My darling four-year-old nephew said it best – love everyone! Especially on this designated love-day.
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!
After a month of living the vacation-life in sunny San Diego, I figured it was only fair to reflect on our journey out here and all of the things I love about my new So-Cal existence.
We left Chicago on a VERY cold and slightly snowy December morning. (After of course hitting up Ann Sathers for the last resident brunch).
Our first stop was in St. Louis (5 hrs) where we got to catch up with some of Charlie’s college friends. The car was LOADED with stuff, so we were a little nervous about street parking, but we got a spot right in front of the apartment. The next morning we headed to Oklahoma City! (7 hrs) Walter started getting the hang of travel…
However, he did NOT like getting left in the car during our lunch stops…
But he really liked hotel wall mirrors…
After OKC we headed to Albuquerque (8 hrs). I had fond memories of Albuquerque from a conference my Dad went to when we were little chillins’. Mostly the Ihop. But Charlie wasn’t as excited about a Chocolate Chip Pancake platter, so we found breakfast elsewhere. We did however stumble upon a Prix Fixe winery for New Years Eve! We thought we were going to end up in some sort of Applebees of sorts. But the meal ended up being really nice. (And Walter slept some more).
After Albuquerque we headed to Tucson (6.5 hrs) where we stayed with Charlie’s wonderful cousins. We were definitely getting a little restless – and even more excited to get into our apartment and sleep in the same bed for more than one night! Charlie was the man and drove the ENTIRE time. I’ve been cursed with the Johnson-woman-snooze, which means if a motor is on… I get sleepy. After Tucson we began our final descent into San Diego (6 hrs). Charlie insisted that we doing something So-Cal, so we had In & Out for lunch!
Yeah, it’s worth the hype. Also, there is a secret menu!! You can also ask for your fries extra crispy, which I haven’t tried yet – but I’m looking for any excuse to visit again.
After our delicious lunch we drove a couple more hours and arrived in San Diego!! We met with our apartment manager (we did the entire rental online!!) and saw our apartment for the first time. We were so relieved to see that 1) it was a real apartment and 2) it was really nice! It’s about a third the size of our Chicago apartment, but luckily we like each other a lot.
Charlie and I then set out to Ikea to furnish our apartment. We sold almost all of our furniture in Chicago, so we had some cash to spend at Ikea. We had visited Ikea in Chicago to plan out what we wanted, and I had used this nifty floor plan tool on Pottery Barn’s website to plan it.
The only trick was that our apartment was the opposite way. But we managed and besides feeling like everything was backwards at first, it turned out perfectly. (More pictures to come once I finally find the right pillows and buy shams.)
We were at Ikea for a fantastic three hours, and loaded everything up to be delivered! They didn’t have our couch in stock so we had to go back a few days later to re-order it. Here is how happy Charlie was to be at Ikea at 9 pm after driving almost six hours…
We then got home and collapsed onto our oh-so-comfy floor, and slept.
The trip to San Diego was absolutely amazing, I am so happy that Charlie drove most of the time (okay the whole time). It was really fun to see the scenery, especially between Tucson and San Diego. The only thing I didn’t expect was that it was so cold down south!! I packed for San Diego weather, but it was snowing and cold the whole time. Luckily, Charlie plans better than I do – so I got dibs on his winter jacket.
Things I love about San Diego!!
Things I could live without…
More posts on beautiful San Diego to come!
Okay, before I start this – I have a huge confession. We don’t have cable (we’re poor), so we have to rely on Netflix and my big monthly splurge – Hulu Plus. Anyway, ever since I passed the Bar (yay!) and started my part-time job I have not had anything to do when I get home! I went right from College to Law School – so I have had homework basically for the past 24 years. It has been a bit of an adjustment. But there has been a lot of baking, a lot of cleaning – and here is where my confession comes – a whole lot of Whitney Port. Seriously, why did they ever cancel The City? So much dramz. I love it. But really – I don’t get the Jay thing – Gretchen Weiner said it right “That’s why her hair so big… It’s full of secrets.”
At work I share an office with three other wonderful ladies, but our desks themselves are very drab. And they needed some funky additions. I was on C. Wonder looking for a gift for Natalie and I found this…
I don’t actually like orange very much. But for some reason I think this looks really sophisticated. I think it might be intended to be a drink tray or food tray. But I’m practical, therefore, it is a folder tray! Even better – it was $24.99 (+25% off!) what a steal!
I also have been craving a new pencil holder. Currently my pencil holder at work is a snowman pail. Needless to say, I needed an upgrade. I found Lime Tree Gifts. I am pretty sure Jill is my Etsy soul mate. She is absolutely amazing – and was willing to work with my big order. (My co-worker joined in on the upgrade parade). This is what we ended up with…
Everything looks SO nice – and it was very reasonably priced. The pencil holder was only $10 (including monogram!), the tray (which is actually a really nice larger size) was $14 and the little mini tray was $8!! Such a steal for something that looks so nice and put-together. So here is what my new ensemble looks like…
I love it! And I think it also kind of goes with the whole color-blocking style that is going on this summer, and also purple and orange look great! But back to Lime Tree Gifts… I already have a LONG wish list of things I will order if (hopefully when!) I get a full time job… (click on the picture to link back to their shop!)
1. 20 oz Insulated Acrylic Tumbler – $16.50, I drink more water than anyone I know (save Martha) I am currently sipping out of a normal water bottle… which is not nearly as cool as a personalized tumbler.
2. Acrylic Candy Jar – $12.50, One of the ladies at work always has candy in her office. So whenever I am having a bad day I will head to her office, grab a Starburst and chat – I am sure it doesn’t do wonders for her productivity, but it is appreciated on my end!
3. Acrylic Soap Dispenser – $10.00, Germs freak the heck out of me. ‘Nuff said.
4. Napkin Holder – $10.00, So I may not have napkins at work… but I think this could be a really nice letter holder! From the stuff I have received from Lime Tree the acrylic is super sturdy and I think it would look beautiful!
5. Recipe Box – $32.00, I don’t even need to explain why this is awesome.
6. Divided Catch All – $15.00, Paperclips? Check. Pushpins? Check. Binder clips? Check. Places for all = a happy OCD Amanda.
So this basically turned out as an ode to Lime Tree Gifts… but I love them! Go shop at their store and contact Jill if you want to do a bulk order – she has an incredibly fast response. Basically she’s awesome.
I love my mom.
A few months ago we got a Living Social voucher for a facial and massage at The Spa on Oak in Gold Coast. When we went we had a really good experience (warning: rooms are TINY) and they were having a special for five hours of services + a cranberry facial for $150! So my mom being the best mom ever bought it and I have had a massage almost every week leading up to the Bar exam. We also scheduled two massages for Sunday so that I could have a “Mommy Therapy Day” before the Bar Exam. I needed it.
I had a massage with Daniel (who was great!) my favorites at Spa on Oak are Andre (I very openly love him) and Logan as well. Andre’s Hot Stone will cure any ailments you may ever have. Ever. I have had a lot of massages in my life (my Aunt is a masseuse – I am not spoiled – well actually, I guess that makes me spoiled) – and Andre is Top 5 for sure!!!
She came in on the train from Michigan… (is that a song title??) and we met at Trader Joe’s (which I suspect may have been her other main reason for coming down) and stocked up on some groceries! We then set out on a Boot Adventure (more on that later). We stopped by Nordstrom Rack – where we didn’t find any boots – but we DID find two delicious pairs of ballet flats. (Sparkles and Purple – two of my favorite things!)
We then went to one of my favorite places in the world THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY! Okay judgment done? Did you know that they have a Skinny menu now? And by “skinny” I mean under 600 calories. Anyway after munching on delicious noms we headed over to Water Tower where my Boot Adventure concluded! YES. We skedaddled over to the Spa (it is right off of Michigan Ave.) and began our relaxation. My only complaint about Spa on Oak – is that my massage ended like ten minutes early! I understand that they have to get the room ready for the next person – but my massage ended up only being about 40 minutes because I didn’t get into the room until 3:10. Regardless, Daniel was wonderful and my mom had a good massage too! After our massage we took a cab (luxury) to Union Station where I let her leave. Barely.
She left me with a bag of goodies including Butterscotch Rice Krispies and Applets!! I will try and make both of these in the future – but for now I’m giving you the recipe for the Krispies via another site. She also left me with the biggest container of Dunkin’ Donuts ground coffee you have EVER SEEN as well as lots of hugs and motivation and love – which is what I need more than anything right now. I then went home and well, I did work. Because the Bar Exam is never-ending (Just kidding! 5 days! Heart attack!)
Sometimes the only thing you need in life is 5 hours off – and I got that with my Mom!! To all of the Bar Examiners out there (or just busy people in general) remember that the most important thing is to take care of yourself!
P.S. That picture is of my grandma (Nancy), my mom, and me… yes, we all look alike, and we also make the exact same facial expressions. When Charlie first met Nancy he said it was like meeting an 80-some version of me. If that’s what I’m like when I’m a grandma – I am a-okay!
ONE WEEK UNTIL THE BAR EXAM. Insert heart attack/panic attack/anxiety/stress-baking/ohemgoodness. My posts are going to DRAMATICALLY decline over the next week – think of it as a super mysterious hiatus – in actuality I will not be showering nor practicing any other sort of personal hygiene and will most likely be completely out of my mind. Against – mysterious hiatus.
I LOVE stationery. I love stationery and I love paper products. So naturally, I love Rifle Paper Co. Here are some of my favorites… (It’s a condensed Tuesday Crush – did I mention in one week I’m taking the biggest exam of my life?)
I had SUCH a perfect Valentine’s Day. It was exactly what my bombarded-brain needed, some R&R.
(1) I got the CUTEST card for Charlie. I am always talking about being a “Smitten Kitten” and then when I was in Papyrus I found this! Side note I love Papyrus, they always have a card for EVERYONE I am looking for.
(2) OH EM GOODNESS, Lisa was right, this wine is amazing!!! It just gets me more excited for our trip to California and all of the delish wine-tastings we have in store!
(3) Speaking of California… my Dad warned Charlie when we first started dating to not ever try and outdo my mother or me in presents – because we will always win. Well, I can’t always say that this has been the case (i.e. last V-Day I didn’t get him anything and he got me diamond earrings – woops!), but I definitely LOVE giving gifts. So I cheated a bit this year and gave him two – one for Valentine’s Day (7) and one for being so supportive of me the past couple months (3). I know I have not been the easiest person in the world but he’s been so patient and supportive. So anyway, we are driving the Pacific Coast Highway after the Bar, and I am SO excited. I was searching for some kind of “experience” to give him in San Francisco, our last stop. I am a bargain HUNTER, capital H-U-N-T-E-R. I was thinking of getting a gift certificate to Gary Danko of La Folie, but then THIS came on Living Social! It is a Sailing Tour of San Francisco – PERFECTION. Charlie is a sailor, and I like Sperrys – so this is basically the most perfect gift of all time. (Okay now I’m just bragging).
(4) I got this wrapping paper for Christmas because it was hilarious – and when I was trying to find wrapping paper for Charlie’s other gift I came across this and thought – dual purposes?? (Earmuffs Mom! Earmuffs Dad!!)
(5) Like I said – perfect night in. This included a Fireside Pizza from Homemade Pizza. I even let them put all the ingredients on the whole pizza so Charlie and I could have a “pizza experience” together. (Usually I like just cheese).
(6) Eek! My favorite part! There are very few things I like more than nice leather – one of those things is monograms!!!! So Charlie COMBINED them and gave me a grown-up present!!! A leather portfolio for all of my important lawyer-meetings. In all honesty it has kind of given me a kick-in-the-butt with this Bar stuff. Sometimes I forget that I went to law school because I actually wanted to practice law. This reminded me of all of the opportunities that will be available to me after I pass the Bar.
(7) Charlie’s other gift!!! I figured he needed a new pair of Sperrys for our sailing adventure! Funny story – I know his shoe size but he tried to fool me! He just got a pair of boots from Sperry and ordered a half-size up to fit Nancy-Socks in them as well. So when I asked him to double check he told me the wrong size. Luckily, I keep an impeccable record… well Zappos does… and I double checked and exchanged them for the right size.
(8) To cap off the perfect night – our favorite show – Frasier! Did I not mention we’re retired? Just kidding. This show is a GEM, and it is still funny. I remember watching this show with my parents and not getting it - at all. Now I (pretty much) get it.
I hope all of your Valentine’s Days were MAGICAL and fulfilling.
Chances are if something is REALLY COOL and I am telling you about it – I most likely learned about it from someone else. In this case Meg posted about C. Wonder a few days ago and since reading her blog is a ton more interesting than “Conflict of Laws” I decided to check it out…
OH EM GOODNESS. The cutest. All of it. I want it. Specifically that dress.
Each Tuesday I will try to do a “Crush” of some sort – it won’t necessarily be a brand, but could also be a blog… song… anything! And if you have anything that you think is crush-worthy – please share!
In other news – it is Valentine’s Day! Because I am just beyond stressed – Charlie and I are celebrating at home with a “Homemade Pizza” and a bottle of wine from Napa that my dear friend Lisa gave us. I can’t believe that in FOURTEEN DAYS I will be done with the first day of the Bar exam and a couple days after that will be on the way to the Adventure of a Lifetime!!! (More on that later!!!) I think a sign that you’re growing up is that you get more excited to GIVE than RECEIVE (even though it is still really fun to get gifts!) I cannot WAIT to give Charlie his present tonight – and I will let you all know how it goes tomorrow!
For now, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Again – this Bar stuff is literally the biggest time-sucker I have ever experienced in my life. So when Charlie suggested we go out to dinner to celebrate my Law School graduation I gleefully accepted, and scheduled it for about a month after I actually graduated. I am really trying to limit my social outings – because there is always studying to do. (This is being drafted while I’m eating lunch.)
Anyway we settled on Jack’s on Halsted, which is AMAZING by the way. Charlie had some man-steak and I had the pork with maple mashed sweet potatoes. Yes you read that right, and yes I have a picture…It was so stinkin’ delicious!!!
They also had these cute little napkin man-shirts. I took an adorable picture of Charlie, but I think he would be highly unamused if I put it on here. Anyway… FASHION.
I LOVE dressing up, really, I do. And I guess I have a very 50′s prep style – I love high-waisted almost anything, especially skirts. So tonight I decided red would be my focal color (the color of passion right?). Anyway I sported my red-deal coat as well as an Ann Taylor skirt that I couldn’t find online – but it was polka dotted!
The ballet flats are my FAVORITE – they are from Born, and I have had them for what seems like forever. I feel like I always get a new pair of black ballet flats that stretch out/get a hole in them/lose them while crossing the street and then I find these in the back of my closet. Super trusty and durable. The bangle is from Kate Spade, (Charlie’s Christmas Present ), and I have had that Pandora since high school I think. The Skagen watch I have again, had forever. Last but not least those beautiful diamond studs? Totally fake, got them off of Groupon Goods. They’re actually Swarovski Zirconia, and they look just like the real thing!!!
Does anyone have any fun plans? I’m thinking homecooked dinner and at least two bottles of wine. Charlie and I are going out on Thursday to celebrate my graduation (we’ve been busy!). In the meantime I am going to be searching high and low for the perfect V-Day recipe. Let me know if you have any ideas!
Signing off! Studying to do!