Saturday, July 31, 2010

chi-town we gonna show 'em how we get down

1) ry always finds the best deals! we arrived in chicago and checked into the james hotel on east ontario street. luxurious and chic, and walking distance to most of our items on our agenda.
2) so the only times ryan and i typically argue are when we are tired or hungry. i was both when we left the hotel to grab some food, making it a rough start to our trip. after poor gps navigation on my behalf, we finally ended up at the purple pig. this delicious sicilian iris was like a malasada on steroids!
3) well it was a good thing that i was on a diet the three days before our trip, consuming 600-900 calories per day! our second dinner was at giordano's for some classic chicago deep dish pizza. typical me with my eyes bigger than my stomach thought to order a small pizza each so we can sample at least two different varieties. but having to wait 45 minutes for a pie will definitely quench that outlandish appetite.
4) the next morning on our way to the expo, we took a walk through millennium park. a first for the both of us, we had the opportunity to take several pictures next to "the bean" aka cloud gate.
5) mainly for the opportunity to hang with my big bro and cousins, we met the guys at the rock and roll expo so they could pick up their bibs (and perhaps grab a few freebies - dry fit tees, energy beans and samples of beer).
6) and my bottomless appetite to connie's for more pizza! best part was mikey being unsure of where the restaurant was located. we happened to spot a delivery truck and were able to just follow it to our destination!
7) to start out our delicious meal at my favorite chef's restaurant, topolobampo, i ordered one of their margaritas. perfectly mixed and incredibly refreshing!
8) if chocolate is offered on a dessert menu, i'm the first to sign up for that. but i thought i would be a bit more adventurous and chose the tasting menu with a coconut dish. best. decision. ever. four flavors of coconut: flan, crisp cocada, chewy cocada, coconut-lemon verbena ice cream. heaven in a bowl!
9) we met up with one of ryan's friends at clark street ale house. pretty damn impressed with how much she knew about sports. pretty damn jealous that she used to work with dan patrick at espn.
10) i'd like to say i've done chicago proud with visiting some of their most famous landmarks - navy pier, cloud gate, the hancock building, sears (willis) tower, wrigley field, the oprah show, shopping on michigan avenue. and yet, there's still so much more i want to do. maybe check out a bulls game at the united center, gaze at "a sunday on la grande jatte" at the art institute of chicago, and i definitely want to dip my toes in lake michigan. just more reasons to go back to that toddlin' town!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

one lucky woman

1) after completing a 5-mile training walk, i had absolutely no guilty qualms about going to napa to indulge in a decadent lunch and perhaps sipping on glasses of wine. we had lunch at bistro jeanty in yountville. although the weather was too warm to comfortably enjoy wine with our lunch, we were thoroughly satisfied with our meals!
2) of course a trip up to yountville isn't complete without stopping at thomas keller's bouchon bakery! the line went out the door and you had to shell out $3 per macaron, but those heavenly pillows of sweet delight were worth it!
3) when ryan turned 30, i took him to the french laundry for lunch. across the street from the restaurant sits thomas keller's 3-acre garden which provides all three of his restaurants with fresh vegetables and herbs. we thought this might be a sweet spot to set up to devour our macarons especially since there was a good amount of shade under the trees.
4) this picture was taken right before ryan sprung the question at the most unexpected moment of my life! as oblivious as i am, when ryan was digging in his bag and said, "i have a present for you", my response was, "did you bring more snacks?" it wasn't quite the treat i was expecting but the perfect platinum band with the most sparkly solitaire tiffany diamond had me swimming in a sea of emotions.
5) i think i was on the phone with jill when ryan took this picture. he ended up posting this picture on his facebook as our subtle way of spreading the news of our engagement.
6) although i tried reaching several people in my family, and even speaking to a few of them, veronna was the first one i officially told about our good news. she's been literally asking for years about when to expect this moment and i knew i would get nothing but a genuine, heartfelt response from her. she shared how months back ryan began asking questions to the sisters implying that he was intending to propose. cindy almost let it slip but rona was quick to cover the mess. it was funny to hear how the anticipation was building with those two but i was so proud that they were able to keep it a secret.
7) we had the pleasure to speak to the lannon family in the car on speaker phone. hearing all the joy in noralie's voice and the screams from the boys was so heartwarming. again, genuine and sincere love and support coming all the way from hawaii...i couldn't have asked for a better reception.
8) after cindy finished dying her hair, i was able to tell her the good news as well. since the beginning of my relationship with ryan, she was very supportive. it's understandable that with such a large family, it may take some time to warm up to everyone. and with ryan having a rather reserved personality, it may often be misinterpreted. cindy though never cared - "he treats my sister well and that's all that matters". absolutely no second thoughts about asking her to be my maid of honor.
9) a combination of contemplation and resistance but she did quite well - veronna raised over $700 for her 3-day breast cancer walk fundraiser at her garage sale! although the first few hours (and i'm sure weeks leading up to it) were filled with anxiety and stress, it was a success and our team is nearly 85% to reaching its goal!
10) if you read through my blog, and after dating ryan for nearly five years, the conclusion is that i'm ambivalent towards marriage. this past year however, i was comfortable enough to admit that i am not looking for anyone or anything else, and was 100% confident that ryan felt the same. that alone was enough for me to know that i would have a life filled with love, laughter and happiness that i didn't need to put an official title on anything. but when ryan said those four tender, sweet words "will you marry me?", all the doubts and mixed feelings i've felt about the idea of marriage for 15+ years vanished..."yes"