Friday5 {Chicago Edition}

I was lucky enough to have a week and half of “unemployment” between when my old job ended and my new job begins. I realized you can only reorganize your closet so many times before becoming VERY bored. There isn’t much to do during the day when everyone you know is working…That being said, I booked a last-minute flight to see my sister in Chicago!

My sister and soon-to-be-brother-in-law live in a FANTASTIC part of Chicago! They are so fortunate to live in an amazing condo with unreal views of the city. I love that I have this city to escape to. There is something about the vibe and energy of the city that I’ve never experienced in Charlotte before. For a big city, the people are all so nice and the city is very clean. This week my Friday5 will be dedicated to The Windy City!

1. My Sister: My sister and I are only two years apart, but went to different High Schools in Charlotte. I definitely think this kept us from being close. We had different friends, different teachers and different experiences. It wasn’t until she went away to college that our relationship began to grow. It’s bizarre how this happens; we lived under the same roof for 18 years and then once she left, we started to get closer. She is undoubtedly my best friend. I hate that she lives so far away, but with modern technology we are able to talk/gchat/FaceTime at least one time a day. I was completely honored when she asked me to be her maid of honor. I cannot wait to stand beside her on one of the most important days of her life. We have had such a great week. Just lying around, eating too much and spending too much money on clothes we know we do not need. Girl/Sister time is so important and I love the fact that this amazing city is only a two-hour plane ride away!

2. Footsie Roll: These are a necessity for anyone who lives in a big city or who walks a lot in heels. Footsie Roll are similar to a ballet flat and can be fully rollable. This rollable flat is best to wear after clubbing, shopping, in the office or even at home. It is so light and comfortable that you could just pack it into the reusable bag that comes along and put into your handbag. Once your “dogs start barking”, simply put the footsie rolls on, and put your heels in the reusable bag they come in. Perfect solution, and how fashionable are they?

3. Low-Cal Cocktail: Since my sister is on “wedding diet” for the next few months, she has found a lot of great low calorie alternatives. Ocean Spray makes a fantastic Diet Sparkling Pomegranate Blueberry juice. You can purchase the cans in a 4-pack and simply mix with the Vodka of your choice. The sparkle gives your cocktail the perfect fizz and it surely does not lack in the flavor department. The best part…each can only has 10 calories! Ocean Spray also makes a Cranberry version.

4. The Paris Club Restaurant: The Paris Club is a restaurant that recently opened in the River North neighborhood in Chicago. The entree’s are French but have an American twist. The Le Hamburger is to DIE for. It comes with glazed red onions and your choice of gruyere or bleu cheese. However, the appetizers were my favorite part of the meal. We got the Croque Monsieur Fingers which were basically ham and cheese sandwiches dipped in poached eggs…yum! The Paris Club Restaurant also has a hip lounge on the rooftop. Studio Paris is an outdoor/indoor lounge that doubles as a functioning photo studio by day and nightclub by night. Studio Paris is supposed to reflect clubs throughout Europe. I think all restaurants should have clubs on top of them, definitely a way to keep your patrons around longer!

5. Life size Golf Balls: The highly anticipated 2012 Ryder Cup is being played this weekend at Medinah Country Club, about an hour away from the city. As a way to welcome guests to the Windy City, the city of Chicago placed 50, 3-foot-tall balls sporadically around town. Each ball was specially designed and decorated by artists from Chicago. The balls will be auctioned off later this month and proceeds will go to a variety of different charities. While out and about this week, my sister and I have been scouting out the different balls. They are all unique in their own way and very special to the city. I think its such a great idea to create awareness to the tournament, as well as the special charities they support.

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DMV – Perspective Shift

I am currently writing this post from hell the DMV. I dread this trip. I’ve been putting it off for weeks now, but decided since I’m on my week of “unemployment”, now is as good of a time as any. No one enjoys this trip. And I know I’m just contributing to the negativity here with this angry post. While sitting in DMV purgatory (I’m #170 and they are on #152), a thought crossed my mind…you never know what the person beside you is going through. I can imagine that most of the people here do not have it as easy as I do. How lucky am I that I have this beautiful day off? I got to sleep in late, go to a yoga class and catch up with old friends at lunch. I have a trip planned tomorrow and a fantastic new job waiting for me to start next week. I’m lucky I’m in good enough health to be able to have a license and that I’ve been blessed with a job that has afforded me the ability to purchase a car. As I sit here and count all of my blessings, the anger and impatience seems to slip away. It’s hard to get caught up in the HAVE TO’s, but my perspective seems to shift when I start to appreciate the GET TO’s.

Friday5

1. Papaya Pills: Do you know that miserable feeling you get after you’ve eaten too much? The feeling where just the mere thought of another bite might send you running to the john? Papaya Pills are seriously the most fabulous remedy. They help with digestion, heart burn, and I swear by them for hangovers. The bottle says you can take up to 9 a day, and I have embarrassingly taken 9 in ONE sitting. They are just so good and taste just like candy. You can find Papaya at Trader Joe’s, Target, or GNC and they are usually around $6 a bottle.

2. Cheese Dip: I never said this recipe has the most eloquent name, but boy is it delish! This snack has become a gameday tradition for us. It’s super easy to make, can feed a bunch of people, and can be reheated if there’s leftovers (but let’s be honest, that never happens). Simply put a block of Velveeta Cheese in a bowl in the microwave for about 3 minutes, add a can of Rotel and wah-lah! I’ve also heard of doing this recipe with cream cheese and spicy sausage. Either way, its amazing!

3. Dave Matthews Band SiriusXM Channel: Dave Matthews has an entire SiriusXM channel devoted to them for the entire month of September. I haven’t changed my radio station once all month. There are interviews with the band, songs from live concerts and fun facts about the band. Channel 43 if you’re an XM subscriber. I’m already dreading October 1st…

4. Dave Matthews Band – Away From The World: This is the bands 8th studio album and it looks like they’ve done it again! It takes me a while to process new CDs and I have a very strict routine of listening, reading lyrics and then re-listening before I form a solid opinion. So far my favorites are Broken Things and Drunken Soldier. Drunken Soldier is the longest on the album, and at about 10 minutes, theres a long jam session at the end; true to DMB fashion!

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5. iOS 6: Since I am not in the market for a new iPhone, the update to the new operating system, iOS 6 will have to do! It took about 2 hours to download on my phone and iPad, but was definitely worth it. A few changes I’ve already noticed:

  • A plethora of new emoticons 🙂
  • Siri is now on my iPad
  • Turn-by-turn directions with Maps
  • Do Not Disturb feature which allows you to ignore calls and texts
  • Facebook integration

What are you loving this week?

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

A few months back, Matt’s Mother suggested that we look into Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This is a 9 week course is led by financial guru, Dave Ramsey, and is a biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God’s way. The classes are held in many different churches throughout the country and is led by a facilitator. The first half of the class is a DVD recording of Dave’s teachings and the last part is an open discussion amongst the group. Matt and I are by far the youngest in the class, but we see this as a huge opportunity. Many of our classmates have been in debt for years, or are out of work and can barely keep their heads above water. We both feel very blessed that we found this class when we did.  If we can save now, invest, and be wise about our spending, we will be able to live a life free of angst and financial worry. Each week Dave teaches a new “baby step”. These steps are small and attainable. The homework for the previous week was to look over expenses and create a budget…Whoa…I spent HOW MUCH on eating out?? It was also alarming to realize that I haven’t given back a single dollar this entire year. I think the key to success for me will be actually acknowledging my spending and to start being smarter about it. I highly recommend this course!

“A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” –Proverbs 28:20

DIY: Monogrammed Picture Frame

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What’s that quote from Sweet Home Alabama about “if it isn’t moving, monogram it”? That pretty much sums up how I live my life. From pillow cases to shower curtains, chair covers to bathing suits, jeans, purses and necklaces too, “CMH” can be found sewn on most of my possessions. Monograms are a simple way to add some pizazz to any object.

This DIY picture frame took about 10 minutes and $10 to make. How simple and easy!

 First I went to www.lipstickshades.com. This site sells personalized iPhone and iPad cases, however I used it to make my design. You can make any custom design with your own fonts and colors, as if you were designing a case for your phone. Once you’re satisfied with the design, simply save the image to your computer. 

Next you will need to print the design. I went to Kinko’s and had them print it out on 8.5 x 11 inch cardstock. It cost .49 to do so, and the color quality was better than my own printer could have done.

 Lastly, go to Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Yard Sale, Thrift Store or wherever and pick up a frame of your choice. I got my frames from Target, and weren’t crazy about them, but they will do. I think painting some old frames would also be neat.

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I loved mine so much that I decided to make my sister one with her soon-to-be married monogram. Her office has a purple and orange Clemson theme, so I decided to make one for her office. Here it is on her bookshelves. Looks great, Whitney Stanton (ahhh!!)

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Friday5

1. Michelob Ultra 19th Hole: This is a semi-new beer made by Michelob Ultra. It combines the taste of lemonade and sweet-tea, but in a beer. It reminds me of FireFly Vodka (hello, junior year of college!) and it really easy to drink. I am not a huge beer fan, but this is light and refreshing. I’ve only seen it sold in 6-pack cans, not sure that bottles would be good.

2. My Junior League Friends: I’ve heard the joke before a million times, Junior League is just an “adult sorority”. While part of this might be true, I have been blessed with three very dear friends. We’ve only known each other 9 months, but it feels like I’ve known them my whole life. We try to get together once a week, and it seems like every time is filled with crazy antics and lots of laughs. I am so lucky to have met these ladies!

3. May Books:There is nothing I’m more obsessed with than a good day planner. I don’t leave my house without mine anymore. Its color-coded and busting at the seams with sticky notes, bills, etc. These May Books are awesome! You can design your own, pick out a pattern, and slap your monogram on it (I’m a sucker for ANYTHING monogrammed!!). Along with the typical agenda, they also have books for tracking your pregnancy, meal planners and a wedding diary. What a great gift idea! 

4. Trader Joe’s – Amour de Peach Sparkling Wine:  I know alcohol makes up 2/5 of my favorite things this week, but I promise I don’t have a drinking problem!! Do yourself a favor and RUN, don’t walk, to Trader Joe’s and pick up a CASE of this stuff. At only $4.99/bottle, this wine won’t break the bank. It’s extremely easy to drink and not to mention, ah-ma-zing!!

5. Inbox Pause – Why hasn’t someone thought of this before?? Gmail is adding a function that allows you to “pause” your email so you can actually get some work done! When you pause your inbox, no new email will show up. Instead, it gets shunted off to a discreet label so no mail is actually lost. When you un-pause your mail, all the messages which arrived in the meantime will get moved back to your inbox, ready for your review.

What are you crazy about this Friday?