 20 minutes before Greg and I were out the door, Mary Beth and Mandy showed up to surprise me! Mary Beth and I had planned on meeting during the weekend, but I had no idea that Mandy was coming in from Kansas City! It was such a fun surprise!

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The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) pre-race dinner was on Saturday afternoon at Grant Park. It was good to see all of the other RMHC runners both from Orlando and all of the United States.

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It was a gorgeous, but rainy evening in the city. After the RMHC dinner, Greg and I met up with MB and Mandy again before it was time for me to call it a night.

Meanwhile, the kids had an amazing Saturday at Michael and Rachel’s house. They had a birthday party, made a cake, built forts, and made race signs (which I saw the next day!).

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Sunday was race day which will have an entire post dedicated to it!

We headed to Niketown on Monday morning to get our finishers gear and get our medal engraved. The medal engraving didn’t happen due to the two hour wait, but we did some shopping so the trip was worth it. Afterwards, we took the kids to Maggie Daley Park which was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it and we will definitely be back the next time we’re in Chicago!

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We had such a great trip to Chicago! It was great to be back in the Midwest. The entire city was so welcoming of all the runners and really made the weekend so memorable. A huge thank you to my parents, Michael, and Rachel for watching the kids while Greg and I did all of the pre-race festivities.

#jonandmb // September 2015

Greg and I headed up to the Chicago suburbs this past weekend to celebrate the wedding of Mary Beth and Jon. MBK and I have been friends since we both pledged our sorority our freshman year at IU….way too long ago!

Greg worked on Friday night so we didn’t get to fly out until first thing Saturday morning. We were on a tight schedule since we were flying in on the same day as the wedding and were not thrilled to hear that we had to wait 45 minutes for our rental car that we had a reservation for at 10:30am. Once we were finally on the road, we made a pit stop to get some necessities for the day, including Greg’s favorite beer. Once we arrived at the hotel, we met up with some friends for a quick lunch before we had to get ready.

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The wedding ceremony was at 2:30pm at the church and it was absolutely beautiful. The sun lit up the sanctuary and shined in perfectly on the happy couple. After the ceremony, we headed back to the hotel while the wedding party got their pictures taken.

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Cocktails, dinner, and dancing started at 6:30pm.

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The weather was absolutely amazing the entire time we were there. I was even cold in the evening, but obviously couldn’t complain. The reception was gorgeous (table 11 was obviously the best) and the band was so good. It was such a great party. Mary Beth was also serenaded by the men of Straight No Chaser (including her husband) which was a surprise to everyone and seriously awesome. I’m getting chills just typing it out now. What a great surprise to have at your wedding!

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The next morning, we all met for breakfast at our hotel before we parted ways. I’m not sure if you can tell, but we had such a great time. It was a great night away for Greg and I; and to spend it with my girls was even better. It was such a beautiful celebration for Mary Beth and Jon and we couldn’t be happier for them.

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Until next time Chicago…

my weekend in photos

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friday morning marked my longest before-work run – 6 miles with heather! i’m not going to be making a habit of it, but it was nice to get it done before we left for the weekend.

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after a long day on friday, greg and i got up on saturday and headed to chicago! greg had been searching for this beer for weeks now and he finally tracked it down in illinois. we got the last two bottles in the store.

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meanwhile, the kids stayed back to hang out with my parents.

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they also got to see kenley’s soccer game!

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the reason for our trip was to celebrate mary beth and jon’s wedding! i have many more pictures from the wedding to come later this week.

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the kids had a blast hanging out with meemaw & grandpa.

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the kids talked them into new trucks, barbies, and slippers.

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popsicles by the pool. crosby’s hands may have gotten a little cold.

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sweet boy.

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greg and i flew home yesterday and we really wanted to take our friends and the weather back with us. we had such a great time.

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how was your weekend?

Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon {Race Recap}

Last month, I headed up to Chicago to celebrate Mary Beth’s upcoming wedding at her bachelorette party! In the months leading up to my trip, a mom in our running group had posted that she was running the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon in Chicago. I randomly checked the date and noticed it was going to be the same weekend I was going to be in Chicago! I realize that it is probably not common to want to run a half marathon the morning after a bachelorette party, but I ultimately decided to sign up because I knew that I would be upset with myself if I was there and had decided not to do it.

I arrived early on Saturday morning and headed straight to the expo to pick up my race packet. This race was a lot of “firsts” for me, including my first large race expo. It was huge!

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I didn’t have a ton of time to browse the expo, but I was there long enough to pick up my packet and shirt, purchase a pint glass and some GUs, and stock up on some free samples. Michael & Rachel were on their way to pick me up so after the expo, I got to hang out with them. I spent the rest of the day hanging around Chicago with Michael, Rachel, and Celeste until it was time to get the party started and celebrate the bride-to-be!

After an awesome night celebrating MBK all over the city of Chicago with some of my favorite girls, I got up and headed down to Grant Park where the race was starting. Another first for me was the size of this race. It was huge! I was slated for corral 28 out of 33 total, meaning I was waiting in line to start the race for about 30 minutes. I think I ended up starting with corral 26 by the time I was actually at the start line and ready to go.

This is where I started in my corral and the start line was actually on a different street.

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This is when I turned onto said street and could actually see the start line.

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I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but overall the race itself was amazing, but how could it not be when you’re running through the city of Chicago? There was entertainment along the course and we ran by so many of the Chicago landmarks. I was able to see Michael and Rachel on the course twice which was so great. It gave me something to look forward to as the miles rolled by. After I saw them for the second time, I knew I wouldn’t see them again until the finish line. The race course took us too far south for them to go down there. There was a small portion of the course where we were passing runners ahead of us. I knew one of our local running buddies, Dave was somewhere in the mix and if I was going to see him then it was going to be at that time between miles 8 and 9. I made a point to look for him the whole time and I finally spotted him…and it was just what I needed to see, a familiar face. The rest of the miles were long and hot and I did a lot more walking at the end of the race. I was beat. By mile 8 my watch was clocking me a full mile ahead of where I really was which was mentally challenging. I figured it had to do with the tall buildings downtown messing up the GPS, but that wasn’t something I thought about going into the race. It was tough, my final distance by my watch was 14.1 miles, which was obviously not right.

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My official time was 2:26:37 with an overall pace of 11:11 min/mile and I placed 5,917 out of 12,075 runners. I am very pleased with my time considering how much I crammed into about 36 hours in Chicago. After the race I went back to the hotel to shower and say goodbye to my friends before I was off to Midway to catch my flight. I was back home in Orlando by 6pm that night completely and utterly exhausted. It was such a great two days in Chicago.

Friday I’m in Love

Happy Friday! Where in the world did this week go?
I’ve got a lot to love on this week, so let’s get the party started.

o n e

I was provided with the opportunity to try some of the Fruttare Fruit Bars and since it’s about a million degrees here in Florida, I jumped at the chance. I picked up a box of the mango, strawberry & milk, and coconut & milk at Target and these little guys did not disappoint. My favorite is the coconut & milk… shocking, I know. I just love all things coconut and these are really refreshing. The next flavor on my list to try is the pineapple!

You can learn more about Fruttare on their website, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Check them out!

t w o

You may have seen that I was in one of my favorite cities this past weekend… CHICAGO! I love visiting the city and am still checking off new places to visit each time I go. This time I made it to Water Tower Place and we went through Wrigleyville while we were on the trolley. Of course, seeing my friends too helped make the experience that much more enjoyable.

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t h r e e

This summer, Greg and I have been watching Wayward Pines. It actually ended last night but I highly recommend if you are able to watch the series, do it! It is SO good and it’s one of the few shows that we actually watched on the night it aired. Bonus: our other shows this summer are also Suits (LOVE!) and Extant.

f o u r

While in Chicago, I was able to hang out with my trendy friend who informed me that backpacks are in. So, of course, I’ve been shopping for backpacks. There are several from Nordstrom that are adorable, but are a little out of my price range, however the Herschel Supply Co. Dawson Backpack may be the front runner. What do you think?

'Dawson' Backpack

// source //

f i v e

Speaking of backpacks, the kids have the Skip Hop Zoo Packs, but these Skip Hop Forget Me Not backpack sets are adorable for the bigger kids.

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Now it’s your turn to share what you’re loving, comment below and don’t forget to check out these other lovely ladies.

Misha // Mary Beth // Amanda // Laura // Aileen // Jessica // Ashley

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**This post contains affiliate links.

my weekend in photos

hi friends. thanks for sticking with me this summer as my blog posts are few and far between. i promise i’ll be posting a lot more once the summer madness winds down a little bit.

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friday arrived and so did the stomach bug…just in time for me to leave first thing saturday morning for a quick trip to chicago. thankfully greg and grammy held down the fort while i was away. Untitled

i arrived to chicago super early on saturday and went straight to the race expo to pick up my packet and do a little shopping.

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michael and rachel picked me up and we made our way downtown to hang out during the day. we walked, shopped, and ate until it was time for celeste and i to head to the hotel.

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the reason for the trip was to celebrate mary beth, the bride to be!
and celebrate we did!

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we had an amazing night complete with drinks, dinner, dancing, and trolley riding all over the city. the weather was beautiful and the company was even better. Untitled

a few hours later, i was up and ready to run the rock n roll half marathon!

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i’m so thankful these two came out to cheer me on around the course. Untitled

i finished running, showered, and hopped on my flight back home. it was a quick trip, but worth every second. i’ll share more about the race soon!

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meanwhile, greg snapped a few pics of their day on sunday. kenley likes to play games on the ipad and crosby likes to watch her!

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jeremiah’s italian ice for the win.

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two peas in a pod.

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how was your weekend?!