Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More Chicago Christmas!!

So I hope everyone enjoyed that last post.  I am so excited to get married in 2014!

The day after the proposal, I made breakfast and we hung out at home, until we met friends out for dinner.

We made phone calls to family and friends, but kept the proposal a secret from our friends whom we were visiting with that evening.

Having wine with my bff, and grabbing dinner and drinks at Piccolo Sogno made for a great evening celebrating with friends!

Celebrating with my girls!

Piccolo Sogno.  Celebrating!

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Magical Chicago Christmas!!

So the past 10 days have been a whirlwind.  Family, friends, holidays...travel..you name it!

Let us start where the journey began on December 20th!

I had a tough week at work that week, and I was so excited to go home.  My flight was delayed (par for the course), and I was just so pumped to see my baby.  I got home around 8pm, and he picked me up at O'Hare, and we headed out to our favorite Sushi restaurant.  We had our usual dinner, some wine, and just had the best conversation. 

As we walked in the door, I noticed that the house smelled amazing.  Way better than usual.  That is when I noticed this waiting for me in the kitchen!

That is right ladies.  Roses.  Not just a dozen, but 100.  The smell is intoxicating.  There was also a beautiful love letter on the table.

As I was trying to take all of this in, I was summoned into the Living Room by my guy.

He told me to take a look at his Christmas tree.

I looked at his tree, and said, "nice".  I cleary did NOT see what he wanted me to see, as I had just taken off my glasses.  I went back in the kitchen, put my glasses on, and looked again. 

I may or may not have pointed, and screamed, and the engagement ring sitting on the branch at the top!  I was stunned, and crying tears of joy as my boyfriend put the ring on my hand, and asked me to marry him. 

Perfect proposal.  Just us.  In our house, with our pup (only 1 of em, the other stayed in FL), in our city.

I couldn't be happier.  Stay tuned for more posts from my trip!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Well folks, I am back from the Windy City, and it was a whirl wind of a vacation!

I have many posts to put up, but I have to unpack, organize, and relax first. 

Stay tuned for some great stories and pictures!

Holiday Work Party!

I had my holiday work party this past Friday, and it was a great time!  I wore this dress from Rent the Runway.  Due to wearing uniforms 5-7 days of the week, I don't have a great need to buy a lot of dresses.  So..I rent instead!

We had our party at the Omni hotel, and the food was great.  It was a nice time mingling with Sailors and their families, dancing the night away!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holidays & Stress

I know that this time of year can be stressful.  I worked over 95 hours this week!  Sad Face. 

Trying to keep up with the holidays, the committments, etc, can be stressful.  Here are a few tips on how to not "over do it". 

1. Do not over extend yourself.  Do not offer to buy gifts for those you simply cannot buy for.  I buy for my bf, his parents, and my nieces and nephews.  Plus, we cap the gift amount.  That way there aren't crazy expectations.  I also bought a gift for my bff.  She just had a baby boy, and I had to get a gift for her.  Babies.  Drive me nuts:)  In a good way!

2.  Refer to Number 1.  Do not sign up for more than you can do.  Whether it is the 5th cookie exchange, or the 10th holiday party, you must limit yourself as well.  I have 1 holiday party for work, and then I am getting together with friends in Chicago.  Family on Christmas day.  That is it.  And I am ok with it.  3 events.  Simple.

3.  Make lists, and check them twice.  Like Santa.  Seriously.  I have an ongoing list of gifts, so I make sure that when I mail them all off next week, I didn't forget one that I was "hiding", etc. 

4.  Don't get that last minute "holy crap I had to buy it bc it was on sale" item.  I live "in" a mall. I seriously see the prices, and I know a good deal from a crappy one.  Thank goodness.  Because I was severely disappointed in Black Friday shopping.  First time, and last time I do that.  Nothing was really "I have to buy it now!" 

5.  Keep a schedule.  Plan to ship out gifts, mail out cards, bake those cookies, etc. 

6.  Plan out your outfits.  I did 30 for 30.  Again.  I did not buy a dress for our holiday party,  but rented one from Rent the Runway again.  I hope I love it as much as the last dress! 

7.  Keep calm, and go to the spa.  For reals.

8.  Enjoy yourself, and remember the reason for the season.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dinner Party How To

I love hosting guests for any occasion/meal.  I usually host brunch or dinner for anywhere from one other person to a crowd of 20.  Here are a few tips that I try to stick to, to make sure that I have repeat customers!

-Know your guests.  Know their allergies, loves, likes, etc.  I have a few friends with allergies, so I cater meals to their health concerns.  Making pasta for someone who has a gluten allergy can make the evening a nightmare, so I try to get gluten free ingredients, or just make a meal with protein! 
-Invite your guests early so you can get RSVPS, shop, etc.  I try to stick to Saturday/Sunday, as weekdays can be busy with work.  Plus if there are kids/babysitters in the mix, folks need to plan ahead.  Invite via phone, email, or written invite in the mail.
-Creating the menu.  I always stick to a theme.  For a Sunday evening meal, I might make a pot roast, and for a Sunday brunch, I may have an array of items to choose from buffet style.  Either way, I inform my guests of what I am making.  This way if they want to bring a dish or a dessert, they know what to pick up! 
-The day before the party, get the house ready for your guests. Clean, clean, clean.  Ensure all flatware is ready to go for your event!
-Prepare as much of the meal as possible in the morning. In between food preparation, you can focus on decorating the house, setting out flowers and making sure the dining area is clean and ready.  Set a tablescape.  Don't light candles, as the smell may mix with the food.  Light them after the food is done and people are done eating.  This way, your food smell will be the highlight!
-Start setting out appetizers and drinks just before guests begin to arrive. Turn on music to create background noise during the mingling portion of your party!
-Dessert.  I always have dessert that goes with the meal, whether it is a healthy option, or just plain indulgent.

Some recent meals I have made:

Sunday Dinner
Friday Dinner
  • Baked Ziti
  • Salad
  • French Bead/EVOO/Spices (I use Delalo Spices for dipping)
  • Gelato
Sunday Brunch

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Cheer

I was fortunate enough to have the weekend off from a busy time at work.  I got home Wednesday, and just relaxed at home with my pup.

Thursday, I spent my Thanksgiving with Bella, as most of my friends are out at sea.  Not what I had in mind, but due to my work, I just couldn't get back to Chicago.  Just makes me realize how grateful I am for my family, friends, etc. 

Friday, I got my nails done, and some shopping accomplished.  I am not a "black Friday" shopper by any means.  We don't give gifts in my family, unless they are for the kiddos.  I have finished shopping for the littles, and I am very happy.  I love my nieces and nephews more than anything.  Spoiling them twice a year is my favorite thing to do! 

Saturday, I got Bella  a spa day, and my friends came over for dinner/sleep over.  My dear friend just got back from deployment, so I figured a home cooked meal and catch up time was just what we needed.  It is amazing that despite the fact that we haven't seen each other since May 2012, we caught up without skipping a beat. 

Sunday, we went out for Brunch, and it was amazing!  We went to Mimi's Café, and it was so great.  I can't wait to take Mike to get some delicious food next time he is in town.  After brunch, I went to see "White Christmas" with another dear friend.  I had never seen the movie, but it got me in the Christmas mood.  I really want to see it again, and soon!

Tablescape.  Love my new holiday décor.  I don't have much, but it is a start!