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Hilton Garden Inn - Milwaukee

Monday, January 30, 2017
Earlier this month I traveled to Milwaukee for work. Isn't Milwaukee the tropical destination we all dream of being sent to in early January?

The trip overall was one to forget. Anything that could go wrong on my flight to Milwaukee did, and being completely, miserably sick didn't help either. Nothing like being wrapped up in a blanket with a 100 degree plus temperature on a plane, right?

I arrived in Milwaukee cold, sick, and really just wanting the plane to send me straight back home, but there was definitely one shining moment of the trip that I must rave about - the hotel!

I booked the Hilton Garden Inn downtown because it was super close to the event I was working on Saturday evening, and I've always enjoyed Hilton Garden Inn hotels. This hotel was definitely not your typical Hilton Garden Inn though. It was one of the prettiest hotels I've stayed in.

The hotel is in the historic Loyalty Building in downtown Milwaukee. The Loyalty Building was built in 1886 for Northwestern Mutual Insurance by architect Solon Beman, who also built several well-known buildings in Chicago. It's Romanesque style is so ornate and beautiful. Inside the building has a huge, gorgeous marble staircase, old cage elevators, and lovely tile floors.

When I walked in the lobby I literally gasped at its beauty. As I walked up the stairs to my room, I was blown away by the most incredible part - the atrium roof- which filled the stairwell with bright light.

One of the neatest hotels I've stayed in - so much history and beauty!

Isn't this atrium incredible? Photo doesn't even do it justice! 

I seriously couldn't get over these floors - aren't they gorgeous?
 Think of the shoes who've walked over these tiles...

The building is on the National Historic Registry and is one of four important 19th Century commercial structures in Milwaukee today. It's quite the building. My room was just as gorgeous with ornate features, and a floor to ceiling window. They just don't design buildings like they used to. (Old person comment?)

 The hotel also had beautiful photographs on the walls, and really interesting, art gallery-like descriptions to accompany the photos. Any history nerds like myself, would enjoy how much you could learn just by walking through the floors of the hotel. Here's another great post (in much more detail) about how amazing this hotel is.

If Milwaukee is a part of your travel plans anytime soon, I recommend checking this hotel out. And, preferably going when you're not sick and during the summer.

Happy travels, friends!

Cheers to Friday!

Friday, January 20, 2017
Happy Friday all! We've almost made it through cold, dreary cheers to that!

This is a fun, fizzy drink Mike and I've enjoyed lately. It's kind of a tangy version of a mimosa, and it's such a bright, jewel tone ruby red. We found it in a Dr. Oz magazine this winter, and it's a really delicious weekend cocktail. Pderfect for a brunch!

It's a quarter cup pomegranate juice, then a splash of orange juice, and a splash of cranberry juice, topped off with champagne or prosecco. Not a bad way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C during cold season either.

Happy weekend!

Flower Power

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A huge guilty pleasure for me is a big, beautiful bouquet of flowers. I've always loved flowers, and grew up gardening alongside my mom. I loved to work in the yard with her and learn the names of each unique little bloom. Chrysanthemums, gaillardias, peonies - I could name them all. I remember as a little girl sitting for hours in the winter with my great-grandmother Della's Gurney's flower and seed catalogs daydreaming of summer's warmth and the grand gardens I could create.

I always have a bouquet of flowers in our home. They make me happy, and bring a little life and color to our house - especially this time of year. Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to live close to a Dillon's where you can buy beautiful flowers for really cheap - like $5 for a bouquet! I love picking up a bunch of flowers when I'm shopping for groceries. It's a lot of fun to see what colors and types of plants you can find and turn into a flower shop worthy bouquet.

I wanted something soft, yet still wintry this weekend. I'm kind of tired of the bold red and burgundy shades of Christmas but wanted something that still looked like January. I was excited to find these soft blush colored spider mums and peaches and cream hypericum berries. They were also selling bunches of these bright green leaves which I thought would give the arrangement a little depth. The little berries give it some wintry texture.

As I look out my window to trees coated in ice, it's nice to look at these bright blooms on my table. If you need a little pick-me-up on this cold, icy Sunday, grab yourself some flowers. I promise they'll do the trick. 

My winter companions? James Bond and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, January 2, 2017
Did the title of this blog leave you wanting to know more?

I know seeing these two names together is a bit odd but I'm spending a lot of time with both Bond and Laura this winter.

Mike and I really do not like winter. I get blue, and he gets crazy cabin fever. We're charming to be around I'm sure. We both really need good distractions, lots of work, hobbies, or whatever you want to throw our way, to keep us busy and engaged until sunshine and warm weather triumphantly return in April.

I've never enjoyed winter, and know I need to keep myself inspired and interested in something this time of year.  I recently remembered in high school one winter AMC was showing a Hitchcock movie every Sunday night. My parents and I became hooked on this weekly ritual that kept us entertained and looking forward to the next Sunday's movie. I loved it! I learned so much about Alfred Hitchcock films, but also anticipated my weekly movie date with my family. Instead of dreading the week ahead in the cold winter months, I actually looked forward to Sunday evenings.

So in late October I decided that Mike and I needed our own little winter challenge. I quickly settled on the idea that we needed to watch all the James Bond movies in order this winter. It seemed like the perfect winter challenge - I love old movies, Mike loves James Bond. And with 25 movies total I knew it would take us through winter, even if winter lasted through the end of March as it sometimes does.

We're currently eight movies in, and I have to say I'm really enjoying them. All the Bond films have a certain elegance about them that just makes them seem like an indulgence, and the perfect opportunity to sip a martini. Shaken not stirred, of course. The opening sequences are so fun, the Bond girls are glamorous, and it's always exciting to see how Bond will pull it off in the end.

The first Bond film is still one of my favorites.

My favorite Bond movies so far as been "Dr. No" (#1) and "You Only Live Twice" (#5). My favorite Bond girl so far? Honey Rider. But I'm definitely ready to see the Bond girls evolve as we get further into our challenge. A little more girl power and gumption is a good thing. 

Honey Rider - the first Bond girl - in that iconic bikini! 

In a complete change of subject, I've decided to re-read all the "Little House on the Prairie" books this winter. I have such fond memories of my mother reading me the books before bed one winter. I never wanted it to be time to put the book away, and go to bed. I'd beg her to keep reading! I just started the first book "Little House in the Big Woods" and I immediately remember why I loved this series so much. They're seriously like the book form of a comfort food for me! 

A childhood staple!

So my companions this winter will be James Bond and Laura Ingalls Wilder but I'm willing to add more. Have you done any little challenges like this to get you through the winter blues? Have you re-visited a favorite TV, book, or movie series? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

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