kim’s 29th birthday!

we celebrated kim’s birthday this past weekend at pacific standard time, a restaurant of her choice.

so, funny story…i had text hc about our reservation time and confusion ensued. here’s our conversation {modified for your enjoyment}.

me: dinner is at 5 at pacific standard time

hc: 5? downtown? well, if you really think about it, 5pm is really 7pm cst but it’s still cutting it close to get to the restaurant.

me: hun, pacific standard time is the name of the restaurant. thuy wasn’t confused when she said the dinner reservations were at 5 at pacific standard time.

bahahahahahaha!

we all, almost, arrived on time {thuy was a bit behind}. our time was well spent drinking tasty libations and lively conversations between us before we placed our order. our server was detailed and encouraging during our time there. i loved how passionate she was about the menu, the food, and her astounding memory! she absorbed our appetizer {and we ordered a lot} and entree order with no glitches. everything came as specified and i was impressed!

we ohhh’d and ahhhh’d over our meals, we shared plates, and became giddy as our tastebuds were delighted! everyone throughly enjoyed kim’s cod…yes, that was written out comically, but we really loved her fish! it was my, and most, favorite dish!

the food kept on coming and we merrily passed along each plate to consume everything in sight. as our belly’s filled up, our evening out together dwindled. our server then brought out a surprise dessert for kim’s birthday – we awkwardly sang happy birthday and kim angrily blew out her candle {you would have to have seen my instagram story to understand}, and we cheered!

after dinner, we took a few pics outside and enjoyed the gorgeous warm temps. warm summer nights are an absolute favorite of mine! it was a wonderful time out celebrating my sister kim! happy birthday kimberdo!

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[pacific standard time]

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[ma seours]

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[lan. agata, and dan]

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[kim’s amazing cod, like, seriously…it was sooooooo good]

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[the half eaten delicious pappardelle]

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[this dessert was decadent and delicious]

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[happy birthday kim!]

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xoxo

family day at northrop

 my sister, thuy, had invited us to join her for her work’s family event!

we all agreed to go and then my brother, dan and his girlfriend agata, had invited us over to their place after the family event!

the original plan for that day was this – hc was going to go to the cubs game and i was going to the event with just the girls and then to dan and agata’s place afterwards. well, hc ended up not going to the cubs game and then made plans to go out that evening for grace’s birthday. i thought, ok, we can do this. we probably won’t stay that long at thuy’s work event and we were going over to dan’s for a late lunch.

of course i rationalized that all in my head without really asking anyone what our real time frame was going to be. so, on this day…we had definitely underestimated our time and over scheduled ourselves. i didn’t expect to stay as long as we did at the family event, i didn’t expect to get to dan’s so late, i didn’t want to rush out {we were seeing their beautiful town home for the first time}, and hc and i didn’t plan on not going home to give ellie a nap and change our clothes for dinner that evening! it also meant a lot of driving around for us. we were in a pickle. so we decided that we were going to stay at dan’s and go to dinner from there…casual clothes, grumpy ellie, and all.

well, it all turned out wonderfully. thuy’s work event was fun! pictures were not allowed inside, so when we went outside to the ice cream trucks, i snapped a gazillion pics! the family event was great – they had bozo buckets, fun activities for the kiddos, food, balloon animals, face painting, free hats, and many other goodies! we perused the gift shop and i bought the coolest bomber jackets for olive and ellie! ellie wore hers and received so many compliments!

after the family event, we cruised on over to dan and agata’s place. their town home is so nice! i loved how fresh and modern it looked inside. they were cooking burgers and had delicious sides for us to eat. it was all so very good! agata’s mom made an app and a decadent dessert for all of us as well! it was all very relaxing and fun.

we could have stayed for another couple hours but alas, we needed to head out to get to our dinner plans. it was such a fun and eventful day seeing where thuy worked and where dan lived! i will have more on our dinner gathering in my next post!

[we bought this bomber jacket in the gift store. so many people complimented her on it!]

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[best face paint artist i ever did see]

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[rocking her cool bomber jacket]

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[they had ice cream trucks

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[i love that smile]

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[ice cream time]

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[my girls]

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[hats required]

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[playing with play doh]

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[mom and agata]

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[twinning bromance]

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[mom and ellie]

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[thuy and mom]

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[ba with his boys]

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[kim, ellie, and moi]

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[my sister kim throwing ellie up in the air]

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[agata and dan]

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[fresh fruit dessert made by agata’s mom]

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[having fun with agata]

xoxo

hb ma soeur thuy!

happy birthday to my lovely sister, thuy!

on saturday, we treated thuy to a spa morning and then, at night, we had a wonderful birthday dinner for her. it was quite the lovely day!

our day started out with pedicures and relaxation. we chilled, got pampered, and then went out to lunch. funny story…so kim and i brought our own flip flops to the spa and thuy did not. hmmmmm. it’s winter here, it’s cold, and sock and boots don’t mix well with freshly painted toes. so, yes, we wear our flip flops out. i told thuy to not put her boots on because she was going to ruin her painted nails. well, she decided to wear the paper thin, cheap flip flops they give you, out and about the mall. a quarter of the way to our destination, the flip flops b r e a k!! ugh! she was limping around, holding the flip flop in place between her toes!!!

after we ate, she decided to not wear the flip flops anymore and just put on her socks to walk around the mall!!!! whaaaaa? ohmergawd. kim and i were like, nooooooo! kim wanted to run to a store and buy her a pair of flip flops….but thuy insisted that we don’t spend the money on shoes. we were like, helloooooo! we don’t want to walk around with you wearing a canada goose jacket and no shoes?!!!!

so, it had been long enough, where her nails should have been somewhat dry and kim remembered that she had her shoes in her purse. thank goodness! thuy put them on and we walked on our merry way in peace and non embarrassment. hahaha!

later that evening, we all met at neat kitchen in westmont. it was local, good, and they could seat a party of 16 people with no problem. kim, terry, hc, and i met earlier to ‘pre-game’, as the boys called it. around 7, we were shown our table and slowly, everyone trickled in to celebrate thuy!

we ordered apps, libations flowed, great energy, conversations, and laughter filled the air. the night flew by! we were having so much fun! it’s always a great time when you are celebrating an occasion and the company is so good! the food was {as usual} delicious and copious. before we knew it, the hours flew by! the server brought out a decadent dessert to thuy in honor of her birthday and we all broke out in song.

the night ended on a high note and we all walked away feeling the love that we had for thuy. happy birthday my sweet sister! cheers to many more wonderful birthdays together!

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[sisters are the best]

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[pete and lan]

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[dan and agata]

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[sheryl, thuy, and lan]

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[kisses for you!]

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[these two…bromance]

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[happy birthday!]

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[a few of the girls]

xoxo

brunch avec mes seours

brunch – my favorite time of day.

my sister, kim, suggested that we try a new place for brunch. i was game. i am always up for new places and new scenery. after many exchanges of text messages, we finally decided on a time and confirmed that the new brunch restaurant, aforementioned, was the eatery du jour. to make commuting easier, my sister, thuy, stopped by our house and we drove together!

for it being only a few towns away, it seemed like it took forever to get there! we decided to circle around and pull up next to the restaurant to drop off my sister and ellie {who fell asleep}. well as i neared our destination, a parking spot was opened r i g h t next to the place! ahhhhh, luck would have it! i parked {ellie woke up!} and we all walked a few steps and arrived at owl and lark.

it was so super cute inside! it had a clean, cozy, eclectic feel to it. the decor was a bit farmhouse modern and fun! it’s the type of place where you order your food and then wait for it to be called. we nabbed the big center wood table and settled in. we were still waiting for kim to arrive and when she did, we all gasped! she matched the girls!!! it was the gingham girls club!! soooooo stinkin’ cute!!

we ordered our food, i fed the girls, and we waited for our meals. as it arrived, they were the prettiest brunch dishes i ever did see! so artfully done, almost too pretty to eat! well, if looks could kill, this sure slayed by taste buds!! my avobagel was beyond delicious!!! i was in love! it was savory, tasty, flavorful…it hit all the senses in all the right places!  i loved the chewiness of the bagel, the smoothness of the avocado, the bite the beet had, and the bitterness of the arugula. my words do not give this avobagel justice! yum, yum, extra yum!

we all slowly enjoyed our entrees, relaxing in the comfy environment, playing with the girls, and truly having a fun time! after we ate, we decided to walk down the block to a water fountain. it was so beautiful out. a perfect sunny day. the temp was just right and i thoroughly enjoyed sitting outside, with the slight wind cooling my skin and watching olive be so joyful by the fountain.

we actually hung out there for quite a bit. olive loves making new friends. it’s one thing about her that i am so excited about. i love how easy it is for her to get along with others. how she’s so bold with getting out there and saying hello. i don’t ever remember being like that as a child and my husband was definitely not that way either. so, it warms my heart to see her so social!

well, it was time. i needed to get the girls home for a nap and try to get other house chores accomplished. play for the day but at some point, i have to be the adult again and get sh*t done. argh.

it was a beautiful, beautiful morning/afternoon. i loved eating at owl and lark, i loved hanging out with my seesters, and i loved living in the moment. happy day lovelies!

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[auntie thuy and ellie]

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[i love yarn weaves]

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[aren’t these babes so cute?!]

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[perusing the menu]

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[banana bread and somebody can’t wait!]

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[the cutest toes]

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[enjoying her bread]

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[delicious avo toast!]

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[me and a beautiful girl]

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[check out those sneaky little hands]

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[isn’t she the cuuuuuuutest?!]

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[my sister kim, having fun with ellie]

via tandeminlove.com[my sister kim walked up to the restaurant and we all freaked out that she matched the girls!! how cuuuuute!]

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[loving the fountain]

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[enjoying the beautiful day]

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xoxo

a simple outing

we had a quick, casual outing on a beautiful sunny day that turned out to be freezing cold and soooo windy in the early afternoon and then a warm day late afternoon! my, what a difference a few hours can make!

i met my dad and sister, thuy, for lunch out at the mall. we ate at a yummy restaurant and then decided to get donuts and coffee after our main meal. my dad could live off of doughnuts and coffee. ha! we were in a new part of the mall that is now a bunch of restaurants and it was pretty quiet and serene. we did a mini photo shoot with olive {natch}, ate doughnuts, sipped coffee, and enjoyed our peaceful moments together.

since my dad’s leg{s} have been bothering him, we decided to not venture out too far. thuy and i wanted to hit up anthropologie but it was too far for my dad to walk so we decided to call it quits. besides, they had more errands to run and i didn’t mind heading home with the kiddos. it was nice just to get out for a bit but honestly, with two kiddos and one being so young, you’re bound to time frames! well, i choose to be committed because i prefer for my kids to have a routine.

i love that ellie can nap at 10am and 2-3pm and olive will occassionly nap in the afternoon {depending on her wake up time & morning activities}. it limits our outings at times but hey…they are only this little for so long!

anyhoo, it was a great blip in our day. we loved seeing my dad and my sister for a bit and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air!

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[my sweet  babe]

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[ellie enjoying being flipped around by auntie thuy]

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[thuy thought it was a good idea for ellie to try her glasses, ellie – not so much. hahaha!]

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[she loved her glasses so much!]

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[stan’s donuts]

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xoxo

nye

nye 2016

oh what a night!

it was a fun, fabulous, over indulgent evening indeed! we got all jazzed up and went out for the evening. we were excited for our reservations at maple and ash. kim and terry have eaten there before but we have not but heard such excellent reviews on this restaurant. we arrived there in no time. we valet’d the car and walked inside, it was so pretty! i loved the decor and the ambience of the restaurant already. we walked our way in, coat checked, and took the elevator up. once the doors opened, we were greeted with sooooo many balloons! how fun and festive! i loved the vibe it gave the space…it screamed new year’s eve!

we were seated and immediately, small bites and drinks arrived at our table before we could even pick our seats! that was amaze. mini martini’s and appetizers were already flowing. we mingled and connected with a few people who worked at the restaurant. kim and terry were already bff’s with with the maitre d’, mason. the sommelier, frankie, and the wine director, belinda.

the atmosphere was lively, the decor was fun, and the mood was just right. we were having a blast taking pics, being silly, and enjoying our night out. we had to get serious and order our food but we really couldn’t decide. after perusing the menu for a few minutes and everyone discussing what they wanted or might order, we all agreed that we were going in for the ‘i don’t give a f*ck’ on the menu. yup. we just didn’t care to choose what we wanted to eat, so we just let the chef do his thing and boy, it was AWEsome. the food didn’t stop coming to the table. there.was.so.much.food. it was ahhhhhhmazing. we ate and we ate and we ate. i couldn’t stop eating…it was all soooooo good.

one entree after another was being put on the table and it was all so very delicious. i had to try a bit of food off of every plate, everything was so savory and tasty i couldn’t resist! i was besides myself – my slim pants were slim no more with my bourgeoning waistline. then the dessert came…holy cow! a sundae bar! yum, yum, yum. are you freakin’ kidding me right now? it was sooooo fun to create your own sundae with all the fun accruements they offered. that was it. i was dunzo. roll me outta of the restaurant please.

the service was superb, the food was beyond decadent, and the atmosphere was killer. it was an awesome place to be for new year’s eve! we had such a fabulous time!

but wait! that’s not all! scroll down for more entertainment…

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[delicious apps at maple and ash]

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[sisters forever]

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[the doan family]

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[sorry pete, i didn’t realize your eyes were half closed until i posted this. you still look handsome!]

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[french 75]

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[so chic]

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[sea food platter]

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[delicious wedge salad]

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[sisters]

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[soooooooo much food]

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[cheers!]

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[sundae bar]

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[sundae toppings]

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[the crew]

our second part/y of the night was back at our place. we gathered together to ring in the new year with the kids but things went awry. my parents were spent from watching the kids and decided to go home, my sister kim didn’t feel so well and only stay for a bit before heading out with terry, reagan, and bennett. my dear, old friend bex, her husband james, and their two sweet girl ruby and wren stayed along with thuy and we all rang in the new year together!

it ended being an awesome night albeit the deficit of family. the sweetest part of the evening? watching the girls play together. they were sooooooo sweet and so darn cute!!! they made the night magical. they actually stayed up until midnight and we rang in the new year in style…pj’s, noise makers, and streamer poppers!

it was an amazing new year’s eve. i am so thankful for what 2016 gave us – ellie. it was an amazing year full of fabulous memories, olive gaining a sister, sweet moments with friends and family, life was super good. we are blessed.

i hope, want, wish for this year to be full of health, prosperity, and lots of kindness. i pray for my parent’s health, our family’s health, and my siblings health. i am curious on what wonderful moments await us and hope darkness passes us by. the new year is always exciting, refreshing, and exhilarating; and i hope that everyone has a happy, wonderful, captivating new year!!!

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[ready to ring in the sweet new year]

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[kid goodie bag]

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[b visiting from seattle]

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[new year’s eve trinkets]

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[cousins]

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[i loooooove the swan wrapping paper]

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[oh these sweet babes]

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[cheers!]

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[ringing in the new year!]

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[i will have my cake and eat it too]

xoxo

hb thuy!

my sister thuy started off her weekend birthday celebration with a family dinner at maggiano’s. it was just my parents, my sister kim, terry, the boys, and us all together to celebrate thuy’s day.

i met them at the restaurant and when i walked up to the table, olive was out cold. she was asleep in hc’s arms and it was way too cute. i mean, i never ever see her passed out unless she’s in a carseat or in her crib. she’s not one to sleep in random places or outside her nap time, so this was an anomaly.

though, i knew right away this was going to be trouble. olive is not the sweetest thing when she wakes up from a nap, especially if she wakes up in an unfamiliar environment. boy oh boy did that ring true! she was irritable, grumpy, angry, and just plain didn’t want to be bothered. it took fooooorever to calm her down. i had to take her to the corner bakery side of the restaurant so she could scream and cry and not really bother anyone. after many minutes of her being upset, me trying to appease her with a drink, crayons, drawing, soothing words…she finally started to calm down a bit. just a bit. i brought her back to the table but she was still irritable and didn’t want anyone to bother her. she insisted in sitting in my lap and not until dinner was almost over did she finally let me just sit right.next.to.her.

well, besides the rough beginning, dinner was great. it was delicious, fun, and a very nice time celebrating thuy’s birthday! we definitely ate too much but how can you limit your pasta intake?! ha! well, lately, i am a garbage disposal and i have absolutely no shame in overindulging, my pregnant body says so!

plus, i will fully admit with olive being so dang fussy the majority of the dinner, i was the worst at picture taking. boo! i literally snapped no pics! anyhoo, at least i nabbed a photo of thuy blowing out her birthday candle and even boomeranged it! woot woot!

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[the best pic we could get. one, i kept looking at thuy versus the camera, two – olive was not having it, and three – r was the only one who was a natural ham…hahaha!]

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[make a wish!]

watch thuy blow out her candle!

happy birthday to my beautiful sister thuy! best super auntie to my sweet little olive! thanks for being awesome. we love you!

xoxo

hb ma soeur!

it was a saturday night and we had a great reason to celebrate: it was kim’s birthday! yay! we celebrated ma soeur’s day with a small, intimate dinner at capri, a restaurant in burr ridge.

it was a muggy, warm night {a bit rainy}. we all met up in the front of the restaurant and traipsed our way inside. holy cow. it was J A M M E D packed inside. the waiting area was quite small and there were way too many peeps waiting inside. we were elbow to elbow and i feel bad when there are tables right next to the waiting area…i feel like i am encroaching on their dinner and conversations, standing right next to them! and if it were me, i would be completely unsatisfied with a table like that. who wants to sit rightnext to the bar/waiting area??

anyhoo, they were completely behind. they didn’t seat us until about a half hour past our reservation time {which is annoying when you make reservations}. everything that ensued after that was just comic disbelief! they squeezed us into a corner of the restaurant. we were kind of packed in like sardines {and the floor was slippery…too much olive oil going around?!} and poor terry had to get up every time someone walked our way to use the water closet. like every.time. he was in a corner where it was really tight and the bathroom was behind him. ugh! unpleasant. then my brother, dan, asked us to scoot down to make room. what?! we were already in a tight situation but we found out that the roof was leaking! it was dripping on my poor husband! splat! splat! splat! right onto his menu, flicking water onto him like chinese water torture! bahahaha! really?!

slowly but surely, things started to get better {how could it not after that beginning?!}. we were served complimentary apps and finally got our bottles of wine…wine solves most things, right?!

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[with the guest of honor!]

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[helen and thuy]

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[the ladies]

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[the gents]

we were served our food and the conversation flowed. the best part about life…friends, family, food, and wine. i talked quite a bit with helen {kim’s good friend} and had the best time conversing about kids, life, people. she is such a sweet lady! her, her husband, and kids are such good people. very funny, down to earth, and lovely.

our funny of the night? well let me preface this story with the fact that terry and hc are great friends. super close buddies. thank goodness that worked out right? my sister marries a guy, i marry a guy and these guys become besties. we couldn’t have picked better partners for ourselves or them for each other. total bromance blooming from the start. anyhoo, what happens next totally speaks to this. our food was served and we all looked down and busted out laughing! hc had ordered balls and terry had ordered a sausage…perfectly paired together and absolutely fitting. hahahaha!

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[rich’s balls and terry’s sausage…the bromance continues]

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[mmmm, olives…we love olive]

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[linguine carbonara]

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[happy birthday!!!]

after eating, drinking, and stuffing ourselves silly…dessert was served! we sang happy birthday to our dear sister with a lit cannoli. no other way but the italian way! we all ordered coffee and other desserts to top off our evening. in the end, it was a great time. you just can’t go wrong when you hang out with good peeps. it’s always a recipe for a great time!

happy birthday kim! we love you to bits!

xoxo

flashback friday

today takes us back to…2013.

no, this isn’t from that long ago but a fabulous blast from the past {if i do say so myself}. this was taken at hc’s big birthday party that i threw him. it was at a bar in chicago, in wicker park…right down the street from us. a perfect walk home {a necessity if you’ve been drinking…but we don’t drink 😉 haha!}.

i had the best time planning this event. i wanted to incorporate everything ‘him’. i purchased fun balloons & tissue tassels. i made menus and favors {all candies from his birth year}. i had the bakery {from across the street…alliance bakery} make him a pabst blue ribbon beer cake! it was ah-maze. a very, very good time. you can check out the post here.

well, of course, we had invited friends and family to help us celebrate his big birthday! it was pretty awesome to have a big group of people join in on such a fun event. i was pretty grateful that so many people had made the trip into the city to celebrate {some peeps don’t live so close!}.

here is a pic of me and my sisters with our childhood friend, lan. i love this photo because it’s impromptu, it’s cute {um, we’re cute}, and we are genuinely happy! there is something special about this picture that makes me smile just by looking at it. it’s so crazy to think that we are sisters and yet soooooo different. whether it be by style, personality, humor, or looks. it’s pretty amazing that we all came from the same two parents but yet we are all so unique and quirky in our own way. it totally makes me think about nature vs. nurture…how it leads you down the path that you are on, to be who you are.

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[at hc’s big 4-0 birthday bash]

okay, enough deep thoughts…it was a grand ol’ time! we had the best time celebrating his big birthday with a fantastic party, with the most fabulous friends and family! muwah!

xoxo

california: day 3

our last day in cali started out quick. our flight out was in the early afternoon, so that left us with only a few hours to do a few things before we had to head out to the airport.

first things first: eating. we wanted to go to a place called tart, but in typical fashion, huy and tashina got there before us and said it was a two hour wait…whaaaaa?! no thank you! i really wanted to try tart but we did not have the time to wait around nor would we have if we even had the time!

so, huy and tashina had us meet them at king’s road cafe. it is a cozy little restaurant, not very big…what you see down below in the photos is what you get. our tables were right next to the kitchen counter, so not a lot of space! the coffee was strong and delicious. the food was good, typical breakfast fare. tashina and huy ordered and ate first because tashina needed to get to a dress fitting within the next hour. did i mention that she is a dress designer & stylist?! so ah-maze and talented! check out her website here. oh, and i’ve said it before…my brother is an accomplished and incredible photographer, so together they are quite the powerful, artsy, brilliant couple!

anyhoo, after brunch, tashina left and we met our brother at the LACMA. waaaayyy cool. thuy and lan actually went there the night before…when kim and i were pooped out and wanted to shower and go to bed {yeessssss, we were tired}. they took some pretty cool pictures that night…obvs, a light installation is much cooler in the dark!

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[sneakers, flats, and taps oh my!]

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i really wanted to see the rock. huy and tashina told us a story about the rock the night before at dinner. i was totally intrigued. how it took so much money {$10 million in total} to transport this rock to it’s home, they literally took apart signals, utility lines, and cables to allow this rock to be transported to the museum because it was so big {it took up three highway lanes}. bananas.

of course we took a gazillion pictures of the rock and then we walked around towards the light installation. as i said before, pictures at night would have been cooler but taking some in the daylight sufficed!

i am so glad we stopped by the LACMA…it was the perfect ‘last day’ destination. i had such a good time exploring some unique artwork. i love art! there is always something so dark, inquisitive, mysterious, thought provoking, enigmatic about the artwork you see. it makes you curious about the madness behind it. it makes you excited to see people’s creativity, vision, and the final product that they conceive.

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[the rock]

via tandeminlove.com

[it reminds of magritte, my favorite artist]

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[i’m so strong!]

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[the 340 ton boulder | michael heizer’s levitated mass]

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[ahhhhhh, green grass & the warm sun]

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[light installation at LACMA]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[thuy hitting up the light installation the night before]

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and that’s a wrap! we had the most wonderful time celebrating thuy’s birthday in L.A. it was a pretty awesome weekend! i am very thankful we also were able to spend it with my brother and tashina. they totally made our weekend fabulous {thanks to them for taking us around!}.

haphaphappy birthday thuy!!!!!

xoxo