Bridal shower the second

First things first—I do NOT feel like death today!  I’m surprised at how good I feel, actually.  I am sore in a few odd places (like my shoulders and triceps) and a few more normal places (hips, calves, and quads), but I don’t feel like anything is injured (yay!) or abnormally sensitive.  I was worried about how transitioning from treadmill to outdoors would be, but it was really seamless for me.  (If only that dang fast mile 5 hadn’t killed me…but oh well.)

All in all I really liked the half marathon distance!  I think it’s long enough to be challenging mentally and physically, but I didn’t feel like I had to go full speed all the time like in a 5K, which can be stressful.  There’s another HUGE half in KC that’s supposed to be awesome on June 5th…but I’ll be out of town for work.  Guess I’ll just have to hold out until August!  I’m excited already!

Last night we went out to dinner and ice cream and I did a bit of shopping.  I rewarded myself with a few good reads for my plane trips these weeks!  (And a really super soft Gap t-shirt.  Gap t-shirts are the best t-shirts in the whole wide world and you’ll never convince me otherwise!)

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I totally love reading, but I can’t really get into the book I was working on now, so I thought this would be a nice little splurge.  (Anyone read these two?  Are they great?)

Anyway, Tim and I slept in this morning.  I was hangry, so we agreed that he would make pancakes while I walked the dog.  Milhouse and I went for a nice long stroll in the sunshine.  I could feel my joints and muscles loosening.   Ahh, the benefits of having a dog!

Finally, we headed over to his Aunt Emily’s house for my bridal shower.  Tim decided he’d like to come, so he invited himself.  We didn’t kick him out!

Look at how pretty the table was!

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We had all kinds of pretty girly food—a nice salad with artichokes, crackers and Brie (in my honor!), chicken salad croissants, and petit fours.  Yum!

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The guests (minus Tim):

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Series of gift opening photos, taken by Tim:

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Tim, of course, photographed his favorite gift—a new ice cream scoop!

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All in all we had a lovely time chatting and catching up and we got lots of great gifts.  Behold! 

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The wedding room has reached new levels of insanity.  That’s not even all our wedding gifts—we have a ton at my mom’s house in Chicago.  Plus, all the wedding junk we’re going to have to take to Chicago!

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As a comparison, that room literally had nothing but a bed and bookshelf in it before the wedding took over.  It’s a great problem to have, but it’ll be nice to clean it out and set up our new things after the wedding! 

This blog post is late because of the following:

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I am paranoid about thank you notes.  For both my showers, I’ve had them in the mail the day after the event.  It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when I send a gift to someone and I get a thank you note six months later…or not at all.  They take five minutes to write, and really, it’s the least I can do to thank these people for being so generous.  (And, frankly, I don’t want to give anyone anything to cattily gossip about.)

So they will all be mailed tomorrow.

Anyway, tomorrow morning I go to get fitted for custom stinkin’ orthotics.  I’m excited!  I just want to be able to keep my legs in tip-top shape for my future running plans and I’m really interested to see how the whole process works.  Whee!

What’s your pet peeve?

My favorite shower gift

I was instructed at my shower that there was one box I had to open before all the others.  So, of course, I did, and I opened it to find this beautiful recipe box.

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(Gorgeous, no?)

My aunt asked my cousin, Jason, to make one for me, thinking he’d slap one together with plywood or similar, but he took the job really seriously and went out and bought some beautiful (and very expensive!) maple and cherry to make it.  It’s absolutely stunningly beautiful and well made.  I’ll have it forever.

The reason I had to open it first was because everyone had put a recipe on their package as a tag.  The first one was from Maddie the flower girl.

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By the end of the day, I had quite the collection.

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Including some super vintage ones—my great-grandmother’s recipe for Baked Stuffed Tufoli, and my grandma’s aunt’s recipe for (super delicious) Raisin-Oatmeal Cookies.

My great-grandma’s recipe must be good, because it was in the newspaper.  They quoted her as saying, “Secret of a good sauce is to make it the day before.  And make plenty of it.”  Sounds like my kind of lady, even though I never met her!

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My mom also contributed several, though she’s much more of a baker than a cook.  (As you can probably tell by the recipe on top.)

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I need more to fill it with, but this is a great start!

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All in all, I got recipes for the following, many of which are my FAVORITES from my family members.  (If anyone wants any of them, leave a comment letting me know which ones you want to see!)

  • Great-grandma’s Baked Stuffed Tufoli
  • Fresh Apple Cake
  • Cookie Dough Brownies
  • Aunt Vi’s Raisin-Oatmeal Cookies
  • Strawberry Crepes
  • Cheesy Potato Soup
  • Chicken Vesuvio
  • Fettucine Alfredo (including 1 stick of butter and a pint of heavy cream!)
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Buster Bar Dessert
  • Baked Potato Salad
  • Pretzel Jello
  • Red Jello
  • Fruit Dip
  • Whipped Frosting
  • Christmas Rice
  • Chipmunk Pie
  • Caramel Corn
  • Banana Egg Rolls
  • Penne with Spicy Vodka Cream Sauce
  • Strawberry Pizza
  • Caramel Apple Pie
  • “Pat’s Crack” (a maple-flavored sweet snack mix)
  • Make-your-own Cleaning Wipes
  • Chocolate Eclair Cake
  • Hot Sausage Dip
  • Vanilla Raspberry Pudding Shots
  • Campbell Corn Bread (from Tim’s mom!)
  • Girl Scout Chicken (also from Tim’s mom!)
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Taco Lasagna

Disclaimer: none of these recipes are healthy.  But they are all yummy and special to me!

Anyway, I love, love, love this and will definitely do this at any showers I host in the future.

What’s your favorite family recipe?

Wedding Weekend Extravaganza Recap: Part Two

Sunday afternoon was my bridal shower.  We woke up early and drove down to the country club where it was being held…but we definitely made a Dunkin’ Donuts pit stop on the way.  (Have I mentioned how much I love DD coffee?)  I had coffee and a donut to get the requisite sugar and caffeine pumping to make me EXTRA cheery.

My wonderful aunts and bridesmaids had planned a wonderful tea party themed shower.  See?

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The place settings had a small bag with homemade tea bags, honey sticks, fancy sugar cubes, and cinnamon sticks in them.  So cute!

The teapots made perfect centerpieces.

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All the teacups were mismatched.  This was mine!  There were candles to burn in the teacups for after the shower.

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Everyone worked really hard to set up.  I felt so useless, but they kept telling me that I should just stand there and look pretty!  

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So I took pictures instead.

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True story: my cousin/bridesmaid, Brandy, made the infamous pudding shots to bring to my bachelorette party and brought them ALL the way from Indianapolis to Chicago…only to forget them in my aunt’s freezer!

But they made an appearance at the bridal shower.  Mudslide and butter crown shots….I had one of each!  (They are delicious, but very, very weak.  Don’t worry.  I was not drunk at my shower!)

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And check out the gorgeous cake.

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The tables looked so cute!  The tea party theme really was an adorable idea.  I am NOT that creative at party planning!

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For the favors, my aunt stamped tiny gable boxes with our monogram and filled them with my favorite homemade caramel corn.  Yum!

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And some family pictures!

This is me, my mom, and my sister:

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(There was also a kind of creepy bride doll as decoration.  On the right.)

And me with our flower girl, Maddie:

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She was absolutely the show stealer of the day.  She proudly announced, “I’m going to help with presents, because I’m THREE!”   So cute!

The food was good—there was salad, chicken marsala, green beans, and potatoes—but the star, of course, was the cake.

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I. Love. Cake.

I wish I could have brought some home to Tim, because this was fantastic.

I will spare you the 50 different pictures of me opening gifts and give you the highlight reel instead.  See my little helper?

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I love Maddie’s face here.

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These next two pictures require explanation.  One year, on Christmas Eve, my uncles had a few drinks and then decided to go shopping for stocking stuffers.  They came home with underwear for everybody.  (This probably started, oh, when I was in fifth or sixth grade.)  Every year, since then, I get a pair of underwear from them as a joke gift for every holiday.  (Yes, a pair of underwear fell out of my law school graduation card in front of Tim’s parents.)  So, naturally, at my bridal shower…

bridalshowerbachelorette 077 bridalshowerbachelorette 080 Bride panties.  Naturally.  My family is crazy, but awesome.

Anyway, I opened gifts for a long, long time, and there are lots more pictures, but I’ll spare you the rest.   It was a great day and I’m so glad everyone could come celebrate me.  I cannot believe how awesome and generous people have been to us through this whole wedding thing!

All in all, we got several of our place settings and flatware settings, our entire bedding set, pots and pans, a food processor, tons of kitchen gadgets, some gift cards…I can’t even remember all of it.  Our registries took a pretty hard hit!

Packing, of course, was an issue.  I could only bring some stuff back in my luggage to Kansas City—the rest is living at my mom’s house until we drive up for the wedding.  We’re traditionalists and waiting to use any gifts until after we’re married, so it’s not a big deal, but I still can’t wait to show Tim everything!  This stuff I left at my mom’s house:


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And I packed as much as I could.

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My aunt, the crafty lady she is, brought me a few other things for the wedding.

Backstory on this one: my mom’s father, my Grandpa O, and I were very close.  He died shortly after my father.  He was known for always wearing bright red socks, every single day, even in a suit!  When my cousin Jason got married, he wore red socks with his tux to honor my grandpa.  I wanted to do something to honor him, too, but I don’t think red socks would work with my shoes, so….we dreamed up a red sock garter:

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It’s actually made from one of my grandpa’s socks.  We’re not doing a garter toss or anything, but I love the idea.

She also brought our wedding thank you notes that she made for us:

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Aren’t they pretty?  She’s such a crafting rockstar.

After the shower, we spent Sunday night having pizza with my family and packing things up.  I flew out to Kansas City Monday afternoon, and now I’m home playing catch-up!  There’s a lot to do before work tomorrow.

Re: running.  My body is not feeling great after last week’s disaster run.  My left knee feels funny, and my hips are still kind of sore and creaky.  I also have two appointments after work this week, so I’m just going to do what I can this week.  I’m planning a long run Friday, and 5-6 miles tomorrow, but I think what’s best for my body is to start my taper a little early.  I’ve already exceeded Hal’s half marathon novice plan, mileage-wise, so I feel okay with this.

Anyway, it was a lovely weekend.  I missed Tim terribly and I’m glad to be home, but I had so much fun!

What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten?  Check in tomorrow to find out what my absolute favorite shower gift was! 

Silent Sunday

I am, shockingly, not feeling very talkative tonight.  Here’s what I’ve done today, mostly in pictures.

Our four-year-old printer decided to stop working today.  Every piece of paper jams.  I think it’s done…of course, when I need it most.

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I started packing for Chicago.

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I made and wrote thank you cards for my awesome shower hostesses! 0321 003

Laundry.  This is our laundry room.  It’s upstairs right next to the bedroom, which I love.

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Buckley was a whiny baby today.  He was kicked out of the bedroom while we washed the sheets, then got mad and started eating dog food.

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Packed my gym bag for the week…

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Did some closet organizing.

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And played with my new straightening iron.  I am in love.  I can’t stop stroking my hair.  I’ve been dying to cut my hair, but this is so great I might actually keep it longer.

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I roasted a whole chicken and some taters for dinner (lots of leftovers!).

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Made tomorrow’s breffist cookie.

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And caught Southie hiding her eyes from the paparazzi.

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And I worked on my marathon training plan, which you can preview here.

Happy Sunday, all.  What was the highlight of your day?  And can you fix my printer?

Girls just wanna have fun

I woke up this morning at 8:30 after having gone to bed last night at, oh…9:30.  I was exhausted!

I put on my running clothes and woke Milhouse up, fully intending to go for a 3 mile dog jog.

Then I got outside.  It was rainy, and windy, and cold, and muddy, and Milhouse started whining to go inside almost immediately.  I thought “I have to run…but I don’t want to!” and had a minor panic attack.

Milhouse dragged me back inside and I had a bowl of Kashi and flipped on a little Stacy & Clinton.  I was already dressed for a workout, so I felt especially bad about skipping.

Then it dawned on me.  I can work out inside!  Suddenly, the idea of some indoor, at-home strength training in front of the TV sounded PERFECT.  It’s not running, but I’ve been neglecting weights of all kinds for the last few weeks, and I’ve missed them. 
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I set the oven timer for 30 minutes and grabbed my yoga mat and 2 8 pound weights (the heaviest I have at home, sadly).  I improvised a 30 minute weight circuit, repeating the following circuit 6 times in a row:

  • Weighted squats for 1 minute
  • Upper body move (shoulder press, flies, rows) for 1 minute
  • Abs (bicycle crunches, planks, reverse crunches) for 1 minute
  • Weighted lunges for 1 minute
  • Upper body move (bicep curls, skull crushers, chest press) for 1 minute

0313 002 It was a really great idea and I’m glad I did it!  I would have been crabby and unhappy for the half hour if I had gone running, but I had a lot of fun doing this!  I’ve missed weight training since I’ve been so running-centric lately.   And I must have done something right, because by the end I was pouring sweat and shaky. 

Then I went for a massage.  While the massage itself was great, the whole experience was ruined for me by how pushy they were for tips the whole time.  I’ve worked in the service industry, and I understand that tips are important, but this just came across really grabby to me:


Combined with envelopes with GRATUITY on them in the rooms, and the “How much gratuity would you like to add?” question at check-out, I will not be going back.  Not worth it. 

At least my legs feel a little bit better.

Then I went shopping.  Ann Taylor Loft had a big sale today, and I noticed they’d gotten more stock in since last time I’d been, so I figured why not.

MAJOR SCORE!  I wound up with a shower dress, a dress for my downtown bachelorette party,  a dress for Napa Valley, a necklace, earrings, and headband for 50% off…which amounted to maybe $15 more than just my first shower dress cost. 

For the shower:

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And for my bachelorette party night out in Chicago:

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And for bumming around Napa Valley:

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I’m definitely a dress person in the spring and summer, so these will be re-worn on our honeymoon and various other ways while the weather is nice.  I hate wearing shorts—I can never find pairs that fit me in both the waist and thighs, so I own a lot of summery sundresses.  I think they’re cuter and cooler than shorts anyway!

I got home and spent the afternoon  watching Precious:

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Good movie, but sad.  As expected.  I also wrote some thank-you notes.

Buckley’s taken up residence on the back of my chair for the time being:

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Tonight?  Homemade pizza for one and bumming around.  Glorious!

Anyone else get any good shopping deals this weekend?

Spring is here!

It’s in the air, officially, for sure.  High today in Kansas City was in the high 50s, and it was sunny and cloudless and we flung our windows open.  We got up early and went to church.  It was lovely.  We are approximately 70% more productive when we get up, get our butts moving, and go to church than on mornings we sleep in and lounge around making pancakes.

I slept horribly last night, thanks to wearing those stupid arch supports yesterday.  I swear I’m going to fling those things out the window soon.  Again, a huge, throbbing, swollen knot/bruise just above my right arch that ached all night long.  Confidence in a solution=waning severely.

I also think I am on my way to my first black toenail.  Glorious!  My right big toe has been tingly/sore and sensitive to pressure since Friday’s long run.  Ugly toes are pretty low on my list of foot complaints right now, so, whatever.

Last night I broke down and bought the dress for the shower:


From Nordstrom’s online.  I sincerely hope it fits.   What do you guys think of these shoes with it?


(Picture from my friend/bridesmaid Lindsey’s wedding—the photographer complimented my shoes!)  I love, love, love these, and really, I’m cool with any excuse to wear them again.  I’m thinking yellow shoes and perhaps either a yellow headband or bracelet to finish the look?

Anyway, we spent the day cleaning (we did laundry, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, and washed the sheets), doing wedding stuff (going over the budget, working on a brochure for the out-of-town bags, mailing payments to our musicians, finishing the menus), and generally lounging. 

I’m off to take a shower before the Oscars start!  I’m REALLY pulling for A Serious Man to win, but I doubt it will.  I’d be happy with Inglorious Basterds winning as well.

Oscars: who are you pulling for?  If you’re not watching, what was your favorite movie of 2009?

Getting ahead of the game

Oh, Sunday.  The day where I attempt to accomplish everything so I can spend evenings at home all week long being a bum.

Tim and I went to church this morning and then to Target to pick up some groceries.  When we got home, I made a double batch of Milhouse’s favorite dog treats.

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He pretty much turns his nose up at regular treats now.  I created a monster.

All day long, I wore my new running shoes around the house to get used to the arch supports.  It’s weird feeling so much support there, but I would really try anything at this point.  I did laundry, I ironed, and I roasted a chicken.

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The star was this seasoning my mom got me awhile back.  It’s really salty, so I use about half what the jar says, but it’s delicious!0228 005

I also tried to hit up Macy’s to look for a dress for my shower again.  I actually contemplated buying this one.

photo-1 And then I realized I couldn’t be sure if I would look like a cupcake-y bridal asshole in such a frou-frou dress, got mad, took it off and pouted in the dressing room while I e-mailed a picture to my mom and called her.  You know what sucks?  Not having any friends to go shopping with. 

I didn’t buy it because my mom said the color made me look pale.  (Newsflash: I am pale.)  She suggested going tanning, and I suggested that I do not have the time, money, or desire to do that.  Back to the drawing board.  I think I’m just going to buy something online and cross my fingers.  (Even though the more I look at it, the more I like this ridiculous, frou frou dress.)

I also attempted to make some kind of tomato soup with lentils in it today and failed.  I put too much water in and it tasted gross.  Fail.  I think I just work better with a recipe.

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I did, however, paint my nails with my new favorite nail color (Essie “Lilacism”).  I’ve had a weird aversion to painted nails (they made me really self-conscious) for years, so I’m determined to break it. 

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And, finally, some interspecies love:

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Milhouse and Southpaw have been caught curled up together napping a lot this weekend! 

Nail polish—yay or nay?  What are your favorite beauty products?