Friday, October 28, 2016

Five on Friday

-one-
Greetings from Pittsburgh! We headed here last night and are leaving tomorrow morning. Two of my in-laws own an advertising agency in Pittsburgh and are having their 10 year anniversary party. We are making it a quick trip to be home for an annual Halloween party hosted by our friends Saturday!
Photo below taken in 2012 on top of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh, when Justin and I were first dating. 

-two-
This past weekend we tried &Pizza with my family and everyone in my family was pleased. My brother, mom, and dad are all vegan, so finding somewhere that everyone can eat gets tricky. I loved the atmosphere and the crust was to die for. 


-three-
Sunday we were still with my family and went to a local farm. It was refreshing to see so many people at a farm and supporting a local business. We did the corn maze, saw the animals, and enjoyed the gorgeous day.





My brother & I. Our only photo together in 2016. 


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I recently ran out of my absolute favorite face wash and was pleasantly surprised when Nordstrom delivered it to me overnight! No other face wash has left my complexion so clear! Now I just need a good moisturizer. Suggestions?!

-five-
I made cupcakes for a work event this past Wednesday and they were such a hit! I added a little cinnamon and then sprinkled the butter cream frosting with cinnamon also. So delish! 

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Travel Recap: Chicago

If you haven't been to Chicago, drop what you are doing and book a flight. Since I had stopped blogging for such a long period of time, I had posts that I wanted to share but just held on to. As part of another #throwbackthursday edition, I want to recap my travels to Chicago! It was a long weekend trip and we packed as much as we could into one weekend! 
-Where We Stayed-
Justin and I use Marriott Rewards and because at times Justin has to travel for work, we had an abundance of points. We stayed at SpringHill Suites by Marriott Chicago Downtown/River North. It was in a central location and close to their metro system so that we could get from place to place fairly quickly. 

-Where We Ate-
- The Publican - Great brunch spot. Fulton Market District. Unique menu items and awesome atmosphere.

- Summer House Santa Monica - There are two locations. Chicago & Bethesda, which happens to be very close to where I grew up! We had a really awesome experience here and our waiter happened to have grown up in the same town as Justin. She gave us a $50 gift card to the Bethesda location after we finished our meal and sent us on our way. We could not believe her generosity! I can say both locations are awesome!


Summer House Santa Monica via

- Glazed & Infused - Donuts & Coffee. Multiple locations and so delish!

-Green Street Smoked Meats - AMAZING. Just go here. Don't ask questions. It's tucked away in an alley. The atmosphere is so different. It's grungy and unique and the BBQ is to die for.

- Big Star - Tacos in Wicker Park. It's the "in" part of town. Awesome little shops and a really fun restaurant! The tacos were great and the margaritas weren't too shabby either. 
via


- Homeslice - It's in Lincoln Park and right near DePaul University to you get this cool little college town feel. The pizza was really good! It's a rustic little place. 

- Fish Bar - Cute little place. We did drinks and apps here. Definitely recommend!

- Sprinkles - Cupcake ATM. Need I say more?!

- What We Did -
 (this is not a political statement what.so.ever)

-iO Improv - I am more of a short sketch improv person and the show we saw was long sketch. We still laughed but it wasn't so much my "thing." It was a very nice theater and in a nice spot of town. 

- Chicago Wall - I'm not telling you where this is. You have to search the entire city to find this mural just as I did. I kid, I kid.. find it here: 2226 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647. There isn't anything else to see near the mural. Just the mural.. and maybe a couple homeless dudes hanging out too. 

- Magnificent Mile - The actual main drag of Magnificent Mile was not my favorite, it's the little side streets that I really loved! 

- Viagra Triangle - After walking the Magnificent Mile we ended up here. There was an Urban Outfitters right off the triangle and Justin and I were feeling a little weird. Clearly (see below). There are some really great restaurants off the triangle (Tavern on Rush, Hugo's Frog Bar).

- Architecture Cruise - This was very informational and historical + who doesn't love a nice little boat ride?!

- Navy Pier - We went here right before our boat tour. It's a must see place but mostly just touristy stuff and a lot of chain restaurants (our ultimate no-no while traveling!). The views are gorgeous!

- Buckingham Fountain - It's a massive fountain and if you happen to go in the summer, it can be refreshing to have some water splashed on you if the breeze catches the right way.

- Millennium Park - Right off Buckingham Fountain is a beautiful large park with some cool architecture and there is always something going on. It's nice to walk around or even sit and people watch here for a while.

- Cloud Gate (THE BEAN) - I don't think I need to say much of anything here. Try going in the early morning or at night when there aren't a ton of people there!

- Willis Tower or Hancock Tower - We chose the Hancock Tower for the shorter lines. We were up there within about 10 minutes and saw the views in about 10 minutes too! 

(not taken from the Willis tower)

- Goose Island Tour - Probably the best thing we did the entire trip. The tour was so much fun and the beer was so amazing. I had a coffee beer that was unlike any other beer I have tasted. It was light and refreshing but had the aroma and taste of coffee. The tour guide was awesome and we ended up learning a lot too!


Ending the post with a goofy selfie from our tour with the safety glasses. Chicago was an awesome city. Please let me know what we missed for our next visit!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mouthwatering Banana Bread

This time of year gets me craving sweet treats and to spend time in my kitchen baking. I had some extra bananas last week and decided to use them to make one of my all time favorite recipes. I have made this bread more than I would like to admit and have tweaked the recipe here and there. I hope you all will try this out and be equally as addicted!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) of butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups of white flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 Cup sour cream
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 Cup chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and spray a 9x5 pan with non stick spray.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture into the butter mixture and mix to combine.
  4. Add in mashed banana, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix until thick and creamy.
  5. Add in the pecans and chocolate chips, mix until combined and pour mixture into baking dish. 
  6. Bake for between 60-75 minutes or until bread has risen and a toothpick comes out clean when dipped into the center of the bread.
  7. Let the bread cool (I usually make mine in the evening and let cool overnight) and cut into slices.

 P.S. -- My oven temperature can be finicky and sometimes this bread does take a while for me. Definitely keep an eye on it once it hits the 50 minute mark!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Five on Friday

-one-
Last week I mentioned that Justin and I would be going to see the Blue Angels fly at Fleet Week in Baltimore. It was my first air show and everything was so well done. I was so impressed by every act. We originally were going to hang out at the dock where my MIL keeps her boat, but when we got there a family friend told us to hop on their boat to get closer to where the planes would be doing all their acts.

During my college years I was living in Canton and looking to make some extra money since I was interning across the harbor. So I ended cleaning the boat we took out on Sunday. I was like their part time maid. Ha! 


The boat I used to be a maid on. She's a big girl.
 Above photo I took, below photo a family friend took. SO COOL.

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We carpooled with some family to go to the air show Sunday and upon getting back to their house, I realized I had left my keys and wallet on the boat. I had also forgotten my phone that morning at the house. We ended up borrowing their car to drive back down to the city and by that time, I was not cooking dinner.

We got PF Changs carry out and then I made some chocolate chip cookies. #allthehearteyes. For some reason this weather gets me craving to bake!

Yum they were good!

-three-
I have some friends coming over tonight for dinner and we have bacon guacamole goat cheeseburgers on the docket for dinner. Goat cheese and guac always sounded like such a weird combo until I put it together. Try it! Bacon is just an over the top add on. I also use King's Hawaiian buns which are a little sweet. It ties it all together.
Homemade guac is probably my favoritist thing everrrrr.

-four-
My brother has been in town now for a couple months because he just graduated from his doctorate program and is about to start a job in Knoxville. He moved back to my parents since it didn't make sense to rent for three months. This will be the last weekend with him around and we are going to spend the entire weekend at my parent's house. It's such a treat having him around.

Family trip to a corn maze is in the plans!

-five-
Am I the only one that gets excited over appliances?! We recently had a scare -- I left for work one morning and put a load of laundry in the dryer. When I got home from work 11 hours later, the dryer was still running. It never shut off. We are so thankful that we did not have a fire and are now in the market. Never thought I would say I am swoon over a dryer...


Have a great weekend! I'll be back next week, as always!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Our Wedding: The Photos

Let me start this post off with a piece of advice. It will save you tears, disappointment, and a lot of heartache. Never use a photographer for your wedding that you have not worked with in the past. Or a family friend for that matter.

When Justin and I first started planning our wedding, a family member told us they would pay for the photography. Awesome, right?! That is thousands right there. The family member had a long time friend that owned his own photography business. I had met him before, but never used him for any portraits. When I first met with him to discuss our wedding photography, I did not feel right. I didn't like his work, but Justin assured me that he had been doing this for years.

Fast forward and it was our wedding day. Our photographer was supposed to be to the farm house for my getting ready pictures at 12. He was no where to be found. The other photographer was supposed to be at the hotel with Justin. Also no where to be found. It got to be 1:30 and I was up for hair and make up. My MOH was able to get in touch with the photographer and he finally arrived.. WITH the other photographer. Justin's getting ready photos were taken but "lost." The photos with our bridal party are not even view-able.

Our wedding was the best day of our lives. I wish I could relive that day everyday. It flew by and we have been left with only a handful of photos that are even worth looking at. The photos below are ones that I cherish. We have a half a dozen more photos with family that we also love, but I am posting the ones that showcase the day. We felt so much joy and love that day. 

We got married at a vineyard and the reception was in the barn. It was truly beautiful. 









My mom & me.
My dad & me.
Our guest book.








That's a wrap on our wedding folks!
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