Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Nourish-2015 Word of the Year

Happy New Year!! I hope you enjoyed the holidays. I sure did. We had an incredible NYE in Las Vegas but more on that later, today I feel like looking back on 2015 and the word I chose to focus on-nourish. I had set monthly goals of which I accomplished none but I still think I fared okay in nourishing different areas of my life. One area that I know I failed miserably in was nourishing my body. No massages, less than ideal eating habits and little working out. I also did not do so well at nourishing my mind. I didn't take any classes, I didn't put much effort into practicing Spanish, and honestly my job is so mindless that I feel kinda brain dead all day at work. But let's focus on the positive and the aspects of life I was good at nourishing :)

First of all I nourished my wanderlust by being able to travel a decent amount last year. Of course I wish I could have seen a few more places but I would call it a good year. I got to visit three new states in 2015 which is quite an accomplishment for myself. Our first trip of the year was to Chicago in June for a fun visit then I went to Florida to visit my former exchange student Kate (post coming soon). In November we headed back down to Chicago for our engagement pictures and while it was freezing cold we had a lot of fun and it was our first time staying downtown-we loved it! And then for our final trip of the year we went to Las Vegas and Tempe, AZ for New Years (post coming soon) and had a blast. It was seriously the perfect ending to 2015 and the best way to ring in 2016. After all that traveling the last six months of the year I am already itching to plan our next trip.

While I had a pretty good year for traveling I had an even better one in terms of nourishing my relationships and that couldn't make me happier. I have had a rough 1-1/2 past years in terms of friendships and it hasn't been easy. Two friends who I was very close with started to drift away and I had no idea why. It was really hard for me to deal with but amazingly in the past couple of months both of those friends (who aren't friends with each other) reached out and we have slowly been gaining our friendship back. It had to of been God's timing considering these people are from two different friend groups and yet they both reached out to me around the same time. While these two particular friendships are ones that I have been treading lightly with thus far I am very happy to regain them.

Aside from those two relationships I have tried really hard this year to say yes whenever anyone asked me to do something with them. I am a huge homebody and introvert and most nights would rather stay in but this past year I did a good job of going out when invited and guess what! I usually had fun :) Saying yes more has definitely strengthened some of my friendships as I got to meet new people and just overall spend more time with my friends.

Lastly, I was able to nourish my finances. I worked many jobs in 2015 from babysitting, to getting a part time job at a restaurant, to working the weekends as a greeter for a luxury home tour and that was all in addition to my full time job. I did any and everything that I could to earn some extra money and it sure paid off. Yea I was exhausted at times but it was so worth it. Without taking on all of those jobs I don't know how would we be able to have the wedding we are going to have. So it was hard work but it has been enabling me to have a wedding I could have only dreamed of without all that work.

Whew what a year it was! It had its ups and downs but overall I think 2015 was really good to me and I know that 2016 is going to be even better. I have a new word for this year come back to read about it. What's your word for the year?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Life of a Chef Wife

The life of a chef wife is hard. Okay I am not technically a chef wife yet but still. This is my reality now and I don't foresee it changing once I do become a wife next year. Jamal loves his job. It is his passion and so I wouldn't want anything else for him but it has it ups and downs.

It's so tough on me to have him have to miss out on so much due to his work schedule. Tonight was my family Christmas party and he couldn't make it. He hasn't seen this side of the family all year because of work and it sucks. I hate not having him there with me and I know he misses it too. He works evening and holidays and while he can and does get some special days off it's tricky and doesn't always happen. *I know there are many other professions that have the same problems and some even worse where a spouse is gone for periods of time so I am lucky in the fact that he get to come home every night*

He has friends in the business so it's always fun when we get treated while we are at a restaurant where he knows someone.
Excellent spare ribs from Butcher and the Boar 

Everyone is always asking me if I get gourmet dinners every night. Um nope! I'm lucky if he cooks me a full meal once a month. He is gone six nights of the week at work and Jamal is no early riser no it's a special treat when he cooks me a good meal.

He does bring home food every now and then from work though and I love that. Sometimes it's a delicious meal, sometimes dessert and sometimes alcohol. So that's a fun bonus.
Pumpkin cheesecake he brought home from work. 

Not only is his schedule not the most flexible but the hours are not ideal. He usually goes in at 2pm and depending on the night gets home anywhere between 10:30pm and 2am.

I love that he can cook for our friends and we can have awesome dinner parties.
Please excuse the ugly red plate and the oddly shaped piece of chicken. It was delicious. 

It's also fun to brag that my fiance is a chef. Everyone loves good food.

He makes me more adventurous in the food I'll try. I am as picky as they come but because of him I have tried some stuff I never would have dreamed of eating-think headcheese for example which by the way is super delicious :)

So it has its pluses and minuses but I wouldn't have it any other way :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Chicago Engagement Pictures

I'm back again :) I had to stop in here so I could share our engagement pictures with you. Our photographer is seriously a miracle worker! I don't know how she made us look so good. Before we even got engaged I have been set of taking our engagement pictures in Chicago. What can I say? I'm obsessed! So as soon as he made it official I started looking for a Chicago photographer for our pictures- I contacted a bunch of people I found online and went with the one that sounded like she would be perfect for us-Jenna of Jenna Marie Photography. We emailed back and forth multiple times and I could just tell that she was amazing. I was ready for her to become my new bestie :) We facetimed so I could make sure she was a real human and then I sent off the check to book her. Oh and she also suggested coming to MN to be our wedding photog so that's happening too! I cannot wait. She is so fun and I just know that we are going to have a blast on my wedding day and that she will capture the perfect pictures I have always dreamed of. 

I narrowed it down to my top 13 pictures-it's so hard to pick just a few!

Isn't she great? So so talented! I am so glad we found her. 

All photos copyrighted by Jenna Marie Photography

Thursday, December 10, 2015

He (finally) Put A Ring On It

Hey!! It has been way too long! I always think about blogging but it gets a little hard between working three jobs and trying get some sleep outside of that. If i could blog at work that would be amazing! But alas I cannot so here we are four months since my last post. But let's just continue on. I'll share with you the biggest and best news of my life!! If you follow me on insta I'm sure you know but here's the whole story :)

Back in September the day I had been waiting for for years finally came. Jamal got down on one knee and asked me to marry him ♥. Here's how it all went down.

It was a Sunday morning and Jamal said he was going to take me out but wouldn't tell me where. I was looking through the closet and he told me to find something nice. Naturally I started freaking out in my head thinking that he was going to ask me to marry him!! But I didn't let onto this and just got dressed. We were in the car and he told me he wanted to do something nice for me so that I wouldn't complain when he went to hang out with friends and watch football that night. Lame. Clearly today wouldn't be the day then if he had evening plans. So we arrive at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Lame again. I mean I love going to the zoo but it wasn't what I had in mind for the gorgeous fall day that it was. So I was a little crabby to start out.

We began walking through the conservatory and I started to have fun. It's so pretty how could I not?! After seeing everything there we headed to the zoo to see some animals. We looked at the gorillas and there was one that was so funny. He was hanging out by the window just lounging and I joked that Jamal looked like him. He quickly tired of the zoo and said he wanted to leave so we did.

The park has tons of trails that are fun to just wander around so as we were leaving Jamal kept pulling me this way and that. We were at this spot that had a bench and was in between two bridges when he stopped and grabbed my hand. I tried to keep walking but he told me to wait and I instantly knew what was about to happen! I didn't know what to do so I burst out laughing! I literally just stood there laughing so hard and Jamal could not figure out what was wrong with me. He started talking and then as soon as he got on his knee the tears start. I think I was just so shocked that this was finally happening and so emotional that I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. And Jamal ever the joker told me he thought I was going to say no. Yea right, he has no chance of getting rid of me ;) He pulled out the ring and it was blinding. Like so freaking shiny that I couldn't even see it! I didn't even really look at it until we got back to the car I was enjoying the fact that I was finally engaged and that he really wanted to marry me :)

Right away we drove to my moms to tell her and my sister and then stopped at a few other peoples houses that we wanted to tell. Lots and lots of tears happened the entire day I was just so happy. We went to celebrate together at 4 Bells and had a delicious dinner. Then stopped by Jamal's job to tell everyone there. His boss popped some champagne for us and gave us cheesecake. And then to make the night even better if that was possible Jamal accepted a promotion there and got his first job as a Sous Chef!! Seriously amazing! It was the best night of my life thus far.

Ever since then we have just been busy wedding planning and mostly enjoying it ;) We are counting down the days until September 17th of next year! We're down to about nine months-where does the time go?

Let's talk again soon!

Monday, August 10, 2015

4 Bells

Last night we had the most delicious southern inspired meal I have ever had...okay fine, the only one I've ever had. And now I'm a believer. We left full and happy and are already planning when we can go again. I'm super excited to check out their two outdoor areas so I can bring Colby Jack with me next time! It's not quite opened yet but very soon they will have a rooftop as well as a back alley speakeasy. I can't wait to tell people I hung out and had dinner in a back alley :) so I will for sure be back for that.

4 Bells is Minneapolis' newest restaurant and they make the best southern inspired cuisine. They have lots of seafood-oysters, fish, that kinda stuff but of course I steered way clear of that. I'm sure it's good if you're into that kinda thing. But if you're not go for the chicken.  Yum. We had the fried chicken with a trio of sauces plus a side of gravy. All I will say about that is Watermelon hot sauce. 

For our sides we had biscuits with honey butter and mashed potatoes and gravy. I'm generally don't eat gravy but this stuff was so good. I couldn't stop eating it. I recommend it for both the chicken and the potatoes. 

Even after all that we couldn't leave without trying some dessert. We decided on the Shoofly Pie. If you have no idea what that is its okay I didn't either. I think it's better seeing a picture but if you're still confused its some sort of delicious cinnamon streusel pie with white chocolate ganache on top. 

This meal was so delicious. I'm trying to figure out a way to go here weekly without gaining five pounds each time. If you have any suggestions let me know ;) 

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