Travel Thursdays: Street Art/Murals All Over the USA

Back in 2012 on one of our second major road trips we visited my cousin Chris in South Dakota. We met up with him in downtown Rapid City and after lunch he and his friend walked us to to Art Alley. It is such a colorful place with really cool artwork.




IMG_0090I saw this mural while we were walking around in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York and I loved how colorful and how fun it was. It was my first time to NYC in 2012.

578601_10100748029739529_776156408_nOn our road trip to San Fran from Chicago in 2012 we drove through Bishop, California which is a big climbing community, and at a random gas station this was on the wall.

IMG_2675In 2013 on a road trip to Colorado we were driving out of downtown Denver and came across this awesomeness.


207115_639621626457_5592381_nIn case you missed my post about us Jumping for Joy.

In December of 2013 we went to Austin, Texas for our friends’ Kristina and Patrick’s wedding and hung out in the South Congress (SoCo) area. This is a pretty famous staple of the SoCo area and it was fun to see in person. There was a line of people waiting to take a picture here.

CaptureIn December 2013 for Dave’s birthday we decided to drive up to Santa Barbara for the day to explore. While we were walking around town after lunch we came across these gems.


unnamedMarch of this year when we went on our LA to Seattle Road Trip, I looked up a few murals in major cities that I wanted to see.

Here were my favorites from San Fran:



img_20150301_170239Portland, Oregon had some awesome ones:



This was from a random street in Brooklyn during our trip in New York this past May. I love to travel and move around to experience new towns, but I am always a little homesick for Chicago IMG_20150501_111422This little snail was also from Williamsburg after we ate at the Rabbit Hole.


As you can see, I really enjoy finding murals/street art in different cities and states. It’s unique to that area and adds a lot of pizazz and color to a place.

Any fun murals in your city I should check out next time I’m there?


Friday Favorites: NYC, Me Time, Blackhawks

Happy Friday friends! I’m linking up with the ladies at A Little Bit of Everything BlogGrace and Love Blog, and Momfessionals as usual! 🙂 Head on over to all their sites if you wanna join in the link ups!


I’m also linking up with other blogging women at A.Liz AdventuresCarolina CharmHello! Happiness, and The Good Life Blog.p-txt

 And last but not least The Farmer’s Wife and September Farm.



the-new-youThis week I blogged about our short but amazing trip to NYC (Part 1 and Part 2.) It’s a fantastic city that I know love and appreciate ( I was initially overwhelmed my first trip there at the magnitude and scale of the city. But I have since fallen in love with it. Not hard to do in the spring time when the cherry blossoms are out in full bloom!)


the-new-you1This week has been especially busy for me. I work part time, I nanny part time, I have a cat, I’ve been working out, etc etc. We all have obligations and responsibilities in our lives. I realize that lately I’ve been taking care of everyone else’s needs but my own. I’ve usually been pretty good about taking time for myself, but this week has made it tough.

I get things done that I need to at work. I feed and play with the babies while they’re parents are working. I come home and feed our cat. And who is taking care of me? With Dave currently away working in Alaska, I’m on my own.

As working women, mothers, nannies, girlfriends, daughters, etc we women take on a lot on our plates, always. It’s important to remember to step back and take a minute for ourselves and make sure our needs are being met too. Women are amazing multi-taskers but it’s important that some of those tasks are our own and not everyone else’s all the time.

It is only in taking care of ourselves that we are able to take care of others. (Remember how during an airplane emergency you’re supposed to put on your own mask before assisting anyone else? Same concept here.)

So whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you take a minute (or heaven forbid, two!) minutes to yourself to recharge, put things in perspective, and enjoy a little.


the-new-you2I signed up for the Rock n Roll half marathon in Chicago for mid July as well as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. So I need to start seriously training for both events. I’ve done both a half and a full marathon in the past, so I know I can do them, it’s just the starting part that’s hard.

runningWLMSo on Wednesday of this week I went to a run club with REI. I can be a motivated individual, depending on what it is. Running is something I enjoy, but not something I always want to do. It’s hard to get started on a training schedule sometimes, so I decided I should try to go to a run club to get motivated and hopefully meet some new friends along the way. This was my first time going and it’s something I’ll consider doing again.

How do you guys stay motivated to work out? I’d love to hear tips!

the-new-you3Being a Chicago girl, I am of course cheering on the Blackhawks to take home the Stanley Cup again this year! I found a Chicago bar in Huntington Beach called Gallagher’s, that I’ll definitely be going back to! I went there last Saturday with my brother and our friends, and it felt so nice to be surrounded by Chicago fans with their jerseys on and their kind, midwestern friendliness. 🙂

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 11:   Chicago Blackhawks celebrate after winning the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Vancouver Canucks on May 11, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Hawks have won the Stanley Cup 2 times out of the last 4 years (in 2010 and 2013) so I think they got a pretty good shot this year against the Tamba Bay Lightning 😉 just saying. hi-res-7ed0e8a99277bf1168a81a3de0cb23e1_crop_north

0001-66688368I’m a long time reader of Shay‘s blog over at Mix and Match Family and she is always talking about how great the Clarisonic Mia is. So this week Clarisonic is having a special deal, offering 20% off on all devices with the code : Friends20 that ends on Sunday June 7th, so I took the plunge and bought it. I’m really excited to try it and see how well it works on my skin.


And no I don’t work for them, am not sponsored through them, and was not asked to write about them. I am truly interested to test out this product on my own. I’d love to hear your opinions if you have one and if it works for you!

Travel Thursdays: New York City Day 2

Yesterday I shared Day 1 of our NYC adventure. The second full day we met up with some friends in Prospect Park, before the wedding in Queens at night.

The post yesterday was a little lengthy but there were still a few other pictures of High Line Park I wanted to share because I just love this park. I didn’t mention it yesterday but for those of you who don’t know what High Line Park is, it’s a beautiful park that used to be a train line and is now remodeled into a park where people visit, run, read, and just sit. I love that New York was smart enough to reuse this gorgeous space.




2DTNm5FkfNmxseSBEKVVD1PJgLudvsUewRzjsy7-J0E=w499-h882-noSo back to Day 2 of our trip. We stayed at the Paper Factory Hotel in Queens for the wedding, but in the morning we headed to Prospect Park to meet up with two of our friends. Because we live in the suburbs of Orange County we don’t usually take cabs anywhere. This weekend was our first time using Uber and they were fabulous.

We walked around Prospect Park, which was so pretty and had so many cute little shops all along the neighborhood. We met up with Bill, who lived in DC when we did, and he is one of my favorite  human beings ever. He is hilarious, smart, and so witty. We also meet up with Supriya again, who is also one of my favorite people. She really took me under her wing when we lived in DC and I’ll never forget it! Sadly we didn’t take pictures with them, and the one picture I have with Supriya we have our eyes closed.

But Prospect Park was blooming with flowers and it was so dreamy. When we lived in DC we left right before the cherry blossoms, so seeing them here in NYC was amazing and I was so happy!

HAamx0kPHK6wpcj-meVk0IvTxGkUOTIadAK9NLprruY=w499-h882-noI love a good mural.

TgPhLGq8UfFGhSrzIuv8fTrKvdd_6VyXx9ji4VlsTtI=w1262-h714-noWe all had brunch in a random Mediterranean restaurant that was really good. Being with those two makes my heart so happy and we all laughed so much. It was great seeing them.

H3b6m80LoLd82bUdf_Xurh8EvObgWjiACIKfXdlANpk=w499-h882-noToo bad my ice cream isn’t in focus in this picture, but it was two of my favorite things: ice cream and cherry blossoms in New York. Life is good. 🙂


After brunch we walked around a little more and then Bill and his friend had to take off. So Supriya was kind enough to hang out with us and take us to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The last time we were NYC I wanted to see the Brooklyn Bridge but we weren’t able to. But this time we took a nice walk down there and saw the bridge in all its glory. It is magnificent and I loved it. And the park was so lively and fun.


JWJTsmm3z9MciRDMt7X7E7XsAB74F0j8e7ZTBHG27-4=w1262-h714-noHere are Supriya and Dave with flannel for days.




x7rFJMo1-MYAPXVr9sYJ-Oob3MauUODyMbaTzAvyzK4=w1262-h714-noI mean, come on! That bridge is ridiculous. So, so pretty.


Being from Chicago, I obviously favor and love that skyline, but New York is serious competition. New York is huge and the skyline is amazing. I totally get why so many movies and tv shows are made here now. It’s architecturally beautiful and a bustling city.

IbKPXf4CQEvxBufP5jPkLTklyhdEU6cBZuJmI4Prikw=w1024-h768-noI loved the pink skirt and crop top I wore to the wedding. It worked out quite nicely. I’m not generally a fan of crop tops but paired with the skirt it just looked like a dress.

The guy on the way right is Sean who was the groom. We had a picture with the bride as well but it was pretty dark and blurry, sadly. Dave and I are so thrilled for Sean and Jean. I didn’t use to cry at weddings, but apparently I do now. Their vows were so sweet. They’re a lovely couple together and we’ve had lots of fun memories with them and look forward to more in the future.

Travel: New York City

I usually reserve my travel adventures for Travel Thursdays, but since this is a two part-er I’m going to share Day 1 of our New York adventure today on Wednesday. (Mixing things up today! hah) Day 2 will be tomorrow on an actual Thursday.

Last month Dave and I went to a wedding in New York. We have a few friends in New York so it was perfect. This was our first time going to New York in the spring and it was gorgeous! We fell in love with the city this time. Last time it was a little overwhelming and freezing in the winter. But this time it was so lively, pulsing with undeniable energy, and so inviting.

We flew in late Thursday night, stayed at our friends Katy and JJ’s place. Dave and I have both worked with JJ and have kept in touch through the years, and the two times we’ve been to New York they always invite us to stay with them. They’re fantastic hosts and so fun to be around.


This is the view from their awesome balcony.

In the morning we walked to breakfast at the Rabbit Hole. It was a cute little bar with good food.



IMG_20150501_110107 We walked around the neighborhood, stopped in a shop or two, grabbed coffee at Devocion. It was a really cool looking coffeehouse. The live plant wall was so pretty and the skylight was beautiful. It was very trendy.






Then we met up with JJ and headed into the city. We met our good friend Jared and Marlee, their baby Luna, and Jared’s mama. We ate in the basement of the Plaza Hotel (from Home Alone 2! One of my favorite movies ever.) They have a bunch of options to choose from and was super cute. A little pricey but that’s to be expected in NYC, right?



Here is where I ate at the food court under the Plaza.



We took our food to go and walked across the street to beautiful, Central Park. It was a lovely, sunny day out. We were soaking up the sun and went for a nice little stroll through the park. It was really peaceful. And the flowers were all in bloom, it was so dreamy! Everyone is so active in New York running, walking, and biking all over the city, I love it.


This little love bug is Luna, our good friend Jared and Marlee’s baby. I am totally in love with her, as seen in this picture. 🙂





Luna was all tuckered out. New York is exhausting! 😉

After our friends had to take off for the rehearsal dinner, JJ, Dave, and I went on the subway to High Line Park. JJ showed us the park last time we were in town and I fell in love.




After High Line Park, we went home for some down time and watched a rough cut of a documentary JJ and I worked on (more on that later this year!) and waited for Katy to get home from work.

For dinner we met our good friend Supriya who I absolutely adore and love! We used to all hang out when we lived in DC together. Those were great times and Dave and I miss living in DC all the time! We made really great friends while we were there that we are lucky to still have.

After dinner we headed to Queens to go to a cocktail hour with the bride and groom before their big day on Saturday. Because life gets so busy and time flies, it’s really, really nice to all get together from all over the place and be together even if it’s just for a weekend.

Our first full day in New York, was just that, full. Full of sight seeing, great friends, lots of walking, and delicious food.

Tomorrow I’ll cover our second and last day in New York.

What are your favorite places to go in New York? It’s such an amazingly large, vibrant city with so many cool hole in wall places and neighborhoods. I was smitten with New York after this trip.

Paris / New York Video

My boyfriend showed me this video recently and I just loved it! It’s a gorgeous comparison of two iconic cities: Paris and New York City, side by side with split screens. I’ve been to New York, and dream about going to Paris one day. (I’ve been to the airport but that totally doesn’t count!) It’s a really well done video and I had to share it.