Wife Mommy Me

Chicago -- Food, Music and Friendship

This past weekend, I headed out of town with 2 of my girlfriends, Kristin and Tracy, for a girls only trip to Chicago. Tracy wanted to see Dave Matthews, Kris wanted to see Coldplay and I wanted to eat. Seriously. My main objective was to stuff myself with Chicago-style pizza. Spoiler alert: everyone left happy! Our trip was exactly what I needed. As a Mom, it's nice to just have adult time and that's exactly what I got for 3 solid days. It was pure heaven. I have so many photos to recap our weekend so I'll sum each day up and then share some of my favorite photos from our weekend.

We drove from Dayton to Noblesville, IN to stay at the Prairie Guest House. Our Saturday night plans were to see Dave Matthews Band. The drive from my house to the bed and breakfast was just under 2.5 hours so it was a really easy drive and we had plenty of time to unpack, grab dinner (healthy Mexican ... yes it's a thing. My Mexican rice had lima beans and green beans in it!), get ready for the concert and head over to the venue, Klipsch Music Center. Our bed and breakfast was adorable and I think everyone should experience staying at a B&B at sometime or another. This was my second time and it was so delightful. It was so hot Saturday evening with a heat wave and storm front moving in but Tracy and Kristin loved the show and I enjoyed the people watching. In case you were curious, I am not a fan of DMB and seeing him in concert didn't change that. #TeamJohnMayerforLIFE

We slept in, had the most amazing breakfast cooked for us at the B&B and then got ready to drive the second leg of our trip to Chicago. We drove about 3 more hours into downtown Chicago to check-in at our hotel, Mile North Hotel. The Coldplay concert was Sunday night so we had made plans to have dinner at RPM Italian (owned by Giuliana & Bill Rancic) beforehand. This is were my heart was made happy because #food. I devoured chicken parmesan and chocolate and almond cannoli. The moment we stepped into our Uber (my first experience; so much more enjoyable than a taxi), the skies opened up and we were "treated" to one heck of a thunderstorm. We were able to make it to Solider Field but had to take shelter in an underpass because the storm was so bad. The concert started late and only Coldplay performed. I have no clue who the opening acts were. Again, I'm not a huge fan of Coldplay but Chris Martin puts on such an awesome show that I sort of decided I'd give him a chance.

Sunday was my day. The girls got their concerts and all I wanted was a) to see Chicago and b) eat pizza before heading back home. Easy enough, right? We took an Uber to Millennial Park from our hotel and walked around a bit before stopping at The Bean and then heading to Navy Pier. At the Pier, we had lunch at Giordano's, home of the most amazing, belly filling stuffed pizza. The pizza was beyond tasty and is totally worth the 45-minute cook time. I will admit that both sights, the Bean and Pier, are very touristy but I liked seeing both as they are Windy City landmarks. We ended up walking up the Magnificent Mile back to our hotel and did a bit of window shopping. We hit the road around 4 and got home late Monday evening.

We filled our weekend and I loved every moment, well I could have done without the heat and the storm but wasn't really something we could have control anyway. Kristin and Tracy have been friends of mine for 16 and 11 years, respectively, and this was the perfect way for us to spend time together doing what we love. Road trips are so much fun to me so being able to chat and visit with friends while doing so is an added bonus.

Both Trace and Kris got a kick out of the amount of photos I would take and how I would stage certain things #bloggerproblems but I have to share with my selfies I snapped. I feel in the love with an old barn at the B&B and took a selfie in front of it and my selfie game just snowball from there. I'm not one to take many but I did this week anytime I found a new background that I liked. Here are my Chicago selfies (I promise I'm not vain!).

I'm home now, back to wearing my Momma hat. Hope y'all had a great weekend and that your week has been just as enjoyable. Happy Friday Eve!

Reading Wednesday -- July 2016

Happy Hump Day friends! This morning I am sharing with you this month's book review. I was able to read a ton this month thanks to swim lessons each morning. 30 minutes for 2 weeks adds up when you can read uninterrupted! As of today, I've read 14 of my 25 book goal. I'm hoping to read 3 additional books in August and get a bit ahead of my goal in preparation of our busy season, Fall. For July, I read The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews and The Assistants from Camille Perri

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens...in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

My Thoughts
I was really looking for a summer read and this one fit that bill perfectly. I've never read anything by Mary Kay Andrews but she has a ton of novels so I was really eager to see if she could be a new author for me to binge on. This summer murder mystery book was exactly what I was looking for for a warm weather read. Andrews has these unique ability to hook her readers into the story from the get-go; I couldn't put this book down! It has quite a bit of drama, mystery, and intrigue, but all of this is mixed together gives you a story that will keep you interested all the way through. For example, Riley is a modern woman whose world has centered around her family and an island her entire life. When her life is turned upside down, it's very interesting to read how she handles it. The same is true for her brother and her mother and her daughter -- on and on. The plot is multi-faceted and while, not complex, is a little twisted.

The Assistants by Camille Perri
Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.
When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer.
The Assistants speaks directly to a new generation of women who feel stuck and unable to get ahead playing by the rules. It will appeal to all of those who have ever asked themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?”

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. I hadn't planned on reading it but a book lovin' girlfriend of mine suggested it so I picked it up. It was a quick read -- I finished it in just 4 days -- and would completely recommend it. While obviously the plot of The Assistants is far-fetched, it's a really enjoyable read. We know inherently Tina and her crew are committing crimes, and we know their good fortune can't last forever, but we want it to. Perri does a great job unfurling Tina's ethical and emotional dilemmas, but she's careful not to paint Robert as too much of an ogre either. This book definitely taps into some very relevant themes in today's world, including gender inequity and student loan debt.

For August, I will be reading First Comes Love by Emily Griffin and Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult.  Now it's your turn to share what you've been reading. Add our button to your book themed post and linkup your book reviews and lists. You have until August 5 to add your July reading list.

And this will be the last month that I host this link-up. I'll still be sharing my reading list but plan to move to more of a what's been going on type of post. I plan to join others in the "What's Up Wednesday" link-up party, You can visit Justine's post from today to see what I'll be sharing and even join us! 

Christmas in July Goodies

If you've been around for a while, you know my love of Christmas runs deep. Every year, I start celebrating on November 1, as a birthday gift to myself. We decorate, we listen to Christmas music, we bake cookies for friends, we go all out. So when I discovered some of my favorite bloggers had put together a Christmas in July box swap, you know I jumped on board!

We were lucky enough to have Liz from Chasin' Mason, one of the co-hosts, shopping for us and it's safe to say we were given such amazing goodies. Liz and I are bloggers turned real life friends so she knows Connor personally and you can tell she put so much thought into the items she sent him.

Connor squealed when he say the gifts from Liz. We instantly put the movie and Blaze truck to use during quiet time. Once we had enough batteries for our bubble machine, we shared the fun with some friends at a play date. The water balloons didn't last as nearly long as I had thought they would. Connor and his best gal, Macie had the time of their life with their first ever water balloon fight together.

Liz and Mason, THANK YOU for gifting us such fun summertime toys and activities. Connor has had a blast with the bubble machine and we've watched the Blaze movie more times than I can count!