Thursday, October 19, 2017

Autumn In Minnesota

Yep!  I took a little trip to Minnesota!
My parents both have a milestone (ending in "0"!) birthday this October,
PLUS I have been feeling extra icky and discouraged, so some family time was necessary.
Thanks to Greg for holding down the fort while I was gone.

This is a MONSTER post, full of fun and cute nieces and great fall outfits. 
I love fall!

ENJOY this trip with me!!!

For some reason, the lighting on this photo got weird and I'm not motivated to adjust it at the moment.  I thought the inside of my suitcase looked pretty with all the dots and stripes and textures and that one light blue kitty bag smiling out!

 *** MONDAY ***

Here's what I wore for travel.
I love wearing elastic-waist things every day, but especially for travel days.
And Target's long-sleeve t-shirts are extra soft and comfy, but they still look sleek and not too casual.
skirt: Rekucci (Amazon)
top: Target
shoes: Target
bag: ABage (Amazon)
faux-leather jacket: Levi's (Amazon)
backpack: Steve Madden (Ross)

Oops - didn't focus!
Same outfit, but you can see the silhouette with the jacket on.
I added tights when I got chilly in the plane.

After I arrived, we had some dinner at Panera (yum! - my favorite meal there is an adapted apple walnut salad without the chicken and cheese - they usually throw on some extra veggies to make up for the lack of cheese) and then headed to get some groceries. 

Can you see us in the Aldi security TV?

This was my first trip to Aldi, and I liked it.
It doesn't have regular stock all the time, so my parents usually go there first,
then hit Target (right next door!) for the things on the list they didn't find.

Here's my Dad, giving his CRAZY SMILE.
(That flannel shirt he's wearing is SOOOOOFFT and I like to keep patting his arm or shoulder because it's very soothing.)

Love the Target decor for holidays.
"Trickus Treatus" (= faux latin!)


Here's some of the gluten-free vegan stuff I got at Target.

Almond Breeze almond milk for smoothies
Nut Thins (though I discovered the have MILK in them and bought a different brand I like much better on a subsequent trip)
Seltzer (this Polar brand is extra super cute with the minimal design and polar bear logo)
Yellow and red peppers
Frozen berry blend
Canned pumpkin puree (for possible smoothie or muffins, which I didn't end up making)

(I was embarrassed because someone was watching me take a photo of the food in my cart, so I moved the camera too soon and got a blurry photo.  Not suave!)

*** TUESDAY ***

The next morning, my parents and I went on a walk through the crisp autumn air.

The trees and sky were glorious!!!

that's not my parents' house or car in the background;
they were just resting along the way while I was taking pictures of everything in sight!

one dandelion bravely surviving the chill!

A "helicopter"! = the seed pod from a Maple tree

A little pond with ducks and geese: 


On the other side of this TALL wooden wall is the freeway.
My parents pointed out this little flap in the wall.
 See the picture of the fire hydrant?
That little flap is for the fire hose to go through . . . 

alllllll the way from this fire hydrant across the street!


The vines hanging on the wall turn pretty colors in the fall, too!

My Dad has done quite a bit of geocaching, and he told me there was a cache in the sign somewhere.

Found it!
It was in a little teeny vial with a magnet on the back.

That afternoon, my parents picked up my sweet nieces Cora and Esme early from school and we played toys until my brother, Mark, and his wonderful wife, Jillian, arrived with pizza!!!

(My Dad and I had picked up GF pizza earlier from Davanni's and I was very self-controlled and didn't eat any immediately even though it smelled delicious!) 

After dinner, we chatted a LOT and I think everyone cried at least a little bit because all of us have been having a bit of a rough time in various different ways.  What a blessing to have a family where authenticity is valued and where we can truly support each other!

Then my Mom and I relaxed and chatted and watched HGTV.
It was a pretty perfect day!


The next day was another perfect one!
Here's what I wore . . . 
sweater: Charter Club (Macy's)
camisole: JKY by Jockey (Target)
jeans: INC International Concepts (Macy's)
bag: ABage (Amazon)
socks: Target (but covered by some slipper socks)

My Mom and I had a lovely and wonderful shopping day!
Our favorite place to go is Macy's, so that's where we started.
Isn't my Mom pretty?!

It's by Tommy Hilfiger and this is a size small. 
I LOVED this, but it was too expensive for my taste, so I didn't buy it right then.
I went home that evening and browsed Macy's online and ended up buying a bunch of stuff
because the online prices were much better than the in store prices PLUS I got an online-only code PLUS I got free shipping.
This sweater arrived to me on Monday!

How could a person be expected to resist these wonderful sleeves?!

My Mom bought me this extra cute little striped tee (quite thick material)
with an anchor on it.
Those are her brand-new jeans in the background and they are GREAT!
She's been looking for some for awhile (since previous favorites became unavailable)
and I was happy to be able to help her discover what will hopefully become new favorites.

The anchor top was on clearance and is only available now in plus sizes (here).
Here's how I wore it the first time (Monday!)
top: Tommy Hilfiger (Macy's)
skirt: Dani's Choice (Amazon)

I also ordered this top to pad my order and get free shipping, and I won't be taking it back!
I like the fluted sleeve with the animal print.
I got a small in these, too, even though I'm always scared to get small tops because sometimes (like at Target!) tops are ridiculously teeny and I need an XL.  Sizing is silly.
These tops are right-sized.

I'll probably wear them tucked in with skirts.

I decided to get the "Pinot" color (wine), too.
This one hasn't arrived yet, so I can't tell you how it looks in person.
Sometimes this color can wash me out, so we'll have to see.

While I was browsing on their website, I came across this sweater that
I stalked until it recently went on sale.

If you look closely, you will see that the upper dot near the right-hand side of the photo is embroidered with a CAT FACE!!!!!
I adore subtle details like that.

After Macy's, Mom and I had lunch at Chipotle.
I typically get the veggie bowl with
black beans
veggie fajitas
mild salsa.

Delicious and filling!

We did some more minor browsing after that
(lingerie!), but I don't have photos of that for you.

On the way home, I saw this truck full of PUMPKINS and SQUASH!

That evening, I was happy to get to see Peter, one of my oldest friends,
and to meet his wife, Kristin, and sweet daughter Ashlyn.
I didn't want to be weird and take photos of our time together (in their home) for public consumption,
so you don't get to see them.  I will summarize by telling you that Peter is aging very well, his wife and daughter are lovely, and I had a great time.

It was a wonderful chilly misty autumn evening
and I stayed up way too late after I got home reading in bed because it was
so delightful to be cuddled up in comfort when it was sort of blustery outside.

*** THURSDAY ***

My Mom and I happily had another partial day of shopping planned.
I wanted to go to Target.
Before I could, however, we had to fix a problem that happened at Macy's the day before.
The anchor top that my Mom bought me as a gift had been left behind!
The saleswoman had put it aside with the receipt without putting it in the bag - oops!
Their customer service people were very helpful and got things resolved quickly.

Here's what I wore on Thursday.
jeans: d jeans (Ross)
top: Maison Jules (Macy's)
socks & shoes: Target
faux-leather jacket: Levi's (Amazon)
bag: ABage (Amazon)

I'm not sad we needed to go back to the mall, though, because we also made a stop at J. Crew, where I purchased this!!!

I wanted the black one, but it was sold out, so I got pink.
It's a beautiful color.

After that, we headed off to Target!
We drove past fields filled with pumpkins and tall corn stalks (for corn mazes!)

Mom got a coffee at Starbuck's once we got there.

I didn't take many photos of what happened at Target, but
I'm happy to say that we both found some things on our lists for fall!

Here are some of my purchases (though not modeled on me - keep your eyes on this spot and you'll soon see me styling up these items):

Pink ruffle sweater:

White ruffle sweater:

Do you notice a theme (ruffles?)  
All these sweaters are light and feminine, and they will serve me well this winter.
Also, if you're interested, Target is having a buy one, get one 50% off many of their sweaters RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!  I actually returned these and repurchased them (online, since our Arizona stores don't carry all the sweaters yet - it's still 94 degrees outside today, so we're not exactly in sweater weather!) and was able to buy all three for the price I had previously paid for two.  Yippee!

Thursday evening, my Dad, Mom, and I headed over to see my Mom's sister and her husband, Ron.
I don't get to see them as much as I would like, and it's always wonderful to spend time with them.
Auntie Cindy, my sweet Mom

We looked at photos of vacations and weddings and babies.
It was lovely.
My Daddy, my Uncle Ron

Ron is a very talented carpenter, and I got to see this beautiful wooden single-person canoe he built.

One of the bathrooms in their place is decorated in outdoorsy man style.

Love it!!!

I took some group photos in the entry mirror before I left.
This one turned out the best!

When we got home, I started cooking for the next night.
Friday evening we were planning dinner with Mark & Jillian and Cora and Esme.
It was going to be pasta night, so I needed to create my pasta!

I like veggies with a bit of pasta (rather than lots of noodles with tomato sauce on top),
so I started a-chopping (while watching "House Hunters"!)

Thursday evening for a late-night snack,
I had mini potatoes (cooked in the microwave) with ketchup
and mandarin oranges (from a can).
Speedy, healthy, and tasty!

*** FRIDAY ***

Friday morning I left around 10 to meet Greg's college roommate, Rich, and his wife, Linda,
for lunch in downtown Minneapolis.  Downtown has always been a little scary for me, since I was a suburban girl growing up (and I still am!) but it was easy getting there, and the liveliness of the downtown area is appealing.  We ate at Zelo, a really beautiful restaurant (but surprisingly, not that expensive!) 

I tried on about five different outfits before settling on this one.
Look at that pile of stuff behind me that was waiting to be packed!
 - what a messy Christie!
sweater: Target
camisole: JKY by Jockey (Target)
skirt: Dani's Choice (Amazon)
bag: ABage (Amazon)
tights: Target

I had plenty of great stuff along, so it wasn't that I didn't have the right things,
it's that I hadn't tried on all the things TOGETHER before I left.
Many of the sweaters I took along are shorter than I would prefer because I normally have worn them over other, longer tops (blouses, for example).  But when I put on the sweater with just skinny pants, I didn't like how it looked.  Eventually I came up with this and I felt just right even in the fairly dressed-up realm of downtown Minneapolis.
(Which is amusing because everything else in Minnesota seems to be dressed in nice fuzzy flannel!)

My parents picked the girlies up from school early again, and we had plans to create a farm
out of construction paper, boxes, and art puffs!

One time when I was about 8, probably, I made a barn out of a potato chip box
and the animals out of cotton balls.
This is sort of an upgrade recreation.

The girls requested which animals they wanted and what colors the animals should be.

Pig was my choice for first animal!!!

Esme wanted a blue dog!
With blue ears and a blue tail.
I also made a doghouse and a bone.

Cora wanted a purple cat, and I can't find close-up photos of her.
I think she's inside the barn.

Here's the barn.
Grandpa and Cora made a C and and an E
out of pipe cleaners for "Cora & Esme's farm"!

I also made a silo and a mud puddle for the pig.
Dad used aluminum foil for a pond (with fish!)

Here's the horse and the rooster.

Cora drew the farmer lady (wearing many hats!)
that you see to the left in this photo.
You can also see the purple cat next to the black cow.

We also played outside while Grandpa and Grandma were cooking pasta for dinner.

After Mark & Jillian put the girlies to bed, I went over to their house and hung out for a long long time until we were all melted into little piles of mush from being so sleepy.
It was absolutely fabulous and lovely.
I love my family!!!!!!

The next morning, my parents took me back to the airport.
I was sad to leave!
But also I was looking forward to seeing my dear husband soon.

There's downtown Minneapolis!

Bright trees and bushes pop up all of a sudden along the road.


It's normally green - it's only red in the fall.

My flight home again was EASY and seemed very quick.

I had lots of good snacks and a number of delightful books, AND I was seated on the aisle, 
so I enjoyed every minute.

I hope you enjoyed traveling with me!

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