Rockford Hangs With Nicole | Personal Post

Last weekend I headed down to Rockford to visit one of my best friends from college, Nicole. By the end of college, Nicole was my lifeline, she kept me sane. And these days she continues to keep me sane almost daily via the group message that we have going with our other college BFF Jess (a group message that has been going for probably 2+ years). Jess lives in New York, Nicole is originally from a tiny town outside of Rockford, IL, but moved down to Texas with her husband for a year+. So this group message was really our only link to each other for quite a while. Recently Nicole moved back to Illinois and bought a beautiful home in Rockford with her husband, Ronnie, along with their two kitties, Jade and Ruby and their adorable Shiba Inu puppy, Luna (and now a foster Shiba, Kenji)! 
Ever since she moved back I've been dying to visit her and see her, even though we saw each other on September and that is by no means the longest we've been apart. So last Friday Nicole and I planned a spontaneous sleepover, margarita night! It was so amazing to get to hang out with her face to face IRL (as apposed to FaceTime) and just spend time building into our friendship. We even got to FaceTime with Jess for a bit which was so nice/fun/hilarious. We watched a movie (half Saturday night, half Sunday morning, because we're grandma's and are apparently incapable of staying up past midnight) and got frozen yogurt, YUM. 
The next morning I woke up with Luna by my side (my heart!) and the cats even paid visits. 

I took advantage of Nicole's gorgeous all-white-everything guest room and snapped a few pics of the fur babies. 

Then Nicole took me to the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens there in Rockford. 

A photo posted by Lauren Miller (@lillerphoto) on

Can I just say, nature is AMAZING. This place was full of exotic tropical plants that left me amazed! Nicole and I were surprised and very happy to find that they had a butterfly exhibit going on. You better believe we were pretty pumped to hold some beautiful butterflies! 

Yes, yes that is an adorable tiny pineapple. Also the Red flower reminded me of something out of Doctor Who #nerdalert

That's a picture of the same butterfly! Can you believe it!?? 
Nicole also took a bunch of AWESOME pictures of me (nothing new there! The photos of me in my About Me section are all her work! She's amazing!) 

Spent my weekend with @lillerphoto making best friends with butterflies and margaritas. I love you, woman.

A photo posted by Nicole Lender (@nicolelender) on

We grabbed a delicious lunch and she showed me around to all the gorgeous homes in her area, which pretty much all made me drool. As I was getting ready to say goodbye, I was walking down her front path and saw some leaves and immediately whipped around to Nicole "IS THAT LILLY OF THE VALLEY???" Growing up all of the homes I've lived in have had Lilly of the Valley in the yard, but this is the first time in my life that I haven't had access to it. It is my favorite flower, it smells like heaven in case you didn't know. So Nicole shows me that she has some growing all along the side of her house, and she got me a cup with water and let me take a handful home with me! My car smelled amazing the whole way home! 

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Sometimes I forget the importance of building into friendships. If I'm honest it's not something that comes naturally to me. I love my friends, but sometimes I forget to be "active" in the relationship. I have been so lucky in my life to have incredible friends, and extremely lucky to have Nicole back within driving distance :] Now Jess just needs to follow!!! Tehe!