December 29, 2017

First Winter in Chicago

**Blogging while laying on the couch and re-watching Weeds. It's that "weird" time between Christmas and New Years  where I don't know what day of the week it is and I love it**

This might sound weird but the thing I was most excited about moving to Chicago was enduring the winter months. (Crazy, I know!) Christmas time just isn't the same when it's 80 degrees outside. That's why we have taken every advantage of this romantic time of year before we get sick of the cold weather. :) We hit up Kris Kindle Market, saw a live play of "It's a Wonderful Life", went to our first winter wedding and so much more. IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

 

 




 

We traveled to Colorado for Christmas but this year was a little more special. We spent the week in a cabin in the mountains with the family. Not only was it so much fun, the views were breath taking. 






 Have a safe and Happy New Years! 






November 13, 2017

When a house becomes a HOME

Well it's official: We can finally say our Chicago house is now our home. 💙  How does that exactly happen? I'll tell you: friends+family+laughs+wine (LOTS of wine)

Here are some pictures of when we first moved in. Even though we had everything hung up and all the boxes were unpacked, something was missing. It wasn't filled with any memories...yet. 




Fortunately for us, we moved to an area where we know people...and we like having them around!

We had Kyle's sister, Maggie, and her boyfriend, Joe, out for the weekend for Maggie's 24th birthday. So.much.fun!


Next, we had the entire Sycamoron crew over for taco night. (*Sycamorons is a term of endearment for our family that lives in Sycamore, IL😃) Kyle's parents, aunt, uncle and grandparents all piled into one car and made their way to the big city to visit us and see our new home. After countless family dinners in their homes, it was nice to host them in ours. 


 While living in Austin, we were fortunate enough to make some really special friends. These friends brought a lot of good things into our lives. One of them being the tradition of Friendsgiving. Of course we had to keep the tradition alive. We had friends from Indiana, cousin from Wisconsin, sister from Colorado and more all gather for some delicious turkey, fun games, excellent company and good times. 













Thank you to everyone who came, ate, drank and laughed with us. If you haven't yet, please come visit soon - We would love to have you!


Next visitor is going to be the best: my sweet niece, Jo! Can't wait!

OXOX,

JJ






November 1, 2017

Today was rough

**Blogging while siting on my porch, drinking wine with my Bran...he makes things better**

Everyone thinks that working at Google, you are immune to "bad days". You have free food, massage chairs, ping pong, your own coffee barista, snacks around every corner, everything you could ever need to make you happy 100% of the time. Well I am here to tell you: That's just not how it works. No matter the company, no matter what you do for a living, everyone is human and will have "just one of those days". I had forgotten this.  Today I walked briskly to the bathroom and cried for about 10 minutes straight. I felt overwhelmed and incompetent. My first instinct was: "Suck. It. Up...Stop being such a baby. You have an amazing job at a great company with amazing people".  Then I realized that just because I work at an adult playground, doesn't mean I get to disregard how I feel. It's okay to be human. I embraced it and slowly but surely, got through the day.  

I'm not sure why, but I felt the need to document this day. They don't come too often, luckily. (I've worked at Google for 3 years and today has only been my 2nd "bad day" so in comparison to other people who dread work everyday, I am very lucky). 

Today sucked. Tomorrow will be better. 

JJ


October 19, 2017

Loving this Fall life.


**Blogging while watching the Cubs** #gocubsgo

So my sister posted her first blog about her travel adventures and it reminded me it has been so long since I blogged - and so much has been going on! 

My new organization (gTech) has orientation for all new gTech-ers where they fly everyone from around the world to California for the week. I met so many interesting people from all over (Dublin, Hong Kong, Boulder) and learned a lot about this HUGE org I have joined. (It's like a mini company within Google - we do SO MUCH). Picture blow: my gTech co-hort. I'm right there in the middle. I also was able to meet all my teammates that sit in the Bay Area. I have talked to most of them over video conferencing but it was great to meet them face-to face. Next picture is us all at lunch. and MOST IMPORTANTLY I got to see and hangout with my Google bff: Allie. We started together in Austin on the same day and use to be inseparable, until I moved to Chicago and she moved to California. Bottom pic: us at the 49ers game. My heart was happy after this trip. :)




The day I got home I hopped in the car and drove to Rockford, IL  for Kyle's high school friend's wedding. It was so much fun dancing with my husband after a week apart. I LOVE WEDDINGS!


Kyle's sister, Maggie, came into the city to celebrate her birthday. We had dinner at a neighborhood brewery, played games, drank morning mimosas and had lots of shot. It was perfect. So glad to be closer so we can be part of these family memories.



 I'm not sure if you knew this about me but....


And for the last 5 years, I haven't had it. So we are making up big time. So much fall decor, pumpkins everywhere, sweaters, leggings, everything Fall.  The weather in Chicago is AMAZING. It makes me happy. :)






Last but definitely not least: Our home is complete and the couch drama is over. See picture below. We are a happy, nappy family. 


September 28, 2017

Protests and football

Well well well - I do love a good national debate. And of course as always, I see both sides to this discussion. (I am WAY to diplomatic....Maybe I should go into politics? nah...) After reading posts/memes/comments/tweets, watching videos and having plenty of conversations I have come to the conclusion it all comes down to empathy (my favorite thing of all time). Stick with me for a second...

In order to progress as a nation, we have to listen to each other, have tough conversations and try to see where the other side is coming from. 

  • To the players kneeling: Think about how hurtful that could come across to someone who has lost a family member in combat, dying for their country - imagine how sad/angry/etc these actions make them feel. 
  • To those criticizing the protesters: Imagine your unarmed son or daughter being shot by a police office and no justice being provided. Wouldn't you feel helpless and try to do whatever it takes to make people aware of this epidemic?? How would you get people talking about this issue so close to your heart? 

"You do you." I love this saying. It really exemplifies how each person has their own rationale, thought process, experiences, perspectives and they should do whatever it is they want to coincide with their feelings. As long as you aren't hurting anyone...you do you! I personally would not kneel/sit during the national anthem but then again my race is not being hunted and shot by police officers 5x more than the national average. So everyone has to do what is best for them. I think these men are extremely brave for doing that.

I don't have a right/wrong answer to this very heated debate - No one does. All we can do is have empathy and talk to each other.

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes. (and a silly meme to lighten the mood). 

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones,

JJ


"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms". - (Fictional) President Andrew Shepherd 





September 19, 2017

Yacht Week

Oooooh Yacht Week....what an experience. Backstory on how we ended up on a yacht bobbing along the Greek Islands. Kyle's old colleague from the Austin Chamber, Maggie, moved to Indianapolis but we have stayed in touch with her.  Last year we went out in Indy and met her friend group and hit it off instantly. So when they needed to fill 2 more spots on the boat, they asked us! Of course - we signed up right away. The week was full of themed parties, swimming in the ocean, shots (lots of shots), games, inside jokes, laughs, delicious food, great conversations and plenty of sun! We started our trip in Athens seeing the Acropolis and Parthenon.





                                                                         

The next day we got on our yacht in Lavrio Marina then traveled to Ermioni, Porto Heli and Hydra. Our "cabin" was too hot to sleep in so Kyle and I slept on the deck outside. We had a hostess, Katie, who made us our meals on the boat - and got drunk with us. Our skipper's name was Santiago and he was THE BEST! Our favorite games: 1 before 10 or 10 before 1 (ask me more about this), BISHOPS and the dice game. By the end of 7 days, we were ready to sleep in a real bed w/AC. We met some incredible and interesting people and created the best memories. :)


      Tropical Party

 
     

French Rivera Party

 

                                                
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