Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas in Chicago...With Some of the Folks From Home

Christmas Eve
showing off our new PJ's
So this year we fully embraced our emerging adulthood & decided to stay in Chicago & celebrate Christmas in the Windy City! We visited a Lutheran church in Wrigleyville for Christmas Eve services, and apparently we attended the "Kids Service" which was a mistake that I won't make again, but the church was really nice & they even had some programming listed in the bulletin that grabbed our attention. I think we may go back there. Anyway, after church we came home to open our annual Christmas eve gift, which is always PJ's. I am a believer in jammies in general, but there's NOTHING better than a brand new pair of pajamas on Christmas eve that you get to lounge around in the whole next day. Coop decided to stay in Chicago for Christmas too, so her Mom sent her PJ's to our house so she'd have some new jammies on Christmas too. We spent the rest of the night baking sugar cookies, drinking wine & watching The Grinch.

Sadie's Stocking
Christmas morning Lilah & Sadie woke up EXTRA early (they must have been excited that it was Christmas day!) so we got moving bright & early. We also had our friend Blake's dog Charlie so the puppy energy was at an all time high at Casa Latchford-Morgan. We got my Mom's traditional Christmas morning breakfast right in the oven, set a pot of coffee to brew & opened our stockings. Even the pups got some prizes in their stocking from the man in red. We took a break for brunch & a visit before opening the rest of our presents. We got spoiled rotten again this year from family & friends. Greg was especially excited about his new Bear's shirt that Coop got him...the icing on the cake was the Bears played the Packers on Christmas Day. Sadly, we lost. But Greg looked great!
One of my slippers!

Merry Christmas from
Santa's Little Helper
After we opened all of our presents Coop & I started on the Christmas feast...and a feast it was. For some reason grocery stores don't see a need to offer a Christmas ham smaller than 8 lbs., so even though there were only 3 of us, and 2/3 of us don't eat meat much, we still had an 8 lb. ham. We had all the rest of the trimmings including Coop's famous brussel sprouts & Aunt Di's Apple Pie recipe, which Greg made for the very first time from SCRATCH! Very impressive. After the feast we watched the Bears game & relaxed. It was perfect.

The next day we got right back to work at the wedding planning (over bloody marys of course) & have been busy looking forward to the adventures of 2012! We're excited for the New Year & are so grateful, as always, for the love & support of friends & family, the privilege of the work we do, our education, every opportunity & of course, each other.

A belated Happy Holidays to all & best wishes for a happy & healthy New Year!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Planning

It was a bitter sweet decision for Greg & I to agree to stay in Chicago for Christmas this year, but with the wedding coming up we thought it was the smartest decision. Mostly because of the expense (you KNOW we have to fly Lilah & Sadie with us for Christmas. I refuse to celebrate holidays without my "children") but also because if there was ever a year when the timing was right to not go home for Christmas, it's the year before the wedding. Most years after this one it'll be more imperative, but this year, what's imperative is that we be together, & we will be. Ok, moving on...

My sweet neighbor Charlene, who should be solely credited for righting the wrong that was Lilah & Sadie's behavior is approaching her 1st Holiday season as a Chicago resident & since we are also new to our building, we thought it would be a good idea to throw "neighborhood Holiday party" to get to know everybody. This combined with the treat of preparing my first Christmas feast means I'm already planning & organizing. I've scrounged around for all of the coupons I can find & have a pretty good shopping list going which I'm going to STRICTLY adhere to otherwise we'll have to postpone the wedding...Holiday grocery trips can get PRETTY expensive. Shout out to The Project Girl for the best Holiday Menu Planner ever.

Also, since I got a head start on Christmas shopping, all of those little gifties are already on their way to our family & friends which means it's time to start crackin' on the holiday cards. Last year we worked with an Etsy artist who created us a custom stamp for our cards, but this year we're showing some Chicago pride with Cubs cards. So exciting! I'm looking forward to finishing up the holiday cards tonight whilst watching Water for Elephants with my mister. Finally!

That's all from this holiday elf. Hope you're enjoying your holiday planning too!


Monday, December 5, 2011

The Bookworm Returneth

Well...I didn't read ANY OF THE BOOKS on The Reading List 2.0 because I had ALL I could say grace over with school...but it's THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN! Time to read for fun...& I only have to take a break from reading for fun 1 more time, because next semester is my LAST SEMESTER!!

Just as soon as I finish my assignments for this semester, I'm going to start reading THEEEESE lovelies...

I'm starting with Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. 'Cause I wanna.
Why Are All the Black Kid Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Because I wanna. And also because I'm planning on using it for my multicultural counseling class this Spring.
Bossy Pants for a little funny.
A People's History of the United States because I LOVED history class this Fall & I just want to soak up as much history as I can.

The reading lists get less & less ambitious as the semesters go on...My thinker knows better than to bite off too much. So, maybe 4 books over winter break?

still to do...

  • The gallery photo wall. I have all of these amazing photos & prints & awesome frames. Sitting in a closet. No bueno. The goal is to have them up by Christmas. 
  • Refinish the little chairs & the craigslist table. High gloss grey. CAN'T wait.
  • Some lady baby projects...More to come later. 
JUST for case anybody follows me on Pinterest & wonders what lady baby I'm talking about...It's baby Frederick, not a baby Morgan. Just want to make sure there's no confusion about that. Check back in a couple years. 

Gotta freshen up the old wine glass & pack the chick lit for tomorrow... It's (almost) Winter Break y'all!

Relieved & ready to read & be refreshed,

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Tomorrow my sweet Mama & the rest of my family are celebrating the life of my brilliant, kind, compassionate, funny, patient Grandma, Frances M. Burroughs who left this world and embraced the life eternal after 90 well lived years. Unfortunately I wasn't able to join in the celebration of her life, but I wanted to spend a little time to reflect on how her life changed mine for the better.

My Grandma was the most impossibly beautiful woman. She was always perfectly polished and accessorized. Looking at her was like looking directly at the most beautiful of days gone by. She had the most exquisite things & for her, every day was a reason to get dressed up. I used to play with one of her old "pocket books" where I kept my crayons & coloring books. It was a black velvet handbag with gold closures & a very short gold chain link shoulder strap. Even as a child I remember thinking that bag was the very essence of Grandma.

My Grandma & I were best friends. We had sleepovers all the time. I don't remember where my parents were ever "going to" when I got dropped off at Grandma's, mostly because I was just happy to be at her house. Even though she sold that home when I was little, I still think of that place as hers. I could draw a picture even today of what that house looked like. I have very little memory of the front part of that house, except for a memory I have of the day my Aunt taught me how to spell my Grandma's last name. Other than that, my memories are of the "back" of the house. On our every day visits to my Grandma's, which was located in the backyard of St. Petersburg High School, we always entered through the back door. The back door of course led into the kitchen, which is where the most important "happenings" took place. Although I don't remember the lessons, I do remember that's where I learned what it was like to cook. I watched her closely as she carefully constructed whatever my dinner would be, which was usually hot dogs, mac & cheese & green beans. I remember seeing her open that can of green beans & even though that can looked just like the one I open at my house even to this day, the green beans Grandma made tasted different. No matter how hard I try, I can't get a can of green beans to taste the way hers did. The back of the house was also where her bedroom & my bedroom were. Although she has many grandchildren & at the time of her passing, she was Great Grandma to many sweet little ones, including my genius nieces, she & I had a special friendship. I was the only Grandchild that lived in Florida with her, so I got her undivided attention on a regular basis. My bedroom at her house was just the back room. My bed was a twin sized pull out couch & when it was all made up it was covered with Raggedy Anne & Andy bedding. I remember feeling safe there, and like that was exactly where I belonged. My parents might not have actually gone any where, but I had gone to Grandma's & that was very special to me.

My Grandma listened to every word I said. I used to complain to her about my Mom & at the time I wasn't aware that she wasn't just my Grandma, she was also the mother of the woman I was complaining about. But Grandma never let on that it bothered her. She patiently listened & she'd offer a lifetime of encouragement, feedback & "coping mechanisms" for how to understand my Mom, who at the time was very confusing to me. She nudged me gently in the right direction, but once I reached the destination she had in mind, she always let me believe it had been my idea all along.

My Grandma picked me up from school & took me to all of my activities. I remember riding in her car when the residents of South St. Pete were rioting over police brutality. When I think about that now I think about how frightened she must have been, but also how committed she must have felt to get her grandchild out of harm's way & how even then I wasn't afraid because I was with her. She picked me up from school even into high school. In fact I got my driver's license at the end of Sophomore year of high school & I didn't drive 1 day that year. Even though I was qualified to operate a car in Florida, I still let her pick me up. I don't know why, but I think it was out of a sense of duty or vocation. Taking care of me & making sure I was ok was her calling, & because I knew that job filled her cup,  I think I let her do it even after there wasn't a real need.

That's the thing about My Grandma. She was exceptional at a lot of things that were totally unrelated to me, or my brother, her other grandchildren, or even her children, but she made it her business to make sure we were ok, no matter what. Even in the last few years of her life, when the love of mine came along, she made it her business to ensure that he would be a part of our family forever. She didn't remember much those days, but she never forgot that he'd promised her we'd get married. And we're keeping that promise, just a few short months from now.

I could never express my gratitude for having known & been educated by a lady like Frances Burroughs. She was the picture of polish, patience & love. I can only say that if I do my very best, & I'm careful to honor her memory, I'll be half the woman she was.

Frances' Grandaughter

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are those sleigh bells I hear?

I am a celebrator of Christmas. When I was young I was excited because I knew I'd get gifts. NOW I'm excited because I get to GIVE gifts. I've got the annual Christmas Gift Excel sheet going & that thing's already 2/3 full. In fact...3 packages were delivered to my office today, full of Christmas gifts for family & friends. Oooh I just LOVE IT!

Speaking of sleigh bells...although this doesn't exactly qualify as a "Christmas gift", Greg kindly replaced my much loved digital camera after it met it's untimely end on the Wacker street bridge, downtown Chicago the day AFTER my bachelorette party. I had begun to think about transitioning that camera into the "trip" camera & was thinking of upgrading us sometime in the next 6 months, but one of my greatest loves is to take photos of the people & puppies I love, & sweet Greg knew I couldn't live without another camera. So today he got us a knew one! Just in time for Gypsy Thanksgiving 2.0! 

Finally, even though there's still 3 weeks to go of this semester, I really can't think of a BETTER Christmas gift than some serious free time with my Mister & the Chicago residents we love. All of this premature holiday cheer is really getting me in the mood to get AHEAD of my homework & push through to the end of the semester. 

Heeeeeere GOES! 


P.S. - No matter how excited I am about the Holidays I will not embrace or participate in any kind of Holiday decorating until the day after Thanksgiving. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful for Silliness

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I am deliberately NOT participating in this daily FB thanksgiving...just like I don't participate in the secret breast cancer awareness Facebook statuses that double as inappropriate, nor do I participate in whiny "my team didn't win" post-game commentary or soap box political banter (except for right now...a little...ok I'm getting off the soap box)...but My best lady, that Cooper girl just dropped another little funny nugget on me, She said "You know what I'm thankful for? Gchat. I'm thankful that even when we're not together we can always chat online"...and that got me thinking. I bet I'm thankful for a few things that others might think are silly...but silliness is ok with me. So here's my list:

1. Gchat. I too am grateful that when texting first thing in the morning, talking on the phone periodically, posting on each other's facebook & seeing each other 3 or more times a week isn't enough...Coop & I have Gchat to fill our cups.
2. Caller ID. I'm thankful that I get to talk on my own terms.
3. "Sort by: Price Lowest to Highest". I'm grateful that when I am shopping for something, I can always Google what I'm looking for & have the least expensive option at the top of the list. Maybe I don't always get the least expensive option, but it's nice to know what the spectrum is.
4. Amazon Prime. I'm grateful that I don't pay shipping anymore.
5. My NEW laptop battery. I'm grateful that I can actually unplug my laptop & use it as it was intended...a portable computer. Although I would like to say it's the 3rd one I've purchased...which is annoying.
6. Google docs. I'm grateful that I can share favorites, budgets, & contact lists online with whomever I choose...and exclude others from looking at my Christmas gift list...and access it from ANY COMPUTER IN THE WORRRRRRLD.
7. I'm grateful that they make my friends & me laugh whilst also pointing out dysfunctional social customs & behaviors without anybody really "noticing". 
8. The favorites button on Etsy. I'm grateful that I can keep track of all of the handy crafted things I love & refer back when I'm in the market...for example, all of the wedding stuff I saved 2 years ago!
9. My iPhone 3. I'm grateful that it's still marginally functional & the screen isn't cracked.
10. FOR REAL...I'm grateful for all the people I love...A brilliant & talented future husband, family, friends,class mates, mentors, neighbors, teachers, nuggets, sisters & brothers. All the silliness aside I'm grateful for the people in my life who challenge me, and help me see just how good I've got it (whether I deserve it or not), & push me to help make it better for others.

Humbled, Thankful & A Little Silly,

Monday, November 7, 2011

November already?

I can't believe the last time I posted was the middle of last month...& here it is November 7TH! Let's see what's been the latest? 

We went to Florida, but for a little longer than we expected. My sweet Grandma passed away a few days before we were scheduled to go to Tampa for homecoming. Sigma Chi graciously let us both leave early the day that she passed & gave us some extra time off so we could be home with the family. My Mom planned a really sweet memorial service & everybody involved really made it nice. If you sent love, prayers, encouragement, or support to my family & me during that time, Thank You! We all appreciate it very much. 

Although there were some bittersweet moments during our trip back home, some of the sweetest ones were getting to spend time with our favorite parents-to-be Lauren & Paul. I even got to hear baby Frederick's little heart beat! We also got to visit USF where we attended the annual Homecoming parade & stopped in the USF Alumni association to catch up with some of our favorites. Naturally we went to the homecoming game, which was a great time despite the fact that we lost. Ugh.

Usually leaving home is hard for me because I got "used to" seeing some of my best friendlies & family while we're there & then have a hard time readjusting to life without them...but THIS TIME I had the following weekend to look forward to. Some of the girls traveled to Chicago for Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party Part I & we had a really great time. Greg & I got some really sweet & thoughtful gifts & Coop & the girls put on a really nice shower (minus any silly games...which I appreciated). Later on the girls & I went downtown to get ready for our 80's for the ladies night out. The 80's veil that I wore was totally authentic & completely over the top. Everybody's 80's outfits were just right. I'm sure we were a sight to see. It was a late night but we all had a blast! I wish we could do that over & over again. Although leaving Florida wasn't as hard for me this last time because I knew the girls would be back the following weekend...after they left it was even harder to adjust. 

Since then it's been a steady stream of school deadlines, events, meetings, & juggling. We've only got 5 weeks left in the Fall semester so we're both looking forward to the Holiday break & some free time! We're officially staying in Chicago through the Holiday season (our 1st Christmas in Chicago!) so hopefully we'll get caught up on rest, fun projects & wedding planning...oh yes, about that...120-ish days until the wedding. YIKES! In fact, I think the flights for the Wedding trip are getting booked today. WHOA! 

Ok I think that's it for now...hopefully I can keep up with this thing a little more now that most of the crazy school deadlines are behind me. We shall see...

Happy Monday lovers & friends,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Whoa! This week...

It is quite possible that this week is the busiest week I've had in recent history. In anticipation of our trip back to Tampa Bay (YAY!) for Homecoming, Wedding Planning, a little belated birthday celebration for my sweet Mama, and a Pre-Birthday celebration with Baby Frederick's sweet Mama (& Daddy)...I've got a FULL action items list including TWO school deadlines. I'm sure I'll post an indulgent summary of our short trip back home but for now, in the words of my Father, "I've got all I can say grace over". 

Happy Homecoming,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We're REALLY getting married...

Our schedules have been OUT of control lately. Greg's been traveling, I seem to keep saying "yes" to everything, and we're trying to keep the ball rolling on the wedding, obedience school for Sadie, some semblance of a social life, & all of the rest of the things we committed to before we started all of that other stuff. In the meantime, the wedding is sneaking up on us...yesterday was 150 days to go...and to mark the occasion we got a sweet surprise from two of our favorites from South Florida. Our VERY FIRST wedding gift...Cake stands! Now I might be multi-tasking like a renaissance woman, but you know I just LOVE the antiquity...hence, the cake stands. I can hardly wait to bake up some sweet treats to display on those cuties!! Thanks to our sweet friends for the gift! It's official now, we're REALLY getting married.


Sunday, September 25, 2011


On our To Do 2.0 I put up a bunch of stuff that we actually got completed yesterday & I wanted to share our progress. It must be said that Greg Morgan is OFFICIALLY the handiest ever. In fact, he pointed this out to me yesterday while hanging the dining room curtains..."I'm 1 handy husband" (yes...husband).

So here's what we did yesterday...First I went to the race for the cure & to brunch for some Zeta work. When I got home we scooted off in our ZipCar (If you live in a big city & don't have this yet, open a new browser window right now & sign up) to Home Depot. We intended to get our faux wood blinds re-cut to fit in our new windows, but naturally they've got a new brand of faux wood blinds at Home Depot now & the cutting machine doesn't cut "old school blinds" (that we bought 6 months ago) anymore. So our faux wood blinds are in storage waiting for a future home to be just the right size. We'll see. ANYWAY, we also needed staples for the staple gun so I could recover the dining chairs, and some sturdy wall hanging materials. I also got the first round of materials to recover the armoire in the living room...Since it's got a glossy, 1980's faux finish on it, it needs to be primed with a certain primer that makes paint more adhesive. I also picked up a couple paint color cards to compare with our dining room table. Our next stop was Target where we needed to pick up two extra long curtain rods ($20 each, thank you Target).

Sadie "helping" with
the chair project
When we got home we got RIGHT to work on the dining room chairs. We got this table & chairs from Craigslist right before we moved here, and we love it. The woman who owned it before also got it second hand & she'd already recovered the chairs once, but they needed a fresh cover. We registered for a LOT of Navy Blue, so I'd decided I wanted to change it up a little in the dining room & do some grey & turquoise. When I was hunting for fabric for the chairs I was looking for a small grey print & stumbled across hounds tooth in grey on Amazon. Me gusta!  The rest was easy...take the seat off of the chair (thank you handy Greg), then wrap the seats with the new fabric & secure the fabric to the seat with the staple gun & reattach the seat. That's it! So easy!

Even my dining room looks
good in the Turquoise & Grey
Then Greg moved on to hanging up the curtains. We already had the two curtain panels from our first apartment in Roger's Park, which just happened to be turquoise. All we needed was the curtain rod! Even though the panels aren't wide enough to actually close completely, we really put them up as a finishing touch & not so much for practical purposes. We're very pleased! All in all the dining room is coming along...with our grey rug from Ikea, our sweet new seat covers, our re-purposed curtains & a few new touches (like the candle sticks) it's beginning to look like a real, grown up dining room! We've still got some work to do...refinishing the armoire, finishing our collection of seating & making a sweet no-sew table runner, but all that stuff will be just as fun!
Lilah loves our
new rug too!

Right after we finished dressing the windows in the dining room Greg got hard to work at hanging the curtains in the living room. These curtains were from our Lakeview apartment, and just happen to fit in the new place. Again, we needed 1 XL curtain rod to hang them up, but re-purposed the rest of the materials. Even though I'd rather the curtains were much longer, these are a great finishing touch & were "free" since we already owned them. And the curtain rod from the little window was up in our last place too.

While Greg was doing the window dressing in the living room, I was busy working on an "art project" in the kitchen. I'd seen a post on Young House Love on "Monograms" as bedroom art, so I thought I'd give it a go and add a little personal touch. Basically I printed the letter G & the letter M in different fonts & framed them in white 4 x 6 frames. Then I framed some cards & notes that each of us had written to the other (and in a couple cases received from a friend in congratulations after our engagement) & put those around our respective initials. There are a couple of "blank" spots but I'm sure something will come along that fits perfectly there. Greg & I are both notorious for having full "keepsake" folders, boxes & bins, but we finally found a way to display our favorite love notes & cards to each other in a way that is personal & pleasing to the eye. Seeee....

I need to finish transferring all of my digital photos from the last 3 years so that I can go through & pick out the ones we want printed for our photo wall & I'll probably need to find a way to get mats that fit the photos I'm ordering (suggestions/recommendations are welcome). 

That's all for now! Back to homework (which is what I should have been doing instead of blogging...but I need a little mental wellness every now & then). 

Happy Sunday,

To Do 2.0

We are in big time love with the new place & have lots of BIG TIME plans to make it our own. Luckily we've got lots of great stuff that just needs a little facelifting here & there to fit in the new place. And what we don't already have we make up for in ingenuity & elbow grease. Normally these things wouldn't have any real time frame, but since my Chicago bridal shower is coming up & it's at MY house, so we've got lots to do in the next month!

  • Frame photos, notes, keepsakes & such to hang on the GIANT bare walls (Inspiration from Young House Love
  • Hang living room curtains & curtain rods  (9/24)
  • Frame Greg's Love Notes (9/24)
  • Put up dining room curtains & curtain rods (9/24)
  • Re-cover dining room chairs (9/24)
  • Re-stain dining room table
  • Find 2 more chairs (second hand) & or bench for dining room 
  • Refinish Armoire (this one's going to be a BIGGY)
  • Re-decorate Garfunkle's tank (he needs a facelift too) 
  • Organize living room closet
  • Bedroom curtains 
  • Replace blinds in bedroom (9/24)
  • Bedroom wall decor (9/24)
  • Refinish 3 drawer dresser
  • Living room frame/wall decor
  • Dresser for bedroom? (if we can find a DEAL on a second hand dresser that's just the right size)
The list in my handy brainstorm notebook seems much longer than that one, but of course I've got all these CRAZY ideas jotted all over the place so I "won't forget", which of course I will anyway. 

And yes, we were VERY busy yesterday...And we just love the results. Stay tuned for lots of updates, & of course I'll share where I got the directions/inspiration for this stuff...I'm not so good at coming up with these ideas on my own, but I can follow directions with the best of 'em! 

Happy Happy,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Things I love this Friday

First of all, I just love Fridays. Especially the Fridays which lead to Saturdays when I don't have to go to class. Don't get me wrong I L.O.V.E. my curriculum class, but I'm officially burning the candle at both ends these days, and I always enjoy a little extra rest. And lazy mornings with my Mister & our pups. Tomorrow I'm doing Chicago's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, so I won't get much of a lazy morning, but I'm looking forward to some philanthropy time with the Zetas... by-the-by...Our RFTC Zeta team raised over $700 for Komen this year. I am one proud sister!

Today I love that this Friday is the First Friday of Fall! Even though Summer is phenomenal here in Chicago, I really enjoy being able to actually experience Fall in the Midwest compared to what we used to call "Fall" back in Tampa Bay. Even though it was only a hint - I loved Fall in Florida, and I love it even more in Chicago. To the point of Fall being my fave (until the 1st snow of course - then Winter will be my fave) one of the Sigma Chi's brought me a little pumpkin for my desk today. This little gourd doesn't know it yet, but it's destined for greatness on my dining room table very soon...

Also, I had a little bride-to-bride chat with one of my class mates Sally last night & she told me that she got her Bridesmaids dresses from Mod Cloth so I looked it up this morning. I can NOT believe I've never shopped Mod Cloth Before. I am IN.LOVE. with many things...but the Fall-esque blazers & coats are this Friday's favorite. The Emerald Green Blazer is gorge...Tiffany blue's been my color lately, but Looook

Of course you know I LOVE a good deal & when I get them I usually jump at them. Around this time of year I try to get a few new Fall/Winter essentials, one of which is tights! I found a super sale on Ralph Lauren tights earlier this week & ordered a couple pair FOR $8 EACH...I checked the tracking number this morning & they're out for delivery today. Yipee!

Speaking of Fridays...This time last Friday we were on our way to PA for a family weekend with Greg's clan (& my soon-to-be-clan-in-law). I uploaded our digital photos to the computer, but haven't had the chance to share them yet...But I'll get them up this weekend. For now - here's a little "foreshadowing" (as Moo would say) of our weekend.

Happy Fall Friday Friendlies,


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Bulls & The Irish

The Story of the match up between South Florida & Notre Dame on September 3rd, 2011 can be told one of two ways...

1.) The Bulls went on the road to South Bend to take on the Irish at Notre Dame. Greg set up an awesome bus trip & tailgate at Notre Dame's hospitality village. We arrived at Notre Dame 3 hours before kick off & had a great time visiting with fellow Bulls fans & enjoying the tasty treats the ND folks whipped up for us. We walked around the stadium & saw the ND band march into the stadium (I also had a minimally awkward interaction with a congresswoman's husband...I'm not publishing that on the internet, but call me & I'll tell you the story). We saw the Lou Holtz Gate & Lou Holtz Statue (featuring a much younger Skip Holtz back in his football playing days). We had great seats with a direct view of "Touchdown Jesus". There was a fly over during the ND Band's performance of the National Anthem (gets me every time). The Irish Kicked Off & drove to the endzone...& turned over the ball & THE BULLS RAN IT BACK FOR A TOUCH DOWN. The Bulls capitalized on several bad plays by the Irish & went into half time IN THE LEAD! Then the storms rolled in...and we waited. and waited. The concession stands ran out of food & drinks. There wasn't any where for us to sit. We tried to call our families & friends to let them know what was going on but couldn't get a signal. Fans were scatted all across campus waiting out the storm. The ushers didn't know what was going on, The fans didn't know...but Bulls nation crossed its fingers & prayed that the game wouldn't get called due to weather. AND IT DIDN'T! After hours of waiting & hoping we returned to the stadium & watched some more exciting football...including some offensive success for the Irish. Then the storms rolled in..and we waited, and waited. And again Bulls nation crossed its fingers & prayed that the game wouldn't get called due to weather. AND IT DIDN'T! After another 45 minutes of waiting we emerged back into the stadium to watch the Irish bring it to a 3 point game, kick on onside kick, and THE BULLLLLLLLLS RECOVERED THE BALL! With only seconds to go, the Bulls were on the offense, BJ had the pigskin in his hands & took a knee. AND THE BULLS WON!

2.) The Bulls went on the road to South Bend to take on the Irish at Notre Dame. AND THE BULLS WON!

Go Bulls,

PS - Greg says your welcome for wearing his lucky shorts (from FSU & Auburn).

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Reading List Version 2.0

Earlier this summer I published a book list of the "for fun" reading I wanted to do while I was out of school on break. With the Fall semester under way my reading list has expanded to include some text books [some better than others] but I'm still working my way through some fun reading in order to maintain some sanity.

  • Still working through 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog because, well...mine aren't well mannered
  • I got The Book of Awakening from Amazon recently & it's "easy reading" because it's just one little nugget of calm, balanced wisdom per-day & some helpful coping tools. So far I'm enjoying it, although in typical Latch style I haven't made time to read it each morning, which is sort of antithetical to the books goal..."being present in the life you have". Baby steps.
  • I also recently got a used copy ofWhy Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, and I'm looking forward to reading that too - maybe Greg will even pick it up & use it to supplement his Social Justice course reading. 
  • I already own The Tipping Point & Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, and have at least a few trips to our respective home towns coming up, so hopefully I can squeeze in some inspiration & even a little chuckle from Chelse. 
  • Another book recently reappeared on my "books I don't want to forget to read list" & that's A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn...A friend of mine mentioned it in class last night & reignited my interest in who writes history & why. Stay tuned!
I'll also be getting the opportunity to read/review some great books written for & about the field I'm studying, so I'm looking forward to nerding it up!

If you read anything you loved to pieces this summer I hope you'll share it with me...I'm already working on "Mrs. Morgan, M.Ed.'s post-wedding/grad school-I-can-read-whatever-I-want" list...suggestions are welcome!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Lilah & Sadie in Training

Lilah Ann, love of my life, #1 favorite dog is 2 years old. When we got her I didn't have anything really to do but train her, especially while Greg was in Europe. Now I won't go so far as to say that she was "the perfect puppy", in fact Coop will attest to that not being the case. But she did listen, she learned how to lay down, to wait, to sit, to drop, on & on. Well then Sadie Mae came along (the sweetest little lamb) & we were exhausted to begin with. At first we remarked how quiet she was, never barking even when Lilah did...Famous last words. One morning we were walking them before work & Sadie had something to say to everybody, every thing & every other dog on the street that day. My favorite is the fervor with which she barks at dare they cycle in her presence. Mean while Lilah was regressing from her otherwise relaxed, accommodating personality...not sleeping through the night, unabashed barking fits, accidents...the list goes on. At the old place it was ok, because honestly we weren't overly concerned about upsetting any neighbors (the couple next door stopped talking to us anyway - I suspect it's because of the dogs & their rude barking) & nobody lived above us. Now we're surrounded by homeowners, in beautiful condos & the condo association has rules, ESPECIALLY about adorable little puppies with loud mouths! AND, the girls haven taken to sleeping only until about 4:30 AM, even when they're in their crates, waking us up whining & crying to get out & go outside. Finally, we lost our back yard in the move, which means not only when they wake up at 4:30 am needing to go outside we have to get them all harnessed & leashed up & get ourselves presentable, but even at normal hours we're forced to walk them at least a few times a day, which given their manors these days virtually guarantees embarrassing barking, and other dog owners looks of "oh my rude". SO it has to stop.
  • Step 1: quit it with the barking so that we can take nice long [polite] walks. 
  • Step 2: walk them long enough & give them enough interaction that when they come inside, and especially when its time to sleep, they're all out of energy & are able to sleep through the night. 
I've read several doggy books including The Loved Dog, How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood & Beyond & 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog, and all of these books together with some online resources have super advice about how to squash some of these unpopular behaviors. This is probably the point at which I need to say that I (even more than Greg) am totally to blame for their behavior, because it's been a free for all for a long time - especially since Sadie joined the family, so even though I've read a lot & done my homework, the training methods don't work if you don't use them. Ok. Blame assigned. NOW, accepting responsibility...I am going to finish 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog & make a concentrated effort to employ those tactics & a combination of other things I've learned to help address & hopefully eliminate the sassy barking & unpredictable sleep patterns.

Some things I've just read about on line seem like they might be particularly I'm going to try them. One is naming the behavior of barking "Speak" so that they know what "Speak" is & I can tell them "No Speak" when I'd like them to shut their little yappers! While we definitely need to get this whole barking & sleeping thing under control, we'd love it if they could get comfortable with being home alone & out of their creates during the day...with both of us back to school, they're in their crates for even LONGER each day. We'd also still like to train them to sleep in their own bed, and not ours (or their crates) at night. I said, Step 1...SHHHHHHHHHHH! Step 2...SLEEEEEEEP! Step 3...THE WORLD! Ok, Go...

Puppy lovin',

PS - Last night they slept through the night, our bed. Sigh.

Friday, August 19, 2011

best. week. ever.

Ok I'm going to be a little indulgent for a moment & say I JUST LOVE when things go my way! Greg's home moving us out of our dearly loved but completely dysfunctional garden apartment in Lakeview...The only thing we'll miss about that apartment is the backyard & garden. We found a beautiful apartment in a neighborhood called Buena Park. It's very close to the beautiful Lake Michigan lakefront & conveniently located just NORTH of fun/crazy Wrigleyville/Lakeview.  While we're giving up our own private garden, we're gaining lots of room, including room for a dining room table & a beautiful upgraded kitchen!

Some other positive developments in Latchland....I got some exciting news from the bridal salon I've visited about  a dress I have a crush on, we heard back from a potential caterer about a wedding menu that may just change my whole life & I've started designing what I think will be an awesome design piece for the wedding (& later, our gorgeous apartment). Like I said...I just LOVE when things go my way.

And, just because I'm totally hopelessly over the moon in love with my pups, here's some weekend puppy love!

Happy Friday,

Monday, August 15, 2011



Greg after a big slip in the mud
Since my last post we've worked our way in to what promises to be a VERY busy month of August. After returning from UNC - Chapel Hill we both came down with colds (boo), and even though we weren't feeling ourselves, we still managed to enjoy Lollapalooza for Coldplay on Friday night & Foo Fighters on Sunday night. My friend Kent often says there's a long list of things you can do in Chicago that you can't do ANYWHERE else, & the longer the list gets the more impossible it becomes to ever leave Chicago. Lollapalooza was one of those experiences. We sat on our blanket in Milllenium Park & watched our city light up with the sounds & sights of Coldplay. One of the highlights was Coldplay covered Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" as a lead in to their tune, "Fix You".  Another highlight was surprise VIP tickets for Sunday for Foo Fighters...But I will say, free drinks + torrential downpours + sticky/slippery mud makes for a very interesting VIP tent... But we managed. Here's a video of Coldplay from Friday! Enjoy!
We also managed to pack in a full day of registering for wedding gifts on Saturday. First of all...I was completely unprepared for the exhaustion that would result from registering. There were times the both of us were just wondering around, aimlessly...confused about what to get & where to find it. We managed, but I've had to make some changes online. One of the biggest challenges was the formal china. WHICH OF COURSE is where they start you right the most intimidating section. I was only able to pick some once I spotted another bride & her mom trying out different napkin rings & table clothes...I solicited their help & then Greg & I finally made our decision. Even though everyone says not to bother with china, I'm excited about the formality & tradition of it. Speaking of formality, after we were ready to stop registering for the day we had lunch in the Walnut Room at Macy's on State Street downtown, which is famous for its over the top Christmas tree during the holidays. I'm so glad we registered in a department store, in downtown Chicago & had a sit down dinner in an historic old dining room like the Walnut Room...I'll be adding that experience to the list of experiences you can't have anywhere else. & We'll definitely go back this Holiday Season to see the tree - Maybe to celebrate 1 year since the big engagement!? Speaking of the wedding...Mom came back for round 1,234,789,876 of dress shopping...we had some success, but no purchases have been made. Looking forward to trying on a special sample I've been crushing on online...Fingers crossed! 
Sadie...Diggin in her back yard!
Finally...after more drama than I can even think about, we're finally giving up & leaving our Lakeview love nest. I'm most definitely sad, especially for our sweet pups who will lose their backyard to play in. And for my garden...Those sunflowers are JUST about to bloom, & we just harvested our very first home grown Morgan tomatoes . We haven't officially found a place yet, but we're hoping to get word from our rental agent today. We're optimistic that we'll get the place we love & begin taking the steps to move. & HOPEFULLY for the last time for a while. Of course I've already got all kinds of brainstorms, projects & to-do lists compiling in my noggin...Starting with curtains for some very big, beautiful windows! I found a great how-to post at Young House Love for no sew curtains....I think I'll be following this blog a lot in the next few months. This'll mean retiring the old To-Do In Lakeview list & starting fresh with a new list of projects & DIY's. Stay tuuuuned! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where'd July Go?

Taste of a Chicago Dog
Well...It's AUGUST! I just realized I haven't blogged since June 24th when Ash Mat had just left! Probably because it's been unbelievably busy for the Latchford-Morgan Duo & Company. First I attended my first Chicago Gay Pride Parade with much fun! Then Mom & Dad Latchford came for a 10 day visit. The first part of the trip Greg & I worked while Mom & Dad stayed home with the pups. We had good weather that week so they got to enjoy the back yard quite a bit. Greg & I were happy to come home to sleepy, mellow pups! Mom, Meghan & I did a little wedding dress shopping with some success...but we still haven't bought anything, so stay tuned. We also went to the Taste of Chicago, The Grant Park Orchestra's Independence Day Performance, & hosted some friends for a 4th of July Backyard Barbecue - complete with a Cornhole Tournament!
Grant Park Concert
Sadly all things must come to an end, and in addition to my parents leaving, Greg left the following day to go back to Utah for the last 2 sessions of Horizons. LUCKY for me I had Zeta Tau Alpha's National Leadership Conference coming up so I had lots to look forward to. I was invited to NLC to attend the advisors academy, but I was also surprised to be presented with the Della Lewis Hundley Founders' Grant for Graduate Education. It was a thrill & I am so honored!
Drinking from the Old Well at UNC
Towards the end of July Greg came home & we both traveled with Sigma Chi to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where we helped host Sigma Chi's Balfour Leadership Training Workshop. UNC was beautiful & it felt great to be back in the Southeast again...I'm beginning to feel my heart strings tugging me in that direction...maybe after graduation. We had a great week with our Sigma Chi family & were sad to leave North Carolina, but we couldn't WAIT to get back to Lilah & Sadie & FINALLY be in the same city together for a while. We've got BIG plans this August...starting with some apartment hunting, registering for wedding gifts, Lollapalooza, My Mom's return to Chicago & buying a wedding dress...hopefully I can mark that one off my Summer To Do List this month! Happy August everybody!

Summer lovin',

American Pie...I mean, Cake

Whilst Blog Browsing some time ago I stumbled across a post about layer cakes, which I immediately dismissed as something I'd never do successfully. As Independence Day approached, I was at a loss for ideas for a Yankee Doodle Dessert Table. What I HAD was 2 boxes of cake mix, enough icing for a wedding cake & 2 boxes of food coloring...So I decided to try my hand at layer cake!I made both boxes of cake mix, and divided it up into 3 pans. I colored 1 of the pans red, and one blue...leaving the other white of course! After baking & cooling I leveled out the cakes, iced between the layers & stacked them! Topped off this 3 story treat with some red & blue sprinkles & served it up to my 4th of July guests! Next time I think I'll try to tall, skinny Rainbow Cake...that looks like my kinda dessert! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

I STILL live here...Thank goodness

Ash Mat "Arriving" at the
George Street Block Party!
Last weekend one of my very best girls (& professional bridesmaid) came to visit Chicago! Ash Mat & I joined Zeta in college in 2003 but didn't fall in love until 2006-ish...not a moment too soon! She & Coop fell in love last Spring when Meghan stayed with her for a little while before Meg moved up to Chicago. We always say "Family is who loves you when you need them" & for that reason, Ash Mat, Coop & I will be family forever. The only thing better than having best friends that love you is having best friends that love each other too...Ok, I'm done with the mush.

Kent in the
Hula Hoop Competition
Moving right along...Ash Mat was in Chicago last weekend. We had a super fun time. We enjoyed some libating, some sight seeing, Mani-Pedi's, & Bottomless Mimosas at Jack's on Southport which was a lucky find. BEST of all though was the surprise block party just 1 block immediately south of my place. Block parties are on my top 5 list of things I love about Chicago. And I'm pretty sure the only reason block parties even happen is because the folks on each of those blocks just want to celebrate the fact that it's summer & we live in Chicago. That's all. It's like a party where all the neighbors close down the street, put out some tailgate games, hire a couple live bands & scream (sometimes quite literally) at the top of their lungs "WE LIVE HERE!" Obviously I couldn't agree more with that sentiment. I have a super special, precious place in my heart for St. Petersburg, Florida...My hometown. But living in Chicago is
Learning how to "Dougie"
simply magical. I was so glad to share the magic with Ash Mat!

One last little lucky find was Mickey's on Clark...We stumbled across this little gem while looking for a place to get a quick bite of lunch before the Zoo on Tuesday. What we FOUND was an outside bar/grill with Strawberry Margaritas, $3 Coronas & fantastic people watching. Seriously, I know I've been in Chicago for over a year & every body's probably sick of hearing it, but I just don't care...I LIVE HERE! STILL! And it just keeps getting better. I totally forgive Chicago for the Blizzard & everything. One more time...I live here, THANK GOODNESS!

Happy Friday,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stylin' up the dessert tray

This all started when I saw these cutey little cupcake tins on Etsy. Of course when I bought them it slipped my mind that I didn't have any mini-cupcake pans (oops!), but eventually I got it together & ordered some. THEN of course I just had to fance these little sweet cakes up with a legit cake decorator. FINALLY after several weeks I managed to round up all of the necessary accoutrement, pick up some Strawberry cake mix (my FAVORITE) & whipped up what turned out to be a big 'ol batch of very stylish cupcakes. Yum! Just in time for Ash Mat's visit! I have to hand it to myself...not bad for a rookie.

Have a Sweet Week,

PS - For more cutey little cupcake tins visit The Cupcake Social website!