Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: Year in Review

Snow is falling now as I write this. The kind of snow that is light and fluffy. Sparkles as it falls. Magical snow. The snow that helps make you believe that everything can change in the turn of a day (or a year really) if you'd like it to.

This year was a good one. A lot of milestones met, dreams made, wishes granted. Here's a quick recap:

Jacob turned 24 and we did a brewery tour at Goose Island. (January 27)

I worked my first conference for work in Boca Raton. We ended all the hard work with a little Mardi Gras fun. (early February)

Jacob and I did little Valentine's Day celebrations for each other. My little Valentine's Day countdown themed gifts can be found here. (early February)

We ice skated under the Bean. (February)

We had lovey visitors who helped us celebrate our first very green St. Patty's Day in the city. (March 17)

I started my hand at running. The beginning was really rough. At least I had the views. (April)

We ate. And drank. A lot. (All. The. Time.)

We celebrated our third anniversary doing what we did the night he asked me to be mine...ride the ferris wheel on Navy Pier. (May 16)

Jacob and I moved from our first Chicago apartment into one that was dog-friendly. Good thing we have nice friends to help us! (June)

I crafted and decorated and painted a lot at the beginning of our move in. (June)

I laughed, a lot. My hair also blew around, a lot. It is the Windy City afterall. (Summer)

We had a lot of summer fun. Architectural boat ride, Cubs game, Beer Fest, seeing Russel Brand (for free!) with the Just for Laughs comedy tour. (Summer)


I celebrated my pride with my best work pal. And rocked some awesome eyes. (June)

I worked my second conference for work --- in Maui! I worked hard, saw beautiful sunsets, and experienced a lot of fun with Jacob on vacation afterwards. We crossed off "ride a helicopter" from the bucket list. (July)

I turned 25. I made a list of 25 things I wanted to do while I was 25. I'm working on it. (August 17)


We welcomed Sophie into our lives. It hasn't been the same since. (August)

I chopped off 13 inches of my hair to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. My story of the chop is here. (September)

Celebrated Oktoberfest---a few times.

I made this pumpkin loaf with cream cheese swirl and put it on the blog. This has been one of my most popular posts this year. (October)

We went to the House of Blues (yeah Mummies!) and did our first Out of the Darkness walk, which was really important to us. (October)

We took our first trip home in 6 months, with the dog tagging along. I think she enjoyed herself. (November)

We saw Wicked and Elf, enjoyed time with friends and family, and holiday tea during the Christmas season. (December)

Most importantly, there was lots and lots of love.

No matter the hardships, stressful moments, or sticky situations, I will always find the happy. May 2014 be filled with lots and lots of that. <3

Friday, December 27, 2013

christmas cranberry margarita

I love all sorts of adult beverages--I will never turn down a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or an interesting cocktail concoction. It makes me happy to try new things and to create new things. I often want to have special drinks or food for events, and Christmas gatherings this year were no exception. Thanks to my amazing sister who thinks similarly, the Christmas Cranberry Margarita was a component of our homemade pizza making, gifting, being jolly evening with our family.

These were fun to make together and were fairly simple. They were the perfect fun addition to the evening. The original recipe is found here and helped inspire our evening and make it special.

Christmas Cranberry Margaritas
Yields 4 servings

What You Need
1 1/4 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup lime juice
3/4 cup tequila
1/2 cup orange-flavored liqueur
3 cups coarsely crushed ice

Pour 1/4 cup of cranberry juice into a bowl and 3 tablespoons of sugar onto a plate. Dip the rims of 4 glasses into the cranberry juice and then into the sugar. Set the glasses aside for serving.

In a blender, combine the remaining cranberry juice and sugar, the cranberries, lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Blend until mostly smooth. Add in ice and blend until slushy.

Thanks sis for the great holiday cocktail!

Pour into sugar-rimmed glasses and dress with cranberries on toothpicks.

Now leave the kitchen, join the party, and enjoy! The slightly slushy consistency was nice and the cranberry brought just the right amount of sweetness and flavor to the margarita. A sugared rim and cranberry garnished glass? Too perfect for words. This libation (my dad's favorite word for these things!) made our evening cozied up by the fire with family one for the books. I hope it does for you too.