take a deep breath and blow ’em all away

This past weekend we celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday with dinner at Wildfire! After wading through the river overflowing Chicago, the whole fam made it to our favorite steakhouse. I won’t say how old she turned, cuz I’m a lady. I do ladies things.

AND… we get to cat sit Nanaa for 2 weeks!! She has made herself welcome on our ottoman, our kitchen table, our couch, behind our couch, and on every window sill in the place. And occasionally on my lap for a brief 10 seconds (as long as I don’t touch her.) Very low maintenance pet – just the way I like ’em!

“mmm i smell noms cookin”

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Birthday Gal” by The Replacements

everywhere you look, you only see red

I’d been waiting rather impatiently for June 10th to get here. I didn’t think it would. But somehow it did. That was the night of my last final of grad school. I rushed through it so I could get home to start packing for my trip to Arizona. And I squeezed in a quick celebratory drink. I strategically planned to fly out early the next morning, partly to celebrate my dad’s birthday, and partly to celebrate graduation. While DePaul grads were preparing for a long, boring commencement, I was on top of a mountain – literally! A better way to celebrate in my opinion!

We landed in Phoenix, meeting my sister and her boyfriend Branden who flew in from NY. My dad picked us up and we stopped at Badass BBQ Steakhouse for lunch. It was pretty badass. We headed up through Sedona and stopped at a few sights to take pictures. Then on to my dad’s house in Flagstaff.

The next morning we walked around the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It was bigger than I imagined.

Other stops of the trip included Walnut Canyon, Mt. Agassiz (Snowbowl), lava tubes, and Schultz Tank. The Flagstaff landscape was so diverse – there is no shortage of places to visit that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen (at least out here in the midwest.)

We also visited my dad’s work. Normally, that would be a pretty boring place to take guests, but my dad has a cool job. He’s working on a giant telescope for the Discovery Channel through the Lowell Observatory. We went up to the Lowell Campus at dusk and waited for it to get dark to go in one of their old giant telescopes to look a some star clusters. Then they brought out a smaller telescope to show us Saturn. Looking at stars through telescopes isn’t new to me, as it’s been a hobby of my dad’s for years. He built a telescope when we were kids that we would drag out to our patio in the summertime. Needless to say, my dad’s pretty happy out there and it’s cool to hear about the progress they are making.

See more pictures of my trip here

here comes the future

June 10th, 2009 marked my last day of grad school! I’m an official graduate of DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business! I can hardly believe it myself. I started in September 2007, so I finished in under two years. (Yep – I really just wanted to get done as fast as possible.)

As part of my MBA coursework, I concentrated in E-Business, which is a good extension to my technical background as a web developer and a good fit for my current role at Discover. I also took a capstone class where I became a Certified Business Architect. Business Architecture is a relatively new concept within business, and Chicago professors, along with other members of the Business Architects Association, are working to spread the word around Chicago. I think a lot of the high level concepts gave me a good perspective and were a good way to wrap up the MBA program.

CBA Certificate

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Discover for covering the majority of my tuition – couldn’t have done it without you! And thanks to my husband for all his patience!

I’m most excited to just be finished with school and get back to life – just in time for summer! The morning after my last final, we took off for a long weekend in Arizona to visit my Dad for his birthday. I figured that would be a tad more fun than sitting through a lengthy commencement ceremony. Took tons of pictures – stay tuned!

everything around her is a silver pool of light

Lots of martini’s, 9 girls in black dresses, and 1 glowing bride-to-be made for a great bachelorette party for Stefanie! My friend for 17 some years, she is marrying her college sweetheart Adam on the 4th of July. So we had to send her off in style.

We met at Hotel Sax downtown for cocktails and gifts and headed to Buca di Beppo for dinner. Then it was off to a show at Second City.

Yeah, we’re pretty innocent girls, we kept it clean.

Of course, we made her wear the fluffy party veil that all us girls have worn for our bachelorette parties!

Lucky us, we got the “Pope” room at Buca di Beppo – a giant table with a lazy susan in the middle that rotated a bust of the Pope, and lots of Pope memoribilia on the walls. Pretty appropriate for the occasion I thought. We kept turning the Pope around to give Stef the stink eye for drinking all that Sangria.

See more pictures from the night on Flickr.