Check, Check and Check.

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 9, 2009

Hi everyone! Did you have a good holiday weekend?

My time in Arizona, though way too short, was very fun and productive…

  • Secure the church near my family’s house for 10.16.10 – Check!
  • Secure a reception venue with gorgeous mountain views – Check!
  • Start looking at wedding dresses and end up finding “the one” – Check!

I really did not expect to get so much done, but we did! It’s crazy to think it’s all officially happening. Granted, we do have over a year to keep planning, but it’s going to go by fast I’m sure. As for the wedding dress? Let’s just say that I can’t stop looking at the pictures! I wish I could post them on the blog but they are top secret! I can tell you that I am going to go with the deep purple for my bridesmaid dresses. I found several options that I liked this weekend, so now it’s a matter of finding out what they like best!

When we weren’t busy with wedding details, we ate some delicious food from Papa Bender. On Saturday night, the unofficial professional chef made steak + potatoes with all the fixins – mushrooms marinated in red wine (I promise you, the marinade made these the BEST mushrooms I’ve ever had), fresh tomatoes and onions marinated in butter and sprinkled with pepper (again…DELICIOUS).


We thoroughly enjoyed our steak + potato feast, complete with swiss chard on the side. And wine πŸ˜‰


Papa Bender also made brunch for us on Sunday. He pulled out all the stops again.


We each were able to make our own egg burritos. We used My Nana’s tortillas, which are by far the best authentic Mexican tortillas that we’ve ever found at the store. There was also a bowl of popcorn – er, I mean scrambled eggs – and a plate of bacon + pork sausage to add to our creations.


I topped my egg + sausage combo with a little shredded cheese and fire-roasted salsa. Amazing.


To cap off what was already a fabulous weekend, we also went out to Benihana for dinner on Sunday night, in celebration of Bobby’s upcoming 23rd birthday on September 13!

As usual, this restaurant did not disappoint. We started out with their delicious broth + salad.


Then our chef Patrick (who promised he was a Japanese chef, but I’m not buying it) did his magic.


He was actually one of the most talented chefs I have ever seen there! We all started with fried rice, which comes with chicken, egg and veggies. It was amazing – and Bobby’s favorite part of the meal.


For his next trick, Patrick made shrimp, zucchini, mushrooms, onions and chicken…all for me πŸ˜‰ No really, he made a lot of different things, but that was what I ordered (clearly).

Shrimp + Chicken (aka the Benihana Delight)


And the veggies


At the end of our feast, we still had some wiggle room for the free ice cream! Bobby’s of course came with a candle and a birthday song in both English and Japanese :) I went with the rainbow sherbet.


I used to get sherbet all the time when I was little. Now I know why – it’s so delicious! My dad also got a good picture of the two of us with my bro. It made me think of the last time we went here for his birthday (we’ve done it for at least the past three years!). I love going back through old posts and reading your comments. It never fails to make me smile :) I was much better at responding back then, wasn’t I? Ugh…time, where have you gone? I need to bring back that interaction. I miss it.


It truly was a fantastic weekend. I love soaking up every moment with my family, but it also makes it that much harder to leave them :( I’m definitely struggling to get back into my Windy City routine this week. Don’t get me wrong, I love this city, working downtown and hanging out with Bobby, but a big part of me is always left in Arizona with my family. My heart aches just typing about it, so I’ll stop.

I’m still catching up on everything my blog friends have been up to this weekend. It looks like some of you had some really fun stuff going on! What was your favorite part of the long weekend?

Alright, time to get up and go for the day!



{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bec September 9, 2009 at 6:35 am

wwoooo thats so exciting that you found your dress :)


2 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) September 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

Sounds like an awesome weekend! Yay for finding your wedding dress!


3 nutritionbyeve September 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

Congrats on getting so much done!! For me the venue & dress were by far the hardest decisions. So if you got that done you are really in a good place! It took me 3 months of constant looking before I finally found my dress – it became a bit stressful, but when I put on the “one” i knew it!


4 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:46 am

nutritionbyeve ~ Gotta love the feeling of finding the “one” :)


5 Gina September 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

I LOVE Benihana! I go there for many birthdays, and it’s always delicious. Your father’s food looks amazing, I am impressed!
Glad you are coming along with the wedding. Deep purple dresses? I’m a fan! If they are the same as the ones you posted a while ago, I dig them!


6 Meg September 9, 2009 at 6:51 am

Wow! You got so much wedding stuff done already!! Awesome!

Deep purple…what a great pic! Congrats on finding your dress!


7 VeggieGirl September 9, 2009 at 7:03 am

Mmm, mmm food and fun!! :)


8 Mellissa September 9, 2009 at 7:08 am

Congrats on checking off so much on the wedding list! My favorite part of the long weekend was great dinners with friends, it made the weekend so much fun :)


9 ksgoodeats September 9, 2009 at 7:20 am

You found ‘the one’?! YAY – Congrats :)

Looks like you guys were well fed by the house chef in Arizona!! Papa Bender’s meals always look fantastic! Happy early birthday to Bobby!!


10 Sarah R September 9, 2009 at 7:25 am

You found a dress?? How exciting! I love those Japanese steak houses. There’s always so my fun!


11 megzzwinsatlife September 9, 2009 at 7:27 am

soo soo excited!! when I saw on twitter your found the dress I was soo syked!!! Congrats.. it is all soo amazing!


12 Lizzy September 9, 2009 at 7:33 am

Congrats girl on all the planning! YAY…and i love the deep purple for the bridesmaids dresses! thats my fav color!

I went to Benihana for my bday this year too! isnt it amazing!? Your meal looks just like mine did yay! glad you enjoyed

have a good day


13 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:47 am

Lizzy ~ Yes, Benihana is one of the most amazing restaurants on Earth! Haha, that’s no exaggeration πŸ˜‰


14 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) September 9, 2009 at 7:39 am

Hooray for getting so much done for your wedding! And don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty of other things to keep you busy for a year of planning. πŸ˜‰ Especially if you’re doing a lot of DIY stuff (i.e. doing your own invitations, addressing invitations – that blows LOL). It’s all fun though, and such a special time. :)

And don’t worry about not being able to blow/ interact as much right now. I think all bloggers go through periods where things change, and even aren’t what they’d prefer with their blogs, just based on what’s going on in their personal lives. Just find a good balance for you – we all love you anyway. :)


15 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:48 am

Lindsey (Mrs. LC) ~ Thank you so much! Everything you said meant a lot to me :) And yes, we will likely be doing plenty of DIY stuff, so life will still be plenty busy!!


16 Rose September 9, 2009 at 7:42 am

Wow! You got SO MUCH done this weekend for the wedding – great job, girly! Do you have a pic of the wedding dress or is it online? I’d love to see it – maybe you could send it in an e-mail?

(Don’t wanna be too pushy – I just love that kind of stuff!)


17 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:51 am

Rose ~ SENT!! :)


18 brandi September 9, 2009 at 7:46 am

congrats on getting all that done!!! I bet the dress is beautiful :)


19 homegirlcaneat September 9, 2009 at 7:48 am

All the wedding details are soooo exciting!!!! You must be thrillde :)

I LOVE bennihana!! The fried rice is to die for and the veggies are even better! I am craving it completely now!!


20 elise September 9, 2009 at 7:54 am

youre ahead of me! i have the church, reception location, but no dress yet. we do have the photog and DJ too. so exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!


21 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:52 am

elise ~ YAY! Congrats to you – that is awesome!!


22 Mara @ What's For Dinner? September 9, 2009 at 7:57 am

HOORAY for weddings in the fall!!! I can’t wait to hear more about your planning, especially since i’ll be in withdrawl just as you’re getting going! We’ll have to get together soon :)


23 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:52 am

Mara ~ Absolu-friggen-lutely!


24 Karla September 9, 2009 at 8:17 am

I’m so glad that you had such a successful and enjoyable weekend! Can’t wait to hear more about the wedding planning details. I feel you about the family thing–that’s really hard to be far away, but you’re dealing with it amazingly.

That picture of the chef from Benihana is so cool…his arms are movin’ :) Good luck getting back into the swing of things in Chicago. Maybe you can treat yourself to a yummy dinner out. That almost always makes me happy!


25 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:53 am

Karla ~ Thanks! Hopefully someday I can be closer…


26 Sara September 9, 2009 at 8:32 am

Yay, for wedding plans! Fun, fun, fun! Those breakfast burritos look great, I love those.


27 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) September 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

Congrats on finding a dress. It looks like you were well-fed with tasty, healthy, yummy eats! Your breakfast burrito looks delicious and filling :-)


28 Shannon (The Daily Balance) September 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

so exciting about the wedding plans! you are making progress, girl! Happy Birthday to Bobby! πŸ˜‰


29 Erica September 9, 2009 at 9:18 am

awwwwwwwww what a fabulous weekend! I cannot wait to see the pictures from your wedding- you are going to look so so beautiful! Glad you found the dress! Papa Bender is welcome to come to my house ANY TIME! Love that he goes all out when you come home. Favorite part of the weekend- down time with Joshers :)


30 insideiamdancing September 9, 2009 at 9:24 am

sounds like a great weekend- congrats on getting so much done! Can’t wait to see the wedding pics!


31 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) September 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

I’m from Chicago (well Mpls) but lived many yrs downtown on LSD, Gold Coast, WRigleyville, all over really….anyway then lived in So Cal for 5 yrs and just this past weekend moved to AZ and LOVE IT! Can’t believe it took me so long, but I’m here and happy and have been groovin on my new house. I can see why you miss AZ, especially if all your fam is here. Hang in there :)


32 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:54 am

Averie ~ Aw, thank you! Very interesting because I’m originally from Minneapolis, now live in Chicago and my fam is in AZ! Sounds like we’ve got some chatting to do :)


33 Jenny September 9, 2009 at 10:15 am

Yo bender you are doing work on the wedding plans.. seriously, make yourself available in oh, about 7 years to help me plan my big day… thanks :)

p.s. any chance we shall be seeing this dress?! I’m dyin!


34 Susan September 9, 2009 at 10:16 am

Ooh…deep purple is a great bridesmaids colour! I looks fabulous on almost anyone (and is classy to boot). Happy b-day to Bobby! I find leaving home gets harder each time too… I appreciate my family so much more as I get older!


35 glidingcalm September 9, 2009 at 10:32 am

Ugh! Leaving the fam is always soooo hard!! Glad you got to enjoy a wonderful weekend though!! :)


36 Jessica (jesslikesithot) September 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

Those bridesmaid dresses sound lovely!! I loveeee deep, purple dresses! :) And papa bender definitely outdid himself again! Home-made egg burritos sound amazing right now, especially with some added SALSA!! My fave addition to eggs.

Congrats again girl!!! xooo


37 Marisa (Trim The Fat) September 9, 2009 at 11:28 am

What a fun weekend! You did get a lot accomplished! Now, all the little details…
Have fun with it, Jenn!


38 Krista September 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

That’s great that you got so much accomplished over the weekend! My girls wore deep purple at my wedding, too. Great colour!!


39 buffmuffy September 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm

mmm looks spectacular!
the sherbet looks delicious!!!!


40 Kristen @ Simply Savor September 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm

congrats on all of your wedding plans coming together!! reception with a mountain view??? sounds like a dream wedding!! and i’m sure the dress is gorgeous!! glad you had a fun weekend with family :)


41 Michelle September 9, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Your trip home sounds fabulous!! I can’t wait to see the dress, even if it is over a year from now!! :)


42 foodieinthecity September 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Gahhh, I LOVE WEDDINGS!!! So exciting that you found your dress, I am sure it is breathtaking!

Can’t wait to hear more about everything!


43 Shannon September 9, 2009 at 4:26 pm

so glad things are going well so far!! and what a great weekend :)

i am heading to az in oct to visit some family… any chance you’ll be there? πŸ˜‰ haha, it’s a random weekend so probably not…


44 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:56 am

Shannon ~ I’m going to email you! We need to see about this!


45 Melissa S. September 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm

girl, now you make me want to go home!!! i wish i had weekends to do that!!!

and you totally gotta hook me up with pics of that dress woman…;)


46 Kristie Lynn September 9, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Yay for making all of those wedding decisions! I bet you feel great about it :) Was picking out “the” dress easier than you thought? For me it was pretty simple… the first dress I tried on I fell in love with. My MOH made me try on a few more at another place, but the first one really was a winner. Guess I’m easy to please! And I bet you’ll have some amazing wedding pictures with the mountain views at your reception venue. Such exciting stuff!

And even though all the food you ate at home looks quite good, I have to say that Papa Bender’s steak & potatoes look the yummiest. :)


47 Jenn (eating bender) September 11, 2009 at 5:57 am

Kristie Lynn It was actually easier! Especially because what I thought I wanted turned out to be nothing like what I ended up with! I’m glad I had an open mind because it made a huge difference :)


48 Rebeca September 9, 2009 at 8:05 pm

You already know I’m more excited about those checks than anyone person should be :)

10.16.10 woohoo :)


49 Kelly Turner September 9, 2009 at 9:40 pm

aw, i cant wait till i get married. i love happy stress.

looks like an awesome dinner!


50 broccolihut September 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Wow, you are such a productive chica! You’re already done with the hard parts of planning!
Looks like you had a fantastic weekend at home. My favorite part of the weekend was going roller skating…or maybe the farmers’ market–let’s call it even.


51 Lara (Thinspired) September 10, 2009 at 3:35 am

Yay for Benihana! On my last visit there I didn’t get the rice and IMMEDIATELY regretted it! πŸ˜‰
Papa Bender is so impressive in the kitchen! What a cool dad.


52 jenngirl September 10, 2009 at 8:01 am

Oh, Jenn, the plans for the wedding so far sound absolutely fabulous!! And deep purple bridesmaid dresses will be gorgeous!! πŸ˜‰

Papa Bender sure treats ya right, no wonder you’re a little homesick, and you are certainly blessed with a loving family back in Arizona.

Hope you’ve had a good week getting back into your “windy city routine”!


53 Sarah September 10, 2009 at 8:30 am

i love benihana. and breakfast burritos. and all things wedding. Sounds like a perfect weekend to me!


54 Heather Eats Almond Butter September 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Papa never ceases to amaze me. Loved the build your own burrito b’fast.

Please tell Bobby that the fried rice was always my favorite as well and HAPPY (early) BIRTHDAY!

You’re going to make a beautiful bride. Can’t believe we have to wait 12+ months to see the dress. Torture Jenn. πŸ˜‰


55 Marianne September 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

You sure are on top of things with your wedding plans. You even have a dress picked out! Crazy. Sounds like you had a great weekend at home – and that birthday meal that the teppanyaki place looks fantastic. I’ve only ever done that once, and it was lots of fun :)


56 Paige (Running Around Normal) September 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Yay for your wedding plans all coming together! Such a relief, and so fun:) The bridemaids dresses sound gorge!

Those homemade burritos look freaking awesome!!


57 Meredith September 10, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Deep purple sounds like a lovely idea for the bridesmaid dresses!


58 Heather September 11, 2009 at 8:49 am

I’m so glad to see that your trip home was successful with wedding stuff! I’m of course dying to see your dress & wonder if it’s the same one you initially wanted. πŸ˜€ And now you officially know the feeling of “the one.” So so excited for your Jenn!


59 Jenna September 11, 2009 at 11:04 am

Omg don’t you just love benihanas!! i love it, everytime i go to florida it is a must stop place to eat since we don’t have any up here in the east coast!



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