Thursday, November 20, 2014

Christmas in the Country

It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind right?!?  So...

Starting tomorrow all. the. Fall. things. (here and here) will start to slowly disappear into storage for another year and Christmas will make it's appearance!  The next several weeks are going to busybusybusy, but on top of time with family for Thanksgiving, a trip to Vegas and our annual Christmas party, I'm really excited to participate in my first Christmas in the Country gift exchange!! 

Cmas in the Cntry 

I'm looking forward to connecting with more agvocates, rural housewives and farmer's wives/daughters throughout the country!  If you're interested, head over to Laurie's blog for more info!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fall Decor Tour

Each year I can hardly wait to drag all my Fall decorations up from the basement and get the house looking all sorts of snazzy!

I usually wait until Labor Day weekend to start decorating and then everything stays up until the end of November.  I don't specifically decorate for just Fall or just Halloween, but have learned that for me easier to incorporate both into my 'design'.  It doesn't hurt to have a good friend that makes some amazing wood crafts that I absolutely love!  Shameless plug.  It's also in my favor that I'm handy with a paint brush and other crafting essentials.

So much of what you'll see are decorations that we used at our wedding four years ago.  I didn't want all of our table decor to be the same so that I could use them again and again!  At this point, I actually have too much stuff to put out...

Let's start this tour shall we?  If you come through the front door (for inquiring minds, that the purple one!) you enter into our dining room.   As you can tell, I love burlap.  For the wedding, I'm not even ashamed to say I bought a hundred yards of the stuff... if it stood still, it was draped in burlap!  The 30+ table runners that I cut have been loaned out and reused at several weddings and showers over the last few years, so I'd say it was a good buy!  I still have oodles of it left and honestly use it quite a bit.  The 'FALL' pennant flags are just one of the things I've used it for over the years!

I painstakingly glittered everyone of the pumpkins on our table.  Mod Podge and extra fine glitter.  I freaking love them!  The wide hurricane vases are new this year.  They were a birthday present and I really like the way they look in this grouping!

You'll spy one of Diana's wood crafts hanging on the ladder here.  While it's Halloween, it doesn't scream it.  For a long time I struggled with wanting to decorate with black, orange and purple at Halloween, but resigned to the more rustic look so I didn't have to take down, put up and take down again.  The gourds in the picture are also from the wedding.  They were dried and scrubbed clean so I could bring them in the house.  The apple shaped ones are in a vintage bunny cage that we used to collect our cards on our wedding day.

Also in the dining room, I made what I call a 'Thankful Tree'.  It has paper circles hanging on the branches and each year we fill out a few to share our blessings.  If we host Thanksgiving we also ask our family to make one.  I enjoy looking back at who was thankful for what and when.

Remember how I said I have a lot of decorations... 

Well, they continue into the kitchen.  The two pumpkins on the shelf were made by Diana and I did the wood burning back in high school.  The wreath, Harvest sign and print with the spices were also made by yours truly!  I also have some cute decorations on top of the refrigerator, but honestly it's entirely too dusty up there to show you!  Just keeping it real.

Our living room downstairs is also sporting Fall finery!  The glittery FALL frames were also made specifically for our wedding, aside from the glitter pumpkins, it's one of my favorite things to put out each year.  The floral arrangement behind the frames sat on the alter where we lit our unity candle.  
You guys thought I was kidding when you said I wanted to reuse all our wedding decorations, huh?  

More of Diana's adorable stuff is on display here!  The witches hat is brand new this year and it's my favorite piece she's done.  The top actually comes apart from the base for easy storage!  She really thinks of everything.  

Each of the bathrooms also have some pumpkins in them, ya know because I can!  

I know I have a problem.  You don't have to tell me.

It makes me sad, but I'll probably start putting away my Fall decor away within a week or two.  We aren't hosting Turkey Day, but our annual Christmas party is butting right up to our trip to Las Vegas and getting the house undecorated and redecorated will be a bit of a squeeze.  I do love my Christmas decorations, so I won't grieve Fall too long!

Linking up with Lisa

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Haddie

I was totally holding out on y'all last Friday when I didn't say anything about going to possibly adopt a new dog on Saturday!  For a few months now, Matt and I have been looking for the right dog to adopt.  I suppose we were being fairly picky, but with our lifestyle we knew what kind of dog was going to work and what wasn't. 


On the 'must' list was:

Female.  Bella hasn't been spayed, so a male (even a neutered male) was a no go.

Not a puppy.  We're over all the puppy-ness, which includes chewing, potty training, etc.
HousebrokenWhen Bella was a pup I wasn't working and when I didn't keep her at home, Matt took her with him to work.  Potty training was easy.  With us both working FT and Matt not being able to take two dogs to work, the new addition will stay in the house during the day.
Comparable to Bella's size or smaller.  While I wanted at Bernese Mountain Dog, Matt was NOT on-board with a BIGGER dog than our 70 lb. Labrador.

That being said, we had decided that adopting an dog from a rescue site would probably be the best option for us.  As sad as it is, there are several fantastic rescues in Illinois that I was keeping a close eye on looking for a dog that would work in our family dynamic.  Over the course of the summer we put in a few applications, but the dogs were adopted (YEA!) before we had the chance to get up and visit them. 

But last week, I saw a sweet little lady that I had to meet!  Here are her specs: 1-2 years old.  30 lbs. Australian Shepard/Catahoula mix.  Housebroken.


So Saturday morning Matt, Bella and I loaded up and drove two hours North to visit the rescue.  I was trying to stay noncommittal until the point that we actually met Haddie, but knowing full well we'd be bringing her home as long as she and Bella go along!  And low and behold... they got along and she came home with us!


Haddie is still a bit timid, but she's warming up to us (and Bella) very quickly!  I'll definitely be reporting back about the progress we're making!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Insert Catchy Title Here

Hooray for Friday!

This week really flew by.  Well, up until this morning.  It seems to be really dragging!  I chalk that up to being up almost an hour earlier than I usually am, getting to work for a morning meeting and the fact that there's snow (yes, SNOW!) all over my outside Fall decorations.  I'm just not ready for this winter business!

The week started off on a great foot!  Bella and I headed down to the barn, she played with the Jolly Ball while I rode Louie.  With horse shows being over 'til next Spring I've slacked off a bit with my riding, but I have to get rides in when the weather is decent!  Last Winter we days when it was -40 degrees with the windchill and this girl doesn't ride in that sort of weather!

On Monday I started a new workout video series that is part of the Advocare product line-up.  I've really like the videos so far, but there's one guy in the DVD who's entirely too peppy at 5 o'clock in the morning in my opinion.  I may resort to muting the TV to get through that particular video!  Bella really enjoys our morning workouts too!

Last night Matt made supper and according to the recipe all the goodies were to go in a large 12" skillet, then into the oven to finish cooking.  We love our Pampered Chef cookware for this sort of thing because it goes from stove top to in the oven seamlessly.  Well long story short, I was doing some things around the house and Matt had taken the skillet out of the oven and set it on top of the stove.  I walked by and was irritated that he left the handle sticking out where someone might bump into it, so I grabbed the damn thing with my bear hand... forgetting it just came out of a 450 degree oven!!!  Insert expletives here.  I spent the rest of the evening icing the burn and this morning it isn't feeling too bad, but it's definitely tender!

And to reward myself for the bravery exhibited above, I plan on treating myself to some Starbucks today!  I haven't decided whether or not I'm going to "Share Joy" or just drink the second one myself...

Sunday afternoon is my monthly book club meeting.  Our book for November was called The Perfume Collector.  I requested the book from the library about 2 weeks ago and just got it Monday night, but thankfully it's quite good and I'm cruising through it!  Be watching for a review here soon!

Linking up with Karli, Amanda and Christina.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Adventures of a Conference Wife

Obviously 21 posts in October wore me out and I needed a break... Ha! 

Not really, I just assumed my role as 'Conference Wife' to my bestest pal and was busy livin' and not blogging.  But if you missed me, I wasn't absent from Instgram.  That would just be crazy!

Allis told me about two weeks ago that she was going to talk with her boss about flying in from CO to attend a conference in Chicago the first week of November and if it all panned out could I come up and hangout? 

Uh, let me check me calendar.  Yes, duh!  I'll be there!

Sunday morning I headed up to Chi-town to collect Al from the airport and then we went to check into our hotel.  We stayed in a swanky hotel a block off the Magnificent Mile, which was perfect!  After we got settled and drank a bottle of wine (priorities!), we ventured out.  We ended up at a small, hole in the wall bar called Pippin's Tavern for a snack and some brews.  When we left Pippin's we did some more wandering and stumbled (not literally) on Jake Melnicks.  Allis and I always split a couple different items on the menu and here we tried the hand-cut BBQ chips, cobb salad and the special macaroni and cheese... BLT!  Freaking yum!  The macaroni and the Vander Mill Totally Roasted cider were a toss up for me, loved them both! 


Monday we got up and went for a run down the lake front, which was good to offset the booze and mac n cheese!  For brunch we ended up at Sunny Side Up and again split a few of the daily specials.  After we finished, the rest of the day was spent traipsing all up and down Michigan Avenue.  So much shopping!  And the people watching, second to none.  Around 3 o'clock we both couldn't stand it any longer... we needed nourishment and libations. 

Enter The Purple Pig

We had high hopes for this little place and it didn't disappoint!  I mean when your slogan is 'Cheese, Swine and Wine', can you go wrong?!  Embracing the Mediterranean cuisine and extensive wine list, we dug in for the long haul.  I highly recommend the Brussels sprouts salad and sheep Gorgonzola paired with the Reserve de Sours Rose'.  Simply put... It was epic!

After tearing ourselves away from The Purple Pig, we headed to Trader Joe's.  One of our traveling traditions is to hit up a market or some cases Walgreens, and spend one night at the hotel in our PJ's just chillaxing.  It's always one of my favorite things we do, no matter where we are! 

Tuesday morning we got in a workout in the hotel fitness center and then Allis and I went our separate ways.  She headed to her conference and I was off to tackle the city on my own.  I ended up checking out Millennium Park and doing some shopping on State Street. 

I was a little early to see any of the Christmas windows at Macy's... Maybe Matt and I'll head back up a little later this year? 

Around lunch, I headed back to the hotel and busted out the work I brought with me.  See, it's not all fun and games.  I did some work too!  When Allis got back from the conference, I insisted we head to the Signature Lounge that's on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building.  While the drinks and waitstaff are a bit over-priced and pretentious, you can't beat the view! 

From the Hancock Building, we excitedly made our way to Eataly!  Matt's family and countless bloggers have been raving about this place and I was dying to go for myself!  Paige put together a fantastic post about the experience that is Eataly, I was too busy stuffing my face and gawking to get too many pictures...  #sorrynotsorry  We ordered the meat and cheese platter, the shitake mushrooms and a bottle of champs! 

Matt's cousin, Flannery and her roomie, showed up as Al and I were just deciding to head over to the wine counter.  Broke, post-college kids have great timing.  Several glasses of wine later it was time for gelato!  More yums. 

Not ready to head back to the hotel... We went back to The Purple Pig.  It. Is. That. Great.  And why order anything different than what we already knew was awesome?!?

You won't be surprised to read this, but Wednesday morning we didn't work out.  Shocker.  We slept in and then went back to Sunny Side Up for brunch.  Really, why mess with a good thing? 

After brunch, Allis and I said our 'See ya laters!' on a street corner on The Mag Mile.  Nothing too long or drawn out., just two pals knowing that we'll see each other again soon!