Saturday night, Jason and I headed downtown to this great place called The Chopping Block. For those of you who do not know what this is, it's a center that provides cooking lessons etc. We went for three reasons...1. I got this as a gift for Jason for Valentine's Day, 2. He loves to cook 3. He wants me to learn how to cook! In my defense, I do know how to do some things...but Jason is the cook in our relationship and I'm just fine with that! (He is too!)
Upon arrival we were escorted to a very beautiful room with about six tables set and ready for us. We sat facing a good sized kitchen and I realized then, that we would be observing more than we'd be getting involved, but I was completely fine with this! Come to find out that there are classes where you can get more hands on experience, but apparently we didn't read the fine print! We'll make sure to do that next time!
We had great company at our table, and the mother and daughter that we met were nice enough to share their wine with us! After we were settled, the chef introduced herself and began to list of the items on the menu that we'd be enjoying that evening! The class was called Under the Tuscan Sun, so we were in for a 4 course Italian treat! She started with Cauliflower Fritters as an appetizer, Ribolitta Soup ( or an Italian vegetable soup) with the main entree being Chicken Marsala, and dessert was a Almond-Lemon Cake with preserves. Everything was fantastic, and the chef did a wonderful job of teaching how to cook the meal. She had a lot of little secrets that we found amazing, and also on the bottom of each menu there was a list of tools that she was using that you could later purchase in the store at 15% off! Jason started making a list right there of these nifty little tools so that when we begin to register we wouldn't miss anything! He's so excited to get new kitchen utensils! (I can't wait for him to use them!!!)
The whole night was wonderful, and we're absolutely going to schedule another class...you can learn how to roll sushi, take a Julia Child class, a cutting class, a wine tasting class, and an all chocolate dessert class...there are so many to choose from! I bet you know which one I want to take!!!!
I admit, I still can't believe I've started to plan my own wedding!!! Thank you to everyone for all the warm wishes and congratulations, it means so much to both of us that so many people support our relationship! (And yes, I look at my ring just about every other minute, and it's so sparkly!) Sorry, ok, now on a more serious note...we're thinking October or November of this year, which means I'm already behind! It's ok, I'm keeping my cool, and with lots of help from everyone (emails, phone calls etc.) I think we're starting out strong! We've booked a bunch of appointments to see reception halls, and I made an appointment to try on dresses. I booked our engagement photo shoot (Thank you Jordan!) and updating the parents on a daily basis! Jason is being great with suggestions and ideas as well, which I love! So, yeah, I think we have a handle on things.
I'll tell you what though, I could never have imagined all that goes into this planning business....it's crazy! Thank goodness for check lists, magazines, theknot.com, family, and friends, otherwise I'd be lost and tearing my hair out! Once we have the place, that means we have a date, and we can move on to the next step...
Yesterday was the beginning of my 5 week Art Class at Lillstreet Art Center! I was so excited all day, and once I arrived, I admit the nerves set in. It felt like the first day of school...sweaty palms, wondering what the teacher will be like, will I make friends? I know, it sounds silly! I made my way to Painting Room A and when I walked in I immediately felt a calm come over me and smiled! There were easels, art work, and supplies everywhere. The room looked like an organized mess, which is a lot of times what I think about my own art. (Granted, this is just my sketch pad and colored pencils at home!) Other people started to file in and when class started there were about 12 of us, all first time painters. We went around the room and introduced ourselves and shared with everyone why we were there. "I have wanted to do this for so long, and was given a gift certificate as a birthday present from my fiance (I love saying that) and I want to learn and be inspired to do more with my art...and it's also a calm for me, a silent therapy when I'm stressed." A lot of people nodded in agreement so I'm not the only one that sees art that way, which was a comfort.
Everyone in class is so nice, and it's a complete mix of guys and girls both older and younger. Meeting this group of people was like a breath of fresh air because we're all there for the same reason (to learn more about the craft of painting) and yet we're all motivated by something different and I can't wait learn more about them!
The first thing we started with is a gray scale, learning about tones and color. From there we sketched and then attempted to paint a still life of two objects, a ball, and an urn. My first attempt was....not as smooth as I'd hoped, but for a first painting I felt that I'd learned something new, and most of all I had fun! Next week we're going to start using color...so I'm geeked for that! Stay tuned....
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. ~Hans Hofmann
I've hit the ground running (well, planning actually!) I admit just looking at check lists, magazines, venues, and every other detail is overwhelming...but I take a deep breath and remind myself that I just need to remember that all of the love that I'm pouring into this planning journey will come together and be as beautiful as I hope it will be! Stay tuned...
Mrs. Courtney Kingma...has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? I am beyond excited and I can't stop smiling! Jason proposed this past weekend while we were visiting in Grand Rapids, and we couldn't be happier! He put is planning skills to work and everything (as far as I know) went off without a hitch! Thank you to everyone that helped, and was there to help celebrate with us! I felt so special and loved...and even had to take a minute to myself to catch my breathe and process everything! ...Jason and I have decided to start another blog...just for this happy event...so stay tuned!
Green, green, and more green! This was my 3rd consecutive St. Patty's day celebration in Chicago, and what a day it was! Alarm clock went off @ 7am and we put on the green gear and headed out! The weather was awful...rainy, cold, and just plain miserable...but that didn't stop the fun...we had a green breakfast, introduced the game "21" to our friends, and we apartment party hopped the rest of the day! I admit I'm sad I didn't see the river in all it's green glory...maybe next year?! The bars and the crowds were equally crazy, and I have never taken so many taxi rides in one day in my life! I ended the day as strong as I could, and I was in bed by 11pm (better than last years 8pm bedtime.) Overall, I'd say, the day was magically delicious! Thank you Chicago!
Ps. The bowl that Emily is holding in the pictures above, is a bowl full of green water....she wanted to make her own "green river" ...one of the funnier moments of the day! As you can see in the other picture, I wasn't quiet sure what she was doing?! Also, in the corner, Jason and I are riding motorcycles!
Last night a reoccurring theme popped up in my small group, and I could not stop thinking about it long after I laid down to count some sheep...
In one way or another we all want to find our own special way to give back...as we all realize how fortunate we are, thankful, and consider ourselves blessed with what we have. I always feel very lucky, and proud of the women that I'm surrounded by on Tuesday evenings, and I know that despite what we sometimes may think, we're giving back in ways we aren't even aware of, and I know this because we all have very big hearts that are filled to the rim with love to give...
I haven't thought about this story in so long, but it was one of my favorite childhood reads and I thought it was appropriate to quote... The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
"I am too big to climb and play", said the boy. "I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?" "I'm sorry," said the tree, "but I have no money, I have only leaves and apples. Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money and you will be happy." And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was happy.
It's that time of year....time to fill out the ol'bracket! I just finished filling out my first one...Let's Go Kentucky!
Now, I admit this year I haven't been following my teams (Indiana, Michigan, and Kentucky) as much as I would've liked...but I do know that Michigan and Indiana didn't have the best season (ok, ok, they were awful) but Kentucky is ranked #1 in the East and in the words of the most annoying, but memorable commentators of our day, Mr. Dick Vitale..."they could go alllll theeeee waaaaaay!"
June 30, 2010! Eclipse comes out in theaters! Yes, I am one of the many millions of other Twlighter's out there following this vampire fantasy, and you know what, I'm proud of it!
I have to admit, the movies haven't been near as good as the books (cheesy even!) But, Edward is still hot, Jacob istotal eye candy, and Bella plays with her hair too much and...well, she just annoys me, but that's only because I'm jealous!!!
Ya'll know I love to plan things and it just so happens that Miss Huizenga, a best friend and fellow fan and I have come up with the idea to have a movie marathon ending with an Eclipse cinematic adventure...followed by a night of drinking and dancing, in Detroit!!! (Yes, I'll be leaving my cell phone at home, as Amanda did remind me that the bushes at the MIXX already have enough cell phones! haha)
Although June 30 seems centuries away, I'm excited:) Who's in?
Some people use their camera phones to take pictures of mountains, as shown above. Some people use it to take a picture of themselves to send to a loved one, and there are some who use it to take pictures when something hilarious happens and they want to share it with a friend.
Then, there are people who like to use their phones to take pictures of people they don't know at inappropriate times! Yesterday, I caught one of these people.
I get on the Red Line every morning and there's usually something out of the ordinary going on, but never (in my life) have I been faced with something like this. I was standing to the side, minding my own business, and that's when I felt like I was being stared at...you know that feeling...
Normally, it's standard to just sit or stand, keep quiet, and not to stare at other people...well I think this guy missed the lesson. When I looked over he was staring at me, under the rim of his black scally cap. Immediately I become uncomfortable, it's just...well it's creepy! So, I look away and try to ignore it, but the train stops and I have to move over to make room for the new passengers and just as I look again, I see him holding the phone up, with it aimed at me (I see the camera lens) and he's clearly taking a picture. So, at this point I'm just annoyed. I know what some of you are thinking...he probably wasn't even doing that....and I tried to calm down and give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, why would anyone want to take a picture of me...tired, and grumpy?! Right?! Well, after this whole "I think he just took a picture of me" moment had happened, in the reflection of the window I see the screen of his phone and sure enough...there is a picture of me...pink coat and all!
So, what do I do?
As much as I wanted to say something to him, I had no idea what to say?! So, I kept my mouth shut and made my way to the opposite end of the car (which I'm sure irritated everyone because the car was full) but I was so frazzled that I needed to do something.
So, yeah, that was quite the situation...I want to have faith in people. I would like to assume that people know what is right and wrong in social situations. In this instance my faith (at the moment) was shot, and this was definitely WRONG. I would have loved nothing more than to call this guy out...shout, yell, and verbally chastise him until he apologized and hit the delete button, but I've learned that people are crazy....and they do crazy things and because of this I kept my mouth shut tight!
It's amazing how the sunshine or lack thereof can affect my mood...so far March has surprised me...Saturday afternoon was gorgeous! With the sun shining, and my sunglasses on, I couldn't help but walk around Lincoln Park with a big goofy, smile on my face! I can't wait for baseball games, walks through the zoo (the polar bears are my favorite), bike riding along Lake Michigan, reading under the shade of a tree in Oz Park, grillin' out, sight seeing on Navy Pier, architectural tour on the river, having brunch on a patio on Sunday mornings...
Jess & Kris are expecting twins and are due mid August of 2010! Aunt Courtney is so excited!!! Jess and I have been friends since 5th grade and we've probably talked about baby names 100 times through the many different seasons of our lives and lucky her, she gets to pick two (with Kris' approval of course, as she did say that the names needed to sound right for their future basketball announcements!) I talk to Jess every couple of days and the most recent report is that mommy and babies are healthy and doing well! Jess has been under the weather with some big time all around the clock morning sickness, but she's a trooper and pulling through! Say a prayer that the babies give her some rest pretty soon!
They are going to be amazing parents and I can't wait to meet the lil'ones. We aren't sure yet if they are boys, or girls, or even identical...they should be able to find out in the next couple of weeks ....to be continued...
"My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish" ~ My Wish, by Rascal Flatts
Martha (a.k.a. Jenn) is a brunette bombshell with a fiery personality, beautiful soul, and an enormous heart! She is an unbreakable force with a fire for the Lord so strong it'll infect you, and inspire you. She's hilarious. She is a creative genius. She is part of my home, my heart, my safe place.
Jenn, you are fantastic! I love you with everything. This chapter of your life that is now open and being written is going to be so beautiful and positive! I can't wait to see what happens next....
So, I've made a conscious decision to write something instead of tearing apart CTA (public transportation) with a very distasteful and extremely negative entry I have decided to focus more on the actual issue that I am faced with on a daily basis. Common Courtesy. I'm beginning to think it's not so common...well, either that or my expectations of others might be too high???
I'm from a small town in Michigan, and yes, you could classify me as a "country" girl I suppose. I take pride in the fact that I was raised in a quiet town, with great like-minded people, and manners. "Please" and "thank you" were always a must, and looking out for those around you just seemed to come naturally. I really hate to blame the city of Chicago, so I won't, but I'm becoming more aware of the things I know now I took for granted.
This is where I am going to step on my small soapbox a minute, and express my P.O.V and hope that it doesn't sound like complaining...How difficult is it to say "excuse me" if you need to get by someone, or hold a door open a second longer so the person behind you can get through? Saying "thank you" when someone picks up something you have dropped, or holding an elevator door for someone who is running towards it don't seem like that big of a deal, does it? Of course these are small things that may not bother everyone, but acts of courtesy nonetheless.
In my small group meeting last night we discussed what being selfish means, and talked even more about what motivates us to be that way. It seems as though in our culture with our generation we are all incredibly self-obsessed. Me, me, me, I, I, I....and I understand why people think this way only because I used to be one of them. In certain seasons of my life there were times when I felt that I was the only one I could count on. I used to think "if I want it done right, I need to do it myself" or "I can't trust anyone" or "no one else is looking out for me, so I'm on my own." Of course as time has passed I've realized that I was wrong, and I have had people lend a helping hand and I've learned to accept it. I've also learned to pay it forward and try to be aware of my surroundings and do my best to do the right thing no matter how big or small.
I sometimes fall short, as we all do, but I know God forgives me and loves me regardless. I know that as long as I continue to live for him, do my best with each day, and invest in other people's lives, that life is good!
What a wonderful time in Florida we had! Leaving 25 degree weather behind us, and finally seeing the sun was just what we needed to recharge our batteries!
Jason and I headed to Florida last Wednesday. The trip started off well with no hassles at the airport, followed be a beautiful sunny morning! We sat outside, enjoyed hot coffee, and we talked for awhile. Oh so relaxing! I must say, my parents have it made down there. It's quiet, and cozy, there are tons of palm trees everywhere:) The pool was warm, the sun was out, and of course I got burnt the first day! I really should know by now to put on sunblock, especially since my skin hasn't seen sunlight in months. Lesson learned!!! We did a lot of catching up, reading, napping, eating, sunbathing, shopping, eating, game playing, manatee watching, drinking, olympic watching...and more eating! We went to the Shrimp Shack one night and it was "shrimply delicious" just like their t-shirts say! The Outlets were awesome too, I definitely did some damage at Banana Republic:)
Bright at early Sunday morning we headed to the airport, so sad! So, it's Monday again and another week is starring me in the face...at least my red arms are now brown, and I'm relaxed and happy! Thanks Mom & Johnson for an amazing time!!! We love you, and already can't wait to visit next year! XOXO