Friday, December 21, 2012

Baby Time!

Gosh I love babies, even if they are alot of work.
Last week I spent almost five days down in Georgia taking care of this little ham =)
Baby Kevin (a little cousin of mine) is one of the most smiley babies ever! 
This little guy almost had me convinced that he wasn't capable of being fussy.

This was just one of the many smiles that he shared while we were waiting in the drive-through line at Starbucks.
 Our favorite book of the week! Which we only read 20 times a day =)
 We goofed off together the entire time. Okay, so he wasn't quite sure what to do here.
 We took way too many pictures and videos.  Kevin loved watching himself on video over and over! 
  We took at least one walk every day.
We enjoyed an afternoon at the park.
And simply enjoyed each others company!
I give his mama so much credit because when I left, she resumed the duties of being this little man's constant shadow, keeping him out of danger and the microwave =)

Thanks for your hugs little Kev, can't wait to see you again!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dear Letters

Dear nice people on my flight,
thank you for your genuine kindness.  To the flight attendent, "thank you" for the glass of wine.  To the man next to me, "thank you" for the food and pleasant conversation.  It's people like you that brighten my day! 

Try to remember to make someone's day by a kind gesture or word.
They go a long way!
 Dear Coconut Bubble Tea, 
I'm a really big fan of you!!! Thanks for letting me know you exist.  I'll never order you any smaller than a large =)
Dear Blog inc. 
Thanks for being an easy and enjoyable read.  I can't wait to implement some things I learned from you.
Dear Mom in an awesome leopard scarf,
Thanks for going on random girl dates with me to our local Irish pub!  And thanks for enjoying beer cheese with pretzels and Irish car bombs with me. =)  I know they sound dangerous, but they taste just like liquid chocolate cake going down!
Dear Ikea kitchen,
Do you wanna move into a future home of mine???  I'll let you stay forever, I promise!
Dear Presents, 
Let's get wrapping!
I hope you have a sweet sweet day full of hot chocolate and something peppermint! =)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Breakfast at the Bongo Room

Going to the city of Chicago with a bunch of girls is quite the adventure!!!
Our long planned day in the city finally came and by 10:15 am nine of us had met up and were sitting around a breakfast table at "The Bongo Room" waiting for our delicious food to arrive.  For most of us it was our first experience and of course we were not disappointed. =)

 I mean,
who doesn't love pretzel pancakes covered in a white chocolate sauce drizzled with hot gooey caramel?!?
Here is a sister shot:
A dear group of friends.  
All the incredible yumminess that we consumed.
Can you guess which 3 out of the 4 were mine?  Feeling a little guilty for wanting to try it all, don't know how that happened, woops! =)
Fast friends, Rozann and Katie, showing off their mongo sized pretzel pancakes.
Here is the wonderful group of girls we took to the city for the day!  This was after a trip to the American Girl Doll store and before our trip to Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Checking out the amazing gingerbread village in the Drake Hotel.
My baby sister in cupcake heaven!
It definitely was a lovely day in the city.  We had the perfect weather to walk around and enjoy the storefronts.  
Our feet were happy to relax on the train ride home!  If you ever take a trip into the city of Chicago, make sure to check out "The Bongo Room"cause it's a must!  There are three of them hidden throughout the city and definitely worth the taxi ride to get there.

Oh the joy of breakfast food!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Surprise Date Night!

It's true, relationships are a two way street and the effort put into them should be mutual.  I also think that this can be done in different ways.  While I really enjoy surprising Charles from time to time with random acts of love and kindness through notes, presents and home-cooked meals, I especially love when the guy enjoys 
planning and putting together fun date nights.  I'll admit, it's extra special and romantic when the guy plans it.  =) Whether it is staying in and enjoying a cozy evening at home, or going out and enjoying a new restaurant..... 
Yep, and this guy never ceases to amaze me.  He teaches those around him the virtues of love and kindness all the time.  This past friday he was full of surprises and thoughtful details.   

Our evening began a little like this.
And was followed by this =)
Charles surprised me with a fun dinner at Benihanas!!!!!! 
His family had talked about this place before so I knew it was really good.
I probably acted like a little kid in a candy store the way I got all giddy with excitement talked about how amazing the food smelled and what a fun place this seemed because they cooked your meal right in front of you!
I went for the holiday special (it seriously tasted like Christmas), a cranberry mojito with spice and mint.  
Charles went with the apple sake which also tasted a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!
Our chef prepared our incredible meal right in front of us.  It was a dinner and show all in one.  Flying eggs and spatulas, oh my!!!
We both left with happy tummies and full hearts.
The rest of the evening was still filled with many thoughtful surprises.  
This man teaches me time again what it means to be thoughtful, what it means to love, what it means to pay special attention to those details that the other person would enjoy. 
I can honestly say that he is one of the most selfless people I know and I learn so much from him every day!
I only hope that I can be half so kind and loving. 
Each new day comes with a fresh start to try and do better!  
Wake up and refocus on loving those around you.
Love them, cherish them and tell them you love them.

A happy happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pretty Stationary

Sometimes I crave the joy that comes with sending people snail mail =)
I know how appreciative I am when people take the time to send sweet notes in the mail.
It can seriously make my day!

It's also nice having the proper tools super cute stationary for writing
 a nice long letter to a friend or a loved one.
While Barnes and Noble is a definite go-to place for stationary, I also like to fill in my supplies with unique embellishments from places like Tapeswell and little local shops.
Here are the writing supplies that I came home with the other day:
Below are envelopes embellished with the amazing Envelope Wrap Tape from Tapeswell.
Buying this tape was on my "to-do-list" from a crafting pin on my Pinterest Page
I'm absolutely in love with these envelope labels!!!  
They are beautiful, unique, easy to use and add soooo much to a simple little letter.
Guess I'm super excited to sit down later this evening and with pen and stationary in hand, write out a few Christmas cards!!!

Do you have any favorite stationary companies or embellishments?  
If so please share the love!
Happy Writing =)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear Letters

Dear Striped sweaters, 
I'm all about you, your color and your warmth lately!  I think we will be best friends this winter.

Dear Winter,
Speaking of you, can you snow any day now because I've been waiting all year for your arrival.  Pretty please can we have a white Christmas???  A white Christmas is just magical and cozy!

Dear Chicago and Friends,
I'm heading into the city this morning to spend the day with you.  Hmm let's see, 9 girls and being in the city for an entire day, I think yes!!  Looking forward to trying The Bongo Room for what I hear is an amazing breakfast and Molly's Cupcakes for an afternoon indulgence. =) 

Dear Charles,
Thank you for being amazing and wanting the 21st of December to be a special day full of good memories.  I'm really looking forward to Martina McBride's Christmas concert with you and your parents!!!!!!!  It's going to be an amazing double date!

Dear Charles,
You get two notes from me today =) because I'm looking forward to our surprise Christmas date tomorrow night.  You always have a surprise up your sleeve.  The part I do know about is going to be so much fun and the part I don't know about, well, I'm just a little bit curious.  But I promised I wouldn't guess, so I won't.

Dear Kitchen apron,
Prepare to get dirty!!  Time to crack out some holiday recipes.  I promise to share if I come across some new ones I love.
What jolly activities do you have planned for this weekend?
Have an amazing advent weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ornaments and Story Telling

While it was nice taking a trip to Georgia and helping the relatives move,
it's also great to be back home in Chicago and spending holiday time with Charles.

I think we've started a new tradition!
A few nights ago we went over to his place where Charles had a basket filled and waiting
with all the ornaments he kept while he was growing up.

The two of us turned on some Lady Antebellum and of course some Frank and Bing!

My little box of ornaments was added to the collection.
We took turns pulling ornaments from our box and basket and told the story behind each ornament as we placed it on the tree!
It was a sweet way to learn more about each other and relish in our time decorating the tree together.
A little old fashioned tinsel and a pretty tree skirt and this tree will be complete!
And did I mention that it's almost time for some Christmas baking and and some classic Christmas movies. 
What a joyous time of the year as we await Baby Jesus' Birthday!

A blessed and happy Advent =)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

StickyGram Magnets!

 you are still looking for a unique, personalized, last minute gift for someone special.
While this is most likely very possibly the case, you'll be thrilled to
hear about this gift option.

Ever wonder what to do with these???

You can turn your Instagrams into StickyGram magnets!!!  
I know, how awesome is that?!?
With a few clicks of the mouse, your order can be placed and in the mail.
I first heard about StickyGrams through one of my all time favorite blogs, Rockstar Diaries!
She has a sweet post about them on her fridge.

If you need them to arrive in time for Christmas, you better hurry! A little extra perk is the FREE shipping. You can also give the gift of
StickyGrams with their Gift Certificate option.  Just another
good thing to keep in mind =)

P.S. Go ahead and add the promo code: FRIENDGFF9 and you'll receive $2 off your first purchase while I will get a $2 credit. A win win? Yes I think so =)

Have a great day!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Five Things

Have you ever heard of Unite Products?
If you're looking for some serious volume or nice big poof, this will be your new favorite product.
 I'll be honest though, the texture is a little funny, but totally worth it.

Who doesn't love cute notebooks?!? 
Yes, I'm a pretty big fan of Rifle Paper Co. Check out the 2012 Rifle Holiday Collection here
It's seriously all sooooo tempting.
Staying organized, it's a good thing.
My morning station =) A central "happy place."
Interested in the world's best scones???  Best part is.... you can even make these at home!!!
A big "thank you" to this girl for finding these amazing raspberry (or blueberry or chocolate =) scones from America's Test Kitchen.

Have a sweet sweet day!
Thanks for stopping by =)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dinner and Office Space

Tuesday night Charles and I shared a nice evening catching up with good friends of ours.  
They often invite us over to share in their evening meals followed by espresso, games, or a movie.
Our dinner was amazing because it was breakfast and breakfast is always amazing for dinner!
Awww they are so cute together =)
It was great to finally catch up since we had all recently taken our turns being out of town.  We shared stories of our adventures over Thanksgiving weekend and ended the evening with a little "Office Space."  They couldn't believe that I had never seen the movie before.  Okay okay please forgive me for never having seen it before.  Guess there is a first for everything.
We are definitely looking forward to spending more holiday time with these two!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Well hello Georgia!

This morning I'm off to Atlanta, Georgia!!!
 I'll be heading down for a long weekend to help my Aunt and Uncle move. 
I'm super excited to go and help them out.  
I'll probably be babysitting my baby cousin, doing some cooking, cleaning and moving lots and lots of boxes.

 While the trip does come pretty close to Christmas when things can get kind of hectic and busy, I'm pretty excited to go and help.  Plus, never say "no" to a trip down south mid-December, right?!? =)

This was the uncle growing up that would always ask us "and who's your favorite Uncle?" and we would reply, "Uncle Dave!!!"
He was the uncle with the Harley Davidson and the one that I went for a long ride with in the mountains of GA the morning of his wedding!!  Ever since that day the two of us agreed that we would do the same on my wedding day. =)

Super stoked to see all of them in a few short hours!

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Making Things Happen

Let's be honest, it can be much easier to talk about plans and dream dreams, 
but I prefer when things actually happen!

Yes, this can be difficult sometimes and overwhelming trying to figure out where to begin.
This applies to situations ranging from a simple craft, to our jobs and vocation.  
The best answer I've found so far.....take baby steps and start somewhere!
Focus on one or two things and actually DO THEM!!!! =)  

Personally, I think it's dangerously easy to find oneself all-over-the-place, purchasing random ingredients that look tasty and cute craft items (you think you can use somehow, right?), only to end up with a pile of things lacking real purpose.
To reiterate because I need to remind myself all the time pick a project and stay focused until it's finished. =)

That being said, here is some holiday inspiration and a few of the craft projects I am in the process of tackling this Christmas Season:
Picture Via
My crafting bin last year.
My decorated match boxes ~ perfect to go with a nice smelling candle for the holidays!
I heart red =)
The Martha Stewart peppermint marshmallows I made and obsessed over last Christmas.  I seriously made over 10 batches of these and they were a huge hit with holiday company!!!
Adorable little sparkly acorns Via Stacy Winters

When it comes to recipes and crafts, I enjoy having two recipe cards in hand, going to the grocery store and buying all the ingredients and being stuck focusing on producing something new and seeing it through to completion!

In case you missed it,
check out the two new recipes I tried here over Thanksgiving weekend at the cabin. 

Happy holiday crafting and cooking! =)