Monday, September 30, 2013

Crock Pot Time!!!

So this past Friday, I had been traveling all week so it was time to do some home cooking.  Since I traveled all week and was leaving again Saturday, I had to do something that was easy but amazing.  Joe had a pork loin in the fridge so I searched some recipes, and before I knew it, I found something I had all the ingredients for and it looked amazing!  I'm going to brag on Joe a bit, and he did want to do a date night Friday since I was traveling so much, and even brought be flowers and asked me in the cutest way, but after a long week of work we wanted to spend quality time together without a restaurant environment.
Love coming home to this!
So, with that, below is the pork loin crock pot recipe that I decided to make instead of date night.  I cooked it long enough to where it started falling apart when I tried to cut it so it ended up being pulled pork, which was quite all right with me!  The sauce is amazing and we ate it all.  This was served with mashed potatoes.

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Loin
2 lbs boneless pork loin
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 TBS crushed garlic
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TBS cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic.
2. Rub seasonings over roast.
3. Put roast and water in crock pot.
4.  Cook roast on low for 6 to 8 hours.
5. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for glaze in a small sauce pan.
6. Heat over medium until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
7. About one hour before roast is done brush roast with glaze.
8. Brush roast another 2 times in the last hour.
9. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Traveling the US, one week at a time...

This past week was quite a crazy week for me!  I hadn't traveling in a couple weeks so it was time to get back on the road and meet with customers, so early Monday morning I hopped on a flight to Chicago for some meetings Monday and Tuesday.  It was such a quick trip that was full of meetings so I didn't even get to see Agatha, and Tuesday evening I hopped on a flight to Baltimore.  Baltimore was a short trip too, with a full day of meetings Wednesday.  The highlight of this trip is that I got to see my lovely college roommate that lives a bit outside Baltimore.  We had amazing food at Waterfront Kitchen where we sat outside and enjoyed the harbor and beautiful weather.  I hadn't seen Caiti in quite some time and it was SOOOOOO good to catch up and see her!  It is so crazy how much life changes in just a couple of years!
Baltimore on a Beautiful Day
I flew into Atlanta on Thursday, just in time for GAMEDAY at Tech!!!!  Right before we left for the game we FINALLY mailed out our save the dates, so they should be arriving soon if they have not arrived yet!  We had a Thursday night game so of course after Joe got off work we headed to campus to tailgate and watch the game!  We ran into so many friends while tailgating and enjoyed spending time outside in the beautiful weather!  It is perfect tailgate/football season weather here in Atlanta.  The first half of the game we watched from the student section with some swimmers.  Although I only know a select few of the swimmers left on the team, it was great seeing them.  At halftime we headed up to the upper level to see Joe's parents.  We ended up staying up there and ran into my most avid blog reader/fan, Lane :)  Although the game didn't end quite like we had hopped, we had a blast.

Friday went by too quick, with a lot of work to do to follow up from the weeks travels and getting ready for the following week.  Before I knew it, it was time to cook dinner and then take a long walk with Joe and Rox.  Dinner was a crock pot brown sugar balsamic pork loin that I will post the recipe for later.  It was absolutely amazing!  Joe and I took a long walk after dinner around Chastane Park and then it was time to get packed for the weekend!

Saturday morning was an early morning as I headed to the airport to fly to California!  I have meetings in California all week, so since a great friend from college, Kristen, lives in Anaheim, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to explore some of Cali.  The day started off absolutely amazing when I got upgraded to first class for the 4 1/2 hour flight.  They served me breakfast and more snacks than I could ever eat.   I got a lot of work done on the flight, because what else would I do on such a long flight, and watched The Great Gadsby.  I could get use to this kind of treatment.  Due to the time change I got to Kristen's place around 11:30 or so, and we laid around for a bit before heading out for our afternoon hike.  We went to Peter's Canyon which is pretty much the desert.  We were feeling inspired and mapped a 6 mile hike, with no water (because I forgot mine at her house).  The hike was absolutely beautiful with a lot of hills and hot weather, but when we got to the finish we were glad to be done!  After getting home and showering we went to Kristen's coworker's house for drinks/food and before we knew it, it was late and time for bed (especially due to the time change).

Peter's Canyon Hike
We were both up and at it early in the morning and started the day with an amazing breakfast.  After breakfast we headed out for the day.  We started at Huntington Beach where we enjoyed some relaxation on the beach.  From there we headed to New Port Beach where we saw the cutest houses and relaxed on the beach a bit more before heading to Crystal Cove State Park for our hike for the day.  This hike was through the hills and we got some beautiful views of the water below and the hills surrounding us.  Once we were all done we walked just under 4 miles in beautiful weather that was a bit cooler than the day before.  The loop we did was an uphill hike the first half as you made it to the top of the hills then back down through the valleys so it was great to see the change in scenery.
Crystal Cove
Crystal Cove Hike
Beach Hopping in Cali
After the hike it was time to make it to the final destination of the day, Laguna Beach.  This is Kristen's favorite beach, and I now know why.  We grabbed an early dinner at a waterfront restaurant, OceanView Bar & Grill where we grabbed some amazing drinks and then for dinner split Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos and the Seafood Pasta which were both great!  I'm not sure which one I would order again if we went back.  After that we walked down the beach a bit and relaxed then watched the sun set into the water.  Laguna is so pretty because it has more of the rocks and boulders on the beaches making it beautiful to watch the sun set.  After the sun went down we headed to grab some gelato and had some amazing flavors.  I got green apple/lemon which reminded me of my many travels in Europe and Kristen got Oreo/Peanut butter Chocolate, and we pretty much ended up splitting both so that we could get the fruity and the sweet flavors.  Then it was time to head back and call it a night early so that we were both prepared for the week of work ahead of us.  I couldn't have asked for a better two days in Cali and I am so incredibly blessed to have such an amazing friend to host me.  I love the lifestyle here and quite frankly wouldn't mind living the beach lifestyle (some day!).  So now, it's time for a week of work out here in Cali before heading back to Atlanta late Friday night.  Happy Week Everyone!!!
Beautiful Sunset at Laguna

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fun Filled Weekend...

This weekend was supposed to be a relaxing weekend where we wouldn't do much.  I guess we should have known that the weekend wouldn't be relaxing but it was amazing to say the least!  The most exciting part of this weekend was that Joe FINALLY asked his groomsmen to be in his wedding party!  It took him some time, but with save the dates going out it was about time for him to ask :)  I am super excited to see their grooms gifts and will post both the grooms gifts and bridesmaid gifts on the next post! So now, for the actual events of the weekend...

We also ordered Thank You notes for the wedding this weekend.  One thing that I would suggest to everyone, is if you are creative, use Vista Print.  They have already made designs, but they also have blank designs where you can upload your own design.  I love doing creative stuff, so I was obviously going to try to design my own.  After making the save the dates and saving a TON of money, I knew we would try to do the rest.  Thank you notes don't have to be intricate, so we took it upon ourselves to design our own.  After it was all said and done, we got 250 thank you notes for right at 50$!  Can't beat that deal!  I'll let you know how they look!

Friday night was actually a relaxing evening where we cooked dinner at home and cleaned the house a bit.  After dinner we relaxing until Meredith and Andy came to visit.  It was so good seeing them even though it was for just a little bit!  We called it an early night because we knew it would be an early morning.
Hanging out with my favorite little girl!
Saturday morning, Joe was supposed to play tennis so we got up early and headed to Kennesaw.  Of course, after driving 45 minutes, it was raining so the matches were pushed back to Sunday morning.  It was nice that they were canceled because then we headed home and changed before heading to GT for the game.  We parked at 8th street and started the walk to the stadium making plenty of stops along the way.  First stop was a surprise stop running into Casey, a college friend of mine that was in town for music midtown!  It was so random and awesome seeing him even if it was for about 0.2 seconds!  After that we stopped by the swim team tailgate for a bit and chatted with swimmers (the senior class is the last class I know) before heading to Joe's parents tailgate.  There we at yummy Biscuits & More and relaxed for a bit before braving the trek in the rain to the bridge to see Ilia and Barnes.  Of course it was pouring but we hung out there for a bit before getting some tickets for cheap and heading to the game!  We were super hard core and sat through the rain cheering our Jackets on for the first half of the game!  It rained the whole entire time, so at half time we made the executive decision to walk to Rocky Mountain to finish up watching the game.  After the long trek back we made it to Rocky Mountain, soaked, and excited to see Tech starting off the second half much better than the first!  It rained so hard that our rain jackets started absorbing water because they were so wet!  Needless to say we were happy to be inside, but even there it was freezing.  We cheered on the Jackets to victory then headed home for a warm, long nap!  After nap time, Tareq and Reza came over and we headed to Ivy for a bit before going to Waffle House for a late night snack.  It was a low key night, but fun to not do anything too crazy.
Tech Game!!!!

Sunday morning came quick, and Joe headed out to play tennis while I cleaned the house and made desert.  My parents were driving down from Greenville to see our house for the first time so we wanted it to be perfect!  After some cleaning, I went and swam for the first time in FOREVER and survived a full 1650 yard swim!  To say the least it was much easier than the open water swim Ag talked me into while I was up in Chicago a while back.  I got home just in time to buzz my parents in, then we had fun catching up, showing them our house, and baking desert for dinner.  They also brought us 7 huge plants to put in our house and on our rooftop that we are so excited to place around the house!  Some while go on the rooftop while others will stay inside until next spring!  We have placed them in our desired spots and we are very happy with the color and homeyness it adds to our place!  Around 4, Joe's parents came down to have dinner at our place and we had an amazing time up on the rooftop grilling out, watching the Falcons, and just spending time with our famillies. Before we knew it, it was time for my parents to go back to Greenville and Joe's parents to go home.  It was a perfect end to the weekend and I am so glad that my parents finally got to see our new home!  Below, you will find the amazing new desert I made, which is a combination of cookie dough and cheesecake and is super easy to make!  Now it is time to pack since I hit the road early in the morning and travel up to Chicago and Baltimore next week!  Enjoy the desert!

Family dinner with my parents and future in-laws!
Just watching the Falcons Game!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used miniature)

Using an electric mixer , mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape into teaspoon size balls. Chill while making cheesecake filling.


10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended.
Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough balls over the top of the filling.
Bake about 30 minutes, or until set but still wobbly in center. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

For chocolate topping, melt 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave (I melted them in a ziplock bag in the microwave). Add about 1/2 tablespoon of butter if necessary to make chocolate smooth. Drizzle over top of bars. Once the pan feels cool to the touch, chill the bars completely in the fridge overnight before cutting.

Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baked Pasta with Spinach, Ricotta, and Prosciutto!

It has been quite some time since I have made a pasta dish, and this week Joe requested that I make one, so of course I wanted to try something new that was a little less heavy than most pasta dishes are!  I love me some pasta but sometimes alfredo sauce, etc. is just way too creamy!  So, I set out to find a recipe that I would love.  Of course, it had spinach and ricotta in it so it had to be good!  Prosciutto is a food that I haven't eaten often here in America, but I absolutely LOVE every time I go back to Slovenia.  To my surprise, the Kroger down the street from us had a huge wheel of prosciutto that reminded me so much of Slovenia and it was VERY good.  So with that, here is a "skinny" version that incorporates so many good flavorful ingredients!  I'm sure you can substitute to prosciutto with other meets if you would like! Enjoy!

Baked Pasta with Spinach, Ricotta, and Prosciutto
  • 1 pound gemelli (or other pasta, I use whole wheat)
  • 1/2 lbs prosciutto (I used a lot because I love it so much but you can use less)
  •   1packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
  • 2 cups milk (I used Almond Milk and it worked just fine)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta a few minutes less than package instructions suggest. Cut prosciutto into thin strips.

  2. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss pasta with spinach, half of prosciutto, milk, ricotta, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Top with remaining prosciutto and Parmesan. Bake until golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Switching up the side dishes...

So in the past, Joe and I would constantly eat rice and potatoes with any of our meat meals.  Don't get me wrong, I love rice and potatoes, but it gets boring.  I am not a huge cooked veggie fan so we always had to have something else with our meat and it just wasn't enough variety.  So, the newest, latest and greatest super food is Quinoa.  I had never had it before but hey why not give it a try.  We had it in the past a couple of times and it was good, but never fantastic unless it was cooked in a very specific way.  I just didn't know enough to improvise and make my own recipes.  Below, you will find what I am sure will be a very regular part of our meals from now on.  It is amazingly tasty, and healthy!

Quinoa with Spinach and Feta (taken off of and modified for my taste)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 avocado, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta

Warm oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onion until onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add quinoa, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Add stock; cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let sit 5 minutes. Serve fluffed with a fork and tossed with avocado, tomatoes, spinach and feta.

So this recipe serves 4 and has about 340 calories per serving.  Let me tell you, a serving is HUGE and you really don't even need to eat a full serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A week/weekend full of visitors!

This week was the first week I was not traveling for work so I was excited to have a relaxing weekend working from home.  It turned out to be quite the opposite.  After the internet going down on Monday, I went up to WIKA to get some work done and do a couple of meetings.  Monday night, we were having visitors, so after work, it was time to clean the house and get dinner ready!

Monday and Tuesday, Deck and Kayla, two friends and fellow athletes at Tech were staying with us while they looked for apartments in Atlanta.  They finished up their apartment search around 6:30 or so on Monday and headed to our place.  After a house tour, it was time to start cooking dinner.  Amanda, another track runner at Tech also lives down the road from us, so we invited her to join us for dinner!  We kept dinner simple, serving hamburgers, brats, asparagus, and stuffed mushrooms.  The stuffed mushroom recipe can be found here...SPINACH ARTICHOKE STUFFED MUSHROOMS.  We had so much fun relaxing, eating, and drinking some amazing wine up on the rooftop!  Before we knew it, it was time for bed.

Tuesday went by quick, and before I knew it, we were cooking dinner again!  Joe had to pick up some interviewees from the airport at 7 so he stopped by for appetizers and we planned on a later dinner.  For our appetizer we went with brie and blueberry jelly wrapped in a croissant.  It is incredibly simple and you will find the recipe below:

Brie Croissants:

Brie Pinwheel
1 packs croissant dough
1 to 1 1/2 cups jelly of your choice
Club crackers


Spread out the croissants and pinch together the seams to make a square.  Put the Brie in the center of the square/rectangle, then spread out desired amount of jelly on the top.  Pull up corners and encase the brie with the croissants.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (until croissant looks golden brown).  Serve warm with club crackers.

For dinner, we were making shrimp with mango salsa on the grill and it was amazing.  Here is the recipe...SHRIMP WITH MANGO SALSA.  It was so much fun having people to cook for and relax with after work, that we were sad to see Deck and Kayla go on Wednesday, but luckily they are moving in tomorrow!!!!  I am super excited to have some new neighbors :)

Wednesday evening Joe brought by some work colleagues for drinks at our place before we headed out for an experience of a lifetime when going to Johnnies Hideaway.  It is literally the most crazy places I have seen and I can now say I have been there, and most likely will never return until I am more appropriately aged!

Thursday evening was another night Joe brought by some work colleagues, but this time, Amanda had come into town so we talked our way out of going out.  Instead, we started the process of making ice cream cookies and baked a couple batches of cookies to stick in the freezer to complete on Friday.

The week went quick since I was taking Friday off for my hair and makeup trial.  Amanda came into town late Thursday evening to come with me to my hair and make up trial and since it was up in Roswell, we had an earlyish morning before heading up there.  Although I am still not 100% sold on what my hair will look like, it was such a fun experience, and then Kellie Ann and Amanda enjoyed a day of girl time!  After a long day we were ready to come home and relax and cook dinner/finish up some ice cream sandwiches before getting ready for the evening (Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe).  It was girls night Friday night, and Courtney had come into town at around 5 so we were ready for a good time.  Blaine, a coworker of mine, was joining us as well so after it seemed to be appropriate time to head out to the bars, we went to Ivy for some dancing and fun!  At Ivy, we were pleasantly surprised to meet up with Sam and Dem who were in town for the weekend!!!  We danced the night away and had such an amazing time and I cannot wait to do it again soon!  After leaving Ivy it was time for some yummmmmmy Waffle House hash browns before walking home.


He came :) :) :)


Amanda had to leave Saturday morning, so after she headed home, Courtney and I went for a long walk before going to Rocky Mountain Pizza to watch the Tech game with Sam, Mike V, and Nick!  Although we might have watched about 4 minutes of the game, it was a VERY entertaining time!  After getting home from watching the game, it was time for me to be a bit productive for the day and address save the dates!  After a couple hours of addressing save the dates, we realized that we were all VERY tired from the weekend so we headed up the the rooftop to hang out and enjoy the wine we had picked up at Mac's earlier in the day.  It was an early bed time for us since we all got sleepy, but we LOVED that Mike V came to visit and entertain us for a bit!

Sunset on the rooftop
Sunday was a relaxing day where Joe and I slept in!  After a lazy morning, we headed up to Joe's parents house to watch the Falcons game and eat dinner since we had not seen them in quite some time!  It was nice to have a little more relaxed day after such a crazy week and weekend and I am looking forward to one more week working from home before I hit the road traveling again!  So, with that, expect some new recipes this week!

Clean Eating on the Grill

This past week we had some visitors so I was incredibly excited to get to cook dinner at home!  Since we love being up on the rooftop, we wanted to grill out both days.  The first day we kept it simple withe the meal and made burgers, brats, and asparagus, but added one of my favorite sides, stuffed mushrooms.  They were stuffed with Spinach Artichoke Dip, and they turned out absolutely amazing!

The following day we grilled out again, this time making shrimp with mango salsa (recipe previously blogged).  It is such a quick easy recipe to make and it is so full of flavor.  Below, you will find the recipe for stuffed mushrooms.

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 4-6 medium portabella mushrooms
  • 4. oz. cream cheese
  • 4 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 10 oz. spinach
  • 9 oz. artichoke
  • 1/2 cup panko breakcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup parmisan cheese

Stir 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and about two-thirds of the minced garlic together in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the garlic oil on the inside of the mushrooms then season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer the mushrooms, bottoms-up, to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, stir the cream cheese, yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme together in a medium bowl until well incorporated. Add the spinach and artichokes, stirring to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. To make the topping, combine the remaining garlic, remaining tablespoon of oil, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, panko and cheese in a medium bowl.

Fill the mushrooms with the spinach-artichoke mixture then top with the breadcrumb mixture. Grill about 10 minutes, or until the filling is hot, and the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Never Ending To Do List...

Although I would have loved to stay in Chicago the full weekend, now that we have a house, I knew that Joe and I would have a lot to do since I haven't been home that much lately!  So, due to that, I came home Saturday morning so that I could get some stuff done on the house and for the wedding.  Once I landed, Joe and I met at Ikea so that we could do some shopping for random things in the house.  The main purchase was going to be a buffet.  We didn't want anything too expensive because it is a piece of furniture that will not be used if/when we decide to move to a new house a couple years down the road. It is very specific to this town house so why spend a lot of money on something! So, with that we set out to buy a buffet and other fun things to put around the house.  After two hours spent at IKEA, we finally had two carts full of things for the home (and didn't even spend that much money!) After loading up the car it was time to head home and unpack the car.

Our Beautiful New Addition!
Once we got everything upstairs it was time to start building our new furniture, which everyone knows is a LONG process.  It took us several hours to build, but once it was done we were so happy with the way it looked!  Right as we finished up our building project, we decided we would do a date night, so we dressed quickly and headed to Veni, Vidi, Vici for an absolutely amazing Italian dinner.  Sufficiently full, we headed home and had some friends over.  After hanging out on the rooftop and watching some foodball on the local channels, it was time to go out for the evening.  All of us were fairly tired so we were ready to go home very early but decided to stop at Waffle House before making the walk home.  It was a low key evening because Joe and I had a full day ahead of us the following day.

 Sunday morning we slept in a  bit before starting our day.  After getting up and getting the house cleaned a bit, it was time to do the weeks grocery shopping.  We were having guests in town (first real guests!!!!) so we planned out their meals and bought the groceries.  Once we got back, we unpacked then headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to start our registry process!  We knew we didn't have a TON of things to register for because we already have a keurig, kitchen aid, and every other thing needed for a kitchen!  We were limiting our registries to two places so that we can also do the HoneyFunds, so Bed, Bath, and Beyond was a logical choice.  We learned quite a few things from this process that we had a blast doing!  First, we have very expensive taste, and it seems like everything we registered for was pricey!  Second, we are really good at picking things out together.  I already knew we had similar taste when we were picking out furniture, but the decision making process was so quick and easy with us that it only took us about 2 hours to pick out china, serving plates, etc and do the whole registry!  Registering is a crazy feeling because you feel like you just purchased so many thing, but in reality you didn't spend any money!  Now, let's just keep our fingers crossed we get all the beautiful things that we would like to have!
Our China Set!
Let the purchasing begin!
 At the time we finished up the registry the Falcons game had started so we rushed home!  We still don't have U-verse set up due to many many complications, but luckily the Falcons were on ABC so Joe and I headed up to the rooftop and got some sun while watching the Falcons play.  At halftime we grilled some bison burgers since we had missed lunch and decided it was better to just do an early dinner!  Once the game ended, we headed out to William Sanoma to do the second portion of our registry!  This was where we were going to register for pots and other smaller things, because we wanted to give our guests options.  After a very quick registry process (we really didn't have that much left to register for at this point) we had everything we wanted and were done with this portion of the registry! We made a quick stop at TJ Max to get some large vases for our entryway before heading to LA Fitness to get our gym memberships (I was in much need of some spin and yoga classes) before going to Starbucks to get some work done since our internet was still not working!

We had such an eventful and exciting weekend that I was incredibly glad to have a week working from home this week.  Although I had a couple meetings at the office, it was much better than hopping on a plane early Monday morning!  So with that, we started a new week that would be exciting due to having house guests!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A week in Chicago!

This past week as soon as we got back from the cruise, I packed and unpacked and caught a flight to Chicago for our sales meeting.  Although it was an early morning, I am always excited to be back in Chicago for a bit!  After arriving, we got picked up by one of the local sales guys before heading to lunch at Lou Malnati's, which is my favorite Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!  After lunch it was time for the meeting to start, so we checked into the hotel then started learning :)

That evening we headed to Chicago Chophouse for our big dinner, and I must say it was one of the best dinners I have ever had.  The appetizers were great, and the filet was even better!  You know it's a great steak when you can cut it with a butter knife.  After dinner, we were all tired so we headed back to the hotel to answer some emails then headed to bed.

Wednesday, after my morning workout it was breakfast time at the hotel and then it was time for the meeting.  We did a really cool brainstorming activity to help us learn to think outside the box when coming up with solutions for our customers.  It was great to have a lot of interactions with my other team members and see how everyone else worked! Wednesday's activity was a game at Wriggley Field!  It was fun just relaxing and getting to know our team while watching the Cubbies play, and WIN!!!  We all know that doesn't happen too often.  After the game we went to a really neat Brazillian Sushi fusion restaurant, where we once again ate WAY too much!  Good thing I got two good workouts in that day :)

Thursday was another day of presentations (I even gave one) and Portillo's for lunch since that is a Chicago staple.  It was nice that we were staying down town because we could walk to all of the lunch places!  That evening we headed to Revolution Brewery which is a very small local brewery and did a brew tour before dinner.  After dinner we got some drinks on the top on the Hancock because it has THE best view of the city skyline and it is free to go up!  I love the Hancock and it is one of my favorite places to go in Chicago!

Friday was an open table discussion with topics we had put aside during the meeting, and before we knew it it was time for people to leave for the airport!  We grabbed lunch at the bar right next to the hotel before everyone headed out.  I was staying one more night with Ag, so I got late check out, then headed over to her place around 4:30 when she was done with work.

While Ag went on a run I took the bike so that I didn't hurt my ankle and took a bike ride down the lake which is what I miss the most about Chicago.  That evening we had a fun night, eating dinner at an absolutely amazing Greek restaurant then sitting on the rooftop with some of Ag's friends that I had met previously. Before I knew it it was Saturday morning so I hopped on the train and headed to the airport to fly home!  It is always nice being in Chicago and it was so great getting to do some more touristy things this trip!  On the flight hope I was upgraded to first class for the first time so that was SUPER exciting!  Hopefully that happens more often :)  After getting back to Atlanta, it was time for the busy weekend to start!