Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas in Chicago

This year for Christmas my husband and I decided to create a new tradition that was all our own. We have been married for four years now and usually follow the traditions of our individual families. This year we opted to spend Christmas Eve in Chicago and join the family for festivities on Christmas Day. For our day in Chicago we chose to do some of our favorite winter activities.

Christmas in Chicago this year was brutally cold. The temperature was in the single digits and low teens. We weren't discouraged though. We bundled up in layers and headed out to explore some of our favorite parts of the city. Eataly Chicago opened at the beginning of December and we were eager to check it out as the New York location has become one of our favorite spots. It did not disappoint! We had lunch at La Pizza La Pasta. There was a little wait but they will text you when your table is ready. So we wandered around the store and had a drink at La Birreria while we waited for our table. The food was excellent and the staff was very helpful and friendly.
Our next stop was the Christkindlmarket in Daley plaza where we enjoyed Glühwein and admired the Christmas tree. The German Christmas Market opens after Thanksgiving and closes for the season on Christmas Eve so we were able to enjoy the last few hours of the 2013 season. The Glühwein was delicious and we're already looking forward to tasting it again next year.  

I ice skated for the first time in about fifteen years when we were in New York City a few weeks ago and I was excited to go again soon. We stayed at a hotel in the Theatre district in Chicago which is only a few blocks from Millennium Park. The rink is free and they charge a fee to rent skates. I wasn't sure what to expect for Christmas Eve but the crowd was small and there was no wait. We had a great time skating and my husband even showed me a few of his old moves from his hockey playing days. I definitely want to make an effort to go out at least once a year.  

After we turned in our skates we walked up to the Cloud Gate and took a few photos. In all of the times I have visited the park, I realized this is the first time I've seen it at night. Our Christmas Eve mini vacation was extremely fun and special for both of us. We were able to enjoy time alone together at the holiday before joining the family for the traditional meals and gift exchanges the next day. 

What traditions do you celebrate on Christmas?

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Today I'm joining Kenzie from Chasing Happy on The Thankful Project.

One of the many things I am thankful for having seen is Japan. In 2006 I had the opportunity to visit Japan for two weeks with my older sister. On that trip we visited Nagasaki, Nara, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Beppu. For me it was a trip of a lifetime. It was the first time I had visited a completely different culture with a completely different language. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the difference, I felt energized and excited for what new things I'd discover. It was love at first sight.

I have always had a passion for history so seeing buildings that have been in use for centuries was amazing. At the end of the trip I didn't want to leave and I knew right then that experiencing other cultures was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I jump at any opportunity to explore the many wonders of this world.    
Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

Peace Fountain, Nagasaki Peace Park

Atomic Bomb Site, Nagasaki

Spectacles Bridge, Nagasaki

Ryoan-ji, Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto
Todai-ji, Nara

Deer Park, Nara

Yakushi-ji, Nara




Monday, November 11, 2013


I used to love Summer. It was my favorite season. I loved the sun, the heat and spending all of my time outdoors. Over the past few years I've really started to enjoy and even look forward to Fall. I love the changing colors of the leaves and the slightly cooler air. This weekend in Chicago was the perfect example of that beautiful Fall weather.

And then today this happened...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

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New York City

I just booked my ticket to New York City in December and I could not be more excited. Although we were just there in May, I can't wait to return. I'm looking forward to visiting around Christmas and viewing the decorated tree on display at Rockefeller Center along with all of the amazing displays in store windows. Planning for our trip to come, I'm looking back at the fun we had and deciding what adventures await.

One of my favorite stops during this trip was to Eataly (I don't have a photo). I am excited they will be opening a location in Chicago very soon!

Ride on Staten Island Ferry to view the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Central Park
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Brunch at Café Cluny
Movie set near the Flatiron Building

Movie set

Movie set