Most Romantic Places to Propose

Spring is in the air, and with the cheery weather comes a hopeful sense of romanticism. Chris and I got married in the spring, nearly two years ago already, so this season always puts me in a rosy mood.

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While we got married in the spring, we got engaged in the fall. I'll always remember it like yesterday -- a romantic stroll behind the Shedd Aquarium, with the Chicago skyline forming a dramatic and beautiful backdrop in the distance. I couldn't have asked for a better memory to look back on as the moment we decided to spend forever together.

Cheesiness aside, as the season turns warmer now and I'm feeling especially affectionate, here are a few out-of-town places I think would make for (almost) perfect proposal spots.

Next to the Seine, Paris

It's no secret I have a love affair with Paris. On one of my favorite afternoons in the city, Chris and I grabbed baguettes and a bottle of wine as we sauntered down to the Seine. We claimed a private little bench and spent a lazy couple hours enjoying our picnic and each others' company. Had we not already been married, this sweet little bench would've certainly served as a perfect proposal place.

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At the Biltmore, Asheville

Call me silly, but there's something about being in front of America's biggest mansion that makes you want to couple up and chase down your own little empire. I'm a huge fan of Asheville -- and while the few times I've been have only been in passing, the city impresses a spirit of upscale accessibility.

It would make the perfect proposal destination for a couple who loves a bit of flair mixed with down-home comfort. Plus, for beer lovers it's a budding craft brewing destination.

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On a Kayak, Charlevoix

Last summer, we spent Fourth of July weekend with two of our best friends in northern Michigan. Everything about northern Michigan in July embodies that quintessential American summer. Charlevoix itself is an adorable lake town, but the peaceful serenity you can escape to on the water is even better. 

We rented kayaks, and while a little under-matched next to the yachts and speedboats flying by, navigating the waters on a sunny summer day was so worth it. So long as you pull over to pop the question (don't dare drop the ring in the lake!), this is the perfect setting for a beautiful proposal. 

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The Best of AirBNB: Antwerp Edition

Last summer, we spent two nights in a sprawling one-bedroom Airbnb flat in Antwerp. Our host, who was effortlessly fashionable in thick-rimmed spectacles and bold lipstick to match, also owned Barnini, an adorable coffee shop just below the unit. 

Our Airbnb unit was just above the aqua storefront in this photo. The street was lined with a bevy of bars and restaurants with patio seating, and across the street was a gathering space for the city's large weekend market.

Our Airbnb unit was just above the aqua storefront in this photo. The street was lined with a bevy of bars and restaurants with patio seating, and across the street was a gathering space for the city's large weekend market.

Barnini's laid-back, trendy vibe perfectly mirrored the personality of our fantastic host.

Barnini's laid-back, trendy vibe perfectly mirrored the personality of our fantastic host.

It was the perfect home base to explore Antwerp's fashion-forward scene, on a cafe-lined street and just a short walk to the eclectic shops in the Zuid and the cozy beer cafes sprinkled throughout the city center. 

Antwerp's city center, with the impressive  Cathedral of Our Lady  in the background.

Antwerp's city center, with the impressive Cathedral of Our Lady in the background.

The unit itself had one bedroom, along with a full-sized convertible sofa in the living room. Everything about the place screamed hip, from the modern Euro-style furniture to the eclectic art dotted throughout.

I loved the juxtaposition of classic decor with brightly colored modern snapshots. 

I loved the juxtaposition of classic decor with brightly colored modern snapshots. 

Our favorite poster hanging in the flat's kitchen. We liked it so much...

Our favorite poster hanging in the flat's kitchen. We liked it so much...

We recreated it ourselves! (Pretty accurate, I must say.)

We recreated it ourselves! (Pretty accurate, I must say.)

We had the entire place to ourselves and made great use of the dining room table and rear patio -- where we gathered nightly to enjoy our favorite Belgium beers before dinner. The oversized windows in the living room let in so much light, and we woke up every day to the buzzing sound of shopkeepers getting ready to open.

We loved the  Houblon Chouffe,  along with the  2014 Duvel Tripel . Sadly, not pictured here is the best beer I enjoyed on the trip (and that's impossible to get back in the US):  Papegaei . 

We loved the Houblon Chouffe, along with the 2014 Duvel Tripel. Sadly, not pictured here is the best beer I enjoyed on the trip (and that's impossible to get back in the US): Papegaei

Our host was more than accommodating, giving us fantastic restaurant suggestions along with an insider's perspective on the best local happenings. She stocked the unit with city art guides and weekly event magazines. I would highly recommend staying at her urban pad for a stylish romp through Belgium's fashion center.

Three Places I'd Rather Be Right Now

From blizzards to below-zero temps, the Windy City is in the throes of winter. Right now, I wish I could be...

1. On this secluded Cozumel beach.

It's hard to believe my honeymoon was already almost two years ago. After a fantastic wedding weekend with friends and family in Lake Geneva, Chris and I escaped the Midwest's unseasonably cold spring for an all-inclusive getaway to Riviera Maya, Mexico

The highlight  of our stay was a day trip to Cozumel. After a harrowing ferry trip to the island, we rented a ruby red Jeep and circled the highway, stopping at roadside outposts and secluded beaches along the way -- including the one pictured above.

We even grabbed pineapple margaritas at a makeshift tiki hut, where we climbed the rocky coastline and pointed out whirlpools circling in the waters below.

Unfortunately, not many pictures made it home after Chris left his phone in the Jeep, which we later tracked via Find My iPhone to a Cozumel neighborhood we figured we shouldn't explore. That said, I remember it like yesterday -- and would go back in a second.

2. At this Charleston rooftop lounge.

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Anyone who knows me knows Charleston is my favorite American city. Last year Chris and I spent New Year's week in the Lowcountry with my parents, eating in the best restaurants and exploring the historic nearby sites.

In the evenings, Chris and I did our own exploring - where we found this sylish bar atop the Market Pavilion Hotel. With the romantically lit pool and the sights of Charleston in the backdrop, we loved this bar's ambiance -- and its mojitos.

3. In this cozy Parisian jazz bar.

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Granted, Paris is probably not much warmer than Chicago right now. But it's Paris -- enough said. After hearing mixed reviews about this quintessential city, I was pleasantly surprised to find it even dreamier than I expected when we made a whirlwind visit last summer.

From my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower as we Uber'ed to our hotel, I was in love. And that love grew even more when we found Le Caveau des Oubliettes, a cavernous jazz bar just south of รŽle Saint-Louis

It's drippy, dim, claustrophobic and utterly fabulous -- the kind of place where everyone's your best friend by the end of the night. We even had the pleasure of meeting the evening's musicians, fellow Chicagoans turned expatriates living their dreams in the city of light.