Friday, September 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Memories

So many memories surrounding Thanksgiving!  When I was a kid, it was a day spent going to Church in the morning with my dad.  Then I would come home, and help my mom make her homemade stuffing before our guests came over.  We would always have my grandma, and one great aunt and one great uncle come over for the holidays.  These were some serious holidays.  Full of great smells, great people, amazing stories.  After dinner was gobbled down, dessert was had, the guests left. Then my parents, siblings and I would play board games.  Trivial Pursuit was the game of choice. 

As an adult, Thanksgiving changed a bit.  While I was in college, I spent Thanksgiving at home sporadically.  I had to work that day my Sophomore year.  I was in NROTC at the time, and we had to work the Illinois/Northwestern game.  My mom came to Champaign for the game, so I got her some awesome seats.  She sat in the first row in the end zone, right near the cheerleaders.  It made her day.  After the game, my Commanding Officer and his wife cooked all the midshipmen who worked the game, and their families, dinner. 

I think this holiday has meant much more to me since I have been in the Navy.  I remember each holiday vividly. 
2004-I spent the day onboard USS Iwo Jima.  My boss and I helped the cooks onboard, especially with the dishes.
2005-Same as above.
2006-Spent it onboard the ship, but we were coming back from our deployment to the Gulf.  It was such a normal day, but a great day spent with my shipmates.  I have a lot of funny stories from that day!
2007-Was home for 2 weeks in the middle of deployment (again), so I spent the day with Misty, Brian, Jerry, and Joe. 
2008-2010-Had the holiday in Chicago with my middle brother and his family
2011-Will be spending the day with my guy and his family. 

I don't remember any holiday as vividly as this one.  Maybe it is because of the meaning of Thanksgiving, or perhaps because of the amazing food?  Either way, I am thankful for so much in my life, and I can't wait for this Thanksgiving.  I haven't been in Chicago since the first week of August, and it will feel so good to be home!

Previous posts about Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Figuring out life..

I have been so busy with school lately.  I am glad to be learning new things, and enjoy meeting new friends.
Right now I am just so overwhelmed with 12+ hours of class a day, moving, and moving again.  I hate the fact that I had to move away from the love of my life, my friends, and my family.  I love my job, but there are days when I just hate the lack of choice in what I do.  Leading Sailors, making friends, and all the experiences have definitely made me who I am today.  There have been some incredible times, travel, sadness, and happiness. You never forget delivering the terrible news to a Sailor that changes their life also never forget telling them that their wife just had their first healthy baby girl.  I have had a few leadership challenges lately, and I hope that I keep learning from them, and develop some more patience.  My current contract is for 3 years.  I have to decide halfway through if this is the life for me, or if I move on to something else.  I the mean time....I will try to..


Fall Recipes!

I love to cook.  I think my obsession came when I was stuck at home for 2 months, with nothing else to do but watch Food Network.  My dog walker, neighbors, friends, and boyfriend all benefited greatly from this situation!

Click on the links below to see my favorite recipes, photos, and step by step instructions!!

Mexican Chicken Soup
Minestrone Soup
Barley Soup
Banana Bread
Beer Bread: from Tastefully Simple, made with a great wheat beer, like 312
Pumpkin Spice Muffins: from King Arthur Flour.  Simply Amazing!

Fall Recipes I want to try:
Healthy Mac and Cheese
Mexican Fiesta Party.  All of these recipes:)

I think I may have to stop here.  I was getting hungry looking at all of these recipes!!!  Let me know if you have any recipes for me to try!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Annapolis, Maryland

I love visiting Annapolis.  Ever since my oldest brother took me there to visit when I was 16, I have always wanted to go back.  I have been here about 6 times, visiting friends, going to football games, creating new memories. I have visited a few times over the past 3 years, and each time is always a blast. Now, since I am living on the East Coast,  I have been here twice in two months!

McGarveys. great mussels!  Went here for a going away party. 
Federal House Had my friend, Nick's, surprise birthday party here last year.  Great times, and better music!
O'Briens  food, beer, and great times!
Acme Reminds me of a Champaign bar.  Good beer and good music!
Pussers This also reminds me of a college bar.  Open dance floor, flowing beer.  Great place to end the night with a great dance party!

Downtown Annapolis




Summer 2011


Me @McGarveys

Friday, September 23, 2011

What I am looking forward to this Fall!

I am looking forward to a lot this Fall.  My life has changed a lot over the past year, and the rest of the year will change even more.  If I know one thing, it will change for the better!
Navy Versus Air Force.  I love me some football! 


BlackHawks versus Capitals.  Who doesn't love Patrick Kane?!?

Moving!  I am moving to Newport, RI in a few weeks.  Part 2 of 3 moves in one year.  Crazy!

Getting Bella back.  I miss my little pup. 

Meeting my new neice.  Welcome to the world Michelle!
Going home for Thanksgiving.  I miss Chicago.  A lot. 
Cloud Gate..aka..The Bean!

The next couple of months are going to be amazing!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Traditions!

Fall is definitely one of my favorite seasons.  Starts with school (usually), football, then leads into hockey season, pumpkin spice smells, and apple pies.  Who doesn't love all of that?!?
  • One thing I have done the past 3 years since I had been living in Chicago was attending homecoming at my Alma Mater, University of Illinois.  I always went to the Alumni BBQ for my work with one of my closest friends.  I am sad I can't go this year, due to moving (once again). 
  • Cleaning my apartment, and decorating for fall.  Autumn leaves, candles, tablecloths, placemats, I go all out for fall.  I don't even decorate for Christmas.  Seriously, I don't. (usually because I am travelling for the holidays!) The fall scented candles also come out.  I can't wait to stock up at Yankee Candle after I move in a few weeks!
  • Baking.  I love baking anything with apples, pumpkin, etc.  I am quite the baker, and quite the cook.  So I am told. 
  • Long Drives.  I love driving and looking at all of the trees turn is simply amazing, especially in Illinois!
  • Bon fires.  We had a fire this past weekend, and I love the smell, the warmth, and the conversation!



U of I Homecoming 2010.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just a few more weeks..

Until I get to see my guy again!  I am so happy to be moving from Virginia.  I am not in my own home, I don't have my dog, and I don't have a kitchen.  I will have all of those things in Rhode Island, and my guy, my fam, and my pup are coming to visit my first week!

I do have to look at the bright side of things.  I have had great visits with some dear friends since I have been in Virginia.  The visits have been amazing, and long overdue.  There is one thing I always remember about my great friends, especially when I don't get to see them as often as I would like to.  Every visit starts just where we left off, like we didn't miss a beat. 


Sunday, September 11, 2011


9-11 is a day that our generation will remember like our grandparents remembered Pearl Harbor.  Both days will live in infamy.  This isn't my story, but it is one worth sharing. 

I heard an account in 2005, from my Commanding Officer, and it brought our entire ship to tears.  I am glad he shared this story with us, because it is so amazing.  He had served in the Pentagon on 9-11, and survived by sheer luck.  He went to a soda machine to buy some sodas for some of his Sailors, and the next thing he knew, a plane had struck the Pentagon.  He, and his fellow shipmates, did what they could to save lives, and get a command center up and running.  He had given one of his ITmen (an Information Systems Tech, a Chief at the time) the day off to allow him and his wife take their son to the airport for a class trip.  My CO was like that, always helping Sailors put family first.  That Chief came back to the Pentagon in flames, and immediately went into crisis mode, patching up phone lines, computers, etc.  The Admiral went up to my Commanding Officer and told him that this Chief's son, had died on Flight 77, the one that hit the Pentagon.  My Commanding Officer told the Chief, and despite his loss, he stayed with my Commanding Officer until the command center was set up.  He said it is what his son would have wanted him to do.

The young boy who died that day was Bernard Curtis Brown II.  A scholarship has been set up in his name for military children to go to space camp.   This scholarship is fitting, since the trip he was going on was a National Geographic trip for school.  Please pass this information on to any 6th-9th graders you may know, so they can learn, and help Bernard's legacy live on. 


Friday, September 9, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

So I haven't done one of these posts in ages.  Seriously.  But I have done some shopping lately, and I have to share my finds!  These favorite things make me feel like such a girl.  New stationary, new day planner, and some new bras.  Such a great shopping trip!

  1. Custom made stationary.  I ordered some stationary from  I absolutely love her work!  I already used so many of her cards, I need to order more.
  2. Little trinkets.  So I found a few stores in Fredericksburg that keep drawing me back!  I went and picked up a day planner at Monkees, some gifts for myself at a local gift shop (Heritage Gifts and Imports).  You know those stores that have everything you don't think you need until you see it. 
  3. Bra fittings.  I know a lot of people don't think these are necessary.  When your bra straps start to slip, or that back of your bra rides up your back..time for a new bra.  I usually do these once a year, because that is how often you do need them. I didn't realize how necessary getting fitted was until I compared my "nice" bras to the "other store that can't measure you at all store".  Such a difference in how I looked!!  I got some new bras at Nordstrom, along with the special wash.  (Lye in tide and most other washes ruins the elasticity in bras, and causes them to get ruined faster). 
Until my next splurging shopping trip.  It may be soon.  Classes are cancelled.  Again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ferris' Day Off.... No School!

So Hurricane Irene caused some damage near us, mostly in terms of downed trees.  Thus, we had no power.  The only thing to do when you have no class, is to make the most of it.  Some classmates and I decided to head to DC for the day.  Unlike Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, we saw "something good today"

We parked at the Navy Yard, and went to the following places:

Lolas Barracks Bar and Grill
Washington Monument
WWII Memorial
Korean War Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Old Ebbitts
Navy Memorial
The Gibson
Bens Chili Bowl

Pretty awesome day if you ask me.  Click on the links above if you want to check out where I went!

The Capitol

Washington Monument..  Closed because of Earthquake damage.

WWII Memorial


Korean War Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Our Happy Group and the White House

Friday, September 2, 2011

Incredible Week!

Despite how crazy the past two weeks have been, this week was so random, and just seemed to work out.

  • weathered the storm Saturday
  • enjoyed Fredvegas Sunday
  • no power+no class=impromptu trip to DC Monday
  • relaxation Tuesday
  • Hash Run Wednesday
  • BBQ Thursday
  • Rocked out my test Friday
Being back in school full time for the Navy has taken some getting used to, especially in such a rural area.  I am used to Chicago, city life, amenities, etc.  Here, we have made the most out of long days.  We break up the week with working out and barbeque's.  

I am looking forward to this Labor Day weekend!  Will post about the DC trip was a great day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Has it really been 1 year?!?

I started this blog a year ago today.  I was starting the two month stretch of sitting in my apartment, recovering from what should have been a routine surgery.  During those two months I watched a lot of Food Network, cooked a lot, and grew as a person.  I was stir crazy, and had some of the best people ever by my side.  I had great friends help me out with Bella; I made a lot of goodies for those who did walk the worlds greatest dog, and I fell even more in love with Mike.

I hope this year, even with the change, will bring me as much adventure and happiness as last year.

I moved once so far this year, I fell in love with an amazing man, I grew many existing and new friendships...

These are the things I am most proud of.  I love my family, friends, and, of course, my Bella. I can't wait to continue this year with my new friends, old friends, and new adventures.  Each step of the past 7 years in the Navy has been an adventure.  I look forward to the challenges, to the experiences, and to living in yet another state.

I miss Chicago, and I hope that the future brings me back there, often, and permanently.  There is something about that place that is just magical.  Something about BYOB sushi with friends, a crazy girls night during restaurant week, date night, celebrating a CUBS win!, etc.  It truly is the greatest city in the world.  I created this blog, as a memory of my travels and my time in Chicago and throughout the world.  I just started my travels, and it has been amazing.  Meeting new people, discovering new places, catching up with friends has made the month of August a blur.

I can't wait to see what this year has in store for me!

Fredericksburg, Virginia

East Coast Living!

Fredericksburg, Virginia is one of my favorite cities near Dahlgren.  I love visiting here because of the rich history.  Each time I visit, the southern charm and Civil War era sights never cease to amaze me.

Some of my favorite places are:

The Blarney Stone.  I love coming here.  It is just a nice place to grab a pint of cider, and enjoy a plate of fish and chips. 

Captial Ale House  Amazing beer selection, and probably one of the biggest bars I have ever been to.  Great German/Americana food!

kybecca.  I felt like I was at DOC wine bar!  Amazing place.  They have misters outside, like outdoor air conditioning.  I had some rose wine and fried green tomatoes.  Yum!  They have some pretty brutal reviews on Yelp.  I am glad I went to check it out, I was not disappointed!

Irish Eyes.  I got some custom made shirts there, as well as a bracelet.  I could spend an entire paycheck in that store!  The owners are so nice!  Mike made me my shirt based off of my "actual" family crest.  There were so many images coming up, and he knew which one I was talking about.  He is truly the guy to go to for any sort of Family Crest products and history. 

Monkee,  Cute boutique!  Tory Burch and Lilly Pulitzer oh my!  New day planner it is!

Irish Eyes

Street performers on Caroline Street

John Paul Jones' brother. 

1738.  Amazing history.


Fried Green Tomatoes.