Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Faves #3

My Friday Faves this week is easy...

Napa with some of my favorite peeps :)
via Napa Valley Lodge

Bring on the vino!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

{Vacation Recap} North Carolina Wedding

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  I've been taking it easy as the last couple weeks have caught up with me.   I had all these plans for the weekend, but we realized it would be better for us to just rest up so we are prepared and in good shape for NAPA :)  I am so excited!  It's going to be a crazy week because Tom has a business trip in Michigan and I, in addition to a lot of work stuff, have a company outing at Arlington Park followed immediately with a Ravinia Concert w/Tom on Thursday...phew!  It's good problems to have but still. Gotta take care of myself...and we still have to pack...eek.

However, I wanted to be sure to re-cap last weekend's awesome getaway when Tom and I hopped a flight to the Carolinas to celebrate the marriage of his cousin Becky.  He has a huge family and we always have a blast at these get-togethers.  I feel really lucky to be a part of all this.  Since Tom and I have been together since high school, I feel like I grew up with everyone and it's so special to be a part of these big occasions.  Everyone is just so fun-loving and kind!

We stayed in a beautiful property on the lake and spent the weekend party hopping from house to house.  Becky did a fabulous job picking the location (a Christmas tree farm) and doing a lot of the decorating herself.  This is a wedding worthy of pinterest if I ever saw one.

The rehearsal dinner was great fun.  Becky's husband, Luke is a in a band called "Mountain Faith" that just got a country record deal and MAY be playing at the Grand Ol Opry.  He and some of his bandmates and friends jammed a bit at the dinner which was really cool.

The wedding it self was stunning.  There was a cute wagon which took us up to a hill with the most amazing view:

Becky looked radiant and the ceremony was beautiful.  It had been raining the days leading up to the wedding, but luckily, it was a clear gorgeous day.

The reception was in a "barn" and was decorated to the nines.   Becky had family collect glass bottles over the year (Most were ones Gramp has dug up and collected) and the girls did a fabulous job setting everything up.  Everything from the smore's station, picture framed photo-booth and mason jars were  adorable.

We had a great time eating BBQ, dancing and catching up.  I danced so much, my "fancy" heels now need a trip to the cobbler and my hair ended up in a knot on my head.  Signs of a good time, I tell ya ;)

I got my dress at Rent the Runway (<--referral link that gives us both $20!). This is the only real "full shot" of the outfit (apologies as it's a bit awkward), but it was very comfortable and great for the occasion. I ended up adding on some Turquoise earrings last minute for fun.   Tip: get your dress early because they sell out fast during wedding season....this ended up being a great dress but wasn't my first choice.

amazingly, even though my knees are locked, I managed not to pass out
The rest of the weekend was spent hiking and hanging out.   The hike ended up being pretty funny.  It started out innocently enough, but by time we stumbled upon a deliverance like camp (with random machetes and pick axes to boot), we decided to get the heck out of there!

We only ran into problems when it was time to leave.  After filling our bellies one last time with delish BBQ and bourbon, we had trouble getting home. The "easy" 1.5 hour flight turned into a bit of a nightmare.  The plane had engine problems while we were getting ready for take-off and we had to turnaround. They had to get a whole new plane, so instead of leaving at 3, we left around midnight. Womp womp.

Of course it's better to be safe than sorry.  Being a small airport, there really weren't alternate flights and all of the flights to Chicago the next day were sold out too.  There was no choice but to wait it out (alas, we had already turned in our rental car so were
pretty much captive).  We ended up spending the next 8 hours killing time, including sitting at the bar watching America win a game during the World Cup on a 13 inch TV.  We met some interesting people like a rubics cube genius and a young guy who has struck it rich selling medicinal marijuana in 4 states.  It was an interesting night!   Luckily Tom and I travel great together and end up having a good time no matter what.

We did manage to score $400 worth of travel vouchers from Southwest which went a long way making it up to us.  I guess next trip is on them :)

We can't wait to do it again (minus the flight shenanigans) in October when Al gets married!

What follows is a bunch of pics from the weekend.


Handsome Ring Bearer
Wagon ride up to the wedding
Note the adorable red wagon in the background

Kris and I taught her the art of "tea-potting" ha
Great pic of Gram & Gramp
Sisters! Peach and Mom O
Cutie Pie Emma as the Flower Girl
The Original O'Mera's! 

Jeff & Tom @ Brunch
Love that she keeps dog treats in her pocket at all times

Gram & Mom O Enjoying the Porch Bed
The porch bed was VERY comfortable
Thats all bourbon 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Faves #2

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday and has a great weekend planned.  This is the only weekend Tom and I are home for the month of June (and actually for most of July) so we are going to rest a bit (although we are sneaking in some golf while we can)....We had a fantastic time last weekend in NC for Becky's wedding which I'll post about soon (still sifting through the 500+ pics so it's in draft mode for a bit).

Now off to the Friday Faves!

  • The Nest Learning Thermostat 2nd Generation (<--affiliate link...I hate it when people just sneak them in there w/o mentioning it).  I have been wanting this for a while, and finally jumped on it when I discovered that my power company was handing out generous rebates for using them.   Between 15% off at Amazon, a gift card, and the rebate, we may have EARNED $10.  For anyone not familiar, this is a called a "learning thermostat", b/c it's able to sense when people are home and automatically adjust the temps the more you use it.   It has only been a couple of weeks, but already it has learned that we like to drop the temps around 9:45 when we go to bed and that it should heat up a bit when Tom gets up.  You simply tell it how cold or hot you are willing to let your home become and it automatically adjusts it even when you are away.  The apps are fun to use (you can check in on your home while away and make adjustments from there). Plus, its really sleek and pretty as it was designed by a former Apple worker who was responsible for designing the ipod.    It was incredibly easy to set up - I installed it myself in about 30 minutes or so -  and we have been loving controlling it from our iPhones.  It's too soon to tell if it will save us $, but supposedly it helps on that front as well.  I will try to remember to post an update.

  • iCloud Photo Stream.  Tom noticed we had this when we upgraded our iPhones a while back and since then we have been using it a ton. It used to be, if you took a picture, you'd either have to share to social media for everyone to grab or even email the pics or text it to each other.   With this, someone simply starts a shared album, and everyone can participate in uploading pics from the event or trip so they are available to all and in one handy place.   We did this in NC last weekend and ended up with around 500 photos.  I'm hoping we will do something similar in Napa...
  • Ilia Lipgloss in Butterfly & I.  I love Ilia lip products already  (like their  lipstick, lip conditioner &  lipstick crayons, because they are nontoxic and have pretty awesome pigment (although nothing really compare to NARS which I still use from time to time).  I was looking for something light, natural and pretty to replace an old Chanel gloss and this has been awesome.  It doesn't last quite as long but it does leave behind a pretty stain.  Try it if you are looking for a healthier alternative to lipgloss that actually works . I don't believe this picture shows its actual color - its definitely a pinky peach whereas this picture makes it look a bit brown.   Its maybe a shade brighter than your natural lip color.
Ilia Beauty Lip Gloss  | Spirit Beauty Lounge
  • Integrative Therapeutics Para-Gard (<--another link) has been a life-saver with all the travel we are doing. It was given to me by my doctor to deal with all my random tummy woes and I can absolutely say it makes a difference in a fairly short period of time.   Tom is now a big fan and says after taking it for 1-2 days he is himself again.  Its great for those times you eat something and then your stomach is  I think we've all been there.  Or during travel to keep you on track when you might be eating foods that aren't typical for your diet.  It contains a bunch of botanical extracts to help fight intestinal bugs and works especially great when combined with your pro-biotics.  Or hey, just get some fro-yo to wash it down ;)   I recommend starting with a smaller bottle to make sure you like it and wouldn't take it every day because its spendy. It's wonderful in a clutch though.  I've heard this can help pet tummy troubles as well (ask the vet about that one of course).

    • Lululemon's golf clothes.  Who knew?   Cute golf clothes for the ladies are really hard to find.  Most look like they were designed for super cute/rich old ladies.  But Lulu has certain styles that are listed for Tennis and Golf which I never knew about.  I picked up one of the polos on sale and may even snag a skort.   Apparently the skirts made for the "tall" women are being grabbed by girls my height (average) because they are more appropriate on the golf course .   The one gripe is that these clothes aren't easy to find on the site. I kinda just stumbled upon it.  If you search for golf it will take you to a bunch of men's shorts. One of the dresses would be super cute down the line...I mean, how adorable are these girls?   
    via google images:
    Thats all folks!


    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Friday Faves #1

    Hi there!  Karly kicked off her Friday Five series and I thought it was a grand idea and so decided to do something similar.  Well, kinda. I'm not sure I'll always have five things to share, so gave myself an out by calling it Friday Faves ;)

    I had been toying with the idea for a bit, but when I read her post, I realized how much I miss out on the so called "little" things in her life, because normally during our epic catch up calls, we tend to focus on bigger updates.  But, supposedly it's the "little things" that really make up life, right?

    So without further ado - My first Friday Fav

    Air BnB (<--Referral link that gives you a $25 credit and eventually gives me the same. Do it.). I'm obsessed.  Tom and I thought going to Italy was going to be sooooo expensive and put it off for years.  Don't get me wrong, it's not cheap, but Air BnB  made it so much more affordable.  Most of the nicer hotels were closer to 400 euros/night which is insane. And that's w/o taxes and fees. We were able to find adorable places in Florence and Rome that were about $150/night inclusive of everything which are as nice if not nicer than any of the fancy hotels.  I love the app which allows you store all of your faves and stay organized  Word to the wise: act fast, because the popular places go fast (learned that the hard way).  The best thing is that there are all different price points for every type of budget. We were more conservative so we could use our funds for other things.

    • Our Tom Bihn Aeronaut Bags!  This might sound crazy, but despite wanting to look amazing while gallivanting through Italy (and daydreaming about all the adorable outfits I would wear), I realized that having huge rolling suitcases would be a pain in the a$$ for us both.  Especially because our hotel in Positano requires a pretty steep walk DOWN in order to get there.  If we were staying in one location the whole time, it would be no big deal, but we are moving every couple of days or so.  Enter these bags!   They can be worn as backpacks, used as a duffle and have these great packing cubes to keep you organized (and hopefully allow you to pack as much as possible).  They are made in the USA and have a lifetime warranty which gives a nice piece of mind. The price is kinda steep, but it seems worth it (they are incredibly well made and well planned out).   Plus, I've heard too many horror stories of people getting to Europe and finding out that the plane lost their luggage...eeek.  

    Tom has the steel and I got the Purplish one (with a fun wasabi lining)...which I'm on the fence about. Thoughts (Karly, I know you'll tell me whats what!)?  I would have preferred an olive but it wasn't available.  The red was too bright...this seems kinda neutral but part of me is thinking I should have gotten the steel or black.  I have 60 days to decide so would love your opinion!  We also plan to pack as if we were heading to Italy sometime soon to see if these babies can really hold what we need.  I'll report back!  

    • This Romper (no link because it's sold out everywhere).  I've been wearing it a ton so expect to see it for almost every trip this year ;)  What is it about rompers?   The look of a dress, but the practicality of shorts.  win/win (well, except when you have to pee).

    • Golf.  Surprisingly, I've really gotten into it this past year or so and can't wait to get out there again (hopefully during our one weekend home this month!).  I love it, because even with my health issues sometimes getting in the way of sports and working out ( which is beyond frustrating), this should be something I can do until I die.  Hopefully by then, I'll have some talent...
    You're welcome for the cheesetastic photo. How many pictures of golf do you think I have lying around?  I was feeling pretty cocky b/c I got a hole-in-one which I've been told will never happen again.

    Welp. I made it to 4! Guess I'll have to work on it. Until next time.


    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    {Vaction ReCap} A Weekend in MA

    Tom and I had a great weekend in MA visiting family.  The occasion was a baby shower for my cousin, Courtney (with twins on the way!!! Supposedly it runs in our family...) and of course to get some quality time with our Godson Z.  Her husband Jason's family runs a food truck that makes THE most delish grilled chicken and french fries and thankfully they catered!  YUM.

    The most incredible thing  - besides how gorgeous and glowy my cousin is with twins (! <---can't write twins, w/o an "!" hehe) was seeing how much Zadok has grown up.  He was obviously super adorable when we last saw him, but man, he has evolved into a very loving, happy, energetic little man. I don't think he fussed once the whole time.  Even when he came down with a bug on Sunday (which resulted in an early morning Dr. visit), as soon as he saw us, he was up and trying to show off.  I can you not love that?!

    What constantly impresses me with both Courtney and my bestie Karly, is seeing two amazing women transformed by motherhood in the best possible way. And seeing a little man in constant action..well, lets just say that I have a newfound respect for moms that have to keep up with them!

    The rest of the weekend was spent drinking Courtney's delish sangria (seriously...think it involved mint, pineapple, rum, mango...) and consuming massive amounts of that New England ice cream (I may or may not have tried to hit up Harroll's for breakfast...).  The whole trip was short but sweet.

    Here's a bunch of photos from the weekend.