Tag Archives: friends

the Wegner’s Windy City

Ahh…silence. We’ve been struggling through naps lately (teething? Wonder Week? All the effects from travel finally rearing their ugly head?) Who knows. In any case, we are still at 3 naps a day and every one of them has been a struggle this past week. I don’t blame her. September was a crazy month for us: Omaha to see Nick’s family, Chicago for the orthopedic conference, and California to see my family.  And oh yeah, we just returned from a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip to Southern Utah to visit Arches National Park (more on that in a future post). There were a few days of rest between every trip to recuperate but with all the constant motion and disruption to her routine, I totally get why Miss Ara’s sleeping is all over the place. She’s been a great traveler nonetheless and it’s been so fun to show her all these places and go on these adventures with her. I figure now’s the time to take advantage before she becomes mobile and traveling gets more challenging!

I love Chicago. If it weren’t the ornery wintertime weather, it would be the perfect city. We were there over five days and four nights for Nick to attend an orthopedic foot/ankle conference and we decided to tag along. Poor Nick had to be in conference most of the time, so Ara and I had most of the days to ourselves. Though our time was somewhat limited, we made the most of it by scheduling a playdate with dear friends, visiting old coworkers, and exploring old favorite haunts in the city, such as the Bean, Millenium Park and the Art Institute. This being a city that is always changing, we also made new discoveries such as Oz Park and Eataly. Here were a few highlights!

Ready for another adventure!

Ready for another adventure!

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Day 1:

We zipped downtown after landing at O’Hare and arrived at our hotel. Nick left for the conference and Ara and I set off to explore Eataly Chicago, an AMAZING Italian food emporium that is 63,000 sq ft chock-full of gourmet goodies and food markets. I was overwhelmed from the very beginning, there is so much to see and taste in there. If this were open while we were living in Chicago, we would be in huge trouble! Seriously, go there if you have the chance. Two words: Nutella bar. After ordering a panini and purchasing a few truffles from the pasticerria, we set off for Michigan Avenue to window shop before dinner. Dinner, of course, was deep dish Chicago-style pizza at Giordano’s!

Eataly Salumeria!

Eataly Salumeria!

 

Day 2:

Sidenote: the hotel crib looked like a jail cell so Miss Ara spent the nights in our king-size hotel bed. So there was a lot of this going on. How do people sleep when they cosleep?

Ara and I took a morning walk along the Chicago River and Wacker Drive to look at all the pretty architectural sights. Next on the agenda was Millenium Park, my absolute favorite part of the city! After all, there’s Cloudgate (the Bean) where it’s always fun to see how people interact with it (selfies selfies selfies) and Pritzker Pavilion where I have a lot of fond memories of summer concerts and picnics on the grass. For the 10th anniversary of Crown Fountain in the park, there was a Jaume Plensa exhibition called 1004 Portraits which was pretty neat to see up close. Everyone takes photos of the white portrait, but I found the three earth-toned ones compelling in their arrangement.

Chicago River

Chicago River

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At the Bean

At the Bean

Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate

1004 Portraits by Jaume Plensa

1004 Portraits by Jaume Plensa

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Nick was done for the day by then and so we set out on a hunt for giardiniera (a must, we love adding this to our sandwiches and can only find it in Chicago!), and dinner at our favorite wine bar, Quartino. Sitting on the bustling patio while old Italian movies played in the background brought back great memories of so many evenings spent there and it was fun to see Ara take it all in.

Quartino view

Quartino view

Day 3:

Oz Park

Oz Park

I was so excited for Sunday because we were going to have a playdate with Missy and my good girlfriends in Oz Park in the Lincoln Park neighborhood! We all first met each other in our old Chicago office and bonded quickly. We were all in our mid-twenties then and single or dating. Now everyone is married and most of us have young kids. I can’t believe how quickly the time flies. These ladies were and are my rocks, the best support group, and I never laugh so hard than when I’m with them. I really really love these women. Missy, we missed you!

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At the end of the day, Ara and I met with Nick for drinks at the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock tower! It was where we got engaged. Ara charmed everyone in the elevators and of course, I had to take a photo from the women’s lounge (the best view in Chicago).

City View

City View

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Chicagohenge!

Chicagohenge!

Day 4:

A visit to the old office where nothing has changed and yet everyone there seems new. (SLI people, you know the drill) Next, a visit to P.O.S.H., my favorite home store in Chicago where it seems as if you have just stepped into a Parisian flea market. Among my purchases: a darling nesting doll set for Ara, an engraved vintage silver soup spoon (I pick one up every time we visit), and a brass ring for me.

Vintage hotel silver from P.O.S.H.

Vintage hotel silver from P.O.S.H.

Later that evening, we had a great dinner at the Little Goat in the newly trendy West Loop area with our friends, Beth and John. It’s an offshoot from the Girl and the Goat but more kid-friendly and still chic if you can call a diner chic! It has only been six years since we’ve left Chicago, but their dining scene is constantly changing and constantly good. I do miss the food here!

Day 5:

The handsome lions at the Art Institute entrance

The handsome lions at the Art Institute entrance

Our last day here so we made it count. The Art Institute was the first place I had ever visited in Chicago and there was a Magritte exhibit currently onsite. A world-class museum with a world-class exhibit, I was not going to pass this up! We got up early and set out to get in line.

Of course, that was the perfect time for a diaper blow out. Sniff, sniff. Uh oh. We braved the ticket line with poopy pants (I was NOT going to give up our space), and hiked it to the family bathroom where I discovered to my horror that the spare outfit in the bag was nowhere to be found. It was gone. GONE. Luckily, we had stopped in Zara before the museum opened, and I had bought Ara leggings, one size bigger for fall. Nick’s mom also gave Ara a cute hoodie beforehand which I had in the bag in case it got cold. Boom. Lifesavers. We didn’t look at all coordinated but at least we were clean. After a good fifteen minutes of sweating and silently cursing my diaper bag negligence, we were finally ready to see the exhibit. Only to discover that the museum is not the most handicap friendly so we were racing to find elevators to fit the stroller. We reached the exhibit a half hour later, panting (me) and slightly traumatized from the experience and started to go through the dimly lit and hushed galleries. Ara then decided she had had it by then with the carseat and so I scooped her up, balancing her on one arm while pushing the stroller with the other, and raced through the exhibit before she really started to wail. Ok, I forgot how quiet museums were. Or at least, the special exhibits- probably because people are intent on really experiencing the art that is in their midst so temporarily. Let me just say, I barely remember anything we saw but can confidently say that Magritte was one surreal Surrealist and museum experiences are not quite the same. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: traveling with an infant is a game changer. But we made it and are already looking forward to our next adventure! With spare outfits!

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We came...we sort of saw...

We came…we sort of saw…

 

 

When the Hubby’s Away…

Occasionally CJ has to travel for work and this time around I decided to go visit my friend for part of the time he was gone.  She has 4 kiddos and I thought not only would it be a great opportunity to catch up with my friend, it would help the time go by more quickly and allow Nola to have a blast with all my friend’s kids.  I am happy to report all those three assumptions were correct and glad we did it!

photo these kiddos acted like brother and sister and though this is a moment of happy smiles, most of the time they were arguing…bless their hearts Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset nola loved jumping on the trampoline, however this mama probably got so many new grey hairs watching and yelling ‘stay in the middle!!’  the entire time Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset best photo I could get asking 4 little ones to smile

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I would give anything to have a video of this little girl’s reaction to when curious george first came out.  It was the CUTEST thing I have ever seen.  This girl brings me so much joy it’s silly sometimes.

My dear friend that I visited has been someone I’ve known my entire life and it’s been so great to see that through all stages of our live’s our friendship has continued to evolve as well.  She’s the type of friend where I can go up to her bathroom and use her face wash, not feel judged if I didn’t take a shower everyday and ask all questions and concerns about being a parent and just feel encouraged.  All mama’s need a good friend like that!!  Thanks jack’s for having us and again many apologies for Nola’s spilt orange juice…eeeck!

If your partner in crime has to travel a lot for work I highly recommend visiting a friend for a couple days.  It gives you something to look forward to!  I should note it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easier and expect less sleep.  Other things I have done when CJ travels is treat those days more like a weekend.  Have a movie night, get take-out at one of my favorite restaurants and take baths together (do you now think I’m a weirdo on that one?  you are probably right, but it’s just fun and different than our normal routine :)).  I’d love to hear of things out of the ordinary that you do when you are home alone with the little one’s other than just trying to survive :).

I sure do miss CJ when he’s gone and can’t wait for him to come home.  But it also gives me time to realize how much I love and appreciate him.  The quote, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” really is true for me!

Recipe: Summer Gazpacho

The DL Co-bloggers!

Last weekend, something exciting happened which occurs only once in a blue moon. The DL co-bloggers were reunited for a few short hours! Missy, CJ and their cutie Nola stopped in Salt Lake for the night on their way to Wisconsin. We were so excited to meet up with them for dinner. After all, it’s been over two years since Missy and I last saw each other when she and CJ were visiting Seattle. Coincidentally, it was also when they broke the news that they were expecting with Nola. 🙂 How time flies. (if I had a nickel every time I wrote that..)

We met at the Dodo, which is a few blocks from our house. It was as if the last two years hadn’t passed and we were able to pick up right where we left off. Except now we have little ones! Watching our husbands be fathers to their little girls was both fun and endearing. It’s funny how much more “active” dinners out are when wrangling kids at the table. Gone are the days of leisurely meals for now, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Parenthood is certainly a game-changer.

Toto, we’re not in Seattle anymore. Summer in Utah is H-O-T.  We sat outside on the patio in 90 degree plus heat and honestly, the only thing that sounded good to me was something chilled. The restaurant had gazpacho on the menu and I gave it a try. It was refreshing, the perfect dish to eat in the heat. I went home and immediately made plans to try making it this week. After a few online searches, I found Ina Garten’s recipe for gazpacho which of course was simple, elegant and delicious. The only tweaks I made were to add chopped shrimp and chunks of avocado in the end to make it more of a meal (how the restaurant served theirs.) I also added a squeeze of lime to brighten the flavors. It was a great way to use the yummy summer tomatoes out now and it tasted even better the following day. I now have lunch for the rest of the week. Extra points for it being healthy too.

Chopped!

Chopped!

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Gazpacho
Recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999
Ingredients
1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Directions
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.
*My note: I added chopped avocado and cooked shrimp in the end to make it more of a meal. I also recommend a squeeze of lime!

 

Baby Girl’s Tea Party Shower

The darling shower invitation poem was written by Cindy's daughter, Kelsey

The darling shower invitation poem was written by Cindy’s daughter, Kelsey

A couple weeks ago, my wonderful boss Cindy and my friend Linda threw us and Baby Girl an incredible Mad Hatter/ Alice in Wonderland-themed baby shower in Seattle. When we revealed to our friends last summer that we were expecting, the first words out of Linda’s mouth were, “I want to throw you a Mad Hatter baby shower!” Cindy offered to help host and the event came together pretty quickly after that.

I’m used to being on the other side of planning, and was so touched to see how hard they worked on pulling all the personal details of the shower together to make it special for us. Cindy has the perfect house for entertaining and everything from the games, mimosa bar, bib station, and food and drinks (and the signage!) was so thoughtfully laid out. Linda even made hats for all the girls! My parents came up for the weekend and we celebrated BGW’s upcoming arrival with our Seattle friends and the people who have become our family here over the past few years.

Baby showers are usually a pretty female event, but I really wanted the shower to be co-ed so Nick’s fellow residents could come. We all got such a kick out of seeing our guy friends decorating bibs at the bib station and it was fun to see them get into the games, like measuring the girth of my belly and Nick’s as we hugged, or guessing the number of jelly beans in the baby bottle. (Guess who guessed the belly girth accurately? That’s right, the boys.)

We asked that instead of signing cards, if guests could come with their favorite children’s book with a note written inside. It was so meaningful for us to read these personal messages afterward, and I know we’ll be thinking of the individual whenever we read a particular book to our daughter in the future. We are lucky to be blessed with such thoughtful and generous friends and family.

Here are a few photos from the day. Thank you to my talented friend, Elyssa Freeman, for the photos!

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Bib station, beautiful cake- Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Yummy bites, an amazing mimosa bar, and tea of course! Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Games- Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Gifts- Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

Photos by Elyssa Freeman Photography

 

 

Giving 30 the old Razzle Dazzle

Inspiration board

The inspiration

We’re in the midst of Gatsby hoopla and I thought – what better time to finally do a recap of my 30th birthday Gatsby-themed fete from a few months ago? (this is an excuse, I’m just such a procrastinator)

Aesthetically, I love everything about the Jazz Age. Judging from the excitement generated over the most recent movie adaptation of the novel, everyone does too. After all, what is there not to love about the period? The music, glitz and glamour, socially progressive spirit, and Art Deco in all of its bold geometric design glory still speak to us today. The 1920s was a visual design dream. I have always wanted to attend a party centered around that era in time, and figured that this milestone birthday would be a perfect excuse to throw such an event.

As a Christmas baby, I was just so excited about having an actual birthday party! As early as September, I started a Pinterest 30th Birthday board and started looking around for the appropriate Seattle venue. Crazy early, yes. Surprising? No. I love planning. I wanted the intimate, vintage atmosphere of a speakeasy (appropriate for a Prohibition-era party right?) and luckily for us, Seattle has several great options. The Needle and Thread, above Tavern Law in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, was perfect and a beautiful jewel of a space.

Needle and Thread

Needle and Thread

Needle and Thread entrance

Needle and Thread entrance

House Rules

House Rules

To gain entrance into the Needle and Thread, you pick up a telephone in front of an old bank vault door and provide an event password to the person on the other line. Once in, climb the stairs to the second level and enter a dimly lit room with glowing chandeliers, period furniture, and 1920s jazz playing in the background. It’s like being transported to another era. There is no bar menu. A bartender will ask you for a few flavor descriptors (sweet, dry, sour, citrus) and will craft a cocktail to meet your taste.

The event quickly came together and was so fun in reality. i wanted to keep the festivities simple, just cocktails, small bites, and a cake to celebrate. The invitation suggested Gatsby- inspired attire but it was not mandatory (Seattle being quite the informal city, people have a fear of dressing up for some reason). Nevertheless, several people made an effort, including Nick who thought up his own outfit (so proud). I loved being able to celebrate with our friends here in Seattle. It was the perfect way to celebrate the end of my ‘Roaring 20s’  (hah, sorry, I couldn’t resist) and usher in the next decade.

Event Details:
Invitations: Paperless Post

Invitation

Invitation

Dress and accessories:

Iphone 948
Dress with an ostrich feather skirt: Milly
Triple strand length pearl and gold necklace: J. Crew
Headband: Ulta (my dear designer friend Tina also made some amazing head pieces for the event)
Shoes:  Jimmy Choo (these deco-inspired shoes were for my wedding rehearsal dinner and I love any excuse to wear them again!)

Flowers: Flora Nova- my lovely and talented friend, Alexa, made these beautiful Downton-inspired arrangements for the event. (Fabulous note: she attended the party in her grandmother’s vintage fur!)

Flowers by Flora Nova

Flowers by Flora Nova

Cake: Baked (West Seattle), the cake was inspired by this design

Favors: the black and white striped bags were from Etsy and were filled with salt water taffy and sea salt caramels. I printed gold labels with 1920s-era slang to seal the bags.

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Party Decor: Party City (I mainly stuck to a gold, black, and white palette)

Food and Drink: Tavern Law
Craft Cocktails
Risotto Croquettes with Fontina, Celery Root, and Truffle
Cheese Platter with Seasonal Fruit
Pork Rillettes with Pear, Mustard, and Crostini
Deviled Eggs with Smoked Potato, Caviar, and Chives
Smoked Salmon with Dill Crème Fraiche, Capers, and Crostini
Assorted Olives and Nuts

Event password: Sidecar

My friend Linda kindly took photos to document the evening- here are a few favorite shots!

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Lovely night with wonderful people.