Day 789: Patrick Sharp

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 789: Patrick Sharp

Patrick Sharp and my mom in 2009. I took this photo at the Blackhawks Convention.

We Blackhawks fans lost someone dear to our hearts recently in a trade to the Dallas Stars. Yes… it was Patrick Sharp. We’ve been worried about this even before the Blackhawks took home the Stanley Cup, so we were a bit prepared. But, it’s still extremely devastating.

Patrick Sharp joined the Blackhawks in 2005, so he has been with the team for a whole decade. Since I’ve been to the Blackhawks Conventions six times now, I’ve learned about him as a player and a person. We all know what a great player he has been on the Blackhawks, but his personality is another reason why I’m a fan. At one of the conventions, I remember him saying early in his career on the Blackhawks when fans weren’t going to the games and the team wasn’t so great, he and the other players stood on the streets of Chicago handing out free tickets to people. That’s dedication right there. And now he has three Stanley Cup wins.

At the conventions, I saw a more friendly and silly side to him. He was involved in funny Second City skits, he randomly showed up at panels to tease the other players, and he always had something nice to say. We learned how he loved to pull pranks on the players when on the road; it was great hearing about that. When people asked him questions about his success, he seemed shy and humble. What a nice guy.

As you can see from the photo above, my mom is a fan of Patrick Sharp. In 2009, she stood in line to get his autograph. She was maybe third to last in line, but she made it! I stood at the side to get a photo of the two of them. When there were three girls left in line (including my mom), Patrick Sharp looked up at them, smiled, and waved. All three (including my mom again) waved back with huge smiles on their faces. And I got that great photo above! Right when my mom was done, she came up to me and asked, “Did you see he waved to me?!” It was a cute moment.

Patrick Sharp, you will be missed around Chicago, as a player and a person. You will always be a Blackhawk in my heart, even years down the road. It’s been a pleasure watching you play these past 10 years. Thanks for all the wonderful memories!


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 706: Blackhawks Convention

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 706: Blackhawks Convention

In July, I went to the Blackhawks Convention with my family! Above is a great photo of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Rocky Wirtz. They were talking on the radio and we were standing in a good spot to hear them! It was a good weekend in Chicago full of Blackhawks fun. Here’s a few photos of us eating food at Kitty O’Sheas:

Day 706: Blackhawks Convention Day 706: Blackhawks Convention

On Friday night, we went to a funny Second City show featuring some of the Blackhawks (Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Corey Crawford). It was hilarious! Kane played a cop in one of the skits and they tried to add some Blackhawk-specific jokes, too. Some of the players are pretty funny! Here’s another photo for you:

Day 706: Blackhawks Convention

On Saturday, we went to a few seminars and ended up getting a few autographs! I got to meet Tony Esposito again and Ray met Ben Smith. Both Scott and Sydney got to meet Bryan Bickell, too. More photos!

Day 706: Blackhawks Convention

Ray meeting Ben Smith.

Day 706: Blackhawks Convention

Sydney meeting Bryan Bickell.

On Saturday night, we went out to a very nice restaurant called Bandera. It’s along Michigan Avenue, so we had a cool view of the street. The food was delicious! Here’s a group photo of us before going out:

Day 706: Blackhawks Convention

There was also a live band at the restaurant. I would definitely go back. I think I love food too much! After dinner, we decided to walk home since it was a beautiful night. I took too many photos on the way home, including this one!

Day 706: Blackhawks Convention

I love taking photos of the river! We stopped at Millennium Park and saw the many people running around in the water. I love Chicago! It was a great convention.

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 648: Double Take Rachel & Sydney

Rachel, Day by Day

Double Take

Day 648: Double Take Rachel & Sydney

Photo on left: Taken in Elmhurst on 7/9/2007.
Photo on right: Taken in Chicago on 7/26/2013.

It’s time for another double take! Here’s my cousin Sydney and I in a few photos. The first one (on the left) was taken at Doc Ryan’s bar on my 21st birthday back in 2007. My Uncle Paul and Aunt Carol were kind enough to drive over for the occasion, and they brought Sydney! Being my 21st birthday, I did drink a lot, and I took a few fun photos with Sydney. My high school friends were entertaining her, too. This was probably one of the last times I could actually pick Sydney up and hold her! That makes me sad. This was 6 years ago and Sydney was only 9 years old.

In the second photo, Sydney and I were getting ready for the Blackhawks Convention this past summer! We had a lot of fun seeing the players, the Stanley Cup, and getting some autographs! We quickly posed together before heading down to the Convention. I thought these two photos were pretty similar! In this photo, Sydney is 15 years old and I’m 27. Wow, time flies. I guess I haven’t changed too much, but look how Sydney has grown! She is definitely a beautiful girl, inside and out.

Well, I’m off to have a fun Saturday!

Day 635: Blackhawks Convention

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 635: Blackhawks Convention

What a year for the Chicago Blackhawks! And what a year to go to the convention! Overall, it was a great time. It was pretty darn hectic this year, but I expected that since they are Stanley Cup Champions yet again. There was some pushing and shoving I could have done without, but oh well. I’ll share the awesome highlights of the weekend with you! Above is a photo of my mom, Sydney, and me with an awesome banner. 🙂

We started out the weekend (on Friday) seeing the different rooms at the convention (a fun activity room, a vendor room, registration room, and room for autographs) and we also got some lunch at Kitty O’Sheas. Mmmm, I ate a yummy chicken sandwich. Here’s a fun photo of Scott holding up the Stanley Cup.

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionIt is really awesome that he got to do that. 😉 You could also try shooting a puck against a dummy goalie. Here’s Ray trying it!

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionHe did really good! The idea is to get the puck in all four corner (the lit-up sections) and in the middle. He got 2 out of 5. Sign him up for the team! As we walked around the vendor area looking for things to buy, we saw Pierre Pilote selling his book and signing autographs. John got his photo with him!

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionIt was cool of him to take photos with people, too! After walking around, we headed upstairs to the opening ceremonies. Don’t make fun of me, but I got emotional when they showed a video of highlights from this season. I almost forgot about some of the amazing moments of the Blackhawks. It was cool seeing of the players walk in. And here’s a photo of Jonathan Toews holding up the cup!

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionI all of a sudden got so excited being that close to him and the cup. And you can tell others around me got excited, too! After the ceremonies, Scott, Sydney, and I walked over to the WGN booth where Toews and Duncan Keith were being interviews. They both walked over to the fans and signed some autographs! I got Duncan Keith and Scott was able to get Toews. It was awesome being that close to them, but I also felt like a crazy fan. Oh well! Later that evening, some players participated in a Second City show. It was pretty funny! Here’s a photo with the Second City members and some Blackhawks players (Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, and Bryan Bickell).

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionWhat a fun Friday! And there was definitely more to come. 🙂

On Saturday morning, I stood in line to get a mystery autograph since we got one for staying at the hotel. The line was a bit nuts and people were pushing to get into the room. I didn’t understand that since it was a guaranteed autograph, but people go nuts at these conventions! They mystery autograph ended up being Andrew Shaw, which was pretty awesome! Here’s a photo of us.

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionHe didn’t look up, but that’s ok. He was shy, but nice. My cousin Sydney got Patrick Sharp’s autograph later, too! After getting autographs, we all stood in line to look at the Stanley Cup. I feel dorky saying this, but I was extremely excited to see it in person. We didn’t get to touch it since it was roped off, but I got my picture near it! Here’s me with the cup, and the cup itself.

Day 635: Blackhawks Convention

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionLook how shiny it is! Man, that was cool. We could also see the game winning puck in the same room. But look at that cup!? OK, I’ll stop gushing about it now. After we met the Stanley Cup, we hung around the hotel for a bit and just walked around the convention. Here’s a group photo!

Day 635: Blackhawks Convention

From left to right: Ray, Sydney, Janet, John, Scott, and me

We then went to a few seminars; I really like going to those and hearing the players talk about the different aspects of this past season. Here’s a cute photo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionI’ll admit that I didn’t really like Patrick Kane for a while, but he’s matured these past few years. I don’t remember what they are both smiling about, but they look so cute! For some reason, a lot of the players wore these black, tight polos on Saturday. Maybe they all decided to match. Anyway, after most of the seminars were over, my family and I went to the Park Grill restaurant at Millennium Park. It was delicious! I ate this really good vegetarian risotto; I wish I had the recipe. We also stopped quickly at Buckingham Fountain on the way there; I love that area of Chicago.

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionAfter dinner, we went across the street to Grant Park for some dancing at Summer Dance. Scott and I did some salsa dancing; it was a lot of fun! We then hung around the lobby area hoping to catch some players walking by and get some autographs. Apparently Bobby Hull was hanging out by the valet parking area, so we all ran over to get his autograph. Scott was able to get through a bunch of people to the front, so he got my his autograph for my Uncle Bob (we met up with him at the convention, too)! My Uncle Bob was named after Bobby Hull and he’s his favorite player, so that meant a lot to him. Scott did a very nice thing! My Uncle Bob and his family were very happy about this. Thank you, Scott!

On Sunday, we hung around the convention a bit longer. I didn’t want to leave Chicago right away! I did another silly thing and decided to pretend to be on the Blackhawks bench.

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionThis photo turned out to be hilarious; I really look like I’m shouting at another player! We all also got to try on the Stanley Cup ring. Here’s a photo of my mom wearing it.

Day 635: Blackhawks ConventionIt was awesome wearing the ring! I was really nervous about dropping it; that’s the biggest ring I’ve ever seen! Overall, it was a fun and amazing weekend; I got to spend time with my family, get some cool autographs, see a lot of neat seminars, try a new yummy restaurant, and spend a fun weekend in Chicago! Good times!

Goodnight all! Or to the two people who actually read this. You should leave a comment! I haven’t gotten one in a while.

Day 596: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 596: Year in Review

I don’t think I ever shared this photo (I took it near the beginning of the year). I thought it was cute!

Well, 2012 is almost over. It’s time to write all of the highlights in my life this year! Well, for this year in general, it seemed like a lot of bad and good things happened. It was a good year for gay marriage (woo!), Obama won re-election, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes broke up (I don’t really care about that, though), Kate Middleton is pregnant, Draw Something and Pinterest became really popular, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen was a popular song, and the Olympics in London were awesome.

As for some not so great things, there has been no hockey season so far, too many violent things happened like the Colorado theater shooting and the Newtown Connecticut shooting, and Hurricane Sandy. But, I don’t want to talk about bad things right now.

I saw many movies this year, including Dark Knight Rises, Avengers, Men in Black 3, Beauty and the Beast (in the theater!), Brave, Lincoln, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Vow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Argo, Taken 2, and The Artist. Out of all of these, I think Dark Knight Rises, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Argo, and The Artist were my favorites. You should check them out if you haven’t!

As for shows, I was into Revenge, New Girl, Amazing Race, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Cougartown, and Chopped. I think HIMYM might be the favorite of the year. I also got into the band Mumford & Sons and Fun. And, yes, I do actually like Gangnam Style by Psy!

Alright, so let’s start at the beginning of 2012. I rang in the new year at Christina’s house and went out to dinner earlier in the day for my Uncle John’s birthday. Both were lots of fun! I also spent the night at Mel and Larry’s and we ate yummy pancakes the next morning. Good times!

I started the Color Challenge early on in the year (click here for the first day and click here to read more about the challenge). I actually came up with that on my own and had fun with it. If you are a regular reader, you know what I’m talking about. 😉

My friend Nicole had a baby in February! Her name is Eleanor (and I just saw her a day or two ago). She is so cute and I hope I get to see her more. Andrea had a baby in September named Jacob! He’s a cutie, too. I can’t believe my friends are having babies!!

We celebrated Scott’s mom’s birthday early in the year at the casino in Peoria and at the Burger Barge. We did the same for Stacie’s birthday in August, too, and both places are A LOT of fun. I hope we go back soon!

On a not so great note, I found out this year that I have asthma. I tend to notice it around dogs or cats, so it’s ok most of the time. I can handle it!

Let’s see… I had some fun movie nights with Mickey, went to a fun wine bar with my mom, went out with Anne Shea a lot when I lived in Champaign, enjoyed dinners with Stacie and Maggie, played lots of tennis in the spring and summer, had fun getting pedicures and manicures with Anne, enjoyed dinners with Zach, had many guitar lessons, had a nice Valentine’s Day with Scott at Biaggi’s, loved good times at the Essig’s house, saw Venus, and had a great time playing some softball over the summer with the Human Kinetics folks. Those are some quick highlights since I’m typing a lot!

We had lots of fancy and regular happy hours with my Champaign friends throughout the year. The fancy ones at Radio Maria and Destihl were awesome. Another memorable time was when Kate, Anne, and I went to Boltini and got our palms read! Good times.

I went to Christina’s birthday party back in February at Mel’s house. We also went to Flat Top Grill. I miss hanging out with those people! Then the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Elmhurst the next month was a good time. Mel and Larry visited us in Normal near the beginning of the year, too!

We went on a big trip this year to Gulf Shores, Alabama! We spent lots of time at the beach, stayed in an awesome condo, ate great food with great company, spent time on the enormous balcony, went to the Battleship Memorial in Mobile, Alabama, shopped in Fairhope, had a shrimp boil, and basically had an AWESOME time! Here’s a photo from Gulf Shores:

Day 596: Year in Review

Let’s see… what else? I made a scavenger hunt for my family on Easter, hung out with Christina in Champaign one weekend, went to Drury Lane for brunch on Mother’s Day, spent the day at Arlington Racetrack, went to Hannah and Sydney’s (my cousins) 8th grade graduation party, went to the Taste of CU, celebrated Scott’s birthday at Alexander’s, went to a carnival in Normal, went to Stacie’s awesome 30th birthday celebration, went to the Shakespeare Festival with Anne and Brendan, went to the Mackinaw Valley Winery with Scott, and went to Bruegala Beer Festival. Woo!

Mel, Christina, and Brittany visited me over the summer. We had a great night at Boltini, spent time at the pool, and hung out. It was awesome! I hope we get to do that again soon. My Aunt Carol, Sydney, and my mom visited me in Champaign, too! We hung out, mini golfed, got ice cream, and ate some good food. I love having visitors! I got to see Sydney in a few musicals this year: Aladdin and Sound of Music. She was great in both of them!

My family and I visited my Uncle John in Michigan! We saw many beautiful waterfalls and parks. The parade was fun and the Pictured Rocks Boat Cruise was awesome! We saw fourth of July fireworks on a boat on the lake, which was cool. We also went to a casino and mini golfed. Good times! Here’s a photo from Michigan:

Day 596: Year in Review

I went to the Blackhawks Convention with my family! I met Jonathan Toews again with my cousin Sydney, which was probably the highlight of the weekend. She was SO excited! We went to a wonderful meal at RL (Ralph Lauren’s restaurant) that weekend, too. We also visited Buckingham Fountain and danced in Grant Park. For my birthday, some friends and I went to Boltini, Cream and Flutter, and Destihl for a drink. Good times! Here’s a photo of Sydney and Jonathan Toews:

Day 596: Year in Review

I guess the biggest thing that happened this year was that I moved in with Scott. I now live with a boy! Weird. It’s been awesome, though. 🙂

Want to hear more? Well, Scott got his wisdom teeth pulled, which was an adventure. It was funny seeing him try to eat yogurt. We had a Labor Day cookout with my family, celebrated my grandpa’s 85th birthday at The Clubhouse, went to the Apple and Pork Festival, carved pumpkins with Scott’s family and threw a Halloween party at our house with work friends (and went on a haunted trail!), saw Mary Poppins in Peoria, and saw Singing in the Rain at Drury Lane.

I’m almost done! Scott and I saw the documentary Man on Wire at the Art Theater and got to meet Philippe Petit! It was awesome; Scott was so excited. We had a great Thanksgiving with Scott’s family and even did a scavenger hunt! The Turkey Trot was fun, too.

It was great seeing my family on Christmas Eve; we ate Cuban food, sang, opened presents, and played Cuban Bingo. Christmas Day was great, too; we saw most of Scott’s family, exchanged presents, ate a lot, played Minute to Win It games, and had a White Elephant exchange. Good times!

I just went to Brookfield Zoo recently with Uncle John and Scott. I haven’t been there in a couple of years, so that was great! And I plan on ringing in the new year by having dinner with my family and then going to Christina’s house. Woo!

This year was truly a great one. I got to spend time with some awesome people in amazing places. Yes, I know I just typed up a lot and some of you might not take the time to read all of this, but I like looking back on everything I’ve done in a year. To my friends, family, and Scott, you are all such wonderful people and I don’t know what I would do without you. Here’s to a great 2013!

Day 554: Blackhawks Convention

Rachel, Day by Day

What an awesome weekend! (Well, actually, this was a few weekends ago now; I’m just really behind.) I went to Chicago with my mom, Ray, Uncle John, Scott, and Sydney for the Blackhawks Convention! I ended up getting a lot more autographs than I thought I would (Jonathan Toews, Viktor Stalberg, Stan Mikita, Denis Savard, and Dan Carcillo). The first photo is of Sydney and Jonathan Toews! That was the highlight of the weekend. You had to win a scratch and win ticket to get Jonathan Toews’ autograph, and none of us won. But, a random nice man gave Sydney and me two tickets to meet him! Sydney started crying because she was so excited!! It was great seeing her like that. We both met him and got our photos taken with him. He is so cute!! He asked me if I was enjoying the convention. Of course, I got giddy when he talked to me. This was my fourth time meeting him and I was still going crazy! Sydney started crying again from excitement after meeting him and he asked me if she was ok. How cute is he!!?? Ok, I’ll stop gushing about Jonathan Toews now. Scott might get jealous.

The second photo is of Buckingham Fountain! It’s so beautiful. We walked there on Saturday after spending some time at Chicago Summer Dance. It was a nice evening for a walk! So, now I’ll briefly write about the rest of the weekend. On Friday night, my family and I went to RL (Ralph Lauren’s) restaurant. It was the fanciest restaurant I’ve ever been to! They asked us if we’d want tap or bottled water. I ate salmon and lobster bisque soup. They were delicious! That was the best soup I ever had. I also had a glass of wine to go with it. It was an awesome meal! Earlier in the day we watched the opening ceremonies and walked around the convention. On Saturday, I went to a lot of seminars and got some autographs. The seminars were very interesting, and the one about Blackhawks TV was hilarious! The players were doing some silly things like popsicle eating contests and singing Christmas carols. Those are just a few fun highlights from the weekend! And staying up late both nights hoping to run into players. 🙂

Well, time for me to watch some episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Thanks, Anne!!

Day 456: Blackhawks Bag

Rachel, Day by Day

Color Challenge: Red Day 1

Today is the first day of my color challenge! Every day, all week, I’ll be posting a photo of something red. Then next week will be orange. Then yellow. I’m going through the rainbow, so this should take 7 weeks (thank you, Roy G. Biv). I’m hoping I can actually do this every day; we’ll see I guess!

Here’s your first red photo… my Blackhawks Convention tote bag. I’ve gone to three of their conventions and they are a lot of fun! This tote bag was a gift to all who attended one year, and I absolutely love it. It’s a really nice quality gift, too. I use this bag at least twice a week when I bring workout clothes to work for my cardio class. Maybe I’ll bring it to the beach this summer, or when I go back to the convention this year! I’ve noticed more Blackhawks gear and decor around my apartment lately; I’ll be honest… I’m a bandwagon fan. I always thought it was exciting when going to the games, and definitely still do, but I’m learning that hockey is still very exciting while watching on TV. Plus, how can you not watch in hopes of seeing Toews’ beautiful face? I really like the Blackhawks. They are a fun team.

I watched that Drew Peterson Lifetime movie this weekend. Wow, he’s a creepy man. Or maybe Rob Lowe is just really good at being creepy. I mean, maybe Drew really isn’t like that since Lifetime movies tend to be way over dramatic, but if everything he did is completely true, then he deserves to be in jail forever. He seems like a very abusive, manipulative man. And he treated all of his wives horribly, and possibly killed two of them. I’ll never understand men (or women) who could be that way and take advantage of insecure people. It’s not right at all. Ok, I’m done venting on that subject.

In books and movies, do you like happy endings or cliff hangers? I think I’m hoping for happy endings in every story I read or movie I see, but of course, there are some stories that are better because of their cliff hanger endings. Inception is definitely one example. Gone With the Wind kind of ended on a cliff hanger since you don’t know what will happen to Scarlett, and that’s a great movie. But, I secretly hoped for happy endings for both of these. I’m betting people wouldn’t like them as much, though. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, because I’ve written some stories that end in cliff hangers. In my opinion, they are more fun to write, but not as fun to watch or read. Oh well!

Happy Monday!

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:

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.