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Posted Oct 31 2012 12:26am

**Thinking of everyone affected by Sandy on the East coast and hoping you and yours stay safe.**

This past weekend, Bobby and I traveled to a very familiar city.

It felt good to be back in Chicago! I don’t think enough time has passed for it to feel different. Other than the fact that we drove away from O’Hare in a rental car to an apartment that was not our own, it was just another (short) weekend in the Windy City – complete with Wildcat growls.

We arrived after midnight on Saturday to attend the Northwestern homecoming football game that morning. It was great to have the chance to finally use our season tickets – the sunny skies and cool fall breeze made for perfect spectating.

Our visit was made even sweeter by a 28-17 victory over Iowa! It’s always a big rivalry game, so it was nice to come away with a win on homecoming with so many Northwestern alums in the stands.

Another highlight of the weekend was having the chance to see Lauren , who graciously hosted us at her new apartment. After the game, the two of us met up with Kelli and Monica for a warm drink at the Unicorn Cafe . The hot chocolate was delicious, but the conversation was even better. The four of us decided to hold a Pinterest party in December – I can’t wait to share more on that. :)

Eventually, Lauren and I headed to Winnetka for our dinner reservation at Restaurant Michael , which was just as delicious as it was the last time . I got a few strange looks due to the mysterious purple paw on my face, but everyone was excited about the win so it was all good.

We spent the rest of the night watching Harry Potter and catching up on life. It was a great trip! And it felt nice to come back to our new home in plenty of time to enjoy a beautiful Sunday sunset.

Speaking of Arizona masterpieces, tonight Mama Bender and I (well, mainly MB) got a little fall-friendly in the kitchen.

The dish of choice was this Pork and Apple Scallopini recipe from The Chew

…and it turned out to be incredible! The pork was tender and juicy but it was the cider flavor of the Granny Smith apple and ham topping that really made this meal pop. We served it up with some organic corn and Merlot on the side.

For dessert, MB made these Country Apple Dumplings , substituting ginger ale for the Mountain Dew. The result was a beautiful caramelized topping that smelled out-of-this-world good.

Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it made for a perfect fall feast!

We’re in the midst of a big week on the house front. Our final walk through is this weekend and we just received word from the bank that we are clear to close! While I’m still cautiously optimistic, I do think we have a good chance of owning our first home as of November 9. It’s a wonderful feeling!

Any plans for Halloween night? What are you looking forward to in November?

I can’t believe there are only two months left in 2012!


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