Wedding Pictures (continued)

I was trying to see if I had started on a blog post for my December reading and found this. Oops!  Better late than never… #honeymoontravelblogcomingsoon

Well, we officially received the rest of our pictures from our fabulous photographer (Michelle Burbank).  I could look at these over and over and over again.  They make me so happy!

Here are just a few of our favorites (there are SO many, it was hard to narrow it down):

 

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

Wedding from photographer

November Reading

I think most people are feeling this same way, but HOW can it possibly be the last day of November?!  We have Christmas decorations all over, I’ve already watched a silly made-for-TV Christmas movie, and I am preparing to listen to Christmas music all the time.  All in hopes that when Christmas rolls around, I am fully in the spirit!

I read a few good ones this month!

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain

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This is the story of a woman who is trying to adopt and her past keeps coming up making her anxious.  I knew where the story was headed the whole time, but that didn’t really bother me. It was  quick, easy read that I would recommend!

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper

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I might be one of the last people to read this book.  It kept my interest most of the time, but towards the end I skimmed it.  I’ll still be interested in seeing the movie!

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

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This was my audiobook for the month.  It is a crazy story about a woman and her sister unveiling parts of their past after one of their husband’s dies. There were points where I wished I was reading it, so I could skim through a few parts.  Overall, it was a book to recommend – but read it!

Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

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This is my favorite book of the month.  I love Elin Hilderbrand!  This is a quick story set during the holidays and part of a trilogy.  (I’m reading the second book right now!).  It’s a light read that will go by very fast.  Perfect for getting you in the holiday spirit!

A Dinner Menu

Recently, we invited friends over for dinner.  We have been to their house several times, so I was excited that we were (finally!) able to host them here.  Whenever we have people over, I usually end up making something that I have made before or made recently and this time was no exception, but I am always looking for new additions and creating an actual “menu”.  After some pinterest searching and my own brain power, here is the menu.  I thought it would be fun to share as the holiday season is approaching!

Appetizers:

Cheese board and Fixings

Dinner party

We had bleu cheese, cheddar, brie, salami, olives, honey, jam and crostini. Honestly, if this could just be dinner all the time and skip the next pieces I would be pretty happy.

Dinner:

Arugula Salad with Butternut Squash,Cranberries and Candied Pecans

I used this recipe for the salad.

Roasted Vegetables

I did not use a recipe for this one (because it is super easy to make!).  If you aren’t a vegetable roaster already, drop everything and try it.  I’m serious.  Tae keeps asking me to a HUGE portion of them on the weekends for us to eat all week.

You can use any vegetables that you like, but for this menu I did carrots, red onion, mushrooms, and fingerling potatoes. Make sure everything is chopped, cubed, etc and Toss them in a bit olive oil and add a little bit of salt.  Place them in the oven at 350 for about an hour or so, turning throughout the cooking.  You will know that they are done, whenever everything is soft.  (Depending on your vegetable combination and it could take much less time.)

Roasted Chicken

Dinner party

I used a combination of recipes to make the roasted chicken.  I wanted to use a combination of herbs, so I went to The Pioneer Woman and used part of this recipe.   I wanted to free up the oven, so I cooked it in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours.  The key to this is to put little balls of foil on the bottom of your slow cooker to keep the chicken out of the juices.    I did check it to make sure that it was cooked enough (above 165 degrees) and it was definitely finished.  Because I wanted to get the outside crispy, I put it in a baking dish and then into the oven for 15 minutes at 500 degrees.  Super easy!

Rosemary Bread

Dinner party

In college, my friend Lindsey convinced me to go on this crazy mission trip.  I’m not sure if I talked about it before, but it was more than a little crazy (we couldn’t shower the WHOLE week!).  The best thing that came out of it was some of my favorite college friends and a recipe for this Rosemary bread.  Somehow, despite many moves, I still manage to have the teensy tiny piece of paper with the recipe.  I’ll share it here in case anyone is interested!

Ingredients:

2 cups of warm water

2 packs dry yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons butter

41/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon rosemary

Recipe:

Mix yeast, sugar, and salt together.  Pour into water.

Mix in butter.

Roll flour in gradually and then add rosemary.

Let rise (45 minutes or until doubled in size).

Pat it down and set it in a greased pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

SO EASY!

Dessert:

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust

I used this recipe from Mix and Match Mama.  It was my first attempt at a cheesecake and super easy.  I think that I could have cooked it for longer, so be sure to check that the middle of your is really done (mine was just a bit gooey still).    Either way it was delicious!

And there you go, our Saturday night dinner menu.

London

After our few days in Dublin, we went to London.  I have been there once before about 10 years ago, but it was Tae’s first time.  We had a list of ideas ready, but were pretty flexible about how we spent our time there.  Because of Tae’s work trip, we actually spent one night in London, took a train two hours north to Birmingham, England for two nights and then came back to London for two nights.  (Tae insisted on more food photos in this post, so you can thank him for that.  Our food photography could certainly use some work.)

Two of our nights in London, we stayed at the Z Hotel Soho in the Leicester Square area.  Because the two nights were split, we got to test out a few different rooms there (including one of their apartment rooms).  It was in a great location, close to many of the plays and musicals, close to food, and easy to grab transportation.

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Our first night, Tae wanted to check out football, so we headed to Bodeen’s Barbecue.   The food was delicious and we had a great time sitting at one of their communal tables.  We actually shared a table with the Allstate guy (also known as Dennis Haysbert).

On our first full day, we went to the Camden Lock market.  Tae had a quick business meeting in the area, so it was a nice way to spend the morning.  I’m not sure it needs to go on anyone’s list of things that they must do in London, but if you are nearby – check it out.

We knew that Indian food would be a priority in London, so we made sure to start off the first full day with the highly rated Dishoom (thank again to Yelp for helping us find the best places to eat).  It did not disappoint!  As a bonus, we went there on a Monday afternoon and found out that on Monday afternoons, when it comes time to pay your bill, they bring over a dice on a tray and if you roll a 6 your meal is free.  Magically, we did roll a 6, so we paid nothing (but we did tip well).  It was confusing and exciting.

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Later that day, it was rainy, but we still wanted to take advantage of a bus tour to get a good idea of the city.  Despite the rain, Tae convinced me to sit on the top of the bus (with no covering).  I’m so glad that they had those garbage bag ponchos.  It was much better views, despite the weather!  (Although, I have no pictures because I was too busy being bundled in my poncho.)

That night, we headed out to Birmingham.  Birmingham is about two hours north via train. Tae was at a conference and while I ventured out one day, the second morning was spent resting up for the remainder of our trip.  In Birmingham, I went to see Aston Hall.  It was a nice tour and really inexpensive.

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We had dinner at an Indian restaurant in Birmingham and I realized it was 3 years since our first date!

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On our return to London, we knew that there was a lot we wanted to pack in.  The first night, we had dinner at Bill’s Soho Restaurant (delicious) before heading over to see Les Miserables.   If you know Tae, this is his favorite musical.  (Like, he listens to the music in the car once in a while.).  When we passed by the theater and were able to get reasonably priced tickets, we jumped at the chance.  I would highly recommend the London production!

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Europe 2015

The next morning, we were up early to go to Buckingham Palace.  Buckingham Palace is only open two months out of there and we just happened to be there the final week that it was open.  This was my absolute favorite part of our trip.  It was such a great tour, you had a headset to listen to, moved at your own pace, and there was a lot to see.  My favorite part was seeing how they set up the room for State Dinners.  I also liked seeing the Queen’s clothes.  She is so tiny!  Sadly, but of course, there are no pictures allowed.  You will have to google to get some ideas of the tour OR come over for a visit and check out my souvenir book (Tae is probably shaking his head that I wanted/needed this).

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London 2015

London 2015

After Buckingham Palace, we grabbed lunch at a street market near Victoria street (I think it was the Stutton Ground Market).  It was perfect to give us each options for lunch.

London 2015

Our next stop was Westminster Abbey.  So many people recommend this as their favorite tour in London.  It was a self-guided tour and you have your headset to listen as you go.  I really enjoyed it (particularly trying to figure out how the big ceremonies happen in there).

London 2015

Oh, and here I am telling Tae “they said NO photography in here!”

London 2015

We took a walk down to see Big Ben and contemplated doing the London Eye, but decided just to keep walking.

London 2015

London 2015

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After a full day of tours, we had plans to see Wicked that night.  Neither of us had seen the show before, so it was fun to see something new that so many people love.

Because of some crazy hotel arrangements, we also switched hotels this night.  This was another one of my favorite memories of the trip.  We were walking to The Phoenix Hotel in the Kensington neighborhood and as we approached the corner, I said “hey, this looks just like where I stayed with my family 10 years ago”.  Well, it turns out, we had booked the EXACT same hotel that my family stayed in during our trip to London.  Out of all of the hotels in London, it was such a funny coincidence.   Here I am, pretending to be my brother, Bryan, who slept in this very lobby ten years before when he was struggling with the time change.

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On our way back to the hotel after the show, we were desperate for food and happy to see that the Phoencia Lebanese Restaurant was open.  While it was nothing to write home about, their hummus was the best part.

Our last day, we had the morning to finish up some sightseeing.  After a quick breakfast, we decided to stroll through Hyde Park and view Kensington Palace before heading to the airport.  It was a jam packed trip, where we had tons of fun, explored a lot, but were happy to return home.

London 2015

October Reading

October has been a slow reading month, but I have a few to share!

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

This was a really easy read.  I’ve read a lot of reviews where people LOVED this book, but I can’t say I feel the same.  I’m feeling neutral about it – it definitely wouldn’t hit my list of recommended books, but I wouldn’t tell you not to read it.

Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky

I originally started listening to this one through my library’s audiobook rental program and had a really tough time listening.  I thought that maybe the reader just was not my style, so I picked up the actual book.  I’m still not sure why I read the whole thing!  There were a lot of twists and turns, but things were still predictable (although unrealistic).   In the book (I don’t think this is a spoiler, as it is the base of the book), the main character unexpectedly becomes the caregiver for her younger brother after her Dad and his new wife die.  As someone who works with children who are grieving on a regular basis, I get frustrated when characters in books do things that are so far from what would be best (and there isn’t any part of the storyline that needs that).  In fact, this character even goes to a pediatrician for advice and that isn’t great either.  I just wish authors would do a little bit more research in this area and help any readers find ways to support kids who might be grieving!   (I’ll step off my soapbox now…)  Besides that, I just didn’t love this one.

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

I love books by Mary Kay Andrews and this one did not disappoint.  It was a fun book that I would recommend!  (I actually listened to this one on audible and enjoyed the narration.  If you are looking for a fun read this month, don’t miss this book!

Dublin

After our wedding, Tae was scheduled to go to a work event about two hours of north of London, so we decided to go on a European getaway together!

Our trip started in Dublin where we spent three days and two nights.  It was almost enough time to see all of the highlights of Dublin and we definitely made the most of our time there.  Someday, I hope to go back to Ireland and check out the countryside!

Dublin 2015

We stayed at the Sandymount Hotel in Dublin.  It was a great hotel, but a little off the beaten path.  Next time, we would spend a little more and stay closer to the center of the city.

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Our first stop was the Guinness Storehouse.  It was at the top of a lot of must lists when I was researching Dublin and I think that we are both glad that we did it!  The self guided tour comes with a glass of Guinness.  If you go, be sure to wait in line and learn how to pour your own and THEN take it upstairs to the Sky Bar.

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

The second day of our trip, I really wanted to get out of the city.  After doing a bit of research, I found a town just outside Dublin called Howth.  You can take their public transit train out to Howth and it is super easy.  Howth is a sweet coastal town, that has amazing views and great restaurants.  Wear shoes that you can hike a bit in, so that you can get a good view of the cliffs there.  In Howth, we shared Fish and Chips from Beshoff Bros (probably the best that I had while in Europe) and then ate a late lunch/early dinner after our hike at The Oar House.  SO GOOD.

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Dublin 2015

Europe 2015

Dublin 2015

Dublin 2015

In every big city we go to, we enjoy finding a bus tour.  Especially if you are going to be there just for a short time,  this is a great way to see the sights!  After Howth, we came back to Dublin and bought the bus tour tickets.  It was perfect timing, since most bus tours give you 24 hours and that would take us through the rest of our stay in Dublin.

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

It seemed like each night, we ended up in the Temple Bar area.  While we weren’t out to party, it was fun to see all of the action!  Here are a few of the restaurants that we tried while we were there:  The Old Mill Restaurant was probably our favorite.  It is a tiny place, but our wait was not too long.  While we were waiting, we had the chance to talk with the bartender for a good amount of time.  Everyone at The Old Mill was so friendly and the food was delicious.  The other place that we ate while we were there was Porterhouse.  This place is HUGE and we still had to wait a bit to get a table.  The food was good, but the service was a little rough.

Europe 2015

The third day of our trip, we were up bright and early to hit up some of the sites we had missed.  Kilmainham Gaol is a must-see in Dublin.  It’s a fairly quick tour (about an hour to hour and a half) and takes you through an old jail from the 1780s.  It also takes you through a fair amount of Dublin’s history.

Europe 2015

Our last stop was at the Jameson Distillery.  This one was pretty fun as well.  It was a guided tour and at the end there was a whiskey tasting.

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Europe 2015

Throughout the trip, Yelp and Uber were our best friends.  It was nice to get good recommendations for food on Yelp and it was REALLY nice to be able to take an Uber and not have to worry about exchanging money.  In all of the places that we visited in Europe, the Uber drivers were actually licensed taxi drivers and they could not get enough of telling us how much they love Uber.

If we had one more day, I would have added Dublin Castle and Trinity College to our sightseeing.  We loved our time in Dublin and I am already thinking of how we can get back to Ireland again!

We got married!!

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I cannot wait to get back all of the pictures from our photographer, but thanks to our family and friends, we have plenty to hold us over!    We got married on Saturday, September 12 and it was the best day ever (so far).

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We had our wedding in Woodstock, IL at a beautiful barn.  It was an amazing venue and we were so lucky that the weather cooperated and let us have the ceremony outside and the party inside.

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For weeks leading up the wedding, Tae kept talking about how sad he was that our dog, Sonny, was going to miss the wedding.  I kept thinking about it and decided that it would be really fun surprise Tae by having Sonny walk down the aisle.  Let me tell you, I do not regret it one bit.  Tae’s face was priceless and it was such a fun addition to the wedding.  Plus, we get awesome pictures like this one.  I mean look at him, he was born ready to be in wedding photos.

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Here are a few other favorite details from the wedding.

My dress.  Sigh.  I love that dress – it seems unfair to only wear it once!

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My brothers walked be down the aisle and I am just so glad that they were both by my side.

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We had the cutest ring bearers and flower girl.  I had no expectations for them making it down the aisle, but they all did and it was adorable.

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My good family friend, who I call Uncle Steve, married us and it was so special for me.

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Food trucks served the dinner and it was a huge success.  If you live in the Chicago area, you should definitely check out Piko and Toasty Cheese food trucks.  We love them!

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Some of the horses escaped during our ceremony.

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My brother, Bryan, made us these amazing chalkboard easels (and several other things) and my friend Amy helped to decorate them.  (SIde note, we are so lucky to have such talented people in our lives!)

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Tae’s Aunt did our flower arrangements – they were beautiful!  We also made these awesome mugs for everyone to drink out of throughout the night and they were great.

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I love looking through all of the pictures and remembering parts of the day that were a blur.  It seems like a dream that the day already happened, but we are adapting to married life just fine.

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MUCH thanks to our fabulous photographer, Michelle Burbank, for some of these amazing photos!

August and September Reading

Well, I missed last month for my book updates.  Getting ready for the wedding took up most of my free time and I think I barely made it through half a book that month!  But, I made up for it this month!  I read several books this month that I really enjoyed, so I cannot wait to share!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

I had been hearing about this book for a few weeks and decided to download it for our trip to Europe.  I’m not sure if it was the fun of reading about a girl becoming a princess while we were in London or the actual book, but this was such a fun read!  (And I’m pretty sure that most of the other reviews that I have read agree.)

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is generally one of my go to writers for a quick suspense read.  This one wasn’t quite my favorite.  It had me wanting to get to the ending, but more so to get it over with – the plot was making me stressed!   I’m not sure I would recommend it, but it is a quick read.

Who Do you Love by Jennifer Weiner

Ahh.. Jennifer Weiner.  I loved her earlier books, but the past few just were not my favorites.  Still, she falls on my list of favorite authors, so I added this one to my list.  I’m so glad that I did!  I read this book throughout the flight back from Europe and loved it!

The Rumor by Elin Hildebrand

I usually like Elin Hildebrand’s books, but this one just didn’t top my list.   I’m not sure what it was, but I think it was too many of those scenarios where I was getting frustrated with everyone’s bad decisions!  It just didn’t feel well thought out to me and I can’t really recommend it.

I’m looking forward to quieter times now that things have settled down and I hope that means many more books to share!

Tim McGraw Weekend

Well, we managed to fill up another weekend.  This weekend was full of so many of my favorite things.  On Fridays, I get out at 3:00 and we have quickly learned that if we do something Friday night, it makes the weekend seem so much longer!  I had been wanting to try Orangetheory Fitness and we had two free classes, so we went to our second class Friday after work.  I am a huge sucker for new workouts and I love anything that gives me feedback during class, so this was an awesome place for me.

After our workout, we needed to do a big Costco run.  Which, normally would not make the list of weekend fun.  But, it has always been a running joke that Tae’s favorite date spot is Costco and we definitely had Friday night dinner there.

Saturday, Tae went golfing (obsessed) and I spent the morning running a few errands (the fun kind that also involves haircuts and pedicures).   Saturday night we had tickets to see Tim McGraw.  Let me tell you, that show was so fun.  We had the best time.  The people watching was amazing and Tim’s show was great.  (We especially loved the teens behind us yelling “he’s so hot!” at the same time as some older ladies were making similar comments in front of us.)

One of my favorite things was that the venue allows you to bring in your own water (in factory sealed bottles).  Which led us to a lot of jokes about being old…

Sunday morning, we headed out to celebrate Tae’s Mom’s birthday.  It started at a Korean church service (where, yes, everything was in Korean – but someone did translate the sermon for me).  Oh, and I definitely caught on when they were announcing our wedding to everyone (and I think inviting them!?). Some of the songs, I definitely recognized, but couldnt quite remember the English words to jump in. After the service, we headed to a lunch that they church throws and it included some delicious cake.  I don’t have pictures of our whole family, but I do have these…

We left the church to meet our friend’s new baby.  I was so smitten that we forgot to take any pictures.

After meeting the new baby, our friends were having a Sunday Funday at one of the family’s pools and we decided to stop by.  I have to admit that I am a bit of a homebody sometimes and was feeling a little wiped after so many weekend activities, but I am glad that I went.  It’s always a good time with these kiddos around.

Weekend (golf edition)

It has been at least a decade since I was last on a golf course.  My Dad was a HUGE golfer and so I grew up pretty familiar with golf courses and all things golf.  Throughout the summer, Tae has become more and more of a golf fanatic (Seriously, it is all that is on TV and our nicely cleaned garage now has a golf net taking up the space meant for my car!).  Anyways, I had my Mom bring me her clubs to borrow, so I could play with him once in awhile.

We kicked off the weekend with an evening golf session on Friday.  I wasn’t that terrible (I mean, I lost 5 balls in 9 holes, but the balls always moved forwards!).  It was funny how much I could hear my Dad’s voice as I walked around (mostly things like “just hit the ball, Chelsea”.   Now, I can’t wait to go again!  And is it too much to say that I need a golf outfit?  I mean, that will definitely help me play better!

Saturday, the boys napped, we went and chose our flowers for the wedding, and we had delicious Korean BBQ was Tae’s family!

Sunday, we had brunch with my Mom, and I spent most of the afternoon wedding shoe shopping.  I’ll be honest, that I am not 110% sold on the pair I ended up grabbing, so I have some online shopping to do next.   Anybody want to share what they wore?  Blue? White? Heels?  Flats!?!  I’m listening!

Have a wonderful week!