In the entire scheme of wedding planning, this weekend was almost as epic as the actual wedding weekend will be. Not only did I find my wedding dress, but I got to spend the entire weekend with the three most important women in my life: my mom, my aunt Penny, and my maid of honor and best friend Melissa. I feel so amazingly blessed that I have these three women in my life and am so lucky they could all drive or fly to Minnesota to be with me this weekend.
On the big day of dress shopping, we scheduled appointments at three places and I have to say none of them turned out to be what I expected. We started the day nice and early and had our first appointment at 9:00 at a place called Bella Bridal Boutique. I really wasn’t sure what to expect but since I hadn’t heard anything about the place, my expectations weren’t that high. We ended up being pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of dresses, great service, and one dress in particular that we loved.
Since it was only the first appointment and we still had two appointments to go, we scheduled an appointment to come back to Bella Boutique later in the day to be fitted for the one we liked. After a yummy lunch and a glass of wine, we were ready to hit up the second place. In my mind, this was the place I thought I would find the dress of my dreams. It’s located in a cute house on a main street in Saint Paul, and between running and driving by it a hundred times and seeing the dresses in its main window, I thought it would be the perfect place to find my dress. Yeah….not so much.
It ended up being completely overcrowded, with way too many girls scheduled to try on bridal gowns in way too small of an area. While the other place had comfy couches for family and friends to sit on while waiting for the brides to try on the dresses, this place had hard folding chairs and a cold fan blowing on me when I would step on the pedestal to show each new dress. While I still tried on quite a few dresses at this place, I just wasn’t feeling the vibe and still couldn’t (as my aunt Penny kept saying) “say yes to the dress.”
The last place we went, I didn’t even think we would end up going because I figured at this point I would have already found “the one.” I knew this place was a little pricier, as I had seen it at a wedding convention where I pointed out to my mom that one of their dresses was “my dream dress.” The second we stepped into Che Bella, we knew this was how wedding dress shopping should be. Being a local, small boutique, we were the only people scheduled to try on dresses, and the woman helping me try on the dresses was the owner of the store. After I tried on a handful of dresses, I narrowed it down to two of the dresses, which I proceeded to try each on five more times. Not exaggerating. In the end, I chose (with a lot of help!) the one I had, two weeks earlier, told my mom was my dream dress. It was truly meant to be!
Speaking of dress shopping, I spent last week trying to eat lots of salads and vegetables since I was going to be trying on lots of pretty dresses, but really I just ended up eating lots of beef and beans in this chili. That’s about the only relation dress shopping has to this dish, but I just had to share the experience.
So what about this casserole? I really made it out of laziness, since I didn’t feel like using another pan to make cornbread or corn muffins and my laziness turned into pure deliciousness. And you know when you dunk your corn muffin in your chili and a chunk of it gets stuck in there because the chili is so thick, and then you have to decide if you get it out with your fingers or your spoon? You don’t have to have that personal dilemma when you’re eating this! The chili and cornbread are both wrapped up into one perfect comforting casserole.
chili cornbread casserole
for the chili:
for the cornbread