food

Thanksgiving 2011

As promised, here is the long-awaited (tee-hee) entry about my Thanksgiving, only 1000 years after everyone has posted theirs! :) To be fair, I did have an extended holiday, starting off Tuesday evening when Aidan arrived! He spent that night here playing and playing. Then he spent Wednesday playing and playing. Good times.

Aidan

LEGO

Thursday, we headed to our friends Jeff & Deborah for our annual Thanksgiving meal. Good food, and good times. Even when Aidan didn’t eat the yummy Yukon Gold potatoes. Hmph. After dinner, we went for a little walk, and I modeled my new coat:

New Coat

Deborah and I also looked cute for the camera.

Deborah and Me

THEN it was off to the airport. It was SO NICE to fly on Thanksgiving evening during dinner time. The airport was so quiet, and the plane MAY have had 50 passengers total on it. It was so peaceful and smooth, and we arrived in Atlanta 50 minutes ahead of schedule!

Because Adam and I flew in Thanksgiving Day, we held off until November 25 to celebrate…..

THANKSMAS
The epic holiday combining Christmas,
Thanksgiving, and Family Portrait Day.

My Mac and Cheese
This happened. You’re so jealous. Just admit it.

Rich and a Turkey
Adam’s dad doesn’t look too proud of this turkey,
but HE SHOULD because it was DA BOMB DOT COM.

Good food was consumed, along with wine. Games were played, conversations had. Then it was PICTURE TAKING TIME!

Piggy Back

Cute Lola

Family Pictures

Wheee!

Aidan

Lola Shows Stuff to Grandpa Rich

After pictures, we sat around and talked until the sun went down. Then it was time for Thanksmas to start!

Thanksmas Gifts

Thanksmas was awesome. I got some really neat things. But I had to leave them there because we flew Airtran and had our carry-on bags already packed to bursting (too cheap to pay baggage fees, ha). So Adam’s parents will ship all the big stuff to us.

World's Best Person.
His statue says “Best Person.”
It came from the Tacky Gift Exchange.
Aidan likes it.
I wanted the Justin Bieber toothbrush
but my cousin Annie got it instead.

Tree

Next day was stocking stuffers, naps, a morning of THIS cuteness:

Lola and Aidan

and a visit to see……

YAY Santa!

Woooo!

Oh, and more pictures.

We're a Family!

Snort

Gotta love that Atlanta in November is warm enough to go coatless. Back in Chicago now–we got back Tuesday afternoon. Another awesome Thanksmas!

Til next time! :)

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Two Good Days (Pictures)

Golden Last week, I had two really good days. It all started Friday morning. I had to get up super, duper early, which normally would not be a good thing for me. I am not a morning person at all! I’m a night owl all the way and often wonder if I’d do better if I lived on the other side of the world. But knowing me, I’d still end up a night owl somehow.

But anyway, this time it was OK to be getting up at 7am because I was going to get pampered! Late last year, I purchased a Groupon voucher for The Spa on Oak for a one-hour chocolate massage and one-half hour cinnamon sugar scrub. I was ready to redeem it (I’m always afraid I’m going to forget to redeem those vouchers and they’ll expire!), so I made the appointment and grabbed the first available slot. Hence the early morning wake up time. Anyway, when I was checking in, the lady behind the counter asked if I wanted to upgrade, for free, my sugar scrub to a facial! Of course I said “yes.” I’d never had a facial before and I’d been breaking out like a fifteen year old.

So, I got to spend the morning getting pampered. The massage was a combination of Swedish and deep tissue. I am no stranger to getting massages–I try to get one every couple of months if I can–but it had been a while and it was really nice. Then the facial. That was nice as well, even with the extractions, which really felt like I was being pinched. By the time it got too uncomfortable, it was over. My chin hasn’t felt this smooth since before I can remember.

After my morning of pampering, I headed down Oak Street, which is a chi-chi street in the city. Lots of high-end boutiques. I wandered into Juicy Couture and made my way upstairs, where all the running suits and sale items were. I ended up getting a cute tee-shirt. Then I made my way to the beach. I hadn’t been to the beach since the day I hung out with Mylin, and it was so beautiful out, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I sat right in the sand and read, enjoying the warm sun and soft breezes.

Just Chillin'

Oak Street Beach Oak Street Beach

After that, I did a little shopping on Michigan Avenue. That wasn’t as much fun because for some reason, there are a LOT of tourists downtown still, even though tourist season is over, and THEY WALK SLOW. They like to walk five abreast and just saunter down the street. It’s hard to get around them! But I managed it, and I found some really cute socks in TopShop, and some great deals on tops at Gap. I’m talking shirts and tanks for just a few dollars, and long sleeve tee-shirts for 9.99. I love long sleeve tee-shirts. They’re great for winter and fall weather, and nice to wear under sweaters or hoodies. I even got colors that aren’t grey or black, if you can believe that! Wait, I may have gotten one grey shirt or tank. I guess there is no denying what I like, but really should wear brighter colors this winter. Maybe that’ll help keep me from being so depressed come February. I am in the market for sweaters, but finding a normal sweater is always a challenge for me. They’re all shaped weird. The ones I DID love, from TopShop, were out of my budget. So, I didn’t come home with any new sweaters. I guess that’ll wait ’til the next check comes in.

After my excursions, I was finally tired and made my way home. Spent the rest of the evening relaxing and reading and playing on the computer. I started to feel nauseated and a migraine was settling in, so I took it easy.

Saturday, I went to the library and checked out six books, then I had brunch with a former co-worker, now friend. We ate at this place called Angel’s. Just happened to find it by looking on Yelp. Four and a half star review? Yes, please.

This is what I had:

Brunch at Angel's

You know you’re jealous. I’m jealous right now and I got to enjoy it already! I had bacon, pancakes with strawberries, and scrambled eggs. Orange juice for my drink. It was really good and the price was pretty good, too. Our waiter was interesting. My friend and I hung out so long that he brought me a free margarita! OK, any place that doesn’t mind if I sit and chat for three hours AND gives me a free drink to boot? WIN!!!

So, those were my two really good days. I caught a cold Saturday night and my migraine started up again–BIG TIME–so the days weren’t perfect. But I can’t complain. I just can’t believe it’s already going to be Friday again. Seems like this week went by in a flash. And it may have, seeing as I spent three days of it lying in bed trying to get over a migraine and a cold (which is gone now YAY).

Is it just me, or does every cold get worse? I really don’t remember them laying me up for three days when I was little, or not even a year ago. Being sick is the pits, and today is the first day I feel 100% again. So YAY for that. I should probably get back to yoga practice tomorrow, huh?

That’s all for now. ‘Til next time! :)

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My Disney Trip! (Lots of Pictures, Very Long)

I’m going to try to make this as concise as possible, but so much happened and it was such a FUN time! :) Here are some highlights. At the end of this post, I will give you a link to all my posted pictures and video.

We arrived in Orlando at a bit after 12pm EST, checked in with the Magical Express guys, and then we were on our way. We were getting “congratulations” left and right because we were wearing our bride and groom Mickey ears:

On the Magical Express

We stayed at Pop Century, which is a cool hotel featuring many decades of pop culture. There are displays on the wall that feature so many things that I had or was into. We checked in, and they gave us “Just Married” buttons. Our room number was 1234, in the ’50s building (earmarked by a GIANT statue of Lady)! Easy or what?

Lady

There was a towel animal in the window:

Towel Animal

He stayed with us the whole trip.

Adam changed into shorts, we slathered on sunscreen, and we were on our way. I was in jeans because Magical Express hadn’t brought my luggage yet. First stop, MAGIC KINGDOM!

Pumpkins! Pumpkins!Jack O Lantern

It was all decorated for Halloween! :)

Disney characters, I noticed, seem to like running off with newly wedded spouses. Chip was the first one to try to steal me from Adam, and when Adam caught on to what he was doing, he quickly surrendered:

Caught!

We’re all friends, though.

First Character at the World!

Here it is:

Castle

We’d arrived just in time for the Dreams Come True parade. The parade started with the grand marshal, then a commercial. YES, a commercial for the new Sleeping Beauty DVD coming out soon.

Parade Commercial Combo

After about 15 minutes, the actual parade began. Mickey pointed me out and told me that my dreams will “especially” come true. :)

Dreams Come True Dreams Come True

Adam and Me
Obligatory shot of Adam and me in front of the castle.

That day, we ate at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for dinner, went through Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses, rode Mickey’s Philharmagic twice, rode The Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Cinderella’s Carousel (I rode on Cinderella’s horse!), Space Mountain (a couple of random girls came up and handed us their fast passes!), It’s A Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Peter Pan, however, had a 40 minute wait which seriously confused me. We watched Wishes, the fireworks show.

Wishes! Wishes! Wishes!

As the day wound down and the Extra Magic Hours started, we were pretty much walking on rides.

We met Pooh, Tigger, Darby (who tried to run off with Adam–apparently she was feeling him up at one point), and Goofy (notice anything weird about that picture?).

Hunny Bear Pooh Darby, Adam, Tigger, and Me
First Encounter with Goofy

The next day, we ate breakfast at the Pop Century food court, then headed to Epcot.

Spaceship Earth

There, we rode Soarin’, Living with the Land, and Spaceship Earth. Adam enjoyed some hands-on activities at Innovations, and we watched Honey I Shrunk the Audience and the Circle of Life. We tried different pops at that Cool Club place. We had lunch at The Garden Grill, one of my favorite places to eat:

Garden Grill
Mmm, yum!

We also met a motherload of characters! Chip cried when he saw that I was married. All the guy characters were giving Adam thumbs up for picking me. :)

Tuxedo Mickey Good Times Showing off the Rings! Mary Poppins!
I Love This One! Superhero Pose! Dancing to the Beat

After we ate, it was RAINING like CRAZY. We hung out a bit in The Land, trying to wait for it to let up, then finally braved a few drops to make our way to one of the gift shops to buy ponchos. I also got a pair of earrings, and Adam got a new watch! Once we were in our ponchos, we were ready to go. The park was emptying out at an alarming rate, and we walked right on to Test Track. This was good because we’d had to forfeit our others when the time for our lunch reservations bumped up with our fast pass time. (Now I know that we can get on anytime after the initial start time, no need to go in that specified hour).

Spaceship Earth

We made our way to World Showcase, where we walked right on Maelstrom (twice) and enjoyed leisurely walking around looking at the countries. Adam had a strawberry preserve crepe which was yummy! Then we watched Illuminations, then headed back. I had the famous Tie Dye cheesecake from the Pop Century food court, and it turned my tongue blue! It was yummy, though.

The next morning, we were back at Epcot. Had a hard time finding something to snack on for breakfast, which made Adam cranky. But I found an apple danish, and Adam drank a milk shake. We did World Showcase again. Characters came out to play around 11. We rode the ride in Mexico, and we rode Maelstrom again.

Whee! Shadow Puppets Me and Cinderella's Mice Mulan
Fiesta Donald Aurora

As were talking with Aurora, she asked what our plans were. I told her we’d planned to party that night, and she said “Oh, you will be getting your grooves on, yes?” AWESOME! :)

The highlight of my day, though, was meeting BEAST! I’d just missed him the last time I was at Disney World. While we were in line for Belle, Beast came out and joined her. I was SCREAMING with happiness. And to make matters even better, the couple in front of us gave me a pin you can only get at Tokyo Disney!

Beast!

Soon, it was time for lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This place is not easy to get into because it’s full of princesses and very popular. I was surprised that we got a reservation. I loved the place. First, they started off by photographing us with Belle:

Akershus Princess Banquet

Then they seated us. The food was great, and we got to dine with four other princesses! They came around with photos for us, and then the manager gave Adam and me complimentary champagne as congratulations for our marriage!

Akershus Princess Banquet

After lunch, we headed back to Pop Century for a nap before Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Wood Fairy
I was a wood fairy.

The villains mixed and mingled, we were treated to a special parade kicked off by the Headless Horseman, saw special fireworks, and we trick or treated at various stations throughout the park. Adam couldn’t resist going on Haunted Mansion, which was extra spookified that night.

We met Cinderella’s wicked relatives, who were HILARIOUS by the way, and Pooh and Eeyore all dressed up, the Wicked Queen, Claude Frollo, and Minnie looking extra cute!

All Dressed Up

We also got our grooves on, yes, at Ariel’s Grotto.

Wednesday, we headed to Hollywood Studios. Adam was excited to meet the regular, non-dressed up Donald Duck, and to meet the awesome Sorcerer Mickey.

Donald! Showing off the Rings
We Made Mickey Blush!

We rode the Backlot Tour (where we starred in the feature show!) and The Great Movie Ride. We hung out with flappers on the main strip and got marriage advice. (Say “Yes, dear, you’re right dear” and “She’s always right.”) I met Kim Possible and her boyfriend Ron, and we watched Muppet Vision 3D. After dinner, Stitch walked by and wiped a booger on my shoulder. The highlight of the day? I GOT TO MEET Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen!

Lightning.. Ahhhh! It's like Tomater, without the Ta.

We also hung out with Mike and Sulley of Monsters Inc. fame!

Monsters, Inc!

A cast member at the Indiana Jones kiosk gave me a “diamond” upgrade on my ring. :) We popped on Rockin’ Roller Coaster, which I’d always wanted to try but never made it over to where it is in the Studios. That ride is crazy! And then Adam talked me into riding Tower of Terror. I’d never ridden Tower of Terror before. I was VERY nervous. And for the first few seconds afterward, I HATED it. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And… wanting to go on it again!

We had dinner at the ’50s Prime Time Cafe, where they singled us out and had people from all over the restaurant give us marriage advice. More of the same: “She’s always right.” Ha. That night we went to Downtown Disney and it was CRAZY. Not a lot of fun with the crowds everywhere, but I got some cool pins and souvenirs.

The next morning was Magic Kingdom. We had a breakfast date with Pooh and Friends, but before that, we ran into Jiminy Cricket (who incidentally, tried to run off with me)!

Us and Jiminy Cricket

Then we headed to Crystal Palace for breakfast. YUM! There, they’d put a heart of confetti on our table!

Us

At Crystal Palace, I got a Mickey waffle (can’t have a trip to WDW without a Mickey waffle!), and I ate about 10 pieces of bacon. Piglet was WAY too cute, and so was Pooh and sweet Eeyore, who is sooo cuddly. Tigger tried to run off with me, telling me that he was WAY better than Adam.

Tigger and Me Piglet is so Pink! Rivals

After breakfast, we headed back to Town Square to meet more characters! We ran into Horace and Clarabelle where scandal ensued (mostly characters trying to run off with spouses AGAIN–and vice versa).

While we were waiting for them, I noticed this in the sky:

Skywriting Chick Tracts?
Sky Writing Chick Tracts?

Anyway, on to the shenanigans:

Rarities!

Rarities! Rarities! Rarities!

After Horace and Clarabelle, we ran into Daisy Duck, who we’d *just* missed in Hollywood Studios the day before, and Mary Poppins and Burt!

Another Duck! It's a Jolly Holiday

We watched the Dreams Come True show.

Dreams Come True Dreams Come True

We also met Snow White, Frontier Donald, Peter Pan and Wendy, Jessie and Woody, and Captain Hook and Smee. We then spent the rest of the day wandering around Magic Kingdom doing whatever stuck our fancies. Now, MK was VERY crowded (relatively) because of morning Extra Magic Hours, so now we know to AVOID parks that have morning hours. Still, we got to ride the Mad Tea Party, Liberty Bell, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad twice in a row, and Splash Mountain. It was my first time riding Splash Mountain. “You won’t get that wet,” Adam had said. Oh yeah?

After Splash Mountain

At one point, Adam got very distraught.

Nooo!!

This was why:

Closed Down!

We also did Stitch’s Great Escape and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor (which is BRILLIANT!), the Hall of Presidents, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Lunch was at Columbia Harbor House, where I got a free dessert for being a newlywed! We watched Spectromagic (where Adam freaked out over Chernabog) and Wishes again, then hung around more than an hour after official close to people watch and to just enjoy the castle. It did a special good night around 10pm with sparkles and music. It was lovely.

The next morning was Magic Kingdom again! Told you, we ♥ that place! First, though, we had breakfast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. I enjoyed it greatly. It was a lot less busy than Crystal Palace and they had yummy strawberry soup. We got to meet Mary Poppins, Pooh, Tigger, Alice, and the Mad Hatter there.

Me & the Wonderland Folks

At the Kingdom, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean (where there was a message waiting for me from Mickey and Minnie congratulating me on my marriage and encouraging me to eat lots of cake) and Haunted Mansion (he’s obsessed!). The guy at the Dole Whip counter gave us free pineapple floats with a congratulations!

We met Rafiki and Timon, who BOTH tried to run off with me. The cast member there said “I’d tell you congratulations but I think Rafiki is jealous!”

Meeting Rafiki and Timon

On our way out of Magic Kingdom, we ran into a vendor who’d talked to us a the day before. She gave me a special and exclusive Pixie Dust pin! And then the Family Fun Day Parade started, which was very cute and a lot of fun. A great way to end our Magic Kingdom Adventure of 2008.

We hopped over the Hollywood Studios, and got there just in time for the Block Party Bash, which was colorful and beautiful! We also watched the Beauty and the Beast show which made me teary eyed. We rode Tower of Terror twice in a row and wanted to go a third time but the wait time had gone up. FYI, Tower of Terror is TOTALLY my favorite Hollywood Studios ride now!

We were wandering around and meandered over to the place where you check wait times for rides. The cast member there caught on that we were interested in riding the new Toy Story Midway Mania ride, but didn’t really have time to do the 60 minute wait. SHE GAVE US FAST PASSES! Win Win Win!! They were all out of them for the day, too. The ride was FUN! It’s like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin on steroids. I loved it. Then, we hit Sounds Dangerous, and then it was time to eat at Hollywood & Vine, which was very tasty, especially the desserts!!!

After dinner, Adam bought this cel he’d had his eye on for days. I’m glad he got it, it looks great in our room. I shopped like crazy, buying pins and stuffed things and stuff for Aidan. We got back to the hotel about 730pm or so, used up the last of our snack credits, and commenced packing. We had an EARLY start the next morning.

What a magical, amazing, and fun trip. We got loads of extra attention from cast members and park guests alike. We had fun, and I got to do a bunch of things I’d never done before. I noticed things I never had before, and I got to meet a bunch of characters I never DREAMED I’d meet! This is a great time of year to go. The weather isn’t too ridiculously hot, and the crowd level is dreamy. We’re already making preliminary plans for next 2009!

I leave you with two photographs I took:

Castle at Night Castle Reflection

Click to see more pictures of our adventure:

Ronni & Adam’s 2008 Trip to Disney World/Honeymoon

Hope you enjoyed this. We certainly enjoyed our trip and are excited about going back soon! ‘Til next time!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Ampersands are Fun (Long/Lots of Pictures)

I had a fun Labor Day weekend. My friend from college, who I’ll refer to as friendAdam, came into town and crashed at our pad. I don’t have pictures of him to post at his request, but we had a great time. It had been about 10 years (at least) since I’d last seen him, and we spent hours catching up. He also had a goal to eat his way through Chicago, and Adam and I, naturally, had to tag along. :)

The first place we went to eat was Hot Doug’s.

Adam & Me
On the way to Hot Doug’s. I’m wearing a shirt that Star bought me.

Here I am enjoying a Chicago-style hot dog and a regular ole corn dog.

Mmm, Hot Dog!

For dinner, we went to Arturo’s, a 24 Mexican food joint, and I had a tostada. It was amazing. I woke up craving it for breakfast the next morning. After Arturo’s, we went to Margie’s Candies, where I had my Swiss chocolate sundae…

Swiss Chocolate Sundae

…with the warm chocolate marshmallow sauce. :p

Chocolate Marshmallow Sauce

Mmmmm. That’s another thing I often crave for breakfast.

The next day, we went to Weber Grill where I had filet mignon and a baked potato, and a passion fruit mango margarita on the rocks.

Lunch at Weber Grill

We walked down Michigan Avenue:

Flags Along Michigan Avenue
U.S. flag, City of Chicago flag, State of Illinois flag

Here is one of the funny dresses along Michigan Ave. It’s made out of Coke and other pop cans.

Coke Dress

We also went to Millennium Park. Cloud Gate never gets old for me.

Cloud Gate

That night, we’d attempted to go to Martini Park for dinner, but they had a $10 cover for the boys (I was free!) and the live band there was WAYYYY too loud. We then tried to go to Lou Malnotti’s for pizza, but seriously, a touristy place during Labor Day weekend… not a good idea. There was a 50 minute wait. So we went home and partied with the neighbors. When the hunger got to us, we headed to Pie Eyed. Adam was VERY happy about numerous things.

Happy Adam

The next day, we went to friendAdam’s cousin’s for a cookout/party which was a lot of fun, and Monday night, we finally made it to Martini Park. friendAdam had been talking about this place and their chocolate chip cookie dough won tons ALL weekend, and we finally got some:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Won Tons

We also had Kobe beef sliders, pulled pork sliders, macaroni and cheese sticks, and home made donuts.

Kobe Beef Sliders and BBQ Pork Sliders Home-Made DoNuts with Raspberry Sauce & Chocolate Sauce

It was a great weekend! :)


Today, Aidan officially started kindergarten! I talked to him last night and he was very excited. Apparently, there are FIVE Aidans in his class. FIVE. *hits self on head*

Before his big trip, he went to Phoenix with his dad and Matt. Chris sent me some of the pictures. :)

Aidan in Phoenix 2008

Aidan in Phoenix 2008 Aidan in Phoenix 2008

Aidan in Phoenix 2008 Aidan in Phoenix 2008 Aidan in Phoenix 2008


Monday, I start my assignment at Ambrosi. I’m excited and nervous. I know I’ll get back into the working all day flow again, but it’s still kinda crazy. Then soon after that is Disney! Woooo!

I popped into the library today to pick up Breaking Dawn, and I also got Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes (it’s a reread–I just reread Rachel’s Holiday for the first time in years and fell in love with the Walsh sisters all over again), Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, Wuthering Heights, a couple of Disney World travel guides, and a couple of other books. YAY books.

And today was a good mail day. Rosa sent me a really CUTE ampersand tee-shirt. She’s so good to me! ♥

Who watched ANTM last night? I’m looking forward to this season, and for now, I am on team JOCLYN, ISIS, and ELINA. We’ll see how things pan out, yes?

I suppose that’s it for now. Adam wants to watch the last two episodes of Arrested Development with me. We have all three seasons on DVD. :)

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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Cookies!

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