Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 39.0: September Recap

Well hello there! I’ve been working on this post for two weeks and it’s finally finished! Life is busy folks, but life is good. 🙂

Also, I’d like to take a moment here just to say: THE ROYALS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOO!!!!!!! It’s been a long, long time coming and obviously I’m REALLY excited about it. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming…

***

[1]

After flying through 7 books in August, I read a much more modest 3 in September. Luckily, they were all good ones!

Books read:

1. A Little Bit Wicked by Kristen Chenoweth and Joni Rodgers

2. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

3. The Smart Way to Your Ph.D. by Dora Farkas

[2]

September…not my best month in the physical fitness department. Between group meetings, fellowship reports, traveling, and the gym being closed for part of the month it was difficult to find the time to fit a good workout in. Regardless, I did better than August. Boom.

September

As I mentioned last month, I have revised my 2014 fitness goal from completing 1000 miles of cardio to beating the total from last year (872 miles). As of the end of September, I have completed 553 miles. Only 320 to go….

[3]

I went to a lovely wedding in September (more on that below) and of course that gave me the perfect excuse to give myself a manicure! I splurged and bought myself this nice mint polish to match my dress.

September

[4]

Fun things I did in September:

1) Enjoyed a nice dinner at the Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. with K

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2) Attended my cousin’s wedding in beautiful Steamboat Springs, CO

In late September, K and I traveled to the beautiful state of Colorado for my cousin Morgan’s wedding. We flew into Denver and were picked up by my parents at the airport (thanks guys!). Then, we began the beautiful and windy 2-3 hour-ish drive through the mountains. It was SO BEAUTIFUL and we made it in time to see the aspen trees begin to change color:

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One thing that surprised me about the drive was how much the altitude affected me. I’d always kind of cynically assumed people were exaggerating when they complained of headaches, shortness of breath etc. Boy was I wrong–I had quite a headache for the first day. It went away eventually, but never again will I make light of the whole “altitude sickness” thing.

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What a view!

After arriving at our hotel and checking in, we met up with my grandma and my aunt for dinner.

The next morning we took a short drive to Fish Creek Falls with my parents and my grandma. The drive up to the park was beautiful, and the entry fee is only $5 per car. There were several hiking trails, including a very nice and very mild 1/4 mile gravel trail up to the waterfall. We were mostly there to see the famous waterfall, which inspired in the original Coors Beer can, but the views along the way were well worth the $5 entry fee.

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The falls!

That evening, after enjoying some family time at the rehearsal dinner, some of the family took advantage of one of our hotel’s fire pits. We had snacks and some drinks–it was a very nice time!

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The wedding ceremony was held the next afternoon. The weather was beautiful for nearly the entire day, but an hour before the ceremony was to begin storm clouds moved in. Normally this wouldn’t be cause for alarm, but since the wedding was to be held outdoors on a golf course (with really beautiful views of the mountains) we were all hoping the weather would hold out. Regardless of these fears, the ceremony began. My grandma arrived in style on a golf cart (not pictured here) and was escorted down the aisle by my cousin Josh.

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 One of my favorite things about the ceremony was the couple’s use of their dog as a “ring dog.” So cute! I loved it!!!!

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Finally it was time for the beautiful bride to walk down the aisle. She smiled the whole time and looked so happy!

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The ceremony was lovely and the rain held off until just after the ceremony concluded. I’m so happy they got to have the ceremony they wanted without any nasty weather interfering.

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The happy couple!

 

After the ceremony, we headed to the reception for some great food and good times with family.

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Thanks for sharing your special day with us Morgan and Jeff. It was great!

***

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 38.0: July-August Recap

As promised way back in July, life continues to only get more busy. However, I do still enjoy this hobby, so I’ll continue to post things as I get little pockets of time.

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[1]

I have officially surpassed my reading goal for the year! After falling short of last year’s goal of reading 52 books I only pledged to read 35 books in 2014. Apparently this wasn’t ambitious enough because I’ve already read 42 books this year! I’m honestly very surprised I’ve been able to read that many books considering how busy I’ve been. But then again, what better way to unwind after a long day then to kick back with a good book?

Books read:

July:

1. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry

3. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

August:

1. Intuition by Allegra Goodman

2. True Believers by Kurt Andersen

3. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

4. A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

5. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

6. A PhD Is Not Enough! by Peter J. Feibelman

7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

[2]

I’ve come to accept that I’m not going to make 1000 miles this year.

July-August

It’s o.k. because really any physical fitness that I’m able to squeeze in is better than none at all! My goal now is to try to beat last years total–872 miles. Currently I’m at 535 miles for 2014…so I’ve got my work cut out for me! I’ve also started incorporating toning/resistance training back into my workout routine–also a positive step!

[3]

It’s been awhile since I’ve had any interesting nail art to share with y’all. That’s not to say I haven’t been painting my nails, I just haven’t had as much time to experiment lately. But have no fear, I have a great manicure to share with you today…from July:

July

‘Scuse the imperfections. I took this right after I finished…

Every fourth of July I tell myself I’m going to do an awesome flag manicure, and this year I actually did it! It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.

[4]

Fun things I did in July:

*Note: I did many fun things in July. Apparently I was having so much fun that I forgot to take very many pictures. Blogger fail.

1) Enjoyed a nice dinner at the Davis Street Fish Market with K

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Fun things I did in August:

1) Attended my 10 year high school reunion

Insert obligatory “I can’t believe it’s been that long” comment here. But really, it’s still hard to believe it’s been 10 years. It feels like I just graduated from high school yesterday, and yet also like it was five lifetimes ago. Anyway, I went home for the reunion and had a pretty good time. First we had a tour of the high school which has changed pretty drastically since I left it 10 years ago. They have a new gym and weight room, new band, choir, orchestra, and drama rooms, a coffee shop (?!), and a bank (?!). The auditorium even has a balcony now!

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We also attended the get-together in the evening:

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The ladies

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Ladies + Gents

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I swear I haven’t gotten any taller guys

Overall, I’m glad I went back and got to see the school and some good friends!

2) Grabbed drinks with friends at Rogers Park Social

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Hello bright lights!

3) Had a nice visit from K while I was in Washington D. C. on a research trip

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***

That’s all for now! Until next month then…Just Kidding! I hope…

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday Thoughts 37.0: June Recap

Is it Mid-July already? Sounds like the perfect time to recap the things that happened in my life during the month of June! Or something like that…

It’s getting harder and harder to stick to any sort of regular posting schedule. Lately I have been successful at getting one post a week out, and that’s good enough for right now. Life as a graduate student is very busy, and as I enter the homestretch (or rather the pre-homestretch) I only expect it to get more crazy. But I enjoy blogging so I’ll keep at it, even if it’s at a slower pace then I would like.

***

[1]

I read 6 books in June and am very satisfied with that number! In fact, I’m doing so well this year that I will probably exceed my yearly goal of reading 35 books in a month of so. What I REALLY need to work on is actually reviewing books.

Books read:

1. My Antonia by Willa Cather

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth

3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth

4. The Longest Road by Philip Caputo

5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth

6. World War Z by Max Brooks

[2]

Remember in my May recap I said “any miles are better than no miles?” Let’s pretend I said that for the first time this month.

June

49 miles isn’t too shabby really. Especially when you consider I was a) traveling for the first week of the month, b) hosting my sister for the some of the second week of the month, and c) “down-for-the-count” due to my allergies for the last week of the month. When I look at it that way, I’m actually surprised I got as many in as I did!

[3]

Fun things I did in June:

*Note: I did A LOT of fun things in June. However, I did not take take a lot of pictures (other than the Canada trip). Alas.

1) Traveled to beautiful British Columbia, CA:

K and I traveled to Kelowna, BC for both vacation and the opportunity for me to meet his extended family. After a tense trip in (thanks a lot thunderstorms!), we were greeted at the airport by K’s grandparents. They hosted us the whole week we were there and we are so grateful for the wonderful hospitality.

We spent most of the first day relaxing…and with this wonderful view of the Okanagan valley how could we not?!

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The next day cousin Cathy arrived, and a group of us decided to tour a few (of the many) wineries in the area. Our first stop was Mission Hill Winery. We stopped here first because all of K’s relatives told us we had to visit this winery for the view and the architecture. It definitely lived up to all the hype!

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We also took a guided tour of the winery, which included a trip down to the barrel cellar.

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After Mission Hill, we also stopped at Quail’s Gate winery for some tastings (sorry no pictures from this one).

The next day, we took a day trip up to the Mica Dam. The drive up to the dam was so beautiful, and we had good time stopping along the road for pictures and short side trips. The first stop on our journey was a visit to The Last Spike, which is the location where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was placed in 1885.

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Since the actual spike isn’t marked (and according to Wikipedia isn’t actually there anymore 😦 ) I don’t have a picture of it.

Our next stop was in the beautiful town of Revelstoke for lunch. It is a very cute town, and we had a nice time walking around and checking out all the shops.

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After leaving Revelstoke, we did the rest of the drive up to the Mica dam. The journey up to the dam is one of the most beautiful and most isolated trips I’ve ever taken. When I’ve done other “scenic” drives, it seems as though everyone else has the same idea and there is lots of traffic. Not the case with this drive. As you can see in the pictures below you could stand out in the middle of the road and take pictures without fearing you would be mowed over by traffic.

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The road up to the dam winds along the Columbia river. As if the mountains weren’t pretty enough on their own, the addition of the river lead to some fabulous views.

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Eventually we made it to the Dam. What a view!

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On the way home, we stopped in Revelstoke again for dinner. If you are ever in the area and are in the mood for a restaurant that features both German and Indian cuisine (I know, I never thought I’d see those two paired together either) then you should check out the restaurant we ate at: Paramjit’s Kitchen.

The next day, more extended family arrived in town. So, we spent the next few days catching up (or getting to know them in my case):

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I spent most of my time losing at card games

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The whole gang

On our last night in Canada, we took a trip down to the waterfront in downtown Kelowna. As is evident by now, the whole region is very scenic (mountains! water!), and the city of Kelowna has definitely made the most of this in their downtown waterfront. It features a nice walking path, beautiful flower gardens, and some interesting sculpture art. We arrived just before sunset, and enjoyed a nice, leisurely walk.

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Along our walk we came upon a sculpture for Lake Okanagan’s very own sea monster: Ogopogo.

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Nessie’s got nothing on you, Ogopogo!

Sadly, we didn’t have any sightings of the actual Ogopogo. But as everyone knows, sea monsters are notoriously fickle.

Overall, we had a great trip. Thanks for being an awesome travel partner K!

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2) Had a visit from my favorite (and only) sister:

Right after I got back from Canada, I had a visit from my sister, Jen. We had a nice (but too short) visit. On her last full day in Chicago, we met up with Tanya to take the River North Food Tour. The tour features five tastings at local eateries, and short walking tour.

We began the tour at the historic Merchandise Mart, and then walked to Doughnut Vault for our first tasting.

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mmmmm

I can honestly say this is one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out if you are ever in the Chicago-land area. However, they are cash only and are only open until they sell out. Get there early!

The next two stops on the tour were Lou Malnati’s pizza (a Chicago-area staple), and Rick Bayless’s Xoco. Lou Malnati’s was delicious as always, and I LOVED the tasting we had at Xoco. Admittedly I had never heard of Rick Bayless before moving to Chicago, but I’ve been a fan of his food (or specifically Tortas Frontera…the only one I’ve been to) since my first torta.

After Xoco, we walked to Carson’s for some Ribs:

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While I will always probably be partial to Kansas City barbeque, I must say these were pretty darn good! Plus, we got to wear these super snazzy bibs:

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Aren’t those bibs attractive? 😉

The final stop on the tour was Fabcakes. I don’t have a picture, but I also loved the cookies we had there. Overall, we had a great time on the food tour and definately did not go home hungry!

Thanks for coming to visit me J! We don’t get to see each other as often as I’d like, so it was awesome to spend a few days with you!

***

Whew! This was a long post–congratulations if you made it all the way here! Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday Thoughts 36.0: May Recap

Yes, you read that title right. I’m recapping my May happenings today because it’s my blog and I can do what I want!

Many apologies for the unintended month(ish) break from blogging. It’s been CRAZY and I don’t imagine that things are going to slow down anytime soon. I do think things *should* be slightly less busy from here on out, so I hope I can get back to blogging semi-regularly.

***

[1]

I read 7 books in May. I can’t believe it–I haven’t read this many in a month in quite some time!  It’s especially surprising considering how busy I was! However, in looking at this list I realized I picked shorter books (~300 pages) after tackling Middlemarch, so maybe it isn’t THAT surprising.

Books read:

1. Amped by Daniel H. Wilson

2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

3. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

4. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

5. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

6. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

7. Cut to the Bone by Jefferson Bass

[2]

Overall May was not too shabby in the fitness department. I didn’t break 100 miles, but I upped my number from April so I’m going to consider that a win. I may not make 1000 miles this year, but I’m of the mind that any miles are better than no miles!

May

[3]

Recipes posted:

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Beef Stew

[4]

Fun things I did in May:

1) Attended Wine Riot! (for the fourth time):

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2) Attended a Rugby fundraiser for my awesome friend Linda:

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3) Celebrated my birthday at Andersonville Brewing:

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Two Sarah’s and me!

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Thanks so much to everyone who came out! I had a really great birthday!

 4) Went to Dillo Day (the spring outdoor musical festival) and saw OK Go:

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It was a warm day, and after OK Go I was really thirsty. The organizers of the event bragged about the “free water” they were offering, but the “free water” was out by the time we got to the festival. So, we stopped in the Beer Garden (which ironically also had the water we so desperately wanted):

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***

Well now that I’ve recapped May, I’ll probably be back next week to recap June. 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday Thoughts (on a Friday) 33.0: February Recap

Why hello there! Yes, I am indeed still alive, but the last few weeks have been a disaster (work-wise). Things are sort of returning to a normal-crazy instead of the crazy-crazy I’ve been dealing with so I should be posting more regularly again. But only time will tell if this actually happens. Anyway…I know we are already well into March, but I still want to re-cap my February (and besides it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want 😛 ).

***

[1]

First of all, this:

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In addition to all the work-crazy, I slipped on some ice and messed up my wrist and hand. Luckily, nothing was broken and it is “merely” a bone-bruise. I have merely in quotes there because it hurt WAY worse than any other bruise I’ve ever had. Needless to say it really halted progress toward any personal or professional goals for a few weeks which was super frustrating. I’m out of the brace now and on the mend, and overall am VERY grateful that nothing was broken (this time).

[2]

I read three books in February…not my best month but certainly not the worst. I started reading Middlemarch in the middle of the month (which I’m loving by the way), so that has slowed my reading progress considerably.

Books read:

1.  Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

2.  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

Books Reviewed:

1. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

[3]

As I hinted at above, the wrist injury significantly slowed progress toward my fitness goals, especially since it happened on February 3 (I think I had like a whole 3 miles for the month before that happened). However, as I started to heal I really made a real effort to get to the gym. So, although 43 miles is far from ideal I am still satisfied with this number. Here’s to hoping I hit much higher numbers in March!

February

[4]

February Nail Art:

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Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail Polish: Revlon Cherries in the Snow

Glitter Polish: Revlon Sparkling

[5]

Recipes Posted:

Beef Stew in the Slow Cooker

Cajun Chicken and Rice

[6]

Fun things I did in February:

1) Good times with friends at a karaoke bar

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2) Awesome dinner at Devon Seafood and then concert at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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Mmmm scallops!

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3) Celebrated a lovely friend’s birthday (with a really bad picture of me)

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***

Hope you had a good week and have a great weekend!

Thursday Thoughts 27.0: October Recap

Happy Halloween everyone! In addition to eating some delicious treats today (well currently my delicious treat is an oat and honey bar…but whatcha gonna do?), I also want to recap my October.

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[1]

Oh say it ain’t so!!!! I only finished two books this past month. In my defense they were sort of longish, and the books I began reading after them are also pretty long. Regardless, those two books bring my total up to 39 books for the year. I’m really going to have to “book it” (he he) if I want to hit my goal of 52 books for the year.

Books Read in October:

1) The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

2) The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

[2]

I did A LOT of cooking in October. As usual though, only a few recipes actually made it to the blog.

Recipes Posted:

1) Penne Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

2) Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

[3]

After a poor showing in September, I rallied in October to put in a much more impressive 92 miles of cardio.

October

For the year I’m logged about 777 miles. Obviously my 1000 mile goal is still doable, but I am going to have to pick up the pace even more these last few months (which could be difficult with the holidays approaching). If I don’t make the goal at the end of the year I will be obviously disappointed. Even if I don’t make it I know that this project has accomplished what I hoped it would: it has ensured I am more consistently active.

[4]

Fun things I did in October:

1) Went to a football tailgate:

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2) Enjoyed a visit with my parents (GO CHIEFS!!!):

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3) Took a trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan:

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3) Played Trivia (but only once 😦 ). Nothing says “big winner” like a giant bag of microwaved popcorn:

Bonus Prize

***

October you were pretty good to me. I’m excited to see what November has in store! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday Thoughts 24.0: September Recap

Happy Thursday everyone! I’m busy gearing up for a visit from my parents this weekend, but before they get here I thought I’d quickly recap my September (I’m only a few days late :P).

***

[1]

I had a pretty successful September on the reading front. I really enjoyed all of these, especially The House of Mirth.

Books Read in September:

1) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

2) The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

3) The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

4) Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

5) I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

[2]

I did a fair amount of cooking in September and even finally got back in the habit of posting my favorite recipes on this blog!

Recipes Posted:

1) Spiced Beef Ragu Shells

2) Lasagna Soup in the Slow Cooker

[3]

September wasn’t my best month on the fitness front. I just really wasn’t able to get into the workout groove between burning my arm on the oven in a baking accident, and suffering from a lingering cold.

September

For the year I’m logged about 687ish miles, which means it’s going to be a race to the finish (literally) if I want to make my 1000 mile goal for the year. I haven’t given up hope yet, but I am going to have to get serious about the cardio this month (and not get sick again) if I want to make it.

[4]

I did a few simple manicures that I liked this month, but didn’t take pictures of them. The most complicated I attempted was a blue and white stripped accent nail manicure:

September

Base/Topcoat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail polish: Essie Bouncer It’s Me

Accent Nail: OPI Alpine Snow

[5]

Although I was busy with work, I did get to do some fun things in September:

1) Early in the month, I went home for the Michael Buble Concert:

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2) Last weekend I traveled to Homestead Orchard to go Apple Picking. It was a small, cute orchard in Woodstock, IL, and we were able to pick Blushing Golden, McIntosh, and Gala apples.

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The weather was perfect and it wasn’t too crowded. All in all I brought home about 12 pounds worth of apples! Be on the lookout for some apple-related recipe posts as I get around to cooking delicious things with my apples!

3) Tuesdays with Morrie is back on the trivia circuit again. We had to find a new location for this season of trivia as our old bar unfortunately quit hosting. We’ve tried out two different spots, and I think we’ve found a keeper (although I personally have not been to this locale yet) 🙂

***

Have a great weekend everyone!

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