Thursday, July 28, 2011

Champaign County Fair

Husband and I spent the evening at the county fair.  We ate corn dogs, drank lemon shake ups and rode rides until we almost puked.  It was great!


fun rides

this ride made us sick

then we ran into our friends on the swings! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Birthday Love

How great is this card?  My dear friend Michele gave it to me for my birthday and I simply love it.  I also love her.  She managed to surprise me for my birthday last week with a trip to celebrate with me right here in C-U!  I really had no idea that she was coming and was shocked and thrilled to see her sitting at the table for my family dinner.  We had a great weekend! 
My sweet sweet husband threw a surprise party for me with friends and family and we celebrated into the wee hours.  It was fabulous!  So fabulous that I didn't manage to take a single photo.  Hopefully others did so I can get a peak at the fun we had.  Between my lovely husband, dear friends and super duper family, I'm one lucky gal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recycled Sunshine

Isn't this art installation rad?  It's the work of the I.D.E.A. Store, a place where they collect everyday items often taken for granted and sell them inexpensively to people with big ideas.  Take this project for example.  The beautiful mural is constructed out of recycled billboard material woven through a fence that surrounds a construction site.  I love the sunshine!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Turkey Enchiladas

Last night I made these turkey enchiladas.  Instead of the deli turkey, I tried one of the variations and used ground turkey and my own seasoning blend to make it a little more flavorful.  I also spiced it up a bit with hotter salsa.  Next time I might try adding black beans and/or spinach...  Husband and I loved it so much we ate way more than one serving each.  So much for being healthy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

1st Anniversary

This past weekend husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.  It's hard to believe that it's already been a year, but it's been one of the greatest years!
We spent the weekend in Chicago where we took an awesome kayak architecture river tour, stayed at a chichi downtown hotel, enjoyed a delicious meal in Lincoln Park and went to a Cubbies game.  It was a great weekend with my sweets.

We even ate a bite of our wedding cake.  It was better a year ago.

Memories Wrap Up

Today is my last day in my 20's so it's time to wrap up my top 30 memories...

#3: As silly as it sounds, having my first fight with Bob over the placement of a television in our family room.  We weren't even living together at the time and it was the silliest fight ever, but it was a moment when I fell more in love with Bob - especially when we could laugh about it later.

#2: (This is for you Jo) Crashing a Glamour magazine party in NYC several years back.  I had heard about the party from a coworker and convinced my friend Joanna to check it out with me.  Turned out you had to be on a list to get in.  Jo used her wit, charm and powers of persuasion (read: bitchiness:) to get us in.  We proceeded to take full advantage of the open bar, break a vase and end up face down in the street outside.  That's enough detail for this blog.

#1: Seeing my mom’s yellow roses bloom in November after she passed away.  It was the most amazing thing to see her favorite flowers bloom so long after the season.  They were beautiful and it reassured me that she would always be with me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Memories

I'm falling down on the job with my Top 30 memories.  I'd like to blame it on the heat, but it's really just my crazy schedule.  In the interest of time I'm going to sum up some posts so that I might finish in time.  Some Top 30 Memories to add to the list:

#9: Meeting Dan Akroyd. I don't think of myself and getting star struck, but when I met Dan Akroyd in New York I was indeed struck.  At a party I we were introduced and he was the nicest most down to earth guy.  And, the best part was that he'd partied in Champaign so we had some fun stuff to talk about!

#8: In 2004 I moved back to Champaign and got to spend 7 glorious months with my mom gardening, eating late dinners, taking long drives and having great talks.  They were wonderful months.

#7: One New Year's I went on a Caribbean Cruise with my parents. My mom and I indulged in rum punches and games on the beach and had a complete blast.  Between all the laughs and falling into the water, it was a great time!

#6: On my European backpacking advernture the train ride from Nice up to Paris through the French countryside was one of the most beautiful sites I've seen.

#5: For my 21st birthday my friend Michele made the trip to visit me.  She had a folly filled adventure that ended with us and a group of friends singing karaoke at the top of our lungs in a tiny little dive bar in the East Village in NYC.  It was great!

#4: The night Bob proposed to me was perfect.  I had a hunch that he was planning something during the summer, but the time he actually did it I was caught totally off guard.  We had just made a delicious dinner and were sitting on our deck enjoying a glass of wine under starts when he got down on one knee.  To be honest, the rest was a little blurry because I was overcome with excitement, nervousness and joy.  The moment was filled with lots of love and was simply perfect.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Memory #10: "You're Not Living Here"

One of my favorite memories is when my parents moved me out to NYC after I graduated college.  They were so supportive of me even though I was moving to Brooklyn into an apartment that I'd signed a lease for via fax after never having seen it.  Oh, and the fact that I didn't have a job to support myself.  Mom and Craig took me on a trip to IKEA to get some furnishings and then hauled me and all of my stuff across the country in our van to Brooklyn.  When we pulled off of the BQE and headed off the exit toward my new diggs, we passed building after building covered in graffiti, overturned trash cans and an overall seedy looking area.  When we pulled up to my apartment I went to open the van door to check things out and I heard a click.  The van door was locked and I was stuck inside.  Looking forward I see dread on my mother's face as she said calmly, "you're not living here."  To be honest, I was nearly scared to death myself, but knew showing fear was out of the question at this point.  We had arrived and there was no turning back.  It took some coaxing, and a week of hanging around, to convince my parents that I would be fine.  It was pretty funny, but it came as no surprise to either one of us that I was going to be just fine.

Check out this graffiti bike tour.


Memory #11: Summer in NYC

The summer of 2002 I decided to get out of town for a bit.  I signed up for a two week long class at NYU that got me housing for the summer (an amazing apartment overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge) which led to me to meeting one of my dear friends, Heather.  I remember crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on my way into Manhattan feeling like the whole world was my oyster and I was embarking on a life changing experience. Turns out it was.  Heather and I became dear friends who romped around the city daily (and nightly), I scored a nanny job with a very well to do couple on the Upper West Side, I met people who would eventually lead to me to interview with some amazing fashion magazines and I simply had an amazing time.  The feelings of freedom, possibility and friendship were overwhelming.  A lot of which would lead me back to NYC the following year.  It was a fabulous time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Memory #12: Fishing with Grandma

Was I was young I used to spend summers with my Grandma Jenkins.  One of my favorite things that we did together was going fishing.  In the morning and we would load up the Mustang with our poles, fishing pail and lawn chairs and swing by Kmart for bait and head towards Crystal Lake.  We'd make a quick stop at KFC for a bucket of chicken and then head into the park to find our perfect spot.  All day long we'd sit there chatting about the weather and such, eating our chicken, catching little blue gill.  Grandma would, of course, bait my hook for me and pull the fish off when I caught them.  Those were really great days!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Memory #13: Water Slide Birthday

One birthday when I was a kid I was so excited to have my birthday party at the water slide.  About 12 girls and I piled into the back of Craig's blue truck (which I've since learned is frowned upon by the law) and cruised across town, wind blowing through our hair, ready for the fun that awaited.  I think we all went down the water slides no fewer than 30 times.  We'd splash into the water and get right out and run back into line.  That was such a carefree time and such a fun way to celebrate my birthday.


Memory #14: It's a Small World

Another memory related to my solo backpacking trip happened in Cologne, Germany.  I decided to alter my route a bit and instead of heading for Berlin, I hopped on a train to Cologne.  Not having researched the place prior to getting there I was at the mercy of my guide book to find a place to stay.  I decided on a hostel that was nearby the train station and seemed like a clean place.  To my surprise, when I walked in to the hostel I ran into Samantha and Nisha, two girls that I had gone to high school with and hadn't seen in years.  It was unbelievable!  They had met for the weekend in Cologne and were on there way out as I was walking in.  We couldn't let the fortunate circumstance pass by without reveling in our amazement over a traditional German beer. :)  It was one of those moments where you couldn't help but realize what a truly small world it is.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hubby

Today I'm wishing a very happy birthday to my one and only, Bob.  My best friend, true love and partner in crime... I love you so much and am happy to celebrate another birthday with you.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Memory #15: Winston

Picking out our first pet together was an exciting thing for me and husband.  We knew that a litter of puppies was coming to the Humane Society and we wanted to rescue one.  We met several, but little Winston stole our hearts.  He was just a little wilder than his brothers and sisters and had a certain spunk that we thought we fit right into our family.  We've had so much fun with him the past year and I just love him so much.

A pooped puppy at tailgate

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Memory #16: Switzerland & Italy

The Colosseum

After high school graduation I was lucky enough to take a trip to Switzerland and Italy with some of my best girlfriends.  I even got to spend my 18th birthday in Lucerne, Switzerland.  We got to see Zurich, Rome, Pisa, Verona, Venice and several other cities.  It was an unforgettable trip!

The girls

The Grand Canal, Venice

Sarah, me & Sara

 The girls


The Spanish Steps

Vatican City


Memory #17: My Lost Backpack

Going along with my backpacking trip to Europe... Another favorite memory is when the airline I was traveling with lost my backpack.  Sounds funny, right?  I was en route to Athens from Milan and had been in southern Germany where the temperature was a little chilly.  I was dressed in pants, a sweatshirt and sneakers and I had only my camera, passport and money with me.  I confidently boarded the plane dreaming of hot weather and a summer dress.  When I arrived in Athens and learned that my backpack had not made the trip with me I was beside myself.  I didn't speak a lick of the language, nor did I have my hostel reservation or any maps with me.  I was terrified.  To make the long story shorter, after hours of roaming through the city dripping with sweat, I ended up stumbling on my hostel after a few hours.  And, I made some new friends who helped me out with soap, contact solution and a towel.
The next day I went out in search of cooler clothing (it was scorching hot!) and found a small shop where the store owner was heaven sent.  Little did he know that polite conversation would lead into my travel nightmare.  He immediately called the airline and gave them a piece of his mind (and translated their response for me).  He promised I'd get my backpack back within the week.  I decided to purchase a dress there and then, god bless his heart, the man gave me some underclothes (yep, didn't have those either), a small knapsack to carry my things in, a pair of sandals and a beautiful blue scarf.  He was so kind and compassionate that I left the store with renewed faith in the universe.  I went on my way to explore the Greek islands.  And wouldn't you know it - a few days later I got a call (on the island pay phone) that my backpack would be arriving via ferry at 3am the next morning.  I went out to the dock to meet the boat and while I couldn't have been more happy to see my belongings, I was dreading the heavy load.  I definitely learned the value of traveling lightly those few days.  And, the sense of accomplishment, empowerment and perseverance in a bad situation did wonders for my outlook.  It was a really tremendous experience.

I saw this photo outside a cafe on the first island I went to after my backpack was lost. 

Memory #18: Marrying My Honey

Marrying Bob is one of my MOST favorite memories.  Our wedding day was absolutely perfect.  Watching this video makes me want to do it again.

Need to Catch Up


I suppose the sign of a good weekend is zero time to think about blog posts! :)  This past 4th of July was fabulous.  Filled with tons of cookouts, lots of time with friends and family, pool time and fireworks, I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. 
I will catch up later today with my Top 30 posts that I missed the last few days.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Memory #19: Great Balls of Fire

When I was younger my mom would sometimes go cruising around town just for fun.  Some of my favorite moments were when we'd roll all the windows down and slide open the sunroof of the Camry and go cruising down the interstate blasting Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire.”  With the wind whipping through our hair, we'd both sing at the top of our lungs with giant smiles plastered across our faces.  Haha, it was so much fun!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Memory #20: My Solo Backpacking Trip

One of my favorite memories is when I went backpacking solo through Europe for 5 1/2 weeks.  I took a leave of absence from my job, borrowed a backpack from a friend and bought the first ticket I found.  It was truly one of the most thrilling, empowering and exciting adventures I've ever taken.  I started in Dublin and made my was south through Brussels, Amsterdam, Germany, Italy and down to the Greek Islands.  I ventured back north through France and back to Dublin.  It was incredible.

Dublin friends

Amsterdam market

Me in Amsterdam 

Cologne cathedral

Cologne chocolate factory - yumm-o!

Munich Englischer Garden

Rhine River cruise

Athens - Acropolis

Athens bar

Amorgos (heaven on earth)



Santorini (me hiking a volcano)




Provence by train

Aix-en-Provence (fresh lavendar in a market)

Aix-en-Provence (Mt. Saint Victoire)


Paris (from the ferris wheel)

Paris - Le Pont des Arts

Just the highlights from over 3,000 photos!
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