Beach Week Highlights

That's exactly how I'm feeling on this Monday. Why? Not because it's any Monday, but because it's the first day of the new school year Monday. Which means meetings, unpacking and setting up my office, getting situated at a second school (once they tell me where that actually is), getting familiar with new staff...
It's never easy coming off of summer break. I'm hopeful that today goes well, tho--and it'll be nice to see all of my teacher friends together, too.

In the meantime, I thought I'd recap my last week of summer vacay at the beach! (Warning: lots of photos ahead!)

My last week beach vacay highlights included:

~Arriving earlier than we'd planned on Friday and getting in some beach time
~stayed in the cutest little beach rental
~spending time with cute (and funny) nieces
(our 11 year old niece, who is super obsessed with make up did my make up this night--looked really good!)

~coffee outside with the ocean breeze every morning, and dinners cooked at home and eaten on the deck (and getting creative when the coffee cups in the house weren't big enough)
~donuts for breakfast 
not every morning ;)
~my SIL's fabulous meatballs for dinner (she makes them every summer special for me)

~the most beautiful beach weather the entire week, and not one sunburn!
~playing games at night with the fam (including cards against humanity which was hilarious to play with my in-laws)
~cooking my mediterranean pasta bake for the family to enjoy (it was a hit!)

~daily walks along the beach with my love

~Anniversary dinner for MG's parents with all of us while the kids were babysat by our oldest niece--enjoyed the outdoor setting, some yummy fish/shrimp tacos (and crab mac and cheese), mason jar drinks, and watching the sunset

we shared our drinks that night :)
~gambling in AC...started off with $20 and left with $20.06 haha (MG won more)--love digital roulette!

~shopping and finding a super cute new necklace, bracelet, white flowy long sleeve shirt and some new flip flops from my favorite company, Cobian (half the price of Reef's and as comfortable if not more)
~night walks on the boardwalk for treats like ice cream and fudge

~MG and my BIL making the funniest video based off of a vine video the kids showed us (if you follow me on Instagram, that's what that was all about!)

~playing boardwalk games like skee-ball and table hockey, and watching the kids ride the rides
~Manco&Manco pizza (twice)
~dinner on the bay and watching the sunset

~leftover hamburger/hotdog bun war fight on the last night

~Lots of photo ops with my handsome husband (in the best spot on the top deck)

~somehow losing a pound after vacation and all of the beach vacation goodies I indulged in (I shall call it "the beach diet" haha)--thank goodness for all of those morning, afternoon and evening walks!

There were so many other photos and videos that we took, but I didn't want to overload the post (and my SIL's have a lot of them still too). Overall, it was the absolute best week away at the beach. I loved getting to spend the extra time with the family--the beach and awesome weather were just an added bonus!

At least we went out with a bang on our last summer vacay!

And last but not least I want to sent out a big shout out of thanks to the ladies who guest posted for me!! You all are the best! :)

And now I'm off to start the 2015-2016 school year--wish me luck!!

{Guest Post}: The New Mrs

The last guest poster I have for you is the super sweet and stylish Christina from The New Mrs. Christina and I have been blog friends for a while now, and she's let me take over her blog a couple of times while she's been away, so today is her turn to take over my space with some of her Fall Favorites!

Hi everyone and Happy Weekend!   Who is ready for 5pm?! I know I am - not much beats a summer weekend and it's hard to believe this is the last one before Labor Day!

I'm Christina and I blog about a little mix of everything over at The New Mrs.  I'm happy to be guest posting for Jenn today while she soaks up some sun at the beach and enjoys these final summer days.

Let's get right into it, shall we?

Anyone who is familiar with my blog knows that I love a little theme - today I'm thinking all things fall as well as what exciting is ahead this season.  I'm completely torn on my feelings - SO excited for fall, SO sad to see summer go… I think I'll have the mindset of September being part summer/part fall - now that is a win win.

Here's a little peek into some favorites I'm excited for this upcoming season...

Favorite Recipe
I'm not sure about everyone else but in my house this summer we've been all about the grill and BBQ's which have been lovely but I'm excited to get into some of my cooler weather comfort meals and bust out that crockpot more often!  After finding this recipe I am completely craving soups.

Favorite Activity
NFL Preseason is underway and we are just eight days away from college football season.  EIGHT.  I cannot wait - there is no excitement than that of game day and tailgates.  Having football back just screams "fall" to me.  It also makes our weekend afternoons a little more interesting because football is ALWAYS on in the background.  However, if Penn State is on and we're not at the game, then our day is planned around it and Sundays basically revolve on the time of the Cowboys/Eagles games
*that's right my husband and I are fans of opposing teams in the division… same goes for baseball season too ;)

Favorite Looks
I know it's not going to be cool enough for these looks for at least a few more weeks - maybe even longer but I'm loving the idea of fall hats, scarves (always!) and some layering.

one // two // three

Favorite Decor
I love that for much of the fall decor (not including Halloween and such) it can last from September through Thanksgiving.  The colors are easy and there are so many subtle accents to add into your home.

Favorite Sip
Margaritas? Apple Cider? Why not try combining the two - this drink looks like it could be a hit to try at any gathering.

{Least} Favorite…
That fall leads to it getting darker earlier - I dread those nights where we come home from work and it's dark right away - no long nights on the deck, no walks as the sun's setting - just time inside as it's dark outside.

Thank you so much, Jenn, for having me! This was fun and I hope everyone will pop on over to my blog sometime to say hello :)
Thanks Christina! Now that my summer vacation is coming to an end, this post definitely has me looking towards Fall and all of the awesome things that come along with it!

I'm going to add one more favorite to this post--today is the 4 year date-i-versary of MG's and my first date at Cava Mezze! I can't believe it's already been 4 years, and now we're married with a home of our own to start our family in!

{Guest Post}: Green Fashionista

I love today's guest post topic, and I have the perfect blogger/traveler to share with you one of my newest and most favorite cities with you! Kate blogs about daily life, fashion and travel (and she has an adorable little pup, too!) Check out her blog if you haven't, but first, take a look at her trip to Chicago last year!

Good Morning Going the Distance readers, my name is Kate and you can find me over on my little piece of the internet at Green Fashionista where I blog about fashion and beauty reviews, recipes, weekend shenanigans, and my favorite of all - travel recaps. Which is just what I have in store for you all today. Since the fabulous Jenn just got back from an amazing trip to Chicago, I thought I'd share my first trip to the windy city last year.
I have been a lifetime lover of NYC, but everyone has always told me that if I love "the city" then I'll love Chicago even more. I never understood how that could be true until last September when I finally got up there. I'm absolutely in love with Chicago, and can't stop raving about all the amazing food and incredible site seeing.
We arrived on a Friday morning and packed as much as we could until our flight back home Monday morning. We took the train into the city from Midway (only $3 each way and the train connects directly from the airport to downtown Chicago), and when we arrived at our hotel our room was already ready for us. So, we dumped our stuff as I took a quick "ready to hit the ground running" selfie and a pic of the city view from our room. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which was in a great location and we even had a view of the river from our room.
First thing we did was head over to the Sears (Willis) Tower, then we just explored the city before stumbling upon the Plymouth Restaurant & Roof Top Bar for some happy hour drinks, and to meet up with Emily and K to officially start our vacay. Next stop was Millennium Park to see the infamous Bean.
That evening, we celebrated K's birthday, and started off with some pre-dinner drinks at The Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building (absolute MUST DO when in Chicago). Drinks are a bit pricey, so go for a drink and enjoy the views before heading elsewhere for the evening. Emily and I also took a pic in the bathroom with floor to ceiling windows, and magnificent city views.
After drinks at the Signature Lounge, we walked to dinner at Ditka's where the birthday boy was sang to, and capped off the evening with some roof top drinks at Vertigo Sky Lounge
Saturday morning, H and I walked around a bit before grabbing the best donuts we've ever had and a gingerbread latte at Glazed & Infused. We also walked back over to Millennium Park to check out the Bean again, and this time it was super crowded.
Then it was time for my first deep dish pizza experience at Giordano's, and it was absolutely delish! Emily and I met up with Nikki who lives in the city, and enjoyed a round of cocktails while chatting over pizza while the guys had lunch at a rooftop bar. 
The rest of Saturday afternoon consisted of an architectural tour (we booked through Shoreline Siteseeing), a spin on the ferris wheel on the Navy Pier, and some drinks at the hidden tiki bar Three Dots & a Dash.
We had heard from several people that Cantina Laredo was the best Mexican place, so we checked it out for dinner, and they couldn't have been more right. Amazing fresh table side guacamole, margaritas, and entrees.
Sunday morning, H and I grabbed brunch at Wildberry Pancakes before taking the red line train to Wrigley Field to meet up with Emily and K for our first Cubs game. Afterwards, we hung out in Wrigleyville and grabbed some more drinks before heading back into the city. We knew we needed to grab a real Chicago dog so we headed over to Portillo's, and of course the dogs were delish! This is coming from a girl who hates raw onions and relish, but all the ingredients together was amazing!
My Chicago Must-Do's:

~ Drinks at the Signature Lounge in the Hancock Building
~ Roof top bar hopping
~ The Bean at Millennium Park
~ Catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
~ Architectural River Cruise
~ A drink at Three Dots & a Dash
~ Deep dish pizza at Giordano's
~ Donuts at Glazed & Infused
~ Ride the ferris wheel at the Navy Pier
~ Eat a Chicago style hot dog
~ Sunday brunch

What are your must-do's in Chicago?
And don't forget to hop on over every 2nd Wednesday of the month, and link up your favorite travel recaps and wish lists for Wanderlust Wednesdays with KerriEmily, and I. Our next linkup will go live on Wednesday, September 9th. You can also check out my Travel Tab where you'll find the rest of my documented travels over the years from Fiji to Europe to the Caribbean and U.S. Cities.

If that doesn't have you craving a trip to Chicago, I don't know what will! I hit up so many of the same places that Kate did when I was in Chicago and it was seriously THE best time!
Thanks, Kate, for taking care of my blog while I'm away! :)