Hello there! On this cozy Southern California evening, I’m writing to you from the intersection of “I’m feeling super productive in this new year” and “I feel too overwhelmed with all the things to actually do anything”. Welcome, welcome. If you haven’t visited, it’s like when you decide to donate clothes to Goodwill but instead drive them around in a trash bag in the trunk of your car for 6 months. Good intentions, butttt…exhaustion is winning.
I’ve spent the last two weeks traveling and now need a vacation from my vacation, but SURPRISE, KARA, you have to go back to work. Sigh. My holidays are typically spent traveling between different homes – rarely in the place I actually live – shuffling around, spending extra time in airports. No stay-cations for me but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A recap of the last two weeks:
# Airlines: 3
# Airports: 6
# States: 6 (California, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, New York, New Jersey. 7 if you count driving through Greenwich, CT on the highway.)
I’d say, without exaggeration, 80% of my flights to Iowa are delayed for 2+ hours or cancelled. This trip was no exception: we had a layover in Dallas and after we arrived, our flight to Iowa was cancelled with nothing on the schedule until the next day. We spent the night in Dallas where it was TWELVE DEGREES (it gets that cold in Texas?!) but tried to make the most of it! We then spent about a week in Iowa, a day in Chicago, and a week-ish in New York.
My favorite highlights:
- Spending time with both our families + friends, of course! Absolutely nothing better than this.
- The Hilton at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Okay, I’m only writing about this because it was the BEST THING EVER to stay at a hotel that’s connected to the airport. I can’t stop raving about it. We had a 7AM flight and you can literally walk from the hotel to airport security without going outside. I think we woke up at 5AM and were in the security line by 5:30. I recommend you all plan your trips around this fact. Forget your world travels, just fly to and from Chicago and stay there.
- Dinner at Wildfire in Chicago – so Christmasy and cozy and delicious.
- Finding out our best friends are having another baby (!!!!!!) + spending time with their now 18 month old who is the smartest, sweetest, most fun, cutest little girl. (I could keep going but I’ll spare you.)
- Meeting our other great friends’ adorable 3 week old baby and catching up with them. The fact that they had wine and cheese waiting for us when we arrived even though they have the aforementioned 3 week old.
- Hanging out with my long lost sister Ashley and her family. The fact that she had pizza and wine waiting for us when we arrived. (I’m sensing a trend.)
- Going to Long Island for Christmas and spending the day with 50+ people from Brendan’s family (my family now!). How we all fit into one house I’m not quite sure, but it was so wonderful. Our day was full of lots of wine and delicious food and laughing and holiday cheer. And talking to Brendan’s 95 year old grandmother who made me cry with her heartfelt stories.
- Driving to Long Island with Brendan and his brother, singing Billy Joel AND seeing this at the fancy new rest stop out east. I still have “We Didn’t Start The Fire” stuck in my head. What I know of it, that is.
- Playing video games and Settlers of Catan. (Do you play this? What’s your strategy? TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.)
- Not looking at my phone for hours at a time and not being at all offended when all I missed were a billion ESPN alerts. (#bowlgameseason #butnoneofthesegamesactuallymatter)
- “Planning” a trip to South Africa with Brendan’s cousin. I use the word “planning” very loosely. I “plan” a lot of trips. But THIS TIME I SWEAR IT’S HAPPENING. (Lately I’ve been trying to convince everyone to go to South Africa with me. I have no explanation.)
- Not having to decide where to eat or what to cook because when you’re “visiting” other people do that for you. (The hardest part of any relationship AMIRIGHT?)
- Seeing a Rangers win!
- Feeling so much love. Our parents, siblings and friends all put so much thought and care into making our trips special. They cooked and baked our favorite things, hosted parties, gave us thoughtful gifts (way too many!!) and gave us so much of their time. It was perfect and we are incredibly lucky.
- Have I mentioned all the wine? On that note, who wants to join me in No Wine January? Sad, YES, but I think it might be necessary seeing as I’ve gotten to the point where every day without wine is a sense of pride. I’m on day 4, give me a ribbon please.
- The fact that we didn’t spend a single night not surrounded by people we love. (Have I said the word “love” enough yet?) Spending practically every second with Brendan. I KNOW I KNOW it’s cheesy. But true.
WOW this post was so much longer than I anticipated. Are you still here? Now it’s your turn. I love hearing about how other people spend their holidays. What’s your favorite tradition?