Thursday, December 29, 2011

Challenge accepted.

There are these cotton jersey shirts. I've seen them in stores. I've tried them on. I have wanted to buy them, because the ones I've seen are so inexpensive. However, when I try them on there is just a lot of hips and a lot of butt; which means a lot of scary.

Wouldn't you know it one ended up under our Christmas tree, from my Mom no less. When Jake didn't wig out in mini skirt horror at first glance (he really does not care for short skirts), I decided I would accept the challenge of wearing this skirt.

I took a tip from Miss Kendi, and layered this guy up! I also took a tip from Jake, who thought, "oh yeah, that will look nice with some leggings or tights underneath."

Denim Jacket: Gap, Scarf: Gifted from my sister, Sweater: Banana Republic, Blouse: F21, Skirt: Gifted from my Mom, Tights: Gap, Boots: Steve Madden

So, how'd I do?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


In Phoenix, on Christmas Eve, our plane encountered a fueling problem. The fuel trucks gauge was broken so it couldn't tell how much fuel it was putting into the plane. The back-up for a problem like this is that each tank on the plane has a dipstick that can be used as a measuring tool. The problem with our plane was that one of the dipsticks was broken.

It really is a wonder that flights ever leave, let alone on time. You would be shocked at the amount of things that can go wrong with planes. Like, really big things. Like fuel gauges.

It was a fairly minimal delay to Chicago (I think all the passengers were able to make their connections), but one that caused us to miss our Buffalo flight. They couldn't find any place else to send us, so they sent us home. I listed myself on the next flight to South Bend, got one of the last sets on the plane and was in the swing of Christmas in less than two hours after landing in Chicago from Phoenix. Merry Chrstmas to me, from United....

I missed dinner, but they had leftovers waiting for me. Then there was Christmas caroling courtesy of Julia. She planned ahead: There were printed lyric books and everything. I'm pretty sure I was never that productive on Christmas break.

Favorite picture #1 of Christmas eve. By the look on his face you would think the drills were for Jake. Look at the surprise, excitement, and pure giddiness in his eyes. They are not in fact his. He bought them for his Grandfather, so I don't know where the "look of surprise" comes from. But there it is. 
Boys and their toys.

After they come off the presents, Westfalls wear their bows.

Favorite picture #2 of Christmas Eve. If you are reading this and you are a girl, do not pretend that you didn't take pictures of yourself "modeling" your new faux fur scarf, or what have you. If they could be found, there are crazy embarrassing photos (in both quantity and content) of me and my friends hamming it up in our favorite outfit creations and serious model faces.
You go girl, and I'm glad you like your scarf.

While I wish that there was snow, it is Christmas in Michigan after all, you really can't beat the weather we had on Christmas. We enjoyed the relative warmth by burning the boxes and paper in the backyard (one is never too old for a little fire fun) and going for a stroll. 

What a gorgeous day!

"Hello my name is Jake. I grew up in the '90s and I kick ass at roller blading."

I was really spoiled. This sure beat a quick night in Buffalo, a midday Christmas flight back home, and then a solo drive up to Michigan after all the Christmas fun was had without me. All thanks to a broken dipstick.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gift Wrapper

Have I ever mentioned that I love wrapping presents...

I saw this idea, who knows were, and knew I was going to have snowflakes on my presents this year.

A few tips: don't use tissue paper, I won't next time. It can turn translucent, tear, and is very hard to manage.

Use spray adhesive, but not around an open laptop. Jake will notice, "that there is something on the computer. Come you feel that? What is that? Was it here before? Is it that spray adhesive?!"
While my voice said, "No." A giant smile and small fit of laughter totally sold me out! But also disarmed and melted his heart, so he wasn't too mad.

It seems to be gone or have worn off now, so it isn't the end of the world if you choose to ignore this tip.

I may or may not have had to go to several different sites to relearn how to make a snowflake. Is that sad; that I forgot how to make a snowflake? If so, it is not sad anymore because I know how to now, again. 

Pretty wrapped presents are so special, if I do say so myself.

Merry Christmas!

p.s. I learned how to make the pictures bigger on my blog. Now you can actually see them! I am pretty (SUPER) proud of myself

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is a new post, I promise

You know how you have to work? And how work is just work?
But then, have you had a day where you're like, "hey this isn't so bad? What a great day (or in my case, three days) I had at work. Work isn't just a life draining, time stealing, mind numbing endeavor where people toss trash in your general direction for hours on end.
 It can be fun and my coworkers can be fun too and we can all have a good time in Frankfurt together."

Can a picture get more German than this? 
Welcome to Frankfurt and Germany's beautiful Christmas markets

Well hello spindly Christmas tree. I love your white lights, and no one pulls off red bows like you do.  Thank you for your lovely long branches that act as  open arms, welcoming all to the market.

Warm food and drink. Check, Check.

These potato pancakes were amazing! I want to fly back and eat some more.

Crowds, but not too much that you can't walk around on your own free will. (Also, don't those trees to the right look like the Whomping Willow from Harry Potter? I stayed away from those babies.)

Lots of neat booths selling all kinds of festive pretties...

Beautiful handcrafted ornaments

and tasty goodies you can't say no to...

German's make a mean pretzel

...and some that you can. Mostly because I'm a vegetarian, not because a swinging grill of meat seemed at all odd. I'm glad everyone else was able to enjoy them though.

While at the market I fell in love with the German Christmas trees. They are so green and just imperfect enough to be perfect. At first they seem a bit scrawny, but I think that would show off your ornaments better.

I'll have to do some checking and figure out how to get my hands on one of these pretty little things next year.

Now I am in my typical post international haze. 
What time is it? 
Where am I? 
When was the last time I ate? 
or slept for more than 3 consecutive hours?
Should shower now? or later? (now)
How much concealer is too much for those under eye circles?

I'll get back to you on all that.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Wonderful Day

Since seeing the Nutcracker last year we have been talking about catching another holiday show this year. It was a bit of trial and error to find a good show at a reasonable price
 (A Christmas Story: The Musical, $180 on the low end. No thank you.)
Danielle found a little theater doing a production of It's a Wonderful Life. We were in. 

This was our day "Chicago Christmas Spectacular" day. (We didn't really call it that, I just made that up)

First, bundle up! Wool hat, ear muffs, wool coat, sweater, leggings, knee high wool socks, boots, scarf, gloves: check, check, check, check.

Then we went to the ChristKindl Market. It was pretty spot on with the Christmas markets I have been to in Germany, except this one was CRAZY busy. There were pretty booths selling traditional Santa figurines, ornaments, food/drinks, and home made goods from Germany and other countries.

A booth selling some pretty ornaments

Some traditional live music

SO many people

a peek into a shop window
 Jake and I got a little overwhelmed by all the craziness and took a walk around the perimeter for a bit. In a quiet corner of the market we found a crepe stand.

mmmmmm, tasty.

After that we took in some of the Christmas decor around downtown.
I'm sure other cities do to, but Chicago does Christmas pretty big. Every building and shop screams "Holiday", "Christmas", "Winter" at you as you walk past.

Planters outside an office building

Christmas trees and presents on the Wrigley Building

Planters on Michigan Avenue. They always have something pretty and creative all year round.

The water tower in Lego form!

Christmas tree at John Hancock building.

Us ladies all bundled up.

After a quick and snug cab ride, we went to dinner and then to the show.

I selfishly took a bucket seat, sorry boys and Danielle.
The show was so much fun! It was at a little theater in Lincoln Park called Victory Gardens on their Biograph stage. They performed It's a Wonderful Life as a live radio show set in the 1940's. They treated us like a live audience at their regular taping. They started the show by having us join in on some caroling (fun!).
The actors did a great job, all of them did multiple voices/characters. The sound effects guy was really awesome. He was always on cue, and since the show was set in the '40s, nothing was computer generated. During the "commercial breaks" they read shout out cards written by audience members before the show started. There were a lot of birthdays and anniversaries, awww. After the show the cast met us in the lobby holding trays of milk and cookies. It was just pure and sweet old-fashioned christmas  quaint. (Does that sentence make sense to you? I'm gonna go with it.) If you are looking to catch a Christmas show in chicago, go see It's a Wonderful life live at the Biograph (and invite me).

Jake's highlight of the day:
While sitting waiting for the show to start, Jake spotted a familiar face.
"Hey, it is one of the actors from Murder for Two!"
"Oh, yeah! Your right! Good eye."
"Talk to him."
"No, you do it." "You are closer." "What do I say?"
"Just say you saw the show and that he did a good job."
So I did that "Hi, I just wanted to say we all saw you in Murder for Two and loved it. You did a great job." Danielle and Brenda turned and said something similar. Jake talked about this for the rest of the night and into the next day.
After the show he tried to talk me into getting a picture with him for the sake of "your blog", but he really just wanted a picture of him. I refused, I had already talked to the guy for him and asking to take pictures with strangers is embarrassing (and I know embarrassing)!

Jake, said in dramatic tone, "Who would ever think we would ever see that guy again in our lives and we see him in the audience at another play!"

Merry Christmas!

In an unrelated note: Six followers! Thanks Mom! This blog is going places.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ready for an Upgrade

It looks like Mason has outgrown his ride...

...and is ready for an upgrade.

I think you may have to wait a few years buddy. 

I love the difference in his smiles between the two photos. Big brother loves himself a good minivan!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sweet 16

It was Julia's sixteenth birthday last week, and boy did she do it up right. 
They came down from Michigan got a hotel room in the area and shopped all day. In the evening we joined the festivities. 

The recipe for an awesome sixteenth birthday night include, but are not limited too:

Ordering in Chicago's best pizza. (Lou Malnati's, if there was any doubt in your mind.)
The suburbs best chocolate cake and some cool candles. (Kirschbaum's, if there was any doubt in your mind.)

After opening some presents, head to the pretty outdoors mall to enjoy the pretty christmas lights and trees. Here is where we went a little rouge.

While the adults shopped in the jewelry department of Macy's. I taught Julia and Danielle how to Shuffle (a la Party Rock Anthem "shufflin' "). Then Julia taught Danielle and I how to Dougie. As the adults moved towards the cosmetic department, Julia introduced us to the Cat Daddy and showed us those moves. 

We then bee lined for H&M before closing time. Where we did some actual shopping, but not without a short history lesson for Julia about "Hammer Time", inspired by a pair of hot pink pants we tried on. (Jake literally ran after me into the changing room area and begged me not to buy them, I had no plans to buy them but it was fun to mess with him). Then a quick Hammer Time dance tutorial. Then we mimed "walking down stairs" and "going down an elevator" behind the front display table. It was pretty epic.

Jake stood outside completely ignoring us, completely boring, and probably completely embarassed.

On a side note: I think Lou's or Kirschbaum's put speed in their goods. There is no other explanation for our spontaneous middle of the mall dance party and mime convention of three. Either way, it was a blast and I haven't stopped smiling about it for a week. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Halls: Decked

Yesterday we made our yearly trip to Menard's to pick out our Christmas tree.
I will spare you the dramatic saga that lead us to Menard's three years ago. I'll just say it involved tears after visiting a grocery parking lot tree store, several heated "We are spending $85 on a tree!"
"I'm just going to buy it when you are at work and then we won't be able to return it"
and then more tears. 

Then we discovered Menard's where you can buy a very fancy Noble Fir for $29 or a lowly Scotch pine for around $11. They are true to their moto!
"Save BIG money at Menard's!"

Jake does the manly things like carry it up the stairs, settle it in the stand, and cut the twine. 

How cute is he? I mean really?!

I do the lady things like put on the lights and ornaments.

It might seem like a cute coincidence that we are both wearing flannel shirts. It's not. It was Jake's idea. 
In fact, he made sure I took several pictures of "[him] with the tree in [his] flannel shirt and manly gloves." 

We both hate the star/snowflake tree topper, but it works until the day I find "the one". I don't know what it will look like, but I will know it when I see it. 

Merry Christmas!