The French Way to Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day ChicagoHold the phone. You forgot to make Valentine’s Day plans?! And it falls on a Saturday? Every restaurant is booked? Tisk, tisk. Well no need to panic and call every spot in town. I’ve got you covered! Three of the best date spots in Chicago (who all happen to be French) are actually attainable in scoring a seat. Here are all the dirty details:

Chicago Valentine's Day Restaurants

THREE FRENCH VALENTINE’S DAY RESTAURANTS (No Reservation Needed)
The key? Arrive early and grab a seat at the bar.

  • Pops For Champagne Bar: My husband and I sip bubbly (and old fashions) at this bar every Valentine’s Day. It’s a tradition we started our first year of dating. I cannot believe it but this will be our 6th year on Saturday. They do not hold tables in advance, so it is always first come first serve, which makes you appear you planned it that way all along. And if you don’t finish the bottle, they will wrap it up in a beautiful doggy bag – cork stopper and all.
  • Paris Club Bistro & BarThey newly remodeled bar (first level) is intimate, dark and the food is shockingly phenomenal. Make it an early evening to avoid the rush and let the night linger longer as deemed necessary. Their truffled lobster and scrambled egg crositinis are To.Die.For. So is the French Onion soup.
  • Le Colonial: Hands down the BEST chicken fried rice in Chicago. Oh and it ‘s French Vietnamese. Sticking with the bar theme, head upstairs to one of my favorite date spots in the city. Their 2nd floor bar is small and scattered with palm leaves. Talk about sexy and chic. Side Note: The hubs and I dined here on our one year anniversary. And we sometimes order fancy take out on Sundays.  It’s that good.

French Valentine's Day Ideas

Since we should all channel our inner French girl, why not go all out with whimsical hair, sparkly dresses and dessert for later. Just for the occasion, I teamed up with the loveliest brands and ladies in the industry. If your’e in the mood, learn how to create dreamy do’s and delectable desserts inspired by today’s modern French Girl. Ooh, la la!

Free People Sequin Dress

 HAIR TUTORIALS – THE LONG & SHORT OF IT
Inspired by the modern French Girl’s tousled tresses, these unique styles have that certain joie de vivre–I Woke Up Like This factor–inviting natural, floaty frizz.

French Hairstyle

LONG

1. To achieve this messy look, it’s all about texture. Either create natural looking, messy waves with a curling iron or play up natural waves with a sea salt tonic. || 2. This is a modern approach to Bardot hair marrying the float-y waves we want. What makes this style French or French Bohemian is it’s rough, carefree edge. || 3. To create the loop di loop braid, create a ponytail (as featured here on the sides of your head), then create gaps in your ponytail and loop through hair that’s underneath your ponytail gathering. Repeat the same process on both sides of your head. Widen your “braid” by tugging near each hair elastic secured area. Tugging creates a wider and fuller braid look and helps hide the elastic bands making the end result appear more like a braid, not several ponytails.

View More: http://riddle-roadphotography.pass.us/12-22-14

SHORT

1. Tease the crown and gather the hair to start rolling it in the direction you want your updo. In this case, we did a horizontal French Twist. Bobby pins and hairspray secure the shape of this modern beehive allowing for maximum va-va-voom volume in your crown. || 2. Texture is everything when it comes to getting the French Girl look, and this updo works best on second day hair leaving natural flyways and face framing pieces.

Strawberry Champagne Naked Cakes

STRAWBERRY CHAMPAGNE NAKED CAKES
By Styled-It.com
These adorable little naked cakes are all the rage, let’s just say these are the new cupcakes! The best part is they’re so easy to make and almost impossible to flaw. 

Yields 16 – 18 cakes.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 6 egg whites
  • I/2 cup of crushed hulled strawberries
  • 1 1/2  cups Pink Champagne
  • Small Cylinder baking pan- each well should be approx. 2”- 3” in diameter

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pink Champagne
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste

Champagne Naked Cakes

Directions
Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 6 egg whites
  • I/2 cup of crushed hulled strawberries
  • 1 1/2  cups Pink Champagne
  • Small Cylinder baking pan- each well should be approx. 2”- 3” in diameter

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pink Champagne
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste

View More: http://riddle-roadphotography.pass.us/12-22-14

Free People Sequin Dress

View More: http://riddle-roadphotography.pass.us/12-22-14

Happy Valentine’s Day lovies!

Get The Look: Million Dollar Spaghetti-Strap Sequined Maxi Dress || Liquid Shine Mini Dress || Faithful Shaggy Jacket || BAN.do Flash Bobbi Set

Full Credit List:
Photography by Julie Riddle of Riddle Road Photography
Hair by Maritza Buelvas of BeautyForBloggers.com
Makeup by Brenda Arelano
Food Styling and Recipes by Alice Nielsen of Styled-it.com
Models Nicole Regan and Michelle Mink
Valentine’s Day Attire by Free People

  • Everything about this post is gorgeous! Love it!
    http://www.fashioncolumntwins.com

    • I agree! It’s absolutely amazing! Talk about rich content…girl you nailed it!
      Katharine
      http://www.paytington.com

      • Katharine – coming from you (a content millionaire) I really appreciate it!

    • Thanks so much girls! Xx

  • You are SO cute! That dress is so reasonably priced. I’m sitting here trying to figure out where I could have an excuse to wear it to. Pete and I are posting up on the couch with pizza for Valentine’s Day 😉

    • Thanks Jess! The couch and pizza are the key to my heart as well. But we have to keep the tradition alive!

  • You look absolutely amazing in these photos! That hair!

    • Thanks lady. I have to give all credit to Maritza – she’s a hair genius!

  • SarahLagen

    I want to have a Fresh themed V-day!! This is such a fun idea and I love the little cakes!!

    • Haha – the French just do it better right? And the cakes were delicious.

  • You are too cute! This post is adorable and I am loving all the sequins. Thanks for sharing such great ideas for Valentine’s Day.
    ~Samantha
    http://goldcoastgirlblog.com/

    • Awwww thanks Sam! I can’t wait to snap some photos with you – we can do something very fun.

  • alice nielsen

    Wow, it all came together beautifully! It was so much fun working with all of you!

    • Alice!!! Hello there! You’re treats and cakes were the most delicious thing ever – and not to mention beautiful!

  • The Adored Life

    I cannot even handle how adorable this is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    http://www.theadoredlife.com

    • So sweet of you! Thank you 🙂

  • This is just lovely – beautiful photos! And I completely agree with your dining recommendations! Cheers!

  • What a fabulous post Nicole! You look just like 20s Parisian flapper but so modern too! Absolutely love it and can’t wait to try those little cakes!

    Sed Bona