Thursday, March 23, 2017

Food Diary: What I Ate Yesterday

Day in the life posts are my very favorites, but a close second are food posts - specifically ones that share exactly what you eat in a day.  I love food and I love to cook so that isn't super surprising, but I also just really find it interesting to see what people eat.  I first saw this type of post on Kristin Cavallari's app, and since, I have seen it on lots of other blogs and have been wanting to do my own.


Breakfast:

I took this picture before I bagged up my little egg muffins and headed to work (wanted to avoid the awkwardness of coworkers seeing me take food pictures at work).  I actually eat at work, because I have found that if I eat at home, right when I get to work I am hungry again.  Especially when I smell all the yummy food (like bacon) that people bring to their desk from the cafe downstairs.  Totally a mental thing, but it works for me.  I make a pan of these egg and spinach muffins every Sunday.  I put them in little baggies, keep three sets of two out for the start of the week and freeze the rest, pulling them out of the freezer as needed.  When I get to work I just pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds and they are at the perfect eating temp.

Lunch:

This picture is actually from Tuesday night, but I had the same exact thing for lunch on Wednesday.  Chicken tacos (seasoned chicken, sauteed red bell peppers and onion) with radishes and pineapple salsa from Hello Fresh.  Yum!  I seriously was thinking about this lunch since the night before, because I liked them so much.  

Snack:

I try to have a snack around 2:00 or 3:00 - this day was right in the middle at 2:30.  One thing I learned from the 21 Day Fix is that I needed to get in more protein and Greek yogurt is the perfect way to do that.  I combine the yogurt with lots of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of blueberries. 

Snack:

I had a butterfinger custard concrete as a little pre-dinner snack.  Just one of those days where you need that extra special treat!

Dinner:


Another Hello Fresh meal - Steak Tagliata.  This was super delicious.  Steak, arugula, warmed tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette, and thyme and garlic roasted sweet potatoes.  

This is pretty close to how I eat on a regular basis during the week...minus the custard.  Breakfast is always the same.  Lunch is usually leftovers, or a basic salad and grilled chicken and the addition of fruit (this day I unfortunately forgot my strawberries at home).  Sometimes I eat the fruit I packed for lunch as a snack in the morning, on those days where I am being good and ignoring all the food here at work but I need something to get me through to lunch.  Dinner always varies - occasionally I will save leftovers for supper, but I do like to cook a lot so I tend to make something different for dinner most nights during the work week.  

What does a day of your meals look like?

Linking up with Annie.
    

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Work Wear for the Week Vol. 3

It's that time of the month where I share a peek at what I am wearing this week!  


Earrings - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Earrings - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Necklace - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Earrings - Kendra Scott / Top - Express / Shoes - Calvin Klein

Necklace - Kendra Scott / Shoes - Calvin Klein

This week has been a crazy one when it comes to the weather.  80+ degrees on Monday, and now today it's like winter is back.  Luckily the temps rise again at the end of the week, hence the short sleeves.

For more of my work wear looks:

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy, Jenn and Jessi.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

5 Packing Tips for Work Trips

Last year was the first time I had ever traveled for work.  It was a bit stressful, trying to figure out what to pack, especially because I knew I wanted to fit everything in a carry on.  Going on a few trips within in a relatively short time span really helped me get my packing down, so that whenever work travel comes up again, it's a much, much easier process.



1.  Packing cubes.  I honestly use these anytime I travel, but I bought them specifically when I started traveling for work.  I usually use a larger cube for clothes, one for shoes, and then sometimes another small cube for undergarments / socks, if my clothing cube is full.  I just love how organized and contained everything is in my suite case.  And while they don't really compact things, I do feel like there is a little flattening aspect to them, which saves a little extra space.

2.  Make packing lists.  I always make a toiletry list and then usually a clothing list, too.  For toiletries, I going through my morning / getting ready routine and night time routine in my head, and write everything down.  Then, as I pack I cross it off.  This especially helps when I have an earlier flight, and I need to keep things unpacked to use to get ready in the morning.  I am super forgetful, and add in the anxiety of traveling, I am bound to forget something important that I might not want to purchase on my trip, like a new straightener or something like that!  For my clothing list, I think about what is going on during the days, if there is down time where I need more casual clothes, if I plan on working out - all that stuff.  Which leads me to my third point...

3.  Limit your shoes!  I feel like shoes can take up so much room, so I basically only pack two pairs - a pair of heels, and then tennis shoes to work out in.  I usually wear slip on shoes in the airport, so all in all I have 3 pairs of shoes.  When I make my clothing list, I make sure that everything will go with one pair of shoes, either black, tan or navy, and stick to it.  I also do this with my jewelry.  I usually pack an additional pair of earrings - again something that goes with everything.    

4.  Pack dresses.  You can never go wrong with a dress.  They can suit so many different occasions and can be often worn without jackets / blazers and still look very professional and put together.  I usually had a blazer if we have a special meeting, but often a dress is enough.  Takes up a lot less room!  Dresses usually mean panty hose in a business professional setting so my extra note here - pack two more pairs that you actually need.  Those things tear like no other!  I am speaking from experience.

5.  Keep your purse to just the necessities.  I am guilty of carrying EVERYTHING in my purse.  However, when I travel, it is bare bones.  I have a small wallet that fits a few cards and cash, chapstick, Kleenex and sunglasses.  Occasionally a few other things make their way in there, but it all fits neatly into a little pouch.  My phone, along with a charger, some type of reading material, whether it be a book, magazine, or my Kindle goes in there, and then my laptop.  

Really, these tips work for any type of travel, but I find them super helpful specifically for work.  What are your best travel tips?

Linking up with Erika, AshleyWhitney and Lindsay.
         

Monday, March 20, 2017

30th Birthday Recap: Part 2

Happy Monday!  I had the best weekend, finishing up my birthday celebrations.

We headed to Indy late Friday morning.  On the way, there is this restaurant called Blue Springs Cafe that has foot high pies.  I am not a huge pie fan at all, but I have always been so curious about this place, so this time we finally stopped there and had lunch.  Verdict?  Nothing special, at least in our opinion.  The interior of the place was super cute, but the food was just ok, as was the pie.  Just one of those, glad we finally went and tried it, but won't be back type places.  The rest of the drive was uneventful, which is always a good thing, and we got to the hotel no problems.  Side note - one of my very favorite things to do on a longer drive is play the license plate game.  I thought to do this about an hour into the four hour drive, and between the whole trip, we saw over 30 different license plates.  So neat!  We had plans to meet my brother and sister in law out for dinner at Four Day Ray, a new brewery / restaurant that opened up not too long ago.  Since it was St. Patrick's Day, it was pretty crowded, but we got in at the right time and only had a short wait.  They had a special menu for the holiday, and I had the bangers and mash which were so, so good.  Seriously, I am still raving about them.  It was a neat place, and one I can see us going back to when in town, especially when things aren't as crazy.


Saturday morning came bright and early, as we headed over to the house to have breakfast with the family.  My parents drove in Friday, as well, which worked out perfectly, because they were able to hang out with Jack, while Matt and Jen met us for dinner.  We had a super yummy breakfast - my mom made scrambled eggs, bacon, monkey bread, and fruit salad.  Delicious!  We did cards / presents after breakfast - I got the prettiest necklace from my parents!  And of course, my mom had to go on theme with a $30 gift card to one of my favorite stores.  Since the weather was kind of blah, we decided to head to the Indiana State Museum in the morning.  I love a good museum, and this one did not disappoint!  It's right downtown, along the canal (which was green for St. Patrick's Day) and just a really neat place.  I definitely say it works for all ages, because Jackson had a blast checking everything out, as did we.  After the museum, we headed back for some lunch and relaxing.  My mom made my favorite dessert - cupcakes with yellow cake, chocolate frosting and round sprinkles.  After making my wish, we played a super fun game called Smart Ass.  It's a board game, where you get different what, where, who clues and have to guess the answer.  You only get one guess, so that definitely makes it interesting.  Because my mom made all the other meals, we opted for ordering out dinner - Puccini's.  We got the antipasto salad, meaty lasagna, chicken parm and garlic bread.  Oh my goodness, it was delicious!!  Since my brother and sister in law are both Butler alums, we headed out after dinner to meet up with one of their friends to watch the game.  They won, so needless to say it was a good night!  



My dad showing Jack pictures of cars on his phone.

Just a boy and his mower (he is OBSESSED)!





It was time to go Sunday morning, so we headed on out after getting some breakfast.  We made a Starbucks stop on the way, where I tried out the cinnamon almond milk macchiato, recommended by Sarah.  So, so good!  Since we were passing through Effingham around lunchtime, we stopped at the Firefly Grill.  If you are ever in that area,  you NEED to go to this place.  We went once before, and both times it has been ridiculously good.  I recommend the hummus plate, the steak burger, and off their brunch menu, the shrimp and grits.  Such a great place.  It was back in St. Louis that afternoon - the one thing about coming back from Indy is the hour you gain, but it still was a quick evening with grocery shopping, meal prepping and other Sunday to-do's.  I am glad it was productive though, because it has me ready for the week!  Hope you all have the best Monday!



Linking up with Biana.
      

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Favorites: Birthday Week!

It's been a pretty darn good birthday week, so all my favorites today are birthday related.  

1.  I had a great birthday celebration at the start of the week that you can read about here.  A hotel stay, dinner out, drinks, followed by a day off with a yummy breakfast and a movie (and movie theater popcorn!).  


Neverfull MM Monogram Canvas in WOMEN's HANDBAGS  collections by Louis Vuitton
2.  I extended my time off through Tuesday, where I picked up my BIG birthday present.  I have been lusting after a Louis Vuitton for years - probably ever since I heard about the brand / bags.  I noticed the other day that my current bag was showing a bit of wear, plus the bonus of getting my tax return back, led me to really consider actually purchasing a new bag soon.  Once that thought came into my head, a LV turned into a perfect 30th birthday present idea - a present from myself, with the helps of others.  I redid a little bit of research, because let's be real, I have thought about this forever so it wasn't my first go around looking, and made sure I was set on which purse I actually wanted.  I was in and out of the store in probably 15 minutes, leaving as the new owner of a monogrammed neverfull mm.  To say I am obsessed would be an understatement.  

3.  After I got my bag, I headed to lunch with one of my best friends.  It was great to see her and her little one.  Loved being able to keep on celebrating, even if it was back to reality / chores when I headed home after lunch.



4.  I came into work on Wednesday to lots of goodies and the infamous birthday trophy.  My company had this huge, awful traveling birthday trophy some years ago, that thankfully got tossed out when we moved to our new headquarters.  However, someone decided the tradition needed to be brought back so a new one was created shortly after we were settled in the new buildings.  It's passed around for milestone birthdays, and everyone has to add a little something to the trophy when they receive it.  I took the card I got and cut out the '30' portion, added my name and the date, and pinned it to the new trophy.  The birthday person gets to keep the trophy until it is someone else's milestone, and I am happy to say that I was only the keeper for a few days, with someone else celebrating a big birthday today!  I am thankful for generous co-workers, and even for those that so kindly remembered to get the trophy for me.  Truth be told, it does add an extra bit of fun.

5.  The fun just doesn't stop there, though.  I am going to be spending the weekend with my family and I cannot wait.  It will be so nice to see everyone.  My mom is making my very favorite cupcakes (yellow cake, chocolate frosting and round sprinkles), and I am just looking forward to hanging out and spending time with my favorite people.

Before I end, just wanted to throw this out there.  Rachel, over at Rachel Emily, had some free Hello Fresh box codes, and I was lucky enough to get one before they were all gone.  My first box is set to arrive next Tuesday, and I am super excited to give it a try.  When I signed up, I was given a referral code.  If you use EMILYANND on your first box, you will receive $40 off, and I will also receive $20 in credit.  To give you an idea, the box I am getting is 3 meals for 2 people, which cost just under $60.  So if you go for that option, then you are getting 3 meals for 2 people for $20 - pretty good deal I think!  They have other combinations, too, like a veggie option, family option, more meals for more people, etc.  Anyways, just wanted to let you know in case you had been wanting to try Hello Fresh, but would rather test it out at a discount.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Zaatar Bread

Today I have for you a delicious recipe - for any time of the day.  Traditionally a Lebanese breakfast (and my favorite meal to eat it), it is also perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.  


Zaatar Bread
Pizza Dough (I use the kind found in the refrigerated section)
Olive Oil
Zaatar Seasoning 
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (optional)

Cover a baking sheet with sides in foil, spray with cooking spray, and spread out pizza dough.  Bake according to package, usually 8 minutes.  Drizzle olive oil over the dough, then add on za'tar seasoning, spreading with the back of a spoon to even it out across the dough.  Top with cheese.  Bake, referring back to the package for time / temperature.  Let rest for a minute, then cut into squares.  Enjoy!

For the zaatar seasoning - below is a picture of what my container looks like.  I got it at the local international grocery store, but I am sure you can find it online, as well.

  
I like to serve this with hummus and some cucumbers.  Adding an egg, like in the picture makes it a bit more hearty - either way you can't go wrong!

Linking up with Annie.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

30th Birthday Recap: Part 1

I celebrated my 30th birthday on Monday - you can read all about how I came in the world here.  Thanks again to my mom for putting it together - LOVED reading it and knowing my story!

To celebrate my birthday, we decided to stay close and spent the night at a hotel in town, The Cheshire.  It's a really neat and historic place, with themed rooms based on English authors / characters.  We had the James Bond room, which was super neat.  The hotel itself just has a really cool atmosphere, which we loved.  Unfortunately, the service wasn't great, and a few things in the room were kind of annoying, like a phone that didn't work, so I don't think we will be back again.  Still super glad we tried it out though.  Boundary is right across the parking lot from the hotel, so we opted there for dinner.  We have been for brunch before, and I have to say, the brunch was better than the dinner.  They did have a super good cocktail, a 1904 Mule, that we both enjoyed.  After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and got drinks at the bar in the hotel, Fox & Hounds.  It was SO NEAT in there, very dark, with lots of comfy chairs, a fire going - very small and intimate.  I can definitely see stopping there again for post dinner drinks some night out.  






I chose Southwest Diner for breakfast.  We started with the sopapillas which is ridiculously good, and then I went with the huevos rancheros for my meal.  Again, very good.  I love going to the movies, so next on our list was the movie theater to see Logan.  It got such great reviews, and I have to say it was very good.  A bit more sad and deep than your normal Marvel movies, but I think that was the point, since it's the end of an era, really.  They gave us a taste of Deadpool 2 before hand, which was great.  Ryan Reynolds is just great in that character, and I cannot wait to see what the second movie brings, because the first one was so good!  I was on a Mexican binge Monday, so it was off for some margs and cheese dip, before heading home to relax for the rest of the evening.
  

It was such a great birthday, and I am excited, because it's going to be a full birthday week.  Lots of love Monday from family and friends, lunch with my best gal pal yesterday, a big birthday present / purchase, and then celebrating again with my family this coming weekend.

I think when you hit a milestone, it brings you a lot of reflection.  When you are younger, you have an idea of what your life will be at these ages, more than year-to-year birthdays, and often times, what you think will be is not.  But then you think of all that has happened and where you are now, you realize that, although different, it's just as good, if not better than what you originally had 'planned'.  So cheers to 30 - may you be the best year yet!  

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi.
  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Review: February 2017


The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh.  This is the second book in the series, the first being The Wrath & The Dawn, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.  I thought it would be very predictable, and while the ending was predictable, how it got there was not, at least to me.  Definitely a good one!

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  This book was SO GOOD.  Just very eye opening.  It hits on a very tough subject, the Holocaust, and is told from multiple points of view, which I found super interesting.  The book is based on true accounts, although some parts are fiction to add to the story.  You get an overview at the end, though, which helps to separate the truth from the fiction.   

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley.  Another really good read, one I would highly recommend.  The book starts off with a private plane that crashed in the ocean, and all but two passengers are killed.  The book then goes back in time to give you some background on each passenger killed, leading up to what actually happened.  This was a page turner, and although I had an inkling of what did happen, it still really held my interest.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams.  This book wasn't necessarily my favorite.  It wasn't bad, but it doesn't really stand out either.  The main characters annoyed me a bit.  It's about a girl and her friend, and their respective loves, that then fast forwards some years when they all meet up again.  Not a bad read at all, but not one I would say is a must read.

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth.  This was a fast read!  It follows three generations of midwives, and the drama in their life.  I feel like it kept me guessing til the end, and I really liked how it all came together.  The book is written through the eyes of each generation, which gives you different takes on what is going on in the book.  Definitely one to check out!  

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen.  I had high expectations for this book, and I thought it was just ok.  It's about a neighborhood that is one of the safest in the area, but everyone has "secrets".  Another book where I found the characters a bit annoying.  If the summary sounds interesting to you, I would check it out, but if not, I don't think you are missing anything great.

I have read some good ones in March already, but am always adding to my list - please sure if you have any recommendations!

Linking up with Steph, Whitney and Lindsay.



Monday, March 13, 2017

My Birth Story

Today is my birthday.  Leading up to my birthday, some days I think, wow, I am going to be 30!, and other days I think oh boy...I am going to be 30.  

My girl Sarah had her parents share her birth story this past year on her birthday, and I thought that was such a neat idea.  I asked my parents to do the same, and thankfully my mom (with input from my dad) was up to it!  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and know it is something I will cherish knowing going forward.


It’s certainly hard to believe our baby girl, Emily, is 30 years old today!  Where has the time gone?!  Although it’s been 30 years since her birth, I fondly remember that day like it was yesterday.

 Just for a little background, I had difficulty getting pregnant in the first place.  Finally after 6 years of marriage and many trips to the OB/GYN, we were fortunate to welcome Emily’s brother, Matt, in 1984.  After more help from my OB/GYN, I was thrilled to be pregnant again in the summer of 1986!  Back in those “olden” days, you didn’t really have the option to find out the sex of the baby.  Tom, Emily’s Dad, and I really didn’t care … we were just hoping for a healthy baby.  However, since we wanted a smaller family, I truly was hoping for a girl.  We would have our son and a daughter and be done.

Now fast forward ahead to Thursday, March 12, 1987.  I was already on maternity leave from my job as a school speech/language pathologist.  I remember I started feeling some contractions later in the afternoon.  When Tom got home from work about 6, I told him that I might be in labor.  He wanted to go to the hospital immediately since we had a 40 minute drive and because with Matt’s birth, when I was ready to push, literally 3 pushes and Matt entered this world!  Emily’s maternal grandmother was “on call” to come stay with Matt, but she was 1 ½ hours away.  We decided to contact Emily’s paternal grandparents, who lived only about 15 minutes away in the country, to come and stay with Matt in the meantime.  Tom called his parents, but the line was busy.  Tom is from a very large family, 9 siblings, and many were teenagers at the time, living at home, all wanting to use the one family phome!  Remember this was 1987 … no cell phones!  I think we tried for about ½ hour to get through … no luck!  So Emily’s Dad called a neighbor who lived about ¼ mile away.  They were home, so their son drove to the Dunhams’ house to let them know they were needed and needed quickly at our home.

We got to the hospital about 9 that evening.  Tom could now breathe a sigh of relief … haha!  Since the next day was Friday, March 13th, I so wanted to have this baby before midnight.  I guess I was a little superstitious, plus wanted to have a short labor.  Emily had other ideas though!  I labored all that night with back labor, but didn’t make much progress.  My OB/GYN was on vacation, so the Dr. on call was going to deliver this baby.  Unfortunately, the nurses did not call this Dr. until the morning.  He came in and got things rolling.  He gave me an epidural, broke my water, and started me on some Pitocen.  Within about 2 hours, I was ready to go to the delivery room!

Once in the delivery room, the nurses needed to find the Dr.  So Emily’s Dad was left alone with me, and I was ready to push this baby out!  I remember Tom emphatically telling me to not push, just do my Lamaze breathing through my contractions.  I guess he could see the head, so was freaking out.  The Dr. finally made it to the delivery room.  As with Matt, after a few pushes, the baby’s head was out.  I remember Dr. O’Neil first saying that this baby has a “pretty face”.  Shortly after that statement, he said, “It’s a girl”!!!  We were thrilled!  So at 8:07 a.m. on, yes, Friday, March 13, 1987, Emily Ann Dunham was born.  She was 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 20” long.  Friday the 13th was now a very lucky day, at least for us! We had our sweet little daughter! (I’m tearing up right now!)


 Happy 30th Birthday, Emily! We are blessed and honored to have you as our daughter. Love you!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Favorites: Internet is back!

Happy Friday!  This is coming at you a bit later than normal - unfortunately, my internet was out alllllll night last night.  Talk about frustrating.  And somehow it is magically working this morning, but hey, I will take it!


1.  I am happy to say that I am finally getting better!  While I still have a nagging cough (that continues to lessen), I can breath and sleep through the night - two things definitely worth celebrating!


2.  I shared on Wednesday a little bit about the work trip I took earlier this week.  I had a conference in Boca Raton, Florida, and it was such a neat place.  I am a sucker for architecture, and this place had LOADS of it!  I spent some time outside reading after we first got there, before the actual work started, and I have to say I just felt ridiculously relaxed afterwards.  Too bad that feeling couldn't have lasted a bit longer!

3.  Yesterday for lunch I tried a new Thai / Japanese place called Zen.  I have had Thai food once before from a different place, but even the lowest spice level was a bit spicy for me.  Luckily this place was perfect for me, I said non spicy, and it wasn't at all!  I had the Pad Thai Tempura (pad thai with shrimp tempura) and holy cow it was delicious!  With their lunches, you also get a little cup of miso soup and two spring rolls - again, both very delicious.  The serving size was pretty large, especially with what you get beforehand, so I got a to go box and probably have enough for two smaller meals.  If you are local, I definitely suggest checking out!



4.  Our girl chat link up was yesterday.  We wrote about being lucky and my choice was a no brainer - my family.  As I get older, I realize more and more how lucky I am to have the relationships I do with them, and how great of a support system they are!  As reminder, our link up is every second Thursday of the month - we'd love you to join us next month (April 13th) where we will be sharing Easter traditions.      

5.  My birthday is on Monday - the big 3-0!  It really snuck up on me, so I feel a little unprepared for this milestone.  The day will be here soon, though, and I am ready to celebrate!  

Linking up with AndreaApril, and Katie.  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Girl Chat: Lucky

Today is all about luck.  I feel like you can take this prompt in a few different ways, and I decided to go the "deeper" route.  Today, I am talking about my family.  And how lucky I am that they are mine.

I have always been a bit of a Daddy's girl.  I think he is just the best.  Growing up, he was always the "big" discipliner.  As in, if he was getting involved, you were in BIG trouble.  On the flip side, though, he is also a huge softy.  My mom and dad always get us stocking stuffers for Christmas, and while sometimes my mom is the one who likes to go overboard, my dad is often in there, too, coming up with a neat gift that we just HAVE to have, even if it's going over the limit.  He's the handiest person I know.  My mom and I often dream up some idea, and he is the one to actually make it come to fruition.  Quite often, he is hauling his tools to and from different places, whether it be my apartment, my brother and sister in law's house, my grandma's or my aunt's/uncle's/cousin's.  He's steadfast and dependable, always willing to help out.  His biggest love (other than us) probably is cars, and I think I inherited that from him.  There is something so nice about spending a warm summer day, checking out old cars.  Like I said - he is just the best.

My mom is one of my best friends.  Growing up, we fought like cats and dogs.  I was the typical teenager and gave my parents fits, especially my mom.  Luckily I grew out of that, and even though we still butt heads sometimes (my dad says we are too much alike for our own good at times), not only is she my mom, but she is one of my best friends.  She is a great cook, and I think I get my love of being in the kitchen from her.  Often when I am home, we spend hours in the kitchen.  Her chicken noodle soup is the only thing I want when I am sick, and although I do have the recipe, it's just not quite as good as hers!  I am forever bouncing ideas off her, especially when it comes to decorating.  We totally share that, and often come up with some pretty great ideas!  She is my favorite shopping partner - I always look forward to our Black Fridays together.  It has become a tradition.  My mom has a way of really making things special.  Whether it be making a simple salad, but taking the time to put in all the good stuff, or putting in the extra effort to make a package really look gorgeous, whipping up some little design / printable...all these different things that I think would be good ideas, but don't always follow through with, it's just second nature for her to do it.  She's always there...even if she doesn't always answer her phone the first time.

My brother has become a great confidant and someone I know that will always be there.  We have come a long ways from the days where I used to lock myself in the bathroom so he wouldn't pinch me after school before my mom came home, or those times I used to dry off his toothbrush after he brushed his teeth, so when mom would check to see if he brushed his teeth, she would think he didn't and he would get in trouble.  Granted, that wasn't always the norm - my mom says when I was a baby I would take whatever toy he was playing with and he would just let me and move on to the next (obviously you can tell who was the sweet child growing up...) and he would often times build me Barbie houses out of our cardboard brick.  He wasn't the protective older brother you usually hear about - I was actually the protective little sister, thinking no one was good enough for him, especially in high school.  We grew a lot closer when he went to college, and then even more so when I went to college myself.  He's one of my favorite people to talk to on the phone, which is saying a lot, and will always listen to me just go on and on about whatever I may need to get off my chest.  Even more so, he is responsible for adding two more members to my family - my sister in law and my godson / nephew.  Jen is a great sister in law - we get along so well and I love the times where we can get together and just really talk.  I was able to stay with them shortly after Jackson came, and even dealing with a baby, we had loads of great conversations and I am just lucky to be able to have that type of relationship with her.  Like my brother, I know if I need anything, I can always give her a call.  Jackson obviously needs no explanation - he is such a joy to the family and he came to us at the perfect time.  His light face just lights up when he sees you and it's so precious - makes my day every time!

While those are all just little glimpses at my immediate family, the reason I feeling really lucky having them, is the fact that they are there for me.  For the good and the bad, I know they are always there.  I think sometimes I take for granted the relationships I have with them, when plenty of people aren't able to experience that kind of support.  That is why they are my "really lucky" time.

To link up - just grab our graphic, link up and let's get to chatting!  Make sure to stop by a few others linked up for an extra bit of girl chat!



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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Boca Raton, Florida

Hey all!  The last few days I have been in Boca Raton for a work conference.  It was my first time in Boca Raton, but hopefully won't be my last - it's just gorgeous!

Before I get to it - quick reminder about the link up tomorrow!  Join us and share about a time when you have been really lucky!

My flight was early on Sunday.  I love using flight time to read, and finally got to The Magnolia Story.  My mom pre-ordered the book and gave it to me after she read it...and months later it was still sitting in my reading pile.  I will share more in my March book review, but I would highly suggest reading the book - even if you aren't a Fixer Upper fan.  It's pretty inspiring.  

The hotel we stayed at was the Boca Raton Resort and Club.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  It's this huge resort with the prettiest grounds.  I tried to snap some pictures when I wandered around on Sunday, but it just does not do it justice.  I also didn't get a full on view of the front of the resort in my pictures, but included a shot from the hotel website.  I just loved it.  Unfortunately, it was crazy windy Sunday, so I didn't get to sit out and enjoy the pool like I had hoped, but I did discover this little covered walk way where they had some comfy chairs, so I sat out there and read a bit.  It was the most relaxing thing.  There was a dinner reception on Sunday, and I have to say throughout the stay all the food was really just delicious.  

Monday was full of sessions, but we did make it out to one of the hotel restaurants, Lucca for dinner.  It had a really neat atmosphere, and the food was delicious.  I had the rigatoni, and ended my meal with pear sorbetti - yum!

The conference ended Tuesday, and then it was back to St. Louis that night.   

Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, FL - Resort Exterior














Linking up with Jenn & Jessi.