Friday, December 12, 2014

walking in a winter wonderland {blogmas14}

Back today with Tay & Ash for #blogmas14 & today's post is about our favorite winter activity. It's so hard to pick just one because I love this season so much and everything that comes with it whether it's decorating a gingerbread house (or your own!) or picking out our Christmas tree or continuing with personal, family traditions during this time of year. 
But if I had to pick one I would pick a tradition my boyfriend and I just started last year which I've talked about on this blog a few times before. As we've gotten older, we've both decided that we don't really need anything material for Christmas anymore and instead prefer to spend our money on experiences. We still give tangible gifts for our birthdays for the most part but for anniversaries and Christmas we've started putting our money toward gifts that are more experience based which in turn create memories we'll always remember. Corny much? Still with me? I don't blame ya if you're not. 
Last year we started the tradition of picking a city in the Midwest, so we can see the cities in the part of the country in which we live but primarily because we're cheap and we can drive there and don't have to pay for airfare, that is known for having some kind of holiday display(s) or events going on. Last year we went to Holland, Michigan and we enjoyed the town even though we felt like we went a little too late into December and missed some of the events they had going on. This year, we decided on Cedarburg, Wisconsin per my Dad's suggestion (he's been there three times and loves it). I absolutely loved this little, historic town. I would recommend it to anyone. It's about a half hour north of Milwaukee making it only about an hour and forty minutes from our houses which wasn't a bad drive at all. 
Anyone who knows me knows I love to plan. So, I stalked their Christmas website for about two months before we actually went. They had so many different Christmas events going on and since we went the first weekend in December we didn't miss anything haha. For the five Fridays before Christmas they have "Festive Friday Eves" where stores stay open later, there are performances, and freebies going on. Every store and restaurant is decorated from the inside out and some had the most beautiful window displays I've ever seen. There were carolers and musicians (who all seemed to be performing to raise money for a cause which I loved), a craft fair, and so many events geared toward children and families. I have some pictures from our trip last weekend that I'll dump on all of you now ;)

We left after we were both off work on Friday afternoon and participated in their "festive Friday eve" events. We walked into a few stores but I really wanted to save a majority of them for Saturday. We had a free wine tasting and bought a bottle of mulled wine (sooo good) to bring home as a Christmas gift for some family members. Then we stopped at Sal's Pizzeria for dinner (because we're Italian and you can't take us away from our pizzerias) and I had to take a picture of my boyfriend in front of the sign because his full name is Salvatore and I know he wishes people called him Sal haha. I know it's dark but isn't he so handsome? Ugh, he still gets me. 

I got the mac & cheese pizza which is not very Italian haha but I'm mac & cheese obsessed so I couldn't pass it up. It did not disappoint. 

I mean... how gorgeous is this window?! Everything was decorated so beautifully. It really felt like an "old fashioned Christmas". 

We stopped at "Santa's Workshop" to take a selfie :) & then went back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the night because we were exhausted from working all day and then walking around the town and also because we're lazy. 

The next morning we got up bright and early, earlier than every kid in town, to be the first in line at the old theatre to see a free showing of Home Alone which you all know made my heart stop. I may or may not have planned our entire trip for this specific weekend because I knew they would be showing Home Alone on Saturday morning. Dedication people, dedication.

 It was so incredibly fun to not only see the movie in an actual theatre but to watch it surrounded by young kids! Some of them had probably never seen the movie before and were cracking up at all the slap stick humor in the movie which made my boyfriend and I laugh even harder. It was such a beautiful theatre and Santa was there which made the whole morning feel so magical. And again, it was free, which is so very magical. 

Then we went to Hefner's for lunch where Sammy got the 'Huge Hefner" which he said was like eating two Big Macs aka right up his alley. 

He also got the tator tot/fry mix because go big or go home. 

There that sucker is. 

I got a fish sandwich and tots and their custard which they're known for. It was a cool, divey place to go to which are our favorite places to go to. Love a good hole in the wall. 

We spent the rest of the day shopping, antiquing (which my boyfriend enjoys now if you can believe that) and walking around. Then we decided to travel to Port Washington, WI, which was only about ten minutes north of Cedarburg, because they were having their Christmas parade and firework show afterward.

So, we walked the town which was also super cute and historic and then sat on cold pavement waiting for the parade to start which was adorable. It was really nice to be there and feel like we were participating in a small town community. Afterwards, we were tired and hungry and decided to just grab Boston Market and bring it back to the hotel because honestly ya can't go wrong with Boston Market. 

On Sunday morning we slept in before heading into Milwaukee on our way home to stop at Real Chili (another divey kind of place) for lunch. Sammy's a big chili guy and Real Chili always gets rave reviews so he got a big bowl and I got a meatless one (which was basically beans and pasta haha but I'm not complaining) before heading home to have dinner with his family. 

This is really one of my favorite traditions of ours and I love that it's something we're both in to. Sammy always tells me he's "more of a summer vacation guy" but he goes on these Christmas trips for me which is sweet but I know he enjoys most of it too ;)


Thanks for reading, if you made it to the end! I know it was a long one but I'm a bit of a rambler ;) Can't wait to read what your favorite activities are during the holiday season! I'm always looking for more ways to be festive. Happy Friday, everyone! 
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  1. This is so cute :) And I love the idea of spending money on places you can go rather than things, It's something you can both share!
    Mac and cheese pizza? I honestly can't decide if that's a good or bad idea! Looks kinda amazing if I'm being honest ;P The Christmas window looks so cute and festive - more shops should put effort into the windows it makes it feel super festive! :)

    1. Thanks, love! We definitely enjoy doing it. & it was a grrrrreat idea haha!