winter in chicago.

the husband + I are on our back to “reality” home today. after spending the holidays with family in chicago. it really is beautiful this time of year. amidst the holiday plans, we found a bit of time to sneak away + explore.

there was a lunch at howells & hood. wandering briefly down state street. hot cocoas around an outdoor, high-in-the-sky ice rink at the peninsula. appetizers + a brew at butch mcguire’s. martinis + live music at the drake hotel. and a dinner at lou malnatis. not to mention, the weather was far from typical chicago in december. it was nearly 50°. making the exploring that much more enjoyable. although a bit of snow would’ve really added some holiday cheer to these cityscape photos, you won’t hear me complain.

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

winter in chicago c/o LLinaBC.com

now it’s time to begin the preparation for 2015. it is only two days away. and I am one that really enjoys the hype of a new year. it may be ridiculous, but I love the idea of a fresh start. the chance to turn a new leaf. and besides your birthday, the only other time is a new year. so I clean, donate + organize my life. I reflect on the past year and write down what I want more of + less of in the new year. meaning now that we’re home from our holiday trip, I have a lot to do!

what are you doing to prepare for the new year? what do you want more of + less of in 2015?

I’ll share mine soon!

the eve of christmas.

the car has been loaded down, with our luggage + presents. we just need to make a quick stop at starbucks for our road trip beverages super large iced coffees. obviously. #addicted. #CantRoadTripWithoutCaffeine.

our road trip essentials ..

pretzels + holiday M&M’s, a cozy blanket, granola bars, coconut water, fruit vines bites, and napkins. better to be safe than sorry.

holiday road trip treats c/o LLinaBC.com

holiday road trip treats c/o LLinaBC.com

we’ll be spending the holidays in chicago.

there is no way to satisfy both family holidays when our parents live 6 hours apart. so this year, we will spending christmas with [J]’s family in the city. last year, we had a party for two on christmas.

on the menu for this evening is [J]’s mom’s most amazing seafood chowder. it is truly out of this world. don’t you just love holiday traditions? I do. especially since I married into a really good one.

need last-minute ideas for your gathering?

try these festive place cards made from gold ornaments purchased at the dollar store. to satisfy the beer drinks in your group, these picks are holiday appropriate. and do not forget the eggnog!! if you’re looking for a spiked version ..try these two scrumptious additions.

merry christmas eve!

don’t forget to bed early. santa won’t come if he knows you’re awake.

travels // chicago, again.

[J] & I have spent our last two weekends in the car + in chicago.

it’s [just over] five hours from des moines, IA to [J]’s family in downtown chicago. so I am not exaggerating when I say we’ve had our fair share of quality couple time and refills of iced coffee.

two weekends ago, we were celebrating [J]’s sister’s wedding. and this weekend, it was for the father’s + some quality family time. as much fun as we’ve had, I think it’s safe to say we’re looking forward to some quiet, relaxing at-home time. [assuming that’s what is in store for us ..lately, plans have been popping up like crazy. and we’ve spent very little time sitting still. that may or may not have to do with a large event coming up in four short months. ahem, wedding].

there were 4 trips over the mississippi river. a stop at eataly. six doughnuts consumed from glazed and infused. a trip to see the chicago cubs play. two fireworks shows. and a large wedding. plus more cocktails than I can count on both hands.

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

travels // chicago, again c/o LLinaBC.com

there is not enough coffee in the world to get me through today.

happy monday.