Tag Archives: chicago

A Stress-Free Courthouse Wedding


Last week, my oldest daughter, Melody, and her now husband, Jamie, said “I do”. The couple married at the Justice of the Peace in Chicago. The ceremony was intimate, inexpensive ($60 instead of a traditional ceremony which is close to $30,000) and stress-free.

They didn’t have to please or impress anyone. They didn’t have to worry about enough seating, wedding favors, plates, flowers, table cards, etc. Melody and Jamie were in and out of the courthouse in 20 minutes and were free to do whatever they wanted. They hired a hobby photographer who followed them around Chicago and shot over 400 photos for just $25. Melody looked beautiful in an inexpensive, simple white dress, while Jamie looked dashing in his light-colored suit.

Instead of fancy flowers and decorations, the focus on love took center stage at this ceremony.

After the ceremony the couple went to a nice restaurant and enjoyed a delicious meal. At a traditional wedding, you’d pay an average of $30 per plate. They also spent the first night as a newlywed couple in a great hotel overlooking Lake Michigan.

Two days after their courthouse wedding, the couple came down to Nashville. Melody’s sister, Christy, and I surprised them with a homemade red velvet cake.weddingChristy also made these cute “NEWLYWED” bracelets.weddingI have to admit, not seeing my first-born get married was hard for me, at first. When your kids are small you have this vision of a beautiful wedding day. Not being able to hear her say “I do” made me sad and I felt cheated out of a celebration, but I’ve realized that at this time in their lives a courthouse wedding made perfect sense. And I respect that they did this on their own terms. After my daughter graduates law school (if she isn’t completely buried in student loan debt ) they might renew their vows in front of family and close friends. It’s on their terms, on their time line…

I know their courthouse wedding will  bring them just as much happiness as the traditional $50K weddings. Because at the end of the day it’s not about that one day… it’s about everything that comes after it.

Congrats, Melody & Jamie! I wish you an amazing and happy life filled with laughter, love and joy.


Christmas in Chicago


xmas in chicagoI spy us in “The Bean.”xmas in chicagoxmas in chicagoLOVE this real tree. The imperfection makes it beautiful.xmas in chicagoxmas in chicago

xmas chicagoWe saw three different ice skating rinks in the city. Admission is free but there is a skate rental fee.xmas chicagoxmas chicagoChicago’s Zoo is covered with lights… and it’s free. What’s not to love?xmas chicagoxmas chicagoChicago’s deep dish pizza. Basically cheese with tomato sauce… But so good.xmas chicagoFor us it was cold that day (40 degrees), but warm for Chicago standards.xmas chicagoChristmas decor is on every Chicago corner. It makes the city look so festive. xmas chicagoThe best view of Chicago is from the very top of the Hancock Building. xmas chicagoxmas chicagoxmas chicagoThis was so cool. Chicago runs a Holiday Train that everyone loves. People cram into the crowded train with happy, smiling faces. I was so touched by how much everyone loves it.xmas chicagoThe Baha’i House of Worship is composed of white cement and quartz crystals. The temple is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois. The design just blew my mind.xmas chicagoxmas chicagoxmas chicagoThe German Christkindl Market brought back lots of memories of my childhood in Germany. Is anyone familiar with Mohrenkoepfe?xmas chicagoxmas chicagoI just returned from visiting my daughter Melody who lives in Chicago. She had finished her finals and invited me to see Chicago during the holiday season. I helped her move there in August and decided I love Chicago during every season. In my opinion, Chicago has a similar energy to New York City, but Chicago is cleaner, less crowded and much more family friendly. There is no shortage of activities around the city, which are easily accessible by train or bus.

My daughter was my tour guide and I loved every minute of it. We had so much fun visiting the Chicago Zoo at night, The Baha’i House of Worship, the Holiday Train, Christkindl Market, Hancock Building, etc. The city is beautiful – full of lights and Christmas decor.

This was also my first time taking the Megabus, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

megabusxmas chicagomegabusThe Megabus offers fares for as low as $1. My fare to Chicago was $10 each way. The Megabus has free Wi-Fi, is clean, and on time. The bus wasn’t full so I had two seats to myself. I was not compensated by Megabus in any shape or form to say this. Just my personal experience I wanted to share with you.


A Day in Chicago

chicagomainchicago3(new)Twenty-four years ago, I visited Chicago. I was 21 years old. Just a kid with her whole life still ahead. Where did the time go?

chicago38Here I am, 24 years later at the same spot with my oldest daughter, who turns 21 next week. We had to walk far but  made it to this spot just before sunset. Words can’t describe how I felt  in that moment.chicago8chicago9chicago4chicago5


chicagoAfter a rainy start, the weather was absolutely gorgeous.chicago24chicago1chicago21Flowers are everywhere in Chicago… even on mail boxes. I love it! I wish every city would realize what a difference a flower arrangement makes. chicago27This girl was the reason we went there in the first place. She is posing in front of her new school – Loyola Law School. Chicago is going to be her new home for the next three years. I couldn’t be happier for her.chicago34Love the exposed brick and the hardwood floors in her new apartment, which she’ll share with two other girls.chicago6We worked hard to get her room ready. She is officially moving in next week and class starts the following week.  It’s a perfect place for her and she absolutely loves it.chicago36The outside of her apartment building.chicago37The drive from Chicago to Nashville felt long so we stopped in Indiana to get Handel’s Ice Cream. We stood in line for 20 minutes, but it was well worth it.chicago33If you’re ever near a Handel’s, stop and get some ice cream. It’s to die for!chicago17Chicago is a beautiful city and we had a lovely trip.