Friday, December 30, 2011

A Special Anniversary

Last night Joe and I celebrated a milestone in our marriage-- our fifth anniversary! It is hard to believe that’s it’s already been five years since we said, “I do”! What a fantastic five years they have been. Life hasn’t always been easy, with the typical 20-something job struggles and tight budgets, but every day has been better because we’re in it together. There have been days I’ve needed a shoulder to cry on or some words of encouragement, but those are far outnumbered by the days of pure happiness. I have heard so many times that marriage is hard work, and I am fortunate to be in a relationship that is just so easy. We think alike, believe in the same things, and have a marriage that constantly flows so smoothly. The first five years have been amazing, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!

A few highlights from the last five years...

Moving to Chicago was hands down the best decision we've made. 

I've gotten to take Joe back to my home state of Colorado a couple times

We've spent countless days exploring our city in the last five years.
Millennium Park is a personal favorite.

There have been some crazy NYE celebrations, and countless other fun nights out!

Joe and I agree that concerts are an excellent way to spend our hard earned money

We started brewing beer at home about 2.5 years ago,
and it's become a fun hobby to do together.

Our shared love of food and beer goes a long way. Give us a great meals with nice
beers, and we're happy! Add in a famous brewmaster, and it's a night to remember!

We've had some great vacations since we got married. Washington DC was so fun!

We've been to L.A. a few times since we got married, and love each vacation
there a little more. We secretly agree we could live there in the future. 

Our epic trip to Europe in 2008 is an obvious highlight.
Three days in Paris were the icing on the cake.

And back to where it all started, our honeymoon. Mexico, 2006
(The first of three trips to Mexico in the last five years. We're so lucky!)

Yes, it has been a magnificent five years! I can't wait to see what the upcoming years have in store for us. I love you Joe!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Twelve Dates of Christmas: A Play {Date 8}

A few days before Christmas, Joe got the idea that we should go see a Christmas related play, and I was instantly sold on the idea. We always say how we should go take advantage of some of the live theatre around Chicago, but something (laziness, cheapness, busy-ness) always gets in the way. This was a last minute plan the Thursday before Christmas, and I can officially thank this "Twelve Dates of Christmas" for giving Joe the inspiration.

Reading the Program

We went to the Neo-Futurists Theatre in Andersonville to see Burning Bluebeard, a play about six performers trying to cope with the guilt they feel after a terrible fire killed a huge audience attending their play. This was based on a true story of the Iroquois Theatre in Chicago, which burned down in 1903. The play was sad, funny, touching, and had the audience totally enraptured. The Neo-Futurist Theatre is a small place on the second floor of a building, and it's so quirky and fun to visit. Now we know we'll have to go back for Too Much Light Makes the Baby go Blind, their weekly sketch comedy show.  I loved this night out as a fun, unique date for the holidays or any time of the year. Thanks Joe for the idea!

Waiting in the lobby, which at first we feared was the actual theatre!


Twelve Dates of Christmas: Movie Night {Date 7}

(Yes, I know Christmas is over. But we had more dates that I never told you about, so I'm going to just keep up with these Twelve Dates of Christmas posts)

This date happened more than once during the days leading up to Christmas. There are some movies that seem silly to watch any other time of year, so a quiet weeknight at home is the perfect time to curl up and enjoy a fun holiday movie. A yearly tradition: Elf. It makes me laugh out loud every time! Add a fuzzy blanket, some sweet treats, and a glass of eggnog... pretty much perfect.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Party!

I love the amount of socializing that goes on around this time of year. No matter how tired or busy we feel, I'm always tempted to squeeze in another fun night out with friends. Or in this case, in with friends! This was the first year we had the chance to host a Christmas party for all of our friends, and we had so much fun playing hosts to this fun group of people.

Thanks to everyone who came over! We had a great time catching up with everyone!

Every good cook needs a special holiday apron...

Cheese platter & homemade pickles

The full spread... lots of holiday cookies, and hot mulled wine

A close up of the Christmas cookies!

Do you like our super tall Christmas tree?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twelve Dates of Christmas: Fancy Cookies! {Date 6}

We managed to squeeze in a second round of date night cookie baking last week, to keep the sugar high going. The first round of cookies were really simple, so we had to push our cookie baking skills this time around! We made two shapes of gingerbread, and also did some sugar cookies with royal icing. We made these just in time to share with friends when we hosted a Christmas party last weekend, and they were a hit with the crowd! 

I got inspiration for gingerbread cookies here.
I used this recipe for soft chewy ones, and they are amazing.

A plate full of gingerbread and sugar cookies.

Whenever I get a chance, I use fair trade chocolate for baking.
 It's a simple way to use my buying power to help people in a less
affluent part of the world. It's good quality, too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Twelve Dates of Christmas: Zoo Lights {Date 5}

Date five was a  double date with our friends Nasser and Christie. We met at the Lincoln Park Zoo after work, and spent an hour or two soaking up the festive cheer. We tasted some hot spiced wine (which must have been cider with a splash of wine!), awkwardly bumped into other people, and generally enjoyed the holiday spirit. The lights were impressive, and the fact that it was free was just the icing on the cake!

Obviously, my favorite picture of the night.

These lights were flashing along with the music. It was awesome!

Nas and Christie are newlyweds, so I made them do a cute kissing picture :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Twelve Dates of Christmas: Jazz Show {Date 4}

There are only 10 days until Christmas! And we have 8 more dates to go! This might be more like the 8-10 Dates of Christmas and New Years... but at least we're putting in some solid effort! (Do you think I could use more exclamation marks?  (YES!))

So this date was last Sunday, when we headed down to the South Loop to see a show at the Jazz Showcase. It is a landmark jazz club that has been open since the 40's, and the place had a great vibe to it. We were there to see Benny Golson, a saxophonist Joe has always wanted to see live. If you don't know me in real life, you might not know that Joe's a huge jazz fan. So this Golson character is a classic, and he put on a great show! I am not as passionate about jazz as Joe is, but I still love a good live music experience. 

While this was not a 'Christmas' date, it was something we wouldn't usually do on a Sunday afternoon. Plus, any time we go downtown in December it just feels so festive, so that makes this an official 'Date of Christmas'. And a good date, at that. This evening reminded me that we need to see more live music, and that my husband is just the best. 

After the show we wandered down to Public House, a trendy new sports bar in the River North hood. It's not a place we'd intentionally seek out in the future, but the food was tasty and there was a pretty solid beer list. Much better than the inevitable can of soup that we would have eaten if we'd just headed home!

Then we attempted to stay warm while waiting for the train. A constant battle during the winter in Chicago!

The End.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Twelve Days of Christmas: Baking Cookies! {Date 3)

Joe and I love cooking together, but I tend to camp out in the kitchen alone to do the Christmas cookie baking. This year I decided to extend the invite to my handsome husband, and we did some cookie baking for a fun mid-week date. We chose the two most simple recipes from my usual collection, since it was a weeknight, and snuggled up on the couch while the cookies were baking.

My favorite toffee bars-- so simple and flavorful!

Classic thumbprint cookies

Hot cocoa!
We found a Christmas episode of How I Met your  Mother
to watch while the cookies were baking.
(Joe is actually rolling his eyes like crazy in this pic) 

Ok, I'm a little worried about getting 9 more dates into the next 15 days, but I do have a few fun Christmas-themed ideas up my sleeve! Stay tuned!