2 Years and Counting

31 May

Here is the last and final installment of Nick and Elizabeth’s Memorial Day Anniversary Spectacular.  In case you missed the other two installments you can find them here and here.

On Tuesday it was Nick and I’s two-year anniversary.  I feel as though 2 years is a pretty big deal.  In the dating world I feel like once you hit 2 years people really start to take you seriously.

So we decided to celebrate.  Nick is seriously amazing and scheduled a couples massage for us on Sunday.

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The views.  I’ve talked about it enough. Beautiful.

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Neither of us have ever had a massage before and it was heavenly.  We definitely agreed that we would do that again for another special occasion.  I’m thinking our trip to Mexico scheduled later this year?

After our message we headed over to some more local cafes for some lunch.

We both got salads and mine included chicken, roasted red peppers, green beans, tomatoes, and a lemon vinaigrette.  It was perfect for a hot summer day.

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To top it all off, Nick took me to an amazing seafood restaurant.  They had this huge patio area that overlooked some of the canals.

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I ordered the tuna seared rare that was served with sticky rice and an asian slaw.  It was cooked perfectly and had a subtle kick that was delicious.

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It was such a perfect anniversary and a perfect weekend with the man I love.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate two years that I will remember forever.  I can’t wait to see what else the future has in store.

Some questions:

Have you ever gotten a message? 

How do you like your tuna?


One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

30 May

Welcome back to part II of Nick and Elizabeth’s Memorial Day Anniversary Extravaganza. In case you missed the first one you can find it here.

When waking up on Saturday morning the only thing on my mind was BEACH. Although there is a beach in Chicago it doesn’t really compare to the Florida beach right on the ocean. So we packed our bags and went all the way to the beach.

After laying out on the beach for a few hours, I feel as though I was fried and I needed to get out of the sun. Apparently 30 SPF on an Irish girl is no match for the Florida heat. We stopped at a cute cafe along the ocean that has tables that swing!

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We grabbed some huge ice teas and a quick appetizer while we swayed and cooled off.

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Such a relaxing afternoon. Again why can’t we have seats this cool in Chicago?

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I don’t think I could get tired of these views.

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I’m getting really good at taking pictures with my outstretched arm.

The other thing I think of when I think of Florida and the beach? SEAFOOD! Nick and I absolutely LOVE seafood. Although we can get it in Chicago, it is not nearly as fresh and good as it is in Florida. Next in my train of thought of fish was sushi.

Nick and I were dying for some really yummy sushi so we ventured over to a local sushi place and wound up with this:

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This picture does not do it justice. Words cannot describe how amazing this sushi was. Literally the best sushi I have ever eaten in my entire life ever. The fish was so fresh and had huge pieces in the different rolls.

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The night ended with more live music and walking down by the ocean.

Some questions:

How to you like to celebrate anniversaries?

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Do you like sushi? What is your favorite roll?

Nick and Elizabeth’s Memorial Day Anniversary Extravaganza

29 May

So I know the title is crazy long but I needed a long title to describe my chocked full amazing weekend I had.  Since Nick and I did so many fun things this weekend I am going to split it up into several posts so that I don’t leave out any good information.

Speaking of Nick… HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!  Happy 2 year anniversary to the man I love, you are everything I have every wanted and so much more.  I love you so much.

Now the weekend.  Since I am still down in Florida Nick came down to visit for a mini vacation/anniversary/memorial day extravaganza trip.

Friday evening we took a long walk down to the beach to grab some dinner.

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There are such beautiful views down here.  And the weather? PERFECT the entire weekend! I couldn’t have asked or been blessed with more.

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We grabbed dinner at a cute little seafood and Italian place right on the ocean. The food was good, nothing spectacular but the view and the atmosphere made it such a great spot for dinner.

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And these giant drinks were a 2 for 1 special… could we say no?  Not when you are on vacation ;) One big as your face mojito for me please.

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And I mean come on can you beat that view? No thank you.  All of the restaurants here have these huge enormous outdoor patios which is so comfortable for eating.  I wish we could have some more of these in Chicago.  I guess snow 6 months out of the year doesn’t warrant outdoor patios.

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And live music? It was icing on the cake to my perfect evening.  Nick and I sat here for hours on Friday night just soaking up the music, beach, and each other’s company.  And it might have taken us hours to finish those giant drinks.

It was the perfect start to an amazing weekend!

Some questions:

How was your memorial day weekend?

Anyone watch the bachelorette last night? What do you guys think? 

Get On Your Feet

24 May

Hey all! Before I get into the meat of my post I want to apologize for the lack of post yesterday.  My work days are a lot longer than expected usually accompanied by a workout in the morning, and dinner after work and then sometimes more work. After a 12-14 hour day and not getting back to my hotel until between 10 and 11 I just can’t bring myself to blog I am dead tired.  Plus I want to write meaningful posts with lots of pretty pictures and at 11 at night, it is just not going to happen.

So please bear with me as we go on this journey together.  Don’t give up on me now and I promise to tell you about all my cool eats and travels along the way.  OK? Ok great!

Now that we have gotten that out-of-the-way I had the privilege of going to Gloria Estefan’s own restaurant called Bongos.

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It is a Cuban inspired restaurant that features Gloria’s family recipes as well as plays “Get on Your Feet” and “The Rhythm is Going to Get You” all night.  It was also set in a very modern night club atmosphere with super high ceilings, with white and metallic accessories.

When you first walk in the restaurant, there is a wall of pictures of Gloria with all kinds of famous people who have visited the restaurant.

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Being a huge boy band lover especially of N’Sync, I had to snap a pic of my boy JT.

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Celine Dion.  I have no words.  All you 90′s girls will understand.

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Sticking with the Cuban theme I started the night with a little sangria.

The food here was amazing.  This was my first time trying Cuban food and I loved it.

We started with a ton of appetizers! Empanadas, chicken skewers, coconut shrimp, and rock shrimp.

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And some sort of chips and dip concoction that was delicious.  Everything that came out was even better than the first dish.  I had small tastes of everything and I think the rock shrimp was my favorite.  It had a spicy creamy sauce that was just perfection.

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Although I didn’t get a chance to snap pictures of all my entrees we also enjoyed arroz con pollo, cuban chicken, and my personal favorite sweet plaintains.  I think I could eat them every single day they were so good!

The only small downside is at times the music was too loud.  With a large party it was difficult to hear what someone was saying unless they were sitting right next to you.  If you are looking for a more intimate environment, I would suggest something else.

However if you are looking for a fun upbeat atmosphere with great Cuban food I would highly recommend Bongos!

Some questions:

If you are a blogger how do you manage to fit it all in? When do you say I just can’t do it today?

Have you ever tried Cuban food? What did you think?

Hello From Sunny Florida

22 May

Hello from sunny Florida!  I know I’ve mentioned a work trip in some previous posts and I bet you were all just dying to know where I went… well Hello Florida!

I left Sunday afternoon and made my way to the airport.  My flight was at a weird time so I decided to pick up some snacks.  I was pleasantly surprised that the airport actually offered a few healthier options.  A banana and these new to me almond rice stix did just the trick.  They were fruity, crunchy, and flavorful and was a great snack.

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Me and my colleagues grabbed dinner at a local seafood place.  I am so excited to get my fill of seafood when I am here because it is so much fresher than what we can get in Chicago.  The view from the restaurant wasn’t too bad either.  It was so relaxing just eating and watching the huge yachts in the canals.

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And I had a huge first… I tried my first oyster! I was a tad bit skeptical… okay a lot of bit skeptical.  I mean they aren’t the most appetizing looking thing in the entire world and I’ve heard through the grapevine that they kind of taste like a big snotball.  But I decided when in Rome right? I topped it with some cocktail sauce and bottoms up.

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It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  I don’t know if I could eat an entire half-dozen but I think I would definitely try them again.

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And of course what Monday night isn’t complete without Dancing with the Stars and the Bachelorette? Are you all watching?? Who are you rooting for?

Some questions:

Have you been to Florida? Any good suggestions of fun things to do?

Have you tried oysters? What did you think?

First Beach Day!

21 May

Hello and Happy Monday? Are we here again? Yes I guess we are.  How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was wonderful, full of friends, fun and relaxation.  But before we get to that… for those of you who were wondering, I got my 4.5 miles this weekend! Here is my proof!

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4.57 and with ease! Mile 3 was 10:57 and I’m kind of bummed I didn’t go a little further.  My legs were feeling great and I wasn’t too tired, I could have easily done 5 :)

Chicago had it’s first nice Saturday this year with temps in the high 80s.  So what did we do? Head to the beach with friends of course!

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There was not a cloud in the sky and it was absolutely beautiful.  Warm but not uncomfortable where you are sweating your butt off.  But good thing I lathered up with sun tan lotion or it would not have been pretty come Sunday night.  But I did get a little color so I didn’t look quite so Irish-pasty anymore.

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It’s kind of hard to believe that views like this are literally right in our backyard.  I always find myself catching my breath.  It really is just beautiful.

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We spent the afternoon at North Ave. beach soaking up the sun and spending time with friends.  After several hours in the fresh air we just got take out and crashed pretty early.  Like before 10 on a Saturday early.  But I wasn’t complaining.  Sun, sleep, and friends…it was glorious.

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And I got to spend it with my favorite person ;) which is an added bonus!

How was your weekend? What was the highlight?

Mood Dresser On The Move

18 May

Packing. It might be the worst thing ever next to running out of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or misplacing your favorite sweater.  Or running depending on the day :) As I have mentioned earlier, I leave this weekend for a work trip.  And this is not your average I’ll be gone for 2 days I can pack 6 different outfit work trips.  This is a little bit longer trip and I have been stressing out all week about what to bring.

First of all, I am a mood dresser.  I wake up in the morning and depending on what mood I am in or how I am feeling will affect what I decide to wear.  Case in point: I wake up on a Friday and it’s rainy and nasty out.  I will more likely wear pants or capris because they are a little more comfortable and warm.  I wake up on a Tuesday and its 72 and sunny.  Well then of course a dress or a skirt is screaming my name.

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This all factors into my stress of packing.  You see I can’t even bring enough outfits for the entire time I will be away nonetheless extra outfits to choose from depending on my “mood”.  Luckily there will be laundry on site.  Throughout this challenge I like to call stuffing as much as I can into one ginormous suitcase, I have picked up several tips along the way.

Elizabeth’s Tips To Packing For a Long Trip:

1. Only Bring What You Need: This is really hard for me.  I like to think that I’ve gotten better over the years since I was a freshman and brought 5 purses and 10 pairs of shoes on a family vacation; however it’s not always the case.  But seriously, do you really need that extra pair of shoes, clutch, or dress? If you don’t have a reason to wear it leave it at home!

2. Accessorize:  Accessories are a great way to make the same skirt or dress look completely different without taking up much room in your bag.  Pack some scarfs, a great necklace, or belt to completely change-up your look.

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3. Stuff socks and underwear into shoes:  I know that this sounds kind of funny and ridiculous but it will end up saving you so much  room!

4. Minimize Shoes: Again this is a really hard one for me but try to stick to 2 or 3 neutral pairs that you can wear with any outfit you choose.

5. Wear Bulkier Items on the Plane:  Save that chunky pair of shoes or the jacket you want to bring for the plane!  It will save you a ton of room in your suitcase while still allowing you to bring the items you want.

6. Minimize Bulkier Fabrics: They will just take up too much room in your suit case.  Stick to cotton and blends that fold up nicely.

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7. Mix and Match:  Bring different colored sweater and blouses that will go with multiple items.  Take the above skirt for example.  I can pair it with two different color cardigans and have a totally different look.  Two outfits from only 3 pieces!

8. Use the Hotel Amenities: Again this is hard for me since I am so attached to my blow dryer.  But it is bulky and clunky and for a relatively short period of time, the hotel hair dryer will be just fine.

Hopefully you find my tips useful for the next time you go on a long trip!

Some questions:

Do you have any good packing tips? 

What are you up to this weekend?

Are you a mood dresser?

Fashion of the Day: Casual Wednesday

17 May

Like I said yesterday, I had a jeans day at work.  And although I LOVE dressing up I welcomed the  casual change.  Since I normally post mostly about my work attire, I thought I’d share my “casual Wednesday” outfit.

Casual Wednesday

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Yellow Silk Top: Talbots

Floral Cardigan: Talbots

Jeans: Joe’s Jeans via Nordstrom

Necklace: Tory Burch

Not Pictured: Steve Madden Wedges which can be seen here

Even when it is dubbed “jean day” you still must be conscience of what you are wearing.  I mean you never want to look like you just rolled out of bed and went to work even if the dress code is slightly more casual.  Presentation is key and can influence how people perceive your work ethic and other office tendencies.

Therefore, I decided to pair my tailored, clean, no-holed jeans with a silk blouse and cardigan.  When I used to work at J.Crew, we were only allowed to wear jeans if paired with a cardigan or blazer.  I have always liked that rule and apply that with jean day at work.  A cardigan or blazer adds professionalism to a casual outfit.

I paired a yellow silk  blouse with a bright floral cardigan for a splash of spring.  Adding some accessories and wedges (not pictured) completes this fun and sophisticated casual office look.

Exercise Impossible

Ok so I might be watching Restaurant Impossible while writing this post hence the “creative” name of this section.  I haven’t really given you guys any new workouts lately or haven’t really talked about fitness.

I have really been increasing my running and quite frankly just don’t know how to talk about it.  It’s super easy to just create a workout pop it on the site and call it a day but how do I explain running?

Well basically I have been incorporating running anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week! Although I struggled a lot in the beginning, running has slowly becoming a lot easier for me.  I can now run 3 miles easily without stopping and even ran 4 miles last week.  I’m hoping to up it to 4.5 or 5 miles this weekend.

Yesterday I got up to 6 miles and here is my proof:

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I got up early to get my morning run on.  Not super fast but hey slow and steady wins the race right?

Then later in the day, my company had a 5k walk that me and a few co-workers participated in.  It was a nice leisurely walk on an absolutely beautiful day!

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Not bad I would say!

Some questions:

What exercises have you been focusing on lately? What is your office dress code like? What kind of clothes do you wear?

Cleaning Out The Fridge

16 May

Happy Wednesday!! Yay we have officially hit the middle of the week.  2 things I am really looking forward to today:

1. It is jeans day at work.  I’ve never had a jeans day before and although this would have been a little more appreciated in 15 degree weather beggars can’t be choosy and I am really excited.

2. My company really encourages healthy living and are actually having a free 5k to all employees during lunch today.  How cool is that?

Oh actually I have a third thing: free pizza lunch at work.  Again I am not going to turn down free food.

I will be traveling this weekend for work so grocery shopping was a lost cause and instead I figured I can just make dinners with anything that I can find in my freezer.  On last nights agenda? Grilled Chicken Parmesan

Grilled Chicken Parmesan

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I was so surprised how quick and easy this meal came together.  It was so simple I didn’t measure out exact ingredients so bear with me over here.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Linguine Pasta
  • Salt, Pepper, Oregano to Taste

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Directions:

Again I kind of just winged it because it was so simple so hopefully you find it easy to follow.

  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Season the chicken breast with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  4. In the meantime, cook linguine according to package directions. Drain
  5. After the chicken is cooked, remove from oven and top with approximately 2 tablespoons tomato sauce (per chicken) and 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese.
  6. Place back in the oven and bake for additionl 3-5 minutes
  7. Top pasta with sauce and place chicken on pasta.  Enjoy

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Simple ingredients, little prep, and super delicious.  My kind of meal.  It also helped that Nick enjoyed it as well :)

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On another note, Maria was voted off Dancing with the Stars last night.  Although I was sad, I really love Donald Driver too so was a tad happier that he got to stay.  All of the dancers are seriously amazing; the best that have ever been on this show.  The decision of whom to vote off must have been a tough one.

Some questions: 

Do you like chicken parmesean? What are your thoughts on Dancing with the Stars? 

Does your office offer any healthy living programs?

Have You Met My Long Lost Sister?

15 May

So I was given the best surprise last night that I totally wasn’t expecting. Please allow me to introduce to you my long-lost sister: Emily Maynard of the Bachelorette.

(Source)

Ok so maybe she’s not really my sister but I have LOVED her since she was first on Brad’s season.  I was greeted with such a pleasant surprise when I found out that the season premier was on LAST NIGHT! How I could have forgotten it was on is beyond me but let me tell you I soaked up every last-minute of this premiere.

Thank you to Brad for this not working out so that I can spend the next like 16 weeks watching Emily all over again on TV.

Did anyone else hate the entrances/are disappointed in the guys this year? Emily is absolutely stunning and is such a wonderful person that I feel like some of the guys were just not up to par.

Plus, the entrances? I mean the guy with the egg and the guy who dressed up as an old person? I mean please how desperate do you have to be? Do you not realize that Emily will see through these cheap ploys for attention?

But of the guys here are my top picks so far based on the first episode:

Charlie:

(source)

I don’t know what it is about him but I just really like him.  He just seems so sweet, genuine, and that he really has his act together.  Plus he just seems like a big teddy bear you just want to hug.  He’s 30 or 31 and established and seems like he would make a great father figure to Ricky.

Doug:

(source)

He’s already a Dad which is a total plus! He’s older, mature and also established.  And come on his 11-year-old son wrote Emily a note… some may say cheesy but I loved it! And he got the first impression rose (which I called before he even got it!)

Ryan:

(source) 

Again I’m not sure what it is about him  but I like him…. maybe it’s because he was one of the 5 that didn’t pull some overly corny stunt when first meeting Emily? But he also works well with kids which was so adorable and he’s cute to boot.

The one that rubbed me the wrong way? Kalon.  Flying in on a helicopter…. I think his ego is too big to allow a girl like Emily into his life.

So who are your picks for the Bachelorette? Who do you like? Who rubbed you the wrong way?

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