Making up for lost time

 The last time I was home in Chicago was THANKSGIVING so I was anxious to fit in as much friends, family, and home time as I possible could.

Prepare for a picture overload.


First of all, I have to say, I'm becoming a pretty dominant traveler. I have never enjoyed flying and would be anxious for days leading up to my flights, but in the last two years my travel anxiety is nearly gone.  And, if you had flown with me prior to 2012, you can attest that this is like almost a miracle.
**Also, TSA pre-check, Virgin America, and xanax also make an enormous difference!

As soon as I landed in Chicago I took a cab to meet my best girlfriends at the J. Parker hotel for happy hour. It's a new rooftop in the city, and we luckily got to enjoy a round of Mexican Mules (my new favorite drink) before the first downpour of the week happened.


We had dinner at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, and another round of drinks at Stella Barra before we had to separate.

I took the train from my sister's house in the morning to visit my cousin Liz, her son Jack, and her brand new baby Ella.

I hadn't met Ella yet and she is just as sweet and loving as can be. Plus I was in pure Heaven while she napped on me for a good hour.

My mom picked me up from Liz's and home we went. My dad had a work event that day that he couldn't get out of, so my mom and I loaded up on all of our favorite things. Starting with a bike around the neighborhood and a somewhat close game of Scrabble - and then finishing off with Mexican food, tequila, and some bad reality tv.


I didn't appreciate how nice Lakewood - my hometown - was while I was growing up up, but now, I find it to be just about the most idyllic lake town in the world....especially in the summer.


 I didn't realize how much I missed the small town feel, but wow - do I ever. Everyone is constantly riding their bikes, walking barefoot down the streets with their paddle boards, boating on the lake, leaving their doors unlocked, going to the cardboard cup regatta...the whole nine yards. I felt like I was on the Gilmore Girls set. It's just the nicest  place on the planet.....May through September.

On Thursday, after a few errands, a walk around the lake, and lunch, my parents and I hung on the boat for most of the afternoon.

It's pretty rare that I get to have my parents to myself, so we had a lot of fun just the three of us.

On Friday, we started prep for the wedding shower we were hosting on Saturday. My mom and I snuck in a quick yoga class together and then ran about 27 errands to get everything ready for the shower.

My sister Hannah and Amanda came in from the city to help us get everything ready, and by six we were done and able to enjoy happy hour and deep dish pizza as our rewards.

Saturday was the big day - and the reason excuse I flew into town - so we were up pretty early getting things done. 

We went with a subtle Tea-Party theme, and the shower came together perfectly.

And yes, my cousins are like alarmingly beautiful. 


And, in typical fashion for our family - the partied continued well after the shower ended.

My cousin Ryan's kids came out for a boat ride and then my dad ended up grilling for the after party. About twenty people from the shower stayed for dinner - and then about half us ended up in our living room living room until the wee hours of the morning going through bottles of wine, laughing our heads off, and listening to hilarious old family stories.

Oh and don't worry - the fun didn't stop there.

Sunday morning, after like 5 hours of sleep, my mom and I woke up and were back at the grocery store to stock up for party #2.

My parents were nice to enough to have our other side of the family over for yet another beach and boat day.

 I don't want these little guys to grow up and not remember me, so I felt really lucky that I got to spend so much quality time with my cousins and their kids this weekend. 

After everyone left by dinnertime, my mom, dad, and I were basically noodles, so we had a few glasses of wine, some snacks, and basically rolled ourselves to bed early since I was on an early flight back from Monday morning.


I really do love our life in California, but when I get to go back to Chicago (especially when the weather is nice) it can be a harsh reminder of everything we are giving up by living here.

Being away from my friends and family has never been easy, but after this amazing week home, my heart is pretty broken being away from everyone again.

Home and family are everything for me, so I'm happy that I have another trip planned at the end of summer - keeping "our next trip" to seeing each other makes it a lot easier.

And, the fact that I seriously needed to stop eating the way we also helped get my butt back to Los Angeles and all of our friggen Kale.


  1. I just yesterday recalled a George Burns quote - "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." I do love seeing my family and returning to my hometown, but it doesn't feel like "home" - just "where I grew up". I think I'll have a much stronger attachment to wherever J and I settle outside of NYC.

    ALSO -- all of those day dresses at the shower. Need each and every one.

  2. Looks like the perfect weekend!! You have one good looking family, yourself included of course. Your hometown looks so so sweet- I want to move there! Minus the whole freezing Illinois winter thing.

  3. Your ENTIRE family is so flipping gorgeous, I literally cannot even stand it.