Our Life Changing Visit to Ochos Rios Primary School in Jamaica

Last summer my friend, Gabi, told me about an amazing charity called Pack for A Purpose.  (If you’ve followed previous posts you’ve read all about this incredible organization. If not, click the link to read all about it!)  I loved the idea of taking action to positively impact the lives of students globally, so beginning a book drive was the perfect idea.  I would have never imagined in a million years that we’d collect 7,000 books and that I’d have the opportunity to actually visit the recipients of our donations. This past week has changed my life forever. It is so true that when you give, you receive even more in return.

On A Mission To Spread Happiness

IMG_6364 (1).jpg

Read more

Mother-Daughter Milwaukee Weekend

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!  (Millennials, ask your parents.) I showed Brooke an episode of Laverne and Shirley before we headed out on our mother-daughter Milwaukee weekend.  And yes, I made her reenact the opening right out on the street in public.  Considering I was taking her to a Miranda Sings concert, it was more than a fair exchange.

IMG_2896

 

Milwaukee is such an easy weekend getaway from our Chicago suburb of Naperville…just under a two hour drive.  Packing for a weekend is so simple: one wheelie suitcase (of course from Baggallini) with two outfits for each of us, bathing suits for the pool and spa, pjs, and loads of textbooks so Brooke could get her homework done in between  the concert and sightseeing–let’s not discuss whether that happened or not.

Brooke’s backpack was filled to the brim with makeup for the Miranda Sings concert at the Riverside Theatre. I’ve never seen more red lipstick in my life!  I had no expectation for the concert and it was actually so funny. Colleen Ballinger is super talented, although not appropriate for children under 15 in my opinion.

 

IMG_6029red

IMG_6042redred

IMG_2951

IMG_5924makeup

A lot of prep for a 60 minute concert!

 

Where we stayed:  

If you visit Milwaukee, I can’t imagine you’d want to stay anywhere other than The Pfister Hotel.  If you don’t know it’s history, it’s fascinating.

IMG_2885

Known as  the “Jewel of Milwaukee,” the first thing you’ll be swept away by is the ornate Romanesque Revival architecture. Built in 1893, it truly felt like we time traveled.  The opulence of staircases, chandeliers, muraled ceilings and marble accents will make you instantly feel like royalty. The Pfister Hotel has the largest collection of Victorian art in America.  The pool, spa, suites and lounge areas all get 5/5 ratings in our book. The only disappointment was the restaurant, Mason Street Grill.  It was honestly the worst Halibut I’ve ever had and Brooke’s flatbread pizza had the soggiest crust.  We were greatly disappointed but the beauty of the hotel and the city definitely made up for it.

IMG_6003pfister

IMG_2876IMG_2902IMG_5988

IMG_5922room.jpg

IMG_2973 window

What we did for two days in Milwaukee:

Knowing basically nothing about Milwaukee, we were excited to explore the city.Here’s what we learned just by meeting people, asking questions and a bit of research:

Milwaukee is a German settlement and the influential Captain Fredrick Pabst’s name is everywhere. He was a German-American brewer who purchased the Pabst Theatre in 1890. Milwaukee is divided by the Milwaukee River. The east sits along the Milwaukee Bay which spills into Lake Michigan.  The buildings here are full of character.  City Hall could probably be mistaken for Big Ben and the Federal Building looks like a European castle.  The west side of Milwaukee seems more suburban and is home to Marquette University–now on Brooke’s college radar. Along the lake is the Museum of Art.  It looks like a ship or perhaps a whale.  Either way, it’s a work of art in itself!

IMG_6004art3IMG_6005art2

IMG_2906IMG_2907IMG_2899IMG_2911IMG_2913

IMG_2893

 

Although we were surprised not to find any breweries, there’s definitely not a lack of churches in Milwaukee.  There almost seems to be a church on every block and the architecture is magnificent.  Again…European teleportation.

1200px-Gesu_Church_Milwaukeetumblr_o61pz8t69x1rh805no1_1280

 

Overall, we’ve decided that we’d “walk” all over Milkwaukee anytime!  What an architecture gem!

IMG_6035riverIMG_2886streetbIMG_2892onstreet - Copy

Have you ever visited Milwaukee?  We will definitely return…maybe for a college visit!

 

 

Baggallini-We’ve Finally Found a Winner–The Perfect Luggage for our Travels

As you may well know, Brooke and I travel a lot…just about every other weekend, school breaks and pretty much the entire summer. What you may not know is that we have literally gone through seven carry-on pieces of luggage, bags and backpacks in the past two years.   No matter how short or long our trips may be, our goal is to solely have carry-ons; we truly despise waiting for eternity at the baggage claim carousels. In fact, we layer up what we wear to the airport, so we can bring as many clothes as possible and simply walk off of the plane to begin our adventures.

But from broken zippers, cracked wheels, and damaged handles, the bags just haven’t endured.  Here are out latest victims:  May we introduce busted handle and broken zipper:((

IMG_6068ugly1

Read more

Chicago Travel and Adventure Show

A few weeks ago, we attended the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show at The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.  Having never been to a travel show, we really didn’t know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised by the enormous amount of diverse exhibits featuring incredible destinations we have yet to explore in the world.  The sheer size and energy inside the arena was exhilarating!

IMG_4947 (1)

Read more

Fifteen Reasons Winter Doesn’t Suck

Unlike my mom who views winter as the season of sadness and hybernation, I view it as a glorious time of year.  Yes, the nights are loooooooong, the days are short, and it can be painfully  freezing, but in my opinion these fifteen reasons to love winter far outweigh any negatives:

Read more

Mom, You’re Way too Old for Instagram

Two years ago this February, my mom started an Instagram account.  When my brothers and I found out,we were a bit upset to say the least. Ok, seriously pissed off. There was no way she was going to be creeping on us. Moms and other old people should know their place… Facebook. Go tell the world how to make precious Pinterest Pumpkin napkin rings, or brag about the money saving organic, gluten free, vegan mangoes you found at Trader Joes. Anything! Just stay the beeeeep away from Instagram!  Everyone knows Instagram is solely for those 25 and younger.  It’s clearly written in the Millennium Code Book for dummies.

Read more

Christmas Day At Paradise Beach in Cozumel, Mexico

Hi All. It’s Brooke!

Over winter break, we took a Central American Cruise on Carnival Magic. Our first port  happened to be Cozumel on Christmas Day.  Choosing an excursion, we didn’t want to do something super crazy because we wanted to keep the entire family together and make it as stress free as possible, so we decided on spending the day at Paradise Beach.

35

Read more