Thursday, September 25, 2014

Graduation Day

I forgot to post one of my proudest moments, my college graduation!  On May 18, 2014 I finally became a college graduate.  It was a fantastic day filled with family, friends and a long awaited flood of relief.

Message from Peggy's, the recently closed student bar on campus.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Shedd Aquarium-Chicago

If you're planning on traveling to Chicago one of the have to attractions is definitely the Shedd Aquarium.

Ok, here is my top suggestion for going to this aquarium, pay attention, because I read this tip previously and didn't listen, and I should've. GET THERE BEFORE IT OPENS!!!!  Oh my word, this line is absolutely INSANE!!!!  We got to the aquarium 30 minutes after it opened and the line was already crazy.  However, once we were in, it was AMAZING.  It was absolutely fantastic, even with an eight year old who was suffering through a fever and ended up going back to the truck with grandma so sleep while little Charlie and I finished the aquarium and went to another museum.

So the good about waiting in line, the good about waiting in line, look around, what are my options?  Turning around and *BAM* we're standing in front of any incredible view of the Chicago skyline.  I hoisted the kiddos on the ledge and had a little photo shoot.  Well, that killed about five minutes of the endless we were waiting.
Even more fantastic luck, there was a race going on that we could see perfectly from the ledge.  People were running by below us, which made for a perfect place to cheer them on, which is what they did with grandma while I waited in the line from hell.

Once you get past the line you realize what all the fuss is about.  There are endless exhibits for you to walk through, endless photo opportunities and a HUGE gift shop to splurge in.  Even feeling under the weather, Faith loved what she saw.  Charlie probably could have spent the entire day wandering around, but we had to get to the next museum before we left to drive home.

If you're interested in visiting Shedd Aquarium and would like more information, just click here!

Friday, September 5, 2014

One Direction Concert

When you're younger you mentally make a list of all the things you want to do for your future children to make sure they have an awesome childhood.  When I was in sixth grade N*SYNC came to town and every girl, I mean EVERY girl, seemed to be going to see them.  Well, every girl except myself.  My mother couldn't afford tickets and I was embarrassed and lied to my friends and told them I was going, which ended up biting me in the butt because my friend ended up with an extra ticket, but didn't invite me because she thought I was already going.

This has haunted me ever since, I didn't go to my first concert until I was a senior in high school and Alicia Keys was at the Iowa State Fair.  Needless to say, my daughter's first concert was going to be epic, something she would never forget.  So, when I heard One Direction was going to be in Chicago I knew I had to take her.  On August 29 my little girl's dreams came true as we sat in a sold out stadium and watched Niall Horan, Harry Styles (my man), Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Zayn Malik shake their booties while serenading us under a glow of fireworks.  She loved it and before we left we made sure we bought just about everything in their swag store.

Ready to get this party started!

Gorgeous view while we waited.

The stadium was gorgeous, aside from having to look up and see 15 year-olds stripper dancing in the private boxes.  


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Turkey Travel Abroad

As I said in my previous post, I went to Turkey.  I traveled with the same professor I went to Egypt with and had another amazing adventure.  We traveled all over, started in Istanbul, went to Ankara, Bursa, Cappadocia and ended back in Istanbul.  Let me get into my favorite part, the pictures!  I'll start with our time in Istanbul, since that's where we spent the beginning of the trip.  The mosques were incredible, the detail work was mind blowing.

The professor arranged for us to take a boat ride, which gave us a fantastic view of about 15 different mosques.  As we went under a bridge we were told that the land on the left was Europe and on the right it was Asia, which I was so excited about.

 Earlier that day we visited many mosques including the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, which is now a museum, formerly a mosque.

I had to do a lot of stretching to get this picture out of a high window facing the Blue Mosque from Hagia Sophia. 

Amazing view for our meeting at the Chamber of Commerce. 

Spent the entire day at the Grand Bazaar. You can't even imagine how much I purchased, I had some great barterers with me and walked away without spending too much.

I bought a few of these, the blue ones in the middle were mine after a few minutes of back and fourth with the owner.

I loved these strands of colorful elephants. I bought
some for the kids to hang in their rooms.

Rules and regulations for entering the Mosques.

On the outer deck at the Chamber of Commerce.


Meeting in the Prime Minister's office.
In Ankara we stayed at the dorms on the
TOBB University of Economics and Technology campus. 
Taking the ferry on our journey from Ankara to Bursa.

The sufi dancing was easily one of my favorite parts of the trip. The passion in their eyes, the focus as they twirl, it was mesmerizing. 

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He became a good friend while on the trip.  Joey shopping at the Bursa silk market in the same store that Queen Elizabeth bought her silk scarves from when she went to Bursa.

Walking through the silk market.

 First of all, the hotel was so cool, I mean, it was literally built into the side of the mountain.  It was like sleeping in Batman's cave, but in a comfortable, soothing way.

 We decided to take a long hike to see some of the larger, more detailed carvings.  Within a few steps of getting off the bus I slipped on sand and scarped my leg….classic.

 We took a tour through a long cave system, it was an entire city built into the lower portion of a mountain.  It was incredibly claustrophobic, but worth it.

Love you, Lisa, but this was my view as we went through the connecting tunnels.

This was one of the professors on the trip, also the Dean of Students, whom is about 6.5 feet tall!