#tbt Favorite Things Gift Exchange, Part 2

You may recall my friends and I have an annual themed gift exchange every year, and this year was no exception! The theme was favorite things last year, and we decided to continue the theme this year because we loved it!

Last time my favorite things were Voluspa candles and Clinique chubby sticks, both from Nordstrom. I guess my favorite things haven’t really changed this year because I gave Simpatico hobnail glass candles in Reindeer and some hard candies I picked up in France (which are actually made in Italy and can be bought here. #touristfail).

My gifts were well received, but the fun part is always seeing what ideas others come up with! Everyone gets three gifts (we pick names out of a bowl). I received a Venti Starbucks travel cup with a gift card (already used the cup, saving the card!) from Bridget, ingredients for Lauren’s favorite grilled cheese sandwich, and a wonderful Rosy Rings Fireside-scented candle and Lollia perfume from Natalie. Other awesome gifts included a movie gift set, complete with movie tickets, wine juice boxes, and popcorn; sphere ice molds; and more delicious Seda France candles.

The other “present” that was new to me was Lauren’s selfie stick! Seriously, it’s so fun and hilarious once everyone starts having a few cocktails. I’ve included a sampling of our best photos for your amusement!

Another year, another wonderful exchange hosted by Bridget. I secretly hope we continue with the theme next year because I love sharing my favorites (I will do something different than candles, I swear!), and receiving my besties’ favorite things, too.

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That Time I Met Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel…

Yep, you guessed it. I met Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday. There he stood, just inside the turnstiles at the Chicago Avenue Blue Line Stop. No one else was around. We shook hands, exchanged smiles and pleasantries, and I was on my way, a little shocked by what just happened.

It’s not my first time meeting a celebrity/public official, but I was caught off guard! Let me paint the picture a little for you:

It was Friday morning. I am not a morning person and was on my way to the train for my convenient, four-stop commute. I semi-ran down the stairs when I see a large man with an earpiece in. I’m thinking, “what the hell?” and keep moving. Some moron was stuck in the turnstile with his carry-on luggage, and I think surely that security guy isn’t with this guy and keep moving as the CTA worker with a wet mop goes to help him escape. I swipe my Ventra card, making sure to see the “Go!” graphic when I look up, and there he is. Rahm.

He gives me a nice “hello,” and reaches for my hand. Other than luggage guy, CTA lady, and earpiece guy, we are the only ones around. I give a very enthusiastic “hi!!!!”, which was evidence of my shock, shook his hand, and said, “It’s nice to meet you!”

And I ran down the stairs. End of story…

What?!? Why didn’t I get a photo?!? Why didn’t I get video for my 1SE (one second everyday) project? Why couldn’t I say ANYTHING else? The answer: I was tired, moving too fast, and not thinking properly.

People have had many questions when I tell them this story:

Did you take a picture for your blog?
No.

Is he tall?
My height.

Did you ask to see his hand?
No, I forgot to take a picture, let alone see his finger (he cut it in a meat slicer at Arby’s when he was younger, if you didn’t know)!

The lesson to this story: when in doubt, take a picture! I can tell you this story, but wouldn’t it have been a lot cooler with a photo? Sorry, Rahm. Sorry, readers. Next time–if there is a next time–I won’t make the same mistake twice!

In the meantime, Nate put together this beauty for me:

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VIP Paints Candle-Making Class

For my birthday in October, I asked Nate if I could buy a Groupon for us to go to a BYOB candle-making class, and he said yes!

So we recently headed to VIP Paints–with a six-pack of Anti-Hero in hand. The studio is really intimate, with artwork on the walls and shelves filled with paintbrushes and supplies just waiting to be used. The tables were already set up when we arrived with mason jars and wicks, wick holders and thermometers, and more.

Our instructor was great–helpful, informative, and kept the class moving along in a fun, relaxed environment. First, we picked out our candle color and scent as the waxes were heating up. I went traditional with light purple with a lavender scent, while Nate chose hunter green (manly!) with a citron mandarin scent. We dropped the colored chip into the hot soy wax and waited for it to warm. Then, we each poured in a shot glass full of our scent, mixed it all together, and waited for the temperature to cool to 100 degrees.

Once cooled, the soy wax could be poured into the mason jars. An important part of this step was making sure to keep the wick straight. The color lightens as it hardens, and we were very pleased with our new candles! Had to wait 48 hours for them to fully harden, though, to ensure they were ready before using them.

Would I do this class again? Definitely, and I recommend it to you, too. It’s not difficult, yet an extremely fulfilling project. I love candles (one of my favorite gifts to give and receive), so it was nice to see how they’re made to see if I could possibly make them myself. I also haven’t explored Pilsen all too much, so it was a fun way to get out for date night (there were friends and groups in our class, too) and support a local business.

What comes with date night? Dinner, of course! Our experience at DeColores restaurant coming soon…

VIP Paints
1907 South Halsted
Pilsen

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