Day 746: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 746: Year in Review

Our first wedding anniversary. 🙂

2014 was a great year! There were many great times with family and friends and I have so much to be thankful for. Time really has flown by and I can’t believe 2014 is almost over. From family gatherings on weekends to a trip to Las Vegas, we did a lot this year! 2014 ending makes me sad in a way. The majority of the year had great times, but there were also some tough times, too. But, I had Scott, family, and friends by my side, which has always been a great feeling. I don’t know what I’d do without them! I am one of the luckiest girls in the world.

Here’s a list of the highlights from 2014 for you!

  • Last New Years Eve: We rang in the New Year at Medici and Maggie Miley’s.
  • I started the Double Take project, but sort of neglected it. Sorry!
  • Kate, Graham, Steve, and Jillian visited to watch a Blackhawks game in January.
  • I needed two fillings, my first fillings ever!
  • My family visited in January and we went to Carl’s ice cream!
  • Ate at Biaggi’s with Scott for Valentine’s Day.
  • Went to the Bloomington Thunder game in February with family and met Tony Esposito!
Day 746: Year in Review

Uncle John meeting Tony Esposito!

  • Celebrated Soleman’s birthday at Kings and Park Tavern in Rosemont in March.
  • Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.
  • St. Patrick’s Day parade in Normal and threw a little party!
  • Met Grant Bitzer. He’s such a cutie!
  • Attended the Going Away Party for my cousins Matt and Jackie. (They moved to North Carolina.)
  • Fancy happy hours!
  • Got together with college friends and their husbands in April. Went to Claim Jumper and Beer House.
  • Spent Easter weekend with my family. We colored eggs and ate brunch at Drury Lane.
  • The ending to How I Met Your Mother was awful. Ugh.
  • Spent our first wedding anniversary in Chicago!
  • Went to Cubs vs. Cardinals game in the bleachers at Wrigley. Cubs won!
Day 746: Year in Review

Ready to watch the Cubs win!

  • Spent Mother’s Day weekend with my mom! Went to McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner.
  • Chicago Blackhawks made it to the playoffs but lost. I’m still proud of them!
  • Had a Memorial Day BBQ at our house with my family and Scott’s family.
  • Met Trgyve, my friend Kim’s baby!
  • Cornbelters vs. Bandits baseball game and got to see Soleman.
  • Went to Caden’s baseball game and Kendyl’s soccer game.
  • Jeff’s 60th birthday party!
Day 746: Year in Review

Celebrating Jeff’s (Scott’s dad’s) 60th birthday on a beautiful day.

  • Scott’s birthday: Went to Pub II and had family over for dessert.
  • Saw Jimmy Buffett in Tinley Park!
Day 746: Year in Review

The gang tailgating before the Jimmy Buffet concert!

  • Went to Caden and Kendyl’s birthday parties.
  • July 4th party at family friend’s house.
  • My birthday: Went out with Brendan and Anne for pizza. Had dessert back at our place, too!
  • Went to a Bandits softball game.
  • Blackhawks Convention!
Day 746: Year in Review

Got to love Toews and Kane!

  • Went to Christina’s baby shower and Anne’s bridal shower.
  • Cracker concert with Kate and Graham.
  • ALS ice bucket challenge. Yes, I did it twice.
  • Barbecue with friends at our house.
  • Met beautiful little Grace in August!
  • Vacation: Went to Wisconsin Dells over Labor Day weekend.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out in Wisconsin Dells.

  • Celebrated Grandpa’s 87th birthday.
  • Anne’s bachelorette party in Chicago!
  • Laura and Tyler’s wedding in September.
  • My 10 Year Reunion. Yikes!
  • Anne and Ted’s wedding!
Day 746: Year in Review

A bunch of awesome ladies at Anne’s wedding!

Vacation: Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th birthday!

Day 746: Year in Review

The family together in Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th!

 

  • Carved pumpkins in October.
  • Went out for Halloween. Scott was a ninja turtle and I was Captain America!
  • Sydney was in the musical Annie Get Your Gun.
  • Started my new job in November!
  • Thanksgiving at my mom’s house.
  • Movie nights with Mickey.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out with Mickey! I love this guy!

  • Mom’s 60th birthday celebration at McCormick and Schmick’s.
  • Spent day in Chicago seeing the Christkindlmarket and Wrigley Field.
  • U.S. and Cuba relations will be better soon, thanks to Obama!
  • Spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Scott’s family.
  • Went to Brookfield Zoo.
  • Movies I saw for the first time: The Hulk, Man of Steel, The Illusionist, Hoop Dreams, Saving Mr. Banks, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Bull Durham, The Godfather, and probably more

Sorry, that was a long list! The toughest part of this year was losing my Aunt Carol in August. She was a very caring a special woman and I’m still having a hard time without her. I can’t imagine how her children, grandchildren, and husband must be feeling. But, we have definitely been there for each other through this difficult time. I miss her so much. It really hurts sometimes.

One great thing I was able to accomplish this year was that I finished scanning all of my mom and dad’s old photos. This project took years, and I’m finally done! I’m so glad we have all of them as digital copies. I should make 1,000 copies, just in case!

Overall, this year was a good one. I have so many wonderful people in my life and I’m glad I got to spend time with them. There were some changes this year, but I think they are for the better. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2015! I think it will be a good year, too, especially since I have Scott and great family and friends to make memories with. Goodbye 2014, and welcome 2015!

Day 720: Anne’s Bachelorette Party

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 720: Anne's Bachelorette Party

Last Saturday, I went to Chicago for Anne’s bachelorette party! She’s wearing the tiara on the left side in the photo above. We’ve been friends since middle school, so about 16 years. Crazy! We started out the day painting and drinking wine at a place called Sip & Splash. As you can sort of see from the photo above, we painted Starry Night Paris. I like how mine turned out!

After painting, we went to dinner at a place called Quartino. It was a delicious Italian restaurant. We drank wine, ate yummy appetizers, and I ate gnocchi for my main meal. I really want to go back someday; the food was amazing! Here’s a group shot of us at dinner:

Day 720: Anne's Bachelorette Party

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and played some fun bachelorette party games with Anne. We made her do some silly things, which was awesome. The hotel room was decorated for the occasion, too!

We then went out to some bars and had a great time. My friend Stephanie (the maid of honor) made up a scavenger hunt for Anne; it included things like Convince someone you have a British accent and Make someone do a magic trick for you. That was fun to see! Here’s another photo of the bride-to-be and me:

Day 720: Anne's Bachelorette Party

It was an awesome night! I hope Anne had a great time. I took the train home the next day and it was a double-decker train. I’ve never been on one like that before; it was pretty cool! A woman walked around asking if anyone wanted to make dinner reservations. It felt like a fancy train.

Have a good day!

Day 672: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

The best day of my year! Our wedding day on April 27, 2013.

The best day of my year! Our wedding day on April 27, 2013.

This year has been utterly amazing. I’m having a hard time putting it into words. These past 365 days have been full of so much love and happiness and I am grateful for every moment. Scott and I have so much to be thankful for; we have wonderful friends and family that have been with us this year and our whole lives.

We did so many things this year and saw some cool places. Instead of writing a paragraph about every single thing, I decided to just make one giant list and put some photos in between some text. When I went through this list, I was in shock. We did all this in one year??  It’s been an amazing journey!

My Year in Review: 2013

  • Last New Years Eve: Went out to dinner for Uncle John’s birthday and then to Christina’s party.
  • Brendan and Anne visited in January.
  • Trip to Springfield in February with Scott (see photo).

Day 672: Year in Review

  • Double dates with Anne and Drew.
  • Scott’s grandparent’s 65th anniversary party.
  • Bridal Shower with Scott’s family and friends in Bloomington (February).
  • Bridal Shower with my family and friends at Brio Tuscan Grill in Lombard.
  • Caroline Lou (my new cousin) born on February 14.
  • St. Patrick’s Day parades in Elmhurst and Normal.
  • Myles Thomas (my new cousin) born on March 12.
  • Shopping day with Sydney at Woodfield and went to Red Robin for dinner.
  • Easter weekend: Made bunny cakes, had a scavenger hunt, and dyed eggs (see photo).

Day 672: Year in Review

  • Bachelorette party in Champaign (hung out at Kate’s, went to Boltini and C Street).
  • Bachelorette party in Naperville (got our nails done, had dinner, danced and drank at BlackFinn).
  • Went to Rosie’s with Granny, Maggie, Ashley, Barb, and Stacie to celebrate!
  • Rehearsal and dinner for our wedding at Maggiano’s.
  • Our wedding on April 27, 2013 (see photo). (This bullet point deserves to be in bold!)

Day 620: Wedding

  • Vacation: Our honeymoon at Excellence Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (see photo).

Day 621: Honeymoon

  • Maggie’s graduation and party.
  • Saw West Side Story musical in Peoria with Scott.
  • Went to Arlington Racetrack with family friends and won a little money!
  • Vacation: Miami Beach in June with Melissa, Brittany, and Christina (see photo).

Day 628: Miami Beach

  • Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on June 24! We watched it at Esquire with Steve and Jillian!
  • Scott’s birthday party in our man cave with friends and family.
  • My mom, my grandpa, Ray, and Uncle John visited July 4th weekend!
  • Vacation: Went to St. Paul, Minnesota with my mom and Ray for John’s wedding. We went to Mall of America, too (see photo)!

Day 632: Minnesota

  • Christina visited me in Normal. We went out to dinner, mini golfed, and rode bumper boats.
  • Went to Shakespeare Festival with Scott in August. We had a picnic and saw Comedy of Errors!
  • Blackhawks Convention in Chicago. I met Andrew Shaw and saw the Stanley Cup (see photo)!

Day 635: Blackhawks Convention

  • Went to County Fair with Scott’s family. I got to hold a rabbit!
  • Fancy happy hour at Boltini when Anne moved away (see photo). 😦

Day 640: Fancy Happy Hour

  • Went to Cubs vs. Cardinals game with Scott and Jeremie at Busch Stadium. Cubs lost. 😦
  • Vacation: Went to Wisconsin Dells in August with my mom, Ray, Grandpa, Uncle John, and Scott (see photo)!

Day 644: Wisconsin Dells

  • Vacation: Went to Milwaukee in September with Brendan, Anne, Graham, and Kate (see photo)!

Day 645: Milwaukee

  • Celebrated my grandpa’s 86th birthday in September at my mom’s house.
  • I started my Double Takes project in September. I’m loving it so far!
  • I saw a meteor on my way to work on September 26!
  • Went to Becky (Scott’s cousin) and Angie’s wedding (see photo).

Day 672: Year in Review

  • Melissa and Larry visited us in town! I now love Settlers of Catan.
  • Golfed 9 holes for Ray’s birthday and went to Emilio’s for dinner with family (see photo).

Day 672: Year in Review

  • Halloween: Scott and I dressed up as Mario and Luigi and went out with Liz, Jillian, Graham, and Kate. Graham performed at the bar (see photo)!

Day 672: Year in Review

  • Carved pumpkins with Scott’s family!
  • Went to Alli and Jake’s wedding.
  • Scott and I stopped in Dublin, Ireland on our way to Paris.
  • Vacation: Scott and I went to Paris, France and spent time with Renée and Chris (see photo)!

Day 663: Paris Day 2

  • Went shopping with Melissa, Christina, and Melissa and ate at Mago Grill.
  • Spent Christmas Eve with my family.
  • Spent Christmas day with Scott’s family.
  • Got to see my friend Kim at her baby shower. My friend Andrea is pregnant, too!
  • I fell in love with Tom Hiddleston this year.
  • New Years Eve… stay tuned!

As I mentioned earlier, this year was incredible and one of the best in my life. There have been so many awesome changes in my life this year; I’m not sure if I want 2013 to end! I can’t believe I went on six vacations in one year! Scott and I did so many fun things by ourselves and with family and friends. Thank you all for an outstanding 2013 and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2014!

Day 656: Double Take Renee and Me

Rachel, Day by Day

Double Take

Day 656: Double Take Renee and Me

Left photo: Taken in 2001.
Right photo: Taken in 2013.

Wow, my friendship with Renee has been going on for 13 years! We met back in 2000 when we started high school. We both joined the tennis team and played the flute, so we instantly connected through those things and became friends! The photo on the left was taken in 2001, so these photos are 12 years apart. I’m pretty sure we were having fun trying on dresses at a store in Yorktown Mall. Look how young we look! We look too young to be in high school. I look a bit ridiculous in that photo with my bra straps showing and my eyes closed, but that’s ok. We used to try on dresses a lot in high school, just for fun and to feel pretty. We’d eat at the food court, too. Fun times! I remember during school, Renee and I would pass a notebook back and forth and write notes to each other about boys and things. I wonder if we still have that somewhere! We used that so teachers would think we were taking notes in class. I miss the days when I’d see her every day!

The photo on the right was taken on my wedding day of the two of us. Renee was a bridesmaid! She flew all the way from Paris for the occasion. We definitely look different, older, and hopefully wiser. 🙂 Renee came to town a week before the wedding and she was able to come to the bachelorette party! I was extremely happy about that. It was great seeing her. And I’ll be visiting her in Paris soon!!

Over these past 13 years, we’ve gone through lots of happy and sad times together, and we were always there for each other. When my dad was sick and then when he died, she was always there for me when I needed her. I’ll never forget that. That’s a real friendship! We went through driver’s education class together, graduations, tennis matches, band concerts, silly crushes on boys, dances, and so much more! I don’t know how to thank her for all the fun times we’ve had. I love you, Renee!

Day 620: Wedding

Rachel, Day by Day

Well, it’s time for me to write about our wedding. Be prepared; there are lots of photos in this post! And WARNING: THIS IS THE LONGEST POST EVER. I figured it would be nice to talk about mostly everything through photos. But, I should say that it was one of the most amazing days of my life and I always smile when thinking about it. Everything went perfectly and it was wonderful having all of our friends and family there in one place. I am so lucky to have Scott in my life and that day was full of love!

Day 620: Wedding Day 620: Wedding

I started out getting ready in the morning with Maggie and my bridesmaids; we went to a hair salon called K.E. Meridian. I really liked that place! They let us bring in food and drinks, and they did a great job on our hair and makeup. These photos above are from the hair salon! I like the group photo. Kendyl (the flower girl) was so cute while getting her hair done. She just kept staring at herself in the mirror and was silent. She might have been confused! We then went back to my mom’s house to eat some snacks, get dressed, and take some prewedding photos. Here are some!

  Day 620: WeddingFrom left to right: Curtis, Jeremie, Ray, Caden, Scott, David, and Mickey

Day 620: WeddingFrom left to right: Renee, Christina, Andrea, Rachel (me!), Stacie, Kendyl, Sydney, and Melissa
  Day 620: Wedding

Scott and his groomsmen got ready and took some prewedding photos at the church. Aren’t all the bridesmaids beautiful!? Sometimes I can’t believe this day is over already. Anyway, my bridesmaid Melissa gave me a white balloon at my mom’s house to send a message to my dad. I REALLY loved that; thank you, Melissa! I want to tear up just thinking about it. Then, we got in the limo and headed over to the church!

Day 620: Wedding

We got to the church a bit early, so I sat in the back room with my bridesmaids. I really wanted to take a peak when everyone was walking in, but I couldn’t! I guess I’ll just have to see that part when we get the DVD. The ceremony was beautiful; Ray walked me down the aisle, which was nice. One of my favorite moments that day was waiting in the back room with him. It was hard not to think about our dad and it was a nice moment with Ray. I can’t believe this, but I don’t even remember being nervous while walking down the aisle. And I thought I would be the whole time! I kept staring at that huge smile on Scott’s face. More photos!

Day 620: WeddingRay walking me down the aisle

Day 620: WeddingBeautiful Saint Domitilla Church

Day 620: WeddingOur first kiss!

My Uncle John read the first reading and my friend Brittany read the second reading. Father Tim had a very nice homily mentioning us and talking about marriage. He did accidentally say, “It’s a beautiful day for a funeral” instead of wedding, but I thought it was funny! He looked embarrassed, though, and mentioned how he had a funeral that morning. It was definitely one of the topics that evening! Scott and I then exchanged vows and rings, and then had our first kiss. My Uncle Tom then read the prayer of the faithful and I then walked over to the statue of Mary and prayed to her. Then the ceremony was over! It really was beautiful. We then took photos after the wedding. Here are some more, of course!

      Day 620: WeddingScott and me, one of our favorites

Day 620: WeddingMy family from left to right: Brandy, Michelle, Janet, me, Scott, Ray, and Heather

Day 620: WeddingScott’s family from left to right: Jeff, Kendyl, Barb, me, Scott, Stacie, Caden, and Curtis

Day 620: Wedding

I couldn’t resist posting this last photo! Poor Kendyl was having a long day and was tired of taking photos, so she started tearing up a bit. We got a photo of all of us staring at her. I think it’s pretty funny!

After taking photos at the church, we took even more photos at Graue Mill. The limo ride was really fun; we were all a bit crammed in there, but we got to drink champagne and hang out! I really liked it. It was fun being with the whole bridal party.

Day 620: WeddingThe bridal party!

Day 620: WeddingI made this photo a bit bigger so you could see awesome jumping skills!

After all of the photos here,  it was time to party at Carlisle Banquets! The reception was such an awesome time. I really had a good time in the receiving line talking to everyone and getting many hugs! We had a cocktail and hors d’oevres hour during the receiving line and I loved our signature drinks. We had a Brito Mojito and Scott Spritzer! I drank a Scott Spritzer during dinner and really liked it. Here’s a photo of the room with the cake.

Day 620: Wedding

For our cake topper, Scott had a cardinals logo on his shirt and I had a Cubs logo on my dress. We are standing on a baseball field, too! It’s cute. Our favors were lottery tickets; I think the big winner of the night won $10. Too bad nobody won anything higher! After the cocktail hour, the bridal party was introduced, as well as Scott and me. We then cut the cake and my cousin Kim said the prayer. Ray and Andrea made speeches and both were great! For dinner, everyone had a choice of sirloin steak, salmon filet, or chicken picatta. I ate the chicken picatta and it was great! More photos:

  Day 620: Wedding

Day 620: Wedding

Day 620: Wedding

For dessert, we had our wedding cake (vanilla cake with chocolate mousse) and vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. Yum! We played a slideshow during dinner with photos of us, too. After dinner, Scott and I had our first dance, then Ray and I danced, and then Scott and his mom shared a dance together. Guess what? More photos:

Day 620: Wedding

Day 620: Wedding

Day 620: Wedding

The rest of the night was filled with awesome dancing and wonderful company! My cousin Hannah caught the bouquet and Scott’s friend David caught the garter. I can’t believe how many people were out on the dance floor; it was great! We even did some dances like the electric slide and Cotton Eye Joe. It’s insane how much fun I had! Here are some dancing photos:

Day 620: Wedding

Day 620: Wedding

Day 620: Wedding

Day 620: Wedding

After the reception, Scott and I walked into our hotel room to see rose petals all around the room and a bottle of champagne on the table! Thank you, Melissa! We visited friends and family members all around the hotel and had a great time hanging out with everyone in hotel rooms and in the lobby area. Breakfast the next morning with everyone in the meeting room was awesome, too!

You know, I didn’t really like the planning part for the wedding, but when I look back on the actually day, it was amazing. Everything went perfectly and I felt happy and loved the entire day. I think I was mostly in awe by the fact that all of those people were there because they love us and we love them. I cannot thank everyone enough for being there and for their generosity. Scott and I are both very lucky people to have such wonderful family and friends. And I personally felt (and still feel) so lucky to have Scott, especially during the ceremony. I felt loved just looking at him and repeating our vows. I could not have asked for a better husband, a better partner, and a better friend. I love you very much!

I also want to thank everyone who helped out with the wedding and who had to listen to me rant about it occasionally. Also, thank you to Barb and Jeff for an amazing rehearsal dinner and for helping us out with things; you are both amazing in-laws! Thank you to everyone who threw bachelor and bachelorette parties, and of course the bridal showers! Thank you to our bridal party; you are all amazing, wonderful, kind, and crazy awesome people and I’m so glad you were part of the wedding! Thank you to the readers during the ceremony; you all did a great job! Thank you to Maggie for finding my inhaler and Scott’s vest! Thank you to everyone who came to the wedding and I hope you had as much fun as I did! And lastly, thank you especially to my mom. This day would not have been possible without you and thank you for all of your help along the way. You did way too much for us and I hope you know how much we appreciate everything you did and everything you do. I love you very much!

I’m finally done with this post now!

Day 618: Night at Rosie’s

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 618: Night at Rosie's

A few nights before we left for the wedding, I went out with the ladies in Scott’s family!! We had dinner and drinks at Rosie’s Pub. The food was really good; I want to go back sometime soon. We all decided to have a girlie get together before the wedding. I was happy they wanted to do that! They were all too generous and got me some things, including this very cute martini glass! The restaurant even let me use it that night. I also got a bracelet, scarf, and zip-up hoodie that says Bride on the back. It was WAY too nice of everyone! They also got me a bachelorette sash and this cool light-up ring.

Day 618: Night at Rosie's

I should wear this ring whenever I go out; then people will find me if I get lost! Anyway, it was an awesome night. Thank you for a fun night out, ladies! I can’t believe it was a month ago already. Time has really been flying by. We should do it again sometime soon. And I really like Rosie’s!

I’m glad the weather has been getting warmer lately! It happened all of a sudden. I’m not sure if I was ready for it! We had the heat and air conditioning on one week apart. But, that’s Illinois weather for you.

Well, cleaning house now. Have a good day!

Day 617: Bachelorette Party #2

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 617: Bachelorette Party #2From left to right: Brittany, Melissa, Christina, Rachel (me), Renee, Anne, and Stephanie!

I am one lucky girl, because I got multiple bachelorette parties! That just means I have awesome friends. My matron of honor (Andrea) and bridesmaids were kind enough to plan a bachelorette party for me in Naperville. My friends Brittany, Melissa, Christina, Stephanie, Anne, Renee, and Andrea were all there. And guess what else?? Renee (one of my bridesmaids) flew from France to be at the bachelorette party! I’m so happy she was there. We started out by getting pedicures at a salon and we got to drink champagne as we were getting our nails done. That was great. I got to wear a sash and a tiara with a veil on it all night! We then went to Heaven on Seven for dinner where Vincentina, Sarah, and Nicole joined us! The restaurant has Louisiana-style food; I ate a vegetarian po’ boy and it was delicious!

After dinner, we headed over to BlackFinn for some drinks and dancing. It was a cool place; I definitely want to go back sometime. I drank a lot of Sex and the City martinis and we tried a shot that tasted exactly like fruit loops. Strange! Apparently there were seven other bachelorette parties there that night! Renee had a game planned called How Well Do I Know Scott? If I answered a question incorrectly, I had to take a sip of my drink. If I answered correctly, the person who read the question had to take a sip of their drink. I did really well! I guess I know Scott. 🙂 Our friends Wade, Amit, and Jessy randomly showed up later, too; it was awesome! I had a great time dancing. I then stayed at Melissa’s house for the night and we had muffins the next morning. Here’s a dancing photo for you:

Day 617: Bachelorette Party #2

What a great bachelorette party!! I want to thank Andrea and everyone else for putting together the party and everyone who went! It was amazing hanging out with all of you. I’m tempted to have another bachelorette party so we can all hang out again! 🙂

Have a good night!

Day 616: Bachelorette Party #1

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 616: Bachelorette Party #1

Hello there! Near the beginning April, my work friends threw a bachelorette party for me! It was a great time. We ate pizza and snacks at Kate’s house (and had some fun girly drinks) and we played some fun bachelorette games, too. Anne was kind enough to make some awesome cookies (some lovey dovey and some a bit risque), and they were delicious! I got to wear a sash and tiara, which was fun! We then went to Boltini for some drinks. A lot of people came up to me and congratulated me. I forgot about the fact that I was standing out with my tiara and sash! I got a free shot at Boltini and it tasted exactly like a lemon cake. Mmmm, my mouth is drooling just thinking about it. Thanks, Boltini!

After that, we headed over to C Street for some dancing. I have never been there before, but it was great! All of us danced for a while and it was a lot of fun! Kate took me on the stage for a bit, and then another guy asked me to dance with him on stage. I was a bit embarrassed, but went along with it! I really want to go back there sometime. Kate was kind enough to let me stay at her place, and we had a nightcap with Graham before heading to bed. What a great night!

Thank you to Kate, Jillian, Anne, Laura, and Liz for throwing an awesome bachelorette party!

Day 612: Shopping Day

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 612: Shopping Day

This past Friday, I had a fun shopping day with my cousin, Sydney! I count it as bachelorette party #1 since she’s a junior bridesmaid in the wedding. We shopped all day at Woodfield Mall and had a great time. I first gave her a gift for being in the wedding, which included a Blackhawks shirt that says Mrs. Toews on the back. She loved it! Then we walked around the mall and went in a million stores. We both got some fun clothes and nail polish. I got a blue mint color that I’m wearing right now and like it! I also got a salmon color I’ll probably wear soon. Yay nail polish! We went to Red Robin (yum!) for lunch and got some Starbucks drinks later in the day. We were there for probably 5 or 6 hours! It was great day, just the two of us. I love this girl! I’m so glad she’s part of the wedding.

This past week, I watched the movie Hunger Games with Scott and Mickey. I haven’t read the book, so I didn’t know too much about the plot. I thought the movie was… disturbing. Just a little bit. OK, maybe a lot. Everybody loves the book and the movie, though… why don’t I? OK, the whole idea that these boys and girls in the hunger games were between the ages of 12-18, and had to kill each other, just bothered me. I know there are probably other crazy movies like this that I like, but this one I just couldn’t love. Or like much. And those giant animal dog things near the end that started eating Cato, I almost cried! Ugh, yeah, that was bad. I need to move on.

I’ll update on Easter soon! Stay tuned!

Day 450: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Hello! So, it’s time for my 2011 year in review (sorry, this will be long) . Thinking about 2011 compared to the past few, it’s been a really good one. I had a lot of memorable moments with friends and family. The year started out great, spending time with Uncle John, Grandpa, Ray, Mom, and Scott. We went out to a fancy dinner for my Uncle John’s 50th birthday and spent the night hanging out and drinking at my mom’s house. It was a great time, except the martini I made didn’t turn out so great! Oh well.

Let’s see, what else have I done this year? I continued taking guitar lessons and really feel like I’ve improved over this year. It was nice playing tennis with work friends and going to occasional happy hours. Game and pizza nights have been fun with Scott’s family, too! Here’s a list of movies I saw for the first time this year (not in any particular order): Black Swan, The Muppets, No Strings Attached, The Social Network (not in the theater), The King’s Speech, Winter’s Bone (not in the theater), Adjustment Bureau, North by Northwest at the Normal Theatre, Vertigo (not in the theater), Water for Elephants, Rear Window (not in the theater), Pirates 4, Bridesmaids, Hangover 2, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Limitless (not in the theater), Cry Baby (definitely not in the theater since it’s a bit older), Bounty Hunter (not in the theater), Source Code (not in the theater), The Kids Are All Right (not in the theater), Up in the Air (not in the theater), Lion King 3D, and Sherlock Holmes 2.

I can tell you that the worst movie out of this list (in my opinion) was No Strings Attached. Ashton and Natalie were horrible actors in this movie and it wasn’t really funny. Hmmm, I think my favorite movies out of these are Adjustment Bureau and Harry Potter. Of course it was hard to say goodbye to Harry Potter and it was a great ending to the series. I loved the plot of Adjustment Bureau and Emily Blunt is a great actress. Sherlock Holmes 2 and Bridesmaids are close behind these two movies, though!

My favorite shows of the year are Modern Family, House Hunters, Amazing Race, The Office, New Girl, and Glee (not so much right now, though). I think New Girl is my favorite at the moment. Zooey is an awesome actress and I love the chemistry with her and the three boys! I definitely recommend this show.

Here are some other fun things I did and places I went this year: karaoke nights at Bentley’s and Pias, Scott’s mom’s 50th birthday party, two Blackhawks games (and they won both!), the karaoke bar for Christina’s birthday, the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Elmhurst and spending time with friends that day, a cooking class with Scott, Easter brunch with family at Drury Lane, an arena football game with Scott’s friends, Melissa’s bachelorette party (went to bars and a restaurant in Naperville, went minigolfing, got pedicures), Melissa and Larry’s awesome wedding on my birthday, going to Arlington Park Racetrack, my college friends visiting me for the weekend, the Pork and Apple festival, being in a video shoot for work, my friend Anne’s Halloween party (Scott and I dressed up as a gangster and flapper), pumpkin carving with Scott’s family, spending time at Mikey’s bar, seeing Eric’s show in Chicago (True Twilight: A Glee Musical), doing the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, and seeing my cousin Sydney in the Alice in Wonderland play. I also bought a new laptop for myself that I’m typing on right now. I love it!

Here are some few things that were not so great this year: one of my tires blew last winter on a very cold morning, the crazy snow storm in February, firefighters came to my apartment thinking there was a fire (my fire alarm goes off a lot when I use the oven; this was embarrassing), I accidentally let a squirrel in my apartment building, and a squirrel got in Scott’s house (luckily I wasn’t there for this; we’ve had a strange year with squirrels!).

I went to three weddings this year: Josh and Jenny’s in Edwardsville, Bree and Ian’s in Dubuque, and Melissa and Larry’s up north. It was fun taking short little trips to Edwardsville and Dubuque, and it was great meeting Scott’s friends. I was a bridesmaid in Melissa’s wedding and it was fun spending the day with all of the girls and dancing the night away! Congrats to all you crazy couples!

I joined the whole smartphone world this year, too. My mom and I bought Droids on Black Friday. I think it’s pretty cool, but I still really don’t use the Internet that much. I can see it being great if I wanted or needed to check my e-mail all the time, but I don’t really. I do like my notepad app, though, since I write notes to myself a lot!

I think the biggest world news this year was that Osama Bin Laden was killed. It feels like it happened a long time ago already. I think it definitely boosted the country’s morale, especially since our economy has been struggling for so long. I never I thought I’d be glad to hear about a person’s death, so maybe I felt a little weird about the whole thing. I definitely didn’t want to see the photos, so I’m glad they weren’t released.

The Blackhawks Convention was great this year! I had a fun time with my family and sitting in on some of the seminars. It was fun spending time in Chicago again, too. Plus, I got to meet Jonathan Toews again and this time I got my picture taken with him! I had fun hanging out at the hotel bar a few nights, too. My brother got a lot of autographs just by staying up late and waiting by the front door of the hotel. Good times.

My mom was called in on Windy City Live this year, too! She won a gift card to an awesome restaurant in Chicago. Here’s the video: http://windycitylive.com/video?id=8406332

I went on some amazing trips this year. My mom, Ray, Scott, and I went to Las Vegas for a long weekend near the end of May. We stayed at Monte Carlo; the pool there was great! I think we spent time there every day, which was nice and relaxing. Scott and I walked on the strip a lot, which is always fun to do. We went to a really fancy bar called Mandarin Bar. The view was beautiful, so we sat by the window and enjoyed some cocktails. It was fun dressing up, too. On our last night, we went to a piano bar and had a great time. The woman even played a Lady Gaga song for me. Fun vacation!

I also went to the upper peninsula of Michigan with my family to visit my Uncle John. We had a nice time! We saw the 4th of July parade, played some tennis, saw many beautiful scenic areas and waterfalls, and did some gambling. I even played a round of golf with my brother, mini and real. I’m not that great, but it was fun! I always love spending time with my family. I hope we go to Michigan this year!

In August, Scott and I went to San Francisco, which was an amazing trip. You probably already know what happened there if you know me. 😉 We both had never been there before, which made it extra special. Some highlights of the trip include seeing crooked Lombard Street, having wine for happy hour at our hotel, eating great food (I fell in love with rainbow trout), seeing the Fortune Cookie Factory and the Cable Car Museum, seeing Jimmy Stewart’s apartment in Vertigo, going to Alcatraz and Ghirardelli Square, walking to Golden Gate Bridge, spending time at Fisherman’s Wharf, playing at Musee Mechanique, seeing the Full House house, seeing the Haight/Ashbury district, and going to the Cubs. vs. Giants game at AT&T Park.

Of course, the best day in San Francisco was when we walked through Golden Gate Park and had dinner next to the Pacific Ocean. Scott proposed to me on the beach after dinner and we celebrated at a bar called Vesuvio later. I had no idea that day would be so life changing, and this year! It was definitely one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on, and I’m so happy I found Scott. 🙂

I think I’ll write about what I did New Years Eve in another post since this is so long. But, to sum up, this year has been great. I did so many fun things and went to many awesome places. I got to spend a lot of time with friends and family. And I’m engaged to an amazing guy. It’s hard not to smile when thinking about 2011. I’ll miss you! But I sense more amazing times to come.