Scavenger Hunt + Progressive Dinner

What a whirlwind of a weekend!

I cannot believe how fast this weekend flew by, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because time with my best friends from grade school always seems to pass too quickly.

Let’s take it back to the beginning of the bachelorette party weekend festivities, shall we?

Scavenger Hunt

Saturday morning started with a quick breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios with milk and a sliced nectarine (x3… I can put down amazing amounts of cereal).

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Post breakfast, my friends surprised me with a wonderful scrapbook that doubled as a clue book for a scavenger hunt around my childhood hometown of Palatine.

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The clues were absolutely adorable and the pictures in the scrapbook were really entertaining and highly humiliating, as many were from our awkward years in junior high and high school. I laughed a lot as I flipped through the book that was filled with amazing memories.

Each clue took our group to a different location, including my best friends’ houses, Birchwood Pool where I worked as a lifeguard during the summers, and our elementary, junior high and high schools.

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My house growing up:

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The basketball hoop that my dad made:

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Outside Birchwood Pool:

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At our elementary school:

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Outside our high school:

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These girls made my childhood and high school years wonderful.

We called ourselves “The Mighty Five” and have seen each other through many ups and downs, heartbreaks and successes, and though we went to different colleges, we remained close and connected. There’s something so wonderfully comfortable and amazing about friends who know absolutely everything about you and your family. I’m so happy these girls will be standing up with me on the day Ryan and I exchange vows. :D

Progressive Dinner

After driving all around Palatine, my girlfriends and I headed back to my friend Kristen’s house for the first stop of a progressive dinner that took us to all of my friends’ houses.

Kristen and her dad prepared a delicious spread of appetizers including crab dip, tortilla chips and queso, grapes, cheese, Pringles and mini Twix bars.

(We missed you, Mrs. Bauer!)

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While chatting it up and munching on the goodies, we sipped on wine and relaxed a bit.

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Check out this amazingly cute painted bachelorette party-themed wine glass I received to enjoy my wine!

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We tried our best to pace ourselves so we had room to enjoy the selection of salads at our next stop on our progressive dinner at my friend Michaela’s house.

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The chopped salad featured in the picture above was fantastic. It was filled with veggies, pasta, bacon and cheese. So tasty!

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I loved chatting with Michaela’s family and absolutely fell in love with their new puppy, a goldendoodle named Riley.

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How cute is she? She looked like a little stuffed Build-a-Bear and was so cuddly.

Once we were done eating our salads and catching up with Michaela’s family, we headed to my friend Leah’s house for one of my all-time favorite dinners I used to enjoy at their house in Palatine when we were growing up…

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Portillo’s Italian beef sandwiches! These things are unreal. Chicago-style Italian beef is where it’s at!

Leah’s parents also served us pasta and chicken Parmesan which I enjoyed as well.

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As a special treat, Leah’s mom made me a fresh batch of her homemade granola which I dug into immediately!

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This stuff is fantastic. I ate several handfuls on the spot and foresee it disappearing all too fast.

After hugging Leah’s family goodbye, we were off to our final destination of the progressive dinner, my friend Carrie’s house for dessert!

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Aren’t these cupcakes gorgeous?

Please note that the bottom row of cupcakes are red velvet. Any guesses which flavor I chose?

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Carrie’s mom also made all of us special drinks garnished with cherries that made us feel oh-so-fancy!

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All of the indulgent and unbelievably delicious food and drinks put me in a bit of a food coma! Luckily I was able to sit back and digest a bit during our drive into downtown Chicago where we kicked off our nighttime shenanigans.

Stay tuned for pictures and a post on our lingerie and cocktail party and bar-hopping adventures in a bit!

Ryan’s Guest Post

I couldn’t sign off this post without mentioning Ryan’s wonderful guest post on my blog that he secretly posted without me knowing yesterday. I must admit when I talked to him and he told me he published a surprise post on my blog, I got a little nervous! What on earth was he going to say!?

When he told me he did a mock question and answer post, I just about died laughing. I give him all the credit in the world for creating such an entertaining and thoughtful post and wanted to thank those of you who commented and made his day with your positive remarks. Thank you! :D


  1. Mama says

    Daddy and I just looked at all the pictures! What wonderful memories. It sounds like your friends did a super job of helping you get ready for your big event.
    Love, M & D


  2. Kaella Carr says

    Awww…looks like an AMAZING time!! I’m still super close with my three best friends from elementary school/high school and I may have to steal this idea (if one of us ever gets engaged..hee hee…there are a few over due lol!) Looks like you had an amazing weekend… (um, those cupcakes are to die for!!) Glad to have you back blogging :) (I’m sure Ryan and Sadie are as well ha ha)


  3. says

    What a fun weekend! I get so nostalgic sometimes- I’ll bet it was so much fun to go play around on your old stompin’ grounds :)

    When is your wedding? With 2 bachelorette parties behind you, I’d imagine it is soon!

    Let the countdown begin!! :)


  4. says

    High school friends are the best because they stand the test of time. Like most people, a lot of my best friends actually came from college but my VERY best friend came from 3rd grade. We’ve been like sisters ever since :) It looks like you had a great time, and just FYI, Ryan’s post made me laugh so hard today. He def loves you a lot and it’s so sweet :)


  5. SaraRM says

    I loved Ryan’s post first of all! I think that it is great that he is so supportive and participates in your wedding planning. You have a good one!

    What a fun weekend, you have some great friends to do all of that for you! The pics so far are sooo cute!


  6. Caitlin says

    How nice that you got to visit with all your friends’ family members and enjoy a great progressive dinner. It’s so comforting to have a people in your life who have seen you through it all.

    I love your white dress!


  7. Morgan says

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is TOO WEIRD! I live in Sleepy Hollow and I swim for Palatine Park District. In the summer, I’m up and at em at Birchwood Pool every morning by 6, and in the winter I’m at Fremd or PHS until atleast 10 every night!


  8. Courtney says

    What a fun day!!! It looks like you have some amazing friends! And those Italian beef sandwiches look to die for!!! I am from the midwest and I too love Chicago Italian style beef!!!


  9. says

    Aw, I love your bachelorette fun with friends! Your scavenger hunt was much more tame the one my friend had to do. Hers included a body shot…off of ME! LOL


  10. Heather H. says

    Looks like you guys had fun! I loved Ryan’s post! I was laughing so much!

    I actually grew up in Schaumburg and live in Hanover Park now, not too far from Palatine!


  11. says

    We have a goldendoodle puppy who looks juuuust like that!

    Love the progressive dinner idea – so many of my memories growing up are from spending the nights at friends’ homes so it’d be fun to relive the memories by visiting – and I’m sure their families loved getting the chance to see all of the girls together again!


  12. says

    I love how close you are with your childhood girlfriends! I’ve come to find that no matter how far I get from home or where I live, nothing compares to mine!

    And a goldendoodle?!?! Where have I been, under a rock?? That little guy is the cutest thing EVER!!


  13. Vikki says

    I am so jealous you had Portillos beef sandwiches! They are simply the best. Your bachelorette party looked like so much fun. Those fancy wine glasses looked awesome! It’s great to have good friends.


  14. says

    Wow you have some great friends! I love all of their ideas for your bachelorette! I find events like that usually end up costing so much money, but the idea of the progressive dinner (or was it lunch?) seems so awesome.. not only did you get great food filled with memories, but in my opinion it was much better than any restaurant would be. I love the idea!

    Also love the glasses that your sister made!!!


  15. Chelsea @ Strawberry Sweat says

    Aww, you have such great friends!! I moved around a bit too much to be able to go with friends to my old elementary school and such, but it’s awesome you got to go back to all those places where you have great memories.

    Love the pictures, and especially the ones of those cupcakes and drinks!


  16. says

    Your friends blow me away! So generous and caring. What a fantastic scavenger hunt! Ryan is amazing, you are fabulous, and Sadie is so cute. You have a really strong family and support system Julie! I wish I had the same, but am so thankful that you get to have that support and love!



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