New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a love it or hate it kind of holiday. For some people, it’s this truly magical evening. A time when you can put behind all that’s wrong with the world and replace it with hopes and dreams and ambition for the future. It’s a fresh start. To others, it’s just another night but more crowded and with expensive cover. I’m without a doubt, a lover of the holiday.

I believe that New Year’s Eve is for black dresses with silver accents, obnoxious noise makers, curly hair and sparkly eye shadow. I believe that New Year’s Eve is a night to celebrate the end of an era and toast to the birth of something new. I believe that New Year’s Eve is meant to be spent with good champaign and great friends. 

This year, I decided that I wanted to have a fancy night on the town, which is something that I’ve never done before! Since I’ve turned 21, I’ve never been out to a bar for New Year’s Eve! I mean, that’s no real surprise, since I just turned 23, but regardless, I’m excited about it! Check out the details!

The Destination
We’re going to be ringing in the New Year at Mystic Celt, an Irish bar on the north side.

The People
I’ll be partying it up with Kenny, my friend Chrissy and 12 of Chrissy’s other friends (she’s so much cooler than me!). I have a group! I haven’t had a group in years!

The Outfit 
To say that I love my dress would be the understatement of the year! It was a Forever 21 steal that only cost me $20! It’s this sassy little black thing with a low v-neck and long sleeves with slits up the arms. I love it! To top it off, I’ll be completing the look with a pair of black, Steve Madden rhinestone tights and my fave black pumps!

I’ll totally post picks ASAP!

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The city of Chicago has so much potential for a fabulous New Year’s Eve, and I’m sure every city across the country and the world has something great to offer! I hope that you can see all that New Year’s Eve has to offer, even if you are a hater. I truly hope that you can find room in your heart for a last bit of holiday magic! I’ll see you all in 2012!

Cheers!

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Happiest of Holidays

Hi! My name’s Emily, and I write this blog called EmJoyable! I just wanted to remind you in case you forgot considering it’s been forever! I’ve missed you, friend! Anyways, I feel like I have so much to catch up on that I don’t even know where to begin. In the spirit of Inspired Thursdays, I thought it was fitting to share everything that inspired me to celebrate this holiday season to its fullest! Hear’s to hoping that your holiday was just as charming, sparkly and lovely as mine was. 

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Kenny and I went to the giant Macy’s on State Street more times this season than I can count! Between the giant tree at the top, the elaborate window displays and the floors upon floors of sparkly jewelry, cozy sweaters and stunning dresses that I couldn’t afford in a million years, it felt like we couldn’t go a week without dropping by to say hello! 

We also got to go see A Christmas Story the Musical which was absolutely incredible! I’m kind of a nerd and I love musicals, plus A Christmas Story is just awesome anyways! I had a blast!

I had some seriously great baking sessions, which included cinnamon roll apple pie and pie pops among other things! Keep your eyes peeled for the next few Mondays for some amazing recipes!

I got to go to Zoo Lights twice this year! Once with the boy and once with the family (and boy), and it just never gets old! (I’m the one who looks like a lion)

The Sweets Table at family Christmas. Enough said.

I got to hang out with a very darling little wiener dog named Max! Oh yeah, and the rest of his family!

I got to celebrate my fake birthday with my family downtown, which was lovely! We ended the day with some Goose Island beers and a sweet Irish Pub for dinner.

On my real birthday, Kenny took me to this darling Patisserie I’ve been wanting to try forever. It was adorable! 

We got dinner at The Melting Pot and it was just incredible! We got Fiesta cheese fondue, then a pretty mediocre salad, followed by eight different kinds of raw meat and veggies cooked by yours truly. Then, the BEST part, was obviously the half dark chocolate half white chocolate fondue! The perfect birthday!

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So that was Christmas and my birthday in a nutshell! All that’s left now is New Year’s Eve! I’ll see you then! 

Christmas Break

Hello, friends!! The holiday is upon us! I’m so excited, but there’s so much to do! I’m going to take a short hiatus to spend time with friends and family. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!! I’ll see you on Monday. =)

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Fried Rice

I think that Chinese food on Christmas Eve is a tradition for a lot of people. I’m not one of those people, but I’m pretty sure that they exist. My family usually sticks to Pizza. However, I love Chinese food more than the average American (according to my very un-scientific study), even though we don’t choose to ring in Christmas with it.

Making Chinese food from scratch has always intimidated me. And while ordering Chinese isn’t usually cheap, you do get a lot of food so I’ve never really objected to ordering it from a restaurant. I found this recipe for homemade sweet and sour chicken with fried rice. It sounded pretty easy, so I went for it. Oh my freaking goodness! It was incredible! I couldn’t believe how great it turned out! Check it out.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Chicken
3 – 4 chicken breasts (I only used one big one, since it was just for 2 of us)
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Sauce
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 small can pineapple chunks (optional)

Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Cut the chicken into cubes. Dip chicken into the cornstarch and then into the eggs. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken until it’s browned, but not cooked through. Only cook a few pieces of chicken at a time to keep the oil temperature constant. Place the chicken in a 9×13” pan that you’ve sprayed with cooking spray (I also lined it with foil for easy cleaning).

Mix all of the sauce ingredients with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken. Mix in the pineapple with the sauce and chicken. I added pineapple on the side (since Kenny didn’t want any). Bake for one hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.

Fried Rice

3 cups cooked white rice (2 cups dry rice will yield 3 cups cooked rice)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed (I always forget and add a whole bag, which I think is fine)
1 small onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup soy sauce

Over medium heat, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the peas and carrots, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender.

Lower the heat to medium-low and push the mixture to one side. Pour the eggs into the other side and stir fry until scrambled.

Add the rice and soy sauce and stir well. Stir fry until heated.

Serve with sweet and sour chicken. 

Enjoy!!

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

My boyfriend was spot on the other day when he mentioned that “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” is severely underplayed. It was particularly fitting this evening at Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

There was even a hippo there! I don’t know why anyone would want one for Christmas, but to each their own!

Anyway, tonight was the ultimate Christmas date night. Everyone needs to have at least one night (if not several!) devoted solely to Christmas and soaking up everything that the season has to offer. Tonight was that night. It was perfect!

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When I got off work (near union station), I walked down Adams to State Street and up to Macy’s, where I met Kenny. We walked over to Millenium Park and went ice skating. It was just darling!

The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but seeing the glowing skyline reflected back in the bean was beautiful!

After the Zamboni came out, we left to grab dinner at Panera. It was delicious, as always! We hopped on the 151 and headed north to Lincoln Park Zoo for Zoo Lights. It was so cute! We got hot cocoa and cider and saw the lights and the animals. There were lights everywhere!

Even inside was Christmasy! I love ribbons!

And I learned that I am, in fact, a human.

After the Zoo, we walked down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and the millions of lights that frosted it.

Then we took the bus back home (chatting w/ a very strange, very drunk man). We made coffee, ate gingerbread cookies and watched Elf

Best. Night. EVER! 

Tomorrow is Woodfield Christmas shopping, Starbucks’ Grandma’s Turkey Sandwich, ice skating at Wrigley field and our friend’s Christmas party! I LOVE the holidays! I hope you can take advantage of all the holiday festivities that your town has to offer!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I have never been a winning-is-everything kind of girl. I’ve always been one to applaud the effort and support the small successes along the way. I believe in participation trophies, because I believe you deserve some recognition for trying your hardest. Some people, my best friend included (I love you Brit!), don’t quite agree with me. Not quite agreeing would be an understatement, actually. In fact, my best friend actually plans on taking her children’s participation trophies away if they ever were to get any. This is exactly why she gave me this for my college graduation:

College Participation Trophy
You win some, you loose some!
(But no one keeps score)
I Love You!

The spelling error just makes it that much better! Oh, just one of the many reasons that this girl is my numero uno.

 

Well, friends, today I lost. I failed. I tried, and I did not succeed. 

I found this “recipe” (I guess you could call it) to make your own glitter. I love glitter! So the thought of being able to make it at my beck and call was just mind blowing. I am also the girl who accidentally ordered a $20 magazine subscription when I thought I was entering a contest to win a free set of glitter.

So I measured my salt into a baggie and a I picked pink to be the color (obviously) and I shook it all up. I spread it out nicely and evenly on aluminum foil, just as the directions said. I baked the pink salt in a 350ºF oven for 10 minutes. I was SO excited when that timer went off! 

This is what it was supposed to look like …

And this is what mine looked like.

It still just looked like pink salt. I tried tried to bake it longer, I tried to spread it out into a thinner layer, I tried to turn up the heat, I tried really hard to turn this salt into glitter. But all my wishin and a hoppin was not going to cut it. 

So I chalked it up as a loss. Sometimes things don’t work. And Kenny — always with the silver lining — reminded me that it wasn’t a total loss. It was, in fact, still edible salt (since I used food coloring). So like I always say, you win some, you lose some!

My other piece of advice is if at first you don’t succeed, try again. If you still don’t succeed, go buy glitter!