date ideas

When we all have lots going on in our schedules, it can be tricky to not get stuck doing the same thing. When your finally notbusy, being tired makes it hard to break from the usual too!

With this in mind, I crafted a list of twenty-five date ideas that Eric and I either love doing, or have on our list. Hoping this generates some inspiration for your upcoming plans – whether it’s time with your S.O. or some gal pals!

  1. Tour de Noms, a twist on going out to dinner – pick three new restaurants and try a dish at each for courses of a meal!
  2. Search for a class on Groupon you can take together.
  3. Try out a new recipe. // Eric and I love doing this Sunday nights for dinner. Make extras and you have a couple lunches for the week!
  4. People watch and create backstories. // Airports or parks make the perfect setting.
  5. Hammock outside on a nice day, while reading or jamming to some tunes. // Eric has an Eno perfect for this.                                          date ideas
  6. Attend a comedy show. // The Second City is our favorite here in Chicago.
  7. Redbox + Pizza night –  an easy hit that you can change up by making your own pie!
  8. Exercise together – this can range from a racquetball competition to just taking a really long walk with no destination.
  9. Take a local brewery tour.
  10. Go on a photo booth hunt and collect all the strips you can – Photobooth.net is a good resource!
  11. Wake up early for a Farmer’s Market and grab a fresh breakfast.
  12. Try a new coffee shop – no technology, just books, caffeine, and conversation.
  13. Visit a thrift store or garage sale.
  14. Attend a themed party. // You can see Eric and I got really crafty for Becca’s  Harry Potter Halloween event…                             date ideas
  15. BRUNCH. // A repeatedly tested and true favorite that I had to include.
  16. Volunteer together. // I’m trying to find an animal shelter Eric and I can go help out at.
  17. Check out a local fair or amusement park. // One of my favorite things about a Chicago summer?? All the street fests.
  18. Search for a free concert, play, or sporting event in your area.
  19. Get hooked on a weekly reality show and make brackets to guess the winner. // We probably have too many…Survivor, The Amazing Race, and I may or may not have gotten Eric hooked on The Bachelor drama.
  20. Picnic on the lake…or ocean, or at an overlook, or in a park. Don’t forget seasonal drinks!                                                                            date ideas
  21. Go out to a dueling piano bar. // Eric had a favorite back in Austin – Pete’s!
  22. Double, even triple, dates for trivia night at a local bar.
  23. Rent a couple of kayaks or paddle boards and get on the water.
  24. Taco Tuesday. // So many taco places around town have delicious specials for this night.
  25. Fondue night at home – create your own with assortment with cheese, chocolate, and all sorts of dip-worthy snacks.

Have some date ideas I should add to the list?? Share ’em in the comments, friends!

Days By Day

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You guys. This moment was one year ago. I cannot believe it – my heart is still fluttering.

Today marks Eric and I’s Engageaversary! Is that even a word? I don’t know. Who cares! Any reason to celebrate, am I right??

But seriously you guys. Eric did an I N C R E D I B L E job planning this sweet surprise. I literally had no idea that he was going to propose on this trip, let alone propose in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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Sure, we had talked about it a few months before. We knew we loved each other more than we ever thought we could love another human. We knew there was no one else we wanted to eat chips and salsa with, or run up to meet every dog in sight with, or spend hours upon hours laughing away at dumb inside jokes with. We knew we’d be getting married sometime in the next couple years, but I thought our engagement would happen towards the end of 2015 to be honest.

Once we announced it, it felt like everyone else knew though – so a big round of applause to family and friends who kept it a secret! That was one of my favorite parts post-engagement actually, hearing from some loved ones gush about how excited they were and couldn’t wait to celebrate with us now that the cat was out of the bag.

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We’ve been so fortunate to have a wonderful engagement season of life. From traveling, to the move to Chicago, to starting real jobs, to figuring out this “adult” thing together – all while working to plan a special celebration of our love – has truly been a blessing. It’ll be just over a year and a half by the time we get married, and for us, the long engagement has been 100% the best.

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I’ve blogged all about this incredible day and it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Did you know I had a dream the night before that we got engaged?? Crazy. Or that we were sipping champagne, as I gazed up at the Eiffel Tower for the first time ever in complete awe, just moments before? Or that the first guy we asked to take a picture of us didn’t know how to hold a camera straight…and the guy that captured the actual moment was a total rando??

I’d love to share all these details and more with you, because they mark one of the happiest moments of my life – check out the story right here! And if you might be new around here and are wondering what the heck is going on, you can check out our story too.

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I get to marry my best friend in just a little over four months and I can’t freakin’ wait. Thankful for today, and the sweet reminder it brings of that blissful day in Paris one year ago.

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I can’t believe there is less than four weeks left to my time here in this beautiful city. When I first came to Chi-Town, I told myself I wasn’t just going to blindly claim it was the best thing ever, especially since I have always had a spot in my heart for New York City. Now, while The Big Apple will forever be one of my favorite places, I really do believe I have fallen in love with Chicago too.

The food is incredible, the people have been SO nice, the weather is pure perfection when the sun shines, and it has proven to have all the aspects I love about the couple cities I have lived in before. I would without a doubt consider living here if the opportunity presented itself.

I guess the one battle I would definitely be signing up for would be those insane winters everyone is always talking about. Oh gosh and I’m already always cold, I would probably turn into an ice cube rather quickly. Well, I guess that would be the perfect excuse for a serious and revamped winter wardrobe – wahooo!

Well, now that I’ve rambled on some thoughts, I figured I’d share pictures from the last several days that capture some great, random moments around town.

First of the bunch, Coke has pulled off some pretty cool advertising by transforming bus stops around the city into red, bubbly displays that also give civilians the chance to create their own personal coke! I actually took a selfie with it like they said too. I don’t really take selfies so if I took one, you know I thought it was cool, especially after a work out.

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The campaign encourages fans to share their photos with #ShareACoke.

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The next few snaps are from a Sunday outing with Anne and Becca. I am so thankful for two fabulous roommates. Every outing, or night on the couch, is basically laughing and ridiculousness. We had brunch at Hash House A Go Go (I was so happy to go back) and then tried to walk off the humongous amount of food with a stroll home in the sun. We even found an art fair along the way. What a happy Sunday.

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Top left going clockwise: HH Original Farm Benedict, The Tractor Driver Combo with French Toast, and the Corned Beef Hash.

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One of my favorite tents at the fair! Can ya spot the Corgi and Westie art side by side??

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Guess what? THE REYNA FAM IS IN THE HOUSE TODAY. Or I guess a hotel, but a hotel in Chicago! I am so excited the time for their visit has finally come. We’re way through the week folks – keep it up!

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Lovin' this blogger perfect desk style from Peep My Style.

Lovin’ this blogger perfect desk look from Peep My Style.

I am such a reader, but with all the hustle and bustle of school and work last semester, I didn’t usually have the chance to sit down each day with a good book! My goal is to knock out at least a few books off my list this summer, but in the evening after a long day at the office, it’s sometimes hard to get through as much as I would like to. That’s why I am so thankful to have found a collection of blogs that can give me my daily dose of humorous, insightful, and inspiring stories to hold me over when I lack free time or energy. I decided to put together a quick list to share so you can get in on them too!

1. Story of My Life – This lifestyle blog is run by an adorable Austin writer and photographer named Jenni. I heard about it from a friend and instantly loved the honesty, passion, and humor. She has lots of great posts about things to do in ATX, her cute doggies, looking stylish in pieces we can all afford, her photography business, and more!

2. Tales of Me and the Husband – Bridget runs this blog from the Boston area. I adore her wit and lightheartedness and honest thoughts. She has the cutest style posts, family photos, and gives readers lots of insight to her life, making her seem like a friend you could chat with forever.

3. Dreaming Big Dreams – This beautiful blog focuses on faith, family, and life in Austin. Jamie Ivey does an amazing job of creating posts that readers can easily relate to and gain advice from. Her husband, Aaron, is a talented musician who leads worship at my church, The Austin Stone. I really enjoy reading about her sweet kiddos and seeing how God is working some awesome stuff in her life.

4. The Daily Tay – Taylor is the owner of this blog who resides in the Chicago area and seems like one cool chick! She performs stand up comedy, has the cutest pup named Harlow, and posts funny lists and colorful pictures from her city adventures. Taylor makes daily blogging look easy while being full of charm.

5. Hope Engaged – I really enjoy this lifestyle blog run by Katie from California. She has lots of posts about her travels and volunteer work around the world, which I love reading because hopefully I can do some cool stuff like that one day too! Katie is so open with her readers, and whether they are from day-to-day life or trips around the world, her photos are always beautiful.

These talented ladies are awesome, I hope you get a few minutes to check them out! I’m sure the more I explore, my list will definitely grow. And this is totally not to say you won’t catch me lounging around Grant park with a book in hand over these next couple months – wow, that scenario makes me so happy just thinking about it.

If you’ve got any favorite bloggers to recommend, I’d love to hear! Hope everyone has a great Friday!

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A few weeks ago, Eric and I went to study for finals at Thunderbird Coffee. I love this place. Such a cool environment, friendly baristas, delicious drinks, and now I can personally attest – yummy food!

I had always eyeballed their menu because they have some pretty amazing sounding things, but was never quite hungry enough to order. That day though, as we sat typing away assignments on our computers, the barista called out “I got a grilled cheese ready!” and I instantly perked up. Eric was already laughing and looking straight at me because he knows how much I love grilled cheeseys (the term I regularly use to refer to these sandwiches).

I look at Eric and say “If I go buy a grilled cheese, will you share one with me?” He stares back at me with no response, so I just continue on my way sipping coffee thinking about how I should probably be saving money anyway.

I was so caught up in hashing out an essay for class that I didn’t pay attention to Eric getting up, but he came back with some refreshing mint tea. A few minutes later, the nice man behind the counter says “I got a grilled cheese ready!” and Eric smiles a big ol’ smile as he goes to get it and bring it back.

Man, I really lucked out you guys. Love is when someone goes to secretly buy you a grilled cheese because they know you secretly really want one. And it gets even better because it was like one of the top 3 grilled cheeseys I have ever had. SO YUM! I 110% recommend it.

Thunderbird perfection.

I wish I had brought my camera to snap more pictures of the coffee shop, but I had told myself it was a day to be in the zone, the school work zone. So this post happened because I was so inspired by this little act of love, and that freakin yummilicious grilled cheese sandwich. If you’re in Austin, do yourself a favor and go try it!

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