Friday, October 29, 2010

Chi-town Wedding

Well I am a little slow at getting items posted to my blog.  I had a feeling this would happen.  I promise to try and get better.  Really I promise.  So time to get on with the show.

I wanted to share with everyone my recent trip to Chicago the first part of October.  Chi-town in the fall is amazing and going there for a wedding is just an added bonus.  My BFF Gail's nephew Matthew was getting married to a lovely girl named Cori.  An added plus it was also Gail's birthday.  So time to load onto another plane and head back to the midwest. 

Gail and I have been friends for over twenty years and her family after all this time feels like my second family.  I actually have more Facebook friends that are members of Gail's family than I do my own.  Well the wedding was amazing, seeing everyone and visiting was great but as always when you go to Chicago...the food was beyond!

Another great thing about this trip was getting to visit with my common law BIL's sister Kathy.  Gail, Kathy and I had a nice dinner and chat-a-thon.  I hope to be able to see her again soon.

Well now on to the best part of the trip...the pictures.

My room at the Herrington Inn in Geneva, IL.  It was amazing!  

The Inn had a turn down service.  Okay people, I LOVE a turn down service.  Chocolates on the pillow.  Usually there are robes and slippers.  I love it!  But at the Herrington Inn they offer a different turn down service.

Milk and cookies!  Hell to the Ya!!
I was in love.  Cookies and milk with my robe and slippers with the fireplace lit.  Oh did I forget to say there was a fireplace in the room...oh yeah!

The inn sits right on the river and here is the view right outside my room.

The happy couple - Mr. & Mrs. Wandolowski
My amazingly super sweet lovely girlie friend Aubrey!  Love me some Aubs!
Aubrey is Gail's niece Stephanie's daughter.  Aubs helped me celebrate my birthday in Atlanta.  Aubs is amazing.  She is such a great kid.  We loved that her drink at the reception was turning her tongue red.   Have I told y'all how great Aubrey is!  We spent a good portion of the reception trying to get her to dance.  It was not a success.  But beware...I will be trying again when one of the other nieces or nephews get married.  Oh the other fun thing was we were watching Mary's soccer team play against the University of Texas on Gail's BIL's phone.  It was wrong on so many levels but we had a great time anyway.

A Chicago dog!
I could not leave town without having a hotdog from Portillo's.  They are the bomb!!  The other great meal that we had was when we went to visit some of Gail's friends.  I have never had a bad meal in Chicago.

But no matter where I go or how long I am gone, it is always great to come home to this...

My babies!
Happy Fall Everyone!!


P.S.  I know there were requests to see the dress I wore to the wedding but as I was downloading pictures I realized that they were all on Gail's camera.  I will get some and post later.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

St. Louis Baby!!

A few weeks back I made the trip to St. Louis.  I love STL!  I worked there at Anheuser-Busch and made some wonderful life long friends.

So as I was deciding where I was going to spend my vacation this year I knew that St. Louis would have to be one of those places for two reason...

Cute baby!!
Frozen Custard!

Yes, you are seeing correctly.  I went to St. Louis for hugs from one of the sweetest babies in the world and to get my favorite frozen custard concrete the Cardinal Sin from Ted Drewses.

Oh yeah, there was the other stuff like spending some time with my great friend Tracy.  Going to dinner with LC (I don't care what your new vampire name is you will be LC to me...hahaha).  Visiting with my work friends from A-B (Angela, Dave and Kevin), it was great to see y'all.

A chance to see my sister Trish and the dude I still don't know what to call after 10 years.  I now just call Ray my brother-in-law.  My sister's boyfriend after 10 years just sounds lame.  Especially on my later trip to Chicago when I am introducing Ray's sister to all my Chi-town peeps it is a lot easier to say this is Kathy, my BIL's sister.  See simple and sweet.  Ray hurry up and marry my sister so you can make my life easier cause you know it is all about me!  Here is the last side note on Ray...Nanny loves her some Ray.  My grandmother has 9 grandchildren and a passel of great-grandchildren (to many to count this early in the morning) and out of all of us, we all truly believe that Ray is her favorite.  I am not kidding!  I think it is because he makes her laugh and pays for dinner.

On Saturday night we all got together at Schlafly's Bottleworks for some beer and food.  I am from Portland now so you had to know we would end up in a pub with micro brews at some point.  If you have not tried their beer give it a spin.  I would recommend the Oktoberfest and No. 15 (their anniversary beer).  Strangely enough they were not part of the flight selection but they were great.

Trish's introduction to a beer flight!

Pub food...yum!!
After that some of us went out for ice cream.  Serendipity is one of my favorite local IC shops in town.  They were added to the list when on St. Patrick's Day one year they had a flavor called Irish Car Bomb.  An Irish Car Bomb is a drink made with Guinness stout, Bailey's Irish Cream, and Jameson Irish whiskey.  They made each one into an ice cream flavor then swirled them together.  I died!!!  I still dream of this ice cream.  We heard on our visit that they might not be making it any more but I will forever love a place that incorporates these three blissful concoctions into an ice cream! 

Well on to Sunday.  Sometimes the worlds align and you are able to do even more on a trip then you hoped.  That happened for this trip.  My BFF Gail's niece Mary plays soccer for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Since Gail and I have been friends FOREVER...I have seen Mary play soccer all of her life.  So when I was at my desk getting ready to book my trip to STL and saw that Mary was playing a game against the University of Missouri the same weekend, I knew we had to make the 2 hour drive to Columbia for the game.  It was fun and it was Tracy's first soccer game!  Sweet!

Little action on the pitch!

Mary and Me (see I have my Life is Good soccer shirt on)!!
After the match Tracy and I decided we needed some food.  So she said how but some BBQ.  Oh yeah!  Love the Q!  Any time, any place.  So Tracy and I stopped at Buckingham's BBQ in Columbia, MO (do you get it bucking ham...hahaha).  Tracy got me all excited about their smoked sweet potato. 

Oh people, I have never met a sweet potato or pumpkin I did not like.  I guess this could be why fall is one of my favorite seasons.  Oh pumpkin shakes are back at Burgerville and pumpkin lattes at Peet's Coffee.  Oh sorry I got sidetracked. 

But then we got there and found out they only served them after 5:00.  Darn it all to hell!  Looks like I will be going back to Columbia.

Love the bucking pig!
One last thing I wanted to share and something I have to say is still haunting my dreams is this sweet and blissful treat that Trish and Ray found over in The Hill.  If you are not familiar with St. Louis this is a section of town that has all of the best of everything Italian.  At Vitale's Bakery they have a ricotta puff.  It is crazy good!  It is like a doughnut stuffed with the cream and chips used in a cannoli.  I am so glad I did not know about these when I lived there.  There is no telling what size my butt would be now.  I have to say after taking I bite I don't think I have ever loved my sister and Ray more.  This is probably the best thing they have given me since introducing me to the apricot cheese flakey from the Lucky Platter in Evanston, IL.  See for your self!

Happy happy joy joy!!!

Well that was STL in a nutshell.  There were bits in between like the fun times making baby Kelly laugh, the chat time with Tracy and trying not to sweat to death at the Kirkwood Greentree Festival.  All of these things made my trip super fun and makes me want to go back real soon.

Thanks again to Tracy, Brian, Kelly and Mr. Tracker for hosting my visit and letting me stay at the Klinkner Inn.

Next stop Chicago!!

Enjoy the fall!!