My Ultimate Guilty Pleasure: Bagel Bites

If you have learned anything about me, from following along in my social media accounts, is that I am absolutely OBSESSED with the classic childhood favorite: Bagel Bites! I have no idea why I love them so much, but I think they are a great quick snack, tasty dinner option or even in a pinch, really good for breakfast. Really, in my mind, there is no wrong time to eat a bagel bite. I could even conceive of hosting a dinner party strictly on Bagel Bites alone. 

I recently had my good friend, Joy, from Being Joy Photography come over to my house to photograph the proper techniques to prepare this tasty treat. Follow along as I share with you my undeniable guilty pleasure! 

So, nothing crazy to see here! Just a girl who loves her bagel bites and can not wait for them to come out of the oven! I am pretty basic, and like the plain cheese the best. I think the sausage and pepperoni simply do not do bagel bites any justice. 

Here is how to make them extra amazing: 1. Cook in the oven at 425 degrees for about 13-15 minutes 2. Place them on parchment paper so the cheese can get crispy and easily peel off (also makes clean up a breeze! 3. Add extra cheese, like good gourmet cheddar, the more the better 4. Cook until nice and bubbly golden brown 5. Remove from oven 6. Let cool, (learned the hard way more often than not!) 7. Eat and enjoy 8. Repeat as often as necessary! 

Vendor Spotlight:

Location: Private Residence
Photography: Being Joy Photography
Hair and Makeup: Glamtique Blow Dry Bar
Food: Ore Ida Bagel Bites

Supporting Your Spouse

This past week, Adrian and I celebrated our 4th Wedding Anniversary! I can not believe how fast time flies! The thing with getting married, is life keeps moving after the wedding day. A marriage is simply not one day, it is a lifetime of constantly choosing that person. Every day, we choose to make it work and we choose to laugh. We also choose to cry and support each other when times are not easy. Choice, that is the thing that makes it all work. 

 Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co
Photo Credit: Authentic Adventure Co

Today, in this next phase of life, I am choosing to celebrate with Adrian while he is in Dallas getting a promotion for work! He has worked many long years in aviation and he is finally getting a well deserved transfer to international flying at American Airlines! We have been very lucky and blessed in our lives. It is important to realize the good things that happen in life and being able to work through the tough parts. 

Supporting your spouse does not mean that you obsess over every move they make, every meal they eat and how much sleep they get. Sometimes supporting your spouse means trying not to smother them in their sleep when they are snoring loud enough to wake the dead (not that I have ever contemplated this)! Supporting, means allowing them to be their own person while working together on shared goals and passions. When two become one, you do not stop living your individual life. You now simply have a 24/7 cheerleader and support system. You do not have to face the world alone.  

 Seriously, I have to deal with this on a daily basis! Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
Seriously, I have to deal with this on a daily basis! Photo Credit: Being Joy Photography
 Finally, a semi-decent photo of us! LOL Thanks @Beingjoyphotography!
Finally, a semi-decent photo of us! LOL Thanks @Beingjoyphotography!

Everyday, we try and be a better version of who we were yesterday. Some days we fall short and other days we thrive. Having the desire to make it work and stick it through NO MATTER WHAT has served us well these past 4 years. I can not wait to see what the next 70 years has in store. 

In what ways do you support your spouse? I would love to hear in the comments below! 


Vendor Spotlight in the Images Above:
Planning: Ashley Nicole Events Inc
Videography: NightOwls Media
Photography: Authentic Adventure Co
Hair & Makeup: Tamara Hair and Makeup Artistry


For the full feature of a Wedding Planner’s wedding, click HERE!

Chicago Wedding Planner Turns #FairyGodmother x 2

As a Chicago based wedding planner, I often spend my days prepping for clients and making sure that they are the highlight on their special day. This past weekend, I had the privilege and honor to support as Godmother, one of my dearest friends in the baptism of her second child, Xavier James. It was a special feeling knowing that someone on the planet chose me to help love, support and care for their child. This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly. Now, since we live about 400 miles apart, I will have to do much of this loving from afar, but I want Xavier to know that I am there for him. If he ever has questions or concerns and he doesn’t want to talk to Mom and Dad, I am available. I am an unbiased, third party that will always put his best interests at heart but someone that he won’t feel he will “get in trouble with”. I am the fun, gift giving Godmother who will spoil him rotten and sometimes (sorry, I’m not sorry, Kim) give him way too much sugar and send him home.

 Xavier James, is wearing a bonnet that has been in his Dad's family for over 100 years! I hope he remembers me the next time I see him! 
Xavier James, is wearing a bonnet that has been in his Dad’s family for over 100 years! I hope he remembers me the next time I see him! 

Ironically, this is not the first mom who has gifted me this special title. My other dear friend Mia, had selected this title for me a little over 5 years ago. Clark Joesph, was in my opinion, the first baby to not scream when I held him and actually be excited when I came through the front door. I will always love this kid for that warm welcome. He is the first kid to make me not hate all children and actually think they are not so scary…but sometimes they really are. 😉

 Clark Joseph, loves Halloween just as much as I do...I knew we would get along! Thanks for being such an easy going kid. 
Clark Joseph, loves Halloween just as much as I do…I knew we would get along! Thanks for being such an easy going kid. 

I love these little guys as if they were my own…but they are not…so I will just spoil them. Please enjoy this rare opportunity for me to be in the photos, instead of behind the scenes planning the party.

#VegasStrong & How What I Do Can Help

For months, I had been preparing to partake in the Wedding MBA conference in Las Vegas. This conference is for all wedding specialities (planners, florists, photo, video, etc) to come together to discuss new wedding trends, common business mistakes and how to better serve our clients better. Having never been to Vegas, I was beyond excited to visit Sin City (mostly for business…with a little fun mixed in). My traveling business buddie aka Mom and I loaded up our bags and headed to O’hare. Only after I got through security did I realize that I left my phone at home. I was completely detached from my contacts, my email and social media. Little did I know how this one small mistake would paint itself into a larger picture 12 hours later. (on the bright side, mom still had her phone, but I felt utterly naked without mine) we really are attached these days.

Last Sunday, mom and I spent the day walking up and down the strip, looking at the hotels and enjoying our “1 special meal” at New York New York. We ended our dinner around 9:30 PM and were walking to MGM around 10 PM. Little did we know, we were a 6 minute walk away from the worst massacre in modern American history. While we were casually making our way back to catch a Gondola ride at the Venetian, we witnessed 10 squad cars fly down the strip. I turned to mom and said, I wonder if someone is robbing a casino. Because, that is what happens in Vegas, right? Someone looses everything and then decides to try and get it all back…no matter the consequences. I firmly believe that that Gondola ride (which we got to 10 minutes after it closed) was the only thing that kept us from walking down to check out the last three casinos on the strip…one being, Mandalay Bay. As we made it back to our hotel, Caesars Palace, we noticed that there was an increase in security…on bikes, walking around and everyone seemed on edge. Once again, it was for that casino robbery, right?!? This is Vegas…every square inch of this town is on camera, it has to be safe…right? At this time, no one knew what had happened. The news had not been notified and for a brief moment in time, Vegas was in survival mode…though, no one knew. Flash forward to 4AM PST I wake up to a phone call from a frantic husband telling me to turn on the news, stay in my room and that there is an active shooter on the strip. From that moment, my Vegas experience was forever changed. Everyone remembers their first time a little differently. My first Vegas trip will be emblazoned with the words #VegasStrong While I was not personally affected by this horrible tragedy, I witnessed a city of strangers come together to offer rides to the hospital, giving the clothes off their back to create tunicates and donations of blood. This is what makes America the greatest country in the world. In times of desperation and tragedy, we turn to our fellow neighbor and rise up to the level of our preparedness.

 By Tuesday night, these two lines were plastered all over the city...
By Tuesday night, these two lines were plastered all over the city…

My business conference carried on in true Vegas fashion. I learned how to be a better wedding planner. I learned how to deal with situations that might make our hair stand up on end. I also learned about the latest and (sometimes not so great)est wedding trends and how I can implement them for my clients. Don’t get me wrong, it was not all work…I did enjoy sightseeing, checking out the amazing 7 Magic Mountain art exhibit and spending quality time with my colleagues and my mom 😉 

 Please, Chicago, let's not make this a thing...okay?!?!
Please, Chicago, let’s not make this a thing…okay?!?!

I did hear one thing that really stuck with me this past week. During the wake of tragedy, people always say, “Gosh, this really puts things into perspective!” or “This is just a wedding, the little things are so meaningless during tragedy.” These comments could not be further from the truth. What I do matters. What you do matters. I am a wedding planner. I am the keeper of dreams and the memory maker for my clients. I might not be able to capture a mass shooter or donate a liver to someone in need. I CAN keep fighting for my clients. I CAN help them create a magical day. During tragedy, people inevitably turn to the good times in their lives. They turn to happy memories, they turn to the light. I am the keeper of those dreams and the maker of those memories for each and every client I have the pleasure of working with. THAT is what I can do in the wake of tragedy. Together, each doing our own part, we will win. We will not let fear tear us down. For together, we will remain #VegasStrong  

Say my name, say my name, say my name…and how to change it!

What to do after you say “I Do”?

Well, the first thing is you go on your honeymoon! If circumstances do not permit jetsetting off to island bliss immediately following the vows, perhaps a mini-moon is more in your future. Whenever you and your boo come back to reality (I know, it stinks having to come back to the real world) most women choose to begin the arduous task of changing their last name. I do, however, support having the men change their last name, but it is still far too uncommon. Maybe in the next decade! Here are a few tips from my experience for getting the name change started.

 Even years later, I find a few memberships that I have not changed. This is a long process, but it doesn't have to be hard! 
Even years later, I find a few memberships that I have not changed. This is a long process, but it doesn’t have to be hard! 

 

  1. Get at least five original copies of your marriage license, (they are not really copies, but actual legal documents). Every institution where you need to send name change information will all require an “original” not a certified copy of the license.

  2. If you can change your name online, do it. It will save a great deal of time and effort.

  3. If you choose the online method, make sure you include ALL required documents. I tried to change my name for my social security card online, which started out all fine and good. However, I ran into problems when they made me mail in all of the required documents, and I forgot to include the MARRIAGE LICENSE! The one document that actually stated that I have a legal name change, and I forgot to put it in an envelope. I waited the standard seven to ten business days and was so excited to get the card in the mail. When I opened up the certified letter, it stated that they can not just “take my word for it” when it came to getting married! Go figure! So I had to go down to the social security office, and I wasted an hour and a half of my life waiting in line for all of the thirty seconds the name change took. Make sure you pay attention to the details!

  4. Credit cards proved to be fairly simple. I just called them up and stated that I got married. They did not even require me sending them a copy of the marriage license. In three days, I had new cards with my very new name.

  5. Contact your health care providers AND insurance provider.

  6. Discuss with your new spouse about joint bank accounts, life insurance beneficiaries, etc.

  7. Stop by your local, “friendly” DMV and let them know that you need to update your driver’s license and car title if you still making car payments. (I don’t know how the DMV staff can be so grouchy all of the time, but I digress.) Smile pretty for your new photo id, although, I have never once taken a driver’s license photo that I have actually liked.

  8. If you have a passport, update that. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Trust me, you will thank me after your first trip. Travel bug anyone???

  9. Finally, change any subscriptions you receive and let your educational institution know of your life change so they can continue to mail you alumni donation requests. 😉  

  10. Last, but not least, sit back with your new partner and enjoy becoming a whole new person, legally, that is.

Get To Know A Real Life Wedding Planner

Hey Friends, 

Welcome to my corner of the internet! Every Tuesday, I will be posting my knowledge of the event and wedding industry. Topics will range from easy how-to’s, vendor spotlights and real life Ashley Nicole Events weddings. Throughout our time together, I want you to get to know me as a person and an event professional. If you like what you see, and want to see more…subscribe to my Youtube channel or sign up on my website for this party delivered to your inbox!