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A Chicago Shower

June 28, 2012

I had to share some pictures from the pinterest worthy shower my future sister in law threw for me this past weekend! The whole party really took my breath away, she seriously outdid herself! I am certainly one lucky girl. Just look at the gorgeous colors, and all of the lovely details…

The setting, completely gorgeous

lovely placesettings with tea cups & flowers that doubled as favors

enjoying some of the delicious food

even more beautiful in the evening!

the other half arrived…

soon to be sisters!

Summer Scent

May 21, 2012

After reading about Bobbi Brown’s “Beach” body oil on a cup of jo, I knew that I had to give it a try. I adore the beach, and therefore, how could I not love this scent!?

Bobbi Brown Beach

It arrived at my doorstep the other day, and I must say, I am completely smitten. It smells like a bottle of summer, not to mention that it is an amazing moisturizer.

There is definitely a hint of sunscreen (ok, actually, a BIG hint of sunscreen). I love the smell of sunscreen (how much more “summer-y” can you get!?), so this is a plus for me.  However, if you aren’t into the sunscreen smell once you leave the beach, this may not be for you. 

Happy Summer!

Wedding Cake

April 18, 2012

Even before getting engaged, I had dreamed of getting my future wedding cake from Bredenbecks , an adorable bakery in Chestnut Hill, PA.

I don’t know what I love more, their adorable store front, or their delectable pound cake!

Lucky for us, we discovered that our venue works directly with Bredenbecks for their wedding cakes (a major selling point for the venue)!

When it comes to cakes, I am a proponent of taste over look, and so I knew from day one that i’d want a buttercream iced cake (no fondant allowed!).

We had our tasting this past weekend, and it was a blast. I walked in with one idea of how I would want our cake to look, and walked out with a totally different plan. I had originally thought that we’d want something like this:

texture

…something with texture, and a homemade look.

However, when I walked into the bakery and saw the stunning sleekness of the following cake (minus the floral details), I changed my mind. I didn’t realize that buttercream could look so SMOOTH!:

lovely

Needless to say, I was sold. After some discussion, we decided on an ivory buttercream frosted cake, with the beading detail above, and a coral ribbon wrapped around the bottom of each tier sitting in the “beading”. The ribbon will match the bridesmaids dresses. We also selected some very subtle champagne gold detailing for the top of each tier, to give it a little sparkle.

We’ll have 4 tiers of cake (supplemented by sheet cakes behind the scenes) to protect the structural integrity of the cake. We selected chocolate chip pound cake, red velvet pound cake, lemon pound cake, and sourcream pound cake to make up the tiers.

Our experience with Bredenbecks so far has been amazing, and I can’t wait to see the finished product (and eat it!).

Wedding Photographer

April 16, 2012

I’m not sure how people planned weddings before the internet. As i’m planning a Philadelphia wedding from Chicago, I have relied heavily on all of the following to find my dream vendors as well as creative ideas:

- Blogs

- Wedding sites (like wedding wire & the knot)

- Wedding photography blogs (ones that tag the vendors that were used)

- Pinterest

- Facebook

I thought that I should do my part and add to the information that is out there by detailing some of the vendors that I am using. The first vendor that we found was our photographer, Nicole Peterson of Girl Photography .

via Girl Photography

Her pictures are everything that we were looking for: vibrant, breathtaking, creative…

via Girl Photography

From the first time that I spoke with her on the phone, I knew that we were on the same page, and that she was the photographer I was looking for. We had a face-to-face meeting this past weekend while I was in Philadelphia wrapping up some wedding decisions, and I became even more excited once I was able to meet her in person. My sister joined us, and she summed it up best when she said that Nicole has such a calming presence, but is also on top of her game, and you can tell that she will be able to get people to cooperate.

via Girl Photography

Needless to say, I am incredibly excited to work with her in a few months, and to share the photos from OUR wedding!

Rise & Shine

November 15, 2011
As my breakfasts during the week usually consist of oatmeal, oatmeal, and more oatmeal, nothing makes me happier than a special weekend breakfast! Therefore, when I received some Land O Lakes eggs to try through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I knew exactly what to do: MAKE OMELETS!
 

ready to go

 
Per Foodbuzz, “Land O Lakes Eggs are backed by more than 90 years of experience in delivering premium, quality dairy foods that families can trust. All Land O Lakes Eggs are “eggstraordinary” because they are produced by hens fed a premium vegetarian whole grain diet consisting primarily of whole ground corn and soybean meal, with no added hormones, antibiotics, animal fats or animal by-products. These eggs are gathered at the peak of the hens’ egg-laying cycles, which can make the eggs more delicious. “
 

fillings

all lined up

 
I thought that making an omelet with some fresh veggies & cheese would be the best way to really put these eggs to the test. I used green pepper, mushrooms (sauteed), tomato, mozzerella cheese, and some fresh basil that happened to be in the fridge.  
 

prepped ingredients

 

cracked

 

sizzling mushrooms

 

omelet time

 

trying not to mess up

 
When making eggs, I will usually give up and just make a veggie scramble, but this time I was DETERMINED to make TRUE omelet! My strategy was:
1- chop up vegetables
2- scramble 3 eggs in a bowl
3- pour eggs into a pre-heated pan (sprayed with cooking spray)
4- when it is possible to lift the edge of the egg “disk”  from the pan with a spatula, lift it slightly and tilt the pan so that the raw egg sitting on top of the already cooked egg can drip onto the pan itself.
5- when the egg “disk” is almost cooked, flip it over using a spatula
6- place toppings on one side of the egg “disk”
7- Fold into an omelet using a spatula, and press down lightly with the spatula.
8 – I then flipped the entire omelet one more time for good measure.

overflowing with toppings!

folded up

ready to eat!

Somehow, I made it work! Honestly, I usually purchase the cheapest eggs at the grocery store (guilty at charged). I didn’t expect to notice any sort of difference between the Land O Lakes eggs and my cheap eggs, but I did. They tasted better, they held together better, and they created a much more delicious breakfast! I still have quite a few of these left even after omelets, so it looks like another wonderful breakfast is in my future sometimes soon :)

Book Review: Neverwhere

November 8, 2011

"Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman

As part of my “Embrace October” list, I really wanted to read this book by Neil Gaiman (the Spring 2011 “One Book One Chicago” selection, that I had purchased by never got the chance to read).

It was definitely creepy & dark, a great book for the Halloween season! I loved all of the twists & turns, and crazy characters that all seemed to come from nowhere throughout the entire book. For some reason, I was constantly reminded of the David Bowie movie “Labyrinth”, which I can’t say is a bad thing.

Labyrinth

Anyways, if you’re looking to add a little Fantasy to your reading list, check out this book!

Book Review: Life on the Line

November 1, 2011

"Life on the Line" by Grant Achatz & Nick Kokonas

As you well know, I include little “book reviews” here on my blog more to keep a running tally of the books that I have read, as opposed to writing full on book reports. Considering I read this book while sitting on the beach this summer, I am obviously falling behind! Luckily, the # of book per month ratio dropped significantly after returning home from the shore, and so it won’t be too difficult to catch up.

I read this book at the suggestion of my sister, who had to read it for her job. She warned me that I would not be able to put it down, and I couldn’t. Grant Achatz’s story is an amazing & inspiring one. I also really enjoyed that a lot of the happenings in the book took place right in my neighborhood!

When my sister, her boyfriend, and my mom came to Chicago over labor day, it was absolutely necessary to pay a visit to The Aviary, as a visit to Alinea was definitely not in the budget for the weekend. It was an experience that I will never forget! The concept, the presentation, the atmosphere, everything was so incredibly impressive! It is definitely a place that i’d like to return too the next time that there is something to celebrate.

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