Thursday, July 25, 2013

California Wedding Weekend

I have so many pictures from our trip to California, which was at this point almost two months ago. I've been playing around with editing them, but since I shot in jpeg instead of RAW, there is only so much editing that I can do. (Ha, does it sound like I know what I'm talking about?!)  Therefore, it's officially gotten to the time when I do a quick photo dump, and then get back to regular blogging! So here are a few highlights from the family gathering and wedding from early June. Enjoy!

I could get used to this lifestyle!

Beach Cruisers!

There were multiple adorable babies passed around all weekend.

My little sister is not so little anymore!

Toasting the bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner.

I know this is fuzzy, but it cracks me up!

Good looking bunch of cousins!

Grandpa and Dad

I missed half of the wedding because I was holding crying babies at the back of the church.
But I got to catch the "I do" portion, which is the best part!

Brother in law, husband, Dad, brother
My favorite group of guys.

The reception was in a beautiful botanical garden.
Such a romantic setting!

Congratulations again, Reid and Laurie! It was a beautiful event, and a wonderful weekend. It was fantastic to get the whole family together for this wedding, and it had been far too long since that last happened! I hope we're all back together again really soon!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Snapshots of Summer

In an effort to catch up in blog world, I figured it was about time for a "Here's everything I've been up to" type of post. So that is what this is. Lots of outdoor time, savoring the too-short summer season in Chicago.  It's been pretty charming and all American, too, with baseball, farmers markets, and plenty of time out back with our new grill. I hope your summer has been equally satisfying!

Hunger Walk 5k at Soldier Field
15,000 strong, pretty inspiring

"Who me? Sure I'll eat a pastry!"

Green City Market on a Saturday morning.

I spy flamingos at the Lincoln Park Zoo!

A couple of dudes on a nice little stroll, post farmer's market.

Kane County Cougars
Single A baseball at its finest.

Lots of evening walks happening around here.

Another weekend, another market.

Summer food is the BEST
The best part is we're only half way through. That leaves plenty of time for a Cubs game, a movie in the park, and more visits to the beach! I'm just going to soak it all up, and return back to these blog posts once it's February and Chicago is back to crappy weather.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

30th Birthday Celebration!

I've been living it up this summer, and taking lots of pictures to document the good times. But I've been terrible about blogging, and have gotten so far behind on actually sharing the good times on my blog! So, approximately three weeks later, it's not too late to share my 30th birthday celebration... right? 

I went back and forth about how I was going to celebrate, and in the end decided my priority was just having a good time hanging out with some of the people I feel lucky to call my friends. I pushed aside ideas of gourmet appetizers or high end cocktails, and kept everything really casual and easy. A spread of nice cheese, olives, and chips and guac made for the kind of snacks that everyone loves, and we had a good collection of tasty beer and wine for people to choose from. Joe ordered a cake from Whole Foods, and I bought some extra flowers to decorate the table. Bam! It's basically as close as it comes to an instant party. 

Just waiting for some hungry guests.

Nice job with the cake!

Since it was a typical weekend in the summer, some of our friends were out of town or already committed to weddings or other big events. It was a smaller group, but they totally made up for it in quality! I loved seeing everyone, and found that the various groups of friends blended together really well. I felt very loved and grateful all night, and managed to wake up with only a subtle hangover the next day. Not too shabby for being a grumpy old 30-something :)

Little man had a bit too much fun ;) 

Joe: "Ready, everyone? Happy birthday to you..."

This picture is totally awkward, but I like it anyway!

After the first few weeks, I can say that 30 doesn't seem like it will be too bad. The next decade is going to be pretty sweet, from what I can tell!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Festive Fourth

This Fourth of July was a pretty great holiday, and I made it a point to bring my camera to record some of the highlights. It was a simple get together-- just a small group of good friends, a summery spread of mouth-watering food, and some fireworks to cap the evening off. We ate too much, and savored the great weather as we rode our bikes around the city (I'll leave off the part of the story where Joe got a flat tire on the way home...). It was the kind of night that makes me just love where I am in my life right now-- the right place, the right people, and a pretty good time overall! These pictures are also my first attempt at editing in Lightroom. I have zero idea what I'm doing, but I figure I'll just play around for now. The plan is to take a class this fall at Lillstreet Art Center, which means my photo quality should start improving in the coming months. No promises, though ;)

My advice to you: make friends with good cooks.

The dinner crew
Katie was pretty excited about her fancy Chinese Lantern firework!

I learned over the holiday weekend that it's hard to take pictures of fireworks!

After dinner, a few more friends joined us.
I made lots of jokes about how I was going to take random pictures.
Then, I did as I had threatened.

Almost time for fireworks!
Definitely time for sangria straight from the pitcher!

In classic Chicago fashion, we skipped the professional shows, and headed for a random school parking lot. Multiple groups had the same idea, and it ended up being a great spot for watching lots of illegal fireworks getting set off. I get a little nervous that someone's going to blow their hand off, but everyone stayed safe and had a great time. Not a bad end to a fun and relaxing day!

Happy 4th of July!