We Grow As One: The Courtyard Ink

Feature #1 in the We Grow As One series comes from Courtyard Ink.

Courtyard Ink came to my rescue this last summer when I fell into an unfortunate predicament that left me with an order that needed to be placed ASAP.   Several frantic emails went out to local screen printing shops in the metro area and of the responses I received, Courtyard Ink stood out as the BEST possible solution for me in multiple ways:

  1.  The no-nonsense response
  2.  The politeness and eagerness to accommodate
  3.  The competitive pricing
  4.  The impressive turnaround time
  5.  The flexibility to add a few extra orders within said turnaround time
  6.  The payment structure (I didn’t have to place 100% down prior to the order being processed)
  7.  Their logo was simply badass

Brad and Steve pulled through on my order and even placed an EMERGENCY order with a 24 hour turnaround time when I had a few extras the last second.

Talk about customer service! 

These guys get it.

Courtyard Ink was established from a variety of unique circumstances: college entrepreneurship class, a buddy’s basement, a heat press, a final project and a first customer.   From 2008 to now, Courtyard Ink has seen a move from a basement to a few storefronts to where they currently reside on 1415 North Saddle Creek Road.

Courtyard Ink has built a solid reputation by simply being one of the best in the screenprinting and embroidery business.  Through word of mouth, old school networking and advertising and repeat customers, Brad and Steve have created a solid foundation to which business will continue to grow.  I am a prime example of a first time customer turned repeat.

1) They pulled through on my down to the wire order for my annual biker chick run:

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2) And in return, I went back to them for a large shirt order I needed for my program at work:

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Courtyard Ink specializes in screen-printed or embroidered apparel, so if you are in the market, I encourage you to go see them for your next order.

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You can find one or both of the guys there Monday -Thursday from 9-5 or Friday from 9-4.   They value their time with family and friends so weekends are locked tight to personal downtime.  I commend them for that decision as I strongly believe that in order to have a successful business, you have to remember to take care of yourself as well.  It’s nice to see these entrepreneurs figured that out early on.

What’s next for you and your connection with Courtyard Ink?

 

Thanks, Courtyard Ink for the stellar customer service and great product.   We look forward to seeing continued success and growth.

 

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This post is part of the We Grow As One series highlighting our community, small businesses and the people behind them.  First National Bank of Omaha is sponsoring this series of posts, but all words are mine. 

We Grow As One

I am super excited to share with you a series of posts covering some of my favorite local Omaha Metro businesses as part of the #WeGrowAsOne campaign.  Growing our economy starts with supporting our own local businesses and Omaha has quite a lot to be proud of!

Having lived in Omaha for 11 years, I find myself more and more attracted to the small, self-supported and locally grown operations and businesses.   It’s no small task to build a business.  I have seen the highs and lows that it involves having married an entrepreneur myself.

On this journey, I will be posting highlights of a few of my favorite local businesses.  I hope that at the end of this series you have grown in knowledge on the incredible entrepreneurs we have in the city of Omaha and find yourself visiting them, using their products, or at the very least seeking out local businesses in your area.

Cheers to this next adventure!

First National Bank of Omaha is sponsoring this post, but all thoughts are mine.

12th Annual Biker B!tch Run | 2017

The 12th Annual Biker B!tch Run rolled in hot.

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And rolled out even hotter.

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Literally.

It was 9 million degrees that day. But who ever let a little sun and heat index of stay-inside-and-hydrate stop them?

Clearly, not us.

 

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The Beginning – Sugars in Council Bluffs, IA

Sugars provided us with our morning cocktail blends of bloody mary’s, screwdrivers and red-bull vodkas.  Logical drinks of choice for the 10:30 brunch hour, right?   And can we take a moment to appreciate this pretty BA sign that Candy and Marcy got for me???    This girl has some pretty incredible and oh-so thoughtful friends (even if I had to be reminded WHO actually went in on this bad boy.  Early on-set of Alzeimers, friends.  It’s real.  And I was just so excited for the day!)  Thanks again Candy!  ❤

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After cocktail hour, hugs, hellos and good-to-see-ya again’s… it was time to make that day our b!tch.

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Stop 1 – Tailgators Bar and Grill in Oakland, IA

A smorgasbord of lunch, ice cold beers and temperature regulation, Tailgators served us well.  And leave it to these naughties to find an opportunity in the dumpster.

Because where else, right?

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Finding fun in every moment is what these chicks excel at.

I dig.

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Stop 2: Cruisers in Griswold, IA

I believe we have Cruisers to thank for the kick of feel-good-endorphins.

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It’s a strong possibility those endorphins were brought to you courtesy of little cups of jello thanks to that wild child, Elise.  A little jiggly bucket of magic dust is what we will call it.

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And it’s our civic duty to follow clear directions and common law…

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So we made sure to oblige.

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Cruisers also provided us with a long stretch of street where we could actually set up and snag a few photos while melting under the fiery glare of the sun.

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Oh, but honey…

Griswold never looked so good.

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Let’s not forget our fun little crew taking space in the fun bus.

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I have Hunter to thank for many of the group photos from the road.  I gave her my camera and said “have fun”.

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Anyway, let’s roll on, shall we?

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Tyree always serves as my right-hand woman.  On the road and in life. ❤

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Stop 3: The Rainbow in Red Oak, IA

There is always one community that doesn’t know what to do or how to handle us when we come rolling in.  This year was definitely Red Oak.  Upon entering the town we came up on a sheriff.  Said sheriff pulled into the center turning lane and sat there while each and every one of us rolled on by, following the trusty 25mph speed limit and providing smiles, winks and a few head nods.

I am certain he was just enjoying the view…

Wouldn’t you?

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The Rainbow provided us with some eats and treats before it was time to leave the fine diners of the Rainbow Cafe to themselves again.

Ya, I see you Cyndi.

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Liz was being a badass a few weeks prior and broke her ankle so instead of two-wheels, she got four, courtesy of this little scooter.  And what kinda mode of transportation would it be without a license plate?

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Y’all.  This is my aunt Marla.  My dad’s sista.  I have this B!tch run to thank for getting us connected again.  It’s been so fun having her along for the ride.   Fun fact: she trailored down my dad’s old bike so I could use it in senior pics back in 1999.   Fun new fact: she fed me pizza when I was a toddler and got scolded.   This new fact is brought to you courtesy of Jessica’s conversation starters in the fun bus.

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Let’s ROLL!

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Stop 4: Jaime’s Tavern on Main in Essex, IA

Oh, friends.  FRIENDS!

You don’t even know…

Let me elaborate via visual effect.

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Our smart mouthed but huge heart friend Jenn couldn’t make the run due to work (we were also down a few others due to a trip to MX, a float trip, work and family time) BUT, Jenn busted her butt to get to Essex to have a drink and see us off to the next stop.

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And it’s always about this time where I become huggy.  I believe we can thank those little buckets of magic from earlier.

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Or maybe these baby beers.  Seriously.  Have you HAD THESE YET?

You are missing out.  Don’t miss out.

Don’t be that guy.

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Alright, Alright.  Let’s move along while we still can.

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Stop 5: The Hangout in Malvern, IA

It’s always about this time where folks start tearing off to head home for dinner with their s.o.’s or various other reasons.  It took me a minute to get used to that as the OG days we stayed together until alllllllll hours of the night.  But, a larger group now-a-days equals a wider range of home locations and miles in between plus family obligations, so I have embraced it as the new standard and can totally dig it.  It’s us.  It’s the new way.

And this last official bar always brings the onslaught of photo opps, as for many of these girls, this B!tch ride might be the only time each year that they ride together, which makes the moments and memories even more special.

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A little fact about the below pic.  Cyndi (left) rode in from Cedar Rapids!  I met Cyndi during the summer of 2007 at the Conesville Motorcycle Rally (R.I.P to the #2 ranked most epic of rallies… click here and here for the #1 ranked) so to have her join up this year on her own ride was pretty friggin’ sa-weet!

And Ashley (right) was a Jeeper during the 11th annual and decided then and there that she was going to be on her own two-wheels for the 12th annual.

A woman of her word.  My kinda peep.

Tyree- does this make her MY friend now too?

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Is the photo fuzzy, or have you just been drinking?

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The official stops may be over, but the unofficial stops were just beginning!

Peace out Malvern!

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Unofficial Stop 6: The Backroom Lounge in Lake Ohana/Glenwood, IA

We didn’t stick around here long.  Just enough for Tyree to join some kids in a bounce house, eat some grub, laugh at something on a phone that I am sure wasn’t funny, pass out the lollipops.

GANG, I am SORRY (not sorry cuz more for me) I forgot these earlier in the day… fail.

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OFFICIAL stop 7: Cara’s SURPRISE 30th BIRTHDAY PARTY!

We cruised into her nice quiet neighborhood, frightened her husband, rolled back the throttles because no birthday is complete without the sound of motorcycles hitting their rev limiters and surprised the hell outta this girl.

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We done?

duh.

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Some fuel and then I took up whip while Liz led us out to The Mile Away where you should also go for the chairs alone.

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Strong possibility they’ll put you right to sleep too!

Soon after the Mile Away we made our way to Crescent for some grub and good tunes and a final end to the night brought to you courtesy of Kimi’s famous split.  It wouldn’t be a B!tch run without it.  BUT, I shall spare her the pic.  There may be some shirt slippage in there and that’s just reserved for us. 😉

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Year 12 brought the fun.  It brought the renewed spirit.  It brought new friendships and reunited old.  It brought a sense of complete camaraderie and sisterhood that makes the B!tch run what it is and what it was built from.  Friendships united on trust, love, honesty, loyalty, a lil booze, wind and complete and total nonsense.

And 100% fun.

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CHEERS!

 

 

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Special Thanks to:

Courtyard Ink

And all the bars visited, linked above.

 

 

 

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11th Annual Biker B!tch Run | July 2016

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The 11th (E.L.E.V.E.N.T.H) annual Biker B!tch run happened July 2016.   Can’t believe it’s been 11 years!

Also can’t believe it took me almost a year to get a post up about it.

Better late then never??

Ya, let’s roll with that, mkay? 🙂

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The 11th goes down in the history books for probably the most unique B!tch run to date.  But, we came, we saw and we conquered.

…And Pep is still smiling that bright and shiny beautiful smile of hers.

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We had a few bonus girls with us manning the Jeep and it was GREAT to have them along.

 

The Jeep came in handy as you will find out in a few more scrolls down.

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The day started in Council Bluffs at a bar that has since closed down, but hey, we appreciated their hospitality while it lasted.  Their parking lot was prime real estate!

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Heidi’s bike on the other hand didn’t treat her so kindly.   High-five to Tyree for saving her.

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After I did my best bossy-pants photo set-ups…

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It was time to rollllllllll…

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First stop: Twisted Tail in Beebeetown, IA; where the food was delicious, drinks were cold and the fan clubs were in full paparrazi mode.

These young girls above wanted pictures taken with them, so of COURSE we obliged.  And then the beautiful ladies below were next in line.

We were feeling famous for about a minute. 😉

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Thanks to Jenn and her continuous drill seargent fitness instructor ways, she challenged Jessica to some weighted squats.

With her as the weight.

Damn, Jess.   You’ve got great form…

… And a graceful fall.

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And before we knew it, it was time to roll on out again.

Want to see us in action?

↓ Click on the photo below ↓

 

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Dunlap, IA to Lampe’s Pub we went.   And also where we hunkered down for the better part of the day.

Sadly, we had a bike that needed some medical attention.  Flat tires and riding do NOT go hand in hand.  Fortunately said flat didn’t happen until we were at a significantly reduced speed creeping into town.   Hello road angels. Liz felt your presence, as did the rest of us. ❤

 

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Thank to a local Dunlap towny, we got Liz’s wheel off,

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drove it down to Woodbine, IA to see the Motorcycle Medic for some TLC

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Then back to Dunlap for the local patron to help us get the wheel back on.

Like I said… it was an adventure!

Thanks Dunlap man.

If we can remember your name, I’ll give you full on credit next time. 🙂

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Meanwhile back at the bar during the bike medical assistance…

Things were getting a little wild.

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Work it, own it, strut it.

Rawr

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Weird… wonder how that dancing red dress emoji girl got on the bar.

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The girls sweet talked this young little bartender into taking his shirt off.

When I ordered a PBR, he didn’t know what it was.

Oh, Bless his cute little young heart.

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Rumor has it the Sheriff rolled through three times.  Apparantly our prolonged presence was making the town folk nervous.

Funniness aside – we thank our men and women in blue for all they do to keep us safe.

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And on that note with bike wounds healed and everyone accounted for and completely sober, it was time to roll.

Thanks, Lampe’s for the good times.

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On to Pop N Docs for a quick drink by the river.

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Tyree and her cowgirl hat hotness.

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And before we knew it, we were rolling on to the Cottonwood Marina in Blair, NE.

But not without the required lollipops first.

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Blair provided us with some dancing, mingling and some goodbyes as a few of us seperated ways as this was technically one of the last stops.

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And with that, our whirlwind of a day was over and the 11th annual was a wrap.

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I am truly thankful for all the strong, empowering, beautiful, full of LOVE females I know.

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What a beautiful ride it is.

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And what a beautiful ride it will continue to be.

Cheers!

 

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Special Thanks:

Anytime Tees – Council Bluffs, IA

The Twisted Tail – Beebeetown, IA

Lampe’s Pub – Dunlap, IA

Motorcycle Medic– Woodbine, IA

Pop N Docs – Decatur, IA

Cottonwood Marina – Blair, NE

 

 

 

 

The Blogettes, E-Money, Mud Wars and Beer

I don’t know about any of you, but I keep looking at my clock wishing it was bedtime already.   Man I need some serious zzz’s.   Why not take a nap, you ask?

Because, I don’t do naps.

Lame, I know, but they just make me feel worse, so I fight the sleep in true toddler fashion until my actual bed time.

So, how about a recap?

 

weekend-recap

 

Friday:  Our friends Cyndi and John came to town.   First stop- dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube.

 

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And a giant Lube Tube of ice cold Bud Light.  Clint always wants to get one of these babies when it is just the two of us out to dinner.   Eh… I’d be a hot mess trying to get all that down.   FINALLY someone to help fulfill that dream of his.

Weekends with these two are never dull.

Case in point:

 

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Oh man, I don’t know who the owner is of this little gem, but it keeps finding its way back into our lives.  Exactly one year ago, this same picture happened with this same exact car.   Seriously.    It’s like destiny for these boys.  What are the odds that we’d see this car on the weekend they were in town?

Thank you to the owner of this masterpiece.   You made their day.

Again.

After the car hugging, we made our way into the MAC  to see Eddie Money and Rick Springfield.

 

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Thanks to the connections made with the Omaha Bloggers group (specifically Katie!) I received tickets for me AND to giveaway.   You can find the Concert Recap here.

There were several of us Blogettes (<—- yep, John.  I’m using it) at the concert, so we all got together for a photo opp between sets!

 

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Left to Right you’ve got:

Erin from Girl Gone VeggieAngel from Positively AngelLisa from Midwest Mammas and Sweeties FreebiesLeslie from Mom on the RocksYours TrulyLisa from The Walking TouristsMegan from Smile Like You Mean It

It was so great to meet a few more Omaha Bloggers.   This makes 10 that I’ve met so far.  The other gals I met this night and one other, Jess, I ran into at a YMCA event.

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SaturdayWarrior Dash, Nebraska!

This is the second year Clint and I have run the Warrior.   The 2013 Dash was actually the last time J and C were in town.

The Pre-Dash Walk.   Isn’t Clint’s outfit just precious?

Oh, that man of mine….

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I was able to meet up with my YMCA family prior to the race start as well!   Such a GREAT group of peeps.  LOVE them all.

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And look who else I found?!?!

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JEN!  I was so excited to see that chick.  She is a freaking machine.   Jen and I met at a former place we occasionally called work and we’ve managed to keep in touch.   We really need to meet up more though.  We have sucked at that.

When are we going to schedule an actual happy hour, Jen?  As in, a real one.  Not a “let’s just talk abut it” one.

By the way, Jen owns a little piece of the blog-o-sphere too, so y’all should give her a shout at Red Lipstick and Sneakers.

Ok, back to the Dash.

The obstacles were awesome this year!  I conquered my fear of heights multiple times thanks to obstacles titled Deadman’s Drop:

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and the Cargo Climb:

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In addition to the climbing, we did a lot of crawling, sliding and swimming.   The last obstacle course required all of those components:

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No control on that slide.  Hella fast.   The water (shit water, mind you) at the bottom was FREEZING and thanks to no control on the slide, there was no way to bypass going all the way under.   Shock to the ol system, my friends.

What a freaking blast.

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Team Y also living it up:

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Thanks, Carrie.  I swiped a few pics. 🙂

I’m so ready for the next one!  Any of you in?

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Saturday night we headed downtown to the Old Market.  Dinner at Old Chicago and a little bar hopping.   Surprisingly, we were all well behaved last night.

Shocking.  I know.

Sunday: besides a trip to the gym for a quick lifting session, our day can pretty much be summed up from this pic:

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Cheers to another great weekend!   Now, if Monday-Friday will just hurry on by, I’ve got another good weekend ahead!

🙂