Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Checking out St. Charles and Geneva June 10, 2015

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:04 pm
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On Saturday Matt and I headed west to Geneva for a night out and to meet up with my cousin. We started off our evening at Stockholm’s brewery located right in downtown Geneva. We had no trouble finding street parking nearby the restaurant. Once we arrived at Stockholm’s we were immediately greeted and asked where we wanted to sit. Matt and I both agreed to enjoy our meal out on the back patio.

Our meal started off with the scallop appetizer and a beer sampler. The appetizer was great, a hint of lemon, light greens and deliciously cooked scallops. The beer did not live up to the same standards sadly. For our main meals Matt ordered a beef tenderloin salad piled high with blue cheese, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. He was in heaven. I ordered the shrimp taco platter. My plate was filled edge to edge with rice, sour cream, pico de gallo salsa, lettuce, sliced avocado and of course three shrimp tacos. All in all our dinner was great but we wouldn’t go back for the beer. As soon as we finished our meal we met up with my cousin and headed out for our next stop.

We got back in the car and headed north to Saint Charles. Our destinations was the House Pub located right behind the Arcadia Theatre. My cousin warned us that their beer selection was massive and hand-written on a huge chalkboard wall behind in the bar. And she was not kidding. All of us spent about 5 minutes going through the menu trying to decide what we wanted. With our orders of good beer in hand, we grabbed a table and settled in for the evening. Just after the Hawk’s game ended a live jazz band started playing. They had a fun funky sound but it was very loud. A little after 10:30 we all called it quits because we were losing our voices trying to talk over the music.

All in all a nice little visit out to the western suburbs. We both really enjoyed Geneva and St. Charles so I foresee a few more outings this summer. If anyone has any other recommendations let me know!


Penrose Brewery Review March 11, 2015

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:27 pm
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Penrose breweryThis year, I got Matt a Groupon to Penrose Brewery for his Valentine’s Day gift. Penrose had been on our list of breweries to try out so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to actually go. The $15 Groupon included a tour, 2 free samples, a glass and an empty growler. To make the deal even sweeter, I was able to apply a 20% coupon for Valentine’s Day!

When he opened his gift, he was very excited and wanted to go that day. Unfortunately, there were no tour openings. So we reviewed our schedules and then selected an upcoming tour date and time on Penrose’s website. Then we just had to wait.

Finally the day came for our afternoon adventure to Penrose. Our tour was scheduled for 2 p.m. so we decided to get there ten minutes ahead of time. Mostly so I could check out merchandise and Matt could decide what beer he’d like to drink while on the tour. The layout of the tap room includes a bar and lots of large tables perfect for a large group or for meeting new people. Penrose even supplies board games for enjoyment. Our timing was perfect and we each got great sample beers for the tour.

We’ve been on a few brewery tours and this was probably one of our favorites. We had a charismatic tour leader and a very inquisitive group. We started in the back of the facility with the grain and hops to review the process of how Penrose brews their beer. Then we moved on to the fermentor area and then to the bottling area. We ended up learning a lot about the company and future growth plans while enjoying our tasty beers.

After the tour we grabbed a table with another couple who was on the tour. We had a great time talking about everything from local restaurants, favorite spots for vacations, to the process of buying a home. All while drinking a few more beers.

I’m glad we finally made it to Penrose Brewery and definitely recommend getting the Groupon if it’s still available. If not you should still go!

Sample time!

Sample time!


The Inauguration into Wine Club July 23, 2014

Every other week or so Matt and I try to do a date night. In the past we’ve done mini-golf, kayaking, movies and breweries. We try to make it an activity so it’s not always going out for food. Personally, I love our outings because we try new things and it’s not always a budget buster.



This weekend we added something new to our date nights with wine tasting. My knowledge of wines is solely based on my experiences in southwestern Michigan. I love all the vineyards stretching from about mile 10 through mile 40 on I-94. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend exploring the wine trail. But that’s for another blog post :).

Our destination was Tasting deVine, located in downtown Wheaton. Tasting deVine is adorable and Matt and I are already planning our next visit. The storefront has a cute outdoor area where you can enjoy a sample, glass or split a bottle of wine with friends. On the inside there is a large bar for sampling as well as smaller tables for you to enjoy your wine. They also offer a small and large cheese and fruit plate to compliment your wine selection.

The tasting room and tables were quite full when we arrived close to dinner time on a Saturday evening. So, we headed to an open spot at the bar and were greeted by friendly staff who walked us through our tasting options of Lynfred wine. Fun fact about Lynfred Winery is it is the oldest and largest winery in Illinois. The winery is actually located in Roselle, Illinois but there are two tasting locations where you can also sample and buy Lynfred, the one in Wheaton and also in Naperville.

Matt decided on a red sample flight and I chose a white one. We were given a menu of the three wines for our sampling that included descriptions and a pairing guide for meals. I tried to take a picture to remember what we sampled and one of the bartenders told me I could just take the menu. Yay for friendly staff!

The staff elaborated on all the wines which was very helpful to learn more about them and the winery itself. My favorites were the Chenin Blanc and the Marsanne. Matt’s were the Sangiovese and Syrah. The samples change on a monthly basis so there is something new to look forward to.

We had such a good time talking more with the bartender about wines and our experience with them, he encouraged us to learn more about their membership club. Before we knew it, we signed up to be wine club members! Tasting deVine has 5 different clubs to choose from. We selected the new release of the month club where members receive a soon to be released bottle wine which alternates between a red and white every month. There is no fee to the membership and you get discounts on bottles and cases as well as opportunities to attend wine club member events and special promotions. As you can see, it’s a good deal if you enjoy a bottle of wine.

Maybe after a year in this wine club Matt and I will be ready to take on Napa Valley!


All I Want for Christmas Is A Lumberjack December 11, 2013

A few weeks ago I talked about my family’s holiday tradition of going to Lincoln Square. This week I’m going to tell you about a new Hein tradition, one that Matt and I started last year, and that is cutting down our very own Christmas Tree.

Last year, our friends Tom and Kim recommended Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm in Harvard, Illinois. They went in early December and us, well, it ended up being a week or two later. Matt ended up getting more of a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree for his holidays. But it was a very cute tree for the record. Kelly and I stuck with our go to Home Depot and found compared a nice six foot fraser fur. All I can say is Matt learned his lesson of going earlier in the season if he wanted a nicer tree.

That brings us to this year. We went opening weekend to Ben’s Tree Farm with our friends Tom, Kim and their adorable daughter Maddie. All five of us made the trip back to Ben’s Tree Farm. The two and half hour car ride went a lot quicker with tasty donuts and an entertaining almost two year old.

When we arrived at the tree farm we set off in search for Tom and Kim’s tree first. While maneuvering through lines of trees we caught a glimpse of Santa driving a tractor. Maddie was absolutely mesmerized by this bearded man in a red suite, so of course we waved and said hi from a distance. Santa waved back and asked if he wanted a ride back, but unfortunately we hadn’t picked our tree yet.

We had a perfect day for tree hunting. The weather was warm and clear blue skies with not even a light breeze to give us a chill. Pretty quickly Tom and Kim found their tree.

Tom, Maddie and Kim

Tom, Maddie and Kim

Then it was just left to Matt and I to find ours. And ten minutes later we did!

Matt Cutting Down The Tree

Matt Cutting Down The Tree

Ben’s Farm has quite the selection of trees plus free hot chocolate to warm you up if you need it. You can also see Santa and enjoy a free ride around his tractor or go on a horse drawn carriage ride. Your choice! And don’t forget to stop in by the petting zoo to see some adorable goats.

Once we had our trees bundled and on Tom’s car it was time to head back to the burbs. We broke up the ride a bit with a stop at Culver’s to replenish our stomachs. Even lumberjacks need more than donuts.

That night we got to work decorating our tree and I think it turned out pretty good. What do you think?

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas Tree


“It’s like the end of an era…” June 3, 2011

…that’s what one of my coworkers said when she found out I wasn’t coming back to my school next year, since I’ll be in Colorado teaching 3rd grade.  For those of you that haven’t already heard or didn’t see on Facebook, I got a job!  So now you won’t have to hear me whine about how stressed out job hunting makes me anymore.  It makes me feel good that people are going to miss me, but I have mixed emotions about the whole move.  I was thinking about things {big and little} that I’m going to miss, and a lot of things {again, big and little} that I’m looking forward to.

I’ll miss getting to see a lot of my friends and family pretty much whenever I want.

I’m looking forward to getting to spend time with Jonathan and new friends whenever I want.

I’ll miss my coworkers and a team that has been amazingly supportive of me in my first job.

I’m looking foward to meeting new coworkers and learning new things about education teaching 3rd grade in Aurora.

I’ll miss the pen pal field trip my mom and I organize every Spring.

I’m looking foward to having long distance pen pals with lots to share, and scheduling a Skype meeting with our pen pals each Spring.

I’ll miss Lake Michigan and the beach.

I’m looking forward to the Rocky Mountains, hiking, cycling, snowshoeing, skiing…

I’ll miss Chicago style pizza and downtown sushi restaurants.

I’m looking forward to exploring new restaurants and finding new ‘favorites’ with Jonathan.

There are more things I’ll miss and more I’m looking forward to, of course!  But I won’t bore you with all of them 🙂 I will say one thing I won’t miss about Chicago: all the gloomy.  To replace it, I’ll have what Colorado natives claim as one of their state’s finest features: ‘300 days of sunshine per year!’


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