Wednesday, December 21, 2016

4 Tips for Having the Best Restaurant Experience

With the holidays in full swing and travel on the agenda, at least for many fo us, eating outside of the home is going to happen at some point because this seems to be the time of the year when people are eating out more. Whether it's for a work holiday party, a family gathering, or simply a night out, finding the perfect restaurant that fits your needs is a must. I mean, no one wants to spend money on a meal that no one enjoys! And if you're a foodie like me, taking the time to find the best eatery is a normal part of life.

What Should You Look For In A Restaurant? 

In today's world, many people are looking for fun, relatively inexpensive ways to make their lives more fun and fulfilling. If this is the case for you, it's important to know that finding a top notch restaurant is a wonderful way to realize the goal. In this setting, you'll be able to enjoy delicious food and get away from the home or office environment. To ensure that your dining experience is absolutely incredible, make sure that the restaurant/business in question possesses all of the following attributes: 

1. Industry Experience 

In addition to finding a restaurant that has flexible hours, try to locate a dining establishment with industry experience. Restaurants that have been in town for a decade or more have generally remained in business because they consistently offer customers exceptional dining experiences. Ideally, you want to select a restaurant that has been operating successfully for ten years or more. Online research will help you determine when the business opened and if it has operated successfully since that time. 

2. A Good Reputation

Another attribute that you should look for in a restaurant is a good reputation. You can determine whether the company in question is viewed positively by the public through online research. These days, many consumers go online and post relatively detailed reviews outlining their experience with a specific business. This includes restaurants. If you find that a particular restaurant regularly receives favorable feedback from customers, this is a good sign that the business will provide you with the customized, high-quality services and products you deserve. However, when you come across a company that consistently earns negative or neutral online reviews, it's safe to say that you should avoid frequenting their eating establishment. 

3. Availability 

One of the first things you should look for in a restaurant is availability. Frequenting a dining establishment that has flexible hours will help prevent the frustration that results from arriving at the restaurant only to find that they are closed. Companies like Restaurant italien Anjou are pleased to serve customers every single day. You can generally learn what a restaurant's hours of operation are by visiting their website. In addition to seeking a restaurant that has great hours, try to locate one that has delivery options. This feature will benefit you during times when you don't feel like driving to the restaurant. In many cases, restaurants are willing to deliver to clients who live within a 20-mile radius. If you find that one of your favorite restaurants doesn't feature delivery options, feel free to ask them if they'd be willing to implement a delivery program.

4. Perks And Benefits

In today's world, many businesses have responded to increasingly competitive markets by offering customers a wide range of perks and benefits which make them life-long clients. With this idea in mind, make sure that you locate a restaurant that offers you extras and freebies that optimize your eating experience or help you save money. An example would be the option to become a club member and thereby attain coupons in the mail or a percentage off every meal you purchase. Another type of perk would be the ability to participate in a referral program through which you invite your friends and family members to frequent the restaurant. When restaurants launch these types of referral programs, they typically offer some sort of reward for the new business you bring in.

Find The Right Restaurant Today! 
If you're serious about optimizing your life, don't underestimate the power of finding an amazing restaurant that you can frequent on a weekly or monthly basis. There are several strategies that you can implement to ensure that you find the ideal restaurant. One of them is looking for an eating establishment that has all four of the attributes outlined above. By locating a restaurant that has flexible hours, industry experience, a good reputation, and perks and benefits, you will likely find that you have an absolutely amazing dining experience.

Happy Holidays and happy eating! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

DIY Holiday Gift Bag Home Decor

Happy 12 days of Christmas! Wow, this month is flying by! I just ordered my last Christmas gift and I'm feeling pretty good. Now, I just have to wrap everything and get it under the tree... I feel like the hard part is over. With that said, I'm still in a decorating mood. I feel like I get everything up early but then move it all around so many times throughout the month, that by the time I get everything where I want it, it's time to take it all down. And to make things harder, my mom sends me decorating ideas that I just have to incorporate into my decor. Like these Gift Bag Photos. I swear she's a DIY genius because I never would have thought of this. It's so easy and a great way to use the bags you really love and don't want to give away ha. You know you have those packed away for that special someone who is worthy of your favorite gift bags. This was the case with my mom who loved these gift bags so much she wanted them on display. So she created an easy way to spruce them up and get them hung. This DIY is simple, inexpensive, and you probably have the supplies around the house. 

What you need:
  • Your favorite Holiday Gift Bags
  • Frames that are bigger than the bags your choose
  • Tape
  • Burlap -optional
  • Colored Paper -optional
  • Matte -optional
  • Ribbon -optional
  • Wrapping Paper -optional
What you'll do:
  • Remove the handles from the gift bags so that they will lay flat and look like prints.
  • Get creative! 
  • You can use a frame that fits the bag perfectly or get a frame that has a matte, for a finished look. 
  • Using all your supplies, creative a matte using burlap, paper, wrapping paper, or ribbon.
  • Tape whatever finish you use to the inside of the back of the frame.
  • Put the frame backing on. 
  • That's it! Just hang and enjoy for the holiday season!

This is seriously the easiest and least expensive way to get some holiday art up on the walls. You can do a whole theme around the house, or in just one corner. With so many gift bags out there, you are sure to create your own unique design, the decor options are endless. Enjoy this DIY and Happy Holidays!!

Friday, December 9, 2016


December marks my 2-year Bloggerversary and I can hardly believe it! Honestly, I thought about it for a second last week and then totally forgot! Running a blog has become such a regular part of my life that I haven't really focused on this anniversary; which is weird because leading up to my one-year Bloggerversary was such a big deal to me. That's not to say this isn't a big deal, I guess I'm just now having the time to sit and reflect on the last year. Because when I actually think about it, I'm pretty proud of myself for making it to two years.

Blogging for me has given me so much, truly. I always wanted to run a blog and share my thoughts, but I never imagined what I would get out of it emotionally. I have talked to other bloggers over the years and we all sort of get the same thing out of sharing our world on the web. Taking the financials out of the picture, blogging can give you a sense of freedom, friendship, and personal achievement. I can tell you there is nothing better than getting feedback through email or comments from a reader that is positive... that I've touched someone in some way or that we share a similar experience that connects us. Sure, getting free products to review or getting paid for posts is nice and all, but I've said it before, meeting people, reading their journey and sharing mine has always been my favorite part of this whole lifestyle.   

Last year, I shared some goals I set for SimplyWright. Man, I wish I could have had a crystal ball then to tell me how the next 12 months would play out. A move across the country with my family, a small bout with depression, and thinking about going back to work really threw me off my blogging game. Not to mention finding the time to blog with three active children. Gone are the days when Jakob napped so I could "work." Now, I have an extremely active toddler who takes up all of my time while the others are at school, leaving me to blog after everyone is in bed and I'm beat. I can't tell you how many nights I fell asleep on my keyboard ha. I'm not complaining, just stating the facts, that as life gets increasingly busy, my blog has had to suffer. Every week, as I look back on my weekly blog schedule and all the posts I didn't get up, I sigh and just tell myself "all in good time." But I'd be lying if I said I didn't get discouraged when seeing the numbers in my month to month archive get smaller and smaller.

There were some wonderful achievements to come from my blog in the last 12 months. In February, I started my journey being a contributor for The Huffington Post. That was such a proud moment for me -if you are a blogger, then you know how important it is to get your work shown on other, bigger sites. So far I've been on The HuffPost 12 times! {Shameless plug: HERE is my newest post. You can see all my posts HERE!}

Also, I've started contributing to RedTrycycle, a great online resource for parents! {Up now...}, along with being featured on many other parenting sites. I now that my blog itself might not be seen by others around the world, but it's nice that my work does from time to time. Again, it's the networking and connection that drives me to keep doing this. 

Here are my Top Posts from the Year...






As always, thank you for being a part of my journey and reading my little blog. I have such a fun time with it and hope to get more active on here in the coming months -we'll see how that goes. Have a wonderful rest of December and a Happy Holiday season!!! xo 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Top 5 Christmas Movies on Netflix Now

I'm a Netflix nerd and love a good night, getting cozy in bed and watching a good holiday movie. Right now, Netflix is offering up a nice selection of Christmas movies, a lot of which are good ol' fashion TV movies -think Lifetime or Freeform. Back in the day, I loved binge watching Lifetime movies around the holidays, but can't really now that I have three little people to look after... and share the TV with. So, thankfully, Netflix and my tablet to the rescue ha! I just thought I'd share some of my fav holiday movies that are currently streaming on Netflix! I will say, though, my all time FAVORITE Christmas movie, that I have on DVD so no need for Netflix, is The Holiday. Swoon.

My picks... 

#5 The Spirit of Christmas- It's kind of a weird premise but worth the watch. It's got romance, a very handsome ghost, Christmas... the works. It's sweet in its delivery but worth the twist in the end.

#4 Noel- Let's just say, Paul Walker in is prime. That man was gorgeous and so sweet. I love all the actors in this film and how they come together. It's a sweet story about Christmas miracles and how people can change each other's lives.

#3 Christmas Kiss- Super cute and totally predictable TV movie that has everything you need in a romance movie. Great story line for the holidays and just a fun movie to add to any binge watching list.

#2 Last Holiday- I have always enjoyed this movie and the meaning behind it. I think Queen Latifah is just the best in this movie. Even though it starts on a somber note (she's told she only has 3 weeks to live) the rest of the movie is charming, funny, and sweet.

#1 Love Actually- Best movie ever, EVER! This is my fav movie of all time and a tie for fav Christmas movie. It has everything! I can't imagine that someone hasn't seen this film but if you haven't, you have to! Hugh Grant dancing when HG was still H.O.T. is everything. Oh and the music is pretty wonderful, too.

I'd love to know what are some of your holiday/Christmas movie picks, on or off of Netflix! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Snippets from the Christkindlmarket, Chicago

Two weekends ago, the family and I took the train into the city and enjoyed an evening of German food, music, and traditions. We went to one of my favorite Christmas time events, the Christkindlemarket! When I heard that there was a traditional German Christmas market in Chicago, one that is designed to look like the markets found all over Germany, Austria, and Switzerland this time of the year, I knew I had to go. For over 10 years now, I've enjoyed the experience of visiting Christmas markets around Europe. They are absolutely my most favorite holiday activity. With that said, living in the US and not traveling to Austria for Christmas can pose a problem for Christmas market seekers like myself. And let me be honest, my expectations for the American spin on a German tradition was quite high. Let's just say, my expectations were met, as I felt as though I had been transported to Nuremberg, Germany for a holiday party.

When we were living in Switzerland, I swear we drove to and visited, like, 10 Christkindlmarkets around Southern Germany, Northern Switzerland, and Upper Austria... and Vienna, too. I've seen super tiny markets in small little villages, to the giant markets that take up whole city centers. The Christkindlmarket here in Chicago wasn't as big as I had thought based on what I had seen online, but it was bigger than some I had been to in actual Germany. It had everything one could want for a traditional market... yeah, the food was on par and according to my Austrian hubs, just like the motherland. We enjoyed bratwurst, gluhwein (hot wine) and soft pretzels, along with the music and little tchotchkes only Europe can offer. It was magical and a perfect way to start our holiday season. Not to mention, it was soooo super cold, temps dropping to the 20s that night! 

If you're in the Chicagoland area over the next month, I highly recommend visiting one of the two Christkindlmarkets in the area! You won't be disappointed. 
Happy Holidays! 

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