On My Radar...

Today marks two weeks until we close on our first house together. We are working tirelessly to prepare. Michael spends all of his spare time building furniture and shuttling me to stores and I am busy pouring over our plans and checklists, dreaming about what our home could be. We do everything together and we are learning volumes about each other in the process.

In the middle of all that, I still have some new discoveries to share with you. Here's what's on my radar this week:

Top 10 Packing Tips

We are 15 days away from moving into our new house and it has occurred to me that Michael has not packed a thing. We have two very different approaches to moving and I'm okay with that. Michael is simply too busy with work to pack. I get it, he has a lot of deadlines and exciting projects coming up and something like packing just hits the back burner. For those who, like me, are also extremely busy but have more a "pack or die" mentality, this post is for you. Read on for my top ten packing tips. 

On My Radar...

Well, hello there! Things have been a little hectic for the past month (more on that later this week), but I'm finally back to the blog. There are a lot of cool projects on the horizon, but for now, here's what I'm loving this week:

#BloggersTakeTheOscars Recap

I apologize that this post is coming to you so late. My life has been utter chaos this past month (more on that later this week). For now, I'd like to tell you about a little fete...

I had the pleasure of hosting this year's Oscars party with Christine of Life With a Side of Coffee and Jess of The Petite Diaries. I couldn't have done it without them. They handled my sudden life shift with nothing less than grace, understanding and kindness. Jess and Christine deserve so much credit for the success of this party! 

Announcing #BloggersTakeTheOscars

Christine from Life With a Side of Coffee, Jessica from The Petite Diaries and I have a really exciting announcement for the Oscars this year. We'll be throwing a viewing party for folks here in Chicago but we want all of you to have a blast with us so we're hosting a Twitter party as well. We'll be asking trivia questions, see if you're paying attention to the show and just have a good time! There will be prizes for everyone who participates so you definitely don't want to miss out on this. Keep on reading for the deets...

Life with a Side of Coffee January Giveaway

I cannot believe we're almost done with January. Hasn't the month flew by? I feel like I'm still trying to catch up with post-holiday craziness to be honest. With the end of every month comes a giveaway though and this is the first official one for 2015! I decided to switch things up this time so instead of a gift card, me and a few blog friends will be giving away an 8-Cup Chambord Coffee Press by Bodum from Starbucks, a bag of ground coffee and a mug. We're bringing the coffee to you so you don't have to deal with the cold outside. I hear some of you are experiencing Snowmageddon. I definitely don't miss walking around in that.

On My Radar...

In an attempt to share a little of what I'm loving each week, I'm introducing a new feature on the blog. Every Tuesday, I'll post all my latest discoveries for you to enjoy. 

Enolo Wine Cafe

I went to Enolo Wine Cafe to meet my friend Christina (of The Chicago Photog Blog) for a glass of wine. It was a frigid evening, and the wine bar was a warm, comforting retreat from the cold. Enolo is a beautiful spot to grab a drink, complete with gold wall medalions, vaulted ceilings, a clean white bar and many crystal chandeliers. It's a classy place that makes you feel like you're inside a glass of champagne. I greeted Christina and ordered a light dinner. Then, sipping the 2012 Tablas Creek Syrah Blend, I settled into a fun evening of catching up with a friend.

Cake Decorating: A Woodland Scene

A love for Cake Decorating is something I share with my Dad. He worked in a bakery when he was in college and throughout my childhood he always made exquisite cakes for our birthdays and special occasions. When I was a kid, I loved watching him put everything together  and I was there every step of the way, licking the beaters before we put them in the sink, helping with decisions on frosting color and flower placement, watching his steady hand piping the frosting into perfect borders and embellishments... Dad has skills.

When I got older, I started to learn his trade. Truthfully, I will never be as talented as Dad. But I love the look of delight on a person's face when I present them with a fun cake crafted especially for them, so I keep making them.

2015: New Year, No Resolutions

I have always loved a fresh start. The beginning of a new year is like an energizing sunrise: I bask in the glow of endless possibilities and let its warmth heat my soul.

The photo above is the first photo of me in 2015. I took it myself, shortly after I woke. I was feeling relaxed and happy. And I was overcome with the notion that this year will be a year of immense change. There are a lot of things my soul has been aching for, and I believe 2015 will be the year my hopes and dreams come to fruition.  

Life With a Side of Coffee & Friends Holiday Giveaway

Merry Christmas!! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanza!! Did I cover everything? Well, Happy Holidays wherever you are and whatever you celebrate. This is the time of year to spend with friends and family, eat really great food and just be happy. So today, a few blogger friends and I have come together for a giveaway. Treat yourself to something special or save it for Christmas shopping next year. Whatever you decide is up to you.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

We've had a fairly mild December in Chicago, but on Wednesday the temperatures will dip below freezing again. One of my favorite, comforting desserts on a cold winter's night is the quintessential mug of homemade hot chocolate. Nothing makes my heart go pitter patter like a decadent mug of cocoa.