Important Things

Hey kids!

I’m about to peace out and go play in rush hour traffic hit the road for St. Louis.

Yes, you guessed right, I’m hitting up my 3rd wedding there this year.

My life would be so much easier if all my friends just moved to Chicago. For real.

Luckily, I’ve gotten used to the 5(ish) hour drive. And have learned a few important things after the multiple road trips to and from good ol’ Missouri.

I’ve packed a peanut butter sandwich that will hopefully help to avoid an Arby’s curly fry situation. They are not allowed until we’re on the way back home when I’m in yoga pants and not having to slip into a cocktail dress, my friends!

And my iPod is pretty well loaded up for when I hit Central Illinois (aka Country Music Central- ew). So we should be all good in the entertainment area.

I also find it important to get in one last workout. No matter how big or small.

This morning’s consisted of 3 circuits from No More Trouble Zones by Jillian.

Only 3 because they’re the ones I like the most and that’s all the time I had. Sleeping in was important. And I wasn’t going to ruin part of the fun of having a day off.

Plus, I was coming off an hour deep tissue massage from the night before.

That massage is another reason I slept so freakin’ well last night.

Completely and utterly relaxing. Not to mention necessary. It almost seemed appropriate to apologize every time she found another knot in my back.

What can I say? I play hard…

There’s a possibility this could become an addiction. And expensive one. Yikes.

Anyway, it’s about time I fill up my coffee and do the most important thing for any road trip.

Actually get on the road. On time.

Have a good Friday everyone!

Oh yeah, I also got my hair did. And have not cleaned my bathroom mirror…

Sorta. My friend Jaime got her license to do hair years go. So she’ll occasionally give me a bang trim in the bathroom at work. This time I just requested a little more than a trim.

Yay or nay? I’ve got about 9 hours before this wedding I’m attending and you need to tell me if I should keep them or sweep to the side.

I mentioned I love you guys because you’re honest, right?

Laters!

Thinking is Overrated

The other day, someone found my humble lil’ blog by searching the term “I hate thinking.”

You know what, buddy? I do too.

Especially on the weekend. It’s supposed to be reserved for fun. And besides, thinking is highly overrated.

And since it is Monday and I am STILL too tired to think, here is just another list of things to sum up where I’ve been:The man friend scored some tix to Game 4. It was hard to watch and we lost. Sadness.

So we decided to make ourselves feel better.No, we did not buy matching shoes. That’s gross. We met up with one of my friends and did some serious bowling.

I was horrible and broke two nails. But it was fun. And the drinks continued to flow. So we’ll call it a win.

Another thing that made me smile? Trippy stairs…Because I am amused by the smallest things, the stairs that continued to change colors at the hotel where we stayed kept me amused for no less than 20 minutes.

The next day, instead of running or any of that active nonsense, we strolled a sculpture park.I enjoy random things like this. Had I actually had any energy, you can bet your bottoms I’d be climbing that thing.

But then again, maybe that would have been a bad idea:Now come on. Really? Were there budget cuts? Do they not have tape that lasts 24 full hours?

There is one hour of the day where shit gets REAL. So watch yourself.

After that, I found my way over to my friend Mary’s house. She’s a total dear and lets me stay with  her when I need to.She even gets fresh cut flowers for the occasion. Cardinal themed (of course). Her husband also enjoys when I come to visit. Mostly because that means the bathrooms get cleaned. Win win.

Because her husband and my man friend were in the wedding, Mary and I were each other’s dates to the ceremony and reception. The ceremony was held at a greenhouse in one of the bigger St. Louis parks (Forest Park). And the reception was in an old ballroom in the Central West End area.That is a happy Amy face. Because we were having a good time and they served heavy appetizers as the meal. Chicken skewers and stuffed portabellos were dominated by yours truly. WIN.

Oh and the dress? It was awesome. I need to publicly thank Mon for letting me borrow it. And also publicly announce I will be dry cleaning it.If you look closely, as I fill up my cup with vodka from the ice shot luge, you’ll see some spillage. An old lady rammed into my friend who consequentially rammed into me. The dress broke the fall of her drink. 

Sigh. This is why I can’t have nice things.

After a fun time at the reception and a fun time out at the bars afterwards, I can officially say St. Louis kicked my butt.

My friend drove home as I groaned about exhaustion and hunger.Gas station finds are fun. Until they’re gone and leaving you completely spazzed out on sugar.

Luckily I have a good friend who recognized the issue and promptly pulled off to get us some Arby’s. I smiled a smile of contentment and food coma the rest of the way home to Chicago.

Spent the rest of my evening at home baking (Yay for the sweet swap!) and watching the St. Louis Cardinals make the the World Series and the Chicago Bears prove they’re still a somewhat respectably good team.

And that, my friends, is how you do a big weekend in St. Louis and back. Excuse me while I go do a major overhaul on my health habits.

Holla’.

Wedding Weekend Winners

Because it’s hard to sum up the entire weekend in one little blog post, I figured just touching on a few highlights is the way to go…1. We were never short of good food. The rehearsal dinner was held at Mike Shannon’s Steakhouse, the wedding was catered by the Sheraton Hotel (where the reception was), and there was never a shortage of bagels, hors d’oeuvres, wedding cake and drive-thru. You can understand how I’m dealing with the weekend hangover this morning…

2. My friend Mary is beautiful. She naturally glows. But on her wedding day?She was beautiful. Even before the dress.After the dress, she didn’t look too shabby, either.  :)

3. Speaking of dresses, friends don’t let friends lace up alone.We’ve had the dresses and had them hemmed and whatnot over the last few months. I knew it was coming. There was no zipper. And it’s not pictured here, but girls were bracing themselves on door frames as the other girls threw all their muscle into pulling those laces and officially trapping us in a steel cage corset. It’s also not shown when three or four girls at a time would line up to fix the corsets. Kind of like in elementary school when you’d have a train of hair getting french braided.

Now, I sort of loved how skinny those dresses made me and all the lovely girls look. And my posture has never been better. However, I did have issues performing all of my maid of honor duties. As in, I couldn’t lean over/kneel down to straighten Mary’s dress during the ceremony. It ran the risk of me falling over and tearing her dress in the process, my strapless bra popping out in front of the crowd or me having to ask my friend Laura (who was next to me) to help me back up because I got stuck. No bueno.

Her dress was never that messed up from behind. She did a good job whipping it around as she walked. So I don’t feel so bad…

4. It was a wee bit humid on Saturday. Not awful, but pictures downtown on the cobblestone roads were cut short due to periods of light rain. After taking pictures for 2.5 hours, we were sort of ok with this.  

Also, when taking pictures in alleys, be prepared to know how to smile as you hold your nose. Garbage dumpsters do not smell pretty in the middle of the summer in St. Louis, Missouri. Word.Party buses are always a good idea. Even when you have a massive wedding party of 20.  Because people will have dates, make sure to get a bus that seats at least 32. And have sandwiches delivered to the bus for as soon as the ceremony is over. And make sure you have enough champagne and beer. Otherwise you will have to stop the bus. And it’s very had to park one of such a massive size in front of a convenience store. Just sayin’.

Also a good idea? Having your roommate for the night (hi Eva!) as your date. Eva was Mary’s unofficial wedding planner of the day- helping with the dresses/hair/makeup, keeping the boys in check, carrying things from the hotel to the church to the party bus to the reception hall, etc etc. Poor thing got put to WORK. 

Other good ideas? Clean and clear oil blotting sheets because Missouri is the most ridiculously humid place ever. And taking your shoes off before dancing on the seats of a party bus.

5. My toast was a success! I kept it short and sweet (and a little sassy because that’s how I roll).

Sadly, though, I could not raise my glass to toast with everyone else when I was done. My hand was shaking hard enough to where I’m sure all I would have done was pour champagne on myself…

6. Mary’s gift to Casey may have been the coolest thing EVER.Mary’s husband had said from day one how he wanted an ice shot luge. We all laughed and dismissed it. Then, Mary decided that would be her wedding gift to him. She’s kind of the coolest.

The shot they poured through all night was “tiger blood”. Some of you may know this shot well by a different name (ahem… red headed sluts).

This was one of my favorite shots in college. But I promise I only had one.

Ok… two…

6. Bring flippy floppies to dance the night away. 4-inch heals are not conducive to dancing all night. Only one or two girls had to learn this the hard way.

7. By the end of the night, after the reception was over, it was STORMING. At about 12:30, the power in the entire hotel went out. This dampered the after-wedding festivities.

Luckily, because I was exhausted from being up since 7:00 that morning, I was ready to turn in.

8. When the power is out and the storm continues, weird things happen. Like the alarms getting tripped at about 2:00 in the morning. This meant there was a message repeating over their sound system for 10 minutes (the back-up generators had some things still working). And lights blinking on and off in all the rooms for 10 minutes. Sleep was not easy to come by.

9. I ate like a garbage disposal on Sunday. My friend who rode to St. Louis with me (he also had a wedding) was amazed how I out-ate him. On every stop we made.

I blame the bridesmaid dress- not being able to breath deeply also meant eating was a little difficult. Who woulda guessed that?

Anyway…

This was the end of my crazy June. It’s bittersweet. I’m happy to have a few weekends of downtime. But starting with our crazy bachelorette trip to Vegas and ending with a gorgeous wedding of two of the most genuinely wonderful people I’ve met, I’ll be sad to see it end. The girls in the wedding party are girls I keep up with, but rarely get to see since our college days.

I told Mary she and Casey should probably get vows renewed and throw one of these little shindigs once or twice a year.

I’ll save you from discussing the look she shot me when I suggested the idea… yikes!

Whew. That was longer than I realized it would be. But I’m done. Or at least I have to be- time to run errands and get ready for a Cubs game! Peace out, homies!

A Wedding Weekend

I made it back alive!

Just barely… Saturday was a marathon day to say the least.  But every minute of Ashlee’s wedding was so much fun!Ready to start taking pictures… this was  one of a million.  I don’t know about Ashlee, but I wasn’t this fresh faced the entire day… enjoy it while you can.  :)The ceremony went so smoothly.  The only hangup was the issue of if the little ring bearers and flower girls would make it down the aisle.  Or not cry.  Or stay at the front and not run back.  It was really touch and go.  I think 2 of the 4 made it the full way. 

Also check out the one candle that is slowly slipping.  This caused us bridesmaids much distress.  Burning down an old church would be frowned on, I’m sure.We went down to Ashlee’s house to take pictures.  I can’t wait to see all the professional ones- Ashlee was seriously ON IT when it came to fun wedding party pics.

How did we get to Ashlee’s house you ask?  Well….In St. E style of course… In a pinch, Ashlee’s brother came up with the brilliant idea of throwing us all on the back of a truck.

We worked the wind-blown look very well.

I may have busted my knee getting on to said truck, but nothing to cry about.  I’m waiting to see how well the bruise develops.  ;)  All this yoga I’ve been doing- still as clumsy as ever… fail.My mom and I.  After we got back from pics, everyone hung out outside in the church yard where there’s a pavilion that the bartenders reside.  Seagrams and Bud Light.  Holla’.Here’s an example of the centerpieces.  I adored Ashlee’s style.  Very country chic.  Simple and elegant.  You could tell the whole wedding was in the style of the bride and groom.  Nailed it!  :)One thing I liked about this wedding was that Ashlee’s not big into cake- so they did wedding pie.  It went really well with the theme of the wedding.  Ignore the beer can in the picture.  I’m 99% positive it wasn’t part of the display…

There was also an ice cream bar that went along with it.  You can bet your booty I went for tons of sprinkles on my brownie (since I don’t really do pie…).

My friends who know about the blog asked if I took pics of my food.  I laughed. Of course I did!

There was fried chicken and beef.  I went with the beef on recommendation from another bridesmaid.  She  has her mom special order the stuff from the caterer (their cousin) and freeze it so she can take it home with her after she visits.  I can see why.  It was amazing.

And of course it’s not a St. E wedding without a proper wedding dance.  I did not want to let go of that beer can, did I?  For the record, I’m pretty sure it was the same one in about a hundred pictures… towards the end of the night, I was just exhausted!

All in all, a great weekend back home to celebrate my good friend’s wedding!  The only awkwardness was when I ran into my date from Senior Prom who happened to be the DJ.  Random…

Yesterday was the drive home.  It really is an all day affair.  I also made it a Panera day.Correction… St. Louis Bread Co.  (It’s actually still called that in the St. Louis area vs. Panera everywhere else.)

I stopped here for another round of driving with giant iced teas.  It only caused one extra potty break (I’m getting better!).And then I figured I’d make it a double whammy later on by stopping at Panera for a Turkey Bravo.  It’s my favorite sandwich there.  We don’t discuss calories when it comes to Panera- just goodness.  :)

Considering I was lacking sleep and energy, the drive was not too bad until about an hour away from home.This is the story of my life.

But clearly I made it.  And am ready for the full work week ahead.  Sort of.  It’s a little daunting, but I’m sure I’ll get through!  ;)

How was your weekend?  My google reader is exploding, so I’m sure I’ll find out at some point in the day…

While I have the chance, I’ll also say thanks again to Mon for doing a guest post over my busy weekend!  If you didn’t catch it, feel free to read it by clicking here!

Have a great start to the week!  I’ll be spending the day working and trying to get back into my routine- oh joy!

Leaving Already

The long weekend has definitely flown.  Which is unfortunate because I’m not looking forward to the long drive back that I’m about to go on… ugh.

Just to pick up where I left off, Friday night we had the rehearsal and then went to the farm that my friend Ashlee’s family owns to have the rehearsal dinner. 

A Mexican buffet is always a fabulous idea.  Always. 

Since my birthday happened not that long ago, Ashlee gave me a belated birthday gift.  She said she had to wait to give it to me because she needed to see my reaction.  She gave me Twilight sweet tarts.Now let me explain- this is a running joke between us.  It started out with the creepiest Halloween card of all time with Edward staring “seductively”.  He looks ridiculous.  Ashlee found it, couldn’t control herself, and sent it my way.  So I returned the favor by giving her Twilight magnets as part of her bridal shower gift.  Hence the Twilight birthday gift.  I think the candy is supposed to even sparkle.  Fabulous!

After the rehearsal dinner, I swung by Miss Kitty’s to say hi to some other friends who had driven back for the wedding- which also happens to be the only bar in town and also the only establishment open past 11:00 within a 10-mile radius.  It makes the decision-making of where to go very easy.Hey ladies!  That’s Erica, me, and Krista- a few of the girls from my high school class (Class of 2003- holla’!).  The lighting is also horrible, so we all look a bit creepy with the red eye thing we’ve got going on… rarr. We caught up for a little bit, but also called it an early night.  These two ladies have little ones to tend to (both babies under 6 months!) and I had an early morning call to get my wedding hair going…

Both girls read the blog, so say heeeeeeeyyyyyy!

But because I like you guys, I thought I’d give you the “insider’s sneak peek” of Miss Kitty’s…The decor is pretty hodge-podge.  Or as I like to say- sassy!

Tell me the name of your hometown drinking spot- anyone have anything better than Miss Kitty’s?

I’ll have to talk about the wedding at a later time (they had an ice cream bar- seriously amazing).  And since I don’t feel like loading pictures just yet, I’ll give you this one to see what I sort of looked like:If I had botox and implants, it’d be freaky how real this looks, right?  ;)

Have a great Sunday!  I’ll be driving… and driving… and driving…

Prosit!

First off, I wanted to address a couple questions I got on my Friday post about my dress.  People wanted to know where I got it.  I got it on clearance (or maybe just a really really good sale?) on Banana Republic’s website.  I also googled like crazy until I found free shipping.  Because I’m not happy unless I think I’m getting a deal…

So yesterday I took a trip to Wrigleyville for another monthly date- it’s Lunch Club time!

This month it was Scott’s pick and he decided to try a new route with the German Pub, Uberstein.  As soon as we were all there, we made sure to start the “meeting” off with a toast:Prosit!  Did you know that means “good health” in German?  I like it!

I didn’t even plan on drinking, but soon, my mug was empty.Sadness…

This place was fun.  There was a small menu, but they covered all the basics for sure.  Ironically, I’m 100% German yet I don’t eat a lot of the “real deal” when it comes to German food.  Weird, right?I tried the “Sheboygan”, which was a pork brat.  It came with German potato salad and sauerkraut.  I’m not a fan of sauerkraut, but substitutions weren’t allowed.  So I just stayed away from that part of the plate.  The potato salad was pretty good, though- and I don’t frequently eat that, either!

Jaime got the “Thuringer” brat- it consisted of veal and pork.We traded bites to compare at one point.  There was definite agreement that I ordered the better choice.  The pork had much more spice.  One thing I loved about both of our brats is that it came on a pretzel bun.  Pretzel buns are genius.  And I think more restaurants should have them.  Because I would make sure to get it.  Every time.

Cathryn just got the “Uber Classic”. Otherwise known as a cheeseburger.  I guess she wasn’t feeling the ethnic scene?

Scott was the one who got down to business- Uber Bier Cheese Fries and Goulash.The Goulash was tasty.  But let’s talk for a minute about those cheese fries.  Holy crap.  That cheese they used was no velveeta- it was the real deal.  And it.was.awesome.  If you ever find yourself at Uberstein, this is the one thing you have to get without hesitation.  SO good.

No lunch club is complete without dessert.  And what else would we get?  (Actually, it was the only dessert on the menu, but I’m sure it would have been our top pick, anyways….)We won’t discuss how quickly this disappeared.  It was a lunch club record.  No discussion.  Just eating.

Another success.  That makes us 8/8.  Honestly, though, it doesn’t take much to please us.  Food is good.  So we’re not overly critical…

Today is a rainy one.  I was hoping for a little more pool time with one of the neighbor gals that has recently moved in.  I doubt that will happen.  But I do need to go pick up a bridesmaid dress that came in for my friend Ashlee’s wedding in September.  I also need to tell them that I need to stop getting crap from vendors in the mail.  Because I ordered my dress somewhere different than all the other girls (who are still mostly in Missouri), I had to register myself at House of Brides.  Awesome.  I really shouldn’t have done that.  So now… they think I’m the one getting married.  I get mail.  I get calls.  I get annoyed.  Seriously… it’s embarrassing having to explain to the person on the phone, “no, I’m not getting married and you are mistaken about my upcoming wedding.”  I’m very much single.  I just ordered a dress.  Which I will happily take and go on my merry way.  I paid you, now please f-ing leave me alone.  Thanks.

I think next time I get a call like that, I’m going to start making up stories.  I’ll think of a good one…

I just did a bit of walking and yoga to warmup and stretch the muscles a bit.  Now I’m off to shower off the sweaty mess that I am.  Peace out kids.  ;)

Love me some chowder!!!

Yes I do.

A twenty-something girl with low finances, such as myself, will never pass up a free meal.  Except for respectfully declining a dinner date with the random creeper, ex-boyfriend, or guy who dresses up like Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, I say yes to food.  Always.

Yesterday, the cafeteria in our building through a little luncheon focus group for a couple people from each company in the building.  Of course I sacrificed myself as one of the three to go.  I went in it telling my friend that I hope they serve some of their awesome cookies they always sell.  Dessert better happen- or heads will roll.

We got something extremely unexpected- a somewhat fancy catered lunch!  They made everything look so nice.  Which confused me- because I really thought they were supposed to get our opinion on things they were serving.  So I was expecting a panini or club sandwich.  Not a “spinning salad” with shalots and shrimp.  Or the kick-ass stir fry.  And the chowder… oooohhhhh the chowder.It was a turkey chowder topped with bacon and corn and a balsamic reduction.  This was to blame for my afternoon coma.

Either way, we were all curious as to what dessert would be.  I was still hoping for a cookie.  ;)  So you have no idea how disappointed I was when they brought out this huge plate with a pastry puff topped with ice cream and FRUIT.  And a chocolate covered strawberry on the side.

Gag me.  I’m just not a fan of fruit.  And it has no place in my dessert.  Sadness.  I sadly declined the plate- and yeah, the waiter couldn’t figure out why in the world I would do that.  They did bring me a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I was ok with that- but it was no cookie! 

Beggers can’t be choosers.  I’ll stop whining now.  And I had a little peanut butter and chocolate chips for dessert after dinner.  So whatever.  I guess it’s ok.  Heads didn’t roll.

The sun never came out (contrary to the forecast), but I went on the trail anyways.  It was during this run I realized how much more I enjoy mid-morning runs or early evening runs (when I work the earlier shifts).  Not hitting the trail until almost 7:00 is rough.  I’m planning on making the switch to morning runs before it gets super hot- but that may happen sooner than later.  When is your preferred time of day for running?  I love getting out around 9:30 or 10:00- so I love it on the weekends.  Not so much possible during the week…  

The first half mile was an argument and struggle with the legs.  I even wondered if I should just stop and turn around. And then I actually yawned a few times during the run.  What???  I blame the chowda’.  But I kept going- 3.1 miles at an 8:24 pace.  So even though it was a rough start, it’s still a slow improvement.  Long way to go, though.  If I want to win this bet, I really need to plan a few speed workouts.  As much as I despise them.  They’re the one thing that does not make me enjoy running.  But I expect no less than to kick my friend’s ass.  Losing is not an option.

Today is my last day of work before a much needed (and desired) mental health day!  Well- don’t think I won’t be busy.  It’s been strategically placed.  I will be baking like a crazy mad woman for Jaime’s wedding reception that is this weekend.  Yep.  I’ll be making three cakes that look like this.  I predict it will be a project that spans through tomorrow all the way to Saturday morning.  Whew!  But whatevs… I love baking.  And getting to sleep in, of course.  And I might even get to catch some daytime drama!  Any Days of Our Lives fans out there?  Or soap opera fans in general?  Only me??? 

This morning I tried “mocha oats” again.  Last time I was unimpressed.  This time?Vince wasn’t really a fan either.  This time, I used actual brewed coffee instead of the instant coffee.  It was an improvement.  Less bitter for sure.  But it’s just not a taste I’m a fan of.  Although the coconut and chocolate that I added helped.  Just not enough.

This also means I made coffee this morning instead of my usual green tea.  Expect me to be wired for the next few hours.  This may or may not be a bad thing for productivity.

Oh and remember the Healthy Living Summit registration is tonight.  I’ve kept thinking about it and am ALMOST positive I’ll be in front of my laptop when registration happens- crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to get a ticket…

Happy Hump Day!

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