Category Archives: Wedding

Third Time’s A Charm

It was touch and go there for a little bit with the weather, but we made it to my wedding dress appointment last night at the Crystal Bride!

crystal bride

Rain or shine (aka heavy thunderstorms and tornado sirens.) Sure didn’t stop us! 🙂

mom me crystal bride

A few weeks ago, I ended up going by myself to a last minute appointment at the Crystal Bride to try on dresses.  I thought I found “the one” but I needed some moral support before I went through with any purchases.  Last night was my follow-up appointment and I brought along a few extra pairs of eyes for a second opinion.

annie me katie crystal bride

I had 3 different dresses narrowed down from last time and modeled them for my judges, saving my personal favorite for last.

And the vote was unanimous, so I said, “Yes to the dress!!!”

crystal bride champagne

Woohoo! A little bubbly to celebrate!

Check it off the list! 😉


A Few Wedding Updates

Last night, Dave and I had originally planned to go out for dinner and watch the Blackhawks game, but we had a sick little puppy to take care of.  😦

mac sick 2

I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say there has been an abundance of potty breaks over the last 24 hours.

mac sick

We quickly changed plans to tend to our sick patient and ended up grilling a fabulous dinner of grilled chicken breast and corn on the cob.  There was, of course, plenty of cuddling involved last night… nothing like a little TLC to help ease the pain! 🙂

Wedding Updates

1.  I had an appointment to try on wedding dresses at a local bridal shop, Crystal Bride, in Geneva last week.  There is good news and bad news.

Bad news:  the appointment was all very last minute so I ended up going by myself.

Good news:  I may have found THE dress!!!

Unfortunately, I can’t release any details, except that it’s white or ivory, full length and even has a train.  Can you picture it? 😉

2.  I have been emailing back and forth with a lady who provides makeup & hair services.  She was recommended by Dave’s cousin’s wife’s friend (<–got that?) who also had her wedding at the Sandpearl.  She is free the weekend of our wedding so we’re just finalizing the details!

3.  Dave has been in contact with the band that, if all works out, will be playing at our reception.  We heard them at a friend’s wedding last October (?) down in New Orleans and absolutely loved all the music they played!  It also looks like they are open during that weekend so again, we are just working on figuring out logistics since the band members will have to travel to Clearwater.

4.  As I had mentioned before, my dad took a bunch of photos of Dave and I last weekend to use for our Save the Dates.  I had seen a few engagement pics on Pinterest that included the couple’s pet(s), so my dad and I thought it would be a great idea to throw Mac in some of the photos…

Dave And Lauren and MAC_DSC6275

…and that was maybe the “best” one.

Mac was probably the most uncooperative pup ever and less than 5 minutes into it, we realized it just wasn’t going to happen.  Looking back, I honesty don’t know what we were thinking!  We both should’ve remembered from previous experiences that Mac does not make the best photography subject.  Oh well! 😉

Next up on my wedding list of things to do is create/send save-the-dates and find a photographer and videographer!

Back in Business!

Guess what?  Only 365 days to go until our wedding!  Woohoo! 😉

It’s crazy to think that Dave and I got engaged almost 5 months ago.  Feels like last month!  Things started out a little slow on the planning front, but it was all very intentional.  I wanted to enjoy the holidays, finish moving and unpacking, settle into our new house and have a chance to enjoy our engagement a little bit before tackling such an overwhelming task.

I may be one of only a few girls who did not have any pre-conceived ideas about the who/what/where/when/etc. of my future wedding.  About all I envisioned of my big day was walking down the aisle in a white dress.  That’s it.  Not to mention, Dave took me completely by surprise, so to say this whole process started off overwhelming is an understatement, but a little teamwork makes it all better and a lot more fun!  Plus I have plenty of time!  So far, not stressed a bit! We’ll see how I feel 6 months from now! 😉


Sooo please tell me I’m not the only one who scrolls through Pinterest for hours on end and drools over all the amazingly delicious food?  And anyone else instantly get hungry just from looking at those pictures?  Some nights I curl up on the couch after dinner (read: I have a full, satisfied stomach) and hop on Pinterest browsing new recipes to pin, only to find myself raiding the pantry 15 minutes later.  Never fails!

This is especially true over the last several weeks without a working oven since I haven’t been able to bake anything.


But, we’re back in business!

The main issue was faulty hinges on the left oven door causing it not to close all the way.  We simply called the company who informed us they had recalled the hinges and oven door for this exact problem and shipped us new parts.  They arrived the other day and Dave fixed it last night, so I’m hoping to get a little baking in this weekend! 🙂

I’ve had my eye on a few things lately so I thought I’d share what I’ve been craving for the past couple weeks:

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

via Pinch of Yum


Crispy Buffalo Oven Fries

via How Sweet Eats


Copycat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs

via Chocolate Covered Katie


Baked Ham & Cheese Pretzel Sandwiches with Garlic Butter

via Iowa Girl Eats

pretzel sandwich

Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Banana Bread

via Sally’s Baking Addiction


Well I told you!  Just writing this post has me hungry! 😉

Happy Friday!

Wedding Planning: Sandpearl Resort

Back in February, Dave and I made a trip to Florida to check out places for our wedding. We had about 6-7 spots picked out in a few different areas around the Tampa and Naples areas but after visiting the very first place in Clearwater, we were immediately sold!


The Sandpearl Resort! We fell in love with this resort from the moment we walked in, but continued to love it even more as we toured the property and spoke with the staff. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating!

Here’s a mini-tour of the resort:


DSC_1355 DSC_1352

Store and Coffee Shop



DSC_1349 DSC_1333 DSC_1332 DSC_1331 DSC_1328 DSC_1325


DSC_1341 DSC_1340 beach

Beachside Bar and Grille



Private Guest Suite & Gulf Lawn





On Thursday afternoon, we got up to our suite and were greeted with a delicious tray of fruit, cheese, and crackers, alongside a bottle of champagne.

champagne and snacks

After checking out the room and having a glass of champagne, we headed downstairs to meet briefly with our wedding coordinator who showed us around the hotel a bit.

dave and i sandpearl caretta on the gulf

Following the tour, she set up dinner reservations for us at the main restaurant, Caretta on the Gulf, where the chef had prepared a few appetizers and finger foods for us to try.

pretzel rolls

Homemade pretzel buns (our favorite!) served with butter lightly dusted with rose salt on one end and herbs on the other.


They brought out several plates of these appetizers: from left to right, bacon wrapped scallop, mini crab cake, sesame chicken on a stick, and pulled pork & spinach empanada.


Plus a delicious bottle of pinot noir to wash it all down…

sunset dinner

And a sunset to top it off! 🙂


Dave and I met with the wedding coordinator on Friday morning to take care of our contract and deposit. We also met the chef who gave us a tour of the entire kitchen for Caretta on the Gulf. Let me just tell you, I was in awe! The kitchen was absolutely HUGE and he let us each snag a hot pretzel bun right out of the oven to enjoy as we walked around. Yum-my!

Since the restaurant has its own butcher shop, pastry department, sushi chef, etc. and prepares everything from scratch, the chef informed us we can customize our menu any way we like. You can only imagine the ideas that began swirling in both of our heads! Hors d’oeuvres, entrees, desserts, late night snacks… oh geez, we’re excited! 😉

dave and me beach

But what I’m even more excited about is the fact that we are both on the same page and are 110% confident the Sandpearl Resort is the perfect place for our dream wedding! I can hardly wait an entire year!! 🙂

Bridal Expo

Hello from Evansville, Indiana!

hotel room

I’m out of town for an audit this week and spending a couple nights in this glamorous hotel room.  We arrived late yesterday afternoon and had dinner at a local German restaurant called Gerst Haus.  Unfortunately, dinner was followed by homework back at the hotel room.


The final for my Economics class takes place next Thursday and has completely snuck up on me.  I haven’t prepared one bit so I’m scrambling to fit in any studying I can throughout the next week and a half.  Not fun!

Bridal Expo

Enough of the boring homework talk, let’s chat about the Bridal Expo I went to with these lovely ladies on Sunday.

darcy ashley lauren

Darcy, Ashley and I met for brunch at Egg Harbor before attending the Bridal Expo in Downers Grove.


I fell in love with their coffee mugs and just had to buy one!  I later found out the mugs are all handmade by a potter in St. Paul, MN and are then engraved with the restaurant’s name and specific location.

bridal expo ticket

With full bellies, we made it over to the expo to look around.  None of us knew what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.  


Vendors lined the banquet hall and were giving away lots of free trips and services.  I especially enjoyed looking at the centerpieces to get ideas on the different styles I liked or didn’t care for.

center piece

Other vendors included tuxedo rental companies, DJs, limo services, florists, travel agencies, bridal registry stores, bakeries, wedding gown shops, etc.

One of our favorite tables was a bakery in Elmhurst giving away mini cupcakes which were to die for!  The other favorite had to be the french fry bar sponsored by a local hotel promoting its food.  They served both regular and sweet potato fries, cheese sauce and lots of different seasonings and sauces for dipping!  Delish!

photo booth

Finally before rolling out of the expo absolutely stuffed, we pitstopped to snap a few glamour shots!  I’ve certainly had my fair share of photo booths this weekend!

Sunday Funday!! 🙂

Pat & Amanda’s Wedding

Anddd just like that, the weekend is already over.  What a bummer!  Darn daylight savings time, you robbed me of one whole hour of my weekend!

The good news is I’m happy to report my neck is pretty much back to normal!  It was 100 times better when I woke up on Sunday morning and now its even better.  Thank the Lord!  Tons of fun stuff jam-packed into the last two days, so let’s recap Saturday, shall we?

Pat and Amanda’s Wedding

dave and i

Dave and I attended my old coworker’s wedding on Saturday night.  Both the ceremony and reception were held at Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove Village and it was beautiful!

cssfThe bride, Amanda, used to work with me at Central States and left about a year ago for another job, but we all have remained in touch since!


Now that Dave and I are engaged, we both made sure to pay extra attention to all the details in order to help brainstorm ideas.


Pat and Amanda provided little tin boxes with their names as their wedding favors.  Inside was delicious taffy, lemon heads, and other candies!  It kind of looks like a suitcase…. which would be a cute idea for our destination wedding.  Gotta keep this in mind!

amanda and pat

These napkins were super cute!  I especially loved the gray ones which spelled “I Love You” in Scrabble letters.  You may know that I am kinda nerdy and like to play all those word games (i.e. Words/Scramble/Hanging with Friends) so these were right up my alley!


As always, Dave and I had a blast at the photo booth!  We’ve both decided this is a “must have” at our wedding.

Ahh I’m getting so excited to get started planning! 🙂

Tips for Packing Your Lunch

Hope everyone had an excellent weekend!  Dave and I just got back last night from a super quick trip with his parents to Florida to check out some wedding venues.

plane takeoff

We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning and met Dave’s parents, along with the co-pilot at the DuPage Airport.


Dave’s dad flew us in his plane and it was my first experience in a personal jet like this.  I have to say I was a bit nervous at first, but he did a fantastic job!


We were able to watch the sunrise on the way there, and the sunset on the way home.  Very pretty!

hotel view

Floridas’ beaches are absolutely gorgeous!  We found a couple hotels/resorts we are interested in having our wedding but I’m keeping my lips sealed until we actually decide on THE place. 😉

Tips for Packing Your Lunch

Over the last several years, I have packed my breakfast, lunch and snacks nearly every single workday and I’ve come up with a few strategies for packing foods so they stay fresh and intact by the time you are ready to eat them.  Here are some tricks I’ve learned along the way:

1. Invest in a decent sized lunch box, ice packs, and reusable glass or plastic travel containers. (i.e. Gladware, Tupperware, etc.)

lunch tools

(Don’t mind my hideous lunch box.  I wore my old one out and bought this one because of it’s separate compartments.  And the other fabric options were way worse, trust me.)

Although my work has refrigerators on each floor, they are the small ones that you would use in your college dorm room and are supposed to store food for, ohh about 80 people.  Umm, I’d rather just keep my food at my desk than try to jam it in a mini-fridge, thank you very much!

2.  Pack food the night before.

As soon as I walk in the door from work, I unpack my lunchbox, put away my dirty dishes and generally start packing food for the following day.  Or sometimes, I’ll also pack while I’m cooking dinner.  Personally, once I sit down and relax in front of the TV after dinner, there is no way I will motivate myself to pack squat.  Same goes for the morning – I am way too tired and it wastes too much time to pack anything in the morning so a surefire way to make sure it gets done is to do it immediately when I get home.

3.  Make friends with leftovers.

I know some people are anti-leftovers, but for me when preparing lunches to bring to work, they are my best friend.  I generally try to cook more food for dinner than I plan on eating that night, and then while I am cleaning up dinner, I typically pack individual servings for the next couple of days.  That way I can grab it out of the fridge and warm it up for lunch or dinner fast, if necessary.

4.  Pack enough food.

Have you ever been at work, stuck in traffic, running errands, etc. and hunger strikes hard?  It’s at those times, you realize the vending machines and fast food restaurants can actually talk and are calling your name to come eat crappy, unhealthy food.  But if you’re prepared, your packed, healthy snacks have a much better chance at winning against that cheeseburger or snickers bar.

I always pack my breakfast, lunch and two snacks to eat throughout the day.  While I generally eat everything I bring, there are some days that I just don’t have as big of an appetite or are extremely busy, so I simply take them home with me and use for the next day.

5.  Pack almost anything you want.

No one wants a soggy sandwich or fruit turned brown so here are a few tips to keep food fresh:

Wraps & Sandwiches

In order to keep your wrap (or sandwich) from getting soggy, hold off on putting whatever condiment until you are ready to eat.

blackened chicken and guac wrap

Or spread your condiment over turkey slices (or whatever meat you choose) and wrap to enclose it all inside the turkey instead of letting it touch the wrap itself.  Similarly for sandwiches, spread between slices of turkey so it doesn’t touch the bread.

 turkey and hummus wrap

Also, wrap your wrap in aluminum foil.  Mine always get soggy in a ziplock bag.


Salads & Salad Dressing

Pour your salad dressing in the bottom of the container, then add a layer of whatever vegetable or ingredient will not get soggy.  (i.e. cucumbers, celery, chicken, etc.)


Apples & Avocados

You can still pre-cut these two items the night before, but pour some lemon juice all over to keep from browning.  For best results, keep in an airtight, sealed ziploc bag or container.



I frequently eat bananas with my yogurt, so I layer them on the bottom first and then add yogurt or other toppings to keep from browning.


This is about all I can think of right now, but do you have any suggestions or tips for packing your lunch? Please share, I would love to hear new ideas!