• Travels

    Five Short Term Goals

    Time flies when you’re living out of a suitcase. Suddenly Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and although I’m not hosting the holiday itself, our boys (plus one!) are traveling to Knoxville. Travel life is so lacking in routine I thought I’d better make a short list of some completely doable goals I need to accomplish between when I get home late tonight and Thursday: 1. Unpack and do laundry. (I know, that’s actually two tasks. #HowIRoll) 2. Grocery shop for staples plus some of the boys’ favorite foods. 3. Bake some holiday cookies to send home with the boys. 4. Wrap Hanukkah gifts so the boys can take them home…

  • Travels

    Comfort is Relative.

    I think I have flown from city to city more in the past 18 months than I have in the last decade combined. Other than that one time I got stranded at the Newark airport because of a flight that kept getting pushed back until finally the crew had timed out on their hours (still thankful that Liz and GarthNHRN came all the way back to the airport to pick me up!), I generally don’t have airline issues other than turbulence. Jim and I mainly use two airline companies because we are members of their frequent flyer programs. This week I flew to Arizona with my mom, and the airline…

  • Motivation,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  Travels

    Travel. (Just Go, Already.)

    I’ve done a little bit of traveling this year. *giggle* Actually, I’ve done a lot of traveling this year. Almost every time I go on a trip, I get texts from friends (and comments on photos that I post on social media) about how they wish they could pick up and go like I can. I get it. I was unable to do this until just a couple of years ago. I’m in this interesting season of life right now: I’m an empty nester and, for the first time in decades, unemployed except for some freelance writing I do on occasion. I’m able to keep appointments with myself to workout…

  • Food,  Fun in Knoxville,  Travels

    Getting To Know Knoxville With East TN Tours

    I generally have a very easy time making friends. I love meeting new people and can strike up a conversation with just about anybody. That said, I was a little concerned, before we made the move from the Chicago suburbs to Knoxville, about making new friends. I have a couple of old high school friends here and several of my blogging friends hooked me up with a fantastic person who used to blog (but doesn’t anymore). Beyond that, I wondered how I’d do. The boys are grown and out of the house so I don’t have the benefit of meeting people via being a room mom or scouts. I work…

  • My Kids Have Mad Skillz,  Travels

    Definitely A Cloud Factory, and Don’t You Forget It.

    It never ceases to amaze me, the things that kids carry with them for a lifetime. Both of my boys were born in Kenosha, Wisconsin and… Wait, sidenote: I often forget, since we moved back to my hometown area of Chicagoland when the boys were two and a half and seven months old, that they are actually Cheeseheads. In fact, whenever I’ve been asked I claim them as fellow Chicagoans without hesitation. Nothing personal, Wisconsin. (P.S. I will always root against the Green Bay Packers because I’m a Chicago Bears fan, even during the years when the Bears totally suck.) Dylan was the only baby born at what used to…

  • Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Travels,  UGH.

    Currently Breaking My Heart: Gatlinburg

    You may not have heard until around lunchtime today because for some reason the news outlets weren’t covering it, but Gatlinburg, Tennessee was on fire. Actually, it has been on fire for a couple of weeks–East Tennessee has been experiencing its worst drought in about a decade–but yesterday the winds kicked up and some fires that were simmering in the Chimney Tops area blew out of control and caused terrible devastation. Hundreds of homes, dozens of businesses, gorgeous, beloved areas of Smoky Mountain National Park: torched to the ground. It’s upsetting for anyone who has ever set foot there because truly it’s one of the most beautiful areas of the…

  • Pretty Pictures,  Travels

    Chillaxing Like They Do in La Jolla

    Three years ago next month, Jim and I took a quick trip to San Diego. I absolutely adored that long weekend because in addition to enjoying what San Diego and neighboring Coronado Island had to offer, we visited several beaches between San Diego and Laguna Niguel, starting at La Jolla Cove. (Man, I love the beach.) By the way, La Jolla is Spanish and pronounced “La Hoy-a”. Don’t pronounce it like it looks in English because everyone will point at you and shout “TOURIST!” Anyway, La Jolla Cove was full of seals and sea otters and sea lions. We spent some time watching those fascinating creatures just hanging out and…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Food,  Friends,  Travels

    That Voodoo That You Do (or, Big Bucket of Donuts)

    I’m currently in Austin, Texas for work (we’re here to do a site visit for #BlogHerFood16, which happens in October and have you registered yet because Earlybird pricing ends 3/31!). It’s a whirlwind trip and sadly, I had to tell several friends and two relatives that I just couldn’t make any plans to meet up this time (argghhhhh). Liz and Brandi (my social media team partner, or PARDNER as they say in Texas…don’t they?) and I arrived at the Austin airport within minutes of each other, which was a pretty cool thing considering we were coming from New Jersey, California, and Illinois. We took a cab to the hotel, checked…